Friday, July 31, 2009

Philosophy of Hunting

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have encountered a number of people who have "issues" with my hunting and discussing hunting. To be fair, SOME of them have problems with my raising livestock as well, but not all of them. Those are the ones that really blow my mind. For example, they say it is fine that I raise livestock for food, but if I want to hunt for wild animals for food, that's bad. HUH?

Now, I mentioned that I have my own philisophical reasons for hunting. And I will be sharing those with you... right about now.

I have lived in suburban and rural areas. I have known those that live in truly urban environments. Those in the urban environs don't have as many problems as those of us who live outside of the city lights, for the most part. But where I am and have been, it is not an unusual occurance to see deer, raccoon, groundhog, possum, etc on the side of the road where they end up after being hit by a car. This is damaging to both the vehicles and the humans driving them, but also to the animals since there is a large chance of a not clean kill. Let me make this point very clear... Animal Suffering = BAD!

On top of the suffering and damage that occurs, there is also the major problem that those like my wife and I face. We plant a garden to feed us and our families. We don't plant it to feed the animals, but that doesn't mean that they don't look at our garden and our yard as a smorgasboard of delectable treats just for them. Rabbits and deer both love the yummy veggies that we plant. When I was a young child, my family had 5-6 evergreen bushes that lined one side of the driveway, and every winter, these bushes grew more and more bare. First along the middle, say 3-4 feet high, then higher and lower. When there was snow on the ground, you could see the deer tracks coming and going from the bushes. A neighbor up the hill had two chestnut trees, and when the chestnut balls fell, the deer would congregate to break them open and eat the treat inside. (as a side note, if you don't know about chestnut trees, when they drop their balls, they are spike balls between 4-6 inches in diameter. These hurt when you run around in bare feet as I do.) The deer don't remove the spike balls, they just break them open, so I was constantly finding pieces of them... by stepping on them.

These are just some of the problems that wild animals can cause. I am not going to go into detail about raccoons and garbage cans, bears and dumpsters, or the danger that these can pose to family, friends, pets, and livestock. However, we need to realize WHY we see these problems. Trust me, deer are not hanging out by the side of the road because their parents just don't understand.

The first reason that they are doing these things because humans are encroaching on their habitats. Now, before you go off on me and call me some sort of greenie weenie, I am not saying that their habitats are sacred, but you do have to realize that if you tear down 50-100 acres of woodlands, the animals that lived there have to go someplace. If a piece of forest can support 50 deer, and you cut that land in half without removing half of the herd, what do you think will happen? They look at the gardens and lawns to get food, since there isn't enough for everyone in that area anymore.

Secondly, we as humans want to protect ourselves and our familes, no? Well, that means we clear out and kill many of the predators near where we live. Makes sense, right? Well, now these animals that used to lose the sick and elderly to their predators, are living longer and are becoming overpopulated beacause Nature's balancing mechanism is broken. And we broke it. Therefore, it is up to us to take the place of the predators that we took out of the picture. Take my previous example and say you have a piece of land that supports 50 deer. Well, those deer give birth each year and the herd would grow, but they lose members of the herd each year to the mountain lion/coyote/wolf/etc. But we put up some houses outside of that area and we kill the predators to keep our children safe. Now, they deer herd is not thinned each year and quickly grows from 50 to 75 or 100. Now, we start seeing the same problems as removing their homelands.

In both of these instances, since the food supply is not enough to support the number of animals that live on the land, they have to look farther and farther afield to get their food. If there just isn't enough, the herds get sick, the heartiest animals get the illnesses of the weaker animals since they don't have enough food to keep themselves healthy. They get sick, they can't provide/protect the weaker members, and so on and so forth. It's a very vicious cycle.

For these reasons, I believe in animal hunting. But I want to make another point. I believe in hunting for the well-being of the herd of animals being hunted and for the food/leather/products that can be gained by taking the animal. They say we have a hunger problem in America. Well, I say that we should teach more people to go out hunting and they will have more food to eat. I believe in using as much of each animal as possible. Waste Not, Want Not.

To take that a step farther, I don't necessarily believe in trophy hunting. I say necessarily because there are some trophy hunters would donate the meat that they take to the hungry in the area where the animal was taken. There are not always enough hunters in an area to keep the animal population under control, and if Johnny Hunter wants to come and take out a XXXXXXX animal, and donate the food, then go for it. But just to hunt for a trophy for the wall? Nah, don't think so.

I don't know if I am going to convince anyone that hunting is good that doesn't already lean that way, and I don't know if I am going to turn anyone away from hunters. I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and see what some of you think.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Doing what needs done

With my post yesterday, I got no comments. I can understand that. Hunting is really a touchy subject with many people. I can understand that and I am sure I will be typing up a philosophical treatise on my thoughts regarding hunting.

However, hunting is not the purpose of my post for today. No, today is talking about protecting the animals and the people in my care. I warn you that what follows is not necessarily a pleasant read, but it is something that comes with living in the "country".

Read on, or come back another day for a new post. Thanks.




So, yesterday, I get home from work and I go out to the coops to look in on the birds. Hmm, all of the ducklings and the momma duck actually worked themselves totally out of the run and the other female got over to the chicken coop. Hmmmm, curious. So I walk over and look into the duck coop and what do I see? A friggin' rat! I bet that stupid rat got some of our ducklings. So I flip the door shut and make sure that there is no way for it to get out and I hustle in.

Now, I am in a quandry, it is sitting in my duck coop... a wooden coop with a wooden floor. That eliminates a number of weapons. Hmmm. Hey, I've got this stupid little pellet gun. Ok, so its really old, but it still works and I have some .177 cal pellets. Its only a 5-8 foot shot. Yeah, this will work.

So I get back out to the coop, still in slacks and a dress shirt, carrying a pellet gun, with plastic bags hanging out of my pockets. I'm sure I was quite a sight. So I pump up the gun, load a pellet and lift up the roof a bit to get my aim. Man, I should have been a sniper. 1 shot = 1 kill. I shot, right behind the ear. Done.

So I get in the coop and get it and any straw with blood on it and double bag it. Take it down, put the gun and pellets away, and I put the body in the garbage. I am feeling pretty decent. I am doing what needs to be done and I am protecting the animals that are in my care.

Then my wife mentions that where there is one rat, there are probably more.... ARGH!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Slowly, I turn, inch by inch...

I believe I have mentioned in the past (though, I am not completely sure) that I have mentioned that the wife and I are new to our area. Well, we have lived in the new state for a little over a year and we will have been in our house for a year in a couple weeks. But the thing is since we moved to this state, I have not been hunting. Let me be honest here, I came to hunting later in life. My grandfather used to, but he had a stroke before I was born and never went again. My parents did not go. This made it much more difficult because I didn't have the people around me to take me and teach me or to make me interested in hunting. I started to be very interested in it as a teenager and thought about it for years but never did anything about it. Then I finally decided that it was time. Because of where I used to live, I ended up going by myself a good bit, but I never did get anything.


Now, in the new state, the bow hunting season for deer is over 3 months long, gun hunting for deer is one week. Which is fine with me, I do prefer the bow anyways, but just look at that discrepancy of time! So I have to prepare!


I should have been practising with the bow for the past few months, but with everything else going on, I have been running out of time. This past weekend, I found some time to get out and do some shooting and working to tune up the bow. I then proceeded to lose two friggin' arrows. Did you know, that arrows are not cheap? 30, 40, 50, and UP for 12 arrows that I will still need to cut and set up. That doesn't include targets, if you use them, if you need a new string, or whatever. That is all ignoring the cost of a bow. Which is definately not cheap!


I currently use a Jennings UniStar. This was produced a while back, but it is a rather unique design. Where most compound bows have their cams on the end wheels where everyone expects them to be, the UniStar put it in the middle of the bow. This unique cam, to me, is probably the best set up for a compound bow that I have ever shot. (Not saying that there aren't better bows or that this is right for anyone else, but for me....) It eliminates uneven pulling and I feel that it doesn't have the same limb stress that comes with the "traditional" compound bow. I have never even needed a stabilizer on the front. I got mine from craigslist.org for $25, but I see them going from $150 to upwards of $350 per bow. Man, I would love a backup bow just in case anything ever happens to my current bow. (So if any of you happen to know of a cheap one or have one laying around that you would like to get rid of, please let me know! Can't pay much, but you would have my gratitude!!!)


Now, I would love to have a well made traditional long bow or even a recurve, but they are even more expensive any more. Some day I will be looking to make my own traditional long bow, but until that day, my UniStar will work for me.


If anyone wants to donate some arrows, that would be appreciated too! I've got about a 30" pull with the bow set about 63# right now. (I know, I am shameless!)


I will be taking some pictures of my arrow groupings and whatnot as I prep for the upcoming hunting seasons. I am hoping to get at least a deer this year. Maybe even some squirrel. :-D


(The picture was pulled from a seller on ebay, not my current bow)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Updates

Well, we are down to 7 ducklings. We hitched the coop up to one of the vehicles and moved it to back behind the garden. It seems that the rain made the rat or whatever rodent that was taking them followed. So we put out a poison trap, which we both really hated to do, but we can't be losing any more ducklings. They rely on us for their care!

We also got us a "barn" cat. The wife is very allergic, but we needed to do something, so Jade, the kitty, is out in the chicken coop. Seems to be ok with it. Doesn't really like it, but I think she will grow accustomed to it. Her previous owners were moving to Phoenix and were not able to take her with them.

I don't think I mentioned before, but our neighbors across the street are really awesome. They raise animals and buy/sell at a number of the auctions around. They had gotten us another female muscovy, but between the time of purchase and the time we got her to our coop, it seemed like she broke her foot. She was hobbling and unable to move it or straighten it out. We were keeping a close eye on her in case it would be necessary to have duck for dinner some night, but she is doing excellently and is walking around with barely a trace of a limp.

Of course, the neighbors do just about every type animal under the sun except for three that we are interested in. We have talked about getting some pigs, some turkeys, and someday a dairy cow. They can point us in the right direction, but its not like sheep or goats where we can just walk over and they have some there for us to get used to. I believe a lot of what we are waiting for right now is the money so set up the housing and the fencing. Ha ha.

Then again, since our only pup now is 1/2 border collie, 1/2 brittany (100% spazmodic nutjob), we have talked about maybe some sheep or goats just to give him some meaningful work to expend some of his energy. Oh if only the neighbors sheep were dog broken! Although, he did do a really good job herding our muscovy drake back into the run last night. I really wish I had a picture of that... he looked just like he should, head down, tail down, stalking and herding that duck. Of course, I don't see a whole lot of sheep dog trials near where we are, but who knows, get a couple sheep and then maybe travel some to compete or something. Yeah, right.

I was laughing to myself last night... think about a sheep dog trying to herd some fainting goats. That would be hilarious. I can just see the dog looking at a goat after it fainted going, "oh my, oh my, i killed it, oh my, oh my!!!!" If you don't know about fainting goats, check out youtube and do a search. They are cute and funny as all get out.

Anyways, I think that's enough for right now.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Busy busy and some additions

Well, I am not sure who knows what or what I have mentioned in the past, so here's an update on most and sundry.

First. Dear Wife and I are now licensed Foster Parents for our county/state. That has taken up a huge amount of time in preparing for this and for getting the house and everything ready. Also, the meetings with the case worker and the phone calls/emails have been quite time consuming as well.

Secondly, one of our muscovy hens has been broody on 14 eggs for... well, just about 35 days, and we now have ducklings! 13 hatched, and for those of you who don't know, 13 out of 14 is a really good hatch. At least in our experiences, if you get eggs from a hatchery, our normal hatch rate is just over 1/2. They hatched this past Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, somehow we have lost two. :-( We don't know what happened, but we only have 11 as of this evening. No bodies, no down, nothing. Our hope is that the two most adventerous escaped and followed some of our neighbors back across the street. Our neighbors across the street make their living raising and selling animals... mostly working the auctions. They have sheep, goats, all sorts of chickens, ducks, geese, a llama, rabbits, pigeons, etc. Their ducks like to come over to our yard for something new and some of them come through because if you work your way through our yard, our neighbors yard, and back a little, there is a nice big pond for them.

Third, a nine month old border collie/brittany mix is well... time consuming as well. This is such a high energy dog that even if I work with him for an hour or two a day he still has the energy to be a spaz and to go go go go go go.

Well, this is some of what is going on, I am going to try to get a couple more composed coming up to cover some more of what has been happening. I may not be posting as often as before, but still... thanks for letting me vent. So for now, your reward is... Baby Ducky Pictures!!!!






















Friday, June 19, 2009

Government say what?

Howdy all... been a while, but figured I should tell you all that I am still alive. Things are so danged hectic that once I get home each night, i don't really feel like sitting down to write anything. Well, that is until I ran across these two doozies and felt the need to share them. I make no claims about how often I will be posting, but some things just need to be shared. So here goes...

1) The first thing is the new change that is putting us all into some severe danger. That is that enemy combatants engaged in activities against our military in Afghanistan are now being read their Miranda rights as if they were American citizens being detained by the law enforcement officials within American borders! There are plenty of sites out on them there Internets discussing this and dissecting it, so I won't go in to too much detail here. It seems that some people are saying this is a policy change from the Executive branch. I don't know exactly how it started or what is behind it, but... Anyways, I did want to include some links to the stories. So here ya go.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/10/lawmaker-says-obama-ordered-fbi-read-rights-detainees/http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/11/combatant-criminal-reading-miranda-rights-detainees-draws-criticism/

2) There is a new bill proposed in the House of Representatives, and this one is a bit... ahh, let's go with mind-bending. House Joint Resolution 5 (H.J. Res. 5) states: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number oterms an individual may serve as President." Now, isn't it a bit early to be looking at this since the current President isn't even 1/4 of the way through his first term? Well, since it would need to go to the states to be ratified, I can see the rush to get it through in hopes of having it ratified prior to the end of his second term... IF he is elected to a second term.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hj111-5

Sometimes it makes me wonder what people are thinking...

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bland Diet

Cat Person? No Way! Dog Person? Yup, that's me! I have two dogs right now, an eight year old "Boxer-mix" and a 5 month old Border Collie/Brittany Spaniel. For the sake of this post let's call them Old Son and Young Blood (note: not their real names). The older pup is the sweetest thing you could ever meet, and the youngster is such a spasmodic nutjob, a loving, but spasmodic nutjob.

Last week, Young Blood started to have a serious case of diarhea. Now, the vet decided to give him some meds, but also told us to put him on the Bland Diet. Old Son is now having the same issues, and so we started him on the Diet already but have to call the vet today. Any time Old Son has been sick in the past, the vet at the time (this is going across two states) always told me to put him on the Bland Diet. The Diet works really well, and in my mind, is always the first step in treating any doggie illness.

****NOTE: I am not a Veterinarian and my advise should not replace that of a properly trained vet.*********

The Bland Diet

4 parts plain cooked white rice
1 part boiled ground beef OR 1 part boiled chicken

Mix these together and feed to the affected dog 4-5x per day. Also, feed approximately 50% more than their normal amount of food per day as this Diet does not contain as many nutrients as normal food. Continue for about 5 days and then begin mixing the regular food for 5 more days until the dog is eating only its normal food. If the first 5 days does not deal with the situation, call your vet immediately and ask for advice/when you can bring them in. (Ok, so I wouldn't be waiting 5 days, but 1-3 days on the Diet to see if it has any affects seems reasonable to me!)

I will tell you more about my experiences with these wonderful animals in posts yet to come. This has just been in my thoughts much more than anything else right now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Gift From Russia

*photo borrowed from FreeRepublic.com


Did you know that Russia gave to America a monument commemorating the tragedy that occured on September 11, 2001? I had not heard of this prior to this morning on my drive into the office, so of course I had to go look it up! I checked TruthOrFiction and Snopes, and sure enough, they both agree that this is absolutely true!



Go checkout FreeRepublic.com and the 911monument.com sites to see all of the photos and to read specifics, but here is some information about this.

*The base is surrounded by a wall with the name of every person lost in these attacks.
*The walk is made of stones engraved with messages.
*This is a gift from the people of Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
*This was dedicated on September 11, 2006.
*This is located in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Here we are 2 1/2 years after the completion and dedication of this monument and I have never heard a single story about this. Why not? What is going on with the media that a foreign nation gives us a gift to help us remember the pain of attacks on our soil and they don't even tell the American people about this??!?!!?

Go check out the other pictures on the sites above.

Never Forget.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brake Job...

Now, I am not sure how many of you out there work on your own cars, but I have been doing it for a number of years. A large number of years. There is very little on a car that I can't fix... Well, not counting the newer cars where you need specialized computer equipment to diagnose and figure out what sensor is making your car all wonky. The one thing that really is frustrating to me is doing a brake job on drum brakes.

For those who don't know, there are two types of brakes that go on cars: Disc and Drum. Disc brakes are two pads that squeeze onto a metal rotor and apply pressure that way to slow you down and eventually stop you. Drum brakes have a big metal drum, inside of which is a series of springs and wires and pins and two brake "shoes" that push outward against the drum to stop you. The older the car, the more rust accumulates on the springs and wires that form the braking mechanism of a drum brake, thus making it all that much more FUN (**dripping sarcasm) to try to work on. (See picture of the springs/adjusters/wires/etc.)
Now, I was doing a brake job on my truck because it was making this horrible thumping/thudding/grind as I tried to stop. I checked my front disc brakes to make sure the rotors weren't worn or warped, and sure enough, they were just fine! So I started on the rear brakes. Well, let's just say that I have had the truck for about 2 1/2 - 3 years, I had checked the rear brakes when I got it and they were really meaty and looking good. Well, now they were utter crud! (See picture) The brake material actually fell off of the brake shoe and cracked into three pieces. These pieces kept getting stuck as I tried to get the drum off to look at the brakes, making it an hour to an hour and half for one stinking drum! That doesn't even count the extra half an hour it took to change the brakes once it was off and I knew that was the problem.

Of course, the new brakes are supposed to come with these little pins that you have to smack into the shoe... and mine weren't there. So I had to go to the parts store to ask about them. I love my parts store. They didn't even blink, just took the packet out of another set of brakes and handed it to me and told me to have a good day. Look at the picture. This little pin made me take an extra day and half to do my brakes. Gotta love it... yeah, right!
So all in all, I got the brakes done and everything is working good now. This reminds me of something I figured out many years ago... I love working on cars and houses and projects. But it is so much more fun when you are upgrading or modifying something, and when you are fixing the needed pieces once in a while... but when you have a vehicle (or house) that is always fix this broken thing and then that broken thing... then it kinda sucks. Luckily neither of my vehicles, nor my house are like that, and I am keeping on top of things to make sure it stays that way. Though, it does irk me when what should be an hour-hour and a half long job takes 4 days! (when you take into account going to work, sleep, and all the other things in life that take up time.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eligible to Vote

I was reading today's post by Pearls over at My Modern Country Home, and some thoughts came up. She states that she does not agree with the guy in the video about having forced service. Well Good! Because neither do I. However, in her comments section, someone happened to mention Israel and how compulsory service works there. I'm going to leave this here and you can go over to her blog and read the comments there, but it did bring up some memories of a book I have discussed in the past... Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein.

In the book, military service is not mandatory. Heck, they will try to discourage their citizens, but if the citizen really wants to serve, they will not turn anyone away. If you serve, you become a Citizen and you can then vote and run for public office. If you don't serve, you are not a second class citizen or anything, you just don't get a vote. In the book, there are non-Citizens that have so much money that they could buy just about anything. Signing up to serve means you are signing up for a 2 year tour of duty. The theory behind this being that you put the active ones in charge of the people who just don't care enough.

Now, I am not advocating that we move to this system. But you know, it would remove from the voting pool those who don't care enough to do their own research on political candidates. Hmmm... and looking at America today, there would be a definite shrinking of the voting pool. No, no. "We the People" doesn't exclude lazy, ill-informed, non-"politically oriented" people.

But it would be interesting, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A lil' History Lesson

As we all should know, yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. Yay, drinking, partying, eating, etc. Right? Well, sure, on this side of the pond. But it boggled my mind yesterday when I was talking to my office neighbor and he stated quite boldly that he had no idea where the holiday came from or what it was about. Also, I got severely... annoyed... yesterday as everyone talked about corned beef and cabbage all day. Now let me say, we made corned beef and cabbage... I likes me some of that. But then, we'll talk about that in a bit!

First things first. Saint Patrick's Day. SAINT Patrick's Day. Can you tell that I am trying to emphasize the word Saint? Guess what that means... yup, yup, this originated as a holiday of Roman Catholics. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was a Roman boy who was kidnapped and sold into slavery on the island of Ireland. He was put to work as a shepherd for six years for his master, a druid and clan chief. During his time on the island, he learned the Irish celtic tongue fluently. But more importantly, he prayed every day while tending the flock. After six years, he managed to escape and headed back home to devote his life to God. He eventually went back to Ireland to convert the Irish natives to Christianity. There are many other miracles and things to know about his life and missonary work, but I think you get the idea now.

This has grown to be a national holiday in Ireland and only recently are the Irish attempting to use it for tourism. Until the mid-1970's the pubs were not allowed to be open or to serve alcohol because it was a religous feast day. But you can look this sort of information up online if it interests you... Now that you know it exists.

******

Now, as to corned beef and cabbage... I grant that this is an American tradition and I don't begrudge anyone eating it and enjoying it, even on St. Patrick's Day. But please, don't call it an Irish tradition. The Irish in Ireland don't eat it. The tradition started here in America when the Irish came over they were the poorest portion of the population. As the poorest group, they didn't have much money for meat. So when they found that the Jewish population had this really cheap cut of meat, the brisket, they used that. Because it is a cheap cut of meat, they brined the meat to make it more tender. Cabbage? Well, again, it was, and is, normally a very cheap vegetable.

So go ahead and eat up the corned beef and cabbage! But please, don't call it an Irish tradition. Call it Irish-American or even just American! and don't forget the Bean-O!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Here, There, and Everywhere!!!

Ok, I think I am ready to write a new post and to get back to at least a semi-regular schedule. I know, I know. You all were waiting with baited breath for me to start writing again. Never Fear... I is here!!!

First things first. If you read the wife's blog (DivaHick) you will know that Google's AdSense screwed us over big time. The ads are gone from both of our blogs because we had enough over their "limit" so that they were supposed to pay us, but gee, what a surprise. They suspended our account as soon as they were supposed to cut the check. No reason given, no example. You can't even talk to a real person to get an idea of where the supposed "violation" of their terms of service occured. Now, I read and re-read those terms of use and we did not violate them in any way that I can determine. We were supposedly "financially determental" to their advertisers... Hmmm, you mean that they might actually have to pay for services received? If I had enough money lying around, I would have a lawyer on their butts so fast it would make your head spin. They received multiple months of advertising and services from both of us and then, "oh sorry, we aren't going to pay you". EXCUSE ME? You try doing that, use a pay service for a few months and then don't pay. Think you would get away with it? Yeah, didn't think so.

Ok, on a completely different note... things have been rather hectic around the house with projects and whatnot going on to prepare for our fostering homestudy. I have 9 GFI's sitting there because from what we can tell, I have to do each outlet in the kitchen and bath, no matter how far away from the water they are. This means that I have to go through and trace the wiring and circuits before I start, because if I can prove that the outlets are in series and GFI-ing the first in the series covers the rest, I think I will do that and see what they say. And if I happen to get lucky enough that they are all on the same circuit, the cost for a GFCI breaker has dropped dramatically from what they used to. ($39 vs. $90) This would let me swap out the breaker instead of doing each individual outlet.

I had some work to do on the truck. That will be coming in a seperate post soon as I have pictures that I need to get onto the computer.

Various spots in the yard and the "back 40" have some good hard clay down about 18"-24", so they stay nice and marshy. We have a bag of pelletized gypsum that will work its way down to break up some of the clay, but that doesn't help us now. We had tilled the garden last fall, but some of it is growing green again so we will need to till it again as soon as the ground is dry enough. We have started a bunch of our seeds, and are preparing for when we can till it and get it all going!

Hmmm, that's all for now. I have a few more thoughts percolating, but they aren't ready. When they are steaming and full-strength, I'll pour you all a post or three.

BTW... Happy St. Patrick's Day. The day when all you out there get to be as lucky as those of us with some Irish in us! :-D

Monday, March 9, 2009

Things 'n stuff...

Ok, my brain should have exploded not long ago. I just needed to state this up front. It either exploded or its been leaking out my ear ever since... or maybe both. Let's take a glimpse into my brain, shall we?

Ok, the wife and I are in the process of becoming Foster Parents... this involves letting the government into your life in a large way. Now I'm not totally thrilled with this, but hey, at this point you do what you gotta do. So other than going to all sorts of trainings and filling out massive mounds of paperwork (government beauraucracy at it's finest!), your house has to pass a few inspections. One by the local fire department, and that makes sense. Not a big deal. But then their is the actual homestudy where the government caseworker comes into your house and tells you what you need to do to make your house ready.

Note that I said to make the house ready. Your house could be brand new and completely up to code, and still not pass. So needless to say, since our house is 60-odd years old, we have some things to do. We've been working on them throughout the past few months, but we still have a bunch of things that need to be done. It doesn't help that we have only been in the house for less than a year and things weren't completely unpacked/etc.

Now that being said, this weekend we had to run out for the day Saturday as a friend of the wife's was in a nearby city for a family thing, and we ran up there to say hey! Spent the whole day with her and did a bunch of stuff, but that took away a day of work. Then Sunday, its raining. A LOT. Well, have a few things that need to be done outside, and since my folks were coming into town to help with a few things, I head out early in the rain to do yard work. One of my jobs was to shovel a big pile of dirt back onto the septic tank. I do this and some other work and start to go inside.

Hmmmm... CRUD. My wedding ring is gone. I re-trace all of my steps, but the only thing I can think of is that it is somewhere in the mud that I shoveled. So I go through the mud and all around the yard and house. My folks bring out my old radio shack metal detector in vain hope that would help. So now I have to wait until everything dries so that I can sift through the dirt instead of the mud.

So my folks come to town, and while they are in town, my dad is going to help me try to figure out where a noise is coming from in the truck. Pull the front wheels and the brakes are tighter than Scrooge's fist on a silver dollar. Get them off and loosened the calipers and whatnot... then we go out for a test drive and we take the folks out to eat. Problem is still there. So we pull the back wheels... I can't tell you the last time I pulled the drums off the rear brakes... I think it's been a year and a half to two years. Took us about 2 hours, just to get the drums off. Need a rear brake job. Great. Get everything adjusted so its easy to take them off, put the tires back on. Then I find that I have a set of rear shoes for this truck. Well, by this point, its 9 pm or so? So my folks take off and they head home, and I get ready to crash out.

But wait! There's more. The puppy has the Hershey-squirts. Now, he is about 18 weeks old? I think, maybe, I dunno anymore. He was doing great on the one really expensive food, but when we ran out of that, we moved both dogs to a less expensive food. Maybe that's it, but.... *shrugs* We will have to see!

Hmmm, tonight, we have to clean out the chicken coop, then I'm off to the gym to run another couple/few miles. Maybe that will help get my head on straight?

Here's to hoping!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

U.N. infringing on U.S.?

The United States of America is a sovereign nation with all the rights and responsibilities pertaining to that title. The term Sovereign means the final and supreme lawmaking authority. Are we all on the same page with this? Good. Now, that being said... The United Nations has been, and still is, trying to pass treaties and bans that will infringe upon the sovereignty of our great nation.

The United Nation. An organization that has no legal standing within our nation, or really, in the world. An organization that has its own agenda, of which much is anti-American, because that is the bent of so many of the members within this group. An organization that gets it's headquarters and land RENT-FREE from our country each and every year.

They are already interfering with the private use land rights within our countries boundaries because of agreements made by our government. Read about how the U.N.'s World Heritage Sites are affecting America HERE. It's a shame that we have to learn about this from the Canada Free Press!!!!!

The U.N. is attempting to push through a ban that will ban any and all anti-Islamic speech throughout the world. Sure, they couch it in terms of "protecting" religions across the globe, but the only group specifically mentioned is Islam. No one ever said that you have the right to not be offended, especially if what is said is true.

How does this affect us? Well, it clearly violates the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights. This truly is an abomination across the world and is often used to punish members of other religions and groups. Imagine if they started griping at America to follow it? Do we have strong enough political leaders to withstand the push that the "global community" can put forth? Let us hope so. Let us pray that our government will withstand the push by outsiders to make us conform to some sort of global standard of speech. I am worried about it, but it is something that I will be watching and praying about.

World News Daily
AOL News

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kipper me timbers...

Hmmm, so I wanted to write a bit about some often ... overlooked? ... foods that are really quite yummy, good for you, and relatively cheap! I'm talking about the little tins of fishies! Sardines, anchovies, herring, etc. These things range anywhere from less that $1 to $3 per tin, depending on the size, brand, flavor, etc. They pack huge amounts of protein (atkins anyone?), omega-3 oils, etc. No carbs, lots of protein, lots of flavor. What's not to love?

Ok, if you are scared of fish (like somebody I could name!), you would want to make sure that you get the headless ones, but other than that! Looking at the Brunswick cannery website (www.Brunswick.ca) shows that these little babies can be stored for years with no problems. They recommend that they should be eaten within 2 years as the taste starts to go after that. (That is why you should always rotate your stores in your house.) If you didn't eat it in two years, do you really think you will?

These little babies also come in lots of different flavors from plain, to hot sauce, to mustard, to oil, etc. That isn't counting the fact that you can mix these in to different dishes and spreads to get all their goodness without eating from the tin (like me). Now my grandfather used to much on sardines with mustard, and I know when I was younger that I thought he was nuts. But then what do we really know when we are kids!

So wether you are saving canned foods to be safe for the future, on a diet to lose some weight, looking to build muscle, or just want a new and interesting snack. I highly recommend checking out a few different types of these little babies. Doesn't cost much, can be stored for a rainy day, and I think they are just plain yummy.

*Fish-heads, fish-heads, rolly-polly fish-heads, eat them up, YUM!*

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cash/credit/layaway...

Every day another story, more of the same. Wall Street crumbles, falls, topples, drops, blah blah blah. People are being foreclosed on in rising numbers, bankruptcy filings are going through the roof... the companies that are failing the most? Credit companies. Credit cards, lenders, etc. When did credit become such a huge, can't-live-without-it deal in this country?

The mentality of so many people now-a-days is that they want something, are entitled to it, and want it NOW! They know can buy something with credit and pay it back later. Then they run into problems and have trouble paying it then, so they put it on the card. This snowballs in to a massive amount of debt and they pay and pay and pay. But what happens if you have a hiccup and can't put it on your card? Or when you start having trouble paying your cards? Then the problems grow even faster.

Now, I don't like credit cards, but this is a new turn for me. I have credit card debt that I am paying off.... what a surprise, eh? But I have since learned of the problems with credit and have changed my ways. I pay as much as I possibly can with cash. The look that I got when I paid my car payment in cash was priceless! The woman had to ask if I had a checking account or if I wanted to open one with them. She couldn't understand why I wanted to pay cash.

Now, to the main reason for this post. K-mart has re-instituted their layaway plan. That is, you take item(s) to the layaway counter, put a down payment on them, keep making payments until it is payed off and then you can take it home with you. The exact opposite of credit-cards that let you get the item now and pay for it later. I know that there are other smaller shops that do this for their customers as well.

What an interesting concept... paying for something before you get to take it home... Make sure you really want/need it. I'm not saying that you shouldn't use a credit card. I don't know your situation. But I am going to say that if you can get out and/or stay out of credit card debt, just imagine if you put the money that you are paying them and put it into the bank each month, how soon you would have enough to buy things with cash! Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about debt and credit card bills and car payments and someday even not worrying about a mortgage!?!?!

Think about it, and if it makes sense to you... Do It!

If I were a rich man....

Ahh, if I were a rich man, but I'm not. Oh, I'm not scraping the bottom of the barrel, but I am by no means rich. So that is why it was so good to see an article in the paper yesterday about barter coming back and becoming more acceptable. It was an AP article from Boise, Id, but I believe it is growing across the country. That's why I found the article in my little local paper.

Bartering is the art of trading goods and services for what you need/want instead of paying for them with cash money. I don't know about any of you, but I've practiced this for years in a very simple way that I never really considered barter until I really sat down and thought about it. How many of you have ever asked some friends to come help you with a project, be it building a house, pulling an engine out of the car, dropping a tree, whatever, and offered to feed them or give them beer, etc? I do it all the time... "Hey, I'll feed you if you come over and help me do X, Y, or Z!" I have a buddy who does it on a larger scale and on a regular basis. He would rebuild cars, paint them, install furnaces, etc. In return, I've known him to get cars, to get building materials, motorcycles, etc. Granted he works like a dog on these projects, but I secretly believe it is because he likes the work!

Now, no matter what may come down the pike, wouldn't it be nice to know that you have skills that are valuable? Imagine if you could trade canned produce from the garden for a side of beef, gardening work for plumbing work, etc. Think about it... you would save money, but you would have to spend some time working things out, etc.

If you don't have skills that would be useful to someone else, maybe you could stock up on valuables that other people would want. Canned produce, fresh eggs, tobacco, alcohol, etc. These old time skills served those that came before us for many a year before we became a nation of buying on credit instead of saving up for what we want/need. With the new economic issues and uncertainty, wouldn't it be nice to make sure that you have something that you could fall back on... Just In Case?

Good Trading, Everyone!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Modern Day Robin Hood?

Ok, I have seen a number of headlines that are linking our President to Robin Hood. Y'know, take from the rich, yada yada yada...

Well, wether or not you agree with what the President is doing (I personally don't), I had to take the time to explain to people what everyone seems to be forgetting about Robin Hood.

Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, right? WRONG. Robin Hood stole from the looters and thieves who stole and got their wealth through supressing the populace and gave it to the ones unfairly taken from. This means what Robin Hood really did was: Steal from the thieves and gave to the robbed.

That is not what is going on today. Today, the government is stealing, and planning to steal more, from the rightfully rich (and even moderately well-off) to give to the undeserving poor.

Does this mean that every person who has money made it legally, fairly, and ethically? No, that is not what I am saying. Look at the Bernie Madoff scandal. Does that mean that all of the "poor" are lazy slackards that just want to suckle the public teat? No, I'm not saying that either. What I am saying is that the majority of people who have money earned it and I believe you should be able to keep what you earned. I am saying that the poor who need help should look to the charity of others instead of receiving stolen goods (aka our money).

The misconception of what Robin Hood did has bred another idea that makes what is going on "OK" to so many. That is the thought that your money is not yours. Listen to so many politicians nowadays talk and you will hear that they believe that the money is the governments and you are just "borrowing" it. Taxes are just reducing the amount of your loan instead of theft of your personal property.

When you start thinking that the government owns anything instead of being a body meant to SERVE, you start down a slippery slope that will allow the dishonest few at the top to take money, freedom, liberty, guns, property, and so much more from you because it doesn't REALLY belonwg to you, they are just taking back what they believe to be theirs.

Kinda scary when you think of it that way, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hmmm, HoneyComb!

Ok, slightly new ground for me. Health and medicine. I almost never get sick, and if I do get snuffly or sneezy, I just bull my way through it. However, this past weekend, I got laid out by a nasty little bug. Tonsils swollen so bad that I could barely swallow, fever, chills, etc. The whole magilla. Now, I did my normal deal when being sick and whatnot, but the wife mentioned something that we had picked up a while back... Honey w/ the comb! Hmmm, ok, I normally do tea with honey and lemon juice when I am not feeling well, but I had not done the Honey Comb.

This stuff is amazing. It is a unique texture and is a little strange the first time you do it, but... it works. It worked better than most anything else for soothing and reducing the size and swelling in my tonsils. I believe it helped me with my fever and everything else that was wrong with me.

So what do I do when I come across something like this? I look it up, and sure enough all over the place there are reviews and supporters for raw (non-pasteurized) honey and for chewing on the comb. The recommendations are everything from put it on wounds to chew for reduction in sinuse problems, allergy problems, swelling, etc. I will attest that it worked for me this time, the first time I used it!

As this is a quicker post, I don't have a list of sources for you, but there are plenty out there. I am just going to urge everyone to read up on it, and if you think that it's as good for you as I think, you find a local source and get some of the comb if you can! If you have the land, think about raising bees of your own. Find and talk to a local beekeeping club, they should be able to point you in the right direction if you want to start raising your own, or if you just want to buy some for the family. This is just my opinion, but I say... It's worth it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What is the "Middle Class"?

Ok, I was poking around on the White House website, just looking at what is going on. Looking to see if there was anything new upm, etc. So I see a bit about the new Middle Class Task Force. Hmmm, ok, let's take a look.

Run by Vice-President Joe Bidet... oh um, I mean Biden. The goals of this task force are:

*Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities
*Improving work and family balance
*Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety
*Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes
*Protecting retirement security

Hmmm, I guess this sounds ok. (Not really, but hey, I will go with it to get to my point).
Now, this is to help the Middle Class. Riddle me this... Who Are The Middle Class????

Look it up online, there is no set definition for this. For salaries it can range from 25,000/year to over 100,000/year. Now, I've never made 100k a year, but I have made 25-30k per year. I wouldn't have considered myself middle-class. I knew I wasn't poor (I was doing computer work for a free care clinic, so I got to see the truly poor), but I didn't feel like middle-class. Of course, I wasn't thinking about labels either! Now, I can imagine how much 100k/year would be. If I compared the two, I would have to say that they aren't in the same league, but we are being told that they are both the Middle Class. Ok, even if I swallowed that... Can you tell me how something that would help the person making 25k/year is going to help the 100k/year person? If they are making 100k/year they might just be doing a teeny bit better financially. But then again, the 100k/year person is paying a significantly higher amount of their income in TAXES!!! hmmm, maybe that "evens things out"..

I would have to say salary is not exactly a good indicator of social standing, but for the "average" person, I guess it works ok. I say this because as a homesteading and self-sufficiency seeking family, I can see having NO DEBT at all, and working a part time job making 25k to pay for toys and extras, but having the necessities covered. This works at the bottom and the top ends of this range.

So let's take some time, and think about what this means. Until we have a definition of terms like these, whenever the government tosses out things like the "Middle Class Task Force" can be used for whatever they want and they will just shove more into the "Middle Class". Let's make sure we are all on the same page here, folks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fairness Doctrine = censorship

For the past few weeks, there has been a lot said about the "Fairness Doctrine" and bringing it back. While the President has said that he does not support bringing it back, he has made no statement regarding the actual provisions that were contained within this bill in its previous incarnations. The basic premise of this "doctrine" is that both sides of issues needed to be presented fairly, equally, and in a balanced manner. This was regulated by the government, in the body of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

As far as I am able to determine, this is primarily aimed at talk radio because it tends to be conservative. Television media has much more leaning opposite of talk radio, and the majority of paper media is dedicated to one side as well. (Note: television and newspapers/magazines tend to be more liberal than talk radio) The President stated to members of Congress that they could not listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done with his administration. "You can't just liten to Rush Limbaugh and get things done." (Thanks NY Post) Former President Clinton came out saying that he supports the fairness doctrine because there is so much money supporting the "right wing talk shows".
Read Rush Limbaugh's open letter to the president regarding this issue HERE.

Almost sounds like they are trying to legislate away their opponents right of free speech, doesn't it? How did the First Amendment to the Constitution go?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (emphasis added is mine.)

Sounds like this "Fairness" crapola is a bit of a law abriding the rights of free speech, now doesn't it? Not really fair if the economy and business shows that people listen to one thing or watch one thing, but you want another side shown. Why don't they just start up their own company and make it competitive? Show their side. If people believe it or want to hear it, they will make money through advertisements and become prosperous. If people don't want to hear it, don't believe it, or just plane don't like it they will fail. (AirAmerica anybody?)

Now, I have been describing this all to you for two reasons. One, we all need to know about this because it will affect our TV, radio, newspapers, etc. if it is passed, and we all should tell our congressmen and senators how we feel before that happens. Secondly, what do you think they will do after they ban this from the traditional outlets? Perchance, they will try to regulate the Internet? How do you think that will affect you? How will that affect me? Will I be able to continue my blog if they do that? Probably not. There are many others out there who are sharing information online that is not reported in the mainstream media. Do you think that they will be able to continue doing what they are doing if the government steps in to regulate the 'Net? Do you think that the idea that they are violating the First Amendment is going to stop them?

I don't think so.

Senator Jim DeMint is attempted to force a vote on a bill that would ban the Fairness Doctrine and things like it. It would also force Democrats to be on the record about which way they stand.
Read the story HERE.

Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. (and do what you can to make the best happen)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I won an award!!! yay me!


DivaHick and Phelan (A Homesteading Neophyte) have both given me an "Excellence in Blogcasting Award"! I am truly honored by both of these! I love both of their blogs and check often for updates so I can read more!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to another (up to) 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Hmm, let's see... (I recognize a lot of the blogs that have already gotten this award and I am trying to think of who hasn't gotten it yet that I appreciate. If your name is not on the list, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what you do!)

1) Self Sustained Living
2) My Modern Country Home
3) In Jennifer's Head
4) Achorn Farm
5) Confessions of an Overworked Mom
6) Stealth Survival
7) One Acre Homestead

Thanks again, I am honored!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Whatever happened to...

Free-market Capitalism?

Ok, seriously, I was bopping around some news sites today and I'm getting to be frickin' terrified for America and Americans because of some of the new developments...

1) Germany passed a bill that allows them to nationalize banks. They haven't actually done it, but the new law now allows them to do it. (Read It Here)

2) Alan Greenspan *twitch-twitch* (SCHMUCK) says that nationalization of our banks may very well be the best thing for our economy. Of course, he does say it should be temporary, but then, when is anything that the government does TEMPORARY??!?!?! (Read It Here)

3) Now some Republicans (although, Lindsay Graham is the only one named) are advocating nationalizing the banks as well. They are looking to the ideas that the President supports, which is the "Swedish Model". This model for banking seems to say that they want to nationalize the banks and then auction them off when they have a cleaned up balance sheet. (Read It Here)

Ok, now I am against the nationalization of ANYTHING at any time. The federal government has proven, repeatedly, that it can not run anything cleanly, on time, under budget, and without too much redtape. I know that if I were the owner, or even a majority stockholder, of any of these banks, I wouldn't want the government to rob me at gun point, would you? And yes, that is exactly what the government is talking about doing. (It's what they do to you every year by April 15!)

If we wouldn't want someone to rob us, why do people support plans that allow others to be robbed?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gasp... Oh me oh my!

Ok, well, I just realized that I missed my normal noon post today. Things have been rather hectic and I thought I had one scheduled, but oops! My bad. LOL

Anyways, for those of you who don't know, I am not the primary on the Ohio Preppers Network (OPN). Take a look over there and let me know what you think, also if anyone wants to contribute or has ideas for posts or questions that they would like answered (either here or there) please let me know. You can do that by emailing me at thefarmergeek@hotmail.com. Ok, Sounds good and I hope to hear from everyone!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Money, its a gas...

So I just finished reading The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey. First off, this book is Awesome, and I highly recommend it for everyone. The primary and only focus in this book is how to build wealth by removing DEBT. His goal is to help everyone who reads his book (or hears his radio show) to get rid of all debt and to live debt free! His process makes a lot of sense to me, but he had a couple points that I want to discuss today.

First point. Debt is bad. Period. End of sentence. I have read many many many financial books on buying rental properties, real estate, etc. The one big thing that every one that I read had in common is that they advocate the use of Other People's Money (OPM). Dave will explain that yes this could work, but this could also seriously backfire too. (Trust me, he explains it a whole lot better!)

The big point that I wanted to talk about because he lays it out in a page, and I think that this really needs to be talked about right now. Gold is not the answer. We are all aware of the new "stimulus" ... *ahem* ... bill that is waiting on the presidents desk to be signed right now. (If you are not, do the research!!!) This bill could sound the death knell for the American economy. I hope not, I pray not, but ... Now if the economy collapses, what do you want to have? Common wisdom says to invest in gold and precious metals because they have always been the foundation for economies. While that may be true, it won't help you right off the bat. Someone who has TONS of extra food saved may accept your gold, but most people won't because it won't be worth diddly. Dave states that a "black market barter system" is what will emerge. Heck, we know this in our heart of hearts, and we know it because the barter system is alive and well in rural America.

Barter... if things really go downhill, what are the most important things to have to be able to barter, if need be. Skills, first and foremost, you can always trade for things by being able to do jobs and projects that need to be done. Many people don't have these skills anymore, so the more skills you have, the more in demand you will be. Next, FOOD. Yes, I said food... If you have food stored up and saved for a rainy day, those that don't have any will try to beg, plead, steal, or borrow to get food for themselves and their family. The more you have, the more options you have. Another huge category? Things that would currently be "black market". This includes tobacco, beer, wine, hard-core distilled liquor(!!!!), ammo, weapons, etc.

Don't get me wrong, if you have the cash to buy some gold, DO IT! Just don't expect it to be the complete salvation of your family IF the economy collapses. However, depending on how long it takes to get a new economy set up, you could live long enough to have that gold make you rich in the new economy. So again, it is good to be prepared for that situation, BUT make sure you are prepared for the others as well.

Read the book, think about it, make your decision, and Do It!

*title from Pink Floyd's Dark side of the Moon track entitled Money.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Everyone knows, it's Windy.

Stupid song, been in my head for a while now. Well, as I am not sure where everyone is from, I will toss in my $.02 about this. We've had some high winds for the past couple of days, and there was some damage done. Seems our house escaped unscathed (Thank God!), but a couple people have posted some pictures of some of the damage (Chris @ 1acreohiohomestead & DivaHick).

This got me thinking. My dinky little chicken coop, that I rushed and didn't plan out very well, is hopefully going to be replaced this summer. This time I intend on doing it right and planning everything out. Also, I am hoping to be able to put up a large shed/barn this year as well. Man would it be nice to get the straw and feed out of the basement!

With all of the wind that we had (and its not the first time), and the melting snow/rain that we had, I have to make sure that the new coop and barn aren't going to sink in mud and that they aren't going to blow away. Now, I have gotten a couple books about barns and pole buildings and animal housing and whatnot, and they seem to be very useful books. I am just thinking that I am actually lucky that this happened again so that we know that last falls wind storm was not a freak accident, but rather something that will need to be taken into account.


Have you thought about your weather? Just remember, if you are looking to move to a homestead or a farm or something in a completely new area, you are bound to run into things like this. Things that make you go, "Gee, it wasn't like this back at (insert location here)".

"Be Prepared" that's the Boy Scout motto. Boy, aren't those Scouts' smart!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hanky Panky?

What ever happened to the handkerchief? I remember my grandparents always had their hanky. Tissues? Bah, just whip out that old piece of cloth, blow, wipe, and put it back in your pocket. My dad always carried a colored bandana when we would work outside, or when we went camping. I can't tell you how many times that piece of cloth saved me. Sniffles? Blow your nose. Cut or scrape? Wipe off the blood and tie it for a compression bandage.

I was in a meeting at work a few weeks ago and someone was laughing because they saw someone use a plain white hanky. They stopped laughing when I pulled mine out and began cleaning my glasses. I admit it, I carry handkerchiefs and bandanas. Throughout the week and at church, I have a hanky. Working outside or in the basement, camping/hunting/fishing, I carry a bandana. (Bandanas are larger than handkerchiefs and are colored.) Bandanas are better for not showing blood and are just doggon useful. Need to wipe your hands after baiting your hook? There ya go.

When did it become "better" to use a disposable piece of tissue paper to blow your nose and then throw it away? Is it a time thing, an image thing, a money thing, what?

Time? Do people think that it takes too much time to clean and keep track of your hankies. You just toss them in your washing maching with other things. They don't need a special load just for themselves or anything.
Money? You can get a pack of 6 handkerchiefs for 2-3 bucks and you can find bandanas at the dollar store most of the time. What does a box of tissues cost? They were $1.24 a box at wally world the other day, and that was for the generic brand!
Image? Is it uncool to carry a handkerchief? So? I don't really care what other people think of me. Scratch that, reverse it. I really don't care what other people think of me. You want people to think you are cool, so you will use tissues instead of a handkerchief? Heck, how many celebrities, polititians, etc. do you see wear a suit with a pocket square? Those are hankies!!!

Hankies are better for the environment, too? You aren't using trees and creating waste when you use them. They don't take much to wash out. Heck, I use my handkerchiefs throughout the week and then put them in the wash over the weekend. Extra cost? 1-2 cups of water in the washing machine. whoop-di-doo

Ahh, but the big one. It is "unsanitary"! Oh really? Yet our forefathers carried them will no ill effects. People do carry them and I would wager that those people don't get ill any more than anyone else. (I would even put forth the contention that they get sick less since they aren't touching tissue boxes that sick people are touching, but I don't have any proof of that) This idea of things must be perfectly clean and sanitary is ... well, that will be a topic for another day. Let's just say that if you are blowing your nose in your hanky and you put it in your pocket, you aren't going to make yourself get dysentery.

I guess I just don't get it. How about this... "Save the trees, use hankies"? Man, I should be in marketing, no?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

States Rights vs. Federal Rights

The United States of America. Greatest nation on Earth. One of the most misunderstood structure in the world.

The Constitution of the US clearly delimits the rights that the Federal government has. These are clearly delimited and defined. The rights of the States are EVERYTHING ELSE!

James Madison wrote in the Federalist paper #45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and
defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.
The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and
foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.
The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary
course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal
order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

Now, I can see that people may say that the Federalist papers were not actual legal or governmental documents. Fair enough. So let's take a look at some governmental documents.

The Constitution of the United States of America outlines the rights and responsibilities of each branch of the federal government. These are specifically designated to each branch to create the checks and balances system. Ok, well, what does it say about States Rights? Not a darned thing!

The Bill of Rights was created because:

The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the
Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its
powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.
(added emphasis is mine)

However, the Bill of Rights states in Amendment 10:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

What does all this mean to you? Well, what I take from all of this is that a lot of what the government is trying to do is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! That's right, its not constitutional. Has that stopped them for the past 80 years? Nope, but we need to make sure that people are aware of this.

Some states have been making strides to remind the federal government about this fact. They are not trying to seceed or take power from the government, but they are trying to remind the federal government and warning it to watch it's step.

Follow the trail of information, and after the links that outline this, I am including the list of links to each state that has a resolution or bill regarding this. If you know of any state that I have not included, please let me know and post it in the comments! Thanks to everyone who did the research and brought this forward to my attention!

The Republic of Dave
WorldNet Daily
In Jennifer's Head

Missouri
Arizona
Michigan
New Hampshire
Washington
Oklahoma

Take a minute, think about this and I encourage everyone to read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights because these are the heart and soul of this country. They are the founding documents and the rules that everying in America was based on.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lifestyle Questionaire

This comes courtesy of my friend, Chris, over at the 1acreohiohomestead. I encourage everyone who reads this to think about what their answers would be. If you have a blog yourself, I challenge you to answer them on your blog!



Basic Questions About You

1-What is the biggest goal of your lifestyle? To not owe anyone anything.
2-When did you start this lifestyle? This version... about 6 months ago
3-What was your main motivation? Wanted to set up a good place to raise children.
4-Did you have any previous experience in anything you're doing now? Most, but not all.
5-Does your spouse/signifiacant other (if you have one) share the same ideas? Yes
6-Do your friends and family understand and support these choices? What about your kids? Some are supportive, some don't understand. No kids yet.
7-How happy are you with your achievements so far? Pretty happy, but it's still early for this location.
8-Are you more of a gardener, homesteader, prepper, health concience, "green"' or a combination of several? Yes
9-Has this change of lifestyle affected your personality? nah, my personality led to the lifestyle
10-Has it changed your view of your life before? nope nope
11-What about how you view others that don't understand it or naysay? I don't really pay attention to what others say. I try to explain to those who are curious, but naysayers, eh, don't need 'em in my life.
12-If you could convince someone to live the way you do in ONE sentance, what would you say? "I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."


Other Questions-
1-How large is your vegetable garden? 30x100 or so, maybe, eh, i forget.
2-Do you grow any fruits, and what and how many? some raspberry plants and an apple tree, for now, but more are on the way for this spring. (blackberry, apple, cherry, raspberry, blueberry, YUM)
3-Do you have any animals and what are they? (other than pets) 9 hens, 2 roosters, 2 muscovy ducks.
4-Do you can/dehydrate/freeze/store your own produce? Absolutely
5-Do you work with mainly power tools or hand tools in your gardens and others? (wood cutting, splitting, tiller vs. broadfork etc...) mainly, i work with what is at hand.
6-Do you compost? yuppers
7-Do you recycle? No, I reuse.
8-Do you consider yourself energy consience? (conserving to save $) I watch usage to save my pocketbook.
9-Do you make any of your own household cleaners? Some of them
10-Do you make your own bread? My wife does
11- If in an emergency situation, are you able to not leave home for a week? How about a month? A year?? A week easy, a month, probably, not yet a year.
12-Are you tired of answering questions yet? geeze, who made this so long...
13-If you prep, what do you consider to be your most useful tool/items. guns/ammo, bows/arrows, canning jars, axe and hatchet... ummm, lots?
14-Are you able to heat your home without gas or fuel oil? yes, have a woodburning fireplace for now and looking to put in an auxilliary wood furnace.
15-Are you able to cook without gas or electricity? yes, in the fireplace.
16-Again, if in an emercency situation, could you live in the wild or out of a tent? ( camping,hunt/fish, cook,etc.) done it before, I can do it again
17-Have you ever practiced your prep skills? (turning off main power for a day or 2) How did you do? (this can include a power outage due to weather as a test) Nah, nature does it for us.
18-Do you have the knowledge & skills (plus tools) to hunt and fish for food? yummy!
19-If you don't prep, why not?
20-Do you or can you sew your own clothes and make your own bedding? She and I both CAN... not the prettiest due to lack of practice.
21-Can you field dress a deer, drink a coffee, smoke a cigarette, make a cell phone call, light a fire, AND answer all of my annoying questions at the same time? lol thanks for playing! at the same time? I do one thing, I do it well, and then I move on.... lol, ok so I can multitask, too, but that may be a bit much!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Like the Mary Ellen Carter...

The Mary Ellen Carter is a fictional ship from the song of the same name by Stan Rogers. (For those of you who have never heard his stuff, this guy was AMAZING!) This is an inspirational song about a ship that sank, but whom the sailors loved so much that they made her rise again. Now, I personally love this song, but I was thinking about our country today, and thought that this is probably one of the most perfect songs that everyone should know nowadays. With all of the issues facing us today, we need songs of hope, but more importantly we need a Fight Song to remind Americans to keep heart, to work hard, and to remember that this is our country and we can do anything if we put our minds to it.

In this song, two of the last verses go as follows and this is what I think we need to remind everyone:

And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken
Or life about to end.
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Americans have cliches show the concept of getting back on the horse, getting back in the ring, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, etc. But today, so many people are sitting down, laying down, letting life and circumstances walk all over them. Then there are others who are gritting their teeth, regardless of their circumstances, and keeping on. These are the holders of the true American Spirit. That never give up, never say die, attitude!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NPuBEZPgjY

And to all of you out there, no matter how many times you've been knocked down, beaten, trode on, or abused... I say Rise Again! Its not easy, it never is, but it is possible.

Ohio Preppers Network (OPN)

Well, I have been asked to help with the OPN and I agreed. I will be posting articles over there as well as here on my blog. Check it out here.

I agreed to help Joel out over there because I believe it is important to help as many people as I can realize that wether or not you know that something bad is about to happen, it can. And yes, many people need to realize that it can happen to them, too. The world doesn't play favorites, and bad things happen to good people. Also, I want to help people realize that they can be prepared for emergencies and tragedies at all income levels and situations. You don't need to build a bomb shelter in the backyard, but you could if you wanted to, I suppose.

This blog, The Farmer Geek, was started to be about homesteading and my learning process for things I don't know. There will be plenty of that, (especially as soon as the weather turns for a longer period of time), but some of the articles I post here will be over there and vice versa. There may be some posts over there that don't get posted over here, as well. We will have to see how this evolves.

I will say this, if things get too bad, I will step down from helping over there to focus here because thefarmergeek is my first blog and my primary.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to be able to keep everyone interested and coming back!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Tobacco Tax Rises Again!

The American government, in its quest for the almighty dollar, has decided that they will be increasing the tax on commercially sold tobacco. HermitJim wrote a good post that breaks down the new taxes by tobacco type. Now, this is nothing new, greedy beaurocrats that do not create wealth are always looking for a way to justify their jobs and to get money to pay for their positions. However, the AMOUNT of the tax increases that have been passed are what staggers the mind. The House of Representatives and the Sentate have both passed bills that would raise the tax by $.62 and $.61, respectively. They are banking on this increased tax to raise the income of the federal governemnt, but what always happens when taxes are raised? The amount collected goes down. People will quit or start growing their own tobacco.

Now, mmPaints over at selfsustainedliving.blogspot.com grows her own tobacco, and that got me thinking about doing it myself. So what do I do next? Research, research, and more research... and you, lucky reader, will get to share some of what I have found.

As with any plants or seeds, heirloom is the way to go anymore. This will allow you to save the seeds from the plant in order to be stored and planted the next year, and of course, they are much much much less likely to be genetically modified. So I went looking for some heirloom tobacco seeds to start my own plot of tobacco, and I found one location that seems to be the best bet. New Hope Seed has a large variety of heirloom tobacco for all different purposes. They label each variety with its name, type, common uses, and pictures of the plant and the flower. They sell both seeds and started plants, as well. I'm not sure which way I am going to go regarding the varieties, but I know I will be getting a few packets of seeds, at least. I am thinking that I may get a few live plants to transplant just to make sure I get some sort of a crop this year. But I do know that I want some plants that are good for both pipes and cigarettes.

As I understand it, tobacco is not difficult to grow, but in order to prepare it for use, there are a few things that should be done. (Note I said should. I have heard you don't need to cure it, but I don't know) There are a few methods of curing and preparing your tobacco, but as I have not yet done this, I am not going to go over them. There are a few sites out there that I am looking at how to do this, and I'm sure there are more than I have found. This isn't even a concern unless I do manage to have a harvest, and then I will be prepared for it!

I will post more throughout the summer about this project as it continues... but I would at least urge you to think about growing your own if you use any tobacco products. With the rising federal taxes, and some states looking to raise theirs as well, it is going to put a major hurting on the pocketbook before too long!

(and let me just add that if the revolution ever does come, tobacco would make an amazing barter item)

http://hermitjim.blogspot.com/2009/02/wellthey-are-after-me-again.html
http://selfsustainedliving.blogspot.com/2008/12/gardening-surprise-supporting-our.html
http://www.rusticgirls.com/gardening/growing-tobacco.html
http://newhopeseed.com/tobacco
http://tobaccoinfo.utk.edu/index.htm

Thursday, February 5, 2009

37 things

Ok, so I've been kinda serious and hitting some pretty "serious" topics and skills, and I figured I would lighten things up a little. If I keep up my previous pace without any breaks, I'll be out of things to talk about until spring! So here's a little bit of info about me.

1. Do you like blue cheese? Gag me
2. Have you ever smoked? Still do. Pipe and homemade ciggies.
3. Do you own a gun? Let's just say we are protected
4. What flavor Kool Aid is your favorite? Cherry, of course.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Frustrated, yeah, nervous, no
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Eh, prefer brats or kielbasa, but they are ok
7. Favorite Christmas movie? Ha ha, no
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? coffee
9. Can you do push-ups? palm, knuckle, fingertip, two-fingered, inclined or declined?
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring
11. Favorite hobby? Ummm, yes? I can't pick just one.
12. Do you have A.D.D? nah
13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? Glasses. Should get some contacts for wearing with shades in the summer.
14. Middle name? D... I don't think so
15. Name thoughts at this moment? Worry about being a good Foster/Adoptive parent
16. Name 3 drinks you like. Coffee, beer, scotch
17. What are you afraid of? Ummmm, I dunno
18. Current hate right now? I love the whole wide world.
19. Favorite place to be? With my wife
20. How did you bring in the New Year? Friends over and watching the ball drop.
21. Where would you like to go? Got an hour? Scotland, Ireland, China, Japan, Australia, ...
22. Name three people who will complete this? Ignorance and Apathy (I don't know and I don't care)
23. Do you own slippers? two pair
24 What color shirt are you wearing? black
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? or burlap, I can sleep on anything
26. Can you whistle? yuppers
27. Favorite Color? Dark Green
28. What songs do you sing in the shower? Anything/everything
29. Would you be a pirate? Ninja Pirate Monkey, that's me!
30. Favorite Girl's Name? do I have to pick just one?
31. Favorite boy's name? Owen/Owain
32. What's in your pocket right now? cash, lighter, pocket knife
33. Last thing that made you laugh? Belly-flopping on the dog. (no, i did not land on him)
34. What vehicle do you drive? Ranger or Sportage (or Cordoba if I ever finish)
35. Worst injury you've ever had? Tearing the PCL out of my right knee in a wrestling match.
36. Do you love where you live? I like it... haven't grown to love it yet.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Power?!

Well, I posted the other day about our new acquisition of a cheap 5.25 kW generator. This was a great deal, and really good for us, but would this be enough of a generator for you? I don't know if this is the generator that I would have chosen for myself if I were buying new, and this leads me into today's post about choosing your generator. I will go through the process for my families power needs and we will see if this is the right size generator for us.


First thing to decide once you have determined that you are going to buy a generator is what type of generator do you want/need? There are two types of generators: portable and stand-by. Portable generators are normally about the size of a cooler and runs on gasoline. Stand-by generators are hard-wired into your house and start at the size of an outdoor air-conditioning unit (and get larger).


Portable generators are an excellent choice for many people that only need to run a few appliances for a short period of time (e.g. you only lose power for a few hours/days each year). To use a portable generator, you have to plug in your appliances to an extension cord instead of the wall outlet. When the power goes out, someone needs to go down and start the generator manually and plug in the urgent appliances. Since these generators tend to use gasoline, you need to store enough gasoline to sustain use for a period of time, and the fuel needs to be cycled to be kept fresh. Also, one of the other main points to remember with portable generators is the notation on it that may say something to the effect of "10 hours @ 1/2 load". This means the generator should run for 10 hours if you are only pulling half of that number on the front (10 hours putting out 2500W on a 5000W generator). This is important in helping guestimate the amount of gas needed on hand.


Stand-by generators are the choice of many who are in hard-hit areas that lose power often/for long periods of time. These generators are hard-wired into your house, so that your appliances can be kept plugged into the wall outlets, and you don't need to muck about with anything. These also have the option of being able to automatically detect when the power to the house is out and they can start themselves with only a few second delay. These normally are directly connected to a Liquid Propane tank or a natural gas line so the fuel is provided for.

So once you have weighed the pros and cons of each type, and you have made your decision, then you need to determine the size of what you need. This part is rather generic for either style. Every appliance you have uses a certain amount of power per hour. Lowe's has a listing of power usages here, and there are more available out there if you look. Now, along with the amount of power it takes to run an appliance, many appliances have a "start-up" power usage. Obviously, this is the amount of power it takes to get this appliance from off to running. When you are calculating your power requirements, you will need to use the start-up Wattage ratings as your guide.

Using some "standard" guides, here's a quick example. I have a freezer in the basement, a fridge upstairs, and a well pump to run. I will say that all lighting will be done by oil lamps and candles for this example. The freezer and the fridge both have startup Wattages at around 3000W, and the well pump is probably around 3200W. What this means is that with the 5.25kW generator that my family has, we can not power all three (or even any two) at the same time, BUT as long as we rotate our usage, we should be just fine.

So at this point, I think I've given you plenty to think about, but I hope this helps you think about your power and what would happen if. Also, I hope if you have been thinking about getting a generator, but didn't know where to start... well, there ya go. (Ok, heck, I'm just glad you read it!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gonna Be A Black Out Tonight!

So you've moved to the country to get away from the crush. Got yourself some land, a well, and septic. You've got some food saved up and you are ready, come what may! Oops, there goes the electricity. " Its ok, we don't need that! Oh well, let's all get a drink of water" ... what? No water?! Oh boy, your well is electric, now what will you do?


Does this sound familiar, or is this so cheesy that you don't think it happens? Well, it didn't happen to us, but I was worried a couple times. We do have a bunch of water saved up, but the ever present question was there. Is It Enough? I wasn't really worried about lights or heat, we have heated the house in the past via the fireplace (not fun, but it can be done). No, the water is what worries me. Not only for our drinking and washing, but for the dogs and the chickens, also.


Well, a friend of a relative had bought a house a while back that came with a portable generator. This guy never used it, heck didn't even know if it had any gas in it, but he wanted to get rid of it. SCORE!


We are now the proud owners of a, who knows how old, 5.25 kW DeVilBiss, portable generator. It is badly in need of a tune-up, but at least it runs and puts out electricity.


So, now we have a 1 1/2 gallons or so of gas that is not mixed up for a 2-stroke. So for the next few pays, I think we will be getting a 5 gal gas can and filling it up for a few pays. I was thinking of a few methods of rotating the fuel and making sure that we have fresh stuff all the time, just in case.


On top of this, I now have to re-wire the well pump so that I can plug it in during an emergency. Fun stuff. Hey, you do what you gotta do, but a bit of time now to make things easier later. Works for me.

I think tomorrow, I will go over the basics of how to choose the proper generator for your home and family (assuming that you don't find a cheapie or free one). Don't hold me to that, but that post will be coming.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Homemade Wine

Last week I discussed homebrewing beer and cider. Today is another topic on the same vine of thought. Homemade Wine. Now, I grew up in western PA and everyone (at least everyone I knew) knew someone who either made wine themselves, or they had a friend or relative who made their own wine. I have seen handwritten recipes passed down from grandparents and parents. I have seen equipment that ranges from fancy high-end pricey stuff to a gallon jug used with a pin-pierced balloon. However it is for you, homemade wine is a great hobby and skill to have.

Wine comes in so many varieties, red vs white, sweet vs dry, and then all the styles, etc. that I am not going to be able to cover all of these topics. What I am going to go over with you today is the basic process and steps for making your own wine. There are plenty of books and websites that will cover the more specific details, and maybe this post will interest you enough to go read up.

When it comes down to it, what is wine? Wine is the fermented juice of some fruit. Most people think of grape wines when they think of wine, but you can have strawberry wine, blackberry wine, etc. Just about any juice can be made in to wine. The more sugar in the juice, the more the yeast can eat and the higher the alcoholic content. You want more alcohol? Add some sugar or honey and let the yeast eat that too!

The process is very similar to that of cider:

1) Press the fruit and get all the juice of it that you can. (store bought juices can be used if they are 100% juice (and preferably preservative free, but good luck finding that anymore!))

2) I would boil it for a few to get any "bad things" out, but this step is rather optional if you know exactly where your fruit is from and what's been used on it.

3) Pour the juice into a clean and sterilized container. The container should be somewhat larger than the amount of juice put in, but with proper airlock usage, this is not exactly necessary. Your container could be just about anything, but Iwould recommend either food grade plastic or glass as they are the easiest to sterilize.

4) Dry yeast: mix with lukewarm water (~100°) until completely dissolved. Liquid yeast: follow the directions on the yeast package. The type of yeast that you use will affect the flavor of your wine. I recommend using a wine yeast that can be bought at just about any homebrew store or online. I know my grandfather used regular bread yeast, but that was many years ago. I would try it first with the wine yeast, then try it with bread yeast and compare.

5) Add an airlock to the container. This could be done through a hole-ed cork or rubber bung, etc. An airlock is a device that you put some water in that will allow excess gases to leave the container but no bacteria or anything can get down through the water. This helps keep things clean and you don't have to worry about contamination. If you don't have an airlock, a rubber balloon with a small pin hole in it will do basically the same thing.

6) Put this in a warm (depends on your yeast but normally 55°-75°) dark location and let it sit for a few weeks. Once there are no more bubbles, the yeast will have eaten some/most/all of the sugar in the juice and you will have a wine. Taste it and remember that as it ages, the flavors will change.

7) Siphon the wine into clean and sterilized bottles and cap/cork quickly. Make sure to siphon from as near the top as you can as the dead yeast will have settled to the bottom.

8) Store in a cool, dark location. Age and Drink and Enjoy!