Friday, February 27, 2009


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 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

New Hampshire

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!

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 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)

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!