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Monday, June 4, 2012


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You may have noticed the following posted in the status line of many users of social media:

For those of you who do not understand the reasoning behind this posting, Facebook is now a publicly traded entity. Unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post to this site. It is recommended that you and other members post a similar notice as this, or you may copy and paste this version. If you do not post such a statement once, then you are indirectly allowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status updates.

PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning - any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other "picture" art posted on my profile.

You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee , agent , student or any personnel under your direction or control.

The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

The reality is that expectations of privacy by the user are outlined in the 'privacy policy,' 'terms of privacy,' 'legal terms,' and other such legal notices that you show you've read and agreed to when you establish a profile with various online sites. This includes Facebook, but also other sites. If you haven't already negotiated a modified agreement before signing up, you can only delete your account. Otherwise, any information you disclose while a member of that site is subject to the terms to which you've already agreed.

Posting a notice like that above will not protect your privacy or negate your contract. But protection from snooping by businesses and government entities is only half of the equation.

Anyone on your friends list could accidentally compromise your personal information by disclosing it. Often this is done without malice. However, once you've posted information, you have no control over how viewers of that information use it. An example of this may be a funny picture you post of your child. A friend likes your photo on his or her wall. A friend of that friend shares the image. In a flash, a personal family moment is being scrutinized by strangers.

If you'd like more information on internet privacy and security, read INTERNET SURVIVAL: PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


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Father's day is fast approaching. My dad is an avid farmer, but this season has been a tiring one for him. I figured it would be nice to give him a raised bed for his favorite plants (the ones he doesn't want the bunnies to have). I was inspired by Ana White's post here. (Be warned, if you follow her link, you will likely be lured into planning lots of fun projects.)

Any tool which helps a person produce all or a portion of his own food helps to increase his quality of life. A gardener with several seasons of experience becomes a valuable source of practical wisdom in his or her local community. Gardening allows you to set aside a portion for the winter months. It provides you an opportunity to share nourishing, nutrient dense foods with others.

Raised bed gardening requires an up-front investment in the initial preparation and planning stages. Afterwards, the beds become less labor intensive than traditional ground level gardening. Some of the benefits of raised bed gardening include:

* Allows easier access for gardeners to tend their plants.
* Extends the growing season as the elevated soil is warmer.
* Can be used by apartment dwellers (balconies & rooftops) and those with limited yard space.
* The containers hold the soil you choose. You don't have to settle for poor soil conditions.
* Protects garden soil from compaction.
* Provides adequate drainage.
* Permits more plants per square foot because walking space is outside of the planter.
* Creates a barrier that discourages animals from eating your plants.

There are some differences in my box and the one designed by Ana, but the basic construction elements are the same. (Click on any of the images for an enlarged version.) First, I made my box 3 boards high (cedar dog-eared fence pickets), using the full length of the pickets for the sides and 1/2 the length of the boards for the ends. I used a pull saw to remove the dog ears before construction. The fence pickets were on sale for $1.59 each. I purchased 10. I also purchased a 12-foot pressure treated pine plank that was 8 inches wide. This was cut in half and used to create benches on the sides of the planter. These can be used as seating or just a handy shelf for gardening tools while working around the plants. 1 x 2 pickets hold all three boards together on each side. I used segments of 2 x 4's to create braces to hold the benches. Also, I kept the upper level of the end boards longer than the bottom two, creating a support on which the ends of the bench boards could rest.

The entire box was assembled using wood screws. I also used corner brackets on the interior corners where each board met to give added stability. All boards were pre-painted with contrasting paint purchased from the $5 shelf. The next time you're in the home improvement store, check for cast-off cans of paint. These are colors that have been mixed and not purchased. They are offered for sale at DEEP discounts. I look for latex, indoor/outdoor base and top-coat all in one.

Tools used included a Irwin Dovetail Pull Saw, Black & Decker electric drill (with screwdriver and drill bit). The pull saw is my new favorite tool as it gives me smooth, sanded finish cuts without chewing or splintering my wood. My electric drill never loses power like battery operated models can. I've used it for MANY projects for almost 20 years. It's a power-horse of a tool. I needed some clamps and appreciated an extra pair of strong hands to hold things in place during assembly.
All in all, it was a relatively simple project.

The interior of the box is sized 17" deep 33" wide x 71" long. It will easily fit into the bed of a standard sized truck or the back of a family van (if it's the kind with rear seats that collapse).

This box has no bottom. We will lay poultry wire on the ground and set this on top before filling with topsoil. The wire will keep burrowing pests away from tender plant roots. The cedar planks are weather resistant, rot resistant and will help repel harmful insects.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


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Humans and animals must have water to survive. Securing a safe source of water takes time. Consider how to best invest your resources well ahead of a crisis point. When standard clean water sources are unavailable, here are some ways you can help secure safe drinking water.

Choose the cleanest water you can find. Look for a water supply that does not have any obvious debris floating in it. Check to be sure dead animals, sewage, or other bits of organic matter are not easily seen in your water source. Locate a source that hasn't been contaminated by chemical spills.

Some people believe that exposure to various water sources will give you immunity to disease-carrying microbes, making it possible for you to safely drink unfiltered water while traveling. The reality is that some microbes could wreak havoc with your health and cause severe physical damage. There is some truth that limited exposure can build immunity. It is also true that no one wants to become ill unnecessarily. Avoid chemically contaminated water sources as these hazards cannot always be filtered from the water. Don't take risks if you don't have to do so.

Filter the water you collect. There are many ways that water can be contaminated. Not all contaminants are visible. Select a method of filtration to further insure the safety of your drinking water.

With water filtration, there are a range of options from bad to better and best. No single option is practical in every application. Everything from the temperature, sunlight, terrain, individual skill levels and materials on hand will play a role in the safety of the water you consume. Preparation and information is the key to keeping your water supply a source of health rather than a hazard.

Disinfect the filtered water to kill any remaining disease carrying organisms. Once you’ve selected and filtered your water, you will want to heat it to the point of pasteurization. This is about 150 degrees Fahrenheit, several degrees below the boiling point.

Using pasteurization helps to avoid loss of water vapor by boiling. Pasteurization can be done using sunlight by leaving a sealed transparent container of water in direct sunshine from two to four hours. The time depends on the heat of the sun and the surface on which the container is resting.

Without a thermometer, it may be easier to heat the water to boiling to insure it’s disinfected. Use a lid or covered container to avoid loss due to steam. Distilling water by boiling and drinking the condensed steam is the safest way to consume clean water from questionable sources. Proper water distillation insures that the contaminants are left in the original vessel while only pure water moves to the catch vessel.

Use safe storage methods. Good drinking water can easily become contaminated by exposing it to a tainted container. If plastic containers have been used for toxic chemicals, it is possible that the plastic could release some of those chemicals back into your carefully cleaned water. Wash glass containers carefully before re-use. Take the time to cover containers to protect the contents from contamination.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


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A shopping spree to purchase thousands of dollars in pre-packaged survival solutions may not be the best option for families that are already dealing with a tight budget. A better choice is to invest in tools and information. Granted, you could easily overspend here as well. However, getting a good back to basics education and accumulating tools can be done frugally if you are wise in your selections.

Tools are one thing that you can invest in and begin to use now. You wouldn't want to purchase a needed tool and simply store it. For a tool to be useful, it must be used skillfully. Select tools that can be used in everyday situations and become familiar with them. Borrowing and renting tools can give you some hands-on experience and help you narrow the field to those you find best suit your needs. Look for a tool that can be utilized for more than one purpose. A single-purpose tool can take up too much space or resources required for maintenance relative to its usefulness.

Whether you are deciding on a tool for heat, shelter, food or clothing, ask yourself if the tool can be used for at least 3 tasks. If not, this may not be a good investment. Take the time to look at your expenditures as investments. What will be the the return down the road? An example of this may be that learning to tend plants and animals today will feed you tomorrow and make you familiar with the ways you can enrich your environment. Taking the time to learn how to sharpen and maintain a tool today will make you familiar with skills that will make it easier to maintain and repair other tools in the future.

Regarding food preparation, look for tools that are simple and help reduce the expenditure of time and energy. An example of this may be a grain mill. This can be a hefty investment, however it pays for itself by allowing you to make an assortment of breads and pastas for a minimal expense. Knowing how to process a grain into food gives you more options when traveling or trying to make ends meet in lean times. Having whole grain on hand allows you the option of sprouting, grinding, or cultivating the seed. A bag of milled flour cannot offer you this.

Convenience foods do save time. Take that time to learn some basic chemistry and become familiar with how ingredients can be blended to create certain flavors. Using various spices, and herbal blends allows you to add nutrients and taste to otherwise bland foods. Becoming familiar with the actual foods that go into a finished dish gives you valuable experience and confidence when preparing whole foods. During food shortages, those who understand these things are better able to create filling and nourishing meals with what little is on hand.

In lean times, knowing how to use available resources and having the skills required to prepare food from basic ingredients will serve you and your family well.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


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Survival scenarios rarely arrive with prior notice. Most people will be improvising and dealing with materials on hand. However, there are some circumstances that arrive with advanced notice allowing you the opportunity to select carefully what items you pack. Selecting the right garments can give you a great advantage in your ability to regulate your body temperature, protect yourself from the elements, or avoid standing out in a crowd. When selecting what to take, consider carefully your fabric choices.

It’s impossible to state with certainty which fabrics will work best in every climate and every situation. However, research reveals some qualities that are consistently desirable.

The clothing you pack needs to be versatile enough to wear well in a variety of locations. Neutral colors coordinate well with each other, allowing you to pack fewer items which can be mixed and matched. Brown, black and khaki colors work especially well for pants, shorts and skirts. If you are traveling to a warm location avoid dark colors for your outerwear as these colors can make you uncomfortably hot.

It would seem that other considerations would have greater importance. Comfort is key however when selecting garments which give you greatest mobility. Look for clothing that feels good against your skin allowing for ease of movement. What may be a pinch or an itch now could turn into a blister later. Listen to your body and ignore the mirror when testing garments for comfort.

Again and again the importance of having quick drying material is recommended by experts. Fabrics that can be washed and dried completely are given high ratings for desirability. This quality prevents trace amounts of moisture from being trapped in seams where bacteria can grow. This is of great importance when trying to avoid fungal infections on your skin and avoiding mold growth in your pack.

Another point on which experts agree is that garments should be very light weight. For comfort in cooler temperatures, layering ls recommended so that the body temperature could be regulated by removing or adding layers. Making sure that layers are not heavy means you will use less energy carrying those items. Remember that bulky items can often weigh less than more compact ones.

Clothing should be made of materials that breathe well and wick moisture away from your skin. This serves a dual purpose. Moving moisture away from the skin means that you will more easily regulate your core body temperature. Additionally it means that your skin isn’t as susceptible to opportunistic inflammation and blisters that occur when friction is applied to wet skin.

This isn’t necessarily an essential quality. However, if you are traveling light, it often means that you will be packing garments into a small space. Knowing that you can arrive at your destination and not have tell-tale creases running through your clothing is an added bonus, especially if you are trying to be inconspicuous and not draw attention to yourself. This particular feature, however, is a subjective quality and not one that should be given highest priority. Many times, hanging a freshly washed garment to dry will eliminate most wrinkles. Another hint is to select garments that are made of fabrics with a pattern which will mask wrinkles.

When preparing an emergency pack or a bug out bag, take these qualities into consideration. You’ll be glad to have clothing on hand that will travel well and hold up under a variety of conditions.

The following 5 minute video -- Selecting Clothes to Pack -- discusses many of these considerations when packing.


Kay is . . .

a perpetual student of things I find interesting and (I hope) helpful to others. Feel free to use and apply all information with a healthy dose of common sense. :-)

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