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Earthquakes #2 – During

Indoor safety

There are actions you can take, even while an earthquake is happening, that will reduce your chances of being hurt. Lights may be out, and hallways, stairs and room exits may be blocked by fallen furniture, ceiling tiles and other debris. Planning for these situations will help you to take action quickly.

  • If an earthquake strikes, you may be able to take cover under a heavy desk or table. It can provide you with air space if the building collapses. If you get under a table and it moves, try to move with it.
  • Inner walls or door frames are the least likely to collapse and may also shield against falling objects. If other cover is not available, go to an inner corner or doorway, away from windows or glass panels.
  • Stay away from glass and hanging objects and bookcases, china cabinets or other large furniture that could fall. Watch for falling objects, such as bricks from fireplaces and chimneys, light fixtures, wall hangings, high shelves and cabinets with doors that could swing open.
  • Grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and broken glass.
  • If the lights go out, use a battery-operated flashlight. Don’t use candles, matches or lighters during or after the earthquake. If there is a gas leak, an explosion could result.
  • If you are in the kitchen, quickly turn off the stove and take cover at the first sign of shaking.

High-rise buildings Get under a desk and stay away from windows and outside walls. Stay in the building. The electricity may go out, and the sprinkler systems may come on. DO NOT use the elevators.

Crowded indoor public places If you are in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doorways. Others will have the same idea. Move away from display shelves containing objects that may fall. If you can, take cover and grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and glass.

Outdoor safety If outdoors, move away from buildings and utility wires. The greatest danger from falling debris is just outside doorways and close to outer walls. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.

Automobiles If you are in a moving automobile, stop as quickly and safely as possible and move over to the shoulder or curb, away from utility poles, overhead wires, and underpasses or overpasses. Stay in the vehicle, set the parking brake, and turn on the radio for emergency broadcast information. A car may jiggle violently on its springs, but it is a good place to stay until the shaking stops. If you are in a life-threatening situation, you may be able to reach someone with either a cellular or an emergency roadside assistance phone.

When you drive on, watch for hazards created by the earthquake, such as breaks in the pavement, downed utility poles and wires and fallen overpasses or bridges.

Earthquakes #1: How to prepare

This is the first in a short series of earthquake tips.  If you live in an earthquake prone area, be sure to read and practice these guidelines.  But even if you don’t live in California or Japan, these are still good skills to have just in case you or your loved ones travel to shaky spots.  Make no mistake—there were plenty of visitors in San Francisco in 1906 when the big one hit.

Practice Drills 

By planning and practicing what to do if an earthquake strikes, you and your family can learn to react correctly and automatically when the shaking begins. During an earthquake, most deaths and injuries are caused by collapsing building materials and heavy falling objects, such as bookcases, cabinets and heating units. Learn the safe spots in each room of your home. If you have children, get the entire family to practice going to these locations. Participating in an earthquake drill will help children understand what to do in case you are not with them during an earthquake.

Make sure you and your children also understand the school’s emergency procedures for disasters. This will help you coordinate where, when, and how to reunite after an earthquake.

During your earthquake drill:

  • Get under a sturdy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • If you’re not near a table or desk, cover your face and head with your arms; and
    • stand or crouch in a strongly supported doorway OR . . .
    • brace yourself in an inside corner of the house or building.
  • Stay clear of windows or glass that could shatter or objects that could fall on you.
  • Remember: If inside, stay inside. Many people are injured at entrances of buildings by falling debris.


Evacuation Plans

If an earthquake occurs, you may need to evacuate a damaged area afterward. By planning and practicing for evacuation, you will be better prepared to respond appropriately and efficiently to signs of danger or to directions by civil authorities.

  • Take a few minutes with your family to discuss a home evacuation plan. Sketch a floor plan of your home; walk through each room and discuss evacuation details.
  • Plan a second way to exit from each room or area, if possible. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
  • Mark where your emergency food, water, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are located.
  • Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so that they can be turned off, if possible.
  • Indicate the location of your family’s emergency outdoor meeting place.

Establish Priorities

Take time before an earthquake strikes to write an emergency priority list, including:

  • important items to be hand-carried by you
  • other items, in order of importance to you and your family
  • items to be removed by car or truck if one is available
  • things to do if time permits, such as locking doors and windows, turning off the utilities, etc.

Write Down Important Information

Make a list of important information and put it in a secure location. Include on your list:

  • important telephone numbers, such as police, fire, paramedics and medical centers
  • the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers
  • the telephone numbers of the electric, gas and water companies
  • the names and telephone numbers of neighbors
  • the name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager
  • important medical information, such as allergies, regular medications, etc.
  • the vehicle identification number, year, model, and license number of your automobile, boat, RV, etc.
  • your bank’s or credit union’s telephone number, account types and numbers
  • radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information

Gather and Store Important Documents in a Fire-Proof Safe

  •  Birth certificates
  •  Ownership certificates (automobiles, boats, etc.)
  •  Social Security cards
  •  Insurance policies
  •  Wills
  •  Household inventory, including:
    • list of contents
    • photographs of contents of every room
    • photographs of items of high value, such as jewelry, paintings, collectors’ items

It’s a good idea to keep photocopies of important documents in another place – maybe you can give them to a friend or relative you trust implicitly for safe-keeping – or keep a set in the bank.

Putting the ‘fun’ in funeral

Personalised_Whisky_vertical_image pea_featured Popcorn_vertical_imageDeath on your terms – and self-reliance

Death hits us hard. Grief is a poor partner in decision making as it prevents clear thinking and encourages sentimentality. The independent, self-reliant way is to plan all aspects of death in advance, so the process unfolds without unpleasant – and expensive – surprises.

The funeral business is close-knit and organized. It conspires to have the bereaved pay as much as possible for the embellishments of death and attempts to make you feel guilty if you scrimp on them. In tough economic times, you might want to look at these costs and plan in advance for a more pocketbook-friendly exit from the world.

I’m comfortable enough with the idea of death to keep the body of a loved one in my home. It’s what happened all the time just a couple of generations ago. If you feel the same way, you could hold a viewing in your home. Keeping a deceased person at home is legal in all states except Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York. A viewing or wake at your own home may be more comforting than holding it at an unfamiliar funeral home – especially for the elderly, who tire easily.

Don’t let the funeral parlors rip you off. Get a coffin made yourself.

Coffins can be an enormous expense. Funeral parlors are governed by a code of ethics which obliges them to show you all casket prices but it is not unknown for them to say that the $500 casket is out of stock PoliceBoxCoffin_vertical_imagebut the fancy $2500 one is right here and ready. To solve this problem, have your casket pre-made. Save yourself the aggravation – and get some nice furniture you can use in your lifetime.

There used to be a carpenter in Port Townsend, WA, named Outhouse Charlie who would make you a custom-built coffin you could live with. During your lifetime you’d use it as a gun cabinet, a bookcase, a blanket box, or whatever you specified to him. But when you died, your furniture doesn’t become a problem for the heirs – it turns into your very own coffin. Charlie suggested such quaint touches as fixing some pin-ups or family photos on the inside of the lid and having a “nailing down” ceremony as a part of the send off. If you have a knack with wood – why not try this yourself? You’ll get a useful piece of furniture you can use, and you’ll limit the final expenses when the time comes.

For an even better deal, try the range of cardboard caskets at Their caskets meet Federal Trade Commission regulations for an “alternative container”, and their models look like real coffins but can be put together without tools and will burn or biodegrade quickly. Try not to look like office waste!

Or have some fun with a Creative Coffin  where you can reference a memory of your loved one in humor or affection like this British Police box here. Doctor Who fans would love it. Unfortunately they can’t ship to the US, but how about you make one yourself?default112

Or, if the local rules allow it, how about an organic tree pod burial? The very literal interpretation of life after death – as you would be food for a tree. The concept behind the Capsula Mundi project uses an organic, biodegradable burial pod that literally turns a person’s remains into nutrients for a beautiful tree growing directly up above.

Embalming – not necessary

Don’t believe the myths of the funeral homes and undertakers: Embalming isn’t required in any circumstances and it isn’t “more hygienic”.Embalming is required by some funeral companies, but certainly not by the government. And only three states – Alabama, Alaska, and New Jersey – forbid transporting un-embalmed bodies across state lines.

As with all things, the devil is in the detail. You must plan everything ahead of time, it’s a kindness to those left behind and it will ensure that your wishes are fulfilled.

Where there’s a Will, there’s an unhappy attorney

We all die at some point and you need to make a will before that happens.

Incredibly, half of Americans haven’t drawn up a will. Without a will, your family is left to slug it out with the courts – and possibly themselves – and your beneficiaries will include the lawyers! So check this out and get on with making your own will.


Cost-Conscious Home Upgrades for Fall

Adding function, such as a generator, to your home can be just as important as aesthetic improvements.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your home but don’t have the budget for a full-scale renovation, look at upgrades that add instant value with a smaller investment.

Projects that enhance existing features or add new functions to the home are smart ways to spruce up the aesthetics and improve livability without breaking the bank. In between extreme weather seasons is the perfect time to tackle home improvement projects, so this fall consider some small-scale projects that can make a big impact on your home.


Revitalize worn woodwork. Nothing ages a home’s appearance faster than tired, weathered woodwork on the front porch or back deck. These structures are typically major focal points of a home’s exterior, so sprucing them up can go a long way toward transforming the overall aesthetic. A fresh coat of stain or paint is a minimal investment to bring fresh life back into your entryway or backyard living space.


12802_bPOPull out a new kitchen look. If changing out the cabinets isn’t an option, you can still create a new look with a minimal investment. Wipe down cabinets thoroughly and apply a coat of paint to make them look their very best, then look for subtle changes that bring a wow factor, such as new hardware. Simply changing out dated pulls for a more contemporary look in a new color can bring a new mood to the room. Clear away clutter and add some fresh accessories for a whole new look.


Punch up the power. Adding function can be as valuable as aesthetics when it comes to enjoying your home to the fullest. When bad weather or other factors interrupt your power supply, a standby generator lets you run appliances such as air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, clothes washers/dryers, lights and electronics, minimizing the inconvenience of a power outage. For extended outages, a generator can even save money, preventing unexpected costs from spoiled food or hotel stays. Hooked up to a home’s existing propane or natural gas line, a standby generator system, oftentimes called a home generator, switches on by itself when power fails. Models such as Briggs & Stratton’s newly redesigned 12 kilowatt standby generator provide whole-house power in a small footprint that maintains curb appeal. Plus, the price point of standby generator systems is continuing to drop because power management systems like Symphony® II continue to get smarter. Symphony II power management, which can be included with all Briggs & Stratton generators, automatically balances the power needs of a home’s electrical loads — including high-wattage items. Therefore families get uninterrupted, whole-house power with a smaller — and, thus, more affordable — standby generator. For more information about the entire line of Briggs & Stratton standby generator systems, visit

Look at new lighting. The lighting in a room has a significant impact on its overall feel: a bright, airy room exudes energy while a dimmer, soft illumination evokes a cozy impression. Changing up the lighting can completely transform a space. Use window treatments such as drapes and blinds to control natural light and lend a stylish addition to the room. Floor and table lamps are ideal for more subtle task lighting, while overhead fixtures can make a stronger statement.

12802_cPOExplore a new floor. Over time, the rich pile of new carpeting loses its inviting spring, and once-sharp grout lines fade and crumble. If a thorough cleaning still leaves your flooring looking drab, it may be time to explore alternatives. Replacing heavily worn carpet in high traffic areas with a more durable option such as wood or tile may not only improve the look, but also prove a smart investment as it wears better in the future. If you still enjoy the look of your tile, consider removing and replacing the grout, then sealing it to protect the finish. Don’t feel beholden to the original color; a new shade can introduce a whole new color dimension to the room.

Making updates to your home is a natural part of ownership and a good way to protect and grow your investment. Fortunately, making a big difference doesn’t always have to come with a big price tag attached.

Plan Ahead to Save

Before embarking on a home improvement project, there are several steps a homeowner can take to manage the time and expense while making the effort run more smoothly:

  1. Regardless of the type of project you’re planning, research the possibilities before you get started. From comparing prices to evaluating styles and features, knowing all your available options will help ensure you make right choices for your needs.
  2. When evaluating appliances or equipment, pay attention to variables that may affect the overall project cost. For example, installing a traditional generator with a power management system like Symphony® II from Briggs & Stratton, can help meet your home’s backup power requirements with a smaller, more affordable generator. This can potentially knock hundreds if not thousands of dollars off a generator purchase with a little research ahead of time to find the right-size generator needed for a home. An online calculator tool at can help match homeowners with the best generator for their individual needs.
  3. Determine a budget, and stick to it. Be realistic and remember that a little more investment upfront may buy quality that will save money on repairs and replacements down the road. Another good rule of thumb: add at least 10 percent buffer to help cover unexpected expenses.
  4. Assess whether the project is something you can tackle on your own, and whether time or ability may impede your progress. If you need to enlist help, gather estimates and check references for at least three contractors.
  5. Set expectations for yourself and your family about how long the project will take. If you’re working with a contractor, get a time projection in writing, as well as a written agreement about what happens if the project runs past deadline.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images. Family Features

OK! Who wants one of these?

Watch Catalin Alexandru Duru become the first person ever to break the Guinness World Records Title for the farthest journey by hoverboard. This Montreal inventor broke the world record for the longest hoverboard flight by flying a distance of 275.9 metres aboard his homemade, propeller-powered hoverboard in a trip that lasted more than 1½ minutes.

Here he is on a Quebec lake putting his prototype through its paces for the first time.

Emergency First Aid: How to deliver a baby

Making a grand entrance – How to deliver a baby!


It happens more often that you’d think – babies are born all over the place. And in emergency situations, it’s not something you can put off until you can find medical help. So get ready to learn what you can do to help bring new life into the world. And remember, if cab drivers can do it so can you!

It’s all quite logical – but you do have to stay calm. Call 911 or have someone else call. The number one alternative is to have a medical professional do this for you.

Remember to reassure the mother – she’s probably not that impressed that it’s you and not a real doctor. If her contractions are very strong and 2 to 3 minutes apart or her waters have broken, birth is near. If she starts to yell at you that it’s coming, believe her.

Prepare a birthing area

Put down a large plastic sheet or plastic shower curtain on a large, flat surface such as a bed or table and put clean sheet or towels on top to soak up any fluids. Get a lamp to illuminate the birth and make sure the area is kept warm. Wash your hands with soap and water. Use sterile rubber gloves if your first aid kit has them.

Have the mother dress comfortably and support her head and back with pillows. During the birth, the mother may wish to squat down, or lean forward and grab her knees or lie on her side. Let her decide. If she is lying on her back at the time of delivery place a folded towel or blanket under her right hip to keep her from lying flat – it’s more comfortable.

There will probably be quite a bit of blood or bloody fluid coming from the vagina, which is normal. Have the mother take deep, slow breaths, particularly during contractions. When the baby’s head shows, ask the mother to push during each contraction. Have her take a deep breath, hold it, and push for a count of ten. Exhale and repeat for the duration of each contraction. The mother should not push between contractions.

When the baby’s head is visible in the vaginal opening, the birth is about to occur. Do not pull the baby! Let her push the baby out. Usually, as the baby is born, the face will appear straight down or straight up.

As soon as the head is outside the vagina, put two fingers along the topside of the head and feel around the neck area for a loop of the umbilical cord. It will be about the thickness of your little finger. If you can feel it, hook the loop of cord with your two fingers and slide it gently over the baby’s head. Do not cut it! If it will not slip easily over the baby’s head, don’t worry about it. Instead, continue trying to deliver the rest of the baby.

The baby’s head should then turn toward one side and the shoulders should come out. Help by supporting the baby’s head and shoulders, but remember not to pull. Once the head is delivered, the rest of the baby’s body generally comes out quickly. As soon as the head is out, have the mother stop pushing so that the baby’s mouth and nose can be cleaned. If there is a membrane covering the baby’s mouth and nose, gently wipe it off with a clean cloth or suck it out with a suction bulb (if you have one!). Do not remove the whitish coating on the body.

Place your hands on either side of the baby’s head and gently guide it downwards while the mother pushes until the top shoulder emerges. Then guide the baby upwards and support its head and shoulders as the rest of the baby emerges. If the baby’s shoulder seems stuck, tell the mother to push hard. Do not pull on the baby. Press toward the mother’s back with your hands in the area just above the mother’s pubic area. You can also try lifting the mother’s legs back toward her chest, keeping her knees bent and apart.

Remember: Newborns are slippery, so hold the baby with a towel.

Once delivered, hold the baby head down and face down, with the feet higher than the head, so that fluids can drain from the nose and throat. Hold the baby at about the same height as the vaginal opening. After the baby starts to cry, suction or wipe the baby’s nose and mouth again with a clean cloth. The baby may be blue, but will turn pink within minutes, if breathing well. Do not hold the baby upside down or slap her. Gently dry off the baby and wrap her in a dry towel or blanket covering the head (not the face) to keep her warm. Do not wash off the baby or wash the face. Place the baby on the mother’s abdomen or chest (but be sure not to pull on the umbilical cord).


The baby should start breathing on her own and her color should improve as she breathes in oxygen. If the baby does not start breathing, place the baby on her back and gently rub the chest or back or tap the bottoms of the feet. Gently suction the baby’s nose and mouth again to clear secretions, blood and mucus. If you don’t have a suction bulb you’re just gonna have to suck it out with your own mouth over her mouth and nose and then spit. If the baby does not start breathing immediately, give two very, very gentle puffs of air into the infant’s nose and mouth. A tiny breath is sufficient for such small lungs. Continue to stimulate the baby and dry off the skin to prevent cooling.

The cord

Encourage nursing. This will stimulate the mother to have the uterine contractions she needs to expel the placenta. The umbilical cord will pulsate during the birth and afterward, indicating that the baby is still receiving blood from the mother. After it has stopped pulsating, tie off the cord tightly with heavy string, a clean shoelace, or sterile tape no closer than 4 inches from the baby. Do not use thread, as it will cut through the cord. Tying off the cord is necessary to prevent continued circulation of the baby’s blood to the placenta.

Under normal circumstances, there is no rush to cut the umbilical cord. Placing one tie around it and leaving it alone is better than cutting it with unclean instruments. The infant will not be harmed if the placenta remains attached, as long as both mother and baby receive prompt medical help. Hopefully, the emergency response team will have arrived by now!

If help doesn’t arrive

The mother will continue to have contractions until the placenta is expelled. Massaging the mother’s abdomen will help the uterus contract and expel the placenta. Wrap the placenta in a plastic bag and be sure it goes to the hospital with the mother and baby.

Once the placenta has been expelled, continue to massage the mother’s abdomen to stimulate uterine contractions. This will help control uterine bleeding. Sometimes the uterus relaxes so completely that all contractions stop — massage can help restore the contractions.

Clean the mother with soap and water. If the mother is bleeding outside the vagina from a skin tear, apply direct pressure with a sterile gauze dressing, washcloth, or a clean sanitary napkin. Keep both mother and baby warm. Hypothermia can occur rapidly in newborns. The mother may be more comfortable reclining while she nurses the baby. It is important that they both get to a hospital as soon as possible for examination.

If you are in a really bad position and cannot get medical help, you may have to tie and cut the cord after the baby has been delivered. Follow the following steps:

If you have NOT already tied a knot around the cord you will now have to tie two firm knots with clean shoelaces, narrow strips of cloth or thick string. The first knot should be no closer than 4 inches from the baby’s navel; tie the second firm knot around the cord about 8 inches from the baby’s navel.

If you already tied the first knot around the cord as described above, just tie another firm knot about 8 inches from the navel.

Cut the cord halfway between the knots with a heated knife, a fresh razor blade, or sterile scissors (Boiling in water for ten minutes should do it. Now we know why they always boil water in movies!), The cord should bleed only briefly after being cut. Cover the cut ends of the cord with a clean cloth or sterile dressing.

Who needs a garage when you’ve got something like this?

This is a Chinese solution to the urban problem of car parking and security. Because space is always at a premium in China, the cocoon machine is designed to be small enough to fit into a parking spot. That’s the upside, the downside being that you’ll probably need to be a very skilled driver to reverse into it. Even with parking sensors, it takes some experience to align with the bay correctly.

And we’re not quite sure how to extract items from the trunk? But we love the idea!


VIDEO: The difference between a face cord and a cord of firewood

The word cord probably comes from the amount of cord or string it takes to tie this bundle of wood. It’s been a semi-offiical measurement since at least 1610.
One full cord: A full cord is a large amount of wood. It measures four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long (4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft.) and has a volume of 128 cubic feet. The amount of solid wood in a cord varies depending on the size of the pieces, but for firewood it averages about 85 cubic feet.
Maine is unusual. It also defines a “loose thrown cord” or pile of cut firewood as “A cord of 12 or 16 inches (30 or 41 cm) in length shall mean the amount of wood, bark and air contained in a space of 180 cubic feet (5.1 m3); and a cord of wood 24 inches (61 cm) in length shall mean the amount of wood, bark and air contained in a space of 195 cubic feet (5.5 m3).
One Face cord: This commonly consists of wood that is 16 inches long. The volume of a face cord therefore is 1/3 of the volume of a full cord even though it is 8 feet long and 4 feet  high. A face cord is also called a “Rick of Wood “in the mid-western United States.
Tiny Squirrel
 Check out our great step-by-step guide to stacking and seasoning wood here and our Holz Hausen curing guide here.

Should Drones Be Regulated? Balancing Privacy, Airspace Rules

Drone11-1250x650The Federal Aviation Administration missed its Sept. 30 deadline to file national regulations for drone use.

Interest groups sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta to mark the occasion, and to announce that people are “already confused about where they should and should not fly.”

This missed deadline will halt commercial use. For non-commercial use, it might not be so bad.

The letter asserts that in the first decade of a well-regulated drone industry, innovators would create “100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact.” This includes capacities like helping first responders execute rescue missions, insurance companies survey disaster sites, and farmers “improve crop yields.”

The authors think that once regulations are in place, business can move forward. How the drone industry moves forward, of course, depends on the nature of FAA regulations.

Non-commercial drone uses demand a unique regulatory scheme. In the absence of clear regulatory guidance, property owners are resolving this confusion the old-fashioned way: shooting down drones they perceive to be threatening or violate their privacy.

In July, a Kentucky resident thought his neighbor flew a drone too close to his family, and he shot it down.

A similar story recently occurred in Ascension Parish, La., where a family that lives next to a drone hobbyist asked him not to fly his camera-equipped drone over their property.

They had called police about the drone before. And the police seconded that request.

When the hobbyist flew his drone over his neighbor’s property anyway, the neighbor shot it. One shot disabled the drone. A second shot, allegedly in the presence of, and over the protests of, the hobbyist and his seven-year-old niece, grounded the drone.

So how had the law developed between shots in Kentucky and Louisiana?

Lt. Col. Bobby Webre of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office conveyed the perspective of local law enforcement. They are looking to FAA rules for guidance, especially in the absence of any Louisiana state laws. Webre states that the FAA “‘seriously recommends getting permission from the property owner’ if you want to fly a drone over their property.”

Federal rules forbid drones flying in some specific restricted airspaces, like those around natural disasters or emergency response situations, or airports. Beyond that, Webre declared the guiding principle for drone use ought to be “good common sense and respect [for] people’s reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Early American legal thinkers reveled in the notion that “[l]aws are made for men of ordinary understanding, and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense.” The law was intentionally imbued with the idea that democracy would be of little value if laws, especially criminal laws, went too far beyond that maxim.

A federal drone regulation scheme is probably less likely than a local judge and jury to reflect the common sense or community conscience in Ascension Parish, Louisiana.

If and when federal regulations are passed, Webre will face the same issue James Madison raised: How do we obey and enforce a law if it is “little known and less fixed”?

As always, the answer demands good judgment based on community conscience.

That should be enough to hold over hobbyists and their neighbors until the regulatory framework fills out, because existing criminal laws and the civil justice system safeguard their property and tort interests.

A federal regulatory scheme introduced on an “incremental basis,” as an FAA spokesperson announced any regulations would be, risks being “little known and less fixed.” And that’s a recipe for costs outweighing benefits.

Existing local, state, and federal laws, both civil and criminal, should suffice to protect people, as much as any law can, from harms associated with recreational drone use.

Self-Defense: On the road again

TravelerThe traveler is by nature a target. But you don’t have to be a sitting duck. Take a proactive role for your own personal safety by being smart, shrewd and self-reliant. Here are some dos and don’ts that were written for women traveling alone but are relevant for all travelers.


Use reputable, recommended local agents and guides. Study up on cultures, customs and language, ask veteran travelers for advice. Line up contacts. Know the laws about carrying weapons including protective devices like Mace or a taser. Choose a hotel with security in mind and one with readily available transportation. A deal of a price could prove too dear a price pay if it’s located somewhere risky.

Pack light. Less baggage means less to monitor, go missing or be a magnet for thieves. The less attention you pay to your stuff, the more you can pay to your surroundings. The freer your hands are the easier you’ll be able to handle the unexpected.  Carry ordinary looking unisex bags with tags that cover your name; use initials and last name only.

Dressing to impress may impress the wrong people and set you up as a potential target. Dressing appropriately for the culture is smart, especially in conservative religious regions.


Anticipating potential problems helps to avoid or overcome them. Emergency personnel train on the unforeseen and unexpected, practicing how to react unconsciously.  Visualize situations and mentally practice your reactions. Practice helps eliminate panic.

Plan extra time into your schedule. It’s easier to keep your wits about you and avoid trouble if you’re unhurried and un-harried.

Discourage hotel desk clerks from announcing your room number aloud. Check out your accommodations before you accept them. Keep your room key out of sight of prying eyes but in hand to and from your room or car. Carry a door wedge and jam it under your door at night. Get acquainted with staff at the hotel, and nearby shops and restaurants. They’re good for advice and help.  Know where you’re staying. Pocket a hotel business card. If you think someone is trying to get in your room, call the front desk and shout you’re calling the police. If you suspect you’re being followed ask for escort or bang on a door and call out a male name.

Study maps before you leave your room to know where and how to go. Ask staff for directions and about the safety conditions around the hotel and destination.

Don’t flash your cash, wear your wealth or advertise your nationality. Lock all doors; keep valuables on or close to your person. Wear scarves instead of gems. Try not to look American; that sneakers and shorts look heralds your nationality before you open your mouth. And your fanny pack is a tempting target. One slash and it’s gone. Alway keep some money in another pocket and if you’re carrying your passport, keep it in a money belt that’s hidden from view.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted sightseeing.  Be cautious in elevators and using public telephones and ATMs (during daylight when people are around). Watch out for people watching you when exchanging monies. Avoid telephone booths and isolated stairwells. Keep just enough cash in your wallet, purse and pockets for the day or excursion.

There is safety in numbers and in well lit places. Public transportation is safer than renting a car. Trekking off the beaten track solo is risky, even for the experienced. Traveling alone in peopled places is fairly safe. Slip into a group, if you feel uncomfortable.  If you think you’re being followed, duck into a shop or other safe place and ask for help.  Don’t stay out after dark or swim alone late at night.

Avoid confrontations with the law. Don’t necessarily trust all policemen.  Since many foreign authorities still pander to women, stand firm but don’t make threats, stay confident and professional. The American system of innocent until proven guilty is not widely shared abroad. Bribes are acceptable many places (learn where), and can be managed by offering to pay “the fine” right then and there.

Playing the part

Be confident.  Body language is critical.  Know where you are going. Walk with purpose. Looking vulnerable or being oblivious to what’s happening around you is courting trouble.

Heed your instincts and intuition. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous position. Say no, even if means being rude.  Be polite but not too friendly too soon. Don’t tell the people you don’t know what they don’t need to know.  How you carry yourself and eye another person says a lot. Suggestive and scanty clothes are a come-on most anywhere.  There are still cultures where women shouldn’t look a man in the eye, and places a lone woman should not go.

Hanging out in groups or finding another singleton and going Dutch treat, is smart.  If you date, know who he is and where he works, then plan to meet in a public place. If you don’t want to attract attention, wear a “wedding” ring and carry photos of a spouse and kids; they don’t have to be yours.  Be ready for action. The minute you feel uncomfortable, split.  If some guy comes on to you, look him in the eye and tell him to get lost. Be aggressive. If you must, be rude and be loud. Screaming or shouting will attract other people’s attention and detract your aggressor, at least for a moment to get away.

Be wary and watchful in bars. Sexual predators or kidnappers can easily slip a drug in your drink. If you don’t know the bar or the people buy your own drink, watch it poured and keep your eye on it. Better still, get a beer, watch the top come off and keep it with you, even in the toilet. If you must leave it unattended – ditch it.

As you decrease your vulnerability, you’ll increase your peace of mind.

By your own hand – Writing a will

Will and testamentWills have been used since people owned property, and lawyers have only been in serious surplus for the last century. So what did we do to before lawyers?

The answer is simple. We wrote our own wills. And today, many handwritten wills, wills done in crayon, and wills done on a paper bag are indeed valid. Handwritten wills, also known as holographic wills, are valid in most states. Although wills must generally be signed by two witnesses, if the holographic will is “entirely in your own handwriting, no witnesses are required.”

What is more important is that the will is written to begin with. A will, defined as “The legal instrument that permits a person, the testator, to make decisions on how his estate (property and assets) will be managed and distributed after his death.” by West’s Legal Dictionary, is a depressing necessity.

Dying intestate, or without a will, can lead to ugly disputes over assets. And worse, the courts will step in and appoint an executor, which further depletes the estate. Also, often the courts are ignorant of the deceased’s wishes, and just apportion the money according to the statute for intestacy in that particular state.

When “rock idol” Jimi Hendrix died suddenly in 1970, he left no will. It is quite possible that Hendrix, like many of us, thought he was too young to need one.

As it was, according to the laws involving dying intestate, the chief beneficiary of the will was Hendrix’s estranged father. Since then, there have been bitter disputes over the estate between the dead musician’s family, band members, and women claiming to be mothers of his children. If the singer had written a clear will, the state would not have intervened.

Generally, there are set laws about property distribution in cases where there is no will, although they vary from state to state, and may well disregard the wishes of the deceased.  Of course, laws vary from state to state, so looking up your state’s statutes on wills is essential to ensure that your will is valid.

Certainly, if an unmarried couple has been living together for many years, and there are no “common-law” marriage laws in a given state, the interests of the surviving partner can be completely disregarded by the court in favor of a relative who had no contact with the deceased.

If you die intestate, and the law must appoint a guardian, the court costs can deplete the estate. This is even more of a reason why a will is in your best interests–even written without a lawyer.

Basic rules
Surprisingly, writing a valid will can be inexpensive — or even free. Will formats can vary, but it’s important to state certain things clearly:

  • In general, a typed-out will usually requires the signature of two witnesses to make it a legally valid document. By comparison, in some states, handwritten wills require no witnesses for the will to be valid. Again, check your state’s rules by looking up your state’s statutes on wills.
  • A will in handwriting does not require witnesses but must be signed by the testator, that’s the person making the will, who must be of adult age.
  • State that this is your “Last Will and Testament” and that you are of sound mind, and not under duress– i.e. being manipulated by an evil relative.
  • List spouse and children, and name the executor, someone trusted to carry out your wishes concerning who gets what, and who will handle funeral costs, etc. Be sure to get someone who is on the ball enough to handle complicated things like probate court and inheritance taxes.
  • List specific bequests, such as “I leave my 1969 Dodge convertible to Samantha Smith, my aunt” you can even list the reason why…”Sam was always so kind to me as a child.” Be sure to list the last name of everyone, not just “my aunt Sam ” or “my best friend Skip.” and be SURE to describe what you’re leaving so ruby rings and ruby earrings are not mixed up in who gets what. For instance, “I leave John Jones my gold Gucci watch that I keep in the night-table drawer.” Leave no mysteries.
  • After the bequests, and paying whatever debts you may have left, who gets the rest? This is the residuary estate, and it is important that no details are left out. Unclaimed money can revert to the state.
  • You must sign the will, and have two witnesses sign the will, if it is typed. The witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the estate, but other than that, can be perfect strangers.

If there are still questions about format, just Google “Make a Will” and pick the one you like best!

However you handle the will, ensure that you don’t die without one. And if your estate is complicated, or if you have unscrupulous relatives who may fight your wishes — suck it up — buy some lawyer’s time.

Tiny SquirrelThe Squirrel says: Be sure not to alternate between handwriting and typing, such as hand writing in the blanks of a downloaded form. In some states, a holographic will must be entirely in the will maker’s own handwriting for it to be valid, and must include certain things like a dated signature whereas a printed form with blanks that you fill in (like this sample will) may not automatically be valid unless there are witnesses. However, other states will allow a partially handwritten will to be valid without witnesses, under certain conditions. Check on your state here. 

What do you think about a home you can move when you do?


The kind of person who moves into a dumpster to investigate sustainable living is sure to know a thing or two about downsizing. Dr. Jeff Wilson, aka Professor Dumpster, drew upon this experience to co-create Kasita: a modern and smart urban micro-home. Geared toward professional types, it can be moved to another location with relative ease.

The cost of purchase has not been revealed, but rent in Austin is expected to cost between $300 and $600. The amenities promised are pretty generous, and include a walk-in shower, refrigerator, convection oven and cooktop.

Still in the planning and prototype stage (although headed to Austin, TX soon), Kasita brings to mind elements of the tiny house and shipping container home communities. It comprises just 208 sq ft (19 sq ft) of floorspace, including a bathroom, a kitchenette, study, and a lounge. A cantilevering glass front section is a nice touch.

Available amenities include a walk-in shower, refrigerator, convection oven and cooktop, washer/dryer, and a queen-size bed that can be tucked away. The interior sports modular tiles that can be outfitted with shelving, gadgets, and furniture.

The home is smart too. “Your Kasita will welcome you home by adjusting the A/C, bringing up the lights and shades, and queueing your favorite playlist,” says the firm’s blurb. “Or, ask your Kasita to do something else (like rolling out the bed) via hands-free voice commands throughout.”

Each Kasita is a self-contained unit that slots into a larger “rack,” which provides the necessary plumbing and electricity. This modular system means that if you want to move, your home can follow. For example, if you live in San Francisco and want to move to Austin, you could access an app on your phone and request a move, the company would then take care of the rest (the rest involves removing the home from its rack before transporting it via truck to another rack with a vacant space).

While certainly ambitious, a plan is afoot to bring Kasita to market and the firm aims to build several units in Austin sometime in 2016. Additional units are also planned for 10 other cities the following year. The cost to buy hasn’t been revealed, but rent in Austin is expected to cost around US$600 per month. This seems cheap, but Kasita says it has an innovative business model that makes it doable. Future plans also include a student housing model.

Kasita are creating simple apartment block ‘scaffold shells’, which are easy to build on small lots of urban space generally classified as not developable. Essentially a 208 sq ft box of glass and steel, they can literally be picked up and moved bKasita-movable-smart-homes-urban-affordable-millennials-US-2y a truck whenever — users can even do this by requesting a move through the companion app, without dealing with the usual moving stress. Though compact, the apartments comfortable, with smart tech throughout that will control air conditioning, music and bring out the fold-away bed, all by voice recognition. A unique tiling system allows users to customize walls towards their personal storage needs.

With Austin, Texas already lined up for the first Kasita homes in 2016, users will soon have a host of other cities across the US and beyond to pitch up whenever they feel like a change of location.

The grown-ups’ guide to a stinking cold

sick, coldMust we go to a doctor to clear up a case of the cold? I reckon no one in their right mind wants to go down to the doc’s office. It’s full of sick people and if you have a cold why would you want to spread it? What’s the doc going to say?

I suppose in serious cases, or if your immunity is compromised, perhaps a trip to a medical center might be necessary, but in normal cases, there are a number of ways to battle this common illness.

As we all know, cold symptoms typically include nasal congestion, runny nose, aches and pains, sneezing, and a scratchy-sore throat, accompanied by general discomfort with little or no fever and a lot of grumping.

So if you’ve discovered that you have a cold, the first thing to do is rest. No, really. Rest. Don’t battle on through it. Try and steal some sleep. I get that most of us never take time off with a cold and turn straight to the meds, but rest really is the best cure. OK, lecture over. You’re not going to rest are you?

In that case:

Drink liquids like water juices or tea. This will replace fluids lost during the illness. In addition, fluids help keep your throat moist and trap cold viruses, sending them back to the stomach to be destroyed by the stomach’s digestive acids. Juices will also prevent the lining of the nose and throat from drying out and loosens mucus so it can flow out of your body. Avoid coffee and other caffienated drinks, as well as alcohol, as they can lead to dehydration. (You’ll probably ignore that, too. But don’t mix mega doses of alcohol and medicine, especially not anything containing acetaminophen as that stuff will shut your liver down stat, and you’ll be the first person to die of a cold since the invention of the roof.)

Steam is an awesome weapon against colds and other illnesses. After you take a hot shower, keep the door closed with a towel under the crack, and breathe the hot,steamy air for a few moments. (Don’t do it too often or you’ll be watching the paint start to peel off the ceiling.)

If you’ve no time for the shower steam, take a little time to fill the kitchen sink with steaming hot water, breathe in with a towel over your head. The warm, moist steam will loosen congested airways, and ease sore throats and muscle aches. As your body relaxes, it will make it easier to get sleep, and like I said, rest is imperative when fighting a cold.

Gargle with salt water, antiseptic mouthwashes can be too hard for sore throats.

Cold viruses are passed along when a person rubs their nose or mouth after shaking hands with someone with a cold or from breathing in contaminated droplets that have been sneezed or coughed into the air. So wash your hands often. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth after washing. (Or door handles, light switches, phones, keys or cupboards.)

Another way to help clear a congested chest is through a fomentation. Heat a towel, and moisten it slightly, and put it on the affected chest…this will help loosen the mucus that may have clogged your chest.

A small dab of mentholated salve under your nose can open breathing passages and help restore the irritated skin at the base of the nose.

And there’s always a homemade remedy. Try this one. It tastes terrible, but if you have a persistent cough it’s the business.

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons water

Mix and take by the teaspoon

I was desperate for some relief. It worked and I got a good night’s sleep. I have been recommending it to others ever since, and many have confirmed my positive results. No one liked how it tasted.

5 surprising superfoods for baby boomers

Super Foods

An estimated 77 million baby boomers represent the largest generation of Americans born in U.S. history. Many are embracing their golden years and taking a proactive approach to their well-being. If you are a boomer, you understand nutrition is fundamental to maintaining your health. But do you know some foods are particularly powerful in helping you age well?

“Certain foods provide nutrients that are extremely beneficial for baby boomers,” says Kristen Johnson, registered dietician, nutrition expert at On Target Living, and author of the newly released cookbook “Target To Table: Healthy and Delicious Meals One Superfood at a Time.” “Eating these superfoods regularly is one of the easiest yet most impactful things boomers can do for their health.”

Johnson’s top five superfoods for baby boomers include:

Fresh cold water fish

“On top of being a delicious lean protein, fish is loaded with omegas-3s that keep our brains healthy as we age,” says Johnson. “EPA and DHA are the type of omega-3 fat found in fish and are especially important for a healthy heart, hormonal balance, energy and mood.”

Since most of us don’t have access to fresh, wild-caught or cold-water fish on a daily basis, she suggests taking a high-quality cod liver oil daily, like Nordic Naturals Orange-Flavored Cod Liver Oil. “There’s no fishy smell and a quality you can taste,” says Johnson. “Also, cod liver oil naturally contains vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium.”

Super seeds 

Certain seeds, like flax, chia and hemp seeds, have extensive health benefits and more boomers are incorporating them into their daily meals and snacks.

“Flaxseeds and chia seeds are high in omega-3s and fiber and contain antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties,” says Johnson. “Hemp seeds are high in healthy omega-6s, along with being high in protein. These super seeds help balance hormones and can also help with digestion.”

Easy ways to start incorporating seeds into your daily routine is to add them to smoothies or sprinkle on yogurt or oatmeal.

Super vegetables

“Vegetables provide many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate, vitamins A, E, C and are alkalizing, meaning they neutralize acids in the body and help your body thrive and stay mineralized,” says Johnson.

Try to get a variety of super vegetables into your daily diet including leafy greens, bok choy, broccoli, mushrooms, beets, celery, carrots, onions and garlic. Leafy greens and broccoli are especially high in calcium and vitamin C needed to keep your immune system healthy and prevent sickness. Beets and celery are extremely detoxifying. Garlic is part of the onion family and contributes to a healthy immune system while helping to lower inflammation.

Super fruits

“Fruits are packed with flavor and are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and are extremely alkalizing,” says Johnson.

Strive to get a variety of super fruits in your daily diet including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemons, limes, apples and bananas. Dried fruits like figs, dates, goji berries and raisins are high in the calming mineral magnesium which helps to relax the mind and body and aid in digestion.

Organic virgin coconut oil

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about coconut oil and for good reason, explains Johnson. “Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat high in lauric, capric and caprylic acids which have antiviral and antifungal properties contributing to a healthy digestion,” she says. “Coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids that can aid in a healthy metabolism.”

Try using coconut oil in baked goods or to replace other oils when sautéing or stir-frying. It’s also a fantastic butter substitute on toast and other foods.

Start the day on the right foot with this easy-to-make smoothie that features several of Johnson’s recommended superfoods. This recipe can be found on Johnson’s blog at

Rise and Shine Smoothie
Serves 3

2 cups carrot juice
1 cup kale or spinach
1 banana
2 cups frozen or fresh berries
2 tablespoons chia or flaxseeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon Nordic Naturals Orange Flavored Cod Liver Oil

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.


(BPT) –

DIY Project: Go bats and protect your home from bugs

I live in Virginia. Through the mosquitos that share these wetlands (swamps!) with us we are at risk from West Nile virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis. They’re all as horrible as they sound. Who knows what diseases you are at risk from where you live!

Which is why I like the bats that live in my trees. They gobble up the mosquitoes bugging my property. And they operate for three seasons! Saving me from bugs!

In case you don’t have bats already, here are some ways to attract and keep them. This is a nifty project for the winter so you’ll be all set and ready to go next Spring.

1. Build a bat house.
When you install a bat house near your home, you invite bats to move in. Which is great, as just one of these bathouselanding1little flying mammals can eat more than a thousand mosquitoes in a single night! They also eat bugs that can damage gardens and farm crops. And bats are green: More bats mean less pesticide and less poison keeps the water table cleaner.

Constructing and installing bat houses is perhaps the easiest and least-expensive way to support bats on your farm. Plywood (1/2-inch four-ply) or cedar make excellent choices for construction.The booklet below shows you how to build one — it’s not difficult and factors in design, location, sun exposure and coloration variations of the house for different regions of the United States. follow the instructions about how high the bat house should be placed – you need to defend them against natural predators, such as snakes.

2. Old barns are great
Old, wooden barns and sheds are perfect bat habitats. The wood is naturally worn, making it easy for bats to traverse. Rather than tearing down an old barn, leave part of the structure standing and modify it to accommodate bats. Bats want to roost tucked between boards that are 3/4 inch to 1 inch apart and roughly scored so they’re easy to cling to. Bats already roosting in working barns can be left alone.

3. Mimic or preserve native habitats.
Restoring native habitat is the way to go to attract and keep bats. They like water (like ponds, wetlands, woodlands and native species provide the right conditions for the insects bats need to consume to survive.

4. Hollowed out trees
Bats are adaptable and will roost in hollow trees.
Bats are among the cheapest and most effective ways to keep down annoying, disease-carrying mosquitoes. And that’s where the bat box comes in.

The benefits of having bats in your neighborhood extend beyond mosquito control. They also eat bugs that can damage gardens and farm crops. More bats mean fewer pesticides and that’s good for your health, too. Fewer pesticides also help keep water systems cleaner.

The great thing about a bat box is that once a bat moves in, you’ll have mosquito protection – and the other benefits – no matter what happens. If there’s an outbreak of West Nile virus, you’ll have less to worry about because your bats will be reducing the risk!

No good at D.I.Y? (You really should give it a try, after all how badly can you mangle a bat house?)

Easy-to-assemble or reBat Boxesady assembled bat boxes are available at most local hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot for $9.99 as well as local home and garden centers. We saw a super-swanky Victorian-themed one online at Planet Natural for $90!

No they’re not infected and no, they won’t fly into your hair

Most of us have watched the movies and worry that bats carry disease like rabies, or they’ll suck our blood. Like most mammals, bats can get rabies, but it’s very rare. Bats – even rabid bats – don’t attack humans, so your risk of getting sick from a bat is very nearly zero. Bats won’t get tangled in your hair or suck your blood. The benefit of bats is they actually reduce diseases.

Thanks to Bat Conservation International

BHBuildersHdbk13 Online

Does the Woof Washer 360 work?

You’ve seen the ad on TV. It’s that circular spray for washing your dog that fits to your hose. Did you wonder if it works? Here Arizona TV station ABC15 gives it a whirl.


Checklist: What to stockpile besides food

Tiny SquirrelAnyone who starts prepping pretty much starts out the same way, stockpiling food and water. That’s actually a very good starting point, but it doesn’t take long for anyone to realize that when things go bad, they are going to need a whole lot more than just food and water to stay alive.

If you think about it for just a moment, you realize that there’s a huge amount of products that we use on a daily basis. While some of those aren’t necessary, many are to some extent. If any crisis situation comes along which disrupts the supply lines, we won’t have those items available to us. In that case, we’ll either need to have them on hand or come up with some sort of substitute for them.

In most cases, it’s easier to have them on hand; or at least have enough of them on hand to keep us going for a while. After that, we’ll have to come up with some alternative way of functioning without those items.

So, what sorts of items should we be stockpiling, besides food and water?

  • Fuel – Any kind of fuel you can think of. If you’ve got a gas barbecue grille, then you should have extra fuel for it. Try and keep some extra gasoline on hand, even though it doesn’t keep well for long periods of time. Make a pile of firewood in your backyard for heating your home. You need to have fuel for anything that you own which needs fuel. There’s no telling how long available fuel sources will last.Batteries
  • Batteries – This kind of goes along with the fuel. The two most common sizes are AA and AAA. But if you’ve got a red dot sight on your gun, it probably uses some sort of lithium battery. Make a list of all the different battery sizes you need and stock up on them. Fortunately, Alkaline batteries are now rated at a ten year shelf life, so they’ll last you longer.
  • Cleaning supplies – It’s going to me harder to keep your home clean, because you’ll be doing more manual labor. You’ll also have the doors and windows open more, allowing more dust to blow in.
  • Personal hygiene supplies – Cleanliness is an important part of maintaining your health. Stock up on soap, shampoo and toothpaste, as well as some extra tooth brushes. If you’re planning on shaving, you’d better have a goodly supply of razor blades on hand. Stockpile deodorant as well, or just buy one of the deodorant stones so that you don’t have to worry about it.
  • Feminine hygiene supplies – While it is technically possible for women to live without these, using rags instead, they’ll be much more comfortable and much happier if they have the right stuff to take care of them that time of month.
  • Toilet paper – Another important item to keep the women happy. Toilet paper will be like gold in a crash where the supply lines are cut.Toilet paper
  • Matches – You can’t have too many matches, especially the strike anywhere kind. Those are getting harder to find and more expensive, but in a survival situation, they’re worth having.
  • Plastic bags – You’re going to generate trash and need something to put it in. Make sure you have a good supply of bags, in all sizes, for everything from dealing with human waste to putting away some important papers in a waterproof covering. For trash and human waste, you’re better off with the heavy-duty kind.
  • Heirloom seeds – No matter how much you stockpile, there’s always the possibility that the disaster will outlast your stockpile. Heirloom seeds will allow you to keep a good vegetable garden going, providing food for your family. Don’t buy hybrids as you won’t get seeds from them that you can use the next year; buy only heirloom. That way, you can harvest seeds from your crops and keep on planting.
  • Basic building materials – If your home becomes damaged, you’ll need a way to fix it, even if it isn’t fixed correctly. A few basic things will make it possible for you to cover a broken window or fill in a hole in the roof.
  • Duct tape – Great for 1,000 uses or more
  • Candles & oil lamps – You’ll need some sort of lighting after the sun goes down and flashlights go through batteries quickly. Get a bunch of candles so that you can see to read or work at night. Oil burning lamps are great as well, and most will burn just about any type of oil you can find.
  • Ammunition – You’ll want enough for hunting and for protecting your family.
  • Water purification filters – If your water purifier uses filters, you’ll need a goodly stock of them on hand. You can make those filters last longer by only using them to filter water you are drinking. Water for washing doesn’t have to be filtered.
  • Recipes – You’re going to be eating a different sort of diet and cooking in a different sort of way. Make sure you have recipes that you can use for the cooking methods you’re going to have available and using the types of food you’ll have available.
  • First aid supplies – Medical services will be overwhelmed, so you want to make sure you have supplies to take care of yourself if anyone in the family gets sick or injured.
  • Vitamins – Vitamins will go a long way towards making up for a poor diet. Make sure that you have good ones, as some of the lower cost ones don’t even dissolve in your system.
  • Medicines – Everyone needs a good stock of over the counter medicines. If anyone in your family has special medical needs, make sure you have those medicines on hand as well.
  • Clothing – Your kids are going to be growing, even though there’s a crisis going on. Shift your buying patterns so that you are buying clothing a couple of sizes larger than what they need right now. That way, you’ll always have a couple of years worth of clothing for them to wear.

Tiny SquirrelAs you can see, there are a lot of items on this list, and I won’t even claim that it’s complete. The thing is that we need much more than just food and water to survive. Start looking at what you use on a daily or weekly basis and think about what you would do if you couldn’t get it. If you have another alternatiCleaning suppliesve, that’s great; but if you really need it, you’d better start stockpiling it.

Everything you have been told about cholesterol is flat out wrong

I am a huge fan of Zoë Harcombe, the revolutionary diet guru from the UK. If you have not come across her and need to lose weight, conquer candida, eliminate allergies or just feel better about yourself, you really should try the Harcombe Diet. Here is a link to her website.

HarcombeI STRONGLY recommend her books and her diet. You eat real food, are never hungry and your body recovers from all of the mistakes you’ve been making with your eating habits. She is especially brutal with processed foods, carbohydrates from wheat and sugar, Big Food, and almost every word of advice that comes from a  Government. She scorns the 5-a-Day movement, is a champion of meat (Did you know olive oil has 9 times the saturated fat of pork?), loves thick cream and whole milk and has absolutely nailed the digestive system and metabolic functions of the human being!

So, I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her extensively here. I tried to find a way to reach her through her website to get permission but couldn’t find a way. But her observations on cholesterol should be much more widely known and I am a disciple on a mission here.

Basically her story goes like this. She was at a restaurant when the conversation turned to the old myth “cholesterol is bad for you.” This is her response.

This is what my fellow diners should have been saying about cholesterol: (You can find the whole article and a list of references here.)

1) Cholesterol is utterly life vital

Every human being would die instantly without cholesterol. Every single cell in the human body depends upon it. We would have no digestion or hormone function without cholesterol. Cholesterol is critical for brain and memory functions – even though the brain is only 2% of the body’s weight, it contains approximately 25% of the body’s cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for bones and all the roles performed by vitamin D. We could not reproduce without this life vital substance. Hence, not only would humans die without cholesterol, the human race would die out.

2) Cholesterol is so vital that our body makes it

It cannot be left to chance that we would need to get cholesterol from an external source, such as food. One of the key reasons that we need to spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping is to give the body time to produce cholesterol, repair cells and perform other essential maintenance.

3) There is no such thing as good and bad cholesterol

The formula for cholesterol is C27H46O. There is no good or bad version. Ignorant people call HDL ‘good’ cholesterol and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. Neither HDL nor LDL are even cholesterol – they are lipoproteins. HDL is High Density Lipoprotein and LDL is Low Density Lipoprotein. HDL is smaller than LDL and is therefore higher in density. Lipoproteins carry cholesterol, protein, phospholipids and triglyceride around the blood stream to undertake vital roles.

4) The cholesterol blood test is a guess

The standard blood test can only measure total cholesterol & HDL. So we have one equation, four unknowns, only two of which can be measured:

Total cholesterol = LDL + HDL + Triglycerides (VLDL)/5

Any math student will tell you that this is insolvable.

Your best option is not to get your cholesterol ever tested and then you can never be a victim of the cholesterol lowering machinery that will kick in if your guestimate fails the following test…

5) There is no science behind the number “5” (This is how they measure cholesterol in the UK, we do it differently in the US but the logic is the same)

Even after years of artificial intervention, the average cholesterol level in the UK is somewhere between 5.6 – 6.3 mmol/l (216-244 mg/dl). The powers-that-be have decided that this should be 5mmol/l (193 mg/dl).

This is like saying that the average height for a woman is 5’4” and we have decreed that it should be 5’1”. We could then stop the body from performing a natural function (growth) by administering drugs to stop growth hormones from doing their job. I trust that this analogy disturbs you. It is, however, frighteningly similar to what we are doing with attempts to lower average cholesterol levels.

6) “There’s no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood. And we’ve known that all along.” Ancel Keys

Dietary cholesterol is only found in animal foods – meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Ancel Keys spent the 1950s feeding humans high levels of animal foods to see if dietary cholesterol had any impact on blood cholesterol levels. He concluded unequivocally that it did not. He never deviated from this view. While exonerating cholesterol, Keys also exonerated animal foods at the same time – and any substance contained therein. If large intakes of animal foods have no impact on cholesterol levels, then neither animal foods per se or any component of these foods (water, protein, cholesterol, saturated or unsaturated fat) have any impact on cholesterol levels!

Unaware of this irrefutable logic, diet ‘experts’ will tell you that saturated fat raises LDL and unsaturated fat raises HDL. They won’t tell you how. I have yet to find a biochemist who can explain how this can happen – let alone that it does. As every food that contains fat contains all three fats (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) you cannot consume any food that has saturated and not unsaturated fat, or vice versa.

Even if the very small 3 grams per 100 grams of unsaturated fat in sirloin steak (Ref 3) could raise HDL and even if the even smaller 2 grams per 100 grams of saturated fat in sirloin steak couldraise LDL – where would this leave our insolvable equation?!

The US dietary guidelines are due to be re-issued this year. The draft report announced in February 2015 that “cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern”. It never was, you Muppets!

7) Low cholesterol is associated with higher mortality. High cholesterol is associated with lower mortality

I have analysed cholesterol levels and death rates for all 192 countries for which the World Health Organisation has data. You may need to read this carefully. The lower the cholesterol levels, the higher the death rate; the higher the cholesterol levels, the lower the death rate. This holds for men and women and for heart disease deaths and total deaths from any cause – for all the countries in the world. Knowing how utterly vital cholesterol is to human life, this makes complete sense.

8) Follow the money

Why would humans put so much effort into stopping the body from doing something that it is designed to do – make cholesterol?

Statins are drugs that impair the body’s production of cholesterol. One statin alone, Lipitor, has been worth $125 billion to Pfizer since 1997. This statin is the most lucrative drug in the world. It is not the only statin.

Thankfully statins don’t work perfectly. If they stopped the body producing cholesterol altogether they would have a 100% death rate.

An entire low-fat spread industry, worth billions, has emerged simply by adding plant sterols to margarines because the brainwashed public will buy anything with “cholesterol lowering” properties. These plant sterols compete in the human body with human cholesterol and the overall impact on heart health is serious. I trust my body to make the cholesterol it needs. I’m not going to replace this with a foreign compound.

Back to the dinner party: While my healthy heart sank at the nonsense being asserted by intelligent acquaintances, there was an upside to their naive acceptance of propaganda: When the cheese course arrived, there was plenty to be enjoyed by the enlightened!


USA made at 84 MPG for only $6,800.

How about this little auto? By using a combination of lightweight materials and a unique aerodynamic body style, the three- wheeled vehicle will weigh slightly more than 1,200 pounds, roughly half of the average 2,400 pound vehicle today. Front-to-back two-person seating is the secret to the company’s high fuel efficiency along with being half the width of traditional passenger cars. Therefore, the Elio moves half as much air as a traditional passenger car, and wind drag is the single biggest factor impacting fuel economy during highway driving.

In addition, the car will be made here in the US.

  • Manufacturing facility is former General Motors Hummer H3 facility in Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • 90% North American content that is re-engineered using proven and existing technology.
  • 1,500 direct US jobs will be created in Shreveport.
  • 1,500 US jobs will be created at our supplier partner companies.
  • These manufacturing jobs will create another 18,000 jobs across the country.

Safety is top priority.

Elio is engineered to meet the highest safety standards with a Safety Management System including three airbags, a reinforced roll-cage frame, Anti-Lock Braking System, and 50 percent larger crush zones than similar vehicles.


Did you say a targeted $6,800* base price?

Standard features include A/C Heat, AM/FM Stereo, power windows, power door lock and auxiliary port. Elio’s 8-gallon tank can achieve up to 672-miles saving the average driver approximately $1,500 a year in fuel savings.

Blending fuel-efficiency, torque and power.

Elio Motors has partnered with the world-class team at IAV to design a completely new engine. The Elio features a fuel-injected, SOHC gas-powered, 3 cyl., .9 liter, liquid-cooled engine. The engine is 55 HP with 55 LB-FT of torque, has a top speed over 100 MPH, and goes 0-60 speed in 9.6 seconds.

Check out their website.

Canned food: Its real shelf life and how to test it

20091125_180946_ThisOldSpam_CanWe have all heard of the canned food that was still edible after 50, 75, or 100 years. Of course, most of us would be too chicken to eat it. We have grown fearful. In part because we understand there are risks from cans that are compromised; where changes in pH lead to an environment that breeds botulism or other poisons.  But we have also allowed ourselves to be browbeaten by the food industry and its attorneys, who try to cover their backsides by adding a “best before” date to the cans to limit their liability  in the event of a problem. This poses a significant burden to the American food system.

So what’s the real story?

From the National Center for Home Food Preservation website,

Properly canned food stored in a cool, dry place will retain optimum eating quality for at least 1 year. Canned food stored in a warm place near hot pipes, a range, a furnace, or in indirect sunlight may lose some of its eating quality in a few weeks or months, depending on the temperature. Dampness may corrode cans or metal lids and cause leakage so the food will spoil.

Does that mean that canned goods are done in one year? Nope.  Many foods will last far longer than that. You just need to know what to look for.

How about this for a great story. Dale Blumenthal, a staff writer for the FDA, wrote:

The steamboat Bertrand was heavily laden with provisions when it set out on The Missouri River in 1865, destined for the gold mining camps in Fort Benton, Mont. The boat snagged and swamped under the weight, sinking to the bottom of the river. It was found a century later, under 30 feet of silt a little north of Omaha, Neb.

Among the canned food items retrieved from the Bertrand in 1968 were brandied peaches, oysters, plum tomatoes, honey, and mixed vegetables. In 1974, chemists at the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) analyzed the products for bacterial contamination and nutrient value. Although the food had lost its fresh smell and appearance, the NFPA chemists detected no microbial growth and determined that the foods were as safe to eat as they had been when canned more than 100 years earlier.

The nutrient values varied depending upon the product and nutrient. NFPA chemists Janet Dudek and Edgar Elkins report that significant amounts of vitamins C and A were lost. But protein levels remained high, and all calcium values “were comparable to today’s products.”

NFPA chemists also analyzed a 40-year-old can of corn found in the basement of a home in California. Again, the canning process had kept the corn safe from contaminants and from much nutrient loss. In addition, Dudek says, the kernels looked and smelled like recently canned corn.

Basic commonsense suggests you:

Look at the can. Food in damaged or rusting cans has a higher chance of being contaminated than cans in good condition. Do not eat food from cans that are bulging, dented, leaking or sticky or super rusted.

In the case of glass jars, check the food’s color. Some color change over time is normal, but a big alteration in color or a lack of color signals a problem.

For preserved fruit, pickles and relishes, check the syrup or brine. If it’s cloudy, opaque or looks like the liquid has evaporated away, give it a miss.

Dump anything with a damaged lid. Microorganisms can get in and affect the pH level and lead to poisoning.

Open the can. Throw it away if liquid spurts out when you open the can. Then, check the surface for mold or scum.

Smell the food. Dump anything that smells “off” or just unusual.

Taste it. If it’s old it might have lost some flavor. Don’t eat all of it at once.  Taste some and wait a while to see if you feel OK. Basically, if you have a bad feeling about it, toss it.

Here are some additional guidelines for canned food storage.

Low-acidic foods Canned meats can last longer than canned fruits and vegetables. Most canned meats will keep for two to five years or even longer. Other long-lasting canned low-acid foods are soups (without tomatoes), carrots, pumpkin, potatoes and peas.

botulism-468x1024High-acidic foods High-acidic foods include tomatoes and fruit and canned foods that contain vinegar. Although these foods may taste the best and have the best nutrition within a year or so, many of them are edible after years of storage.

Storage requirements The main reason canned foods spoil is improper storage. Cool, dry storage is best.

Microorganisms can grow and thrive in cans stored in damp areas and in high temperatures (over 95°F). These microorganisms can spoil the food and/or alter the food, enabling other microorganisms like botulism to grow. Click the infographic to find out how not to get botulism!

Keep canned foods away from sunlight as the heat can cause the air in the can to expand and bust the seal, again allowing microorganisms to poison the food. In addition, sunlight can turn oil or fats rancid.

There are no hard and fast rules about how long canned foods last. According to the NRDC study,

The waste of edible food by consumers, retailers and manufacturers poses a significant burden to the American food system. Wasted food costs consumers and industry money; squanders important natural resources that are used to grow, process, distribute, and store America’s food supply; and represents a missed opportunity to feed the millions of food insecure households in the United States that are struggling to access healthy, affordable food. Misinterpretation of the date labels on foods is a key factor leading to this waste.

And here is an official guide to storing food. Daredevils can ignore it at their own risk!

Texas Storage

Poison ivy? Get a goat!

Skip the lawnmower and herbicides! What you need are some goats to clean up poison ivy and poison oak. Save your bees and other wildlife. Get a herd of goats. They LOVE all the poisonous plants and don’t excrete seeds.  This is a rental herd for a big project – but just think how you could make this work on your backyard or homestead!
Check this out:

Dome Sweet Homes – Check ’em out

They’re super strong and long-lasting. They are energy efficient and virtually disaster-proof. They’re cheap to make and some can be erected in hours. And the design possibilities are endless. What’s not to like about dome homes?

Balancing Act: Tips for Adults Returning to College

Considering going back to college?

You’re in good company. Non-traditional students now make up the majority of US undergraduates, and one-in-four college students are age 30 or older.

CollegeBut although colleges are serving a greater number of adults, finding the right program—a place where you can balance your education with employment and family responsibilities—is key to your success.

Here are four questions every non-traditional student should ask when researching schools.

1) What is your college’s track record with nontraditional students?

Ask some tough questions: What’s the graduation rate of non-traditional students at your institution? Are adult students eligible for merit aid? How much debt do students typically accrue? What’s the average time to graduation?

Learning the answers can help you decide which college is right for you. It can also help you estimate how much time— and money—you’ll need to complete a degree.

2) What sort of flexible learning options do you offer?

Responsibilities at home and at work can change over your course of time that you’re enrolled in college. Choosing a school that provides a variety of course options—from in-person, to online, to hybrid—increases your odds of staying on track.

“A lot of adults have full-time work schedules or child care responsibilities,” said Amber Harnack, director of advising at Ivy Tech Community College (IN). “They often need more flexibility when it comes to scheduling classes.”

Also ask about student support services, such as tutoring, recommends Michelle Christopherson, director of the Center for Adult Learning on the University of Minnesota—Crookston campus.

“You want to make sure that you are going to be supported, and you want to make sure that those services aren’t going to end up costing you extra,” she said.

3) What will it take to get a degree?

The majority of non-traditional students have already accumulated some college credits by the time they re-enter higher education.

Before you enroll in any program, learn whether your credits will transfer and how many courses you’ll need to complete a degree.

“You want to make sure that from the beginning you have a clear understanding on how much it will cost and what your degree pathway will look like,” Christopherson said.

4) How will your institution help me meet my career goals?

Begin your college search with the end in mind.

What’s spurring your decision to return to school? Are you looking for advancement options in your current field, or do you want a career change?

Ask college officials about the types of jobs landed by recent program graduates. Inquire about the services offered at the campus’ career center.

“Make sure that your goals match up with what the college is able to provide,” Harnack said. “You want to be certain that the degree program you ultimately choose is a good fit.”


Learn more at the National Association for College Admission Counseling. 

Defending your home with a firearm

Gun Vault's GV1000S
Gun Vault’s GV1000S

The typical scenario we mostly  worry about is the night-time break-in while we are all snug in our beds. While we are fortunate it is somewhat rare, it does happen. So when you awaken to the sound of breaking glass or your spouse shaking you awake to tell you someone is in the house, what steps should you take? These steps are not necessarily limited to night-time entries but can be used for basic principles. Your gun should be close at hand (If you have young family members or guests get a safe box that reacts to your palm, hand or finger prints for safety, like the one pictured from Gun Vault)

  1. Call the police on 911 and keep the channel open, do not hang up. If possible, have your spouse or another family member call the police as soon as you can. Keep a cell phone in the bedroom. If your phone lines have been cut (common if you appear to have an alarm system) you’ll still be able to summon help. It’s important to have the line open because the dispatch center records all 911 calls and if things get hot in your home this recording is a vital piece of evidence that will prove you were in fear of your life and acting under duress.
  2. Identify your target as “friend or foe” before you fire. We’ve all heard the stories about someone shooting a “burglar” in the dark only to find out it’s a family member. Rule #1 is make sure of your target. You might consider a high quality small LED flashlight by your bed. It’s useful in other emergencies, too.
  3. Where are all your household members and guests? This works with rule #1 above to locate and identify other family members and any guest(s) to ensure they aren’t the ones moving around the house. More importantly, it prevents you from being surprised by a “friendly” coming out of the bathroom. Check on the kids’ rooms, check your guest’s location and be sure you know where they are.
  4. Don’t go looking for trouble. If at all possible, don’t go downstairs or into the front of the house to investigate. Most homes offer a hallway to the bedrooms and that’s easily defended, versus having to “cover” all the hiding places in your living room, den, kitchen (with all those knives), etc. Besides which, you’ve probably just woke up, your eyes are bleary or maybe you have a tendency to cough or sniffle a lot. In any case, getting up and moving about will probably alert any intruder(s).
  5. Move family to a safe room. If you have children you may elect to move them to the room that is your safest room of the house. This is usually the master bedroom where you have your firearm, telephone and a last-ditch escape route out of the house. Remember the risk of trying to move elderly relatives and small children who may cry upon sudden awakening.
  6. Be sure your family is behind you, out of the line of fire. If you moved everyone to a safe room, you should be the closest to the door so you have a clear line of fire. If you can’t move everyone into one room, you may have to take a position in a hallway where they are behind you. The last thing you want is to be squeezing the trigger on Danny Dirtbag at the end of the hallway when your child sleepily steps into the hallway!
  1. Never block an intruder’s escape route. If you can avoid it, never put yourself between an intruder and his most likely escape route. Doing so can put you in danger if he’s surprised and bolts for the exit towards you. It’s better to let them flee than find out he’s faster, stronger or more determined that you are.
  1. If your intruder discovers that you are awake or present and shows himself to you, in a firm voice (as firm and controlled as you can muster at the moment) give them the command “Don’t Move!”. Assuming you see no weapons in his hands, follow this immediately with the command “Get face down on the ground, now!”. If the person turns and flees, fine and dandy. If you can see that he has a knife or gun use your best judgment. If you feel the situation cannot be controlled verbally or he is moving towards you, remember to put your front sight on your target. At most household ranges elevation doesn’t matter too much. If you see the front sight sticking up in the middle that’s probably “close enough”. You should cease firing when the person stops being a threat.

UCAffiliateCreative-1Regardless of whether the intruder has fled, been wounded or killed, be sure to wait for the police to come check the house to be sure he — or a companion you didn’t know about — is not hiding somewhere. If you hear or see him fleeing outside, turn on all lights, including exterior lights until the police arrive, but always be alert for a second, unseen intruder! If the person refuses your commands be very careful. He may pretend he doesn’t understand English. Or do nothing. If he makes any movement towards you, he isn’t being deterred by your firearm and is an immediate threat to your safety. A key point: watch his hands! If he seems to ignore your commands watch his hands carefully. If you can’t see both hands you don’t know if he has a weapon!

The Squirrel has a note about “machismo”. For those who think they are tough-guys, remember that you Tiny Squirrelwill have just woken up. You’ll be be bleary and probably disoriented and a bit scared. And you might cough after standing up. Perhaps you’ll find your arm is totally asleep. The intruder has the advantage in most cases; he’s dressed, pumped on drugs or adrenaline, his eyes are used to the dark and he may be armed. No matter how “macho” you think you are, your voice may crack like an adolescent’s, your hands will shake and your heart will be pounding in your ears. Don’t ever count on being ready! Think ahead!

Emily goes hunting – Seven Things Every Girl Should Know About Hunting

deerFor me, hunting is a personal passion. It’s the way I escape the hustle and bustle. Hunting is cultural tradition, self-reliance and the pursuit of knowledge all wrapped up in a peaceful, primitive package. It’s a tremendous part of my life.

For most women, however, hunting is not much of anything. There are a multitude of reasons why individuals don’t hunt, and that’s fine with me. I admit: grocery stores are a much easier and tidier way to obtain meat. However, there may come a time when providing meat for you and yours is absolutely necessary. Here is the most basic information that any gal (or guy) should know about hunting.

1.) You don’t shoot ducks with an elephant gun

Weapon choice is absolutely critical. Some weapons are completely inappropriate for certain game species. Guns are the most effective weapon, and the learning curve is not as steep as with other weapons. I am an avid archer (archess!!!), but in all honesty, archery can take years to learn properly and has a lower success rate than gun use.

Now, there are plenty of guns to choose from. If you use a gun that is too small for your chosen prey you may only wound the animal. If you use a gun that is too large, you may not be able to handle the power behind the gunshot. I think that it is a good idea for any household to own one handgun for self protection and one rifle for emergency food needs. A great gun for deer hunting is a .308 caliber rifle.

Guns can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, pawn shops and, of course, gun stores. I recommend shopping at your local sporting goods store. Sporting goods stores usually have incredibly helpful, knowledgeable staff that will take the time to find you exactly what you need. I also feel much safer at sporting goods stores than at some pawn and guns shops. Also, be prepared for a background check, paperwork, and red tape. Buying a gun takes time. Laws differ from state to state. To research gun laws in your state go to either your library, always a great place for gathering information, or access .

2.) To everything there is a season

Hunting is completely regulated. First and foremost, you need to purchase a license and research your state hunting regulations. There are specific times of year that it is ok to hunt specific animal species. More importantly, there are seasons when it is very much not okay to hunt! Laws vary by state, and detailed regulations vary within state boundaries. It is the hunter’s responsibility to know regulations, and not very many law enforcement officers are going to fall for the old “I had no idea (notice my batting eyelashes?)” Most states also require every hunter to complete a “hunter’s education” course. Each year your state wildlife agency prints up copies of current regulations. For the most part, these are available at all sporting goods stores and gun stores. In rural areas you can even pick up copies at grocery stores and gas stations. Regulations are also very easy to get off of the internet. Just type your state name and the words “hunting regulations” into Google and poof!

3.) Makeup and clothing are always a girl’s best weapons

I spend more time in front of the mirror during hunting season than any other time of the year; getting dressed for a hunting trip requires as much attention and effort as getting dressed for a job interview. A little before-hand contemplation goes a long way. The most important thing to think about when choosing your attire is weather. Be prepared for everything. Wear shoes that are comfortable and tough.

Camouflage is important, but you don’t have to look like a military combatant. The main thing is to try to break up your outline. Wear clothes with large patches of both light and dark colors. Use face paint, dark eye shadow or mud to draw lines across your face and other exposed skin. The main point of camouflage is to not look like a large human blob while in the forest. It is also best to camouflage your scent. Don’t wear perfume, scented deodorant, or eat garlic roasted sardines before you head out.

When preparing a trip in the outdoors, hunting or not, you should always be safe and bring along some emergency supplies. A few things that every good woodswoman should pack with her are: matches, small fire starters/tinder, water, a metal cup, a sharp knife, a poncho, a pair of binoculars, non-perishable food items and rope. A key note: don’t go overboard. If you try to haul an airmattress, a portable espresso maker, three frying pans and your field guide library, a lot of unnecessary energy will be expended.

4.) Animals, like college freshman, live to eat, drink and sleep

The best places to find animals are by food and water sources. Great places to start looking are alfalfa and corn fields, orchards, rivers, creeks, and ponds. Often, the best place to look for deer is literally in your back yard. Any decent hunting spot should have a plethora of game trails entering the area. Game trails look like human trails, just not as wide and lacking pavement. You can tell if a trail has been traveled recently if there are fresh tracks (loose dirt around tracks) and if droppings are all warm and squishy. You can decide how you will find that out!

For the most part, animals are most active during the hours near dawn and dusk. Scout out an area ahead of time. Look for any game trails coming into fields or water sources. Finding areas of high animal concentration is a key factor influencing a successful hunt.

5.) We can all learn from Elmer Fudd

Almost any animal can see, smell and hear far better than you can. Being very, very quiet is not just a cutesy little cartoon line.   You should always move slowly and be as alert and quiet as possible when hunting. Silence is not easilyTracking 3 achieved however. As soon as you try to walk silently through the forest you will realize that every twig and leaf is like a miniature sound bomb, just awaiting your step for detonation. The easiest way to ensure silence is to simply stay put. I like to find a promising area and sit down at a good viewpoint. Then the hardest part is mustering up enough patience to wait for game to come by.

6.) Shoot to kill

Hunters live by a very definite code of ethics. One of the principal laws of hunting ethics is this: shoot to kill. There is no reason why an animal should suffer a long death. The best place to aim to achieve this goal is directly behind the front shoulder blade. This is the location of the heart and lungs. Also, be practiced with your weapon. If shot properly, an animal will feel little or no pain and die in a matter of seconds. Watch your animal carefully after you take a shot. It will run, but if shot properly it won’t get far. You should remain still and wait for at least 15-30 minutes, then follow the track of blood and hoof prints left by the animal. Visit to learn the basics of hunting ethics and safety.

7.) Hunting is not all fun and games

Death is messy. I think this is one of the biggest reasons more women don’t hunt. Dressing game is a lot of unpleasant work. Techniques are far beyond the scope of this article, so we’ll cover them in a later edition. Just remember that you should always carry a sharp knife and get the meat to a cool place as soon as possible. There are numerous articles and books written on game dressing and you ought to read up before you begin to pursue your prey.




Outage? Charge your phone with body electricity (or do it an old fashioned way!)

spin_prod_1052519512Watch the video and you’ll see how you can charge your phone using your body electricity by making a capacitor using items commonly found in your pocket. You need two silver coins, a paper clip, a piece of paper, your charging cable and of course your phone. The electricity from your body is stored in the capacitor and then sent to the phone to charge it. The coins act as a two plates of a capacitor and the air gap and the paper act as the insulator (dielectric). The paper clip is to connect inside of your usb connector to the outer plate of the capacitor. Have fun! Try it out.

We have no idea how much power this can generate, or whether this would damage your phone but the concept looked like something that would be useful in a real emergency.

Also useful in a power outage is the AA battery-powered charger featured here. This one is from K-Mart and costs $13. I keep one in my purse all the time but it’s a useful resource to store in your Bug-out bag or Shelter-in-Place box.


Ballsy bowhunter beats bear – shoves arm down its throat

A bow hunter in Montana survived a male grizzly bear’s mauling. He surprised the bear out on the trail and it attacked him. Chase Dellwo said he only had time to take a few steps back before the bear knocked him off his feet and bit his head.

As he was being thrown around, he said he remembered a tip from a magazine that his grandmother had once shown him. It said that large animals have a poor gag reflex and shoving an arm down its throat will stop it. He managed to ram his arm into the bear’s mouth and the grizzly did indeed drop him and move away.

“I want everyone to know that it wasn’t the bear’s fault. He was as scared as I was,” Dellwo said.

Don’t take too much acetaminophen this flu season – That stuff can kill you

Know Your Dose Campaign Cold and Flu InfographicWith cold and flu season around the corner, consumers will soon begin to purchase medicines such as cough syrup, throat lozenges, and nasal sprays to help get relief from symptoms such as fever, coughs, congestion, and more. Many of the medicines used to treat these cold and flu symptoms can contain common drug ingredients such as acetaminophen.

Research published this year shows that consumers don’t always know the potential risks of double dosing on medicine or that taking two medicines with the same ingredient could be harmful. That’s why the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition(AAC) is issuing a safety message to consumers, reminding them to double check their medicine labels to avoid doubling up on medicines with acetaminophen when treating symptoms during the upcoming cold and flu season.

Acetaminophen is found in more than 600 over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines, including many that treat cough, cold, and flu symptoms. It’s safe and effective when used as directed, but there is a limit to how much can be taken in one day. Taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set a maximum daily dose of 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period.

The Coalition advises cold and flu sufferers to follow four key acetaminophen safe use steps:

  1. Always read and follow the medicine label.
  2. Check the labels on all of your medicines for acetaminophen, which is listed on the front panel of packaging and in bold type or highlighted in the “active ingredients” section of OTC medicine labels, and sometimes listed as “APAP” or “acetam” on prescription labels.
  3. Take only one medicine at a time that contains acetaminophen.
  4. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen.

The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition, a diverse group of leading health, healthcare provider, and consumer organizations, formed the Know Your Dose campaign to educate consumers about safe acetaminophen use in order to prevent liver damage.

For more information, visit and follow @KnowYourDose on Twitter.


Could this funny Peruvian plant be a natural alternative to HRT?

MacaMost women experience the onset of the menopause at an average age of about 50, but it can start anytime from the early forties to the late fifties. Symptoms can vary: some women sail through but others suffer the miseries of hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, depression, lack of energy and loss of libido.

Orthodox medical practitioners invariably prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and often anti-depressants and tranquillisers, which can become addictive. However, there is a natural alternative.

HRT is prescribed to counter balance the reduced production by your body of oestrogen which can lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and weakened bones leading to fractures. However, two large clinical trials have shown that HRT does not, in fact, significantly reduce the incidence of bone fractures, and there is an increased risk of heart disease, gallstones, and breast and endometrial cancer.

Rather than a shortage of hormones, it is said that most menopausal symptoms are more to do with an imbalance. By eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise and natural supplements, you can boost the health of your bones, and balance sugar levels and your hormones.

It is well known that people in some parts of the world (for example Japan and the Mediterranean countries) rarely suffer from heart disease due to their different national diets. It is less well known that women in the Andes region of Peru do not suffer menopausal symptoms.

Maca – The Peruvian’s secret

Peruvian women take Maca, a tuberous plant related to the potato. Maca is a plant that grows in central Peru in the high plateaus of the Andes mountains. It has been cultivated as a vegetable crop in Peru for at least 3000 years. Maca is a relative of the radish and has an odor similar to butterscotch. Its root is used to make medicine.

Centuries ago, the Incas inhabited this area and, in order to boost their energy, their warriors used to take Maca before going into battle. When the Spanish conquered the area they found that their horses suffered from the high altitude. The locals advised them to feed Maca to the horses and the animals immediately experienced an increase in energy levels. The Spanish found that what was good for their horses would also benefit humans, so payment for the taxes levied on the locals was taken in Maca.

Maca is used in the mountains for “tired blood” (anemia); chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); and enhancing energy, stamina, athletic performance, memory, and fertility. Women use Maca for female hormone imbalance, menstrual problems, and symptoms of menopause. Maca is also used for weak bones (osteoporosis), depressionstomach cancerleukemiaHIV/AIDS, tuberculosiserectile dysfunction (ED), to arouse sexual desire, and to boost the immune system.

In foods, Maca is eaten baked or roasted, prepared as a soup, and used for making a fermented drink called Maca Chicha. In agriculture, it is used to increase fertility in livestock.

Maca root contains many chemicals, including fatty acids and amino acids. However, there isn’t enough information to know how Maca might work.

There are three phases of menopause: the peri-menopause or the year or so prior to the onset of the menopause when the your body misses the occasional menstrual period. During this time a low dose of 1500mg is recommended to counteract the slow down in the production by your body of hormones.

During the actual menopause, increase the dose to around 4000mg each day for a period of 2-3 months, and then reduce the dose to 2000mg.

In the post menopause phase, reduce your daily intake of Maca to 1500mg. The risk of osteoporosis is apparent from the onset of the menopause and thereafter.

In addition to your daily intake of Maca, you should consider taking supplements containing aloe vera, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, and vitamin C. This should ease stiffness and pain in the joints and promote mobility and good bone health.

By: Tony Luck

The Ecocapsule. Is this the future of sustainable living?

Wow! Look at this. Coming soon is this tiny home — or emergency shelter – the Ecocapsule. It can be pulled by a pack animal (or a truck, but pack animal sounds cooler. ) And plan-1024x677despite its small form, each Ecocapsule is fitted with all essentials necessary for a comfortable prolonged stay without a need to recharge or re-supply.

Ecocapsule is powered by a built-in wind turbine complemented with an array of solar cells. Dual power system and a high-capacity battery ensure you will have enough power during periods of reduced solar or wind activity.

The egg shape is optimized for the collection of rainwater and dew and the buEcocapsule4ilt-in water filters allow you to utilize any water source. It has a built-in retractable 750W wind turbine and an array of high efficiency solar cells. The dual-power system and a high-capacity battery ensure that there will be enough power even during periods of reduced solar and wind activity. The built-in filters allow you to utilize any water source.

The pod was designed by . The space measures 14.6 ft. in length, 7.9 ft. in width and 8.2 ft. in height. The total usable floor space is 86 sq. ft., giving the portable home enough space to comfortably fit two adults. The Ecocapsule comes complete with a folding bed, a working/dining area, a shower with hot water, a flushable toilet, a built-in kitchenette with running water, storage space and two operable windows.

According to the designers, the Ecocapsule would be ready for purchase in 2016, and they are taking orders now. The price is yet to be announced.