Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Soft Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread


Finally we have been blessed with a break in the weather!  It has been unusually hot this summer, with too many days over 100 degrees.  I seem barely able to get a passable dinner on the table, much less provide freshly baked anything for my family!  Besides, who want to heat the house up even more when the thermometer reads 108?

With the slight dip in the mercury, I finally managed to get at least a little baking done.  Having subsisted on nasty cardboard bread for far too long, the first thing on my baking list was a hearty batch of whole wheat bread. 

Bob's 10 grain cereal

Covered in boiling water

Thick, like porridge
One of my very favorite breads is a crusty multi-grain bread.  I have tried numerous recipes over the years, all of which fell short of my expectations.  Recently I came across a recipe that looked promising and with a minor tweak or two, turned out a batch of two large loaves.  Oh, this bread was delicious!  Finally, a multi-grain bread that was flavorful, soft, chewy and full of  whole wheat goodness!

And so, without further ado, the recipe...

Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread
1 1/4 C 10 grain hot cereal mix (or 7 grain)
2 1/2 C boiling water
3 C all-purpose flour (or whole wheat)
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C honey (or 1/2 C brown sugar)
4 T butter, melted and cooled
1 T yeast
1 T salt
1/2 C thick cut oats (optional)

Place the cereal in a bowl (or Bosch mixing bowl) and cover with the boiling water.  Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the mixture cools to about 110 degrees, about 1 hour.  The mixture will resemble a thick porridge.

Once the cereal mixture has cooled add the honey, butter and yeast and stir (or mix on low until combined).  Add half of the flour and the salt and stir until a cohesive dough begins to form.  Continue adding the flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.  It will pull away from the bowl but still be slightly sticky.  Continue to knead for 5 minutes. 

Place your dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and set in a warm place to rise.  Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about an hour).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly grease two 9x5" bread pans.  Without punching the risen dough down, carefully cut the dough into two pieces, gently form into loaves and place in the prepared bread pans.  If you would like, you can sprinkle oats on the tops of the loaves. 

Cover loaves loosely with a tea towel and allow to rise until nearly double (about 30 to 40 minutes).
Slide the loaves into your preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool (don't cut too soon or you will smoosh the loaves).

NOTE:  I doubled this recipe and made two industrial sized loaves.

In a greased pan, ready to rise

Risen and ready for the bread pans (Look at all of those wonderful grains!)

Risen in the pans

Fresh from the oven!


A cooled, sliced loaf

And that, my friends, is my multi-grain bread secret recipe!

Until next time,

Enola

Monday, August 18, 2014

Product Review - Trangia Alcohol Burner


Last year, I found a treasure at Goodwill - an antique "motoring" basket.  It was beautiful, mostly complete and in remarkably good condition - especially for its age.  Motoring baskets are very difficult to come by.  They hail from the halcyon days of motoring - when the journey itself was the true adventure and the destination was merely a pleasant diversion.  The baskets came equipped with everything a proper family would require to enjoy their tea time whilst traveling - tins for sandwiches and biscuits, tea cups and saucers, plates, silverware and a kettle and burner for brewing tea.  Even the basket itself was designed for the in-basket heating of water with nickel clad wicker around the burner assembly.



As I said, the basket was very nearly complete, but not entirely.  One enamel tea cup was missing, but, more importantly, the tea kettle was missing.  The original burner and water tank were in tact, but without the kettle, my basket was sorely lacking. 

The water tank nestled over the burner
I spent the better part of a year searching in vain for a kettle that would work for my basket.  It had to be small, with a folding handle.  It required a lip around the bottom of the kettle so that it would sit securely atop the burner assembly without slipping and I preferred stainless steel to aluminum. 

One day, flipping through The Sportsman's Guide, I came across what looked to be the perfect kettle.  It was small, stainless steel, had a folding handle and best of all, it was inexpensive.  I ordered the kettle and anxiously awaited its arrival. 

My new kettle - it is a perfect fit!

Once the kettle arrived, I pulled my basket down from its perch and with Sir Knight's help, readied the burner for our first test run.  I filled the water kettle with water, just to make sure that it didn't leak and proceeded to rinse out the alcohol burner.  Water gushed out of the bottom of the burner!  I had never closely inspected the burner - if I had, I would have noticed that there were numerous tiny areas that had small holes.  These holes rendered the burner assembly useless.  I was crestfallen!  My beautiful basket was nothing more than a pretty face - and although I am a hopeless romantic, I expect everything I have to be not only beautiful but practical.

It was Sir Knight who saved the day.  He suggested that we buy an alcohol burner.  He knew of one that was based on a hundred year old design with a proven track record.  The burner was small, so it would fit tidily into the basket and may even fit under the water tank just like the original burner.  We ordered two burners (Sir Knight had always wanted one for his multi-fuel stove) and waited to see how they would work.

The Trangia Spirit Burners arrived within the week.  At first I was a little concerned, thinking they were only designed to be used in a specific lamp or stove, however, my misgivings were unfounded as they performed admirably as a stand-alone unit.

The burner is made in Germany

Sitting in my burner assembly
These little burners don't require wicks of any kind.  They burn denatured alcohol, which burns incredibly clean - no black soot on the bottom of the kettle!  What really surprised me was how hot they burned!  We filled the burner with alcohol, took the top off, placed the burner in the basket assembly and touched it with a lighter.  Blue flames began to grow and as the burner warmed up the flames grew.  We positioned the kettle over the flame and waited.  Within 12 minutes steam was shooting from the tea kettle spout!  We had attained a full rolling boil.  Tea was served!

Merrily heating away

They burn denatured alcohol
The burner comes equipped with a screw-on cap so that you can leave fuel in it and transport it without any leakage.  The cap does have a gasket, however, the gasket must be removed before extinguishing the flame.  Once the unit has cooled, unscrew the cap, replace the gasket and screw the lid back onto the burner.  Quick, easy and painless!

Sir Knight tried his burner in the multi-fuel stove and was equally impressed.  It was easy to start, compact enough to transport and provided an instant, reliable cooking method while in the bush.  Denatured alcohol is inexpensive and stores well, making it a solid preparedness essential.  This little burner, in concert with a multi-fuel stove, would be a perfect cooking back-up during a power outage or other natural disaster, not to mention being just the right size to tuck into your first line gear or hiking pack.

Burning in a multi-fuel stove



We are now equipping all of our packs with these spirit burners.  They are inexpensive, lightweight and reliable - just right for your pack, your car or your house.  And, if you're a romantic survivalist - just right for your motoring basket!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Homestead Happenings


We have been busy with summer on our little slice of the Redoubt.  The garden is growing abysmally, a combination of poor soil, greedy critters and extreme heat, I think.  The bees are doing well and are comfortably housed in their newly built 8 frame supers.  Miss Serenity is enjoying the fruits of her labors in the form of her newly purchased Yamaha YZ250F and Princess Dragon Snack is learning to  ride the little Honda XR100.  Master Hand Grenade, Sir Knight and I did a bit of "remodeling" on our entry-way - very rustic chic I think!

Gluing 8 frame supers

Miss Serenity with her new bike

She saved her money a full year to buy this bike

She is one proud girl!

This sits above her bike in the shed

Princess Dragon Snack with her cool new ride

She is learning to shift and to mechanic!

Our re-done entryway...

Galvanized roofing and barn boards


We don't have a lot of room - but we do try to make the most of what we have!


Have a wonderful day!

Until next time -

Enola

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A New Chapter


If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you are familiar with Master Hand Grenade's story.  Although strong and able, he is not your average young man. 

Master Hand Grenade's hearing and motor functions were compromised shortly after birth.  His prognosis was dim.  After surviving his initial trauma, doctors were not at all encouraging about his future.  They declared him deaf, mentally and physically retarded and perhaps even blind.  They encouraged Sir Knight and I to apply for Medicaid to cover his health care expenses and Social Security Disability to help with the costs associated with raising a disabled child.  We didn't do either.  We figured that God had given us this child and would provide for his care.  And we never looked back.

As Hand Grenade grew, we didn't know what to expect.  Would he be as disabled as the doctors expected?  Or would he develop as a normal little boy?  We worried and we watched and we waited.  We knew that he did not hear as well as Maid Elizabeth, but was he deaf?  He didn't come close to hitting the "normal" milestones for a healthy infant, but did that just mean he would develop more slowly, or not at all?  We prayed and prayed and prayed some more.

Those first few years were a mixture of joy and sorrow, triumph and tribulation.  Early on, we decided that Master Hand Grenade was going to learn to function as a productive member of society.  It was going to be harder for him than for "normal" children, but he would just have to learn to overcome.  We taught him to communicate through sign language so that we could talk to him and he could talk to us.  When we figured out that he could hear (a little anyway), we taught him to always be close enough to the house to hear the dinner bell when we rang it.  We had him repeat our instructions back to us so that we could be certain that he understood what we expected of him.  We gave him chores and responsibility and expected him to complete his tasks, even if he had to develop an unconventional method to accomplish his duties.  We forced him (even when it was hard) to push past his comfort zone and do things that were hard for him just so that he knew he could.

Over the years Hand Grenade has grown from a challenged little boy into a competent young man.  He doesn't always do things in a conventional manner, but he always gets things done.  He doesn't hear very well, but he pays attention, repeats instructions and asks people to speak up.  He doesn't move like every other 18 year old man, but he is fast and steady and strong as an ox.  What he lacks in motor skills and hearing he more than makes up for in determination and ingenuity.  Although not like everyone else, Hand Grenade is a young man to be proud of.

And now a new chapter has begun for our son.  Having finished high school, Master Hand Grenade turned his mind toward his future.  Knowing that Hand Grenade wanted to become a butcher, our friend Patrice put in a good word for him with our regional mobile butcher.  After numerous phone conversations and visits to the butcher shop, Master Hand Grenade secured a job.  Beginning tomorrow, Hand Grenade will be training to be a butcher, doing everything from killing, gutting and skinning the animal to cutting and wrapping meat and curing bacon and hams and making sausage.  He will be learning to be a butcher from the ground up.  Master Hand Grenade is taking the first step into his future.

The one requirement for Hand Grenade's job - rubber boots
Along with a new job, Hand Grenade will be adjusting to a lengthy commute.  This young man, who had such a dismal prognosis as a baby, will now be driving himself 80 miles a day to and from work.  All these years we have been preparing Hand Grenade for this moment and now, all too soon, it is here.  Our home has been (and will continue to be) filled with praises and prayers!

Gathered around table to celebrate our son
This morning we gathered as a family in the living room to read the word of God, seek wisdom and pray for Hand Grenade as he embarks on his future.  As Hand Grenade knelt before his father, Sir Knight lay his hands on this young man and blessed him and prayed for him .  As with all of our children, we want Hand Grenade to walk with God, to seek Him and to serve Him.  For us, there "is no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth". 3 John 1:4



We gathered for a lovely afternoon tea to celebrate Hand Grenade's new chapter in life.  We indulged in (Quick)  Maple Nut Cinnamon Rolls and English Breakfast tea.  The recipe is quick and yummy - but you might want to cut the filling recipe in half - very sweet!

(Quick) Maple Nut Cinnamon Rolls

For the filling:
3/4 C brown sugar (packed)
1/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 tsp. salt
1 T butter, melted

For the dough:
3 C flour
3 T sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C buttermilk (or sweet milk with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar)
6 T butter, melted
1/3 C maple syrup

For the Icing:
2 T butter, softened
3 T maple syrup
2 tsp. milk
1 C confectioners sugar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Brush a 9" inch round cake pan with melted butter.  Set aside.

For the filling:  Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is moistened.

For the dough:  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir.  Add the buttermilk, melted butter and maple syrup.  Stir well.  Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead just until smooth.  Place in a lightly floured bowl, cover and chill for 20 minutes.

After chilled, roll into a 12x8 inch rectangle.  Spread with softened or melted butter.  Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch border.  Press the filling into the dough.

Roll the dough, from the long side, pinch the seam close.  Cut into 8 even pieces and transfer into the prepared cake pan.  Brush with melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For the icing:  Cream the butter and add the sugar.  Mix until the sugar and butter combine a bit.  Add the syrup and whisk well.  If it is too thick, add the milk until it is your desired consistency.

Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then pour icing over the top.  Serve while warm.

NOTE:  I doubled this recipe and put in a larger rectangle pan.  I also mixed up the icing and served it in a bowl so that people could choose to smooth icing or butter over their warm rolls.  In the future, I would cut the filling recipe in half, they would be plenty sweet.  Also, I added about 1 1/2 tsp. maple extract to the icing, just to amp up the flavor.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Preparedness Essentials - Ebola


Recently, I received an email from a reader asking me to blog about Ebola (thanks Don - just what I wanted to write about!).  It is a subject that I have stayed away from because, quite frankly, it is a terrifying prospect.  And really, there are no good answers.  In spite of all of that, we are preppers, and I know that it is always prudent to asses risks and prepare for potential threats - and so, I present Preparedness Essentials - Ebola.

There is one, critical, preparedness essential, that if neglected, renders every other precaution useless and without effect.  That essential is a strong, living, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Without preparing your soul for eternity, every other preparation you make is of no consequence.  Make no mistake - Jesus is your only salvation.  Preparing for Ebola has everything to do with your soul and little to do with your body.  Without your soul your body is nothing.

WHAT IS EBOLA
Now, on to the nuts and bolts.  Ebola is a virus that causes hemorrhagic fever.  It is hallmarked by severe bleeding, organ failure and most often, death.  Ebola is native to Africa and lives in host animals such as fruit bats, monkeys, chimps and other primates.  Scientists believe that Ebola is transmitted from infected animals to humans via bodily fluids such as blood (during butchering), eating infected animals and coming into contact with animal waste.

HOW EBOLA IS TRANSMITTED
After contracting Ebola, it is further transmitted through direct contact (via broken skin or mucus membranes) with blood, secretions (snot, spittle etc.), organs or other bodily fluids of an infected person.  Not only are the bodily fluids infectious, so are any surfaces (clothing, beds, tables, the ground) that have come into contact with infected fluids.  Ebola remains infectious on dead bodies, rendering the care of the dead risky behavior.  A man who has contracted Ebola and recovered can still transmit the virus through his semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery.  There is no evidence that Ebola is transmitted via insect bits.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF EBOLA
Signs and symptoms of Ebola manifest within 5 to 10 days of infection.  Early symptoms include fever, severe headache, joint and muscle aches, chills and weakness.  Basically, Ebola's early symptoms are those of a really bad flu.  As the disease progresses so do the symptoms.  These increasingly severe symptoms include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea (may be bloody), red eyes, raised rash, chest pain and cough, stomach pain, severe weight loss, bleeding (usually eyes), bruising and internal bleeding.  People near death may bleed from other orifices such as ears, nose and rectum. 

As Ebola progresses, it can cause multiple organ failure, severe bleeding, jaundice, delirium, seizures, coma and shock.  If a person does recover, the recovery is long and arduous.  Survivors may experience hair loss, liver inflammation, weakness, fatigue, headaches, eye inflammation and testicular inflammation.  It may takes months to regain strength and weight.

CONTAINMENT
Immediate and complete quarantine is essential if there is suspected exposure to Ebola.  If exposure is confirmed (or even suspected) personal protection equipment (PPE) needs to be immediately deployed.  PPE includes non-latex gloves (up to 3 pair at a time), surgical mask, eye shield or goggles and a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown (or Tyvek suit).  Along with PPE, basic hygiene rituals must be maintained, which include stringent hand-washing, respiratory hygiene (putting surgical mask on infected patients as well as potentially infected people), and safe burial practices.

Caring for the dead is another critical aspect of containment.  The dead must be immediately buried or cremated.  If buried, the body must be encased in at least two body bags and buried in a deep grave (away from any water source).  Any personal items such as clothing, pillows, linens - anything that came in contact with the infected person must either be buried with the person or burned.  The people tasked with caring for the dead must practice rigorous personal hygiene throughout the burial or cremation process.  For their own protection, they must wear 3 sets of gloves, masks, goggle, coveralls and boots.

TREATMENT
There are no drugs currently available for the treatment of Ebola.  Supportive care includes pain and fever management (pain relievers and fever reducers, ie. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.), providing fluids (oral rehydration fluid - can be administered with a baby bottle if required), providing oxygen, replacing lost blood (if possible), treating secondary infections. *

Specific treatments include:

NAUSEA, VOMITING, DIARRHEA

Oral Rehydration Fluid I 
1 liter (quart) boiled water
1 tsp. salt
8 tsp. sugar
1 mashed banana (for potassium) if available.  Otherwise substitute potassium chloride (salt substitute).

Before adding the sugar, taste the drink and make sure it is less salty than tears.

Oral Rehydration Fluid II
1 liter (quart) boiled water
1/2 tsp. salt
8 heaping teaspoons of cereal (finely ground maize, wheat flour, sorghum, or cooked and mashed potatoes).

Boil for 5 to 7 minutes to form a liquid gruel or watery porridge.  Cool the drink quickly and start administering. 

Caution:  Taste the drink each time it is used to be sure its not spoiled.  Cereal drinks can spoil in a few hours in hot weather.

* To either drink add Potassium Chloride or a half a cup of fruit juice, coconut water or mashed, ripe banana.  This provides potassium, which may help the person accept more food and drink.

COUGH
Constant hydration.  Hot drinks.  Chicken soup (which has anti-viral properties).

FEVER
  • Put the person in a cool place.
  • Remove Clothing.
  • Fan patient.
  • Pour cool (not cold) water over patient or put cloths soaked in cool water on chest and forehead.  Fan the cloths and change often to keep them cool.
  • Give plenty of cool (not cold) water to drink.
  • Administer medicine to bring down fever.
If a person with a fever cannot swallow the tablets, grind them up, mix the powder with some water and put it up the anus as an enema or with a syringe without the needle. **

Treatment for Ebola is limited.  Make sure that you know the symptoms and be prepared to treat each individual symptom.

The medical aspect of Ebola is sobering, but there are other things to consider as well.  If nobody in your family contracts Ebola, but it has reached the North American continent, you'll want to quarantine your own family.  The requirements for such an action are many.  Be sure to have adequate food, water and other basic necessities.  Make sure that you have alternative sources for cooking, heating and waste disposal (in the event public services are temporarily interrupted). Maintain an adequate emergency medical supply cabinet, complete with personal protection equipment, medicines and more importantly, medical knowledge. 

Ebola is a threat, along with so many other things in this world.  We don't have to be afraid, just prepared. Prepare to the best of your ability, but put your faith and hope in Christ alone.


* Information gathered from WHO International and the Mayo Clinic.
  **  I am not a doctor!  Please see your personal physician for specific treatment options!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bringing Home the Harvest


It has been hot - and yes, my Texas friends, that does mean that it's been over 80 degrees! 

You've all heard the expression "Make hay while the sun shines".  Well the sun is shining and the fields are full of farmers bringing in the harvest.  This has been a tough hay year.  It has been rain, shine, rain, shine, which the hay has appreciated tremendously, however, the farmers - not so much.  It has been a monumental task trying to get the hay into the barn in between thunderstorms and rain showers.   Last week we even had a summer deluge complete with quarter-sized hailstones and downed trees - all while hay lay in the fields.

Our closest neighbor has about 40 acres in hay.  Most of that she puts up for her 30 cow/calf pairs, but one 10 acres field (closest to our property line) she groomed specifically for exportation.  "Farmer Green" had made arrangements with a farmer that regularly exports hay to swath and bale her small field and bundle it with his, netting her a tidy sum of $6,000.00.

While the sky's were blue and the weather was cooperating, Farmer Green swathed, baled and stacked all of the hay from her other fields neatly into her barn, sighed a sigh of relief and waited expectantly for "Farmer Brown" to take care of her small front field. 

One fine morning, Farmer Brown showed up in his huge swather and had all of Farmer Green's hay down within hours.  Gorgeous, huge windrows filled the field, enhancing the already charming landscape.  They hay lay on the ground, day after day, drawing a worried Farmer Green to the field for regular inspections.  And then, the rains came.  And came again.  Followed by a huge storm.  The hay was ruined.  Farmer Brown, now disappointed with the quality no longer wanted the hay.  It was time for Plan B.

Plan B rested on another farmer that wanted the hay for his cattle.  He didn't mind a bit of brown in the hay.  It was lush and thick and fine for his stock.  He made arrangements with Farmer Green to fluff and bale her front field.  It was perfect - he was going to use his round baler (huge bales) and load them onto his truck with his tractor - she wouldn't have to touch a thing!  Again Farmer Green waited.  And again, disappointment.  Plan B flopped and she was once again faced with 10 acres of swathed hay, and no equipment big enough to handle the large windrows and no hay crew to wrangle the bales.

Enter Master Hand Grenade and Miss Serenity.  Farmer Green called early Saturday morning and requested her favorite hay crew.  Of course Hand Grenade and Serenity willingly agreed.  Little did they know what they were getting themselves into!  This was no regular haying job.  Before they could bale this hay, they had to fluff it so that it would dry properly and be fit for baling.  Unfortunately, the windrows were so huge that the fluffer Farmer Green had was too small to do an adequate job.  Hand Grenade and Serenity's job was to finish turning the hay, by hand - all 10 acres!  Armed with pitchforks and a good attitude, they set to work.  As the sun set in the evening and the temperatures cooled, Dragon Snack and Master Calvin joined their older siblings in their hay fluffing adventures.  Even the little ones put in a good days work!


Serenity and Hand Grenade directing their crew

Master Calvin wielding his pitchfork

Working together
After two days of fluffing hay, the baler went to work.  Kachunk, Kachunk, Katchunk, the baler labored until 1 o'clock in the morning, baling over 40 tons of hay.  Hand Grenade and Serenity bucked bales, earning every callous on their hands, until 10:30 last night.  Their morning wake-up call was 4:30 a.m.  By 5 O'clock the kids were back in the field, loading hay onto the hay trailer.  They had a brief respite about 7:30 - just long enough to have a quick breakfast (together they ate 14 eggs scrambled with sharp cheese and fresh chives, along with multiple slices of toast!), before reporting back to they hay field. 

As I write this, it is 7:45 p.m.  Hand Grenade and Serenity are still in the field, with two loads of hay left to go.  Each load takes 45 minutes to load in the field and off-load and stack in the barn.  Hand Grenade has worked all day, even when it was 102 degrees.  Serenity worked until 11:30, took a quick shower and reported for work at her day job - and then hit the field again as soon as she got home (5 o'clock this evening).

In the field

Bucking bales
Haying is hard, hot, uncomfortable work.  And, in the whole scheme of things, doesn't pay particularly well.  But none of that matters.  What matters is that my children are helping a neighbor.  They are learning to work hard.  They are learning to push themselves beyond what they believe they are capable of doing.  They are learning that work is good for their souls.  As a mother, I am so grateful to live where my children can learn these unparalleled lessons.  A place where they can learn the value of work and of neighborliness and of putting other people before themselves.

The temperature at 6 o'clock this evening
You may ask why our children have spent so many hours in the neighbors field.  The answer is simple - and terrible.  Farmers can't find anyone to hay anymore.  Teenagers no longer seem to need a summer income.  The work is hard and kids just don't want to do it.  Most farmers in our area have taken to baling in huge square or round bales simply because they can do all of the work themselves, without having to hire a hay crew.  They just move the bales with their tractor and don't have to go through the hassle of having to find a couple of kids who want some greenbacks in their wallets.  A sad state of affairs, methinks.

And now, I'm off to prepare for the return of my children, bone wearied but satisfied with a good days work (or four, but who's counting?).

Until next time,

Enola

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Posse Comitatus

Recently, Sir Knight was reading a news article about the Boston marathon bombing.  The accompanying photos were disturbing - police officers, arrayed in full in tactical combat gear were clearing houses, military fashion.  They were making their way through a suburban American neighborhood, rifles at the ready, stomping on what was left of their fellow citizens Constitutionally guaranteed rights.  

Pulling the next article up, this one dealing with the exploits at the Bundy ranch, Sir Knight noticed a troubling trend - the militarization of civilian law enforcement.  Once again the law enforcement officers looked more like Rambo than Sheriff Andy Taylor.  Their very aggressive demeanor served only to escalate hostilities rather than to facilitate peaceful resolution.  

As he read these articles, he asked, somewhat rhetorically, "What has happened to Posse Comitatus?  We are Americans and yet we allow troops to walk through our front door just like the Nazi's in WWII?  I guess we need to get ready for the gas chambers next!"

Think he's overreacting?  Here is a little history on Posse Comitatus....
 
Posse Comitatus is a Latin phrase meaning "power of the country".  Posse Comitatus referred to all males over the age of 15 on whom the Sherriff could call for assistance in preventing any type of civil disorder.  Although it had it roots firmly entrenched in English Common Law, it was used extensively in the western frontier, and in fact, is the origin of the term Posse.

The Posse Comitatus Act is a federal law that was enacted on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction (the Civil War).  Its intent was to limit the powers of the Federal Government with regard to using federal military personnel to enforce state laws.  The Act, which was modified in 1981, refers to the United States Armed Forces, it does not, however, pertain to the National Guard being deployed in their own state under the direct authority of the governor. 


Boston


Boston

Boston


Iraq
Bundy Ranch - at least according to Google Images, although it would appear to be Iraq
Iraq
Boston
Boston
Bundy Ranch
Bundy Ranch
Boston
Boston
Bundy Ranch


Iraq
Just for reference, I have included photos for your consideration.  You tell me - which ones are our military engaged in far-away locations and which ones are our federal and local law enforcement agencies operating in our own back yard?

Our police officers now wear (military) combat uniforms.  They deploy tanks and armored personnel carriers.  They have night vision, thermal imaging and drones.  They undergo military training, use military terminology and  employ military tactics.  Our law enforcement agencies, both federal and local, have become military units.  And yet we still allow them operate on American soil. 

Wake up and smell the Gestapo.  The gas chambers are coming.....