Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Radiation Poisoning

I read an article today stating that radiation (Iodine-131) has been found in milk produced in Spokane, Washington.  Washington State!  That is my backyard.  "They" say that it is quite safe - nothing at all to worry about, it's not at all out of the ordinary.  But it is out of the ordinary and the real problem is that I don't trust "them".  The truth of the matter is that I don't trust the very people responsible for the well-being of the public to actually take care of the public.  Under the guise of not wanting to start a panic, the public is often placated with half-truths.  Somehow, in the hallowed halls of our public servants and our state sponsored media, truth is exchanged for fiction, prettily packaged as the "common good".  Who's common good?  Certainly not ours.  These are the same people responsible for purposefully releasing radiation from Hanford Nuclear Reservation (also in our backyard) for over 40 years!  Who do we believe?  Your guess is as good as mine.

In light of the fact that a nuclear accident half-way around the world is affecting the continental United States, among many other locales across the globe, and the fact that Hanford Nuclear Reservation is on an active fault line (this has been disputed - there are multiple conflicting reports), I thought it would be prudent to research Radiation Poisoning and add it to "The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases".  Here is a sneak peak.....

Radiation Poisoning

What is it?

Radiation poisoning, also referred to as radiation sickness, occurs when someone is exposed to large enough levels of radiation to create damage to the body.  Radiation poisoning rarely occurs outside of nuclear industrial operations.  It could affect the general public during nuclear-weapons testing or in an attack using nuclear weapons.
                                                               eHow Health

Radiation poisoning radiation sickness or radiation toxicity is a constellation of health effect which occur within several months of exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation.  The term generally refers to acute problems rather than ones that develop after a prolonged period.

What does it look like?

The speed of onset of symptoms is related to radiation exposure, with greater doses resulting in a shorter delay in symptoms onset.  Mild radiation poisoning (radiation doses as low as 35 rad) presents in this manner:
·      Nausea
·      Vomiting
·      Headaches
·      Fatigue
·      Fever
·      Short periods of skin reddening

Cutaneous radiation syndrome (CRS) is the skin symptoms of radiation exposure.  Within a few hours after irradiation:
·      Itching
·      Reddening
·      Blistering
·      Ulceration  (open sore)

Gastrointestinal symptoms (typical with exposure doses of 600-1000 rad), usually seen within 1 to 2 hours:
·      Nausea
·      Vomiting
·      Loss of appetite
·      Abdominal pain

Neurovascular symptoms (typical with exposure doses greater than 1000 rad):
·      Dizziness
·      Headache
·      Decreased level of consciousness
·      Absence of vomiting

How do I care for my patient?

There is no cure for radiation poisoning, however, prompt treatment can lessen the effects.

Particle Removal
One of the first and most basic treatment for radiation poisoning is the thorough removal of any particles on the skin and clothing.  To do this, all clothing should be removed and disposed of.  This should get rid of about 90 percent of the radiation contamination.  Washing with soap and warm water helps removed any other particles that may still be clinging to the skin.  It is important to do this immediately after exposure, as active particles on skin and clothing can continue to poison.

Potassium Iodide (K1)
Potassium iodide is a common treatment option for radiation poisoning.  Potassium iodine collects in the thyroid.  It takes up space that radioactive iodine would occupy.  Without room to stay in the thyroid, the radioactive iodine is sent out of the thyroid and excreted with urine.  Take Potassium Iodide orally either before or after exposure, although it works best if taken before exposure. 

·      Adult – (1) 130 mg. tablet once a day for 10 days
·      Children – (1) 62 mg. tablet once a day for 10 days

Prussian Blue
Prussian blue may also be used to treat radiation poisoning.  Prussian blue binds with radioactive particles in the body.  Prussian blue binds with two other types of radioactive elements called thallium and cesium.  When taken directly after exposure, Prussian blue is able to remove many of the radioactive particles before the cells can absorb them.  Once attached to the radioactive particles, the Prussian blue exits the body in the feces (poop), taking along the particles.

Prussian blue is safe for most adults, including pregnant women, and children (2 12 years). Dosing for infants (ages 0 2 years) has not been determined yet. Women who are breast feeding their babies should stop breast feeding if they think they are contaminated with radioactive materials.
                                               CDC Radiation Emergencies

·      Adult – (1) 500 mg. tablet 3 times daily for a minimum of 30 days
·      Children –

Prussian blue has been included in the SNS (Strategic National Stockpile).
                                             CDC Radiation Emergencies

How did I get it?
How do I keep it from spreading?

The best prevention for radiation sickness is to minimize exposure.  Radiation poisoning cannot be transmitted via airborne droplets.  It can only be spread via direct contact or radioactive fallout.  Remove any contaminated clothing or equipment that has come in contact with radiation and put them in a double bag labeled RADIOACTIVE.  Bury in three feet of earth.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A wife of noble character

I have been thinking a lot about my role as a wife, mother and woman.  I have made it complicated.  So often, I fuss and complain about how hard I have to work, how little sleep I get and how I live a life serving others.  Of course, I know that as a wife, mother and woman, it is my great joy to serve others, but the reality of service is something else altogether.  Being a modern woman, growing up with a world vision dominated by feminism, I have struggled to find my place as a woman pleasing to God.  I have rejected feminism, knowing it to be a lie artfully crafted by the great deceiver, but I have wrestled with who God intended me to be when He first thought of me.

Although I embraced biblical femininity, the reality was, I didn't know what that meant.  Biblical femininity had been lost to my generation and the generations of my mother and grandmother.  As I forged a new path, I often stumbled over my many years of feminist indoctrination. I didn't know how to think biblically and admittedly, I am still learning.

As I continue down the road toward biblical femininity, I am learning to rely on the bible as the only benchmark for genuine femininity.  God, who made me, knows who He made me to be.  He knows the desires of my heart and He knows for what He created me.

Last week, I was fussing at my friend, Lady Day.  I was airing my laundry list of things to do - the fact that I arose before anyone else in my family and that I was always the last one to go to bed.  I was complaining that I worked all day cleaning, schooling, sewing and cooking and never had the opportunity to put my feet up.  I rattled on about the fact that Sir Knight got up after the house was warm and tea was waiting, that he trundled off to work, ate lunch with his buddies, fixed a few things and came home to a clean house another pot of tea and a hot dinner - and then he put his feet up and was done for the evening!  All the while, I was just getting started - I still had to clean the house for the evening, bath the children, read bedtime stories and make sure the laundry was hung.  It wasn't fair, I moaned!  And then I got to thinking....

Proverbs 31 has always been, in my mind, the epitome of what I am to strive for as a woman.  She was gracious, hospitable, hard-working, generous and prepared.  In fact Proverbs says, "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.  She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.  She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.  She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable and her lamp does not go out at night".  Did you see that?  These were exactly the things that I was complaining about, and yet they are the hallmarks of a wife of noble character!  And then, get this, "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land".  Do you see what her husband was doing?  Was he working along side of her?  No, he was seated at the city gates!  Because of her noble character and hard work, he was respected by the leaders of the land.

As I reread this Proverb, I realized that I had bought into the feminist rubbish that says that my husband should do everything that I do, that I should expect him to take up the slack here at home and still retain character of man that God created in him.  I believed the lie that he should do his job and help with my job as well.  I was too busy noticing what he wasn't doing to take the time to notice what I was supposed to be doing.

Before you starting yelling that Sir Knight needs to be doing his "fair share", please realize that he does the jobs that God set before him.  My realization is not for men - God speaks to men in His own way.  My realization is, that, as a woman, I need to be doing what God has put in front of me to do.  I need to be a wife of noble character, regardless of what my husband does or does not do.  I need to bring my husband good and not harm all of the days of my life.  I need to be a wife who's husband is respected at the city gate and can take his seat among the elders of the land.

I need to be a wife of noble character.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My love affair with tea

I have a love affair with tea.  It's not the tea so much, although I do enjoy a good cuppa, it is the tradition, the unhurried pace, the romance and the relationships that are built over a china tea cup and a biscuit.  Tea is a defining part of our day.  Sir Knight and I begin every morning slowing sipping brimming cups of sweetened English Breakfast tea.  We quietly wake up, talk about the day to come and welcome yet another morning.  In the late afternoon, when Sir Knight leaves his work day behind, we once again indulge in the daily ritual of afternoon tea.  Instead of a quiet morning cup, our afternoon tea is a riotous affair.  Rather than just Sir knight and I gently anticipating the day to come, our afternoon tea table is full of clinking tea cups, laughter and stories of the day gone by.  Afternoon tea begins with Sir Knight, Maid Elizabeth, Master Hand Grenade and I, but soon includes Miss Calamity, Princess Dragon Snack and Master Calvin.

For our family, the allure of tea is the relationship it encourages.  It is impossible to have tea on the fly.  It requires ritual and a slow pace.  Over the years, it has become the hallmark of our day together.  Sir Knight and I depend upon our morning tea start our day well.  We talk  of the day to come and pray together.  Without our tea time, our day hasn't really begun.  All of our children anxiously anticipate our afternoon tea.  It is a time to tell "Faver" all of the exciting (or rather mundane) things that have happened that day.  It is a time to gather in the warm embrace of familial ties.  It is tea time.

Not only is tea for family, it is for all who cross our threshold.  One of the first things we do when company unexpectedly shows up at our front door, is put the kettle on.  Tea immediately puts people at ease and creates a hospitable atmosphere.  Laughter and tears both flow well with tea.  Joys and heartaches respond equally to a brimming cup.

Of course, tea is one thing, but one must have "tea treats" as well.  Scones, of course, are an undeniable favorite, but we have many other favorites.  This past week, we made a batch of our very favorite shortbread cookies, and a good thing it was.  Just as the cookies were cool enough to bake, we had many guests arrive at our home, so of course, we promptly put the kettle on and popped the shortbread into the oven!

Simply Perfect Shortbread (From my friend Lady Day)

1 pound butter (4 cubes), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. almond flavoring

Soften butter and mix all the ingredients with a mixer.  Form dough into a roll and wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap.  Chill the roll in the refrigerator (an hour or overnight).  Slice the dough into cookies and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.  Do not over bake!

* For chocolate shortbread, dip into melted chocolate when cool.

Forming the shortbread dough
into a long log
Slicing chilled dough into cookies
Fresh cookies laid out with a
table full of teacups

Of course, Sunday afternoon is reserved for lounging, relaxing and generally being lazy, but what Sunday afternoon would be complete without tea?  This Sunday we chose a good old fashioned steamed pudding to accompany our tea.  It is simple, wonderful and can be slowing simmered on a slow wood cookstove.

Chocolate Steamed Pudding (From the King Arthur Flour cookbook)

2 oz. (squares) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Melt the chocolate with the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and add the vanilla.

In a mixing bowl, teat the egg until light and lemon colored.   Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

Combine the flour with the salt and baking powder.  Add this, alternately with the milk, to  the egg mixture.  Then add the chocolate mixture and stir just enough to blend.

Place this batter in a greased steamed pudding mold and secure cover (or a bowl or a one-pound coffee can covered with aluminum foil secured with a string or rubber band).  Steam over simmering water in a covered kettle for 1 1/2 hours.

* If you run out of baking chocolate, or don't have any, you can substitute 3 Tablespoons cocoa and 1 Tablespoon of butter for each square of chocolate.

Serve with Hard Sauce:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (stick) butter, softened
2 Tbl. brandy (or vanilla extract)

Combine all ingredients in small bowl; stir to blend well.  (Can be made 4 days ahead).  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Combining the dry ingredients
Melting the chocolate
Pouring the egg mixture into the dry ingredients
Mixing all the ingredients together
Anywhere goodies are being made
Master Calvin is sure to be!
Pouring the batter into the pudding mold
Putting the pudding into a kettle on the
wood cookstove
The pudding is done!  We let it cool for
10 minutes before turning it onto a plate
The pudding slid right out of the mold
Our Sunday tea awaits us

Tea, be it a stout English Breakfast or a decaffeinated Rooibos, is a wonderful tool for knitting friends together and strengthening families.  Where there is tea, there is hope.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Our life in pictures

Life at Providence Farms.....

Snoozing in Mom and Dad's bed
I can't tell you how much
sword play goes on in our house!
Maid Elizabeth and her instructing
midwife along with another young
lady that is going to the Philippines
Master Calvin & Sir Knight sword fighting -
notice Sir Knight doesn't have a sword,
just a hook - a hay hook that is

Master Calvin hit the deck running
in his "snow walkers" (snow shoes)

A Marine, ready for battle
He is all geared up - flak vest and all!
Miss Calamity and "Pine"
Master Hand Grenade, taking it easy

Ferrying little sister
Brother and sister

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quintessentially Feminine

I was perusing my latest copy of Above Rubies and was stopped in my tracks by an article entitled "Quintessentially Feminine".  From the time I was a child, I have aspired toward femininity.  I don't mean dress, necessarily, but rather the character of femininity.  In my mind, the word "feminine" embodies all that is gentle, all that is nurturing, all that is wholesome.  It seems to me that the world has high-jacked femininity and replaced it with "prissy" or "girly", neither of which suit me in the slightest.  Prissy and girly seem to describe the outward appearance while feminine describes the inward character.

Gentleness is a character quality I long to cultivate.  As so beautifully illustrated in 1 Peter, I would love to be a woman known for "the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight".  Not only is a quiet and gentle spirit of great value to God, it is of great value to a husband.  What husband would choose an abrasive, nagging wife over a wife whose lips "dripped with honey" (Song of Songs)?  Shakespeare said, "Her voice was ever soft, gentle and low, an excellent thing in a woman".  That is what I want to be - an excellent woman.

As I cultivate Quintessential Femininity, I will learn to speak encouragements to my husband and my children.  I will learn to manage my home so that it is a restful place, a place of sweet fellowship and refuge.  I will become a wife whose lips drip honey, both sweet and nourishing.  I will learn to be quintessentially feminine.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Don't forget the Cow Cream!

O.K., so it is not really called Cow Cream, but that is what we call "Udderly Smooth" lotion in our house.  We use it for everything, all the time!

When we get busy stocking up on food or comm gear or any other number of preparedness necessities, we often forget the little things that make a HUGE difference.  Two of the things we use with unending regularity are "Cow Cream" and "Bag Balm".  (Hey, I think I am seeing a pattern here!)  The lotion, we use for dry hands and feet and anywhere else that could use a little relief.  We would be lost without it.  Bag Balm is our antibiotic salve of choice.  We use it to sooth baby bottoms, slather on areas beset with heat rash and treat any cut or scrape.  It is a wonder drug!  Oh, and we do use it on the cow's udder as well.

Remembering to have these little necessities on hand will provide great comfort in difficult times.

Being led by women....

I read with great interest, the fact that President Obama chose to bomb Libya at the behest of his female advisors, rather than his own conviction.  He is not the first Barak in history to hide behind the skirts of a woman going into war.  In fact, the only female Judge Israel ever knew was forced into war because the military leader of the day, Barak, son of Abinoam, would not lead his army at God's direction.  Barak said to Deborah, "If you go with me I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go."  (Judges 4:8).

Do you suppose that it will be a woman that will drive a tent peg in the temple of our enemy?

Just thinking....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Practical Preparedness - Short Range Communications

When people are bitten by the preparedness bug most of them start with buying food.  They stock up on wheat, MRE's and freeze dried wonder food in Number 10 tins.  The longer they are infected with this particular "virus"  other symptoms of preparedness emerge.  Family days no longer consist of going to the local park for a hike, but now entail putting as many precious metals (lead and copper) down-range as financially and humanly possible. Garages morph into high density storage units and road trips are planned with topographical maps lined with emergency routes home.  First aid classes are replaced with full-fledged EMT courses and researching uncommon diseases become a favorite pastime.  In a nutshell, you can sum up your life with the phrase "Beans, Bullets and Band-aids".  And then you get hard-core.....

One of the weaknesses of many otherwise well thought out preparedness plans is the lack of communications.  We spend so much time trying to cover the basics that we neglect one of the most basic necessities of all - the ability to communicate with one another.  Without the ability to communicate with your "group" or similarly prepared neighbors, you become intensely vulnerable to any number of grid-down hazards.   Sickness could sweep through an area and quarantine could be broken because of the lack of communication.  Invaders could use the element of surprise to ransack and plunder your retreat due to lack of communications.  A simple inconvenience could become a life or death situation without the ability to call for back-up.

After much research and consideration, we have chosen to use the MURS frequency for our local communications (2 to 3 miles, depending upon terrain).  MURS requires a VHF radio programed to MURS frequencies (there are 5 MURS frequencies).  The MURS frequency is a business band that the FCC released to the public to use without a license.  You are limited to 2 watts on these frequencies by the FCC, however, if you have the abilities to program these radios yourself (this requires software and a programming cable) you could bump the radios up to 5 watts in an emergency.  The reason we chose the MURS radios was that we were disappointed in the quality of the FRS and GRMS radios that were available.  They were cheaply made and often required AAA batteries (AA batteries are our group standard) to function and we had several sets fail in the field for no apparent reason.  I have no doubt there might be some good radios available but we decided to go with very reliable, rugged milspec radios, manufactured by ICOM.  We chose ICOM specifically because Sir Knight has two old ICOM FRS (.5 watt) radios (no longer manufactured) that are so tough that not even the children have been able to destroy them!  We went with the IC F3001 VHF radio.  It had very simple (not as likely to break) controls, is incredibly rugged (both water and dust resistant) and the alkaline battery pack (bought separately) took AA batteries.  The alkaline pack replaces the standard lithium ion battery pack and allows you to use rechargeable AA batteries to power your radio (remember, it is always best to have more than one way to do anything!).  Both the lithium ion and alkaline packs are rechargeable using either standard 110vac or 12vdc chargers, and most preppers already have AA batteries.

Alkaline Battery Packs

Replaces the Lithium Ion battery pack
Headsets and throat-mikes can make a handy option to your field radios.  We are currently testing two different models - one is a headset with a boom mike and the other is a throat-mike with an in-ear receiver.  To date, both have functioned very well. In reality, when it comes to headsets, it is completely a personal choice.  You have to go with what is comfortable and what works for your specific circumstances.  Both of our headsets work under hat or helmets and have good audio quality.  One thing we have noticed about the throat mike (which came without instructions) is that the microphone can't be too close to your windpipe or vocal chords or, when you talk, the audio will be somewhat garbled.  The best position for the mike is on the neck muscles below the ear.  You have to adjust the mike on your neck until you find the best transmission quality.

Throat mike

In-ear receiver

Headset with boom mike (we added the
lovely camo sweatband)
We chose ICOM radios, however, there are any number of other good radios available.  Many times business radios are sold on ebay, in large sets, for a very good price.  Companies going out of business or upgrading their communications are often an excellent source for acquiring used business band radios.

As you get squared away on your beans, bullets and band-aids, it would be wise to also consider the very important aspect of short range communications.  It's not just about preparedness - it's about practical preparedness.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Circular reasoning

I came across an article recently that caused me to think about the decisions I make now and how they can affect this generation, and the next, and the next.  Read on.....

The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet 8.5 inches.  That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?  Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the U.S. railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?  Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did they use that gauge then?  Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay!  Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?  Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break and some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?  Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions.  The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?  Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.  Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.  

So the next time you are handed a spec and told "we have always done it this way" and wonder what horse's behind came up with that, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses!

            Author Unknown

Just a little something to think on....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Turning Boys into Men

The longer I am the mother of sons, the more convinced I am, that as a society, we are failing at turning our boys into men.  Our young men are entering the adult world more concerned with having the newest cell phone or gnarliest tattoo rather than bothering themselves with standing up for what they believe is right or providing for their family.  They are selfish, self-centered, unused to working and truly believe that the world revolves around them.  They are disrespectful, hate authority, and think the world owes them a living.  And as parents, we share in the burden of blame.

For years, I have pondered the state of our young men, and wondered at the remedy.  I have come to the conclusion that the answer doesn't lie in providing boys with more stuff, filling them with self-esteem or pandering to their over-inflated sense of self.  It lies in skipping adolescent angst and progressing systematically from boyhood to manhood.

When Master Hand Grenade was 12, I noticed a change in his countenance.  He gradually changed from a little boy, looking to his mother for guidance and affirmation to a young man, choosing to spend his time watching and learning the ways of men.  The way that he responded to me changed.  No longer did he appreciate me organizing and dictating every hour of his day.  He wanted autonomy.  He wanted to have input in the goings on of daily life.  As a mother, I rebelled.  Who was he to tell me how he wanted some things to be done?  He was the child - I was the mother!  And then I realized that my role as a mother was changing.  Yes, I was his mother, but I was also a woman, and in reality, men don't like to be ordered about by women, even their mother.

This new development put me in quite a quandary.  Now I needed to figure out how to balance being a mother, in charge of teaching school and mandating chores and being a woman, allowing my son to take his rightful place as a man, practicing to be the head of a household.

Truthfully, after years of thinking on these things, I still don't have the answers.  I do, however, have some theories.  I have come to the conclusion that young men, when they reach the age of 12, should be out from under their mothers roof.  Now before everyone starts yelling, let me explain.  By out of the house, I don't think that 12 year olds should move out and make their own way in the world - heaven forbid!  I do, however, think they need to be out of the house, working alongside of men, learning discipline, work ethic and responsibility from an older man.

In my perfect world, Master Hand Grenade would be home until noon each day.  He would finish his schooling, chores and whatever other home responsibilities he had and then he would spend the rest of the day, until dinner, working on becoming a man.  He would dig ditches, build houses, put up hay and chop wood.  He would learn to be on time, to work hard, to be tough.  He would learn to work when he wanted to be anywhere else and put in a full day when his muscles were aching and tired.  He would learn the value of physical labor and a dollar earned.  He would learn true self-respect, not the prolific lie of self-esteem.  He would skip being a "teenager" and go strait to manhood.  He would be a man worthy of marrying your daughter and being the father of your grandchildren.  He would be a man of God.

The reality of my perfect world is anything but perfect.  Our society doesn't value the same things that I value.  Our society worships youth, not the respectability of manhood.  We applaud the folly of a child rather than venerating the character of the truly humble, self-controlled man.  We are teaching our boys to be boys and wondering why they are not men.

The truth of the matter is that Master Hand Grenade is still under my roof, instead of learning beside his father or another Godly man.  Our government has deemed him too young to have a job.  The craftsman taking an apprentice is from a bygone era.  And so we pray.  We pray that we will have the wisdom to raise Master Hand Grenade and Master Calvin to have a great desire to be a men rather than boys.  I pray that I am able to balance being a mother and a woman encouraging her men to be leaders.

I believe we need to rethink the way we turn boys into men.  Our families, our country our very society depends on it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Some things you can't prepare for....

As I watch the devastation being wrought in Japan, I am reminded that not all things can be prepared for.  The only thing I can truly prepare for is my meeting with my creator.  I am on my face praying for the people of Japan, not for their homes or their roads or their lands, but for their very souls.

"Jesus wept".
               John 11:35 NIV

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Practical Preparedness - Organization

Last spring, I needed some simple canning lids.  As I waded through piles of supplies, camping equipment and off season clothing that were stored in our "container", in attempt to reach the canning supplies, I realized that we had a HUGE problem.  Although we had food stores, hygiene items and extra socks, I wouldn't be able to find them if I had to.  Our storage container had become such a mess, that although I knew we had whatever we needed in there "somewhere", it was most often easier to go buy something than dig for it.  My struggle to get from one end of the container to the other was the impetus I needed to get organized and inventory our supplies.  What a revelation!  I had tons of some things and not nearly enough of other things.  Without organization, it was impossible to have an accurate idea of what we had and what we needed.

Miscellaneous Storage

Clothes Storage

Maid Elizabeth and I, armed with clipboards and sharpie pens, tackled the beast.  Starting at the beginning, we inventoried our supplies and began the arduous task of organizing and rearranging.  We combined half buckets of supplies, put like things together and stowed loose items in tubs, barrels and extra buckets.  We threw an entire horse trailer (O.K., it was only a two horse trailer, but still!) load of garbage away.  Empty boxes, torn bags and broken equipment were all thrown in the trailer as we made our way down a 40 foot hallway.  Little by little, order was restored.  At the end of the day, we had inventoried an entire 40 foot container and organized so many buckets and barrels that we lost count.  Finally, if we really NEEDED something, we would be able to put our hands on it.

One of the indoor pantries
Trauma Supplies
Medical Cabinet
Communications Center
Charging Station
Alkaline Battery Storage
After that fateful day, we have never again succumbed to a messy container.  And little by little, we have organized and inventoried pantries, cupboards and every little nook and cranny.  From a preparedness standpoint, we have struck gold.  Not only do we know what we have, but we know were it is.  We also know what we need.  In a grid-down situation being organized is being prepared.  Rather than fighting our way through a mess, we will know exactly were to find something.  In reality, organization could be the difference between life and death.

Oh, and by the way, I did find the canning lids....eventually.