Thursday, January 31, 2013

Equipment Review - Bogs Boots

Boots are a necessity of country life.  Work boots, mud boots and snow boots line closets and stand at attention behind doors.  During the winter months, our shouse is awash in boots.  Because our winters are a mixture of freezing temperatures and mini "thaws", our snow boots are nothing if not constantly wet.  On top of that, we have active children, so we always make sure to have at least two pair of snow boots and one pair of mud boots apiece.  That way, while one pair dries behind the cookstove, the other can be in use.  The problem with this system is the shear multitude of boots.  Just think, 3 pair boots each times 5 children - that is 15 pair of boots - not even counting Sir Knight and I!

One year we tried to make do with one pair of snow boots and one pair of mud boots.  We thought that would keep feet dry when it was wet outside and warm when it was cold.  It worked, mostly - but it was still challenging trying to keep up with so many boots and the children inevitably slipped on their mud boots when it was wet (and cold - think slush) and their feet would freeze, no matter how many pair of socks they wore.  Or, they would pull on their snow boots and end up with wet (and cold - think slush) and freezing feet (again!).

This year, I decided to go out on a limb and try something new.  Bogs.  The theory was that we would have one pair of boots for the winter, rather than three.  Bogs are waterproof (unless the water or snow goes over the top!) and good to -40°.  Mud boots and snow boots, all in one convenient package!

First, I bought Bogs for the little children.  I thought if they could make it through 5 and 7 year old, rough and tumble country kids, they could make it through anything.  Master Calvin, Princess Dragon Snack and I sat at the computer and went shopping.  Calvin chose a pair of sensible black boots and Dragon Snack chose a flashy pair of purple boots with a riot of flowers emblazoned on them.

The boots arrived and were opened in a flurry of excitement (the children had never had brand new boots before!) and fit perfectly.  That was in September.  They haven't been off their feet since.  Well, maybe to sleep, but really, that's about it!  The kids LOVE them.  Never have they complained of their feet being cold - not even once.  The only time they have had wet feet has been when they tucked their snow pants into their boots and snow filled their boots.  Oh, and there was that one time Master Calvin waded in a mud puddle that was up to his waist - but that probably wasn't a problem with the boots.

After a successful trial run with the littles, Miss Serenity ordered a pair of Bogs.  She chose my favorite color, OD green!  Again, the Bogs passed the test.  Serenity is harder on boots than any of our children (she's all go - no quit) and her boots still look like new (except for the mud).  She did trip over some barbed wire that was hidden in the snow and ripped a small hole in the top of her boots, however they still seem to be waterproof.  We will take them to Les Schwab Tire the next time we are in town and have them repaired (they put on patches, like they would fix a tire).

Sir Knight is up for Bogs next.  We will continue to buy boots, one pair at a time, until the whole family has been shod.  I love the fact that we now only require one pair of boots rather than three (our shouse is only so big!) and the kids love the fact that they have warm, dry feet.

Good boots are non-negotiable.  Bogs have met and exceeded our expectations.  The only down side of Bogs are the price.  Generally, I buy snow boots at thrift stores, garages sales or through Ebay and I have to admit that it was somewhat difficult for me to sit down and order expensive boots online.  However, I am convinced that in the long run we will be saving money.  Not to mention, the Bogs seem to be constructed well enough that we will be passing boots from one child to another (well, maybe Master Calvin won't really want to wear Princess Dragon Snack's purple boots).  From what I have seen, Bogs will wear through many a fall/winter season.

If you live in the country (or in the city, for that matter) and need a good, solid pair of mud/snow boots, Bogs just might the the boot for you.  I know that I will be stocking up (as I am able) so that I can keep my family's feet warm, dry and well protected.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Clash of Resounding Arms

"Freedom has been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think.  But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing".
                                    Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.  If 'Thou Shalt not Covet' and 'Thou Shalt not Steal' were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free".
                                     John Adams, A Defense of the American Constitution, 1787

"The war has actually begun!  The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!"
                                      Nathanael Greene, in an anonymous letter, 1781

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Original Social Saftey Net

When I was 8 years old, my parents pulled up stakes, sold their Island home and moved 400 miles away from all they had ever known.  My Grandparents, although supportive, thought my parents were certifiably crazy.  They couldn't understand what would possess them to drag their young family to the hinter boonies and abandon their wide circle of friends and family. 

As my parents struck out on their own, they met obstacle after obstacle.  Money ran out, work was back-breaking and winter weather was closing in.  Even the most basic of necessities had yet to be procured before the snow fell. 

And then my grandparents drove up the driveway.  Soon, an outhouse frame began to rise in the treeline.  Boards were nailed, toilet seats installed and metal roofing secured.  As the men built the outhouse, the women spent their days, hammers in had, building trusses to create a new roof for our single-wide trailer house. 

As the winter weather settled in, money completely dried up.  Although very willing, my dad was unable to find work.  Finally, a menial shop job became available at the local mill, however, the wage was much less than livable.  Because we hadn't lived in the state long enough to qualify for in-state hunting licenses, and we couldn't afford out-of-state licenses, we were in danger of not having enough to eat. 

Our neighbor, probably knowing the predicament we were in, would bring up a snowshoe hare now and again, to supplement our diet and the pastor of our church procured thousands of pounds of potatoes and apples from family in central Washington and blessed his flock with fresh produce.  Although our foodstuffs were meager, we never went hungry.

Over the years, both my mother's parents and my dad's mother would help our family in various ways.  My Grandma Omie sent "care" packages, filled with wonderful things we never would have been able to afford.  Breakfast cereal, crackers and canned soup filled her gifts, along with toothpaste and toilet paper.  It was like Christmas in July!  My mom's parents would fill their 16' trailer with garage sale fodder, picked up throughout the year, and bring it over to stock our families 2nd hand/Surplus store and also bring bags of fun things like coloring books, crayons and potato chips.

When it came down to it, our family was our perfect social safety net.  Although they didn't give us money, to use however we chose, they provided encouragement and more.  They did what they were able, whether it was by providing care packages or helping to build outhouses and roof trusses.  They saw needs and filled them.  It was the perfect system.

The areas of need that our family was unable to fill were filled by our church.  As it should be.  Never were we given chunks of money, or were all of our needs met by one person, but never did we go hungry, go without.  Our social safety next was just what God intended - family and church.

Many times over the years, my parents have become the safety net for Sir Knight and I.  They have purchased generators, helped with inverters, installed doors, put in windows, done laundry and helped buy food.  They have held us while we wept over a stillborn child, and rejoiced with us when we moved into our shouse.  They have been our best, and only, social safety net.

Today, in a world full of Food Stamps, WIC and every other government entitlement, we have lost our moorings.  No longer are we connected to our first, best safety net - our family and our church.  As the government has systematically dismantled our best social safety net, they have replaced it with a poor substitute - themselves.

We need to rebuild our families.  We need each other.  The more our government self-destructs, the more we will need our families.  We need to forgive each other, rebuilt relationships and built our futures together.  We are in this together.

I've got to tell you - I would much rather be beholden to my family and my church, than my government.  How about you?

Friday, January 25, 2013

High Capacity Semi-Automatic Firearms

Why does anyone need a high capacity semi-automatic firearm?

I write instruction guides on defense and security for the average, everyday Joe Nobody. My readers are typically law abiding, peaceful folks who believe in self-reliance – a lifestyle and mindset more closely resembling that of our pioneering forbearers than anything remotely political or radical. In addition, I have taught countless hundreds of people from all walks of life the proper usage of a firearm for their specific need. I always recommend a rifle, such as the AR15, for home defense over a handgun. My reasoning for this recommendation is based on experience, logic and cold, hard facts.

Like most of you, I’ve watched the ongoing debate over gun control with a keen eye. In some aspects, I’m proud of the discussion – a clear indication of a republic at work. While the ebb and flow of arguments and political counterpoints has fueled considerable frustration from my perspective, one single question conspicuously repeats, apparently the fulcrum of the issue:

“Why does anyone need a high capacity semi-automatic firearm?”

In my writings, I recommend such a weapon for home and ranch defense for several reasons. The primary justification for any high capacity firearm (a lot of bullets in the magazine) being the proven inaccuracy of someone under life-threatening stress.

To understand what I mean, you need look no further than statistics for the New York City Police Department. According to data published in the New York Times (hardly a mouthpiece for the NRA), the well-trained, professional police officers in the nation’s largest city only hit their target with 1 out of every 5 shots fired in anger (or fear) – a ten year average of 18%.

That’s right, 1 of 5 for alert, on-duty, capable lawmen, and 77% of those shots occurred when no one was shooting back. What type of accuracy can a sleepy, poorly trained Joe Nobody expect when awakened in the middle of the night and scared to death for his family’s safety? How will Joe’s accuracy be affected when one of those intruders returns fire? How many rounds does the average citizen need when being confronted by 2 or 3 intruders? I guess we all should learn to re-load those 10 round “clips” quickly.

The accuracy equation is compounded by stopping power. Have you ever heard the phrase “double tap?” It originated from the British Special Air Services, one of the most elite Special Forces units in the world. You see, our cousins from across the pond found that their 9mm weapons often failed to disable the average bad guy with a single shot. They learned this lesson the hard way, and thus adapted their training to fire twice in quick succession. What many people don’t realize is that handguns commonly don’t stop a threat with a single shot. A frightened homeowner has a far better chance of successfully defending his family with a rifle – one that has a lot of bullets.

Even if you aren’t worried about stopping an attacker, there are still a lot of very valid reasons for owning a high capacity weapon.

I’m unsure what the farmers in rural NY are going to do when the feral hog epidemic finally reaches their state. According to Mississippi State University, these pests already inflict 1.6 billion dollars’ worth of damage to farms, ranches, forests and parks annually. They are spreading rapidly. In the south, we’ve been fighting them for years, mostly with high capacity magazines in military style weapons – and we’re losing the war. Wild pigs aren’t like deer – you don’t just shoot one for sport. These aren’t cute little potbellied porkers released into the wild. We are talking about swine that are extremely aggressive, can weigh north of 150 pounds, and sport razor-sharp, bacteria-infested tusks. You have to eradicate the entire herd (normally 10-20 animals), which requires a lot of bullets. They scatter at the first shot, and adults can run with a horse. Most feral herds I’ve seen would snicker at seven rounds.

Both sides of this debate should also consider the tens of thousands of private professionals who play a vital role in the security of our great nation. These folks aren’t police officers or associated with any government agency. Yet they guard nuclear facilities, federal institutions and even parts of the United Nations. I guess in New York they’ll be restricted to carrying a 6-shot revolver? You know, extremists watch cable news, too. And you can bet that your average terrorist already knows security at nuclear power plants is private, and with the new legislation, they can’t have more than seven rounds in their weapons. It wouldn’t surprise me if some enterprising lunatic just established the nuclear power plants operating in the state of NY as a higher priority on his target list.

What about the tens of thousands of private military contractors who serve our country? These professionals work for the Department of Defense, Department of State and dozens of other federal agencies. The incident at Benghazi, Libya has been in the headlines lately. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans lost their lives in a terrorist attack there on September 11, 2012. Two of the four men killed that day were private military contractors. During 2012, more private contractors were killed in Afghanistan than U.S. military personnel.

These patriotic Americans are typically required to purchase their own individual weapons and are responsible for their own training. They hold no law enforcement license – they are just private Joes who happen to carry a rifle for a living. They work in some of the most dangerous places on earth, faraway lands where our government and corporations need them. They must own and use high capacity weapons in order to train for their job. I, for one, appreciate their help as more of our sons and daughters serving in the military would be at risk if not for these individuals.

Speaking of education, I need to point out the vast firearms training infrastructure that exists in the United States. Hundreds of private facilities, employing thousands of professional instructors, train and educate our military and law enforcement personnel every day. The average person probably isn’t aware of these institutions because they rarely have accidents or generate newsworthy events.

These private businesses train police departments, domestic and foreign military, and even employees of federal agencies. It will come as surprise to many, but the U.S. military doesn’t have the budget or facilities to train all of our troops. The Pentagon contracts out some of this work to private firms, such as Gunsight in Arizona, CSAT in Texas, or ACADEMI in North Carolina. The list could go on and on.

Unless you live in a major metropolitan area, chances are your local law enforcement officers were trained at a similar private facility. A small town or rural county can’t afford its own dedicated location and instructors – they save your tax money by using private enterprise. When we call 911, we expect a well-trained, competent professional to answer the call. No one wants Barney Fife rolling up, nervously trying to pull a single bullet from his breast pocket. These instructors are often required to own and maintain their own firearms and skills. Don't we all want the very best for our first responders?
So when someone makes the statement, “There’s no good reason why anyone needs a high capacity, semi-automatic firearm,” they are simply wrong.

Joe Nobody is the best-selling author of several books addressing self-reliance and defense. In addition to his popular instruction guides, the fiction series Holding Their Own is a favorite among preppers. You can find all of Joe’s works on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ITunes and other outlets, or visit

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is Best in Americans

For all of my grumping, I know how truly blessed I am to have been born in these United States.  As frustrated as I get with the state of the nation, the people themselves never cease to amaze me.

You did me the courtesy of listening to my grumblings about high taxes, high prices and the increasing presence of the "entitled" masses, and had the grace to realize that I was just letting off a little steam.  Thank you for that.  You are what is best in Americans.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for offering to send your boxes of clothing to our family rather than an impersonal thrift store!  I am humbled beyond measure.  We are so alike, you and I.  I would by far rather help someone personally than send my money to be disseminated by "the machine" that is our government.

Even when the darkness threatens to engulf us all, there are glimmers of light.  You.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Hazards of Country Living

When you live in the country there are innumerable opportunities for calamity to strike.  Take Master Hand Grenade, for instance....

Yesterday, our propane supply dried up, but being the preppers that we are, we had another bottle at the ready.  I asked Master Hand Grenade to brave the frigid temperatures and hook up a new bottle, returning the empty to the shed to fill on our next excursion to town.

All too soon, Master Hand Grenade was back in the house, looking a little peaked.  As it turns out, our ice covered paths had gotten the best of Hand Grenade and his legs had flown out from under him as he carried the full propane tank to its destination.  The tank landed squarely on the side of Hand Grenade's foot!  Ouch!!!

He hobbled into the house, took his boot off and propped his aching appendage on a pillow.  We immediately put ice on his foot (although very carefully - there was a lot of pain) to combat the swelling and gave him an Ibuprofen for the pain.  At first we thought that, perhaps, he had only bruised his toe, but after closer inspection, we concluded that it had indeed been broken.

And so, Master Hand Grenade sits on the couch in the living room, foot elevated, doing his schoolwork, while his sisters, brother and I take up the slack.  Miss Serenity has been getting the wood in, Princess Dragon Snack and Master Calvin fetch drinks and snacks and Maid Elizabeth has shouldered the generator responsibilities.  Master Hand Grenade convalesces with crutches by his side.

Propane bottles and ice.  These are the hazards of country living.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Brewing Storm

As a prepping family, we try to keep our expenditures to a minimum so that we can afford to make bulk purchases and capital improvements to our property that will enhance our lifestyle and provide for our needs and the needs of others in the event of an emergency.  One of the ways I keep our budget in check is by limiting my trips to "town".  Most shopping trips are executed (rather efficiently) by Sir Knight, who has to be in town for work anyway.  About twice a month I compile a shopping list of items to be purchased, starting with necessities first and working my way down to "would be nice" items.  Sir Knight, armed with a list and a budget, hits the restaurant supply store on the way home and picks up whatever we can afford from our list.  Rarely is he able to purchase every item on the list, or the quantities I have indicated, but we always have enough.  Sir Knight's shopping excursions save us a ton of money.  When he does the shopping we save money on gas, on eating out and on money that may have been spent thrift store shopping.  All in all, it is a great system.

Every once in a while, I am forced into a town shopping trip.  Certain things I just don't have the heart to ask Sir Knight to do - like shopping for underpinnings for three women, or for beauty supplies (we are girls you know) or for gifts for upcoming birthdays and other occasions.  And so, once every 3 or 4 months, the kids and I pile into the truck, buckle in and prepare for a long, busy town day.

Last Friday, Miss Serenity and I made the rare trek to town.  Serenity's wardrobe was in dire need of a freshening up (well, most of her clothes were stained, torn or too small) and I thought it would be a perfect time for us to have a little mother/daughter time.

As I readied to go, I took a few minutes and reconciled my checkbook.  The first thing I noticed was a lack of money in my husband's paycheck.  At first I thought it was an error, but upon closer inspection, I realized the reduced dollar amount was the result of the tax increases (or the sunsetted tax breaks) instituted with the new year.  Eek - our household income took a hit of roughly $250 a month!

Adjusting my budget, I soldiered on.  I slashed about $100 out of my food budget, $100 dollars out of my fuel budget and $50 dollars out of my clothing budget (which I don't normally have, but today was thrift shopping day).  The end result was that our family will really have to tighten our belts.  We will have to make meals stretch further and stay at home more (we rarely go anywhere as it is).  We will have to conserve energy (our generator is the largest user of our fuel budget), only doing laundry when the sun it out, so we can charge our batteries with the sun while we do our laundry with the generator.  We will have to make sure we only use the computer when the sun shines and turn off our refrigerator at night.  We will feel the reduction in our income keenly.

Not to be deterred, Miss Serenity and I made our first thrift store stop.  The first item on our list was jeans.  Have you tried to find a pair of jeans that go all the way to the waist recently?  It was almost in impossible task!  Miss Serenity is very particular about her clothing.  She likes her pants to go to her waist (not under her navel) and she likes her shirts to go past her belly button (silly girl!).  After searching the racks for about 45 minutes, we had 1 pair of jeans and 3 shirts in our cart.  Thinking that we had done quite well for ourselves, we headed off to the next store.  As we shopped, we noticed an alarming trend - the prices were outrageous!  Ladies blouses and sweaters were upwards of $12.99 (each!) and shoes were nearing $30.00!  At a thrift store!!!!  I found a charming little tea set for Princess Dragon Snack's upcoming birthday, nestled in a sweet wicker basket (that happened to be a little worse for wear), however the price tag was $29.95!  It seemed that every store was worse than the last.  Finally, after hours of searching, Miss Serenity had a new wardrobe.  It consisted of 1 pair of jeans, 4 t-shirts, 1 button up shirt, 1 camisole and 1 wool kilt - all for the low price of $50.00.  Eight items, at a thrift store, cost $50.00!  With prices like that, how on earth are people supposed to be able to cloth their children?

Next on our list of things to do was grocery shopping.  I made the dreaded trip to Walmart, pulled out my shopping list and went to work.  Staying on the outer edges of the store, I picked up toilet paper, laundry detergent, chicken scratch, milk, butter, pepperoni, mozzarella, hamburger and bacon.  I didn't buy chips, crackers, packaged food of any kind.  No snacks, treats or extras.  My bill?  $200!

And then, insult was added to injury.  Choosing a line that was almost empty, I found myself behind a young family.  Their cart was full of items that already been scanned and there were only a few items left on the belt.  As I stood there waiting, I saw that this young couple had purchased a new radiant heater (I've heard they work really well), a couple of DVD's and a few other odd and ends.  Apparently, they had paid for these items with their credit card and I thought they were paying for their groceries with cash.  I was mistaken.  After waiting for nearly 15 minutes, a supervisor was called over to the cash register to help the cashier process the WIC check the couple had presented for the groceries.  Actually, they had two separate piles of groceries and two separate WIC checks.  As it turns out, the government had changed the way WIC checks were processed and it took nearly 30 minutes for the problems to be resolved and the checks to be accepted.

Trying desperately not to get angry, I smiled at the couple in front of me and played hide and seek with their little ones.  All the while, my mind was whirring.  My family had just been robbed of $250 a month.  I was budgeting every penny, making every meal from scratch and reducing the number of trips to the library (3 miles away), just to make ends meet.  All of this, while the folks in front of me bought DVD's on their dime and food on mine.  And to make matters worse - the father was wearing the very sweatshirt that I had wanted to buy for Sir Knight for Christmas - but couldn't afford.

The veneer of civility that has hallmarked our country is wearing thin.  The chasm between the "makers" and the "takers" is growing, threatening to destroy our way of life. In our earnestness to provide for the less fortunate, we, in effect, have made everyone less fortunate.  We have created the perfect storm. And the storm is brewing.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Taking a Stand

Sir Knight and I are, in fact, very private people.  We do not seek notoriety or fame, preferring to live peaceful, quiet lives.  However, once in a while a situation arises that requires that we take a stand.  Last weekend, 2nd Amendment rallies were held across the United States and Sir Knight was tapped to speak.  After much consideration and thought, he chose to stand up and be counted.  I thought you all might enjoy a peak.

P.S.  He's the handsome one in the Paratus Familia Blog T-shirt!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just the Beginning

Obamacare cometh.  And I fear this is just the beginning.

Recently, a hospital in Pennsylvania decided to discontinue their obstetric care.  As of March 31st, Windber Medical Center will no longer be in the business of delivering babies.  Apparently, the behemoth that is the "Affordable Care Act" has made it nearly impossible for this small-town, local hospital to recoup costs associated with labor and delivery services.

Our government is effectively tying the hands of our medical care system.  Rather than giving people better health care and more options, the opposite is happening.  Of course, this is the only outcome we could have expected.  Rationed care is never good care.

Our health care system was broken, but now it is destroyed.  This is just the beginning.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One Voice Among Many

In light of the recent furor over gun rights in this country, rallies have been planned across our nation.  Every state capital (to my knowledge) will be having a rallies on Saturday, January 19th to remind our legislators that we not only support our second amendment rights, we demand them.

For those of you in the Idaho Redoubt, the rally will be held at the Capital Building in Boise (I'm not sure of the details, however, I think it will begin at 1p.m.).

If you are in Eastern Washington, Western Montana or Northern Idaho, there will be a 2nd Amendment rally at the Black Sheep (just off Highway 95) at 1p.m. (this coming Saturday). You are encouraged to bring a sign and holster a pistol (open carry, of course).  Senator Steve Vick will be there, among a number of other speakers.

This is your opportunity to be one voice among many.  While people are screaming "gun control", we can be the calm, influential voice among the panicked masses.  This is our time - we cannot allow the country to fall on our watch.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Shameless Book Plug

Yes, I know this is shameless, however, The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases has the BEST home care information for influenza that I have ever read!  The section on influenza was written by a doctor who was convinced that a deadly flu would eventually make its way to our shores and our hospitals would be ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak.  He wrote an easily understood, well thought out, comprehensive guide to dealing with influenza without access to modern medical facilities.  The section dealing with the flu is complete with symptom charts as well as treatment guidelines for every age group. A "Flu Treatment Kit" list is included, which every prepared family absolutely needs.  A few of the items recommended are:

  • Table Salt
  • Table Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Plastic baby bottle with rubber nipples
  • Plastic squeeze bottle
  • Composition-style notebook
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Pill cutter.....

and many more items.  The book will explain in detail what each item is used for and how many you need to have on hand.

As the flu sweeps across the nation, The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases could become your most well-used resource.  It is available for immediate shipping through Amazon.  Be well!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Choose Ye.....

I'm just gonna say it.  The 2nd Amendment isn't about protecting our gun ownership for hunting or for sport shooting or even for self-defense.  It is about protecting our country and countrymen from our government.  There, I said it.  The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is a specific provision designed to protect the citizenry against a tyrannical, out-of-control government that threatens the liberties and freedoms of the free men that constitute these United States.

Our government has us where it wants us.  Scared.  Confused.  Begging for safety.  It has whispered lies in our ears long enough that we have begun to believe them.  "Why would anyone need an "assault" weapon?"  "Those ugly black guns only have one purpose - killing people."  "Why would anyone need a "high capacity" magazine?"  "Only evil people keep "those" kinds of guns."  "We have the police - nobody needs guns at home.  We need to leave it to the professionals!"  But, it is all a lie, and we are buying it, hook, line and sinker.

The intention of our 2nd Amendment was to ensure that the governors of the people would never dare to overstep their bounds.  Having lived under tyranny and oppression, our forefathers knew that without constraints, foolish men would seek to increase their own power and influence, and in the course of following their hearts desires, they would trample the rights of a free people until they were little more than a notation in the history books.  Their answer to that problem was the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

And it wasn't just any arms.  It is implied that the arms that were guaranteed were the military style rifle of the day.  And so it should be.  If the government is fighting with M-16's and AR-10's, then that is exactly what the populous should carry.  We should not be arming Goliath with a Barrett Light .50 while David is allowed only a single shot .22!

Now, to the crux of the matter.  When you arm your population, people will be killed.  There is no way around that fact.  That is the price to be paid.  There are evil men intent on committing evil deeds.  There always have been.  There always will be.  As a people, we have to decide which is worse - 1 evil man with 3 guns and 100 rounds of ammunition against a few people that have the ability to defend themselves or 3000 evil men with thousands of guns and millions of rounds of ammunition against an unarmed population?

Our firearms are a guaranteed security against an overreaching government or out-of-control police force.  Our firearms guarantee our status as free men.  If we allow our government to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms, we have effectively allowed our servant to become our master.

The battle for our weapons is not about safety or security - it is about control.  Will we control our government or will our government control us?

Today you choose - will you be the master or will you be the servant?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Crackling Fires and Frosted Maple Cookies

The temperatures have dipped yet again, so we have piled wood into the wood cookstove and turned up the fireplace, rendering our shouse cozy and impossibly inviting.  One problem, however, was our quickly emptying cookie jar.  How could we possibly enjoy a proper cup of tea or creamy hot cocoa without an accompanying treat?  To remedy this situation, I stirred up a batch of maple cookies and watched as the heady scent permeating the air brought children from all corners of the shouse to the kitchen to indulge in a freshly frosted, warm, soft maple treat.

These cookies simple to make and use ingredients that are standard in most pantries.  They are roughly the equivalent of a chewy, soft, warm maple bar.  Yum!!!

Frosted Maple Cookies
1 1/2 C butter
2 C packed brown sugar
2 tsp. maple flavoring
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 C flour
2 tsp. baking soda

Mix together brown sugar, maple extract vanilla, butter and stir.  Stir in flour and baking soda.  If the dough is particularly sticky, add a bit more flour.

Roll dough into 1" balls and place on greased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 350°.  Let rest for one minute before removing from cookie sheet.  Frost when cool.

Maple Frosting
2 C confectioners sugar
2 T butter
2 T milk
1 tsp. maple extract

Combine powdered (confectioners) sugar, butter (melted), milk and maple extract.  Beat until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cookies.


Find a nice spot by the fire, brew a pot of tea and watch the snow fall as you indulge in warm maple cookies and good conversation.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Taking Care of Business

As most of you know, I have been doing a lot of soul searching about continuing our business.  No decisions have been set in stone, as of yet, however, I have revamped the website and restocked a few items.

Tea Cozies are currently available, as are T-shirts (at a new, reduced price!) and Wolverine moral patches.  Reusable menstrual pads and incontinence products may be available shortly (after a complete revamp of business practices - we are still fine-tuning what works and what doesn't).  I will keep you posted on our progress.

I truly appreciate your encouragement and support as we have worked on our problem areas.  I am deeply indebted.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Arrows in the Hand of a Mighty Warrior

Frequently, in our modern culture, children are viewed as nothing more than a liability.  They cost us money, ruin our things and break our hearts.  One or two children may be acceptable (when you only have a few, you can buy their "happiness", or at least their silence) but any more than that and you are clearly tipping the scales toward disaster.

We think our culture is wrong.  In fact, the bible says "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Psalms 127:4-5.  Did you read that last part?  "They shall speak with the enemies in the gate".  It seems that the bible indicates that our children are one of our greatest blessings -weapons, in fact.

Being survivalists, we often spend a lot of time and energy gathering supplies, skills and other vital necessities.  When it comes to storing food and medical supplies (along with defensive measures) we are always calculating based on the number of mouths to feed and people to protect.  That can get overwhelming, especially when you have a large family for which to provide.  But along the way, we have learned something.  These children, these extra mouths, are our greatest asset.  They are a ready made, cohesive "unit".

Over the years, we have noticed that each of our children seemed to develop different strengths.  Maid Elizabeth is medically inclined and we encouraged her as she sought to expand her knowledge base.  She is now our "Medical Officer".  She is in charge of maintaining our medical supplies and equipment (both for illness and trauma), alerting us to any additional equipment that is required and increasing her skill level and medical knowledge.  Not only does she stay current on modern medical practices, she also studies herbal and other unconventional medical interventions.  We need her.

Master Hand Grenade is not the least bit medically inclined.  He, however, has other skills.  Hand Grenade is very mechanical and meticulous in his record keeping.  He is in charge of our "fleet".  He keeps a three-ring binder full of maintenance records for each piece of equipment (including vehicles) in our fleet.  Every generator, 4-wheeler, motorcycle and truck have their own sheet.  He keeps track of model numbers, hours, mileage and any work done or needed to be done.  He writes down oil changes, tire changes, lubricants and problems.  He writes down what he did, what he needs to do and any parts that were required.  Not to put too fine a point on it - but he keeps our "rolling stock" rolling.  Essentially, Master Hand Grenade keeps us running.

Miss Serenity is a natural born hunter.  She is willing to be outside in -20° weather at the break of dawn, just to shoot a deer.  She is tenacious.  She will go out day after day after day, until she succeeds.  And, as we all know, an army moves on its stomach, not to mention, you never know when keen stalking skills will come in handy!

Although very young, Princess Dragon Snack and Master Calvin are both very handy.  Princess Dragon Snack can already peel potatoes enough to feed a small army and Master Calvin is quite competent when it comes to pulling the handle on the progressive reloading machine!  As of yet, we don't really know what valuable skills they will bring to our "unit", we just know they will be indispensable.

We consider ourselves to be blessed beyond measure.  Our quiver is full of arrows.  They are sharp - they are ready.  These children are arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Prepare for the Day of Battle....

In the last few weeks I have watched in horror as the country has taken turn after turn for the worse.  Food prices are rising.  Fuel is following.  Atrocities committed by evil men have provided the impetus for an already over-reaching government, fueled by hysterical, "useful idiots", to begin the disarmament of a formerly free people.  Everywhere I turn I am confronted by the realities of a nation ruled by emotion and useless rhetoric rather than disciplined determination.  The tension is almost palpable.

I begin to succumb.  In a panic I start making lists of things we need.  I stress about not being where I want to be, not being ready for things to crash.  "If only we had more....." or "I knew we should have gotten....".  I get pulled into the vacuum of fear.

This morning, as I was reading in Proverbs, I came across a verse that spoke volumes to my anguished soul.  "The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord" Proverbs 21:31.  The reality of that verse struck me as I thought on all of the preparation we already have in place.  We have spent years "preparing the horse against the day of battle" but our true safety comes from our Lord, not from our preparations.  Our preparations are good and right, but God himself is our strong tower.

The stress of the past few weeks drained from my body as this verse soaked into my being.  I didn't have to worry about what we do or don't have, about where we are (or where we are not) - our safety has nothing to do with that.  It has everything to do with the God we serve!

And so I will continue to prepare my horse against the day of battle - but in that preparation I will trust in God alone.  He is my rock and my refuge and my very real help in a time of trouble.  I am ready for battle.  I have a Champion.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winter Baking

During the winter, especially on bitterly cold days, there is nothing more comforting than the wafting scent of fresh, yeasty bread permeating the air.  Today was one such day.  We woke to temperatures of roughly 10° and then dipped to a low of 8°.  With the wood cookstove cheerily bubbling along, I put some Old-Fashioned Potato Bread on to rise while the children worked on school in the living room.

Master Calvin playing with Lego's while the older children do school

Miss Serenity writing a Christmas Thank-You

Maid Elizabeth teaching Princess Dragon Snack to read

Although I peeled fresh potatoes for this bread, it is a wonderful use of leftover mashed potatoes if you happen to have them.  Potatoes add such a nice flavor and texture to yeast breads - it is well worth the effort to peel a few and add them.


Old-Fashioned Potato Bread
1 1/2 C water
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 C buttermilk or sour milk (or add a splash of lemon juice to sweet milk)
3 T sugar
2 T butter
2 tsp. salt
2 T yeast
6 to 6 1/2 C flour

In a saucepan combine the water and potato.  Bring to boiling.  Cook, covered, about 12 minutes or till very tender.  Do not drain.  Mash potato in the water.  Measure the potato-water mixture.  If necessary, add additional water to make 1 3/4 cups total.  Return mixture to saucepan.  Add buttermilk, sugar, butter and salt.  Heat to 120°.  Add yeast and allow to sponge until light and bubbly.

Cubed potatoes ready to boil

Potatoes, milk, sugar, butter and salt heating to correct temperature
Add flour and knead to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.  Put dough into a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with towel and let rise until double.  Punch down.  Allow to rise until almost double.  Punch down.  Form into two loaves and put into greased loaf pans.  Sprinkle with flour.  Allow to rise until almost double.

In bowl and ready to rise

Ready to punch down a final time

Rising in pans

Ready to go into the oven

Bake in a 375° oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till done.  Remove bread from pans and cool on a wire rack.

The bread is done!

Warm and ready for butter!!
This is a wonderful all-around bread.  It is great for toast, sandwiches or just eating.


Days like this are the perfect days of our life.  Simple, quiet, wholesome.  These are the days to remember.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

They who have ears let them hear....

An eyewitness account of atrocities during the middle of the last century.  Can we possibly turn a blind eye?

America Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don't Let Freedom Slip Away 

By: Kitty Werthmann 

What I am about to tell you is something you've probably never heard or will ever read in history books. 

I believe that I am an eyewitness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide - 98% of the vote.. I've never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force. 

In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates. 

Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food.. Not that they didn't want to work; there simply weren't any jobs. My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need.. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people - about 30 daily. 

The Communist Party and the National Socialist Party were fighting each other. Blocks and blocks of cities like Vienna, Linz, and Graz were destroyed. The people became desperate and petitioned the government to let them decide what kind of government they wanted. 

We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn't have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living. Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group -- Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria . We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler. 

We were overjoyed, and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed. 

After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service. 

Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn't support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage. 

Hitler Targets Education - Eliminates Religious Instruction for Children: 

Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools.
The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler's picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn't pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang "Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles," and had physical education. 

Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail. The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it.. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free. We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had. 

My mother was very unhappy. When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn't do that and she told me that someday when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun - no sports, and no political indoctrination. I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing. Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler. It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn't exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy. 

Equal Rights Hits Home: 

In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn't work, you didn't get a ration card, and if you didn't have a card, you starved to death. Women who stayed home to raise their families didn't have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men. 

Soon after this, the draft was implemented. It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps. During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys. They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines. When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat. Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service. 

Hitler Restructured the Family Through Daycare: 

When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers. You could take your children ages 4 weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, 7 days a week, under the total care of the government. The state raised a whole generation of children.. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had. 

Health Care and Small Business Suffer Under Government Controls: 

Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna . After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything. When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full. If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries. 

As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80% of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families. All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing. 

We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables. Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn't meet all the demands. Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control. 

We had consumer protection. We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the live-stock, then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it. 

"Mercy Killing" Redefined: 

In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps . The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. 

When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work. I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van. I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months. They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness. 

As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia. 

The Final Steps - Gun Laws: 

Next came gun registration. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long afterwards, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily. 

No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up. 

Totalitarianism didn't come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria .Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.

After World War II, Russian troops occupied Austria. Women were raped, preteen to elderly. The press never wrote about this either. When the Soviets left in 1955, they took everything that they could, dismantling whole factories in the process. They sawed down whole orchards of fruit, and what they couldn't destroy, they burned. We called it The Burned Earth. Most of the population barricaded themselves in their houses. Women hid in their cellars for 6 weeks as the troops mobilized. Those who couldn't, paid the price. There is a monument in Vienna today, dedicated to those women who were massacred by the Russians. This is an eye witness account. 

"It's true..those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity. 

America Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don't Let Freedom Slip Away 

"After America , There is No Place to Go"