I have two more books on the market

The second novel is named Avalon Beyond the Retreat and came out on July 21, 2014. The third novel is called California’s Child and was published and placed on the market on August 22, 2014. I hope you will go to:

Categories: Personal Observations | 1 Comment

It Is Important How We Deal With Others

Recently a young person asked me what is the secret to a long and loving relationship. I think the key ingredient is “Common Sense.” There is an old Indian proverb that says, “Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes to know what he feels.” I don’t have all of the answers, but I can tell you I will reach forty-one years of marriage with the same woman this coming December, and in those years I have learned much about her and myself as well by simply listening. Another proverb says, “Elephants have big ears and little mouths. That is to listen well and to speak less.” We are never always right, and we are seldom always wrong. We as human beings are endowed with the ability to reason things out to a satisfactory conclusion. If we truly reason things out without too much personal bias we can reach a conclusion that will be a successful and enrich us. The principal ingredient is being able to listen and realize that someone else may have a difference of opinion and if you listen to that side, you may come to understand there is validity in what the other person thinks. With that in mind, I offer to you what I believe is a successful means of compromising to another view on any argument without losing anything and perhaps, gaining in some small way.  Love is the principal reason for enjoying a full life with another person. It doesn’t get any better when it is real and sincere.

L MIchael Rusin


Most of us enter into a relationship on a Braille trip. For virtually all of us it is an unknown venture where we have to find our way and learn about another person’s character as we are meandering through our state of connectedness between people. Once we have found a mate the easy part is over, and the rough times begin. Most of the time we are unsure of what to do or to say to that other person. This is normal and we should realize we are just human and cannot be guided by a script. That is only the way it works in the movies. In real life we are living it as each event unfolds and it is unrehearsed. Many times we are under stress and say or do the wrong things. There’s nothing wrong with that because we are in a learning mode.

Occasionally when we make the right decision and we say the correct thing that is a good event we didn’t screw up. None of us are perfect, but if we are true to ourselves, we will try to be compassionate at the very least, understanding of the other person and attempt to be a good listener. Some of us go an entire lifetime without taking the time to listen to other people. We have to realize that the world and all that happens on the planet doesn’t revolve around us exclusively. Other people are important too. As a consequence of our non-perfectness we realize that none of us are totally accurate and especially in the beginning stages of a budding relationship we often make mistakes, but if we try to make amends by correcting the wrongs we impose on that other most important person in our lives, our mates, we can be successful. What happens to most of us too often is we allow our pride to get in the way of a solution, and then we fail in reaching the correct answer.

We can never solve anything when we are angry. We will never conclude any problem if we are a closed book and refuse to listen to the other person’s view point. Every solution can be marked by compromise. By compromising we give away part of what we object to, but remember, we will receive just as much as we give away if we are willing to come to a solution that will leave us feeling we have at least gained something and not lost it all. If you are willing to concede that perhaps something about yourself isn’t quite right, then perhaps there could be more to you than what you have yielded. None of us are always right about everything. Oftentimes we need to step away from our ego and take a deeper look at who we are. It takes an intellectually mature person to see they are wrong about certain things and make the decision to correct what they are doing or saying to solve a problem.

When we are angry at the other person for any reason, with few exceptions, we need to remember shouting, throwing a temper tantrum, physically abusing the other person, or simply refusing to talk can lead to many unnecessary negative repercussions. The first thing you need to do is to step away from it and cool down. Second, and most important, try to see what the other person has been telling you. Third, calm down and open up a dialogue and resolve it in your mind before you begin your talk, if you will remain calm and you won’t get angry you’re going to be successful, or at least somewhat so. It’s a difficult thing to do, but if the relationship is worth reconciling then the preventative measures are certainly worth it. One way to look at it is to remember all the things that made the other person so attractive in the first place. A smile or a way they said something is usually all you need to put yourself in the proper frame of mind. That’s when you begin to talk and to compromise. That’s when you begin to heal because strife causes injury to all of us.

Many complicated reasons surface in a relationship which cause stress and arguments and sometimes they lead to terrible fights. Money problems can be one, in-law in fighting or meddling by others can be another. Surprising as it may seem, children can put stress on a family. The loss of a job, losing your house or car, an accident or a serious illness or injury can be another, as is death. Infidelity is another part of the equation that most times cannot be resolved because the loss of trust is so traumatic. You have to take it one step at a time and make an effort to solve the conflict. Everyone can’t do it successfully. However, when the love is there and there is a will to go past the cause of the problem, it is at least a start in the direction of smoothing out the bumps. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. It takes less effort to quit than it does to hang in there and work toward a solution.

You don’t know someone until you have lived with them for a while. Getting to know the other person takes some time and there are going to be annoying things about the person you have decided to make a life with. Often times you won’t like what you discover. Occasionally you will decide that although the things you don’t like are there in that other person, you at least realize you can live with those things and not allow them to break up your relationship. Only you can make that decision. Pettiness in finding another person’s faults constantly is a smallness in the critic’s mind.

Love with someone is difficult at best. Nowhere is it written that it is 50/50. It is always 20/80 or so flexible up or down, it cannot be measured. It all depends on who is looking at the problem. One side will always have a set of reasons why it is the other person’s faul,t but if you talk to the other person on the other side of the argument, you will see they have a different perspective on it as well. All relationships are based on love and mutual support. To love someone you have to respect them first. If you are in a relationship that is dependent on the other for anything other than love, respect and a willingness to accept the other’s failings, you have a problem. You cannot depend on the other person to carry the entire load of the relationship on their shoulders. It will never work because we as human beings have low thresholds of what we will maintain in terms of responsibility and for how long. When we get tired of carrying the load, we usually will refuse to go one step further. Tired can be as in “Bone Tired.” Nobody wants to think that they are burdened with all the responsibility all of the time. We all like to think that in a partnership someone else is helping with the load some of the time.

Which leads me to this observation. If you are a bully, or a drunk, a thief, or you are lazy and won’t support your other half, how can you expect them to respect or love you? Yes, they can be dependent on you but that does not engender love or respect. Most of us should have it in our minds that our relationship will be like a garden. If the garden is important to you, it will need to be weeded on a regular basis, or it will grow out of control with unwanted vegetation. So we weed it periodically. We water it and fertilize it as well. Once in awhile we have to spray to keep the unwanted critters from invading and taking our garden over, or destroying it before we have the chance of enjoying the fruits of our labor. We do these things because the garden is important to us.

Your fertilizer is the love you bring to your garden. It is also the benefit of your good deeds and support you offer to your spouse. The weeding is simple
enough, it is the hard work you put into supporting your family by working and maintaining your home and making sure all the bills are paid on time. That equates to responsibility. The watering is the self sacrifice we all have to take on ourselves occasionally because it is necessary. We don’t take that vacation this year because we can’t afford it. That means we make the attempt to manage our affairs to a satisfactory conclusion. The spraying is the friends we surround ourselves with. It can be family and it can be just friends.

If you surround yourself with losers who mooch off you, or compromise you in any way, they are not your friends. You must rid yourself of those who will cause strife in your small world. Surround yourself with winners. Women are nest builders and most of the time women want to be with a winner and they will if they can be. Be a winner. Don’t be a whiner.

If you cannot see what the other person sees in you, you should make the effort to see what you are in the eyes of others and how they see you. You may be surprised at what you’ll find out. Sometimes we are not to others as we think we are to ourselves. It’s a little like hearing your own voice that’s been recorded. As you listen you know it’s you but it doesn’t sound like you when you hear it. We are like that. We are not always what we think we are to others. That can be the root of the problem. Accept the fact you really aren’t perfect, and not everyone truly likes you. Perhaps some of the decisions you are making aren’t exactly the best solutions for you to be making and if there is a better solution, you should consider taking it. Always remember, none of us are perfect. We are all flawed in some way. Not everyone is good looking or has a great body, or are as smart as some others are, and all of us aren’t rich or are successful in all that we do. Get over it. Most of us are ordinary people who live ordinary lives and we live it until we die. Some of us accomplish great things and most of us just live our lives in quiet desperation and then our lives are over one day and we aren’t remembered anymore after awhile. If someone loves you, consider it a gift and enjoy it. One thing we all have in common is, our bodies and minds are exclusively under our control. We are in essence the Captains of our own ships. We can steer a good course or drive it up on the rocks. We all have the opportunity to steer it where we want it to go.

If you love someone, remember why you love that person. Try to control your anger because we are all going to make mistakes, break things or forget matters that should not have been forgotten, but it happens. Try to focus on what made your relationship so good initially and try to improve those small considerations that can be made better. I had tickets to see Janice Joplin in Concert when she was getting ready to break up with her band Big Brother and the Holding Company. It was the last concert they would be together and I fell asleep on the couch with the tickets in my shirt pocket.

We make mistakes. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy but after all we are only human and prone to making mistakes. Sometimes we do it with those we love. We should never hurt those we love. Love and honor are key words for not only your spouse or a friend, but with everyone you know if you care about them. If you do that you will be revered by those who care about you back. We all need each other and in some cases, we need certain individuals a lot more than we do others. Love is to be cherished and it is to be revered because, it is a gift that makes us who we want to be in the eyes of others. Always remember this, “Haters don’t really hate you, they hate themselves because you are a reflection of what they wish to be.” When you make up your mind to be a winner, there is no power on this earth that can change a made up mind. Your garden is a reflection of who you are. You can allow it to go to ruin or you can keep it neat and productive. The choice is always your own.

L Michael Rusin


Categories: Personal Observations | 2 Comments

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive ………

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these  ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to  institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and  organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely  to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Our government, in its current composition, has failed us. Congress  has allowed legislation to be put into place leaving decisions which  impact the very foundation of our republic to bureaucrats who are  unanswerable to the American people. The Executive branch has  overstepped its constitutional authority, ruling by fiat and imposing  its soft tyranny on the public. The judiciary, the last recourse in  our system of checks and balances, has forsaken its role to uphold the  constitution. After rendering his tortuous legalistic contortions to  uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice  Roberts admonished the American people, “Members of this Court are  vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those  decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be  thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our  job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”
And so, here we stand, the last line of defense, the last possible  hope for the restoration of our republic to the founders’ intent. We  the people, and especially those of us who comprise the Tea Party  movement, must make a stand. Like those Spartans at Thermopylae, we  must be willing to sacrifice all for a greater cause.
The odds look daunting, but if we remember who we are as Americans,  and if we come together, we can make things right.  America is a special place. We swear no allegiance to a king. We have  no royalty. Our nation was founded on an idea – that we are all  created equal, and that we have certain inalienable rights which are  endowed on us by our Creator — not by our government. We believe that  governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed.  Those of us who believe in the founding principles, who understand  that divine providence had a hand in the formation of this country,  realize that there is something ingrained in the American spirit, some  inherent yearning for liberty, some desire to be left alone to make  our own fortune, to seek our own happiness, coupled with a unique  belief in charity, in extending a helping hand to those in need.
My friends, that spirit, that very essence of being American, can  never be taken from you. Politicians may squander our treasury leaving  us bankrupt, they may decimate our economy leaving us jobless, they  may confiscate our wealth through burdensome taxation, and they may  try to regulate every aspect of our lives in a veiled attempt to  enslave us, but they can never forcibly take away our American spirit.  The only way we can lose this God-given blessing is to surrender it,  to turn our backs on it, to trade it in, if you will, for some empty  promise of government largesse.
Unfortunately, countless Americans, weaned on generation after  generation of government handouts, perpetuated by the progressive  liberal ideology, have indeed surrendered their spirit.  They have accepted a new way of life, dependent on a bureaucratic  leviathan for their every need, no longer the makers of their own  dreams, no longer the guardians of their children’s future.  And as more and more of these weakened Americans accept the yoke of
enslavement in return for their vote, the more powerful the  bureaucracy becomes, the more insatiable the hunger of the beast. So  we must remain vigilant lest we too succumb to the siren’s song of the  nanny state.
So I repeat, that spirit, that very essence of being American, can  never be taken from you. It is yours to hold forever. It can only be  lost if you willingly surrender it, so cherish it, nurture it, draw  strength from it, and pass it on to your children. Keep that flame  burning, because if we all do that one thing, then come election day  there will be a firestorm blazing across the nation, purging us of the  charlatans and the corruption, and out of this cauldron, using the  molds given to us by our founders, we will re-forge this nation to its  rightful form, and once again restore honor to America. But each of  you must keep your own spirit alive; you must keep the embers burning.
Enjoy Independence Day, remember what it means, remember who we are,  and remember what is ultimately at stake. The future is now in our  hands, and I guess that’s exactly where the Founding Fathers would  want it to be. Do everything you can to assure that this Independence  Day will not be our last.
“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in  the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only  by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every  act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free  people.” (The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of  America)

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Antique Farm Equipment – Fall 1999 The Natural Farmer

By Jack Kittredge

Early settler and farm families in our region lived largely self-sufficient lives. The food, fiber and energy they

needed for subsistence were produced on-farm. The few items they could not produce were available locally on

a barter basis. This way of life has been captured in several historical museums in the northeast which specialize

in recreating life as it was in certain places and periods of our past.


These museums, such as Old Sturbridge Village and the Hadley Farm Museum in Massachusetts, the Farmer’s

Museum in Cooperstown, New York, the Howell Living History Farm in New Jersey, Coggeshall’s in Rhode

Island, Shelburne Museum in Vermont, Stonewall Farm in New Hampshire, the Maine State Museum in

Augusta and many more have collections of period tools and implements. These tools illustrate the cleverness

with which our forebears faced their daily tasks.


Frank White, curator of the Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) collection, has a degree in the classics and started at

OSV as an interpreter. The Village has space and staff to display only 10% of its tool collection during most of

the year, but does open the barn to the public during the special Agricultural Fair the last weekend of

September. Frank was kind enough to give me a special viewing, and discuss with me local agricultural tool-

making during the end of the 18th and first half of the 19th century.


Over the 50 years from 1790 to 1840, major changes occurred in tool-making. At the beginning of that period

tools were largely local. Metal blades or tips to shovels, axes, plows, etc. were either produced on-farm or by

the village blacksmith. The wooden handles were usually cut and shaped by the farmer. Implement designs

were largely regional. Plows used in Pennsylvania in the 18th century were different from those used in New

England or the Hudson River valley.


As the years passed, however, more tool-making took place off-farm. Patents for tools were filed by common

everyday people – local blacksmiths or mechanics. They were making tools on an everyday basis and saw ways

to improve them. By the late 1820s the New England Farmer Seed Store in Boston put out a catalog listing

seeds and various farm equipment. You could visit the store and take it home with you, or order from the

catalog and take delivery through your country store, which would have someone going to Boston on a regular

basis. By 1840 a comparable store opened up in Worcester, Ruggles, Nourse, Mason. Besides stocking

equipment made by others, they manufactured the cast iron “Eagle” plows which gained a national reputation.

Manufacturers like this had agents going to Pennsylvania or beyond, trying to sell their products. A plowmaker

in Hampden had plows in Texas, Louisiana, and the Midwest.


The OSV implement collection is particularly strong in plows, and Frank illustrates the changes in society

during this period from the changes seen in plowing tools. “In the early 19th century,” he relates, “one of the

most important changes in agricultural technology was that from wooden plows, ones which were locally made,

to cast iron ones – still with wooden beams and handles, but with cast iron share and moldboard and landside —

that were factory made. The wooden plows had some iron, usually a point and locking coulter (the vertical sod

cutting knife), but the moldboard was wooden, though often faced with iron.


“There would be a plow maker in the town – someone who was a reasonably skilled woodworker. Sometimes it

would be the blacksmith himself. But the plows were locally made. The advantage to that is that if you are on

limited means, as many farmers were, you could take your plow to the shop and have it repaired for an

exchange of labor or scrap iron instead of having to come up with cash. In the rural areas there wasn’t much of a

cash economy in the early 19th century. But in 1818 a man named Jethro Wood patented a plow with

moldboard, share and landside in three separate castings. With this plow you could replace the point when it

wore out or broke. In this area from the late 1820s into the 30s a lot of the farmers who could afford to were

converting from their wooden plows to cast iron ones. They were mass produced and as a result were much

more uniform than the earlier ones. The problem with cast iron, factory made plows was that you would have to

lay out money for them. And repair parts would cost you money as well. But by 1830 cash was more prevalent

in the region. A good farm worker might get a dollar a day for his labor.”


By 1830, White asserts, there was enough commerce in farm implements that a design would be patented and

then an iron foundry would buy the rights to cast those parts. Then a local plowmaker would go down to the

iron foundry in Hartford, get a load of castings, and bring them back. He would then make the wooden parts for

them and sell the plow. If you were a farmer you would buy directly from the plowmaker. If you wanted a

different plow you could go to your local store and order one, or go yourself to an agricultural warehouse like

the one in Worcester and buy one there.


Plow design became much more standard across regions, too, as time passed. Massachusetts plows were

popular in the Midwest and South. On prairie soil, however, the cast iron plows made here didn’t scour well –

the dirt didn’t fall off the moldboard. That opportunity was met by John Deere, a Vermonter, in the 1840s, with

his steel plow. Cast iron rusts, but in New England abrasion from the soil scours it to a shiny finish. In prairie

soils that doesn’t happen. Steel, which polishes differently, turned out to be the answer.


Other new implements had to do with processing corn and other grains. Corn was the biggest crop grown in

New England. It was grown for the seed, which was either ground into meal for human consumption or cracked

for animal feed. When you harvested your corn you would husk the ears by hand and then put them into a raised

shed to dry. Later in the fall when it was dry you would shell it. There were a number of ways to do this. You

could take a shovel with an iron tip, place it over the edge of a tub, and rub the ear of corn back and forth across

it. The kernels would fall into the tub. Or you could flail your corn on the barn floor. The problem with that is

the kernels scatter all over the place and you have to shovel them up, which isn’t very clean.


One of the pieces of equipment that became quite popular, according to Frank, was a corn sheller. There were

various kinds made. One, patented by Harris, was a simple device made in Vermont in the 1830s. It’s a matter

of two cast iron plates with teeth on them, one mounted on an easel, one with a handle. You put the ear of corn

between the plates and work it back and forth. This was produced for many years and there are a lot in

existence, so White believes it was reasonably effective. A smaller, bench mounted version just had nails in it.

That, too, was quite common.


The most effective corn sheller had large wheels studded with iron teeth. A hand crank drove the wheel through

gears. On the side of the box there were also iron studs, facing the wheel. You laid the ear in against the wheel,

turned the crank, it rotated the ear, pulled it down, and striped it clean. Some of these were made in small one or

two-man shops, like the one OSV has, which was made in Woodstock, CT. Others were made by larger



Another major introduction, which compared with the corn sheller, has to do with processing small grains.

Farmers didn’t raise much wheat here because they had trouble with rust and other diseases. The climate was

too damp and crop rotations weren’t customary, so the problem kept recurring. Finally they introduced resistant

varieties, which did better, but with the opening of the Erie canal in the 1820s grain prices plummeted and

farmers found they couldn’t compete with the wheat which came in from upstate New York. In the early 1800s,

however, farmers in New England did raise a lot of rye and oats.


They harvested small grains with a sickle, bending the stalks over after being cut for someone else to come

along to bind. In the late 1700s harvesters began to use a cradle, which is a scythe with an attachment of fingers

which catch the cut grain and hold it. Someone still has to put it into sheaves, but it’s a lot faster. The cradle was

common in the mid-Atlantic states and New York before coming here, perhaps because they raised more grains



After harvesting, farmers in southern New England threshed their grain with a flail on the barn floor. The grain

shattered and the stalks were separated out. By the 1830s there were people designing threshing machines,

mostly in New York and Maine where the crops were large enough for that.


But cleaning the grain still took a long time. You would pick it up, after removing the stalks with a pitchfork,

and put it through a riddle – a sieve with open latticework. You would shake it and catch the larger debris there.

Then you would take a winnowing tray into the barn when a wind was blowing, open both doors for cross-

ventilation, and toss the grain repeatedly into the wind so it would blow away the chaff. Eventually you ended

up with clean grain, but it was fairly labor-intensive.


So fanning mills, or winnowing machines, became popular. You pour the grain into a hopper, crank a fan in the

back which creates a draft in the box as the grain drops through a series of screens of different size. These

screens are connected to the crank so they slide back and forth as the fan turns. Your clean grain falls into the

bottom of the box in a tub. You could change the screens to those of a different mesh, depending on the size of

the grain you were winnowing. You could even winnow peas or beans.


There is evidence that fanning mills were actually first developed by the Chinese for cleaning rice. The idea

apparently was brought to northern Europe by people who had traveled in China. The mills were used in

Europe, and then moved to America via German immigrants, who used the mills in Pennsylvania and New

York long before they were popular in New England.


One more major improvement in 19th century farm technology had to do with dairying. Farmers were moving

from producing for their own use and for a limited local market to producing for a much broader market. Herd

sizes were increasing. Barns were getting larger. Butter and cheese were being produced in larger quantities on-

farm for shipment to market.


Refrigeration, of course, did not exist. Commercial ice-production was only beginning in the 1820s and 1830s –

Frederick Tudor started the business in eastern Massachusetts and found a market for ice, packed in sawdust,

shipped to the Caribbean Islands. But on farms ice-cutting didn’t become common until mid-19th century. There

were occasional ice cellars, and later in the century most towns would have an icehouse.


Farmers, however, needed to keep dairy products cool and relied on spring houses or underground storage. Salt

was used to preserve butter, which was made it in cooler weather (cheesemaking occurred when it was warmer).

Many people are familiar with the dasher churn – the one with a plunger in it – which the housewife or daughter

would lift up and down until the cream was made into butter. For larger quantities other methods were

developed. One is a barrel on a rocking chair base which could be operated with a foot while doing something

else. Others were hand-cranked, and there were a lot of different designs for mechanizing this process.


One interesting innovation, usually found in back rooms or dairy rooms, is the “dog power”. This is an endless

belt or treadmill, perhaps 5 feet long. A dog or goat or other small animal would be hitched onto it and trained

to turn the belt, which would turn a crankshaft driving a pitman rod that would operate a churn or some other

piece of equipment. Dog powers were used a lot in the middle to late 19th century and were available as early as

the 1830s. Larger versions of it involving horses or oxen drove thrashing machines, while balers were driven

with sweeps.


Once the butter is churned, the moisture still has to be worked out of it. This is usually done with wooden

paddles, working the butter back and forth while adding salt. You pour off the liquid every so often. OSV has a

butter worker – a one handled rolling pin which can be used to roll butter back and forth and work out the liquid.

You can change the pivot hole to get butter that catches in the corners. Later models had a hand crank and

gearing which drove a fluted roller in a rectangular trough to do the same thing.


When you make cheese you have to break up the curd. Several devices handled this. One is a multi-bladed

knife, another is a hopper with teeth and a crank. Later you have to press the cheese curds and drain the liquid

out. Some presses used a screw system like a vise, others used weights and gravity. But one problem they

encountered was that, as the water is driven off, the cheese gets smaller. Instead of resetting the screws a lot,

one clever device – called a self-acting cheese press – uses the weight of the cheese, amplified through levers, to

press it.


There are many other interesting implements in the OSV collection. One is a sausage grinder – similar to current

meat grinders except that it has wooden teeth. Another is a hay press, or stationary baler. They were quite rare,

according to White. You fork loose hay into the cabinet, crank the ropes tight with the windlass to compress the

hay to about half its size, and then pass cords around the bale to tie it off. Then you open the doors and take the

bale out. For transporting normal distances you would carry hay loose, in a wagon. But you would bale hay for

long distance shipment when space was at a premium. The OSV baler came from a farm in Connecticut where

they were shipping hay out on board ships. Larger, horse operated hay presses were in existence, Frank says,

which pressed up to 500-pound bales.


In the early 1900s cider was usually pressed in a large mill, which might be part of a large farm with an orchard.

Other farmers would come and have their apples pressed there and take the cider home in barrels. Of course it

got hard, and that is what cider was – unless it was hard they didn’t call it cider. Cider milling was a source of

extra income to the mill owner. The OSV mill is typical for the time, coming from a farm in Brookfield, New

Hampshire. The press bed is 5 or 6 feet square, and it has three large wooden screws.


The apple crusher has a ten foot trough which feeds apples to be ground up into large toothed cylinders. A horse

or ox was hitched to a wooden beam or sweep which drove the wooden gears of the crusher. Then the pomace

would be shoveled up and put into “cheeses” on the press – layers of crushed apples contained in layers of

folded straw. Several “cheeses” would be stacked on top of each other and pressed at one time.


Another OSV implement is the woodworking lathe. The lathe is driven by a foot treadle on which is mounted a

connecting rod that turns a large overhead wheel. The wheel, through a belt connection, drives a lathe spindle.

Blocks slide along two wooden bars paralleling the spindle to serve as stops and tool rests.


To find our more about the Natural Farmer, go to the NOFA Interstate Council website or write to the editor.



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Pace Beads: To keep the count as close to real as you can get.

Pace count beads

These are used by Army Rangers, Special Forces and any forward Recon operative. The tool is usually constructed using a set of 14 or more beads on a length of cord. The beads are divided into two sections, separated by a knot. 9 beads are used in the lower section, and 5 or more beads are used in the upper section. There’s often a loop in the upper end, making it possible to attach the tool to the users gear with a simple Prussic knot. You can make your own or purchase them as a Survival store or at a store that sells military paraphernalia.

How to use:

There are two ways to use the beads. One is to represent the paces the user have walked, while the other is to represent the distance walked.

Both methods requires the user to know the relationship between the paces walked and the distance travelled.

Counting paces:

As users walk, they typically slide one bead on the cord for every ten paces taken. On the tenth pace, the user slides a bead in the lower section towards the knot. After the 90th pace, all 9 beads are against the knot. On the 100th pace, all 9 beads in the lower section are returned away from the knot, and a bead from the upper section is slid upwards, away from the knot.

In this manner, the user calculates distance travelled by keeping track of paces taken. To use this method, the user must know the length of his pace to accurately calculate distance travelled. Also, the number of paces to be walked must be pre-calculated, or the distance travelled has to be calculated from the walked paces.

Distance walked:

For every 100 meters the user walks, one of the lower beads are pulled down. When the ninth of the lower beads are pulled, the user has walked 900 meters. The next time the user has walked 100 more meters, one of the upper beads are pulled down, and all the lower beads are pulled back up.

Using this method the user must know the number of paces walked in 100 meters. An experienced user can also adapt the pace count for each hundred meters depending on the terrain. When using this method the user doesn’t have to calculate, or look up how long distance to walk or the distance travelled.

This method can of course be used for non-metric distances as well, though with the beads arranged in a different manner.

A mile is a unit of length, most commonly 5,280 feet (1,760 yards, or about 1,609 meters).  The mile of 5,280 feet is sometimes called the statute mile or land mile


Categories: Personal Observations | Leave a comment

A Book Review of My Book Avalon

A number of people have asked me about my book-What it’s about, and so forth. Here is a book review by a man who reads the kinds of books Avalon is, and this is what he has to say about.


L Michael Rusin

Avalon – a book review beyond the mists of nuclear war

Book ReviewPhilosophy

(Edit Post)

by kermitjr

There are a lot of books, and even a few TV shows and movies, about surviving “Doomsday”, the Apocalypse, nuclear war, and the like.  Mad Max, Patriots, Jericho… take your pick.  But none of them combine a how-to-style manual with a novel-like format quite like L. Michael Rusin’s book, Avalon.

When I first saw the name, I immediately thought of The Mists of Avalon, a terrific fantasy adventure by Marion Zimmer Bradley with King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere.  Rusin’s book, however, “ain’t your daddy’s Avalon”, though it is does have its own version of Camelot where justice and peace reign supreme in the midst of a chaotic and fallen world.  In this case, that world just so happens to be a post-nuclear-apocalyptic one, and Rusin’s Camelot, ironically, is, itself, called Avalon.

Avalon’s primary storyline is a essentially a real-time execution of a long-term plan for when SHTF (a well known acronym for “When Poop Hits the Fan”). It’s one that only true survivalists and preppers will understand the need for, but still presents an interesting read for those who would consider themselves more, ahem, “normal.”

Beginning in the midst of confusion of a nuclear attack on U.S. soil, Mike, the main character, primary planner, and former special forces operative details, not only the execution of a well-thought out plan, but he also provides a great deal of continuing facts on the prior-planning and preparation. Details abound from color coding cache tubes, to assembling a team of unique experts, to proper placement of claymores and piano wire in perimeter defense. It’s a combination that makes this a must read for any serious survivalist or prepper – it’s like a “how to” in novel form, and the truth of the matter that it’s an awesome read, as well.

Rusin’s intent isn’t “to write an award winning novel” but instead to “provide people with something practical” to use in the case of planning and execution. He clearly accomplishes that goal.

Personally, I’ve found it very useful for those types of friends, family members, and coworkers who tend to raise an eyebrow whenever someone mentions any sort of doubt about the stability of the future. Before taking the conversation too far, I simply ask them if they would like to read a good book; few say no. Your mileage may vary, but the reality is that people will often walk away with a perspective you otherwise might have a hard time conveying to them.

I must say that, for me, this wasn’t a typical “I stumbled across a new book” to read.  Though I’ve talked about topics related to survivalist prepping for quite some time now, even so far as to look at land to buy in a few remote places, I didn’t really know of the depth of conversations taking place on the ‘net through sites and forums.  I found myself browsing through the Survivalist Boards, where I was drawn into the preparation of one man talking about his mountain retreat.  That led to my reading the advice and writings of a second author, Caseyboy, who began to reveal a novel-style philosophical prepper’s survival story.

It turns out that Caseyboy was the not-so-secret identity of author L. Michael Rusin.  That story, posted in great detail for essentially almost the first half of the book, about 72 pages worth, was what eventually turned into Avalon – a story of what is essentially a post-WWIII world.  I was so intrigued that I bought a copy the moment I knew it was on Amazon and haven’t regretted it.  If you’ve read “The Road“, then let me simply say that I  don’t think it compares to this read since Avalon actually has a plot with multiple characters.  One reader elsewhere posted that it makes The Road look like it was written on a driveway with sidewalk chalk.  While I’m not 100% sure of that analogy, one of the only major commonalities beyond the storyline’s existence post-nuclear, is the predicted breakdown of the moral fabric of society and the depths to which it would likely plummet in the absence of law enforcement.
In many ways, Rusin highlights some of the concerns people have that makes them want to prepare in the first place, but he does so as an interesting back-story littered throughout the entire work.  There are also some very conservative, old-school Patriotism overtones that fly in the face of much of the Liberalistic slant that exists in society today.  Most of the writings in this arena occur predominantly toward the very end of the book, however, and instead of detracting from the primary content, they properly complete the story.  At a minimum, Rusin gives people food for thought and a good read.

Did I say good read?  It’s a downright fabulous read that is literally a page turner.  Reading through a few discussion boards and other reviews, quite a few people commented that it was a bit of a slow start, but they found themselves pushing through “just one more”, be it page, scene, or chapter.  I have to confess that such was my experience when I began reading on the forum late one night; I kept looking forward to getting back to it.  Rusin does an expert job in focusing on one main character in the beginning, and then slowly expanding to include several different story lines that converge like a well oiled Glock 21.

One key character doesn’t even show up until the second half of the book, and yet is masterfully inserted to round out the story.  It’s Beth, a FBI Special agent, who is making her way to an old abandoned retreat her dad used to take her camping at.  It turns out some “improvements” have been made since her last visit and it’s the new residents are the ones who essentially come to her rescue towards the end.  She provides a good contrast regarding those who might not prepare, and yet can quickly adapt to survive while maintaining their humanity.   Slight spoiler: in rescuing children and a handful of adults from slavers, she  essentially builds her own miniature army, no pun intended.

Interestingly enough, Rusin reveals that he actually wrote the vast majority of the book decades ago, and that it was only with the resurgence of a mainstream focus on survivalism and prepping that he decided to “re-release” his work.  My guess is that some publisher decided long ago that the book wasn’t worth the risk given that much of the overarching themes speak heavily to make a few fairly big political statements.

I don’t know if they are the direct intent of the author; I don’t think they are, and I haven’t asked him.  I believe they are just the honest result of someone who writes a realistic scenario depicting conservative values that recognize the government might not always be there to save you.  Oh, and perhaps that government shouldn’t meddle in many of its current affairs that our forefathers never intended it to.  The bottom line is that Avalon isn’t a “politically correct” book.

No book review would be valid if only the roses were revealed with no mention of thorns.  In this case, I think it’s fair to say that the thorns aren’t too sharp, but I’ll simply start by saying the old adage is true: You can’t judge a book by its cover.  Cover art may not seem like a big deal to many, but if people don’t have a desire to pick a book up off the shelf, the simple truth is that it will never make it into their shopping cart.  A pink sky with a single mushroom cloud truly doesn’t do Avalon justice.  I’m not saying I have all the answers, but perhaps the addition of a sketch of the Avalon ranch, etc., would draw people’s attention a bit more.

Having spoken with Rusin since I started writing this reveiw, I’ve see some of the original pictures from the first version.  Some of them truly add to the imagination, but I believe I’m of the final decision that Rusin writes enough details that the pictures aren’t needed.  I might suggest an aerial view for awareness, but sometimes less is more.

The other major detraction is a multitude of minor grammatical and typographical errors throughout the book that detract from the polished feel; but if you can read past them, the content is there.  There are a few minor things, like references to hydrogen bombs (vice nuclear)… perhaps a callback to the original time in which it was written.  If the intent is the dirty-bomb mentality, so be it, but it raised some questions.  Rusin reveals on one of his forum posts that he paid for and editor that didn’t quite pony up the skill set promised.  As the behest of some fans, he went to press without a final review.  On the one hand, it misses a few beats, but I can honestly say that the print version is a pretty big improvement over the original forums posts, and those drew me in, nonetheless.  I think I actually enjoyed the second read more than the first, and I read very few novels twice.

Several chapter titles don’t adequate reveal the creativity of the author or his content.  Anytime I find a few chapters that simply distinguish themselves by (a), (b), and (c) at the end, concerns arise.  In fact, I’m not even sure I have seen it elsewhere.  It seems as though the book was begun with a certain philosophy that shifted as the storyline developed… something perhaps a more critical editor would have changed.  I also recall a few slippages from first to second to third person.  Those eccentricities do, however, reveal the mindset that this is not simply a novel… rather, it’s addressed to the reader as practical advice that happens to be disguised as a novel.

The last comment I’ll make is that I couldn’t help but feel the ending is “a bit rushed.”  I sincerely believe that it is partly because I didn’t want it to end, but it seems that the slower beginning continually picks up speed to the point that each scene begins to fly by, leaving the reader wanting more.  That’s also good penmanship, I know, but it is undercut towards the end with several radio “news reports” that seem to be a bit contrived to, well, get you to the end of the story.  Even with that said, however, the “return” of the United States back to its original roots portrays a quite refreshing view of perhaps the only “good thing” to come from the storyline of a potential Nuclear War.

The bottom line is that Avalon is a great read for anyone interested in potential SHTF scenarios; it walks a very fine (and refreshing) line between manual and novel that really shines if you’re able to look past a few minor editing snafus.

PS: Rusin is expected release an updated edition in late 2012 with edits, some additions, and in various formats (hardcover, ebook, paperback).  Another bonus is the fact that a sequel is already in the works.  Further expansion and explanation will be given in the sequel (Avalon II?), and I’ll be buying it as soon “ASit Hits The Fan”!





Categories: Personal Observations | 3 Comments

Salt Curing Meat in Brine

contents of web page © Al Durtschi

Curing meat by using a salt brine was a widely used method of preserving meat

before the days of refrigeration. This is the way we cured pork in Southern

Alberta, however it would work for beef as well:

Recipe by Verla Cress (born 1940)

OK – Brine barrel filled half way up with 1 cup salt per 2 gallons of hot water

(that’s 32 parts water – 1 part salt), and a bit of vinegar –


BETTER – Brine Barrel filled 1/2 way with 5/8 cup salt & 3/8 cup curing salt per

2 gallons hot water, and a bit of vinegar.

Cut your animal up into ham sized pieces (about 10 – 15 lbs each).

Put the pieces in the brine barrel and let it soak for 6 days. Now that your

meat is salted, remove the meat from the brine, dry it off and put it in flour

or gunny sacks to keep the flies away. Then hang it up in a cool dry place to

dry. It will keep like this for perhaps six weeks if stored in a cool place

during the Summer. Of course, it will keep much longer in the Winter. If it goes

bad, you’ll know it!


Putting it in a brine barrel, filled half way up with 4 cups brown sugar to 3

gallons water – and a bit of vinegar (note: no salt): Inject some of the sugar

brine mixture into the already salted meat with a syringe, then put the meat in

the sugar brine for 3 days.

Remove the meat from the brine and smoke it for 3 days. Now put your smoked meat

into flour or gunny sacks to keep the flies away and hang it up in a cool dry

place to store. Smoked meat preserved like this should keep in the Summer for at

least 4 months if stored in a cool dry place. It will keep much longer in the

Winter, or if refrigerated.

Extract from

Leslie Basel’s



Salt, Sugar, Sodium

Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate.

Salt and sugar both cure meat by osmosis. In addition to drawing the

water from the food, they dehydrate and kill the bacteria that make

food spoil. In general, though, use of the word “cure” refers to

processing the meat with either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate.

Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are the basis for two commercially

used products: Prague powders #1 and #2. Prague powder #1 is a

mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite and 16 parts salt. The chemicals

are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. Even

though diluted, only 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to

cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1

tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part

sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. It is

primarily used in dry-curing.

One other commonly available curing product is Morton’s Tender

Quick. It is a mixture of salt, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate and

sugar. Ask your butcher or grocer to stock it for you.

[Where can these compounds be obtained?]

If you are chummy with a local butcher who does curing, maybe (s)he

will sell you a small quantity. Otherwise, the Sausage Maker offers

all items mentioned here. The Sausage Maker Inc./ 26 Military Road/

Buffalo NY 14207. (716)-876-5521.

© 1996, Leslie Basel


More Detailed Instructions:

This recipe was taken from a tiny home-made recipe book, “Remember Mama’s

Recipes.” It was put together by the women of the Stirling, Alberta, LDS

congregation back in the 1950’s.

Brine Cured Pork

100 lbs pork

8 lbs salt             (Note: 1 part salt to 48 parts water)

2 oz. salt peter

2 lbs brown sugar

5 gallons water


Mix salt, brown sugar and salt peter, add this to the water and bring the

mixture to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Skim off any scum that may form while

boiling after everything is dissolved. Remove from heat and chill until quite


Pack the pieces of meat into clean barrels or earthenware crocks, placing

them as close together as possible. Now pour the cold brine over the meat making

absolute certain the meat is completely covered. Put a board over the meat that

just fits inside the container and place weights on it to make sure that the

meat is emerged in the brine.       When curing larger and smaller pieces of

meat at the same time, place the larger pieces on the bottom and the smaller

ones on top. This is so the smaller ones can be lifted out without disturbing

the larger pieces. The small pieces do not take as long to cure as the bigger


The meat should be cured in a temperature that is just above freezing. If

the meat is cured at a warmer temperature the brine may show signs of souring.

If this should happen, remove the meat and soak it in lukewarm water for an hour

or so. Wash the meat in fresh cold water and be sure to throw out the soured

brine. Clean out the container, repack the meat and make a fresh brine in

original proportions.


Bacon sides and loins require 2 days per pound in this brine.

Shoulders will take 3 days per pound.

Hams will take 4 days per pound.

After the meat is cured the pieces should be soaked in warm water and then

washed in cold water or even scrubbed with a brush to remove any scum that may

have accumulated during the curing process.

Hang the meat by very heavy cords in the smoke house and allow to drain 24

hours before starting the smoking.

Hard wood is the best to use for smoking and the temperature in the smoke

house should be 100-120 degrees F. The ventilators should be left open at first

to allow any moisture to escape. Smoke until desired flavor and color is arrived


The Way We Did It…

As told by Glenn Adamson (born 1915)

We never had electricity or an ice house on the farm. Since we had no way of

keeping meat refrigerated, we only killed animals as fast as we ate them.

…Pork was our main staple. It seemed there was always a pig just the right

size to butcher. We ate more meat out on our farm than the typical family eats

now. In the summer, what pork we didn’t eat immediately was preserved. When we

butchered a pig, Dad filled a wooden 45 gallon barrel with salt brine. We cut up

the pig into maybe eight pieces and put it in the brine barrel. The pork soaked

in the barrel for several days, then the meat was taken out, and the water was

thrown away. We sacked a shoulder, a side of bacon, or the ham, which was the

rear leg, in a gunny sack or flour sack to keep the flies off. It was then hung

up in the coal house to dry. Quite often we had a ham drying, hanging on the

shady side of the house. In the hot summer days after they had dried, they were

put in the root cellar to keep them cool. The meat was good for eating two or

three months this way. We didn’t have a smoke house like some people had. But

what we had worked just fine. In the winter time when we killed something we

didn’t have to cure it. We’d hang it outside the house or somewhere else where

it was cold and it kept just fine. (We’re talking Canada, here, where it gets

really cold.)

My Uncle George Ovard told me the following story when I was just a kid: He had

put a pig in the brine barrel and when he went to take it out several days later

he only found half of his meat. This puzzled him somewhat, but he never said

anything about it. A couple of days later, one of his neighbors happened to stop

by and mentioned, “I hear someone took some of your pork out of your brine


Uncle George said, “Yes, but I didn’t tell anyone about it.” The guy had trapped

himself right there.

|| Walton Home Page || Old Timer’s Home ||

Al Durtschi, E-mail: mark@waltonfeed.com

Home Page: http://waltonfeed.com/

All contents copyright (C) 1996, Al Durtschi.

This information may be used by you freely for non-commercial use with my name

and E-mail address attached.

Revised: 17 Dec 98

Categories: Personal Observations | Leave a comment

Wood Gasification: A Renewable Fuel Option to Power Your Vehicle

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/wood-gasification-a-renewable-fuel-option-to-power-your-vehicle.aspx?page=3#ixzz1wXkbTUnI


Wood Gas: An Old Idea Reborn

Throughout the lean years of the Second World War, civilians in Europe — and, to a lesser extent, here at home — took advantage of wood energy to power vehicles and drive stationary engines. (See How to Run Your Own Car on Wood.) Today, the concept is just beginning to enjoy a new wave of interest as a result of excessive gasoline prices … and Steve and Lois Nunnikhoven — of Oakville, Iowa — are among the people who are re-pioneering wood-powered vehicle research.

The husband and wife, you see, run a small woodstove manufacturing business and offer delivery service to their customers … a practice which used to cost the firm hundreds of dollars in transportation expenses each month. So, to ease their “gas pains,” the couple decided to investigate alternative fuels … and were surprised to find that energy from wood — in the form of vapors produced under controlled burning conditions — could indeed power a vehicle and would require a minimum of engine modification. After doing some research, the Nunnikhovens fabricated a wood-gas generator for their delivery truck … and they’ve been using the vehicle as a working “guinea pig,” to test performance and various designs, over the past several months.

Here’s how the Iowa couple’s wood gasification system operates: The wood scraps — pieces ranging from one to five inches on a side — are contained in a four-foot-high, 18-inch-diameter hopper with one-eighth-inch-thick walls. The chamber is sealed except for an airtight fill lid and an adjustable intake draft control. Inside this drum is a cone-shaped stainless steel hearth that’s ventilated to allow interior convection. From the hop per a gas outlet pipe connects, in series, to a drop filter and a centrifugal canister. Then additional tubing routes the fumes through a water vapor separator and on into the engine compartment … where they’re fed into the carburetor’s breather shroud through a manually controlled air mixer valve which regulates the amount of “atmosphere” in the blend for a proper ratio. (The Carb’s butterfly valve then governs engine speed, as usual.)³

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/wood-gasification-a-renewable-fuel-option-to-power-your-vehicle.aspx#ixzz1wXk82PC2

The producer gas is formed under conditions of high heat and controlled “respiration.” As air enters the generator, the solid fuel within the hearth burns, releasing carbon dioxide and water vapor … and at the same time “manufacturing” a hotbed of charcoal in the base of the generator. The gases are then drawn by engine vacuum through the glowing carbon coals, where a destructive distillation process breaks down the CO² and water into carbon monoxide and hydrogen … a mixture which — along with nitrogen, a small amount of methane, some unconverted carbon dioxide, ash, soot and water vapor — forms the final “gengas” fuel. Of this chemical potpourri, only about 45 to 50 percent is combustible … and some components (notably ash, soot particles and water vapor) must be filtered out to prevent poor performance and possible engine damage.

After the gaseous fuel is “scrubbed,” it’s mixed in a roughly one-to-one ratio with fresh air and used directly in the engine. The Nunnikhovens opted to set up a dual-fuel (gasoline/producer-gas) arrangement for convenience. To do so, they simply installed a solenoid-operated shut-off valve in their truck’s petrol line, and rigged it so that the switch stops the flow of gasoline to the carburetor whenever the air mixer valve is moved from the full-open position (which, of course, is always the case when the vehicle operates in the “gengas” mode).

You Get What You Pay For

The Hawkeye Staters’ earliest experiments confirmed their expectations that the wood-fueled vehicle wouldn’t have quite the get-up-and-go that it did in its gasoline mode. (As near as they can figure, between 35 and 50 percent of their original power has “gone up in smoke.”) On the other hand, they couldn’t be happier with their fuel bill (which is pretty close to zero, since the pair can cut or scrounge much of the wood).

But even if their fuel were purchased at the market price of $100 a cord, or roughly 3 cents a pound, Steve calculates that the timber equivalent of one gallon of gasoline (20 pounds, or a five-gallon bucketful of scraps) would cost only about 60 cents! The economical nature of the fuel — coupled with the fact that an entire woodburning propulsion system can be put together for about $100 in scrounged parts — certainly makes the idea of “poplar power” look mighty attractive.

Potential Drawbacks of Wood Gasification

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/wood-gasification-a-renewable-fuel-option-to-power-your-vehicle.aspx?page=2#ixzz1wXkGwtif

Besides the loss of “zip” (the effect of which can be somewhat eased by converting an older, overpowered, large-displacement, high-compression engine to wood fuel and advancing its ignition timing), there are other disadvantages to gengas fuel. Obviously, a producer — gas generating unit — with its wood supply — is going to take up more space than does a standard gasoline tank. Also, because of the nature of the fibrous hydrocarbon energy source, scheduled maintenance — especially on the filter systems — must be frequent to prevent engine damage. But probably the most important fact to be aware of is that the gaseous fuel produced by the burning wood is 20 to 28 percent carbon monoxide … which can be deadly if allowed to leak into the vehicle’s passenger compartment or a closed garage. (Of course, the same poison is present in the exhaust fumes of gasoline engines.)

Nevertheless, if the proper precautions are taken and the system installed carefully, there’s no reason that high “octane,” relatively clean-burning wood gas can’t be a practical substitute for petroleum fuel. (In fact, MOTHER’s researchers are so “fired up” over the idea that they’re designing their own apparatus to be used on one of MOM’s pickups, and we’ll be sure to cover that in a future issue!)

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/wood-gasification-a-renewable-fuel-option-to-power-your-vehicle.aspx?page=3#ixzz1wXkQhe99

Categories: Personal Observations | 2 Comments

An In Home 72 Hour Kit from the Mormon Emergency Preparedness Manual

The objective of the Family 72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Kit is to have, previously assembled and placed in one location, all of those essential items you and your family will need during a 72-hour time period following an emergency. When an emergency occurs you will probably not have the luxury of going around the house gathering up needed items, especially if you have to evacuate your home on short notice.

Take time now to gather whatever your family needs to survive for three days (72 Hours) based upon the assumption that those items are the only possessions you will have. Store these kits in a closet near the front door or some other easily accessible place where they can be quickly and easily grabbed on the way out the door.

Pack all items in plastic Zip-loc type bags to keep them dry and air tight. This will prevent a liquid item from spilling and ruining other items in your kit and keep rain and other forms of moisture away from the items stored.

Keep a list of the dates when certain items need to be reviewed, especially foods, outgrown clothing and medications so that they may be properly rotated.

Emergency supplies are readily available at preparedness and military surplus stores.

Fear may well be responsible for more deaths than exposure, hunger and injury combined.

Realizing you have fears and that these are normal emotions in unfamiliar situation, you will be aware of them and better able to cope with them as they appear. Fears can be expected in any outdoor problem situation. Fear of the unknown and fear of your ability to cope with the situation will be foremost, along with a fear of being alone, darkness, suffering, or death. Fear is  usually  based on lack of self-confidence and lack of adequate preparation and experience.  Knowledge and experience(practice sessions), will help to instill confidence and help to control fear.


The container you choose for your kit must be waterproof, have some type of carrying handle, and must be able to be carried easily by family members. The following are good containers: backpack, beltpack, suitcase, polyethylene plastic bucket, duffel bag, trunk or footlocker, plastic garbage cans.


Advised amounts of water for a kit vary. Professional Survival Consultants  recommend a minimum of two quarts per day for each adult. However, a person can survive quite well on less, and the load of carrying six quarts of water with a pack is great. Outdoor survival course veterans agree that a two-liter bottle should be adequate. Water purification tablets or crystals need to be a part of each kit. Refer to Emergency Water Supply for treatment methods and information on portable water filters.


You should include in your kit a three-day supply of non-perishable food. The food items should be compact and lightweight, in sealed packages. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are a good choice because they require little or no preparation. Freeze-dried foods are lightweight but require extra water in your kit. Canned goods are heavy with extra refuse. Plan nutritionally balanced meals, keeping in mind that this is a  survival kit.  Include vitamins or other supplements, if desired.

Possible foods for a kit might include:

· MRE’s

· snack crackers

· hard candy

· dried fruits

·instant oatmeal

· powdered milk


· bouillon cubes


·instant rice/potatoes

· dried soups

· gum

· granola bars

·instant pudding

· powdered drink mixes

Also include a mess kit or other compact equipment for cooking and eating. A can opener may also be useful.

Categories: Personal Observations | 1 Comment

A Good Recipe For Chicken Feed

There may come a day in the near future when “Preppers” will be growing their own food. Chickens will offer you a good source of protein. Especially if you have children to feed. They need protein to grown strong bones and healthy brain cells. They will provide meat, eggs and a source of supplemental food for a farm animals such as a dog or cat. Three hens and one rooster will have you producing meat for the pot in short order. The following is a great all around and well balanced feed for chickens:
makes 100 lbs.
60 # yellow corn meal
15 # wheat middlings
8 # soybean meal
3.75 # fish meal
1 # bone meal
3 # dry skim milk
2.5 # alfalfa meal
.4 # Iodized salt
6.35 # powdered limestone
Mix all together and store in closed covered container.

As this is dusty add a small amount of water to what is removed for feeding , as a binder. Do not add water to all of it as it will not keep as long.


Categories: Personal Observations | Leave a comment

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