I’ve suffered a major hard drive crash… I’m trying to get it fixed ASAP. In the meantime, I’m offline. I’ll try to resume next week. Thanks for your patience!

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But… Why?

Despite what you may be thinking, this isn’t primarily about politics.  (The question certainly applies, though–in lots of different manners.)  No, this was posed to me by a coworker, as we talked about the various goings-on and such on my “farmlet”.

Why, exactly, am I doing all of this?  Why did we pick a house without central air/heat, but windows and fans for the summer and wood stoves for the winter?  Why do we have chickens (and why are we getting more of them)?  Why are we getting the yard/fields/entire property fenced, and ready for goats?  Why am I getting bees?  Why have a garden with more square footage than his house, not to mention plots planted of grains and the like?

Is it that we enjoy this much manual labor?  Not really, although parts of it are certainly fun. (Especially after the fact, when it’s all done.)  Do we have chickens merely for the eggs and (eventually) meat?  Well, that’s certainly a factor, but it doesn’t explain it all.  Bees for the honey and wax?  Again, yes, but not entirely.  The same will go for goats and milk/cheese/meat.  And the garden, for the produce.

There’s certainly a proximal purpose.  But there’s also the feel of getting dirt under your nails; of feeding the various livestock, and watching them play.  Of just watching the bees do their thing.  The feeling of being able to step back and look at a cord (or six) of wood, freshly split and stacked. The smells of it all. The pleasant aches of exertion for a cause. The enjoyment of little things–a taste of the juice from freshly pressed apples, or berries fresh from the vine.

Then there’s the practical side of things.  With the first “real” winter storm bearing down on us this weekend, the coworker was asking how we’d be if the electricity went out.  Would we have heat?  (As long as wood will still burn, yes–and after building a woodshed last summer, our wood has stayed dry despite downpours of rain.)  Would we be able to cook? Our stove runs on propane, and we’ve got an 80# tank that’s full; we even have a “backup” RV stove stored in a trailer–again, propane, and that one doesn’t even need electricity for a clock.  Things from the fridge at risk of spoiling will go into coolers, then outside (if there’s 2 feet of snow, it’ll be harder to keep them from freezing). And we’ve got plenty of candles and oil lamps for light, after dark.  The trickiest part is water–and we have six full 5-gallon bottles, plus a camping water heater (water in a tank, heat over a propane burner, then pump to pressurize).

This.  This is why I do these things.  So that when we’re looking at a snowfall of possibly 2 feet or more, I’m not concerned, because I know we’re ready for it.  I know that we have everything we need, should calamity strike.  Should, in fact, nearly any calamity strike. And we get better prepared for these things with every day that passes.

How about you folks out there–who’s tried explaining your preps to somebody completely “out-of-the-know”?

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A New Year

Welcome back!  It’s a new year, and it’s shaping up to be a doozy.  We’ve got presidential primaries and elections coming up. There’s a quasi-armed rebellion in Oregon. The weather is being extremely unpredictable. Overseas events are–well, not generally looking good, what with Europe trying to go ultra-nationalist again.  Add in all of the local stuff, and it’s a good time to be a prepper!

I’m nursing a cold, and trying to type one-handed (minor wood-hauling injury–everything is still attached, and I’ve got the splinters out, but there are bandages).  As such, I’m going to let the world “perk” for another week, and try to be substantive *next* week.  Stay warm out there!

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A little more intentional, this time.  I’ll be back in the New Year–and I hope you will be, too.  Happy Holidays!

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As Was Mentioned Earlier

Yes, it’s the silly season.  In addition to the domestic chaos I mentioned last week, the news of late has been full of–well, let’s just say, there’s not enough facepalm in the world.

It’s been fascinating, in a train-wreck sort of way, watching the far right go further and further off the rails, with each horrific piece of home-grown terror that pops up. (And horrific, in an entirely different way, watching each piece of said terror.)  I hadn’t thought they could get more callous after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.  First, there was a bit of “blame the victim.” Then Cruz came up with the notion that the shooter was a “transgender leftist radical.”  (As a leftist radical, with several LGBT friends, I’m offended on multiple levels.)  But no, then San Bernardino happened.

The latest news reporting indicates that this couple was radicalized well before their marriage.  Any ISIL connections, from what I’ve seen, were relatively recent.  In fairness, I can’t call them *completely* “home-grown,” as she seems to have picked up her crazy from overseas.  Where he got his, I’m not exactly sure (piles of psycho-babble notwithstanding).

Trump, on the other hand, has gone completely off the deep end. At the risk of running afoul of Godwin’s Law, he had already gone full Hitler, by implicitly agreeing to registering all Muslims in the country. Now he’s doubled down, and is calling for a ban on letting Muslims enter the country.

Wow.  Just… wow.

While all of this has been going down, I’ve been contemplating exactly what my “leftist, liberal” opinion is.  I don’t think I’ve got it completely drawn up, but I’ve got a brief sketch, with some broad principles.  This may not be as coherent as I’d like (lack of sleep, from the afore-mentioned chaos), but here goes:

  • When given a choice, I nearly always prefer the option that is the most compassionate to my fellow humans, regardless of their sex, race, orientation, religion, national origin, age, or whatever other criteria you care to throw my way.  (I may not like you, but I’m not going to try to hold you back.)
  • I have guns. I keep them under lock and key. I do not have military-style or military-grade weapons, as I am no longer in the military, and have no need for them.  I am in favor of establishing positive licensing for ownership (in the style of drivers’ licenses).  I am in favor of full background checks for any firearms purchase.
  • I don’t believe that it’s possible, by any given acceptable method or set of methods, to completely prevent terrorist events from ever occurring on our soil. Nor shootings. Nor domestic violence, drunk driving, hunger, obesity, poverty, drug/alcohol abuse, school bullying, or any of a disturbingly long list of things that we’d like to see abolished in a just, fair society. This doesn’t mean that we can’t work to minimize them.
  • I don’t believe that religion–any religion–is “the answer.” Frankly, most of them, if not all, are probably asking the wrong questions. I don’t believe in abolishing them, either. I would like to see them abandon their bronze-age principles, and try to be as compassionate, loving, and kind as they all claim to be.

There’s probably more to this list–and I’ll try to write them down as I come up with them. But in the meantime, I’d call this a good start.  What do you think?

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Sorry I didn’t post this week—things are a bit hectic (unexpected family visits, vehicle repairs, etc.).  I’ll be back next week!

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The Silly Season is Here

While the competition for the various party nominations has been going on for quite a while, it seems that it’s really only in the last few weeks that they’ve turned “serious”–although that’s probably not the best word. Particularly in the Republican primary race, where things have gone fully topsy-turvy…

The third debate came and went, and collectively folks have rated the mediators as losing, primarily for asking questions of the debaters, and for bringing up-somewhat pointedly-some of the various missteps, mistakes, and various goofs that the candidates have committed. Basically, being somewhat confrontational. The candidates didn’t care for this, and sent back some zingers–Ted Cruz, particularly.

Problem is, being somewhat confrontational, and asking perhaps uncomfortable questions, is exactly what the press (and the mediators) are for…  So, the subsequent “rebellion” by the candidates, putting forth their “demands” for the next debates, was really nonsensical. If they don’t want to be subjected to that sort of grilling, they’re under no obligation to participate in the debates. It’s on them.

There was a bit in the NY Times a short while back, when they asked people’s opinions as to who would be the nominees, Pres and Vice Pres, from each party. (Not who would win the election–who would be the candidates.) Something struck me about the responses: For the Democratic side, nearly everybody picked Clinton or Sanders for P, then the VP candidate was generally someone not currently running. On the Republican side, however, both the P and VP choices were most often selected from the current slate of hopefuls. I’m sure it says something about the parties that things fell out that way, but I’m not certain what…

Then there’s the whole Starbucks cup thing. Whoo boy, has that got some folks spooled up. For myself, I’ve never felt there was a “war on Christmas”; rather, there was an attempt to be more inclusive, and celebrate the melting pot that our country truly is. I have to admit, the whole thing seems a bit–well, artificial. If that’s what they’ve got to be outraged about, then they’ve got even bigger blinders on than I had thought…

In the meantime, it’s Veteran’s Day. I’ve been “thanked for my service” more times than I care for, today.  Tell you what, folks–rather than thanking me, or any other vet, for our service, how about call or write your congress-critter, and ask them to do something substantive for veterans. Like fix the VA. Or approve a cost-of-living increase. Provide adequate mental health services to those who need it. Find housing for those without. The list, really, goes on and on.

That’s all for this week; my next scheduled post would be on Thanksgiving, so I’m going to skip it, in favor of spending time with friends and family. Hope your holiday is well, and I’ll talk to you again in December!

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