Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thanatopsis, William Cullen Bryant 1821

This was my paternal grandfather's favorite poem. He recently passed away and it was read (the last, separate stanza) at his funeral by my father...

  TO HIM who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;—
Go forth under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around—
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—
Comes a still voice—Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements;
To be a brother to the insensible rock,
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
  Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world,—with kings,
The powerful of the earth,—the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun; the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods—rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste,—
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man! The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings,—yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest; and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man—
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side
By those, who in their turn shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

physical fitness

I want to touch on a topic that is on of the most important aspects of preparedness, physical fitness. First of all, let me say that I'm no personal trainer nor am I in the best shape I could be. But I am working on it, slowly but surely.

There are tons of benefits to being physically fit, but the most important as fas as preparedness is concerned are:
The better shape you're in, the better your mental/emotional state.
You'll be better able to fight of sickness.
You'll be able to help your family far more of you are in good shape. Hauling water, carrying firewood, etc. is hard work. If you're not used to it, it will be a huge shock to your system if you are out of shape.

So I would really like for those of you reading this to make a commitment to do something to get in better shape. It doesn't have to be a huge program or a big goal, just start small and work your way up to something special. Start walking everyday around your neighborhood, do some sit-ups or push-ups every day, go on bike rides with your kids, take the stairs instead of the elevator...
(I'd also suggest that you make a log and track your progress. It may seem kind of discouraging starting out, but seeing the improvement is pretty cool as time goes on.)

This is from my friend Tex who hits the nail on the head. Do whatever you can do, but do it. Do it. Start small, don't quit, keep going, and eventually you'll get where you want to be....

SOAP BOX :When Dan Gable ( A wrestling LEGEND) was training for the Olympics he would wake up in the middle of the night from dreams that the soviets were working harder than him.So he would get up and do push ups until he was tired enough to go back to sleep.Dan believed in the power and the use of push ups.I saw a book called the 100 push up challenge,I guess it lays out how you can do 100 push ups at one don't need a damned book to tell you how to do a 100 push ups,just do them.There's no trick,no method,no secret to it.If you can do only 1 push up,then do that one push up until you can do 2 push ups, and repeat until you nail 100.I did 111,111 push ups for the year 2012,you know how I did it?...One at a time,one right after another-right through injury,during slow moments ON the fire line,late at night,early in the morning,during lunch breaks etc.Guys,when it comes to a fitness goal there is no other way to accomplish them execpt for hard ass work and a single minded drive to get the job done.No gimmicks,gadgets,cure all pill will do it.If you have it in your mind,then just knuckle the hell up and do it.Ignore all those commercials with the latest this and the latest that....I'm soooooo sick of all that.Bottom line,don't be a sucker and just get to it.

Read that last sentence again. Enough said...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Brass or steel case .223? That is the question.

Brass vs. Steel Cased Ammo - An Epic Torture Test

The folks over at lucky gunner did a very informative test on .223 ammo. And thorough - like 40,000 rounds thorough....

Makes one contemplate if the cost savings of steel-cased ammo is worth it.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

A good article from

getting sick

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or any other sort of medical professional. This article is not meant to be medical advice. Please do your own research and consult a doctor if you have any questions

On the 1st I started feeling really bad: a headache that wouldn't go away, sinus pressure, a gradually increasing fever, and overall body soreness/fatigue. I was pretty much useless around the house and would be awake for 2 hours and sleep for one. Through the day it got worse and worse until about 2000 my wife asked if I wanted to go to the ER. I declined, but she insisted on taking my temp (103) and insisted that I go see a doctor the next day.

I have nothing against doctors, hospitals, or the medical profession in general; I just don't like going to the doctor. Maybe it's a macho, guy thing? I don't know. But I was feeling so bad that I was ready to do anything (even get a shot!) to feel better. Since I had "flu-like" symptoms, we both thought that was what I had.

As I tried to sleep that night (while alternately freezing and burning up) I stated thinking about what we would do if we were in a grid-down or SHTF situation. There is a lot to do around here now and since the adult workforce was cut in half, poor Mrs. H was having to do everything - plus I didn't want to get our young children sick. We also don't have fully stocked pharmacy in our medicine cabinet, so thoughts about medical preps were on my mind too.

Turns out that I have Strep (and Mrs. H may be a carrier...) I was given a prescription of what my doctor said was "super penicillin" and was told I'd start to feel better in a few days. What she didn't tell me was that the pills are huge. They look to me better suites for livestock than people. I have been taking them for the last few days and I do feel better - thank goodness.

So what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, as I alluded to earlier - what would have happened to us if I would have caught this serious case of Strep at a time or place when I would have been unable to go to a doctor or pharmacy?

I'm afraid in our current level of preparedness, it may have been pretty rough. We don't have penicillin just lying around (or any other antibiotics) and we may have not even been able to accurately diagnose my sickness. I'm sure I would have eventually recovered with our OTC meds we have stocked; but how long would it have taken? What if something else were to go wrong while I was sick in bed? Now don't get me wrong, my wife is awesome and can do just about anything; but after a few days of taking care of a sick me, 2 small children, and the homestead - she would be exhausted and might end up sick as well.

So what's the solution?
Well, it's really not practical or even possible to have enough medicines on hand to account for all possible illnesses. I'm also pretty sure your doctor won't give you a prescription for meds just so you can "stock up, just in case". Plus, all medicines have a set shelf like and eventually loose their effectiveness, so you would have to get new prescriptions every few years.
What is possible is to know what illnesses you and your family are likely to get (for us it's Strep) and at least try to plan for that. While I can't always have a stock of super penicillin horse pills on hand, I can do something. While we can't buy antibiotics over the counter here - Mexico isn't too far away and you can (or could a little while ago) buy amoxicillin OTC in large quantities. This may not be as easy or practical as it once was due to the increased violence along the Mexican side of the border, but it is a possible solution. Do you know of anyone going on a cruise or vacation there? Ask them to bring you back a big bottle or two.

There is also the possibility of using medicines that weren't intended for humans. Many times the same medicines we would need a prescription for can be bought OTC for animals.
*I do remember as a kid going with a older male family member to the vet because he was sick and he didn't want/couldn't afford to go the doctor. So the vet just gave him a shot. He got well and never had to go to the doctor for that illness. This was most likely illegal, but in rural areas probably happens a lot.*
It seems to me that meds for a cow can't be that different than meds for a human, right? Don't take my word for it though. Do your own research and reach your own conclusions.
There is even a lot of information out there about using fish medications. I have no personal experience with this and am a little bit skeptical. Search the internet, do your own research, and decide for yourself.

Other than that, physical fitness and proper hygiene/sanitation will prevent a lot of sickness. Keep physically fit so your body can better fight off any bugs you may pick up. Good hygiene will prevent the spread of many diseases as well.

I've only scratched the surface here. There is a multitude of resources available on the internet regarding this topic and I encourage you to do plenty of research before deciding on a plan of action for you and yours. Making bad choices in your medical preps will at the least make a bad situation worse and could (at the worst) lead to the death of you or one of your loved ones. A good place to start is as well as the book Where There is No Doctor. Search the website for medical info. The book can be picked up new or used online and there is also a .PDF version that is free. I don't have a link, but it's easy to find for those with moderately good search-fu.

Keep your powder dry and your nose to the wind and joy in your heart.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

cool use for your hi lift jack

As if there weren't enough uses for the hi lift - here's another one. I will be building one soon.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thought of the day - the new year

Since it is the 1st day of the new year and a time for resolutions, new starts, etc. Here is mine for this little blog:

I am going to try my best to post more uplifting and useful stuff here instead of the normal "doom and gloom" that seems to be the bulk of what's on here now.

The world is a rough place and it seems like our country is going to hell in a hand basket - but I think all of us know that already and there isn't the need to keep harping on it. Rather, I'll try and find the positive; the light in the ever-growing darkness.

Don't get me wrong, I will still post links from important articles/opinions that I think should be shared. One thing I do believe is that it is important to "open the eyes" of those around me to what is going on in the world that they might not see or know.

So here's to the new year and all it will bring - both the good and the not so good.

Keep your powder dry, your nose to the wind, and joy in your heart.