Saturday, March 30, 2013

Possible Sick Baby Chick?

I LOVES my baby chicks!
I don't think I've had time to post about our recent acquisition of baby I'll start there. Isabella's 7th birthday was fast approaching and I wanted to get her something she'd remember. Five White Leghorn baby chicks from the local feed store later...mission accomplished!

I purchased five chicks, an inverted feeder, an inverted waterer, a heat lamp, a 5 pound bag of chick starter feed (since they were out of the 50 pound bags), and a cardboard box. Total was around $56.

I was told they were two weeks old when we got them and that they were all "for sure" layers. The girls loved, LoVeD, LOVED did the neighbor kids. I'll upload a video of them playing in the backyard once the video completely uploads to YouTube.

Now, eight days later, Wifey texts me at work and says one chick is acting funny. With it's head tilted to one side, it keeps running into the wall of the plastic tub. I should explain that after about five days in the cardboard box, the ammonia smell was overwhelming. The girls had changed the newpaper out at least once but the smell remained, obviously soaked into the cardboard. So, Wifey retrieved a plastic storage tub from the garage and swapped out the chicks into the tub. Whomever says that chickens don't smell or make much noise, and there were more than a few of you, must not have kept them indoors.

My studies of Joel Salatin revealed that he uses a carbon based substance and admits he spends more revenue on carbon than most farmers. He puts it down in the chicken coops on the floor to combat/reverse the ammonia buildup and says that because of this, his coops don't stink. It is a non-issue with us...I'm just sayin'!

Does anyone know what carbon item he uses?

I asked Wifey to take "wobbly" out for some fresh air and see how he does. And here is the video of aforementioned "wobbly chick":

 She is very vocal, you know, as far a "quiet" chickens go.  Like any over-educated person would do about the situation, I googled it.  "Chick running into walls" led me to a forum discussing quail babies running into walls. The recommendation there was to add electrolytes to the water.

Any ideas forlks? Is he dainbramaged from the ammonia levels? Should we be bathing them? I have thrown a little bit of green grass from the front yard in their box to give them a little variety/freshness.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

I've Made my Case...

Shooting with my dad and cousin
Tim at our family farm.
Well, as mentioned in an earlier post, I have been recently pondering homesteading back in my native state of Oklahoma. A recent trip home for Christmas led me to our old family farm in Hennessey where I was able to show my girls a great time.

A few months after returning to Arizona, I began my usual daydreaming of homesteading.  That's when I put two and two together and realized that all that family farm land is just sitting there. Why don't I ask my aunt and uncles if I can homestead there?

After encouraging comments on my post, I decided to write a letter to my uncle. I explained how Wifey and I had been practicing our homesteading skills over the past three years in anticipation of someday moving to a homestead of our own. Our problem was always that we weren't quite sure WHERE to go.

I told him why we'd like to homestead there and a few ideas about homeschooling and gardening. I didn't get too deep into farm animals other than saying I'd like to have a few. We'll see what he says.

I'll let you know. Thanks for the encouragement everyone.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

How and Why the US Government is BUYING Up All the Ammo

We've all noticed that the ammunition simply isn't on the shelf lately. Most of us started prepping our ammo supply long before this happened, however, we're still affected (or is it Effected, always mixed that one up) by the shortage because we have to PRACTICE with our guns to stay proficient.

I wrote a recent post about how to get ammo from your nearest gun range even if there is a shortage. That being said, we still need to keep our eye on the ball. Tonight, I came across an interesting radio show by Dr Savage whereby a caller identified himself as both a Licensed Weapons Manufacturer AND a Government Contractor.

He explained what is going on regarding the "IDIQ contracts (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity)"whereby the government is buying large amounts of ammo from his perspective:

"What Homeland Security is doing here is they are issuing a contract to BUY UP TO that amount of ammo IF they want it.  They're probably NOT going to buy it but by ISSUING the contract (and they're going to issue this contract to more than one ammo maker) that they can control the amount of ammo on the commercial market at any time. If they go to the ammo manufacturer and say 'Give me 50 million rounds, give me another 30 million rounds' they can use this to control the market. In their contract (between the manufacturer and the government) it stipulates in there that when the government calls and says 'Give us another quantity', everything that they make HAS to go to the government PRIORITY ONE before any of it goes to the commercial market.

So when they (the government) gets nervous, all they have to do is use that contract that they have in place to say 'Give us some more, give us some more.'"

I didn't understand the gravity of the stories telling of ammo manufacturers REFUSING to sell to the government until I heard this idea. I thought the makers where just thumbing there noses at the government. Now I understand that the manufacturers are onto the government's plan to stifle public supply.

Here is the list of manufacturers that are NOT selling to states, counties, cities, or municipalities that are blocking sales to citizens but not their own employees (like police):

We need to support them and buy our supplies from them. I have also had good luck shopping at my local Walmart between 7 & 8am (when they stock their shelves from deliveries the night before) and picking up ammo. On a recent trip to Utah, I picked up about 15 boxes of .40 caliber from the local Sportsman's Warehouse (several trips, both me and Wifey due to limit of three boxes per SKU).

Hope this helps some of you out there. Keep stocking up and practicing.


I Would Move to Oklahoma If...

If he can do it...I can do it, right?
I would move to Oklahoma in a heart beat if my Aunt and Uncles would consent to letting me live on our family farm. We rented an RV (Thank you Joe Morales @ Cruise America) to spend Christmas with my Grandmother of 86 years in Oklahoma City. Besides seeing Grandma (of course!) one of the other things I so desperately wanted to do was see our family farm.

My Grandmother still owns and oversees the daily operations of the family farm in Hennessey, Oklahoma. Not much is going on there these days other than a cousin letting his cattle herd graze on the land. I think he might still sow some crops here and there. But for the most part, it is approximately 160 acres...and it's just sitting there...growing old.

The second day in town, we headed out to the farm. This would be the first visit for all my six daughters as the youngest two weren't born yet the last time we came to visit. Memories flashed through my brain during the drive out there of all the family events we had attended as I was growing up in the seventies and eighties. All the Fourth of July shenanigans, trash burns, calf riding and general silliness.

Cows are the brown ones, duh.
We had a pond overloaded with tadpoles and trees as far as the eyes could see. My favorite tale was an old western folk story about some train robbers who had stashed their bounty somewhere on our land before getting caught by the local law enforcement. The bounty was never found and if I remember right, we've had a few family and friends come out with metal detectors hoping to find the gold. Doesn't really matter to me if it is true, it is the story that has value to me.  Even more so when I got to watch my elders tell the story to my children. Chills!

But this visit would be different. Much like my Aunt and Uncles whom I see once a decade, the farm had grown older.  Trees once so thick you couldn't see the farm house from the road, now number around a dozen or so.  Empty spaces between the trees so large our old combine could have been driven between them. I was informed a frost had come through a few years ago and damaged most of the trees to the point that many limbs fell to the ground. The naked, damaged trunks were taken down and hauled away.

Regardless of the empty feeling the farm now portrays, I walked my girls all over that land and told them as many stories as I could remember. We had a go-cart racing track on the back end of the property near two old oil tanks.  Grandpa used to lead a Scout pack for decades and they had a special place they would build camp. It was not unusual for me to swim in the horse tank during the summer or blow up cow pie after cow pie with black cat firecrackers every Fourth of July.

About a dozen cows wandered about lazily, every now and then raising their heavy heads to look at us with reckless abandon. The slightest movement sent them running off into the pasture. I always thought cows were so dumb. They probably think the same think about me.

Educational material.
So a month goes by and I'm driving to my night shift at our local small town hospital. I'm back in the "Gee I wish I could homestead on some property" mode that I drift off into so often these days. Then the thought struck me..."why couldn't I homestead on our family farm?"  All that land is just sitting there. It already has a well, sewer, power, farm house and barn.

Now, the farm house is much too small for my family of eight. But wouldn't it be great if we moved there and reinvigorated the farm? I don't want to sow fields of wheat like Grandpa did. I don't have the tractors and combines and stuff he had. It has all been sold now. But I could have cattle, goats, and chickens! Yes, LOTS of chickens! A couple of dogs. Finally, a yard a dog would love!

We've been practicing our gardening now for three years. Sure, we're not experts but we're getting pretty good. Wifey and I have been talking about home schooling for about three years as well. If we could homestead on our family farm, we could do all the things we've dreamed about: gardening for self sufficiency, raising livestock with our children and home schooling.

I'd love to see my Grandmother's face if she came out to visit us and we had her old farmstead up and running with active animals running everywhere. She grew up that way. She tells stories of snatching chickens up and "ringing their little necks." Of course, she didn't like to do it but "we had to if we wanted to eat." I once asked her what she remembered about the Great Depression. She told me: "Not much, it didn't affect us. We grew all our own food."

That's what I want to do. That's what Wifey wants to do. I even sent a message to a cousin in Oklahoma asking her what she thought of the idea. She was immediately onboard. Seems so many people these days are wanting to leave the city and get back to their roots. Back to farming, homesteading and being more self sufficient and less dependent on society.

I just don't know where to start. Should I draw up a proposal on a map showing where I'd put our temporary housing and animal pens? How I would set up rain catchment systems and revive our long gone pond to utilize production of duck weed and talapia? My family doesn't know the countless hours I've spent learning and watching Joel Salatin and other farmers of this era. I don't want large machines and government subsidies. I want my fingers in the soil and my children playing outside, away from smog and gangs.

Shoot, if we had one ranch hand (Cousin Tim, age 25) and two young families living on the farm, just think of the life we could breathe back into that farm land! Rewards would abound! But until I think it through a little more, I'm not ready to approach the elders with the idea.

What would you do?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Joel Skousen Survives Plane Crash

The Glasair I - Pic courtesy of
 Known world-wide as one of the founding fathers of the modern preparedness movement, Joel Skousen has survived a crash in his Stoddard-Hamilton Glasair I aircraft.  The Glasair is a homebuilt, two-seat kitplane built from fiberglass.

Skousen was returning from a business trip in Las Vegas to his hometown of Orem, Utah when his plane had a  problem with the flow of fuel, causing the engine to stall, according to Spanish Fork Police Lt. Matt Johnson. 

I first came across Joel as he was being interviewed by Alex Jones on Jones' YouTube Channel.  Joel is the author of a book I HIGHLY recommend titled Strategic Relocation: A North American Guide to Safe Places. This book is as valuable for detailed information on relocation and survival as the Reader's Digest Back to Basics book. If you've read the RD book, you know how valuable it is.

Being a fighter pilot from the Vietnam era, Joel has logged countless hours of flight time and appearantly it served him well during this recent ordeal.  Judging by the look of his plane post-crash, I'm surprised that all he ended up with was a head laceration. More pics of his crashed plane here.

Joel is interesting to listen to because of not just what he does...but who he does it for. You see, Joel is, among other things, an expert on designing high security homes and retreats. Add to that the fact that he builds them for people ranging from the average Joe to government officials high up the command chain and this gives an interesting twist to what Joel knows.

According to Joel (in his interviews), he has been building underground bunkers for people in high military command with the prerequisite that they be nuclear bomb proof. Because of this, Joel whole-heartedly believes that a nuclear war on American soil is imminent. He explains how it will happen and why our government will let the first wave of bombs land on Americans in this video (Part One, Part Two, and Part 3). I have watched it several times.

As a former Chairman of the CNC in Washington D.C., Joel knows a lot of government and military people that are high ranking. He speaks very intelligently about the topics he discusses and I recommend taking some time to see what he has to say.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Embrace Your Trolls!

Trolls are awesome!
If you look hard enough, you can find silver linings in just about any situation. The same is true about our friendly neighborhood trolls that casually peruse our blogdom and sprinkle their caustic spittle in comment sections and ignite veracious banter.

Caustic spittle <snicker>, sounds like a great name for a rock band. But I digress.

One of my favorite blogs to frequent is Patrice Lewis' Rural-Revolution. One of her recent posts happens to be a showcase of one of her latest trolls. Oh, I suppose I should define "troll" for anyone not quite up on the 'net lingo.

"Troll: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument." - Urban Dictionary

"Dude, check out that hottie's flux capacitor!"-Urban Dictionary
I love the Urban Dictionary, btw.  If you ever need snarky or clever synonyms/antonyms, I have a rip roaring good time reading up on the latest slang there. For example, my daughters were commenting about the ridiculousness of the oh-so-attractive sight of thong underwear that conveniently rides up the back of a woman's waistline on her jeans. Urban Dictionary taught me that this is known as a woman's Flux Capacitor and my daughters (huge Back to the Future movie fans) thought this was HILARIOUS. (See entry #5 here)

So, digressing yet again, Patrice was lucky enough to receive a visit from a new reader who left provocative comments on not ONE but ELEVEN different blog posts. Patrice, being the clever author that she is, seized this opportunity to turn this series of comments into a VERY interesting blog post. As a blogger, we are ALWAYS looking for material, right? This blog topic came on a silver platter!

The brilliance of posting these contrarian views of a seemingly liberal commenter on a highly conservative blog with a (mostly) conservative readership is phenomenal. In a short period of time, this post has generated (at my best guess) triple the normal comment load and it is still going strong.  Why is this so brilliant you ask?

Several reasons.

First, getting your audience active in discussions on your blog is a terrific way to engage your audience. Loyal readers become FIERCELY loyal commenters and rally to defend their favorite blogger. Casual readers put their two cents in and even readers whom might agree with the contrarian views chime in to express their views. This leads to tons of exposure of the blog material and lots of page loads (read: ad impressions).

Second, now that readers are engaged and have commented their thoughts, they'll be returning (usually multiple times) to the post to see if anyone has replied to their comments. This leads to MORE comments AND page loads. Brilliant!

Third, there is a collateral gain to everyone involved in the exchange in that we can now become acquainted with other fellow bloggers/commenters who share our same values. Unless the comments are posted anonymously, the commenters name is hyperlinked to a user profile (like Enola Gay, for example).  We can visit that user profile and see if they, too, have a blog we can read and possibly endorse by becoming a follower. This can lead to a larger network of like-minded people, sharing common values and learning from each others' blog posts and comments. Hurray!

Lastly, anything that increases exposure to your articles/posts also increases your income from your advertisements (IF you have ads on your pages). Advertisements, such as Google Adsense, pay a blogger in several ways. To name a few, you can be paid
  • if a reader CLICKS on your advertisement and buys something from the advertiser. It can be in the form of a percentage of the sale or a flat fee for bringing the sale to the advertiser.
  • if a reader CLICKS on your advertisement and doesn't buy anything. The advertiser may still pay a flat fee just for bringing a potential customer to the advertiser's website.
  • for pure impression rate alone. An impression simply indicates that the advertisement was loaded onto your page and potentially seen by a consumer. No clicks, no purchases. You actually get paid just for showing the advertisement. Granted, the pay is much less for impressions than purchases but you still can make a good income simply from impressions on a high traffic page.
It is for these reasons that I welcome ALL trolls and provocateurs. Bring me all the traffic you want and I will be grateful! Thank you "Heidi M" for not only supplying Patrice's blog with material for an excellent post but you've also inspired a topic for me today ;-)

Long live the Trolls!