Homeschooling Skyrockets as More Parents Get Fed Up

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The school house is no longer the save haven of education that it once was. As preppers we are out to protect those things most dear to us in times of calamity. I think its safe to say that our education system is in serious disarray. Can you imagine another institution suffering indoctrination, bullying, suicide, …

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Life Expectancy Is Dropping (But Not Because of Opioids)

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Have you seen that TV commercial where they ask people (actors) to put a mark on a wall that indicates the age of the oldest person they know?

We see lots of marks in the mid-80’s, a good number in the early 90’s, some in the mid-to-late 90’s, and even a few over 100.

Life expectancy has been increasing over the last century and it makes us feel good to see this graphical representation of how far we’ve come.

But I’ve been deeply concerned that this upward trend was going to reverse, and it looks like that is now happening.

Let me give you an example:

My friend Teresa (not her real name) is about my age (mid-50’s). Her grandmother recently passed away at 99 years old, just a few months shy of 100.

Teresa’s mom is 76 years old, but not in great shape. The nourishment to keep her alive comes through a feeding tube in her stomach, she can’t remember much, and walking is out of the question. She probably doesn’t have more than a year or two to live, at the most.

And my friend Teresa is also in pretty bad shape. Overweight, losing mobility, some auto-immune issues and probably more she doesn’t know about — and she doesn’t want to know.

No one can say for sure, but I think it is a pretty safe guess that all three women from these three generations will very likely die within a 5- to 10-year period of each other — each one passing at a successively younger age.

Unfortunately, Teresa’s case is fairly common. It has saddened me deeply to have quite a few more examples like this in my extended circle of friends and acquaintances.

After almost a century of increasing life expectancy, the numbers are starting to turn downward.

The reason?

In recent decades, we have not been taking good care of ourselves.

The National Center for Health Statistics Report Mortality in the United States, 20161) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db293.pdf (the latest year for which numbers are currently available) shows that life expectancy in the U.S. in 2016 decreased about a tenth of a year since 2015. This latest report guesses that, on average, you are going to live to be 78.6 years old.

By the way, girlfriends, we can still expect to live about 5 years longer (to 81.1 years) than our menfolk, who are expected to live to 76.1 years old, on average.

A 1-year drop, although extremely rare, isn’t of true concern. But the CDC has reported numbers for both 2015 and 2016 that show your odds of living longer are dropping.

I suppose a 2-year drop isn’t really that disconcerting, either (the last time it happened was in 1962–63).

But what surprises me is how long it’s taken for the stats to show a drop. The level of health of our population has been dropping for decades.

The Official ‘Explanation’

As I was surfing the net researching this topic, I began to notice a very strange thing: almost every article that talked about the 2-year drop explained it away by saying it was due to the number of deaths caused by opioid overdoses.

Uh, what?

In the U.S. in 2015, there were approximately 2.7 million deaths from every cause.

Heart disease is the biggie at about 633,842 deaths per year; cancer is at 595,930; and then way below that is chronic lower respiratory diseases at 155,041. (Note that they never mention the number of deaths due to medical errors. I’ll be writing about that soon, but the estimate on that is about 253,000 each year.)

And the number of deaths from opioid overdose? About 20,000. Most of those deaths are by people who are between the ages of 35 and 50.

So how does this small amount of middle-age overdoses account for the drop in longevity?

Now I am not an actuary or a mathematician, but those numbers just don’t add up.

And they don’t pass the common-sense test.

We’ve just jumped off a cliff, so why aren’t we talking about the real problems?

I Predict That Life Expectancy in the U.S. Is Going to Plummet

What I see is not rocket science, nor am I gazing into a crystal ball. It’s simple “rocks are hard and water is wet” kind of logic. Our population is malnourished and overfed, and we are getting sicker much younger.

A while back there was a study (again published by the CDC) that estimated that 1 in 3 children born after 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Did you know that Type 2 Diabetes used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” because it was only seen in adults, generally over the age of 50 or 60? The name has been dropped now that so many younger people—and kids—are afflicted.

What kind of life will those kids have if they are getting diabetes in their 20’s and 30’s? They will be in the prime of life, at child-bearing age … and they will be dealing with complications from diabetes such as kidney problems, heart disease, blindness, and amputations.

This past November, Dr. Tara Narula spoke about the increase in child-onset Type 2 Diabetes on “CBS This Morning”:2)https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-behind-rise-in-type-2-diabetes-children

“What people don’t really think about with this disease, we see the complications not when kids are 50 or 60—we’re seeing this as early as 5 or 10 years down the road, when kids are now in the prime of their lives. They’re starting jobs, they’re in college, they’re having families—and what’s happening to them? They’re developing end-stage renal disease, leading them to dialysis, heart attack and stroke, neuropathy—big, big problems—retinopathy, blindness.”

Do you really expect that these kids will make it to 60 or 70 years old? And if by some miracle they did, what would their quality of life have been?

Can we quantify how much shorter their lives will be? In 2010, research indicated that diabetes cuts about 8.5 years off the lifespan of the average 50-year-old, compared to a 50-year-old without diabetes.3)https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20101201/diabetes-cuts-years-off-life-span-of-americans#1 The study also showed that the younger you are when you get the disease, the more years get cut off from your life expectancy.

Diabetes Is Only One of the Many Problems

I am not sure if you caught that interview I did with Sally Fallon in the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. Sally is the founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation. I went off-topic on a rant about how mothers these days are so overprotective. Today’s moms make their kids wear helmets and all kinds of padding just to ride bicycles. We never had any of that kind of stuff when I was a kid.

Sally immediately came to the defense of modern moms. “Marjory,” she said, “kids these days are born with thinner skulls and are much more prone to concussions and skull fractures then we were.” Sally went on to talk about how the modern food supply has paltry levels of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals necessary for healthy bone and skeletal growth. “Children born these days are much frailer than earlier generations and really do need more protection,” she concluded.

Ignoring the Elephant in the Room

It continues to astonish me how the conventional medical system and the U.S. government are completely blind to the most basic pillar of health: nutrition.

The CDC resorts to excuses like opioid overdose to avoid the truth that the food supply is empty of nutrition and essentially toxic. Meanwhile, the population they are supposed to be protecting is getting sicker and sicker.

Bob Anderson is the chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics (which is part of the CDC). Rather than discussing the real issues and the alarm that the drop in numbers represents, Bob said “I still don’t think you can call it a trend, because you really need more than two data points to call something a trend. But it’s certainly concerning to see this two years in a row.”

What Will Happen Next Year?

It’s obvious to me what is going to happen with the next set of data. The life expectancy will continue to go down.

I’ll be watching the data as it comes out.

And the CDC is already preparing us for more bad news—although they still are insisting on the opioid spin for an explanation.

Bob is quoted as saying, “We have data for almost half of 2017 at this point. It’s still quite provisional, but it suggests that we’re in for another increase” in drug-related deaths, he said. “If we’re not careful, we could end up with declining life expectancy for three years in a row, which we haven’t seen since the Spanish flu, 100 years ago.”

The Saving Grace in This World

There is one really beautiful truth that continues to inspire me and fill me with hope.

You can source what your body needs directly from the Earth. You have choices. You don’t have to depend on your government or large corporations to fulfill your needs. With a combination of your own gardens, working within your community, sourcing from trusted local farmers and healers, you can achieve vibrant longevity.

And, in fact, we need you to do that.

I would love to hear your insights, stories, and comments on this topic! Please express your thoughts below. I read all the comments, and will be doing my best to reply to as many as possible. —Marjory

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References   [ + ]

1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db293.pdf
2. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-behind-rise-in-type-2-diabetes-children
3. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20101201/diabetes-cuts-years-off-life-span-of-americans#1

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June Question of the Month

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TGN Community members:

Do you have any favorite tools that you use around the homestead or garden that you just couldn’t live without?

Please leave your reply in the comments below, or in the Forums by clicking here: https://thegrownetwork.com/forums/topic/favorite-homesteading-tools-and-supplies/

We’ll compile your answers into an article soon!

 

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Congratulations, May Certification Graduates!

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Congratulations to the following Community members on completing one or more of our Certifications in May!

As many of you know, one of the perks of membership in our Honors Lab is FREE access to several amazing certifications in our Honors Lab area—and lots more are in the works.

These Certifications dive deep. They’re essentially multi-lesson master classes, full of practical know-how so you can immediately start reaping benefits for yourself, your family, and your garden.

(And if you’re not an Honors Lab member yet, you can gain access to these Certifications + lots more perks of membership by joining today. Click here to learn more!)

 

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

In this awesome certification, TGN blogger (and homesteader extraordinaire!) Tasha Greer covers everything from breed selection and coop design to flock health and egg storage — plus lots more….

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing this Certification:

  • Brian Moyers
  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Sharon Companion
  • Suzette Carlin

 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

This 8-week course teaches the principles of bio-intensive gardening—one of the easiest, most sustainable ways to produce big, delicious fruits and vegetables!

It covers everything from starting and transplanting seedlings to the basics of garden beds and soil, and from making compost to garden maintenance. There’s even a section on harvesting and processing grains!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing the Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification in May!

  • Downing
  • Nanciann Lamontagne

 

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

The Home Medicine 101 Certification is a perennial favorite in the Honors Lab!

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

  • Burns, stings, and rashes,
  • Wounds and lacerations,
  • Coughs and colds,
  • Fevers,
  • Indigestion,
  • Anxiety and insomnia,
  • Muscle pain, and
  • Topical infections …

… with readily available plants you may already have growing in your backyard!

Congratulations to the following Community members on completing Home Medicine 101:

  • david jones
  • ginaBacigalupo Zappia
  • goldenangel0819760
  • JessicaPatel
  • Kerry Lowe
  • MarilynSunia
  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Nelly P
  • Ray Harney
  • Shelli Haun
  • Sherriamaro

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

In just 8 lessons, The Grow Network’s Instant Master Gardener Certification reveals gardening secrets, tips, and tricks that most people spend years discovering.

Lessons include:

  1. “The Secret to a Green Thumb”
  2. “How Much Land Do You Need?”
  3. “The Power of Herbs”
  4. “The Easiest Way to Prepare a Garden Bed”
  5. “Three Facts About Seeds Every Master Gardener Knows”
  6. “Transplanting Baby Plants”
  7. “The Four HUGE Advantages of Backyard Food Production”
  8. “A Homemade Fertilizer So Powerful, You Could Create a Business Out of It”

Congrats to the following Honors Lab members for completing this powerful certification in May:

  • ChimneyFieldFarm
  • Daviddulock
  • Diane Massey
  • jbartlett
  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Whtwtrldy

 

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

Learn how to save seeds that will ensure an abundant harvest in years to come with the in-depth information in TGN’s Saving Quality Seeds Certification.

This 7-lesson Certification teaches which plants are easiest to save seeds from, how to plan your garden with seed-saving in mind, how to do a garden soil inventory, the basics of dry and wet harvesting, the best way to store seed, how to determine seed quality—and more!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing this Certification:

  • Nanciann Lamontagne
  • Suzette Carlin

We’ve also got several more certifications in the works, including “Making Medicine,” “Growing Mushrooms,” “Raising Ducks,” “Beekeeping,” and “Growing Medical Marijuana.” We’re working with some fantastic experts on these, so you’ll definitely want to check them out in the Honors Lab once they’re ready. Exciting stuff! 🙂

 

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Awesome Information Resources (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!)

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We’re guessing that, like us, you’re constantly striving to improve your garden and your gardening methods … to make your composting processes a little bit more efficient … to strengthen the microbial activity in your soil a little bit more … to improve your favorite vegetable variety through seed saving and experimentation … and the list goes on!

And while you can achieve those goals by yourself, no one would argue that getting a little help from others makes the process a whole lot smoother, faster, and more fun!

So where do our Community members turn when they’re looking for advice and information on gardening, homesteading, and home medicine (besides The Grow Network, of course!)?

We asked them recently and compiled the following list of recommended resources. (Many thanks to Fibrefarmer, Marcia, Mary Kathryn, Permies949, Scott Sexton, tracyWandling, and all the other TGN Community members who contributed their ideas!)

Wildcrafting, Foraging, and Plant Identification

  • Eat the Weeds (blog and educational resources about foraging and edible wild plants)
  • Plants for a Future (database containing the edible, medicinal, and other uses of more than 7,000 plants)

Gardening, Farming, and Permaculture

  • Acres USA (Marjory says, “Mostly geared towards small farmers, the in-depth articles on a particular crop are great.”)
  • Your local Extension office (Merin says, “The climate and wildlife here (SW Colorado) are so different from those where I used to live (SE Texas) that it has been really helpful to be able to speak to our Extension agent and fellow Master Gardeners in this area to learn how to tackle some of the differences. A lot of them are also a wealth of information on organic and permaculture practices that work in this area….”)
  • MIgardener.com (gardening products and information)
  • North Texas Vegetable Gardeners Facebook group (“I love this group because it’s focused on gardening in my region,” says TGN’s social media manager Ruth Reyes-Loiacan. “It’s nice to have a large community of local people doing the same thing. Currently, the group has 29,000 members!”)
  • Permies (Of this forum for permaculturists and homesteaders, tracyWandling says, “It has a category for just about everything, and a wide variety of contributors of all levels who share their experiences and expertise with readers. It’s a great place to ask questions and interact with others who are doing the same things you are and are always willing to lend a helping hand. Great site.”)
  • PermaEthos (educational and community-building site)
  • Permaculture Apprentice (permaculture-related resources)
  • Permaculture Design Magazinere (contains articles on eco-regeneration, broadscale farming systems, agroforestry, home garden design, and community action)
  • Permaculture Magazine (magazine for permaculture enthusiasts covers all aspects of life)
  • Praxxus55712 YouTube channel (Marcia says she also recommends the YouTube channel WisconsinGarden.)
  • Self-Reliant School (information on growing, cooking, and preserving food)
  • Stacey Murphy/BK Farmyards (offers educational training about backyard farming and real food)
  • Tenth Acre Farm: Permaculture for the Suburbs (information on micro-farming)

Homesteading and Sustainability

  • BackYard Chickens (Merin adds that, with nearly 100,000 members—many of whom are both knowledgeable and willing to share information—the related Backyard Chickens Facebook group is also a great resource for backyard chicken keepers.)
  • Food in Jars Community Facebook group (Wendy Meredith says it offers “great ideas and new recipes on how to can much of what I produce.”)
  • MelissaKNorris.com (information on raising, preserving, and preparing food; home of the Pioneering Today podcast)
  • Mother Earth News Magazine (articles on homesteading and organic gardening, with a focus on self-sufficiency and sustainability)
  • The Prairie Homestead (blog offering homesteading advice)
  • Starry Hilder’s Off-Grid Homestead (blog about off-grid homesteading)
  • The Survival Podcast (online talk show about modern survivalism, sustainability, and alternative energy)

Health and Herbalism

Finally, regardless of the category, remember that your local library likely offers myriad excellent, free resources. “My library is a tremendous source of inspiration,” says TGN Community member Fibrefarmer. “They have the best books for the best price (free), but I have to give them back after a few weeks :(.  But still, it saves money, and they let me borrow the books as many times as I need. If they don’t have the book, they can order a copy or borrow it from another library via interlibrary loan.”

What about you? Is your favorite resource on this list? If not, let us know about it by leaving us a note in the comments!

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3 Expert Tomato Growers Share Their Best Tips

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Name: James Worley
Home Digs: Kansas City, MO
Business: KC Tomato Times
Blog: KCTomatoTimes.wordpress.com
Follow on Social Media: KC Tomato Times (Facebook)
Fast Fact: I won the 2017 World Championship Squirrel Cook Off in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Claim to Fame: I’ve been growing rare tomato varieties for over a decade and have grown almost 800 types so far. I pride myself on growing the most hearty, tough, and ready-to-plant seedlings available in the area. I also host a tomato tasting each year on the first Saturday in August. This will be our 10th annual event! We’ve had as many as 100 different types of ripe fruit in years past, but always have at least 40–50 types for people to taste and experience the uniqueness of each variety.

Top Tomato-Production Tip: Soil building is key. I make my own soil for my raised beds with locally produced compost mixed with peat, perlite, and vermiculite in an 8-1-1-1 ratio. I do not use manures as they tend to be too high in nitrogen. I fertilize with Tomato-tone when I plant and then every 3 weeks throughout the season.

On Less-Than-Ideal Growing Conditions: Mulch is your friend. Use some sort of mulch to keep your soil moisture consistent. Also, I prefer silver reflective film, as this keeps the moisture in and the weeds out, and it bounces light under the leaves to drive off insect invaders like aphids and hornworms. It is very shiny and you’ll need sunglasses when working with it, but you can see your garden from outer space!

Favorite Tomato Variety: Carbon is hands down the best I have ever grown. It has deep, complex flavors and a beautiful purple color, and is fairly disease resistant and very productive. I plant at least a dozen Carbon in my gardens every year.

Sharin’ the Love: I’m an educator at heart and in my profession. I make sure that anyone who buys my plants knows the best way to plant them, care for them, and eat them as well. I’m available year-round by e-mail to help gardeners with questions they may have. As for ripe tomatoes, we eat them at home in myriad ways; however, I love to take in a box of ripe tomatoes and other vegetables from my garden to local restaurants and trade them for delicious meals or have the chefs prepare them for me in their own special ways.

Read More: “TGN Talks Tomatoes With Dave Freed, Local Changemaker”

 

Robin Wyll, Tomatoes

Nominee: Robin Wyll
Home Digs: Woodinville, WA
Business: Robin’s Gourmet Garden (Nursery)
Website: GrowTomatoSauce.com
Follow On Social Media At: Robin’s Gourmet Garden (Facebook)
Fast Fact: Well, besides gardening, my other obsessions are theater and politics, so, of course, I can rap the entire opening number of the musical Hamilton!

Claim to Fame: I grow tomato sauce—125–200 pounds of tomatoes from 36 plants! I roast them, puree, and freeze about 2–3 gallons each year for winter meals. People asked me for help, so I created a website to help inspire others. People also asked me for cuttings, so I started a business raising around 1,800 heirloom tomato plants (nine varieties) and selling them directly to customers as well as supplying five stores. Customers say my varieties are unique in the local market and more robust than industry-grown options.

Top Tomato-Production Tip: Test your soil for everything down to the trace elements, and then mineralize accordingly. I started this five years ago after reading Steve Solomon’s book The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient-Dense Food, and it made a world of difference in my tomato production. Also, to get the most flavor out of your tomatoes, do not water the plants during the 24 hours before you pick the fruit. Watering just dilutes the sugars in the tomatoes, thereby diluting the flavor.

On Less-Than-Ideal Growing Conditions: Here in the Pacific Northwest, the biggest challenge is wildly fluctuating weather conditions. Sometimes the temperature will drop 20–30 degrees overnight, and we tend to get a lot of rain off and on throughout the summer. My solution is twofold. I select varieties that mature in fewer than 85 days, and I grow them under a protective shelter that can be opened up during good weather for air flow and pollination. The goals are to keep the leaves from getting rained on, which can lead to fungal issues, and to hold in the heat as much as possible. This method allows me to plant tomatoes in April when it’s still pretty cool and wet and extends the harvest into November.

Favorite Tomato Variety: My single favorite tomato variety is Speckled Roman, because my goal is to freeze as much tomato puree as I can—and the Speckled Roman is thick and meaty with few seeds and excellent, rich flavor. Some of the fruit will grow to more than one pound each—and it is so dense that you can grill the slices. My preferred pick for salsa is Black Sea Man, which is a Russian variety that produces lots of beefsteak-type tomatoes that are a beautiful mottled deep green and red with delicious sweet tomato flavor.

Sharin’ the Love: I share my 15 years of tomato-growing experience, failures, and successes via my website; I answer questions and share info related to my plant business on my Facebook page; and I share my expertise live by giving presentations to local garden clubs and, of course, in casual conversation. It seems that successfully growing tomatoes is a subject of great interest in my area. Plus, my tomato sauce gets around—lots of it went to college with my daughter, and I share it with neighbors and friends in the hopes of inspiring more people to try growing tomato sauce.

 

Leslie Doyle, Tomatoes

Nominee: Leslie Doyle
Home Digs: Las Vegas, NV
Business: Sweet Tomato Test Garden
Website: SweetTomatoTestGarden.com
Follow on Social Media: Leslie R. Doyle (Facebook)
Books Authored: Growing the Tomato in Las Vegas in Terrible Dirt and Desert Heat, self-published (1996); Growing the Tomato in Las Vegas in Terrible Dirt and Desert Heat (2nd edition), self-published (2002); Slam Dunk Easy Desert Gardening, self-published (2009)
Fast Fact: I actually don’t usually eat vegetable greens. I prefer berries; tree fruit; nuts; grilled steak, fish or chicken; and chocolate (yum!).

Claim to Fame: I wrote new directions for growing tomatoes and veggies in the desert—including new ways to irrigate and fertilize the farm or garden, a way to increase light on the plants, and a method to repel insects and avoid disease. I also developed a soil/compost that is very popular and widely used in the desert.

Top Tomato-Production Tip: Help them be all that they can be. You get more reliable results when you grow a variety that is known for prolific production and then give them ample water, nutrients, and sun—and grow them in the right climate.

On Less-Than-Ideal Growing Conditions: Gardening in Las Vegas is very, very different for new residents—and impossible for them without some coaching by a successful gardener. Growing here is actually easy, but there are growing rules. Wherever you live, pay attention to your plants, and learn how to fulfill their needs and diagnose their ailments.

Favorite Tomato Variety: My favorite tomato variety is Hawaiian Tropic for several reasons: It has an 8- to 10-ounce average size, is simply delicious, and is very prolific. It grows extremely well in our hot desert climate and has been disease resistant. Hawaiian Tropic tomato is only available through me at this time. I also like Juliet, a smaller Roma-like tomato. It is easy to grow, delicious, and an All-America Selections winner.

Sharin’ the Love: We sell our harvest here at the Sweet Tomato Test Garden and donate extra fruit to the Lutheran Social Services Food Panty. Some is also shared with friends. Over the years I have written articles and tips for various publications, including Organic Gardening magazine, where I worked for almost 10 years. I publish a subscription-based e-newsletter for desert gardeners, and I have decades of teaching and speaking experience at our Desert Gardening School, the library, our local university, civic events, and nurseries. People are welcome to visit my garden, and I am delighted to answer questions!

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TGN Talks Tomatoes With Dave Freed, Local Changemaker

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Nominee: Dave Freed

Home Digs: Cypress, CA

Blog: GrowTomatoesEasily.blogspot.com

Fast Fact: Known as “Dave, the Tomato Guy,” his motto is, If you don’t have a green thumb, I’ll give you one.

Nominated By: Tirzah S. | Hindsville, AR

____________________________________________

Tell us about your background—where you grew up, your education, and what career or life path led to your current role as a Master Gardener, speaker, and tomato enthusiast?

I live in Cypress, California (in Orange County), but I was born and raised in the Midwest in North Central Kansas on a farm with cows, pigs, chickens, corn, wheat—and always a big vegetable garden. We did lots of fishing and hunting, and we lived off the land. I remember hunting with my father for rabbits, squirrels, ducks, pheasants, etc., for our next meal. It was a hard life, but we always had food to eat. I suppose that’s where I got my roots for growing a garden. Eventually, we left Kansas and ended up in California. I have always grown an annual garden and always include tomatoes, as this is the one fruit you cannot buy in the supermarket with a great, homegrown taste.

I worked in the foodservice industry before owning a full-service restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, near the University of Southern California. About 10 years ago, I sold the restaurant and retired, figuring I would relax and enjoy life and probably become very bored within about six months and then get back out into the business world. That never happened, and I’ve never looked back.

I volunteered to become a Master Gardener in Orange County, where we volunteer our hours helping others with their gardens. My heart has always been about growing tomatoes, and I’ve always been a competitor. So, since growing tomatoes easily was always a challenge, I learned how to make it easier, more foolproof, and more simple. People began calling to ask if I would come speak to their group or organization and share my tips on how to grow tomatoes easily in an urban setting. Today, I speak to 15–30 southern California gardening clubs and organizations every year on how to grow tomatoes easily. Last year, I even started a blog. I tell people, “If you don’t have a green thumb, I’ll give you one.”

What do you think makes your techniques so easy to follow? What kind of feedback have you received from your “students”?

My motto may seem rather bold, but it’s really not. You see, if you go on my blog site, I show you pictures of the tomatoes I grow—some plants with more than 100 pounds of tomatoes on them. And I tell you specifically what I do to grow these great tomatoes: which potting mixes, soils, fertilizers, and tomato plants to buy. I explain when to plant and how to water. I give you no room for failure as long as you follow the suggestions. And I have people let me know all the time that they’ve grown tomatoes for years and never had so much success as they do now.

I don’t do everything from scratch. People tend to live in the fast lane and want hassle-free and time-saving methods to grow tomatoes in home gardens. Some people are enthusiastic organic growers, while others are not—I demonstrate how to produce great results either way.

I’ve always said that if I ever write a book, I’ll try to keep it to about eight pages. Short and to the point!

You’ve said you research growing techniques as a backyard farmer before sharing them on your blog and in gardening classes. Can you give us an example of a tip that you found to be a great success? How about one that fell flat?

An idea that was a success was using great potting soil for backyard tomatoes. I detail my steps in the tips below. Basically, use one of the three great potting soils I recommend, then mix in some composted steer manure with compost.

Until this discovery, I was like most others—simply mixing in compost with backyard dirt and planting tomatoes. They never did very well. And you never have to worry about planting in the same spot year after year. If you think you need to change the soil, you dig out the potting soil from the hole and replace it with new potting soil. This is one of the biggest improvements the backyard tomato farmer can make.

An idea that fell flat was grafted tomatoes—attaching a disease-resistant, hearty rootstock to your favorite top, such as the heirloom Brandywine. This was supposed to result in a great root system that produced a huge top with lots of your favorite tomatoes. For several years, I would plant a grafted Brandywine next to a Brandywine with its original roots. Every year, the original Brandywine outperformed the grafted one by a large margin.

You’ve taught others to build self-watering containers. What makes you such a big proponent?

Self-watering containers have been around for a long time. You can find many different designs online. The one thing they all have in common is that they have a water reservoir at the bottom of the container that will hold water for the plants to use as needed.

Remember, a full-grown tomato plant will use 2 to 3 gallons of water every day. Most of the time we do a lousy job of consistently watering our gardens and tomatoes. Self-watering containers help to keep those roots moist—and even more so if you are using great potting soil.

You frequently yield 100+ pounds of tomatoes on a single plant. Can you share some tips for prolific production that are universal across climates and growing regions?

Sunshine. Tomato plants convert sunlight into food and energy. The more sunshine—especially morning sun—the more food and energy your tomato plant has to produce a big top with lots and lots of tomatoes.

Soil. This is probably where the biggest advantage can be gained by the average tomato farmer. I first recommend you dig a hole at least 2 feet deep and 2 feet in diameter. Throw away the dirt, and fill the hole with water to make sure it drains. Then I suggest filling the hole with at least a 15-gallon container of one of the three potting mixes that I mention on my blog, followed by mixing in a little bit of composted steer manure. Plant one tomato plant in the middle of that hole.

Why do I suggest one of these three potting mixes? Because they contain a very large amount of sphagnum peat moss, and 1 pound of sphagnum peat moss can hold up to 25 pounds of water. It’s like surrounding those roots 24/7 with a sponge, which promotes a big root system, which promotes a big top with lots of tomatoes. A small root system gives you a bonsai tomato plant. . . . I know, because I’ve been there.

Schedule. For your city or ZIP code, look up historical weather averages for a guideline on planting tomatoes. They generally need 50- to 55-degree nights to produce pollen—no pollen, no tomatoes. Once temperatures rise to 85 degrees and warmer, tomato plants will generally quit producing pollen. That is your window. (And, yes, there are tomato plants that will produce tomatoes in 90-degree weather.)

Variety. If you plant a lousy variety, you are going to get lousy results. My blog site shows you different varieties that will give you lots of tomatoes—and I mention them in the next question as well. If possible, pick one of those to plant, and buy a live plant.

Watering. A mature tomato plant can easily use up to 3 gallons of water every day. Try to water in the morning, as excess water on the leaves or surface of the soil will evaporate quickly, whereas evening watering leaves the surface soil wet too long and invites disease.

How do you know when to water? Use a moisture meter. You can buy these at your brick-and-mortar stores or online. Stick the probe down into the soil, and the meter will read dry, moist, or wet. If the reading is on the dry/moist side, it’s time to water. Water down deep, slowly, about 18 inches to 2 feet. Using deep watering pipes can help. This water carries all the nutrients from the soil up to the tomatoes and the growing tips of the vines. And then 80 to 90 percent of that water evaporates out through the leaves.

Fertilizer. Tomato plants are very heavy users of fertilizer. If you do not remember anything else, remember to use only a liquid fertilizer that is recommended for tomatoes and/or vegetable gardens.

In liquid form, fertilizer can be taken up by the tomato plant almost immediately. In dry form, it can take weeks or months.

Tomato Cages. You will want to use a heavy-duty tomato cage to keep the tomatoes up off the soil. You can find these at your local nurseries or big-box stores. I like to use concrete-reinforcing wire and make my own approximately 2 feet in diameter and 5- or 6-feet tall, depending on the plant you’re growing. Some of my cages are 3 feet in diameter and 8-feet tall.

Do you have a favorite tomato variety?

There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes. Hybrids, heirlooms, determinants that grow like a bush, and indeterminates that grow like a vine.

  • My favorite hybrids are probably Better Boy, Big Beef, Husky Cherry Red, and Celebrity.
  • Top heirlooms are Pink Brandywine, Red Brandywine, and Cherokee Purple.

For the most part, these are all thin-skinned varieties with great flavor that produce many pounds of tomatoes per plant. Some other varieties produce very few tomatoes even under ideal conditions.

So if you see some of the above for sale in your area of the country, give them a try. No. 1, I recommend that people plant a great tomato each year that will give them lots of tomatoes. After that, try something new.

What do you do with all those tomatoes? Sell them through a farmers’ market, distribute them within the community, do a ton of canning—or give them away to lots of grateful friends?

I love the flavor of homegrown tomatoes, and growing them is a hobby I really enjoy. I do not sell any of my tomatoes. I do not can, freeze, or dry any either. I give away as many as I can to friends, relatives, neighbors, my barber, my dry cleaner, and so on. Sometimes, I just leave a box of fresh tomatoes on someone’s porch . . . and I haven’t had any returned yet!

What do you find most valuable about being part of The Grow Network community?

I come into contact with hundreds of people when I’m teaching. America is probably the most diverse nation on earth, with many differing views on life and politics. Vegetable gardens and homegrown tomatoes . . . turning back to the basics . . . healthy living and healthy eating—all these put us on the same page, and differences are forgotten. The Grow Network offers a forum for all of this, with something there for everyone. When we live life in the fast lane and finally slow down to enjoy a homegrown garden, it’s surprising how rewarding it can be.

 

The post TGN Talks Tomatoes With Dave Freed, Local Changemaker appeared first on The Grow Network.

May Question of the Month

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TGN Community members:

What successes have you had using information you learned in The Grow Network’s Home Medicine 101 course?

Please leave your reply in the Forums by clicking here: https://thegrownetwork.com/forums/topic/successes-using-information-in-home-medicine-101-course/

Thanks so much for letting me know!

 

The post May Question of the Month appeared first on The Grow Network.

Congratulations, March and April Certification Graduates!

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Congratulations to the following Community members on completing one or more of our Certifications in March and April!

As many of you know, one of the perks of membership in our Honors Lab is FREE access to several amazing certifications in our Honors Lab area—and lots more are in the works.

These Certifications dive deep. They’re essentially multi-lesson master classes, full of practical know-how so you can immediately start reaping benefits for yourself, your family, and your garden.

(And if you’re not an Honors Lab member yet, you can gain access to these Certifications + lots more perks of membership by joining today. Click here to learn more!)

 

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

NEW! Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

In this awesome new certification, TGN blogger (and homesteader extraordinaire!) Tasha Greer covers everything from breed selection and coop design to flock health and egg storage — plus lots more….

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing this Certification:

  • Cherlynn
  • Connie
  • daviddulock
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Diane Massey
  • Donna Detweiler
  • Downing
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Luetta
  • Mark Davis
  • MikeF
  • Nata Porter
  • Rebecca Potrafka
  • Scott Sexton
  • suzan.mckillop

 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

This 8-week course teaches the principles of bio-intensive gardening—one of the easiest, most sustainable ways to produce big, delicious fruits and vegetables!

It covers everything from starting and transplanting seedlings to the basics of garden beds and soil, and from making compost to garden maintenance. There’s even a section on harvesting and processing grains!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing the Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification in March and April!

  • bonhil777
  • Cherlynn
  • elizsiracusa
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Kathryn Magoon
  • Lauren Premo
  • Linda Clardy
  • Mary Ellen Rowe
  • MikeF
  • Richelle John
  • Sharon Companion
  • Shelli Haun
  • susanna.schuch
  • suzan.mckillop

 

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

The Home Medicine 101 Certification is a perennial favorite in the Honors Lab!

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

  • Burns, stings, and rashes,
  • Wounds and lacerations,
  • Coughs and colds,
  • Fevers,
  • Indigestion,
  • Anxiety and insomnia,
  • Muscle pain, and
  • Topical infections …

… with readily available plants you may already have growing in your backyard!

Congratulations to the following Community members for completing Home Medicine 101:

  • alyssabpanico
  • AmyMatter
  • andreasexton
  • Anna-Marie
  • barb.stinson
  • bayetdelatour
  • bonhil777
  • Brenda Nicholson
  • cathyneumans
  • CeceliaStubbs
  • Cherlynn
  • ChristieWeixel
  • Chuck Belshe
  • CindaDunham
  • crowe.martin
  • DavidColley
  • Denise Poundstone
  • Diane Massey
  • Dianne
  • Donna Raygoza
  • elizsiracusa
  • equussue
  • ewbroach
  • fostermom30
  • Gee
  • Greg
  • griesjoe
  • handhinternatl
  • Jamie Carels
  • jasabelle6
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • KarinHolzscheiter
  • Katrina Rhoades
  • Kevin White
  • KrisLaubach
  • Lann
  • Lisa Petrillo
  • M
  • Marilyn Nepper
  • Mary Anne Chase
  • Mary Linda Bittle
  • michaelbuzel
  • nancybekaert
  • nicolette_b_2000
  • NINITAKELLER
  • NoeleneChadwick
  • ntcherneva
  • philipcabrams
  • rikkamojica
  • rleneraigoza
  • Shane Kraus
  • Sieglinde
  • smith4536
  • suzan.mckillop
  • tjm5
  • Tracy

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

In just 8 lessons, The Grow Network’s Instant Master Gardener Certification reveals gardening secrets, tips, and tricks that most people spend years discovering.

Lessons include:

  1. “The Secret to a Green Thumb”
  2. “How Much Land Do You Need?”
  3. “The Power of Herbs”
  4. “The Easiest Way to Prepare a Garden Bed”
  5. “Three Facts About Seeds Every Master Gardener Knows”
  6. “Transplanting Baby Plants”
  7. “The Four HUGE Advantages of Backyard Food Production”
  8. “A Homemade Fertilizer So Powerful, You Could Create a Business Out of It”

Congrats to the following Honors Lab members for completing this powerful certification in March and April:

  • 4cheers4u
  • Angel Nance
  • Barbara Maneja
  • Bill Burger
  • bonhil777
  • Bonnie Guffey
  • cathyneumans
  • CeceliaStubbs
  • Cherlynn
  • Constantine Spialek
  • Dale M Sieting
  • Denise Poundstone
  • dianamlott
  • Donna
  • Downing
  • Edge
  • EllenHomeister
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • HeidiRockwell
  • Janet MacLennan
  • janicepizzonia
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Kali Mason
  • Kathryn Magoon
  • Lauren Doyle Kerins
  • MarieCrum
  • Marilyn Nepper
  • Mary Ellen Rowe
  • MikeF
  • Nadia Cassar
  • preacher
  • Rebecca Potrafka
  • Selene Staehle
  • Sharon Companion
  • Shelli Haun
  • susanna.schuch
  • suzan.mckillop

 

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

Learn how to save seeds that will ensure an abundant harvest in years to come with the in-depth information in TGN’s Saving Quality Seeds Certification.

This 7-lesson Certification teaches which plants are easiest to save seeds from, how to plan your garden with seed-saving in mind, how to do a garden soil inventory, the basics of dry and wet harvesting, the best way to store seed, how to determine seed quality—and more!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing this Certification:

  • Carol Williams
  • Cherlynn
  • griesjoe
  • Heather Duro
  • Joanna Newcomer
  • Mark Davis
  • MikeF
  • Sharon Companion
  • Shelli Haun

 

 

We’ve also got several more certifications in the works, including “Making Home Medicine,” “Backyard Meat Rabbits,” “Bird-watching,” and “Beekeeping.” We’re working with some fantastic experts on these, so you’ll definitely want to check them out in the Honors Lab once they’re ready. Exciting stuff! 🙂

 

The post Congratulations, March and April Certification Graduates! appeared first on The Grow Network.

How To Tie Shoes So They STAY Tied

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You know how much I love to walk around barefoot, so this probably won’t come as any surprise … but it took me 55 years to learn how to tie shoes so they’ll stay tied!

I want to share this method with you today, because it really is awesome:

  • It uses a simple knot that’s just a slight variation on the knot you probably already use to tie your shoes.
  • Your shoes will stay tied all day long (no more tripping over untied shoelaces or having to stop constantly to retie them!).
  • And, when you’re ready to kick off your shoes at the end of the day, untying your laces will be as simple as pulling on a string. (Really!)

I made a video of the process. I really think you’re going to love knowing how to tie shoes like this:

After you watch, give it a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments section below!

(Oh, and be sure to make your life easier by checking out my other time-saving Homesteading Basics tips here!)

 

The post How To Tie Shoes So They STAY Tied appeared first on The Grow Network.

300,000 People Are Joining This Online Event—Are You?

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The modern diet is making billions of people sick and fat.

If you’re fed up with toxic food, and hungry for a change, then I have wonderful news. My friends John and Ocean Robbins are getting ready to bring YOU one of the most powerful free events in the history of food. Have you signed up yet?

Learn the truth about food at the 2018 Food Revolution Summit.

Our current diet is leading to heart disease, dementia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.

But the truth is, you can beat disease, and step into great health — starting with the food on your plate!

From April 28-May 6, John and Ocean are interviewing 24 of the world’s top medical and food experts you can trust, including Joel Fuhrman, MD; Kris Carr; Michael Greger, MD; Vani Hari; Neal Barnard, MD; Dale Bredesen, MD; Mark Hyman, MD; David Perlmutter, MD; and many more.

During this weeklong, online event, you’ll gain the latest insights on food and nutrition. And you’ll learn about specific foods that can enhance brain health, prevent cancer, and put you solidly on the path to lasting wellness.

This isn’t time for fewer pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, added sugars, additives, colorings, and processing. If we truly want health, now is the time for a food revolution.

If you know that food matters, and you want to do the best for your body and your planet, then this is THE place to be.

Join the Food Revolution Summit and get the resources you need to stand up for real food.

I’ll see you there!

 

The post 300,000 People Are Joining This Online Event—Are You? appeared first on The Grow Network.

TGN Interviews Linda Borghi, Local Changemaker

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Nominee: Linda Borghi

Website: Farm-A-Yard.com

Follow On Social Media At: Yard Farming (Patreon Podcast), Farm-A-Yard (iTunes Podcast), Farm-A-Yard (Facebook)

Fast Fact: In 2009, Linda spoke at the United Nations at a conference entitled “Food, Famine, and the Future of Food Technology.”

Nominated By:
Marsha H. | Fayetteville, NC

____________________________________________

Did you coin the phrase Farm-A-Yard?

Yes, indeed, we sure did. We even have a jingle, because every movement needs a jingle!

Can you describe the first stirrings of this movement and what inspired you and your co-founders to create it?

I was an urban farmer in the Hudson Valley of New York for 11 years. Farm-A-Yard co-founder Criss Ittermann was my designer and “fairy godmother,” and always helped me with my business. In the latter part of those 11 years, I taught live-streamed classes to five African nations and Australia, and met my first co-founder Marsha Howe when I worked with Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. At the end of my 2015 season (when I grew 300 pounds of garlic), I had to make a decision to either farm full-time or teach full-time. I picked teaching to get exponential results from my efforts. I decided to travel the East Coast in what I called the “Grow Food, Earn Money Tour,” and it took me from Orlando to Boston and back. When Marsha and I launched Farm-A-Yard online classes, it made sense to bring Criss in too.

You’ve said that the mission of the Farm-A-Yard movement is to start a food revolution by “localizing our food one yard at a time.” Can you explain the main tenets of this process?

Every one of us depends on this thin layer of soil that feeds us. But modern agriculture is stripping nutrients out of soil and trying to replace them with lab-grown chemicals while it also forces plants to grow where there are no nutrients or life in the soil. So the food we’re eating, even organic food, is more and more depleted. All because we’ve stopped growing healthy soil. Soil is the foundation of all land-bound life as we know it—which means humans, too. Why are we getting so sick? Because we aren’t really being fed.

So our first goal is teaching people to grow healthy soil. Stop letting grass pull all the nutrients out of the little bit of land that you own before you throw all those clippings away in a big plastic baggie headed straight to a garbage dump! Most people are throwing away all the nutrients in 65 million acres of lawn and using drinking water to water something they can’t even eat!

Seeds will grow if they have sun, water, and soil. But we teach people how to choose the right seeds for what they want to grow, and make sure it’s growing in healthy, rich, soil. Once you start growing—once you taste that food that you know you raised yourself—you won’t stop. Everyone will get the farming bug! Try some pea shoots for starters—10 days from plot to plate! Who can resist that?

We believe that everyone needs to take responsibility and grow a portion of the food that we are eating. Even if it is simply green garlic in the windowsill of a Manhattan apartment on the 56th floor. We need this movement for its multitude of benefits—physical, financial, and economic. There’s magic in growing our own food, and that magic ingredient is love! Put love into growing things, and you get more out of it. Cooking with love tastes better, and growing food with love has more health benefits for you and the plant, too. (Name one person on the 56th floor of a Manhattan apartment building who couldn’t use more love!) But when your broccoli comes from 2,000 miles away, there’s no love left in it.

My Farm-A-Yard team and I are connecting people with the skills and information they need to succeed in putting this magic back into their lives. This way, they can successfully grow real, nourishing food, right from the get-go. You see, It would truly bother me if anyone failed, because I know their chances of trying again are nil to none. We can change the world one plot-to-plate at a time!

Why do you feel it is so important for us to know where our food comes from?

Unfortunately, we live in a time when food can make us really sick depending on how it is grown. Our bodies require clean, better-than-organically grown, nutrient-dense food in order to function like a well-oiled machine. If our food is devoid of nutritive value, we suffer … every cell in our body suffers, and that suffering is the beginning of disease.

The more removed we are from where our food comes from, the less sure we can be of how it was grown. You can produce “organic” food that is grown in depleted soil. The seeds will grow, but they won’t have the nutritional value we really need. Organic methods don’t require taking great care of the soil—only that you abstain from using certain products. And the list of allowable methods and products that can still pass as organic grows all the time—including questionable products and methods. So we really don’t know. Meanwhile, your organic berries can come from Peru. And you may even see organic Washington state apples in stores found in New York apple country! It’s crazy! When these foods travel that distance, they lose vitality all the way to your mouth—they just don’t have the same nutritional density.

Also, due to the hardiness needed for what I call “stupidmarket” foods (yes, I coined that term as well), the species and varieties of our fruits and vegetables are more and more limited. The food has to be able to be picked before it’s ready or keep for weeks in-transit as it gets on a boat or is driven across country in a truck. These foods are not selected because they’re delicious or nutritious. They’re picked because they’re stubborn.

How can home gardens contribute to overall wellness?

Wellness has everything to do with the kind of relationship we have with food and where it comes from. Gardens open a new awareness and consciousness about the value of whole foods. The garden gives us a place and activity through which to hone a new relationship with food that is alive, accessible, and fresh. This experience invokes a deep joy and appreciation.

The foundational act of eating and the kind of food we consume on a daily basis are either our medicine or our poison. Making a decision to grow some of your own food is powerful. It benefits the body and the soul. Gardens can be places that support emotional healing and so much more.  Food brings people together. It supports and nurtures healthy relationships with others, builds community connection, and can even provide new, local food entrepreneurial opportunities. Gardens are a place to learn valuable lessons from nature—for adults and especially for children—that can affect our wellness in every area of life.

Tell us about Abundant Life Farm—its start in 1988 and eventual reawakening in 2004—and your experiences with SPIN-Farming and bioenergetic practices.

Abundant Life Farm began on Old Mill Road, Block Island, Rhode Island, where I was the comptroller of the public utility Block Island Power. I farmed on a quarter of an acre, had 23 sheep, 50 chickens, a milking Jersey cow—and the only farm in the United States licensed to sell cheese to the public with a herd of only one. I invented a 5-gallon pasteurization machine to do this.

I was introduced to biodynamics in the late ‘90s when I was the first intern at The Pfeiffer Center garden in Chestnut Ridge, New York. This is the region where biodynamics came to the United States in the ‘50s. When Abundant Life Farm came back to life in Middletown, New York, in 2004, we embraced the SPIN (Small Plot INtensive)-Farming model using biodynamic practices.

When I began Farm-A-Yard, I came upon Evan Folds, the creator of bioenergetic agriculture, which uses biodynamic methods combined with other principles. Over the years, Evan and I have developed a strong relationship, and he is Farm-A-Yard’s official soil doctor. A soil test is the first step anyone who is really serious about growing nutrient-dense food would take. Visit Evan’s web page (be sure to tell him I said hi!) to get your soil amendment prescription and find out if you need a little of this or that—and don’t touch those chemicals! After all, all we need to do is grow the soil to grow healthy people, and Evan can show us how to grow healthy soil.

What are some tips for ensuring that our lawn soil is nutrient-rich and primed for crop production?

To take a page from Evan, who was studying marine biology before he studied soil—soil is a lot like an airy version of the ocean. A lot is going on under the surface when you look at it under a microscope and study it. We don’t know everything there is to know about soil. It is a miraculous and complicated system that, when healthy, delivers nutrition to plants. That may sound weird, but there are highways underground through which tiny microbes bring nutrients to plants. I kid you not! When you kill the soil, how do you replace this highways? You don’t! You fake it. You pretend. You make synthetic nutrients and give them to the plants so they grow, and the synthetics end up in the people and make them sick.

So how do you ensure your soil is primed for crop production? Compost your weeds, use worm poop, stir up some biodynamic preparations, and stay far, far away from those petrochemicals. We talk about this topic a lot on our podcast and have several hours of webinars that cover soil health. It’s difficult to put the whole process into words, which is why Evan is a guest on our podcast often!

How does the Farm-A-Yard movement encourage local food security?

NOTHING is more secure than food growing outside your kitchen door, and we need more of that. With just 100 square feet of growing space, you can shave about $700 off your stupidmarket bill a year.

And what you don’t grow may be grown by your neighbor. You can trade with friends or family. Or go to a farm market, look that farmer in the eye, and ask about the farm’s growing practices. See something you don’t recognize? Ask what it is and how to prepare it. They know!

With droughts threatening our food from California and storms threatening our food from Florida, we need to think more about local food and not be so dependent on just a few large areas of our country and imports. If everyone is growing something, canning something, and sharing something, then when the power is out, everyone can eat. When a storm comes through, people can send relief food—that’s not in a can—to their neighbors. It’s not rocket science to realize that if the food is in your yard, in your kitchen, or at your church down the street, then your food is more secure than if it has to go 2,000 miles by truck and make it from a warehouse to your market, and then you have to go to the market to pick it up.

How do your efforts stimulate entrepreneurial opportunity?

I teach how to grow food and earn money. For the home gardener, I STRONGLY suggest looking at the Seed Voyage web page. This is where the home gardener can easily turn to sell some extra produce. We want all communities to work with a venture like Seed Voyage and collaborate in the growing of food. We also have Wayne Roberts on board, teaching city planners some 30 benefits and billions of dollars of free public service by growing food everywhere. Yup … everywhere! This just makes more sense than allowing 40 million acres of turf grass—the largest cultivated crop in the nation—to use 40 percent of the drinking water on the East Coast!

In your wildest dreams, how do you see the Farm-A-Yard vision benefiting the world?

I see Farm-A-Yard being a major player in reversing the status quo of the lawn. This YouTube video says a lot. I dream of driving down residential streets called Lettuce Lane and Broccoli Boulevard. Yes, indeed.

Can you offer a specific piece of gardening, farming, or healthy living advice that would be of interest to our Grow Network community?

When we develop an intimate relationship with the soil beneath our feet, something happens. I can only describe it as joy. I would like nothing better than for everyone to feel this joy … then it will be Heaven on Earth.

 

The post TGN Interviews Linda Borghi, Local Changemaker appeared first on The Grow Network.

April Question of the Month

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TGN Community members, please let us know:

In addition to The Grow Network, what are your favorite resources for information on gardening, homesteading, and home medicine? (What magazines do you read, sites do you visit, and groups do you belong to?)

Please leave your reply in the Forums by clicking here: https://thegrownetwork.com/forums/topic/what-are-your-favorite-resources-for-gardening-homesteading-home-medicine-info/

Then, stay tuned—we’ll be compiling your answers into an article soon!

 

The post April Question of the Month appeared first on The Grow Network.

Congratulations, February Certification Graduates!

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Congratulations to the following Community members on completing one or more of our Certifications in February!

As many of you know, one of the perks of membership in our Honors Lab is FREE access to several amazing certifications in our Honors Lab area—and lots more are in the works.

These Certifications dive deep. They’re essentially multi-lesson master classes, full of practical know-how so you can immediately start reaping benefits for yourself, your family, and your garden.

(And if you’re not an Honors Lab member yet, you can gain access to these Certifications + lots more perks of membership by joining today. Click here to learn more!)

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

This 8-week course teaches the principles of bio-intensive gardening—one of the easiest, most sustainable ways to produce big, delicious fruits and vegetables!

It covers everything from starting and transplanting seedlings to the basics of garden beds and soil, and from making compost to garden maintenance. There’s even a section on harvesting and processing grains!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing the Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification in February!

  • Robert Held
  • Scott Sexton

 

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

The Home Medicine 101 Certification is a perennial favorite in the Honors Lab!

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

  • Burns, stings, and rashes,
  • Wounds and lacerations,
  • Coughs and colds,
  • Fevers,
  • Indigestion,
  • Anxiety and insomnia,
  • Muscle pain, and
  • Topical infections …

… with readily available plants you may already have growing in your backyard!

Congratulations to the following Community members for completing Home Medicine 101:

  • cathy.marcotte
  • DeniseChristensen
  • emull
  • Heather Duro
  • James Douglas
  • RoseBruno
  • Barefoot Kent
  • Catherine
  • JaneMcCutchen
  • George
  • Ruthie Guten
  • Bonnie Guffey
  • Shelley Buttenshaw
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • cathieonline
  • Emma May HunterHunter
  • janetch2008
  • russraiche
  • ShirleyJohns
  • Markkroneberger
  • Sharon Companion
  • joysong42
  • Carol Harant
  • jonhg
  • Lisa Cannon
  • Ericka Bajrami
  • rachelthudson
  • Patricia McBurney
  • PamWatros
  • Scott Sexton
  • Jane Mobley
  • Kim McClure
  • Waylon Olrick
  • Lisa Carroll

 

Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

In just 8 lessons, The Grow Network’s Instant Master Gardener Certification reveals gardening secrets, tips, and tricks that most people spend years discovering.

Lessons include:

  1. “The Secret to a Green Thumb”
  2. “How Much Land Do You Need?”
  3. “The Power of Herbs”
  4. “The Easiest Way to Prepare a Garden Bed”
  5. “Three Facts About Seeds Every Master Gardener Knows”
  6. “Transplanting Baby Plants”
  7. “The Four HUGE Advantages of Backyard Food Production”
  8. “A Homemade Fertilizer So Powerful, You Could Create a Business Out of It”

Congrats to the following Honors Lab members for completing this powerful certification in February:

  • Robert Held
  • PatriciaWolfe
  • tnsh5699
  • Lisa Carroll
  • Scott Sexton

 

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

Learn how to save seeds that will ensure an abundant harvest in years to come with the in-depth information in TGN’s Saving Quality Seeds Certification.

This 7-lesson Certification teaches which plants are easiest to save seeds from, how to plan your garden with seed-saving in mind, how to do a garden soil inventory, the basics of dry and wet harvesting, the best way to store seed, how to determine seed quality—and more!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab member on completing this Certification:

  • Scott Sexton

 

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

I’m excited to announce that we’ve put the finishing touches on another multi-lesson, deep-diving Certification, which has just been added to the Honors Lab:

NEW! Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

In this awesome new certification, TGN blogger (and homesteader extraordinaire!) Tasha Greer covers everything from breed selection and coop design to flock health and egg storage — plus lots more….

We’ve also got several more certifications in the works, including “Making Home Medicine,” “Backyard Meat Rabbits,” “Bird-watching,” and “Beekeeping.” We’re working with some fantastic experts on these, so you’ll definitely want to check them out in the Honors Lab once they’re ready. Exciting stuff! 🙂

 

The post Congratulations, February Certification Graduates! appeared first on The Grow Network.

Homestead Homeschooling: Year 3

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School is becoming an obsolete idea. Not the idea that children should be taught but the methods and model that is used in public school is just getting to be a bit much. In fact, its a scary! The risks of putting a child through public school are growing each year. Every time we see a …

Continue reading

The post Homestead Homeschooling: Year 3 appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Congratulations, Members, on Completing These Certifications!

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Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing one or more of our Certifications!

As many of you know, one of the perks of membership in our Honors Lab is FREE access to several amazing certifications in our Honors Lab area—and lots more are in the works.

These Certifications dive deep. They’re essentially multi-lesson master classes, full of practical know-how so you can immediately start reaping benefits for yourself, your family, and your garden.

(And if you’re not an Honors Lab member yet, you can gain access to these Certifications + lots more perks of membership by joining today. Click here to learn more!)

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification 

Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification

This 8-week course teaches the principles of bio-intensive gardening—one of the easiest, most sustainable ways to produce big, delicious fruits and vegetables!

It covers everything from starting and transplanting seedlings to the basics of garden beds and soil, and from making compost to garden maintenance. There’s even a section on harvesting and processing grains!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing the Bio-Intensive Gardening Certification!

  • Brian Moyers
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Alice Krueger
  • Ann Kudlicki
  • Carole Barrett
  • Chantal Turcotte
  • David Clark
  • Diane Jandt
  • Ellie Strand
  • Fern Cavanaugh
  • George Griggs
  • HP P
  • James Tutor
  • Keith Gascon
  • Kristina Head
  • Lori Rupp-Reagle
  • Lyndsy Schlup
  • Marlene Wild
  • Michael Clayton
  • Michael Oden
  • paulasmith
  • Rachel Tardif
  • Revola Fontaine
  • Robert Wohlfiel
  • Rogers George
  • Saunya Hildebrand
  • Shawn Skeffington
  • Stephen Biernesser
  • Stephen Bolin
  • Susan Faust
  • tnsh5699
  • William Torres

Home Medicine 101 Certification

Home Medicine 101 Certification

The Home Medicine 101 Certification is a perennial favorite in the Honors Lab!

This eight-week class teaches you how to remedy:

  • Burns, stings, and rashes,
  • Wounds and lacerations,
  • Coughs and colds,
  • Fevers,
  • Indigestion,
  • Anxiety and insomnia,
  • Muscle pain, and
  • Topical infections …

… with readily available plants you may already have growing in your backyard!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members for completing Home Medicine 101:

  • Raelene Norris
  • Alfredo Moreno
  • Alice DeLuca
  • Alice Krueger
  • Alta Blomquist
  • Amanda Gossett
  • Amy Blight
  • Amy Marquardt
  • Andrea Hill
  • Angel Hartness
  • Angela Wilson
  • Anna Zingaro
  • Anne McNally
  • Annette Coder
  • Antony Chomley
  • Arlene Woods
  • Barry Williams
  • Beth Zorbanos
  • Bohn Dunbar
  • Bonnie Shemie
  • Brenda Thompson
  • Brian Moyers
  • Camilla-Faye Muerset
  • Cara Hettich
  • Carol Bandi
  • Carol Ryerson
  • Carole Barrett
  • Carolyn Winchester
  • Carra
  • Catie Ransom
  • Chantale Mitchell
  • Charles Marian
  • Chelsea
  • Cherisbiz
  • Christi Crane
  • Christina Hawk
  • Christine Lawler
  • Christine Sadilek
  • Cindy Farley
  • Constantine Spialek
  • Craig Mackie
  • Cynthia Parker
  • Dale Bolton
  • Daniel Shook
  • Danielle Stenger
  • Dave Danner
  • Debbi Sander
  • Debbie Ford
  • Debbie Hill
  • Deborah Scribner
  • Debra Jensen
  • Debra Miller
  • Denise Callahan
  • Desiree Garcia
  • Diane Devine
  • Diane Jandt
  • Diane Massey
  • Dianna Burton
  • Don Wong
  • Donna Detweiler
  • Donna Norman
  • Dr. Carol Viera
  • Ellen Reh-Bower
  • Emily Bell
  • Emma Dorsey
  • Felicitas & Leandro Cometa
  • Fern Cavanaugh
  • Gail Maynard
  • Gary Flinchbaugh
  • George Griggs
  • Gilbert Sieg
  • Gina Jeffries
  • Ginger Cline
  • Hannelore Chan
  • Heather Munoz
  • Helen Bailey
  • Helen McGlynn
  • HP P
  • Irida Sangemino
  • Jamie Birchall
  • jamingo62
  • Jane Burkheimer
  • Janna Huggins
  • Jaudette Olson
  • Jessica Bonilla
  • Jessica Conley
  • Jim Hadlock
  • Jodee Maas
  • John Kempf
  • Jouski
  • Joyce Tallmadge Tallmadge
  • Judith Johnson
  • Julene Trigg
  • Julian San Miguel
  • Julie Kahrs
  • Juliet Wimp
  • Justin Talbot
  • Karen Brennan
  • Karen Suplee
  • Kat Sturtz
  • Katherine Keahey
  • Kathy O’Neal
  • Kathy Williams
  • Kelly Pagel
  • Kim Adelle Larson
  • Kim Kelly
  • Kim Osborne
  • Kimberley Burns-Childers
  • Kimberly Dolak
  • Kimberly Martin
  • Kristen Fitzgerald
  • Kristen McClellan
  • Laura Elliott
  • Laura Riches
  • Laurie Swope
  • LeanneTalshshar
  • Leediafast Bailey
  • Leslie Carl
  • Liann Graf
  • Linda
  • Linda Adair
  • Linda Beeth
  • Linda Cavage
  • Linda Grinthal
  • Linda Maes
  • Linda Raymer
  • Lisa Emerson
  • Lisa O’Connell
  • Lois Pratt
  • Lori Rupp-Reagle
  • Lori Spry
  • Lyudmila Kollin Kollin
  • Mandi Golman
  • Mandy Allen
  • Marcel Legierse
  • Marie Kidd
  • Marilyn Lange
  • Marjorie Hamrick
  • Marlene Moore
  • Martha Stanley
  • Mary Atsina
  • Mary Coons
  • Mary Dove
  • Mary Holt
  • Mary Sanderson
  • MaryAnn Kirchhoffer
  • Michael Hedemark
  • Michele Langford
  • Michelle Messier
  • Mike Scheck Scheck
  • Millicent Drucquer
  • Mimi Neoh
  • Monika Thompson
  • Nancy K. Young
  • Natalie Burton
  • Nellie Bhattarai
  • Nikki Follis
  • Nikki Thompson
  • Pamela Morrison
  • Patricia Scholes
  • Paula Frazier
  • Pete Lundy
  • Phil Tkachuk
  • Rachel Tardif
  • Rebecca Hale
  • Rebecca Riddle
  • Renee Hume
  • Revola Fontaine
  • Richard T. Tungate
  • Rick Horton
  • Robert Harris
  • Robert Kennedy
  • Robin Marshall
  • Rochelle Eisenberger
  • Rodger Huffman
  • Rogers George
  • Ruth Hester
  • Ruth Macrides
  • Ryan Johnston
  • S. Henshaw
  • Samantha Stokes
  • Sandi Huston
  • Sandra Mikesell
  • Sarah Cowan
  • Sarah Schwartz
  • Shalise Klebel
  • Sharon Marsh
  • Shawn Elmore
  • Shelly B.
  • Shelly Vogt
  • Sherry Hofecker
  • Steve Frazier
  • Sue Mortensen
  • Susan Abdullah
  • Susan Auckland
  • Susan Friesen
  • Susan Gray
  • Susan Phillips
  • Suzanne Oberly
  • Tammy Gresham
  • Tamora Gilbert
  • Teresa Elston
  • Teri Moote
  • Terra Eckert
  • Terry Bomar
  • Theresa McCuaig
  • Theresa Schultz
  • Tracie Velazquez
  • Wanita Martinelli
  • Wendy Meredith
  • William Torres

Instant Master Gardener Certification

Instant Master Gardener Certification

In 8 lessons, The Grow Network’s Instant Master Gardener Certification reveals gardening secrets, tips, and tricks that most people spend years discovering.

Lessons include:

  1. “The Secret to a Green Thumb”
  2. “How Much Land Do You Need?”
  3. “The Power of Herbs”
  4. “The Easiest Way to Prepare a Garden Bed”
  5. “Three Facts About Seeds Every Master Gardener Knows”
  6. “Transplanting Baby Plants”
  7. “The Four HUGE Advantages of Backyard Food Production”
  8. “A Homemade Fertilizer So Powerful, You Could Create a Business Out of It”

Congrats to the following Honors Lab members for completing this powerful certification:

  • Brian Moyers
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Dianne
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Aldo
  • Alice Krueger
  • Andrea Hill
  • Annie Degabriele
  • Barb
  • Beth Zorbanos
  • Bonnie Tyler
  • Bryson Thompson
  • bydawnsearlylite
  • Christina Hawk
  • Christy Dominguez
  • csells815
  • Cynthia Parker
  • David Clark
  • Debbie
  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Deborah Gonzales
  • Debra Frazier
  • Debra Hollcroft
  • Doc Hecker
  • Elmer Caddell
  • Gary Conter
  • Gayle Lawson
  • Geraldine Christmas
  • Gregg
  • HP P
  • Ibeneon
  • James Judd
  • Jamie Barker
  • Jeanette Tuppen
  • jeff780
  • Jennifer Johnson
  • JoAnn
  • Joe Prohaska
  • John Kempf
  • Karen
  • Karyn Pennington
  • Katycasper
  • Kcasalese
  • Keith Gascon
  • Kenneth
  • Laura Mahan
  • Leah Kay Olmes
  • Lisa Blakeney
  • Lori Rupp-Reagle
  • Marti Noden
  • Mary Falkner
  • Megan Venturella
  • metaldog227
  • Michael Clayton
  • Michael Merriken
  • Michael Dirrim
  • Nicole Mindach
  • Philip Vance
  • Rachel Tardif
  • Robert Wohlfiel
  • Robin
  • Rogers George
  • Ron Atkinson
  • Samantha Straw
  • Sammabrey
  • Sandy
  • Shawn Skeffington
  • Sheila Robadey
  • Sherry Ankers
  • Sherry Baer
  • Spraygsm
  • Stacey
  • Teddy Plaisted
  • Teresa Wolf
  • William Torres

Saving Quality Seeds Certification

Saving Quality Seeds

Learn how to save seeds that will ensure an abundant harvest in years to come with the in-depth information in TGN’s Saving Quality Seeds Certification.

This 7-lesson Certification teaches which plants are easiest to save seeds from, how to plan your garden with seed-saving in mind, how to do a garden soil inventory, the basics of dry and wet harvesting, the best way to store seed, how to determine seed quality—and more!

Congratulations to the following Honors Lab members on completing this Certification:

  • Debbie Kennedy
  • Brian Moyers
  • Diane Jandt
  • Gary Conter
  • HP P
  • Janna Huggins
  • Phil Tkachuk
  • William Torres

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production Certification

I’m excited to announce that we’re putting the finishing touches on another multi-lesson, deep-diving certification, which will be added to the Honors Lab very soon:

Backyard Chickens for Egg Production 

In this awesome new certification, TGN blogger (and homesteader extraordinaire!) Tasha Greer covers everything from breed selection and coop design to flock health and egg storage — plus lots more….

We’ve also got several more certifications in the works, including “Making Home Medicine,” “Backyard Meat Rabbits,” “Bird-watching,” and “Beekeeping.” We’re working with some fantastic experts on these, so you’ll definitely want to check them out in the Honors Lab once they’re ready. Exciting stuff! 🙂

 

The post Congratulations, Members, on Completing These Certifications! appeared first on The Grow Network.

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Featuring Karen Drake

Episode 1 Season 3 – Barefoot Bushcraft Radio Show

Saturday, March 06, 2018

In this episode of the Barefoot Bushcraft Radio Show we discuss:

 – Work Sharp blade sharpener by Ken Onion

 – It’s so cold, Parts of Niagara Falls are Freezing

 – Winter Survival in a car

 – Special Guest: Karen Darke  

subscribe-on-itunes

 

JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward [Updated]

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Yes, I am living it right now. I made a decision and quit a job with the state of Wyoming, moved to Nashville with everything I owned (that I hadn’t sold or gotten rid of) and started from scratch again. Had a job building corporate Dell PCs for two weeks, but after knee surgery 6 months […]

The post JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward [Updated] appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Steps to Use a Fire Extinguisher

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Do you know the steps to use a fire extinguisher correctly?  What may seem like common sense, is not as common as you would think. I felt a little bad as I snatched the fire extinguisher out of my coworker’s hands. The catered food, tablecloth, and table were on fire! […]

The post Steps to Use a Fire Extinguisher appeared first on Preppers Survive.

JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward.

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Yes, I am living it right now. I made a decision, and quit a job with the state of Wyoming, moved to Nashville with everything I owned (that I hadn’t sold or gotten rid of) and started from scratch again. Had a job building corporate Dell PCs for two weeks, but after knee surgery 6 months […]

The post JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward. appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Rich gets a new job in Nashville…

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Ok folks. Here’s the skinny. My New Job, by Rich Fleetwood…for inquiring minds. I now am a contract employee for a recruiting company that has offices all over the world, including an office here in downtown Nashville. This local recruiter got me a job with FedEx Supply Chain, in late April. Job was prepping new […]

The post Rich gets a new job in Nashville… appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Rich gets a new job in Nashville…or two.

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Ok folks. Here’s the skinny. My New Job, by Rich Fleetwood…for inquiring minds. I now am a contract employee for a recruiting company that has offices all over the world, including an office here in downtown Nashville. This local recruiter got me a job with FedEx Supply Chain, in late April. Job was prepping new […]

The post Rich gets a new job in Nashville…or two. appeared first on SurvivalRing.

SurvivalRing fundraiser time — Updated

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SurvivalRing Radio has been shut down for the time being (mentioned this last Friday). The main SurvivalRing.org site and the SurvivalRingRadio.com websites will remain online…just no upcoming podcasts or shows for the time beings. We’ll call our “Hiatus for the next few months. Focus on family and career (and health) for now….It’s all about the […]

The post SurvivalRing fundraiser time — Updated appeared first on SurvivalRing.

UNSEEN ENEMY: THE POTENTIAL LOOMING CRISIS OF THE NEXT DEADLY DISEASE PANDEMIC DEBUTS ON CNN

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In the 21st century, we are all connected. Population growth, mass urbanization, deforestation, climate change and increased travel have dramatically increased the risk that familiar diseases will spread and mutate, and new ones will emerge. As people enter new spheres of biodiversity, they come into closer contact with other species, increasing the risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans, and then spreading more widely.

Unseen Enemy is an essential exploration into the increasing threat of emerging infectious disease outbreaks and their impacts on society. Meet healthcare workers, disease detectives and families who have experienced the horror and devastation of Ebola, Zika and Influenza epidemics and emerged deeply changed.

 

The world’s urgent call to action on pandemics like Zika, Ebola, flu has global premiere April 7.

 

OFFICIAL CNN FILMS PRESS RELEASE:

UNSEEN ENEMY, about the potential looming crisis of disease pandemics, will debut as a CNN Films broadcast for a World Health Day presentation Friday, April 7 at 9:00pm Eastern on CNN/U.S. The film, which is exclusively presented by Johnson & Johnson, will then replay at 12:00am Eastern. All broadcasts will have limited commercial interruptions.

UNSEEN ENEMY is narrated by Emmy® and Golden Globe award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright and is written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Janet Tobias. CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD, is an executive producer and consultant for the film. Philanthropist Paul G. Allen, known for his catalytic leadership during the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, is also an executive producer.

Tobias embedded with some of the world’s top pathogen hunters and medical professionals for more than three years, crisscrossing the globe for UNSEEN ENEMY, to track outbreaks of Zika, Ebola, and influenza. From inside the hot zones in Brazil and Liberia, the film includes doctors who detail their heroic and often hazardous work from the front lines of the outbreak response. Doctors and researchers describe how they encountered the diseases, and how they are fighting the pathogens to save patients.

While the headlines of deadly outbreaks are alarming, Tobias’ film makes the case that successful containment can be achieved with coordinated efforts of medical professionals, researchers, governments, communicators, and the public. Two historic examples support her case. World-renowned epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant, guides viewers through his difficult decisions as he worked on the teams that forcibly vaccinated the last remote villagers against smallpox. Others describe how the global spread of HIV/AIDS could have been stopped if governments and public health bodies had acted more deliberately to warn the public. Dr. Brilliant warns now that there may be 30 emerging human pathogens that have the potential to become epidemics.

“The public plays an essential role in the fight to contain and eradicate diseases like Ebola, Zika, and influenza,” said Dr. Gupta, about his engagement in producing UNSEEN ENEMY. “It’s always been my goal to bring the best scientific and medical information to viewers so they can make informed decisions that improve their health. The situation is urgent, but information can help make us less vulnerable,” he said.

In addition to the premiere broadcasts on World Health Day, UNSEEN ENEMY will encore Saturday, April 15 at 9:00pm and Sunday, April 16 at 2:00am Eastern, with a short, CNN-produced companion special. The special will feature CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper with a discussion on the existing vulnerabilities to disease outbreaks and the tools needed to close the gaps in disease response.

“Because we witnessed epidemics up close during filming, our team came away with hope that we can win the fight against them. Around the world, there are dedicated scientists, innovative technologists, heroic doctors and nurses, as well as survivors, moms, dads, sisters, and brothers, who understand we all have a role to play,” said filmmaker Janet Tobias. “It’s only by each of us doing our part that we will win the battle.”

Profiled in the film to demonstrate the wide range of expertise needed to defeat the next global health crisis are:

**Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer prize-winning health journalist explains why flu is one of the world’s potentially most serious pandemics and also why public health authorities need to shift current priorities to effectively meet the next crises;
**Soka Moses, MD, a heroic young Liberian physician, left his family to treat Ebola patients at the height of the epidemic that ravaged his nation;
**Peter Piot, PhD, renowned microbiologist and director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, helped identify the Ebola virus in the 1970s and explains why the global spread of HIV/AIDS was not inevitable;
**Peter Sands, a global financier, explains what the next global health crisis could mean to global markets and geopolitical stability;
**Vanessa Van der Linden, MD, is a pediatric neurologist who sounded the initial alarm about a rise in microcephalic infants, following a Zika outbreak. Van der Linden even used a social media app to help gather data about the disease pattern; and,
**Gwen and Terry Zwanziger, parents of a teen who died of flu complications, now urge other parents to become informed about preventive vaccines and advocate for more money for flu research.

Carole Tomko, general manager and creative director of Mr. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, said, “We believe, and we’ve seen proof, that information is aid. In absence of vaccines, human knowledge paired with behavior modification is the most effective way to slow the spread of contagious diseases. UNSEEN ENEMY is a prime example of how Vulcan Productions combines storytelling and technology to ignite audiences to respond to big challenges. It is our hope that this film will inform and prepare individuals, and global society as a whole, for the very real global health crisis we are facing.”

In addition to the telecasts on CNN, Unseen Enemy will also stream live for subscribers via CNNgo on Friday, April 7 (www.CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, and iPad). The film will be available the day after the premiere (Saturday, April 8) via CNNgo. For additional information about the film and other ways to watch it, please visit: www.takesallofus.com.

Learn more about the film UNSEEN ENEMY.

Keep up with everything Practical Tactical by subscribing to our mailing list and be sure to LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW us across all of our social media platforms as well.

REPOST: SurvivalRing Guide #1: Five Most Important Skills for New Preppers…Set Your Foundation First (plus bonus Bug-out section)

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“Hello…We’re the Preppers…” The “Prepper” movement has grown exponentially in the last few years, thanks to reality TV shows such as “Doomsday Preppers” (aka DDP), and all the knockoff shows and repeats on many other networks, as well as online TV show services like Hulu and NetFlix. Mainstream print and online media is following in […]

The post REPOST: SurvivalRing Guide #1: Five Most Important Skills for New Preppers…Set Your Foundation First (plus bonus Bug-out section) appeared first on SurvivalRing.

“THANKS, OBAMA!” THE 44TH PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON SPACE WEATHER

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You’ve probably heard of something called a coronal mass ejection (CME), otherwise known as a massive solar flare, and you probably know it could be very bad for the United States if the we happened to be facing the sun when it impacts earth. A large CME has the potential to have devastating impacts on everything from our global positioning systems (GPS), satellite operations, space operations, aviation and even our power grids, knocking them offline in an instant and destroying critical power grid infrastructure. A CME is one of several extra-terrestrial events that could possibly impact earth that are collectively referred to as space weather. Although much less likely, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) can produce the same impacts, most commonly seen as a result of a nuclear explosion. In a world where international terrorism is a real threat, the possibility of an EMP weapon being used against the United States is a real concern. Experts agree that a direct impact from a large CME or a successful EMP attack is an existential threat to the United States that could instantly bring an end to our modern civilization.

 

A silhouette of the New Jersey.

 

On October 13, 2016, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order — Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events that outlined the country’s contingency plan in the event such weather events lead to significant disruption to systems like the electrical power grid, satellite operations or aviation, stating “It is the policy of the United States to prepare for space weather events to minimize the extent of economic loss and human hardship.”

 

 

With this EO, President Obama ordered that the federal government takes steps insure that the national infrastructure is secure in the event of a space weather event. The National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan ( PDF ) was announced a few days later in conjunction with President Obama’s executive order, along with a PDF of The Implementation of the National Space Weather Action plan, complete with a White House official summary. The official pages aren’t up on WhiteHouse.gov, but here is the latest information I could find on those too.

 

 

After years of Congress knowing about the problem and failing to take action, I was pleased to learn that the President did what he could through the executive office to try and protect the critical infrastructure of our nation.  However it is still up to Congress to set aside the funds to follow through and take action in support of the specifics laid out in this order.

 

So what does this mean for me and every one of you concerned about national security and the protection of our extremely fragile power grid infrastructure? The phrase “Within 120 days of the date of this order…” is used repeatedly in this executive order. If you take a look at the calendar, we are at that point right now. I’ve read for years about how everyone knows this is a threat, yet no one is willing to take action. Well, the former President did what he could do in response to a lack of action by Congress and now it’s our turn. Call your United States Representatives and your United States Senators and ask them to take action on President Obama’s executive order to coordinate a national response and strengthen our national power grids against the possible catastrophic impacts of a massive CME or electromagnetic pulse attack. Find your US Representatives and your US Senators and urge them to take action on this very important initiative today.

 

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SurvivalRing Radio Podcast – Show 103 – Jan. 20th, 2017

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Friday night’s  show is done…news of the day, homesteading tips, frugality, home security, and brain science…understanding how your brain responds to danger…and how to make it better. SurvivalRing Radio…we’re gonna make it out alive….catch the podcast here… http://www.freedomizerradio.com/blog/2017/01/survivalring-radio-01202016/ As always, you are invited to be part of the show every week, either calling in, emailing […]

The post SurvivalRing Radio Podcast – Show 103 – Jan. 20th, 2017 appeared first on SurvivalRing.

Opinion: Taking sides…

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From Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Price acceptance speech in 1986: And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the […]

Opinion: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a healthy future…plus, PODCAST!

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14046128_10153637470286268_6038572892736391891_nUpdate: In case you don’t know, I’m going under the knife next week. T minus 2 workdays until *New Knee Day*… As before, the pain level escalates. Had to use the cane today at work, and had to explain to most coworkers why the cane…because my meds are not helping with pain management, since I’m […]

Update, Content, News, and months of podcasts.

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Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here on the blog of SurvivalRing, and I do apologize. Life has been rather full outside the front door, and the moments in front of my computer (normally plural…the laptop is still down with a *Windows 10* infection) have been focused on research, online radio work, and […]

Reading About Prepping Isn’t Enough

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ad-500x500Over the years as a prepper, I’ve noticed the huge increase in INFORMATION. It’s everywhere. Blogs, forums, websites, products, books upon books, and even scams. Preppers have never had more INFORMATION, and yet, preppers have also never had a more confusing maze to wander through.

Freeze dried food? Dehydrated? Is canned food okay, but what if the ‘Best by’ date has expired? What about nutrients, calories, and servings?

Which water filter? There are so many and comparing microns and the number of gallons a filter can process — which one is best?

Then there’s the rule of back-ups. You should always have a back-up to your back-ups, but where does that end? A person could become a hoarder just by adding back-ups to their bacck-ups to their back-ups!

So, this summer when I had a chance to attend a few webinars with the new Preppers University and check out their Prepping Intensive course, I thought, “This is the missing piece!” We preppers have more than enough information to be ready for a full-blown nuclear war, but how many of us have actually followed through, day after day? For some, it’s been a lifestyle, ingrained since childhood, but for most of us, we’re new to the prepping mindset.

In my case, I admit that i get sidetracked by work, projects to do around the house, helping my wife with the kids and their activities — you name it. Weeks can go by without me consciously doing much prepping. Thank goodness my wife usually stays on track with food storage and keeping our bug out bags and gear up to date.

Enter the 10-week Prepping Intensive. Reading through the course outline, pretty much everything is covered:

  • Water and Sanitation
  • Food Storage
  • Power Outage Readiness — Dr. Arthur T. Bradley is a guest speaker. Pretty impressive.
  • Natural Disasters
  • Survival Away From Home
  • Health & Fitness
  • Setting Up a Survival Retreat
  • Worst Case Scenarios

There’s even a week where students are given their choice of several drills to run through. The one I picked was “No water for 24 hours”. Having a week of drills about halfway through the course seemed pretty smart to me — you can check on your progress and know what still needs to be done.

In the students-only area, I read through weekly To Do lists, the Weekly Challenges, a few of the assessments students fill out, and then saw the schedule of webinars — at least 2 each week. I know there’s a lot more that I haven’t included here, but this website will give you the complete overview.

The course isn’t cheap. It’s priced at $169 for the 10 weeks, but when I saw how I could actually talk with people like Dr. Bradley or someone like Selco, who writes about his experiences during the Bosnian war, or FerFAL who talks about living through Argentina’s various economic collapses — I’m not sure how to put a price tag on that.

Lisa Bedford, who has helped me here at Preparedness Advice, is The Survival Mom and is one of the founders of Preppers University, along with Daisy Luther. Daisy has written the book about water for preppers and she has 2 websites: DaisyLuther.com and TheOrganicPrepper. Both these ladies also teach some of the webinars.

Lisa and Daisy gave me a coupon code good for $20 off the registration fee. If you take a look at the course and decide to go for it, use code FANDF20 for the discount. I’m not an affiliate with them — I’m just passing along this code.

This is something new in the world of prepping and maybe some people won’t want the restrictions of weekly assignments or the accountability of being part of a group, but to me, this really is what a lot of preppers have been needing.

 

The post Reading About Prepping Isn’t Enough appeared first on Preparedness Advice.

How Is Screen Time Impacting Our Society?

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August 8th 2016

Video courtesy of Delaney Ruston

SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Thru surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions immerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.

Learn More About The Amazing Pocket Power X And Get One For Yourself!

 

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Satan Knows Us Better Than We Know Ourselves.

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     I ran across an article in The Washington Post which took me on a bit of a crazy ride… from the After School Satan Club to Dr. Charles Kraft, the evangelical Christian apologist, anthropologist and linguist, with whom I received my first training in the work of inner healing and spiritual warfare.  Let me show you how I got from point A to point B…
     The article, titled An After-School Satan Club Could Be Coming To Your Kid’s Elementary School, was certainly alarming enough to catch my eye.  The article seemed to center around the conflict between the leaders of the Satanic Temple and those who they see as their primary foe, an evangelical Christian after-school program known as The Good News Club.  While I obviously knew that I didn’t support the activities of the Satanic Temple’s after-school program, I expected that I would naturally be drawn to the Christian-oriented curriculum.  But not so fast….

     At the foundation of the conflict is the First Amendment, which the Satanic Temple (ST) has used to their great advantage in recent years.  They point out that Christian evangelical groups already have infiltrated the lives of America’s children through after-school religious programming in public schools, and they appear determined to give young students a choice: Jesus or Satan.
     The current approach by the ST to introduce Satan as an after-school choice is the result of the 2001 Supreme Court case where The Good News Club was the plaintiff in Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98 (2001).  The plaintiff, represented by powerful legal advocacy groups on the religious right, including the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Liberty Counsel, held that the club was entitled to the same access as other groups, like the Boy Scouts, to provide after-school programs designed to promote “moral and character development” to Milford School’s elementary children.
     Over the ensuing years, the ST has successfully fought for their First Amendment Rights, and in 2014, after the Supreme Court ruled that the regular recitation of prayers before town meetings did not violate the First Amendment (provided that towns do not discriminate among religions), the Temple decided to test just how much religious liberty towns would allow. They volunteered to perform a Satanic benediction in an Arizona town where the board had regularly opened with a Christian prayer. In that case, the town preferred to abolish the practice of opening prayers.
     That is how we got to the present conflict.  The ST maintains that if public schools can offer after-school programs in what they see as “indoctrination, [and] instilling children with a fear of hell and God’s wrath”, then they are free to offer after-school programs that “focus on free inquiry and rationalism.”  You see, here is what they want you to believe:  “the group’s plan for public schoolchildren isn’t actually about promoting worship of the devil. The Satanic Temple doesn’t espouse a belief in the existence of a supernatural being that other religions identify solemnly as Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub. The Temple rejects all forms of supernaturalism and is committed to the view that scientific rationality provides the best measure of reality”.
     So, that’s what they say they believe.  But I am here to tell you that whether they believe in the devil or satan or Lucifer is not the primary point; there is a very real dark and demonic and powerful spirit behind the formation of such groups as The Satanic Temple.  They can say that  “Satan” is just a “metaphorical construct” intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind, and all they want is to promote the belief or theory that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response… scientific rationalism and “free inquiry”.
     But all you have to do is watch this video at their website, and you will see the image and statue of Baphomet prominently displayed; (Baphomet is the goat-headed pagan deity most closely associated with occultism, ritual magic, witchcraft, Satanism and esoterica).  Appropriately enough for the After-School Satan Club, the video promotes the image of adoring children looking upon the goat god as he entices them to come under his influence.

     Also, I noticed that the video contained several frames of children and people running and walking backwards.  My spirit was not content to dismiss this as just a technique to enhance the video, so I did a little research.  It seems that this was a practice called The Law of Reversal, promoted by Aliester Crowley, the master occultist who lived from 1875-1947.  Crowley taught his students that those who want fame, power, spell-casting abilities, demons at their beck and call, and [the ability] to recognize the godhead within; as well as to know the past, present, and future, must consistently, with intensity, practice talking (reverse speech), walking, thinking, and playing phonograph records, backwards.  (Anybody of my generation remember the Beatles using this technique, or trying to play records backwards)? This is a form of divination, and we are warned against this in the Holy Bible.  So, so much for this not being about belief in satan.
     But I want to get back to their claim that this after-school program’s agenda is all about rationalism instead of religion.  It is apparent to me that satan is after the next generation of kids.  My generation, and the one right after us, are quite possibly the last generations to be really schooled about Jesus.  The Millennials don’t seem interested in Him, and seem to be buying into the devil’s mantra of “Do as thy will”, instead of “Do as God wills”.  This ties right into the trend of our educational system and our growing cultural bias — an aversion to critical thinking, or another way to put it: they object to a factual analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment… it’s all about the freedom of the individual to decide for themselves.  This all comes as a result of the breakdown in the family.  Our children should never have to stay after school to learn about Jesus.  It should be an important part of instruction received at home from their parents!
     That brings the After-School Satan Club in direct opposition to the Good News Club, which like I said, I thought would provide children with an age-appropriate education through their Bible lessons, songs, Scripture memory and discipleship training to build character and strengthen moral and spiritual growth.  All that sounds good and much more preferable to what the Satan Club is offering.  But then I began reading reviews and some concerns arose … it is possible that the message is a little harsh for small children and children who are otherwise unschooled in the Bible; messages that promote ideas such as, “You deserve to die and be separated from Him forever because of your sin”.  For example, in one of the books called Esther which is used as part of the lesson plan in The Good News Club, the teacher discusses that anytime the child disobeys their mom or dad, they are sinning; just having a bad attitude about something they have asked you to do is sinning … this is followed up with the admonishment that “The punishment you and I deserve for our sin is destruction—separation from God forever in a terrible place called Hell… many people are on the road to destruction”.  That’s a little bit strong for an elementary student, don’t you think?
     Then there’s even another alternative called The Young Skeptics, which is sponsored by The Better News Club (BNC), which is in opposition to The Good News Clubs.  The BNC/Young Skeptics calls the Good News Club a form of child abuse, using fear tactics and Christian extremist tactics to get across their theology.  The goal of the Young Skeptics is to provide children with an alternative, and scientifically based, view of the natural world around them.  Religion is not discussed in Young Skeptics sessions, nor is atheism.  Young Skeptics’ curriculum is based on scientific discovery and evidence-based decision-making.  
     So, while I am definitely against the Satan Club, I’m not enthusiastic about the Good News Club, and see the Young Skeptics as falling far short of Biblical knowledge and training.  They are all flawed systems, in my opinion.  So, here’s the way I see it:  as rampant as rationalism and the occult is becoming in our culture, the Church is actually defeating itself.  By rejecting the supernatural aspects of God and the Bible, groups like The Satanic Temple are taking advantage of our ignorance; projecting rationalism in the natural world, and focusing on the universe and science.  And all the while, in the background they are applying principles “on earth as it is in Hell”, and promoting spirit-led and supernatural rituals and exercises like those espoused by Aleister Crowley.

     If the Church doesn’t learn how to fight in the spirit, and in the spiritual realm, then “on earth as it is in Heaven” becomes just “as it is on earth”.  We see evidence of this in pastors who don’t believe in the gift of healing or spiritual warfare because it’s “too uncomfortable” for people.  And groups like the Young Skeptics are just adapting to become “of this world”. The result: satan wins.
     This finally brings me to the thoughts and opinions of the venerable Dr. Charles Kraft.  He says that the Church is promoting a form of “Naturalistic Christianity” … most of the answers to our questions are secular, and the Church promotes it’s particular denominational doctrine and if a few people get saved along the way, that’s OK.  Evangelical Christianity offers little discussion or practice of the miraculous dimensions that lead to a rediscovery of the ministry of Jesus.  Therefore, we have a knowledge-oriented Christianity in this country, but we don’t know anything about the power of our faith.  We only have approval from society if we stay within the realm of providing knowledge and information… because society is knowledge/science oriented.  We are under pressure from society to conform to this position and to stay in line with the world.
     So, satan is working through groups like The Satanic Temple and programs like the After-School Satan Club because they feed into society’s belief system about itself; i.e., that we are a science-oriented, knowledge-based society.  Where is the power of the Church?  And when will we learn who we really are … created to display the power and authority of the Son of the One True God?  I, for one, am claiming my true identity!

1 Corinthians 1:18          “For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God.”

U.S. Government Finally Admits It’s Not ‘Equal Partners’ With Parents

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U.S. Government Finally Admits It’s Not ‘Equal Partners’ With Parents

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Following an outcry from parents and families, two federal agencies have backed off a policy that would have said the government is “equal partners” with moms and dads.

As reported by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the initial language was contained in a draft document by the US Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is the position of the Departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences,” the statement says.

The draft document was titled “DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO THE EARLY GRADES.”

But the controversial language was removed. HSLDA contended that the language implied that schools had the same rights over children as parents. HSLDA’s Will Estrada met with members of the Department of Education to explain the organization’s concerns.

Christian Heroes For Christian Kids: These Amazing Stories Are Putting God Back Into History!

The statement now reads:

“Families are children’s first and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. Strong family engagement in early childhood systems and programs is central—not supplemental—to promoting children’s healthy intellectual, physical, and social-emotional development; preparing children for school; and supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond. Research indicates that families’ involvement in children’s learning and development impacts lifelong health, developmental, and academic outcomes.”

But the document still contains problems, HSLDA’s Lauren Mitchell explained in a post at the organization’s website.

“The document’s working definition of ‘family’ still includes not only a child’s parents or legal guardians, but ‘all adults who interact with early childhood systems in support of their child, to include biological, adoptive, and foster parents; grandparents; legal and informal guardians; and adult siblings,’” she wrote.

The problem? If there is a conflict between parents and other family members regarding educational choices, parents could lose under this definition.

“There is much work to be done before decades of federal overreach in K-12 education is reversed,” Mitchell wrote.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Tired Of Losing Freedoms — And Looking For Another Country? Read More Here.

Homeschooling Resources For Teaching Technology

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Homeschool Resources for Teaching Technology via The Survival Mom

If you’ve paid any sort of attention to the landscape of education in the last five years, you know that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects are very “in” right now. There’s been a huge push to teach children how to code, Lego Robotics teams are all the rage in schools and at home, and then there’s the perennial frenzy over whether American kids’ math test scores are high enough. Many traditional schools are making a real effort to get kids into the 21st century by issuing laptops, iPads, and other devices.

Obviously the easiest way to teach your 2nd grader electrical engineering, short of enrolling him at MIT at the tender age of six, is to make sure one of his parents is also an electrical engineer. If, for some reason, you have failed to provide your child an engineer parent, do not despair! Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or just want to keep your kids from forgetting everything over the summer, tons of easily accessible STEM resources are available.

Coding

Computer programming is everywhere in our lives, even if we don’t often recognize it for what it is. Most animated movies these days are someone’s calculations just as much as they are art. Think of the scores of apps on your smartphone, or even the technology that allows you to read this article right now. Most people who are adults today never heard much about coding until high school or college, but there are lots of opportunities for children to learn how to code when they are young.

  • From MIT, we have Scratch, a free online coding instruction program. By dragging and dropping commands, you can create your own animations, stories, and games. Scratch is set up like an open source community that allows users to share their projects and the source code behind them.
  • Code.org  has a game based on the Disney movie Frozen that teaches coding via a series of puzzles to make snowflake designs. Also uses a drag-and-drop interface. Code.org also has a coding game that has an Angry Birds theme.
  • Khan Academy’s coding instruction program is less like a game and more like actual instruction. Like Scratch, Khan Academy is also set up like a community. This one would be more effective for older students (as in, not 8-year-olds).

Math

A solid foundation in mathematics is essential for someone wanting to enter the technology field. Lawmakers are forever lamenting America’s low math scores. Electrical engineering requires a solid basis in multivariable calculus and differential equations. This is a problem in a society where math is automatically labeled “hard,” whether it is or not, and kids who like math are sometimes teased. Kids need to be comfortable with math when they’re young if they are to get into it when they’re older, and something as basic as a math puzzle book can help. Here are some ways to make math fun (or, at the very least, slightly more interesting):

  • Math Facts Games. The curator of the Easy Peasy All-in-one online curriculum has assembled a list of free online math games for practicing basic math facts
  • Number Munchers. Kids of my generation probably remember playing endless rounds of Number Munchers during computer class in elementary school. Happily, Number Munchers is now classified as abandonware, which makes it freely available to the public at no cost. You can play it in your internet browser at archive.org, or if you are more technologically inclined, you can download it and play it via a DOS emulator.
  • Calculus by and for Young People. Don Cohen was a mathematician who ran a math clinic for children, wherein he introduced topics such as infinite series, fractals, and the Fibbonacci sequence. Materials related to this clinic were made free and open to the internet upon his death in 2015. Calculus by and for Young People includes a series of videos (via YouTube), a workbook, and a textbook, both pdfs. If you prefer the actual workbook, it can be purchased here for a little over $10.
  • Vi Hart. You may have already run into those “doodling in math class” videos. Those are the work of Vi Hart, who is an expert in explaining interesting calculus concepts with colored sharpies and a spiral notebook. After watching a couple of her videos, you, too, will want nothing more than to go out and count the spirals on pinecones.
  • Math Blaster. Another math drill game. It requires registration, but is free. Also available as a mobile app.
  • Khan Academy again. While Khan Academy also offers lectures, etc, on a variety of other topics, most of the site is devoted to mathematics. The early math and basic arithmetic section are enjoyable enough that my four-year-old likes to dabble in it from time to time. There is plenty for older students, as well, with courses in algebra, geometry, and calculus. Khan Academy differs from the others because it offers full courses – if you can pass every question and meet the challenges, you can feel confident that you’ve actually mastered the subject. It uses a self-directed learning approach that lets you choose which topics you’d like to cover, so you can save harder questions for later or skip easier ones.

Engineering

  • Hacker YouTube Channels. There are many of these. You’ll know them when you see them. There are about a million and one online tutorials about how use a lemon to light things on fire or a vaccuum cleaner out of a plastic bottle. Most of these projects only require basic items usually found around the house, in addition to wires and nine volt batteries.
  • TeachEngineering.org. This is a teacher’s dream. Oodles of free lesson plans for all grades in a variety of subjects related to science.

Non-Internet Resources

Old Textbooks

Yes, old college textbooks. I use them for my elementary school-age kids. If you know where to look, these are easily sourced for cheap, and have lots of pictures. I live in a college town, so our local thrift store is full of textbooks that the university bookstore wouldn’t buy back. Last year I found a 1000+ page biology book with the glossy pages and fancy illustrations and it only set me back $4. If it’s good enough for Biology 101, it’s good enough for me. In my experience, it’s a lot easier as a teacher to dumb down a text than it is to try and give more detail when it’s not printed in the book, so it’s easy to work a level you and your child are comfortable with. For my first grader, looking at the pictures and reading the captions is more than satisfactory at this point.

Check Your Local University

The university in my town has a lot of programs open to the public that are specifically to encourage children’s interest in STEM fields. Our local university had an engineering expo for middle and high school students this last spring. Many local schools brought their students on field trips, but as it was open to the public I went along with my elementary-aged kids and we had a fabulous time. The physics department also hosts a big astronomy day for the community every May, with activities for all ages. The scope of university-sponsored family activities varies considerably from one establishment to another, so you’ll just have to ask around or check out the university’s website.

Visit Your Local Library

Libraries aren’t just for checking out books, any more! Some libraries have summer or after school programs for Lego Robotics or computer programming. The children’s nonfiction section is full of possibilities in itself.

This is not anywhere close to an exhaustive list. If you’ve found something that you find useful for teaching STEM subjects, let us know in the comments!

Homeschool Resources for Teaching Technology via The Survival Mom

Why Preppers Should Consider Homeschooling

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preppers homeschoolI don’t remember when I first became convinced that homeschooling was the only type of education I wanted for our children. I do know it was long before I ever became pregnant. Now that we’ve finished our eleventh year of homeschooling, I’m more glad than ever of our choice. Homeschooling has been the perfect fit for our prepping family.

The foremost benefit for preppers like us is that homeschooling provides a continuous flow of education in spite of changing circumstances. Any event that would normally disrupt the school year doesn’t have nearly the same impact on homeschoolers. During a time of intense stress and change, a homeschooling family is together, along with the reassurance and the anchor that only parents can provide. This family survival manual will set you up with everything necessary for getting ready for emergencies.

Experienced homeschoolers know that you can “do school” at any time of the day or night. You can fill a backpack and a Kindle with all the curriculum you need and hit the road. School can happen in the waiting room of a hospital, in a Red Cross emergency shelter, or at Grandma’s house for an extended stay.

READ MORE: What if you were forced to homeschool? Could you do it? What might you need to do now to prepare?

It’s the versatility of homeschooling that lured us to this way of life and should everything hit the fan, for whatever reason, it may disrupt our homeschooling for a time, but at least we have the curriculum, supplies, and confidence to continue, even through the high school years.

No relocation trauma

If a family decides to move to another location or has to evacuate for a time, other than losing some time in the moving process, kids can pick up their schooling right where they left off. When we moved from Arizona to Texas, it did take a bit of catching up and a few hours with a math tutor to get my daughter back on track with Algebra, but within weeks, it was as if we’d always lived here and our schooling just continued in spite of the rather large blip.

(Our move didn’t go exactly smoothly, and I wrote about it here.)

The trauma of leaving one school and starting over in another is a non-issue. Our kids didn’t have to face walking into a classroom of strangers and when we landed in our little corner of Texas, little by little, they found their place among homeschoolers. We joined a large group of homeschooling families, which offered a Girls Book Club, a Boys Book Club, papercrafting classes, a homeschool baseball team, horseback riding lessons, a homeschool archery club, a rowing team, rugby, lacrosse,  you name it. Within a short time, it was as if my kids had always lived here.

In case a pandemic hits, homeschooled kids will already be at home, along with their textbooks, computers, and everything else they need for learning. School closings and quarantines will be one less thing to worry about.

Will they be isolated and weird?

If you’re worried about socialization, that homeschooled kids will turn out “weird” and unable to order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s,  I present to you my two children.

My daughter is now a senior in high school and, gasp!, she’s been homeschooled since kindergarten and throughout her high school years. She has taken sewing classes, been on swim teams and in a year-round swim club. She’s tried out cheerleading, took piano lessons, has been in Toastmasters for 3 years, a homeschool drama class, has dissected just about everything a Biology student can dissect and is handy with both a rifle and a handgun. She cooks from scratch, can make her own homemade beauty products, knows how to dehydrate food and can use a Sun Oven.

When she left for church camp this summer, she packed a small emergency kit with her: an emergency blanket, her Swedish fire knife, a Sawyer mini water filter, a multitool and a flashlight. She is confident and in so many ways already ready for college and beyond.

So proud.

My son is now 14. He’s in Civil Air Patrol and focused like a laser on moving up in the ranks. He’s on a rowing team, plays on a homeschool baseball team, and can talk with anyone about anything, anywhere, anytime. In the past, he’s been on an archery team, gone to a shooting skills summer camp, taken horseback riding lessons, and has even made his own forge. I’ve seen him stay calm in situations where I was near panic and have come to rely on him as a strong and steady member of our family.

Just from these bits and pieces of my kids’ homeschooling activities over the years, you can see they’ve had plenty of time to learn practical skills and spend time with people of all ages. They aren’t unique. They are very much typical homeschoolers and ours is the typical homeschool experience.

The false argument, “But what about socialization?”, isn’t an issue, and it never really was. (I don’t happen to think that putting a gaggle of kids who just happen to be the same age in a room together for 9 months is the ultimate in developing well-rounded kids, but maybe that’s just me.)

Both social and practical skills

Our homeschooling has given them the time to develop practical skills, like canning and gardening, that would otherwise be limited by public school hours and homework. For preppers, this is the ideal educational setting: kids are able to learn academic subjects and still have time to explore their own interests and learn skills of self-reliance.

When I was in elementary and high school, decades ago, there were practical skills classes beginning in 7th grade. I learned how to iron, how to bake and cook, and how to use basic hand tools. Hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, and canning were once a part of everyday life for the majority of Americans. Now, if parents do not teach these skills to their kids, who will? Certainly not the public school system.

DON’T MISS: “Homeschooling: Where Academics & Survival Skills Meet

If you want your kids, to learn practical, life-long skills, it’s up to you. This is where grandparents and extended family can play a huge role. Certainly, among the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in you family circle, there’s an abundance of knowledge and skills that could die out with that generation. Just yesterday, I was wishing that I had thought to ask my own great-aunts about growing up during the Great Depression.

Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge right in your own backyard and prepare your kids for a future of self-reliance by learning those skills now. Homeschooling helps make this possible because the “school day” is generally much, much shorter than the 7-8 hours spent in public schools, Monday through Friday.

Homeschooling for the tightest budgets

Another reason that preppers should consider homeschooling is because it’s many advantages come with a tiny price tag. In fact, there is a multitude of resources online that are absolutely free.

The curriculum that our family has thoroughly enjoyed over the years is AmblesideOnline. This challenging, 36-week curriculum is completely free and follows the educational philosophy and principles of Charlotte Mason, a British educator who established several schools in the late 1800’s. The website, SimplyCharlotteMason, explains:

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

AmblesideOnline provides the curriculum, book lists, and dozens of resources — the only expense is the actual books, and many of those are free online and can be found in used bookstores. For many reasons, this curriculum worked out perfectly for my family. When I saw my 11-12 year old daughter reading the original Mary Poppins, the original Peter Pan, and Oliver Twist and then discussing with me the themes of the novels without the need of a textbook or workbook guiding her thoughts and conclusions, well, I was impressed, especially coming from a public school background as a teacher, where so much literature for kids is “bottom of the barrel.” (Captain Underpants, anyone? The mindset of the public school system is that kids just aren’t bright enough to comprehend “hard” books.)

There are dozens of other curricula, though, and if you’re a beginner, you can read through my articles of advice for beginners. The main point is that homeschooling doesn’t have to cost much money at all. In fact, since so many homeschooling families are single-income with mom staying home, you’ll find yourself right at home with families who are also budget-minded and prefer to live simply in order to provide this education for their kids.

A multitude of free homeschooling resources on the web can take the place of more expensive curriculum if need be.

Self-reliant families in homeschool circles

I have found that homeschooling parents are generally eager to share their experiences and offer advice and suggestions, and chances are, there are homeschooling activity groups and co-ops in your area. However, beyond that help, you will find that homeschooling families tend toward self-reliance, and you will likely find other prepper families in these groups.

We’re used to swimming against the flow and are just a little bit rebels at heart, so prepping and homeschooling are a natural fit.

READ MORE: Here is a list of all the homeschooling articles that have appeared here on The Survival Mom.

“Follow your heart”, isn’t always the best advice, but when it comes to homeschooling, I think it’s an excellent guide. If your heart is telling you to, at least, consider homeschooling, there’s no better time to do that than right now.

This article was originally published in June, 2009, and has been updated.

preppers homeschool

Cauterizing Wounds During An Emergency

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June 6th, 2016

Video courtesy of OTGN

This week Rich Murphy, a regular writer for Off The Grid News, shares with us some tips on how he uses his new Pocket Power X in his day to day life and also when in an “Off Grid” situation. Over the next few weeks Rich will be sharing with us just a few of the many uses of the Pocket Power X!

Learn More About The Amazing Pocket Power X And Get One For Yourself!

 

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CASCADIA RISING: FEMA Will Hold A Drill To Prepare For A 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake And Tsunami June 7-10 2016

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The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of North America spans from northern California to southern British Columbia. This subduction zone can produce earthquakes as large as magnitude 9 and corresponding tsunamis.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of North America spans from northern California to southern British Columbia. This subduction zone can produce earthquakes as large as magnitude 9 and corresponding tsunamis.

 

Just in case you missed it…and you probably did…FEMA Will Hold A Drill To Prepare For A 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake And Tsunami next week.

Just in case you missed it…and you probably did…there is a gargantuan, 700 mile long quake-maker referred to as the Cascadia Subduction Zone that rests at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the American northwest where the seabed meets the North American tectonic plate.  According to experts, this behemoth has the potential to unleash the worst natural disaster in the history of North America should it rupture entirely.

150720_r26752-865Think that can’t possibly be true?  Surely I’m overstating the danger.  Think again.  Remember this article from The New Yorker that we shared with you a while back that warned us The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent.

 

The “Cascadia” has already shown it’s power and it has a violent history.  According to this CNN story, on January 26, 1700, Cascadia unleashed one of the biggest quakes in world history that triggered a tsunami so large that it raced across the Pacific and swallowed coastal villages in Japan.  You’ve probably heard of the San Andreas fault, but it’s nothing compared to the monster that is the CSZ.  The CSZ has the potential to rip off a 9.0 magnitude quake, almost 30 times more energetic than anything the San Andreas could unleash, not to mention the subsequent tsunami that would be generated at the same time.  The CSZ holds so much more power because it is a subduction fault, whereas the San Andreas is a slip fault.  With a slip fault, the two land masses slide past one another causing an earthquake that is fairly short in duration.  In a subduction zone, one of the earth’s tectonic plates is being forced downward into the earth as the colliding plate slides over the top of the first plate.  These plates get “hung up” occasionally allowing stress to build up along the fault as the top plate is pulled down with the lower plate.  When the stress becomes too great, the top plate “snaps” back to it’s normal position releasing a tremendous….almost incomprehensible….amount of energy.  This snapping action creates a terrifyingly violent shaking that can last three to five minutes, far longer than the 15-30 seconds of shaking you may be used to in other earthquakes in California.  As if the shaking weren’t enough, as the plate “snaps” back it simultaneously lifts the ocean above it triggering a devastating tsunami.  The last time the Cascadia ruptured, the coast of the North American plate dropped about 5 feet!  Think for just a second and imagine the size and unrelenting ferocity of the tsunami wave that would have been created by that type of land mass dislocation.

According to the official flyer for the event, “Over 50 counties, plus major cities, tribal nations, state and federal agencies, private sector businesses, and non-governmental organizations across three states – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho – will be participating in the four-day Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise.”

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U.S Northern Command is getting in on the act as well, holding five other exercises simultaneously.  The final Cascadia Rising 2016 drill plan tells us those five exercises are entitled “Ardent Sentry 2016″, “Vigilant Guard”, “Special Focus Exercise”, “Turbo Challenge” and “Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore”, all of which focus on a scenario that involves a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone followed by a giant tsunami that could displace up to a million people from northern California to southern Canada.

The United States is a continental country and the Cascadia Subduction Zone represents a North American sized disaster and national threat.  Even if you do not live in the great northwest or have family that does, it would be wise to maintain a wary eye cast in that direction.  When the CSZ fully ruptures again, even if you don’t feel the shaking, every American will feel the impacts.

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What Are Solar Flares?

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May 30th, 2016

Video courtesy of Science Channel

Solar flares erupt outward into space at up to 4.5 million miles per hour. What forces cause these explosions that can be the equivalent of millions of nuclear bombs detonating simultaneously?

New Special EMP Commission Report By Dr. Peter Pry explains the dangers of solar flares and EMP

 

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Prepping and Politics: Part Two

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Prepping and Politics: Part Two Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” On this week’s episode of the Prepping for Tomorrow program with Author Bobby Akart, we continue the subject of politics, from a prepper’s perspective. Last week, we had an excellent conversation with Tom Martin, founder and owner of the American Preppers Network. We only scratched … Continue reading Prepping and Politics: Part Two

The post Prepping and Politics: Part Two appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Education and what it can do for you…my story

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On this day 10 years ago, I received this recruiting letter from Columbia University. It was just one of several such letters I received from Ivy League colleges, after becoming the recipient of the 2006 All-USA Academic Team community college award. Even more came when I became the New Century Scholar for Wyoming for having […]

THE NEXT BIG SOLAR STORM: AN APOCALYPTIC TIMELINE

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Have you ever wondered what might happen in the event a massive, earth directed solar flare were to erupt hurling a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) at our home planet? What series of events could unfold? What would the impacts be? How do you think we might react? Well, this infographic gives us a look into what that future eventuality may look like.

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Courtesy www.futurism.com

 

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FlareToEarth

When Political Correctness Becomes Indoctrination

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     You may, or may not be aware, but one week from today, April 15th, the welfare of our children will be under assault.  No, I’m not talking about Tax Day.  I’m talking about “The Day of Silence” that is being promoted by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
     The professed purpose of the GLSEN Day of Silence is that it is “a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.”
     First of all, I’m not sure that I believe this protest is “student-led” or even “student generated”.  As with all social movements, you can usually find an instigator behind the scenes that is pulling the strings and pushing an agenda. In this case, as reported by Linda Harvey on Barbwire.com, The Day of Silence is meant to be “a day when students remain silent in sympathy for those who are born homosexual or born in the wrong sex body, who are victimized (so the narrative goes) by any message encouraging actual male/female biology, dating and marriage — all scorned as hateful and homophobic.”
     So, our children are being subjected to guilt and intimidation under the guise of an anti-bullying campaign, when in reality, it looks an awful lot like promotion of the homosexual and transgender lifestyle in our public schools.  Listen to the testimony of another writer at Barbwire, Linda Wall:  “It was several years after I was set free from homosexuality that I discovered the pushers of sexual perversion had made it into the public schools under the disguise of “diversity”. Imagine how horrified I was in 2000 to see that AT&T had sent pro-homosexual lesson plans to every middle school of America! These lesson plans presented the politically correct view of homosexuality.”
     And as the title of my post indicates, this political correctness has crossed the line into indoctrination.  Ms. Harvey goes so far as to write, “The ‘anti-bullying’ scam is the cover used in many school districts to expose children to obscene, bigoted and pornographic presentations. If we object, it is alleged that more students may attempt suicide.”  Students and teachers in Iowa have reported workshops filled with profanity; details about oral/anal sex; how gender-confused girls can bind their breasts and sew fake testicles into their underwear as pretend boys; and even a recommendation for reacting to a pro-marriage bumper sticker: “Slash the tires.”
     This event (which may be happening at your child’s or grandchildren’s school) is just the latest in homosexual activism.  By pointing this out, I’m sure that I will be labeled homophobic and a hater, but that is simply not the truth.  I have gay friends whom I love, and whom I know are every bit a child of God as I am. Would I rather they were living within the will of God?  You bet!  But I do not hate them, nor do I condemn them.  That is not my purpose on this earth.  But when I see gay activists who ridicule the dignity, innocence and modesty of children, while deliberately trying to coerce immoral behavior, then I will decry such actions — no matter who or what they are promoting.
     In her article, Harvey goes on to report that our middle school kids are being taught CSE, “comprehensive sex education,” and how to put both male and female condoms on plastic models in mixed sex classes (female condoms are most often used by lesbians). It’s humiliating for 11- to 14- year-olds, and just another of the Saul Alinsky tactics designed to shock and assault innocence.
     Furthermore, these CSE classes are distorting the truth.  They teach that abstinence and protected sex are the same thing.  A program called Making Proud Choices, teaches that “To protect yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection, you should: Keep a supply of condoms on hand. Get used to condoms, so they are natural and fun. …” (p.92).
     While this indoctrination seems to be happening quickly and without opposition, I do want you to know that the ACLU has issued a statement emphasizing the limits of political activism during instructional class time: “You DO have a right to participate in Day of Silence and other expressions of your opinion at a public school during non-instructional time: the breaks between classes, before and after the school day, lunchtime, and any other free times during your day … You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak.”
     So, parents who are awake and aware of the cultural marxism/political correctness agenda being rammed down the throats of our kids in the public school system are being encouraged to call their kids out of school on April 15th.  They are being encouraged to stop the hijacking of our kids’ education, and to actively oppose GLSEN’s socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.  The public school classroom should not be an arena for politicization of any kind of movement; especially for the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and sexual exploitation of our children.
     But one more word of caution … lest you think the ACLU is on the side of families of faith, and the traditional sexual roles in society, be on your guard.  There is a paper called Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools, which is a first-of-its-kind publication for school administrations, teachers, and parents about how to provide safe and supportive environments for all transgender students, kindergarten through twelfth grade.  It was written by staffers from the ACLU, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Gender Spectrum, the National Education Association (NEA), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
     With statement’s like “A student’s age and maturity — or that of their peers —should never be a basis for denying a transgender student an opportunity to transition in a safe and supportive environment”, it is not too hard to see that transitioning away from Biblical gender roles is not only supported, but subtly encouraged; and gender confusion is seen as viable in children as young as kindergarten!  What has this culture become?!?!
     This post has barely scratched the surface as far as the assault on our children and their education systems.  And sadly, I would surmise that very few parents are aware of the indoctrination of their children.  I can’t help but feel that this is one more nail in the coffin of our nation.  We have legitimized child sacrifice through abortion, destroyed the Biblical model of family and creation; and are now subjecting our children to perversion and deviancy.  How much longer will our righteous and holy God restrain His wrath?

Matthew 18:6    “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Meet Mallory, Learn From A Teen!

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Meet Mallory, Learn From A Teen!
James Walton “I Am Liberty

Meet Mallory, Learn From A TeenIf you are looking to stay young mentally science is suggesting you must challenge your brain to learn new things. Like anything else if we put it on a shelf and don’t challenge our mind it gets weak. If you are on this webpage chances are you are looking to learn some new things yourself. I can respect that. This is why I have an exceptional guest on with us to talk about learning and challenges that come along with it.

4-1-16 school1No better person to learn about learning than from someone who is in the hurricane of education. On this broadcast we have Mallory Wanner on the show. Mallory plays the piano, trumpet and is involved in drumline. She is a superstar middle school student who is achieving at the highest level. YES! I said we are going to have a middle school student on the show. Why you ask? Simple. When is the last time you were tasked with learning so many difference things from so many different personalities all the while dealing with the towering outside forces of being a teenager? If you think you can only learn from someone with a PHD than you are very wrong.

There is some spirited conversation with Mallory about what it is to be a teen in America today, what it takes to make it through school this day and age as well as what it takes to be a successful learner. These are not topics like radical Islam and it may not be TRUMP vs Cruz vs Hillary talk but fortunately for us all there is more to the world than murderers and criminals and tonight we have an angel on the show to tell us about what life is like in this great nation today. Don’t miss this episode of I AM Liberty.
Visit I Am Liberty website HERE!
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Listen to this broadcast or download “Meet Mallory, Learn From A Teen” in player below!

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The post Meet Mallory, Learn From A Teen! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

5 Simple Axe Upgrades That Make A Huge Difference

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March 28th, 2016

Video courtesy of Wranglerstar

5 tips that will get your axe up and running in tip top condition.

New Book Reveals the Little Known Secrets of How To Maintain An Extremely Low Profile In An Age Of Hackers, Snoops, Data Miners, Corrupt Bureaucrats and Surveillance Grid Profilers.

 

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FOOD SYSTEM SHOCK ~ LLOYD’S 2015

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Lloyd’s takes a look at the fragility of the world’s food production system in the face of ever growing demand.

Read the full report by clicking the photo!!!

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Food System Shock ~ Lloyd’s 2015

 

Lloyd’s of London Food System Shock June 2015

Here are a few sobering key findings of the report.

(Courtesy TWILAND.INFO)

Suggestions: Develop the hobby of gardening. Promote the keeping of backyard poultry in your community. Stock up on dried milk products while they are still available. Know where the flooding rivers might impact your home. Develop the hobby of fishing. Learn how to listen to emergency reports. Join an amateur radio club and learn how to keep in touch without the use of cell phones. Severe weather events often disrupt the power grid, so develop the skills of using solar power. You can be identified as a farmer by the USDA if you sell at least $1,000 a year. Be prepared to protect what you have for your family. …

Key findings

  • A combination of just three catastrophic weather events could undermine food production across the globe.
  • These could lead to a 10% drop in global maize production, an 11% fall in soybean production, a 7% fall in wheat production and a 7% fall in rice production.
  • Wheat, maize and soybean prices could increase to quadruple the average levels experienced during the 20 years prior to the global food price shock of 2007/8. Rice prices could increase by 500%.
  • The scenario indicates this series of events has the potential to lead to food riots breaking out in urban areas across the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America, leading to wider political instability and having knock-on effects for a wide range of businesses.
  • While agriculture commodity stocks might benefit, the overall economic impact of high food prices, combined with rising political instability, could severely impact financial markets. The scenario indicates that the main European stock markets might lose 10% of their value and US stock markets 5%.

Food System Shock June 2015

 

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LONG TERM FOOD STORAGE DIY

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When pulling together the nuts and bolts of your family’s preparedness plan, one of the biggest bolts to make sure you turn is long term food storage and it can be a daunting one.  The first thing you have to do is figure out how you define “long term” and then appropriately slot that into your overall food storage plan.  Once you have figured that part out, it really does not have to be difficult to square away your long term food storage.  To prove it, I wanted to share a quick project that I knocked out in just a couple hours.

We continually add to our long term food storage and we do our best to cover a wide spectrum in the type of foods we choose to stock, but for this project I addressed a couple of the staples….beans and rice.  During a recent trip to our local big box warehouse store I picked up some food supplies, I grabbed a stack of food grade buckets at a local bakery for $1 each and ordered the oxygen absorbers and Mylar bags from Amazon.com.  What follows is the quick and easy way I package them for long term storage.  Hopefully you will see that it is a really straight forward process and that you can do it too.

The project list:

  • 2 ft aluminum level
  • standard household iron
  • Sharpie (red)
  • 2 cup measuring glass
  • 1 gallon Mylar bags (bulk)
  • oxygen absorbers (bulk)
  • food grade plastic buckets with lids
  • 25 lbs dry pinto beans
  • 50 lbs long grain white rice

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To begin, I used the 2 cup measuring glass to measure out ten cups of dried pinto beans or 10 cups of long grain white rice into each 1 gallon Mylar bag and dropped in the oxygen absorbers.

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Next, I pulled the top of the Mylar bag together at the top and pressed out as much trapped air as possible, then I folded it over the one inch wide flat edge of my aluminum level and used the hot iron (set to the highest setting) to seal the Mylar bag closed by pressing the one inch strip of the Mylar bag between the iron and the aluminum level across the entire width of the bag sealing it permanently.  After a few hours, the oxygen absorbers pull all of the excess air out of the sealed Mylar bag essentially vacuum sealing the food safely inside.  Once all of the bags are sealed and labeled, I placed the bags inside my food grade buckets with locking lids and then placed an external label on each of the buckets making them ready to go into storage.

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As I hope you can see, this process is not as daunting as it may appear at first and that you can do an awful lot to bolster long term storage food supplies and deepen your larder quickly and inexpensively.  Remember, at every level of your family’s food storage, you want to store what you eat and eat what you store.  Stick to what you know your family enjoys and stack it as high and deep as you deem necessary to meet the requirements of your family’s preparedness plan.  If you have questions or comments, please leave them below and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.

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The Loss Of Critical Thinking and What It Is Costing Us

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     I recently read an excellent article by Daniel Juster, an author and Jewish religious leader.  His topic explored the state of our higher education and this generation’s loss of real critical thinking skills.  Like him, I have often heard that college students of today are among the most educated in history.  But what are they educated in?  If it is how to navigate the latest in electronic devices, or complex technologies, then I would have to agree.  But are those the skills that will make them good citizens of the world, or productive and moral leaders of tomorrow?
     It seems to me that there has been a “dumbing down” of our cultural history.  The cultural knowledge has suffered from a lack of teaching on how, as a nation, we have arrived at who we are.  And the history part of that knowledge is appallingly deficient.  Juster points out that students cannot even find China on a globe. They cannot grasp many important aspects of World War II, and know barely anything about literature. One young graduate was asked if she knew about Martin Luther. She responded by asking, “You mean the civil rights leader?” He opines that the cultural deposit of the West is simply being squandered. Why?
     To begin with, educators like to discuss the differences between Objectivism and Relativism, and throw words like egocentric and sociocentric tendencies around — highfalutin words that, to me, just mask the failure of our education system to teach old-fashioned critical thinking.

     And what exactly is Critical Thinking, and why would the lack of it harm our kids and the future of our nation?  The definition of critical thinking is as follows … the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.  There’s that word objective, which is often disparaged in the halls of our universities.   To be objective is to believe that certain things (such as moral truths), exist independently of human knowledge or perception of them.  In other words, there are truths and values that are definite, unconditional, and unquestionable.
     But in this age of relativism, educators are more likely to teach a doctrine or philosophy that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.  What that means is that our kids are convinced that they should not judge any religion, culture, art or philosophy as superior to another.  They are taught a whole new set of values that have a sliding scale of relevance, depending on an individual’s experience.  And depending on the religious, political, and social experience of a university professor, students may be taught a personally biased view of everything from the Founding Fathers as white male oppressors, to the nation of Israel as a colonial power who is oppressing Palestinians.  What is so hypocritical about these positions is that they will be defended as absolute truths, all in the name of relativism.  That reasoning is so contradictory as to be laughable! Do you see the lack of critical thinking?  The lack of any strict analysis or evaluation?
     As an example, feminist leaders of American universities will vote to boycott Israel, when Israel is the only country in the Middle East with full women’s rights! Why? Their anti-colonialism simply blinds them to the women who are so oppressed in the Muslim world.  Furthermore, Christianity is despised as judgmental and restrictive, but Islam is to be embraced and respected!
     There is no effort made to study our cultural history and to discover that, yes, the Founding Fathers were slave owners.  But their writings disclose their desire to eliminate the abusive system.  Further study would reveal that they transcended the limits of their time and moved history toward greater human rights and freedom. It was a long historical process, and one that established this nation and its moral foundation.  Yes, at times it was rocky and ugly, but when carefully analyzed and studied, the bigger picture emerges and one sees a more balanced perspective.  But without the practice of critical thinking, and an established and accepted set of moral values, where does one find the real truth?  Isn’t it then subject to one person’s self-directed and self-monitored thinking?  Do you see that society could soon descend into a morass of confusing standards?
     But perhaps the saddest aspect of it all is that our kids are in danger of being unable to think for themselves and determine a distinction between good and evil.  They are being taught to submit to the herd; that they should not have an opinion that might offend someone else.  What is evil to one person, may be accepted by another, simply because he chooses to see it that way. After all, it’s whatever is relevant to each individual, correct?  But here’s the thing … there IS a definite right and wrong in the world!  Not everything can be relegated to someone’s self-determined set of moral codes (or lack thereof).  We must regain the ability to think for ourselves and to examine and compare our own decisions, and those of our leaders, to a high and uncompromising standard of righteous living.  I know just the place to start ….

Proverbs 1:7           “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. ”

A NEW ADDITION TO THE GARDEN – COLD BOXES

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Gardening season is here! 

Well, okay.  Technically, gardening season is almost here in our neck of the woods.  But as any gardener worth their salt will tell you, dreaming up your garden plan is half the fun!  Just thinking about how you’re going to orient this year’s prized plantings easily helps you push through the final stretch of winter that occupies the weeks before you can actually get to play in the dirt again once planting season finally arrives.

We are especially looking forward to getting back in the game this gardening season because our efforts were obviously subdued last year with Riley’s arrival and we’re chomping at the bit to get things cranked up.  So much so that we decided to add a new piece of infrastructure to our homestead by building two new cold boxes.  Eventually the plans are to build a full size greenhouse, but these cold boxes will certainly meet our needs for now.

A cold box is essentially a mini-greenhouse that allows you to start your seeds, protects your seedlings from frost during the late winter months and allows you to “strengthen” them by exposing them slowly to the elements before eventually transplanting your seedlings into your full size garden.  Cold boxes can also be used to grow smaller plants with shallow root systems if you are so inclined.

We were able to up-cycle a couple of reclaimed window frames from a friend and we knew precisely how to put them to good use.  One of the frames was missing two panes of glass, but this was easily remedied.  I picked up a couple of acrylic sheets to replace the panes and left the job to my wife Alice.  Moments later she had trimmed them up to the right size to replace the missing panes and I added a little weather caulking to seal them into place. The two boxes framed up turned out to be 32″ x 31″ and 36″ x 28″ respectively.  I made a quick trip to my local lumber yard to pick up one 2 x 12 x 12 and one 2 x 12 x 10 to use for the frames and got to work.  A little bit of quality time with the circular saw and the power drill and we were set.

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Up-cycling reclaimed materials, gardening and power tools.  How could this day and this project not turn out great?  These cold boxes will be a tremendous addition to our homesteading infrastructure and we look forward to getting years of use out of them.  I’m certain we will pretty them up a bit in the near future and we will let Riley lead the way on that portion of the project.  I honestly can’t wait to see how they ultimately turn out.  I promise I’ll keep you posted!

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DADDY TIME DIY – BUILDING A TOY BOARD

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One of the main themes that we promote at Practical Tactical is that personal preparedness should not be restricted to one part of your life, but rather be just one part of an overall lifestyle of preparedness that is dictated by your current situation, by what is happening in your life today.

We try to practice what we preach here at Practical Tactical and the main focus of our lives for the last year has been our beautiful baby girl Riley and this DIY project is dedicated to her.  Of course, she is amazing in every way and she keeps us on our toes at all times.  Riley was sitting up at three months, pulling up at six months, walking at eight months and running around and talking up a storm at one year old.  She loves all of her toys and reading time is her favorite, but she is always challenging herself and looking for new challenges.  So with this in mind, I wanted to do something special for my little girl by building her a toy board.  In an effort to keep her little mind working and prevent her from quickly becoming bored, I chose to build her toy board using common household hardware that would not only be fun and entertaining for Riley, but also help her work on her motor skills, dexterity and problem solving at the same time.

After a quick visit to my local home superstore, I was ready to get started.  Here is a list of the items I picked up for my project during my visit:

 

One 2 x 2 ft pre-cut panel

One expandable key coil with clip

One LED moon light (touch to activate)

One light duty door stop

One door stop

One carabiner

1 1/2 ft plastic yellow chain

One castor wheel

One spinning castor wheel

One combination lock

One sliding bolt door lock

One sliding bolt gate latch

One eye hook latch

One padlock hasp

Several different key chains / stretch loops in different colors

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A little quality time with the power drill and zip-bang-boom, we had ourselves a toy board!

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How you want to build your toy board is completely up to you.  Just use your imagination and take cues from your child.  The items for your board can be picked up inexpensively at any number of locations, so have fun with it.  Few projects will ever be more rewarding than building something for your precious one.

I think ours turned out really well and Riley really seems to like it.  We decided to mount it on the side of a cabinet in an area that Riley plays in often.  You don’t necessarily have to mount your toy board, but we just didn’t want to take the chance that Riley might pull it over on herself and get hurt.  Riley is walking everywhere and loves to take her toys with her so we plan to add a velcro patch to the board so she can have a tear away option for a toy or two as well.  We also plan to let Riley decorate the board soon.  Riley’s hand prints are the leading candidate right now, but we’ll see.

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#RileyLove

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my daddy DIY adventure with Riley’s toy board.  I hope this sparks a few ideas for you.  Please let me know what you think in the comments below and be sure to share this post with your friends.

Whatever your future projects may be, just remember that you can absolutely get them done and know that the ones you love will appreciate them and you more than you will ever know.

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Obama’s Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, ‘Equal’ Partnership In Raising Children

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Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

Image source: Pixabay.com

American parents soon could have “equal partners” in parenting — the federal government – and be faced with home visits, too.

That’s according to a draft policy statement from two federal departments that are full of Obama appointees: the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is the position of the Departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences,” the statement says.

The draft document is titled “DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO THE EARLY GRADES.”

Increased Government Involvement in Family Life

The draft policy outlined in the document reads like a blueprint for increased government involvement in family life. It list a number of goals that could increase official interference in childrearing if implemented, including home visits.

“To support ongoing relationship building with families, programs and schools should conduct periodic home visits so that teachers and families can get to know each other and communicate about children’s ’goals, strengths, challenges, and progress,” the draft reads. “If home visits are not possible for all families, schools or programs should require that teachers or providers and families communicate at the beginning of the year to ensure that the relationship is started in a positive way.”

Under the policies, teachers and school officials would be encouraged to become more involved in the family life of children.

Christian Heroes For Christian Kids: These Amazing Stories Are Putting God Back Into History!

Some of the goals in the document seem harmless, such as encouraging parents to read to kids and promoting early learning activities at home. Others are more bothersome, though. The document seems to encourage authorities to evaluate parents’ mental health.

“Parental health and mental health impact parenting and children’s outcomes. For example, parental depression may contribute to less responsive parenting and is associated with anxiety and depression in children.”

‘Big Brother Is In Charge Of Raising Your Childen’

Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

Image source: Pixabay.com

Does that mean parents or perspective parents would be urged to submit to counseling or psychiatric care? A later passage seems to say just that:

“It is much more difficult to engage in children’s learning if a family’s basic needs are not met. This research indicates that the institutions where children learn cannot ignore family wellness if they want to meaningfully engage families and fulfill their mission to prepare children for school and academic success. While some of these needs may be met in schools and early childhood programs through onsite comprehensive services, others can be met through partnerships with organizations and specialists in the community. Meeting families where they are, promoting their wellness alongside their children’s through connections to community resources, and partnering with them on their children’s learning and development, will result in optimal outcomes for children.”

The New American criticized the document, saying it is full of assumptions that many parents would strongly oppose – even if it is surrounded by innocent-sounding language.

“At first glance, the Obama administration policy document appears to be merely about ‘engaging families’ in the raising of their own children,” Alex Newman of The New American wrote. “… What it implies, though, is that Big Brother is also going to play the role of ‘advocate’ and ‘nurturer’ to your children. Perhaps Big Brother can provide hugs and bed-time stories soon, too.

Newman continued: “[T]hroughout the document, it becomes brazenly clear that federal bureaucrats are starting from the false assumption that Big Brother is in charge of raising children, and that parents may be called upon to help out as ‘partners.’ It also purports to provide justification for governments to pry into every aspect of family life — an extraordinarily dangerous proposition that is a hallmark of totalitarian governments. The mindset evidenced throughout the document is beyond paternalistic and condescending to parents.”

What is your reaction to the plan? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Awaken Your Child’s Love Of History And Put God Back Into History! Read More Here.

Obama’s Stunning New Education Plan: Home Visits For Parents, ‘Equal’ Partnership In Raising Children

Click here to view the original post.
Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

Image source: Pixabay.com

American parents soon could have “equal partners” in parenting — the federal government – and be faced with home visits, too.

That’s according to a draft policy statement from two federal departments that are full of Obama appointees: the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is the position of the Departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences,” the statement says.

The draft document is titled “DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT ON FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO THE EARLY GRADES.”

Increased Government Involvement in Family Life

The draft policy outlined in the document reads like a blueprint for increased government involvement in family life. It list a number of goals that could increase official interference in childrearing if implemented, including home visits.

“To support ongoing relationship building with families, programs and schools should conduct periodic home visits so that teachers and families can get to know each other and communicate about children’s ’goals, strengths, challenges, and progress,” the draft reads. “If home visits are not possible for all families, schools or programs should require that teachers or providers and families communicate at the beginning of the year to ensure that the relationship is started in a positive way.”

Under the policies, teachers and school officials would be encouraged to become more involved in the family life of children.

Christian Heroes For Christian Kids: These Amazing Stories Are Putting God Back Into History!

Some of the goals in the document seem harmless, such as encouraging parents to read to kids and promoting early learning activities at home. Others are more bothersome, though. The document seems to encourage authorities to evaluate parents’ mental health.

“Parental health and mental health impact parenting and children’s outcomes. For example, parental depression may contribute to less responsive parenting and is associated with anxiety and depression in children.”

‘Big Brother Is In Charge Of Raising Your Childen’

Obama's Stunning New Plan: Home Visits For Parents, 'Equal' Partnership In Raising Children

Image source: Pixabay.com

Does that mean parents or perspective parents would be urged to submit to counseling or psychiatric care? A later passage seems to say just that:

“It is much more difficult to engage in children’s learning if a family’s basic needs are not met. This research indicates that the institutions where children learn cannot ignore family wellness if they want to meaningfully engage families and fulfill their mission to prepare children for school and academic success. While some of these needs may be met in schools and early childhood programs through onsite comprehensive services, others can be met through partnerships with organizations and specialists in the community. Meeting families where they are, promoting their wellness alongside their children’s through connections to community resources, and partnering with them on their children’s learning and development, will result in optimal outcomes for children.”

The New American criticized the document, saying it is full of assumptions that many parents would strongly oppose – even if it is surrounded by innocent-sounding language.

“At first glance, the Obama administration policy document appears to be merely about ‘engaging families’ in the raising of their own children,” Alex Newman of The New American wrote. “… What it implies, though, is that Big Brother is also going to play the role of ‘advocate’ and ‘nurturer’ to your children. Perhaps Big Brother can provide hugs and bed-time stories soon, too.

Newman continued: “[T]hroughout the document, it becomes brazenly clear that federal bureaucrats are starting from the false assumption that Big Brother is in charge of raising children, and that parents may be called upon to help out as ‘partners.’ It also purports to provide justification for governments to pry into every aspect of family life — an extraordinarily dangerous proposition that is a hallmark of totalitarian governments. The mindset evidenced throughout the document is beyond paternalistic and condescending to parents.”

What is your reaction to the plan? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Awaken Your Child’s Love Of History And Put God Back Into History! Read More Here.

I Warned You!

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     There are times that things I see seem so clear and transparent, yet I have doubts that anyone ever reads what I write, or if they do, it is too difficult to take seriously.  Yet I know that I am not the only one who has been sounding the alarm.  Others have written of the covert efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate our country — from the highest echelons of government, to our corporate board rooms, and our children’s classrooms.
     In June, 2013 I wrote a detailed blog post about the clandestine endeavors surrounding the Brotherhood’s endeavors to wage “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”  The idea of a Global Caliphate was new and, frankly, most people in the West sneered at the notion.
     Now, nearly two-and-a-half years later, we are focused on the beheadings and exterminations of Christians in the Middle East; the exponential growth in rapes of European women by Muslim immigrants; and the growing threat of terrorist plots on our own soil.  But while we are zeroing in on these atrocities, there has been a more subtle jihad being committed in the heartland.
     In 2013, I warned you about the Cosmos Foundation, a charter school operator founded a decade ago by a group of professors and businessmen from Turkey. The group, currently using the name Harmony Schools, has become the biggest charter operation in the state of Texas, promising American parents that they could increase their children’s comprehension in math and the sciences.  What concerned me was the fact that the Cosmos Foundation had also forged ongoing relationships with a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants. Some of those founders, as well as school operators, and many of their business suppliers, were followers of a man named Fethullah Gülen.
     Since I wrote that article, it has become apparent that Turkey has regressed from a secular democracy into an Islamic state, and Imam Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen Movement (GM) had an enormous influence in setting the increasingly Islamist agenda in Turkey.  In fact, in Turkey, 75 % of the nation’s two million preparatory school students are enrolled in Gülen institutions. In America, GM runs the largest charter school network in the nation.  In 2013, I asked the following question:  When you connect the dots, don’t you think all this information is worthy of our scrutiny and our concern?  And in light of the connections between GM and the political campaign of a certain candidate for the President of the United States, I still stand by that astute question.

     And apparently, so does Ariel Cohen, a writer for The Blaze.  Mr. Cohen has written an excellent article, in which he points out that the myriad of organizations affiliated with the Gülen movement include banks, newspapers, universities, charities, research institutes, and the largest network of private Muslim schools in the world. The school curriculum is not “overtly” Islamist, and claims to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (also known as STEM).  Cohen alleges that the Gülen-affiliated net business worth exceeds $25 billion, and together, they receive approximately $150 million a year in U.S. tax breaks and subsidies — all leading to an unhealthy mix of politics, education, and religion that is infecting our nation.
     Mr. Cohen is so bold as to suggest that the Gülen organization “appears to be busy buying, using and abusing political power…. The web reaches up to the corridors of the U.S. Congress and down to local schools from Texas to Tahoe. According to a USA TODAY investigation, over 200 trips for congressmen and congressional staff have been sponsored by Gülenist entities”.
     And here is something that should concern us all … According to the Clinton Foundation website, Recep Ozkan, former president of the Gülen-connected Turkish Cultural Center, contributed between $500,000 and $1 million. Unsurprisingly, former President Bill Clinton has appeared at Gülen movement events and praised the founder’s contributions to world peace and inter-religious understanding.
     But these “Turkish operatives” are not tied to just one party.  Both Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, and Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte have been reported to be recipients of Gülen organizational donations (although Senator Ayotte returned funds, once she discovered their origin).  Currently, the FBI is engaged in a massive probe of Gülenist activities in this country. However, the investigation is limited to the Gülen-linked schools.
     But there is some hope … It is the task of law enforcement to protect our politics, our country, and most importantly our children, from illicit external influences. Therefore, as the FBI investigates the network, it can also look into the political donations by the members of the movement.  I hope they do so.
     It is apparent in his home country of Turkey that Imam Gülen has an agenda … to infiltrate all the business centers, re-educate the children, and obtain State power, and a warrant for his arrest has been issued.  Does it not seem plausible that he and his followers are trying to institute the same paradigm here in the U.S.?  We need to pray that the FBI will be allowed to conduct a thorough investigate; that Congress will weed out this invasive and subversive enemy of American sovereignty; and that God will shine His light upon the organization’s false motives.  I know we have ignored this enemy for far too long, but I have faith that God can destroy their plans.

Job 5:12-13     “He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise or anything of [lasting] worth.  He catches the [so-called] wise in their own trickiness, and the counsel of the schemers is brought to a quick end.”

Does It Feel Good Or Does It Do Good? Intentions Vs. Results

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January 18th, 2016

Video courtesy of PragerU

When setting public policy, what’s more important: intentions or results? Feeling good or doing good? When it comes to being guided by the heart or by the mind, the Left and Right are very different.

New Book Reveals the Little Known Secrets of How To Maintain An Extremely Low Profile In An Age Of Hackers, Snoops, Data Miners, Corrupt Bureaucrats and Surveillance Grid Profilers.

 

 

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Windows 10 Is Spying On You And It’s Super Creepy

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January 4th, 2016

Video courtesy of Tim Pool

Windows 10 is tracking you and reading your content and soon windows will roll out the same updates for Windows 7 and 8.

New Pocket-Sized Device Lets You Create Your Own Personal “Micro-Grid” That Can Charge (Or Run) ALL Of Your Electronic Devices… And… Jump-Starts Motorcycles, Cars, Trucks… Even Buses!

 

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Lifetime of Prepping! Package UPDATE under way…Sales shut down.

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The SurvivalCD.com 14 disk CD/DVD package sale page has been SHUT DOWN as of 12/31/15 for major updates!!! The PREPPER MASTER KIT The 2016 package of the Ultimate Family Emergency Preparedness Digital Library is being upgraded! Ever wanted a library of info, to deal with ANY disaster situation, BEFORE THE DISASTER? Package update in progress […]

NATION MAKERS

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PyleNationmakers

 

Howard Pyle’s 1903 painting The Nation Makers is an image of a mass of humanity surging forward, that mass is composed of identifiable individuals, as in all wars and battles. None of these individuals turn and looking out at us the viewers, instead they are all moving forward into their future. That concentrated action gives us hope that we too will bear our responsibilities honorably.  ~ The Rockwell Center

 

Over the past months I have given a lot of thought to what citizenship means in America today and I have come to realize that with that statement on Howard Pyle’s The Nation Makers, The Rockwell Center captures the very essence of what I have come to realize is the foundation of what makes America great.  Along with our countrymen and women that have chosen to make a career in service to others, there are millions of Americans that do not earn a paycheck for their efforts but are out there doing the hard work of building a better future for themselves and the rest of us every day just the same.  These citizen champions are actively applying their very valuable time and skill sets to bring forth the change they want to see in the world and we are all better for it.  These identifiable individuals moving honorably forward into the future are the embodiment of what it takes to make a difference in this world.  Serving as a mentor, volunteering in their community, sharing knowledge and teaching someone a new skill or simply being a good mother, father, aunt, uncle, brother, sister or grandparent, it all counts!

With this perspective as the backdrop, it is with great pride and hopefulness that I am announcing the Nation Makers initiative.  Nation Makers is born out of a motivation to do something in some small way to recognize any and everyone that gives of themselves daily, either at their jobs that happen to be in public service (teachers, nurses, police officers, etc.) or in their private lives as volunteers or mentors in their community because they feel it’s important.  Regardless of how someone chooses to be active in the hard but extremely valuable work of doing what they can to make the world a better place, I believe that the every day heroes that are all around us should be honored and deserve to be recognized.  Everyone loves to have their hard work acknowledged, even when acknowledgement is not the goal.  These folks serve as an inspiration to us all and in having someone take the time to say thank you serves as fuel for their fire for service.  It’s a beautifully symbiotic circle of awesomeness.

A Nation Maker is anyone that gives of themselves and/or their time in the service of others with a good heart in an effort to do their small part to create the world they want to live in and make it a better place for their family and friends.  Anyone observed making this kind of effort qualifies and has earned the right to be a member.  It is up to each of us fellow citizens to recognize their efforts and award them with the title.

I wanted to create a way for any of us to honor and recognize anyone that is actively attempting to create the change in the world they wish to see, so I designed and created a tactical morale patch that can be given to anyone that meets this simple criteria as an honor that can be displayed as a badge of pride.  By giving this gift, we the givers have the opportunity to say thank you to the receiver for all they do and tell these every day heroes exactly why we appreciate their service, what the patch is all about and why we have chosen to give it to them.  Friends or perfect strangers, anyone can be awarded the Nation Makers patch.  Hopefully, we can become more in touch with our communities and maybe even make a few new friends in the process.

The key to this initiative lies with you.  In order for this idea to have the kind of impact I hope it can have, you and I have to make it happen by identifying Nation Makers in your community and recognizing them by presenting them a patch.  That is why I am making the Nation Makers patches available for sale through our website.  Simply order the number of patches you need and then award them as you see fit.  In an effort to multiply the impact of one good act further, we will donate one dollar from the sale of each patch to groups that are doing good work to help others at a national level like The Franklin Project, Team Rubicon and First Response Team of America.  Of course, this effort will have much more impact if the response to the initiative is strong.  The more patches we sell, the more people we can recognize and the more money we will be able to donate to these wonderful groups.

In the end, the Nation Makers initiative is an effort to do good.  By recognizing those that have dedicated their lives to the service of others, we are supporting their efforts by proving that their work is resonating with others and our neighbors, our communities and our nation are better for it as a result.  I hope you will join me in this effort.  After all, any one of us is every one of us and we can all make a difference.

 

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Happy yuletide greatings from Wyoming…

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As this year rolls to a close just a couple of weeks from now, it seems to be one for the record books. Not so much for SurvivalRing, but pretty much life, health, disease, pestilence, terrorism, treason, crime, racism, graft, corruption, etc…you know the drill…the American Dream. I’ve been freakishly lax in posting new things on […]

Survival Tip – How To Prep For Flu Season

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November 30th, 2015

Video courtesy of ThePatriotNurse

Some helpful tips courtesy of ThePatriotNurse on what items to stock up on for flu season and how to bolster your immune system to help prevent you from getting sick this winter season.

 

How did the U.S. become the freest, most prosperous country in the world? Kirk Cameron challenges you to discover America’s true “national treasures”—the people, places, and principles that have empowered this nation.

 

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A FRIENDLY VISIT SHOWS EVERYONE CAN HOMESTEAD

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We recently visited our friend Gary at his home to celebrate his daughter’s (also a friend) birthday. We’ve known this wonderful family for a few years now and although we don’t live right down the street and see each other every day, this visit like every visit was full of fun and good times. It didn’t take long after arriving before I was pleasantly reminded of just how interesting visiting Gary can be. You see, Gary is like us in that he has chosen to do all he can to wrestle back some control of his life back from the system by doing whatever he can to build resilience into his every day life by embracing the homesteading lifestyle at every opportunity. For Gary, this includes everything from growing as much of his own food as he can, to keeping small stock in the back yard and this visit revealed (to my great excitement) that he has branched out making his own wine and whiskey, complete with his own miniature whiskey still that lives on under the carport!

 

 

IMG_6892   IMG_6894

 

As we walked around Gary’s average sized suburban property he shared a good number of fun and interesting things that he’s currently got working and I was interested to see them all. The chickens and rabbits were still doing just fine, but now they have been joined by the pigeons which we found bedding down for the evening in their happy little coop. The turkeys, which I had enjoyed very much when we were there the last time, we gone having graced the family’s table a while back. The front and side yard gardens were in good shape despite having a bit of transitional look to them, which is great because it shows that they are constantly changing to get ready for whatever comes next in a never-ending cycle of growth, harvest and rejuvenation. I think I enjoyed hearing about the mushrooms Gary was growing over by the fence the most. Planted them right in the logs himself. Awesome. When we headed back inside, Gary showed me the various wines he was waiting on, showed me how his whiskey still operates and explained how he ages the Shine with a bit of oak to mellow it out a bit. Before I knew it, Gary was showing off his bread bowl and exposing me to homemade kombucha for the first time. Tasty and good for you too. That’s a win-win if you ask me. From there we discussed the motivation for doing all of this “different” kind of stuff. I know why Alice and I do what we do and finding out what motivates other folks interests me. So of course, I asked whether he was doing any bartering with any of these “goods” and Gary grinned widely and simply stated, “Well, I haven’t paid for a haircut in ten years.” Now I was the one grinning.

 

IMG_6901   IMG_6897

The composting area and butterfly garden.

IMG_6913   IMG_6903

There’s more to this average suburban space than meets the eye.

IMG_6907   IMG_6909

Raised garden beds fill the front.

IMG_6916   IMG_6919

Here are the rabbit hutches and the chicken coop.

IMG_6923   IMG_6921

These are the pigeons being raised for meat.

 

I wanted to share all of this with you for a couple of reasons. First off, Gary’s a good guy doing good things for his family, his community and the world in general and that should be recognized. The way he is going about all of that makes it even better, choosing the natural/organic way whenever given the opportunity. What’s more, Gary is very willing to share his knowledge with others whenever he can, giving freely of his time simply because he believes that what he is sharing is worth the effort. Kudos!

Secondly, I wanted to share Gary’s adventures because it speaks to a larger fact that we believe is very important yet most folks seem to not realize. Anyone and everyone can be a homesteader, regardless of your circumstance. You do not have to have 50 acres to live the homesteading lifestyle, merely a desire to grab your daily reality by the shoulders and retake control over your personal situation while doing what you can to meet the basic requirements of this life. If you do that, whether you’re growing your own food or developing skill sets that will help you meet your basic needs, you’re a homesteader.

So take heart friends and believe me when I tell you that you can do it too. If you want grow some of your own food to increase your food security, or develop a secondary revenue stream for you and your family to build some financial resilience, or learn a new skill set that will have some actual value should we wake to a tomorrow that is drastically different than the world we know today, I say go for it and know that you can do it. We support your efforts, we believe in you and we cannot wait to welcome you to the community.

Get the most out of your PracTac Nation experience and keep up with everything Practical Tactical by subscribing to our mailing list and be sure to LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW us across all of our social media platforms as well.

Survival Tip – How To Make Rope From Grass

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November 23rd, 2015

Video courtesy of NightHawkInLight

Rope is one of the most valuable items to have in the wilderness, and this ancient method of creating it produces very good results. Even today some commercially made ropes are wound with the same process. Other natural fibers can be used to create rope (some being much stronger than grass), and this method will work equally as well with any other flexible material. Grass does tend to become brittle when dry which could weaken this rope, but even then it does maintain some strength. In moderate humidity weakness from drying should not become an issue at all.

Note that for best results, each of the two tails of the rope should be twisted an equal number of turns as they’re wound. That will ensure that the two coils wind around one another tightly and in a double helix pattern. If one side is twisted less than the other it will tend to stay straight, while the more twisted side coils around it like a spring. When I first started winding the rope in the video you can see I didn’t do a very good job twisting both strands evenly for the first few inches, and one side was coiled more than the other. Try to avoid that, as it will be a weak point.

 

How did the U.S. become the freest, most prosperous country in the world? Kirk Cameron challenges you to discover America’s true “national treasures”—the people, places, and principles that have empowered this nation.

 

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WARNING! Beware of “Mindfulness” and “Mindful Intervention”!

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     As usual, in the busyness and chaos of my life, I manage to hear snippets of the world’s conversations all around me, and sometimes the Holy Spirit will “zing” me with a “Pay attention to this” summons.  Such was the case when I overhead a Fox News announcer commenting that the Department of Education is spending upwards of $2.5 million to bring a “mindfulness intervention” to kindergarteners in Chicago, where kids can go to “calm spots” in the corner to watch nature videos.
     What the 10-second sound bite did not tell the audience was that this government program is in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, which has spent over $100 million studying this New Age meditation technique called “mindfulness”.  What’s more, The Education Department has introduced this “Calm Classroom” program into 3,000 schools through its Investing in Innovation Fund.  What?!?!  Exactly what are all these “government programs” that taxpayer dollars are funding, and what exactly is it that they are trying to accomplish??

     To begin with, Investing in Innovation Fund is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”  And if you follow the rabbit trail, they propose that advancing student achievement can be accomplished through this theory based on “mindfulness intervention”.  But what, precisely, is that?  According to the grant abstract, written to acquire funding, “Mindfulness is a secular, psychological mode involving non-judgmental focus on present-moment sensations, and has been shown to have a number of benefits to well-being.  Our project offers an innovative approach not only because mindfulness is unique relative to traditional social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, but also because of added elements designed to replenish children’s focus directly back into the content of school, including always-available ways to take very brief ‘brain breaks.’ ”  (Please pay attention to the words and phrases that I have underlined; you will see their significance shortly).
      So, if kindergartners in Chicago are the focus group for this grant, just what is the government hoping to accomplish or prove?  According to the written grant, the Chicago Public School System, along with various Institutes and a trademarked program called Calm Classroom, hope to employ a mindfulness-based intervention to increase the self-regulation and engagement in learning of young children in low-performing schools.  Furthermore, the grant states, “The need for this approach arises from two conditions. First, mastery of self-regulation skills during the early years of schooling has been shown to be as, if not more important to long-term academic competence than intelligence or domain-specific knowledge. Second, increasingly younger children are experiencing high levels of trauma, unpredictability, and toxic stress, thus arriving at school with tendencies to either act out or disengage, rather than being ready to participate productively in the classroom community and learn.”
     That whole line about “increase self-regulation” says to me that they don’t want any original thinkers, or kids who think outside the box, or who might challenge the teacher and other students with their uncontrolled imaginations.  What happened to the psychological motto of “not killing the child’s spirit”, that was so popular in the 60’s?
     Besides sounding like a bunch of New Age hocus-pocus, it seems very clear to me that the public school systems have lost control of their students, and now need to engage in some kind of “brain games” to mollify and reduce classroom disruption.  I don’t know about you, but a trip to the principal’s office in my grade school days, was enough to keep me from acting up.  I knew that at the end of that hall might be the Athletic Coach with a paddle.
     But it’s not enough to point out the lack of discipline in schools, or to lament the decidedly “secular”, environmental, and mystical approach to maintaining classroom control.  You really need to know what is really behind this “mindfulness” movement.  Here it is:  The skill of mindfulness can be gradually developed using meditational practices that are described in detail in the Buddhist tradition. The Five-Aggregate Model, an ancient model of the mind and body, is a helpful theoretical resource that could guide mindfulness interventions.  The term “mindfulness” is derived from the Pali-term sati, which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassana, satipaṭṭhāna and anapanasati. It has been popularized in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn with his mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program.
     Now, here is where it gets frightening for me…. Did you know that in 2012,  Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio published A Mindful Nation, and has received a $1 million federal grant to teach mindfulness in schools in his home district?  Or, in 2000, The Inner Kids Program, a mindfulness-based program developed for children, was introduced into public and private school curricula in the greater Los Angeles area?  Or how about the fact that The Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit organization that created an in-school mindfulness program called Mindful Moment, is currently serving almost 350 students daily at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School and approximately 1300 students at Patterson Park High School in Baltimore, Maryland? At Patterson High School, the Mindful Moment program engages the school’s faculty along with the students during a 15-minute mindfulness practice at the beginning and end of each school day.  They are allowed to practice an element of Buddhist meditation, but a prayer to the One True God of the Universe is illegal?
     And just to top off the widespread use of the Mindfulness Movement, consider this: A study enrolled college students in a course about mindfulness that included guided mindfulness meditation as part of the curriculum. After the semester, pre- and post-levels for different aspects of mental health were compared and students were found to have more non-judgmental stances towards their thoughts and feelings. This is believed to result in better stress-coping skills, improved academic performance and quality of life.  Furthermore, scores continued to improve for the weeks following the end of the course, demonstrating the long-lasting effects of mindfulness meditation.
     Do you see what I’m trying to show you?  For years now, our public schools and universities have been preparing our kids to become robots!  Let’s not teach them critical thinking skills!  No!  Let’s teach them all to hum a mantra and dull their minds so they are easily contained and mastered.  And it is now instituted from kindergarten to college!  If you really want to see the full scope of what I believe is a harmful movement to capture and control the minds of our kids, read the Wikipedia entry. I know not everyone thinks Wikipedia falls under the banner of incontrovertible truth, but if even a fraction of what they report is true, it should frighten all parents.  Don’t be fooled by the claims that  “calm spots” and “brain breaks” are needed elements to help your kids learn better.  Just teach them Readin’, Writin’, and Arithmetic, and how to think for themselves!

Go to the article at The Free Beacon website for more information on what the Department of Education has in store for your kids.  
   
2 Corinthians 11:3    “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
   

Modern Educayshun

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      Although I do not wish to minimize the ongoing situation in France or the world’s need for security, I thought you might need a break.  So, this is a little bit of entertainment for your morning.  Actually, nothing much needs to be said about it.  It’s a masterful commentary on the current state of our Education System in this country — Cultural Marxism, Political Correctness, Neo-Progressivism, Social Justice, and feminism all rolled into one.
     Sadly, although it was created by Australian comic genius Neel Kolhatkar, the underlying truth in the short video is anything but funny.  It is pretty much the average college student’s experience in a Liberal Arts class here in the good ol’ USA.  And if you combined George Orwell’s Animal Farm and his 1984 into one book on social engineering, then this video would come awfully close to that horrifying collaboration.
     And if you have been paying attention to my rants on Common Core, then this is what your college-age kids are facing.  It is not parody or satire, it is fast becoming reality.  So please take a moment and watch this amazing YouTube video.  At only 21 years old, Mr. Kolhatkar, is wise beyond his years, and he says it better than I can.  I applaud his talent and ability to show us the truth in a serious, yet mocking manner.  Sit up and take notice, parents and grandparents!

Proverbs 4:13   “Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.”

Seventh-Grader Stands For God

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     I know I shouldn’t be surprised; but I am still in shock after reading a story printed on the Education Action Group website.  Before I relate the story, I want you to understand exactly who EAG is, and their perspective.  They are a foundation based on the desire to “shine a spotlight on the leftist agenda and activists and their mission to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America through the government education system.”
     The perspective of EAG is very well-stated in this mission statement:  When the government took upon itself the obligation of educating America’s youth, it undertook a serious responsibility that demanded results. In far too many communities across America, the government is woefully failing in that responsibility.  Dismal test scores, out-of-control unsustainable spending, and the ardent defense of adults’ rights have all pushed the government education system to the brink of irrelevance. And worse yet, it’s all having a direct impact on our future ability to compete in the world.
     EAG believes the one-size-fits-all, assembly line government school system requires serious reform.  It is their desire to see that 1) the needs of the students are put first;  2) the needs of adults are second;  3) Parents are empowered to seek the best education options for their children;  and 4)  State governments should enact reforms to give schools more control over their budgets and personnel decisions.

     OK, now that you know who EAG is and why they felt it was important to report this story, let’s get to the facts of what happened to seventh-grader, Jordan Wooley, of Katy, Texas.  Jordan took the brave step of appearing before a school board meeting to testify about her allegations that a teacher was attempting to force atheist indoctrination upon her classroom.  “Today I was given an assignment in school that questioned my faith and told me that God was not real. Our teacher had started off saying that the assignment had been giving problems all day. We were asked to take a poll to say whether God is fact, opinion or a myth; and she told anyone who said fact or opinion was wrong and God was only a myth,” Wooley told board members.  (See YouTube video of her presentation here).
     The teacher, “started telling kids they were completely wrong and that when kids argued we were told we would get in trouble. When I tried to argue, she told me to prove it, and I tried to reference things such as the Bible and stories I have read before from people who have died and went to heaven but came back and told their stories, and she told me both were just things people were doing to get attention.”

     Here is where I can get personally involved.  If you have been reading my blog from the beginning post in December, 2011, then you know my personal history with a young man named Ben Breedlove.  Ben only lived for 18 years, but he left a legacy that will impact his generation for years to come.  You see, Ben had a heavenly experience just weeks before his final death from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.  You can read my post about the night he died here, and click on the links to the 2-part video he left behind to attest to his faith and intimate knowledge of God and Heaven.
     Although no one in his family knew he had recorded his experience in heaven, Ben knew what he was doing.  Somehow, with his vast knowledge of the internet and social media, he planned for the videos to be released after his death.  To this date, nearly 4 years later, it is impossible to know the exact number who have witnessed Ben’s videos. Two years ago YouTube reported over 12 million people had received Ben’s testimony of his heavenly experience, and you can read my post on his sister’s 2013 book about the incredible influence Ben has had on people, both young and old, as he shared his hope that is Heaven.  I can only imagine that millions more have heard his story.
     So, I can personally tell that 7th-grade teacher that Ben’s experience in Heaven had nothing to do with getting attention.  The attention didn’t come until after he died.  And it was real.  Just as real as the God in whom Ben and Jordan Wooley have faith.  But here is what really worries me…. Jordan explained [to the School Board] that she spoke with other students in the class who were marked down because they believe God is real, as well as [hearing] compromises proposed by students to avoid rejecting their faith.
     Did you get that?  While some students were unwilling to say that God was a myth, others were already trying to figure out how to “compromise” their faith — trying to figure out ways in which they didn’t outright reject their faith, but would still enable them to pass the class.  That is dangerous ground upon which to tread!
     But Jordan remained steadfast.  “Another student asked the teacher if we could put what we believe in the paper, and she said we could … but you would fail the paper if you do,” Wooley told the board. “I had known before that our schools aren’t really supposed to teach us much about religion or question religion. When I asked my teacher about it she said it doesn’t have anything to do with religion because the problem is just saying there is no God.”  But Jordan could not deny her faith.  When texting her mother about the assignment, she said, “We had to deny God is real. Yeah, we had to say he was just a myth… I said he is real and she said that can’t be proven; I still put fact on my paper.”
     So this brave seventh-grade student appeared at the podium alone as she faced the Katy Independent School District Board.  When asked how the exchange with the teacher made her feel, Jordan replied, “Like she was taking away my religion, what I believe is true.”  And that, sadly, is exactly what I fear that teacher, and the government education system, is trying to do.  It wasn’t enough to take God out of the classroom in the manner of prayer; now they want to destroy each individual child’s choice to believe that He is real.
     While this may be an isolated incident in Texas, you better believe that it will soon be an issue in every classroom across this nation.  As Texas education activist Alice Linahan told EAG News, the incident, and how district officials respond, could be an especially important indicator of things to come in the Lone Star state.  “Will Texas students get a good job when they grow up because they can read well, write well, do math and know history?” Linahan questioned. “Or, will they get a good job, without strong academics, but an emotional attachment and classroom experience to save the world on a global level from a humanist viewpoint, without a belief in God?”
     What do you think?  I think we all see the handwriting on the wall, and what the intentions are; but I pray that God will raise up a generation of Ben Breedloves and Jordan Wooleys to stand in the gap and declare His authenticity and His glory.  We adults have not done a good job of it, but with the faith of a child, mountains can be moved.

Matthew 21:16     And they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “ ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’? ”
   

PRACTICAL TACTICAL NAMED A ‘TOP PREPPING RESOURCES’ WEBSITE

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BEST 250 PREPPER WEBSITE

Talk about a wonderful way to start the day…..

I woke up to an email this morning to find out that Happy To Survive has named Practical Tactical among the top 250 prepper websites with top prepping resources on the interwebs.  This marks the second time we have been ranked among the best in the business when it comes to helping you and yours become more prepared for whatever may come down the road.  We are especially proud of being included in this group as we are rubbing shoulders with some of the folks that we consider to be the very best at what they do, which is helping others increase their level of preparedness and personal resilience like Peak Prosperity, Resilience, Willow Haven Outdoor, James Wesley Rawles Survival Blog and Prepper Website just to name a few.

 

This recognition means so much to us for a number of reasons, but mostly because it gets right to the heart of what we strive to make Practical Tactical all about….helping others become more prepared and resilient in their every day lives.  Our work with Practical Tactical is not a full time deal.  My wife (and partner in the venture) and myself both maintain full time jobs, raise our baby girl, as well as entertain our vast number of other interests that make our life experience worth living and for us that is the key to preparedness.  Prepping does not have to take over your life or darken your outlook on the world.  Rather, we hope to show you that being prepared is something anyone can do and that it, in fact, frees you from the stresses of worrying over the circumstance that you are NOT prepared and allows you to get out there and enjoy all that this wonderful life has to offer.  The list states that it is cobbled together in no particular order, but just to be included among such a fine group of individuals and projects is a wonderful honor in itself.

 

You can find the complete list here.

 

 

 

 

Best Five Books For Living Off The Grid Or With A Prepper Mindset

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One thing that can definitely be accurately said about those of us in the Prepper / Survivalist subculture is that we are all voracious learners. Often this education is achieved through reading, probably because that’s a very economical way of gaining new information, and we are also notoriously frugal when it comes to financial matters. To that end, I thought it would be pertinent to list what I consider to be the five best books for living off grid and/or with a Prepper mindset with a couple of additions as honorable mentions.

What do you think of the list below? Feel free to let me know…

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Infographic: Displacements Due to Natural Disasters – Spending and Solutions

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Dangerous worldwide environmental disasters put millions of people at risk every year. Events that can range from floods to tornadoes are known to devastate entire cities and landscapes, and often leave people to fend for themselves for days, or even weeks or longer. In particularly high-risk zones, many people have to cope with loss on […]

The BOLT Concept

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If you’ve bounced around our website, read any of my books or the books I’ve consulted on (Steven Konkoly’s Perseid Collapse series) or ever listened to any of the podcasts where I’ve been a guest, you have certainly heard of the BOLT Kit.  Simply put, the BOLT Kit is the realization of the vision of what we believe the bug out bag should be.  The difference between every other bug out bag you’ve ever heard of and the BOLT Kit is a focused relocation philosophy that is underpinned by a plan, the gear and a skill set necessary to make it a success.  You can find a more detailed look at the BOLT Kit and what makes it unique here.

 

As great as that original post and the previous paragraph are, this post is about the relocation concept and philosophy that allow the actual BOLT Kit to function effectively.  As I stated in the earlier post…

 

At Practical Tactical, we believe in developing a plan in advance of the chaos that will keep you from becoming a refugee should you ever have to leave your home due to an emergency. We think of it as the software to go along with the hardware (read as gear) of preparedness. If you leave your home or primary residence without a definite destination and a well thought out and practiced plan on how to get there, you have instantly become a refugee and that’s a bad spot to be in. During a time of crisis, history has shown us that the life of a refugee is cold, hard and short. Whatever you do, you do not want to become a refugee.

 

In and of itself, that’s pretty self-explanatory.  Don’t go anywhere unless you know exactly where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and oh by the way, make sure you’ve practiced your plan.  But stick with me as we take a deep dive on this idea and look at it a bit closer.

 

So events have conspired to force you to leave your primary residence and it’s time to go, but where are you headed?  We believe that there are several reasons you may have to leave your home that do not announce themselves as the apocalypse by crashing down in the capital letters with a dramatic score of music.  In other words, there are a wide range of incidents that could force you from your home that are not the end of the world, but more of a personal, local or regional crisis type such as a house fire, a flood or a protracted period of severe weather or severe weather impacts (think crippling ice storm that lasts for weeks or the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy).

 

In these types of events, heading off the grid may not be in the cards for several practical reasons.  The situation could be that despite this event that has thrown your world into chaos, life still goes on all around you and you still have to head in to work or your children still have to go to school.  Who knows.  It could be something as absolutely commonplace as you’ve decided to sell your home and you have to be out of the residence before your new home is ready and you need to stay in the area to finalize the sale.  This is why having a scalable approach built in to your BOLT plan makes a lot of sense.  If the situation dictates you can still fully activate your plan, but if it’s not some teotwawki level event you have given yourself several totally viable BOLT hole options.

 

As a part of your overall all BOLT plan, you develop BOLT holes appropriately distanced from your primary residence according to the incident level and threat you are facing that extend out from the location of your primary residence in concentric circles.  Imagine a ringed target.  Your home is the bulls eye and there are BOLT holes placed along each of the outward expanding rings of the target.  Based on the severity of the incident, your BOLT holes are correspondingly further out on the pattern from your primary location and ideally will cover all 360 degrees of the pattern.

 

BOLT map concept

 

LEVEL ONE:  If a pipe bursts and floods your home or a septic system backs up and renders your primary residence unlivable for a few weeks, you could have a BOLT hole set up just minutes from your location where you have arranged to stay with a neighbor, a family member or a close friend or maybe your plan is to check in to a local hotel for the duration of the event.  If your home is completely destroyed in a tornado or a hurricane and the duration of your crisis event is possibly measured in months and not days or weeks, you may want make other arrangements.  LEVEL TWO:  The next level of your plan would go into effect if the entirety of your local area is impacted by an event like a contaminated water supply or an earthquake that destroys most of the local infrastructure.  In a case like this,  your BOLT hole would need to be farther from your primary residence to take you outside the threat area.  Family and friends are always an option if they are located in the region that fits the plan, but you should always explore all of your options.  As you can see, this concept can have as many rings as you deem necessary (LEVEL THREE, LEVEL FOUR, etc.) based on your situation with the ultimate destination of your BOLT plan taking you to your final and most long term BOLT hole location.  Because no plan holds up to first contact,  you can arrange to preposition a cache of supplies at each of the stops along the way that will supplement your original BOLT Kit and help you make it to your next BOLT hole should the ever evolving situation and facts on the ground dictate you continue to move.

 

I hope this sharpens the BOLT concept for you as you develop your disaster plan.  Keep in mind that in order to successfully effect your own survival…whatever the situation…you must embrace the idea that there is more to the story than your gear or even your plan.  To give yourself the greatest chance of success, you must develop a solid plan, outfit your kit based on that plan and support it with the skill set necessary to use that gear, then put it all to the test in real world practice.  If you are resolute in your motivation and meticulous in your preparation, you will sleep well knowing that you and your family will be ready whenever the balloon goes up and that peace of mind is what the daily hard work of preparedness is all about.

 

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WEATHER PREPAREDNESS: OBSERVE YOUR WORLD

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There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking about a really complete preparedness plan, not the least of which is weather. Obviously this means getting prepared to ride out the storms that roll through from time to time for all of us. The occasional severe storm that brings a tornado, hurricane, snow or ice storm, flooding and so on. But have you ever given any thought to how you might deal with weather in a long term survival situation like after a devastating seasonal storm knocks out all communications in your area for an extended period or, if you allow yourself to really consider how bad things could be, after a collapse? Your answer could turn out to be a matter of life and death. That’s why I wanted to share a few ideas on tools and concepts that will help you better understand the weather, and why it’s important to round out your complete preparedness plan.

I’ll touch on a few of the high points here, but I hope you will watch the video to get the full picture of what I’m talking about.

PREPAREDNESS LIBRARY

Being interested in preparedness, we should all have one and no preparedness library is complete without some titles on weather identification and history. Whether you are old school like me and like the feel of a book in your hand or you prefer to download your books, PDFs and other information on jump drives and designated tablets or laptops, I would strongly suggest you include some of these materials in your collection.

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WEATHER TOOLS

A couple of basic tools you will want to include in your DIY weather center are a barometer, thermometer and a rain gauge. With just these three items you will be able to forecast changing weather and establish weather trends. You can get a small and rugged barometer for your BOLT Kit in case you find yourself on the move.

WEATHER HOMEWORK

Now that you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your local weather, the next step is to document what you’re seeing so you can use this information in the future to help you make better decisions based on weather conditions. Here are three simple actions steps you can take immediately to better understand your weather.

1. Create and keep a weather log and an accompanying journal about the weather readings you observing.

2. Get familiar with your local weather history by talking to people that have lived and worked in the area for a long time. There’s nothing better than real, on the ground intel from people that have lived it.

3. Contact your local county level government officials and ask for Hazard Vulnerability (or Risk) Assessment for your area. This is usually not classified material of any type and as a taxpayer you should be able to obtain a copy free of charge.

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PREPAREDNESS APPLICATIONS

When it comes to preparedness, there are many applications for weather information in your particular area. Whether it’s determining when it’s time to put the garden in, whether or not the fish will be biting or if there is a strong storm moving in, the more informed you are the better chance you will have of being successful in your efforts and keeping your group and yourself safe.

WEATHER PREPAREDNESS: OBSERVE YOUR WORLD

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It’s not the fall that gets you….

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It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden change of direction at the bottom.

It’s not necessarily the disaster that kills you.  It’s the severe dislocation of normal societal systems and the chaos and peril associated with it that comes in the two weeks, to a month, to six months following a major disaster that’s really going to determine whether or not you survive.  I say this because as a society, we are completely and totally dependent on our wholly integrated, just in time delivery systems to supply us with the basic necessities required for life.  Our water, our food, the energy we use to power everything that makes this super sized, got to have it right now society of ours whir, it’s all at our fingertips.  The unpalatable truth of our reality is that most people have completely lost touch with all that it takes to procure these basic necessities of life for ourselves.  The really frightening part of this situation is that most in our society do not or will not recognize the fact that by a whole boatload of metrics we are already falling, but because fresh water still flows from the tap, there is food on the shelves when you go to buy and there is still relatively inexpensive gasoline at the pumps when you go to fill up, people are able to turn a blind eye to the nation’s ills because they believe they do not impact them personally.  This of course is a fallacy, but normalcy bias is a powerful thing and the majority chooses to simply not acknowledge the problems they see all around them because it’s just easier.  Never mind looking to the future and where we may end up if we continue on our current trajectories as a nation, most folks only care about next weekend.

The unfortunate truth is that you will stop falling at some point and that’s when things get ugly.  That is when reality demands a cold, hard stop to the continuations of life as we know it and we are forced to make a new way forward.  Or we don’t.

When faced with this new reality, most people will have a very difficult time because they do not have the tools or the skill set necessary to take care of themselves.

So what do I say?

1. Embrace a big picture, long range viewpoint in an effort to see the unhinging before it happens.  This will give you a chance to spot when trouble is ahead and begin to take steps to get better prepared to handle it.  Educate yourself about the most probable threats for your area to start and grow your threat matrix from there.

2. Develop a plan to navigate these disruptions that best fits your circumstance based on your capabilities whatever they are.  Everyone can prepare.  Don’t waste your time worrying about a hurricane if you live in a desert.  Focus your planning and tailor it to suit your needs.  Furthermore, it does not matter what your limitations may be, there are very useful ways for everyone to become better prepared.  Remember, knowledge doesn’t have to cost anything to attain and weighs even less.

3. You can’t know the future for certain, so learn practical skills and don’t just acquire stuff.  There are more than a few folks out there that want to sell you the latest gadget or piece of gear, but if you don’t know how to use all that stuff it will do you no good.  Skills learned, practiced and verified in the back yard or on a family camping trip will most likely be way more valuable in the long run.  Acquiring these skills will make you flexible and adaptable and you will be able to use them any time.

4. Know your tribe.  You may be a verifiable bad ass, but none of us can effect sustainable, long term survival by ourselves in the long run.  Figure out who in your circles is of a like mind now before the storm rolls in and begin to take steps to strengthen those relationships.  You will want to surround yourself with people you know you can trust, that are hard working individuals that understand the importance of team concepts, that most likely share your general world views and who will excel in any area that you may not be as strong.  You will be glad you did.

 5. Enjoy life, but keep your eye on the ball.  Most of us prepare because we want to be able to take care of our family should we ever find ourselves in a bad situation and every one of us should be proud of that fact.  With that said, don’t allow yourself to become so focused on your preparations that you lose sight of why you’re working so hard to get ready in the first place.  Remember to make time to enjoy your family, friends and loved ones now while the world is still rolling along.  There may be dark days in the future, but while the sun is shining get out there and embrace the good times with those you care about.  Take a vacation, play with your children and take your wife or husband out to a nice dinner.  Live your life!  Isn’t that what it’s for?  Preparedness will never fall completely out of focus for people like us because it is a fundamental part of who we are, so don’t worry about that.  While you’re out there doing the hard work of preparedness day after day, just be sure to remember to take a little time to enjoy the good stuff.  Those people you are working so hard for will appreciate and love you for it.

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