Should You Plant on Mounds in Sandy Soil?

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Calen asks about planting on mounds in fast-draining, sandy soil:

“I’m a native Cracker from [coastal Florida]. I’ve been homesteading on ancestral farmland with a survivalist and traditionalist mindset for three years now. All heirloom and organic, etc. I own all of your books, and they, along with your blog and videos, have been the most helpful gardening advice that I’ve ever found anywhere. Last year I grew tons of Seminole pumpkins with great success using your “melon pits.” I passed that along to many friends who did likewise. I also plant the pumpkins in many “guerrilla gardens” in the swamp and backwoods on public land, and that’s worked out great as well. I never revisit them until harvest time, and they normally do better than my tended ones. Anyways, this year I want to give the three sisters a try. My plan is to use Jimmy Red corn, Cherokee black pole beans, and Seminole pumpkins. Pretty much everything I read says to plant on mounds. However, my place is high, dry, east-bank-of-Lake George sugar sand. Is mounding the way I should go? We didn’t even have standing water during the past two hurricanes. My thought was to maybe do these in slight pits like the melons and pumpkins but wanted to see if you had any advice on the subject? Thanks for your time.”

Fantastic. It’s good to hear from a fellow Floridian.

Mounds are what you always hear about. It’s even on the back of the seed packets. Calen is right to question the practice in his soil conditions.

For people who haven’t planted in “sugar sand,” it’s hard to explain how very hot, dry, and fast-draining the stuff is. It contains almost no humus and needier crops planted in sugar sand need almost constant watering.

Scrubland Sandy Soil

My old homestead in North Florida had large patches of almost sandy loam with smaller granules which would hold water for longer. There, I would double-dig and loosen the ground to plant, which would mound it up somewhat.

GardensFebruary2015-5

Those loose raised beds did very well, so it would be easy to say, “Oh yes, Calen, go ahead and plant in mounds—it works in Florida!”

But sugar sand isn’t the same as the soil above. Just because something works in one area of a state doesn’t mean it will work in another. And in his area, I would try to stay as flat as possible.

When you raise the height of the soil in one area, the water will drain out of it faster as it finds its level. You really can’t afford to let that happen. If he’s not holding onto water even after a hurricane, raised beds and mounds, unless amended with extra compost before every planting, are not the way to go.

You might want to go even further and grow in sunken beds, as is sometimes done in the Southwestern U.S.

Even across my old homestead, the backyard was loamy and the front yard was sandier.

This is how I used to plant melons and pumpkins in my fast-draining front yard:

Melon Pit

Those are sprouting legumes, by the way. In the winter I would plant melon pits with cool-season legumes like lentils, chickpeas, peas, and fava beans to feed the soil and pave the way for the curcurbits I planted in the spring.

Read More: “No Bare Soil! Vegetable Garden Cover Crops”

I would try planting in sunken beds, Calen, and see how it works. If you really want to see if it makes a difference, plant one area flat, one area in sunken beds, and one area on mounds, then compare how they did over the season. That would be a really good way to gain a bunch of data from one growing season.

I planted corn in flat ground when I had a sandy area:

Corn in Sandy Soil

And on mounds in clay:

Planting-on-mounds-1

You’re right to think outside the mound, and you get serious extra points for guerilla gardening Seminole pumpkins. The melon pit method is one of my favorite discoveries.

If you’re reading this and don’t know what Calen is talking about, here’s how to make a melon pit:

In sand, dig deeper and go for an indentation instead of a mound.

What about you? Have you had success planting on mounds in sandy soil? What about with using melon pits? Let me know in the comments below!

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Banana Trees: Tips for Planting and Growing (Even During a Cold Snap!)

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Living in Florida, there are lots of tropical plants around, among them fruit trees. Our new property is on the border of Zone 8 and 9, so it is still possible to grow tropical fruits as well as some heat-tolerant stone fruits such as nectarines and peaches. We planted several different types of food-producing trees on our property in expectation of having a house there and enjoying the bounty.

Banana Tree Missteps

One of the first fruit trees we acquired for free was a banana tree. I planted it among some large palms in an area that I knew would get lots of water.

I gave it kitchen scraps from making salads and other plant-based foods, and it thrived.

I made the mistake of giving it some cooked bone scraps, and it promptly died.

My second gifted banana tree was planted on property that is still undeveloped land. We had other tropical plants growing there such as avocado, mango, and guava, and I created a barrier around the garden area with old logs and branches piled up on three sides. I thought this would be sufficient to keep it from getting too cold during the winter, but again, I was wrong, and this banana tree also bit the dust.

Read More: “The Top 10 Tropical Staple Crops”

That was almost a year ago.

When the hurricanes whipped through Florida in September, a friend of mine who had a yard full of mature banana trees lost most of them. So, while Mother Nature sometimes conspires against us, at least I am not the only one who has had problems keeping banana trees around

Another neighbor who lives about a block away had a stand of banana trees along his fence and these managed to survive the hurricanes, although the fence was completely ripped up. When I noticed that he was replacing his fence and taking out some of the banana trees, I stopped my car to ask what they were planning to do with them.

Read More: Build a Community in 9 Easy Steps

I was told that the trees were going to be discarded, so I offered to take them away with the help of my husband and his truck. About an hour later, we took the truck over and filled the back with banana trees!

Planting Rescued Trees in Winter

Knowing that winter is upon us and can drop the temperature at any time, we headed up to our property with the banana trees, a load of abandoned bamboo, several gallons of graywater, a few weeks of kitchen scraps (all plant matter), and some shovels. Along the way, we picked up a few bales of straw and potting soil—some with fertilizer, some without.

  • We dug a trench about two or three feet deep and a bit more than a foot wide, then added the kitchen scraps (to provide moisture and heat from decomposition) and the potting soil.
  • Next, we added the banana trees, placing them close together the way they normally grow.
  • After that, we put the excavated dirt back in to hold up and secure the trees, and installed four-foot lengths of bamboo vertically around the hole and fairly close together.
  • You may be wondering what the straw is for…. Insulation! We packed the inside of the bamboo enclosure with straw about three feet high, and then watered the enclosure with the graywater we brought.

Since that weekend, we have had some fiercely cold weather in Florida—two inches of snow in the Panhandle!

What about the banana trees?

They are still holding up, but even in the worst-case scenario where the tops are frozen, the bottoms should still be okay. We will trim them down at the end of February to give new growth a chance.

Once we get our ducks, the duck pond will go in nearby to feed the banana trees and the other tropical plants that will appreciate the fertilizer-rich soup that the ducks will produce. A chance meeting with a person in our area who will be moving this year brought us a free liner for the duck pond and loads of other materials that we can use to improve our homestead.

Banana trees, bamboo, pond liners, and more all came our way through a little communication!

 

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PREPARED. SPARED. SHARE.

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If you’re into preparedness, odds are you take a long(er) range view of world events than most, in preparation for a day when some disaster will darken your door in hopes of mitigating the impacts from said disaster on your family and friends.

But what about when you’re fortunate enough to be spared by disaster?  Do you just sit on your supplies and be thankful you were spared.  Or do you take a more sinister and darker view, growing paranoid assuming it’s just a matter of time and figure not having to use your supplies this time around just means you’re farther along in your preps for the next time disaster comes knocking?

Courtesy NBC News

 

Well, there is another option you may not have considered.  We have always said that being prepared puts you ahead of the game in most instances and this fact can prove beneficial in a number of ways.  Not only will you and your family suffer less from the impacts of any disaster, but by preparing you put yourself in position to possibly help others.  In turn, this will help community response efforts by taking some of the pressure off the system.

ROCKPORT, TX – AUGUST 26: Jessica Campbell hugs Jonathan Fitzgerald (L-R) after riding out Hurricane Harvey in an apartment on August 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Jessica said is became very scary once Hurricane Harvey hit their town. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall by next Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 

One immediate action step you can take post disaster is to help strengthen your community’s resilience by choosing to share some of your supplies to help those in need that were not fortunate enough to be spared by the storm.  Do not fear violating your personal OPSEC (operational security) by stepping up to help others.  This can easily be done anonymously through community agencies such as churches or local governments.

Courtesy IBTimes UK

 

Rotating supplies is a must (FIFO) when you store preparedness supplies, especially food goods.  The easiest way to work through your stores is simply to rotate them into your everyday routine when everything is normal. This concept works for all of your supplies, but especially when it comes to food stuffs.  When a disaster rolls through your area, but you are not directly impacted, you have a tremendous opportunity to bless others by passing along a few of the supplies that you have been blessed enough to have had the opportunity to acquire ahead of time.

The easiest way to implement this positive action step is simply find some of the oldest items in your stored food supplies (and/or other goods if you choose) that you haven’t worked into your everyday meal plan and pull them out.  If possible, you may want to take just a moment to balance your gift with a little variety, but anything you can afford to spare will be a tremendous benefit to the recipient and will be very much appreciated.

Heroes do not always wear a uniform.  They reveal themselves in times of emergency and the reality is they come in all shapes and sizes.  We often call these unseen heroes Nation Makers.  People that saw a need in their community and have taken it upon themselves to do something and help to make the world, no matter how broken and lost, the type of world they want to see.

This is not a new concept, but rather a reminder of an option you may not have considered.  In fact, we have seen it recently following Hurricane Harvey’s disastrous impacts in Houston, Texas and all along the Gulf coast.  Here is a post I saw on Facebook in the days immediately after the category 4 storm made landfall:

 

This is just one example of a scene I am certain played out in many other prepper homes following that storm, and every other disaster too.  It shows the best of what the preparedness community can be in an emergency.

Despite what you may be told by the generic media or led to believe on internet forums, most preparedness minded folks do not view the world as a zero sum game and are not all just out for themselves.  We are normal people with big hearts that care about our families and our fellow citizens.

In a world where you do not have to look far to find the impacts of disaster or feel the anxiety and fear of crisis, there is no shortage of opportunities to step up and help someone.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to secure a comfortable level of preparedness for yourself and your family, I want to encourage you to reach out to help someone in need the next time disaster strikes your community.  In doing so you may find that you can increase your spheres of influence and maybe even introduce someone else to the idea of personal preparedness.  Who knows?  Down the road, they may be the one in position to help another person or family after the storm and in the end, we will all be better because of it.

If you want to better understand my thoughts on personal preparedness, please check out my books HERE and HERE, or wander deeper into this blog.  I hope this website will help you along your way, especially if you’re just getting started.  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.

 

 

‘This Is War’: Sheriff Urges Americans To Buy Guns And Fight Terrorism; ‘Develop Your Survival Strategy’

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‘This Is War’: Sheriff Urges Americans To Buy Guns And Fight Terrorism; ‘Develop Your Survival Strategy’

A popular Florida sheriff is urging citizens to be prepared to fight back against terrorism with their guns and their wits.

“In my book, what’s next is to fully understand that this is war and you better be prepared to wage war to protect you, your family and those around you if attacked,” Wayne Ivey, the sheriff in Brevard County, said in the new video.

“I am firmly convinced that as Americans we can no longer sit back and pray the fight isn’t brought to us,” Ivey said.

Ivey said he came to conclusion after watching the news about terrorist attacks overseas.

“Terrorists and active shooters know that our citizens have been coached to run and hide and then patiently await help. In fact, they count on it so they can strategically target as many citizens as possible.

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“What they don’t count on is being attacked themselves — having to become defensive to save their own lives,” Ivey said

“There is no doubt that as soon as 911 is called, law enforcement is on the way,” Ivey said. “However, until they arrive it’s up to you and those with you to neutralize the threat.”

“If you have a concealed carry permit, then carry your gun with you at all times possible,” Ivey said. “It’s not doing you any good at the house or in the car when the attack happens.”

Get A Taser

“If you don’t have a concealed carry permit or are not someone who is comfortable using a firearm to protect yourself, then please consider some type of intermediate weapon such as a Taser or what we now call environmental arming. Using items in your immediate surrounding area as weapons — items such as a knife, chair or fire extinguisher.”

“As a society and a community we can longer afford to wait for the attack to happen and develop our survival strategy,” Ivey said. “As sheriff I encourage you to protect yourself and develop your survival strategy right now.

“Folks, now more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the perfect line of defense,” Ivey said, “not only for them but for their families when the attack happens.”

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Her further urged viewers not to be naïve.

“For those who think that it can’t or won’t happen here: Trust me when I tell you that it’s already happening all around us and the only thing left to question is when and where it will happen again and how many more innocent lives will be lost,” Ivey said.

“As a society and a community we can longer afford to wait for the attack to happen and develop our survival strategy,” Ivey said. “As sheriff I encourage you to protect yourself and develop your survival strategy right now.”

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has a variety of resources for citizens at its website, including a video on environmental arming.

Do you agree with the sheriff’s message? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Category 4 Monster Nears U.S.; Towns ‘Uninhabitable For Weeks Or Months’; 7 Million Without Power?

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Category 4 Monster Aims For U.S.; Towns Could Be ‘Uninhabitable For Weeks Or Months’; 7 Million Without Power?

 

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — A rare Category 4 hurricane is set to deliver a devastating blow to the East Coast of Florida tonight, potentially knocking out power for a long time and making some places “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” according to the National Weather Service.

Currently, Hurricane Matthew has winds of 140 mph. About 2.5 million people in Florida and the East Coast are evacuating.

“This can kill you and we cannot save you,” Florida Governor Rick Scott warned.

Most of the Florida’s east coast and all of Georgia’s coast are in a hurricane warning. The only Category 4 hurricane ever to make landfall in the area took place in 1898.

Upwards of 7 million people could be left without power, according to forecasters. It already killed more than 110 people in the Caribbean.

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“People who have been told to evacuate, they need to get out this morning, right away, because time is running out fast,” Rick Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center, told ABC News. “You don’t want to be caught in the storm surge, which is the deadliest hazard of all.”

matthew-skullMatthew is the deadliest hurricane to approach the U.S. coast in more than a decade. The National Weather Service expected it to make landfall north of West Palm Beach early Thursday morning.

Even Walt Disney World – which rarely shuts its gates – is closing. The theme park has closed only four times since 1971.

Winds and Flooding

“The extreme winds of a major hurricane can do a lot of damage and not just at the coast,” Knabb said. “Those winds can penetrate inland and that would be more so the case the closer it gets to the coast. In addition to the wind, you have storm surge potential.”

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A storm surge of 7-11 feet is also expected.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley ordered residents to clear out of Charleston and Beaufort Counties by 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The Associated Press reported that Interstate 26 was partially blocked by traffic congestion.

“It’s not going to be a fast evacuation,” Haley said. “If you can leave early, do that; the goal is to not leave all at once.”

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

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Judge Rules Town Can Ban Vegetable Gardens Because They’re Ugly

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BREAKING: Judge Rules Town Can Ban Vegetable Gardens Because They’re Ugly

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MIAMI – In a blow to freedom and property rights, a Florida judge has ruled that residents of Miami Shores do not have a fundamental right to grow vegetables in their front yard, even if they don’t have a backyard or their backyard is deficient for growing plants.

Miami Shores officials say the ordinance benefits neighborhood aesthetics.

The ruling by Circuit Court Judge Monica Gordo is a blow to the well-publicized case of Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, a married couple who say their backyard is too shady to grow a garden.

The couple grew vegetables in the front yard for 17 years for health and financial reasons until the Miami Shores village government passed an ordinance banning front yard vegetable growing. Ricketts and Carroll were facing a $50-a-day fine.

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“This Court is not convinced that the prohibition of front-yard vegetable gardens impairs any fundamental right” Gordo wrote in her Aug. 25 opinion. “… The Court finds that the prohibition of vegetable gardens except in back yards is rationally related to Miami Shores’ legitimate interest in promoting and maintaining aesthetics.”

She added that “protecting aesthetics is a legitimate government purpose.”

Story continues below video

The couple was represented by the Institute for Justice, which offered experts who argued that vegetables “do not have an intrinsically good or bad visual quality” and “are not aesthetically degrading,” but Gordo wrote that the city’s law was a “value judgement” that she would not second guess.

The Institute for Justice said it will appeal the ruling.

“Today’s ruling affects every homeowner in Miami Shores who wants to grow a garden in their front yard,” said Institute for Justice attorney Ari Bargil. “The court agreed that Miami Shores never explained how banning front-yard vegetable gardens promotes its claimed interest in ‘aesthetics,’ but the court nevertheless ruled that the village has the power to ban these gardens anyway.”

Their garden was known as one of the more attractive ones in the area.

“I am disappointed by today’s ruling,” Ricketts said. “My garden not only provided us with food, but it was also beautiful and added character to the community. I look forward to continuing this fight and ultimately winning so I can once again use my property productively instead of being forced to have a useless lawn.”

Bargil noted that if Ricketts and Carroll wanted to “grow fruit or flowers or display pink flamingos,” the town would have been fine with it.

“They should be equally free to grow food for their own consumption, which they did for 17 years before the village forced them to uproot the very source of their sustenance,” he added.

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

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Rancher Shoots Alligator That Threatened His Horses – And Gets Arrested

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Rancher Shoots Alligator That Threatened His Horses – And Gets Arrested

A Florida man was arrested for shooting an aggressive alligator, on his own property, that threatened not only his horses but also his stepson.

Reginald Blanton, 74, could face up to five years in jail for shooting an alligator that eventually died.

Using a 9mm handgun, Blanton took four shots at the alligator when he saw it near his horses on his property in Bushnell, Florida, WFLA reported. He said they were acting strange.

“I took my gun with me … because I didn’t know what was out there,” Blanton said.

Discover The ONLY Way Back To True Freedom And Liberty In America…

Three of the shots hit the alligator. Blanton’s stepson, Jack Hildreth, 58, then went over to the gator, which attacked him.

“Whenever [the alligator] raised up after my stepson, it looked like he was shot out of a cannon,” Blanton said of the reptile. “I had never seen nothing like it.”

The animal, which was still very much alive, bit Hildreth’s leg and gave him a severe wound.

“It was a burst of lighting-like,” Hildreth said. “It was just a surprise. … His mouth is the only part that got me and he got the back of my calf, too.”

Fortunately, someone on the scene pulled Hildreth to safety. He was then taken to a hospital.

What happened next was nearly as shocking as the alligator attack. Sumter County Sheriff’s Deputies charged Blanton with illegal killing an alligator — a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison in the state of Florida.

Friends and family were shocked by the arrest, WFLA reported. Blanton’s family now has to pay for medical expenses for Hildreth, and bail and an attorney for Reginald.

“If I had just left him alone, he would have had my horses.”

It is illegal to kill alligators in Florida unless you have a license. Gator hunting season started on August 15 and lasts until November 1.

The state of Florida raised around $1.63 million by selling 6,000 alligator hunting licenses for the 2016 season, WFLA reported. Florida now has an alligator population of 1.3 million. Alligators were originally an endangered species but the population is now stable.

There have been several high-profile alligator attacks in Florida recently, including that of a two-year-old boy who was killed near a Disney World hotel in Orlando.

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

BREAKING: Zika Spreads To 14 In Florida; CDC Issues Travel Warning

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BREAKING: Zika Spreads To 14 In Florida; CDC Issues Travel Warning

MIAMI, Florida – The Zika virus is spreading so rapidly in one Miami neighborhood that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant women not to travel to the area.

Zika, spread by mosquitoes, can cause serious birth defects in babies and also lead, in adults, to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which can cause paralysis and even death.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said Monday that an additional 10 people in the area had caught it, bringing the total number to 14. Twelve of them are men. It was just last week that the CDC confirmed the first case in America that was caught in the U.S. – that is, not transmitted in another country.

The Florida Department of Health is conducting door-to-door interviews in the community – called Wynwood – and “gathering samples for testing to determine the number of people affected.”

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The CDC released a statement Monday urging pregnant women not to travel to the area. The CDC also said:

  • “Pregnant women and their partners living in or traveling to this area should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.”
  • “Women and men who live in or traveled to this area and who have a pregnant sex partner should use condoms or other barriers to prevent infection every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.”
  • “All pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.”
  • “Pregnant women who live in or frequently travel to this area should be tested in the first and second trimester of pregnancy.”
  • “Pregnant women with possible Zika exposure and signs or symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.”
  • “Pregnant women who traveled to or had unprotected sex with a partner that traveled to or lives in this area should talk to their healthcare provider and should be tested for Zika.”

Further, the CDC said that women who have travelled to the area should wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant.

What do you think? Is Zika’s wider spread inevitable? Share your thoughts below:

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First Locally Transmitted Zika Cases Confirmed in the U.S.

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mosquitoFor most of the past year, the mosquito borne Zika virus has been in the news quite a bit, and for good reason. Though it’s not the sort of threat that will end civilization as we know it, Zika can make you really sick, and it can cause birth defects in pregnant women. But more importantly, the virus has a real knack for spreading to human populations that were once considered unlikely hosts.

Originally, Zika mainly preyed on monkeys in Africa and Asia, and it rarely made the leap to humans. But since 2007 the virus has managed to spread across several Pacific islands, and has thoroughly riddled Latin America. It’s estimated that as many as 1.5 million people have been infected in Brazil alone, leading to thousands of cases of babies born with microcephaly.

And over the past few months we’ve been seeing Zika pop up in the United States. For the most part, these cases consisted of people who had been infected in other countries before returning to the US. Unfortunately, that’s all about change.

An outbreak of the Zika virus has been confirmed in Florida, marking the first time the virus has been found to be transmitted via infected mosquitoes within the continental U.S.

The outbreak has infected at least four people, three men and one woman, through local transmission, Florida officials said today.

“This means Florida has become the first state in our nation to have local transmission of the Zika virus,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said today.

Scott said a small area in northern Miami that is about a square mile in size is the only area where the Zika virus is being transmitted from mosquitoes to people.

“We’re being very aggressive at testing people there we are testing the mosquitoes there and we spraying to make sure it’s contained,” Scott said. He said health officials do not think that the transmission was ongoing.

Now that mosquitoes are carrying the Zika virus in the United States, all bets are off. The government thinks that it can contain Zika with aggressive mosquito control programs, and they may very well succeed if they quickly implement those measures. If they don’t however, then the possibility of becoming infected with the virus may turn into a normal fact of life in America.

That’s because the mosquito that typically carries Zika, the Aedes aegypti, can be found all over the United States. The highest concentrations of this bug are in the deep South, but they can also be found in much of the East Coast and in California. If Zika isn’t contained in Florida, then some of these regions may face the same levels of infection that we’re seeing in Brazil.

Unfortunately, once a virus like this finds a foothold in the environment, it’s pretty much impossible to completely remove it. Even if we did eliminate it, we would still have people carrying the virus, and unwittingly transporting it across borders. It will just keep coming back.

We’re looking at a situation where the authorities will probably be able to contain the virus in small pockets of the South, but will never be rid of it. If say there is an economic collapse of some kind, and the mosquito control programs lose their budget, then Zika is going explode and show up in thousands of communities. In other words, we’re going to be living with the impending threat of a Zika epidemic for a very long time.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

‘No Fundamental Right’ To Grow A Garden, Attorney Tells Judge In Major Case

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‘No Fundamental Right’ To Grow A Garden, Attorney Tells Judge In Major Case

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A closely watched court case concerning front-yard gardens in Miami Shores, Florida, has finally received a court hearing, and the city’s attorney showed no signs of backing down.

Circuit Judge Monica Gordo heard a challenge June 8 to the Miami Shores ordinance that allows fruit trees and plastic flamingos in front yards but bans vegetables.

“There certainly is no fundamental right to grow vegetables in your front yard,” Miami Shores attorney Richard Sarafan told the judge. “Aesthetics and uniformity are legitimate government purposes. Not every property can lawfully be used for every purpose.”

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The attorney for the couple at the heart of the case disagreed.

“We’re not saying you can do anything you want on your property,” attorney Ari Bargil of the Institute for Justice told Gordo, according to the Miami Herald. “We are simply saying you can grow vegetables on your property and that is protected by the Constitution.”

(Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s interview with Bargil here.)

Bargil is representing property owners and married couple Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll, who – as Off The Grid News reported – were ordered by the city to tear out their vegetable garden.

The couple grew vegetables in the front yard for 17 years until the Miami Shores village government passed an ordinance banning front yard vegetable growing. Ricketts and Carroll were facing a $50-a-day fine.

“There is no vegetable ban in Miami Shores,” Sarafan said. “It’s a farce, a ruse.”

Story continues below video

Miami Shores’ residents are free to grow vegetables as long as they stay in the backyard, Sarafan told Gordo. But Ricketts and Carroll contend that their back yard does not get enough sunlight to grow a garden, and that their front yard is the only option.

The case is significant because it could establish a legal precedent that property owners have the right to grow vegetables.

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The Institute contends that the village violated the Florida state Constitution’s privacy clause, which bans arbitrary government interference in private activities.

The issue is important because several local governments across the country have tried to ban front-yard vegetable gardens, Institute for Justice Communications Coordinator Matt Powers noted.

The most outrageous case occurred in Oak Park, Michigan, where city officials threatened to jail Julie Bass for planting vegetables in her front yard in 2011.

“These incidents demonstrate a disconcerting trend in local governance, as city councilmembers are increasingly seeking to regulate even the most harmless uses of property,” Powers wrote at the Institute’s website.

Gordo will make a ruling in the case sometime in the next few weeks, The Miami Herald reported.

“Come by when we win the case,” Carroll told reporters after the hearing, “eggplants on us.”

That meal might be years away if the legal battle drags on.

Should cities be able to ban front-yard gardens? Tell us in the section below:

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Florida on alert for possible Tropical Storm Colin, flooding downpours

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By AccuWeather

As Bonnie continues to shift away from the Eastern Seaboard, there are signs of possible tropical development in the Caribbean.

A disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms is currently showing signs of development in the central Caribbean Sea, and regardless of whether it will be able to strengthen into a tropical storm, it will bring flooding downpours and rough seas to Florida early next week.

This disturbance will be picked up by steering winds which will guide the feature northeastward near the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico as the weekend comes to an close.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Florida on alert for possible Tropical Storm Colin, flooding downpours

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The Right To Garden Is On Trial In Crazy-But-True Court Case

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The Right To Garden Is On Trial In Crazy-But-True Court Case

Image source: Pixabay.com

A judge will hear a case this month to determine if a Florida couple can grow vegetables in their own yard.

Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll are the couple who had to rip out a garden they had grown for 17 years because of a zoning ordinance, as Off The Grid News previously reported.

On May 26 a Florida state judge will hear arguments and begin determining if the Village of Miami Shores violated the couple’s rights in 2013 by changing zoning ordinances to ban front-yard vegetable gardens. Shortly after the ban, code enforcement officers gave the couple a choice of pulling their vegetables or paying a $50-a-day fine.

Get The Best Deals On Non-GMO Seeds For Your Garden Right Here!

The garden was ordered removed for aesthetic reasons, even though neighbors and passersby would often complement the married couple on the garden’s beauty, The Institute for Justice reported. The Institute’s attorneys are representing Ricketts and Carroll in a lawsuit against the village.

Garden Ban Violated State Constitution

The Institute is contending that Miami Shores violated the Florida Constitution’s basic rights clause, which grants property rights to all the state’s residents.

“Any such collection of rights naturally includes the right to use property to provide for the basic necessities of life,” the Institute said in a news release. “Indeed, the right to procure and consume nutritious food has been considered part and parcel of the celebrated American ‘right to pursue one’s happiness.’”

Attorneys also contend that the village violated the Florida State Constitution’s privacy clause, which bans arbitrary government interference in private activities.

“The fact is, Miami Shores is not rejecting the physical appearance of Hermine and Tom’s garden at all,” the press release said. “Rather, it is misusing its regulatory power to prohibit a certain lifestyle, one in which responsible property owners put their property to productive use — in a way that harms no one — in order to become independent and self-sufficient. It is utterly irrational that Hermine and Tom could have flowers, fruit or flamingos in their front yard, but not vegetables.”

If the judge rules in the couple’s favor it would be a major victory for all Floridians who want to garden. Other cities, including Orlando, have tried to ban front yard gardens.

“Simply put, government has no legitimate interest in preventing people from seeing vegetables,” the press release said.

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

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BREAKING: Judge Orders All-Natural Milk To Be Labeled ‘Imitation’; Thousands Of Gallons Dumped

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Judge Orders All-Natural Milk To Be Labeled ‘Imitation'; Thousands Of Gallons Dumped

Image source: Institute for Justice

 

All-natural skim milk cannot be labeled “skim milk” under Florida law, a federal judge has ruled.

US District Judge Robert L. Hinkle sided with the state of Florida’s contention that milk can only be called skim milk if it is injected with artificial Vitamin A – that is, making it nutritionally similar to whole milk sold on store shelves.

At the heart of the controversy is Ocheesee Creamery, which has an all-natural philosophy and says that injecting the vitamin would make its skim milk anything but all-natural. But the state – and now the judge – say the skim milk otherwise must be labeled “imitation.”

The creamery previously labeled its product “pasteurized skim milk.”

“I just want to tell the truth,” said Mary Lou Wesselhoeft of Ocheesee Creamery. “Our skim milk was pure skim milk, and nobody was ever confused when we called it skim milk. I refuse to lie to my customers, so I have stopped selling skim milk until I am allowed to tell the truth again.”

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The creamery sells cream, skimmed from whole milk, to families and coffee shops – and skim milk is the byproduct. The creamery currently dumps about 400 gallons of skim milk each day because it refuses to label its product “imitation.”

Wesselhoeft and her attorneys contend that the state is violating her First Amendment rights by forcing her to label it something she says it is not. The creamery is being represented by the non-profit law firm, Institute for Justice.

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Hinkle, in his opinion, acknowledged that the creamer’s skim milk meets the dictionary definition of skim milk, but he said he was concerned that a ruling in favor of the creamery would enable a challenge to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and similar state laws upon which the food labeling system is based.

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“The assertion, if sustained, would initiate a frontal assault on the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its state counterparts, whose validity was established long ago,” Hinkle wrote.

The judge noted that most of the skim milk sold in stores has had vitamins added to comply with laws.

State officials applauded the decision.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling, as this case has always been about ensuring consumers know the nutritional value of the products that they are buying and feeding to their families,” Florida Department of Agriculture Spokesperson Jenn Meale told the media.

The creamery’s attorney, Justin Pearson of the Institute for Justice, told WCTV that he intends to appeal the case to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals. It could take months for that court to rule on the case. Pearson previously had said that “ordering businesses to confuse their customers is nothing more than flat-out censorship.”

The creamery will continue to sell other natural dairy products, including whole milk, cheese and butter. It simply will not be able to sell skim milk — and will now waste thousands of gallons of milk thanks to state regulators.

Who is right – the creamery or the state? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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LIVE: Severe storm outbreak spawns deadly tornadoes in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi

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Survival World News

By Mark Leberfinger – AccuWeather

A significant severe weather outbreak will continue through Wednesday across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.

Three people were killed as a result of the storms on Tuesday, including two at a Louisiana mobile home park that was torn apart by a tornado. More than two dozen tornadoes were reported on Tuesday.

Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, will face the risk of tornadoes early in the day. By the afternoon, the storms could spawn tornadoes as far north as Richmond, Virginia.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: LIVE: Severe storm outbreak spawns deadly tornadoes in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi

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LIVE: Dozens of crashes reported on icy roads in Pennsylvania, New York

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Survival World News

By Mark Leberfinger AccuWeather

Snow and rain will continue to create hazardous travel across the northeastern U.S. on Tuesday.

Snow will turn to a wintry mix in central Pennsylvania and central New York where icy roads caused multiple accidents early Tuesday morning. Tens of thousands are without power in North Carolina after ice downed trees and power lines.

As rain continues to fall throughout the day, urban flooding may occur from Washington, D.C., to Boston, AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Zapolski said. Any standing water could freeze up on roadways as temperatures drop back to near freezing into Tuesday night.

As the Northeast continues to deal with ice and slipper travel, severe storms blasted parts of the south Tuesday morning. Possible tornadoes were reported in Florida and North Carolina.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: LIVE: Dozens of crashes reported on icy roads in Pennsylvania, New York

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Sheriff Warns: Arm Yourself, Because We Can’t Protect You

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Sheriff Warns: Arm Yourself, Because Things Are Changing In America

Image source: WFTV

Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff Wayne Ivey has a surprising response to the threat of terrorism and mass shootings. The veteran law enforcement officer thinks that Americans should arm themselves to protect their communities.

“It is a known fact that the best law enforcement agencies in the country have response times in minutes, yet violent criminals can take our lives in seconds,” Ivey said in a video posted on the sheriff’s office Facebook page. “Law enforcement officers in San Bernardino arrived on scene approximately four minutes after the incident was first reported. Even with that incredible response time, they arrived too late, to find too many dead or critically wounded.

Ivey added, “If you’re a person who is legally licensed to carry a firearm, now is the time more than ever to realize that you and you alone may only be the first line of defense for you, your family and others around you in a terrorist or active shooter-based scenario.”

“This is much deeper about being able to defend an attack by armed and evil people until the cavalry can arrive,” Ivey said. “Evil people look to take advantage of weakness, but one good person at the right place and time will make the difference.”

Sheriff Ivey’s Warnings

If a mass shooting can take place in places as diverse as South Carolina and California, it can happen anywhere, Ivey said.

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“Now, more than ever before” he said, “is the time for law enforcement and our citizens to be fully prepared for an attack or an active shooter scenario with the right tools to eliminate or disrupt the attack. It is time to stop reacting — and instead — proactively engage anyone who threatens harm through terrorism or mass killings.”

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Ivey was not encouraging vigilantism; instead, he made a number of important points he said citizens should pay attention to, including:

  • Everyone needs to know what to do in such a situation.
  • Citizens with concealed carry permits should be ready to defend themselves and others.
  • People with concealed carry permits should take a self-defense tactical shooting course. Ivey’s office is offering such a course.
  • Persons who do not want to carry guns should be prepared to hide, run and fight back if necessary.

Ivey has been a law enforcement officer for more than three decades and is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy. Before his election as Brevard County sheriff, Ivey served as a resident agent in charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Brevard County is the region around Melbourne, Florida, south of Cape Canaveral. At least one other Florida law enforcement leader, Sheriff William D. Snyder of Martin County, agrees with Ivey.

“If a person legally can carry a firearm and carry it concealed and be out in public, I would say they would be in a lot safer position if there was a terrorist attack,” Snyder told WPTV.

Can the New Terrorist Strategy Be Stopped?

Meanwhile, Baylor University professor Philip Jenkins wrote in the American Conservative that groups like ISIS are using lone wolf terrorist tactics – tactics that are difficult to stop.

Jenkins noted that in the 1980s the neo-Nazi movement in the United States collapsed because it had been penetrated by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. In response, some leaders promulgated a theory of leaderless resistance, which encouraged their followers to simply go out and carry out attacks on their own.

Terrorist websites and publications like the ISIS magazine Dabiq are now promoting similar tactics, Jenkins noted.

“What that means is that virtually none of the counter-terror tactics currently deployed by U.S. agencies have the slightest relevance to detecting or preventing future attacks,” Jenkins wrote. “You can’t track leaders because there aren’t any, you can’t infiltrate the group or turn participants, and all the propaganda and terror methods needed are on the Internet.”

Even if 99 percent of American Muslims reject ISIS doctrine, that still leaves 30,000 potential Islamic militants in the United States, Jenkins said.

Do you believe more Americans should arm themselves? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Thousands Of Syrian Refugees Being Resettled By Obama Could End Up In 48 Out Of 50 U.S. States

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The United States Of America At Night

By Michael Snyder – End Of The American Dream

Despite everything that just happened in France, on Sunday the Obama administration made it clear that it still plans to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in communities all over the United States within the next year.  Thanks to Obama, the U.S. has already been absorbing thousands of refugees from the Middle East each year, and as you will see below, just last week administration officials expressed a desire to “increase and accelerate” that process.  So far, the list of states that have received the most refugees includes Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.  But by the time it is all said and done, it is likely that Syrian refugees will end up in virtually every major city in the United States.  The U.S. State Department has established “refugee processing centers” in 48 different states, and you can view the entire list right here.  Considering what just took place in Paris, is this really a good idea?

In recent months, the massive influx of refugees into Europe has created a complete and utter nightmare.  Large numbers of refugees have gotten “lost”, violent crime is out of control in many of the areas where these refugees have been resettled, and nations that were once extremely peaceful such as Norway and Sweden are now dealing with an epidemic of rape.  For much, much more on the horror that Europe is now facing, please check out this excellent video.

And of course you have probably heard by now that at least one of the terrorists that carried out the attacks in Paris came into Europe “as a Syrian migrant”

One of the bombers who carried out the Paris terrorist attacks entered Europe as a Syrian migrant, according to foreign officials.

French authorities matched the remains of one of the suicide bombers from the Friday attacks to a Syrian passport that was used to apply for asylum in Europe, says Greek minister for citizen protection Nikos Toskas.

But even though ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks in France, Barack Obama doesn’t seem very alarmed.  And it was just last week that Obama stated that ISIS had been “contained”.  The following comes from the Hill

Continue reading at End Of The American Dream: Thousands Of Syrian Refugees Being Resettled By Obama Could End Up In 48 Out Of 50 U.S. States

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