Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Major has a reprieve!!! !!! !!! !!!

Major's back! Really he is!

We had, as you can imagine, a most depressing day. I tried doing schoolwork with the girls, but when Younger Daughter broke down during math, I knew it was useless. Instead we all busied ourselves with unnecessary and trivial tasks, trying not to look at the clock. Major's vet appointment was at 2 pm.

So with sorrow we said goodbye to our old friend and I helped Don load Major into the car. Then the girls and I spent another hour busying ourselves with unnecessary and trivial tasks, trying not to think about what was happening.

But then Don called us from the vet's office and said Major is alive! The vet looked at that horrible lump on his head and determined it was a serious but treatable infection. The girls and I burst into tears. Suddenly we all felt fifty pounds lighter and set about tidying the house with gladsome hearts, laughing, giddy with relief.

It seems that an infection somehow got under the muscle on his forehead and was wreaking havoc. Frankly it was a near thing, the vet said. How he got the infection isn't known; it may have actually entered through his eye.

So now Major's home and Lydia is happy! He's still a bit dazed and probably quite uncomfortable. He's facing two weeks of antibiotics, warm compresses twice a day, and a diet. But he's home!

I can't thank you enough for all your kind thoughts and prayers. I'm just so durned happy they weren't needed!

Major is still a senior citizen and we don't know how much longer we'll have him, but it sure is nice to put off the inevitable for the time being.

Welcome back, Major!

Adieu Major

It's been a sad week for us. Today we will be having our old black lab/hound mix, Major, put to sleep.

Major came into our lives almost seven years ago as a pound rescue. We were told he was about two years old, though of course no one knew his actual age. As the years went by it became apparent he was well over two, probably more like six years old when we first got him... so he's quite the senior citizen.

In the last year, he's declined in mobility, but he was always a dog who enjoyed his creature comforts. Early on in our ownership of him, we couldn't keep him off the couch; so we covered it with a sheet and it became "Major's couch." His couch is in the same room as the woodstove, which is a good thing because if there's one thing this dog loves, especially in the winter, it's heat. Sometimes he would literally wrap himself around the stove and sigh contentedly.

When we got Lydia, Major was top dog at first... but with Lydia's dominant personality, he got demoted to second lieutenant. But that was okay. As long as he had his couch and his woodstove, he was a happy canine. And in the yard, the dogs were great friends and often played together.

Last week we noticed he had a rock-hard lump on his forehead, and we've never seen anything grow so quickly. I don't even want to take a picture because I don't want to remember him like that. The lump is compressing one eye, and it appears to be affecting both his sight and his hearing. Thankfully he doesn't appear to be in any pain, though he's obviously in some discomfort... and the skin is beginning to split.

This all happened so fast that none of us have really had a chance to mentally adjust and accept it. Yet all it takes is one look at that lump to know we're doing the right thing in ending his suffering. Whatever that lump is, we're not going to commit with Major the grievous error we've done with previous dogs, which is to let them go too long because we can't bear to part with them.

A few hours after this blog post goes up, Don will take Major in to the vet and have him mercifully and gently put to sleep.

It's hard to lose a pet. Goodbye, Major. Thank you for many happy years.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Welcome to Ready Made Resources!

I’m honored to welcome our newest advertiser: Ready Made Resources. The reason I’m so honored is because Ready Made Resources is one of the oldest and most reputable resources around for prepper items. (I can’t help but feel this blog has “arrived” with the addition of Ready Made to its advertising list, LOL.)

What I like about Ready Made Resources is they walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Their store front is on a 25-acre off-grid homestead, powered by wind and solar. How cool is that? I’m jealous!

You may remember the article I recently had in Backwoods Home Magazine on the Seven Core Areas of Preparedness (food, water, heat, light, medical, sanitation, and protection). The good news is, Ready Made Resources can help you get and stay prepared with everyone of those areas. It's a one-stop shop for preparedness.

As a special starting March 1st and ending March 15rh, Ready Made Resources is having a case sale on Mountain House freeze-dried foods (25% discount on their regular price as well as free shipping). Older Daughter recently went on a camping trip with her Venture Scouts crew, and she had a Mountain House freeze-dried meal and reported it was delicious. Not a bad thing to stock up on, especially in light of the post I just put up about our national debt.

So please head on over to the Ready Made Resources store and check out their inventory of excellent preparedness goods -- and tell them you came from Rural Revolution! I can’t imagine an advertiser I’m prouder to welcome than Ready Made Resources.

A picture is worth trillions of words

A reader sent this. For those who believe the soothing assurances that our economy is just peachy, perhaps they should view these schematics. It puts things in perspective.

A $100 bill.

Ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Approximately one year of work for the average human on the earth.

A million dollars ($1,000,000). 92 years' worth of work for the average person on earth. Not a very big pile.

One hundred million dollars ($100,000,000). Fits nicely on an ISO/Military standard sized pallet.

One billion dollars ($1,000,000,000).

One trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000). When the U.S government speaks about a $1.7 trillion deficit -- this is the volumes of cash the U.S. Government borrowed in 2010 to run itself. Keep in mind it is double stacked pallets of $100 million dollars each, full of $100 dollar bills.

Comparison of $1,000,000,000,000 dollars to a standard-sized American football field and European football field. Say hello to the Boeing 747-400 transcontinental airliner that's hiding on the right. This was until recently the biggest passenger plane in the world.

Fifteen trillion dollars ($15,000,000,000,000) -- The U.S. national debt (credit bill) has just topped the $15 trillion two months before Christmas 2011. Miss Liberty seems rather worried as United States national debt passes 20% of the entire world's combined GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In 2011 the national debt will exceed 100% of GDP, and venture into the 100%+ debt-to-GDP ratio that the European PIIGS have (bankrupting nations).

$114.5 trillion dollars ($114,500,000,000,000) -- U.S. unfunded liabilities. To the right you can see the pillar of cold hard $100 bills that dwarfs the WTC & Empire State Building -- both at one point world's tallest buildings. If you look carefully you can see the Statue of Liberty. The 114.5 Trillion dollar super-skyscraper is the amount of money the U.S. Government knows it does not have to fully fund the Medicare, Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Social Security, Military and civil servant pensions. The unfunded liability is calculated on current tax and funding inputs, and future demographic shifts in US Population. (Note: On the image below, the size of the base of the money pile is half a trillion, not $1T as on 15T image above. The height is double. This was done to reflect the base of Empire State and WTC more closely.)

[Incidentally this picture was so tall I couldn't "screen capture" it on my computer, so I had to capture it in three parts and paste them together, hence the blue lines.]


If anyone were to ask my husband and me why we prepare, this encapsulates it in a nutshell. Quite honestly, I don't know how we can avoid an economic collapse in this country... as these pictures illustrate.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Random pix

I haven't been taking as many "random pix" as I normally do because my camera has so much dust behind the lens that there are black blotches over all the resulting photos. I took it into a camera repair shop and was quoted $99 for cleaning (since essentially the entire camera would have to be disassembled and re-assembled), so I may as well get a new camera. However that's not on our immediate horizon, so please forgive the blotches, since at least the camera can still record our daily lives.

Anyway, here are some random pix from the last few weeks.

This is what our barn looked like last August, stacked full with hay.

This is what it looked like a couple weeks ago. It looks severely depleted, doesn't it? (At least from a let's-hope-we-have-enough-hay-to-last-us-all-winter perspective.)

Fortunately from a front view, there's more hay than it seems. Still, I don't know if we'll have enough to last through spring. We'll probably end up having to buy two or three tons.

One evening after the sun went down, we had an odd little kickback of color on a single bit of mist.

The house, lit with candles and oil lamps, a few minutes before our neighbors arrived for our weekly potluck (we alternate houses -- it was our turn to host).

Here's Younger Daughter's fiddle teacher, jamming with one of his sons and two of his students. Music constantly fills this house.

An interesting bumper sticker.

One of our Aracauna hens, perched on Polly's pen door.

A pretty sunrise.

My mother, who sews beautifully, made a cloak for Younger Daughter. It arrived in the mail last week. It's so so warm! And she loves it!


For her 16th birthday, some friends gave Older Daughter a Kindle. Don also had a Kindle, but he dropped it and the screen broke. (An advantage of books over electronic media, right?) Anyway one day Older Daughter was reading in front of the woodstove and Major, our old lab/hound mix, was lying next to her. Don had the idea to put the broken Kindle in front of Major.

Making sugar cookies...

...with the help of my faithful companion.

Speaking of faithful companions...

Bringing in some leftover lasagna from our "outdoor refrigerator."

Local gas prices as of Feb 23. I'm going to start documenting them again because every indication is they're going up, up, up. I know some parts of the country already have $5 gas.

A chilly misty morning.

Lydia says, let's play!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Definition of a blizzard

At what point is a storm defined as a blizzard? Does anyone know?

I hesitate to use the term because the storm we're experiencing today is doubtless nothing next to the whomping folks regularly get in the midwest.

Nonetheless, it's ugly out today. Winds are gusting upwards of 50 mph, snow scudding, drifting behind stationary objects but otherwise scouring the ground almost bare in spots.

The windows are getting coated.

Paper snowflakes against the real thing.

I fed the livestock in the corral, which is better protected from the wind than the feedboxes.

Jet and her baby took over Matilda's pen.

Brit took over another pen.

The rest were toughing it out outside.

This photo is inside the barn door -- where snow has blown through cracks.

Younger Daughter had her friend Miss Calamity spend the night, but I ended up running her home much earlier in the morning than anticipated before the storm got worse.

Here's Miss Calamity's little brother's bicycle.

Older Daughter drew a cartoon on our front door.

It's a good day for baking. Biscuits for breakfast...

...and chocolate Rice Krispies for a treat.

It's also a good day to stay huddled by the woodstove, reading.