Nord Stream pipeline leaks whodunit

Here’s a link to a CNBC report on the Nord Stream pipelines: Russian pipeline leaks spark climate fears as huge volumes of methane spew into the atmosphere

Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal article about NATO formally blaming sabotage for the leaks: NATO Formally Blames Sabotage for Nord Stream Pipeline Damage

Here’s a Reuters piece: Putin accuses West of blowing up pipelines as Europe steps up vigilance

Here’s a Washington Examiner piece: Russian ships observed near area of explosions that caused Nord Stream pipeline leaks: Report

Tucker Carlson, the most watched primetime FOX pundit was quick to blame the US for the Nord Stream pipeline leak. He has been against the US and Europeans aiding Ukraine all along. Among right-wing media, this buzz gained traction with the line “Why would the Russians blow up their own pipeline when they could just shut off the gas? This seems like a stupid argument to me. Somehow, these right-wing hot takes that “only this argument makes sense” with no real information seems to be the default right-wing media ecosystem these days.

John Brennan, the former Obama CIA director, rushed to blame Putin.

Here’s the thing, I have no way of knowing for sure, but I will say the argument Tucker Carlson made, rushing to point the finger at the US seems reckless and designed to foment more divides in America and was intended to turn Americans on the right against the US government and against aiding Ukraine. To state that the US or Europeans sabotaging that pipeline is the only possible explanation, with no real evidence, is as reckless as Brennan rushing to blame Putin.

Russia is currently not shipping more gas via that pipeline, but Russia knew there was still gas in that pipeline that will now not be delivered to Europe with winter approaching, is my understanding at this point. I could be wrong. And at the same time Russia was trying to annex parts of Ukraine this week. Russia is not above trying to fuel divides in America over support for Ukraine and certainly not above staging elaborate false flag operations. Russia also is not against sending stronger messages to US and European leaders, that Russia will not hesitate to escalate the economic war.

The gas that was still in the pipeline should be gone by Sunday according to the Reuters article: “Gas will continue to pour out of Nord Stream 1 until Sunday, the Danish energy agency said on Friday, though the leak on Nord Stream 2 is expected to cease on Saturday.” Russia had already shut off the gas – that’s the key part and a short-lived leak, that sent a strong message to the Europeans that Russia won’t be sending more gas, while at the same time blaming the US and the West for the leaks doesn’t seem beyond Putin to me.

I distrust the Biden administration and I certainly distrust John Brennan, but at the same time, Putin has shown himself to be ruthless and there’s a long, long history of Russian false flag operations against the West.

At this point, I’m just waiting to see what happens next.

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A good video to spark prepping ideas

I really like this type of shopping video the Sensible Prepper YouTube prepper channel does. This one was at Home Depot, but they’ve done other ones, like at Harbor Freight. You can get all sorts of ideas for prepping supplies watching these videos.

While big box stores are great to find all sorts of surprising and useful things, in this video, the host, Sootch, explains that sometimes in an emergency situation your only option might be a gas station.

When big storms, like a hurricane or major snow storm form, usually the weather forecasters begin warning of these storms days in advance. The best thing to do is to begin looking through your supplies quickly, but it’s human nature to procrastinate. The longer you wait, the harder it will become to find supplies, especially at the big box stores.

I looked over my supplies as soon as this storm started gaining strength in the Caribbean, but each day I decided I wanted more of certain items. Yesterday morning I decided I wanted to buy some fresh vegetables for salad to go with the lasagna I was making, so I ventured to my little Walmart Neighborhood Market. I knew it would be packed because of Hurricane Ian heading our way. I had no problem finding the things I wanted, because fresh veggies aren’t in big demand as a hurricane supply, but other things like bottled water were wiped out. Many of the shoppers yesterday morning were just beginning their preparations for this storm and many people, especially in the Biden economy, are having a hard time making their money stretch between paydays. They can’t afford a lot of extra supplies. My local Walmart closed at noon yesterday and won’t reopen until Saturday morning.

A couple days ago, I decided I wanted more D batteries, even though the only thing I need D batteries for is my magnifying floor lamp that I use for needlework and reading. That lamp has a cord, but can also run on D batteries. I could find some batteries at my local big box stores, but no D batteries. I decided to stop at a Dollar General and they had lots of D batteries. The same goes for flashlights. In my small town Lowes and Walmart are the main places people go for things like flashlights. I ran into Ace Hardware, which isn’t the hot shopping spot here and they still had an assortment of flashlights. I bought two cheap $5 Eveready flashlights, that came with a battery in them, in case a neighbor might need a flashlight.

I find all sorts of useful things at smaller stores, thrift stores and around where I live it’s easy to find military supplies, even at yard sales. I look around my garage for military-type supplies. One small thing my late husband carried on his key ring was a P-38 can opener. It takes some practice learning how to use a P-38. If you’re left-handed, like me, it’s a bit challenging, but a P-38 is a really useful thing to add to your key ring.

I found these little band-aid packs at Dollar Tree a while back. Although they only have 15 items, that includes 2 alcohol pads and 3 sterile sponge bandages, plus an assortment of band-aids and they come in a sturdy ziploc package. It’s easy to carry in my purse. Little things like this can be good stocking stuffer gifts for the non-preppers in your family, to nudge them toward a preparedness mind-set.

In the video above Sootch mentioned ponchos like this. I found these at Dollar Tree earlier this year and because they’re small and don’t take much room, I stuck two in the glove compartment of my car. I keep a couple umbrellas in my car, but It’s kind of hard to hold an umbrella and handle any sort of car emergency in the rain. My grandmother carted everything, but the kitchen sink, in the trunk of her car, but she always had a jacket or coat inside her car and a stadium blanket. A fleece throw or blanket is a good thing to keep in your car.

One final cheap, but useful item to have for holding things together, even loose cords or something like tent stakes is nylon hair scrunchies. They’re very stretchy and have all sorts of uses, besides holding hair together in a ponytail. Plus they’re way more durable than most rubber bands and easier to put on and take off than zip ties.

Many small, inexpensive items can not only be useful survival gear, they can keep you more comfortable during emergencies. Being hungry, thirsty, wet, too hot or too cold can be life-threatening situations. Since most of us don’t hesitate to buy snacks or other luxury items we want, we should also not hesitate about buying some basic emergency supplies too.

I’m adding a photo of the $5 Eveready flashlight I found at Ace Hardware. It takes one D battery, which comes with the flashlight:

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Storm clouds all around

This post is about a few hurricane thoughts. My area is under a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch, but we’re not expected to get anything nearly as severe as what Florida suffered yesterday. I had the basic supplies, pulled out flashlights and lanterns to check batteries a few days ago, bought a couple more cases of bottled water and a few other things. Like just about everyone else, I’m following the weather reports and local advisories closely.

I’m also getting ready to make two pans of lasagna, one to take to a neighbor and from the other pan I’m going to deliver some to an elderly friend this afternoon. I’ve got salad stuff too and garlic bread. That seems a better use of my time than staying glued to the media hurricane hysteria. While getting weather updates is important, staying glued to “crisis” news is not good for your mental health.

I see a lot of people online overreact to every media crisis spin cycle. The FL hurricane will draw massive ratings, so even liberal media switched to that, despite not wanting to give FL governor, Ron DeSantis, airtime like that. He’s been calm, really organized with his briefings and he presents concise information, which I like. I find his leadership in this crisis pretty impressive and as my son reminded me yesterday, FL really dodged a bullet in that FL governor’s race, because they could have ended up with Andrew Gillum, the guy who got caught with a male prostitute and strung out on drugs… and, oh he recently was accused of wire fraud.

Leadership in a crisis matters and I remember Trump creating unnecessary drama during a hurricane and drawing lines on a hurricane map with a Sharpie, rather than staying focused on the emergency plans. When people’s lives are at risk, it’s reassuring to have leaders who don’t get sidetracked by media and partisan political drama.

Twitter is the absolute worst social media platform for hot take news drama, where the journalists, pundits and other blue checkmark people flit from being “experts” on one topic to the next, as spin cycles change. They’re all epidemiologists when the news is fixated on a COVID story, Ukraine experts when it’s that crisis, financial experts if it’s the economy or world economic problems, and in the past couple days they’re blabbing about the Nord Stream pipeline leak. Liberal talking heads blame Putin and right-wing talking heads are blaming Biden. Tucker Carlson went all-in on blaming the US and since he’s been opposed to the US and other Europeans aiding Ukraine from the start, same old, same old. And, of course this ramped up another WWIII frenzy on several social media platforms. I don’t know exactly what happened with that pipeline leak and neither do any of the people blabbing about it.

Of course, this pipeline story led to another round of people online talking about “preparing for war.” If you’re prepped with food, water, basic supplies, there’s not a darned thing you can do to “prepare for war.” Sorry, I’m not preparing for a nuclear attack. I served in a Pershing missile unit, have read a lot about nuclear issues over the years, but I’m not living my life in fear of a nuclear exchange, because frankly, that would set off so many other dire world events, that radiation fall-out might be the least of our worries. All I am doing about “preparing for war” is praying for God to save the world. And today, I’m praying for the people of Florida and all the people still in this storm’s path.

Stay safe everyone.

Pray for peace.

Update: It’s after 5 pm and we still haven’t gotten any rain, but it’s pretty windy where I live in SE GA.

Just to be clear, I do take preparedness seriously and I will continue to try to be more prepared, but I believe in preparedness more as a lifestyle, not reacting constantly to news or stories flitting across news media or social media, for which I have no control over. I’m not going to run to the store and buy more stuff in a panic every time there are more hysterical stories about politics, world affairs, the economy, WWIII or a potential nuclear exchange, because that’s just panic reactions. Speaking of stores, my local Walmart store closed at noon today and won’t reopen until Saturday morning.

It’s understandable to be concerned or even alarmed by all the serious problems in our country and the world. The growing chaos is alarming, however we still have to live our lives and not let our lives become only about preparedness. I’m trying to put my energy toward the things I can do – not worrying about WWIII or nuclear war, which I can’t do a thing about.

The other day I checked that the emergency lantern I gave my elderly friend last year works, but I was concerned about what if the power goes out and she’s walking around in her house somewhere. So today when I took her some lasagna and salad, I took over a touch light I bought and I stuck it on the seat of her walker. I sat with her and had her turn it on and off several times. She wants to stay in her own house, so I was trying to think of something easy for her to have light if she was moving around the house and the power goes out. I thought about a head lamp, but she would struggle fiddling with that. Then I thought these touch lights are so easy and it could be stuck on her walker seat. She told me she wants more of these touch lights to stick around her house.

I had my husband deploy to war twice and one of my sons served in the Air Force and deployed to Iraq. My youngest sister, was in the Air Force and she deployed to Afghanistan in the early years. I know what it feels like to have family in harm’s way. When my husband deployed there were no cell phones and families had to go about their daily lives – take care of the kids, do the laundry, pay the bills, deal with any problems that occurred. Many military wives even had babies while their husband was deployed. You just carry on with life, because that’s the best thing you can do for your spouse and it’s the best thing you can do for your family and yourself. Sitting around worrying about WWIII is wasted time and energy. Worrying about a nuclear exchange even more so. That was my point.

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Sewing is a basic preparedness skill

This post is going to be about acquiring some basic sewing supplies and learning to hand sew. If you’ve never attempted picking up needle and thread to hand stitch or your one experience was for some craft or scout project as a kid and your only memory of it was about how much you hated hand sewing, well fear no more, because just about anyone can master a few basic stitches and enough proficiency to stitch up a torn seam or sew a button back on. Actually, I am confident that if you make up your mind to become proficient at hand sewing, you can surely do it. I’ve linked to some basic sewing YouTube videos at the end of this post, if you want to just skip my blabbering on.

Hand sewing dates back to prehistoric times, so if cavemen could figure out crafting needles from shards of bone and other materials, then use various fibers to stitch together furs and other natural materials, then assuredly most people now, with a literal plethora of sewing materials easily accessible, can sit down and master a few hand stitches.

I came across this interesting conversation between an online homesteader, Carolyn at Homesteading Family, who I often watch and one of the most creative YouTubers, Bernadette Banner, whose channel is devoted to historical sewing and promoting historical dress reproduction. I absolutely love this channel. Bernadette considers hand sewing an Apocalypse skill, because if you can hand sew, you can make clothes, which is vital. You can also make bedding, repair fabric items, and you could repurpose many items in your home that you could salvage to keep you and your family clothed, warm and comfortable even in the worst of times. Here’s the video:

If you ask 10 different people who like hand sewing what supplies they’d recommend for a beginner, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Due to modern mass production of fabric and clothing, needlework of any kind now is mostly pursued as a hobby and not learned as an important basic survival skill. I’m going to approach this from an emergency preparedness perspective and geared toward people who have little to no experience handling needle and thread.

As I’ve mentioned before I like decorative hand sewing, particularly counted cross stitch. The photo at the top is hand stitched quilt blocks I’m working on. I made a few a couple years ago, then put this project aside, but I pulled it out recently and began stitching together more of these quilt blocks. The pattern in America became known as Grandmother’s Flower Garden and the technique is called English paper piecing, which dates back to England in the 1790s.

My great-grandmother made several quilts using this pattern and I spent many hours as a kid helping her pick out colored prints for her quilt “flowers” and cutting out fabric hexagons for her. Interestingly, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, an old English quilt pattern, became very popular during the Great Depression in America and that’s when my great-grandmother became enamored with this quilt pattern. If you’re interested in learning more about English paper-piecing, I went back to England and found this YouTube channel, Emma Jones Vintage Sewing Box, with all sorts of project ideas, tutorials and tips.

I think just like preppers talk about having emergency supplies stocked up at home and having a to-go bag packed in case you need to evacuate your house quickly, you should have two basic sewing kits – one for home and a small travel sewing kit.

There are a wide variety of cheap travel sewing kits available and while any needle, thread, scissors and a few safety pins can be handy to have if you need to do a quick clothing repair, it’s not expensive to build your own home sewing kit with a few supplies and skip the packaged sewing kits, especially those travel sewing kits. If you put together a simple home sewing kit you can easily pull a few items from that to put together a small travel sewing kit.

I haven’t bought and tested these specific sewing kits, but I have used similar ones over the years. Men might prefer a sewing kit like this Raine military sewing kit, which comes in a zippered, nylon case Here’s a Singer brand travel sewing kit that comes in a hard plastic case. Personally, I would skip the preassembled sewing kits, especially the travel sewing kits, but if you wanted to go with a preassembled travel sewing kit, something similar to either of these would serve the purpose. When I was in the Army I was issued a small sewing kit similar to the military one I linked and the thread was sturdier than previous travel sewing kits I had, plus the buttons that came with the kit actually went with military uniforms, which was useful.

Here are my main complaints about most preassembled sewing kits. Often they come with a wide assortment of thread colors, which lures the unsuspecting. The natural assumption is that with so many thread colors, you could have just the right thread to match almost any clothes that needs a quick repair. Wrong! The thread is usually cheap polyester thread that tangles and tears easily. The needles are usually awful too. While a cheap sewing needle is awful to try to sew with, cheap thread that tangles and tears constantly is a total nightmare. If you mange to sew with flimsy polyester thread, the chances of that seam holding for long are very slim. In an emergency if you had only needles, you could even do some emergency stitching using your dental floss as thread and even that would be 100X better than that cheap polyester thread.

Here’s the truth about thread colors – you don’t need 99 colors. A few neutral colored threads can work perfectly fine for most hand sewing repairs (or larger sewing projects, truthfully), which is what a basic sewing kit and a travel sewing kit are designed for. Black and white thread are obvious choices, but gray and beige thread blend in amazingly well on most fabrics. If I had to choose one thread color, I’d choose gray thread. A few small spools of all-purpose dual duty thread and a spool of button/craft thread (I’d buy gray), for sewing heavier fabrics and sewing buttons back on, can get you a long way with simple hand sewing repairs.

To put together your own sewing kits, select a bag, basket or container to store your sewing supplies in for your home sewing kit and then a smaller pouch, bag, or container you want to use as your travel sewing kit. Even a small metal box, like an Altoid box can make a simple travel sewing kit. The Singer Survival Sewing kit has neutral thread, needles, a needle-threader, scissors, and a few other items. In the comments several people complained that the box is larger than most travel sewing kits, so that’s something to consider.

You don’t need to put whole spools of thread in your travel sewing kit. You can purchase plastic or cardboard thread bobbins or make your own. It’s very easy to cut out a small piece of cardboard or even a small piece of an index card works. Then cut a small slit on two sides, cut a few yards of thread, then anchor your thread in one slit. Continue wrapping the thread around the card, through the other slit. Finish by making sure the tail end of your thread is anchored snugly into a slit.

The nice thing about using plastic or cardboard thread bobbins to hold thread in a travel sewing kit is they take up less space and lay flat. A small piece of felt can be used to anchor your needles and safety pins onto. Another alternative is there are all sorts of needle cases available, but if you look around your home, you’ll probably find small containers that can be repurposed to hold sewing supplies You can even find foldable scissors on amazon that will fit into a repurposed Altoid box. A lot of men like those multi-tool/pocket knives and many of those have scissors on them too, so check out what tools you already carry in your to-go bag and avoid unnecessary duplications.

What you choose for your sewing kits beyond needles, thread and scissors is up to you. One additional sewing item – a thimble has been listed as required, not optional, in every hand sewing book I’ve ever read. Thimbles come in different sizes and all sorts of material – metal, ceramic, leather, plastic, etc.,

The thimble is worn on the middle finger of your dominant hand that you use to hold the needle. Finding a thimble that fits your middle finger comfortably, but that stays on can take trying several thimbles. You can get by doing small clothing repairs without a thimble, but if you plan to do longer stints of hand sewing and hope to improve your stitching, you’ll have to learn to use a thimble. Using a thimble takes practice, because at first a thimble feels awkward and unwieldly. If you’re trying to hand sew through thicker fabrics, it will become abundantly clear why thimbles were invented. Thimbles allow for better control of your needle and more consistent stitches.

Adding a few band-aids in your travel sewing kit can be handy, just trust me on this. Every person who hand sews has stabbed their fingers with their needle and likely drawn blood. Having band-aids right with your sewing kit can prevent you having to hunt around for a band-aid while trying not to get blood smeared around. Ask me how I know this, lol.

Safety pins are a very useful addition, as are straight pins. With needles and thread you will encounter all sorts of sizes, numbers and terminology. Different size needles are intended for different weight (the thickness) fabrics. Likewise, there are different types of thread for use on different types of fabric. For general clothing repair, needles that are called “sharps” work fine and all-purpose dual duty thread will likely work just fine.

Don’t make things too complicated.

You’ll quickly figure out how you want to personalize your sewing kits, once you actually begin practicing hand sewing and become more comfortable and proficient with the process.

With all sewing and needlework, the variety of supplies can be daunting. There are a lot of trendy gadgets and brands that many people insist are the only ones they will use or “must haves.” I’ve had my own needlework snobbery moments over the years too and I prefer European made needles for my needlework.

A pack of Singer needles with two small spools of Coats and Clark all-purpose dual duty thread in black and white would not be a bad choice to start. This assortment comes with a needle threader and if you’re older and have a harder time seeing the eye of an needle, needle threaders are a real lifesaver. You can find all sorts of inexpensive needle-threaders online. The way these needle-threaders work is you push the little wire loop end of the needle threader through the eye of the needle, then stick the end of your thread through the little wire loop of the needle-threader. Then gently pull the wire loop, with the thread looped through it, back through the eye of your needle.

A tape measure can be a good tool to have for sewing and many other uses. A small pencil is useful too. With sewing notions they also sell sewing chalk and packs of marking pencils, for making marks on different colored fabric. White chalk is easier to see on dark fabric than pencil marks or blue or red chalk marks.

A seam ripper can be a handy tool to add to your sewing kits and it can speed up ripping out stitches and cleaning up tangled up thread mishaps.

You’ve probably seen those red tomato shaped pin cushions with a little attached red fabric strawberry. The tomato part is a pin cushion where you can stick pins and needles, but that little strawberry is actually filled with emery sand and is for cleaning and sharpening pins and needles.

So, that’s a few basic supplies and then if you’ve never picked up a needle and thread, you might be totally intimidated at the prospect of learning to sew. Relax, be prepared for some mishaps, knotted up thread disasters, confusion, and frustration.

Learning to hand sew takes some patience and practice. Every single person who hand sews has experienced knotted thread, thread tearing, tangled up messes, stitches that look terrible, stabbing their fingers and having to tear out stitching and try again.

Once you have some needle and thread in hand, it’s time to start learning a few basic stitches. Here again, opinions will likely vary on what are the most important stitches to learn. I think learning a running stitch (straight stitch), back stitch and hem stitch (felling stitch) are valuable stitches to know. A running stitch is the most basic straight stitch. A back stitch is a way to strengthen seams made with straight stitches and it can be used to help lock in stitches when you begin and end sewing a seam. The hem stitch has multiple uses, but as the name implies, hemming is important and since I’ve been focused on learning some hand sewing for repairing clothes, sometimes hems come out of clothes and it’s useful to be able to quickly fix them.

Here are a few hand sewing tutorial videos to get you started:

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Living in the present

“Nobody lived in the past, if you stop to think about it. Jefferson, Adams, Washington—they didn’t walk around saying, ”Isn’t this fascinating, living in the past?“ They lived in the present just as we do. The difference was it was their present, not ours. And just as we don’t know how things are going to turn out for us, they didn’t either. It’s very easy to stand on the mountaintop as an historian or biographer and find fault with people for why they did this or didn’t do that, because we’re not involved in it, we’re not inside it, we’re not confronting what we don’t know—as everyone who preceded us always was.”

David McCullough, Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are

The David McCullough quote is from a piece he wrote in 2005 and I’ve included the link for it. A brilliant military strategist, Dr. Colin Gray, made a similar comment in one of his books about strategic planning, emphasizing that none of us knows the future and he cautioned against the human tendency of too harshly judging strategic planners in the past for decisions that turned out badly or assuming that they had to know, X,Y and Z would happen. He suggested that often people were operating in good faith and making decisions they believed would be successful.

Here’s a YouTube video of McCullough speaking about history and at 17:18, he makes the same point he made in that above quote about people did not live in the past:

It’s easy to be armchair critics, as I can attest to, because I’ve done plenty of that myself, but despite my judgmental habits, I’m trying to think more before writing blog posts. One thing it’s easy to do is to draw sweeping conclusions based on very tiny amounts of information and often even that information is just “so and so online said,” not verified in any way. Along with the sweeping conclusions it’s very easy to cherry-pick information that feeds our own beliefs and views.

An economic collapse, whether through a lot of unforeseen events or financial power players trying to manage a collapse they know is coming, really is an area I have no expertise on. My understanding of macroeconomics could fit inside a teaspoon, so I’ve been doing more reading.

Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s founder, influence-peddler among the world’s elites and present arch nemesis among the American right has been talked about frequently, so I read his book, The Great Reset, and while I found many of the ideas promoted disturbing, what bothered me the most was the certainty with which he presents all of their climate change policy assertions.

I still don’t understand all the intricacies of the “Great Reset’ agenda and here’s the thing, I believe most of the people who bought into these ideas truly believe their plans are for the good of all people and that the entire world will prosper and flourish. While I expect widespread chaos and that their plans will fail and cause massive hardship, I could be wrong. The other thing is all sorts of other events might happen that upend the Great Reset agenda completely and the world may be facing other unforeseen massive problems.

In my own life, I live a simple and modest life and hope I can keep doing so. I can’t plan for the collapse of the world economy, because I have no idea what events would unfold in such a global catastrophe like that. For me, it’s about living in the present, while trying to take practical steps like having food, water and some emergency supplies on hand, but it’s also about continuing to learn new skills and practice old skills.

These days meteorologists do a good job tracking storms, whereas in the olden days people near coasts didn’t have a week’s time to prepare for a hurricane or major storm. Currently, I’m watching Tropical Storm Ian, just as Hurricane Fiona battered Canada and going over my hurricane preparedness plans.

George Washington was planning out changes he wanted to make to his gardens back at Mount Vernon, while he was off fighting the Revolutionary War. He wasn’t planning to be the first president of the United States of America, which didn’t even exist yet. There are personal letters of Washington’s where he’s going over account books for his estate and concerned with personal family business during the war. He was living in the present.

I’ve watched YouTube preppers who fixate on all the terrible things they are sure are going to happen or that are “signs” that SHTF is imminent and then they’ll list the latest hyped up news (ZeroHedge is a source mentioned frequently with the most hysterical and alarmist predictions) and I’ve seen advice based on these alarmist news reports range from “pull all your money out of the bank” (panic-driven bank runs exacerbated the economic collapse during the Great Depression), to urging people to “pack up and move from these blue states immediately” or “get out of the cities.” I’ve seen videos urging people to get rid of all their paper money and invest it in gold and silver.

I don’t have a crystal ball and I’m not an expert on personal financial management, so I am hesitant to urge dramatic actions like that, which could cause a lot more financial problems for many people than it solves. I do believe, as a guiding principle that getting out of debt and living debt-free, is a better lifestyle choice, under any circumstance and having some emergency savings can turn a personal crisis into just an inconvenience. These two beliefs apply during times of calm and plenty and in times of chaos and scarcity.

A book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life: 1790-1840, by Jack Larkin, explains early America’s complex economics, after the American Revolution. There was little money in circulation, so most of the actual money flowed back to the cities and rural people lived under systems of “exchanges,” that were closely linked to their social interactions in communities. Some of their dealings involved simple bartering, but some involved systems of credit and IOUs, that could be “paid off” later in goods or services.

The monetary currency circulating varied too. Larkin wrote, “A bewildering variety of foreign coins circulated: Dutch rix-dollars, Russian kopecks, as well as French and English specie. Most of the coins Americans used were the silver dollar halves, quarters, eighths and sixteenths minted in Mexico and in the South American republics where silver was abundant.” This led to a lot of confusion, as most of the early Americans in the former colonies were still used to the British shillings.

The varied and diverse ways these early Americans conducted their business transactions came out of necessity, because very few people, even back then, were totally self-sufficient, even on the larger farms. There are also accounts of a divide between how Southerners and Northerners conducted business, where the northern way of writing down transactions conflicted with the Southern habit of a handshake and a man’s word being considered a sacred bond. People in early America, just like people throughout history in times of turmoil, self-organized and found ways to manage without some masterplan or people fixating ahead of time on how to prepare for every dire scenario imaginable.

These early Americans were dealing with unforeseen catastrophes on a regular basis. Illnesses swept through and could wipe out entire families. As the frontier moved westward, the settlers living closer to that edge faced skirmishes and massacres in battles with Native Americans. Every imaginable hardship and natural disaster hit and there was no 911 to call or FEMA and the American Red Cross to mobilize. These people had to pick themselves up and work together to salvage what they could and rebuild. They were living in the present, while trying to lay down foundations for their children and grandchildren.

Building more skills, and that means practicing old skills too, seems like it will be more useful for me than getting worked up about a world financial collapse or some other hyped news story, that I have no details or information to verify it.

In my next blog post, I’m going to write about basic sewing and make a few suggestions for supplies, beyond the little sewing kits they sell for a few dollars. Learning a few basic sewing skills is not nearly as daunting as many people make it. And just about anyone can master a few basics.

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Fall garden hits and misses

This is a short fall container garden update. Pictures give a clearer picture of how it’s still going with the bug and pest problems living in the GA swamps. While most of my plants are doing okay, I’ve got some that have succumbed to pests.

I have more tomatoes and cucumbers growing, more lettuce and kale, some red beets, onions, and a few other things, so I’ll see how this goes. I’m still trying to use and preserve even small amounts. Every little bit counts. There’s something to feeling more connection to food you grow yourself, even imperfect ones, over buying blemish-free perfect produce at the grocery store.

While I am still using a lot of grow bags, I did buy more larger pots on amazon and have started using those too. The grow bags work, but in my climate, with such high heat from late spring all the way into early fall, the grow bags dry out quickly and require a lot more watering than plastic pots. I do hope to get some raised beds together in the next year, but I will still continue with some container gardening too. With the recent weeks of rain, it brought home again how long most of my backyard stays swampy after rain and also memories of years ago struggling to grow an in-ground garden in my backyard, where it would be either too much rain or drought conditions.

Even in my backyard, though, there are areas that aren’t as swampy, so I haven’t rejected in-ground planting completely. I’ll keep trying different things and see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been tossing around ideas for some flower beds in my front yard that incorporate herbs and some vegetables. I also might plant some blueberry bushes along the side of my driveway.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from more gardening failures than I can count over the years is keep trying and when plants die, rather than get discouraged, try to figure out what went wrong. Then try something new or replant more seeds.

Just getting busy, instead of making excuses or making things too complicated, has become more of a mental roadblock for me to overcome in the information age. I often look at Pinterest perfect photos and awe-inspiring YouTube videos, then start thinking perhaps I need all these doodads before starting projects.

Growing up without all that information or access to so much stuff, I just learned to make-do with what we had and figured something out. I had a make-do mind-set all the way through raising my kids too, but since the internet, I’ve had to catch myself with creating these mental roadblocks. It wasn’t only my spelling that suffered in the digital age, since becoming reliant on spell-check, it was my can-do attitude too.

It’s getting very expensive to buy plants already started at the store, plus you can find so many different varieties of vegetables by buying seeds. The first photo is a red cabbage called Red Express, from Park Seeds and it’s supposed to have a compact growing habit, so I thought I’d try it in containers. I’ve already bought a lot of seeds for spring and plan to order a few more. I saved some seeds too, and I did buy the seed-saving book, Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners, that I saw several online gardeners mention, and it’s very helpful.

The sun will come out tomorrow wasn’t only for overly-cheerful Annie, it can be for all of us. Have a nice day.

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Beware of “zero”

The first far-left “zero” movement I was aware of was the zero population movement, which gained popularity in the 1970s. My youngest brother bought into that completely. so I heard all I ever want to hear about that topic. When people get on board these far-left movements it becomes like a religion to them and they invariably zealously try to convert the entire world to their cause. Failing that, they try to force cultural and political change to impose their views on everyone.

That zero population movement is still enmeshed in the far-left mishmash of ESG (equity, sustainability and governance) goals, although most people, who aren’t leftists, probably weren’t paying much attention to the far-left movements beyond hearing about the green-deal, laughing at AOC or they remember a bit further back that the Obama administration pushed the green dreams.

In 2013, there was another leftist movement that I remember writing a blog post about – the global zero movement, which set as its goal the elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2030. President Obama supported this movement. In 2015, the UN General Assembly passed the 2030 Agenda and all of these fringe far-left movements, from the green-energy to the other zero movements, to the gender movements became neatly packed into the ESG framework that’s going to build the highway to Net Zero utopia.

With the green-energy transformation, the green movement now has Net Zero. Here’s an explanation of the term net zero from the University of Oxford (https://netzeroclimate.org/what-is-net-zero/):

“Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.” 

“The term net zero is important because – for CO2 at least – this is the state at which global warming stops. The Paris Agreement underlines the need for net zero. It requires states to ‘achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century’.” 

While the Biden administration flunkies keep yammering on about electric cars, the ESG goals include forcing people to completely change how they live – from what they eat, how much they eat, what temperature they keep their homes, how much they travel, how they travel, and it’s about forcing people to change what they think or be forced into compliance – to reach that magical Net Zero.

Where we’re headed is a Zero Freedom world, as the “experts” formulate what’s the perfect sustainable balance with their zero movements. If you think the zero population growth and the global zero movement to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2030 (that magical 2030 UN Agenda date again) disappeared, I think you’re wrong. With the war in Ukraine, back in July, Steven Pinker, a prominent Harvard scholar, was tweeting that Europe should unilaterally eliminate it’s nuclear arsenal. Here’s a quote from a Washington Examiner article:

“Those suggesting major changes to NATO nuclear deterrence might first want to consider Russian nuclear strategy.”

“Former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and Jonathan Granoff of the anti-nuclear weapons Global Security Institute fail this test. Seeking a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, Arias and Granoff call for NATO’s preparation to withdraw “all U.S. nuclear warheads from Europe and Turkey, preliminary to negotiations [over the war in Ukraine]. Withdrawal would be carried out once peace terms are agreed between Ukraine and Russia.” Chiming in on Monday, Harvard scholar Steven Pinker suggests that this is a “bold idea” because nuclear weapons are “militarily useless, ineffective deterrents … [and] recklessly dangerous.”

Back in July, you might also remember President Biden stating that there was zero inflation

Zero holds some mystical power among the left. Even with that zero population growth movement, it wasn’t just about trying to control the number of births. There were people in that movement wanting to have some controls on death too, which opens up a whole other kettle of fish.

All of these leftist “zero” movements involve allowing a group of experts/central planners to drain the lifeblood out of personal choice. If I hear any liberals mentioning “zero,” I cringe and know they’re going to be proposing another radical program that makes absolutely zero sense. My ears perk up, though, because zero with them also means they want to nullify all of our personal liberty and leave us with zero power whatsoever.

Definitely, beware of “zero.”

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Some critical needs to survive

This post is going to be about a few things I think might become critical needs to survive and thrive, as the green-energy transformation (collapse of the world economic systems as we know them) speeds up. My list isn’t your usual list of food, water, and ability to defend yourself, your family and your home. There are literally dozens upon dozens of online sources and books on emergency preparedness, survival, gardening, and farming available that can provide better information on those topics than I can. The things I’m going to talk about again, don’t cost anything, except working hard to develop critical-thinking skills.

Information

Reliable and actionable information is vital to help us make decisions and respond, especially in a crisis. The first thing I’m going to mention again is learning to critically analyze information. According to polling and viewership stats on public trust in news media, across the board, trust in news media is at an all-time low.

Yet, just as people say they don’t trust certain news media, most people still get news from various news sources and this holds true across the political spectrum.

For instance, many Trump-supporters completely distrust mainstream (liberal) media and they’ll rush to distrust FOX News or any right-leaning news source, if that news source reports anything negative about Trump. Often, Trump will tout some new right-wing news media source and many of his supporters will gravitate there. Some people on the right get their news only from certain right-wing online sources or pundits, whom they trust.

On the left, this same phenomenon plays out with choosing news sources too. Recently, CNN’s new management fired some big name people, who were rabidly and openly anti-Trump. One of those people was a hard news reporter, who tweeted hate-filled anti-Trump diatribes for several years. Many liberals are outraged at CNN for firing these very biased CNN personalities. People on the left, who hate Trump, likewise gravitate to only left-wing online sources and the more they hate Trump, the further left they move in their news source choices.

If you gather your news only from sources that align with your partisan politics and trust them completely, that’s called confirmation bias. In a rapidly changing environment, relying only on information that feeds your own prior beliefs and values can leave you very ill-informed and it can lead you to make important decisions based on inaccurate or totally false information. It can also leave you blind to a whole lot of other events and information that could better inform you about what’s happening.

If you place your trust in personalities, by trusting only certain pundits or online influencers and make decisions based on their advice, it could easily lead to some disastrous decisions in a crisis. Many pundits and online influencers engage in a whole lot of confirmation bias too, but they also make money hyping stories, that are speeding down the internet superhighways, to attract an audience. Drama attracts viewers and keeps them coming back for more.

In the old days many people relied on a trusted family friend or someone locally, when making major financial decisions, but millions of people now trust online influencers or popular pundits over people in their own lives. In a crisis, local events happening can be way more critical and important in your daily life and how well you survive and thrive, than listening to news sources, who have no idea exactly what’s happening where you live. It’s important to figure out some local news sources and try to build some local community.

Developing a wider circle of information-gathering might be useful too. I think it’s wiser to gather information from across the political spectrum, compare it and also work to develop local sources. I also try to completely read through news articles, rather than react to headlines, because often important information is buried deep in news articles. Often, I jot down notes of things I want to look into a bit more.

Survival is local

Local news can be harder to find these days, since local newspapers are a dying entity, but even talking to neighbors, the guy at the gas station or people at local businesses might be more useful than news sources from across the country or across the world. When I was growing up in rural PA, the local diner was the information hub and my father liked to stop by there almost daily to hear about what was going on.

Finding reliable local information will be more valuable than knowing about some global shortages and all the global events playing out. Finding the supplies and things we need to survive closer to home in a global financial crisis will be critical. We’ll all likely have to shorten our own family’s supply chain a great deal in a global economic crisis, as big corporation supply chains we rely on sputter and falter.

Knowing about events that are happening closer to home matters immensely with personal and home security decisions. For instance, if major civil unrest breaks out in some urban areas, but things in your area are calm and safe, then reacting as if it’s unsafe to go out in public where you live or deciding it’s time to hunker down would not be an informed decision. It would be overreacting to media hype and a failure to gather reliable and actionable information for your location. Remaining as resilient and able to move about freely, rather than rushing to hunker down, makes more sense than self-limiting your personal liberty based on fear and lack of reliable local information. I suspect with the pandemic craziness there will be some people, who voluntarily live hunkered down, out of fear, for years to come.

Know Thyself

In life you’ll encounter many types of people and it’s much easier accurately assessing other people’s personality, character flaws and behavior than it is our own. The road to self-awareness is hard and most people, avoid being completely honest about their own short-comings, failures and mistakes.

It’s a continual work in progress to face up to your own mistakes and flaws. It’s even harder to work to change them. And it’s much easier to assess blame on other people and events rather than face the truth. Learning to face the truth is hard.

Most of us like to be right and we like to be vindicated when other people challenge our views or criticize us. A lot of people will do a circle the wagon approach, trying to find a group that uncritically supports their views and they in turn will do the same thing for them. In the online world, just like the real world, there are cliques (communities), where no disagreements or criticisms are tolerated and even saying you disagree with anything is deemed “trolling.” Often others will rush to condemn the “trolls,” but when I read comment sections it’s like all or nothing – any comment that isn’t 100% in lockstep is labelled trolling and there’s a circle the wagon attitude.

Surrounding yourself with only people who agree with you completely can lead to a failure to honestly assess yourself, your ideas, your plans. It’s fine to find like-minded people to try to work together on things that matter to you. Even I would look for someone interested in needlework to form a sewing circle, but insulating yourself from other ideas and views can lead to stagnation in your thinking. It can also make you weak and unable to adapt to chaotic times. Being open to new ideas and being willing to admit you were wrong are two important survival habits to develop.

A couple years ago I made a statement to my youngest daughter that I am a very flexible person. She told me there are lots of words she’d use to describe me, but “flexible” isn’t one of them. She was being totally honest and once I thought about it, I knew she was right.

I am very set in my ways, very hard-headed about “following the rules,” have very strong opinions on right and wrong and often I cling to ways and things whose time has passed. I am still clinging to my landline phone, still clinging to my older TVs, that aren’t smart TVs and therefore using cable. I am thinking about buying a newer TV and ditching cable, but I’m still very attached to my landline phone. I do have a cell phone, but hate using it. I prefer to use a hand grater rather than my electric food processor and the list goes on. I’m like this about many things – I don’t want to adapt rapidly and in truth, I’m definitely not very flexible. Being flexible can be a very good trait in rapidly changing times. And, yes, I know I can be too judgmental too, as my family tells me regularly, especially when I reject completely the latest liberal culture war crap they tell me about (ok, I believe rejecting that is a good thing – that’s where I stand and I won’t change).

Avoid the drama

Finding some calm and inner-peace, even in bad times will help you weather the worst storms. My late husband had this totally irreverent sense of dark humor that would end up making me laugh, even in really bad times. A lot of soldiers are like that and that ability to find ways to relieve stress helps people through the hard times.

Social media and news media overflow with drama, distractions and endless rabbit holes to grab our attention and never let go. Finding ways to limit our news consumption and social media consumption can be hard, but working on breaking free of the drama and distraction will give us more time to think about other more important things. I struggle with this too, because of my being a news junkie. And unless you want to live like Alice in Wonderland, it’s best to avoid rabbit holes, especially the most alarmist, the-sky-is-falling ones.

The media is also full of soap opera news that can waste your time and energy. I didn’t watch even one minute of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial and what I did learn was from my adult kids wanting to tell me about it. I told them I don’t care about it at all and I still don’t care.

Right now the news media is in a Royal Frenzy. I admired Queen Elizabeth II in many ways, but I’m not into monarchy. I wrote two blog post on King Charles III, because he’s relevant in relation to the great reset events and I wanted to be clear that despite the media gushing about him, his history is that of being closely connected with Klaus Schwab and a committed green-agenda zealot, in my opinion. I don’t care about the minute-by-minute royal reporting and I don’t care one iota about Harry and Meghan or William and Kate or any of the other royals. I do admire Kate’s fashion sense though.

We’ve had a lot of rain where I live and I’m more concerned about paying attention to the weather right now than caring about what’s going on with the royals.

If I want to escape, I’m planning to get back to my crafting and needlework, plus I have piles of books I want to read.

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Another architect of the Great Reset

In my short post on King Charles III and his being an ardent environmentalist and supporter of the WEF Great Reset, it was more than just John Kerry, President Biden’s climate czar, showing up in Scotland this past week that led me to that conclusion. Here are a couple links to King Charles III, then the Prince of Wales, throwing his full support behind the WEF’s Great Reset plan since 2020, before the Schwab book was even published. He was involved in the WEF circle formulating the Great Reset plan and he’s very influential among the climate change elites, as is his brother, Prince Andrew. Here are a couple links to news articles from the past few years about his views:

From Vanity Fair, May 22, 2020: Is Prince Charles Using the Pandemic to Take on Capitalism? Here’s a quote from this article:

In January, Charles started a partnership with the organization called the Sustainable Markets Initiative, and he used a panel discussion at Davos to talk about how he thought capitalism needed to “reset” in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Now he’s applying that same logic to the aftermath of coronavirus.”

“According to the Telegraph, Charles has been working with Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder, on projects to help shape recovery from the pandemic.”

From The Guardian, June 3, 2020: Pandemic is chance to reset global economy, says Prince Charles.

Here’s a link to Sustainable Markets Initiative, which Charles started in January 2020. And here’s the link to the partners page: https://www.sustainable-markets.org/about/partners/

So, once again timelines matter. The WEF and elites were planning this Great Reset before the global pandemic, as this Vanity Fair article states that Prince Charles was working with Schwab on a “Great Reset” in January 2020. When the pandemic started, it sure looks to me, like they decided to use that crisis as a means to accelerate their great reset plan.

Here’s a Bank of America newsroom notice from September 21, 2020 : The Sustainable Markets Initiative Launches RE:TV: “Speaking today at Climate Week 2020, HRH The Prince of Wales launched RE:TV, a new platform to showcase solutions working to accelerate a more sustainable future.”

So forgive me if I’m not getting on board with the media-driven gushing, the pomp and circumstance of a royal funeral, and the media effort to hype King Charles III, as some great stabilizing force in the UK. He’s an environmental extremist, who will wear the crown of one of the most influential monarchies in the world, and he was closely involved in the creation of the WEF Great Reset plan. In fact, he’s part of the inner-circle of influential elites, who came up with this plan.

Instead of “God Save the King,” I expect very soon many British people will be opining, “God Save Us from this Environmental Extremist.”

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Fearless embrace of progress

I’m kind of torn with how to write this blog post, but I want to write it and try not to be disrespectful about Queen Elizabeth II passing away.

I admired Queen Elizabeth II in many ways, but her children not at all. Her passing seems very much like the passing of a generation and the close of an era.

Today, King Charles III gave his inaugural address and it was well-written, dignified, carefully constructed and delivered. In that speech he said, “In her life of service we saw that abiding love of tradition, together with that fearless embrace of progress, which make us great as Nations.”

King Charles III has been a zealous environmentalist and green dream proponent for years, so it will be interesting to see how the green proponents try to use the British national sentiment about the queen passing and try to channel it toward embrace of going along with the green energy transformation. It will also be interesting to see if the new king takes a decidedly more overt posture in pushing the green agenda, by trying to sell it as not political or ideological and more as patriotic duty.

Here’s a quote from an ABC report:

“John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, said he hopes Charles will continue speaking out about climate change because it is a universal issue that doesn’t involve ideology. Kerry was in Scotland to meet with the Prince of Wales this week, but the session was canceled when the queen died.”

I expect Hollywood-type productions trying to sell the great reset in the UK by tying it to being like the late queen and her “fearless embrace of progress.” Here’s John Kerry:

Climate change is very much political and ideological and it’s an issue being pushed by globalist zealots. I suspect King Charles III and others in the royal family may push the green-energy transformation in ways the late queen would never have considered.

I’ve made a mental note of that phrase, “fearless embrace of progress,” because I expect iterations of that to be repeated a lot in the UK by people pushing the great reset agenda.

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