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Don’t discount the weeds

Since I’ve been rambling on about politics too much again, it’s time to get away from that. I stopped watching TV almost completely several years ago and I’ve never gotten into the streaming services. Instead, I began watching more YouTube videos. It’s very odd that I made this transition. I thought reality TV was total garbage from its inception and YouTube is filled with videos made by content-creators, mostly with no professional experience at media, but I’ve found that I enjoy the amateurish quality (reality) with all sorts of videos, including many crafting, needlework, frugal-living, and homesteading channels.

Last week, while watching a homesteading video, the husband narrated most of the video, but for a few minutes the wife discussed her homeschooling ideas and she mentioned a nature journaling project she’s planned and that her daughter was excited about. She held up the book pictured above. Her few minutes uplifted me and made me feel a flash of hopefulness for the future. Here was a young mother, homeschooling her daughter and putting together a nature journaling adventure. I found she had been captivated by Edith Holden’s nature journal for a long time, just like me. I found another video by this young mother from 5 years ago, where she talked about starting a nature journal. She showed a flower press her husband made for her. It’s reassuring to see young people, who just set out and try to learn new skills and make things, using simple supplies or things they have around the house.

About 5 years ago, I bought that very same Edith Holden book, when I was learning how to make junk journals. I saw numerous videos where pages of this Edith Holden book were used in junk journals, so I bought this book on amazon – used, in very good condition, for $3. Junk journaling is a free-spirited move away from the commercialized scrapbooking of a few decades ago, where you can make your own books and journals using all sorts of materials, including, old books, junk papers, pages from books, old greeting cards, scrapbook paper, and even envelopes. I discovered junk journaling on YouTube and it opened the door to another crafting adventure for me. I’ve made numerous junk journals, but haven’t had the heart to tear any pages out of my copy. I prefer to draw inspiration from and cherish the entire book.

Edith Holden was an English artist and art teacher at a girl’s school, who also worked as an illustrator for some nature publications and children’s books, according to her Wikipedia bio. This book contains absolutely beautiful sketches and watercolors of plants and animals, along with nature notes, poetry and quotes. In 1906, she created this diary as a model for her students. She died in 1920, but this diary, left to family, wasn’t’ published until 1977.

While many people associate nature-journaling and watercolor painting as some hobby of British upper-class ladies, drawing and sketching were actually very important skills before photography existed. People couldn’t just pull out a cell-phone and snap a photo or google things for information.

The British military also taught military officers watercolor painting, as part of keeping ship’s records of where they travelled. The entire idea of drawing pictures of nature was very important in early America too, as colonists set out to learn about this new land.

From 1804-1806, Lewis and Clark were sent by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the new land America acquired after the Louisiana Purchase. They did not have an artist on their expedition, so between the two men, they filled 18 small notebooks with details, maps they created, and illustrations they drew. Neither was a trained artist. Here’s a link where you can read their journals and look at their maps and illustrations. The Lewis and Clark Expedition is one of the most fascinating adventure stories in American history. President Jefferson commissioned the Corps of Discovery in 1803 and he picked Captain Meriwether Lewis to lead the expedition and William Clark, another officer, was the second in command. Lewis was an Army officer, but he had no formal education until he was 13 years old according to his Wikipedia bio. President Jefferson set about making preparations for this expedition, which included extensive training for Lewis:

“In 1803, Jefferson sent Lewis to Philadelphia to study medicinal cures under Benjamin Rush, a physician and humanitarian. He also arranged for Lewis to be further educated by Andrew Ellicott, an astronomer who instructed him in the use of the sextant and other navigational instruments.[28][29] From Benjamin Smith Barton, Lewis learned how to describe and preserve plant and animal specimens, from Robert Patterson refinements in computing latitude and longitude, while Caspar Wistar covered fossils, and the search for possible living remnants.[30][31] Lewis, however, was not ignorant of science and had demonstrated a marked capacity to learn, especially with Jefferson as his teacher. At Monticello, Jefferson possessed an enormous library on the subject of the geography of the North American continent, and Lewis had full access to it. He spent time consulting maps and books and conferring with Jefferson.[32]

Several years ago there was a hobby that took off called “geocaching,” but the real-deal caching was a matter of life and death, not fun and games like geocaching. During the Lewis and Clark expedition “caching pits” were dug and used to store supplies and it required skilled trackers to relocate those caches in the uncharted wilderness. Truly, the Lewis and Clark journals are something every prepper should take a look at, because it’s amazing the things you can learn from their grueling journey.

Ulysses S. Grant, the famous Civil War general and US president, was also an artist. He began watercolor painting as a young man and studied art while a cadet at West Point. Grant was known for being a rough and tough general, but he was also an accomplished watercolor artist

My road to actually making junk journals started as a child, when I created scrapbooks and journals, often cutting pictures out of old magazines, pressing flowers, and using found items around my home. Back then, I didn’t think about needing certain supplies or having to follow certain rules. Like most kids, I just set off and explored new things. Some worked, some didn’t, but I felt a sense of joy and enthusiasm that can fade as you grow older and start thinking you need to use certain supplies when doing things. Scrapbooking became a popular craft a few decades ago, with mountains of “must-have” supplies being touted and sold. I have a lot of those supplies still, but I didn’t enjoy that structured way of scrapbooking

While battling cancer in 2003-2004, I purchased several books on making handmade books and it made me feel hopeful, but I didn’t feel confident enough to start making my own handmade books. That inspiration came after coming across a junk journaling video on YouTube, then realizing there was an entire junk journaling community there. As I watched more channels, I realized some were skilled artists, others brand new crafters, but what I loved was absorbing all these ideas and beginning to feel, “Well, I could do that too!” That’s what inspiration is – when you move from letting doubts hold you back, to actually taking those first steps setting out on a new path. Inspiration can come in many forms, from faith, from the beauty of nature, from poetry, books, art, but it can also come from ordinary people cheerfully showing how they’re doing something that you’ve thought about, but weren’t sure how to go about it.

The junk journal on the right remains one of my favorite junk journals, even though neither is some stunning journal or remotely art. I made these from old books, using old calendar pages as the pictures on the covers. Inside each book I added all sorts of junk, from old cards and post cards, to even labels from packages:

Amidst all the media noise our modern life is filled with, we can choose to work at unplugging a bit and really looking at the world around us.

Rather than focusing on all the bad things happening, even small things, like enjoying a beautiful sunset or spending a few minutes watching birds, or even admiring some small wildflowers growing in the crack of a sidewalk, might give you a moment’s peace or hope. You might not have any interest in nature journaling, but we can all benefit from the gifts of nature, that don’t cost a cent.

A.A. Milne, the English author of the Winnie-the-Poo books said, “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” Beauty can be found almost anywhere, if you open your eyes and look for it.

Have a nice day!

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Who’s the real fighter – Trump or Dems?

Here are two articles worth reading about this past election inner-workings. One is from the Daily Kos, New report reveals how Democrats conned Trump into picking terrible midterm candidates and the other from the Washington Post, How Trump, infighting and flawed candidates limited Republican gains

“Democrats saw exploiting individual Republican candidates as their best shot at victory — knowing the political environment was a difficult one.

“Our theory of the case from the beginning was we assumed that this was going to be a very tough election for us,” said Christie Roberts, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “We had to utterly discredit and disqualify our opponents.”

A former opposition researcher, Roberts had plotted the attack from early 2021, when she directed her committee to get involved, often in secretive ways, with Republican primaries across the country. In many cases, her work targeted an audience of one, Trump, who had the power to get a candidate through the primary with a simple endorsement.

The Democrats planted early stories about past criticism of Trump by former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory (R), aiming to push Trump to endorse someone less electable in the state’s Senate primary. (The successful nominee, Ted Budd, went on to win Tuesday.) They built up the idea in the press that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) might run for Senate, prompting Trump to lash out and make clear his opposition; Ducey passed on running.

They handed out other hit pieces against Ohio GOP chairwoman Jane Timken and Pennsylvania Senate contender Dave McCormick, mining their old public comments for any criticism that might raise Trump’s ire. The committee even subscribed to a service that allowed for constant monitoring of right-wing radio, so divisions could be picked up early and amplified.

It was opposition research as psychological warfare, directed at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and Bedminster, N.J., golf resort. During internal meetings at the DSCC in 2021, senior strategists spoke about creating a “summer of chaos” and a “fall of fighting” in the Republican Party.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/10/republicans-midterm-elections-trump/

The Washington Post piece also details the Republican internal battles, inside Trump’s crowd at Mar-a-logo and Congress. When I mentioned Dems efforts to label Republicans as “MAGA extremists” as part of the Dem election strategy, that was before I read this article, but anyway, here it is is from the Washington Post:

“They described how Democratic efforts — to label Republicans “MAGA extremists,” elevate concerns of a tectonic abortion ruling by the Supreme Court and highlight threats to the democratic process embraced by GOP candidates — helped blunt overwhelming frustration with inflation and growing fears about crime. Exit polls conducted by AP VoteCast found 27 percent of voters cited abortion as the most important issue for their vote, compared to 31 percent who said inflation. Eleven percent of voters said crime was the most important, exactly the same share as said gun violence.”

And btw, Dem strategists and operatives had been working on this from early 2021. None of their spin operations are new, they’ve been perfecting turning their campaign operations into high-tech information warfare for decades. I didn’t just pull my assertions about the Dem spin information warfare stuff out of thin air – I’ve been following the Dem media spin operations closely since the 90s, as I’ve said many times on my blog. It may sound extreme to most Americans, but with Democrats it’s sophisticated, high-tech information warfare that’s all about trying to manipulate and dominating the mass media (battlefield), to drive and control public opinion in America. Dems really do want to control both politics and the media in America.

I encourage you to read both articles.

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What our future depends on: civic virtue

Today is Election Day in America, so I debated on whether to write a politics post or not. This is just a short post. My state has early voting, so I went and voted last week. There’s a straight, solid line connecting people who invest a lot of time in news and social media political drama every day and people on the left, who believe that either American democracy will end if their side loses control of Congress, and people on the right, who believe that if their side doesn’t win control of Congress our American republic is over. These same people seem very open to buying into wild conspiracy theories that cast “the other side” as evil, dangerous radicals, people who hate America, etc.

I realized that neither side of the media-driven political theater in America operates in good faith and took a step back from this, because the hysterical talking points may vary a bit between the two partisan camps and the media drama may tar “the other side” with different derogatory terms, but it’s all designed to get Americans angry and divide them. I’m determined not to hate anyone in my life and spending so much time worked up and angry isn’t good for anyone. Each day, I try to find things to be grateful for and find some rays of hope. You can find these inspirations almost anywhere. I came across one in a few seconds of a video I watched yesterday and am working on a blog post about that.

Yes, voting in one party that changes control of Congress or a state governor’s race may bring about very different policies and that’s why voting matters. In Washington, one party controlling both Congress and the White House can leave Americans who support different policies without any way to check one party rule. However, if you believe your party not controlling Congress or the White House spells the end of America, you’ve sure handed over America’s destiny to politicians and with over 330,000,000 Americans, that’s sure ignoring a whole lot of potential and American ingenuity. I prefer to have more faith in the American people than partisan politics.

A larger part of good citizenship in American than voting is civic virtue and that isn’t taught much anymore. We can all practice civic virtue by respecting other Americans views, being courteous to fellow citizens and teaching our children to respect other people’s right to have different views than our own. Unlike who wins elections today, our future really does depend on a culture where civic virtue is taught, expected, and practiced. I encourage everyone to vote, but please try not to get too caught up in the partisan drama and be respectful of everyone, regardless of their politics.

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Resilience can be learned

I came across the above video today and it got me thinking. This post is going to be a follow-on to my post yesterday. I’ve seen some back and forth criticisms on some YouTube prepper/homesteading channels about fearmongering/doomsday hysteria, which inevitably led to other viewers and YouTubers jumping into the mix – taking sides basically and that doesn’t really lead to anything other than resentment and more divides. I’ve done plenty of criticizing the fearmongering too, but I want to move away from that and focus on, hopefully, some positive suggestions.

Before I started watching YouTube prepping/homesteading channels, I had been interested in and believed in emergency preparedness my entire life. I did a lot of Army family support volunteering and also some volunteering with the American Red Cross. More than emergency preparedness, for decades I’ve believed that most Americans could benefit from basic life preparedness training, because I’ve met so many people who don’t plan or prepare at all – for just about anything.

I became interested in learning more about emergency preparedness in 2020. I’d been “prepping” my entire life, but I didn’t call it “prepping” or consider myself a “prepper.” I decided I wanted to increase the amount of food, water and supplies I had on hand and I wanted to learn more preparedness skills. I’ve also been on the learning to be more self-reliant bandwagon for at least 40 years.

When my husband died last year, I realized that I wasn’t nearly as self-reliant as I thought I was and I realized that there’s something more vital to dealing with emergencies and crises than emergency skill sets and being self-reliant, but I’ve heard hardly anyone talk about it in the prepper community. Yes, those are very important too, but the thing that’s really going to allow you to use those skill sets and self-reliance know-how to advantage is by becoming more resilient.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done was watch my husband die. It’s been a difficult adjustment and today I was thinking about him all day long, because November 1st was our wedding anniversary.

Yes, some people seem to adapt and find ways to thrive, even in extremely challenging times and other people crumble into an emotional train wreck at the first sign of adversity, but everyone can learn better coping skills and ways to become more resilient. We can all fall into doom and gloom thoughts, especially in challenging times, but we can also work to dig ourselves out of that mind-set too. Almost everyone will face situations in their life that will knock them to their knees or where they need help from friends, family or even strangers. We all will make mistakes, fail, handle some situation badly, or wish we could have a do-over. I’ve let fear and anxiety creep into my thoughts many times, that’s why I’m working to limit how much doom and gloom information I pay attention to.

It’s easy to begin personalizing major crises in the news, even when it isn’t really impacting us directly or in any dramatic way. If you live in hurricane country, all these reports of impending economic collapse and other dire events, feel like we’re living perpetually in that “cone of uncertainty,” not sure when or if we’re going to take a direct hit, but knowing we’re in that cone. With my impulse-buying a turkey last year, based on fear, after seeing reports of a turkey shortage, that was a wake-up call to me that I was letting too much doom and gloom information impact me. I’ve been working on stepping back and doing reality checks on the news and information bombarding us constantly, then thinking about whether it’s a big deal in my life right now or not, if I should take any action now, and what I could do if it does actually impact my life directly.

By trying to be more optimistic and looking for positive solutions rather than letting a lot of fear and anxiety take hold, it’s helped me relax more and enjoy each day. Seriously, if you’ve been stocking up your pantry for a while and have lots of meal options at your fingertips, then whether you can find a turkey or not isn’t really a crisis situation. When I thought about my concern about a turkey shortage, considering the other options for meals I already had, I felt embarrassed for being so ridiculous. My husband would have been rolling his eyes at me if he had been here to hear me tell him about my concern about a turkey shortage. He would have said something to the effect, “Well, we’ll just eat something else, duh!” He was definitely way more resilient than I am and he found quick solutions to things I was turning into a bigger deal than they really were. I’m trying to learn to become more adaptable and solution-oriented. And I’m also working on trying to smile more and find things each day to be grateful for.

There are all sorts of resilience training books, training and even information online with approaches to take to learn to be more resilient. With all the other prepper advice, learning more about resilience training, might be something worth considering.

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Some gardening and jigsaw puzzles

On my back porch we put windows in years ago (and AC/heat). I’ve finally started using the back porch again. My husband spent most of his days for years sitting out there watching TV, so as his health declined, keeping him comfortable became a high priority. He was a smoker and smoked out there. It’s taken me over a year and half to begin to feel comfortable sitting out there. I recently began using the little table out there to work on jigsaw puzzles.

Last fall I took in two stray kittens, who have the need to examine everything. I even put birthday flowers one of my kids sent out there too. These cats found that balloon mesmerizing That porch is also where I sit to sew now, because of these cats. It’s taken me a year to adjust to having cats in the house and although I am still very much a dog person, I’ve gotten attached to Roscoe (the gray-striped one) and Percy (the black one.) They took over the old dog bed. I still have one dog – my husband’s rescue terrier mutt, Marius, who is 15 years old and in poor health.

After writing several Ukraine blog posts, I decided I’ve said all I’ve wanted to say about Ukraine at the moment. I’m still following the news and I check the Twitter spin war situation each day and look at YouTube a bit, but I’ve stopped watching a lot of prepper channels, because the fearmongering and alarmism on many of them I believe are mostly clickbait and people who know fear sells.

Lately, I’ve been trying to get back to working on some old hobbies again, although I’m still working on prepping on a regular basis too. I was always buying extra and trying to be prepared for emergencies, even before I discovered the online prepping community. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good prepping information online too, but as the economic and political situation in America has worsened more and more YouTube preppers and homesteaders have started stoking fear and spreading every right-wing rumor blazing by. Most of it is garbage. My focus has shifted to learning more skills and working on a few small projects at a time. I’m also trying to spend more time reading and less online.

I live in a residential area, where having chickens is allowed. A neighbor a few houses down recently got guineas, who make loud screechy sounds all day long. The first day, I was like what on earth is that racket. I don’t mind chickens, but I must say these guinea hens are really annoying. Here’s a video of the sound guineas make:

I love working on jigsaw puzzles. When my kids were young a friend had told me she used a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth on her kitchen table, so she could keep her jigsaw puzzle under it. When she wanted to work on her puzzle she just rolled the tablecloth back. I began doing that too and it worked great, but these two cats have to get into everything that I’m doing, so I opted for the table on the back porch. I like working my puzzles on a piece of foam core board, so I can turn the puzzle any way I want it while I’m working on it, although one of my kids gave me a very nice wooden puzzle board with drawers for Christmas last year. Here are two other puzzles I finished recently:

I’ve still got some things growing in my container garden and plan to continue this through the winter. I’m in growing zone 8b and I’ve kept my hanging ferns, a hibiscus and some other plants going for years, by just putting them together in a corner of my front porch and throwing an old bed sheet over them on nights where it’s supposed to get below freezing here. January is usually our coldest month, but even in January the average low temperature is in the 40s and by late February most years there are some flowers and things beginning to grow again. My hibiscus on my front porch often blooms throughout the winter, as do the roses.

Putting the black weed block fabric down and woodchips for my container garden area looked nice, but grass and weeds are now growing on top of the wood chips. I’ve even had zinnias and cosmos start growing in the wood chips. I stuck some of those in flower pots on the patio:

The most interesting new herbs I’ve grown this year were lemon basil, which I’ve dried a lot and saved seeds, and lemon balm. I planted lemon balm seeds, with no real idea how I’d use it, so did a little research online and came across some videos. Here’s my lemon balm:

I’m going to recommend a YouTube channel, Rain Country, where I’ve learned a lot about herbal remedies and uses. The lady, Heidi, sews a lot, which appeals to me, but I also enjoy her calm demeanor and common sense approach to life. This video on growing where you’re at really struck a chord with me:

The dramatic titles and clickbait drama may get the most traffic online, but there’s a lot more value with many of the YouTubers who skip all the drama.

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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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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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The second part on militias

Here goes with why I decided to write about militias. Going back to the Tea Party movement among some of the GOP a decade ago, there was a resurgence of “let’s find our inner-George Washington” or “let’s become like the American patriots who founded our republic” type sentiments hyped. That’s all well and good, except many of the people who jumped on that bandwagon never cracked a book on early American history in their life and their fervor came from listening to right-wing pundits.

Alongside that Tea Party movement, a strain of wild conspiratorial thinking grew – all centered on President Obama – from right-wingers believing he was not an American citizen (the birther craziness), to some believing he was a Manchurian Candidate. Donald J. Trump embraced the Obama birther conspiracy theories and moved from NY liberal into hobnobbing with some people within right-wing, anti-Obama pundit circles. Btw, Obama’s mother was an American citizen, so wherever her son was born, he was entitled to American citizenship.

That same sort of pundit-driven hype that drove the Tea Party movement happened again with the populist Trump movement and while I do understand the concerns and some of the issues that galvanized the Trump movement, a lot of it smacked of the shallow celebrity worship, I expect on the left. I was supportive of the Tea Party movement and that “let’s find our inner-George Washington” was where I’d been since my teens in the 1970s. I was not on the Trump train.

Now, the hard part to try to put into words – how I feel about J-6. I found the events of that day appalling. I found Trump’s behavior as president disgraceful and I believe his conduct pushing that Stolen Election effort to try to stop Congress from carrying out its constitutional duty of certifying the electoral college vote, a dereliction of duty. However, I do not believe the Trump supporters (and whoever else was part of that crowd) were taking part in an insurrection.

Many things can be true at the same time, yes, there were likely FBI informants mixed into that crowd and yes, there were likely some left-wing troublemakers there too. That said, a large part of that crowd was just ordinary Americans, who believed Trump’s lies. He used those people. I believe it’s likely there were Democrats working to try to facilitate mayhem that day too and the glaring lack of adequate security at the Capitol raises all sorts of questions, in my mind.

The one death that day was a young woman, Ashli Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force vet, who had become a very devoted, very online Trump-supporter, who believed all of Trump’s “stolen election” hoopla. From statements her family made to the press in the immediate aftermath, before right-wing lawyers steered her family to legal action, the picture that emerged was of someone who truly believed she was going to Washington to do her patriotic duty and “stop the steal.” I’m not going to argue whether the officer who shot and killed her fired in haste, but I will say she was trying to crawl through a shattered window, after being ordered to stop.

To this day Trump still tries to reignite that same sort of rage about a stolen election and even yesterday he was posting on social media that Biden should be removed from office, because the election was stolen and that he should be president. Our constitutional system has no mechanism for that to happen. Period. If Biden is removed from office, resigns, or dies in office, then Kamala Harris, the vice-president, will be sworn in as president and I support sticking to the constitution, not making up crap to suit partisan political agendas. Trump’s entire effort to “stop the steal” was made-up crap. There was no constitutional process to stop Congress from certifying the electoral college vote, once the states certified their electoral votes.

In 2016, there were some Dem pundits and lawyers, who believed Russia helped Trump steal the election and online they were floating postponing Trump’s inauguration until the “Trump/Russia Collusion” was investigated, but that effort got nowhere. Instead, the Dem #Resist effort to delegitimize and try to destroy Trump’s presidency, by any means necessary, began. In 2020, Trump borrowed from the Dem playbook and attempted his “Stop the Steal” effort.

That brings me to the present and the Biden administration hype about “MAGA Republicans” and smearing just about anyone on the right as a threat to our democracy, coupled with all the extreme green-energy transformation and all the new ESG rules that are being pushed. Many Americans on the right feel like our constitutional system is under attack and I’ve heard warnings about “civil war” from both sides of the aisle. About a year ago, there was a spell, where a right-wing pundit was pushing the idea of a “civil divorce.”

Currently, I’ve seen a lot of online commentary from the right about “preparing to defend”… your home, community, your way of life, America writ large, etc. I’ve listened to these ideas being presented various ways from basic “be prepared to defend your home,” in case of civil unrest or civil breakdown, all the way to ideas being floated that, despite the euphemistic wording, sound like talk about planning a General Petraeus-worthy COINista effort (counter-insurgency type effort)… in America.

While I find it perfectly fine to prepare to defend your home, all of these efforts, outside the government system, to organize and plan for supplanting domestic policing or national defense or whatever these people think they’re planning, are not only problematic, it’s likely going to justifiably lead to FBI effort to infiltrate and monitor that group quickly. And again, I agree with the FBI monitoring groups that start planning military-type operations inside America or planning to create their own law enforcement. Heck, I’ve even had concerns over the years with some of the neighborhood watch efforts, that have sprung up in various places. I like a governmental system in place and clear rules, not some random groups making up their own rules.

Once again, the militias in early America operated within a legal system, under the auspices of the Royal crown. During the Revolutionary War, the militias who joined the Continental Army operated under that framework and General George Washington established rules quickly – and there were court martials aplenty. Here’s a link to more information on General Washington in the American Revolution: https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/the-revolutionary-war/timeline/

We should all be doing whatever we can to bolster civil order, the constitution and good citizenship, I believe, rather than spending so much time getting worked up every day by the latest online rumor to sweep through right-wing social media or be hyped on some right-wing news site or by some right-wing pundit. This is where the staying calm part matters.

Let’s suppose the economy starts going through even more dire major problems and all sorts of really bad things begin to happen. I expect Dem-run states and cities, who embraced all the green-energy crazy (not to mention the “defund the police” insanity) to fare much worse than red states, who don’t go along with that. Pulling together to try to work to keep as much of America functioning, keep the people calm and working together, keep emergency services functioning – within the system, makes more sense than a bunch of random groups of angry men, who have half-baked COINista ideas wanting to take charge.

There sure seem to be a lot of people who declare “America is over!” or “We’re doomed!” while life is still going along for most of America – granted the inflation is really hurting millions of people and it’s getting hard, but stores are still open and most of the country is still working. The place that’s looking like the biggest train wreck so far is CA, where the far-left crazy has led them to want to lead the country off the green-energy cliff.

Even the American founding fathers borrowed heavily from English law and traditions – they didn’t try to throw out the baby with the bath water. Preserving things is easier than trying to rebuild things after total devastation and that’s why violence should be the absolute last resort. Watching the J-6 violence and the violent BLM rioting has left me wondering why so many people could get caught up in a mob mentality so easily.

Communities all over America can use volunteers to help out, so if you want to save America, that’s a positive step in the right direction and it’s more productive than running around with guns in ghillie suits or camo.

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A bit more on my last post

I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to figure out the WordPress “autosaving” problem that I’ve been having, where I can’t edit or publish my posts lately, so I decided to retype the blog post into a new post and see if I could publish it – that worked, although there’s a shading in the background for part of the post that I didn’t put there and I have no idea how to remove.  I also decided to leave part of the post off and I’m going to add that here.

I know a lot of people aren’t familiar with the military and many women just automatically veer away from military topics, but a lot of ways of thinking that military planners and thinkers use can be applied to life in general – and they don’t involve violence or brute force.  Often military people use the term, force multiplier, and here’s a quick definition from Wiktionary:

“Noun[edit]

force multiplier (plural force multipliers)

  1. (military) A factor, such as better positioning or equipment, which increases a unit’s combat potential, allowing it to fight on a par with a larger force.”

As odd as it may seem military strategy and concepts can be applied to your own life to help plan, prepare and organize.  Businesses often borrow those military concepts and retool them to improve how their businesses organize and operate.  I like using military strategic concepts in my thinking, because they have been tested under the most extreme and difficult human endeavor – war – and they work.

Being able to still find some quiet resolve and good cheer, no matter how chaotic and crazy the world gets, is a huge force multiplier when all sorts of powerful people and entities are trying to implement and sell dramatic changes in the world.  The noise from all that chaos, as experts and politicians flood the zone with fear-dripping hot takes, dire warnings, crazy policy decisions and most of all more “spin word games” can not only leave you scared, it can leave you immobilized.  The liberal media does these repetitive messaging spin games, where they repeat the same spin words and phrases constantly, to condition you into adopting and buying into their deliberate language manipulation. 

It’s terrible to feel powerless to change anything, so don’t let anyone make you feel powerless, because the minute you buy into that, you’ve surrendered.  Each of us can still carve out our own bits of self-autonomy and personal agency, by being committed in our beliefs, by sticking to our values and by not allowing all of the rapid changes bombarding us to scare us into panic or disarray.

Knowing what you believe and staying calm – no matter how crazy things get can also be a huge force multiplier, for not only you, but for your family and if you work on building a circle of like-minded friends and community, well, that increases your ability to not jut survive, but to thrive.  Don’t forget how to smile and laugh.  Life without some lightness and joy can feel crushing.

Even in the worst of times there are usually a few practical things people can do to better their chances of survival.  Throughout history people have had to deal with devastating natural disasters, political turmoil, economic devastation, famine, plagues, and they didn’t have even a fraction of the material goods most of us take for granted.

Yes, we are in unchartered times with very big events, that could upend our way of life, playing out, but each day we have, where we can still set out to prepare, organize, work on some new skills and projects, is a day we won.

Try to look for the good.  I’m trying to work on “something that I can do” and feel that each day of hope is a day I’ve used as a force multiplier in combatting the forces (these can be politicians, media, even people you know, who try to deflate your efforts or spread doom and gloom) trying to spread fear or pushing me to buy into things that I do not believe. 

Taking that Edward Everett Hale idea about Ten Times One Is Ten, is about being a force multiplier – one person’s generosity and kind heart changed the lives of ten people, who did not even know each other or that he had helped so many other people.  Everyone can work to be a force multiplier for spreading kindness, lending a helping hand and being a good citizen. 

Hale’s religious and patriotic writings were intended to spread not only Christian values, but also civic virtue.  Up until the 1960s in America, teaching good citizenship, based on instilling values (civic virtue) was considered an integral part of children’s education.  We can all work to fill in those gaps in our own education and in those of our children. 

For me, I know I believe in God, I know I believe in the oath I swore to defend the Constitution, against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.  I know I believe in the right to free speech and peaceful assembly.  I could go on and list the right to self-defense and the other rights guaranteed to me as a law-abiding American citizen. 

And beyond these, I believe love can defeat hate and most of all I believe truth is more powerful than even the most sophisticated spin information war apparatus in the world.  Even the tiniest spark of truth can defeat miles of the darkness of lies.  And if each of us works to spread a tiny spark of truth, well, the darkness of lies doesn’t stand a chance. 

Each of us has to decide what we believe and wear it as a sort of coat of armor against all the crazy spin word games and other craziness hitting us the minute we turn to news media or social media these days.  We can even choose not to give so much of our time to so much darkness.  Each of us has the power to limit a lot of the chaos and political noise in our lives and we have the power to focus on the “something that I can do” every single day.

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Blog gremlins again…

Part of today’s post disappeared and WordPress editing isn’t allowing me to edit this post – another one of those “glitches” I mentioned recently. I guess my expecting this crap to continue, because of my Twitter activity, would make me just paranoid, but after all these years of fighting to expose the corrupt Dem spin information war and having these computer “gremlin” issues when there’s a major Dem spin effort, that I am trying to “defuse” on Twitter, well, so be it. I’m still online and that’s what counts, lol.

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