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The Pagan Version of Halloween Was Better

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Posted on : 12:13 PM | By : Nic | In : , ,

 The other day we did our Halloween shopping, mostly just going to the Value Village to find costumes.  It's a family tradition to have good costumes, and it's always been more about the fun of dressing up than getting the candy.  I've been the good witch Glenda, a gypsy, a blue super hero, a dark princess, a hippie, a mime... all typical things but all with real stuff.  The best costume I ever had was in kindergarten. My mom collected antique clothes and because they shrink with time, it didn't take much modification to make an 1800's red ladies riding dress fit me.  To top it off, an original pillbox hat with a lace veil.  This year we found some high quality animal suits, an elephant for Autumn, a white tiger for Annie and with some face painting they'll be warm enough to get a good haul, lol.  


What bothers me about shopping for Halloween items is the array of grotesque, ugly dead-looking things.  I'm not sure what an undead or decaying bug-eyed old man has to do with Halloween.  How did this holiday get associated with murder, or cursed mummies?  Today for a school project we looked into the history of Halloween, and Annie dictated a little essay about it, which I am not unfamiliar with, but it reminded me of how friendly and gentle the original pagan Halloween was.  

Samhain was originally a day to celebrate a time when people believed the world of the dead grew a little closer to the day of the living.  They dressed up as animals and other disguises and threw gifts into the bonfire for the gods.  They looked back at their ancestors and appreciated them, and the priests gave prophecies of the future.  After partying late into the night, they celebrated the New Year, which was the next day.  The whole thing had nothing to do with scaring our socks off with bogeymen and criminals, nobody had pretend knives going through their heads.  It was kind of a more like a harvest festival.  

I often read complaints about our holidays having too many pagan influences, and it's true, all the holidays we celebrate are pagan.  But often what disturbs me more is how we've twisted the original version into a grotesque and commercialized, and in the case of Halloween, violent rip-off of what used to be a family-centered celebration of gratitude for something.

So here are some tips for this winter's holiday season:
1. Rather than buying something necessary for the holiday, make it.  Make your Halloween costumes, your gingerbread men, your popcorn strings.  Many people rush around during the holidays in frenzied buying sprees, but if you take a breath to make something you can find your center.
2.  By the same token, don't go crazy trying to make everything for everyone.  If your goal is to make 20,000 cookies for all 500 of your neighbors, that's just ridiculous.  If you must buy it in order to keep your sanity, then do.  If you don't have time to make a pie, don't worry about it.  Family is more important.
3.  There's nothing wrong with sweets, but there is with too much sweets.  Every holiday activity seems to revolve around the candy and treats.  When you spend time making stuff and holiday rituals, you can make it revolve around traditions instead.  Ration the treats, but not the togetherness.
4.  Stay away from Black Friday.  Many people that I know are buying or making handmade gifts, or giving away charitable gifts to third-world countries.  It's fun to go to the mall and get in on the Christmas fun, but don't get sucked into the consumerism of it.  
5.  Get inspired by the old ways.  Get some books of traditions such as my favorites, Mrs. Sharp's Traditions, or A Time to Keep. Or look even deeper into the really old ways (Google is great for that).  Keep alive the traditions of your own family, and even of the cultures that your ancestors came from.  
6.  Make a fire.  Every culture seems to have a tradition of gathering around the fire (and now with the invention of hot chocolate and marshmallows this is even better).  Find a way to gather around a bonfire at least once this holiday season.

Happy Halloween!

How to Fail at Intentional Community

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Posted on : 8:58 AM | By : Nic | In : ,

Intentional community is something that I have gotten asked about a lot.  It's when a bunch of people who would be strangers, decide to live together.  The truth is that most intentional communities fail. In fact, they've all failed eventually.  The only communities that have survived past the lifetimes of the founders are large ancient cities like Rome and Cairo.  This doesn't bode well for intentional communities because those survived based on trade and geographic location.


But, they serve a purpose for those who start them, even if they don't last.  I live in a kind of unique situation.  I temporarily live in a house with my family and two other people, one who was an acquaintance and one a stranger.  We share the kitchen, the pots and pans, the fridge.  While it could be a 'community', it is not.  It is a mutually beneficial arrangement for monetary rewards.


But it (and other arrangements in which I've lived with extended family) have taught me the rules of living with others.  I have to say, everyone in the house respects these rules without fail.
1.  Don't share food.
2. Keep the kitchen clean.  This means if someone didn't quite have time to clean up their plate before work, and you do, clean it.  Then the next time around they'll do the same for you.  If you're in the kitchen, make it clean.
3. Communicate pet peeves.  We've used sticky notes like, "Please avoid putting the anodized pans in the dishwasher! *smiley face*"  or face to face.
4.  Keep common areas clean (and other areas as well).  
5.  Everyone in the house fortunately sleeps in at any opportunity, and when they are early risers for work, everyone is pretty quiet.  The point is, respect everyone's schedule.
6.  Shared laundry facilities can be tricky.  I have to do quite a bit of laundry - 5-7 loads a week.  I simply don't do laundry on other people's weekends or after work hours.  
7.  Mutual respect.  It doesn't really matter who you live with as long as everyone has mutual respect for each other.  

That said, I had wanted to live in an intentional community for a long time.  But the experience of living with others is not the same as the ideal.  This temporary arrangement is just that - temporary, and then we will have a private residence.  I am not sure that humans are meant to live in the same house or share vital necessities.  Sharing food or goods works for a few cultures, I suppose, but even then, they have private property.  Community is not living with people, but finding companionship and mutual respect among people that are different.

The way to fail at intentional community?  Live in one.  Eventually all intentional communities and communes reach a point in which people simply get tired.  It's not really a failure... it's just that what needed to be learned, has been learned.

Frugality vs. Voluntary Simplicity

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Posted on : 6:22 PM | By : Nic | In :

I would like to clarify a couple more catchphrases (I tend to do that sometimes) that float around. When you Google 'voluntary simplicity', you will find lots and lots of websites about frugality.  It's as if voluntary simplicity has become synonymous with being frugal.  On some websites it's the same as being cheap.  Yes, one facet of voluntary simplicity is being out of debt, but I think it is only effect of the mindset.


What Voluntary Simplicity is Not:
It is not using cheap tricks, such as stretching milk with water and peeling your 2-ply apart into 1-ply.
It is not denying yourself small luxuries so that you don't have to work.
It is not being a lazy bum.
It is not the life you see in Real Simple magazine (although it is a fun magazine to read).
It is not living like a ascetic in an effort to prove yourself better than others.

What it really is:
It is not being a slave to your stuff.  Most people go to work at a job they don't like, so they can pay for stuff that they bought on credit, which they have to keep working for in order to stay afloat.

Voluntary simplicity usually means buying less, but getting more because quality becomes a major concern.  When you live on less, you have the freedom to be picky where and when you work.  In fact, this can make you even more valuable to an employer, if you spend your spare time developing yourself. When everyone else ends up shopping and at the movies for fun, voluntary simplicity people play Charades and board games and go hiking.

When you start out this in this, it usually means starting to declutter your house.  It gradually grows to decluttering your life, your finances, your work, your diet, your family and even your beliefs.  The Keep it Simple Stupid saying definitely applies - whatever simplifies your life, and is a voluntary choice that most people wouldn't choose, falls under the category voluntary simplicity.

I suppose I am saying that buying something the makes your life simpler and gives you more time to spend with your family is not something to feel guilty about. :)  Which may not be the most frugal choice, but is the best one.

Living Without Plastic (and Other Nasty Stuff)

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Posted on : 2:19 PM | By : Nic | In : ,

Our home has become pretty much a toxin-free zone, a project I've been working on for a couple of years.  What's so great about eliminating toxins is that you also eliminate environmentally damaging materials as well.  Here's a shakedown of what we've done:


1.  Avoiding disposable plastics.  We use cloth bags for shopping, and we don't use plastic wrap.  I haven't been able to eliminate plastics in packaging yet... but if I have the option I go for glass or biodegradable corn plastic.

2.  Avoiding toxic materials in the home. We don't have those soft plastic shower curtains, no plastic plates or cups, no MDF or pressboard furniture, all of our plastic toys are made in Europe which means they use safe plastics, and our computers are Apple which also use safe plastics.

3.  Avoiding disposable items altogether.  I have cloth napkins, cloths for wiping up instead of paper towels and sponges, will soon have cloth diapers, and I usually use reusable feminine hygiene products.  

4.  No credit cards, lol.  Our wallets have very little plastic in them - I.D., Costco and library cards, and Interac.  Living debt free means less plastic too. :)

I think people also think that being 'green' means being expensive, which can sometimes be true, especially in the case of big items like mattresses.  Here's the list of low- costalternatives for all kinds of bad things:

Plastic bags - cloth (now all our grocery stores have them for cheap)
Produce bags - mesh bags
Packaging - buy in bulk and try to reuse the containers for storage
Cheap MDF - cheap pine (IKEA and JYSK or great for that)
Plastic storage bins - wood boxes and baskets, or reused food containers
Plastic toys - wood toys, less toys, and European toys
Paper towels - cloth
Disposable diapers - cloth diapers
Wipes - cloth wipes
Giant plastic-covered strollers - Baby slings and wraps
Plastic shower curtain - cloth or some vinyl curtains
Disposable feminine hygiene - Diva cup or cloth pads
PC - Apple
Credit cards - cash
Tupperware - glass and stainless steel containers
Toilet paper - cloth wipes or bidet or bidet seat or bidet attachment
Office paper - PDF and email work just as well
Poison cleaners - Nature's Ultimate, Simple Green, or baking soda and vinegar
Makeup - mineral makeup (there are lots now) like Physician's Formula (I use it and it's cheap)
Lawn weed poison - make your lawn edible
Mothballs - lavender and cedar
Cheap vacuum - the nicest HEPA vacuums don't work: you need a sealed vacuum made of high quality plastic
Mattress - natural is devastatingly expensive and hard to buy: let a new mattress air for 2 weeks, and don't add stain-resistor. Or try IKEA Heidel.
Baby beds - use a hammock such as Amby
Non-stick cookware - cast iron, stainless steel, or anodized
Toothpaste - Tom's of Maine or baking soda
Microwave - not radioactive, simply unhealthy: use the stove or oven
Bottled water - stainless steel or reusable
Soap and lotion - natural stuff in glass jars
Ozone air purifiers - ozone causes breathing problems: IQAir may be the only one that actually does anything worthwhile, like removing offgases


Free Date Idea - Go to the Old City Quarter

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Posted on : 12:43 PM | By : Nic | In : ,

Whenever we go downtown and want to go into a specialty shop, we often find this to be a dangerous undertaking with two curious children who look with their hands instead of their eyes.


So our free date this week was to go to the Old City and just walk around.  We popped into shops that we can't normally go into, starting with Kool & Child.  I figured out where to get more expansions for my Settlers of Catan, and those history board games I've been wanting, as well as a source for high-quality arts and craft supplies for the girls.  Not to mention an amazing quantity of Playmobile that we played with for most of the time.

Then we walked around by John's new job location (he's not going to be unjobbing anymore, but rather the store manager of an Apple retailer - his dream job, lol).  Across the street is an excellent used book shop, the kind of shop that I would own with the same selection of books.  Fantastic out of print and collectible stuff.  We sat in there and read until we realized we had to leave or it wouldn't be a free date anymore.

We also walked into Flying Fish, which had some very interesting things - giant buddha heads, bamboo furniture that was so beautiful and smooth, natural home products, cast iron cookware and other unique items.

So the date wasn't completely free - we walked into a cafe and I got a Snapple and a cookie, because I'm pregnant, lol.

Awesome Etsy Costumes

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Posted on : 12:17 PM | By : Nic | In : ,






My Favorite Criminal

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Posted on : 10:12 AM | By : Nic | In :

One of my greatest heros is a rebel, a man who has gotten into a lot of trouble because of some of his dissent.  What's so funny about this man is that he has a great many people who idolize him but fail to recognize his more criminal behavior.  To them he is 'pure', while to me he is my hero because of his subversion.


Some things he should be more known for:

Heresy.  He challenges major religious authorities and their doctrine.  Even though he lives in an area where people are free to worship as they please, he purposely finds ways to challenge interpretation of ancient law and scripture.  At one point this led to violence in a sacred house of worship.

Politically dangerous.  He often has hordes of people leaving jobs and homes to sit and listen to his speeches, which tend to encourage political action.  This has led to arrests, economic problems and protests.  Such a charismatic leader is considered too dangerous and too radical.

Hanging Out With the Wrong People.  He routinely associates with the low-life's of the world... prostitutes, the homeless, profiteers, drunks, vagrants... He doesn't 'work with them' from a charitable point of view - he lives with them and would rather be part of their group than the acceptable crowd.  He is one of them.

Criminal Activity. He routinely breaks the law.  Not only economic laws and tax laws, but also helping criminals to go free, becoming an associate of crime himself.

He Loves to Party.  He always seems to be hanging out at the most drunken parties, and has been known to provide copious amounts of high quality alcohol to parties himself.

A Quack Doctor.  Medical professionals find him frustrating for his claims to be able to cure incurable diseases and malformations.  His brand of alternative medicine is considered fraudulent at best.

He Is a Commie.  He advocates a complete change of lifestyle for the wealthy - giving up everything and distributing it to the poor in a rudimentary communist welfare system.  

I could go on and on about this, giving examples for each of these things, but I think it is pretty recognizable.  I have other heroes as well - Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Buddha, but none are as volatile and criminal as this one.

Because he styled himself a spiritual leader, the bulk of his public speeches were about the doctrines of the previous thousands of years and how we didn't need them.  We didn't need the law if we loved each other.  We didn't need priests and authorities if we were priests ourselves.  We didn't need hierarchies and institutions - we need to simply share with each other.  He bashed down social classes and hung out with the untouchables - the lepers and his era's equivalent of carnies, pawn brokers, drunks and whores.  He continually emphasized that it wasn't what you believed, it was how you treated others.  He told people to quit worrying about what they did for a living and what they did with their lives, because God provides.  His message was freedom.

What is left of his legacy is only barely recognizable in the form of a few outcast individuals and writers who try to wake people up from the herd mentality.  You know that crazy dirty homeless man on the street corner with the sign?  He's the guy Jesus would have been over to dinner with - not me, and not you.

A Little Lesson on Socialism, and How It's Not What You Think

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Posted on : 12:12 PM | By : Nic | In :

This is probably my one post that is even remotely related to the election. I often have people in my family pushing American political propaganda on me since I tend to be a fence-sitter when it comes to politics (i.e. I have a difficult time picking a side when my conspiracy-theory loving self likes to think everyone is part of Big Brother, lol).  One thing that I have noticed from all sides is that there is a lot of finger pointing that so-and-so is socialist or communist.  I'm not sure if people know what those terms mean.  Also, it may interest my American friends what our major political parties are here in Canada, and which ones got seats in Parliament in our recent federal election.


In my city, the top six major parties were the the Conservative Party, National Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the Christian Heritage Party, and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada.  Besides the obvious fact that there is a Communist party, you may wonder why there is both a Democratic party and a Liberal party?  The National Democratic Party is also known as the Socialist party, because it is.  The Liberal party is more similar to the Democratic party in the US.  The beauty of having so many parties is that the Prime Minister right now may have more seats from his party than any other party, but all those other parties combined create a majority that outweighs him.  A Prime Minister with a minority government can only compromise and work together with everyone else. 

The only parties that actually got seats in the House of Commons were the Conservatives, Liberals, Quebecois, NDP, and a couple of independents. So in American terms, it's like having Republicans, Democrats, Alaskan Separatists, and Socialists all having to be in the same Congress.

So, Canadians laugh when either of the candidates are labeled 'socialist' because it's clear that the accuser doesn't really know what that means.

Socialism, by definition, is "a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole."  In British Columbia, insurance, ferry system, power companies, and even some liquor stores are all 'Crown Corporations' or owned by the Province.  Federally, the Crown owns Canada Post, CBC, AirCanada, and ViaRail.  Strangely, the Crown-owned television station seems to have the most unbiased news. Not to mention the socialized medicine and our baby bonus, a check that comes every month simply for having children.  Even though this appears very socialist by American standards, even Canadian Conservatives advocate and understand the importance of Crown companies for medical care, transportation, power and other human rights.

I get the feeling that when people throw around the word 'socialist', they are really thinking fascist.  Mussolini and Nazism are fascist.  By the dictionary definition, fascism is "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization." My dictionary adds: "Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach." A demagogue is "a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument."

In a two party system, like America has, it is very easy to compare because the parties are continuing to appear more and more opposite of each other.  Which one is using rhetoric that implicates the supremacy of one ethnic group?  Which one appeals to prejudice rather than using a rational argument?


The Only Ten Things You Need for a Baby

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Posted on : 11:27 AM | By : Nic | In : , ,

Every time I go to the grocery store, I have to laugh at the people carrying these massive car seats with their baby tucked away inside, hefting it by the plastic handle with both hands.  They lean it up against shelves, boxes, fruit, because they get so tired.  It seems so inefficient to me.  I also have to chuckle at parents who have a very tiny baby in a gigantic stroller that can barely make it through tiny aisles and around tight corners.  


Parents buy SO much stuff and when the get ready to go places they fill the car with piles of equipment.  My goal with both my babies was to have as little as possible, because the baby doesn't need it, and he will be much happier without them.

1. Slings - Not Car Seat Carriers.  Any kind of sling will do.  I made my own sling out of polar fleece (I would post links but if you type 'make baby sling' into Google you will find hundreds).  I recommend the simple tube/pouch sling for nursing and quick in-and-out, and also a wrap or Moby style sling for use on the back (and they grow with your baby).  Obviously you still need a car seat, but keep it where it belongs - in the car.

2.  Shower Sling - Not Plastic Bathtubs. There are several water wraps available (such as Gypsy Mama's).  I have heard so many moms complain that they can never shower anymore.  My own babies hated the plastic bathtub, the sink, the big bathtub, everything.  But then they equally hated the shower when they were babies.  Instead, put the baby in the sling and wash with them.  Start this habit young and they will love it.  Then you can go swimming too!

3.  Hammocks and Sheepskin - Not Cribs. I can understand not wanting to co-sleep, but I don't understand putting the baby in another room.  They wake up so often, who wants to go trotting through the house when it would be so much easier to just reach over and scoop them up.  One easy solution is one of those side-beds, but you could also try a hammock bed such as the Moffii or Amby.  Another great thing is a baby lambskin.  If your baby becomes used to sleeping on a moisture-resistant, antibacterial, soft lambskin, they can learn to sleep just about anywhere because you can take that lambskin everywhere.

4. Cloth - Not Pampers.  I know, it's a bit hypocritical that I used Pampers with both my kids.  But only because I lived in an apartment and the cost to do laundry far outweighed the cost of the diapers!  Now that I have access to free laundry right in my own home, it is now a different story.  And I do have experience with cloth diapers, because I was lucky enough to change my cloth-diapered-brother's bum when he was a baby, right down to sloshing them in the toilet.  Having a few backups is ok, but you will save TONS, never have to run out for diapers late at night, and will be helping the environment monumentally - and most importantly, keeping toxic cancer-causing chemicals off your child's skin.

5. Wool Covers - Not Plastic.  Rather than the old-style plastic pants and wraps for your cloth diapers, try using wool wraps or soaker pants.  Not only are these easy to make, you only need a few because they are so moisture-resistant and antibacterial you can reuse them.  When you do have to wash them, you simply use a lanolin wash to keep the wool soft and waterproof.  Plus, you don't need pins or fasteners for the diapers. 

6. Diaper Pail - As much as I hate plastic, probably this is a time when it is necessary.  Any kind of large plastic bucket, trash can, or pail will work as long as it has a lid.  It will need a bit of ventilation.  You also need a couple of washable washable nylon bags to line the pail with.  Then you simply dump the diapers in the washing machine along with the bag.

7. Flannel - Not Wipes!  Baby wipes are awesome and convenient, but if you want to one-up the wipe system, get cloth wipes that you simply throw in with the cloth diapers.  Many cloth diapering stores (such as Cloth Babies) offer kits that include the wipes, a wipe warmer, and the wipe liquid spray.  But you can make your own wipe liquid like this:
1/2 distilled water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 aloe vera gel
1 tablespoon calendula oil
1 drop lavender essential oil

8.  Diaper Ointment - You should be putting baby bum cream on your baby every time you change a diaper.  There are lots of natural diaper creams on the market today... I've found (even in the case of the wipe liquid above) that getting essential oils is quite expensive, even more so than buying the actual mass-produced product.  The best cream is the one with the highest zinc content.  Also, if you avoid diapers as much as possible then that is the best prevention for rash (look up Elimination Communication).  

9. Cabbage - Not Pumps.  Really this should be Breast - Not Bottles.  But really if you experience an overproduction of milk, simply breastfeed more and put a cabbage leaf on there until it reaches a reasonable level.  Bottles aren't necessary either, nor are soothers.  Once your child is introduced solid foods after 6-8 months, eventually they will stop needing the breast at all and can go directly to a cup.

10. Baby Clothes - Not Accessories.  I see so many shopping pages and stores that say 'Baby Accessories'.  It sounds a little too close to 'Barbie Accessories' to me, lol.  If you are already using natural soaps in your house, and non-toxic products, then the last thing you need is baby clothes, some blankets, and a much bigger purse.  I currently use a large cotton bag with a natural print to carry all the pens, handkerchiefs, extra panties and misc. art supplies that I need, but I think with three I'll need a slightly bigger one.  Any bag works, but dividers are nice. 

That's all you need for a baby.  We also have a stroller that we found used for $60 and it has lasted us for everyone, but we usually put stuff in it rather than children.  It is especially useful for book sales.  Invariably though we expect our children to walk, and they do. :)

More On Cultivating Wild Edible Plants

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Posted on : 10:44 AM | By : Nic | In : , , , ,

When I get a new idea I know that there is nothing new under the sun and I simply have to go to Google to find someone else who has thought of it first. But, nobody ever puts anything I think of into a nice little guide to put into practical use. Here are my notes on cultivating wild plants for self-sufficiency and sustainability:

Lists of Wild Edible Plants (and Recipes):


Obviously (and many of these sites warn of this), if everyone ran into the woods and started grabbing up plants it would be devastating, especially since many of these are endangered.  For a complete diet, you will need: Protein, Grains, Fruit, Vegetables, and Herbs.  Starting out cultivating native species can be tricky especially if you have a landscaped yard.  You'll have to rip out any non-native plants that will compete, and carefully choose what are going to put in to make sure it is appropriate for the soil and climate that you have.  It's also going to be a challenge creating a small ecosystem, especially if you want to grow fish and water plants.

Getting the seeds and plants initially can also be a challenge.  These need to be locally sourced plants and seeds, but not pulled directly from the wild.  Your best bet is to search Google for 'native plants' or 'wild heritage plants' for your province or state. You could also ask your local nursery, or local county extension.  I would make a list of the plants you want, and then searching for those specific species, because most places will carry mainly ornamental plants, with one or two edible varieties.  But, once you have your first plants, most of these wild varieties simply spread on their own.  Your goal is to create a garden that you never have to plant again, and everything is edible.

Fruits
Your best bets are to start a couple of trees from young saplings, such as a nut tree and fruit tree.  These will take a while to mature, so you could also start some berry bushes.  Blackberries and raspberries are very easy to grow, and last a long time. You have to get the wild varieties, and fortunately they are plentiful so you can get them for free if you want.  You simply use root cuttings, or even cut the suckers (a shoot growing off the root) off and replant.  In a small backyard you'll have to keep them pruned back, and you can decide if you want to trellis them for easy picking or keep it wild and natural. A good compromise is an old fashioned tipi trellis woven out of sticks. Another highly valuable plant is the wild strawberry, because it tastes good and the whole plant is edible.  They also reproduce with runners, but the strawberries themselves can be planted as well.

Fish and Water Plants
Building a backyard pond is a common practice, and you can raise fish in them.  Many people raise channel fish, trout, striped bass, and tilapia.  Some people raise a couple of these, although mostly the channel fish and tilapia.  For a self-sufficient pond that feeds itself, the tilapia are the easiest because they eat mostly plant material and plankton.  You can introduce small, edible, cleaning plants to your pond, such as Duckweed, which will feed the fish and clean the waste at the same time.  Some are experimenting with cleaning grey water with duckweed which could be worked into the design as well.  If you were to throw a decent number of breeding tilapia into your pond they will reproduce and choke the pond as they overpopulate, so regular fishing or trapping to keep a balance is the key.   Extras can be dried or smoked.

Roots, Vegetables and Herbs
One great example of a easy-to-obtain wild vegetable is any kind of wild onion. Alliums include garlic, onions and leeks.  They are an excellent companion plant for all the rest, and are incredibly healthy, but a little trickier to grow.  You want all of your plants to be either self-propagating or perennial, and wild garlic is one of these.  You simply don't harvest all of them, and they will continue to send out bulbs and seeds.  Many herbs are also perennials, and if they go to seed you can save the seeds as well.  For example, wild mint is easy to get, very hardy, likes damp soil, and just spreads on its own.

Grains
The wild rice you buy at the store is farmed, but is still the wild variety, so the seed (which is really a type of water grass) is fairly easy to find.  It is harvested by hitting the heads over baskets with sticks so the rice falls in, and then spread out to dry in the sun which takes a few days.  Wild rice is the main grain of most places in North America, supplemented by roots, nuts and in some areas, corn (or maize).  You'll have to do some research for what is native to your area. Many times acorn powder was used as a flour instead of a grain flour.  If you do grow rice, it is an annual so some of what you harvest needs to be saved for seed.

Mushrooms
Some people like to go eat wild mushrooms, which I have done only once before because I was with someone who knew what they were doing and ate the mushroom in front of me, lol.  I love mushrooms, but I would rather grow them so I know what I am eating.  It's quite simple actually because all mushrooms are actually wild mushrooms.  The key to growing them outside in your little ecosystem is to replicate what they grow on in the wild, and then buy the fungus plugs from a mushroom supplier.  For example, in the Pacific Northwest (and many other places) we have Chicken-of-the-Woods, which like to grow on mostly oak, though it is also yew, cherry wood, sweet chestnut, and willow.  So I would get a log of that wood, preferably an old cheap log maybe rotting  a bit.  You soak it for 48 hours, and drill holes all over, which you then put the plugs into. Then you seal them with melted cheese wax, and bury the log about 1/3 into the ground.  Make sure the log stays moist, and by fall you should have mushrooms.  Chicken-of-the-Woods is particularly valuable because it can be prepared like chicken and contains very high protein.

Birds and Bunnies
One thing that's nice about raising game birds and bunnies is that generally rabbit hutches and aviaries are not against the rules in a suburban neighborhood.  Game birds include quail (partridges), pheasants, ducks, and guineas.  Both bunnies and game birds can be raised in pens or if you make sure your fencing has wire around the bottom you could let them be free range around the yard as long as the bird's wings were clipped.  Ducks are particularly suitable if you have a pond.  Not only will these birds lay eggs, they will reproduce and you will have meat as well.  Bunnies may not be quite as efficient, but may give more meat and also fur and leather.  It is important that these animals become part of the ecosystem of the garden.  Ducks eat watergrass, seeds, bugs, fish eggs and fish.  Pheasants eat seeds and insects, so if these were readily available from wild plants (especially making a home for insects) then you wouldn't have to buy feed.

The Final Word, Crickets...
I know, I know.  That's disgusting!  But they are the most efficient source of protein you can grow, and they are easy to do.  And if you know how to cook them right, you won't even know you're eating bugs.  You feed the crickets dandelions and turnip greens (both available in your garden), and they can be kept in any escape-proof container with an aluminum screened lid. A big plastic tupperware container with the center of the lid cut out and replaced with glued-in screening works well. An aquarium also works well for this.  They need to be kept warm (75 degrees) with a light bulb or near another heat source if necessary, and the container needs to be kept clean once a week.  Place shallow dishes for food and a shallow dish with a wet sponge for water.  They also need places to hide and climb: sticks, toilet paper tubes, egg crates etc.  To raise more crickets, set up a separate container for breeding.  Place a shallow container with damp vermiculite in it (keep it moist).  Put in 12 females and 6 males, and pretty soon they will lay eggs.  Remove the crickets and keep the eggs moist and warm. In about 1-2 weeks you'll have baby crickets.  Keep them separated or the big ones will eat the little ones.

Then you need to slow down the crickets, because they need to be cooked alive.  First you'll want to wash them, which you can do by putting them into a colander with a screen on top and swishing them under the tap.  Pop them into the fridge until you are ready to roast them.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and spread them on a cookie sheet and bake for an hour or more until completely dry.  Test by crushing with your finger.  Don't let them burn, but they must be absolutely dry.  You can then use them dried to replace nuts in recipes, or you can grind them into a flour.

So this post took me a good couple of hours, but it's probably the most sustainable and self-reliant garden that I can think of. :)

Quotes of the Day

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Posted on : 10:32 AM | By : Nic | In :

From the Tao te Ching:

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

OR

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

Native Fruits and Cultivated Foraging

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Posted on : 12:48 PM | By : Nic | In : , ,

I was thinking about this in the middle of the night too (besides shadow missions) about apples.  I had written a post on my other blog a while back about instinctive diets and balancing eating locally and according to your genetics.  I was thinking about what fruit is available to me locally and I realized that not much of it is native to the Pacific Northwest. I didn't even know what fruit was native, until now. The apple is definitely not it... the story of Johnny Appleseed is a true story except for the little known fact that he didn't throw seeds randomly, he founded nurseries and made a living off of his endeavor (thanks Wikipedia).  So what fruit is native to the great Pacific Northwest? Cranberries, crabapples, bitter cherry, Indian plum, gooseberries, wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, salmonberries, and red huckleberries.  I'm sure there are a few more but these are the big ones.  


I'm coming to believe that humans are meant for very limited diets based on what is immediately available to us, and since we can't really forage anymore, what would happen if we cultivated a kind of wild microcosm of native edible species in our backyards?  The yield would be less than a cultivated variety, but I have read that wild species, especially those that grow in their native soil with their native neighbors, have more vitamins and are therefore more filling, so theoretically you would need less.  They simply grow and you collect them every year.

You could cultivate wild mushrooms (safer that way I would think), wild fruits, wild herbs and roots, in a kind of tiny edible wilderness.  You could even raise insects for protein (check out this website), by raising crickets, drying and powdering them into a nutritious flour.  You could have bees for honey. If you want to make a little pond you could try things like cattails, wild rice and fish.  And if you must have more protein than fish and bugs, you could raise rabbits and birds.

I'll do another post tomorrow about resources for getting started with this kind of backyard homesteading.

Shadow Missions

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Posted on : 12:06 PM | By : Nic | In :

One thing I have been hearing in church and on some spiritual sites I go to is the catchphrase 'shadow mission'.  It is very catchy, lol.  But it brings up some thoughts.  A shadow mission is defined as something that we desire in our life that takes us away from God's true purpose for our life.  The general feeling I get from this is that it is just like any another Christian formula: a+b=c.  If you ignore your desires a little bit + find God's purpose for your life = rewards when you die.


Maybe it's because I tend to call myself a Buddhist Quaker for other people's convenience or maybe it's just because I don't like formulas, but I don't like this simplistic explanation of human life.  When people are taught to look at life as a formula, they start to have very linear thinking.  The world becomes defined by absolutes: black and white, good and bad, right and wrong.  

The girls have been watching a lot of kung fu movies lately... Mulan, Kung Fu Panda, and even Kung Fu Hustle, lol.  I have to admit, Kung Fu Panda is one of my favorite movies now because of the amazing amount of complex Buddhist principles scattered throughout the story.  Can I adopt an old talking turtle as my sensei?  At one point his student runs up to him and says, "Master! I have some very bad news!"  And he calmly keeps doing what he's doing, saying, "There is no good or bad news, just news."  Then at the end of the conversation he disintegrated into a million peach tree flower petals and flew up into the sky, symbolizing his death.

I do think that everyone does have a shadow mission, but I think of it this way.  God has put us here to just be.  In Gospels, the overall message of Jesus was simple and clear (if you don't believe me, read them 20 times in a row so that it becomes ingrained in your mind and you can clearly see the big picture): forget your worries, forget your political problems, forget your greedy desires, get rid of the clutter of your life.  This is the kingdom of heaven if you just open your eyes to see it, but we are so blind.  The truth is that God doesn't really care what you do with your life.  His love is so powerful and so incomprehensible that he is love.  Obviously he's going to hold you accountable for choices which cause pain to others.... but is he really?  Isn't that why Christianity has a Savior in the first place?

We have defined God in our small human terms, and we coin silly phrases to help us to explain away why we like to do things. The tree doesn't think about how to grow.  It just is, and humans were created to be the same, and we were created to grow and spread the love of God by doing regular old human things.  We were made to work with our hands and be close to the earth and just live.

Happy 4th Anniversary DL! All the Old DL Headers

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Posted on : 12:10 PM | By : Nic | In :









The Deliberate Life website is about 4 years old this month.  Why doesn't it have more posts?  Because it wasn't always a blog like it is now.  In the old days, it was a Mambo website that I posted news and articles on, and it had a forum.  Then it was upgraded to Joomla. I found out though that while a portal is nice, what people really came for was the new post every day, and keeping the server going just seemed a bit overkill for that.  I still get an average of 1500 unique visitors a month, and over 3000 hits a month from all over the world.  Happy Anniversary Deliberate Life!




Peas Porridge in the Pot 9 Days Old

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Posted on : 2:34 PM | By : Nic | In : , , , ,

Everyone has heard the child's song, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot 9 days old..."  The more I research this, the more answers I get about what that means, lol.  After all of the reading I have done, I think it's pretty simple, and here's my theory from the point of view of an amateur experiential archeologist. :)


Back in the old days, people didn't have a plethora of pots and pans to choose from.  They didn't have all kinds of fancy machines, or even many utensils.  In the 1800's they might have had a cast iron cook pot and a skillet and some bread pans.  These worked on the cookstove or over the fire.  Before that, everyone cooked on an open fire, and everyone use a large cast iron kettle or cauldron. 

Another problem was that it was difficult to store food.  If you had leftovers, you couldn't pop it in the fridge.  It had to be dried, smoked or in cold storage in the cellar.

Thus people made pottage, or porridge or what we call stew.  People threw in what they had with some water and simmered it over a low fire continuously.  Some theorize that at night the pot would get cold and therefore food went bad so no one would rely on the pot to store the food, but anyone who uses their fireplace as their only source of heat knows that you never let the fire go out if you can help it.  You bank the fire at night to keep it going, and sometimes you get up in the middle of the night to feed the fire.  

Hot foods need to be kept above 140 degrees in order to stop bacteria from growing.  The key to this is to keep it steaming, and if you can keep up a continuous simmer then the food in the pot could stay good indefinitely.  Another difference back then was that you didn't eat a different food for each meal - there was no such thing as breakfast foods.  People would make a nice loaf of bread in the bread box, serve it with a hearty stew filled with all kinds of things from the harvest, followed by a nice cup of beer since water was often contaminated.  They ate this at every meal, but it changed a little bit every time as other things were added to replenish the pot.

This kind of cooking lends itself particularly well to a food storage.  A crock pot is not necessarily energy efficient, but if you have a wood stove (even one for heating) you could cook stew on it this way.  And if you don't have a way to make bread, dumplings are a quick and easy way to get some grains in your diet as well.  Stew was also another way to make meat go further, and it made it possible to draw nutrients from inedible parts such as bones and legs.   And unlike other cooking methods, you keep the nutrients from boiling the vegetables and drink it up in the broth.  AND if you are really desperate, it makes yucky things palatable, like dried crushed insects.

Making an RV a Sustainable, Self-Reliant Home

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Posted on : 11:23 AM | By : Nic | In : , , ,

One thing that we have thought about doing for a while, and still considering (although just renting a house would be nice too) is buying a 30' travel trailer, the kind that sleeps 7.  What's so nice about the idea is that rent in an RV park over winter is super cheap (and in summer still cheaper than an apartment here), and we would have all the great outdoors that is available here. Most of them are located in forests or by the ocean.  


The second great thing about it is that it's a relatively small space, and even if we lived on the grid with it, our ecological footprint is much, much smaller than in a house.  You are pretty much guaranteed to reduce your global footprint to 1 if you live in a small enough home.  

And thirdly, unlike a rental home, we can modify it to become more self-reliant.  Here's a list of things you can do to an RV to make it better:

1. Plexiglass double windows.  Many people cut plexiglass and velcro or clip it to their windows in the winter.  If you have a woodstove you can't seal the edges with foam because you actually need the ventilation, but even the double layer is better.

2. Insulate the holding tanks and pipes.  Otherwise they will freeze and you'll have to thaw them every time you want to use them.  Some people fit heating coils down there with a reliable thermostat.  If your pipes do freeze and actually crack you'll have a soaked RV, which is really bad for the floor .  You should also install a water shut-off valve.  Alternatively, you could rely on the woodstove for hot water, either with copper piping or a big pot.

3.  The woodstove.  This is my favorite project.  Many people have outfitted a marine stove for their RV, either for heat, cooking or both.   You can get Peluke fireplaces,  a Newport solid fuel heater, or my favorite, a Navigator cook stove.  These need to be installed very specifically with the correct heat shielding.  Those stoves were made especially for boats and have been installed in RVs, but they are expensive.  I also found a few other tiny cast iron stoves that might work: Poole & Sons, Lehman's box stove, Lehman's railroad stove, Lehman's Vermont stove, and the tiny Jotul stove. Some of these stoves have outdoor air kits which may be a valuable thing.  

4.  A composting toilet.  Sun-Mar, Envirolet, Biolet and Lehman's all carry RV composting toilets, BUT, since you are living in your RV they don't work because they are designed for a couple of people for occasional use.  Since we want a 30' trailer it has a pretty regular bathroom, and simply needs a compact, self-contained, high capacity unit.  These toilets need electricity, which means if the power goes out you could find yourself with a fan problem.  Envirolet offers the best option, giving the option for a wind turbine (for AC systems) and/or a solar panel kit (for DC systems). 

Those are my top 4 modifications, and probably the most important, but I have been checking out The Mobile Homestead for more ideas, including greywater systems, rainwater collecting, and other cool stuff.

Ridiculous Pregnant Brain

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Posted on : 11:03 AM | By : Nic | In : ,

When I am pregnant, I become more and more stupid.  Actually, it's kind of funny... it's as if my logical, practical side gets dumber, but my creative side gets smarter.  I can write and write and I never run out of ideas, but I cease to be able to take care of myself on a day to day basis, lol.  I forget everything.  Last night I decided to make hard boiled eggs so we could have some for breakfast, and I made six of them, leaving only two left in the carton.  The secret to hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel is to leave them in a rolling boil for five minutes, then turn off the burner and leave them covered for 20 minutes.  At exactly 20 you have to run them under cold water so that they become cold, and then eat or refrigerate.


So I put them on to boil, then covered them and let them sit.  Then I ran downstairs and we watched the rest of a movie.  And then I put the girls to bed, but they didn't want to sleep, they became more and more wired and I provided a watchful eye so that they didn't come out of the room and/or jump off the dresser.  I was getting really tired, and since John was in Vancouver I just iChatted with him for a couple of hours.  And then I didn't even bother to make the bed since I had just washed the sheets... I just spread the breadspread out and rolled myself up in it.

Then I had an amazing dream (another side effect of pregnancy) that I was in labor - only it was  a painless, dreamlike labor, in a beautiful birthing center.  My whole family was there, and then suddenly, I was delivering my own baby, but not from the point of view of the woman in labor, but just someone watching (which made complete sense to me in my sleep).  I gave birth easily to a giant beautiful baby boy who cried instantly and then smiled.  lol  Wishful thinking?

Directly after, I suddenly woke up, and since my first thought is always food, I said, "Oh crap.  I left the eggs out!"

Some Survival Questions Answered

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Posted on : 10:34 AM | By : Nic | In : ,

The other day I posted about how I was wondering what to do in a bad situation.  Do you run to the woods?  Stay where they are?


After some reading (and thanks to my father in law for sending me some web sites), the final conclusion is to prepare to stay where you are, with the option of leaving.  It's better to stick close to your entire food storage, and all of your gear in a more durable location than a car.  It's also better to be close to people.  I know a lot of people have a great deal of fear of their neighbors in a crises, and it is possible that crazed mobs of looters could be a problem. But, all things considered, the best place is suburbia, far from the big city but not in the woods.  Perhaps a rural suburbia.

I've been reading Alpha Rubicon and Surviving in Argentina, and your neighbor can be your enemy and your ally.  Going to the woods is great but not practical in a hurry.  So here's what you do, depending on where you are:

1.  If you are in the middle of the city, that's probably not good.  Try to move to the suburbs, somewhere you can still commute to work but be farther from the crowds.  If you can get a backyard that's a big bonus, and you will probably have way more room for food storage.

2. If you are in the suburbs, stay there.  There are areas on the outskirts of the suburbs that are a bit more rural, and if you aren't in a house that you feel very self-reliant in, or in an apartment, try to get out to the outskirts.  You may even find an area with some farmers that are a source of food, or get a small hobby farm yourself.  An acre is enough to be self-sufficient.

3.  If you are already in the country or in the woods, you are lucky.  You've already become more self-sufficient, and if you aren't, you have more space and more freedom to do so.  

The reason you just can't run to the woods in a heartbeat, even if you already own a getaway cabin, is that you can't carry everything you need to survive long term in one carload.  You need a minimum of a year's supply of food, plus all your tools, extra fuel for your vehicle, etc.  It's a monumental undertaking and you can't just skip off and do it overnight.  This is especially so if you have children.  The other problem with owning a getaway cabin is that in bad situation other people will have the same idea as you, and if they get to your getaway cabin first, you may find yourself out of luck.

The only situations that you may need to run quickly is in the case of a natural disaster, fire or some kind of catastrophic manmade threat such as an imminent attack.  For those kinds of situations you should have a kit for your car and a supply of food that will fit in your vehicle, hopefully at least a week to a month's supply.  It's also a good reason to have an extra fuel tank on your vehicle, and maybe have a 4x4.  

I highly recommend looking into urban homesteading.  It doesn't really matter what kinds of conspiracy theories are flying around, or the political situations, or what the economy looks like.  You really can't predict stuff that happens.  It just makes sense to just be self-reliant.

How A Crises Should Be Handled...

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Posted on : 10:54 PM | By : Nic | In :



This is Sigur Ros, from Iceland.

7 Natural Strategies for Morning Sickness (and other problems)

1

Posted on : 9:45 AM | By : Nic | In :

Isn't it lovely that no on really knows why women get morning sickness?  It's week 11 and as usual for me, it's starting to wind down a little bit. I usually get morning sickness for most of the day, usually worse in the evening, although this time it seemed a little bit worse.  But I usually do pretty well, only throwing up a couple of times, even though I have a family history of Very Bad Morning Sickness (I'm talking morning, noon, and night, before and after eating puking).  So I feel lucky, but I also feel like my strategies really help.


#1. Eat something dry and salty constantly.  I loved Saltines (although one time I accidently bought a big box of unsalted kind and it did nothing!) and Triscuits.  When I say constantly... if you are awake, you are eating a cracker.  Even if you had to wake up to roll over in the middle of the night.

#2.  Eat what you crave, unless it is crayons.  I believe that you can significantly increase your well-being and health during pregnancy by being in tune with your body (big surprise there, eh?), and cravings are no exception.  I think that food cravings are telling you something you need.  If you are craving a Big Mac, you need protein.  If you crave donuts, you need fat.  If the fat cravings continue, try avocado.  If you are in the middle of eating something and it suddenly starts making you feel sick, stop eating it.

#3. Three natural remedies actually decreased the nausea... ginger, peppermint and licorice.  You can drink 7-Up or Sprite for the carbonation, and Ginger Ale actually does contain a bit of ginger which can help.  But even better is to get some ginger root from the grocery store, chop off about 5-10 thin discs and boil them for a few minutes.  Drink the tea with a bit of honey.  If you need a very quick fix, you can buy a European licorice candy, which contains some real licorice oil.  Licorice is incredibly powerful, so I wouldn't eat more than one or two of these a day, because it can give you cramps and make you retain water even more, but in low amounts will help with headaches, fatigue, stomach acid and nausea.  I could have made a nice tea with peppermint, but another quick fix was Ricola natural organic cough drops.  These contain real peppermint, honey, ginger and other nice ingredients and made me feel better.

#4.  Drink LOTS of water.  I have a big stainless steel water bottle (and I knit a nice sock for it to keep it even colder) and I try to drink the whole thing every day.  Not only will this stave off nausea, it will also help with the constipation.

#5. Control smells.  Use a diffuser or oil burner to allow vanilla or peppermint aromatherapy to work their magic.  

#6. Pressure points.  These work really well if you feel like you're really going to throw up, and you can do them yourself.  The first is the point used by those sea-sickness bracelets (sea bands), but you don't need a bracelet.  Find your wrist, and measure three fingers down from it.  Press down on that spot, right between the two tendons. The other spot is on your foot, one thumb width below the bone that sticks out on the inside of the ankle.

#7. This remedy may be a bit controversial among some of my readers, lol.... but many women don't feel like being "close" to their partner when they are feeling nauseous.  If you can work past the initial feelings of tiredness and pukiness, getting intimate can release powerful endorphins into your body that will temporarily relieve morning sickness completely.  It also makes pregnancy seem a little bit less long. :)

Oil Lamps

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Posted on : 1:18 PM | By : Nic | In :

Oil lamps are the oldest form of home lighting.   They are my favorite form of self-reliant and/or survival lighting, because oil is something that is cheap and you can make it yourself. Any kind of oil can be used, depending on the wick and the setup of the lamp.  Lamps can be made of clay, stone, metal, glass or any other fireproof material.  People today often know oil lamps as the old-fashioned fancy glass chimney lamps you can often find at thrift stores, but if your ingenious you can make your own out of anything.


Supposing you want to buy some, however, there is a great supply from Lehman's, Cumberland General Store, and Anchor Lamps

But, to make your own you first need some wick.  You could get some big spools of wick and never have to make any your whole life (it is quite cheap), but if you must make your own, you have to get some pure cotton or plant fiber twine (if you need to harvest it yourself, hemp, nettle, sisal or jute, which you can use plain, or soak it for 12 hours in a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 tblsp. salt, and 2 tblsp.  of boric acid (which you can get at Home Depot) to make it more flammable.  You could also use Borax instead (which is a related compound).  This needs to be twisted into a hard cord, and then twisted together to be a double strand.

Note: In my book one of the things I try to do is trace back every material used for every project to see if you can make it yourself from the elements of the land.  There are only a few items that you absolutely have to buy, and they include salt, lime, and Borax. 

Once you have the wick, you need a glass jar of any kind, and wire.  This particular lamp is specifically designed to burn food oils, which you can't do in every oil lamp.  It can burn olive oil, vegetable oils, bacon fat, chicken fat, butter, lard or any other oil.  They burn clean and brighter than a candle.  So, the wire wraps around the neck of the jar, and then into the center of the jar to hold the wick.  This means the wire needs to be very close to the oil, so the end of it can soak it up.  It works just like a candle, but with oil.  Alternatively, you can put a ring of wire in the bottom of the jar with a piece standing up in the middle to 
hold the wick up.  You could add a handle to this.

More of What the People Want... Survivalism!

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Posted on : 4:57 PM | By : Nic | In : ,

It's a nice reprieve this weekend that the stock market is closed.  The post the other day with the paste from predict-the-future man got a lot of comments on Digg, and I found references to it on the Homesteading Today forum.  The general consensus seems to be that people have known this stuff for a long time, or suspected it, a few are surprised, and an increasingly few think it's all a lot of paranoid bologna.  


Be that as it may, I prefer a nice balance in between.  Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and let the chips fall where they fall.  If you hang out on websites like Life After the Oil Crash, you can tend to fall into a wild-eyed panic mode, but at least it has a nice list of things to do if you are wondering if there might be an economic catastrophe.

I have a somewhat unique perspective on the situation that leaves me confused as to what to do at times.  I'm lucky enough to have already left the United States and now live in Canada and working towards citizenship (which people joke about doing all the time).  When I left the U.S., I left for my husband, but even 8 years ago I knew that my country was heading in a very wrong direction.  I had very little hope for the survival of Constitution or the principles of the Founding Fathers, and now I see that little foresight has unfortunately come true. One reason that I came to that conclusion is that once upon a time I was a goody-goody homeschooled teenager gladly going to register to vote - I knew the Constitution, I knew economics (thanks to fantastic books like Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? and any other book by Richard Maybury).  I sadly discovered that we are trapped in a pitiful two-party system that I couldn't align myself with either and didn't like the candidates in the first place.

So now we are all wondering if some greater conspiracy is at work in the slow destruction of America in the name of capitalism and freedom, and what to do.  I live on an island in Canada close to the border... are poor Canadians going to have to lay down their lives to stop absorption into some North American union (which they would) and ultimately fail?  Do we run to the woods?  Do we trick out our Suburban into a nifty Bug Out Vehicle (BOV)?  Or do we stay home, build a garden, try to be self-sufficient in an urban backyard?  Should we try to set up a system of barter before cash becomes worthless?  How bad is it going to get?  Is the security of our continent going to be at risk, and I'm not talking about terrorism, I'm talking about neighbor against neighbor?

One thing I do know.  People who want to keep power illegally, who want power over people, do so through fear.  Preparation is not the same as fear.  Think of yourself as being in the calm before the storm.  Expect the storm to happen, prepare for it, and be clear-headed.   This is not a battle.  I think only Gandhi can help us now:

"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."

or

"No power on earth can subjugate you when you are armed with the sword of ahimsa. It ennobles both the victor and the vanquished."  (ahimsa means nonviolence)

Quiet preparation, independence from the social structures such as electricity and water and the media, and self-reliance are ways to peacefully empower yourself against the selfish desires of greedy men whose only tools are fear and control of what we need to survive - food, water, shelter.

Stay-At-Home Job Titles (and a Recipe)

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Posted on : 11:07 AM | By : Nic | In : , , ,

A while ago I read a funny article by a woman who had gotten an education, and then quit her job to become a stay-at-home mom.  The point of the story was that her mother had been the epitome of the 1950's housewife and how the titles of these roles have changed and illustrate the difference in the way we do things.  I wish I could find the article... usually I save these things but I can't seem to find it.

In the 1950's, women called themselves housewives or homemakers.  I found this hilarious clip on YouTube that illustrates this principle pretty well:


Now we call ourselves stay-at-home moms.  The difference is that back then, women were married to the house and husband, and kids were an extension of that job.  Now we have children, and our husband and the home are an extension of that.   I also think we don't feel quite as confident in this role as our housewife ancestors.  We still equate our value on extra contributions that we make on top of our home duties (you can even print out a Mom Check from Salary.com showing how much money you would make if moms got paid).  

I have to admit that I am absolutely fascinated with the 1950's housewife's expertise in running in a home.  I haven't sacrificed how I raise my children, but I have sacrificed the perfection of my home and appearance in a quest for a financial contribution to the family.  This is partly because the term 'stay-at-home mom' is in itself flawed, since it's supposed to distinguish from a 'working mom'.  It's as if a mom isn't considered to be working unless money comes in, which is ridiculous, lol.  During the time that I've been a stay-at-home mom I've written a book, worked as a life coach, graphic designer, brand developer, web designer, etc.  I keep my house pretty clean, which is thanks to a nice routine, but it is still at a marginally acceptable level - just clean enough to feel clean.  The 1950's housewife cleaned it every day... the toilet never got to that uncomfortable level of grime.

Here's a list of advice for new wives from a Home Ec textbook.  I'm sure you've read it before: 
1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal - on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

4. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

5. Minimize the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.

6. Some DON'TS: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

7. Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

8. Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to be home and relax.

10. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.

Overwhelmingly the female response to this list is revulsion.  But I have to admit that if I did all these things I think our lives would be very much improved.  I have the privilege of staying home all day.  If these 10 things were all I had to do in a day, I think that my life would be 500% better than most women in the world.  If you ignore the reasons behind each thing, the basic principles are good.  For example, #6... when I come home, I know I don't like to hear a bunch of people complaining to me right away.  Why should I do it to someone else?  

Anyway I think we should think of a new title for women who are home.  We are not married to our house, and we are not the polar opposite of a working mom.  I've heard Domestic Engineer and Director of Home Affairs, but I'm leaning towards Domestic Goddess.  Or perhaps I should remember Thoreau's advice:
"Staying inside the house breeds a sort of insanity always. Every house is in this sense a hospital. A night and a forenoon is as much confinement to those wards as I can stand - and then I must go outdoors." -- Thoreau's journal, 1856

Does this make me... the Warden? Or the Inmate?

Also... I happened find a highly recommended recipe for baked artichokes that I plan to try as soon as I find some.  Note to self: Get some artichokes.

At the Risk of Fear-Mongering...A Man Who Predicted our Economic Downturn

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Posted on : 11:08 PM | By : Nic | In : ,

I found this forum post today, and I'm going to paste the whole post just in case something happens to it, which I don't normally do.  And I don't usually post political/fear things... I just focus on preparedness because fear is the enemy and only action is the solution to a problem.  However, this is special.  The following was posted by user LAPD77 on March 22, 2008, titled "Please Read Now !!! Sept 2008 Economic Crash, etc..." (you can read the thread directly on the City-Data website):


Hi all, This might be the last thing I ever post on here but I need to warn you all. I have been with LAPD for a while and have learned alot of things. One of them is to be a little more independent. Don't put 100 % faith in other humans to take care of you. And yes that means the government 2. Well because things have gotten so bad in LA (Officers being shot at up 39 % in 2007) I decided to move to Idaho. And I love it by the way. Anyway what I'm going to say might shock you or even scare you, but please understand that fear does nothing but makes things worse kinda like stress. So instead of worrying do something to fix it. Remember there's no problems only solutions. This morning I got a call from my uncle who is very high up in the military and he told me to leave the city now. I hardly ever talk to him so he was unaware that I had already left LA. But he seemed very concerned but refused to tell me why. After about 20 minutes he told me the very basics. The first thing he said was to buy as much can food and water as possible. The second was to stock up on ammo. I have already stacked up on ammo because I knew it would become very expensive later and in LA there was a 1 year wait for .223 bullets for my AR15. But I was still very confused as to why he's calling out of the blue and telling me these things. Well what he said next is something the american people aren't suppose to know. He told me that there is an actual plan as to when the economy will completely crash. As of right now he said it will happen in the middle of sept of this year. Also he said that our Government will crash in Feb of 2009. He said that Mexico and Canada will merge with us and that a new dollar called the Amero is going to replace the dollar. But the most scary thing is what he told me he's been doing for the past couple of years. He's been overseeing the construction of Prison Camps being built all through out America. He said a Private company called Haliburton is building them. He told me that 1 camp in Alaska can hold 2 million people and there's almost 1000 camps in the USA. ( not including the ones underground) He also said that these will be used when they declare Martial Law. There's some more things but I promised him I would never repeat them. But just knowing that this could even be possible makes me say to myself " why not buy an extra 20 or 30 bucks of food I can store" each time I go shopping. I had about 2 weeks worth because in California you never know when that next big earthquake can hit not to mention the last year and a half we have been training on how to handle food riots in LA.( By the way the first step in the LAPD process is to stand back and observe) - Crazy Huh. Well use common sense and get what you can because once everyone wakes up it will be to late. Last but not least why I believe him is because he is the same one that told me beforehand not to fly in Aug and Sept of 2001 Do I have to go on ? Take care everyone and GOD Bless !!!

End Post
Now this wasn't the last thing this person posted, as he thought it might be, he continued to warn people and give food storage advice despite criticism and mockery.  The most important aspect of course, is that he predicted the crash we are seeing today of our stock market five months in advance.  I watch my stock ticker every day, and it closed under 8600 today, when it hasn't been lower than 9000 for five years.  They say it will get worse before it gets better, and this sudden downfall began about the middle of September.  It may not be a crash that we are in the middle of, but it's certainly looking like it, and how did this man eerily predict the future so accurately?  You can draw your own conclusions, but it's worth spreading around. 

Please Digg this story so that we can get more comments on this.

Quote of the Day

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Posted on : 3:07 PM | By : Nic | In :

A Billion seconds ago it was 1976.
A Billion minutes ago it was 106 A.D.
A Billion hours ago it was the Old Stone Age.

A Billion Dollars ago in Washington is 4 hours ago.


(Thanks to Digg for the quote, and Snopes for the history of this one.)

The Rocket Stove

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Posted on : 9:33 PM | By : Nic | In : , ,

This is a vital item I keep mentioning in these preparedness/survival posts I keep doing.  You can buy a handy one for $39.95 from rocketstoves.org... or you can watch this video and make your own:


Actually, these are instructions for a pretty fancy rocket stove.  You can use practically anything, including mud and bricks or concrete, so be resourceful when you do this.  I plan to make a couple of these, one big and one small for emergency home cooking and also a possible portable source of wood heat.  

My Revised 100 Items to Disappear First During a National Emergency

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Posted on : 3:31 PM | By : Nic | In :

This is going around the internet right now, and I thought I would give my survivalist, voluntary-simplicity opinion on which of these items you really need.  People grab up these things from the closest Wal-Mart in a panic without considering what they'll truly need to use.  Buy these things as part of your emergency supply right now before you ever need to be part of a panic rush to a store.  The ones in red are the ones you should get.  The blue are just not as necessary.

1. Generators - These cost a lot, you have to store the gas, they have to be outside to run and they are noisy.  If you have wood heat then the only thing you would need it for is to run the freezer while you dry and eat everything in it.  If you live in a cold climate with no wood heat, you may need it to run a small space heater but if you can find a long-term alternative, the better off you are.  Build a rocket stove for cooking (another post will follow).
2. Water Filters/Purifiers - Yes you need one or two.  Have a large ceramic filtration purifier for the home, and some small versions for the emergency kit. 
3. Portable Toilets - Chemical toilets are a pain and the chemicals are expensive.  You are better off learning to do humanure.  Then you only need a bucket and some leaves or grass or sawdust.
4. Seasoned Firewood - Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to become dried and usable.  Even if you don't have a wood stove in your house, if you have a backup rocket stove then keeping a dry cord of wood around is vital unless you want to burn your furniture.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps - It's nice to store flashlights and batteries but oil lamps and lanterns (get nice clear lamp oil) last much, much longer.  Think pioneer days.
6. Coleman Fuel - If you are surviving off a Coleman lamp or camp stove then you are doomed.  Don't get this stuff.  Stick to wood and candles and oil lamps.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots - I don't really think anyone should have a stockpile of weaponry.  However, have a couple cans of pepper spray, some good pocket and hunting knives and you should be ok.  I think a hunting rifle is probably the only valuable gun for a source of food.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks - I already don't use any electrical appliances except a toaster.  I mix everything by hand, and I open cans without electricity.  A fork pretty much can do anything a whisk or egg beater can do so it's not very vital anyway.
9. Honey/syrups/white, brown sugar  - Are people so desperate for sugar?  
10. Rice, beans, wheat - A good idea to have more of.  Again, you should have this beforehand.
11. Vegetable Oil - Without vegetable oil, you can't fry stuff.  It's not vital for survival, and if you are forced to be baking or making beans and rice over a rocket stove, the only value it has is to add fat and calories to your diet.  But it's a good idea to have around.
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid - If you can't make a fire without lighter fluid and charcoal, then you have much bigger problems.
13. Water Containers - Since you have to purify your water once you run out of storage, and it's incredibly inefficient to store all the water you need.  Get a big drinking-water grade jug just to have handy.  
16. Propane Cylinders - What are you going to do, have a barbecue?
17. Survival Guide Book - My book tells you how to survive long term and live well without electricity or anything else.  I would also suggest a good plant identification guide for your area and a book on foraging.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. - People don't realize that kerosine isn't supposed to be used inside.  Stick to those oil lamps with a simple wick.
19. Baby Supplies, diapers/formula, ointments/aspirin, etc. - I never know why people have aspirin listed for babies.  Babies should never be given aspirin!  You should also breastfeed and not need formula, but keeping baby wipes and diapers and Desitin around is a good idea.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for laundry) - You don't necessarily need a washtub, but it's a good idea if you want to do laundry outside rather than in a cramped bathroom in your bathtub.  Also I don't recommend a washboard or a mop bucket.  Instead, use a new toilet plunger which is much easier on your back.
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene) - Coleman and kerosene camp stoves are not to be used indoors, and the fuel doesn't last very long.  Instead keep a rocket stove handy and some wood.  A non-electric cookstove is vital, but not one that uses canned fuel.
22. Vitamins - Possibly a good idea for anyone, but for survival?  It's questionable.
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder - Once again, dependance on propane is not smart.
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products - For feminine hygiene, get some reusable cloth pads like Luna Pads, and a Diva cup.  You also need soap, but to save space just get lots of bars of soap.  Don't worry about your skin and the brand of shampoo.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms) - In a cold climate this is essential.  We have all kinds of cold weather gear... lots of high-tech snow pants and Gortex gloves but they would be useless without a thin heat-trapping layer of thermal underwear underneath.
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil) - These are probably more important than the guns and knives up near the top of the list, and can be used just as well for defense.  You need to be able to chop and split wood, and set up emergency shelter if necessary.
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty - You really can't go wrong with foil.  When you are baking on a fire you can make whole dinner just with this stuff and it tastes delicious.  Also great for warding off alien brainwashing.
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal) - If you are heading into the wilderness to get away, you need to bring some extra fuel with you so that you can come back out again.  
29. Garbage Bags - These are useful for so many things.  You can carry gear in them, make makeshift waterproofing like ponchos and for emergency shelter, and cut into strips for a makeshift rope.  
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels - If you don't have water, hygiene becomes an instant problem.  You need to be able to clean up without using water, and paper towels are a handy means of doing so.  Although there are many alternatives to toilet paper, TP is still the best option so keep a supply on hand.
31. Milk, Powdered & Condensed  - I can't tolerate milk and don't rely on it now.  It's just one more luxury that you don't really need.
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) - This is essential!  You also can't just buy your everday grocery-store seeds.  Non-hybrid means not genetically modified and unpatented, so you can save the seeds from the plants and increase your sustainability.
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers - You'll be doing laundry without electricity, and drying it that way as well.
34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit - Only necessary for camp stoves and lanterns.
35. Tuna Fish (in oil) - Canned meat is a good idea for protein and more calories.  
36. Fire Extinguishers  - In a situation without a reliable fire department, and dealing with candles and fire all the time this is a smart idea. Keeping big boxes of baking soda can work too.
37. First aid kits - I got a good kit for not very much at Costco, but getting some heavy-duty medical supplies like wraps, butterfly clips, suturing needles and stitching thread is also a really good idea.  If you have any special medical needs get supplies for that too.
38. Batteries  - You really should stock up on wind-up flashlights and radios instead.  They last forever and don't need batteries.
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies - Basic foods get very bland and are bad for morale if you can't spice it up a little bit.  Spices can save you when all you have is your outlook on life.  A good meal is important.
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food) - This is something I want.  I want a good dog, one that will watch my kids and keep watch over us at night.
41. Flour, yeast & salt - With this you can have bread.  If you have a hand grain mill you can have even more flour for longer (since wheat last longer than flour).  
42. Matches - Get some strike anywhere matches, and keep them in a waterproof container.  Or, even better, get a flint and lose your dependance on matches.  Get several so you don't lose it. 
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators - Without computers, we will all be back to writing letters.  You may need to do some math too, lol.  Actually paper gives you a million things to do to pass the time.
44. Insulated ice chests - These keep items from freezing in winter, and keeps them cool in summer.  When you can't rely on your fridge, you can make rudimentary fridge by burying an ice chest in the ground to keep food cool.  You simple line the hole with rocks, stick the chest in and keep it covered with more rocks and hay and dirt and other things to keep animals and heat out.
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts - Not really a survival item, but you will be working harder.  When you go into survival mode you forget what you'll be wearing.  These things can all be got at the thrift store.
46. Flashlights/lanterns - Long term, you'll need to rely on oil lamps and lanterns, but in an emergency a good flashlight is a necessity.  You can now get very bright LED lights at the dollar store and they are worth it.
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks - Any paper and pencils will help pass the time.
48. Garbage cans Plastic - These are good for storage if they have wheels, because if you stick the lid on tightly animals can't often get in.  But you will be able to live without them.
49. Men's Hygiene, shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc - Once again, stick to soap, and although a toothbrush is important, you should have lots of baking soda around which works for toothpaste and doesn't use up very quickly.
50. Cast iron cookware - These are the best over a fire.  You should try to have a frying pan and a saucepan or large pot, and a Dutch oven if possible.
51. Fishing supplies/tools - Almost every source of freshwater has something living in it, and I think that pretty much all fish are safe for food.  
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams - I almost never get bit by mosquitoes, which I believe is because of my diet and because I don't use any fragrances in the products I use.  But some areas have more mosquitoes than others, and rather than using a toxic cream, get or make natural stuff and mosquito netting.
53. Duct Tape - Everyone knows that you can do anything with duct tape.
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes - It seems to me that some of the stuff near the bottom of this list should be up near the top.  With this you can make emergency shelter.
55. Candles - Lots of just white candles.  When you burn these, put them over a plate or surface to catch the drips and melt them down so you can dip candles again.  This means keeping some wick on hand as well.
56. Laundry Detergent - Because you will be doing laundry by hand, you can't use the same detergent.  In the old days, women used lye-based strong softsoap for laundry.  You can use Borax but the real key to clean laundry is the agitation with a plunger.
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags - Possibly a good idea.  You may need to go, and you'll need bags to put your stuff in.  
58. Garden tools & supplies - A garden only needs a shovel, and some seeds.  The other stuff is for people who are trying to avoid getting their hands dirty, but nice to have.  You also need a way to water, which can be a bucket or a watering can.
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies - Eventually you'll be making your own blankets, patching your clothes and having to do stuff yourself.  It's better not to have to carve needles out of bone.
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc. - Food is good.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) - If you can't boil water, a gallon of bleach can purify water:  2 drops per quart, 8 drops per gallon, 1/2 tsp. for 5 gallons.  Technically, a gallon of bleach will provide you with 3800 gallons of clean drinking water.
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax) - This is self-explanatory.  If you can continuously add to your food storage, you win.
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel - This was mentioned above... but the sharpening tools are a necessity.
64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc - It depends.  By yourself, yes, this is a great idea.  With a family this could be tough especially since you can't bring much with you.
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats - Sleeping bags are warmer than just blankets. 
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered) - This is really important if you are using those kerosene lamps, camp stoves and generators.  But still you can't go wrong with alarms.
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice - Yes!  Very important!
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer - Build a trap.  Having poison is a bad idea (see the next one?)
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets - You do need to protect your food storage.  But poison is bad.  So build a nice trap.
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils - You'll probably be eating lots of beans and rice so bowls are better.  Without water this is a good idea to have.
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap  - As noted above, without water, hygiene is a problem and these become vitals ways to prevent illness.
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc. - Rubber galoshes and ponchos are cheap and work well.  If you are wading around in the water than rubber waders are a good idea too.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave) - Do you really need to shave?  Really? 
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels) - Hmm...I could foresee a time when siphoning fuel could be a handy skill.  
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase - Once again, spices and gravies can be the difference in morale that is necessary for survival.
76. Reading glasses - If you are dependent on glasses (like I am), you can't just have contacts.  You should have a backup pair.
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch - When you boil water to purify it, it gets flat and you have to swish it around to aerate it.  Sometimes it still doesn't taste that great so you can add Tang to it to be able swallow it.
78. "Survival-in-a-Can" - This is a nifty product that you can make yourself, but it's nice for if you get lost.  If you plan to go to the middle of nowhere, each person should have one.  But if you're not in the middle of nowhere, instead of this you can just stock up candy, heat/fire tablets, tea, instant broth, aluminum foil, matches, and fruit drink.
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens - Winter stuff is essential in the cold.
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog - I had to laugh at this, because although the Scout handbook is a great camping guide with some great survival information, you would do better to get the Army survival guide one of the quality encyclopedias of survival instead.
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO) - I'm not sure what this is, but I'm supposing that any kind of plastic window insulation is a great idea in the winter.  
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky - Snacks keep your energy up and break the monotony.
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts - We go through sooooo much peanut butter.  Food is good for you and peanut butter makes everything good, lol.
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. - Are you really wanting to make yourself some leather undies?  Have backups for when yours wear out.
85. Lumber (all types) - This is great for building things you need, but I think the intention here is boarding up windows for a storm, or fortification.
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from) - It is possible that without fuel you could be doing a pioneer handcart thing.  Having a big cart that you can put lots of stuff in could be vital.
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress's - I think a folding Japanese futon is probably a better option, or hammocks.  They are more comfortable and easier to transport.
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc. - The most important gloves you could get are heat or fire-proof gloves because you will be working with fire and grabbing stuff off the flame can be annoyingly hot.
89. Lantern Hangers - I'm not sure what the difference between this is and a nail hammered into the wall, but in the house an oil lamp sits on the table so you wouldn't need a hanger.
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts - Two words: Duct tape.
91. Teas - Green and herbal teas, not English teas.  
92. Coffee - If you are coffee drink, get coffee.  The only survival reason to have coffee is if somebody needs to stay awake for any reason... driving, keeping watch, etc.  Keep some on hand for that reason.
93. Cigarettes - You could say that a survival situation is a great time to quit, but people who don't have their cigarettes are cranky people who don't think straight.  If you don't smoke, you could keep some on hand because like in prison, they could become a currency.
94. Wine/Liquors - Liquor is a valuable commodity as well, but wine also works as a pain reliever and hard liquors like vodka work as a method of sterilization.  
95. Paraffin wax - You'll need to make more candles.
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc. - You'll need nails and screws especially.  I didn't see hammers on the list, but that would be a necessity as well.
97. Chewing gum/candies - Keeps up energy and spirits.
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing) - An atomizer is a device which makes a mist.  Otherwise known as a spray bottle.  This could be good for bathing when water is scarce but a cloth works as well.
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs - These are essential in a hot climate, but you can also tie a t-shirt to your head.  You won't die without them.  
100. Livestock - Chickens.  If you have a flock of heritage breed laying hens and roosters, you will have a sustainable source of meat and eggs long-term.  They are transportable and eat very little.