What If I Were Deaf?

Can you survive and manage if you can’t hear? I think so. How would I know? Because I have been severely hearing impaired since the age of five. Why haven’t I told you before? Well, it’s not something I felt I wanted to put out there in blog world. What has changed? I had a scary episode this week that made me think even more about what it would be like to live in a collapse scenario with little to no ability to hear. The more I thought about it, writing this article seemed to be the thing to do.

Here is what happened. Monday evening after I tilled and planted a section of the garden, I realized that when I spoke my voice vibrated in my right ear and in my head. I thought it was odd, since it had never happened before, but didn’t think much of it and went to bed. Tuesday morning, my voice, Frank’s voice and many other sounds started to vibrate in my head. Now it was getting my attention. By evening, I was also beginning to become hypersensitive to many, many sounds. This was really unnerving for someone with hearing problems like me. I got to where I could not tolerate wearing my hearing aid at all. Many sounds would cause me to cringe, including my voice if I talked very loud.

Some background. I have a severe conductive hearing loss. As a child I had three surgeries for cholesteatoma, which is a benign tumor like growth that destroys the surrounding bones and tissues. It is usually found in the mastoid cavities surrounding the ear canal,


in the middle ear and in advanced stages, the inner ear. I have had a 90% hearing loss in my left ear since age five, and by the time I was 14, had a 75% hearing loss in the right ear. I did not start wearing a hearing aid until age 14, not long after the second surgery on my right ear. I started wearing a second hearing aid at age 24 when I started teaching so I could hear my students better. I do not remember what normal hearing sounds like since most of my hearing has either been at an impaired level, or mechanically reproduced through a hearing aid. The type of loss I have is very different from the loss many people experience as they age. Their loss usually involves the nerves of the cochlea and is categorized as a sensorineural loss. The types of hearing aids provided for this loss are quite different from the ones that I wear.

Now that you know a little about my background, you can see why I was very concerned about what was happening to my ear/head. The problem was in my right ear which is the better of the two. I was afraid I would lose what little hearing I have left leaving me really, really deaf. Frank has lived with a deaf wife for over 30 years now, and tried his very best to comfort me. You know what he said? Even if I did go stone deaf, as bad and as difficult as that would be, we would be fine. We would work through it. You know what? He’s right. 

Thursday morning I contacted my audiologist who is about 60 miles away. She told me to come in during her lunch hour, which we did. After she tested my hearing, we found out that my good ear was now worse off than my bad ear. That got to me. We then went to the clinic where our family practitioner and ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) doctor are. Nurses from both offices were sympathetic, but said there was nothing they could do for me at that time. I do have an appointment with the ENT for Monday, but he was booked up that day.

When I knelt to pray last night, I told God how frustrated I was with the situation and that I felt like we had done all we could do, and I needed some help. This morning, the vibrating and hypersensitivity is gone. Yes, gone. Then, after I used a steroid nasal spray, which I have been using since Tuesday, and a sinus wash, my ear popped and I could hear much better. I said a prayer of thanks. It has been an interesting, difficult, but interesting week. Do I know what happened to my ear? I have some theories about a stopped up eustachian tube and fluid in my non-functional middle ear, but I really don’t know. It does give me pause to think of what I will do when things happen and we are on our own. If this happens again after the collapse, I hope it rectifies itself like it did this time. But if not, we will deal with it. One way or another.

Do I want to go into an extremely difficult survival situation totally deaf? No. But I can. It would be much more difficult if I had not lived my entire life this way. But I have, and I will continue to do so, regardless if I can hear or not. Scary? Yes. Difficult? Yes. Manageable? Definitely. You see. I want to live. Not only live, but manage well. I can still make cheese, milk goats and garden if I am deaf. I can cook, clean and laugh. I can do everything but hear.

Now, apply that to something that you have thought of, that brings great dread to your heart in a survival situation. Can you live with it? Will you be able to manage whatever comes your way? Maybe. Maybe not. There are all manner of accidents and illnesses that may not be survivable if we are on our own. I wrote this article to help you think. Think about how you will deal with difficulties that are sure to arise once things really start falling apart. Remember, mental preparation is one of the most important aspects of being prepared for a collapse. If you don’t have your mind prepared to deal with unbelievably difficult experiences, it won’t matter at all how many beans, bullets or bandaids you have stocked away on your shelves. 

Yes, I am deaf. I have lots of hearing aid batteries and have kept my older hearing aids for back ups in case something happens to the ones I am wearing. I want to live. I want to do everything to make our survival as comfortable as possible, and I don’t see my hearing loss as an obstacle to that goal. I know that there are some of you that are dealing with difficult situations. There may be situations develop that you have not planned for. We all need to prepare. It gets closer everyday. It seems real close today. Please share your thoughts.

Until next time – Fern

Planning or Dreaming? by Ralph, the full article

Many of you have had difficulty opening Confession of a Crazed Cattlewoman‘s website. Below is the article in it’s entirety. It is a thought provoking read. We have been in touch with Fiona at Confessions of a Crazed Cattelwoman, and they are working on the issue. Hope you enjoy the article, I know I certainly did.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Planning or Dreaming?

In the military, it is said “There is a fine line between a fool and a hero”. Well, the same can be said for dreaming and planning. We can only make plans on what information we have, the rest is really just dreaming, and hoping or wishing. Fiona and I have talked about this many times. We are hoping and praying we aren’t just dreaming, but really working off of what information and knowledge we have. I guess time will tell.

We have had numerous people “question” why we are wanting to do what we are wanting to do and why are we doing it the way we are planning on doing it. Please, don’t anyone take offense. By making us question what and why we are doing things just helps us to do better. It makes us and our plans stronger. And it isn’t just the internet, it is neighbors, family, friends, co-workers. Sometimes, it seems no one understands. That is fine with us, we aren’t doing this for them. Fiona and I have always done things “our way”. This post is not for any of you (or about any of you). This is for us. It is to reaffirm to us what we are doing and why. It is to help us rethink what is happening. It is to help us recommit to our directions and plans. It is to reposition our thoughts and plans to the here and now. It is to shine a light on our future and its path.

I am sixty-five and do not draw social security. I still work. We both still have reasonably good health. Nothing that farm work wouldn’t help. Too much sitting around and thinking/worrying. I never have been good at the “laying our worries at His feet” thing. The longer I delay social security, the larger the check. But, “if you should die, you will have gained nothing!” is always put forward to me. So? What concern is that. Dead is dead. I won’t be worrying about the “what if”. If I am disabled, I’ll still be getting my larger check. What about enjoying your retirement? Daa? That is what life is for! Enjoy it! A preacher once said: The breath you are taking, the heartbeat you are experiencing, are the last ones you are guaranteed. That next one may never arrive. I have seen too many people make retirement plans. Then, one or both have a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or something, and they die or are crippled/disabled for the rest of their lives. Their savings are wiped out. Their retirement dreams are lost. What did they accomplish? I wanted to travel and see the country. That was one of my retirement dreams. I have seen all fifty states, much of Canada, and some of Mexico, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Hong Kong, etc. My retirement dream has been satisfied! Now what? I have had to make new retirement dreams. (If she isn’t hiding some dark secret from me, Fiona is in the same position in her life.) We both want to be as self-sufficient as possible for as long as possible. A big part of that is growing our own plants and animals. For food and enjoyment. Yes, we intend to eat them. (Or, as I tease her, “Mine are pets, yours are for eating!” And that gets a “Why do mine always have to make the ultimate sacrifice?”)

In case I have led you astray, farming is not our retirement dream. Farming is just a means to an end. I grew up in the hills of West Virginia. My Mother had a small fabric shop. One day a woman came in for some thread or something. Her husband was with her. My Father just happened to be in the shop at the time. That man and my Father got to looking at each other. You know how you see someone and you recognize them, but can’t place them. Well, that is how they were. They got to talking and figured out that thirty some years before, they had worked together. My Father asked him what he was doing now. He said: “Nothing. I just retired and all I do is sit and watch TV. I have a yard about the size of this building and I pay a boy to mow it for me. All I do is sit and watch TV.” My Father told him that if that is all he did, he would be dead in six months. Two months later, his obituary was in the paper. He sat down and died.

My earliest memories of my Dad’s Father was of him in his early seventies. He had a farm, two to five cows he milked (by hand) twice a day, a bunch of chickens, several pigs/hogs, two or three horses, and a large garden. He used the horses to work the garden. He grew almost all of the food for him and my Grandmother, for our family, and for the animals. (We went over and helped them a good bit.) She died at eighty-eight and him at ninety-three.

My Mother’s side of the family has trouble with ninety-five. Her Grandmother died at ninety-five. Her Father died at ninety-five. And her Mother died at ninety-five. Her Grandmother fell down the steps off the back porch when she was ninety-one and broke her hip in seventeen places. She was going out to her garden and to feed her chickens. At ninety-four, she got off the walker and on a cane. My Mother’s Father had to give up his spring ritual when he was eighty-eight. Every spring, he would hunt down a she-coon and steal one of her cubs. He would raise it all summer. It was free and had the roam of the place. Every fall, whatever coon he had would run off back to the wild. He would be coonless until the next spring. At eighty-eight, he said he just couldn’t get around in the woods like he used to. His first and middle name was: David Crockett. Go figure! And her Mother had three gardens and an orchard. At ninety-one, they talked her into giving up one of her three gardens. She refused to give up the other two or the orchard. She had a cellar in the basement. It was so full, every summer she had to dump older food over the hill so she could use the jars for canning new food. And she used the food in the cellar. She had a good ten years worth of food in there. And I never saw any of it spoiled. And it always tasted great.

In Deadwood, S. D., I went through Boot Hill. I got several surprises. I thought Boot Hill was for the poor and outlaws. The graves were well marked. There were bankers and merchants and lawmen, etc. buried there. There were women buried there. There were children buried there. There were Chinese buried there. There were mass graves from mining accidents. It appears that is where everyone was buried. But what really got me was the ages. There were numerous accident victims from farm, forest and mining. But, if it wasn’t an accident, they fell into two classes: the elderly and the young. Children as babies (infant mortality) and childhood diseases. And then the elderly: in their eighties and nineties. I hadn’t thought of people from the 1800’s living into their eighties and nineties. Average life expectancy of forties? Fiona and I were talking about this. The high childhood death rate lowered the adult life expectancy to such a low level. If you made it to adulthood, you had a long life ahead of you. But the death of children pulled the overall life expectancy down into the forties. Even the presidents had the same troubles. President Garfield had seven children. Three of them died in childhood: at one, two, and four. The others made it to seventy or eighty plus. Average Garfield life expectancy of forties. And then medicine started kicking in and helping the children. The increased life expectancy was from children living longer, not adults. Adults were still dieing at the same ages.

My point to this rambling is this: The man in my Mother’s shop sat down and died. The people in Deadwood that didn’t die in an accident, lived a frontier type life and lived into their eighties and nineties. My Mother and Father’s families lived active lives and lived into their eighties and nineties. It is: “Use it or lose it”. Be active or die. Oh, yes. A lot of it is the luck of the draw: genetics. Good genetics is a great help. But genetics is only part of the game. It needs help. The more help you give it, the better off you’ll be. We’re not guaranteed that next breath, that next heartbeat. When God says come, you’re gone. But, be active. Do something to help yourself. Don’t sit down and wait for the grim reaper to come and harvest another soul.

The farm is our “life’s gym”. It is our way of being active: mentally and physically. We know that time is running out. But we don’t want to exist, we want to live our lives, to be active. We both like plants and animals. Being with them and working with and for them will be nice. Being able to eat plants and animals that don’t have all of the pharma and chemicals will be really beneficial for our health. The fresh air to breathe, even when you’re in the barn shoveling manure, is something to look forward to. Visions of “Green Acres”, I am not having. We feel that growing as much as possible of our own plant and animal food is a must, not just a desire or dream. So, our retirement dreams come down to living a strong, healthy lifestyle that nourishes our mind and body. Being able to share our bounty with family and friends is just a nice bonus.

Why Kentucky??? It is such a poor state. I grew up in a poor state: West Virginia. We used to say: thank goodness for Kentucky. They were poorer than us.

Communism and unions are both great ideas. Until you get people involved. They use it for their own benefit, not the people’s benefit. How did Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton become millionaires while the rest of their people are so poor? I know, an over simplification. Well, maybe wealth is the same way. There is nothing wrong with being rich, until you get people involved. I know, it’s not the money, it is the love of that money that is the problem. A view from life’s highway: it is the poor man that will stop and help you while the rich man drives by laughing at you and your luck. Oh, the poor man wants to be rich, for sure. But, usually, he never will be. A poor man may not have much, but if you are willing, he will usually share it with you in your time of need. A rich man doesn’t have enough to share. Oh, to be rich! But, oh, more so, to have a soul.

We have numerous trips to Kentucky. We have no problems with poor people. They have been wonderful to us. They would make great neighbors. If you decide to join us in Kentucky, leave your home and join us there, don’t bring your home with you. If your home is so great, stay there. The biggest complaints in Texas about Californians is their desire to make Texas into California. If California is so great, stay in California. Don’t come to Texas. Come to Texas to be a Texan, not a Californian. Be willing and be prepared to change and join the locals. Don’t come in and try to change them. And don’t lament what you left. If you miss it, keep it to yourself. Or, go back home and leave us alone.

Why Kentucky? We will be on a fixed retirement income. Lower cost of living equals our money going further. Poor state? Less demand for the rich amenities that add very little to life’s worth. Rich people are often hollow people. They have a hole in their life. They need more. They just can’t be happy. Possessions can’t fill the hole. Only God can. Rich or poor, we all have that hole. Years ago, I read of a reporter having an interview with John D. Rockefeller. The way I remember the story is that John D. was the richest man in the world. At the end of the interview, the reporter told John D. that he didn’t really seem to be happy. He asked John D. what it would take to make him happy. John D. is supposed to have said”Just a little bit more”. The richest man in the world needed a little bit more to be happy. And that little bit more still wouldn’t make him happy. Only God could. What is that about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven?

Teasing aside, Kentucky is not that poor. It has poor areas, but it has richer areas, also. Just like anywhere else. 

Kentucky has a lower cost of living, so our money goes further. And it has a climate suitable to us for raising crops and animals without burning up (further south) or freezing to death (further north). Oh, we know, it gets hot, and cold, there. But, it is some of the best we could find for a balanced mix. And the cost of land is a half to a third of what we would find around here in Virginia for the same size property. And, the land would lie better there compared to land here in Virginia. Why Kentucky? Price of the land, cost of living, and the climate. 
For us, I guess our working band was I-40 to I-70. Further south, too hot. Further north, too cold. Rain fall for Kentucky is about 45 inches. Good for the gardening and pasture. Further west, it starts getting too dry.

Mineral rights? In West Virginia, they are almost non-existent. A drilling rig can go up right outside your bedroom window. They can strip mine right up to your front door. That means they bulldoze your orchard and forest and driveway and whatever else you hold dear or have been working and living for. You lose control of your life and destiny. In Kentucky, most of the places we have looked at, you get the mineral rights. We aren’t interested in exercising those rights, we just don’t want you coming in and exercising them over our desires.

The same thing for the trees. We want trees. We want them for their beauty and the wildlife in them. We aren’t interested in logging the trees.

And that brings us full circle to: Why in the world do we want such a large piece of land? Kentucky enables us to get the larger piece of land because of the cheaper prices. But the price is cheaper because we aren’t looking in the city or in recreational areas or tourist areas. We are looking in the country for farm land, out away from the towns and cities. Out where the land is cheaper. Out where people usually know their neighbors and talk to them and help each other. With a larger tract of land, you don’t have people crowding you and being nosey. Poking into your business. You have less zoning. You don’t have people telling you that you can’t have chickens or goats or pigs or a garden in the front of the house. But, the driving force was cheaper land so we could have more land. With more land, we have more options. We can have the trees. Move forward twenty years. We need money. Sell off the trees to get money. We need more money, sell off a chunk of land. We need more money, sell another lot. The trees and land are a bank account for future use, if needed. Cut and dried. Pure mercenary!

We don’t think much about the selling of the trees or the lots. That is “what if” stuff. That is backup strategy stuff. But we all should be looking at the future and asking ourselves what we would be able to do. We want to grow our own food: plants and animals. We want to keep nosey neighbors at a distance. We want long term strategy help. The “what if” stuff. The long term bank account stuff.

Kentucky seemed to let us have our cake and eat it, too.


PS: I’m into “hit and run”. I write. Pass to Fiona. She corrects my hillbilly ways. She posts. And then she takes replies, questions, and flack. I get home and she passes the sanitized version on to me. So, please, PLEASE! Any questions or comments, please pass them along. It is a way of us getting other views and observations. It helps us. It is a way for us to learn. We don’t have all the answers. We need your help. In the end, we benefit from you. And that saves us money! Thank you for taking the time to read this and our other posts and for helping us in our adventure along life’s way. May God bless and reward you and be with you and yours.

Planning or Dreaming? by Ralph

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

This morning Fern told me she had an article she wanted to read to me. I told her okay, it would be a little bit. Well, when I got finished with a couple of computer chores, she read this article, Planning or Dreaming? to me, which hits some really good points about life. The author is a gentleman named Ralph. He is the husband of Fiona who composes Confessions of a Crazed Cattlewoman. I would encourage you to read this article. It might give your family some extra discussion time this evening. 

You see Fern and I have had similar aspirations for many years. We are relatively happy people, and we work fairly hard most days. Not all, by any means. Ralph’s article addresses many of the same type questions that we get from people. One example of this type question is: Why do you do these things, when you can just go to the store and buy it?

I hope you enjoy Ralph’s article. It’s well thought, and should be thought provoking. God Bless.

We’ll talk more later, Frank

Have a Plan

Hello everybody, Frank here.

A few days back we received an email from a lady that has some questions. Here is the email, followed by my response. I hope you enjoy both.


Hey Frank and Fern,

I was wondering if you’d consider doing an article on potential widow/widower-hood.  How that possibility affects your planning and how it should be something others at least give a thought to from time to time? 

It is something that often crosses my mind.  My husband is thirteen

years older than I.  Likely I will be the one left behind.  We made our last move with this in mind and solar is one of the last items on my list to get done. 

We moved to a place where we have a septic system and a well and a spring nearby. There is no separate trash or sewage bill as it is included in the property taxes for my county.  So, from where we were living we had a water bill, a trash bill, and an electric bill.  I’m trying to get it down where I have to pay my house taxes and that’s it period in widowhood other than house insurance which I hope to be in a financial position one day to be self-insuring on that item.  We live in an all electric house.  (Hate that as I’m a natural gas kinda gal.) But, we do have a woodstove so I can at least cook if the electric goes out/grid goes down.  (Along w/a couple of butane stoves. We got those when we lived in a condo so at least we could loan them to unprepared neighbors.)  We do have life insurance if that industry stays afloat.   

We are adding to our orchard yearly and expanding the garden and our gardening skills yearly.  I have a treed acreage that I could sell wood or trees from to the nearby sawmills.  We are debt free.  We have already bought our burial plots.  I put money back monthly for house taxes, new roof, new HVAC, etc. although my house is only 6 years old.  I don’t need a new roof or a new HVAC for a long time, but want to be ready if and when I do need them.  Same for our headstones, dentures, long term health care.  Many women have no idea how to handle money or their own financial needs looking towards retirement and are generally the poorer for it as they are generally the caretakers in their family and their working life ($$ opportunities) are lessened because of it.  Mine has been as I care for two disabled sons and now have aging parents.  My husband has helped me think through a timeline of action if he goes first… when to sell the second vehicle, which CDs to cash in first, which retirement account to draw down first, etc.

I had a long time friend lose his wife just this year rather unexpectedly, I’d love to hear about this topic from a male perspective as well.  How men can prepare in the case that they are widowed and how they think about preparing for their own demise and their family’s well being if they are the ones to pass first.

What do you think?  Have ya’ll a plan?  Maudlin I know, but I’m a practical person, I need to think these things through while I have time.

I am working on saving for a large solar addition of our own.  Our home site is not ideal (tall pines), but I think we could manage a wheel about solar panel.  As it is we have a small system now that we use in power down situations…small trickle solar panel, lawn mower battery, inverter…these allow a small electric lamp, coffee pot, toaster, drill, box fan, or other small draw electrical accessory to be used in an outage.  I think it cost me about $115 dollars a few years back to set it up.

Anyway, would love to hear ya’lls thoughts on the subject.  Even if it’s just a listing of your plans, maybe some other folks will chime in with helpful comments! 


When we got married, I told Fern she would never have to worry

about money. Because I am one of those people that can get blood out of a turnip. If it means living poor, we have lived poor many a time, but she never had to worry about money and she never had to worry about food on the table. That’s the way it’s been since day one.

Moving along. Fern’s father passed away when she was very young, and that will lead into the next part of this article. When Fern and I got married, her mother insisted that we have lots of life insurance and I told her no, we’re not going to invest in life insurance, we’re going to invest in education and skills. You know the story about giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day? Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime? Well, instead of putting that money into a life insurance plan, we invested our time and money into ourselves. Not just Fern, but me also. Because when we got married, I was going to marry a teacher. We kept adding degrees and certificates. So, that was my response to the need to buy life insurance.

The issue of marrying a teacher? When I started college full-time, I was a little older, ten to twelve years older than most college kids. I was tired of the big city racket, and wanted the type of job that would take me

anywhere that I wanted to go. The allure of having summers off just couldn’t be passed up. So I decided to become a school teacher and I was going to marry a school teacher, and we were going to live in little town America and escape the rat race. Here we are. Of course, there was a lot more detail to that plan, and there were many lean years there. But I think the lean years make you stronger, and we still do not have life insurance. Maybe this will make a good post someday, but if you read the history of insurance, it comes from a protection racket, that if you didn’t participate, you might get hurt. But that’s a different story.

Okay. The house. Our house is not all electric. We do have wood burning heat, if we choose. Our cookstove is propane. When we moved here the house had a large propane tank, and we supplemented it with a larger

propane tank. Now the only thing we use off of this propane is our cookstove, and I guesstimate we have approximately eight years worth of propane. The house we live in is standard stick frame construction, built with the intention of having perpetual grid supplied electricity. Long term I hope to replace the windows with double hung windows. One of the first additions we made to the house were full length east and west porches, which means that the porches are on the east and west side. Someday, we hope to have a greenhouse on the south side. We did replace the roof with heavy gauge metal roofing that should last our lifetimes. The exterior facade we replaced with a concrete type 4 x 8 sheet, called in some areas Hardy Backer. 

When we moved here we had two deep water wells dug. Fern and I installed a Simple Pump system in each one. We have planted fruit trees that failed, and then planted more fruit trees that failed. We have expanded the garden every year, which for the most part is a pretty good producer, supplemented with some failures. If you read this site, then you know we produce our own meat, milk, eggs, dairy products, and we hope to continue to do that with or without the economy prospering.

Everything we own is paid for. I’m going to talk about finances, but before I do, let me qualify something. Everything that I have comes from God. I thank God every day for the life He has given me and the opportunity to be here and participate. On occasion I forget who I am and where I come

from, and in a short manner I turn myself around, face my Father and thank Him for all that I have. Now, I’m not a stand on the corner Bible preacher, and can’t see that I’m going to be anytime soon, but I know where everything I have comes from. Okay? Okay.

Now, having qualified my position on my Creator, this plan developed about 30 years ago, maybe a little longer. I have had the opportunity in my life to see what money does to families, and I chose not to go that route. My choice, my design, my plan. I’ve chosen to live a humble life style. None of this ‘look at me’ stuff. Simple, humble and functional. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. Cute means nothing in my world. What’s the old woodworking saying? Form follows function. When I do buy something, I buy the best I can afford. Not the most expensive, but one that will last and do the job for the longest period of time. An example. When Fern and I first got married, a close relative of ours was a licensed gun dealer, FFL. We bought a handful of cheap pistols. Sometimes they would work, sometimes they wouldn’t, but they were pretty. One day it dawned on me, if my bride is going to carry a weapon in her purse, then being cute means nothing. It has got to work. Since then my bride has carried the most reliable handgun made. It’s black and it works. Do your own research. It’s not the most expensive, it’s not the prettiest, but it’s the most reliable handgun on this planet. And some people look good in black. But this is my point, if you’re going to invest good, hard earned money, get the best product you can afford.

Investments. As stated earlier, we invested heavily in education and training. Often times this training was provided free by the government. First aid, CPR, EMT, Police Academy, Firefighter, and Military. As we speak right now I am taking a CERT course provided free by the government. Yes, I have to invest my time, and I have to put out some effort, but this is training that I have wanted for years.

Financial investments. Fern and I invested in a few retirement accounts. We put money in, our employer matched. Now 25 to 30 years later, we are reaping the benefits of these accounts. One of these programs also provided a life time medical insurance plan. These are things we invested in for years and years. This did not happen overnight. If I die, which I will someday, all of my investments will automatically switch to Fern. There  

will not be any change in program or financial status. If Fern passes first, the same applies for her investments, they will automatically switch to me. I know some will say, that’s not fair. But first, let me assure you that every investment that I have I worked for. Every piece of education that I have, I earned by the sweat of my brow. In a month when I complete my CERT training, and I get a certificate of completion, it will be because I worked for it and earned it. Key words there. Worked for and earned. Thirty something years ago when Fern and I started this path that we are traveling, there was a plan, and if you will plan, then you can do the same thing too, because nobody is going to give it to you. We, Fern and I, have worked for, done without, and earned everything that we have. If one of us dies before the other, the other person will be taken care of.

Okay, let’s talk church. If you are a spiritual being, then I would recommend that you attend a local church. It’s just good brotherhood. If you’re looking for the perfect church, you ain’t gonna find it, because nothing is perfect. So accept the fact that people are different, and go to church. If and when things get bad, you’ll be glad that you have a church family. I harbor no ill feelings against TV preachers, if that’s your cup of tea, good for you. But I would highly recommend a local church. Even if you disagree with some of the doctrine, focus on the big picture, let the little stuff slide, and have your hiney in church.

I hope this answers some of the primary questions from the email that we received, and I also hope it opens doors for thought. There is nothing special about Fern or I, we just worked all of our lives, saved a little bit here and there, tried to be good decent people, but we always remembered who we were, where we came from and where we are going. Tonight when I go to bed, I will get down on my knees and thank God.

We’ll talk more later. Frank

Under Construction

There has been some really great weather here for about a week now, and we have been taking advantage of it. We have been building some loft shelving in the building that replaced the old red shed. This will give us more storage space for light duty items, as well as utilize our space more efficiently.

All of this work leads Frank to finalize the plans for our solar panel installation, which is very exciting. As we get closer to having everything prepared for this project more research, planning and figuring have to be done to make sure we have everything we need. Some of the ideas we have had during this planning phase have created some changes for the better.

While we spend more time outside in the wonderful sunshine and 76* weather on this balmy January 28th, we aren’t spending much time preparing anything for the blog. We hope you’ll understand. Please enjoy a few pictures from around the farm, while one of our long term dreams is under construction.


Tiger and Pretty playing in the herb bed.

Little Bit enjoying a piece of sunshine while One Stripe enjoys a meal.

Our always faithful, Pearl.

Blackberry beginning to bud

The beautiful hills

Water flowing in the branch in the yard

Sunset through the radio antennas

Knitting a baby afghan

We’re finally getting plenty of eggs.

The bread jar

Sunset reflecting toward the east

Long may she wave

Little Bit

Time to make pots for our seedlings

Enjoy these relatively peaceful days that we have been given. Dream big, plan well, work hard and your rewards will be very gratifying. All we can do and learn now may make life just a little bit easier when TEOTWAWKI comes knocking. Are you ready to answer that door?

Until next time – Fern