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Governor Bevin held a press conference yesterday, it seems, speaking to and about the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.  He spoke for close to an hour, but this appears to be the part that got Nicole all riled up.

Above all else, the one thing I want to make clear, everything that happens in this Cabinet has got to focus on, as it relates to children, has got to focus on what’s best for the child, first. Above all else. The child has to be first. And this is the challenge to those behind me, to those who work here, to those, everyone of our social workers, to our judicial system, to all of them, the challenge is this.

The child has got to trump the parents when it comes to what’s best for that child. Period. There is no amount of family whose interests are more important than that of the child. And that’s a rethink on the way we’ve done a lot of things. This idea that the family, and putting the child back in that family is the most important thing has led to a lot of problems.

We have a lot of children who have been put right back into very abusive and neglectful situations, and we’ve known it, whether we’ll admit it or not, we’ve known it. And we’ve known it because the laws require it. And so people know that they’re putting a child back into a bad situation. Those rules have got to change. And that mindset has to change and that’s one thing we’re working on.

The child needs to come first.

Governor Bevin and I very likely do not agree on much.  I didn’t vote for him, will never vote for him and don’t like him.

However, I agree with him about this.

Nicole, of course, doesn’t.  So she took to video on her Facebook page to hold her own little mini-press-conference.

Here’s what she had to say.

Good morning, I, em, wanted to do a quick video, I swear this one’ll be quick.

Uh, a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to head to Frankfort yesterday to speak with some people. Um, things this past week changed that plan, and so I didn’t go yesterday, and now I’m really wishing that I had.

Um, I had originally gone because, as you know, our case is still open, um, it’ll be three years in May that it has been open. Our kids have been home for three years in June, and our case is still open, and um, been fighting with the courts to get it closed. We kept getting blown off, and. . .

Anyways, I want to make something very clear.

Um, CHFS, CPS, has said since May of 2015, close the case, close the case, they did their investigation, close the case, close the case. Do more investigation, still close the case. They’ve maintained that since 2015. It is the judge and the guardian ad litem in our case that is keeping our case open.

Let’s all take note of this. CPS wants to close the case. They’ve wanted to close the case since May of 2015, which must have been the day after the kids were taken. They want to close the case. It’s the judge and the GAL who are keeping it open. Not CPS.

So our case is different than some of the other families who have been dealing with CHFS and so I wanted to kind of address that.

Um, yesterday, Matt Bevin did a, um, press conference with, I always say CPS, with CHFS, and made some comments, I didn’t get to listen to the whole thing, so I’m just going off of what is, off briefly saw and I wanted to comment on a few things, and um, and whatnot.

Nicole is confusing CPS and CHFS. In Kentucky, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is a big branch of the state government.

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The part that deals with foster care is called the Department of Community Based Services, or DCBS.  But nobody calls it that, because nobody can remember that.  We just call it CPS because that’s what it’s called in lots of other states. Everyone knows what that means.

The important point here is that CPS is just a teensy part of DHFS, one little part.

Um, first off, the reason I didn’t go is because, as I said last week, that, um, our case is being brought back into court after over a year of not being in court, it’s being brought back into court, hopefully next month is what, um, CHFS is hoping to do. They’re trying to get the judge to get it in court.

Again, note this. CPS is trying to get the case back in court, ostensibly so they can close it. They are trying. They have been trying.

Um, we have a new caseworker on our case, our last caseworker didn’t, um, you know, kept trying to get it in court, and for whatever reason it didn’t happen, I don’t know the behind-the-scenes stuff on that, so anyways, moving on, we have a court date in March, and hopefully that resolves my issues, if not, um, we’ll just make the next steps, and then I will be going to Frankfort for sure.

And so, I have encouraged, and Matt Bevin has said, he needs to audit DCFS [sic]. That’s the one thing that I, that’s the whole point of this, he needs to do that. He’s talking about all these cases and things to do and then yesterday he made a comment about, um, not reuniting children with families that open investigations, and that’s the whole point of that. Matt Bevin doesn’t even understand how DCFS, CHFS works.

Matt Bevin is not my favorite person. Honestly, he is a far right-wing Republican and really, we mix like oil and water. But he knows how CHFS works. He also knows the initials for the thing, unlike Nicole.

Bevin and his wife have ten children. Ponder that, Nicole. They have ten children. Four of them are adopted. They tried to adopt through the state of Kentucky’s foster care system but were denied because they already had five kids (one daughter was very tragically killed in an auto accident). Please note that. Matt Bevin is a wealthy man who couldn’t adopt a child through Kentucky’s foster care system because he already had five kids. So they adopted four children from Ethiopia.

Um, you have to reunite people with open investigations because that’s how you reunite the families. The cases aren’t closed until after the children are returned and everything is kind of settled in. So you return the children before that, for him to say you don’t return children to families with open cases, that would mean my children would still be in foster care.

Now, I know that in Kentucky we have a huge opiate epidemic, and I won’t [NOTE: I think she means “will”] talk about that later and the solutions to that later, but because of that, we do have a lot of children in foster care who probably need to be there at least in some shape, way, shape or form. They passed last year a law so that families can take in their cousins, nephews, whatever, and they don’t go into foster care homes with strangers which is good because alienation, separation from parents is traumatic to the children. Even if you’re taking them from abusive homes, it’s still traumatic to the children. When you’re taking children from non-abusive homes, where they are bonded with their families and they’re from good living homes, it’s even more traumatic. Um, I’ve seen that first hand.

So, that is important to first of all, not take children from homes on whims. I spoke with a woman just this past week. Her children were ripped from her home, and now they’re doing an investigation, and you know, they’re not finding stuff, and you know, it happens all the time.

In all the time I’ve been writing about this stuff and with all the comments I’ve read all over the place, not just here on this blog, I have read only a couple of times somebody who says, “Yes, my kids were taken by CPS and it was a good thing. They helped me get back on my feet.” Everyone online who ever has had any dealings with CPS (where their kids were taken) was totally innocent. Always.

You tell me what the odds are that is true.

So when you say, if you’ve got nothing to worry about, you do have something to worry about, because they come in, they take the children, and then they say, oh, well, let’s find out, make sure everything’s fine and bring the children back. That is traumatic to the children. It needs to not be done unless there is actual imminent danger, not the made-up shit that Todd Pate threw out into the air, um, when he took my kids.

The Naugler children were taken, not because Sheriff Pate made up anything (he was simply doing his job), but because they were living in appalling conditions, truly awful, and Nicole and Joe refused to allow CPS to talk to the kids and they gave every sign of preparing to flee the area. Joe and Nicole Naugler’s children were taken because of Joe and Nicole Naugler.

So, with that being said, we really need to audit, um, CHFS. We need to know how many of these children are being taken from homes where the claims are unsubstantiated. In other states, I believe it’s Kansas, it’s like 90%. Ninety percent is way high. Sixty percent is way high. It’s too many. It’s too many.

Here’s the link Nicole provided.

It’s to a Kansas resident’s Facebook page and she posted a screen shot of some stats out of Kansas of “unsubstantiated cases.”

Now then, unless Kansas has 32,910 children in foster care, the stats aren’t talking about children being taken from their homes.

Kansas has fewer children in foster care than Kentucky does. The number is around 7000.

What that silly screen shot is about is reports that are made to Kansas’ version of CPS.  The majority of those reports are “unsubstantiated.” Nobody’s kids were taken (except perhaps the ones that were substantiated).


And now we’ve got these issues of child-trafficking. Did you know that 50 to 60% of child-trafficked, trafficked children are foster children? Because what happens is they get ripped from the parents, lines are cut off, they get moved around, parents don’t know where they are. I never knew where my children were. I saw them once a week. I have no idea where they went on the other five days. No idea. Six days. Um, no idea where my children were at.

Um, that is where the child-trafficking is largely coming from.

Are you aware that nearly every child who spends time as a patient at St. Jude’s Research Hospital has cancer?  The vast majority of them.

It’s outrageous. We need to stop children from walking in that dreadful place. They go in there and they get cancer.

So we have these issues that need to be addressed, outside of that, but he’s focusing on this one miniscule thing. We need to know why children are being taken, and we have so many unsubstantiated cases.

For me, it’s the money.

If you, um, I didn’t write it on my notes, but I know that, um, there’s been bills passed, um, one in 2008 and another one I think was in 2013, um, oh, 1997, I mean, and one in 2013 that give federal funding to the states for foster care and that is how a lot of states balance their budgets. If you look up the funding for each state and you look up their child, um, foster care rates, you will notice that they are going in line with how they balance their budget.

Um, in 2016, the state of Kentucky received 12.3 billion dollars from the federal government for CHFS. Twelve point three billion dollars. For eight thousand children in foster care. That’s a lot of money. Does that money go to CHFS? Not all of it, I’m sure if somebody audited the CHFS, they’d know where that money went, but again, they use it to balance budgets, which means they use it to pay other people, other places.

Remember what CHFS does?  They don’t just do foster care. They also administer Medicaid.  Guess what Kentucky did when Obamacare passed? Then-Governor Beshear expanded Medicaid.  Remember?

And remember what that meant for the state?

It meant that the state got federal money to help expand Medicaid.

Bevin has since thundered all about rescinding that, but then didn’t because there would have been riots in the streets, however, he’s mucked it all up with work requirements.

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I realize that this graphic is for 2014 and Nicole is talking about 2016, but still, $200 million dollars is a whole lot less than $12 billion. I know math is hard.

I have no idea where Nicole got her figure.  Maybe she’ll get all pissed off and post a link.  I’m just doing what she said to do in her video and looking up stuff myself.  Like this below, which is the total amount the Kentucky government spent on everything. Thirty percent (the percentage of the state budget that went for Medicaid) of $30 billion dollars is $9 billion, or most of Nicole’s $12 billion.  Medicaid. Good.  Great use of public money.

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Here we go. Here’s her figure. It’s the total amount of federal money that Kentucky received, period. Well, that’s a common mistake for a narcissist to make, since they all think they are the center of the universe.  But, hey, the state was already audited, Nicole. They already did that.

Um, so I wanted to make this short. So what I wanted to say today, I don’t care where your opinion on my case, my family, the foster care system, any of that, whatever your position is, you need to call Matt Bevin’s office, and um, and I lost, I left my number out there, I’ll go grab that real quick but call his office today, tomorrow, or any day this week, just call, call twice, call three times and ask him to audit CPS. Demand that he does. Where is this money coming from? How many children are being returned? How many children are being, um, integrated back into their homes? How many children are being adopted out because there’s extra incentive if you adopt out, if you adopt children.

Uh, no. I’m not going to call Matt Bevin about anything at all.

Um, you can Google all of this information, I’m not going to provide links ’cause it’s easier if you just go find the information yourself, that way you’ll know I’m not trying to pull one over on anybody. But go to, um, on Youtube, is some great videos on Kentucky CPS corruption, where they’re fast-tracking adoptions to get the federal funding.

By golly yes. Get your information from. . . Youtube.

Now sure, that investigation was uncovered and that all went away in that area but I can assure you from talking with other families besides myself who’ve experienced this, um, because part of the reason why we, our case went the way that it is, because we were so high-profile. Because we kicked and screamed the whole entire way and said you’re, there’s no way in hell you’re getting away with this shit. We brought the limelight on us and it came with some repercussions, but we got our kids back.

Um, our case is still open, but our case is open with our kids home. This is so very important to us that we made compromises for that. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak out against it. But, let me go grab that number real quick.



All right, sorry about that. Anyways, Matt Bevin’s office number is 502-564-2611. The bill that I have here [unclear] my notes, I had two pages, CAPTA, you can Google that, and then Title “i” “v” [sic]-E, this is for adoptions. That’s the kind of stuff you want to start looking into because here’s the thing, this doesn’t just affect me, it doesn’t just affect my family or families like me, it doesn’t just affect moms who are strung out on drugs, passed out in parking lots, kids being taken. It affects people who have somebody who calls it in and says hey, this person’s doing this or that.

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but when we lived in Alaska, I was the treasurer for our little local library.  It was partially state-funded.  We got a grant every year from the state legislature.  And you know what?  I had to account to the state of Alaska for every dime we got and what we did with it. Every penny.  My books had to balance.

We were required to raise matching funds in contributions from the residents of our village. We had to prove that we did just that.

And that was just for a little library, and the grant involved was less than $15,000.  Really.  They check this stuff.

And the Cabinet is obligated to come in and investigate all calls. So they come in and they might find something, who knows, but they all want to open an investigation. They’re not going to just close it. They want to find some way to get you into their pocketbook. And even if you’re innocent, and you have done nothing wrong, they will still look for things to do that because it is how they pay their bills.

Now, remember what I said to note above?  CPS wanted to close the case in May 2015.  CPS has been doggedly clamoring for the case to be closed for three years. Right?

It’s the evil judge and the extremely evil GAL who are trying to keep it open.

I’m always looking for dogs to be groomed. They’re always looking for kids to kidnap. That’s how they pay their bills.

The people keeping the case open are the judge, who is not paid by CHFS, and the GAL, who is also not paid by CHFS.

The caseworkers who are paid via CHFS are demanding that the case be closed and have been doing so for nearly three years.

So I want you to be focused on, if you’re from Kentucky, focus on this. If you’re from, whatever state you’re from, look into you, into your laws, look into your fraud departments, find organizations who were standing up for family rights and children’s rights too because my children’s rights were violated. Everyone keeps saying, oh, the children, the children, that’s how they get this money from you, the children. The children have rights. They have a right to be secure in their home. They have a right to not be taken by the state because the state is looking to try to find ways to get money out of them.

They’re, your children have a right not to be trafficked. Like I said, look up the numbers. Fifty to sixty percent of child, children found in sex-trafficking are from the foster care system. This is so important. So important.

I’m gonna let that, leave that on that note. I will probably, um, try to see if I can post some links in the comments as the day goes through but I’d really appreciate it if you guys found your information. That way, it’s not, you know, me trying to sway anybody any particular way. I want you to find this on your own. And I gotta get to work. Have a good day.

Nicole, keep grooming dogs and get out of the political activism business. You totally suck at it.

Bevin and Naugler

Here’s the video along with a small clip from Bevin’s speech.



I wrote this:

There is no such thing as being self-sustainable, unless maybe living in the deep jungle of Papua New Guinea, and even then, you have a tribe. There is no such thing as what she is trying to describe as some sort of goal. There is nothing admirable about it. Nothing.

Nicole quoted me.

But of course, she left out the other paragraph.

Trying to be less wasteful of non-renewable resources? That’s a worthy goal. But that’s not what Nicole and Joe are doing. They are burning gasoline to run an inefficient generator for no reason at all. Power lines run right by their property.

There it is.

However, I think this subject deserves its own space. A lot of people who have been sucked in by the Naugler saga are back-to-the-land types, or more often, wannabes. They’re interested in what they all refer to as being “self-sustainable.”

And when Nicole objects to what I have to to say about the subject, they inevitably come up with some version of “people who are too scared to try it and are too plugged into the grid to ever get it.”  I am thus dismissed as a “psycho (note: Nicole, that’s how you spell the word) stalker” and somebody who is just jealous and/or inexperienced and/or frightened of new things.

I’m going to repeat myself.

Self-sustainability is very nearly impossible.

Here it is again.  It’s very nearly impossible.

I wrote about this before.  Go read it.  Really. Go read it and I’ll wait.

Dave and I were living fulltime in our RV in 2008.  We’d moved back to the Lower 48 in the wake of Nathan’s death, and we spent a couple of years wandering around trying to figure out what we wanted to do next.

In the spring of that year, I began to get some really bad vibes about the economy. For one thing, we’d bought a couple of houses in the previous year or so, and getting a loan for those houses was way too easy. At first, I thought it was just because we have such stellar credit and are so marvelous that Countrywide thought we were the best customers on the planet, but reality reached out and slapped me across the face and I knew that couldn’t be true.  Why was it so easy to get a loan?  Too easy. Way too easy.

In addition, we spent the winter of 2007/2008 in south Texas in a large RV park complete with a golf course. For long-term parking there (by the month), the park charges separately for electricity.  I noticed how high the electric bills were, specifically how much they were charging us per kilowatt hour.  We were dependent on those folks. Sure, we could leave, but ultimately, if we were going to plug in our rig, well, we had to park on land not owned by us and pay whatever the owner wanted for the utilities provided. Frankly, it gave me an uneasy feeling.

Coupled with a few other issues, we decided that we probably needed to buy a home base.

So we looked around. We considered going up north, but we’d already lived in the frozen tundra and didn’t relish doing it again.  We considered going south, but both of us grew up in the south and hell, I hate most of those Bible-thumpers.

Neither of us are fond of the desert, and the far west is simply expensive.

We ended up in Kentucky, due in part to low taxes, reasonably priced land, abundant water, a temperate climate, and well, it’s pretty here.

We bought our little farmette. We were told we were buying 17 acres, and we waived a survey, so when a friend used a surveying app on his phone a while back and told us that we actually only have 13 acres, I didn’t believe it was accurate.  It is, though.  The county agrees and that’s what they tax us on.

This just shows you that how much land you own isn’t the issue. It’s what sort of land you own.  We looked at several places before we bought this place, and the place with more than 30 acres didn’t have nearly as much usable land as we have here.  What we have is plenty.  We don’t want a smidgen more.

Anyway, along with the house came a large garage/workshop,  with the original garage behind it which we use as a wood shed, and a small barn. About 7 of those acres constitute pasture, and it was already fenced, albeit with high-tensile electric wire.  There was a large garden area, and we cleared some more in another spot.

We settled in.

We soon discovered that if you don’t maintain a pasture, you won’t have a pasture for very long.  Something has to eat it down, or you have to bush hog it, or both.

So Dave bought the donkeys.

Sometimes he refers to them as “rescues,” but they really weren’t. They were not being mistreated at all. They were just cheap. The guy who owned them didn’t want them. We did.

They had the whole pasture to themselves for quite some time.

In the meantime, we planted a garden, and then I began canning. We’d done all this before, in another life, back when Nathan was a little kid. This wasn’t our first foray into country living, but we were more serious about it this time.

The summer of 2008 just got me more and more nervous about the economy.

And in the fall, I sat at my computer one morning, hands shaking, and in a matter of a few minutes, sold every share of stock we owned.

The whole thing crashed a couple of weeks later.

We watched, in horror.

It’s one thing to deal with something like this when you have a job and your job probably isn’t going anywhere and you never have owned any stock or if you do it’s in a managed account someplace.  It’s quite another when your entire income (less Social Security, and only Dave had that then) is tied to interest rates and stock prices.

Over the ensuing months, we watched nervously as interest rates went down. And down, and down.

When you’re living on income generated by bonds or CDs that yield 5% annually, and interest rates plummet to 2.5%, your income just got sliced in half.  This will make you nervous.

We did what anyone else would do in our situation. We looked around at what the worst-case scenario might look like.  What if we found ourselves old, perhaps infirm, and with little money?  What would we do?  How would we live?

We started looking at what most people think of as “doomsday prepping.”

Not guns and ammo.  Food.  Food production and preservation. Water. Power. Gasoline.  All that stuff.

We spent some money on it. We bought stuff with the goal of seeing it last us for a long, long time.

You name it, I’ve looked into and probably tried it. Going without electricity, for example. For quite some time, everything we did, we thought in terms of “how could we do this without power?”  Is there a way?  If there was a way, we did it that way.

We’ve done a lot of gardening on a relatively large scale. For example, we’re eating right now the last of the corn I grew about three years ago and then froze. We already had one freezer and bought a second one. We considered what would happen if the power went out (or became so costly that we would be forced to scale back) and we bought canning jars.  Like more than 1000 canning jars.

And canning food illustrates perfectly the point I wanted to make about the idea of self-sufficiency, so let’s use it.

That’s just one side of our shelving for canned stuff in the basement.  There’s another one just like it out of view.  I told you I can a lot of stuff.

But to do that you have to have equipment.  You need at least one pressure canner.  I have five. I know, that’s overkill.

I’ve had an old Presto canner, like this one, ever since I was first married.  I’ve used it a bazillion times.  Every replaceable part has been replaced more than once.  It works just fine.

Then I have a newer Presto like this. It’s the same size as the old one.  It’s just much lighter. It also works just fine.

Both of them work great, absolutely flawlessly, provided you have a sealing ring in place.

There is a black rubber sealing ring that fits in a slot on the underside of the lids of those two canners.  They are two different models and don’t use the same ring. That sealing ring has to be replaced from time to time.  After a lot of experience, I’ve learned to replace it annually at the beginning of every canning season whether I think it needs to be replaced or not. If it’s worn or stretched, or just old, it will leak. The canner will not be able to hold the pressure required to can stuff.

I don’t know how to make rubber.  Even if I had some rubber, I don’t know how to make a sealing ring.  I have to buy them. They don’t really keep all that well, although I do have a few down in the basement that I vacuum-sealed in the hope that will preserve the rubber.

So, I thought about that.

What if I couldn’t get any seals?

So I bought this.  It’s an All-American canner.  It’s heavy as lead.

It doesn’t require any sealing rings.  It seals metal to metal, and you simply put a teeny bit of oil along the sealing area.  No rings. Nothing to replace.

Did I mention it’s heavy?

It’s so heavy that I ended up buying one half that size because I can pick it up better.

And then Amazon had a big sale on the teensy baby All-American, and I succumbed to temptation.

So, I have three AAs and two Prestos, and I use the AAs regularly and almost never use the others.

But I don’t have to buy sealing rings.

I have a lot of jars.  A whole lot of jars.

I’m all set, right?  I mean, like I’m all set forever.



I doubt that I ever have to buy a canning jar again my lifetime, even factoring in the inevitable breakage.

But jars are worthless without lids.

Oh, yeah, canning lids.

One time use. Disposable.  Oops.

I’ve experimented with reusing them.  It’s doable, sort of, but iffy. I even marked lids that I’d used for water bath canning (kinder and gentler) and then reused those for pressure canning.  What I found is that there are more seal failures if you try to reuse lids, and a seal failure means a whole quart or pint of food into the trash, food you worked very hard to grow and process. The rubber stuff is simply not thick enough to last and it’s too easy to bend the lid slightly when removing it and then you’re screwed.

Not only do you need those lids, you also have to have the metal rings to hold them on the jars. That’s not a super difficult thing, as I have about 1000 rings and I store them pretty carefully so they won’t rust and I use them over and over again, so I’m probably set on rings.

But lids were a problem.

And then I discovered Tattlers.

Tattler canning lids

Instead of a one-piece disposable lid, the Tattler is a plastic lid complete with a rubber ring (more about that in a second) that fits under the edge. You use the same ring.  There is a learning curve to using them and I had some failures in the beginning.

But once I figured out how they should feel and look when on the jar, and how to process with them, I’ve found that I have the same results with them that I did with the disposables.

I did find that Tattlers work better with pressure canning, and are a little bit more hit-and-miss when it comes to water-bath canning (because the high pressure in a pressure canner helps drive out air in the jar resulting in a better vacuum), but overall, I use them.  In fact, I’ve use about a dozen in the last few days making turkey soup.

And I’ve used my Tattlers over and over and over and over.  I’m sure I’ve used some of them a dozen times or more.  They come off the jars, get scrubbed and they often don’t make it back to the basement before they’re on another jar being processed.

Here’s some brandied peaches I made.  See the white Tattler lids?  The rings are still in place because the jars just came out of the canner.  Once they sit overnight, I remove the rings.

You can just barely see the edge of the red rubber ring in this photo.

So what about those rings?  Don’t they wear out?

Well, yeah, they do.  But not really as fast as you might think.  I’ve had Tattler lids now for several years (my guess is at least five years) and I’ve probably destroyed three rubber rings.  I bought a stash of extras.  I also have about a zillion Tattler lids. I have boxes of Tattler lids that I’ve never opened. Several years ago, there was a big promotional sale and I jumped on it and went sort of berserk.

I’m set for life.

I also have so much money invested in canning jars, and canners, and lids that it’s not even funny.  I haven’t even mentioned my water-bath canner, and my two steam canners, and  my steam juicer, and well. . .

I remember once, way back, when we were on the little farm in South Carolina and Nathan was a kid, I had a garden. And I grew stuff and I canned stuff and I worked myself half to death. I was working as an RN fulltime then as well. It was hard.

I canned a whole bunch of jars of green beans.

And then I went to the grocery store and they had a sale on canned green beans. Three cans for a dollar.

Three cans for a dollar.

Disposable lids (regular mouth) cost about $.25 each, depending on how you buy them. In those days, I think they were around $.10 each.  Factor in my labor and the power to run the canner, and the cost of the sealing ring for the lid of the canner.

I cried. It was just so overwhelming to see it all so cheap.

And believe me, canned green beans are just canned green beans. Home canned ones aren’t “better.” You’re just hungrier after all that work and they taste good.

I did the whole “prep for canning” thing because I was pretty much scared to death about the economy.  But as we did more and more to tighten up, and scale back, and invest in DIY stuff, the more we began to realize how hopeless it was.

You can’t be self-sufficient in everything. You just can’t.  It’s impossible.

Not only do you not have all the stuff you need, and not only can you not afford all the stuff you need, and you’ll go bankrupt trying to collect all the stuff you need, but you don’t even know all the stuff you need.  Spend a day considering everything you touch and everything you do and what you’d need to do if you had to replace, repair, or do-it-yourself when it comes to everything you use.  Or consider what life would be like without that item.

The best you can do, when it comes to this type of “prepping,” is to try to store some stuff so you can get through a hard patch of relatively short duration, like a few months at most. First on that list should be “what happens if I cannot pay the rent?” and not “I need to raise chickens and make pickles.”

So please, Nicole, stop with the whole self-sufficiency stuff. You aren’t. Nobody is, really.  People are not grizzly bears. They are loners for the most part and totally self-sufficient.  I am a human being and I am not. I know, because I have actually tried to do this and experimented with doing it and learned to do stuff for myself and the more I tried and experimented and learned, the more I realized how impossible it is and what an enormous waste it all is.

I accept this. Instead of worrying about what we will do if a disaster hits and how we can somehow make it all on our own, we think it’s far more important to be good neighbors and connect with lots of other people, so that, as my neighbor once said, “the only thing that matters is what is happening here on the ridge [meaning our neighborhood].”

I still can food, pretty regularly.  But I tend to be pretty picky about what I bother with. Turkey soup was a good idea. It’s easy, fast, delicious, I can’t buy it, and the turkey carcass was sitting there staring at me.

If I grow fresh green beans, because I like them, and there are enough to can, well, yeah, I’ll can them.  But I’m not going to grow them just to can them.

I make grapefruit marmalade because Dave likes it and have you ever seen any ever anywhere?  I make brandied peaches because they’re cheap if I get the peaches from the Mennonite produce place and Dave likes those too.

While I’m waiting for the big disaster to happen, though, I’m going to buy stuff from the store, grow a garden if I want to and not if I don’t, can stuff if I want to, but not because I have to, use electricity that’s cheap and quiet, and enjoy my life.

I’m probably going to sell the oil press I bought so I could raise sunflowers and press the oil out and make salad dressing.  Seriously.




This is a video, on Facebook, so I can’t embed it.  I can only link to it.

It’s about 20 minutes in length, but I think it’s twenty minutes well-spent.

It’s about socialism, what it is, how it works, or doesn’t work, and it offers a very brief overview of all the different types of socialism that exist.  It’s narrated (and probably written) by David Pakman.

I was delighted to see that at one point in the film, at the point where about 5:18 is left to view, the camera is taken quickly down a street in Copenhagen. I recognized it because Dave and I walked there daily for three days.  One of those bus stops was where we caught the bus to go to our bed and breakfast.

That’s indicative of nothing at all, but was sort of neat just because. . .

Anyway, give it a view if you’re even slightly interested in the subject.