In my opinion, these are the best of the best of survival and preparedness articles gleaned from the 'net.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Composting

If you have read our blog for a while, you know that we are big fans of composting as it reduces waste, and gives added benefits to our gardens. The Mother Nature Network has an article that talks about the things you should never compost. Check out the article. I don't know that I agree with everything on the list but it's good to get someone else's view on what we shouldn't compost. Here is their list.
NEVER COMPOST:
Bread products: This includes cakes, pasta and most baked goods. Put any of these items in your compost pile, and you've rolled out the welcome mat for unwanted pests.
Cooking oil: Smells like food to animal and insect visitors. It can also upset the compost's moisture balance.
Diseased plants: Trash them, instead. You don't want to transfer fungal or bacterial problems to whatever ends up growing in your finished compost.
Heavily coated or printed paper: This is a long list, including magazines, catalogs, printed cards and most printed or metallic wrapping paper. Foils don't break down, and you don't need a bunch of exotic printing chemicals in your compost.
Human or animal feces: Too much of a health risk. This includes kitty litter. Waste and bedding from non-carnivorous pets should be fine.
Meat products: This includes bones, blood, fish and animal fats. Another pest magnet.
Milk products: Refrain from composting milk, cheese, yogurt and cream. While they'll certainly degrade, they are attractive to pests.
Rice: Cooked rice is unusually fertile breeding ground for the kinds of bacteria that you don't want in your pile. Raw rice attracts varmints.
Sawdust: So tempting. But unless you know the wood it came from was untreated, stay away.
Stubborn garden plants: Dandelions, ivy and kudzu are examples of plants or weeds which will probably regard your compost heap as a great place to grow, rather than decompose.
Used personal products: Tampons, diapers and items soiled in human blood or fluids are a health risk.
Walnuts: These contain juglone, a natural aromatic compound toxic to some plants.

Some of these items make sense. I wasn't aware of the dangers of Walnuts for other plants. I don't agree with the philosophy of of making a broad statement that we should not compost bread just because it might attract pests. It might be more acceptable to use bread if your compost pile is away from the home like ours is.

If you do compost, what do you think of these no no's. If you don't compost, start looking in to whether or not it is feasible for you.

Michael

Common Sense And Your Scenario

Automated teller machine located in Fairfield ...
Having guns, training with them and carrying whenever functionally and legally possible is a good thing to do. However what gun rags and supposed expert instructors don't tell you is that there are a lot more important things you can do to protect yourself. For a second ignore the ' defensive experts' and listen to your Grandmother.

-Live somewhere that doesn't suck. Not much makes it more likely that you will have to deal with crime as having 3 crack houses on your block. Look at areas, local police reports and statistics. Don't confuse ritzy and safe as plenty of totally safe neighborhoods aren't fancy or expensive.

-Don't deal with sketchy people. Sketchy people bring sketchy stuff with them. This is a great example of a place where the difference between a good person and a good citizen is important. I know plenty of people who smoke a bit of pot and or break a couple laws or dodge some taxes that are fine people and are perfectly safe to be around. However when you talk about serious criminals and hard drug users they bring violence and crime like nobody else. Even if your hard drug using friend/ family member is a nice enough person sketchy stuff just surrounds them, I don't think they can help it. The dirty little secret the anti gun folks won't tell is that drug users/ dealers/ distributors are the reason you are 328% more likely to be shot by someone you know than a stranger. If you choose to spend time around them or especially allow them in your home I am certainly not saying you deserve what happens, just that you shouldn't be suprised.

-Get home early. The phrase that nothing good happens after 11 o'clock (well made a 9 o'clock movie but I digress) is just so true. Along those same lines if you like going out to taverns or bars I personally advise doing it earlier instead of later. You don't see a lot of stupid stuff happen at bars at 7 or 8 in the evening.

-Be smart about where and when you get money from ATM's. Getting cash in a rough neighborhood at 2am is just stupid. I can't remember a single case of a guy getting robbed at the ATM in a Barnes and Noble at noon. Also beware that some places are safe at one time but not another. An ATM in a vibrant down town shopping/ restaurant/ business area might be totally safe at 4pm but going there at midnight is just stupid.

- Keep information about your valuables need to know. It is pretty hard to keep someone from seeing a nice TV if they end up in your house for all sorts of reasons. However stuff like guns, cash, precious metals, expensive jewelry, etc is a bit easier. Sure close friends usually have a solid idea but outside of that handful of people this information needs to be kept only to those who need to know for some legitimate reason.

Even if you take all of this advice and impliment it there is still risk. There are some unique factors that can dramatically affect your risk. Your line of work is definitely a big factor. For example the odds of a bail bondsmen having a non random violent encounter with a criminal are a lot higher than a middle school teacher. I would be a lot more worried about my security plans if I was a cop in the organized crime department then as an accountant at a random company.

Are you in a cash business? This is a big risk factor. I have a friend who is in a cash business. To up the ante even more it is a cash business that is very seasonal. He makes most of his yearly income during one month.  He didn't advertise or anything but invariably more than a few people knew he was paid a lot of cash during the season. His personal OPSEC wasn't bad but the nature of his business sorta put him out there. A few years back there was a home invasion gang in his area. Not an elite paramilitary organization but a lot more than a couple random thugs. Somehow it became apparant that he was on their list and a couple SWAT cops lived at his place for awhile. For him it ended up fine but it wasn't so good for the first couple people that got hit. If you are in this sort of scenario I suggest some serious security plans.

The overall level of risk your area, profession and lifestyle minus the accomodations (above or similar) you are willing to make leave some degree of residual risk. This residual risk is a significant contributor in what sort of energy and resources you should put into cautionary measures.  I am torn on this one. On one hand life can be randomly dangerous, even if you are an insurance broker in Quietsville, Ohio. On the other hand it sort of makes sense. Stuff that you see an immediate need for is a lot more important than stuff you would sorta like to have around on general principle. For example this year a bullet proof vest is on my list, in fact it is pretty high on my list. Next year we will probably get another one. They are good things to have but I don't have a pressing ned and am balancing other concerns. However if I somehow ended up in a serious disagreement with 'Crazy Guns' Tony Guinn an enthusiastic local gangster both of bullet proof vests would be purchased locally at once no matter the premium.

I guess to me ones individual residual risk doesn't so much change what is ideal. A well thought out and comprehensive security plan is desirable for everyone. However I do think that where the components of this plan in terms of stuff, time and energy fall on your overall list of lists can vary widely by your circumstances. What might barely make one persons list for the year could be a 'this has to happen this weekend even if we've got to live on rice and beans for a month' type priority for another AND THEY ARE BOTH RIGHT! A strong reinforced door/ frame would be nice if you live in a pretty calm neighborhood. However if your third neighbors door got booted by goblins it has to happen now.

In conclusion I think you should take common sense measures to minimize your risk. I also think that you should take a look at your situation and the residual risk that remains. While everyone should have a well thought out security plan, depending on your residual risk level, it might be more urgent for some than others.
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