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Posts Tagged ‘Survival’

Hogweed 1

Hogweed in Northern Michigan

“Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?”

– Henry David Thoreau

 

Oh how we rejoice in the beauty of nature!  And summertime in rural Virginia couldn’t be more invitingly lush and green.

Then my brother called from California to warn us about an invasive weed recently found in Virginia.

Beware HOGWEED!

It grows exceedingly tall and some might say, “pretty”,  but you don’t want to cut Hog Weed for indoor  arrangements.  Even if you just brush against as you pass by, your skin may suddenly become sunlight sensitive to the point of third degree burns!

And if you get some of the sap in your eyes, you could literally go permanently blind.

Read about Hogweed  here!  It is in a number of states now and Virginia is the latest.

Now if Hogweed wasn’t enough (and forgeddabout Stink Bug infestations) but have you ever heard of SLIME MOLD?

Slime Mold

Slime Mold – Nickname “Dog Vomit.” Ewwwwww!

This weekend I looked around the mulched beds in our front yard and saw a giant spread of a horrifyingly ugly mold.

It was a sickly white globby thing!

I expected it to ooze out bigger and bigger and to eventually smother every living thing in its path.  Yes, you would definitely see SLIME MOLD in a very scary horror movie.

I was terrified.  I didn’t want to touch it.  I didn’t want to move it.  “Well, maybe I will water it,” I thought.  A hard spray to the monolithic gooey mass created a copper colored cloud of deadly dust.

  • Am I inhaling this?
  • Will I die of an alien fungus and who would know?

My fearless friend Amy was here but even she was intimidated by the ugly slime.  She agreed to turn a pot over on it so we wouldn’t have to see it.  I had nightmares that night though.

  • What if it seeped out the sides of the upside-down pot?
  • What if it could figure out how to get inside the house?
  • There was a hole in the bottom of the pot for drainage but the hole was now “up” and was I feeding The THING with oxygen and enabling it to grow?
  • Would it crawl out the drainage hole?

Thank Goodness for “Hey Google!”

Turns out that SLIME MOLD (affectionately nicknamed “DOG VOMIT”due to the similarity in appearance) is not dangerous to humans or pets or even plants if it doesn’t smother them with love.

Slime Mold is only horrifyingly ugly, which demonstrates that sometimes Mother Nature is indeed, benevolent and even compassionate.

Watering will cause Slime Mold to float around in the air (in that big copper cloud I unleashed) and spread (the result of my watering efforts).

And so my friends, my own personal ugly Slime Mold took up new residence on top of an Impatiens flower in the same bed.

According to my panicked research, the way to remove it (the Slime Thing) is to dig it up with a shovel, put it in a plastic bag (like you would dog doo) and discard the whole thing in the trash.

Bill grinned and bore it and just pitched the one celled organism into the woods where it will surely find some new decaying vegetation on which to build a life.  We are not killers after all.

Such are the gifts of nature to be found in the Virginia countryside!

I did see a mama turkey and her six young-uns running for the woods yesterday.  Maybe they heard about the Slime Mold Invasion.

So, what’s new in your neck-o-the-woods?

 

 

 

 

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Bear VA Black Bear Cub

Virginia Black Bear Cub – Photo Source Unknown

“If I expect the worst will happen and then it is the best, I am happily surprised. On the other hand, if I expect the best and the worst happens, I am sorry I didn’t think the worst to begin with.”    Quote by ~Dor

I have a blogger friend, Kate, who freely admits she magnifies simple human maladies into end-of-the-world death-approaching, devastating ailments. She makes me laugh because I see “me” in there too.

Once the question was asked at a book club meeting, “What kinds of books do you prefer?”

And there were answers like, “Mysteries, Romance, Biographies, Historical Fiction, etc.”

My answer was, “Doomsday  books.”

And everybody laughed!

Yes, it is true I love doomsday stories (fiction or non) about living through the plague, the great influenza, the civil war, the world wars, floods, hunger, and pestilence.

The first book I loved, cried over, sped through and read again and again was the American Classic,  Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton.  And I still wish I could change the ending.  Surely the doomed lovers could have positively altered the course of their lives and survived unscathed. Couldn’t they?

Progressing from that frustration I began reading powerful historic treatises on The Great Influenza, Isaac’s Storm, and yes, those stories about the plague, war, starvation, pestilence, the plight of women, etc.  I still love them all and always looking for more.

And as a result, over time, I saved life-saving tips into a collection I now call Dor’s Doomsday Survival Manual.

But  when my real-life friends look at the manual they laugh and seem to consider it a comedy.

And now you have it – the deep dark underside I have struggled so long to keep hidden, and the reason I aim to publish funny blog posts.

But I wonder if you would laugh as you browse through Dor’s manual chapters.

  • What to do if there is a bear on your deck!  Hide – plus other good ideas.
  • How to save a cat from drowning in a flood.  Float out in a sealed bucket (I just saw that on t.v.
  • How to purify water.  Clorox?  Yes, really.
  • Hidden water sources in your home.  Toilets?  Yes, really.
  • Non-perishables that will last 25 years of even hundreds of years.  Fruit cake and honey – really!
  • What to pack in a survival suitcase.  Chocolate?  Wishful thinking but there is a longer list.
  • How to prepare for the Avian Flu (or did it already come and go?)  I think the Bird Flu passed on by…. or has it?
  • What to do when food sources are low. You can live many days without food. Who knew?
  • Beware of summer storms.
  • Evacuation tips
  • Assembling a first aid kit.
  •  Tools and supplies to have at the ready.
  • A Family Disaster plan.
  • And more.

Do you think I should publish my Survival Manual as a comedy or what?

Your input is entirely welcome, but I am thinking the worst.

 

 

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As I write this, there is a great big Virginia black bear lounging on my deck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is 10 PM and we are at the end of a mild thunder storm.  I was sitting in the living room watching a weather program about surviving hurricanes when I heard sounds from the deck (right outside the window).

I turned on the outside light and there he is – Bruno!

He is, as I write this, ignoring the storm, but busily scratching himself and looking very content.

Bill went to check things out and said our bird feeder is now gone.  It was full of sunflower seeds.

That’s it for bird feeders!  If we survive, I will remove all feeders forever after!

Bill is spying on the bear now.  I wish I could take a picture but maybe the flash would agitate Bruno.

I am cowering in the back room wondering if we will survive the night.

To be continued.

 

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My favorite stories are about survival.

Like tales about the plague or hurricanes are just wonderful.

Surely there must be germs of experience in such doomsday revelations to help one through life’s most pressing challenges.

But the latest survival information I discovered is even more direct.  A rather obscure article I read recently gave explicit instructions on imaging to deal with life problems.  Evidently you can think your way into surviving anything by simply writing a thought, shredding it, and then discarding what you wrote!

Doesn’t that make some logical sense?

Presumably, the image of trashing a problem like the plague (after you reduce it to little paper bits) will make the whole thing go away.  I’m sure they never thought of imaging in the days of death-by-plague, but we have definitely come a long way since then haven’t we?

Anyway, as instructed, I now spend 15 to 30 minutes a day writing down every thought and then shredding and discarding each thought, one by one.

The waste basket is full of bits of  note paper .

And in the last few days noticeable patterns emerged.

PATTERNS:

  1. Reminders.

    “Buy milk.”

    “Get graduation cards for J and K.”

    “Call Kit.”

    (Do you see any correlation to eradicating a serious problem in such thoughts? Well I wrote them down anyway and did the dastardly shredding.)

  2. Questions.

    “When will my friend be moving back to this area?”

    “Should I order pot holders online?”

    (So far there have been no subliminal answers. Maybe I am thinking of this exercise like it’s a Ouiga Board.)

  3. Wishes.

    “I wish I had a dog.”

    “Wish I didn’t have to cook dinner tonight.”

    “I wish I was thin.”

    (Now wouldn’t that be something if I could tear up the last wish and begin to lose weight?  I did notice I skipped the after-lunch cookie today!)

CONCLUSIONS:

  • This exercise is fun.
  • I don’t think it has any intrinsic value but will let you know if I ever feel problem free.
  • Maybe the exercise can be tailored to address specific problems.  Like one day you shred only those thoughts that are about wishes.
  • Or maybe it is like writing a letter to Santa, who will read the list and come forth with all the goodies
  • I don’t see any signs that my expected longevity is extended.
  • So much for shredding problems.
  • And so much for survival.

And my last thought was/is in the Reminder category, “Don’t forget to buy a whole bunch of scratch pads because you are running out of shredding-paper.”

Now maybe THAT is a solveable problem except I shredded the reminder and will probably forget what I was trying to remember.

 

 

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Sign of the Times

Yesterday I parked next to a car with this outdated 2014-15 Zombie Hunting Permit displayed in the rear window.  Should I have left a note to remind the driver to renew?

Zombie Hunting Permit

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Blizzard Sign

Photo from:  WTVR CBS6 Richmond on Twitter @tristateweather .

Lizzard warning issued for Long Island.  As seen on northern state parkway.

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When I was young and wrinkle free (never mind care free), I thought the first sign of aging would be a gray hair followed by a wrinkle.  I also believed the old hag image could be avoided by eating and sleeping right and using all the miracle creams advertised on television and in magazines.

Hope is a many splendored thing, but the truth is harder to take.

Over time, there were signals that healthy living and preening were not quite succeeding:

  1. Police-people began to look like children. I wondered why little kids were assigned for protection.
  2. My doctor was the same age as my son!  He is still the same age as my son but now they both look middle aged while I still feel 18. (?)  Who can explain this?  Note:  I didn’t say I LOOK 18!
  3. Then a nice young man at the supermarket began saying, “Yes Maam.”  Was he talking to ME? REALLY?  Should I call him “Son?”
  4. Then another nice young man somewhere opened a door for me.  Hasn’t he heard that chivalry is already dead?  YOUNG women open their own doors. I CAN OPEN MY OWN DOOR – THANK YOU!
  5. Oh NO!  the first gray hair came and went (ouch!) but suddenly there were waaaay too many.
  6. The first wrinkle was a frown line.  Oh well, that could be blocked out with photo slight of hand.  You will never see a wrinkle in my selfies!  Ha!  I got THAT down pat.
  7. In airports,  people seem to think I am lost or confused.  “Do you need help?” they ask.  Hmmmmm.  It’s odd but I usually do.
  8. Magazine ads stop giving beauty hints when they get to the “Over ___” category
  9. Salespeople exclaim, “Oh, my grandmother bought one of those and she just LOVES it.”
  10. The AARP card has some real advantages – like free coffee – even if  I don’t even have to show the card.
  11. My grandgirls look the same age as I think I look until I look in the mirror.  I am considering hanging black shrouds over mirrors!

 Perhaps there is a vitamin to ward off the old hag image.  Only I know how many weird vitamin supplements are taking up space in my kitchen cabinet(s) and they are all secretly labeled “Hope dashed.  Store for later discard.”

Yes, hope is a many splendored thing, and I am still in favor of eating right, sleeping right, and exercising for energy and good looks.

I have been duly warned by the experts however, that with healthful living and of course, the most expensive beauty products, I will look 20 years younger and live long enough to enjoy 15 minutes more a day drooling in my soup.

 

 

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Upper Body Exercise

There is a trick (I have learned the hard way) to staying fit while being unbalanced and dragging around a cement block (the big Air-Cam Walker Boot attached to Dor’s foot).

Actually, there are two tricks to gaining strength and even losing weight.

One is for the upper body called the GWee Gym which is a portable elasticized thing. You can establish some rather nice routines with this neat little gadget but I have only used it once in these first weeks of adjustment.

This is because my upper body is too tired

from dragging around the cement block on my lower body.

Yesterday, however, I discovered a build-up-your-LEGS-exercise that, with practice, will turn me into the Wonder Woman I always wanted to be.

I know this sounds like a modern fairy tale, but if you are interested in a Magical Muscle Building Technique (even if you have no Air-Cam Cement Block Boot on your leg) read on:

Note:  The electrical go-carts at the big grocery stores

are the Exercise Machines of Choice.

  1. Climb on a go-cart and tootle around filling the basket to your heart’s content.
  2. Go all the way to the back of the store.
  3. At this point you should run out of batteries.
  4. Now walk to the front of the store.
  5. Pick up a regular push cart you have to manage on your own two feet.
  6. Now walk it to the back of the store to meet your dead go-cart.
  7. Transfer all the many items you have purchased from the electric cart to the “real” cart.
  8. Now walk to the front of the store again and pick up another “charged” cart and finish shopping.
  9. If there is any battery life left, drive the 2nd electric cart back to the real cart and transfer all remaining items again.
  10. And finally, walk the real cart to the front of the store to check out.

Note:  This routine does not even include the walk to the car or loading and unloading the stuff in the lot and at home.

Image from quotesgram.com

Image from quotesgram.com

I have noticed I am losing weight and getting stronger hips and legs.

I’m sure it’s because of all these magical exercises so I will keep doing them right into the New Year!

Tomorrow starts the New Year!  Time to roll over on the right side again!

HAPPY NEW YEAR my friends.    Happy New Year!

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Striped_Skunk

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

I have been living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for 26 years now and I am a self proclaimed “local”, but still considered a visitor by genuine old timers. It seems like eons ago I  traded citified  high heeled shoes (that don’t work on gravel drives) for  more sensible Wellies or flats that keep you from falling over.

OF COURSE you never have to ask for Dor’s sage words of wisdom.  Here’s the scoop and the straight talk about country living.

MAKE FRIENDS WITH WILDLIFE!

Deer Turkey Convention 3

Wild things “where the deer and the antelope play” make up a big part of country life but please forgive them their sins.

Deer are hungry.

And anything you plant in the ground (flowers, food, maybe even plastic plants) will send out signals in deer language.

Have you ever heard deer talking?  They oink to each other and they don’t know it but I know they are saying,

“Come and Get It Guys!!  SALAD HERE!”

But you have to love deer for their great beauty and grace.  And after all, they were here first.

  • Exception #1:  Do not try to make friends with Virginia Black Bears.  They are beautiful but somehow not to be trusted with your life.  AVOID VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS.
  • Exception #2:  If you see a sick skunk, do not try to cover it with a blanket to reduce chills and fever.  Dor tried this once.  Fortunately the shivering skunk dragged itself away, but I learned later it might have been rabid!  I hope it was only the flu, but please – AVOID SICK SKUNKS!
  • Exception #3:  Buy or borrow a “Have a Heart Trap.”  This comes in handy for humanely evicting critters that get into your attic like flying squirrels and possums.
Nice View Here

This is just a cute squirrel…not a flying squirrel. I have never seen a flying squirrel but my neighbors had them in their attic.

 

PLANT A VEGETABLE GARDEN BUT MAKE IT BIG

We planted a garden right away but were laughed at.

“Need some help harvesting?” said Julie and Peggy between rude guffaws!

I guess one cucumber and one tomato plant was considered small potatoes around here.

It wasn’t much of a salad for the deer either.

YOU WILL SOMETIMES MISS THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE

Plan on losing POWER, WATER, HEAT, AIR-CONDITIONING and don’t expect to FLUSH TOILETS EITHER!  These things usually disappear without warning at the most inopportune times.

WHACK AWAY AT THOSE WEEDS!

You will undoubtedly own five to ten weed whackers over five to ten years.  WEEDS ARE KILLERS OF MECHANICAL OBJECTS.  And weeds will always win.  Be vigilant. Enormous weeds will soon take over without your constant murderous intention.  Wear gloves for manual attacks or risk bleeding fingers and bug bites.  And be prepared.  You will definitely lose the war.

THERE ARE GOOD BEES AND BAD BEES

Have a plan for dealing with wasps and hornets who build TERRORIST CAMPS in the ground or in great hives almost anywhere you don’t think of.  We found one enormous hive in the fender of our pickup truck.  We moved the truck and the critters kept returning to the empty parking space.

Evidently wasps are not particularly bright.

Now there is a terrorist camp in the ground next to our front door!  Beware visitors.

Bill has a diabolical plan for dealing with the threat.  He ran a hose into the hole and turned the water on.  We are waiting to see if they evacuate and move to a more idyllic location.  I will let you know how this works out.

Request for Bee Eviction 2

WORRISOME WEATHER

We have had flooding rains.

Once we had an earthquake that registered as a mild thump with some rattling dishes.

We experienced a Derecho (a type of storm I never even heard of) with wicked winds.

Tree Limbs Down (800x800)

Tornadoes are rare but not unheard of.

Drought is a distinct possibility.

Deep snow does happen.

Hot, muggy, mid-summer weather is punctuated by severe thunder storms. (Dor hides in a closet.  She used to blame the dog.)

However, we were told and still believe this is Brigadoon and it only rains at night.

Don’t get me wrong.

I LOVE COUNTRY LIFE,

the birds singing

and starry skies,

seeing a doe nursing twin fawns,

herds of turkeys,

  Mama Bear and two cubs wandering by our living room windows.

I love the open space

and the silence,

the comfort of knowing we are almost self sufficient,

the warmth of a wood stove and being stocked up for the winter,

and occasionally I even love the challenge of survival

in a place that is not always benevolent.

I still stand in my kitchen and look out at the Blue Ridge Mountains and then I look again at the inside of our house.  It is a welcome nest Bill and I have created and it is all we had ever hoped it would be, complete with all the memories.

Are you still contemplating the serenity of country life?

Ahhhh –  call me if you have questions!

Shenandoah Sunrise

Shenandoah Sunrise

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Golden Welcom PlaqueOne of my favorite bloggers at Life in the Boomer Lane recently created a list of ways to deter thieves (and 16 year olds).  Don’t miss her hilarious post.  It inspired me to expound further because I couldn’t help thinking of additional ways to discourage home and car burglars.

HOW TO SAVE YOUR CAR FROM THIEVES

Dings and Dents are Good

There is a big dent in my car’s back fender and a collection of scratch marks (some rusted) on the side.  I purposefully leave it that way.  If I cannot afford to repair the dings, would there be anything worth stealing?  Thief Mentality:  “Skip that car.”

 

Rich People Don’t Leave Messes

I try to leave garbage strewn around the car – like wadded up tissues, leftover candy wrappers and fast food to-go bags.  Rich people usually don’t leave messes.  I must admit I am, in reality, an exquisit-ly neat person (and always on a health-food regime) but the question is – why not get a little messy?

Mud and Muck May Help

Our Virginia country lanes are always dusty and I do tend to leave the car unwashed, sometimes muddy, and in dire need of window washing.  Getting a clear view of the road is the challenge but it is well known that wealthy people have shiny cars. Thief Psychology:  “These people are not rich.  Skip that car.”

Dusty Car

 

HOW TO SAVE YOUR HOME FROM THIEVES

No Fancy Front Doors 

I really would like to have a fancy front door.  Don’t you love those magnificent double doors with stained glass panels that  open to a cathedral like foyer with a curving staircase?  Well, I have curtailed the impulse.  My house is one level (no stairs except to the basement) and there are no cathedral ceilings anywhere.

And of course, a plain unassuming run-of-the-mill front door shouts, “Nothing here of value.”  And if it is ugly that’s another bonus because there is surely nothing worth stealing inside the house.   Thief Psychology:  “Ugly door.  Skip that house.”

An Ordinary Door

An Ordinary Door

The Only Spiral Staircase at Our house

The Only Spiral Staircase at Our house

Get a Big Dog

I have been told by country locals to get a big noisy dog.  A big dog is supposed to be the best protection.

Bill and I did have two big beautiful Golden Retrievers named Peaches and Carrie.  If someone came to the door I would shout, “DOWN SPIKE!”  But they were truly the gentlest kindest dogs I have ever known.

Peaches & Carrie

Peaches and Carrie

Rozie At Her Best

Rozie

We then inherited a menacing looking dog named Rozie.  She stopped strong men in their tracks with her snarling, growling countenance.  The trouble was, she was also a big lover whose bite was literally nonexistent.  She did kill a groundhog once though (which offered no protection from human thieves).

You can buy audio recordings of barking dogs but I can tell by the static that it’s a recording.  I suppose a thief would know that too.  A real live biting dog would surely be a greater deterrent.

I do want a dog anyway since having lost our sweet beauties to the ravages of old age, but now considering a cuddly lap dog who may be more vicious after all.  Thief Psychology:  “Oooops. That little dog may actually bite.  Skip that house.”

Do you have secret tips to share too?

Of course the above suggestions for saving home and car are not to be taken literally, but if you try them and are still “burgled”, I hereby claim no responsibility for anything lost, mangled – or stolen.

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