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Health Tuesday – Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Get up, Get up , Get your body in Motion

I was inspired this morning on a Facebook Live with fellow blogger Ryan Biddulph. He is a blogger who blogs about . . . blogging, and how you can create a great life . . . blogging. He is a successful writer, blogger, author of many books dedicated to living a traveling lifestyle by his own rules.

The Facebook Live event asked the question, What do you do in the morning to get motivated?


It did not sound exactly like that. The actual topic was:

“1 way to get a competitive edge as a new blogger that has absolutely nothing and everything to do with blogging.”

And the answer led to the topic for this post. What do you do in the morning? And is it setting you up for success or failure?

Your Morning Ritual

Every day has to start. Do you have a morning ritual. And how does this morning ritual start you for the day? So I will go through my own ritual and ask some of the questions you may want to ask yourself.

First Question: When do you wake up? This may or may not matter you you. For me, it is essential. We must start early to get the juggernaut of our family moving. My wife is the early riser – usually waking between 4:45 and 5:15. I alarm myself for 5:06 – with an expected 2 snooze hits to make sure I am up by 5:30.  On weekends, I allow myself to sleep in until 7.

First Question of the Day: For me, what day is it? Each day has a little different schedule, so remember what day it is is important. This is how I have to start out or else who knows where I will get to. And there are days I am so out of it that I cannot even figure it out. Memory kicks in at some point.

Run to the bathroom: you figure it out, but essentials and teeth brushing are a must for me. Part of this is my morning stretches – including leg stretches, back and arm. I have been stretching out my legs since my first knee injury and surgery. The doctor noted that it was essential to keep my legs strong so bracing would not be needed for life.

Turn on the House: As I noted, my wife is the early riser. I come down and turn on the rest of the lights , start the coffee pot before my shower.

Shower time: I pick out my clothes the night before. This is mostly because we have a baby in our room and I do not want to turn on the lights and wake him up. Wash hair and body and then shave in the shower.

Meditation: I spend time centering myself under the hot water. There is usually music playing in my head. Often I recite the Medicine Wheel of Protection.

Get Out Get Dressed and Get Going: This is usually the end of the ritualistic stuff for me. I must shower in the morning more than anything. My eyes will not work properly without the water running over them. And I have tried splashing my face. Its just not the same. A quick brush through the hair and I am ready to go.

Coffee: I hate to say it, but I drink at least a cup of coffee every morning. I do not know if I would fall apart without it. I haven’t tried skipping it in more years than I can remember. And I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why I should try it. After the second cup I am wired and ready to go.

Not a Morning Person

I would not consider myself a morning person. I prefer to get myself in position and ready to go through rituals. I tend to be grouchy. Or better described as anti social. However, I am extremely productive in the morning. If not for all the rest of the people in my life, I would prefer to wake up and lock myself in a room and write for 3-4 hours. But I have yet to figure out how to make that work. But following a morning ritual also helps to get me in the right mindset to face the day.

But is there more that I might be able to do? Does this ritual prepare me for being able to get the kids up and off to school, write a blog post, connect with followers, weed my garden, take out the trash . . . ?

For myself, I see 2 places that I can improve:

Diet: There are a lot of improvements and healthier choices I can make.

Exercise: Though I am only 51, I often wake up feeling like I am 80. My stretching helps, but I need to add a little more structure. Will it be pushups and calisthenics? Maybe adding a walk or a run? I would love to start bike riding again.

So . . . What is your morning ritual?

Step 1: Write it down.

Step 2: Analyze it.

Step 3: Consider what you may want to change.



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Speaking of Lunar Calendars

A few years ago, I became acquainted with Astrocal. They produce a lunar calendar – noting the moon phase each day. You can choose from a number of options – a daily diary, and a couple different wall calendars.

As with all calendars, you must commit to using them. When I had received my about 4 years ago, it was time stamped for the UK – which for paying attention to the time of phases made it 6 hours off. Since I was already using another calendar system at the time, I did not follow it daily.  But I did watch it monthly.

The calendars are beautifully detailed and filled with interesting and fun astrological and seasonal information.



Follow us on a journey through the seasons of the year, observing the cycles of the Sun, Moon and planets. Honouring the wheel of the year as it turns and featuring stunning illustrations and artwork. The perfect companion for anyone interested in the lunar cycle, astrology, phases of the Moon and much more…

Our Seasons & Cycles Moon Calendar for 2019 celebrates nature’s seasonal cycle and the eight fire festivals. With stunning colourful illustrations together with the lyrical descriptions of nature each month, we take you on a journey through the seasons of the year showing the phase of the Moon each day as well as other information to help you keep in harmony with nature’s cycles.

Tina’s drawings are an expression of her relationship with the seasonal cycles as she looks to the natural world to provide inspiration. Mother Nature never fails to deliver her ongoing magic!

• Nature each month
• Phase of the moon each day
• Moon signs
• Full/new Moon
• Fire Festivals times/dates
• Eight Fire Festival energies
• Planets visible in the night sky
• Sun/Moon rise/set times
• Shooting stars dates
• Moon’s path
• Eclipses

We are very proud to present our 2019 Moon Diary and Calendars.
Designed by us and printed exclusively in the UK.

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Wealth Wednesday – Bank Locally

Thrive - What on Earth will it take?

In choosing themes, I am honoring Wealth Wednesday. This is not my idea by any stretch of the imagination. But for following sovereignty and personal rights, our financial life is something we need to be paying attention to.

I have swiped a post from one of my favorite sites ( This it the official site of Foster Gamble for his documentary Thrive What on Earth Will It Take.

In the movie he makes the case for what we have to do to THRIVE in this world. The movie reveals some of the macro forces behind the financial elites in this country. And then suggests advice on how each of us can exercize our own personal sovereignty for the good of the Earth


Align your money with your values.

Centralized banks are the main funders of environmentally harmful industries such as nuclear, coal, and clear cutting logging companies. They are also responsible for the most recent economic collapse that caused people around the world to lose their homes, their jobs, and their retirements. They use customer’s deposits to make these destructive loans. Are these the projects you want to keep supporting with your deposits? If not, then pull your money out of centralized banks and find a community bank or credit union that invests in good local community projects.

If you bank at one of the following banks – aka the “Tapeworm 20” – we recommend pulling your money out immediately and finding a better alternative.

1. Bank of America, US
2. JP Morgan Chase & Co., US
3. HSBC Holdings, UK
4. Citigroup, US
5. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan
6. Industrial and Commercial Bank
7. Wells Fargo & Co., US
8. China Construction Bank Corporation, China
9. Bank of China, China
10. Royal Bank of Scotland, UK
11. BNP Paribas, France
12. Barclays, UK
13. Banco Santander, Spain
14. Agricultural Bank of China, China
15. Credit Agricole, France
16. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Japan
17. Mizuho Financial Group, Japan
18. Lloyds Banking Group, UK
19. Goldman Sachs, US
20. UniCredit, Italy

A 3 Step-Guide to Move Your Money to a Local Bank:

1) Gather a list of local banks and credit unions.

You can usually come up with a list by calling your Chamber of Commerce, contacting a local credit union and asking about other local banks, or by using the yellow pages. Facebook and other friend-based social networks can help you learn which banks are best. Many local Banks and Credit Unions will also help you distinguish the real local establishments from those simply trying to sound community-based.

Don’t be fooled by the name…Union Bank of California is owned by Mitsubishi in Japan and funds some of the most destructive logging ventures on the planet.

if you live in the U.S., you can also enter your zipcode here to find local banks in your area. Another useful resource is

2) Evaluate the banks by calling around and visiting their websites.

The first and most important questions you want to ask are:

  • What percentage of your money is loaned locally? (The more, the better)
  • Are you owned by a bigger bank or do you intend to be bought-out? (If so, find a different bank) 
  •  Are you FDIC insured? (Never put more than $250,000 in one bank)

3) Consider your own needs and what the bank offers to make your final selection.  Is the bank doing what you care about and offering services that are important to you?

Some things you may want to consider:

  • Does the bank have a good reputation in the community?
  • Is the bank committed to supporting local businesses, environmental stewardship, social and economic equality, and other values of particular importance to you?
  • Are employees at the bank paid well, local, diverse, and seemingly cared for in their jobs?
  •   Do they have sound business practices and financial statements? Analyze their annual reports.
  • How close would you like the bank’s location to be to your home or place of work?
  • What are the hours of operation? Does this work with your schedule?
  • Does the bank have good customer service?
  • What are their ATM fees? Are there multiple ATM’s in town?
  • Can you access the bank or credit union through international ATM machines to make travel easy?
  • What type of online banking services do they have?
  • Is paperless billing an option?
  • Do they have any mileage credit cards if that’s important to you?
  • Can you apply to see what credit limit you qualify for before opening an account? If it’s lower than you current limit, ask if a transfer of credit is possible.
  • What are their lending and investment services like?
  • What are their Certificate of Deposit interest rates?
  • What are their wire transfer fees?

If some of the services you have received from a large bank are not available, ask what they would need to implement the service. It may be that if enough customers show an interest and a commitment that the bank can accommodate a request. In our experience, this has been the case with waiving ATM fees, granting larger credit limits and providing international services. 

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Fermented Foods

Today is Health Tuesday. I am designating different days of the week for writing topics. This is mainly because I have been neglecting this page and need to encourage myself to keep on keeping on.

Eat Well Move Well Live WellToday’s advice comes to us from a book I am reading: Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well by Roland and Galina Denzel. It is a wonderful book of good natural health advice. Unlike other books, this is not necessarily read cover to cover. At the end of each chapter, it suggests different chapters to move on to. So expect some of these random topics to end up here. If you are interested in the book, the picture is linked to Amazon for you to purchase.

From Chapter 17 – Ferment Your Foods

One of those Lost Ways that modern society has forgotten is the food preparation technique of fermentation. And I say forgotten mostly because most of us do not prepare and store our foods. We buy it by the cans or fresh from the store, because we can. But by forgetting about it, we also have lost the knowledge of a very powerful source of nutrition.


Of these, the least understood in importance is that of Yogurt. Yogurt replaces healthy bacteria in your gut. This should be done just because – helping your basic digestion. But it becomes a magic health food source when your gut is under attack. This happens for many reasons. But most often we see it when we are on antibiotics. Usually you take these to help you fight off other diseases. But they also kill off some of the good bacteria that help your digestion process.

I found out a lot about this a few years ago when I ended up in the hospital after I was bitten by a spider. I was on heavy antibiotics for 3 weeks, which caused a variety of problems (diarrhea). In addition to eating a lot of greek yogurt, I also took the advice of a friend, Sol Luckman. He suggested making my own Kefir.

Kefir is yogurt-like variation that is a regular staple in other parts of the world – especially the Middle East. I drank it for about 2 weeks. It is thinner than yogurt, but thicker than milk. The taste (depending on how you flavor it, is like stronger, not name brand yogurts.

I also have used yogurt (primarily plain Greek yogurt) while on cleansing diets. It can be eaten plain (yuckish), added to smoothies, substituted for mayonnaise. The list is endless. I liked smoothies, made with Greek Yogurt, coconut milk, fruit, and sometimes honey.

Probably the best takeaway I have gotten from eating yogurt is to STAY AWAY FROM PROCESSED YOGURT. Yoplait, Danimals, Activia, and Go gurt ARE NOT FOOD. They are so filled with sugars, colors flavors and the like that they cease to be indentifiable as food.

First batch of PicklesVinegar

Vinegar used to be an absolute staple in all kitchens. Its uses range from being a base for salad dressing to a perfect substitute for Cascade in your dishwasher.

For fermentable foods, here is where you find your pickles, sauerkraut and Kimchi. If you have been following Astrogardens, earlier this summer, we pickled the cucumbers from our garden. As we found, early on, the recipe was pretty sour. As they sat, the tartness has settled somewhat and made the pickles a tasty treat.

Another pickled substance we see here in Pennsylvania is called Chow Chow. To make it, you put a bunch of vegetables in a jar and put a sugared vinegar solution over it. Frankly it is repulsive. But if you think about it, this was a great way for farmers to preserve a lot of vegetables that they would not otherwise use. It has carrots, celery, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I discovered the magic of ACV back in about 2010. I was looking for a natural cure for allergies. Two books I was reading at the Time (The Vinegar Book and Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About) extolled the use of ACV to help. So I decided to try it out.

<PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – THIS IS NOT A CURE AND I AM NOT SUGGESTING YOU USE THIS AS A MEDICINE. I am not a doctor and not part of the CDC and cannot recommend anything as a cure>

3 times per day, you drink 1-2 Tablespoons of ACV. You can try this plain if you are brave. But it is pretty intense. i usually add it to a glass of water or in ginger ale or 7up.

For the sake of my allergies, I stopped taking my antihistamine (generic Claritin) or using my albuterol inhaler during this test.

RESULT: Within a few days, my nose was not stuffy, my eyes were not red and runny, I did not have shortness of breath.

Since then, I have not taken ANY over the counter medicine for allergies. I still take ACV, but not every day.

The chapter ends with offering advice on going forward. I will list them with my own advice as well.

  1. Yogurt. Try some in the next week. What can it hurt. If you are even more adventurous, try making some at home.
  2. Other Fermented Foods. Try something new this week. Will it be pickles? Kombucha? Go out on a limb and buy some Chow Chow? Maybe something more than just an olive in a martini.
  3. Books. Check out a book on Fermentation. I suggest The Vinegar Book. But you may also want to look into both Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well and Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About
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Where Gardening, Harry Potter and The Zombie Apocalypse Meet


A funny thing happened on the way to the Quora today.

I came across a funny question that somehow brought these things together. The Question:

If humans disappear, and the only thing that survives is a Harry Potter book, would a species discovering it believe that it’s actual history?

You can read the question and answer here on Quora.

Now you may be asking, “What the hell is Quora and why on earth are they talking about this?” If you are unfamiliar with Quora, I will let you know that it is a wonderful Timesuck.

Quora is a social network allows people to pose questions about different subjects and encourage answers and discussion. You choose the subjects you see and jump in if you have an interest in the question.

For bloggers and other online marketers, it is an amazing little piece of social media. It allows you to answer questions and promote yourself as the “expert” in a certain esoteric field. Preferably its a field that might be interested in what you have to say (or sell).

When I started on Quora (last spring at some point), my interests were astrology, prepping and gardening. By connecting with these communities, I could see what others were talking about. And then write articles on these subjects. That way, I could come back and link the articles as another form of social proof in answering a question.

Early on, I decided to opt out of the Astrology discussions. I found that most of the questions were about Horoscope astrology. It took a lot of time to sift through it and I had no interest in most of it.

Now What about Harry Potter and Zombies?

So with the question I noted above, a couple of my favorite subjects came together. I follow the harry Potter discussion group. That started last May when I began reading the Harry Potter books again. This has become an annual thing – usually at the beginning of the summer. And as I am finding, the other followers of this group are way dorkier than myself – as if that was possible.

But as the question goes, it is like a Dead Sea Scrolls kind of find. What would this piece of pop fiction say to an extra terrestrial or our 2000 year ancestors in the future. Now forget for a moment the Harry Potter part of this equation. Chane the conditions of this story and make it about the Zombie Apocalypse.

Call it a Noah’s Ark flood. Another example is the movie 2012, where the crust of the Earth displaces and everyone dies. Author Graham Hancock talks about this in his books Fingerprints of the Gods and Magicians of the Gods.  Mr. Hancock suggests that the timing the the Flood of Noah may be provable in the archeological record.

And if you consider that civilized society could have existed (think Atlantis), and a flood covered the Earth, who would be left?

Imagine now if the Earth were to be hit by an asteroid, causing a catastrophic flood. Or a Volcano. Or a nuclear war. Would EVERYTHING be incinerated? Would there be survivors? What would happen to them  with all the trappings of life taken from them? No libraries. No internet. Food Shelter Clothing gone. Society gone. It would be full on survival mode. The strongest, the bravest, the smartest survive.

It is against that backdrop that you consider how they might see that Harry Potter novel. Ignore that they would have to figure out the language (remember how long it took history to remember how to read Hieroglyphics). Place it against the backdrop of a new reality. How would they see it?


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Little Things – Sunday October 7, 2018

This year, a new Television series began that I will not be watching – but my family does. It’s called A Million Little Things. I think it is about a group of friends and how their lives are intertwined and enmeshed. There may have been a suicide involved and everyone getting together to talk about it.

All in all, not my cup of tea. I am more into the other new series Manifest – where people get off of an airplane and they have been transported in time ahead 5 years. More in my favored SciFi/Zombie Apocalypse theme.

I bring it up because the title hearkens to a piece of wisdom that I would like to delve into here. And that wisdom is that we do not usually advance in large steps. More often it is the culmination of little things that get us to the next place we go in life. Whether that is waking up – and all the little things that get you out of bed and down to start you day. Or it is all the little processes that you go through to make your breakfast.Our life is made up of little

The Little Things

I was led in this direction this morning when I came across an article in Prevention magazine. I generally look at Prevention as a yuppy granola liberal rag. Often good advice, but with an edge – just a little bit of liberal propaganda underneath. But knowledge is power. This article made me stop and read. It was entitled:

70 Super Simple, Totally Doable, Teeny Tiny Ways To Be A Little Bit Greener

Reading them I found a long list of good little ideas that can make the world a better place. And I say “long” because it was one of those web pages that you have to flip through to see one at a time. I like lists, so once I started, I was hooked.

Afterwards, I was making breakfast. And advice was coming back to me:

I was making bacon. Oooo everyone loves bacon. And this is extra special “applewood smoked” bacon. Now let’s put some thought into that. Doesn’t that sound tasty? Bacon and apples? But what part of the taste of apples does applewood impart? My guess is, nothing natural. Its kind of like Clove cigarettes. Back in the 80’s, they were all the rage. But actually smoking them was kind of like standing over and breathing a pile of burning manure.  And where the heel do they get the millions of apple trees now required to smoke all that bacon? I caught them. Its all marketing. And I would be willing to bet that it is not even apple wood they are using, More likely they are spraying some chemical. But since I do not know for sure, maybe its time to err on the side of health. Still tastes good though.

So what did I do? I shredded an apple and cooked it on the bacon in the oven. I thought it tasted pretty good, despite not liking to mix my sweets with salts. The kids thought it was disgusting and I had to cook some more for them.

Eggs – I cracked about 8 eggs and threw them in a pan to scramble. As I was looking at it, I remembered some of the advice I read. Use Cast Iron pans instead of teflon coated pans. as I looked down at the eggs, I realized that I had not. It was my regular old scratched teflon pan. I had left the 25 lb cast iron job in the cupboard. I love it, but using it is a lot of work. Note to self. Time to buy a smaller cast iron pan for little jobs like this.

And the choices we make every day are just like this. Can we improve the world making little changes in the way we do things? How else to you expect it to happen. No one can snap their fingers and all of the sudden get rid of all the smog in Los Angeles or Beijing. But if today we decide to walk to the store to pick up a couple of things rather than firing up the Ford F150 gas hog, think of the difference in the footprint left upon the world?

Then think of the difference if instead of and F150, you had chosen a Prius. Most decisions are small. Some decisions are big. Others are bigger. And some may not be worth it.

For my part, I would like to start posing these questions – daily if I can. These little pieces of advice may not make a difference, But hopefully they will be like a small ripple in a pond or a lake or an ocean. Possibly imperceptible to the naked eye. But changing currents beneath the surface.


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Preparing for Fall

My garden is looking forlorn. Between the buckets of rain we have received in Eastern Pennsylvania and the fact that my son “borrowed” our lawnmower, it is a little over grown.

I have not planned to grow much this fall. I am more ready to start winding it down and preparing it for winter. I will cover a lot of the winterizing of the garden in a future post. This is more about the sorry state of it now.

I would put much of the fault for the mess on the rain – and lack of available time for proper weeding. We have not see more than about 4 days pass in the last 2 months without rain. Is it wrong that I do not want to be elbows-deep in mud and muck? And while this is a bad reflection on my commitment to my garden, it speaks of truth. When I go out, it’s going to be a mess.

Like the tomatoes. The plants look horrible now. They are pretty much done, so I am not doing anything with it until I am ready to pull it all down. But we harvested a ton or so (meaning about 200 or so). Unfortunately due to getting them in the ground late and all the rain, we did not see any until very late in August.

Lettuce Patch – The rabbits ate most of the different varieties I planted. We were able to harvest Arugula and Green Romaine. They were great for salads.

Zucchinis and Cucumbers – Both the Zucchini and Cucumbers were a great success. We had experienced difficulties in the past with the rabbits chewing off the zucchini flowers. After finding fencing, we had success. Cucumbers were lots of fun. We had both regular cucumbers and pickling cucumbers.

Herbs – saw limited success, mostly due to the location. These were on the side of the house. Every storm they would get washed out by runoff from the gutters. We had lots of basil, parsley and cilantro. As of yet, I still have not been able to get my white sage seeds to sprout. I will complain more about that in a future post.

And the Pumpkins – Still Growing. In keeping with my plan to use all organic seeds, I planted what they sent. So far I am not so impressed. I suspect I will be buying large orange pumpkins in a few weeks to carve for Halloween.  I took this picture yesterday. It is about double this size today.