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Thursday April 30, 2020

Thursday April 30, 2020

– 1st Quarter Moon Phase (@4:38 PM EST): step out, take action, breaking away, expression

– Moon in Virgo

– Sun in Taurus

– Best Days (from the Farmer’s Almanac) – Cut Firewood, Mow to Increase Growth, Dig Holes, Paint, Get Married, Entertain Friends, Host a Party, Travel for Pleasure, Kill Plant Pests

– Gardening tips April 29-30 (from the Farmer’s Almanac) –Grub out weeds, briars, and other plant pests.

– Aspect of the Aeon Sophia: (Wisdom): Tara – Goddess Who Guides

– Aspect of the Aeon Thelete: (Will/Desire): Ian, God of the East, God of Wisdom

– Sabian Symbol for the Solar-Lunar Month: “The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”

– Sabian Symbol for the Solar-Lunar Year: “A Triangle with Wings”

SUN: 11 TAURUS – A woman sprinkling flowers

EARTH: 11 SCORPIO –  A drowning man is being rescued

The Day’s Sabian Symbols are filled with water. And while the woman sprinkles her flowers, Mother Nature will be releasing a deluge on my garden this afternoon. We are in the windstorm before the flood here in Eastern PA as I write this.

Building on yesterday’s assessment, I am coming up with another list. This time let us consider lessons we have learned during this Zombie Apocalypse.

If you were reading Astrogarden’s for the last 2 years, a major theme has been on Prepping. One of the reasons I wanted to increase and improve my garden was to provide food for my family. Healthy, natural food. As clean and GMO free as I could manage. And in the case of cucumbers, I pickled and canned as well. We can do more. But it has been a start.

How Will The Corona-Zombie-Apoc Change Your Ways?

This is a list of things that I will be considering in the future. The Corona Lockdown caught people off guard. How many had to resort to facial tissues to wipe your butt when TP flew off the shelves? Newspaper? Leaves? A Corncob???

All kidding aside, everyone has seen the shortages. It has not been as bad as it could have been. We haven’t lost power or water. But we have had to change the way we do things. So this list will outline some of the things I can think of that need to be remembered in the future. These are things we

Stock Up on Personal Essential Goods – Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, Tooth paste, soap, Lysol, Antiseptic Wipes, Bleach, Batteries, Matches

Stock up on Dry Staples (food) – Sugar, Flour, Canned goods, Beans, pasta, Water

Stock Medical Supplies – Most people have some things – mostly what you use everyday. But Zombietime reminds us to make sure we have a lot of other things: Band Aids, Alcohol, Peroxide, Advil, Antacid, Antihistimines

Plan a garden – Its the beginning of Spring. What better time to dig up a square in your yard and plant some tomatoes.

Protection – We have not reached apocalypse levels. But have you thought about how bad it could get? Would-you be ready if The Shit Hit the Fan? People rioting? Government locking down? How far would you go to protect yourself? Do you have reliable door and window locks?

What if we lose electricity? Do you have a batteries? Lights? Candles? What about a generator?

What do you know about your water supply? Do you have your own well? If not, where does it come from, before it hits your tap? ( I wrote a couple articles about this that can be found by scrolling down in the Prepping tab above.)

Do you have a radio – operated by batteries? Its a little old school these days, but its a pretty good idea to have one around. And even better, one that can pick up short wave bands. When all else fails, this is where people will communicate.

Do you have gasoline?

Do you have a charcoal grill (with charcoal)?

These are a few things to think about. Think about yourself in your own life. What things will you need? What things did you find missing what we went into lockdown?

Please share your thoughts and experiences.

 

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Where Gardening, Harry Potter and The Zombie Apocalypse Meet

Quora

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.

https://www.quora.com/If-humans-disappear-and-the-only-thing-that-survives-is-a-Harry-Potter-book-would-a-species-discovering-it-believe-that-its-actual-history

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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September National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month

September has been declared National Preparedness Month by the US government. This observance is sponsored by FEMA, and is annually renewed by the President like all of the other super important Observance days and months, like National Ice Cream Day and National Donut Day. So many of these things are put together for congresspeople to justify their existences and say that they have actually sponsored a bill.

While I am poking fun at government programs, I see some value to this, though in a squeemish sort of way, which I will get into in a minute.

Wyomissing ParkMother Nature at work

For us here in Eastern PA, FEMA had some work to do. And this work bears upon the whole idea of being prepared. Note that these pictures were ones I borrowed from the local paper. But in my travels, I passed each of these spots and witnessed this.

Yesterday, August 31, we got some more rain. About 5 inches of rain in about 3 hours. These storms have been hitting this area over this summer. Sometimes 10 miles away and they miss us completely. Other times we just get a part. For us, this was our direct hit day.

Sinking SpringsI was out driving my kids around through the hardest part of the storm. Spent a lot of time driving around flooded roads and behind slower, more cautious drivers. I saw cars deluged on the side of roads, streets flooded, drains clogged, streams over flowing their banks. It was a whole lot of water.

The hardest hit area is called “Sinking Springs.” It’s known for being lowlands, prone to flooding and sink holes.

We received a call in the middle of it from our Daughter in law, crying that her basement was flooding. When I got there, it had reached about 6 inches of water. My assessment was that the sewers had filled and were pushing up into all the homes. After about a 1/2 hour of squeegeeing water into the sump pump, all was better. Luckily they had not gotten around to finishing the basement, so the worst of it was the boxes of Christmas decorations getting wet and an old throw rug.

Many of the other neighbors were not so lucky, and will spend the rest of the holiday drying out their lives.

One of the Newspaper articles noted that the Western Berks Emergency management department would be working on these issues this morning. Since that department consists of one person (My next door neighbor who I named McGreggor in an earlier post) busy is right.

And What the Hell does all this and FEMA Mean about Prepping and Gardening?

The idea of preparing yourselves, is to be ready in case something happens.  When you experience these things, you are reminded of the things you might need and do not have.

Communication: One of the victims of the storm has been the cell phone network. Apparently a T-Mobile substation got flooded out. It rendered about half the cell phones in the area useless (mine included). It works sometimes, and by now may be on. But for about 24 hours, people could not communicate. Power stayed on though.But for a while, people could not get ahold of me.

Food and Water – Not something we had to worry about. We went out the the store and had no problems.

Batteries for flashlights? We needed a flashlight going down into the basement. Had to see if it was safe to walk through. There was one flashlight that only kind of worked. We used cell phone lights. But again, it wasn’t long. A few years ago, our power went out for 24  hours during a snow storm. We had to break out candles and run out to Walmart for touch lights.

As for FEMA, you do not hear much about them unless you know Police of Fire workers (I know both) or follow conspiracy theories. For Police and Fire, FEMA is just another link in the network. They sneak around and do funny things – usually helping the police by doing the time consuming paperwork involved in accidents and disaster.

For the rest of us (at least me), they scare me. Why? Because FEMA are the agents of the government that can enact Martial Law in the case of an emergency. And anyone with that power, scares me. especially when he is my next door neighbor who barely speaks to me. I am not expecting much help from him if the shit hits the fan. We will be on our own. But should the Shit Hit the Fan, consider how much help the authorities will be for you in your life and how much you need to be ready for whatever might happen.

So back to preparedness Month. I will offer you the basic statement from EPA.gov

September is Preparedness Month

Each September, National Preparedness Month encourages and reminds Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities.

Homeowners, families, communities, and businesses can use this opportunity to find ways or help others understand more about preparing for disasters and reducing risks to health and the environment. There are many ways to reduce risks from contamination, leaks, spills, hazardous materials, and other dangers. This page doesn’t include all possible ways of preparing but provides many ideas and links to more information. SEE THE REST BY CLICKING HERE

And there is a surprising amount of good information on this site and a myriad of other government sites (Your tax dollars at work). Its like a bunch of online pamphlets with decent practical advice. I will share more of it later. Funny thing is that most of the advice they offer is the same kind of things that you find on prepper site. But it has a government spin on it. Like, “Do this and then call the authorities.” Its up to you whether you want to rely on government or rely on your self.

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Collecting Water

Last week we received about 4 inches of rain. We were stuck in an east coast weather pattern that brought tons of moisture up the coast from the Gulf of Mexico. And while our little town is about 20 miles from the real deluge and flooding, we got our fair share of rain.

Seeing all this precipitation (and thinking about my water bill) I would love to be able to save some water for some of our less rainy days and weeks. Not only would it be good for me and my yard, it also helps in the whole self sufficiency thing. You ask, what happens during the zombie apocalypse when there is no electricity to run the pumps – meaning no public water system. Our closest water source is just 5 blocks away. But Wyomissing Creek is not big enough to supply the whole Borough.

Of course, storing and using rainwater brings up a whole slew of issues. And none of them cause anything but anger and irritation to me. And most of my irritation is over the potential of my own community finding one or more reasons why they will say I can’t do it.

For me, there would be 2 main reasons for storing rain water. 1) First, my downspouts have issues anyways. I need to do work on them (mostly cleaning) and this would be a great time to include barrels with the upgrade. 2) Second would be to help with watering my garden. With all the rain, I have not had to turn the hose on in the past 2 weeks. But when its not raining, I am watering a lot. The idea of being able to save what is coming down naturally – and having it closer to the garden than my present hose, is appealing.

In looking into these, I have found that they are not too expensive – ranging from between $100-$400, depending on the style and size. On the one hand, cheaper always works. But at the same time, I think the wooden barrels look really stylish.

I will need to get at least 2 of these barrels – for the East and West corners of the house.  They will be in the front – as these are the spouts giving me the most problems.

But What about the Neighbors?

This is the part I am most concerned about On the one hand, I have one neighbor who I know is going to give me a hassle. He gives me shit about everything I do, so I have grown to expect it. He will be the one to glare at me when I am installing it. Then go to the Borough (where he is a council member) to determine whether I have broken any rules and regulations. I know he has already gone to them with other issues. And for my water downspouts, he has been able to do nothing. He tried to get me sited for not pealing paint around these same spouts about a year ago.  But even the fact that it sometimes runs over into his yard has not given his grounds for a formal complaint. It would be just my luck that he will find some reason to get me in trouble after I have paid for the barrels.

If my problems do not go further than an irritating neighbor, I will be blessed. Because there have been so many others who have tried collecting their rainwater where the issues have become serious.  As written on Accuweather.com a couple years ago:

Is collecting rainwater legal in your state?

By by Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather Staff Writer
November 15, 2016, 4:50:11 PM EST

Some U.S. states have laws restricting collection of rainwater, making it difficult for the average homeowner to set up a rainwater harvesting system.

Strict regulations and restrictions have been put in place over the last century. Currently, nine states have laws restricting the collection of rainwater, but the severity of those laws differ.

The issue of illegally harvesting rainwater went viral in 2012 when a 64-year-old man, Gary Harrington, was sentenced to 30 days in jail in Oregon.

In the western U.S., any use of rainwater is subject to legal restriction of some sort. In the 1860s, miners in Colorado experienced water shortages and developed a system to divide water based on a priority system.

This system developed into the prior appropriation system, which is basically calling dibs on water.

“Stream flow is supplied by precipitation in the form of rain and snow, so if the supply is taken away, stream flow will decrease,” Jeff Deatherage, water supply chief in Colorado, said.

However, this issue has nothing to do with the environment. In fact, a number of independent studies proved that letting people collect rainwater on their property actually reduces demand from water facilities and improves conservation efforts.

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My Latest Book Find – Getting Out

Getting Out by Ryan Westfield

Getting Out (The EMP #1)Getting Out by Ryan Westfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s great when you find the right book at the right time. And as I am writing a blog myself that focuses on prepping, its so much fun to see all the things I am researching and writing about put into action in a good story. Water, food, clothing and shelter are just the start. next you must consider what to do about every other person out there trying to do the same thing you are. Staying alive.

It is a not so gentle reminder about how fragile our life is. How we take for granted all the trappings of life. And it makes you really think about what you might do if things fall apart and the shit hits the fan. Are you ready for it? Or will you get left along the roadside unable to fend for yourself?

And guess what. Its a series too. Looks like I have my reading list set for a few weeks!

View all my reviews

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The World We Want

Part of the reason for creating the garden at our suburban home is to bring us all a little closer to nature.  They are similar to the reasons given by preppers and people afraid of the possibility of a coming zombie apocalypse. And since I read and watch a lot of science fiction and dystopian fiction, I can fall into that pretty quick.

So my thought was to consider what kinds of plants I would need to grow if, all of the sudden, food would become scarce. What would we want. What would we/will we need. It was with this in mind that I was looking into urban gardening.

And let me tell you that researching this has been quite a task in itself. After tomatos, peppers, cucumbers and a couple of herbs, I did not have a clue. So I started the task of googling and found so much amazing information. And as a result, will be growing a whole lot of vegetables that I would not have ever considered. And varieties I could never have guessed at.

And frankly, I love the idea of turning my entire property into a backyard farm. And if 60 percent of it were’s under the shade of trees, I would be doing more.

In Sol Luckman’s book Snooze, he describes the home of one of the main characters as a sort of Urban Farm. They practice “permaculture” where they can grow food all year round. I guess this works in Florida, because here in PA, the snow kind of acts as a deterrent at least six months per year. But anyways, it points out the idea of taking control of your own health and nutrition by growing your own food.

But back to the reason for the garden. Because there was a point to this post when I started it. Life is uncertain. And a look at the political culture of our world today points this out. We have Conservatives who want to protect us. Liberals who want to control every aspect of our lives. And the Neos who just want world domination. In most cases, they are all working against what I would consider to be the most important aspect in life – personal sovereignty.

While it is wonderful to think that we live in a country and a world where our opinion matters, I have seen enough of the political climate to have compete distrust in the power elites – Whether in Washington, Harrisburg, Reading, PA or even our own little Borough of Wyomissing.

I think that as far as government’s go, they would  do well to take the advice of the Rush song Closer to the Heart.

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Philosophers and plowmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
https://youtu.be/QY2iKzm62AM
Until then, I will keep my garden going and look to do all I must to keep poor family safe and protected. It is one small step I can take toward creating the World I Want.