Joseph

Wildfires in Utah

Feeding ‪#dumpfire‬ Fire crews.

We are now into Day 3 of the Dump Fire at Saratoga Springs in Utah. Our own Jayce and Neybar live near the fire, and while their homes do not seem to be in any danger, they still left work early yesterday to volunteer to help. Their experience and knowledge has undoubtedly been invaluable to the volunteer effort. They have been keeping us posted on Twitter (@JayceHall and @neybar), and I have seen several of their tweets mentioned and retweeted by others needing information. For those who haven’t been following along, you can keep an eye on the #dumpfire hashtag on Twitter. For any ham radio folks who want to monitor, they’re on 145.23 repeater (131.8 tone). NetOps is at station 2.

Cause of the Fire

It is believed that the fire was caused by people target shooting near the landfill. They were shooting in an area where it was legal to do so, and when the fire started, they called 911 and attempted to put the fire out. They have been cooperative with authorities, and have been helping the effort to put the fire out. Because they were shooting legally and did everything right after the fire started, they are unlikely to be charged criminally.

Being Prepared for Evacuation

In following news reports, I have noticed some things. When crews knocked on doors on Day 2 of the blaze to tell people they had 15 minutes to evacuate, a lot of people scrambled to pack up what they considered necessary. Family photos, pets, medications and a change of clothes. Less prominently featured in the stories were people who decided that they were going to have to evacuate, and started packing their cars long before evacuation orders came in. While I’m sure there were plenty of preppers who already had 72-hour kits ready to take at a moment’s notice, they were apparently not as newsworthy as the less-prepared. Though my family lives in Magna, far away from the fire, we still had one evacuee knock on our door asking to buy a small bottle of shampoo from my wife’s basement salon.

Food donations for the #dumpfire.

This incident underscores not only the importance of fire safety, but also the importance of being prepared and keeping a current 72-hour kit or Bug Out Bag. Fortunately, several local businesses pitched in to provide food and water at the local evacuation centers, but this is not always the case. Be sure to check expiration dates on the food in your kits and in your food storage in general.

Our hearts go out to those affected by the fire, and we hope that it will be out soon.

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Book Review: What’s Wrong With My Plant?

The other day I picked up a new gardening book from the hardware store. Its cover wasn’t cluttered with photographs like so many other gardening and home improvement books; in fact, the only photo on the cover was of an obviously-distressed leaf. The rest of the cover was largely devoted to the full title of the book: What’s Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?): A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies, by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. This was actually the first thing that caught my eye. I don’t like when books try to glam themselves up in an attempt to conceal the vapid content inside. This book looked like it was ready to get down to business, and so I picked it up and started leafing through it. It didn’t take me long to decide to buy it. (more…)

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Are you a victory canner?

Victory Canner Poster

I came across this post in my feed reader this morning, and Jayce and I thought it was worth sharing. These are posters from WWII to encourage victory gardens and canning.

What were victory gardens? Back in World Wars 1 and 2, citizens of various countries were encouraged to do a variety of things to help out military efforts. This ranged from buying war bonds to saving scrap metal to growing gardens at home in order to ease the strain on the public food supply. Because certain foods were rationed, these gardens provided families with extra fresh food during warm months, and home-canned foods when it got colder.

Nowadays, home gardening is seen by many as more of a hobby. But a little bit of time and effort can pay off in big ways. Not only will you be able to enjoy fresh, ripe veggies that weren’t picked green and then ripened during delivery, you can avoid a variety of issues inherent with the globalization of the food supply. Price fluctuations, E. Coli and salmonella scares, Genetically Modified seeds, and just plain shifty practices by manufacturers will be of little concern to you.

Of course, if another world war breaks out, the experienced home gardener will be ready long before anyone else.

World War II Canning and Gardening Posters via Kabaju

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Book Review: All New Square Foot Gardening

I first heard about square foot gardening a few years ago from a friend who swore by it. Looking at his garden, I could see why: he had a bounty of chiles and tomatoes to make any salsa enthusiast drool. At the time, I was unaware that there was a book involved; I thought that it was only a fad. Turns out there’s a little more to it than that.

I picked up All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew last year towards the end of the growing season. After careful consideration, I have broken the emphasis of this book into four main points: (more…)

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Magazine Review: Big Buy

Magazine Review: Big Buy

I’m going to be honest with you: this isn’t what you’d call a glowing review. Think of it as more of a warning, not just against this magazine, but other books and magazines like it.
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Prepping for Work Disasters

We had an emergency at work today, involving a critical server that was not properly cared for by its department. Due to the severity of the situation, I was called in to help recover the server. I had to go pick up the server from the data center and bring it back to to office to work on it. It was important enough that my boss offered to let me take his car, a 2006 Cadillac CTS. I think he was a little surprised when I declined, in favor of driving my 1998 Corolla instead.
(more…)

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