City of Sand

The city was crowded. Mothers and children everywhere. It was noisy and dirty. Strangely, there were very few men. The air was hot, inside was even hotter. Most of the families sat outside, in whatever shade they could find, seeking some solace from the burning sun.

Occasionally, a vehicle would pass. Sometimes the people would chase after the vehicle, waiting to see who, or what was inside. Other times, they would run and hide. Sometimes, they would escape into the surrounding countryside, and wait. maybe for days.

Unfortunately, this was not the only such city, they were numerous, with seemingly more being developed every week. To those who lived in them, they felt alone and forgotten. It was like the rest of the world didn’t exist; it was like the rest of world didn’t care… every now and then some form of tribute, trickled in to the cities.

Periodically, often during the night, there would be a screeching or loud crashing sound in the sky. At these times the residents would flee, hiding wherever they could. Often, when they returned, parts of the city were damaged, sometimes the cities would be filled with strangers. Often violent strangers.

When the strangers visited, often some of the people of the cities would die. Some of the older boys would disappear. Some of the older girls may be injured, or worse. Unfortunately, that was life, and it didn’t seem to change. Year, after year, it continued.

These are cities on the sand.

This is Syria!

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Bill’s Breakfast -FFftPP

“You never do anything halfway….” Bill said, “why is my bowl only half full?”

“I’m sorry!” I exclaimed, “I was distracted by the view.”

In the distance, contained within a glass and wooden cage, a family of strange creatures were starting to eat.

“That’s funny,” I said. “Their bowls are only half full too.”

Bill moved next to me and looked at the family of creatures.

“It’s just not fair.” He said, stamping his foot for emphasis, “They look like they need to eat more, they are tall and skinny looking.”

Returning to his bowl, Bill stated “My bowl is still not full, do we have any more?”

“No!” I replied dejectedly. Nodding towards the creatures eating from their bowls. “They haven’t given us any today.” Registered & Protected  BAVF-EJ4H-ZCLC-FVRJ

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Animals for Small Holdings

When buying a small holding or homestead, it is natural, to consider which animals may be suitable to raise.  Some animals are kept as pets, others for milk or eggs, some for wool or hair, finally some are raised to be eaten.

backyard chickensChickens are one of the most popular animals, easy to keep and they can provide you with fresh eggs. Keeping ducks and geese, can also provide eggs, a bonus for geese is that they are great watch dogs. Ensure that any birds are kept safe from predators at night.

Keeping goats, at least two, is also easy. They onlyGoats on bedding straw require the space of a garden, supply them with plenty of fresh water and additional hay. Goats always need a shelter, available 24 hours a day, to protect them from wet and windy weather. These delightful animals make great pets, especially the miniature varieties. All goat varieties are able to provide milk, and some are able  to be brushed for their hair.

Small holding Two SheepsSheep are also able to be kept on small holdings, but require more space than goats. They are primarily kept for their wool, and once sheared, will need to be sheared regularly. Sheep can also provide milk.

Although it is possible to keep cattle, either dairy or beef, there are miniature breeds of cattle, which may be more suitable. Small Holding Miniature CattleDairy cattle are primarily there to provide milk and cream. Beef cattle as expected are raised for meat. Full size cattle require quite a lot of space for grazing.

Although it is possible to keep pigs on a small holding, they require a rotating field system. Giving them access to open fields, or woodlands is ideal in the summer. Whilst in open fields Small holding family-of-pigsthey will need a shelter, and ideally some wallows. During the wet winter months, it is recommended that pigs be kept in dry quarters with lots of straw.

For more exotic residents, alpacas and llamas can be raised on small holdings. Stock alpacas at a rate of two per acre, and llamas at five per acre. Both of these animals require a rotational field system, and access to shelter. Whether a fully enclosed shelter depends on the regional climate. Additional food will also need to be supplied as a supplement. Both alpacas and llamas are social creatures and will require that there is always more than one.


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FFfAW – Dream State.


Photo by Nonnaci

Looking through the view port, all I see is grey. The light behind the foggy port is slowly fading. Why, I think to myself, have they painted the inside of this submersible in such strange colours.

The deep ocean has enough strange creatures, creatures which I am about to see first hand. This is my first dive as a grad student in marine biology. I have been lucky enough to get an internship on a University Research vessel. Someone must have a sense of humour, I muse, They have named the vessel the ‘RS Nemo.’

The descent to the ocean floor takes about 45 minutes in the ‘DSRV Dory.’  As we cruise along ocean floor, I see fish I could only imagine in my dreams. Suddenly the submersible is rocking from side to side.

“Wake up! The movie is over”, my daughter calls. “They found Nemo!”

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Struggle to Freedom

Beside my writing location is a little white gerbil named Olafimage

On occasion, he is allowed to leave his box and run around on the floor. We have allowed him to do this often enough, that he wants to get out every day, and run around.

His box has a lid which we keep open a small amount to allow fresh air to circulate, in addition to the air holes in the box. For Olaf, it is a struggle, to try to get out. Sometimes, he can be found trying to jump up the walls, trying to get out. On occasion, he makes it to the top of the wall, and can be seen sitting on the fence, as it were.

He is a good little gerbil, and with a little coaxing, we are able to get him to return to his box without to much difficulty.




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The importance of survival shelters

Understanding UK-Flood-Warnings-In-Nort-007

Understanding the need to be able to  provide shelter within an emergency situation, is only superseded by the need for air. In a time of survival, the rule of three’s is law.

  • Three minutes without air,
  • Three hours without shelter,
  • Three days without water,
  • Three weeks without food.

Understanding person iceConditions involving submersion in icy water, or loss of blood complicate matters, and should be treated as a priority.

Back to shelter, whether in an urban setting, or the wilderness, there is a need to protect yourself from the elements. In summer, the sun is hot enough to dehydrate, and to burn the skin – even causing blisters, leading to infections. Getting wet from the rain causes the body lose heat more rapidly, possibly leading to hypothermia. Wind can magnify the effects of both the sun and the rain, contributing to dehydration, and wind chill.

Finding accommodation with a town or city, during a weather emergency, is often

Understanding red cross shelter

Houston,TX.,9/2/2005–Approximately 18,000 hurricane Katrina survivors are housed in the Red Cross shelter at the Astrodome and Reliant center. FEMA photo/Andrea Booher

reasonably easy, as governmental and volunteer emergency services often provide emergency shelters for people in distress. In the event of a terrorist incident, the area of danger, is often limited, allowing plenty of opportunities to find help within the surrounding region.

In non-urban localities, the range of possible settings could be endless. A situation could arise in any type of terrain, or environmental situation. From coast to mountain, desert to tropicalUnderstanding car-sunk-snow-mongolia jungle, there may be a need to find shelter in any of these situations. The type of shelter that may be required, could also be determined by the season.

Understanding sleeping on beachWhere it might be possible to sleep on the beach without shelter, during the summer, it may be quite dangerous to sleep in the open above a certain elevation. As elevation increases, temperature falls, on average 3.5 degrees (F) for every 1000 feet in height .

Wilderness shelters could range from a lean-to made with branches and leaves, to a snow cave dug into a snow bank in the mountains. The key features are to keep out rain, wind, and too much sun. In the wilderness, these shelters are only meant to be temporary. If a situation develops, which requires a long-term shelter in wilderness localities, a more permanent dweller will be required.

Understanding lean-to

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Preparing for a Safer Future

Beginning the journey towards homesteading, self-sufficiencyTransformation Homestead or being prepared for difficult circumstances, is as much a transformation of mind, as it is actually doing something. Generally, this change of mind, follows a period of interest, research and reflection.

Following an event, whether local or at a distance, can prompt someone to develop an interest in being prepared. Weather events like Hurricane Katrina, or the boxing day tsunami. Earthquakes like the Christchurch or Nepal quakes. Terror attacks such as New York, London, Paris or Brussels, can all stimulate someones interest to protect themselves, and their families. There are numerous magazines available, which offer good practical advice. At this point,  the internet can be helpful, and also a hindrance.

Transformation laptopThere is so much information available, that a person with this type of interest, now has to research the topic, to find useful information for their personal situation. It is helpful to find people, who are in a similar situation, or who are practicing the lifestyle you are seeking. Having young children and getting advice from a retired couple living in an RV, for example, may not be relevant.

Transformation RV

Geographical relevancy also needs to be researched, people living in countries where firearms are illegal, can get frustrated by websites which frequently give firearms and weapons advice. Researching how to live successfully, in a different or changed climate, is however, a good idea.

Following all this interest and research, a prospective homesteader, self-sufficiency or off-grid person, or a preparedness professional, needs to reflect on the way forward for them. At what point they want to start, or should start. Transformation file-foldersPreparing folders, and planning the way forward, are very useful steps before racing into action. It is also wise to consider your current position, and your current resources. Following all this reflection, plan your steps forward over a number of years, building up skills and resources, as you prepare for your families future.


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