Monday, October 14, 2013

We Love Our Animals - Funny Animal Videos

I love my animals, two tiny guinea pigs at the moment. They are tiny next to your dog and cat. They are the reasons I love coming home at night and why I am responsible. They cannot take care of themselves without help, unlike humans. 

If you get time, read up on Preparedness And Your Pets - Continued. 

We need always take care of these innocent creatures, large and small. If you have anything you would like to contribute to the prepping plans, share in the comments box.

I will get back to preparedness discussion  soon. I am moving to a new location which will net me some rich topics! I am so excited! My container garden will be getting a much needed transfer to a back yard with a lot of area. I may still operate in a container style planting, but I will be able to also do in ground growing. Look forward to these posts at the end of January. For now, I am winter prepping my plants. I want to make sure each of them have a covering or if needs be can be brought indoors.

The Cherry Tomato that I thought died off, came back and I am proud to say it is now blossoming and soon will be producing tomatoes. I am bringing this one indoors and placing it under a light during the colder months. My banana pepper plant is thriving and giving me both flowers and a few peppers.

As for the rest of my month, I am organizing for a move from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house. I just started college online and I have also moved to being a vapor user instead of a cigarette smoker! E-Cigarettes have become my lifestyle. So all seriousness aside, I think it is time for some fun stuff!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ 

I love watching the funny things animals do in some situations. 

While I am not posting serious stuff today, I wanted to highlight some of my very favorite critter videos from YouTube I have run across recently. 


Wet Dog 

Dogs and cats can be planned for just like planning for our children and the means to do so are provided for you in the link above. What other animals can you think of that people might own as pets? There are reptiles, arachnids, rodents, and birds. These are the most common of exotic pets in the household. 


All in all we need to make sure these creatures are on our preparedness planning list. If you have an exotic animal be it a snake, spider, or some other creepy crawly, how are you going to care for it in emergencies? 

Snakes can go into a cloth bag for transport. What do you need to feed it? Can you bring a jar along with goldfish or are you planning to capture small rodents or insects to feed it when it is time? I know they only eat every few weeks or so. They are probably the easiest pets to care for. They don't bark, need water, or food every day.

This spider and any arachnid would need a carrying case or container to be evacuated safely. Their food source would have to be considered, too. Keep in mind that a high stress environment may kill that pet. 

Consider the risk of bringing them with you. Is it worth the effort?


Are you one of the creepy creature fans?

The Spider Who Couldn't Hide

Have a safe and wonderful Halloween Everyone!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wintering A Container Garden

Wintering A Container Garden

Preparing A Patio Garden For Winter.

Container herbs can come indoors if needs be.
My struggling herbs just came in the house. This is a temporary spot for them until I rearrange some things outside.  I had to make a mess of my kitchen for a minute but I am looking at ways I can winter certain garden plants that are hardy enough to live on past a season. Herbs, tomatoes, and my peppers to be specific. 

Technically this way of growing plants is Bonzai. Confining them to small containers but still letting them grow big enough to produce edible items. 

My little patio does not get enough lighting to create large plants so I get to play in this miniature garden of mine. I want to secure and protect these little friends. Yes, they are my friends. I do talk to them when I have a few moments to admire them for staying with me. I'm considering using some of these in different methods but for now they can sit in my living room as house plants. That Basil plant smells really good!

Winter temperatures here in Las Vegas can get into the 20's so I need to get them ready to face cold weather. Last year I lost several pepper plants that were around 4 years old because I left them outdoors and unprotected. This year I learned my lesson. They will get blanketed over night in temperatures above freezing and brought into my home if we are having a spell of frost. 

In areas that are not as fortunate as we are with the weather, fields and garden plots have been tilled over and had straw added to them for wintering. The plant material left in the dirt will decompose and become nutrients for the next planting. In the meantime they will sit dormant.

A strawberry plant from last year that is still growing and enduring through my neglecting it. You can see it only has 4 leaves on it  at the moment. It is now in a violet pot that is self watering. 

Banana Pepper - Sept 19th 2013
My schedule gets hectic or I get distracted and this poor garden is wondering what the heck! I am so guilty of being garden lazy sometimes. If you are like most people that get that garden bug, we get jazzed about it for the first 2 weeks and then let the fascination fade away. No matter what these plants need to be tended to and watered regularly to survive, whether you are enthused or not, and even after they are not producing. Thankfully most of my plants are at least living so I didn't do too bad. I am getting better. Most of the things I grow are pretty tough. This marks the 4th year of my patio gardening in Las Vegas.

A small lavender is still with me and I think I am going to use it as a Bonsai tree. It looks the right texture and height. I have a tiny set of starters I planted from seed - a parsley, an oregano, and a set of 4 almost microscopic chive onions still clinging on to life so I want to give them a chance to live. It was time to bust them out of their peat pots, since they are still trying to stay with me. I scrubbed down the containers and ever so carefully removed them from their soil and starter pots, and set them into root starter. I am hoping the mixture will give them a good boost and help them return to a healthier state. 

I moved my larger oregano and basil to the corner of the living room after giving them a little spruce up. These are just the small plants I have. I have several other large pots I will discuss in a later post. If this looks a little odd, bare with me. There is a plan unfolding.

For lighting I have a lamp with an incandescent bulb that I will set over these plants to give them something until I secure a vita-light system. I have torn down my drip irrigation system because I am looking at ways to recapture the water used for the plants. The new neighbors gave me the eye of death when they were moving in a few months ago and the over flow from the plant containers was running down the deck dripping onto their patio. (Oops --Sorry!) I hope they don't blame me with the rain water dripping down...

Winter will give me time to remedy this issue and I am either going to move or alert my apartment manager to the issue and have them fix the deck and seal and water proof it. Now, this idea is still on the drawing board. I have a few plans drawn out, I just need to set the pieces up and see what works best. My system has been about 4 years in development and when I get all the information I need to make it work the way I want it to, I will let you know what is successful. 

I am also looking into Aquaponic gardening when I get the opportunity to secure the materials I need. This is still on my list of things to do at the moment.

The way I have arranged my garden is similar to what I would use in survival mode in a secure location after a bug out. Bringing seeds with me in my bug out bag will enable me to start this process as soon as I know the last frost is over where ever I settle. I would need to water them a bit every few days to keep them growing. 

The idea would be to keep a tomato, a pepper, and a small container of onions on hand. If needs be these can be taken with me if I keep them small enough. This is the next phase of my garden come Spring 2014... 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Severe Thunderstorms In Vegas Lands Furnished Projectiles

Las Vegas Cab Driver Takes A Seat At The Rio!

In the high winds, rain, and hail tonight, Las Vegas found itself faced with severe storm damage across the valley. 

Power was knocked out in areas south of the Rio resulting in traffic light disruption. The roadways filled with water causing some areas to be a river of rain water. 

Wind carried items with speeds up to 71 mph according to the Review Journal. Trees were downed and the area around the city prone to flooding did cause some major traffic delays.

Cabbie - Take A Seat!

A taxi driver was in for a huge surprise as she exited the driveway heading south on Rio Drive. 

A white, leather couch planted itself in front of her cab barely missing the hood. 

She did collide with the item and knocked the bumper loose. "I am lucky I wasn't killed!" replied taxi driver, Ms. Sarah. A foot or two closer to the windshield and she might have been. 

There were 4 couch benches total ripped off of the top of the Rio's Voodoo Lounge. This club is 50 stories atop the Rio Hotel. 
Two of the couches landed in the front of the hotel. I saw this one on my way in tonight. It was in the median entering the hotel.I was wondering where it came from when I met Ms. Sarah. 

She's lucky all that happened was a dislocated bumper.

Storm damages

In related news, pieces of the strip are without their fancy neon lighting as various objects were tossed around the city's resort corridor. 

Damages all over can be seen tonight. 

Lights on the outside of the Luxor are missing. 

Various properties including the Rio are facing repairs to their Marquee signs and lighting displays.  New York New York's Sign has been reworded with sideways V's.

The Hotel is partially striped with it's gold neon. 

The rains will continue through the week. 

This storm system is not over by a long shot!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wildfires Near Las Vegas In Kyle Canyon Nevada

Las Vegas Wildfire Smoke Mt Charleston Kyle Canyon Fires
Las Vegas Skyline With Smoke From Wildfire Looming Overhead

The wildfire north of Las Vegas has moved to the Kyle Canyon Area. 

It started apparently Monday. I thought it started on the 1st, Tuesday when we were going up on a retreat. The smoke was visible for miles over our city today and a huge dark cloud of it is spreading throughout the evening. 

This is the largest fire in my memory and it is frightening that it is this close.

wild fire carpenter canyon july 1 2013
Images from Tuesday evening July 1st, 2013. From the Mt. Charleston Resort.
In my cousin's words, our beloved mountain is on fire. It is heartbreaking to watch and even more devastating to those that have had to evacuate. In the event of an emergency of this scale, your life is the most important thing you bring with you. No matter what you have in your home that is of any importance it can be replaced. You and your family cannot. You must leave, don't look back. It is like trying to out run a ticked off dragon.

Over the week I have watched at a distance as this scene painfully becomes darker and more frightening. The images tonight are positively prehistoric. They look like something from the top of a volcano!

This area is so rugged a terrain that they are having difficulty getting to the area and trying to shut off the fuel supply for this fire. There are craggy drops throughout these mountain areas and they are only accessible through a hiking trails. I think all they can do is let it burn to the cliff face and try to prevent it from coming down to the small town atop Mt. Charleston.

Images from around 4:30 pm shot near the Airport

Video of the Mt. Charleston Fire smoke covering the valley this afternoon. Tonight it is even thicker than this! People with breathing problems are urged to stay indoors as this fire continues to spread an the air is tinged with the ashes, smoke, and dust.

Video time lapse video 

About all they can do at this point is dump flame retardant and water from airplanes. Its not like you can just drive a fire truck up 12,000 feet of mountain. It is really making things difficult for firefighters.
mt charleston fire images july 8 2013
These images were from sunset this evening July 8, 2013 - All images: M Burgess

What do you do to prepare for a wild fire crisis? 

Hope you have a good vehicle to run like the dickens! Keep your gas tank at least at 3/4 full, keep a change of clothes or two for each member of your family in a bag ready to go. If we are still in a functioning society you can get somewhere to shelter and be fed so emergency and survival items aren't as pressing, unless you are suspecting your vehicle to break down on the way out.

Tend to a bag for each of you and the animals you can take with you. Water for all. If your home is in the wake of something of this magnitude, there isn't much you can do. We see people in California showering their roof down and trying to stand up to the fires. Fire doesn't give. It consumes. If you are careless enough to think putting your life on the line for stuff and things you will probably suffer serious and even fatal injuries. Another thing to have prepared is a dust mask and a bandanna or a cloth you can put over your face to breath through if you are close to the smoke. If you have to, moisten it down a little.

In the safety of our families, I am asking for prayers for those that have had to leave and those who cannot. Please, pray for rain and the protection of the animals still trapped on these hills! There are wild horses, burros, ground squirrels and chipmunks, lizards, birds and many beautiful things on this once pristine area.

Mt. Charleston our hearts and tears are with you tonight!

Related news stories:

Mt. Charleston Memories

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wildfires, Ducks, And Firetrucks

Once a year we take a much needed time out to Mt. Charleston, Nevada from our home in Las Vegas. 

This year brought a close to home event of a wildfire being seen over the mountain edge from Carpenter Canyon. 

The fire did not reach us but the smoke sure did. I spent the evening with a slight cough from the hazy air and caught these images drifting into the area.

This event reminds me how very important it is to keep on hand a ready made go kit. A bug out bag that is more of an overnight kit so to speak.

This emergency kit would be different from your Bushcraft kit. It would not require survival gear.

 If an area you are in is prone to wildfires, leaving in a moments notice is necessary. You will not have time to pack your essentials. Having a bug out bag stored and already assembled with personal items is a necessity.

This bag does not need to contain your 3 day rations or a ton of survival articles if you are evacuated to a nearby city or family or friend's home. You will only need a change of clothing or two, your hygiene items like a toothbrush and comb. Just the essentials.

Keeping copies of important records in this pack would be a good idea, too. Insurance papers and anything you would need in the event your home and property were severely damaged, God forbid. Keep a gallon of water near this emergency bag for each member of the family and lift and go if a situation calls for it.

Another thing to consider is what each member of the family would need to get through a day or two away from the home. Does Jr. need his asthma meds? Does Dad have the equipment and medication needed for his Diabetes? Will your family need allergy pills or anything to get them through just 2 to 3 days of and away from home when having to bug out to a civilized area?

Plan for emergencies like this accordingly and you won't have to think about what you need to bring with you  if this does happen close to your home. Grab that bag and go!

Related Articles: 

The rest of the retreat was a nice time out:

Duck Pond And Images From The Mount Charleston Resort and hiking areas:

What is your favorite time out?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Zombie Apocalypse Is Already Here

Mayan Calendar - Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys

They were anxiously waiting the countdown on December 21, 2013. 

The Mayan Calendar came to an end. It sure did. But what most people fail to realize is that the Zombie Apocalypse is here and it has been for decades.

The Zombie Apocalypse is not in the form of a T Virus or some deadly plague - or is it? 

It is here among us in the form of drug dependent people who have let their use of chemicals over ride anything in their lives other than the pursuit of more. Look around you. Have you seen the way a Meth addict staggers? To me they walk like a worm wiggles. Slithering back and forth. This way and that. Just amblin along. The hardcore lost ones do this. Its sad but funny. They can't hide it. It shows in the way they talk. Their eyes all bugged out of their heads. Skeleton skinny and usually a conversation with them is impossible. Its a shame, too. Many of these folks are very intelligent or were before they got into trouble. These are our Zombies today. The only difference is they are not mumblin' "Brains!!!" or dragging broken body parts with

It is a sad state of our world and one that will get worse as out economy and political climate darken. 

These folks are already desperate for anything they can use to get more dope. They rob and steal. Some can work but I doubt they can keep a job long. The drug holds too strong an influence over their minds and will.

Walking Dead Attack TV Poster Print
I bring this up because it is a minor tone of what will be happening when the SHTF for real. I am approached on a daily basis sometimes many times through my day and asked for money. I see them on the street corners and in the parking lots of large warehouse chain stores. My answer is NO - to them most of the time. I cannot help you until you choose to help yourself, is my reply. I do contribute occasionally to someone who is in need because my heart will tell me that person needs it. The rest of them can go put that in a pipe and smoke it!

Now, before you jump off the deep end and say I am bashing helpless people and I don't know what I am talking about, I want you to know that as of this moment I have been clean and sober for over 8 years now. I very well know what I am talking about. I have seen it. I have lived it. I survived my stint on the streets and that is what I am driven by today. 

I Am A Survivor!

I want to share with you this because while you are reading my posts, I want you to remember this. While most of them seem like Pollyanna - Aunt Bea from Mayberry light conversation, at the core of all of these writings is a woman who faced her demons, the streets, and survived a few years among people like I have described above. I am not an couch potato - PC nerd who hasn't ever left home.

I survived 25 years of off and on the streets and I know what it is like to go through a time span of hunger, what it means to be homeless, and how frightening it is to be so very alone with only the clothes on my back and a few things in my pockets to help me survive. Today I have a life worth fighting for and I will not let anything take it away from me. I prepare because I care. I share what I have learned and the things I stumble across in my searches so that you and I may meet on the road somewhere and be apart of the circle that is the core of the American Heart. Our patriots and preppers....

Read more preparedness at:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Starter Survival Food Storage

Starting a food storage inventory for survival is not a difficult task. 

Staple foods for your survival food storage pantry.
Tonight I stopped by the market and added to my reserves.

When I looked at the goods I selected I thought this would be a great starter list for anyone who has yet to begin with planning food storage.

This list are your basic staples. With these simple  items you have a base to build on and a few things that will be used for baking bread and other essentials. 

Yes, there are rice and beans here, but they are a great source of protein and carbohydrates. This can be a good way to begin stocking up and for about $75 at your local Walmart. I chose the most economically priced items for the dollar. You can add to this list week by week at about $25 dollars per pass at the grocers and have what you need for a month or more in just a few weeks time. Let me share some ideas with you. 

Basic List for Storage - Dry Goods

  • 1 - 25 pound bag of flour
  • 1 - 10 pound bag of sugar
  • 1 - 20 pound bag of pinto beans
  • 1 - 20 pound bag of rice
  • 5 - pounds of elbow macaroni
  • 2 - Boxes w/ 10 packets of Instant Oatmeal
  • 2 - 1 pound bag of lentils
  • 3 -  pounds of rotini 
  • 3 - pounds of egg noodles
  • 3 - small honey containers
  • 2 - peanut butter
  • 2 - Packets of Yeast

Carbohydrates are important energy sources

The reason I bought the pasta is I needed to add more goods to my grain group as I have depleted my stash and on a good week I supplement some of the categories I need to replenish. I use this food in my cooking weekly so it can stay rotated. I do not store anything I will not eat. 

These pasta items can be made into pasta salad with just oil and vinegar and dehydrated veggies in them or made into a goulash. They can be added to soups or mixed with a powdered cheese sauce and complimented with canned ham or chicken. There is a variety of meals you can make from these items. They can be prepared over a sterno can burner or a wood fire if needs me. 

Once prepared they can keep for several days if kept cool.

Flour And Sugar In Bulk

The flour and sugar are a must have. These items will constitute a bulk of your staple items. The flour is for baking bread and tortillas and other bread like items like banana bread! It can be used for gravy and biscuits.

Sugar is a main ingredient in most baking or treat recipes so I like to have a lot of it on hand. I generally don't use it a lot for drink mixes but it helps make that sweet tea we all love. Kept in bulk and in stock we always have a source of quick energy.

Beans and Lentils

The lentils I add to my bean soups. With the beans and lentils alone, and about 4 tablespoons of onion flakes all I need is water and slow cooking for a great tasting soup. A batch of that gets picked at for a day or two then turned into chili. You wouldn't believe there isn't any meat in it! The lentils add almost a beefy flavor to the mix. Served over rice you have a filling meal item. 

What Other Foods Can I Store?

I would recommend adding powdered milk, gallons upon gallons of water, and a few cases of tomato sauce and canned veggies, fruits, and meats to the above list. Building the menu comes next. What meals can yo make quickly and easily from these food items? Add a few tidbits for flavoring -- your favorite herbs, spices, and condiments that will keep on the shelf well while sealed.

There is so much more I could tell you about food storage and I have a few articles published about it. If you would like to know more about how to store these foods when you get them home, read more here 

For more about the food groups and recipes, tips, and other facts see the site:

If you look at what is happening in the news, the potential for disasters or crisis is always close at hand. Insure your family has a decent supply of food available if something does happen. Emergency food storage planning covers your family's nutritional needs in a crisis. It is also a way to keep the food budget in check. Oh, and hey, it also is a way to have everything you need on hand to make the family's favorite baked items!

Stock, rotate, use, enjoy!

What item would you add to a beginner food storage list?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Back To The Survival Container Garden

The sun is starting to brutalize my survival container garden so it is going to have to be shifted sometime in the next few days. 


The peppers and tomatoes are hanging their leaves in the afternoons but are bouncing back in the shade of the evening. I still have everything growing and am tending to it daily.


The Weather In Vegas For Gardening Is A Challenge

Summer weather in Las Vegas will kill most plants It is the biggest challenge we have for gardening. I have some shady areas on my patio so I will move herbs and other plants that will accept diffused lighting. The system I installed for drip irrigation watering is doing wonders for my schedule. It is useful for flooding out the root systems when I do not want to water each plant specifically. I use it in the mornings if I am awake. Thankfully the pump that runs it is quiet. I still have to carry buckets to the porch, but at least I only have to pour them into the container that holds the pump.

There is more information about this here: Drip System Irrigation For Container Gardens

Banana Peppers Have Popped!
My Banana Peppers are finally popping for me. I think this image is really strange so felt compelled to share it all over the place! I am happy with this plant and it looks strangely happy with me. This was an easy to grow vegetable plant. I just set them into an 18" pot. There are 3 plants in this pot. They seem to have gotten along pretty well and not over powered each other so I left them as is.

Settle the bottom of the pot with stones or gravel to keep in the soil and plant a starter plant level with the soil surface. Leave about 4 to 6 inches of room in the container so you can flood out the pot. The containers tend to dry out and you want them to stay moist but not soggy for your roots. Set a catch basin under them so they have a little humidity to supplement the heat and catch any over flow.

My porch is a second story patio and the new neighbors discovered a gardener above them when they moved in. They were not happy with the dripping water coming off of the deck, so I am carefully monitoring what I need to prevent this. My last neighbor didn't have any issues with it, but I do not want to be a nuisance to the new residents. When the cool weather comes back around I will be sealing the area and deck so this does not happen. Wait till it rains.... that leaking I can't prevent.

Fertilizing In A Container Garden
I fertilize every month and it is time to do so again. This time I mixed the feed with the watering cycle and dumped it into the water reservoir for the drip system pump. It dripped out nicely to all the plants and I did not have to keep mixing. The container I used holds about 6 gallons of water at the same time so I added a mix of one gallon according to the directions on the Miracle Grow package. It weakened the solution, but that is ok in a container garden. It will not be too strong as to burn these tender plantings.

What are some of the odd plants you are growing? I would love to hear about them!

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Would Love To Raise Chickens

Raising chickens around my home is not a possibility because I am an apartment dweller. 

Chicken Embryo Educational Poster
Chicken Embryo Educational Poster - Amazon
I do not think that constructing a coop on my patio would be welcomed by the property manager but it is always a thought! I will have to wait until I am in a home of my own with a yard that will allow room for a coop large enough for roosting and nesting. 

My 3 Hens 

I had 3 hens in Florida when I lived there and I enjoyed watching them grow from fuzzy little chicks into the beautiful hens they became. Two of the chickens were pullet chicks and the other was a Rhode Island Red. I brought them home as these tiny, little peepers and let them nest in a large, clear, plastic storage box in my living room. 

They had a clay pot with a light bulb fixture run through it for a heat source and a feeder. I believe I had a jar feeder for their water, too. I need to dig out the old images and see what this cage set up was so I can share it with you. In time I will diagram the cage and the set up. It had a thermometer in it and shredded pine in the bottom for soft nesting. When their feathers filled in and they were no longer babies but full hens, I placed them in the cage in the yard.

Chart showing the life cycle of a chicken from before the egg laying to the chick hatching and their growth cycle. Amazon poster image.

Life Cycle Of A Chicken Chart - Amazon

They were housed in a large steel mesh pen and covered with a plywood lid that was weighted down at night with potted plants on top. I had to make due with the materials at hand. This box was in a shady area and I could hose it down when needed. It was  roomy enough for them to each have a section to themselves.

Keeping chickens in an area that has predators is always a challenge. *

Around my yard then, there were raccoons, foxes, and stray cats that were a sure threat to my birds. I lost them one by one because I couldn't watch them every second and I did not have a screened in yard for them to roam in. I let them wander the garden during the day and they were picked off one by one. 

I left them out over night after a month of putting them outside and heard this squabbling noise. I ran screaming out the house. "LET HER GOOOOOOOO!!!" I did rescue that chicken but looked down to see that I was running almost in the buff. What a sight I must have been tearing out the door and off the porch in to the woods in my underwear!

The next time I set up a chicken dedicated home there will be some changes. I live in Southern Nevada now,
This white chicken coop is an elegant carpenter's project. Chicken condo is a better description!
Fancy Chicken Coop - Image:
This coop looks more like a condo for chickens than a coop!
so the raccoons and foxes won't be an issue but keeping them cool will be. I am thinking about adding a misting system to the outside of the coop where they can stay cool in the summer heat. A/C would be a little extreme but I do love my critters!

I still have a chicken feeder that sits on one of my book shelves. It silently reminds me of the first three birds I kept and the long term goal of keeping chickens for eggs and meat again.

If you keep chickens, do you plan for their 72 hours of emergency supplies? For chickens their kit would require a bulk stock of chicken scratch feed and water for drinking.

Chickens won't need much. Leave them behind if you have to bug out unless you are prepared to drop them into a soft bag or a pet carrier of some kind. It depends on your crisis. They probably won't be very happy with you sticking them into a pillow case...

Related links and topics:

How To Build Your Own Coop: Chicken Coops On Skruben

Amazon Affiliate Links and Sales Pages 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Survival

The Winds Are Blowing Hot Air And It Is Not Even Election Season... 

Tempertures Rising!
It is the imminent arrival of summer temperatures. In the desert of Southern Nevada it is necessary to re-adjust to the heat that greets us as we walk out our cozy, air conditioned offices and homes and face a brutal sun and the sizzling concrete and asphalt under our feet. The car steering wheel and seats lie waiting for our touch and it is like grabbing onto a hot stove. The air is blistering and anything you touch is heated to about 140 degrees or higher it seems. Stay out of the heat as much as possible. Summer survival is about shade and hydration!

What do we do to fight off the extremes of these temperatures? Me? I think of cool things. I have to. I work in this hot, arid air and start my day shined and ready to work but quickly feel like I am melting as soon as I get in my vehicle. I wear a full suit and tie and work out of a huge black car that can feel like a furnace at times. Thankfully, I do have a few spots I can stop and get shade and cool off occasionally. 

I do not recommend walking around at noon here in the valley during the months of June, July, and August. It is invitation to serious discomfort. It is amazing to me how may people come here, already in an unhealthy physical condition, imbibe in way to much alcohol, and then meander around the Strip in the heat of the afternoon. This is a disaster brewing.
The best thing we can do for summer is stay hydrated. The exhaust of our body water is dripping from our foreheads and down our backs and we must replenish it. Drink more than your daily recommended amounts of water.

We all know that the sun can cause serious sunburns but it also can be the kindling for internal damage as well.

Stay covered. head to toe. I don't mean walk around with a heavy tent on, but wear a wide brimmed hat and if you are going to be in the sun for any length of time other than for leisure,  wear light clothing that will cover your skin. The sun's rays are very damaging here and exposure should be taken in limited amounts.

What would you do if you were trapped in the wilderness and had to survive this heat? Find a shady spot and wait until the sun settles in the sky some. Hiking around at noon in this climate can be a death warrant. A lot of our city and area residents go nocturnal at this time of year. It is easier than having to deal with the higher temperatures here in Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert area. 

In the desert find a cliff face that has a shadow. Look for a nook that you can dig a pile of sand out of and give yourself a resting spot. Find a place to shade your body and let it cool down. A cool cloth on the back of the neck can bring some welcome relief. In the city, get indoors until you are able to cool off.

Being out in a high desert area brings on some necessary realities. First, there is the risk of sun exposure. Sun poisoning is a side effect of too much sun and it can bring on hypothermia just like exposure to cold can do. In this instance, you don't run the risk of losing limbs, but you may lose consciousnesses or become disoriented. Then you are really stuck. Find shelter. Stay hydrated. Stay out of full sun. Think of fishing trips to Alaska! 

For more about water and its cool benefits on our body see the following article:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Drip Irrigation In A Container Garden

Luffah Vine Starts in 18" pot with drip system. 

-- All Images: M Burgess

Recently I added a new drip irrigation system to my container garden. 


I have posted a how to guide on building a drip system if you want to do this yourself. 


The project did not entail more than an hours time and it was simple to assemble.You can read about my results in the images below and the article link.


Tips On Watering

Watering a garden is the essential secret to having a green thumb. Watering correctly can be tricky and you need to know when to add water and when to hold off. If you have moisture in the soil about 3 to 4 inches down then you can skip watering at the moment. Dry soil at this level is a sign that water needs to be added. Some plants won't mind extra water or a little dry conditions but others will have their fits either by wilting a little or not preforming well. It takes a delicate balance to tend to all the needs of your garden but you are the expert at your home.



Container Garden May 20, 2013

Items shown in this image from left to right starting from the water container: Small radishes next to the container. The next item is Basil, Oregano, then the light green is a Raspberry Bush. The lower right corner is Lavender and a Marigold plant in a window box. The Tomato is Cherry Tomatoes. The item in the bucket in front of the tomato is a Yellow Squash plant. Above that is Rosemary (not pictured. It is in the far left corner.) The pot with the window box on it is a set of Green Peppers. Above it is my Armenian Cucumber plants as shown in the image below.  From there you see the bottom of a lemon tree. Next is an 18" pot with loofah vines starting and on the other side of this is a Japanese Eggplant. Not pictured are another set of Peppers, Tomato, lettuce, and a set of onions in a window box in the far right corner.

In the following images you can see the tubing for the drip system threaded throughout the garden.

My Container Garden May 2013


Armenian Cucumber Vines And Blossoms
You can see this vine is very happy and is blooming like crazy! 

Cherry Tomatoes hiding Rosemary. 
I was unsure what this tomato plant was until this week when the tomatoes turned red.

Container Gardening

I enjoyed setting up and maintaining my container garden and have for years. I recommend this project to anyone who has the desire to garden but is limited in area with which to plant. I am delighted in the prospect of  home grown vegetables and the process of making them grow. I love my tiny garden and its wonders. The favorites are replanted year after year, though some of them stay with me over winter and continue to add their presence the next season.

If you are so inclined to start a garden of your own I hope this inspires to to plant TODAY!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Aphids In The Garden

Signs Of Aphid Infestation - Image: M Burgess
Yesterday I noticed the curling leaves on my newly set garden. 

I turned the leaf over and sure enough we have aphids. 

Aphids are tiny yellow and green creatures that remind me of fleas, mites, or lice. They are creepy and can devastate anything they land on. By eventually draining your plants of nutrients, these little sap suckers need to be removed as soon as possible. They are more common on roses but they do find vegetable plants a good environment for their colonies.

Remove them as soon as you see them by spraying the leaves with soapy water. I wash the leaves off gently removing the egg sacks, larvae, and the adults. Finding them early will help prevent them from getting too well established.

You may spray tobacco juice on them, too, if you want to remain organic. There are pesticides out there that can treat your garden pests but you have to be very careful with it. I personally don't like adding poisons to the healthy foods I grow. That's the whole point of having a garden is it not?
Live Ladybugs - Amazon

One of the best remedies for treating these smaller pests are live ladybugs. they can be ordered online or through your local nursery. They consume these dreaded creatures and will reproduce their young in your garden if the conditions are right.

What else can you use to ORGANICALLY treat garden pests? 

I am just learning this side of gardening. I am working my way to being as organic as possible. Thanks for your help! =)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Preparedness And Preserves - Canning Foods

Gathering is a small part of your emergency preparedness and survival planning. 


Learning how to preserve and process your own foods be it out of your garden or the market are also important strategies to your family's survival plan. 


The more you learn about being self-sufficient the better. Canning is a great way to get that accomplished. Not only are you producing your own food stock, you have the ability to control the ingredients. A simple exercise in jam making can be the doorway to foods that are a bit more complex to preserve. 

Pressure Canners

Recently I purchased a pressure canner / cooker and will eventually put it to use in preparing my own vegetables, fruits, meats, and sauces. There are tons of foods you can store by having this very handy piece of equipment. It can be a lifesaver if you invest in the time and effort put into making your own preserved foods. 

Your foods are healthier because the contents of the foods can be controlled by you. I am planning on putting up stews and chili and preserving things like grapefruit in jars. With the pressure canner the higher acid foods are stabilized and sealed.

Making Strawberry Jam

This past week I took the time out to put up some strawberry jam. I used the canner for my water bath. This is a simple process but it does take up a little bit of time. Jam is probably the easiest way to get started with the canning process. And it is a very tasty lesson! When you are fully educated on making jam you will be able to understand how to move onto more complex food items like pickles.

The simple strawberry jam recipe is 1 package of pectin, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 5 Quarts of mashed berries, and 7 cups of sugar. Oh, don't forget a pat of butter! The pectin will have a guide in it that will help you along in the processing. To preserve it you will need a dozen jars and a very large kettle for a water bath so that when you pack the jam into the sterilized jars you can submerge them in water and simmer them in the boiling liquid for 10 minutes. This process eliminates bacteria growth and seals the jars. Jam has a shelf life of about a year. See the steps I took in this article: Making Delicious Strawberry Jam 

This video is from my jam project -- It is under 14 minutes and will show you the steps you need to take to preserve your own strawberry jam!

Strawberry Jammin'!

(bear with me it is my first food video!)

My favorite canning project is jam but I am looking forward to trying out my new equipment on other foods like bottle pears in syrup! 

What foods do you like to preserve?