Thursday, June 30, 2011

Camping with Kids. RVing Safely. Little Giant. Power in CG. Campfires. Tire Recalls. Leveling RV. 'Tree' Kitten. Cargo Trailer.

Camping with Kids - Tips for Tent Camping for RV Families with Children

"Camping with kids, including tent camping, is part of the RVing experience for many families. These tips, put together by a s'mores lover, are sure to help your kids and grand children love camping.

Tips for Camping with Kids
If you're like me, you can recall some great childhood experiences that took place under the stars while roasting marshmallows at a campfire. Camping was one of my best experiences as a kid, and I'm sure every child would benefit from an adventure under the velvet night sky in a tent far away from home.
If you have kids, introduce them to nature so they, too, can enjoy the outdoors and develop fond memories. Below are some tips to help you help your kids start down the path of camping, hiking, and outdoor fun.

1. Get the Kids Involved From the Start
Let your kids help you with planning and organizing the camping trip. This means working with them to discover activities that they'd enjoy. Will your kids want to go swimming, hiking, boating, horseback riding, or bicycling? Let them decide the itinerary and look for a place where you can do all those activities. In addition, include them in meal planning and supply shopping. Essentially, make your kids part of the process...allow them to "own" the experience from the very beginning.
2. Practice Camping in Your Backyard
If your kids have no idea what it's like to go camping, then show them. Schedule a weekend where the whole family can camp out in the backyard at night. Teach them how to pitch a tent and cook dinner outdoors. In addition, to further the enjoyment, bring some s'mores, and don't forget to roast marshmallows over the fire. Through "warm up camping," not only will you prepare your kids for the real thing, you'll also get them excited for their upcoming outdoor adventure!
3. Forgo Nutrition … For a Little While
Camping with the kids should be all about letting them have fun, so why not bring the food they are generally not allowed to eat at home and in school? For example, allow them hotdogs, roasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, and, of course, the ultimate favorite of every kid camper - s'mores!
4. Keep Everyone Happy with a Good Night's Sleep
Kids tend to get cranky and unmotivated when they aren't able to sleep well, so make sure you pack camping gear for getting comfortable inside the tent. This doesn't necessarily mean overpriced cartoon character themed sleeping bags. Rather, look towards the essentials - a good sleeping pad, thick blankets, and a warm sleeping bag, which often means one that's made from down feathers.
5. Safety First
Your kids won't be able to enjoy the camping trip if they develop an infection, allergy, or require a trip to the nearest hospital because they've eaten poisonous berries. So before you even head out the door, teach your kids about outdoor safety. Show them, for example, pictures of plants to avoid. In addition, it's also a good idea to arm each of your kids with a whistle so, in times of emergency, they can easily and quickly alert you that they need help.
Follow these basic tips to help your kids develop a healthy love of nature. They will thank you for it later!"
Nicole Becker, author of this article on camping with kids, contributes to, where you can read her reviews on hiking in state parks as well as her article on CANDISC 2011.

Random RV Thought
It's a good idea to carry an extra length of hose and a heavy duty extension cord for those rare instances when hookups may be too far to reach otherwise.


Would you say “China” and “RV” in the same sentence?

"Hardly a day goes by without some reference to China and the damage they are currently inflicting on the United States with less expensive, or flat out counterfeit, products knocked off from American-made products that once drove the powerful domestic manufacturing communities that once drove this great nation to prosperity.
Economists and financial analysts are warning of future distress for America with our rising debt and the incredible amount of money we owe to China.

You might wonder what all of this has to do with RVers and the RV industry!
Quite a bit actually!


Become an informed consumer and spread the word to your friends around the campfire.

Let’s celebrate July 4th and the great American spirit represented in our independence to go camping and RVing and enjoy a great lifestyle with our family and friends. And let’s commit to doing it with products made in America, by Americans, and send a message to China that the American RV industry is not for sale!"

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Recreational Vehicle Safety Tips to Help Protect You and Your RV

"Recreational vehicle safety means knowing your RV, maintaining it, and using it responsibly. A few safety measures can go a long way. Here are some basics to help protect you and your RV.

Fourteen tips to help keep you, your RV, and those around you safe:
1. The safety of your RV rides on its tires. Know how much pressure they should have. Keep them inflated to the level. Besides adding to your safety, the proper tire pressure can increase your fuel mileage.
2. Know your RV’s weight limits. What is its gross vehicle weight rating? What is your rig’s cargo carrying capacity – the weight of things you can safely add? Stay within the limits.
3. Know the height and width of your RV. If you’re not good remembering numbers, make a cheat sheet. Write the measurements on a note card and tape it to your visor. It will be there for easy reference when you need to see if you can safely go through a tunnel or under an overpass.
4. Know where the fire extinguisher is in your RV. Bounce it every few months, have it inspected annually, get it recharged on schedule.
5. Check your smoke alarm. Make sure it has a good battery.
6. Service your house batteries. Make sure they have adequate water.
7. If you have a motorized RV, do (or have someone do for you) regular fluid checks – oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, anti-freeze, window washer solution.
8. Drive safe speeds. The posted speed limit is the fastest allowed speed limit, not the speed you are required to drive.
9. Slow down when road and weather conditions dictate. An RV doesn’t handle the same on a wet or snow covered road as it does on a dry road. Beware of the wind.
10. Recreational vehicle safety demands respecting other vehicles. Watch for motorcycles, as well as the big trucks.
11. Keep passengers seated while the RV is in motion. Everyone is supposed to be wearing a seat belt, according to many state laws.
12. Heat with approved heating appliances. The open flame of the galley range burners is an accident waiting to happen.
13. Keep a window or vent open a little.
14. Stock your RV for emergencies. Take along warm clothes and bedding. Carry enough food to last for a few days.
These are some of the basics of using a recreational vehicle safely. They may seem a bit restrictive. They may up your RVing costs. And, some of them take time and effort. But, the payoff is less worry and an RVing adventure that goes more smoothly. And, they may make the difference in whether or not you have a safe trip."

RVing Safety ... Don't Bet Your Life on a Senseless Rule

"RVing safety is a serious issue. But, there's a silly "rule" out there, popular with RVers, which could kill you and everyone else in your wreck. RV's have weight ratings, not number of item ratings.

This has got to be one of the craziest "rules" I've ever heard, and yet, it persists: "To keep your RV from being overweight, every time you put something into the RV, take something out."
Don't believe it! Don't wreck your RV or lose your life because of such nonsense.
RVs have cargo carrying capacities based on weight limitations. Many of them have unrealistically low limits. It is very easy to exceed the limit. For your RVing safety, as well as that of everyone you meet on the road, it is important to be within your rig's limits.

But counting objects is not the answer to RV safety.

Ever counted how many individual items you buy when you go grocery shopping? Follow the above rule and if you buy 20 items, you must take 20 items out. Milk, in -- shirt, out. Roast beef, in -- book, out. Three apples, in -- three photos of the grandkids, out. A dozen eggs in -- a dozen something or another, out. The weights of the items aren't considered and neither do they consider that you most likely are replacing items you used earlier in the week.
He buys a pipe wrench and throws out a pair of socks. She adds a sewing machine and takes out a pancake flipper. They add a 10-volume set of reference books and get rid of that big fluffy pillow on the couch. That results in keeping the RV within its weight limits? How stupid! How dangerous!
Taking something out of the RV every time you put something in, does not make sense. It is not practical. More importantly, it won't balance the RV's weight. It could, in fact, be a very dangerous practice, as it could lead to a false sense of security. If you follow the rule, and think you are keeping your rig within safe weight limits by doing so, you could end up killing yourself.

The way to know if your RV is overweight is to know your rig's weight limits and the weight of the rig. The only way to find out what your RV weighs is to weigh it. Many truckstops have scales.
If you have a two-part rig, such as a motorhome and a towed vehicle or a truck and trailer, weight the parts separately, and then as a unit. If you have a two-part rig, you have three sets of weight limits to contend with -- that of the towing vehicle, that of the towed vehicle, and that of the unit as a whole.
Do not trust your RVing safety to some crazy rule involving counting things. The number of objects in your RV has almost nothing to do with its weight. One feather tallies the same as one brick, but they do not weigh the same. "

A Little Giant Ladder -- Something That's Really Handy When RVing

"My Little Giant Ladder is a tool I bought about 15 years ago at the Florida RV Super Show. I came across a dealer in the commercial area selling folding ladder systems. I had looked at other brands before, but these were different.

Instead of funky, chintzy, and downright cheap hinges, these Little Giants from Wing were really strong and simple. Frankly, I was impressed.
We wandered the show for two more days. I talked about it with my wife several times. Finally, she told me to get one.
It cost about three times what a conventional ladder would have cost, but we got one. Fifteen years later, we still own it and I still use it. It is steady, doesn't wobble, and has a very solid feel when you're on it. It's an excellent quality tool.
For the first several years we owned it, we stored it in the back of our RV tow vehicle, out in the weather. Just a little wipe down with furniture polish and it functions perfectly.
I like that it has a solid, stable feel while I'm on it. My wife likes the stability of it, too, because she tends to worry about me when I am climbing up on top of the RV or some building.
We don't have a ladder on our travel trailer. I need to get up on the roof fairly often to clean off our solar panels or do some other cleaning or maintenance. When I'm doing handyman jobs on the road, I like having my own ladder with me, one that I trust as being safe.
When we are at our home base, the fact that I can move it through narrow halls, up stairs, and around furniture folded, and then extend it and unfold where I need it is the handiest feature of the Little Giant.
This purchase seemed extravagant at first. But, I really like mine and use it often. In fact, now I own two Little Giants, so that I can have one in the RV and one at our home base."

Your Electricity Costs Can be Low, Even with Metered Electric

"Electricity costs for campground owners are constantly rising. It is not unusual to find that they are installing individual electric meters at each site. There are ways you can keep your costs down.

Like it or not, paying for the power you use is something you'll probably have to deal with. We don't use much, so we like paying for only what we use.
Right now, I am looking out my screen door. My neighbor's window is open as far as it will open. I am also listening to the drone of the air conditioner on his roof, at the rate of 18 cents per kilowatt. People are very concerned about phantom loads, but we should be looking at the major electrical loads. My figures may not be exact, but turning off the air conditioner for 10 minutes a day, will probably save more than all your phantom loads put together.
Open the windows and cool off the RV in the cool of the morning. If it doesn't cool off at night where you're at, think about moving. You're in an RV; they are supposed to move.
Heating with a portable electric heater or the heating coil in your air conditioner are excessive electricity users. I've seen people who run their heat in the morning and then switch to the air conditioner about 11:00 for the rest of the day. Then they sit in their lawn chairs and complain about the park owner getting rich on the electric charge.
Maybe put a sweater on in the morning and keep the RV cool. Don't over air condition when you're not in the RV.
Realize that the park owner should be making a fair profit on his multimillion dollar investment in the park. He's not making a profit on 18 cent per kilowatt electricity, which he is selling for what he buys it for. About 20 years ago, there was a big surge to install electric elements in RV water heaters.
Now, they all come that way. But with electric costs, that may not be the cheapest way to heat your water. Propane (LP gas) may be the way to go. On the RV I am presently in, the water heater on propane runs on pilot and keeps the water hot enough to do dishes, and so hot that we need to add plenty of cold to the mix when we shower. It does it cheaper than electric.
Remember, if the burner is just on pilot the recovery rate may be three to five hours. For quick recovery, just turn the main burner on when you need it. Then, turn it back to pilot.

The refrigerators in both our RVs can run close to four months on a 30-pound bottle of propane. If I buy propane in Alaska at $3.85 per gallon, 18-cent electric is cheaper; in Texas with $1.40 per gallon propane, propane is cheaper.
The days of cheap gas and electric are over. There are many ways you can save on your electricity cost if you make the effort. Do a little research, do the math, and be willing to do things a little differently than the norm.
If you don't want to make the effort to control your electricity costs, you can sit in your lawn chair and complain -- and watch your electric meter spin. "

Raging Arizona wildfires probably caused by unattended campfire

"Authorities believe the giant, 640-square-mile Wallow Wildfire raging in Arizona was started by an unattended campfire. Thousands of people have been forced from their homes, thousands of fire fighters are risking their lives, and precious timberlands are gone, all because someone did not properly extinguish their campfire. This summer, when you camp, thoroughly put out your own campfires, and if you see one unattended and still burning -- even just smoldering -- put it out, too. When fire conditions are high, avoid campfires to begin with, even if they are not legally prohibited."

Tire Recalls
"I have seen a number of posts on various forums of complaints about what is believed to be a failure of a “defective” tire. What I have not seen is any mention of anyone having bothered to provide details and information on what the defect is and a statement that they send the data to the US Dept Of Transportation.

I have to wonder why people think there might be some government action when there is no information going to the government complaining about what they feel is a defective tire.
You can review the current tire recall list from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration HERE.
is the part of DOT that is responsible for collecting complaint information and doing the appropriate investigation. If there is data developed that would support some action such as a recall, NHTSA is the agency that can order the action. Before a tire might be recalled there is list of “complaints” accumulated and you can review that information HERE. You file complaints HERE. 
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Easy height adjustment for trailer re-hitching
"Folks who tow travel trailers and fifth wheels often struggle with hooking back up after setting up their trailer for livability. The problem is this: You unhitch and level the trailer; when it's time to hitch up again, getting the front of the trailer to the right height to hitch up can be a pain in the neck.

Here's an easy way to deal with this issue. Get yourself a simple bubble level like the one pictured. Mount it on the side of your trailer at the front of the rig.
Fifth wheel folks will like this one, just mount it close to the switch that controls your "landing gear." Don't use the double stick mounting tape included with the level, but rather, run a screw through the top center portion of the plastic above the level tube. Snug the screw down only far enough that you can push either end of the level up and down with some amount of force required.
Now when you unhitch, raise the front of the trailer high enough to unhitch -- just off the ball in the case of a pull trailer, or just off the fifth wheel saddle plate. Now adjust the new level to where the bubble is showing level. You can now level up the trailer for livability -- just don't touch the "hitching level." When it's time to hitch up again, raise or lower the trailer until the hitching level shows "level" again.
Now your trailer is at just the right height roll right under and hitch up."


Jay caught a really wild black cat in his trap, so we brought it up here, and it was picked up by Animal Control in the morning.  They don't even ring my bell, they know where we keep the full traps.

As for the kittens, Jay and I had to hurry and get another cage disinfected, as I have to monitor intake and output on each kitten.  The girls were put together last night when Pal spilt his water bowl all over his bed in the little top cage. 
Precious is eating, but I wasn't sure about Pebbles, so time to split them up.  This extra cage sits on the floor in the Grooming Room, and is just used on special occasions.  It has a door on the top and the side.  Most of the time I keep the box of litter in there, or the kittens scatter litter all over.  I put food, water, litter box and a nice blue bed in there for Pal, and my quiet little boy meowed for three hours until I let him out.
 Pal-comfy-in-little cage-with door open.

He quickly went up to the little cage on top of Precious' cage, his original cage when he came home from the vet, and quietly made himself at home up there.  He can see the comings and goings in the house through that window in the wall, too.  The door is open so he can come and go as he pleases. 
Some cats like to be high up, and some like to hide in bushes, he is obviously a 'tree cat'.   I will have to tell his new "Mom" about that.

My electric bill arrived, and for the first time mine was lower than the guest house, even though I am cooling a larger area.  I contribute that to my raising the thermostat's temperature in the rooms that I don't use.  Once the kittens are gone, then I can raise the temperature in those two rooms, too.  The Grooming Room and the Middle Room, just have a Dutch door between them.

Ray says he is feeling a bit better, and might work tomorrow, so Jay and I got all the shelves for the cargo trailer ready for him to paint.  We took them down off the walls, so he can paint them outside on the big work table in the shade. Ray is very careful, and he wouldn't have got any paint on the paneling, but it will be easier on him with his bad back.

A little niggly ache in my lower back woke me up in the night, and it travels to my front, too.  Sometimes it send out a sharp pain when I sit down.  Maybe I did too much lifting when we took the cages outside to disinfect them, but it doesn't feel like I put my back 'out'.    
So I was walking carefully, and went to bed early yesterday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Parakeet Population Boom. Found Baby Bird? Greater Sage-Grouse. Kittens.

For "Winged Wednesday":

British Parakeet Population Boom Has Experts Stumped

ringneck parakeet

"For reasons scientists don't yet understand, the population of Rose-ringed Parakeets in Britain has increased from 1,500 in 1995 to an estimated 30,000 in recent years.

The Rose-ringed Parakeet, native to the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa, did not fly to London from those far-off places. Rather, it is widely assumed they either escaped from their British owners or were intentionally released.

What is confounding experts is the population explosion in these birds over the last decade. Where they were once considered exotic rarities, these days the parakeets are viewed as pests and a potential threat to crops.

Some of the theories as to why the birds are able to so rapidly proliferate include:

  • The planting of exotic ornamental plants provides imported food to the parakeets.
  • An increasing number of British residents have set up bird feeders and keep them filled with seed.
  • A slightly warmer climate has caused the bird's metabolism to increase during breeding season.
  • The warmer climate has increased the growth of a favorite food of the parakeets and/or has killed off a predator."

Researchers at Imperial College London are attempting to get a more accurate count of the current population of birds through Project Parakeet. According to The New York Times:

British officials are watching trends closely since the parakeets have proved major agricultural pests elsewhere, ravaging crops in places like India. So far, they have shown little predilection for leaving Europe's cities and suburbs for agricultural areas. (Far smaller flocks of rose-ringed parakeets have also arrived in other European cities like Brussels and Amsterdam.)

Sources:  The New York Times May 13, 2011


If you are thinking about getting a parakeet, here are tips for it's care:



What to do if You Find a Baby Bird

Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker explains what to do if you find a baby bird that has fallen from its nest or is separated from its parents.

What NOT to Do If You Encounter a Fledgling

"Fledglings are more often "kidnapped" than nestlings because people who find them hopping around on the ground alone assume they've been orphaned rather than blown out of their nest.

If you see a fledging, you might be tempted to capture it to get it out of harm's way.

You might look around for the young bird's parents, not finding them, you assume the baby is an orphan and you approach it.

It's rare, but there is a slight chance you could be dive bombed by a mother or father bird as you get close to their baby. If that should happen, it's your cue to leave the fledgling alone.

In most cases, however, you won't see or hear the parents. If you capture the baby to remove it to what you believe is a safer location, what you're unintentionally doing is kidnapping the fledging from its mother and interrupting its natural development.

What you want to do instead is simply keep pets and children away from the area where the fledging is hopping about.

The mother and father will continue to support their young bird from a distance and within a relatively short time the fledgling will develop the breast musculature and feathers it needs to fly away to its life as an adult bird.

Should You Keep It?

Many people who rescue a wild baby bird are tempted to keep it and raise it themselves. There are a few problems with that approach.

First you need to be aware that not all birds are alike.

Nutritional requirements depend on what species the bird is. For example, some species of baby birds eat worms and bugs.

But if the baby bird in your care is a seed-eater, worms can be toxic. (That's why I warn against feeding a bird you've rescued before you contact a licensed professional to determine next steps.)

It's crucial that you know not only the species of bird, but also its metabolic requirements and what it can safely eat. This is information you should only get from a licensed professional. Guessing at the species of a baby bird or what it can eat can quite literally be deadly.

And did you know it's against the law to raise wildlife without a license?

If you're interested in becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, you can get more information on that subject, as well, at"

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Greater Sage-Grouse

Greater Sage-Grouse. By: Alan Wilson

Banner stats and range map

"The Greater Sage-Grouse has declined by more than 50% over the past 50 years; more than 40% of its historic range is no longer occupied. Overgrazing, sagebrush removal, and the presence of invasive plants (e.g., cheatgrass) have degraded and fragmented habitat. Expanding energy development, particularly wind and natural gas, presents a growing threat, especially near the birds’ strutting grounds (leks), where their distinctive booming courtship rituals echo across the landscape each spring.

The government recently ruled that listing the species as threatened was “warranted but precluded” by other priorities, meaning that this declining species continues to receive no federal legislative protection. However, conservation plans in western states include strategies to protect “core areas” for the species on the 70% of their remaining habitat on public lands, and recent efforts are directing federal incentives to improve management on private lands.

ABC is working to ensure no net loss of suitable sage-grouse habitat, while maintaining or expanding the size and distribution of grouse populations. ABC is also working to ensure that wind energy development does not further harm Greater Sage-Grouse and their habitat."





One of our SPCA foster moms arrived at 6.30 AM to pick up my kittens to take them for their spay/neuter surgeries. 

When I went to pick up Jay he had caught someone's Dachshund in his trap, so he turned it loose.  That dog must be hungry, or stupid, as it is the second time he has been trapped.  So much for our leash laws.


Then we started on the kitten's cages.   We carried the big cages outside to our 'wash bay', and I sprayed them down with bleach water, and let them sit while we vacuumed and mopped the Middle Room and Grooming Room.  I laundered all the blankies and soft toys in disinfectant, and washed that bathroom's rugs while I was at it.  The 'hard' toys were just soaked in soapy bleach water.


Now, I would like to point out that not all bleaches say "Kills 99% of Common Germs", so you have to look at the label.

Many of them, including the scented ones, are not a disinfectant, but they will whiten clothes.


As Pal's surgery isn't as severe as the girl's, he only has to stay locked up for about a day, so he will be in a small cage.  But the girls will have to be kept quiet for about a week, after all they had ovariohysterectomies (removal of the ovaries and uterus).   If you want to see how the surgery is done, and you aren't squeamish:


Pebbles,Preciuos,Pal after surgery.28June2011

Now the clean cages, clean litter boxes, clean toys, and clean beds are all set back up in a nice clean room, waiting for the kittens to come back from the vet. 

They must not jump up or down off anything for the first 10 days, so that is why they are going to be locked up for a while.


Here they are, home again:

Pebbles, front, is groggily investigating everything. 

Precious, back, hasn't moved off her bed.

I wanted to keep them separated, as I have to make sure that their plumbing is working OK.

That's Pal up in the small top cage, he has a litter box in there that you can't see.  I will probably double up the girls, and put him in a bigger cage when he isn't so woozy. Pal-post-surgery-28Jun2011


Oops, that had to be done right away, as in his disoriented state, he knocked his water bowl all over his little blue bed.


I hope he doesn't get a complex sleeping in a pink bed.






I quickly had to get another pink bed for the girls.


As you can see, there is a window in the wall between the rooms, so I can keep an eye on them.


The kittens, and I, had a busy day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alaska! AK Camphosts Needed. Mushing Canoes. AK Olympics. Sitka. Folk Music Festival. $250 Gas Card. Kittens.

For Travel Tuesday, lets see what is going on in AK and Canada this Summer:

Now, to get to Alaska, you have to go through Canada, that is unless you fly, or sail from WA:


KM = Miles:

"Generally when you enter Canada the basic thing to remember is that kilometers are shorter than miles so there are more of them. The ratio is approximately 100 kilometers equals 60 miles.

Decades ago my father taught me a fairly simple way to figure things out in my head. His words were, "Multiply the number of kilometers by six and drop the last digit."

For example, if a sign indicates your destination is 350 kilometers away, multiplying by six yields 2,100. Drop the last digit and you have 210 miles, a figure that is correct within a kilometer or two. Or if a speed limit sign in a school zone says 30 KPH, this formula will yield 18 MPH."



Camp Hosts are needed in Alaska.



The 13th annual Yukon River Quest is June 29 through July 3, 2011. Whitehorse to Dawson City.


Yukon - Yukon River Quest

"Recognized as one of the toughest adventure marathon events in the world, the Yukon River Quest is held on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City in Canada's Yukon. It's the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world at 460 miles, and paddlers from around the globe journey to the Yukon every summer to compete. With just two mandatory rest stops totaling 10 hours over the entire course, this race is not for the faint of heart.


A must-see attraction in Whitehorse is the S.S. Klondike National Historical Site. The British Yukon Navigation Company sternwheel fleet navigated the upper Yukon River between Whitehorse and Dawson City for the first half of the 20th century and today visitors can tour the S.S. Klondike sternwheeler, restored to its original 1937-40 appearance. The site pays homage to the history of riverboat transportation along the Yukon River as a main mode of transport. The pedestrian Millennium Trail from the Robert Service Campground makes for a pleasant walk over to the vessel site.

Today skeletons of abandoned sternwheelers can still be spotted along the banks of the Yukon River, the fourth largest river in North America. At the time of the Gold Rush, the Yukon River represented a spirit of success, which continues today as paddlers ply the same harsh and remote route toward the finish line in Dawson City.

RV and tent camping are located in several locations south of Whitehorse off the Alaska Highway. "

More at:



The 50th anniversary of WEIO is July 20-23, 2011 in Fairbanks.


Alaska - World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

"The city of Fairbanks in Interior Alaska is often the conclusion to many an Alaska Highway itinerary. This summer offers travelers the perfect end-of-trip commemoration at one of Alaska' most notable events: the annual World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO) celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011. The four-day festival in July displays the customs, games and skills of Native peoples in circumpolar areas of the world. With such a milestone anniversary, event organizers are predicting it will be the highest-profile WEIO event to date.


Some of the more well known events include the One- or Two-Foot High Kick, where an athlete must jump off the floor using both feet and kick a suspended object with one (or two) feet. The renowned Blanket Toss involves a group of people that toss one person in the air from the middle of a large walrus skin. This ritual has been performed in whaling communities in for as long as most elders can remember. WEIO emphasizes that the survival of these customs is key, and athletic events illustrate the need to be disciplined physically and mentally.


The Carlson Center in Fairbanks is the home base for WEIO, and is located near Pioneer Park on the banks of the Chena River. Athletic competitions slated for the event include: the Knuckle Hop or Seal Hop, the Four-Man Carry, Ear Weight, Ear Pull, Drop the Bomb, One-Hand Reach, Alaskan High Kick, Kneel Jump, Indian Stick Pull, Eskimo Stick Pull, Toe Kick and the Arm Pull. Read more about these events at The WEIO event has grown to over 50 games, with an increasing number of athletes competing and records are broken every year."

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Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska

View Slideshow"Summer is the perfect time to visit Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska. Explore the great outdoors along the park's many trails, where you can observe migrating salmon and experience a temperate rain forest under towering trees. History buffs will enjoy daily ranger-led tours of the Russian Bishop's House--one of the few surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America--offered every 30 minutes May through September. Renovated to its 1853 appearance, the Bishop's house dates back to when Sitka was the colonial capitol under Russian Imperial rule.
If you go > >
From the park you can venture to nearby Castle Hill, a National Historic Landmark and an Alaska state park, where Russia officially transferred the region to the United States in a flag ceremony on October 18, 1867. "
View the slideshow > >



The 34th annual Canmore Folk Festival will be held July 30 to August 1, 2011, Canmore, Alberta


Alberta - Canmore Folk Festival

"Travelers en route to Alaska from Alberta can opt in to the grooviest of all side trips from Calgary with a stop at the Canmore Folk Festival. Held during the Heritage Day long weekend each year in early August, the event was the first folk music festival in Alberta when it began in 1978. It remains a huge hit with both locals and visitors today, attracting up to 15,000 music fans annually from Alberta, Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The festival offers travelers a taste of folk, world, blues and roots music from the picturesque town of Canmore, gateway to the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies.

The 65-mile drive west of Calgary along Highway 1 and the Alberta Rocky Mountain Route to Alaska offers some of Alberta's most spectacular scenery. While the Alaska Highway route north of Calgary is typically faster, visitors can choose this more leisurely detour as an alternative course, or just travel the 1.5 hours each way as a convenient day trip. On the way keep an eye out for the famous trio of peaks dotting the horizon, the Three Sisters.

The towering peaks of Alberta's Rocky Mountains dominate the view from the festival's venue, Centennial Park, located in downtown Canmore. The park is nestled at the heart of Canmore's valley bottom and the extraordinary acoustics during the festival delight listeners year after year. Up to 18 individual acts of musicians from diverse backgrounds perform over the three-day festival; for six hours each evening, six acts give their all on the main stage.

The festival isn't just a haven for adult folk fanatics. Bring the kids and enjoy a designated alcohol-free family site, a free street dance performance on the Friday night, free kids concerts that Saturday afternoon, and a kids-only area chock full of fun activities like crafts, a puppet theater, climbing wall, clowns and jugglers and an inflated bouncing castle. Centennial Park also has two playgrounds on site, and a "tot lot" for toddlers, adjacent to the designated family area. Parking at the event is free and RV-friendly."

More at:



Your North to Alaska Story = $250 gas card!

"Are you driving North to Alaska this summer and would you like a little help with the gas?

We need your wit, observations and experiences along the way for a new community feature that will be launched on

Groups selected to participate will be given a $250 gas card for sharing the adventure of driving North to Alaska.

Details at:





8.00 AM came quickly to take Jay for his doctor's appointment.  I am always up by 6.00 AM, but I had slept a bit late, so I rushed around, took care of my animals, and dressed in a hurry.


Sorry for the next ramblings, but I have been feeling very distressed over my little orphan kittens that I bottle fed since they were about 10 days old. Now they are old enough to go to their new homes.   Just getting my thoughts and anxieties out on this keyboard.


My SPCA boss hadn't heard from the lady who met my kittens last Friday, and we still didn't know which one(s) she might adopt.  We thought that she was going to choose Pal and Pebbles.  So my main worry was little Precious, who was a frail 4 oz when I got her, and wasn't expected to live.  Now she is 3lb, but I just couldn't see her being in the fast shuffle of the big Houston SPCA, which is where my left-over kittens would go.  I made up my mind that if the lady didn't take her, that I would keep her for now, and not take her to the big SPCA, she would be so scared, as she is so sweet and sensitive. 


Precious reminds me so much of another kitten that I rescued some years ago.  This little kitten had been thrown into a dumpster, and left to die. It had been raining so the dumpster had water in it, and was full of garbage.  I wasn't tall enough to get in the dumpster, or I would, so I paid someone to get in there and throw out all the garbage, and get the kitten from the bottom of the dumpster.    She was just a tiny lifeless, limp little thing, maybe not even weaned.  After rubbing some life into her with a towel, I carried her in my bra to keep her warm, and rushed her to my house.  She drank some Kitten Replacement Milk from a bottle, so I set her up in a carrier in my bedroom, and hoped she would still be alive in the morning.  "Dumpy" survived, but her neck was damaged from being thrown, and she always had her little head to one side.  She had a darling disposition.

Hopefully, it was the right thing when she was adopted by a family with a handicapped daughter.  The lady of the family didn't seem too fond of my little Dumpy, or any animal, and said that she couldn't sleep in the same room as the daughter.  She obviously wasn't going to do any of the caretaking, and I hope the daughter knew how to take care of the little cat.  They never got in touch with us again, that was the thing that hurt the most. 

I would have kept Dumpy, but then she would have been an older handicapped cat looking for a home, not a cute kitten, as she would outlive me.  Often I have asked my SPCA boss to check up on her, but she never has the time, or something happened, and she doesn't want to tell me.   People don't realize that the Rescue where they got their pet, and especially the foster moms, like to hear about their 'babies'.  I think about Dumpy almost every day, and wonder how she is.


I couldn't go through that with Precious, too.  If she went to the big SPCA, we wouldn't be able to find out if she been adopted, or if they found some excuse to put her to sleep.   Just like I do with Dumpy, I would always be worrying about her.  As long as she is adopted here through our little SPCA, I have a chance of hearing about her wellbeing.   Precious better go to someone who will keep in touch once in a while.  A lot of adoptive parents send us pictures of their animals once in a while, why can't all of them?  My SPCA boss forwards them to their previous foster moms, so I have an album of them.


My neighbor came over and showed me a little tiny, lost, meowing, feral, white kitten that wouldn't come out from under a truck across the street.  All I could do was take it some canned food.  If it comes over here, we can trap it, and get it to Animal Control.


The phone call finally came, and the lady just wants Pal.   But I will be taking care of him during his recovery after his neutering today, and keep him for her, until the 12th. July, when she will be off for the summer.   My SPCA boss said that Precious can go with Pal to get spayed, if I will keep her until she gets adopted.  That is an enormous load off my mind.  Worrying about Precious ruined my appetite, so I have lost over 10 lb.  She will be good company for Prime, who misses Patches, as they like each other. 

As it would be such a long, hot drive to take Pebbles to Houston SPCA, my boss said that she can get spayed, too, and she will try to find another foster mom for her.


I am so relieved, so now I have to get three "Post Surgery" areas ready today.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Dog Bless USA." Tornado Pets. Rescued Human. Dog Tease. Truck Stop. Popeye's Shrimp. Cargo Trailer Shelves.

Help a veteran get a service dog

"For every 5,000 people who click "like" on the page between May 27 and July 4, one dog will be given to a veteran with PTSD.
They hope to reach 500,000 new "likes" on Facebook to meet their goal of providing 100 service dogs to returning veterans.
Visit the Facebook page, and click the "like" button."

What's not to like???



Video: Not All is Lost in Tornado-Ravaged Missouri, June 6, 2011


Spay or Neuter Your Dog.

Spaying your dog prevents more homeless dogs.



"Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.  I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage.  I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today.  Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past.  I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.  I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. 
Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

work-for-milk A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.  I would promise to keep her safe.  I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.
I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. 
So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. 
So many more to be saved.  At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today."

Dogs... Love.... Food.

What a mean way to tease a dog!


Two miles away on the I-45, we have had road construction going on for quite a while now. The busy country road behind my house is going to have it's own "Exit" and "Onzit" to the freeway, so we will no longer have to go south on the feeder road past Longstreet, to FM 1097 to get on the freeway.  Our road is busy, as it goes to several subdivisions and two marinas, but it is narrow with no shoulders, so it is maximum 45 mph.  Non locals visiting the marinas, seem to think that it is great to speed up and down this rural road.  Maybe they will widen it one day, and there has been talk of a turn lane, so that there aren't so many accidents at this corner.

As for all the construction, feeder roads are being added where there were none before, and the bridges over the freeway are all being made higher and wider.  The feeder road we have to travel on to get to the freeway ramp keeps on getting moved from side to side, as they work on another part of it.  One day we will be on an old part of a bridge, and the next we are diverted to a new higher part of it.  All the lanes are very narrow right now with those movable cement block walls on each side, while they get this done. I heard that Shay had scraped up Ray's beloved car on one, on the other side from where the 4-wheeler ran into it!  No wonder Ray is sick, I saw the damage.

On the way to get the washer from the repair shop, Jay re-iterated what he has said for some time now, that there was going to be a new Disney park just north of us in New Waverly.  Then yesterday, he said it was going to go all the way east to New Caney.  So I searched and I found that what he said is partly true.  There is a new theme park being built in New Caney, called Earthquest Adventures Park.  But that is way south of us, and over off I-59.
But as for Disney, that seems to be just another rumor:

As we were traveling and still on the feeder road, I noticed that the humongous Stalwart Ranch has removed some of their drill-stem fence on the NW corner of Longstreet and I-45, so I searched again, and now that corner is going to be a Love's Truck Stop:  That is why our road is getting it's own freeway ramps, so that we won't be tangled up in all that traffic.  That truck stop will be less than 4 miles from my house, but I can't see it bothering us, as it is country road and grazing land all the way.  So that explains all the freeway construction going on.

Ray is still bedridden, and I found out from Shay what had made them sick;  shrimp from Popeye's!  
I am so glad that I don't eat fast food!  She was tired and didn't want to cook, so they bought some breaded shrimp there.  I would rather just warm up one of my healthy pre-cooked meals, to 165 deg., of course, than suffer like he has. 
It takes the same amount of time to cook more than you need, and freeze it for a busy day, or an RV trip.   How difficult is that? 
If I am going to eat out, it won't be at a fast food place with non-caring teenagers in charge of my food preparation.

In the cargo trailer, Jay and I made another shelf, the left side one, and the ends for it, and got another one ready to go over the front window.  Each shelf will be at a different height, just to break up the walls, and so that different size items can be put on each one.  Two of the shelves have holes with brass grommets so that a cord can go down to an outlet below it.  That is because the headboard, from which they were made, already had them in it.  I lined up the holes with the outlets on the wall.  Who knows what the buyer might want to plug in.

Still no word about the kittens.
I am taking Jay for an early doctor's appointment, so I had better get on with my day.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eurasia SCO Supplants U.S. Dominance. Hosanna! 165 deg. Kittens.


"While the United States continues to vie for influence in Central Asia, a multi-state organization of Central and East Asian powers is gaining in prominence in this important region. Does this hold any prophetic significance? What does it mean for the rest of the world?"

SCO member and observer states
Source: Wikimedia Commons
"Just when many people are lulled into a false complacent sense of security, prophetic world geopolitics is taking a huge transformational step away from United States domination of the world stage!

Most American citizens would be oblivious to what is happened on June 15, 2011, in a city they have probably never heard of: Astana, Kazakhstan. It will have profound impact on the USA.

A power vacuum is being created in Afghanistan, as Washington officials seek to draw down American troop numbers, and their other allies are espousing ways of reducing their troop numbers, without a “panic to the exits,” as reported in the media.

A powerful Eurasian coalition

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is had its 10th year anniversary meeting at Astana, Kazakhstan, on June 15, 2011, with the express views of stepping into the power vacuum in Afghanistan.
Nicolas J. S. Davies reported on, on June 7, 2011:
“On May 15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that an important expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be on the agenda at its upcoming summit in Astana in Kazakhstan on June 15.
“If the expansion is approved, India and Pakistan will join China, Russia and the Central Asian republics as full SCO members, and Afghanistan will join Iran and Mongolia as a new SCO 'observer.'
“The U.S. media seem to have missed this news, but future historians will be unlikely to ignore it as an important turning point in the history of Afghanistan, the United States and the world.
The original Shanghai Five (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan), who met in 1996 to sign a 'Treaty on Deepening Trust in Border Regions,' formed the SCO in 2001 with the addition of Uzbekistan and a commitment to greater cooperation in military and economic affairs.
“In 2005, President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan hailed the historic nature of that year’s SCO summit, the first time that the original members were joined by India, Pakistan and Iran. He noted that half the human race was now represented around the SCO negotiating table” ( at:, emphasis mine throughout).
Davies further adds:
“The United States also applied for 'observer' status in the SCO in 2005, but its application was rejected.
“The Afghans have decided to join the SCO despite longstanding opposition from Washington. Afghan Foreign Minister Rassoul spent four days meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing before Lavrov’s announcement on May 15.
“One thing we can be sure they all agreed on is that they want the United States out of Afghanistan, and the rub for the United States is that the SCO and its member states will be waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces whether we get out this year, next year or in ten years’ time” (ibid).

The rest of the world watches with interest

The implications from this momentous SCO 10th anniversary meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, will also not be lost on a very aware European Union.
As the EU observes a further erosion of U.S. power in Eurasia via the SCO, they will very likely begin stepping up their own military and economic ties within the central major national members of the E.U.
Already, there are signs of a shift to the right in European politics, since the elections in Portugal.
God’s prophet Ezekiel prophesied long ago about the coming end-time empire of Gog and Magog, in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Will this Asian bloc of nations fulfill this prophecy?

A huge empire from the East is prophesied to form an army of 200 million in the end-time and to attack the European Beast power across the Euphrates river (Revelation:9:13-19; Revelation:16:12).
In that devastating initial battle one third of mankind are prophesied to die (Revelation:9:18-19).
It will be at that time that Jesus Christ will intervene and return to this Earth to establish God’s Kingdom on this Earth, before “no flesh might be saved alive” (Matthew:24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.; Isaiah:9:6-7 [6]For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.[7] Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.)."
A commentary by Ken Murray Posted June 14, 2011

What does the word hosanna mean?

What did it mean when the multitude welcomed Jesus with shouts of “Hosanna”?

"At Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the people shouted “Hosanna.” Some paraphrase this as “hooray” (see the Contemporary English Version of Matthew:21:9And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.). But really hosanna is from the Hebrew words “Hoshiah Na! Save now! or, Save, we beseech thee!—redress our grievances, and give us help from oppression!” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible).

The Hebrew phrase was used by people asking a king to help or save them. For example, “When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and paid homage and said, ‘Save me, O king’” (2 Samuel:14:4And when the woman of Tekoah spake to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king., English Standard Version). This type of request is also found in 2 Kings:6:26And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king..
The multitude welcoming Jesus Christ was likely alluding to Psalm 118, a messianic psalm where the Hebrew phrase is translated “Save now” (verse 25).

So, not only was the multitude acknowledging Jesus Christ as King and praising Him, they were asking Him to save and deliver them in Matthew:21:9And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.: “Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Hosanna in the highest!’”


Ray was really sick, and Shay said he didn't get out of bed all day.  But I know he did, as he fed their cats when he let them out of their utility room where they sleep at night. 
It seems that the folks who don't abide by the rules set out on the food packages about cooking or reheating to 165 deg. internal temperature are the ones who get sick a lot.  I use my food thermometer and abide by those rules, and I don't get sick.

I spent the morning tending to my animals, and working on articles for this blog.

Jay fixed the utility closet on their porch so that raccoons, armadillos or 'whatever', could not get in there any more.  'Whatever' had been using it as a bathroom, so Jay was pretty grossed out when I went to get him up to pick up their repaired washer.  Then I helped him get the washer laden appliance dolly up the steps onto their porch.  That was one quick trip into the next town which still took over an hour and a half.

Later in in the afternoon, I got my biggest carrier ready to transport my kittens to meet their prospective "Mom", and I put a little litter box and water bowl in there, too.  I managed to get it in my van, drive back to Conroe, get it onto a cart at Petco, and wheeled them in.  I was early, so it gave me a chance to sit down, settle down, and catch my breath a bit.

The lady and her friend played with them in a back room at Petco for quite a long time.   Each kitten sat on their laps and purred at them, and they behaved beautifully. She had come to meet "Pal", the orange tabby boy, and remarked how loving, gentle and beautiful he is, but was considering one of the girls as a companion for him, too.  The ladies and my SPCA boss said that he has the wonderful "Maine Coon" personality, even though he doesn't look like one.  They remarked how big his feet are, and what a beautiful large cat he will be.

But the lady didn't tell us anything right there and then, and "will let us know", before Monday.    My SPCA boss helped me load the big carrier back into my van, as I was worn out, and she will call me when she hears from the lady.

So I still don't know how long I will have them.  If the lady decides to take one or two of them, the chosen one(s) will be taken by another foster mom to be spayed/neutered on Tuesday.   Then I will keep him/them for their Post Surgery care, and they can go to their new home on Friday.  If she decides not to take any of them, or which ever one(s) are left over, then I have to make the appointment to take them to the Big SPCA in Houston.

Because they are getting too big to be all in one cage, and as I had the feeling that if two were chosen, it would be little Precious who would be left behind, I have been keeping her in a separate cage at night.  She is the one who weaned herself off the bottle first, as she wanted to be 'a big girl' now.  Also when they are loose playing my the grooming room, the other two stick closer together.


Here is their web page:

I will be sorry, and yet glad, to see them go, as they are too much for me.  It is not just the housing, feeding, loving, and cleaning boxes that is the job of a foster mom, the animals also have to be driven to the next town for Adoption Days, and meet prospective parents.   For me, that is the hardest part, getting them loaded, and unloaded.

In this heat, I am always so worried that I will get a flat tire or something, and be stuck on the side of the road for a while, so it was very stressful, and exhausting for me to take them yesterday.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Columbo Gone. Save Social Security. Empire Gone. Puppy Rescue. RV Weighing.

Some News, in case you missed it:

Peter Falk, Star of 'Columbo,' Dead at 83

Peter FalkPeter Falk, the Emmy-winning star of 'Columbo,' has died on the evening of June 23, he was 83.   Falk was best known to audiences as Lt. Columbo in the NBC/ABC police series. The last episode aired on ABC in 2003.
Besides the hit drama, Falk was nominated for two Academy Awards, for 1960's 'Murder, Inc.' and 1961's 'Pocketful of Miracles.' His last credited film role was the 2009 flick 'American Cowslip' opposite Cloris Leachman and Diane Ladd.
In 1956, Falk made his Broadway debut in 'Diary of a Scoundrel.' Following several films and TV work, Falk won a Tony in 1972 for his performance in 'The Prisoner of Second Avenue.' After 'Columbo,' Falk is probably best known as the grandfather and narrator of 1987's 'The Princess Bride.' "



We Must Act Now to Defend and Save Social Security

By Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.   Jun 17, 2011

"For the past 75 years, Social Security has been a financial safety net for America's seniors. The average Social Security benefit is only about $15,000 per year, but it is the main source of income for many of our senior citizens. The promise to current working age Americans is that working hard, paying taxes and contributing to Social Security will ensure the same retirement benefits in the years ahead. The reality, however, is that automatic cuts to Social Security benefits are looming unless Congress acts soon.

Social Security is going bankrupt. A new report by the Trustees of the Social Security Trust Fund says that if the program's finances aren't shored up, workers will see their benefits cut by about one-fourth when the Trust Fund runs dry in 2036. That includes workers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who expect to get Social Security benefits when they retire, and also Americans in their 50s and 60s who are counting on their benefits when they are in their 80s in 2036. In 2036, payroll contributions will fall 23 percent below current benefits, and there will be no money in the Trust Fund to help make up the shortfall. That will automatically trigger a 23 percent benefits cut.

Some in Congress want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that this looming crisis doesn't exist. But demographics are inescapable. The first of more than 75 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 this year. The largest age group in our history will also live longer, with average life expectancy climbing toward 80. These developments will exhaust Trust Fund reserves and outstrip projected payroll tax contributions by future workers - by as much as $6.5 trillion over the next 75 years.

For those who believe raising taxes is a good solution, the Trustees' new report calculates that payroll taxes would need to rise quickly to 14.55 percent in order to make up the coming shortfall. For American workers and families, however, these increased taxes would mean fewer jobs and even slower economic recovery. With unemployment continuing to hover around 9 percent, we need to create jobs, not destroy them with higher payroll taxes.

The Trustees have also proposed cutting core benefits now. According to the Trustees' report, there would need to be an immediate 13.8 percent cut in current benefits to prevent Social Security from running out of money in 2036. For me, this is off the table.

A Better Solution

There is a better solution, and it doesn't include crippling tax hikes or massive benefits cuts. If we start now, Social Security can be made safe and sound, without raising taxes or cutting benefits, by increasing the retirement age in small increments and adjusting future cost of living increases.
Under current law, the normal retirement age of 66 is gradually rising to 67 by 2022. The early retirement age remains at 62.

Here is a suggestion. Since we are living longer, it makes sense to increase retirement age thresholds a bit more - without impacting those who are about to retire. Under this proposal, anyone who is currently 58 or older would not be affected. For everyone else, the normal retirement age would increase by just 3 months each year, starting in 2016. It would reach 67 by 2019, 68 by 2023, and 69 by 2027.

Extending the retirement age would solve about one-third of the Social Security shortfall. Lowering the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by 1 percent would slowly but surely close the rest of the $6.5 trillion gap. Over the past 10 years, the average Social Security COLA has been 2.2 percent. Trimming it by one percent would allow us to avoid tax increases or core benefits cuts.

The new plan would also reduce federal deficits and avoid adding to our $14.3 trillion national debt. Business as usual would have us cover the $6.5 trillion Social Security benefits shortfall over the next 75 years with ruinously higher taxes, benefits cuts on middle class and poor senior citizens, or an avalanche of new federal borrowing. Today's working Americans - tomorrow's retirees - deserve better.

We must act now to implement sensible, gradual reform. The longer we delay, the steeper the climb - in age and COLA adjustments, taxes, or basic benefit cuts. This proposal can be modified to achieve a majority vote in the Congress and a Presidential signature. But that requires a discussion ... a start. Allowing current law to continue and failing to take action in advance of the guaranteed shortfall is irresponsible and reckless."





Empire, Nevada Completely Wiped Out By Recession

Empire Nevada Recession

Empire, Nevada no longer exists.

"Located about 100 miles North of Reno, the mining town has apparently been wiped off the the face of the map, according to the Daily Mail. It seems that when the town's sole remaining factory, the U.S. Gypsum Sheetrock plant, closed on January 31, the town's fate was sealed.

Empire was founded in 1923, according to MSN Real Estate. Now, even the town's ZIP code (89405) won't exist.

From the Daily Mail:  January 31 was the last workday for 95 of the 99 USG employees at the mine and plant. They turned gypsum into sheetrock, a trademarked name and the most common wallboard used in the construction industry. Four workers remain, but this will be whittled down to two by the end of the month.

According to MSN, U.S. Gypsum has owned the town since 1948, renting apartments for $125, and two-bedroom houses for $250. But when the recession forced the company to shut the plant, the town was unable to survive.

Empire was one of the last company towns left in America.

After the plant closed, families were allowed to stay in their homes free of charge for 5 months, in order to finish out the school year, according to the Daily Mail. With the loss of Empire, the nearby Gerlach-Empire school will be reduced to just 12 students, from 73.





How Much Is That Doggie In The Window….Suffering?

This is how puppy mill dogs and their puppies live

before they get to the pet shops, or sold online.

Big raid in NC, freed over 300 poor caged dogs and puppies this week.

"Many of the dogs were severely matted and suffering from a variety of medical issues.

Several deceased dogs were also found at the property.

The property owner was selling puppies over the internet to unsuspecting consumers."


“Many of these dogs were living in filthy cages so small that they could barely stand up and turn around. This is precisely why North Carolina desperately needs to pass legislation regulating these breeders,” said Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Large-scale breeders in our state currently face no regulations or routine inspections. These lax laws have made North Carolina a safe-haven for inhumane puppy mills like this one.”

This case began when animal control received an anonymous tip concerning the welfare of the dogs. This prompted an inspection, which reportedly uncovered unsanitary conditions and unhealthy dogs. When responders arrived on scene they found approximately 300 dogs, mostly Pomeranians and other small breeds, living crowded in small feces-encrusted enclosures.

The HSUS has safely removed all of the animals and transported them to a nearby emergency shelter. Animal control officers from Catawba, Union and Burke Counties and volunteers from Saving Grace Pet Adoptions, Charlotte Humane Society, North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare and CARA of Lee County are also assisting with intake of the dogs.  Once at the emergency shelter the dogs will be thoroughly examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical treatment. PetSmart Charities ® donated much-needed sheltering supplies for the rescued animals. This rescue was made possible in part by a generous grant from Maddie’s Fund.

The HSUS encourages people to adopt dogs from animal shelters or reputable breeders rather than purchasing a puppy from a pet store or online seller, where most of the dogs may come from puppy mills."      June 16, 2011

Slideshow: rescue in action»     Slideshow: emergency shelter»           From:



NATO Forces 'Trying To Kill' Gaddafi: U.S. Admiral Samuel J. Locklear

Muammar Gaddafi


"A top U.S. admiral has confirmed to a U.S. congressman that NATO forces are trying to kill Muammar Gaddafi, and that the need for ground troops in Libya after the embattled leader falls is anticipated."

More at:



Linda and Howard of weighing three truck and 5er combos

in 13 minutes at the Heartland Rally, in Goshen, Indiana - June 2011:






Jay and I spent the morning making shelves for the cargo trailer.  We found some 1"x 8" boards up in the storeroom attic that had came off furniture, i.e. headboards, water beds, and the like, and made the shelves out of those.  We cut and sanded wooden brackets to hold up the shelves, then screwed wooden fronts to the shelves, so things won't fall off.   

We had originally intended to make some upper cabinets in the trailer and mount the 12v. lights under them, but we ran out of that type of lumber, not available in that good grade around here, so these shelves will do just fine.  Ray still needs to paint them, so no photos yet.


The ground has dried up from our welcome rain, so we could hear the drone of lawn mowers all over the subdivision.  I think we have only had to mow once this year, it has been so dry.


Jay's mother's washing machine quit on them, so we knew we had to take it to Conroe to get it fixed, so we were going to take it when we took the kittens to meet their prospective new "Mom" at 5.00 PM. 

Then things changed, the kittens don't have to go till today, so we did our weekly shopping after we dropped off the washer.  Much better than having to see if someone would watch them at Petco while we shopped. 

Originally, I was trying to save gas, but that didn't work out either, as now we have to pick up the washer before 2.00 PM today, bring it back here, and then drive back to Conroe with the kittens for their 5.00 PM appointment.  It is way too hot to spend 3 hours hanging around in town, for the kittens or us.

While the washer is away being repaired, Jay needs to build something in back of their washer/dryer closet on their covered porch.  There is a space between the house and the porch were possums, armadillos and such were getting in there.  All the problems they have with that washer are contributed to Jay overloading it, when will he learn!


So it is going to be a busy day.