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Friday, December 2, 2016

Further Along: Back From My Hiatus

Well here I am again. I've decided that it is time to return to writing on my blog again after an extended absence that came as a result of the Islamic terrorist attack at the gay nightclub in Orlando Florida and subsequent news that there was a hit list of names that ISIS had released. A published map showed that targets were listed in both Charlottesville, VA and Staunton, VA. I happen to live between those places and chose to become less public for a time while things settled down.

I wish I could say they have, but the recent political unrest after the election of Donald Trump and then the Islamic terrorist attack at Ohio State University last week indicates otherwise. Nevertheless, I am finding things that I want to write about and share with all of you.

To catch up.....How I Spent my Summer.......

This year I have spent a lot of time taking stock of what it would take to survive some sort of catastrophe either weather related or man made. I decided to buy long term storage food to last 60 days and I planted my first garden in about 20 years. It was done in raised beds, so I found it easy to care for once the beds were constructed. I'm very glad that I won't have to build more frames this year and then prepare the beds inside the frames. That was really hard work. We had a decent harvest despite a super wet spring followed by a lot of drought. I will need to improve my ability to water the garden this coming year and work out a few other problems, but we were able to can and freeze enough vegetables to get through the winter into next growing season. I'm going to keep the garden the same size next year and focus on improving upon what I have put into place. It was a lot of hard work but in my opinion, well worth the effort.

We made other preparations for difficult times. I bought some camping stove burners and canned fuel so that we could have hot food and a coffee pot to use with it. I put 8 bags of charcoal away for such occasions as well. Hard times call for the little things that boost morale.

Safe heat to keep us warm is still an issue, but I bought chemical warmers that will have to do until we can do something better that will be safe in the house. Long term plans will include a generator and perhaps solar panels for electricity, but in the meantime we have 8 LED lanterns that will provide us enough light. For entertainment we will have books and the radio as well as a battery operated CD player.

We also found that a vacuum sealer by the Foodsaver company will allow us to keep frozen meats and vegetables in top quality for around a year and I would recommend this product highly to anyone for long term frozen food storage.

Some of you may know that I love to play golf and it is a spiritual meditation and discipline for me as well as a source of exercise. I had a bad fall in March and was unable to play until the end of June due to back problems. I was able to enjoy playing most of the rest of the summer until the week before Thanksgiving only missing a week here and there when my back wasn't feeling too good or the weather didn't cooperate.

Work was difficult over the last six months due to the financial hardships my employer (a community hospital) faced due to the negative impact of OBAMACARE. We were threatened with the possibility of our mental health outpatient clinic being closed throughout the summer but were granted a reprieve for the coming year at least and will remain open. Faced with the prospect of having to go back into private practice, I learned that the rate hikes in the health care exchange here in Virginia was going to raise the premium by $400.00 a month which would have made health insurance unaffordable for someone in a solo private practice. It would have cost me $900.00 a month. I would not have made enough money to live on with a premium like that, so I am very thankful that our practice at the hospital was spared for another year. All over I see clinical services being cut back and rationed due to OBAMACARE and I am hopeful that most of its provisions are scrapped with the exception of keeping the ban on exclusion  of preexisting conditions. It is my hope that competition between health insurance companies will no longer be restricted within states and they will open up competition between health insurers nationally. By just that action alone having a nationwide pool of insured people will reduce the cost of premiums for individuals and make insurance more affordable for small businesses to provide that benefit to their employees.

I hope that you, my readers have had a great summer and I look forward to writing more frequently over the coming months.

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