Saturday, May 26, 2018

Self-reliance and self awareness are directly related to mass production and interchangeable parts, I explain how.

Mass production is vital to the world's economy. Supplying products for the masses, it is usually attributed to a few people in modern times. Henry Ford and Eli Whitney being two of them. I question if interchangeable parts and co-operation for manufacturing them is a process developed in the past few hundreds of years. Is it actually a process that began a few thousands of years ago? Was the birth of the idea the spawn of self-reliance, self-awareness, and personal responsibility? How far back do we have to search to uncover the answers?
Agriculture was the first commodity to be mass produced.

The first examples of Mass Production took place when humans began cultivating the land for the production of agricultural crops. Fields of grains, pens full of livestock, along with the gathering of wild nuts, berries, and fruit. As populations increased so did the need for large quantities of food. Next to come along was Mass Production with interchangeable parts, that's the distinction I am making in this article. When did Mass Production utilizing parts that were able to be mixed and matched between assemblies put into practice? In this article, I answer that question.

The year was 1793, Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin. He was born and raised on a farm in Westboro, Massachusetts, December 8, 1765. He attended Yale University prior to continuing on to invent the Cotton Gin and pioneer "interchangeable parts". The Cotton Gin revolutionized the process of cleaning the cotton, it was able to clean 5 pounds of Cotton a day. It doesn't sound like much to us in modern times, but in the South, it was an incredibly important invention. One man (a slave) on a Cotton Plantation was able to clean one pound a day. A Cotton Gin was able to produce 24 hours a day which enabled Cotton to become an exportable profitable commodity. The Cotton Gin was copied by many farmers causing Mr. Whitney to spend countless days in court defending his invention. It was obvious to him he was fighting a losing battle at which time he decided to license gins at prices farmers were able to afford. I mention this because it was the inspiration for his next major project, interchangeable parts.

Mr. Whitney needed an income, after all, legal battles were expensive during that early period of the United States, as they are now. In the year 1798, the United States was facing the potential of a war with France, a formidable challenge for the young nation. The Fledgling Government turned to private contractors to supply weapons. Eli Whitney was up to the challenge promising to manufacture and deliver 10,000 rifles in a two year period. His bid was accepted. As with all mass produced products requiring identical parts special machinery had to be invented and built. Eli invented milling machines capable of slicing steel and other metals, with the use of reusable patterns producing one particular part. Exact duplicate parts were manufactured and when assembled they would fit any other firearm of the same design and manufacturer. It took 10 years to complete the initial order of 10,000 muskets. He did not meet the contract, but the Government awarded him another contract for 15,000 more which he was able to satisfy in two years. He was indeed an early innovator of interchangeable parts during the early years of the United States.

Henry Ford invented and Mass Produced with the use of interchangeable parts the first car made specifically for the masses. He was born July 30, 1863, and died April 7, 1947. Production began in October 1908, continuing until 1927, the model T was nicknamed the "Tin Lizzie". In 1918 one half of the cars in the U.S. were Model "T's". They were constructed on a "moving assembly line", reducing the production time it took to manufacture a car. Initially, the time spent building a car was 12 hours, his innovative moving line reduced that to 2-1/2 hours. The drastic reduction of labor enabled the automobiles price to drop from $850.00 in 1908 to $310.00 by the year 1926. Mr. Ford's goal was to build a horseless carriage, which he accomplished in 1892. During a meeting the same year he presented his plans for the automobile, Thomas Edison was in the audience. The inventor encouraged Henry to build a second better model, which he did, he never looked back.
The "Tin Lizzy".

A major motivator of the time was the elimination of horse-drawn vehicles in the Cities. In the year of 1908, there were 120,000 horses at work in the Nations largest City. The problem was not isolated to New York. In Milwaukee Wisconsin, 1907, the population was 350,000 humans, 12,500 horses. Producing 133 tons of horse manure each day, or 3/4 of a pound for each resident. Rochester New York supporting a population of 15,000 horses produced a pile 175 feet high, covering every inch of one acre per year. It is not difficult to imagine the number of flies. Manure and flies were not the only motivation to find a solution to the horses, they were mortal. Horses die, in New York City an average of 1,000 of the animals died on the streets every day. It was the Cities responsibility to gather them up and do something with them. The financial burden was becoming unbearable for the local governments to fund. Henry Ford was not the only manufacturer of horseless carriages, but he was indeed the major one, helping to solve a serious problem.  His famous quote "If it was left up to the masses they would have wanted faster horses."

Thomas Blanchard born June 24, 1788, in Sutton Mass. died April 16, 1864. He made great contributions to the development of machine tools. His first project was the invention of an apple parer, his second was the tack-making machine for his brothers' factory. He went on to invent a lathe used to turn the regular and irregular sections of gun barrels. In 1818 he was employed by Springfield Arsenal where he invented a lathe that followed a pattern producing identical parts. As Eli Whitney with his patents, Thomas fought for years with Congress for renewal. He invented a steam carriage in 1825, then later became interested in railroads, and shallow draft steamboats. The United States needed weapons for the military, it seems many inventions were spawned from saber rattling.

There are many more inventors that were working on Mass Production with interchangeable parts during this period of our country. I have chosen these three, two Thomas Blanchard and Eli Whitney were pioneers in bringing the idea of interchangeable parts to the factory floor. They both experienced success in making them, Henry Ford developed the modern process of how to use them to the fullest advantage. There were earlier inventors that shared the same ideas, motivations, and abilities. Let's get on with it and see if you agree with me, Mass Production with interchangeable parts started thousands of years ago.

Emperor Qin's Tomb, at the age of 13 (246 B.C.) Ying Zheng took the throne. In 221 B.C. he took the name Qin Shi Huang Di, First Emperor of Qin. In March 1974, farmers digging a well discovered a pit containing 8,000 life-size soldiers, horses, weapons, and wagons. 20 miles East of Xi'an the area was identified by archeologists as the final resting place of Emperor Qin. It is believed 700,000 workers toiled 30 years on the burial site. Constructed of Terra Cotta 6,000 soldiers were discovered in the first pit. A second pit was found containing cavalry, and infantry, a third was found containing chariots and high ranking officers. Each soldiers face was unique, but only eight molds were used to form the heads. After assembly individual features were added to the faces making each one different. Most of the hands are identical suggesting the use of one mold which was copied to make more molds. 40,000 bronze weapons were found, battle axes, crossbows, arrowheads and spears, all plated in chrome. All of the various body parts were manufactured with the use of molds, then delivered to the site for assembly. Unique features were added prior to firing in a kiln to make each figure individual entities. Only 1% of the tomb has been investigated, the remainder may never be. Historic documents detail the rivers inside the pyramid were filled with Mercury, soil samples have confirmed the heavy metal in the surrounding soil.
6,000 Terracotta warriors, mass produced.

This is an early example of Mass Production with interchangeable parts. It certainly is logical to think with the number of weapons discovered, all identical, some form of mass production with the intent to make assembly easy and rapid was employed. This being my first presentation of evidence of the production technique. (Follow this Link to How the Terracotta army was made, it's interesting.)

Qufu China inside tombs 3 and 12 bronze crossbow bolts were discovered dating back to the 5th century B.C. In Saobatang, China in tomb 138 full crossbows were discovered traced back to the 4th century B.C. It is believed crossbows first appeared in Europe during the same periods. Why did I choose this particular item as evidence of mass production with interchangeable parts you may be wondering. It was not uncommon during those years in Asia, Europe, and Central Asia for 1/2 of an Army to be crossbowmen. The actions used to control the firing of the bolts were discovered to be made of bronze. Each crossbow were exact duplicates of one another, causing me to speculate they were cast from molds. Historical documents detailing the production techniques of the weapons are scarce, the archeological evidence is the majority of the information. It is reasonable due to the number of actions, bows, and bolts needed to equip an army that mass production with interchangeable parts was part of the production process. The tips of the bolts surely were mass produced using molds and melted bronze, the shafts had to fit any sharp point, and the bolt must fit the crossbow. All of the parts had to work together to enable an army of 10's of thousands of soldiers to stand a chance versus an Army equally equipped. In an Army of 50,000, as many as 25,000 most likely were crossbowmen. If each soldier had just one arrow (bolt) 25,000 would be needed. There must have been hundreds of horse-drawn wagons loaded with the projectiles making one at a time manufacture impossible. 100,000 arrows would have allocated 4 to each Bowman, a recipe for failure. Such is my second piece of evidence, even though full of assumptions and speculation. I do think it is reasonable to attribute mass production with identical parts to have been employed during the production of crossbows, bots, and actions. (Follow this Link to read more about the history of the Crossbow.)

It is unknown which civilization first used the Recurve Bow, the earliest examples date back to 1,000 B.C. We do know they were widely used in Central Asia by the Persians (now Iranians), Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Greeks. The Romans and Carthaginians used them later. In this section, I'm not focusing on the recurve bow as much as I am on the arrows. I suspect the bows were constructed of similar parts, but certainly not identical. However, the arrows surely must have been. When 10's of thousands of men were carrying recurve bows in battle many arrows would be needed. The arrowheads must fit the shafts, which must work on the bows, consistency would be vital. A bowman must be able to pick an arrow out from thousands out of a supply wagon and be sure it will work. Each shaft had to be straight, the feathers straight, the notch made the correct size, and the arrowhead had to be sharp and balanced. This was the bronze age, molds and melted bronze were an important part of every major civilization of the time. Thousands of workers would still have been needed to produce them with the goal being to make thousands exactly the same. The recurve bows may have been mass produced. In order to bend wood, it must be softened in a steam chest, then placed in a jig and bent, that also points to mass production but not necessarily identical parts. Clearly, this is a case of being "the same, but different." As far as the strings are concerned, they also had to be mass produced but again identical parts would not be needed, again the same but different. The evidence lies in the arrows when a huge amount of anything is needed streamlining the process is in order.
Mongols were just one of many Kingdoms to use the recurve bow.

The ancient people were not dumb, the difference between them and us is technology. They had the intelligence to invent and develop new ideas to make their lives easier. I am convinced they employed mass production using interchangeable parts to accomplish a wide range of needed goods. It did add to their self-awareness, self-reliance, and personal responsibility. It is related to self-reliance by enabling people to protect themselves and family. Self-awareness by increasing their knowledge of the dangers of the world, and Personal accountability by binding the population together in a common cause, community defense, and food. The population of the world was increasing, creating an awareness of nationality, and defense of that nation, and their way of life. Throughout history, the march of progress kept a steady drumbeat. It created an environment conducive to innovation. Mass production began when items (mostly weapons) were needed to protect the masses. Mass production with interchangeable parts was a natural reaction to the increasing world's population. At first used to produce weapons to provide food, with a secondary use as protection. It became the partner of armies in their endless quest for defensive weapons. Now everything is mass produced. So much so fewer products are repairable.

In conclusion, Eli Whitney, Thomas Blanchard, and Henry Ford made mass production using interchangeable parts a reality in our modern world. The Ancient peoples were every bit as innovated and resourceful, making it not a question of who should receive credit for the end result. Instead, it should be looked at as another amazing way humanity devised ways to deal with serious situations. Demonstrating we build upon the knowledge of the people the came before us. That certainly aids us in our quest to be ever more self-reliant, self-aware, and personally responsible.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. Do you think I'm all wet with this? What do you think? let me know in the comments.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Potato columns"- which medium works best straw or leaves? Will any other vegetables grow in them?

"I was just sittin' here enjoyin' the company. Plants got a lot to say if you take the time to listen." Eeyore
I am under the impression they listen to us, hmm, I will try a new tactic.
Early this year I built three columns. One was filled with fallen leaves, in which I planted Cantaloupe seeds. The other was filled with straw, Potatoes were planted in it. The third was constructed as a leaf "reserve" for use in my worm farm and make up for my garden beds. I am relatively surprised at the result. It may be a surprise to you also.

"Potato columns"- which medium works best straw or leaves?

During the month of February 2018, I constructed two wire framed columns. One was filled with fallen leaves, the other with straw. I planted 22 seed Potatoe's in the straw, on a bed of compost. At the bottom of the leaf tower, I planted Cantaloupe seeds. The Potatoes at the bottom of the stack were placed on a "nest" of compost. The soil was supported by a 6-inch bed of straw. 5 seed potatoes were placed on top of the compost, a total of 5 levels were planted. Six Cantaloupe seeds were planted at the bottom of the leaf stack. I used a 1-inch twig plunging it 6 inches into the leaf tower. At the bottom of the 6-inch deep hole, I planted 3 seeds in 5 spots. 

My expectation was that both stacks would perform equally well. My reasoning was at the time there should not be a difference between the two because they are both organic. The end result is straw worked, leaves did not.

Potatoes were not the only vegetable I planted in the towers. In the straw tower, I planted 22 seed potatoes as stated above. On the top of this stack were planted beet seeds, with minimal compost. 12 potato plants have emerged through the sides of the "hog wire" screen column. I am confident more will send their leaves into the sunlight. The straw performed well along with the seed potatoes. It does not matter, from my observance, at which level in the pile the potatoes were planted, they sprouted at each.  There are no potatoes showing outside the screen tower on the west side. That side does not receive the same amount of sunshine as the North, East, and South sides receive. The plants on that side may not get enough sun to perform as rapidly as the other three sides. I am suspecting they may emerge later during the month of June. I plan to produce a video when the potatoes are finished, I may discover a cause at that time. I currently do not have a reason for the plants not to be showing on the shaded side.
A photo of my reserve leaf tower. It is composted in the center.
That's good old skunkpuppy in front of it. 

The Cantaloupe seeds did not sprout, I am confident they will not. The reason may be due to the speed at which the leaves compost.  I inadvertently discovered what may be the reason that leads to the failure. I have built a third wire tower to hold leaves with the intent to use them as "make up" for my raised beds as the older organic materials composted. During my efforts to remove some of the leaves from the "reserve" stack I dug 6 inches deep taking up the first clump. At the bottom of the armload of leaves was composted organic material. At the time I assembled the stacks, I did not think about the rate of the composition. I would like to say had I thought of it, I would have allowed for that to happen. In reality, I most likely would not have connected the dots. The Cantaloupe seeds were planted in the bottom of the leaf tower, it remained moist from the moment the leaves were set in place. It is my unproven theory the melon seeds decomposed along with the leaves. To further give confidence to my idea, nothing sprouted from the leaf tower. It leads me to believe all of the seeds, weed, flower, or vegetable, were all composted along with the leaves.

My experiment of planting beet seeds on the top of the final set on the Potato column was unsuccessful as well. I must say that my bar of success was low pertaining to this project. Mostly due to the fact I have had difficulty growing beets in the past. I have experienced mixed results when they were planted in the ground. I say mixed results because my expectations in the soil were at the time high. I suspected 90% of the seeds would produce a beetroot, the reality was 60% sprouted. The seeds were planted on the top of the stack in a nest of compost approximately 3 inches deep. As I do with all of my vegetable plants I watered them with worm tea I make at home. After the potatoes are finished, which should be at the end of July, I may discover the reason they did not grow. While I am writing this I must say I do not know why they didn't show.

I have not grown sweet potatoes in the past, my experience is nill. I planted a set of 5 at the top of the straw tower, they have yet to grow. They were planted at a later date than the five sets in the main section. I placed them there after I abandoned the beetroot experiment. They were planted in the same manner as the other Potatoes. Three varieties of spuds were planted, under them, sweet potatoes may take longer to grow. I will not disturb the Potato tower, however, if the sweets do eventually grow that will be fine. If they don't, well that means another learned garden lesson, they are the best lessons to learn.
This photo is the first set of Potatoes that were planted in the
Straw Tower. Notice the bed of compost.

This photo is my completed Straw Tower, it was just completed at this time.
To the right is a Peach Tree I started from a Peach Pit, March 2017.

The potato peels that sprouted were planted in the reserve column, they did not continue to grow. I raise earthworms for the use of their castings (manure) as fertilizer. I use it two ways, one in its natural state of manure, secondly, I brew "worm tea". (link to my video). Seeds will sprout in the worm farm, normally between the castings and the composted worm bedding. I generally pull the sprouts and lay them on the top of the bedding. The worms will eat the sprouts after the microbes perform their part of the deal. The potato peels sprouted in the same manner, I decided to plant them as another experiment. I am fortunate in that I rarely see an experiments end result as a failure or success. The point to me is it was attempted, and oh well that's the way it goes. I do believe they met the same fate as the Cantaloupe seeds, they were most likely composted along with the leaves. They may have survived in the straw tower, I will try that experiment again.
This is a photo of my large worm farm immediately after it was completed.
I have 4 others in the garage, all much smaller, this is 4'x4'x4'

The straw tower is more productive than the leaf tower, due to the rate of composition I surmise. Straw decomposes slowly as anyone knows who has worked with that medium. That is one reason worm farmers do not use it as bedding in their bins. We use leaves for the opposite reason, it decomposes rapidly aiding the wigglers in their environment which they eat their way through. Worm tea is full of microbes and good bacteria, plus a very natural organic nitrogen. The microbes in the worm tea attack organic material, and food items breaking it down to a palatable consistency for the red wigglers. In other words, the food is broken down in the process of rotting, the worms survive on rotten food. The tea also breaks down the leaves causing me to believe the worm tea in the leaf towers aided in preventing the Cantaloupe and potato peels from growing. (Follow this Link to a video I made explaining how to make Worm Tea)

The worm tea would interact with the straw in the same manner, but being a harder organic material the microbes take a longer time to break down the straw. The potatoes were planted in compost, the worm tea works well due to the microbes will feast on the organic material in it because it is softer. Literally avoiding the straw until the softer substance is broken down. Castings are loaded with nitrogen much like the commercially available products but with a major difference. Worm manure nitrogen is in a form that is ready to be immediately used by the plants, it will not burn plants. Commercial nitrogen is synthetic, making it harder for the plant to use, it will burn plants.

Straw appears to be the material to use, however, there is one more issue that draws my attention. When the potatoes are finished and the straw is separated from them can the straw be used again? I question if it can be because of the composition rates. The straw will be well on its way to being transformed into soil, will the microbes in the worm tea be able to break it down much easier? I plan on re-using it, when the potatoes are harvested in late July I will plant more. The combination of straw, compost, and worm tea work, I will find out if the combination of used straw, compost, and worm tea work equally as well. (Follow this Link to my video on how to construct a worm farm)

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog, please leave a comment about your experiences in the garden. I'm not sure if talking to my plant's will assist them in their growth. Mostly I'm out there talking to myself, perhaps they think I'm talking to them. I do agree with Eeyore, the plants do have a lot to say, we merely have to pay attention to them. Thanks again.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Myths, Folklore, and Superstition are all a part of predicting disasters, here's some that relate to Earthquakes.

  Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, I came across this word today. Where do they originate? It's a descriptive name of a disease that is imported to the world from Asia as an accidental by-product of the amphibian pet market. It describes a fungus that is killing frogs throughout the world. Descriptive words of which this one is, are based on scientific research. They normally describe a particular finding of the investigations. When there is no proven scientific study completed, humans will connect unrelated events to explain natural calamities. Predicting Earthquakes is one of those phenomena that we will invent Myths to explain the source of the cause. 

The article I wrote two days ago was centered around predicting Earthquakes. As I  write I'm constantly researching words and statistics. During that process, I regularly come across articles related to the subject I am on. Earthquake prediction searches turn up numerous interesting topics. I have chosen to write about one of them. Earthquake prediction Myths, some ancient predictions, some modern, and some common to both. Humans have always been on a quest to understand the environment we live in and we have always tried to make sense of seemingly unexplainable natural events. To satisfy that curiosity people have relied on Myths, folk remedies, and often superstition. I have discovered a few of them, in this article I will list some ancient, as well as some that are still believed today.
Somebody dreams these things up.

* Earthquake Weather; people have related the weather to earthquake activity ever since we developed the ability to relate two natural events to one another. It would be logical if the Prehistoric Humans connected the two, many people still do to this day. My wife is one of them. It was mentioned in my last article. Asking her to come outdoors one early morning I asked her if she thought the day was a bit odd. The morning was hazy, yellowish hue, weirdly warm, and a slight wind. Without hesitation, she replied "we're going to have an earthquake." very matter of factly. She and I have had that conversation before, weather and earthquakes share no known relationship.

Earthquakes always happen early in the morning; actually, the news here is that the tremblers have no sense of time. The huge Mexico City earthquake of last year occurred on the afternoon of September 19, 2017, 1:14 central time. Loma Prieta took place at 5:02 p.m. (1989). We have a tendency to remember events that support our theory's.

California will one day shear off and fall into the ocean; No, it won't, the Pacific Plate is moving in a Northwesterly direction as related to the North American Plate. It's moving horizontally, which means Los Angelos is moving North towards San Francisco. We won't sink but one day we may end up with a huge City on San Francisco Bay. With San Francisco on the shores of the Columbia River. No, California will not drop into the Pacific, it will merely move North, but not the entire state just the part West of the San Andreas fault.

Small Quakes will reduce the pressure keeping bigger ones from happening; uh, no. It would take a billion magnitude 3's to equal one magnitude 9. The small shaker may release some pressure in a very small area, but it will not prevent a bigger one.

Prior to an Earthquake deep sea creatures are washed up on the beaches; Three days ago a hairy six-meter (just under 20 foot) long animal washed onto the beach in the small town of San Antonio, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. Most residents were alarmed by the news as it's believed to be an omen. Something bad is going to happen is a common sentiment. "An earthquake is headed for Oriental Mindoro, please pray for us." Is another belief. The hairy beast is most likely a sea cow or a whale in the final stages of decomposition. It is not a precursor of an impending disaster of any kind.

  There is a grain of truth in Myths, history has been passed from generation to generation in the form of stories. It is hard to tell if the story preceded the natural event, or if a Myth was adapted to include the occurrence. Natural disasters must have been unbearably frightening for the people in pre-historic times.

* In the North Western United States; It was believed a struggle between the Thunderbird, and a Whale caused Tsunamis and Earthquakes. The disasters most likely took place and a Myth was created to explain the Natual events.

* The Greeks believed Poseidon was the god of the sea, his nickname was Earthshaker. When he became angry his trident would cause a trembler as he slammed it into the ground.
Poseidon with his Trident, causing an Earthquake

Japan is known for many things, two of those are Earthquakes and Tsunamis. A giant catfish was believed to be the cause, it lived under the Island Nation. The people would catch a catfish after an Earthquake then beat it with sticks as a punishment for causing the related disasters.

In Europe during medieval times a common belief was that "Atlas Shrugged". Causing the earth to shake when he shifted the weight of the world resting on his shoulders.

*   The great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 was not only a major shaker on the ground, but it shook the religious, and philosophical establishments of the time as well. The reasoning was a gentle and benevolent God would not have allowed the deaths (60,000) and massive human suffering. It was determined the cause must be something inside of the Earth. It is thought that realization was the beginning of scientific study into the cause of the tremblers.

A common belief during ancient times and carried on to modern days is the moon is capable of causing Earthquakes. It is possible the tide can nudge the tectonic plates a tiny bit but is it possible for a full moon cause an Earthquake? The answer is simply no, however everytime an Earthquake occurs on the phase of the moon the Myth is resurrected and begins another life. It's a Myth that has been around as long as people have had the ability to relate natural events to one another.
No, the Moon is not a predictor either, sorry.

  We seek patterns to explain the world around us, often we believe animals have special abilities to predict, that is not accurate as well. We have a tendency to believe an increase in shakers is a precursor to a larger one that is soon to happen, no they are not related. The prediction of Earthquakes is impossible right up to today, but it sure doesn't stop us from trying. It's fairly easy now to predict where one will happen, however, the trick is predicting when.

  Thank you for reading and sharing this article, please leave a comment with a myth you have heard pertaining to the prediction of an Earthquake. Especially if the prediction was accurate, which I am sure somewhere, at some time someone did predict one, place, and time.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Earthquake prediction fantasy or reality?

  A few minute warning prior to an Earthquake has the potential to save many lives and a substantial amount of infrastructure. Prediction of Earthquakes is elusive to Science, even though a special Department and an ample budget exist. To predict them has a been a goal since the first human existed that has ever experienced one, the subject of this article is just that Earthquake Prediction.

This is a photograph of a common Earthquake Warning,
the format is used for Tornado and Hurricane alerts as well.

  We received an earthquake warning earlier tonight, it came across the television screen at around 7:30 pm. The time of the occurrence was 7:18 pm, the warning was very timely, I have a minor concern about how it was presented. it was claimed to be a "warning", I am pretty sure they meant something else. One statement could be "an Earthquake has occurred" perhaps, prediction is not an accurate science yet. It was a 3.6 magnitude, the epicenter was just East of Oakland California, near Piedmont. I thought I felt it but I am not sure, the wind is blowing hard causing the house to shake and shudder. My wife and I live in one of those communities where the houses are built on pylons due to flooding possibilities, which could be caused by an earthquake. Earthquakes are common on the West Coast, in the past 24 hours California has experienced 18. During the past 7 days we had 216, the past 30 days 704 occurred, and the past year 8,029. The world has experienced 163 during the past 24 hours. All of the Earthquakes are reported from the lowest point detectable in magnitude which is a 3. The Richter Scale calculates the shakers size from the amplitude of the most powerful seismic wave measured on a seismograph. The Richter Scale was developed during the 1970's, taking the place of the Richter magnitude scale developed during the 1930's. Each step of the scale represents a 32 times increase of the lower number, for example, a 4 magnitude is 32 times more powerful than a 3 magnitude. (Follow this Link to the Earthquake Saftey web site.)
  All of the statistics that have been kept on the strength of Earthquakes are recorded after the event. The reason for that is obvious, Earthquakes cannot be predicted, the science is not there yet. The Science of seismology is concerned with all things earth-shaking, the Earthquake Prediction entity exists under that large umbrella. The Earthquake Prediction division is concerned with time, location, and magnitude of future Earthquakes, within set parameters for the next one to occur. That is a large bucket to fill.
  Earthquakes cannot be predicted, not one event has ever been successfully predicted. Science does not expect to know how to predict one in the future. I have heard many people make statements of how their pet acts differently, or the wild ones are engaging in strange activities. That may be so, just because I have never seen an example of such behavior it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I was having coffee on the porch overlooking the slough on Saturday morning, I noticed something odd in the Atmosphere. It was slightly hazy, a cooler than the normal breeze, and a heavy feeling in the air. It was 7 am we had just rolled out of bed my wife and me, we got up expecting to see our little granddaughter for the next two days. I called her (my wife) outside and asked her if she thought it was a strange morning. Her reply "oh yeh, it is, we're probably going to have an Earthquake." Now we've had this conversation before, my position is she is unable to predict Earthquakes, that's when she comes up with her other theory. If she sees a dead cat on the side of the road, that is a sure sign of an earthquake. Unfortunately, she has never predicted one, however, I must admit this one came pretty close, but we've had 216 during the past week making it hard to miss at least one of them. A prediction is pretty much worthless with the remainder of the information missing. What, Where, and When the How will come later.
I'm not sure why the students have their hands over their heads
but this is a standard Earthquake Evacuation drill taking place at
a school. 
  Neither does the past predict activity in the future or if one occurred 50 miles distant it is no predictor of one happening near you. Even proclaiming we are "overdue" really rings hollow as does any of the other statements that seem as if they were written to evoke an emotional response, Lord knows our Government does enough of that.
  Most Government agencies warn us to "be prepared" for one, and we should, they commonly use the phrase "it's not a question of if one will occur, it's a matter of when." That is true, What, Where, and When will be addressed after the inevitable does occur. We are in a perpetual state of readiness, for the most part, our collective self-awareness is keen, however, it remains a mere 33% of us are actually prepared for one. Remaining 66% is divided equally between those who care but not enough to be prepared and those who are indifferent to the reality. I have written before that every Earthquake with the exception of one, I have experienced has been met with a reaction of surprise by the people in my vicinity at the time. Most commonly someone will say "was that an Earthquake?" It's a bit like the widely ignored Tsunami warnings, except anything Earthquake is paid attention to. ( Follow this Link to FEMA's make a plan template page.)
  I am in the camp of people with the belief that at some point science will be able to predict them accurately enough to save many lives. That is the goal to be able to predict the Where, When, and What with ample time for people to head out the door. As with Tsunamis, an inaccurate prediction has the ability to set the research back. Public buy-in is there, we are all ready for accurate prediction to occur. Science realizes the responsibility they have, if a warning is not accurate, it will do the science no good. From my perspective I am not overly worried about earthquakes occurring around us, I will take them in stride, I have our kit and plan by the door. As usual, I am concerned about the human aspect, this being in places around the country that have unknown faults. Either unknown faults or forgotten faults such as the New Madrid Fault in Missouri are my biggest concern. On the West Coast, we have been conditioned to Earthquakes, I'm not saying we have any special anything to deal with them, we expect one to happen is what I mean. My concern is if people in seismically idle places don't know how one feels will they know what actions to take if it does strike? I remember one I was in, I was at work in a huge shop when it occurred. The shaking was very pronounced, lights shaking, breakers shutting the equipment down, and the power went out. Immediately everyone ran out of the building, we knew it was a large one, looking back it may have been basic survival reactions. If that was the case we don't have to worry about our fellow countrymen and women knowing what to do, they will run out of the building.
  We received an Earthquake warning, after the fact, I see the humor in it, I'm sure the news station did as well. Earthquakes can't be predicted, Science won't try without a proven method, and we will continue to be divided 33%-33%-33% until a trustworthy system is developed.
This is a photograph of a typical commercially prepared Earthquake Kit.
  Thanks for reading and sharing, if the ground starts shaking when you are outdoors, you'll be fine. If it starts shaking while you are indoors, you will have a few seconds before it stops to determine your course of action.
  Leave a comment with your experience or stories about earthquakes, I'd like to hear them, thanks.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Disaster alerts are heeded one is not, it's a huge problem

Pele is erupting on the Island of Hawaii, people are in distress with many being left homeless, emergency services are essential. A threat of the Volcano having an immense explosion is expected as well within the next week or so. The lifesaver was the heeding of warnings the event was likely to occur, which it did and continues to for the foreseeable future. There is, however, one natural event that hardly anyone pays any attention to when warnings are issued, it leaves me bewildered.  

  This has been a big news week, as is usual as far as I'm concerned the biggest attention-getting is the issues that cause the most suffering for humanity. Natural disasters are not only the most spectacular visions of unbelievable destruction, once in a while we experience one that appears to have no end in sight. Such is the case of Pele erupting on the Big Island of Hawaii, that lava cannot be stopped, slowed, or the direction or duration estimated. I don't understand a lot about the makeup of a volcano, all I know is what I have read about or what is covered on the news stations. The human suffering is staggering, homes lives, and entire environments will be changed for hundreds of years. Being several thousands of miles distant my compassion for them runs deep in my soul, but that and two bucks will by a cup of coffee at Starbucks, I personally feel helpless.

  A huge lifesaver in that event is the people heeded the warning that the volcano was acting up and going to erupt. From the appearance of it, all the people heeded the warning and immediately began to do whatever they could to manage the situation from their point of view. Some people did try to build berms to deflect the red-hot flowing lava, others waited to see if their places of residence would be consumed by the beast, and others immediately left. The main thing is the majority of people paid attention to the alerts and followed evacuation procedures. This event is one of those that I will once again embrace the words that I am very cautious to use, "Catastrophe", "Disaster", "Evacuation Emergency", and "Preparation for a disaster". Most of them are overused words, there are others but these are the main ones I steer clear of, some events earn all of these descriptions, this volcanic eruption is one of them. The people paid attention to the warnings, which convinced me many lives were saved, that is the important thing, structures facing lava are doomed. (Link to a New York Times report on the Volcano)
  As a child, I lived in Tornado country, at its northernmost point, Minnesota, during spring and fall tornado warnings were normal. There are many parts of the country that suffered more and bigger Tornadoes, I can only relate to the ones I was involved in. When a Tornado warning was sounded we would tune into our televisions, or just as likely in those days our radios. We would be told which Counties and Cities were in the most danger, if our area was mentioned we went outside. Looking into the sky for that tail dipping out of the clouds toward the ground, the rain would start, it would pour rain, the wind would blow, then stop to an eerie calm the sky would take on a green tint. We waited for the sirens, or as we were all gazing into the clouds for a tail that would touch the ground. We would head for the basement when the threat was becoming more obvious, and wait the storm out. There are safe places where people could evacuate to, especially if a person lived in a Trailer Park, as we called them, or if the schools were in session they also had safe spaces. We heeded the warnings and took them very seriously, I don't recall anyone referring to themselves as a "Storm Chaser", we most likely would have thought they had a loose screw. The reality is the people paid attention to the warning and advice of emergency personnel, as well as broadcast news media.
  I haven't experienced the full frontal force of a Hurricane, I have been in three, on the outskirts of two. Those two were while I was in the U.S. Navy while our ship was in Subic Bay, Philippines. An alert was sent through town for those of us on Liberty to get the heck back to the ship, of which we did. I must qualify this, missing movement of a ship a sailor is attached to is a major offense, we had to report back immediately. Some sailors did not make it back, most of us did, we obeyed the order, reported on board, and the ship made way. It is not always safest to head into a Hurricane, our intent was to outrun the monster, most Hurricanes (Typhoon in Asia) are a slow-moving lumbering beast. Our ship was not much faster, the Captain made the call to outrun it or go into it, we never headed into one while I was on board. We heeded the call to return to the ship, we took it very seriously, of course, we obeyed orders but more than that is was our surest avenue of surviving the storm. The people of Florida are the same, they are actually to be respected for their response to Hurricanes, it seems they have a lot of them. Very few flat out ignore the warnings, they have it dialed in. They, for the most part, do not evacuate unless the storm is above a Catagory 3, one reason is the building codes for new homes require them to withstand a Cat 3 Hurricane. The other reason is experience, it can't be argued with, but still, they pay attention to the warnings, they do not shrug them off.

  Blizzard warnings are taken seriously by the people of the North, grocery stores are packed with people laying in supplies. They like the people in Florida have it dialed in for blizzards, it also comes from experience, enough of them occur that if a warning is ignored it may possibly be a matter of life and death. A lot of people I'd like to say most have a trunk containing blankets, jackets, shovels, and many items to help them in case they are on the road and become stranded. When a blizzard warning is televised it is taken seriously, most people will stay off the roads, however, some do get caught and stranded. None the less, attention is paid to the warnings and everyone knows of the potential danger of the storm.
  Wildfire alerts are also listened to very carefully, wind speed, direction, the speed of the fire, and which areas are in peril are all closely monitored by people in the vicinity. If the responders knock on the door and tell us to leave immediately, very few people ignore the call, they get the heck out of Dodge. There is no way to predict the direction, duration, or the speed of the firestorm on an individual basis, without exception the firefighting entities have it down to a science. People upon the initial alert begin to secure their property, take care of livestock, and plan for evacuation, many have responsibilities beyond merely grabbing and going, some choose to remain to protect their animals. In the case of Wildfires, everyone takes the warning extremely serious, and pay close attention to reports of what progress and destruction are taking place.
  Dam burst as the one upstream of where I live (about 100 miles away), the situation at the Oroville Dam during the winter of 2017. The spillway was compromised by an enormous amount of rainfall causing the level of the reservoir to rise above the top of the highest dam in the United States. Coursing down the spillway which was compromised the water tore it apart, gouging out the underlying layers of soil until it was solid bedrock. The call to evacuate the Cities in the path of the dam burst were issued and the people paid attention to the warning. I as you may recall seeing on the news an endless stream of cars heading down the mountains toward the safety of the faraway valleys. It was said the water behind the dam would submerge the City of Oroville beneath ten feet of water, the people did not have to be told twice, they headed out for higher ground. There again the warnings were not ignored, people took them seriously.
  Even the storms we have in California are taken seriously, most people from other places realize a storm here is not the same as a storm in Texas or Oklahoma. Still, the warning is taken seriously, like with blizzards the grocery stores will fill up with people getting ready to be possibly stuck at home for a while. Here the intensity of a storm is usually not as great as the longevity of it, we have some heavy rainfall, however, the biggest threat is when a steady rain is experienced for an extended time. A full month of rain is not unheard of, the amount of rain is minimal per day, however unending rain is the culprit. Massive flooding, mudslides, and bridge collapses are commonplace during such an event. Due to creeks, rivers, and water bypasses being used that may not have seen action for as long as 10 years or more. The Anderson Dam in San Jose and the mud flats landslide in Big Sur are two very good examples. Still, people take the warnings very seriously. (Link to an up to date report on the Mud Creek Slide at Big Sur)
  In contrast and something, I have never understood is Tsunami's, People on the West Coast ignore Tsunami warnings. I lived and worked in the California Desert for just over 3 years, it was blazing hot during the summers, 120 degrees was fairly commonplace. I was on a crew that worked outside, we have strict company rules to limit our exposure, so that was a minimal problem. For relief from the heat, we would on a couple of weekends each month head to the beaches of Southern California and 70-degree weather. Normally there would be 5-6 families, for them, it was a surfing trip, for some of us it was a let's pretend we're going surfing trip, (that would be me). During one such trip, the lifeguards drove down the beach, ("Cardiff by the Sea"), sounding the alarm of an impending tsunami which was offhandedly rejected by everyone on the beach, everyone. The beach at Cardiff is at the base of a cliff about 75 feet high if someone knows the exact height please leave it in the comments.
This is the Stairway from the beach to the Camp Grounds at
Cardiff by the Sea, north of San Diego
In the event a Tsunami was to take place escape would be impossible left to the last minute, it was a steep climb out on the state built stairways. The Tsunami did not occur, the consensus was that it never would because they never do, it's an automatic response. The Tsunami warning is issued and immediately scoffed at by the people on the beach, I don't know about the locals. So what is going on with that? Complacency to the point of not caring about issues of life and death? (I was one of those that did not leave the beach, I ignored the warning). All along the West Coast, it's the same story, Tsunami warning, and immediate dismissal, surely someone must take them seriously.
  There exist on the Big Island of Hawaii on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the cliff is huge stretching many miles along the beach and far inland. That cliff is threating to dislodge itself and plunge into the ocean. I watched a National Geographic documentary where the scientist stated if that cliff separates from the Island, it will cause a giant Tsunami, heading directly towards Los Angeles. That Tsunami could be as high as 100 feet slamming directly into that densely populated City and all of it's sub-burbs placing millions of lives at risk. When will it fall? That is unknown, but the intensity is not, I fear the Mayor of L.A. has his work cut out for himself if evacuation is ordered. I question how many people will ignore it, the event may take place and it may not, so far it has defied prediction. Millions upon Millions of people heading North on I-5 and 101 may be as bad as the Tsunami, the thought is staggering.
  In the South Pacific lies Easter Island, it also has a huge cliff threatening to dislodge causing a huge Tsunami which will head straight for the West Coast of South America. In the chance that event occurs, how likely is it the Tsunami warning will be taken seriously there as well? I don't know the answer to that either, again the wave could be as high as 100 feet, placing millions of people on the West Coast of South America in danger as well.
  I recall a quote Danial Boone is credited with when asked if he had ever found himself to be lost in the wilderness, his answer "Not lost, but I have been bewildered on occasion", that describes my thoughts on Tsunami alerts. The potential of destruction and loss of life is incredibly high, and we, myself included, ignore the warnings. Even warnings of "The Big One" in California are taken seriously, but not Tsunamis, what is the deal with that? Some Tsunamis have been experienced in recent times, they were predicted. Causing damage mostly to Marinas in coves and bays with an inlet to the ocean, Santa Cruz experienced one such event a few years ago, destroying docks, infrastructure, and some damage to boats.
  What could be the reasons for our complacency? Offhand it is easy to suspect it may be a case of the "Little Boy who cried Wolf", predicting them when nothing took place, in other words, blame the people trying to save our lives. Perhaps it's due to us not experiencing a large Tsunami in recent times, or paying no attention to the geological history of the entire West Coast from Alaska to the tip of South America. I wonder if it may be due to the fact most people do not live on the Coast, a Tsunami would not affect the vast majority of United States citizens, causing interest level to be low as well as an attitude of "it won't affect me so I don't worry about it". As a comparison, we on the West Coast don't weigh Tornadoes or Hurricanes as highly as those areas susceptible to them, but the number of affected people has been higher because those events actually took place, so much so they are commonplace. (Follow this Link to the Tsunami Center of the U.S.)
  I am not a Geologist, I know almost nothing about rocks other than they are hard, in Hawaii, they are under the threat of boulders weighing one ton being shot into the air 25 miles, a warning will be issued to watch for falling debris, and ash. That warning is taken seriously as well, who wants to be crowned with a rock weighing in at 1 ton falling at 250 miles per hour from 25 miles high? It could be hundreds if not thousands of chunks blown out or the crater into the sky, how high could a 10-pound rock be shot, 50 miles high? I cannot figure out a way to avoid being struck if the material is shot out of the red-hot caldron, even if a person saw it coming by the time the words "I wonder what that is", can be uttered it's too late to get out of the way.
25 miles high. 
  What in the world is happening with Tsunami warnings, I can't figure it out, its as if we make a conscious effort to ignore them, is it insanity? You tell me what your thoughts are in the comments because clearly I'm bewildered.
  Thank you for reading and sharing, this is a serious subject one of which deserves a bit of thought by all of us to evaluate our own ideas of what a Tsunami warning conjures up in the mind of a collective body of people. Normally at least one person will take advantage of the advice, or warnings of a person in one of our protective services, but not when it comes to Tsunamis, how strange is that? Thanks again for reading, tell me what you think.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Prepper, what in the world, is it painful?

  I struggle with the word "Prepper", I don't know what it really means, or how to narrowly define it, or if it's even possible. It's a broad brush and is not clearly defined, in this article I am asking you for help, you tell me what it means. 

  I may be stepping on thin ice with this article, I certainly hope not as I am not a confrontational person. I won't reveal what website I was on that inspired me to answer the monitor's honest question in a post. To paraphrase the gist of the question was that he is trying to attract more members, he has several thousand which I believe is pretty good, he is wondering why more people are not joining. The site is on "Prepping", and that word is the main part of the title of his opinion site. He left links to his "wiki" which is a definition of what the site is about and what sort of articles he will accept. He does an excellent job monitoring his site, I for one appreciate it. He included a number of pages describing the site and what the requirements are, to enable anyone wanting to comment on them the opportunity to do so. It takes a lot of courage to post a question like that, it basically says I need to change it and I don't know how. It just so happens I have been thinking about this exact question for a long time, it was one of those 3 am thoughts we all have. I answered in his comment section, I have included it in this article and I would like as much feedback as possible, it may seem like a small thing to a lot of people but it is big in the Natural Disaster Survival niches. I attempted to strike a positive helpful post, I have a problem with the word "Prepper", I suspect you will as well after you have read what I have to say.

                       I have eliminated the word Prepper from my writings, yes my youtube channels, blog post, and my entire online appearance is based on being prepared, of which the word prepper is derived but as usual, I have another way of thinking about it. I have defined my online identities the same on all platforms and that is based on three tenets: 1) Self-reliance 2) Self-awareness and 3) Personal responsibility, all of my articles, are based on these as well. I am an advocate of preparing to the point of being set up to help people in need, I want to be a responder versus a "victim", "refugee" or "survivor", it's most likely my ego driving that. I'm not going anywhere if there is an event unfolding, and I'm not turning anyone away. I am prepared for one week, 7 days, and that is what I present to my clients, customers, and family. I attempt to relate to an audience a lot of people do not understand why I do but it makes sense to me. My goal is to inspire Ladies in the age span of 25 to 55, single mothers and older ladies who really do need to be set up for a 7 day period. I am not a fear monger, after all, there is nothing to be afraid of, especially if a person has a plan and supplies to enable them to react to an event, in a planned, organized manner. That's where my issue with the word prepper originates, it covers too much ground, everything from having an auto breakdown kit in the car to having a fully supplied bunker somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It's very confusing to people, as it is to me, and it is up to us as webmasters, monitors, and YouTubers to define our site's position of where we stand and what you can expect when you tune in. Two types of people that have defined themselves perfectly, in my opinion, are "Homesteaders", and "Bushcrafters", they know what they are about, now it's up to us within the "Survival" niches to define ours. I am asking for as many comments as I can gather together to answer what the word prepper means to you, it doesn't matter if you are not one and have no desire of ever being one, I welcome your opinion, I am concerned we scare people away, when in fact in my case I'm here to help. Below is my comment to the monitor, he did thank me for my input, I would like to continue working on it with him if he is open to it.               

                      Following is my comment on the monitor's post:

  I write a blog every other day, it's subject matter is self-reliance, self-awareness, and personal responsibility. I also have a website dealing with the same subjects. I have a lot of opinions on your question but I will address one in this post. If I use the word "Prepper" in an article, no one reads it, why? It's my opinion the definition is so floppy it means different things to everyone. Some people (and what I am an advocate of) is to attempt to encourage people to be prepared for the first week after a natural disaster. Others advocate leaving their homes with an arsenal and "holing up" at some distant place in the wilderness.

  I have read the first part of the wiki and it is exasperating this opinion, one of the reasons I stopped using many words one of which is "Prepper", Questions come to my mind such as *are you a militant? Or a family trying to protect themselves? What about the insanity of leaving your house, your chances of becoming a refugee are compounded when that action is taken. Where are you going? Do we realize how big of an event must occur to justify hiding out somewhere? When I see refugees on TV I wonder why they didn't stay and fight for their homes versus running off? A lot of people see preppers as abandoning their friends, families, and communities, then expecting to return when someone else fixes the mess. To compound that most events are localized in a relatively small area, how many people for example "bugged" out during the Detroit Riots in the 1960's, or the civil unrest in the Midwest during the "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations? How many people showed up to support the Bundy's standoff in Oregon, how many understood what it was about? (Socialism) Think about Ruby Ridge, and Waco, how many showed up to help in those cases? None, no one showed up, the commitment appears to be hollow.

  My question is "where does your preppers site dwell?" It's confusing, appearing to attempt to cover a lot of area with one broad stroke, It appears to me you are trying to please everyone, you won't. When reading over the submissions one is able to see the confusion, some ask "where do I start?" others "where should I bug out to?" "What weapons are best to have when bugging out?" Some answers are long and drawn out, some accurate some not, many are open-ended with no answer possible.

  When in fact we are attempting to sell a lifestyle that frankly doesn't make sense to a lot of people because they don't know what the word "Prepper" means, I don't either that's why I abandoned the word. Do you find yourself explaining to people what you are not most of the time versus what you are? I do, once I tell them I advocate having enough stores to make it the first week after an event they understand, but up to that point, the general thought is I am a right-wing militant which could not be further from the truth in my case.

  The person writing the new wiki description would have to compile some sort of consensus of opinion as to what level of "Prepping" this site will address and become an advocate of that. Not to condemn the others but concentrate on the fundamentals of which level this site is addressing. It will be a long journey for the person trying to define this site if it needs to be changed at all, and that's where it should begin, does it need to be changed? If it does it can be done in a number of ways, or continue on the same path not changing anything. Perhaps a consensus of members and non-members as well should be taken to more understand how people generally understand what the word "Prepper" means. (Follow this link to one definition of the word)

  Your question is one I have been thinking about for about two years, and I cannot answer it other than with what I have stated. I don't feel as if I could have written a better description than the person that has written the existing one. It doesn't take much research to discover which other words and phrases we use are complete turnoffs to the same people we are attempting to encourage to become prepared for events. When I look through G+ I see sites with 10,000 plus members, when I look at the sites labeling preparedness in their title I mostly see less than 100 members. If we look around it is common on every platform I have looked at, few people read "Prepper" blogs. (I stopped using the word blog as well, people don't read blogs either.)

  This is my opinion, I may be right, wrong, or indifferent but I have thought about it a lot. I believe starting by defining the word "Prepper" as it relates to your site is the place to begin, I would drop the word Prepper, but that has it's problems as well, is there another word? Is this site advocating being prepared for one week, or eternity? That is the question to answer in order to make more sense of the word "Prepper" and what your site stands for.

  I would like to know if this is a fair comment, thanks for reading it.

  So there it is, I am experiencing the same situation with my youtube channels, the name of it is "emergencykitsplus", it is not descriptive at all and it needs to be fixed. This is a good niche, however, it has gone off the tracks a bit and I believe it's due to trying to pack all aspects of preparing for natural and man-made events into one box and painting it with a broad brush. We need to define the word and stop using it as a "catch-all", but like I asked, "is there a better, more descriptive word to use?"

  Thanks for reading and hopefully sharing this article, a comment on your definition of the word "Prepper" is highly appreciated, what does it conjure up in your mind? Is it negative, positive, or something that just couldn't matter less to you? Thanks again I appreciate you reading and commenting.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Allergies, Hay-fever, coughing hacking and itching, it is allergy season again so soon, I have them, can a dog suffer also?

  Allergy season has started, I as many others spend a great deal of time with watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and good grief itching, the list goes on. I began wondering if Dogs have allergies or are they immune? In this article, I answer this question.

  Little old Skunkpuppy started sneezing this morning, it seems most of the dogs that I have raised and lived with will take on some of my conditions. Like a lot of people, I'd like to say most, but I don't know, suffer from allergies this time of year. She and I sat outside sneezing, it was kind of comical actually, but I suspect a more serious situation is affecting her. I suspect a foxtail may have taken up residence just inside her nose, I looked but I did not see anything clearly, she will go to the Vet if it continues. Everything is drying out, what isn't is blooming, it's a double-edged sword, dryness creates dust, blooming creates pollen. Our chances of escaping the allergy season with no symptoms is a rarity for most families. I started to wonder if maybe my little buddy has allergies, are dogs event susceptible to them? It didn't take much research to find the answer to that question. Yes, dogs can be affected by allergens which are common in the air this time of year. It is different when a dog has allergies when we compare the symptoms to those we humans suffer from. A dog with allergies (Link) generally has an extreme reaction to the pollen, dust, and other allergens in our environment. Some of these symptoms may look familiar, others may be a surprise:

1)  Scratching has increased, a quick check for fleas is prudent.

2)  Just like humans their eyes will water and itch.

3)  The base of their tail itches, they are constantly biting that area, a check for fleas is in order as well. A bald spot around the base of the tail will sometimes become evident, fleas, scratching, or both may be the cause.

4)  Ear infections and itchy ears, lopped ear dogs such as Labrador retrievers suffer from ear infections due to their love of water.

5)  Sneezing, their sneezes are for the record books, unlike us they don't care where everything flies off to.

6)  Vomiting, enough said.

7)  Diarrhea, sign allergies do affect dogs differently and more severely.

8)  A sore throat evident by snoring, skunk-puppy snores, barks, howls, and growls in her sleep. (She is a mean little dog)

9)  Swollen Paws which causes them to chew on their pads.

10)  Constant licking, dogs do a lot of this anyway.

  It is possible for dogs to have secondary yeast infections on the skin, or bacterial infections causing loss of hair, crust on the skin, and scabs, all not necessarily occurring at the same time. I remember when I was young a few houses down from my Grandma's house lived a family with a black lab. The dog was losing it's fur, constantly licked, chewed, and scratched itself. I was no older than six years old, she died when I was seven, I asked the man why the dog did that all the time, even though it was in the late 1950's he knew the dog had allergies. the poor dog suffered, I don't think there was a cure for it during those years, we humans had a handkerchief.
  Boston Terriers, Retrievers, flat-faced breeds (like Pugs) Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Setters, and Terriers are most susceptible. I read over that list and my thought is what other breeds are there? Shepards, Poodles, and Mixed breeds (mutts) have avoided the risks.
  What allergens can affect dogs, are they the same as those that affect humans? Let's take a look:

*  Tree, grass and weed pollen,

*   Mold

*  Dust mites in a house, and dust as well

*  Dander, this is a surprise to me, I thought dander came from them.

*  Feathers, it deserves a question mark with the word, "really"?

*  Cigarette smoke, it's not good for any living creature. (can they get asthma?)

*  Additives and ingredients that make up their food, there is so many foods dogs should not eat, the two that surprise me are fish, and Turkey.

*  Prescription Drugs, that's logical.

*  Flea control products, and fleas, just a few flea bites is capable of causing very intense itching for a few weeks.

*  Perfumes, and Cleaning products

*  Fabrics may be an allergen

*  Flea shampoo, it is an insecticide

*  Rubber and plastic substances.

  When I take a look at it there are not very many surprises, but I'm relating that to those which affect humans. It doesn't surprise me that there are food allergies, or Prescription drugs, Flea shampoo is a surprise. Their immunity may change over the course of their lives, making discovering which allergen is responsible more difficult. Food allergies may start at any age from puppy to the late adulthood.
  If allergies are suspected what should I do? Take her to the vet, she will perform a physical exam to determine the cause of the reaction, she may take skin or blood tests. An elimination diet may be in line to determine if the cause is food related. There is just one way to diagnose a canine for a food allergy, that is to place the animal on a prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet for three months. When placed on that diet treats, table scraps, or flavored medication are not allowed to be fed to the animal. A Hydrolyzed Protein diet is free of allergy-causing ingredients, it is made up hopefully of ingredients the pet has never eaten prior to beginning the diet. At the end of the 12 weeks the symptoms should go away, if they do not the vet may keep the dog on the diet for an extended period until they do go away. When the dog is allergy free the old diet will resume slowly, introducing foods one at a time monitoring which causes symptoms. Some dogs cannot return to their past diet, instead, home cooked meals will be prescribed. Skunkpuppy was on a Cottage Cheese, Green Bean, and Rice diet after she was run over by a car. Ironically I was as well around the same time due to an intestinal infection, the coincidence was unbelievable to me.

What is the treatment for a dog suffering from allergies?

Remove the allergens from the environment or the dog from the compromised area.

Continue or start a flea control regime for your dog prior to the start of the flea season. (I am writing this in May, the beginning is now). Fleas live in dry grass and weeds directing us to keep lawns mowed and weeds cut down in empty spaces and lots. I have an empty space next door trimmed on my nickel due to fleas affect Skunkpuppy terribly. We must realize also outdoor pets do bring fleas indoors, which may cling to causing the little lap dog to suffer as well. Ask your Veterinarian for recommendations on how to begin a flea program and which flea control product she would recommend for your dog.

If your dog like mine sleeps on a big cedar filled pillow clean and vacuum it three times a week, while we are at it the rugs, window coverings, and furniture that can gather dust should be attended to also.

Ask your Vet for input for the best prescription shampoo, weekly baths will help relieve itching by removing allergens and pollens from the animals fur and skin. In the event the wrong product is used the dogs' skin may dry out, exasperating the condition.

Follow the diet religiously if the pet is diagnosed with a food allergy, your Vet will recommend the exact foods to include in home-cooked meals if need be. 
  There are medications available to control allergies, your Vet may prescribe one or more to combat the discomfort your pet is experiencing.

Allergy injections may be included in the plan, they help to develop a resistance to the allergen causing the discomfort, versus merely hiding the itching.

*  Like us, humans, Antihistamines such as Benadryl may be prescribed, most dogs will not benefit from them, your Vet will advise you if she believes it will be effective with your pet.

Sprays containing Aloe, Oatmeal, or other natural ingredients may be used to relieve itchy skin. Some shampoos containing these substances are also effective, the shampoo will also assist in preventing skin infections.

Monthly flea treatment applied directly to the dogs' skin is effective as well.

Cortisone is used to control the allergy, care needs to be taken when they are used because they are powerful drugs and should be administered only under the watchful guidance of your Veterinarian.

Cigarette smoke is capable of causing Bronchitis, a persistent cough because the airway is inflamed and a lot of mucus is generated. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may be employed. The best course of action is to not expose them to the smoke, they are in many ways more fragile than humans. Many of my relatives have passed due to smoking cigarettes, I do not want to witness a dog suffering a prolonged death due to a humans habit. (Link to cigarette smoke and pets, it's an interesting article.)

  Wow, there's a lot of information here, hopefully, your pet does not suffer this time of year from them, I don't think little old Skunkpuppy does, her reaction is most likely due to the number of fleas, dust, foxtails, as well as plant pollen she encounters during her daily runabouts. She does suffer from seizures, the cause of which has not been discovered, and most likely never will be known. Her treatment is Phenobarbital twice a day, she still has them but I have found if she and I take a Siesta from noon until 4 pm each day it helps reduce them. I mention this because once an allergy or other condition is discovered we pay a very important part of the treatment. Dogs will not show symptoms and they work to hide them, it is instinct, you know why, the strong rule and weak and sick animals in the wild generally meet an unfortunate end. It is very important for us to observe them with a suspicious eye because of them masking pain and injury.

  The season is upon us, our pets rely on us to recognize their masked symptoms. Thanks for reading and sharing this article, I hope it has raised your awareness a notch, I think I will check Skunkpuppy for fleas tonight, oh and I will take a look at her pads as well, also what's with the sneezing?  Thank you again, please leave a comment.
  I have good news, and bad news, I will comment on the good and ignore the bad, that's my M.O., We have 20 grandkids, one more will be here tomorrow. My daughter is beginning to foster a newborn baby, he is a little boy born to a drug-addicted mother, I will not hyphenate my relationship to him, I will call him my "grandson", it may be temporary, it may not be. I hope the mother turns out OK until then the little boy will thrive with my daughter, I wish I lived closer.