Incorporating the Simple Living Review, the Preparedness & Self-Reliance Review, as well as the Outdoor & Survival Review

Natural fertilizers

All of us that garden know the benefit of fertilizer in building up the soil. Without it, our gardens would be pathetic.

There are many types of fertilizers, organic and chemical. It has been proven over and over that organic types are by far the best. Manures, compost, seaweed, and others.

Some, such as seaweed can be expensive. Anything that has to be trucked for any distance is going to be very costly from now on. Probably unaffordable for most of us.

Now, animal manures are probably the best all around fertilizers. But they're not easy to get if you're not close to a source such as a farm or stable.

Besides, your neighbors may have something to say about the odour. You could lose some friends too.

Using chemicals, for most of us, is just not in the best interests of the garden, and ultimately us. Is there a way that we can safely put fertilizer on our gardens and ruin our bank account, or poison us? Yep! You bet!

On any bag of fertilizer you will three sets of numbers designating the percentage of the three most needed ingredients. They list the amount of nitrogen(N), potash(P), and phosphorus(K). If you can put those three on your garden you should have decent crop.

Chemical types most generally have only those three, nothing else. But what if you could put those on but have some trace elements too? Yet not be afraid of burning the soil, harming the earthworms, or wear protective clothing that makes you look like an alien?

Well, you can! Go to a farm store and buy a bag of dehydrated alfalfa, then go to a nursery (the farm store might have this also) and buy some bone meal. Then go to your wood-burning stove and clean out all the ashes. If you don't have a stove, go to one of your friends that does get haul his ashes away. If nothing else, burn some old tree branches to get ashes. Whatever! Get some wood ashes.

Now, the alfalfa will supply the N, the ashes will supply the P, the bone-meal will supply the K. Sprinkle this where you will plant, no need to put it over the whole garden, weeds love fertilizer too. Just sprinkle it on the part where the plants will be. Work it into soil good and sprinkle it lightly.

You may have to put more on than you think. It won't hurt to cover the ground good. You will not kill anything if you get a little too much on unlike chemical types. And it certainly won't kill your gardening partners, the earthworms.

Owen Newman

Useful herbs of the Rom – Part 1

Being an outdoor people and outside of the mainstream of society, the Rom learned to use what grew in nature. Science is constantly affirming the healing power of herbs.

This is only a partial list. Many of these herbs are also used by people in rural sections of the United States.

Adders tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum): A fern that was crushed,cooked in oil,and strained,after which the oil was used to treat wounds. As the name suggests it was used to treat snake bite.

Agrimony: Also known as cocklebur or sticklewort, was used to treat eye troubles and as a compress for wounds.

Wild Angelica: grows alongside brooks and streams and produced a yellow dye. Stalks were blanched and eaten with bread and butter. The stems were chewed to relieve flatulence.

Balm, also called lemon balm: An infusion of the leaves was used to treat nervous troubles and fevers. It is a mild sedative and is an effective cure for insomnia. Balm is also used for headaches, depression, menstrual cramps, and queasy stomachs

Basil: A small amount (1/2tsp)of finely chopped leaves were added to a cup of hot water to ease stomach trouble and vomiting.

Bay: Not the common laurel used in hedgerows. Placed in containers of flour or grains and vegetables prevents damage from weevils. (ed. note, we do this today because it works!) Used to flavor stews and soups.

Blackberries: A tea made from the leaves is a cure for upset stomach. Blackberry brandy is an effective cure for diarrhea and will help in cases of the flu.

Blackthorn's young shoots are boiled in water and used as a toothache remedy.

Borage: Used to bring down fevers and treat depression. Leaves boiled or added to drinks.

Burdock: Leaves,flowers,or seeds were made into an infusion to cure rheumatism. The root is used as a blood purifier and to treat arthritis pain.

Butterbur: Leaves are used as tonic and to ward off fevers.

O. W. Newman

The Rom were right after all

Dogs and cats do not belong in kitchen and bedroom

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

British veterinary scientists have told the general public in a report of April 2008 that they should not allow dogs and cats into kitchens, as dogs and cats carry food poison bacteria, and many other pathogens, including the MRSA virus, the often called “super bug”.

Now who would have thought that, after all, the Rom, who have had it as part of their cleanliness rules, their Mokadi Law, for ever and day that dogs and cats have no place inside the home and cited was always contamination, would be proven right. And yes, I am sarcastic here. We, the Rom, and our Elders and our Ancestors from ages past, have know well before the Gadje that dogs and cats carry diseases. While the Gadje had all their livestock and dogs and cats in their homes during the pestilences in the middle ages the Rom, in their wagon and tents never allowed dogs (and other livestock) inside and hence never seem to succumb to the plagues and pestilences. Hence the claim by the powers that be, in order to have a reason to act again the Gypsy that the Gypsy were in league with the devil (and our name for God sure did not help their one bit) and that the Gypsy were spreading the diseases while they themselves were not affected by them. The simple fact, however, is that the fleas, which carry the plague, for instance, did not have time to get too close to the Rom.

This is, yet again, more proof that rather than superstition and such the Law of Mokadi are well thought out and we would do well to adhere to them, still and especially in this day and age. The MRSA virus, as we keep hearing, for instance, because of so many people catching it in hospitals, is basically resistant to most antibiotics and could, therefore, be fatal. Best to go back to the Old Ways and definitely keep the furry pets outside, where they, after all, belong.

The Mokadi Law still is as valid, as said before, as it was in the old days though there are some aspects that are claimed to be part of this ancient Law by some that I am beginning to doubt that they ever were part of it, such as the ban on our People becoming medical practitioners of all kinds. We do need doctors, nurses, dentists, paramedics and others of Gypsy origin simply because only our own can treat those of the Rom with the respect demanded by our Culture and Traditions and as we do not want to teach those to medical staff we simply must have our own. Ideally, we need more than just our own doctors here and there and in hospitals but that is still some way off.

While there are some things that are claimed to be part of the Mokadi Law that may have been added to it at some stage for reasons unknown the points that make lots of sense, and that proven again and again must remain for sure.

It would seem that it might be a good idea for the Rom to look at the Mokadi Law with new eyes in the realization that medical science now realizes those things that our Ancient Ones knew ages ago.

While it may be, in today's age where we have the likes of chlorine bleach and other such chemicals for sterilizing, that the time may be passed to having to throw away and break a cup or a plate that has fallen onto the floor in the house or trailer (strangely enough often items fallen onto the earth were not regarded as defiled). But then again, I don't know. It is so ingrained with me that I still do such things and I do not think that that will change.

© M Smith (Veshengro), April 2008

Canned Sun – Sun Jar Product Review

So, what is a Sun Jar? Well, in a Jam Jars you can jam and in a Sun Jar, obviously, you can what else but sun. Canned sun for use at night. Like the rays of the sun that warm the earth and then, when the air cools down at night the earth slowly releases this heat stored. That is what, principally, the sun jar does with sun light. This could be one way of explaining it while trying to make people become even more curious.

Basically, the Sun Jar is a light that turns on when it gets dark. While this sounds simple enough is goes a lot further. The secret is that one, it is powered by solar energy stored in a rechargeable battery and because it has a light sensor built in it does not come on until it gets dark.

The idea is that the jar stores up sunshine in the form of solar photovoltaic energy and gives it you back in the evening. There’s a switch inside the lid which you press when you first open the jar and then it starts storing energy through the solar panel in the lid. As the sun sets it then emits a warm glow throughout the night. Well, for up to five hours on a full charge anyway. It’s a nice idea which works well. The orange light is very nice and soothing.

The Sun jar will turn off automatically if you turn on another light on and it is also waterproof so it could also be used in the garden, especially on summer evenings for a sit around the table outside, and such like.
While its various parts can indeed be recycled and it does not use mains electricity or drain lots of batteries, its environmental credentials, I still think, could be regarded as a little shaky. The unit came packaged in plastic and polystyrene as well.

Having mentioned above about the green credentials, we must also understand, I think, that it was never, actually, designed as, what could be called, a “green” gadget but was just a design concept to be something on the “funky” side, and, maybe the idea was to have it plonked on the windowsill for it to be a conversation piece.

However, it would not take much to improve its “green cred” by simply packaging it in (1) a plastic sleeve that is not actually made from oil (there are other options) and (2) by packaging it within the cardboard box cushioned in shredded newspaper (or even rice straw) or in the “egg carton” kind of packaging which can be composted, rather than having a Styrofoam bottom and hat. Maybe this could be considered and done.

I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised when the Sun Jar arrived to actually find that it is a REAL jar and not some sort of heavier gauge plastic/polycarbon that I had expected. It is a “copy” of a real canning jar as Mom would have used to can vegetables and whatever else in in days gone by. Those days are, more or less, gone by in this country, e.g. the UK, while in places such as the USA canning, in glass jar and tin can, is still very much practices, definitely outside the cities and bigger towns, but I digressed.

The Sun Jar is designed by Tobias Wong, and available from Suck UK.

Reviewed by Michael Smith (Veshengro) © April 2008

Eyes & ears best defense against home invasion

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Keeping an eye on unusual activity in your neighborhood can often be the best prevention against a home invasion or other crimes. This is often the best way to preempt and prevent such crimes and the best initial defense.

The problem is though that people tend to just behave like victims, in the main. They often walk around with this to them invisible sign around their necks that reads “I am a soft target”, “I am a victim”.

People have to be alert. The best eyes and ears for the law enforcement are the residents. They know better than anyone if something appears out of place.

Be aware of, say, any unfamiliar vehicle(s) in the neighborhood or a stranger or strangers who seems to be paying close attention to a particular home or homes.

Then, depending on the circumstances, follow the rule of “observe, record and report” or, where you are permitted by law and are happy to do so, act, as appropriate.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times, lock your doors, and not leave the keys in your cars in the driveway. If you see something suspicious, call your local police department, or, if this is not a feasibility, act in a manner permitted and with caution.

A home invasion can happen anywhere, at any time, but your own precautions can make this crime happening to you less likely. This is the same also for muggings. If you keep and eye on your surroundings, watching your “six o'clock” as the military guys call it, then all the likelihood is reduced. But bad things do happen to good people, so it's good to be prepared.

Things a homeowner can do to avoid such an incident include keeping bushes near the home trimmed to prevent hiding spaces for burglars, having outdoor lighting on motion sensors, and keeping an eye on your neighborhood. In addition to that I would suggest
defensive landscaping.

What is defensive landscaping?

Defensive landscaping are thorn hedges, spiky shrubs and such like, including plats such as “Spanish Bayonet”, that people just will not want to want through. In addition, have gravel pathways and gravel areas surrounding your home. The noise of someone walking across such areas should be enough to put a resident on his or her guard and also alert neighbors in case that no one is home next door.

If you have a security system installed turn it on. It does no good if it is not turned on. Even if you only go to the stores, turn on the alarm.

Always be aware of your surroundings and those of of your neighbors. Keeps your doors locked, even and especially when you are at home. Use a door chain and have it in place at all times. It is easier to take it off to let someone in rather than to have it put on as and when needed. Often you may forget to put it on and then it is too late. Fix a spyhole in the door and use it.

Do not answer the door if you do not know who is on the other side, and even if you can see the person through the spyhole. You don't know him or her and are not happy about the situation then you do not open the door. If you have have a bad feeling about someone outside your door or in the neighborhood, call the police right away. That's what they're there for.

Home invasion prevention tips
  • Keep your doors locked.
  • Install motion-sensor lighting.
  • Keep hedges trimmed near the home.
  • Install deadlocks and sturdy window locks, as well as a peep hole in your door.
  • Don't answer the door when home alone unless the person is known to you.
  • Have a neighbor collect the mail and watch your home when you're away.
  • Never leave notes on the door, even when home.
  • Be creative and careful about where you hide spare keys.
  • Install a security system -- and turn it on.
  • Start a Neighborhood Watch program.
  • Make sure garage doors are secure.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police.
In addition to the above, let me add that, if it is legal in your area to own a firearm and to use it for defense then I would suggest you get the best you can afford and you learn how to use it in the defense of your person, your family and your home.

© M Smith (Veshengro), April 2008