Government Reform Plan

I have been following the government reform plan for some time now and I'm actually impressed with some of the ideas coming from Mick Mulvaney in recent weeks. For those of you that maybe don't know, Mr. Mulvaney was hired by President Trump to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB. In that position, he was given the Reagan-esque task of proposing solutions to make the existing federal bureaucracy smaller and more efficient. Which I think are excellent ideas on both fronts.

For over a year, the OMB and Director Mulvaney conducted extensive reviews of all of the disparate federal departments and agencies. Now they are beginning to propose possible solutions to streamline and make government more efficient. If the changes are enacted, it will lead to the betterment of the United States as a whole. So far, I am encouraged.

Currently, the OMB has proposed the merging of the Department of Education and the Department of Labor into a new federal agency called the Department of Education and Workforce. The reasoning behind this proposal was also just a simplistic... both agencies are geared toward getting individuals ready for the workforce. Keeping them separate just creates redundancy and confusion as neither department really knows what the other is doing.

Recently though, Mr. Mulvaney gave an update to the President and his cabinet which was televised on Fox Business. He provided several analogies which shock the system not so much because of their content but rather with their simplicity in explanation.

For example, a salmon swimming in the ocean is handled by the Department of Commerce. Once the salmon enters a fresh water stream to head towards its spawning grounds, it is regulated by the Department of the Interior. If the salmon encounters a ladder used to aid its journey around an obstacle, it falls under the Army Corps of Engineers. That is crazy!

Mr. Mulvaney had other examples of government inefficiencies as well... there's the hotdog, the chicken, egg, or omelet conundrum, and the cheese pizza. He also discussed the movement of certain functions to different agencies for the same simple reason, efficiency. 

Here's the video from YouTube:

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney breaks down the White House government reform plan.

Convention of the States Gaining Momentum

Article V of the Constitution allows the citizenry and states to call for a Convention of States (COS) in the event that any of the three branches of government becomes an issue for We the People. I liked the concept of Article V, and the genius behind it so much, that, as many dystopian authors have, I even used the concept in my book series (until the editors got their hands on the text anyway).

Unfortunately, my appreciation for Article V generally remained in the realm of fantasy and fiction because I've always been leery of a COS because I felt that the scope of the convention would be difficult to control. My biggest fear is that a convention begins with some sort altruistic goal only to end with me being a criminal because they decided to horse trade my 1A, 2A, or 4A rights in exchange for some other concession.

It seems, though, that someone is giving a COS a real go AND they have clearly outlined what the scope of the COS would be.

According to the Convention of States website, the current COS push aims to "...discuss amendments that, “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials.

I encourage you to visit the Convention of the States website and review what they have to say. If you like what you see you can sign their petition, find information about contacting your congressional representatives, and download a 'pocket guide' for reference and FAQ responses.

I've downloaded their pocket guide and placed it on my Research Downloads page as well.

Where to Start...

Well, where do I start...

Since I last posted anything, I've:

  • Not made any progress on the Life, Liberty, and Levin 'transcript' I promised
  • Made some progress on the Foreign and Domestic series
  • Weeded, tilled, and planted the family garden plot at grandma's
  • Started some container plants here at our house as a bit of an experiment
  • Thrown my back out
  • Visited the ER with a 'cardiac related event'
  • Officially started being tracked by the government

So let's get started.

Life, Liberty & Levin Transcript

In a nut shell, I've been either too tired or too sore to make any progress on this front. I really want to make progress as the interviewee is discussing a rather relevant topic in EMP's and the US electrical grid.

Foreign & Domestic Series

The characters continue to face an uphill climb as they attempt to overthrow the corrupt government of President Alejandro Calderon. I did an interview some years ago with James Burnette over at the Survival Punk Podcast and he asked if I could write him into the story and kill him horrifically. Well, I took the requested character A LOT further than I anticipated. So much so in fact that the character is one of the antagonists in the final two installments of the series. But, he’s almost dead and Calderon’s days are slowly coming to a most glorious and climactic end.

Family Garden Plot

Winter, or more specifically the winter wind, did a number on all of the perennial herbs. Fortunately though, looks can be deceiving. With a little trim, most of the herbs returned. I chomped at the bit for a few weeks there in early April, but I managed to refrain from jumping the gun and getting my plants killed by frost this year. I suck at asparagus though. I don't think they get enough sun in that bed. I think I have to start over and move them to a bed that gets more direct sunlight. I mean, I'd prefer to trim the trees instead, but the in-laws seem attached to the damn things (the tree limbs) so I can't. Everything is in the ground now and by all accounts seem to be doing well. I did lose 2 of 18 corn stalks to some sort of nibbling pest like a squirrel or chipmunk, but everything else survived intact.

Container Plants

This is an interesting development. I provided the wife with a variety of heirloom seeds for her biology classes this year. She has since been bringing home mature plants to transplant into our garden at home. However, my garden was supplanted by construction last year. As a result, some of the plants have gone to the family plot over at grandma's and the ones we retained are in containers here at the house. The last time I did container gardening it didn't go well. I've learned from my mistakes and I think we should be successful this go-round.

It did make me think about various reasons for container gardening though. Here's my mental list:

  • Can easily be moved when inclement weather approaches - meaning frost, hail, torrential rains
  • Space limitations
  • No weeding
  • Easy transport in emergencies (wink wink)
  • Light weight (relative)
  • Easy rotation when height or width becomes and issue and small plants need to be placed in front of or next to larger ones

Threw my Back Out

Yea, so that was fun. Here's the story... My neighbor had a bunch of pots. Some were plastic, some were 'self watering' (yeah right), and there were a handful of terra cotta one. They weren't using them anymore and he had them all lined up along his garage and they were pretty much an eyesore to me... so I bought them. Plus, I knew that my wife was coming home with all of these plants from her biology classes.

Once I had them on my side of the fence, I spent several hours the following day cleaning all of these things. Apparently the lifting, and scrubbing, and being all hunched over for several hours on end wasn't good for my back. As a result, my back decided to seize up and tell me who's boss. Pretty much didn't and couldn't move for about two days... Went to work on Monday and it hurt too much to even sit at my desk and even type so I called it a day and went home at 11:00. 

Why was I so vigorously scrubbing a bunch of pots... well, probably because I'd not been taking as good a care of myself as I had fooled myself into believing so I got to visit the ER a few weeks prior to this... read on Macbeth.

Visited the ER

On Saturday, May 5th, we had a guy at the house giving us an estimate for a sump pump install. I literally fell asleep talking to the guy at our kitchen table.

Mid sentence... no, really.

After he left I took a four hour nap. It was 11:00 am and I'd been awake less that 3-4 hours and managed to sleep for another 4 hours...

Weird. Totally an aberration... never happened before, I thought.

On Sunday, May 6th, I'm getting dressed for church when I feel light headed, dizzy, nauseous, and my chest really freaking hurts. I'm 44 years old and I have chest pains? You've got to be freaking kidding me.

I'm scurred.

So I finish getting dressed and tell the wife I need to go to the ER... she doesn't believe me and continues to nonchalantly fold laundry. Somewhere in the middle of me telling her how much I fucking hate laundry and that it is literally going to be the death of me, I tell her I'll drive myself.

She finally gets the memo.

Six hours later I am home and the doctors have upended my world. They have told me that I experienced a 'cardiac related event' due to an acute undiagnosed sleep apnea condition most likely the result of carrying 250 pounds on a 5' 11" frame.

After a few weeks of tests, it is discovered that I have no heart related issues. I have severe weight related issues.

So, I'm now on a diet, forcing myself to increased levels of activity, and monitoring everything that goes into my body. Good times. Which is why, I am now being...

Tracked by the Government

Yeah, my youngest daughter, whom I scared the crap out of with my little trip to ER, has 'forced' me to be here FitBit buddy! I now have a little wrist band that tracks my movements, levels of activity, sleep cycles, heart rate, and whole host of other crap.

I look at it and think, Great, now the 'man' knows where I am at all times...

My daughter sees me eyeing it and shaking my head in disapproval and says, "Tell that 'Ron Swanson' voice in your hear to shut up. You're walking me down the aisle, mister."

 

Been Watching Life, Liberty & Levin

I like to end my Sundays with a new show on Fox called Life, Liberty & Levin. I found the show some weeks ago after I saw a commercial and decided to DVR it. Mr. Mark Levin has an interesting interview style that I seem to enjoy. This week's episode (April 22, 2018) had Mark interview Dr. Peter Pry. I knew the name immediately due to my near-constant reading and research on EMP and CME style events. Needless the say, this interview is a must watch for all Americans. Why? Because there are some serious deficiencies in our national defense and the fragility of the electrical grid represents a rather large gaping hole. Just sayin'.

Anyway, for those of you that don't know the name Dr. Pry, here's a little background information from a bio I found associated with the Mackenzie Institute (I'm quoting him so I don't screw it up): "[Dr. Pry is the] Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards, and served on the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of the books "Blackout Wars", "Apocalypse Unknown", and "Electric Armageddon"."

In a nut shell, Dr. Pry knows his shit and he's associated with people that know even more shit than the shit he knows. Got it? Good.

I have been spending my evenings (15-30 min a night) since that show aired, taking notes so I can place a multi-part series of posts here for everyone. Sometimes it's difficult to do because Mark Levin will ask a rather short and straight forward question and Dr. Pry will provide an answer that contains so much useful knowledge and detail it becomes difficult to capture it all... but I'm trying. So look for those.

In the meantime, I did find this link that will allow you to watch a little of the interview via Fox News: Life, Liberty & Levin

 

World's Largest Standing Army

I was scrolling through my various Facebook feeds some time ago and came across a post from a friend where they shared a link to a bloggers research as it pertained to standing armies. It was dated information insofar as it was using 2014 hunting license information. Essentially, the blogger stated that the State of Wisconsin fielded over 600k hunters and thereby became the world’s 8th largest standing army in the world during hunting season that year. The writer then drew the comparison that just the hunters in that specific state represented a larger standing army than Iran. They also stipulated that it was also a larger standing army than France and Germany combined.

I’m sorry… what!?!

Needless to say, I was astounded and intrigued by the bloggers precept so, of course, I had to do a little research on this topic and try and relate it to something pertinent in today’s news cycles… Basically, to begin my research I started simply and just googled the term/phrase ‘national hunting license information’. To my surprise, it yielded some decent results. I chose a link titled National Hunting License Report FY2017 and was presented with a pdf file compiled by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

First, let me say, all I saw on my friends Facebook post was a graphic and some text (think meme) so I’m not entirely sure why the blogger chose Wisconsin. My guess would be that he/she lived there. Regardless, all things considered, Wisconsin is not even the largest ‘standing hunter army’ in the US. That honor, unsurprisingly, belongs to Texas. Here’s the top 10 (by license) in the United States:

  1. 1,148,765 – Texas
  2. 984,637 – Pennsylvania
  3. 719,850 – Michigan
  4. 717,256 – Tennessee
  5. 700,843 – Wisconsin
  6. 620,740 – Georgia
  7. 573,712 – North Carolina
  8. 572,992 – New York
  9. 564,694 – Minnesota
  10. 548,829 – Alaska

Unfortunately, the data was in PDF format and therefore unsortable (see image below). I would have been interested to see per capita data for each state as the result would have moved more rural states closer to the top of the list. C’est la vie.

2017 Hunting Licenses.png

Out of curiosity, how many states would it take to make the largest standing army in the world? Well, here’s what Wikipedia has for data on other countries (active military):

2017 Standing Armies.png

Ok, the United States is a respectable 3rd in terms of active military. Given the populations of China and India respectively, that’s a heck of a trick. I find the reserve and paramilitary numbers to be dubious, but I’m a researcher at heart so let’s carry this out to its conclusion given the data we have.

If you parse the data for reserve forces, the United States is 11th. For Paramilitary (defined as forces that are armed but not part of the nation’s formal military??), we are 62nd. If you take all three sets together (active, reserve, paramilitary), we stand as the 7th largest army in the world. The largest, interestingly enough, is an ally in South Korea with 8,134,500.

So 8.1M is the number to beat… how many states, and which states, could turn the tide of a South Korean invasion… (logistics of crossing the Pacific notwithstanding). Well, our top 10 most heavily armed states (noted previously), brings us quickly to 7,152,318. This is roughly a million short of the S. Korean forces. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that our data is strictly limited to hunting licenses. Meaning, it doesn’t account for people that actually own a firearm but don’t hunt (we’ll get to that in a minute). OK, so we are at 7.1M with our top-ten states. If you add in the 2,227,200 actual military oriented forces we have at our disposal, we clear 9.3M. We win.

Now, as for the topic of total firearms. It is estimated that there are over 350 million guns in the United States. If you add up all of the hunting license issued in all 50 states for FY2017, you have 15,486,123. That’s roughly 22 guns per registered hunter.

Just looking over these numbers and several things are brought into sharp focus.

  • ~350,000,000 firearms in the US
  • 15,486,123 registered hunters in the US (FY2017)
  • 22.6 firearms per registered hunter
  • 42% of all US households possess a firearm
  • 2,227,200 total military forces
  • 21,800,000 military veterans

What type of situation would have to occur for these numbers to be activated? What would it take for people to pick up a weapon and defend themselves, their property, their nation?

Honestly, any nation that would willingly bring a standing army to bear against 20M, 30M, or 50M armed citizens protecting their own country would be a costly, foolish, and bloody endeavor. Second, just the logistics of trying to bring millions of foreign forces to our shores is so remote as to be comical. So that leaves domestic actors or a foreign actor with a long-range entry into the equation (EMP, nuclear).

To me, our biggest threat is/are domestic actor(s).

Don’t believe me?

They are all over the news right now trying to convince you that it’s better to revoke the Second Amendment and disarm everyone than to address mental health, poor parenting, and the avoidance of personal responsibility. These are the same folks that think socialism ‘is cool’, Che Guevara is hip, tide pods are tasty, and condoms are meant to be snorted. I wish I was joking about any of that.

Is it possible for mature adults on both sides of the gun control argument, or any topic/argument for that matter, to sit down and discuss the issues? Sure. Do I see it happening anytime soon? Nope. Not as long as the sky screaming, breath holding, foot stomping, foul mouthed, immature temper tantrum rhetoric continues.

Using Vehicles as Tools

While work on my non-fiction piece titled Preparing to Prepare continues, so does my research. As I continue to read and learn about various topics, I constantly seem to come back to vehicles. Things like; which vehicle would be best for ‘X’ situation or scenario? Do I emphasize fuel capacity and gas mileage or do I focus on off road ability or do I put more emphasis on its ability to tow and haul? Or is it a combination and a compromise of all of the above?

It’s this quandary that has led me to the conclusion that vehicles, for all intents and purpose, are tools. I mean, we all understand that you could slap a blade on the front of it and move dirt or snow and you can install a hitch and tow a decent load cross country. So, by this standard, we all already acknowledge that a vehicle is a tool. What I am referring to has more to do with the efficiency of the tool.

So, that got me to thinking… Are you using your vehicle to its maximum potential and effect?
In the opening few pages of Preparing, I pressed the reader to think about their own personal space and locality when it came to planning for a minor, moderate, or major disturbance. I asked them several questions and provided a few examples to get their mindset calibrated correctly. For example, I posited that the reader needed to think locally about their everyday needs as it pertained to following:

  • Do you know what natural disasters are prevalent in your area?
  • Do you know if there are any workplace emergency plans in place?
  • What are the school emergency plans for your kids?
  • What are your community’s evacuation routes?
  • Where are your important documents and information located?
  • What is your current family emergency plan including: communications, meeting location and contact cards?
  • What is the present condition of all of your emergency kits: home, car, evacuation?
  • When was the last time your family sat down and discussed preparedness and emergency response?

If you kept your focus on vehicles as you read that list, you will have noticed that a vehicle plays a major role in the bulk of those questions.

What’s interesting to me about efficiently using a vehicle as a tool, rather than simply using it as a conveyance to get from point A to point B, is that most vehicles are basically rolling storage units. Sure, you need to get to church, work, do chores on the farm or homestead, or take the kids to school, run errands, and what have you. However, most trunks of truck beds are littered with an assortment of crap and trash.

What if you cleaned out everything and started with a clean slate, er car?

Rollin’ Storage

Just about everything you might need in an emergency situation will fit into a small or medium sized tote… provided you know what stick in there. For my book, because it’s geared more toward people that have never thought of this concept before, I suggested that their car should always have the following (depending on the season):

Get Home Bag Example.png

All things considered, I think that’s a fair list to get someone started. Plus, the manner in which the section was written in the book it was quite apparent that the list was a suggestion and customization was recommended. Now obviously, as their needs, situation, and skill set changes, they should definitely consider adding more items.

As an example of increasing one’s skill set (knowledge base), I found an article written by a former U.S. Air Force SERE instructor named JJ Johnson and published in 2011 on Creek Stewart’s Willow Haven website. In a nut shell, the author took the concept to a wholly different level that my book isn’t really geared toward. It’s a fair assertion that JJ’s list is more for the advanced mindset. The article was titled Vehicle Every Day Carry Items (VEDC).

For convenience, since I noted and gave credit to the author and publisher, here’s their list… it’s quite extensive:

Vehicle Every Day Carry Items 1.png
Vehicle Every Day Carry Items 2.png

When I reviewed what Mr. Johnson wrote, I couldn’t really come up with a valid reason to NOT have this stuff in the car. I mean, I grew up in the country so I understand the value of each and every one of the items noted. For me though, it boils down to several additional factors as to why I’d discount about a third of these items.

First and foremost, I drive almost exclusively in an urban setting except when I am leaving town for a vacation (family/hunting/fishing/camping). Therefore, the items in my tote would change based on the type of driving I was about to embark on. Secondly, I drive a four-door sedan, not a truck with a crew cab and built storage spaces… which is why I mentioned the incorporation of a small to medium sized tote earlier. I do have my eyes on a smallish 4x4 diesel for my next vehicle though. Lastly, there is the issue of cost and weight. It is partially for these reasons that my list is pared down to the bare minimum. As I noted before, I go out of my way in Preparing to heavily stress customization.

As for the tool-kit, author JJ Johnson went through great pains to document each and every tool you should have as part of that kit. However, the author is presupposing that you are mechanically inclined and could actually perform the necessary repairs (which you should be able to do a moderate amount of by the way). For a variety of budgets, Sears has a number of Mechanic’s Tool Set options that include the bulk of the above noted items plus much more. However, none of these pre-fab deals is going to contain the 2lb hammer, leather man, and/or possibly the needle-nose pliers.

If you were to have even half of this stuff in your car though, I have no doubt that you will be able to use your vehicle as a make shift shelter, survive the elements, repair moderate levels of damage, and safely make it home. Well, that is, provided you know how to use all of items appropriately.

Built in Electricity

Another topic, or concept, that I’ve been interested in, and dovetails nicely with the ‘vehicles as tools’ idea, has been the ability to turn my vehicle into its own generator. Nothing sucks more than having to heave a heavy-ass generator in and out of a trunk or truck bed when working in a remote location. Not to mention, and idling vehicle is a hell of lot quieter than any gas-powered generator.

The GMC Sierra truck series intrigued me some years ago when they started placing 110-volt outlets in the bed or near the hitch. When I spoke to the dealership about these, I was disappointed to learn that, while the outlets were indeed an optional upgrade, the wiring harnesses within the truck were not sufficiently upgraded to handle power tools.

To be honest, that answer really pissed me off. Why would you make that an option, but then tell the customer you can’t hook up an extension cord and run a table saw? What’s the damn thing for? Not much apparently.

I guess you could install a second battery and upgrade the wiring to make it work for your needs. You could also forego the manufacturer upgrade and associated costs and install a device called an inverter.

To that end, I started digging around and found a site called The Family Handyman. He details out this process in an article titled How to Turn Your Truck into as Generator. After reviewing the below diagram, it seems pretty straight forward.

Vehicle Generator.png

Now, provided you have gas in the tank, or a spare gas can in the car, should you have the need, you could build a cabin in the woods, or fire up a blender and make margarita’s. As far as charging a mobile device or a laptop, you could always get a variety of cigarette lighter adapters and converters. That would be a hell of a lot cheaper than this inverter install.

Water Purification

I don't know why, but I spend a lot of time thinking about water. And by 'a lot', I mean an inordinate amount of time. I'm constantly trying to learn as much as possible about new and creative ways to:

  • Collect water
  • Store collected water
  • Cost effectively (monetary, fuel, labor) purify the collected and stored water.

Interestingly, Pinterest, of all things, may have provided an answer to this last quandary of purification. The 'pin' read, 'How long do you really have to boil water before it's safe to drink?'

Well, they had me at hello... 'clicked' on that!

Eventually, I found my way to the equip2survive.com website to read their article. Needless to say, when I finished reading, I was flabbergasted! It is an excellent article and contains information and insight that I will NEVER forget... it's that good. I even verified his data against my wife's knowledge as a biology teacher. She was shocked too, and says the water temp specified to kill harmful viruses, pathogens, and microscopic waterborne pests are legit. Here's the link:

How long do you really have to boil water before it's safe to drink?

 

Starting Seeds Indoors by Date

The wife found this image on social media from homesteadspirit.com and sent it to me the other day. I give her credit... she does know her husband.

Starting Seeds Indoors Dates - Image.PNG

She can see from my behavior, and the dearth of catalogs and posts, that I'm starting to get the itch to go outside and play in the dirt. Now, I have no idea what Cold Hardiness Zone these dates pertain to, but for me in Zone 6a, the dates are actually pretty close.

You'll notice that there doesn't seem to be any logic, rhyme, or reason behind how this data was assembled... at least I couldn't discern one at any rate. So I re-typed it into Excel and then sorted the data based on Seed Starting Date. You're welcome.

Starting Seeds Indoors Dates - Excel Sorted.png

Natural Gas in a Grid Down Scenario

I’ve been working on the Preparing to Prepare non-fiction piece lately so research mania has pretty much been going full bore. One of the things that caught my attention was natural gas. Which, of course, sent me off on yet another momentum stalling tangent… c’est la vie.

Basically, I’m been compiling lists and supplying my own brand of advice with regard to life disrupting events of varying durations. Over the course of this book, I’ve been writing about ways to solve various issues given a specific set of supplies and recommendations. That being said, you can’t compile a worthwhile list when it comes to preparedness without discussing fuel. Namely, if there is a power outage, depending on the duration of said outage, you’ll quite possibly need fuel for:

  • A vehicle to go 50-100 miles (one-way, double for round-trip) to get supplies
  • A portable generator (assuming you have one)
  • A house generator (e.g. Generac, assuming you have one that is not on a city feed – long term issue)
  • Cooking meals and boiling water (propane, white, or charcoal - assuming you don’t have a natural gas burning stove/hot water heater)
  • A kerosene heater to heat a specific centralized room

As I wrote that list out in the book, I was drawn to the part about the ‘city feed’. This made me curious. If you’ve lost power for a week due to a storm, or the grid is down entirely, would you be able to use, say, your gas stove? You gas hot water heater? Your furnace?

The short answer is generally ‘yes’ to the stove and water heater and ‘no’ to the furnace. A furnace requires electricity to turn the blower after it generates the needed heat. Your pilot light will remain lit, but it’s basically a paperweight at this point.

The stove should work, but might require you to light the burner with a match. Some stoves have safety protocols in place that might prohibit this activity though. The gas hot water heater should also work without issue as well provided you don’t have an electric power blower installed for venting. If you have a power blower installed, I wouldn’t recommend doing much with the hot water heater. That blower is there because you have venting issues.

So, that little bit of research answered the primary question, but how long will the gas pipeline transmission system, and water system for that matter, maintain enough pressure to feed my house?

Unfortunately, if some form of power isn’t restored to the compressor stations, you’ll be without gas and water in less than a week.

Damn.

That wasn’t the answer I was looking for.

Here’s a well written piece that helps further this information: How Long Will Natural Gas Last Without Electricity.

As I read that article, I couldn’t help but be reminded on a line from the EMP Commission Report:

No infrastructure other than electric power has the potential for nearly complete [societal] collapse in the event of a sufficiently robust EMP attack.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Fruit Maintenance

Not to belabor the point, but I can't seem to shake the excitement of growing some berries this year. Which of course got me to thinking... what can be learned from this endeavor?

Well, I've made the job a tad easier on myself by making the decision to grow them in pots with a removable cage of bird netting first off. This takes a lot of the pest and soil issues out of the equation. Secondly, it'll allow me to get my feet wet with regard to fruit plant maintenance when it comes time to have my own land. Because remember, my goal here is to have my own bit of land and install an orchard that contains fruit and nut trees as well as clusters and/or possibly rows of berries. 

To that end, I was reviewing the Stark Bros website, along with some online articles (one of which I mentioned in a previous post), and some resources I picked up at Amazon. Needless to say, there are plenty of things to be mindful of when it comes to fruit production. For example, you need to know the basics about soil prep, fertilizing, pruning, and harvesting as well as pest control for things like aphids, cane borer, and leafhopper. And then there is disease control for stuff like botrytis fruit rot, leaf curl, and orange rust.

That, obviously, isn't the complete list of issues that need to be monitored, but you get the idea. There's a lot of stuff to consider. For convenience, I download the Stark Bros growing guides from their website and placed the PDF files on the Research Downloads page. You can find all of their growing guides by visiting their website and accessing this page