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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

increase in Consumer's Energy and DTE electric

This comes at a bad time for most of us. On March 23rd two major utilities announced rate increases for Consumer's Energy and DTE Energy. These two companies are the two leading utility companies in Michigan.

Consumer's Energy announced an 11% increase starting in May, which according to my local paper will raise your bill about $10 per month.

DTE announced they will raise their rates in July, resulting in a 11% increase, which will raise your bill about $7.00 per month.

The state agency who is in charge of regulating utilities is the Michigan Public Service Commission. These rates will automatically increase if this agency allows it.

I have e-mailed this agency to ask them to give Michigan residents a break and not increase the rates and I encourage you to do the same. It is important at times like this to voice your opinion and tell your story of why it would be a hardship if the rates increase.

Here is the web site for the Michigan Publick Service Comission.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

follow up on organic gardening

This was a comment that was felt by American Prepper that I felt should be posted here. It further explains, better than i ever could, the dangers of this bill.

keep reading further, wait till you get to section 206 where "food production facilities are regulated" Food production facilities are excluded from the same regulation as Food establishments, but fall under separate regulation under section 206. Now, As in the definitions: food production facility' means **any** farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation. That is so broad that it could include hobby farms and even gardens. Let's say you have a couple rows of grapes. Can that be a Vinyard? Lets say you have 5 goats and a horse on a 5 acre piece of land. can that be considered a farm? Now go to section 206 Here is just a small part of it, this is where it gets scary

SEC. 206. FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITIES.(a) AUTHORITIES.—In carrying out the duties of the Administrator and the purposes of this Act, the Administrator shall have the authority, with respect to food production facilities, to—
(1) visit and inspect food production facilities in the United States and in foreign countries to determine if they are operating in compliance with the requirements of the food safety law;
2) review food safety records as required to bekept by the Administrator under section 210 and for other food safety purposes;
(3) set good practice standards to protect thepublic and animal health and promote food safety;

***Notice this part**

(4) conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products, or the environment, as appropriate; and5) collect and maintain information relevant to public health and farm practices.(b) INSPECTION OF RECORDS.—A food productionfacility shall permit the Administrator upon presentation of appropriate credentials and at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, to have access to and ability to copy all records maintained by or on behalf of such food production establishment in any format (including paper or electronic) and at any location, that are necessary to assist the Administrator—

Plus there's tons more very restrictive legislation. This is an evil bill Co-sponsored by the wife of someone who works for MonsantoNot to mention, even if it did specifically exclude gardens, hobby farms and organic farms, the cost would be so enormous that our already high food prices would go through the roof....If Monsanto favors this bill, it cant be good.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to read legislation 101

There has been talk on the internet that organic farming is under attack by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Because of the recent Salmonella outbreaks from Peanut Butter, the federal government feels the need to regulate the nations food supply more accurately. This is good,, right?

Maybe. First off, don't believe everything on the internet you read. It is best to go right to the source. To understand what laws are being put in place it is important to know how to read the bills before the House and Senate This post will briefly go over how to look up the bills and how to read them. For those of you who want to jump right to the legislation the link is below.

To look up bills you are interested in keeping up on go to the web site www.senate.gov . Click on Legislation and Records. The search engine to look up bills on the senate web site is called Thomas. Click on the link for Thomas and a page will come up where you can search either by bill number or by the word or phrase. You can also look up any bills in your area by searching under your representatives names.

Link to the house

The link to the senate did not work for this bill.

How to read a bill is important to know. Once the bill you are looking for comes up, click on Text of Legislation. This is where you can read the bill. It's important when you are reading legislation that you read over and understand the Definitions in the bill. This is where they define certain words such as what they define as "Food Establishments" in bill H.R. 875. What we consider Food Establishments is not neccessarily what they do. For example in the bill H.R. 875 they have five different definitons of Food Establishments. Then they have a different definition for Food Production Facility. We are primarily interested in paragrah 13(b). This is where it lists exlusions in the bill. Here is an example:

(B) EXCLUSIONS- For the purposes of registration, the term `food establishment' does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer, or fishing vessel (other than a fishing vessel engaged in processing, as that term is defined in section 123.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations).

So now we have to look at Paragrah 14 to see what they define as a Food Production Facility. Here that is:

(14) FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY- The term `food production facility' means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.

So, from how the bill reads they are excluding the places listed above. As of right now, our backyard gardens seem like they are safe. This is where it gets a little sticky. Just because this is how the bill reads now does not mean this is how it will be passed. It has to make it through the House and the Senate and each commonly change the wording as the bill progresses, which is why it is important to keep up on things that may affect you. The link to the bill is above, you are welcome to read it over and come to your own conclusions and i welcome your opinions.

This is my view point only, but this is how our gardens, farms and orchards can come underfire. Legislation such as this is how it starts. For this reason, we need to keep up and be aware of how these bills affect our daily lives.

There does indeed need to be oversight to the facilities that provide food to the majority of the US citizens, we just have to watch to make sure they don't violate our right to be self sufficient.

A terrific time to purchase a home in Michigan is now!

yep, you read that right! There couldn't be a better time in Michigan to purchase a home. With foreclosures at an all time high and predicted to go higher, purchasing a foreclosed home is something to think about.

Aside from how many horror stories you have heard about purchasing a foreclosed home, if you do your research, contact a knowledgeable realtor that deals in foreclosures and get the home inspected you will have an idea of what you are getting into. The thing you don't want to do is jump on the first house you find. Due dillegence is vital.

How to purchase a foreclosed home confuses people. They contact phony ads in the newspaper, get the runaround and give up before you start. Folks, it can be easier than that. HUD has a web site that you can go to and browse foreclosed homes in your area. The link to Michigan foreclosed homes is at the bottom of this post.

HUD inspects foreclosed homes before they list them on their web site. When you do a search by zip code and price range HUD homes for sale will come up. To find out what their inspections revealed click on Property Inspection Report. This will tell you what they found. You will still want to get your own inspection done by someone you hire yourself. Also linked on the property pages is HUD registered brokers. What most people don't realize is on some HUD homes you can get a mortgage or a loan - imagine, purhasing a three bedroom for as little as $10,000 in the city. Or as little as $50,000 with acreage in the country.

Purchasing a foreclosed home can bring you one step closer to self sufficiency. One major accomplishment that most people have a problem attaining is not having a house payment. If you are renting, think about all the money you are paying every month to your landlord, wouldn't you rather pay a mortgage company and eventually own the house? These days in Michigan, this is easier than ever.

Here is the link to the Michigan HUD homes. Just follow the link, type in the zip code you want and the price range. Remember, do your research!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting ready for summer gardens!

Now is the time when we are thinking of starting our gardens. The growing season in Michigan, depending on where you are, starts at the end of May and runs mid way through September. With survival in mind plan your garden. This post is going to go over what type of seeds you will use and how to plan for your family.

Most people who garden purchase plants or seeds from the local garden center. If you plan to start most of your garden by seeds, plant them inside now to let them get a good start. By the time the end of May comes they will be ready to put in the ground. As far as seeds go there are two types of seeds you can purchase.

Hybrid seeds - Hybrid seeds are a cross polinated seed that is genetically produced and chemically treated to produce vigorous plants. Seed produced from these plants will rarely give more vegetables of quality the next year. Not really what a survivalist is looking for.

Heirloom Seeds - Heirloom seeds are what some people refer to as True Seeds, they are open pollinated, not chemcially treated and not genetically modified. The result of using heirloom seeds means you the same quality plant year after year. The seeds are not sterile seeds which means you can save the seed from your vegetables and use the seeds year after year. The plants will be better acclimated to your enviornment, since they were produced in your climate. This is what the surivialist is looking for!

Using Heirloom seeds means once you have a good seed collection going, you won't need to purchase seeds or plants the next year - a self sustaining garden! You will have to keep in mind to plant extra vegetables. Those extra vegetables are what you are going to save your seed from. For cucumbers, for example, you would carefully cut a cucumber from one end to the other. Scrape the seeds out of the cucumber, wash them off in cheese cloth, set them on a counter and let them dry for about two weeks. After two weeks your seeds should be good and dry. Put them in a small brown envelope, label and date the envelope, then store in a cool dry place. Some people store their seeds in the freezer, I personally just store them in a cupboard and have had no problem. I order my seeds from The Seed Saver's Exchange. The directions for saving seeds are on the back of every packet.

Planning what you are going to grow in your garden.
Planning a garden is usually alot of fun. You go through your seed catalog and dream about what you are going to plant. When it comes down to actually filling out your order keep in mind what your family eats. If none of them like Green Beans, don't plant any. Plant what you eat and eat what you plant is my philosophy. Every year I do plant something new just for fun, but we usually end of eating it. As you plan your garden think of food you can preserve. The first year I planted a garden I planted alot of Lettuce, much more than my family could eat. That was alot of wasted garden space for two reason's. The first one, I planted way to much, the 2nd reason is you can't preserve lettuce. Instead I could have planted carrots, beans or more tomatoes.

The following year I planted my garden with these things in mind. We tend to use alot of carrots. I use it as a vegetable for dinner and in various soups I make and can. We also eat alot of green beans, you can bet the 2nd year i planted beans on the circumference in my garden, and in every flower bed I had. I always grow Beefsteak tomatoes because they are excellent on hamburger's or just to eat. I plant a 2nd type of tomato called Amish Paste because it is an excellent tomato to make spagetti sauce and tomato sauce. So as I plan my garden i try to keep in mind what vegetables we use, but also vegetables we use in other things.

Every year I plant potatoes. You can make quite the meal out of potatoes and rice! There are companies that carry seed potatoes. I encourage you to check these companies out. I personally purchase organic potatoes from our local fruit market to plant. There are no shipping costs and organic potatoes are not chemically treated. Potatoes are amazingly easy to plant. You just cut the eye off the potato, with a chunk of potato along with it and put it in the ground.

Here is a few links to a few Heirloom companies. I don't endorse any of these companies but these will give you a good start to researching Heirloom seeds




Monday, March 2, 2009

If this doesn't change your mind,,,,,

The D. word - Will the recession become something worse?


Above is an article that was on the news section of Yahoo. This is exactly what I have been telling my friends about. If you talk to a senior who lived through the depression they will tell you during the depression people did not know they were in a depression, they just knew times were hard. The depression wasn't called a depression until the late 1930's.

This article is something to pay attention to. The government will not tell you we are going through a depression because this would cause panic. Today the stock market is at it's lowest in over a decade, unemployment is skyrocketing and jobs are scare.

For an interesting perspective keep an eye out on the History Channel for a show called Crash. It compares the era before the depression and now. Very intereting.
MichiganPreppersNetwork.com Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Michigan Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.