A New Shape – Part 2

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SHOW NOTES

 

Last week, I started talking to you about some things we can do, to take our lives back. How we could begin to eat differently and start improving our health.

This became important to me, first, about 12 or 13 years ago. My wife and I lived in Maine, in the USA. I read everything I could get to my eyeballs about how we relate to food. I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t lose weight and keep it off. I could lose it, but it always came back. I had tried every diet on the market, and a few things sold off the back of a wagon by charlatan’s.

I learned the value of organic vegetables, and pasture raised meat. I tried to plant a garden. It was a disaster. First of all, Maine has a short growing season and I planted all the wrong things. For the next year, I bought some special self watering planters called “Earthboxes”. I grew some herbs and lettuce only, just to understand how they work.

The next year we moved from Maine to Georgia, and my farming life began in earnest. I had a huge back garden, and devoted some of it to growing vegetables. Georgia has all the potential of the Garden of Eden. A very long growing season where you can actually grow two gardens. It’s fabulous.

I kept reading and implementing. Our garden was phenomenal. We were growing just about everything we needed. It was organic, and it was all delicious. Then, we wanted to raise our own meat. I bought rabbits to raise for fertilizer and meat. We were having real fun. A friend at Church offered us to rent out his mall farm next to the Church since it was unused. We had about 10 acres and a barn. The pastures were not great, but they were good. We started with goats, sheep, and chickens. We very quickly added cows and donkeys. My wife milked the dairy goats. She began a soap business, with the excess milk and became rather successful.

Anyway, we had an amazing life. I worked in the corporate world, and farmed at night and on the weekends. Brittan farmed all week, canned the food, milked the goats, and worked her soap and body product business.

Eventually, we bought our own small farm, and moved there. I bought a greenhouse to add to my garden space, and we were living the good life. But I still couldn’t lose weight. I was eating very good food, But was getting fatter.

Trying to shorten this story, in 2017 we moved here to Buckie. I’d lived here many years ago, and we had the chance to come back. We didn’t think twice. We moved here in July. In August, I had a heart attack and two strokes. Actually, I’d had a small stroke in Georgia while we were planning our move. I didn’t speak much about it, because I didn’t want to risk the move. After another year, I had triple bypass surgery in Aberdeen. I had another stroke during the surgery, which left me partially blind in my left eye.

I lost very little weight through all that. What in the world was wrong with me? I finally, with the help of my wife, got it right in March of this year, 2019. Since that time, I’ve lost more than 50 pounds, and am still losing. I feel great. My blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol numbers are normal. I do take blood pressure medicine, but am working with my doctor to decrease it. My long term goal is to be medicine free.

On the 7th of October, I will be 63 years old. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out what’s wrong with me, and how to fix it.

I’ve continued to read and learn. I’ve been interested in what the Bible has to say about food. Over time I’ll tell you all about that. But for now, the main thing I’ve learned is how bad highly processed food is for us, how much of it we eat. And how to change my eating.

The first thing I did, was cut out all sugar from my diet. Seriously. Processed sugar is more addictive than almost any drug. And it’s in everything. That’s why last week I suggested you try the same thing.

Did you? Did you manage to do it? How have things gone for you during the week? Write me and let me know. You can write to radiofreebuckie@gmail.com, or simply go to my website samburtonpresents.com and put it in the comments section where I publish the show notes.

I cut it all out. And I asked you to do the same. It is my conviction that sugar is the biggest problem in our modern diet. I believe there are other contributors, but sugar is your number 1 enemy.

Think about it. We have some in our coffee for breakfast. It’s in the cereal we eat. It’s in the jam we eat on our toast or scones. Frankly, it’s in the bread we buy at the supermarket. It’s in our donuts. It’s in the sweet rolls and things we get at the bakers. It’s in all the tasty treats we buy at Christies or Baxters over in Fochabers. What about the icecream shops in Buckie, Cullen or Portsoy. Think about all the puddings we eat. Sugar is all around us. Now, when you’re in the supermarket, look at the cans of food you buy. You’ll see sugar in the ingredients list on over half of them. Oh, how many of you have a biscuit with your cuppa. How many of those do you have in a day. I know, they’re delicious. Poison turns out to be very tasty.

I recommending saying goodbye. For me, a Yum Yum is almost impossible to pass up. Especially those cream filled ones. Or covered in carmel or maple flavoring. Sigh. But I’ve said farewell. Will I never have one again? I don’t know. Maybe someday. But not for a very long while. I’m over biscuits. I’m surprisingly over ice cream. That’s been my favorite dessert since I can ever remember.

I still add some sucralose to my coffee in the morning. I have one teaspoon of that, and a good amount of real cream. It’s delicious. Sucralose is not good for me either, but I don’t have much, and I don’t have it often. I’m just being honest with you.

Eventually, once I’ve finished losing weight, I’ll add local honey, and black molasses and something in America we call sorghum molasses. Oh, and demarara sugar. Demarara is only very slightly processed.

But for now, sugar is out. The Bible recommends we eat honey. Yes it does. And I will do so, if it’s local. Most of the honey in the supermarket is really sugar. In fact, they feed the bees sugar water to keep the honey flowing. How sad is that. But if you buy honey locally, say from a farm store, or one of the butchers, or at the fish shop, you’ll get the good stuff. Local honey is also great for helping you to adjust to pollens when you move to a new location.

In the meantime, a great compromise is dark chocolate. I know, most of us prefer milk chocolate. I get it. Actually, I mostly love white chocolate. Oh well. But I know that many people simply can’t give up their chocolate. So do this. At both Tesco and Lidl, and probably the COOP, they sell bars of 80, 81,85, and 90 % dark chocolate. We buy the 81 or 85%. And each of us has two squares at night while we’re watching TV. It tastes good, is a wonderful snack, and dark chocolate is better for you anyway.

  • Powerful Source of Antioxidants. ORAC stands for “oxygen radical absorbance capacity.” …
  • May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure. …
  • Raises HDL and Protects LDL From Oxidation. …
  • May Reduce Heart Disease Risk. …
  • May Protect Your Skin From the Sun. …
  • Could Improve Brain Function.

Amazing, right? Alternatively, you could mix coco powder with some cream, or whole milk, and a little sucraloss, or even hot water. And make hot chocolate.

For me, two squares of dark chocolate do the trick.

But I won’t add it back in until I’m finished losing weight.

See, I’m on what’s called a KetoGenic diet. That means I’m trying to get my body to run on fat rather than carbohydrates. I’ll tell you more about that in a week or two. For now, I’m just trying to convince you to make a couple of changes.

After you’ve cut out sugar, I recommend cutting out wheat flour and bread. I know that’s hard. For those with gluten problems, your gluten free bread from the shops is absolutely loaded with sugar. Boy howdy, does it have sugar in it.

If you make your own bread, you’ve really got to grind your own wheat. We used to do that. I don’t like it. I want to. Bread from freshly ground wheat or barley is called The Staff of Life. It is full of nutrients and goodness. The bread from the grocery store, might taste good, but it’s just carbohydrates and empty calories. Yes, it tastes good. And it smells awesome when it’s freshly baked, but it’s poison. I’m sorry, but it is.

Now, think about cakes. Those are made with both flour and sugar. Yikes.

See, back in the old days, our grains were cut and stacked in sheaves and left in the fields a few days. This allowed a natural drying and often slight sprouting of the grain. Then it was ground and sifted. Nowdays, we have special machines that dry it without allowing it the natural way of slightly spouting. And we bleach it. Flour is not naturally white.

The sprouting allowed the gluten to be eaten up before you ate it. Our modern methods don’t allow that. It is my understanding that rye flour is lower in gluten. Over most of europe, people have loved rye flour sourdough bread. I like it. Once I’ve lost my weight completely, I will probably try and bring back some rye toast. But that’s a long time from now.

So, first give up sugar. Cut it out. Say goodbye. There’s still plenty of food to eat. If you haven’t tried that, then try it now. Once you’ve got control of that, cut out all flour and wheat. Yes that means pasta. Yikes. I haven’t had pasta since March. I don’t miss it at all. Of course I never really loved it anyway. Except in Mac and Cheese. That I love. That’s something I miss.

Have your meat. Whatever kind you like. Eat as many eggs as you want. Don’t starve yourelf. Yes, you’re giving up some food, but you’re not becoming a rabbit. Have a few berries. The brambles are ripe right now. Go out and pick some. We’re going to. I should be out there today, but….

Strawberries, and blueberries. Yum. Tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, swedes, beetroot, peas, green beans, cabbage. Cheese. Peanut butter. You’ve got to be careful with the peanut butter, but I have a spoon full of it most days right after lunch to keep my full throughout the afternoon.

 

 

 

A New Direction For Radio Free Buckie

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Now I know that some of you are aware that when Radio Free Buckie began, It was kind of a Bible Study program. But I have another one of those, called, ReDiscovering the Bible. You can find it on Stitcher, or Podcast Garden, or find a link on my website, samburtonpresents.com. And I started thinking that doing two of essentially the same kind of program was just going to get old for folk. So I decided to start doing something really special with Radio Free Buckie.

First, I know that people here in Moray, at least a lot of us, are concerned about what we eat, and about our weight. I also know that there are a whole bunch of us who are trying to figure out how to eliminate debt and live debt free. I even wrote a book about that subject, called, IOU NO MORE. So I thought this would be a great place for us to talk about food and money. And maybe some other stuff as we go along.

But I need to be honest with you from the get go, I’m a Christian. And you’ll find that I talk about the Bible a whole lot. In fact, the Bible has a lot to say about food AND money. So, from time to time, we’ll look at what the Bible says about these topics.

And I may talk about food, or money, for several weeks in a row. If you’re not interested in one of those topics, be patient, and we’ll get back to your topic. Just enjoy the ride, and leave the driving to us.

If you want to ask a question, make a suggestion, or comment, there are a couple of ways to do that. You can use the comments section of samburtonpresents.com, you can use the FB page, Radio Free Buckie, or you can email me directly, radiofreebuckie@gmail.com. I’ll remind you of those addresses before we say goodbye.

I went to the doctor this week, and got a pretty good report. I’ve lost 50 pounds. Now I still have quite a few to go before I’m through, but that’s really awesome for me to announce. My blood pressure and heart rates are really good, too. So good, that we’re going to try and see if I can start taking less medication for my heart. That’s a real goal for me. I want to be off meds. I will do whatever I need to do to get off them. But not until the time is right. I will be under a doctors guidance every step of the way.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve had 4 strokes and a heart attack. A little over a year ago I had triple bypass surgery. That was all very frightening for me and I don’t want to go through it again, so I will follow my doctor’s instructions to the letter.

And that’s my advice to you, too. If you need to see a dr. go. If you need to take meds, take them. Don’t try and prove your manhood, or lady hood, or whatever. Just take them. But do what you can to get to the point where you don’t need them anymore. That’s my goal. Just like it was once a goal to be debt free, not it’s my goal to me medication free.

Have you ever noticed how many diet plans are out there? Some of them are really good. Some of them are mainly designed to separate you from your money. Why are there so many? Because we’re all different. We all have different triggers, different strengths. Different weaknesses. Different tastes.

The trick is, most of us want a magic pill, or a patch. We don’t want to have to work for it. And that’s what makes us vulnerable to the hucksters and con men.

I’ve been fat a long time. I’ve tried them all. And if not literally all, a large portion of them. I’ve taken pills, drank shakes, counted points, read books, ate specially made foods. And I’ve lost a bunch of weight. For a while.

But somewhere along the way, I started looking to see what God’s way of eating looked like. And what doctors said. First, I found that God made all kinds of food, plant and animal, and that He said it’s good. I also found that we have changed the way we prepare, and store food from the good old days. We don’t cook anymore. I have concluded, that if it comes from a plant (or animal), it’s generally good, if its made IN a plant, it’s bad for you. It might be convenient, but it’s bad for you.

For example, potatoes, are very healthy. They are full of vitamins and minerals. They come from a plant. But dried, instant potatoes, are bad for you. They have very little nutritional value. They are full of great tasting, chemicals, preservatives, and processed stuff that will just make you fat. Even canned potatoes, have had the skin removed. That’s where a lot of the nutrition is, in the potato peel. And if you buy canned potatoes, they’re naked. Plus, they’ve had to put things in to keep them edible.

Get your potatoes whole. Cook them with the skin on them. And don’t eat too many. They are also rather fattening.

When you’re shopping, think of it this way, the outside aisles with fresh meat and veg are good, the inside aisles where all the processed junk is held, are less good.

Now, I know it’s an old fashioned way of thinking, but calories are still key to weight loss. We don’t want to hear that. But the only way to lose weight and keep it off, is to eat less. But you don’t have to eat only salad and broccoli. You don’t have to eat tuna every day. You don’t have to starve yourself.

I eat nearly 2000 calories a day. Some days more. I eat loads of fat. I eat real butter. I use cream in my coffee. I use whole milk. I eat my chicken with the skin on. I eat lots of chicken thighs. I eat my mince with 20% fat. I prefer ribeye steaks. Fat is not bad for you. It fills you up. 2000 calories of a salad, will not fill me up, the way 2000 calories of steak and veggies will fill me up.

I know it’s not the way you’ve heard it’s supposed to be. You’ve been told all your life, that fat is your enemy. But what you’ve always been told is wrong.

Did you know, that the Bible says fat is good for you. God wanted the fat burned in offering to him back in the old testament. The promised land was flowing with milk and honey, not semi skimmed with aspartame.

As we go along, I will fine tune this a bit, but if you’ll start by cutting out all processed sugar. I mean donuts, white sugar, cakes, and pies made with it, all store made bread, all white flour, all white rice, (it’s processed), you’ll start losing weight. I’m serious.

Sugar is your biggest enemy. It’s in everything canned and boxed. And in processed foods, those that don’t have sugar, have processed wheat and, or, rice.

Later, I’m going to suggest that to lose weight effectively, you should cut way back on all carbohydrates, but not yet. Just start with the basics. It will be hard. We’re addicted to sugar. It’s in all the packaged foods. You are going to have to learn to cook. Even cole slaw is loaded with sugar. Just read the label. All pre packaged breads, are loaded with sugar and white flour. I know I’m asking you to give up Rollies and belly button softies. It’s not forever. But how badly do you want to lose weight?

So your assignment for this week is to give up sugar, flour, and white rice. There will be more next week. But this is enough of a challenge for you for one week. No biscuits, crackers, fried rice, marathon bars. Ice cream. Can you do it? Will you do it? How badly do you want to lose weight? I’m not even asking you to cut calories this week. Just change the way you eat.

Write me and tell me how you get on. We’ll have some more tips next week. This is enough for now. You got this. Talk to you soon. For now, I’m out.

Changes Coming

Image result for changes public domain images

First, I want to thank all of you who read this blog regularly. You rock. I want to tell you that I’m going to be making some changes in the near future. This is mainly to do with the fact that I have several blogs and can’t keep up with everything, so I’m moving everything here. The only downside is you might receive notices of posts that don’t interest you. I hope you’ll be patient with that inconvenience.

Beginning in September, I will be making posts regarding my Ketogenic Transformation, Dogs, Money Management, Farming, Gardening, and the Bible. I will also be posting occasionally about my books, including my adventures in fiction. I’ve written two Novellas, Isitoq’s Hound, and Night of the Rougarou. I have a couple more that I’m writing and will be updating readers here.

I am hoping that all my readers, where non fiction, or fiction lovers will be able to become one big family. I know this is a risk, but here’s hoping.

 

Become A Dog Breeder? Or, Stick To Rescue? Tough Questions.

Tuck, the wonder dog.

There are only a few things in life I consider myself especially knowledgeable about: The Bible, Food (growing it and eating it!), small farming, and dogs. That’s it. That’s the list. Sure, I’m fairly educated, and can talk, I hope intelligently, on a variety of subjects, but the list above pretty much covers the limits of my expertise.

With that in mind, I follow a lot of groups and individuals related to these areas on Facebook and Instagram. I love reading other people’s insights and opinions. A recent matter came up in a German Shepherd group on Facebook. I responded to it, as did many other people. But reading the responses made me decide to write this piece as an extended answer. I might even link to in on the group in FB.

The original question was, in essence, “I want to become a breeder, what advice do you have?” The answers came pouring in, for days. Some of them were funny. Some were helpful. Many were written to discourage him from his dream. And several went as far as to say, “There are too many dogs in rescue already, don’t breed anymore!”

I have experience in several breeds, and have a history in both breeding, and in rescue, so I’d like to address the gentleman’s question, AND, perhaps offer some thoughts to the skeptics out there.

First, I believe every single person had the best interest of German Shepherds in mind, regardless of how aggressive some of them sounded. I believe the gentleman who asked the original question was sincere, and asked with only pure motives.

For 32 years I operated a racing, and show, Siberian Husky kennel. I qualified three dogs for Crufts Dog Show in England, and bred show champions. I am very proud of that. I raced competitively for. many of those years. And I trained sleddogs even longer than I raced them. I have a much better eye for dogs than I have for competing with them myself. I have owned dogs that have run the Iditarod, and I have trained dogs that have run the race, as well. I raised many of my race dogs, and I bought many of them. I rescued even more than I raised or bought.

Additionally, after my racing was done, my wife and I got very involved with Mastiff, Smooth Collie, and Belgian Sheepdog rescue. We have adopted, and fostered, many dogs over the years. We also owned a well bred, and brilliant, Cardigan Corgi, that would have won many obedience crowns for me, had she not had problems with dysplasia. That’s a sad story, and one I may come back to another day.

Oh, one final thing. I’ve been a member of many breed and general kennel clubs around the U.S. And the United Kingdom. I have been a judges steward in more shows and for more breeds than I can name. I’ve talked to many judges and observed many breeds. I’ve also worked at many premier sleddog races in the U.S. And the U.K.

I only mention my ‘qualifications’ to show that I’m not a a quack who wants to mouth off about dogs. I love them, and genuinely care for their well being.

For someone to desire to become a breeder, that is a noble venture. That’s a million miles away from someone just trying to make a buck or two by getting a male and female together to sell pups. I think that kind of behavior needs to be discouraged. It takes a long time to do the research to want to improve your chosen dog breed. But a desire to improve, or maintain, a dog breed is a noble effort that should be encouraged. And I will heartily do so. I will offer advice to any novice breeder. I will assume the best of intentions.

There are a lot of dogs in rescue. Some of them are because of loss of a job, a divorce, a death, or one of any number of tragic events. We’ve had several dogs come to us as re homes or fosters from situations like that. Stuff happens. When I was a breeder, I had a policy to take back any dog from my breeding that needed to be re-homed. I thinks that’s responsible.

I’ve seen a lot of poorly bred dogs coming through rescue. Dogs that didn’t meet even a shadow of their breed standard. Most often bred by back yard breeders who wanted to make a quick buck. We’ve had some brilliant dogs come out of that kind of situation.

It doesn’t compute, that people should avoid becoming breeders simply because there are so many irresponsible breeders. But it should make us think very carefully about whether or not our dogs are worthy contributors to a breed’s future. In the 32 years I was in Siberian Huskies, I had 3 litters. A breeder once told me, “As long as you can improve your team by buying over breeding, buy. It’s always cheaper.”

Go to working competitions. Go to shows. Look at dogs. What are the things that make a dog great? Take notes. Study hard. Then buy the best dogs you can afford that fit into the criteria you’re looking for.

Ask to look at the buyers contract from a number of breeders. Explain that you want to create a good buyers contract yourself. Most will be happy to help, because most good breeders want to maintain and improve the breed.

Price your pups appropriately. Working and/or show prospects are worth more. I’m not going to suggest a price. That’s up to you.

For those who don’t want to become breeders, I strongly recommend buying from good breeders. But there are some amazing dogs in Rescue. My wife and I have had many wonderful pets, guardians, and even working dogs, come to us via rescue. I’m thinking of three Alaskan Huskies that had been born in Alaska and were living in less than optimal conditions near us. The owner begged us to take them or she would have to put them down. We loaded them in our truck and took them away. They were absolutely amazing recreational mushing dogs. The two males were as strong as bears, and the female was as loving as a dog could be. They were not pretty, but my heart still pounds when I think of them.

And then there was Lady, our first Smooth Collie. She was living in a puppy mill. She had once been a show dog, but because of poor nutrition and too many litters, that stunning beauty was gone. But she lived with us many years, and she became the queen of our household. Her death, due to cancer, when she was 12, still haunts me. I cannot tell you how much I loved that dog.

Let me tell you about Tuck. Tuck was our first Mastiff. I called him a Canadian Mastiff, because he was half Labrador Retriever. He had spent the first years of his life chained up under a trailer. When we got him, his teeth were all broken from gnawing on concrete. He was covered in scabs, and had to be dragged into a car.

The rescue agent said he’d never been inside a house and wouldn’t know how to deal with it. When we got him home, after he’d had a roam around the yard, we opened the door, he ran inside and leaped straight onto the couch and fell asleep. He is the most special dog. I made him the hero of two of my Novellas, “Isitoq’s Hound”, and “Night of the Rougarou”. I’m working on a third one about him now.

I could go on. I have a hundred or more stories about dogs I’ve bred or rescued, that have changed my life.

The point is, for those of you who like rescue, there are opportunities galore out there. For those of you who want to breed, that is noble too. I know the joy of breeding a dog, raising him, and have him win major prizes in dog shows, and become a top lead dog in a dog team. I could have never bought a dog like him in a million years.

This post has become much longer than I anticipated or intended. I just want to see breeders and rescuers recognize one another as both working toward creating and maintaining a healthy future for
their favorite breed. Thank you to those who want to become responsible breeders. I wish you every success in your endeavors. And to those of you who want to devote your time, and your hearts to the dogs nobody else wants, I tip my hat to you. And I wish you every happiness with your pets.

Confessions and Evolution of an ‘End Times Prepper’

In late 2008 I became a Prepper. A Prepper is someone who wants to be ready when disaster comes. It was fun, hard work, and extremely exciting. But I must confess, I did it for some bad reasons. I did it for some good reasons. I’m going to lay it out here. Judge me, if you must, but please recognize that sometimes people do the right things for the wrong reasons.

We moved from Maine to Georgia in January of 08. Later that summer, the economic world started melting. First, the housing market blew up. Our house lost 25% of its value the first 6 months we owned it. That was tough to swallow. Especially since we had bought a big house with a half an acre yard.

The next thing was the stock market. It crashed and burned. My 401k turned to dust. At the same time, I was a senior manager in a publicly traded company and began to see the ugly side of those companies. My attitude went from trust, to disillusionment, to outright disgust and hatred. Someday I’ll tell you all about it. But by the beginning of 2009, I wanted nothing at all to do with the stock market.

Thirdly, Barack Obama was elected president. I believed that was going to produce a disaster for America. Before you go there, race played 0 part in why I thought he was a mistake. Anyone who knows me, will vouch for that. I believed his extreme left wing policies would take us down a hole from which we might never recover. Frankly, I believed his was a nice person. I loved the way his family was presented. He was someone I would like to go to dinner with and talk about things. I think it would have been great to go to a basketball game with him. He loves basketball and I’m from Kentucky. Instant room for rapport. But as a conservative, I found his fiscal and foreign relations policies a nightmare.

Finally, my wife and I had begun to be concerned about GMOs, the issues of highly processed foods, big Agra, the severe cruelty in the meat industry, and other health related matters. We began thinking about growing some of our own food.

Then, I heard about the Prepper movement. People, some like us, and others for different reasons, were starting to take matters into their own hands to make sure they could survive anything, from an economic meltdown to a zombie apocalypse. I was attracted and jumped into the pool head first.

First, I bought guns and ammo. I bought lots of both. I bought a huge gun safe for my basement. I filled it with hand guns, shotguns, rifles, a crossbow, two sling shots, and thousands of rounds of ammo. Each pay day I purchased ammo.

I bought it all for hunting, for self defense, and as an investment. As I already said, I was no longer even remotely interested in the stock market. The morality in that industry was directly opposite of my core values. For those who care about such things, I never purchased an AR, although I wanted to. Prices went through the roof and I didn’t want one that badly. Besides, hand guns, shotguns and hunting rifles were still extremely affordable.

In the spring of 2009, I planted my first garden. My wife was, I think in Florida, and I planted. The first year was tomatoes, peppers, kale, cabbage, and green beans. Later that year, we bought a freezer and my wife also learned to can. We were on our way.

We had a few problems. Primarily because we lived in a Home Owners Association. The rules didn’t allow for livestock. Heck we weren’t even allowed rabbit hutches. We figured out a way to keep rabbits without making a scene. We bought 6 of them and cages. We set them up in the basement of our house. I wheeled them out in the mornings about 6 a.m to empty the cages and clean them. Rabbits are great, but you have to keep them clean or the stink will run you out. All the waste went into a compost pile in the garden. The rabbits had a duel purpose. One, there is no fertilizer like rabbit dung. It’s the best. Secondly, rabbits are a phenomenal protein source. They reproduce quickly and the meat is really good for you. Some people can’t get past the cute factor and that’s unfortunate.

We also put bees in the Garden. That was against the HOA rules too. But bees are essential to pollination and honey is so good for you. They are also easy to hide.

I began to learn about aquaponics and hydroponics. Our basement and garage became home to several tanks of Tilapia, catfish and bluegill. I was having the time of my life. And breaking every rule of the HOA. I was such a rebel.

In the spring of 2010, a friend from Church offered to rent us some land for grazing livestock. I was ecstatic. The price was cheap and the place already had a barn, electricity and water. We installed some fences and brought in chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats (dairy and meat), Dexter Cattle, pigs, donkeys as guardians, and our biggest mistake two beautiful, huge, draft mules.

When the goats had babies, we took the babies home and kept them in the basement for about 8 weeks to care for them. Yep, at one point we had 8 baby goats living in our basement. See the land was about 5 miles from where we lived, and we had to bottle feed them, because we were milking the mothers. So to make that easier, we build a stall in the basement.

In 2011, we raised 150 chicks in our garage and the HOA never suspected a thing. Obviously, we took them to the farm once they got big enough. What a rush, keeping goats, rabbits, bees and chickens right under the noses of our Home Owners Association. We bribed our neighbors with fresh veggies, eggs and meat.

I was blogging about it, and writing articles for online magazines. We had people contacting us about eggs, chickens and ‘how to’ advice. We had a group of teachers come out and visit the place to see what we were doing. It was all great fun. We even had a national television program ask to come out and film at our place. We were having discussions about it, but 5 days before the cameras were scheduled to show up, we backed out. First, we didn’t want our secret to become public and secondly, the program was pushing me on some things that we weren’t ready to do. And I didn’t like their pushing. Especially since it was going to cost me some considerable coin to do it. So I missed my chance at television fame.

By 2012, we had gone from Preppers, to suburban homesteaders, to small farmers when we found a repossessed farm in a nearby county. We purchased it, moved there, and sold our big home in the suburbs. We didn’t make any money. In fact, we had to take $5,000 to the closing table. Our house was still slightly underwater.

But out in the country, we weren’t breaking any rules and life was great. We loved our simple, sustainable life. We had blankets, bandages, tents, extra fishing lines, knives, matches, candles, light bulbs, batteries, lanterns, heck we even had toilet paper. We had bug out bags for each of the cars. And we had very large dogs. Dogs who were big enough to defend the homestead, or to backpack with if we had to walk away. We provided most of our own food. We had stored up 2 years worth of supplies, seeds, and cash. Life was good.

Then in 2014, what we were prepping for came to pass. I lost my job. Its a long story. It wasn’t personal. I hadn’t done anything wrong. The company was making all kinds of changes and I was let go. For that matter, so was our boss, and his boss. It was devastating. Except my wife and I were prepared. We had food, seeds, livestock, supplies, and cash, and we kept right on going. During that time, my wife had begun making goat’s milk soap because of the excess milk our girls produced. That business became our primary source of income. We also sold eggs, pork, vegetables, rabbits, goats, and starter plants.

In 2017, we decided to move to Scotland. I had lived here in the 1980s and we had a chance to come back, so we sold off everything and moved in July. We live in a 2nd floor apartment with no yard at all. I miss my animals, my land, and sometimes my life. But, I still have seeds in the freezer, candles in the drawer, and have all the knowledge we gained stored on flash drives and my memory.

I’m still a Prepper. I have learned all about how to live off the land. I can do plumbing, electricity, and other basic maintenance. My wife can make soap, fix a car, milk animals, and a hundred other things. We learned those skills. We are still prepared. If society goes crazy, we can take care of ourselves. And we can help others do the same. I am not afraid.

Prepping is not much of a thing these days. It has run its course as a fad. A lot of Preppers have become homesteaders. Some have become strong voices in animal management, gardening, and care of the environment. A few have gone off grid. And a small minority have become end of the world hermits.

The U.S. Election in 2016 oddly killed off the Prepper movement from public view. Frankly, that’s odd to me, because the choice between Trump and Clinton scared me senseless. I didn’t vote for either one. I wrote in my choice. He wasn’t elected. Prepping, though, is not about presidents or congress or the supreme court. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself. Its about budgeting and being wise with your money. Its about being able to adjust to the circumstances of society and thrive.

What would happen to you if you lost your job tomorrow? What if you lost your house? What if the economy collapsed? What if something went wrong with the grid and you didn’t have access to the supermarket and were forced to rely on yourself. Could you do it? Are you sure? That’s what prepping means to me. Developing the skills and resources to be able to do more than survive a crisis. I sleep well.

ReActivate!

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Hey, I don’t know whether or not anyone still looks at this page, but I’m reactivating it. I’m going to post a variety of blogs, mostly about farming, gardening, homesteading, dogs, and budgeting/personal money management. I just realize I have a lot to say about each of these topics, and rather than having a blog for each of them, I’ll try them all here and see what happens. I know it sounds a bit weird, but that’s how I roll. Just wanted to let you know. And, I’ll be cleaning out some of the back posts. I’ll keep them for future reference. If you used to listen to my podcast, thanks. I have a new one. These episodes are shorter. the site is called Radio Free Buckie. You can find it at http://www.radiofreebuckie.com. or look it up on Stitcher.

You all are awesome. Thanks so much for reading, listening, and commenting. You Rock.

If You Think A Budget Doesn’t Work, You’re Doing It Wrong

Budget

It sounds so trite, but no one gets ahead financially without a budget. It’s like a law of nature. If you are not getting control of your money, I bet you don’t have one.
I can hear the complaints going up now. “Budgets are crap. They don’t work. I tried one once and it was a disaster.’ I believe you. But the problem was with you. You did it wrong.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people. I know what I’m talking about. Most of the time, it goes something like this. One member of the family makes a budget and presents it to the family. Usually it starts with the house and car payments, then credit cards, electricity, gas, maybe gasoline, etc. At the end, after they total everything, what’s leftover goes for groceries. And it’s usually about $25 a week for a family of four.
Even though groceries were budgeted last, they go grocery shopping early in the week and spend over $100. On Friday or Saturday, they go out to eat and blow another $60 and the budget is over.
If that describes you, don’t beat yourself up. You’re in good company. It happens to most people. The problem isn’t with budgets, you’ve just done it wrong. When you do a budget the right way, it’s much easier to make it work.
First, sit down together if possible. Even if one partner does the budget, get the other person’s buy in. If a couple are not together, it won’t work. Write the budget down on paper. Write it in pencil in case you need to erase. Don’t put it in your laptop, phone or tablet. Write it out. You’re trying to master your finances not practice your typing or software skills. Besides, writing this stuff down makes it feel more real. It really does.
I created a set of forms for my wife and I to do our budget. I had two budget forms in that set. I had a basic budget form to use while we were in debt. Then I had another one for after debt. Each of them had everything on a single page. I believed then and believe now, that if I can’t do my budget on a single page, I’m not going to do it.
Note: If you want one, I’ll send you a free .pdf of the basic form. You can make as many copies as you need. Just do one of two things, either use the Contact Us button, and ask for a budget form, or send an email to me at sam@samburtonpresents.com. Make sure you include your email address.
The method to doing a budget begins with a 4-category plan. It’s that simple.
1. God. I really believe that unless we give first, before we spend, we’ll never get control of our funds. B and I are Christians. We believe that God gets the best of the first and the first of the best. We give 10%. We started with 5% because our debt load was so bad. I’ll tell that story later. If you don’t believe in God, I urge you to consider Him. Feel free to email any questions you have, and I’ll try to answer them. But, find a charity, some cause you believe in and give.
2. Food. You’ve got to eat. You’re going to eat. If you don’t you’ll starve. And if you don’t eat right you’ll be unable to function properly at work. If you’re in debt, make it a basic budget. Don’t be buying T Bones and Lobster if you owe big car payments and Credit Card companies. Make your budget more basic until you break the debt trap. I’ll share details of how we did it in a future post.
3. Household expenses. Your family, you know, spouse, children, your dog Muffin, they all like having a roof over their heads, so budget your house payment next, followed by electricity, gas and insurance. Don’t budget things like phone bill, cable, and internet at this time. They are luxuries and don’t count yet.
4. Transportation. You must get to work to earn money. You need a car. You don’t need a car payment. If you have one right now, so be it. You have to put gas and oil in it and have it insured. You don’t need a new car. I don’t care who you are, you don’t need a new car. Go ahead, argue with me, but you don’t need one.
These 4 things occupy what I call your perimeter. These things are the must haves. And they should be budgeted in this order. These are must haves. Netflix is not a must have.
If you will begin your budget with these items, in this order, you’ll be way ahead of the rest of the pack. And, like I said earlier, just contact me if you want my basic family budget form absolutely free.
You rock. You can totally win.