Clearing the AIr on Anti-biotics and Homesteaders, Smallholders and Consumers

Clearing the Air on Antibiotics and Homesteaders, Smallholders and Consumers

Surprisingly, based on written and verbal responses, most of the readership of Catholic Rural Solutions, brusquely failed to understand fully the ultimate ramifications of my last posting of March 21, 2017 entitled Danger… Smallholder… Danger.


In most cases it is because many of the readers are suburban or even urban dwellers who have little experience with animals but have a genuine interest in such matters. Indeed, some have never even had dogs or cats and experienced the costs associated with the care of these animals. There are many regulatory statues on the local, county, state and federal levels that impose ever increasing fees, to say nothing of feed costs, housing and other requisite costs of keeping livestock. As an example, just to keep a dog in the Northeast the costs of clearing the regulatory hurdles for inoculations required is easily anywhere between $200 – $300 per year depending on local, county and state mandates.

Now consider the smallholder or farmer who sells to the public… he faces much more expensive scrutiny with the resulting immodest fees imposed by varying agencies at all branches and levels of government. This says nothing of incidental cost of doing business. Did you know, for instance, to sell at most farmer’s markets it is necessary to maintain separate liability insurance just to cover sales solely within the farmer’s market? When I originally tried to sell the honey produced by Hunny-Bunny Farm at the local farmer’s market the insurance would have been $300 and that is just for one season/year. Add to that the season for honey production is limited and the majority is produced in the late summer or early fall, say perhaps 3 weeks. Since insurance costs are not pro-rated, that would mean that each bottle of honey sold would have to include the insurance costs spread over the time period of 3 weeks. The farmer’s markets also add fees in the form of table/space rental.

To the above costs let’s consider market demand of only “natural and organic” feeds, (which, despite the labels on the packaging, you can never be certain of). This feed runs, on average, an additional 33% of the ordinary feed costs. So while I buy a 17% protein feed from the Ag store for the rabbits at $16.99 + tax per 50lbs. bag, the cost of buying so-called natural and organic could be anywhere between $23.99 to $29.99, plus tax depending on the retailer. This 50lbs. bag lasts about two weeks.

Another emerging market demand is self-styled “cruelty free” or free-range environments; this means that more land must be freed up to allow roaming to all animals. Needless to say for backyard smallholders this is not an option. Also one man’s definition of free-range, cruelty free is not the same as another. So I predict in future this will also be mandated by the Nanny-State.

To all the above add the newly imposed mandate by the autocratic FDA on the use of medical antibiotics. Now if you have a cow that is sick or a rabbit with a serious injury you cannot treat it yourself on farm, but must consult a veterinarian who most likely will demand, (based on liability) to see the animal personally, regardless of whether that means a road trip to the farm or the transporting of the animal to the vet. It also entails testing and treatment, and maybe even overnight, or longer quarantining and isolation of the infected animal. Such fees can easily be prohibitive, thus forcing many, many smallholders and farmers to cease operations.

As stated in my previous post cited above, I have always been opposed to treatment with antibiotics as a prophylaxis against potential infections. I also oppose antibiotics against every sniffle and sneeze of both humans and animals, (yes, animals do also sniffle and sneeze). However, it is shortsighted and unwise to condemn all use of antibiotics in one broad stroke. Smallholders, farmers and other husbandry men have the most to lose in the treatment of disease and infection. The free use of medicinal antibiotics has never been a problem with smallholders because the care of the livestock is foremost in their thoughts. Sometimes alternative and natural antibiotic means are not sufficient for the situation at hand and recourse to allopathic antibiotic is necessary and prudent.  The cost of antibiotics is also another limiting factor, so any use would is subject to prudence.

The Consequence of it All

In consideration of not only all the above, but also my original posting and most importantly the YouTube video cited there in and repeated below for convenience, the overwhelming costs will have a deep impact in the consumer market.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy-theorist, (just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you ), I believe in view of all the Nanny-State’s past and current Famers Plightattempts at over-regulating smallholders, farmers and homesteaders out of business, they will have a cumulative and detrimental effect on consumer choice. It essentially is collusion, whether willful or not is yet to be seen but likely so, between Big-Ag, Big-Pharma, other mega-corporations and the government to control food production and thus control people. In the end, we the consumers will be required, through lack of choice and onerous legislation, to buy only commercial products laced with hormones, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, prophylactic antibiotics, GMO’s and other damaging additives.

In conclusion, I urge the readership to suspend what they previously believed about the use of antibiotics and perform due-diligence, first by watching the video, then by reading books, taken from the public library, on animal husbandry and small farming, then by visiting local community type farms and smallholders; understanding their needs and concerns before making sweeping judgements of the right use of antibiotics. This is not to only to see the plight of small farms but more importantly to protect your right, as a consumer, to pure unadulterated food. This is in your own best interest.

Remember to pray the Rosary daily for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the above and other incremental steps are leading more and more to a catastrophic conclusion.

Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.

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Danger! …Smallholder… Danger!


Danger! …Smallholder… Danger!

Clearing the Smoke and Mirrors of Illusion from the New FDA Antibiotic Regs.

As most of the long-time readers of Catholic Rural Solutions Blog know I’ve long advocated some regulations regarding antibiotics in animal feeds and personally avoid all such feed for my livestock. However, new FDA regulations, while lauded by the pretentious and largely ignorant elitist Wholefoods-type clientele as good, natural and organic, actually  further limits not only the freedom and independence of the small farmers and homesteaders; it impacts directly on you the individual consumers.

Most smallholders, farmers and homesteaders are acutely aware that it is important to go as natural as possible on their farm, if not on principle, certainly based on market demand. Here at Hunny-Bunny, while not a classical farm, (we might be better classified as a backyard hobby venture), we too feel the impact of onerous regs. However, these new regs have tremendous effects not only on expenses but also on the lives of the livestock as well. As a personal case in point, two of my buck rabbits, (males) unexpectedly, (because they were littermates), got into a bloody fight in which one buck literally scratched the eyes out of his fellow rabbit. [Aside: See, I told you rabbits are not the cute and cuddly Disneyesque critters they are projected to be!] To relieve pain, promote healing, prevent infection and more importantly save the rabbit’s life, I was forced to use some antibiotics I had on hand. I used an ointment that I, personally, had used when I had an eye infection early this winter. Additionally, I used some doxycycline tablets that were left over from a previous dog’s secondary infection when he was dying.  This I dissolved in the buck’s drinking water. To be sure I had enough antibiotic meds on hand I went to Tractor Supply Corporation for some tetracycline, as the rabbit’s severe injuries would warrant long recuperative care. It was here that I was informed of the new FDA regs, which took place in January, 2017. These regs meant that smallholders such as, small farmers, backyard husbandmen (as myself) and homesteaders, would need to engage the services of a veterinarian even for cases as mine which previously could be handled at home with the purchase of over the counter antibiotics from agricultural supply stores like Agway and TSC. This adds a needless cost on folks already hard-pressed when running a smallholding. After all, the vet would follow the same procedures as I; that is, debride and cleanse the wound, soften the tissue where possible with warm saline solution, flush with clean and sanitized water, administer antibiotic ointment and give internal antibiotics, which in the veterinarian’s case would likely be through faster acting injection. The major difference would be in the cost. My cost for tetracycline and saline solution would be approximately $12 – $15; while the vet fee could amount to 10 to 20 times that amount… or more. So how do you justify such a cost for a $20 rabbit? Indeed, without over the counter agricultural antibiotics the small farmer can’t survive for long and consumers would be subject to BigAg as more and more smallholders’ foldup shop.

So while the misinformed and ignorant, mostly urban and suburban consumers with little to no knowledge of animal husbandry, see these new regulations as a forward step by the natural and organic movement; in reality it is simply another attempt by the Nanny-State to wrest freedoms and independence from we, the small folk.

There are other facets to this which would require a long essay for which I don’t have time at the moment as I have to attend the injured buck. Suffice to say that you must, must view the following YouTube video to see the full ramifications of this their surreptitiously enacted regulations. Also bear in mind that these are regulation of a government agency, which can unilaterally set them, and not legislation that was acted on by our representatives. It is a covert holdover from the sneaky and devious Obama administration over which Trump will have little to any sway.

Here is the web citation:

Please, please watch this short video so that you may understand the complete effects of these FDA regulations which effectively mix truth and lies not only in their intention but also in their implementing. Pass it around and encourage others to see it. This is vital… as this is another form of mission creep by a socialist agency.

Continue to pray the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart… time is running short.

Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.

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Ya Flea-Bitten Varmint…

Ya Flea-bitten Varmint…

I’ve been an advocate of Do-It-Yourself, Back-to-the-Land, smallholding for many, many years… decades even. I’ve gardened since I was knee-high under the sage and experienced advice of my favorite Uncle Henry, that is, Uncle Hen, as he was affectionately known. I’ve put-back, processed, preserved and otherwise stored a variety of vegetables, grains, bulbs, herbs and even flowers from one growing season to another. I also have literally scores of reference books and saved magazines like the old Organic Gardening and Farming and Mother Earth News from their heydays of the 1970 – 80’s and yet there is very little advice or experience as to what to do about varmints, vermin and other nuisance critters and pests, most especially the fur-ball kind like mice, voles and rats.

I’ve also long wondered if all the books, magazines, videos and blog-spots wish merely to yosemitedepict the bucolic and pastoral side of the Back-to-the-Land and smallholder lifestyle in order to sell, …well… books, magazines, videos and blog-spots. Things like the nitty-gritty of mucking stalls and pens; shoveling smelly and gooey poop from various livestock, dealing with the death of same and dispatching and processing livestock are glossed over at best and completely ignored at worst in most publications and videos. Yet these chores are an intrinsic part and parcel of homesteading, self-sufficiency, smallholding, or whatever other romantic sounding name you will apply.

By far the most egregious oversight is the subject of vermin, especially rats. Despite all the resources at my disposal, there is little to no info on vermin-control aside from a cursory treatment of it such as how to ward off or discourage them. It is equivalent to hanging garlic to ward off the mythological vampire without a description of how to destroy one. Thus the information is incomplete and largely useless. Why is that?

Also, why does mankind have such a visceral hate of these critters?  Perhaps there is an instinctual aversion on the part of mankind to rats, snakes, spiders and other denizens of the darkness stemming from the collective consciousness of humanity caused by millennia of these critters causing disease, suffering, death and destruction throughout human history.

Be that as it may, I’m here to tell you, despite the stroll through herbaceous borders that homesteading is presented as, wherever you have barns full of grain and feed for livestock you have vermin… mice, rats, voles, snakes, maggots, etc. It is a harsh reality of country life. Indeed, even in cities these hangers-on of human habitation are to be found wherever man calls home. I’ve even seen NYC subway rats, known as Norway rats, as big as the average sized housecat neatly traversing the tracks and nimbly avoiding the third rail. Indeed, I can tell the many tales of these Norway rats in New York City, even horribly attacking tenement folks in the middle of the night as related by Uncle Hen who was a City Housing Inspector in some of the worst slums in Harlem and the South Bronx… but such yarns are not for the faint of heart and squeamish.

To most folks, a rat is a rat, is a rat, but here in the country we predominantly have Allegheny Woodrats and Eastern Woodrats, otherwise known as pack rats. While there appears to be a commonality between the two types the mitochondrial DNA indicate that the Allegheny Woodrats are a different species entirely. In both cases, the woodrats are supposedly in decline within the Northern most reaches including New England. However, in my neck of the woods, if you will pardon the pun, they have appeared to be as numerous as ever. Like most wildlife their abundance and influence varies from year to year, depending on factors like weather, forage, and the increase or decrease of their natural predators. This year’s appearance seems to have originated in the woodlands that surround Honey-Bunny Farm; where they are ever present and kept under control by the foxes, owls and other predators. They started in the garden during the mid-summer, migrated to the hen-yard; and subsequently moved onto the aviary / rabbitry.

Their sojourn to the aviary / rabbitry coincided with the onset of the cold weather in late November early December of 2016 and here they settled in for the winter. Unfortunately, their raids did not end with grains and seeds, but with the absolute predation of my quail. They reduced the quail flock from 14 quail to 5 remaining birds which I now house in the basement pending resolution to the problem. Unusually, but not unheard of, woodrats will consume meat if it is opportune… and defenseless caged quail were a smorgasbord for them.

So here we are in a standoff of a battle that is going on 7 weeks. While initially, I seemed to have snap-trapped many; my troubles were not behind me as rats are intelligent creatures that learn quickly. That is the one of the primary reason they are used in labs for their ability to learn and adapt. Indeed, research indicates a type of intelligence known as the g factor and though many experiments have indicated a distinct learning nature, the results varied so that overall they are inconclusive. From my experience rats quickly learn that traps equal death. Despite soaking successful used traps in bleach water, after one or two uses these traps are useless; the same with various baits. I’ve learned, as well, that traps that have been successful cannot be used on the current generation of rats, but can be used on the next successive inexperienced group.

By the way, there used to be an extremely effective pesticide from D-Con that used warfarin as a poison. Mixed with oatmeal or peanut butter, once ingested it caused internal bleeding and the rats would seek water outdoors and die. Warfarin is the same chemical used in Coumadin, a blood thinner for humans with heart and hypercholesterolism. Tree-hugging animal rights people managed to get the EPA to ban the product and now the only poisons are so watered down as to merely serve as Hors d’oeuvres for these pests. …they are completely ineffective.

So onward the battle rages with my having to come up with innovative and novel means of warfare, including stuffing dry ice into their tunnels after a liberal salting with mothballs. Since dry ice, (CO2), is heavier than air, the evaporation will cause the carbon dioxide to settle low into the nests bringing with it an overwhelming waft of mothballs effectively gassing the pests. In combination with traditional snap and sticky traps this should eliminate the problem or at the very least reduce the infestation. Time will tell so look forward to more to come in this regard.

ratsOf course, in some cultures rats are eaten as ordinary fare. …Hmmm… perhaps with a fine Chablis!?!? Naw!

Meanwhile, it goes without saying, continue to say the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

If you’ve enjoyed this little narrative or have gained some information from this or other articles in Catholic Rural Solutions at: Go to this blog please rate and comment.

Richard of Danbury, D. S. G.

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The Bronx… An Obscure Root of the Russian Revolution

The Bronx… an Obscure Root of the Russian Revolution

trotskyBelieve it or not…   it is an historical fact that one of the most notorious and ruthless leaders of the infamous Red Army and a mover and shaker of the Russian Communist Revolution lived for a time in the United States. In fact, he lived within a few blocks of where I grew up in the Bronx. While his real tag, Lev Davidovich Bronstein, may not strike a chord with most, his more disreputable alias of Leon Trotsky certainly will. Trotsky, his second wife, Natalya, and their two sons arrived by ship in New York, which he referred to as a city of capitalist automatism. Trotsky, who became Lenin’s chief lieutenant in revolutionary Russia, wanted to live in a ”workers district,” so he moved his family into an $18-per-month apartment in the Bronx. A princely sum for any newly arrived Bronxite prior to the Great Depression, and clearly, by the standards of the day, an upper-blue collar area, if not white collar. The only real working classes in his neighborhood were the largely Polish and Italian Supers, that is, janitors of the apartment buildings themselves.

For a New York minute…

He stayed for nearly three months at 1522 Vyse Avenue in The Bronx. There’s some question about where exactly the Trotsky’s lived. In My Life, Trotsky gives 164th Street in the Bronx as the location, if I am not mistaken; but most other historians think Trotsky misremembered, and point to 1522 Vyse Avenue, on the corner of 172nd Street, just east of Crotona Park, as the more likely address.

Before occupying the apartment, Trotsky’s wife paid the janitor three months’ rent in advance. She received no receipt and upon moving in, Trotsky learned that the janitor had absconded with rent from several tenants. But when he unpacked boxes of belongings that he’d stored in the apartment, Trotsky found his $54 carefully wrapped in paper.

He did not mind robbing the landlord, but he was considerate enough not to rob the tenants, Trotsky wrote of the janitor. Trotsky’s sons were won over by the apartment’s amenities: electric lights, a gas stove, a bathtub, an automated elevator, a telephone and a garbage chute, known in local jargon as a dumbwaiter. In many left and Socialist articles this building was described as a tenement, but Trotsky himself worried that his sons, whom he hoped would follow in his footsteps, would become spoiled by the conveniences of the building and neighborhood.

trotskyjouseIn the distant past, Vyse Avenue, on the eastern edge of the Morrisania section, had been home to Irish, Italian and Jewish laborers and their families. His particular neighborhood of Vyse Avenue, in the northern reaches of the Soundview district was largely Jews from Europe, most especially, Poland and Russia. Nearby Westchester Avenue and the adjacent streets were home to host of stores and shops for the tenants of the area, but many catered to the predominantly Jewish neighborhood. Indeed, even as a boy I distinctly remember going to several kosher delis for the delicious garlic pickles and mouth-watering knishes. Hmmm… kosher dill pickles…☺

So, you may ask, how did a recent deportee from France, via Spain (both kicked him out for being a revolutionary socialist troublemaker), afford a relatively well to do neighborhood? Well, Trotsky plunged into the fractious, polyglot radicalism in the city, especially on the Lower East Side, where anarchists, Socialists, Communists, and others waged mostly a paper war against each other in the pages of The Call, Novy Mir (The New World), the Yiddish-language daily, Der Forverts, that is, (The Jewish Daily Forward), and the Volkszeitung. He wrote and lectured, met Socialist Party leaders and had contempt for them, read voraciously in the New York Public Library’s Slavic collection, and tried to keep abreast of news from Russia.

He was officially earning some $15 a week from his writings and lectures however; there must have been some other sustaining help for the Trotsky family as most immigrants at the time could not afford the prerequisite 3 months security deposit needed for an apartment. Indeed, most immigrants were living in “railroad” flats with pot-bellied coal stoves for heat. Some even had communal toilets and bath facilities shared with the floor or even the entire building.

While lecturing in New York, Trotsky discussed politics with Alexandra Kolontay, an expatriate Bolshevik and free-love advocate who informed on Trotsky in letters to Lenin. He also met Eugene V. Debs, the five-time Socialist candidate for the American presidency, whom he described as a sincere revolutionary. It is also likely that he had some acquaintance with Dorothy Day, before her conversion to Catholicism as both were involved in the local radical politics.

Trotsky was living in New York City when the February Revolution of 1917 overthrew Tsar Nicholas II. He left New York on 27 March. Trotsky had been in New York only a month when revolutionary uprisings began in Petrograd. Soon the Hammer and Sycle banner was flying over the Tsar’s Winter Palace. Trotsky was anxious to return home and bought his family tickets on the first available ship.

Though his stay in New York was brief, two and a half months, they were apparently memorable ones for Trotsky. He later wrote in his autobiography: Here I was in New York, a city of prose and fantasy, of capitalist automatism, its streets a triumph of cubism, its moral philosophy that of the dollar. New York impressed me tremendously because, more than any other city in the world, it is the fullest expression of our modern age. He further wrote of his departure from New York: My only consolation was the thought that I might return. Even now I have not given up that hope. Trotsky, who was assassinated in Mexico in 1940, never lived in New York again.


Little known facts about Trotsky, WWI, The Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War

  1. Trotsky’s parents were wealthy land-owning farmers in the Ukraine. These were later called Kulaks under Stalin and whom he mercilessly persecuted, striped of their wealth, and murdered.
  2. The Bolshevik leadership was mostly exiled abroad or in Siberia when the first revolution occurred. V. I. Lenin was in Switzerland, and Leon Trotsky, was in New York City.
  3. Trotsky would rise to fame as the founder and head of the Red Army and then lose a power struggle with Joseph Stalin,
  4. The family left NYC on March 27, 1917, but Trotsky was pulled off the boat in Nova Scotia and detained by the British for a month.
  5. His already tumultuous life got a lot more frenzied before ending in Mexico in 1940 at the hands of one of Stalin’s assassins.
  6. The most far-reaching agenda of the First World War was the destruction of the three remaining strongest empires—Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Ottoman—and the utter transformation of the map of Europe and the Middle East as a result.
  7. The first of these to fall was that of Tsarist Russia, which began to topple in the Revolution of February, 1917. However, the Bolsheviks did not seize power until later that year, during the Revolution of October, 1917. (The Russians were then still using the Julian calendar, date these revolutions as March and November, 1917; while the West was using the more accurate Gregorian calendar).
  8. Trotsky, then Lev Bronstein, was exiled to Siberia twice and managed to make his way back.
  9. Siberia at the time of the Tsars was:
    1. Not a collective of prisons but more of a frontier where dissidents, nonconformists and other unwanted were sent to be forgotten.
    2. Comparatively speaking it was much like our Old West, but most residence were exiles of one sort or another.
    3. There were no bars, prisons, or guards, except if you broke the local laws, in which case, you were sent to local jail.
    4. Trotsky was confined for local infractions and he was briefly jailed. It was here that he adopted the name Trotsky from a jailer.
    5. The root of the name Trotsky means defiant thus it appealed to Lev. The Revolutionaries had an affinity for pseudonyms that had a significant meaning, i.e. Stalin was from the Russian word steel, and thus Stalin was the man of steel. …and I ain’t talking Marvel Comic’s Superman.
  10. The Russian Communist Revolution was not a single event but a progression of events beginning with:
    1. The Russian Revolution of 1905, then
    2. The overthrow of Tsar Nikolai I and his repudiation of his dynasty
    3. The February Revolution,
    4. The October Revolution, finally,
    5. The Russian Civil War
  11. The Russian Civil War was fought by:
    1. The Red Army, these consisted of the Bolshevik Communists
    2. The White Army, Monarchists, and a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces that fought the Bolsheviks
    3. The Green Army was armed peasant groups which fought against all governments in the Russian Civil War of 1917–22. They fought to protect their communities from requisitions or reprisals carried out by third parties.
    4. Various foreign armies fighting on different sides, these were known as The Allied intervention was a multi-national military expedition launched during the Russian Civil War in 1918. The Americans contributed the 339th Infantry which set the tone of suspicion between the two nations for the next 70 years.
  12. After losing the struggle for power on the death of Lenin, Stalin tried to erase all memory of Trotsky from Russian history; yet there was a persistent and sizeable Trotsky following in the Soviet Union, most especially in the Red Army. Stalin knew that the only way to remove any threat from Trotsky in future was to remove Trotsky from the face of the earth. In this he succeeded by Trotsky’s receiving a mortal wound to the top of the head with an ice-pick at the hands of a Stalin assassin in 1940.

Very little commemoration remains of this staunch Marxist in the former Soviet Union any longer; except in the West where his posters are ubiquitously found in nearly every college dorm beside that of another bloodthirsty Marxist killer Che Guevara. This however, is largely for the show of adolescent rebellion rather than real political ideology.

So above is another tidbit of trivia from myself, The Font of Useless Information as I’ve been called. Yet perhaps there is a lesson to be learned about the obscure roots of revolution and how something seemingly innocuous can have lasting reverberations throughout history.

Meantime, lets continue the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart to assure that the errors of Russia and the legacy of Trotsky will not once again proliferate.

I urge the readership to rate and comment on this and other articles on Catholic Rural Solutions. Also spread this and other articles among your like-minded friends and family.

Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.



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In our times there is much confusion about almost every aspect of living day to day. Time was when things seemed more stable, for instance, in employment. Back in the day when you joined a company it was usually for life… barring something egregious you might have done like punching-out a co-worker, dating the bosses daughter, or pilfering company money or property etc. Generally speaking, when hired out of college, or even in those days high school, you could count on being employed by a company until retirement at age 65, with all the fat medical, and retirement benefits to tide you over until death. Today, however, the average worker can expect to have at least eight to ten different jobs with different employers. Additionally, some statistics indicate that the average worker can expect “career” changes at least three times or more in his lifetime. While there is little that any of us can do to change this situation, this article will help to dispel some of the confusion over another important area of our everyday lives… food expiration dates.

Food expiration, much like the terms of natural or organic, are among the cloudier elements of everyday living, which on the face of it, have powerful implications for health of the average consumer.  Food, as a once living thing, has a certain but variable perishable quality. Perishable meaning, of course, the time before purification begins to set in.  This is so variable depending on the item, storage method, time, etc. that it is difficult to place an exact date on when a food item is still safe to eat, even for the same items. This is also why, much to the surprise of the average consumer, the government has not place mandates on food expirations.

In the 1970’s consumers began to wonder about the safety of their foods and so producers in order to show sensitivity to their customer’s needs began a voluntary system of food labeling indicating what really amounts to a vague food quality system, though it truly does not meet the need of knowing when food is safe or not. Until that time, generally, most folks relied on the “sniff and view” test. This system of labeling is now so widely known and accepted by consumers that many think that it not only is a mandate of the Nanny State, but also, an absolute guide to food safety, which in both case is a misunderstanding.

Rather the system is a custom of the trade, so to speak and not an out-and-out law, code or mandate. Manufacturers, producers, wholesalers, and marketers voluntarily label their products to show more the optimal quality date rather than the food safety date.

So for better understanding below find what most producers generally, (but not always) mean by the terms that most consumers think of as “safety dates”.

Aside: It’s amazing how times change the terms and words we use. Back in the day, a “safety date” was the girl who really liked you but whom you merely thought of as a friend. She was held in reserve so that you would always have a date for Saturday night.

Sell By, this is mainly for the guidance of the grocer to indicate a last date to sell the item; this is strictly for optimum quality and does not imply food safety or even that food beyond this date is “bad”.

(Best) Used By, this is targeted to the consumer to indicate optimum quality and by no means indicates that the item is unsafe to eat. So once again it revolves around the producers reckoning of top quality.

Expiration Date, here again we have another quality criterion rather than a food safety date. This guide although mostly for the grocer can be used as an alternative to Sell By

There may also be other designations used by producers since this is a voluntary system and does not require specific labels or terms. Additionally, these terms and others vary widely according to the area, region and State. In general, though the terms above are targeted to either consumers or grocers although consumers wrongly use it as a reference of food safety.

On average, since these terms are more an indication of freshness and optimum quality it is usually safe to consume most items beyond the dates indicated. The use of the old “Sniff and View” test is largely adequate to determine when to chuck something of not, often under the guise of better safe than sorry. (see note on Botulism below for exceptions)

owewwThe bottom line is that the quality assurance dates on the labeling is just an indicator of freshness and optimum quality and not safety. Since products vary on freshness you must do the research to determine the maximum safety date beyond expiration for each and everything you consume. As I’ve been wont to say, the only way to be sure of the freshness and safety of any food for your family’s consumption is to grow, harvest, process and store you own vittles. Otherwise you are just transferring responsibility for your health to a third party who may not have a vested interest in your family’s well-being and health.

The above information while valuable to all consumers is of especial use to so-called preppers and other folks who store food for long term. Time was when all folks, not just preppers, had a larder to help them get through the winter. While not as convenient as today’s 24 hour shelf stock inventory of the modern Superette, it was also a guarantee of availability regardless of world, weather and political conditions.

A Word about Botulism

Never, never under any circumstances use canned products that are swollen, cracked, rusted or otherwise compromised. Treat them as if they contained the bacteria Botulism, Clostridium botulinum. Botulism can neither be detected by sniff or view, or even by taste. Always assume that such cans described above already contain this deadly bacteria, even when they seem to pass the “Sniff and View” test. Too many people have died to take a chance eating such food.

As always remember to continue to pray the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text and information, are presented here for general information purposes only. Always seek professional medical advice -in other words you should always review any information carefully with your professional health care provider.

Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.

Posted in Economics, Homestead | Leave a comment

The Legend of Prester John

The Christian Legend of Prester John

prester-johnOf long forgotten contemporary Catholic memory is the Legend of Prester John, an alleged Christian Monarch of the Orient. The word prester is said to be a corruption of the word presbyter, meaning alternately presider or priest depending on the times and the interpreter. Be that as it may, the story of Prester John is a blending of remote history, myth and legend culminating in a Christian character of immense and epic proportions; an inspirational hero who inspired not only Crusaders but many Oriental missions of actual revered saints.

Prester John has the distinct honor of being the embodiment of not only a priest but also a powerful earthly king. Legend has it that he is a descendent of the Three Magi, whose offspring intermarried with the ultimate progeny of a great Christian Monarch of the East. The tales go on to say that he was a convert and disciple of St. Thomas, the Apostle of India and is therefore regarded as the King of India, not only in legend but in some dubious historical documents. To make matters even murkier, the Middle Ages European only had a vague notion of geographical India and no concept of the historical area of India as we now know it to be. Some contemporaries of the time thought India consisted of either a part or a whole of a vast geographical crescent extending from the Ukraine through Georgia, down through modern India and even across the Arabian Sea to Ethiopia, the legendary home of the Wise Man, Balthazar. Balthazar according to further legend is the “Black-skinned Magi” who offered the Myrrh to Our Newborn Lord Jesus Christ. At the time, Ethiopia was called Saba, (often associated with the Biblical Land of Sheba).

Amazingly, the figure of Prester John seems to have existed in all ages from the time of the Apostle Thomas until and beyond the Crusades of the Levant, that is, the Middle East Crusades for the Holy Land.  Most, both now and today, don’t believe he, as a great Christian monarch, was preserved from aging, but merely his legend pops up in each succeeding generation. Needless to say, most today see him only as a legend and an inspirational Christian character. That said, many Christians over the centuries were moved in their actions by this great Christian monarch.

St. Francis Xavier was so certain that there existed in the Orient a true Christian Monarch that he embarked on his Providential Missions to the East with a notion of meeting and allying himself with him so that the entire world, through this Monarchs temporal power, might know and believe the Catholic Faith. St Francis’ initial mission field was India, where he hoped to meet the Catholic King of India. His conversions here were only moderately successful because his subjection to Lady Poverty, as well as, his ministering and “touching” the untouchables met with great resistance from the Brahman nobles.

He then ventured to Japan, via Malacca, where met a noble Samurai who regaled him with the feats of a Great Emperor of his homeland, Nippon or Japan as it is now known. Surely he thought, this could be the Great Monarch of the East; or at least a stepping stone in Christianizing the Orient. On arrival in Japan, he soon realized that his pauper and dowdy presentation off-put the Lords and Emperor of Japan. He therefore, invoked not only his Papal Representation but also his Commission from the King of Portugal, John I, to give the idea he was a peer. Adopting a religious habit more closely resembling the raiment of Japanese lords and rulers, (albeit black) he was more easily accepted and was able to expand within Japan, and influence many to true conversion, most especially of the commoners. However, he soon realized that the Emperor of Japan was largely a figurehead for a continuously battling nobility who vied for ultimate temporal power with little regard or devotion to the true Faith. He therefore reasoned that since the Japanese culture was largely and offshoot of the Chinese that the Great Monarch of the Orient must be somewhere in the vast reaches of China.

In China he was met with a widespread xenophobia of all Western culture and religion by the Chinese. The great lords of this country were largely interested in limited trade with the West and disregarded, ignored and largely mistrusted the strange religion of the foreigners. He did have many conversions among the people themselves and he might have made great inroads for the Catholic Faith only God saw fit bring him home. At any rate, while his missions to the Orient are fairly successful with still many Catholic Faithful today ascribing their conversion all the way back to him, he never did discover the Great Christian Monarch of the Orient.

Others, through the history of the West have also been given inspiration by the Legend of Prester John; the later Crusaders being an example. After the Second and Third Crusades many European kings, monarchs, and Emperor were very reluctant to undertake another retaking of the Holy Land for Christ largely due to the overwhelming expense.  Seemingly spontaneously the Legend of Prester John once again revived giving new motivation for the possibility of The Great Christian Monarch of the Orient aligning with the Roman Catholic Faith.  This would not only mean the vanquishing of the Saracens but also the possibility of uniting the world in the One, True Faith. However, that said, the “rest is history” so to speak and we all know the results of the final Crusades and their effect on Western History.

With the smallness of the contemporary world and the advances in modes of travel and communications the Legend of Prester John and our hopes for a temporally Catholic world have ostensibly vanished. Possibly such hopes may have transferred to the private revelations of the prophesied Great Catholic Monarch to come near the end times. Or perhaps they are merely vague references to the enduring Legend of Prester John. Maybe, just maybe, we can combine both of these hopes with the possibility of Vladimir Putin being the long awaited Great Christian Monarch of the Orient, that is, the contemporary revival of the Prester John legend… ☺. This, of course, is offered by my wry sense of humor and as an inside joke for some of the readership who know me personally.

So in conclusion, for the Catholic we await our salvation not by the exploits of some legendary or prophesied future Monarch but in the promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Therefore, please continue to offer your daily Rosaries for Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Here is where our hope and recourse truly lie.

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Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.

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The Polarizing Effect

The Polarization of the USA and Other Western Nations

The sensational Trump landslide in both the popular and electoral vote along with the resulting melodramatic response from the left has made it evident to even the casual observer that the American political differences are not simply matters of ideology but in reality go far deeper than earlier times in our history. The contentions we are witnessing express a hostility and belligerence that is noteworthy to say the least. So palpable is this it is even splitting families and friends along political and ideological lines. No matter, however, how apparently new this bellicosity appears it has been long in the making.

Since the revolutionary decade of the 1960’s our culture has been undergoing a foundational and fundamentally radical change… a Socialist Metamorphosis, if you will. In all spheres of our Western Culture: political; ideological; social; educational; religious; cultural; etc., drastic Socially Left concepts have crept into our society and in most cases have become institutionalized by both law and custom. Divorce, abortion, Sodomy, cohabitation, working wives and moms, day-care, the loss of Faith, exotic educational concepts such as Common Core, socialized medicine, and many other things have not only been implemented but largely embraced by the man in the street.

All of this has created a dichotomy that is the perfect environment for Trump’s election to the Presidency and the overreaction of the Left. Despite being largely responsible for Trump’s win, many of those under the age of 55 years old today have only a vague notion of conservative values. They lack the firsthand knowledge and experience of those gone before. They know the music, so to speak, but don’t know the lyrics, to use a poor metaphor. This creates in them a blind spot that often makes it difficult for them to justify their stance within themselves, to say nothing of being able to utilize apologetics effectively when confronted.

While we can debate the reasons why the Revolutionary 1960’s were so successful, I believe we can all agree that some combination of: the education system, television, and the news media are at its heart. However, an interesting aspect of the Election of 2016 is the polarization of the urban / suburban areas vs the rural sections of the nation. Country cousins were and are mostly red states, arguably because they work closer to nature on farms, fields, and forests for either work or recreation. This close relationship with nature, the handiwork of God, teaches them that things are not just handed to you but that you must work and work hard for them.

A second feature is that many of the Trump constituency is made up of blue-collar workers, sons of fathers who maned the mines, factories, and mills and knew the value of honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. These contemporary workers are the ones whose jobs have vanished overseas and who have suffered under misguided programs and schemes of the government, Republican or Democrat. They’ve seen our nation’s sovereignty eroded in favor of a New World Order, which will leave them with no jobs and subsistence living in the Land of Opportunity. Their reactive approach with some skill from the incoming administration could easily be transformed into a proactive force that will restore not only our sovereignty but also our industrial and financial strength. I digress, however.

The most remarkable contrast between the Urban / Suburban vs the Rural contrast is the mentality of the City Cousins. While they may have an intellectual knowledge of where their sustenance comes from, practically speaking milk comes from the shelf of the grocery store and not from the udder of a cow; they crave natural and organic foods but don’t realize the near Herculean task it is to grow it. They haul their trash to the curb and don’t fully appreciate what a personal burden it is to dispose of their own waste. They cavalierly flush the john with little if any thought about what happens after it lease the four walls of the toilet. In short, these people live life in an Ivory Tower with no worries unless there is a trash haulers strike or  a blackout; even then it becomes merely a short-term adventure.

ny-mentalityYet, despite their “charmed” living, they look down on the rest of us as deplorables simply because we wish to live a hard working honest life. It is like we only exist on the periphery of their vision and only as a nuisance. It is the epitome of the “New Yorker” mentality. To me this New Yorker image, even growing up in NYC, always revealed a level of arrogant ignorance beyond belief, yet to them is was a symbol of their intellectual superiority. What an outrage!

The ancient Chinese curse says: may you live in interesting times, and the next four to eight years will prove very interesting indeed. This most especially as we move into the 100 year commemoration of the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima with still no Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Misguidedly folks the world over think that if they become more conservative politically and socially all will be well again, when a simple request by the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth is abandoned. Such a simple request, still not met, will clearly produce dire and catastrophic effects if not heeded. Pray for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart… it is not too late to do so.

Richard of Danbury, D.S. G.



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