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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

How many of you get junk mail on a daily basis? Or newspapers, bills you pay on-line, catalogs, magazines or any other thing that is made of paper and you can recycle? Junk mail drives me crazy as well as catalogs that I don’t request.  If I ordered your product on-line, why do you think I will look through a catalog that you send?  I don’t, they immediately go in the recycle bag.  When we get enough, we shred it and put it in the garden as a ground cover to keep weeds down and it breaks down rather quickly and helps the soil.  When we have more than we need for the garden, it will go in the compost pile.  Jimmy just made me a new (and BIG) compost area.  We have corn shucks, cobs, tomato cores, and other left overs from all the canning/dehydrating, freezing we have done from the garden, next will come leaves and chipped sticks/limbs and one day soon, we will have beautiful soil to add to the garden.

We have shredded almost 8 huge bags for the garden alone this year and it has also helped with holding moisture in the ground instead of it evaporating.  That has been a huge deal this summer while it has been significantly dry once again.

What is the recycling saying, “Turning trash to cash”, well that is what we are doing because our grocery bill has been reduced greatly this summer and I have tons of food dehydrated, waiting for cooler weather cooking.

So the next time you complain about junk mail, save it, take it somewhere that has a cross-cut shredder and enhance your soil or check your office to see if they are trying to get rid of shredded paper.  You might be surprised how much it helps your garden, whether it is vegetable or flower.  One word of caution, if it has colored ink, sometimes it contains metals, which if you add manure (especially poultry) it will break down the metals and make it safe for your vegetable garden.

Happy composting everyone.

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We had so much rain last week and Thursday and Friday were the worst, massive flash flooding everywhere and no where to play outside because of all the rain. Saturday it sprinkled early in the morning and then turned into a beautiful day. Aunt Sha-Sha came out to play with the kids at Nanny and Papa’s while Mommy and Daddy worked on a garage sale project (later in June, lots of clothes and other stuff for sale). They decided to get the stroller out and take Ryker for a walk down the driveway and back. He enjoyed it because he was outside and moving around. Brock had to push because he is the big brother. Nanny was able to snap some pictures of them coming back up the driveway.

Hope you are finding something wonderful to do while we are blessed with all this rainfall.

 

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After last summer’s drought, God saw a need for rain in our area.  Most of the irrigation lakes were dry or just a small mud hole that couldn’t be pumped anymore, we had a shortage of hay for livestock, the harvest wasn’t anything like the previous years.  Luckily we have a living well on our property and were able to water our garden all summer and our bounty was plentiful.

Winter came and we saw very little snow until February and then for several weeks we had so much snow, I didn’t think we would ever see green grass again.  Some of you know me well enough to know I love to mow grass, it is my time to sing God’s praises (don’t judge me if you drive by and hear me singing!!), sometimes I have ear buds in and singing along with a certain hymn or if it just pops in my head, off I go.  I thought I wasn’t going to ever get n the lawn mower this spring with all that late snow.

The good thing, everyone kept telling me, was it was putting moisture back in the ground.  My response was rain will do the same thing and I would get to see my green grass growing.

I think God was trying to please everyone, so he gave us lots of snow and now we have had lots of rain.  Thursday night and Friday of last week (end of May), we had over 5 inches in less than 48 hours!  The irrigation lakes were already full before this so now most of them are overflowing (really didn’t think we would see that this spring!).

We had places in Callaway County flood that I am not sure have ever been flooded, but I think it was because of the volume of the water coming so quickly, by Friday night, most of it had receded and people were able to drive on those roads again.

Yes, this year has been a struggle to keep the grass mowed but it has been worse for the farmers.  Many of them are not finished with corn planting yet and are frustrated because last year they started planting on March 15th.  This years we still had snow on the ground on March 15th, with more to come.  The hay crews and farmers are frustrated because they have not been able to cut and bale yet this year.  When it dries up, be very careful out on the roadways, many of these guys/gals will be impatient to work and move equipment from one field to another.

Oh and the tornadoes, they have been very bad this year.  Of course, the weather forecasters talked about a quiet May and then what happened.  I can’t even begin to fathom the despair of the people of Oklahoma!  I know those in Joplin MO understand and sympathize with them.  Then Friday night, another outbreak not very far from the devastation last week.  AND one touched down in the county just to the east of us.  Prayers for everyone in Eastern Missouri as well.

So to all the farmers out there, God saw your need and has rewarded you.  Here is hoping the rest of spring is a little drier and you can do what you do so well, prepare  to help feed the world again this year.  And I can get back to mowing and working in my garden.  By the way, a raised bed fares so much better in all this wet weather.  I love it.

Happy spring and may you continue to receive God’s blessings in your life.

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With the disasters that have gone on in our country lately, I feel it is time to get back on my soapbox.

First and foremost, please become better prepared.  If it is nothing more than understanding the difference between a warning and a watch and what to do in each situation.  Do you have a plan for your family?  Do they know it?  My two daughters are grown (25 and almost 30!)  and they still know if the weather is threatening, they can come home to the safe house.  We live in an earth contact house, so most of it is underground, our bedroom is the safest place in the house and they know Momma has enough food to last for several days (if it doesn’t get blown away and if it does, we are in trouble because that is one of the first things I will grab.

Do you have enough food to feed your family if there is a run on the grocery store after a disaster?  Do you have enough to share with others?  Would you be willing to share food that you have stored with others that did not prepare?  Only you can answer these questions for yourself.  Some people have strong opinions both ways and I know what I am willing to do and what I am not willing to do and in the event of a disaster, I do have a plan and it makes me feel more peaceful when those spring storms hit.

I also don’t want to tell you to jump in your car and head toward the disaster, sometimes that can cause more harm than good.  If you are down there and they don’t need you, you are taking valuable resources from those that need them.  There is usually a phone number set up to contact for donations (whether it be money or services), please contact them to see what you can do to help.  It might be more valuable for you to stay where you are and organize a local drive to take once the rescue is complete and they are in the rebuilding phase.  If you are rescue personnel, you know the protocol, please follow it.

My heart breaks for each and every person down there that has been affected by all the tragedies and was glad to hear a teacher say that she prayed.   Never underestimate the power or prayer.  It can give others comfort and peace, but know that God hears every one of those prayers.  Hug your family and friends a little tighter, call them up and tell them you love them, let them know you care.  We are not guaranteed another minute on this Earth.  My grandmother and grandfather didn’t expect to lose their oldest child at the age of 19 but they did.  My grandmother spent many years being mad at God (her words, not mine) and she said there wasn’t anything good that came of it.  She missed a lot of time basking in God’s love but came to the realization that sometimes we don’t know when we have to say goodbye so we should make the most of each day.

This time last week, we were laying to rest a beautiful soul (who just happened to be married to my cousin) and the preacher said he saw a sign that said “Choose your Attitude” and he believed that is what Susan did every day, she chose to be happy.  I noticed several people they interviewed in Oklahoma that had that same attitude.  They were grateful they were still alive and loved ones were as well.  In the midst of all that destruction, they chose to look at the positive.  If they can, how about you?  So now go back to the questions in this post and ask yourself them again.

Stay safe, become better prepared, make a plan, make sure those close to you know your plan, don’t count on others to help you out.  There is nothing more liberating than being self-sufficient when others are not.  Continue to pray for those that need our prayers (so basically everyone, everywhere) and most of all, tell your loved ones that you do truly love them.

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So I was chosen to take mental health first aid train the trainer from work and I was really excited as well as a little nervous about this task before me.

I believe the only time I have went somewhere on my own is my trip to the hospital and I guess that isn’t even true.  Jimmy drove me there.  Man, I can’t believe I am 50 years old and never been by myself on a trip before.  I always get a little anxious driving in St. Louis (but don’t tell my parents, they always ask me to drive) but if I have someone to navigate for me, I am good.  Well  I have my sweet little nav system on my phone that brought me right to the hotel on Sunday night and then on to training class Monday morning.  No problems at all!!  Not sure I could ever live without one again.  Don’t believe I will use it going home, that car can find its way home from anywhere I tell you.  Kind of like Knight Rider, only not as sporty and doesn’t usually talk to me.

So I go to class a little apprehensive because “Me, I don’t know nothing about Mental Health First Aid”.  BUT I am bound and determined to do the best possible job I can.  Class starts off with introductions and they mix it up a little, Name, organization, where are you from and (here is the mix) two truths and a lie/wish.  And as the week progresses, we are supposed to be listening for clues about which ones are the truths.

Mine are: I went back to school when I was a grandmother, I love to travel all over the world, and I am excited to be in the class even though I have never worked with Mental Health in a professional capacity.  Can you guess which one is not true?

The two instructors are very good and the have the whole class engaged in activities, one was nonjudgemental listening.  It was fun to see what everyone came up with after that exercise.  We have complete role plays, one about anxiety going over a bridge.  We were laughing because the person was such a good actress, she made it so real and we have all witnessed those things.  We played a game with questions and points and found out some of us in the class are super competitive!  We have people from Missouri, California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois

So I have now passed the Mental Health First Aid part of the class.  On to becoming an instructor!  I have turned in the test they require and presentation day is Thursday and Friday (I get to go on Thursday!)

So wish me luck and when I pass the course, contact me so I can include you in a class that I will be presenting at!

More after I get back home and Easter is over.

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In my line of work, you get to do all kinds of things, some great and some not so great!!  I love my job because it is interesting to me and there is something new every day.  As I sit here listening to people ask questions at the front desk, it is amazing to me things they ask.

Phone calls are the best, asking what the county takes care of, what is DNR’s responsibility, what does the State Department of Health and Senior Services do/require us to do.  I even had someone ask me about something and he said the rules constantly are changing, I had to tell him they hadn’t changed in over 7 years here on that specific subject and he was surprised about that.

For those of you that don’t know, I work in the Environmental Services of our local County Health Department.  We do many things, check childcare facilities (which we have many good ones in Callaway), food establishment inspections (I love visiting with these folks), lodging inspections (haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet, but soon), truck wrecks that involve food, drugs or cosmetics (worked the first one a week ago! very interesting) sewer inspections (yes we have our own county ordinance) and my stance on that is, no one wants raw sewage draining on them or their neighbors so please work to clean it up!  And we get very involved in emergency preparedness planning.

When I started college (what was it, back in 2008?!), one of our professors sent us to the FEMA website for a paper we were to write.  Little did I know, during my research for this paper, I would stumble upon the FEMA training website, which has many FEMA related classes you can take (some for college credit) and I started taking some of them.  I think I have taken somewhere around 20-25 classes at this point and have enjoyed learning about all the different aspects of disaster preparedness.  Tonight we are going to a class put on by our local county on “Emergency Shelter Food Safety”.  Sound like something a food inspector would need to know, right??  Well, I am dragging the hubby along because I am sure I will be busy doing other things during a disaster and he is an awesome cook as well and can be in charge of food if needed at a shelter.

Which leads me to the whole reason of this post!!  Late last week, we were given the opportunity to apply for Mental Health First Aid Trainer classes.  We discussed it in our department and I was chosen to go!  This is something totally new to me (well training people is not, but the mental health first aid is) and I am starting to get excited about it.  It is a week-long class and starts next Monday (April 2nd).  I know my Grandmother is very proud of me because she worked in the mental health field for some time as a psych aide at the local Mental Health Hospital.  So once I pass this class, I will be able to teach others how to deal with issues they may encounter.  Asking for prayers for this class to go well!  I will miss my family and will probably be on the phone a lot next week, checking on everyone, having them talk to me and tell me how I can do this!  Then on to schedule trainings with other instructors.  I am very excited and nervous about it.

Will keep you up to date next week!

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I can’t believe it has been almost 4 months since I started back in the work world outside of the house. And yes, I still LOVE my job. Not every day is wonderful but it is always interesting to see what is going on in Callaway County.
Sometimes, I feel we are fighting an uphill battle but you know me! I love to make sure people are following the rules (well, now I understand where my grandson and his mother get their rule following structure!) . More on that another day.
We have updated our sewer code and enacted a new food code, so we have been extremely busy in the office, doing inspections on childcare, restaurants and sewers. Later we will be doing lodging inspections. We have created new forms for our food code and updated the sewer forms. Kind of sounds like something I would do right??
Training, should I tell you about the training that I have been lucky enough to attend. Basic sewer installation, advanced sewer installation (which gave me tons of ideas for dealing with waste water if they weren’t so expensive), we went to Hannibal for CEUs for our sewer certification, one of the guys that works for DHSS trained me on child care, Kent worked with me on food inspections.  We still have several trainings this month!

There are so many advanced sewer systems that are amazing to me!  Like the subsurface drip system that you could use wastewater after it was treated basically as an irrigation system for your yard (or garden!!).  It still amazes me how many people dump their sewage right out their “backdoor” and dump everything as well and then wonder why their drinking water from a private well is bad!  When you hear e-coli is in the water somewhere, it may be because of waste from livestock but it also comes from human waste that has not been treated properly.  Too bad there is not a revolving fund that would help people pay for some of the alternative engineered technology and more systems installed.  I would love to capture the rain water from the shed, put it in a “holding tank” and set up a drip irrigation system for my garden this summer.  Not sure I can talk Jimmy into that project!  May have to wait a year or two.  Or when we win the Lottery (maybe I need to play to increase my chances).

The most pleasant surprise for me, how nice most of the daycares, schools and food establishments in Callaway County are!  Most everyone has been so pleasant and helpful, willing to work with us on things.  Everyone at the Health Department has been so helpful to me as well.  Kent has been great about teaching me so many things and makes work enjoyable.

Can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings.  Hopefully more sewers on approved systems and better understanding of why we check food establishments and those food establishments striving to improve their food service, safe/clean/wonderful settings for childcare.

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