Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Aquaponics with Ken Jensen; Episode 41: Season 2 ep 6, Without Land Chapter 6


Episode 41: Season 2 ep.6

Vince and Erika head back to the heart of the refugee camp and their home, in this chapter of Without Land. They pass various buildings along the way and Erika describes Vince's role with the communal gardens and how important these building are to both the landowner and refugee communities. Here to discuss how aquaponics systems work is Ken Jensen, producer of thecleversurvivalist.com and host of The Prepper Podcast.


Featured Quote:

"She couldn't help but marvel at how quickly their freedoms had disappeared when tragedy struck."

Aquaponics Lessons from Ken

As long as you build your aquaponics system correctly, this is an extremely viable system for long term survival. Aquaponics is a marriage of hydroponics and aqua-culture. Hydroponics cultivates plant life in a bath of nutrient rich water in stead of soil. This allows you to grow a large amount in a small area. Aqua-culture is designed to raise fish or aquadic life like shellfish, crawfish, snails, etc. This helps meet the fish demands in a safe, healthy way. Aquaponics uses fish for nutrients for your plant life. This removes chemicals filling groundwater supplies and destroying wetlands. 

There are lots of aspects to this system. The typical system has a rearing tank, which is basically a fish tank. This fish tank is big! It can be a barrel, pond or a classic tank that is large. The settling tank catches fish nutrients. The bio filter, located between the fish and the grow bed, is where the ammonia turns into nitrates for the plants. You should have a lot of surface area for the bacteria to grow. It could be a bucket with pellets or lave rocks. Having this bio filter allows for a certain margin of error. The next piece to this system is a hydroponics subsystem. This is where your plants grow. it could be a flood table, a frame above the fish tank, half barrels with open part up, or a bathtub. A sump pump is located in the lowest basin where water is gravity fed into and then it pumps the water back into the rearing tank. A water pump (usually a mag drive pump, centrifugal and submersible) pumps water from fish tank to grow bed. Finally the bell siphon, a raised pine with a bigger pipe with holes surrounding it then a bigger pipe traps air and makes it float) moves water from plants to the fish tank. 

When you add new water to the system put it in a container, add dirty fish water to it, allow it to sit about a week so healthy bacteria can grow in it before you add it to system. Alternately you can just add some pond water to it. The water will trickle feed to the hydro-table. You shouldn't have to add more water except to make up for losses. The plants grow in rocks not dirt and is more of a bare root system. 

There are many types of aquaponics systems. A deep water raft system is Ken's preferred system. In this system the plants float in Styrofoam rafts in a deep basin. Recirculating aquaponics is best for beginners because you have less chance of killing everything. There are less parts, it's cheaper, the water constantly recirculates, and the media bed mechanically filters everything. Reciprocating aquaponics is a flood and drain system or eb and flow. It's easy to build, uses a one to one ratio, is easy to maintain, and uses siphon drains. Vertical tower aquaponics uses towers to trickle feed from the top. Finally the nutrient film aquaponics uses a sloped bed of 1.1 to 1.4% grade. The flow is 1 liter per minute.

There are also many types of fish you can raise. Tilapia is the preferred fish because it is easiest to raise and yield the most meat. Silver perch, eel tailed perch, catfish, jade perch, Murray cod or any type of cod are also viable options. Goldfish are edible and they will get huge. They have many small bones but they are resilient fish. coy fish are another option. In climates that fluctuate drastically bluegill or catfish are preferred.

The pros of using aquaponics is that everything is in one place and you can go vertical for more productivity. There is more functionality for use of space and the yield is high. Some of the cons of this system is it may be difficult to maintain circulation and water temperatures. A single failure point can destroy the whole system. You will need to think about natural power and battery banks for a grid down scenario.  


A great way to set up this system would be to float your plants in a grow bed and attach ropes so you can grow your plants right in the middle of your pond. "Lagniappe" your system with a small fountain in your pond to keep the water circulating. it will spray plants and keep everything cool. It will also provide a source of relaxation while you reap the benefits.

Ken Jensen

Ken Jensen is an American, Ex-Military Patriot that is knowledgeable and experienced in Electronics and Industrial Electrical design and maintenance. Ken is also an experienced Nuclear Reactor Operator and also worked on nuclear instrumentation. He grew up hunting, camping and spending time outdoors. In adulthood, Ken has spent many years learning wilderness survival and, eventually, urban survival.

Ken is the author of a book, The Honey and The Bee and is the main author and contributor to The Clever Survivalist Blog, Survival Guide and The Prepper Podcast, Survival Podcast

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Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Tips for Planting Your Garden Using Companion Planting

Companion planting is a concept used in permaculture. The principle is this, in the wild no plants grow in beds of just one type of plant. There are always other types of plants growing with them. Most of the time it is a symbiotic relationship. They grow together because they help one another accomplish a certain growth advantage, whether that be helping to repair the soil, provide nutrients or provide bug control.

As my families permaculture journey continues we knew that this would be a concept that we would want to apply this year. Last year, during the drought here in California, we planted in rows. The weeds grew tall and once picked the plants baked in the dry soil. We also were very efficient at creating a bug oasis given that everything else around our garden was dead. Don't get me wrong we harvested all we needed for the year but we were unable to provide the assistance that we normally do for other families.

So this year we are learning and applying some of the permaculture principles to our garden in hopes of getting a better yield, having healthier plants and making our job easier because less weeds will be growing. That's right more yield and less weeds! Who could ask for more?

In this blog I am going to show you the setup that we have chosen to fit our needs. We have our own tastes and we grow the maximum amount of items that we know we can easily preserve for the year. I am sure you may want to delete some items and add some others in their stead.

Here is what our garden plot looks like and what we have planned:

This image is just one of our many gardens on our property but it is our main annual producer. We have raised beds at an alternate location on the property. I have carrots producing seeds there now. The seeds will be resown into that bed. I also have volunteer tomato (and cucumber) plants that pop up there and are good producers. That being said, we are only going to add basil, lettuce and thyme to this bed and let the annual seeds that volunteer grow up big. Research has shown that tomatoes and carrots grow well together (and they sure did last year). Plus, I found out that lettuce grows well with both of these and basil not only improves the flavor of these plants but it is also a great pest deterrent.

Moving into the main garden, my family loves corn, fresh and canned. We are increasing our corn production in a big way this year. Last year my squash and cucumbers were torched by the sun and didn't produce well at this site. Upon researching these companion plants I found out that squash and cucumbers both grow well with corn. The corn will provide them shade and a place to climb without hurting the corn plants. In the past though, I have noticed that when you plant cucumbers and squash together sometimes you end up with a weird high-breed. To avoid this, we are going to separate the two with bush beans which also enjoy growing with the corn. The corn will still be planted in rows with the ground plants staggered in between them. Having these low growing plants in between the corn will greatly reduce the amount of weeds growing in between the corn plants.

The areas marked as green rectangles will not be planted as rows but rather as a random conglomeration of vegetable plants, herbs, and marigolds (which help keep bugs away). You may notice that many of the squares contain tomato plants. We love tomatoes as well, both fresh and canned. We can chili sauce, stewed tomatoes for tomato based meals and whole tomatoes to use whenever.  While I was researching permaculture I came across the idea of spreading out your tomato plants rather than planting them in a row. This way if you get tomato worms (which we do every year) they can't just crawl down your row of tomatoes, eating as they go.

You will also notice that herbs are included in every box. This is because many herbs can be very beneficial to your vegetables. Basil make the flavor of tomatoes and lettuce better. That's why it's going up to the upper bed. Parsley is beneficial for corn and tomatoes so we will plant it by our tomatoes in the beds. Oregano, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon are good to plant with all your vegetable plants so we are going to do a mix-up of these herbs throughout.  Dill needs to be kept away from carrots so it will not be in the upper bed but we can mix it freely in the main garden.

Starting with the box on the top left we will grow two tomato plants mixed with beets and garlic. Beets don't necessarily benefit either of these plants but we had space and beets is another item that we can heavily for the winter months. In the top right box we will grow two tomatoes, eggplant and spinach. Eggplant is beneficial to tomato plants and spinach is beneficial to the eggplants. The box in the middle on the left will have mostly just potatoes in it. Potatoes should not be planted by cucumbers, as cucumbers will cause blight in late potatoes. Basil is very beneficial to potatoes as it deters potato beetles and marigolds are also very efficient at deterring bugs from potatoes so these two plant types will be the main accompaniment in this bed.

In the middle right bed we will have two more tomatoes which grow well with peppers (type is not specified but we grow green, sweet peppers). Peppers also grow well with onions and basil but we will include other types of herbs as well. In the bottom left bed we will grow onions and more beets, which are a good accompaniment, with chard and dill. All of these plants are companions. The final bed on the bottom right will have more tomatoes and beets.

I hope I have given you some food for thought for growing your own garden. If you would like to see a full list of companion plants, the Mother Earth Website has a great guide that you can print out and plan you own companion garden full of the goodies your family loves to eat and preserve. 


Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Threats of Overpopulation and You with L. Douglas Hogan, Episode 41, Without Land Chapter 5



Episode 40: Season 2 ep.5


In this chapter of Without Land, Erika muses about why the government took the steps it did to stabilize the country while she waits for Vince to conclude his meeting with Mathew. The amount of refugees coupled with the fact that the land masses have been severely decreased caused the government to take drastic measures. Here to discuss the threat our world is facing due to overpopulation is L. Douglas Hogan author of The Tyrant Series.


Featured Quote:

"Deep down, she kind of understood why this had been the government's solution to such a huge problem. The world was a very different place now."

Overpopulation Lessons from Doug

One of the biggest threats of overpopulation to the human race is demoralization. When people increase, lawlessness increases and morals are lost. Another major threat is based around supply and demand. when there are more mouths to feed you need more yield. When you increase yield there is more work to be done. More work equals more employees to do the work. More employees equals more overhead and the price for this overhead is directly payed by the consumer which drives up prices. When faced with the threats of overpopulation any environmental stresses can cause major problems to the delicate system.

Controlling population without obstructing personal freedoms is not an easy thing to do. Birth control has to be a personal choice. It can not be forced on people. Educating people about the risks of overpopulation to our planet helps them to make educated decisions about how many children they should have. Also increasing the educational levels of the female populations has proven effective. It gives women a focus on education and careers rather than having babies. Finally natural selection in the form of diseases will help to remedy the problem. 

The US government has approved Agenda 21 that was suggested by the United Nations. This radical piece of legislation suggests a voluntary population cap of 500 million people. Doug wonders how in the world we can go from 7 billion people to 500 million voluntarily. Agenda 21 is in effect today. During a recent incident in Nevada the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) posted signs that their land was a first amendment free zone. The government is not supposed to be able to control when the first amendment does and doesn't apply. In addition to this fundamental problem the BLM owns thousands of acres in multiple states and they are buying more. The government is not supposed to be allowed to buy up land at will and without a specific reason in mind.

When I asked Doug how we would be affected if we did have a disaster that caused us to lose additional land masses he did not have a positive answer. Doug doesn't believe we would be able to recover from a disaster of this magnitude and he says that we would be left with Tyrant rule at both the local and governmental levels. A scary proposition to a population already in a very fragile state of existence.

L. Douglas Hogan

L. Douglas Hogan is a U.S.M.C. veteran with over twenty years in public service. Among these are three years as an anti-tank infantryman, one year as a Marine Corps Marksmanship Instructor, ten years as a part-time police officer, and seventeen years working in state government doing security work and supervision. He is the best-selling author of “Oath Takers”, has authored four books in a series titled Tyrant, and is working on the sixth a final book of the series. He has been married over twenty years, has two children, and is faithful to his church, where he resides in southern Illinois.

Links:
Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

World War II Secrets to Live By with Gabriella Kovac, Episode 39: Without Land Chapter 4


Episode 39: Season 2 ep, 4

Description of Episode: 

In this chapter of the apocalyptic tale, Without Land, Erika meets with Mathew to discuss recent events and they argue about the current state of affairs in the United States. Here to talk to us about a true survival story of one woman who decided to survive and thrive through the horrible circumstances of World War II is Gabriella Kovac, author of Georgina Holocaust Stories.

Featured Quote:

"It is not a prison. It is a refugee safe zone."

Survival Lessons from Gabriella

Gabriella's grandfather was an amazing person who somehow forsaw what was coming. He groomed Gabriella's mother, Georgina into an exceptional person. She existed in a sort of bubble and she was convinced that nothing would harm her. 

When the Jews were instructed to wear the yellow star Georgina's mother put it on proudly. She would not hide the fact that she was Jewish. Georgina saw that these people were not being treated very well and soon her mother was ushered into a holding facility. Georgina's brother dawned a fake uniform and took his gun to the facility where he found his mother and freed her. After that they went underground. Georgina changed everything about her outwardly appearance to stay safe. She looked inside herself and found that one sparkle she could hang on to and nourish. She used this sparkle to not only survive but thrive and she developed an incite far beyond her time. 

When I asked Gabriella what the raw emotions of this kind of experience were she reminded me that she was just a small child at the time but she described it as a surreal experience. They lived in an exclusive part of Budapest by a film studio and often saw wondrous things like elephants on the way to the studio. The day that Russian tanks came down the road it was Gabriella's birthday and she thought they were headed to the studio and shooting because it was her birthday, until the neighbor came busting into their home proclaiming that her home had been riddled with bullets. Gabriella said this experience is something you never truly recover from. 

Her mother always exhibited a controlled calm. She was always well groomed and upwardly mobile. She was once arrested by the secret police for selling her paintings (which was illegal under communist rule) but she walked out of the Hungarian jail ten days later without one hair on her head displaced. The scariest day for Gabriella was the day she finally saw her mother lose control and break down because of the extreme stress of the situation surrounding them.

Gabriella doesn't really know how her grandfather saw what was coming. He had some dealings with the stock market crash in the US but for Gabriella, as a child, she didn't see the precursors that society was displaying. Gabriella reminds us that no matter what is true for society if it is not true for you it isn't true. She reminds us that we should all stick to our morals and try to do what is right no matter what is forced upon the minorities, "Always live within your own integrity."  She believes that it is not the wall outside that matters but the wall that we build within ourselves that truly matters. She states that if we can stay active mentally and physically within our own hearts we can make anything happen. The key is to be yourself and do not be influenced by outside forces set to bring you down.

Gabriella Kovac
"I was born in Hungary, just after the Second World War had drawn to a close. I lived through the Hungarian uprising against the Communists in 1956, and remember vividly Russian tanks under our bedroom window. Through the genius of my mother Georgina.My family managed to leave the Communist block and come to Australia in 1957. I am an experienced public speaker, fashion designer and cook Through out my life I have been inspired by my mother's amazing tenacity on outsmarting the Nazis and Communists and winning!. Her zest for life motivated me to write Georgina Holocaust stories." -Gabriella Kovac 

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Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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Monday, April 11, 2016

Wild Foraging - An Essential Survival Skill



Wild foraging may sound like a foreign concept to those of us from the western world accustomed to selecting from the very best produce available in the grocery store. However human being have survived for thousands of years employing this simple skill to naturally obtain food and medicine from plants that nature decided to grow. Humans helped Mother Nature along by planting certain food crops that have since become known as weeds and haven't been harvested in so long that Americans forgot they are a viable food source. It's true that wild foraging for food and medicine is a great way to ensure that you and your family are fed and healthy but there are also many psychological and entertainment values associated with this practice. Getting started in the wild foraging world is much easier than you might think. You can provide your own sense of security and fulfillment knowing you can provide food and medicine from the natural world around you.

There is a viable food source waiting for you right outside your door, you just have to know where to look. This food source does not require any planting, weeding or watering. Plus, if TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) were to come you can continue to eat from your natural world around you when others are lost wondering if something is edible or poisonous. A lot of the tasty edibles in nature we now identify as weeds and aggressively try to eradicate. For example, how many of us have cursed the dandelions growing in our green grass? While the grass looks pretty and is cool on our feet in the hot summers, the dandelions are much more useful to your dietary needs. All the parts of the dandelion are edible (as long has the neighborhood dog hasn't visited them). In addition to these weeds filling the space in our bellies, many plants from the same family will have a totally different flavor profile that will their own unique notes to any meal. For example, water cress and wild lettuce both come from the sedum family of plants but their flavors are very different.

Beyond being a great food source, wild foraging can also provide you with medicinal benefits that the western world is just beginning to tap the potential of. When you learn what plants are beneficial to different conditions a whole new way of healing is available to you. If TEOTWAWKI were to happen you can be confident knowing that there are remedies for ailments available to you without having to go to battle with your neighbors raiding the local CVS. Your reliance upon a pharmaceutical industry that destroys the natural buffers in plants to extract the healing elements and overload your body with that element often creating nasty side effects will be greatly reduced. In addition to reducing your need to rely upon an industry that seems more concerned about the bottom line of their company rather than the health of their clients, you will be providing an element to your health that is often overlooked: variety. Our diets consist of mostly the same ingredients combined in different ways, which provides us with a lot of the same vitamins.  What is the real difference between spaghetti and pizza? The way the flour is cooked? Your body naturally craves variety and a diet rich in wild foraged goodies can provide this palate and vitamin diversity.

Wild foraging is not just a food source or a medicinal cabinet, wild foraging is fun! When you walk through the woods, drive down the street or even stroll through a parking lot, the plants that created a wash of green will now be individual varieties, readily identifiable to the trained eye. Participating in wild foraging can be a welcome relief from life in a city. What a great excuse to head out into nature and enjoy yourself. But, wild foraging doesn't just happen in the country. There are many plants available to you in the city or suburbs. You just have to know what they are in order to enjoy their benefits. Kids delight in the fact that they are learning the different types of plants and which ones they can nibble on. As a parent you have to be highly vigilant and ensure that your child understands they need to ask you first before they eat anything! But, a nature walk with your child to identify plants is a great way to spend time together and it educates both of you at the same time!

Photo Album: Some photos of our last wild foraging adventure
Fun on the trail walking the dog.
Plantain a valuable plant found along the way.
Pineapple weed: a camomile substitute found along the way.



The prize we were after fiddle head ferns. Yum, yum!
Getting started with wild foraging is not as hard as you might think. However, you need to exercise extreme caution! There are many plants that have look alike species that are very poisonous. Before eating anything you need to make sure that you have that plant 110% identified without a doubt. I don't want to scare you off but you can't underestimate the importance of being careful, learning the plants, and starting very slow when you introduce a new type of plant to your diet. As always you should keep in mind any allergies that you have and listen carefully to your body.

When you get started wild foraging you need some good books to start with. I say books because the pictures in plant books are images of one plant at one time during one season. Plus, the authors are individuals as well and they might highlight different aspects of each plant. Plants are like humans and can have their own small variations, ever hear of a four leaf clover? This is a variation but it is still a clover. Plus, plants can look very different depending on the season and even the weather conditions. With multiple books you can cross reference the plant with many different sources and be sure that you have found the right one.

Books are wonderful but nothing beats a great instructor. As I mentioned books can be tough to use and phone apps (at least the ones I've tried) are even worse! A hands on instructor is priceless. Just an hour in nature with someone who is already trained will provide you with a plethora of viable options for harvesting. They already have their eyes educated to see the difference between the green and the individuals. They will be able to point out so many types of plants to you in just an hour that you will need a camera and a note pad to remember all the valuable information they can provide. Learning all these plants and their uses takes time and practice! You will need to return to an area over and over and test your skills.

When you start out wild foraging, learn the easily recognized plants first. Plants that most of us can identify already are things like dandelions, chickweed, clover, mint, blackberries and cattails. There are so many uses of just these plants! It will take time to learn recipes, harvesting techniques, medicinal values and physical uses (for example cattail leaves make great woven mats). Start exploring the easy plants to get your wild foraging juices flowing. Then you can move on to more difficult plants with the help of your books, your instructor and your curiosity.

Wild foraging provides a certain type of security and fulfillment when you know you can provide food and medicine for you and your family. It provides a viable food source that is readily available in all types of environments, whether you live in the city, suburbs or our in the country. The medicinal qualities of plants that are naturally available can literally save your life. Plus, the entertainment value that wild foraging provides and the bonding you can do with your loved ones while wild foraging are irreplaceable. Getting started is not as intimidating as it may seem so get out there and start experimenting with the food available outside your door today!

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
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