SOFFing is a system that I use to complete my goals. SOFF is an acronym for Starting, Organizing, Focusing, and Finishing a project of any size whether it is a tiny series of tasks to be completed within an hour or as we saw last week, it can be used to complete a huge project spanning a long period. SOFFing can be used on the individual project level, the daily level, and on a weekly level. It can also be done on by the month as well.

Planning the Month Begins With Where I am now 

“To discover how to get where you’re going, you have to first know where you are.”

I start my month by assessing how I did in the previous month. In May I:

*Planted the garden. and so next month I know I will be maintaining, harvesting, and canning. I will be talking more about what I plan to do gardening in my next article on my other blog: The Perpetual Homesteader.

*Research is Done on Two Rivers-in June I want to get the word count of the book up to 80 thousand words. (I currently have written 60 thousand words If I add more dialogue and more scene descriptions, I’l have the 80 thousand).

*I have made Some Progress on Organizing my House-I want to continue with a single project in which my husband and I put two sets of shelves in the master bedroom.

*Made it to the farmer’s market every Saturday in May.

*Did some marketing online with a little luck in views and book sales this is my biggest challenge for June.

“It matters less whether I meet my goals than it is that I made progress toward those goals and that I will make more progress in the immediate future.”

Cygnet Brown

My Biggest Win and My Biggest Fail (or in other words, next month’s challenge)

Biggest Win-The Garden is growing well and producing some crops.

Biggest Challenge: Online book marketing and sales.

June’s Challenge

Since my biggest challenge in May was in the area of online book marketing, I plan to make June the month where this is my primary focus. Marketing is my biggest bottleneck. If I can break through and get consistent high-dollar book sales of the books that I have already written, I will also be able to get more sales from future books as they come out.

 I have learned that some of the comments that I made on other people’s content where people asked me specific questions and I posted a link have received some hits, especially in articles that I wrote online, but not much more than that. I also found that if I used hashtags related to the subject, I get views from Twitter as well. I am thinking that perhaps I need to do more in that area. I found a system that someone else has used and will try it this month. I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of the month. Beginning later today, I am going to use it for all fourteen of my books this month.

I will post one Blog Post Per book (permanent) (every other day) be sure to include a link to the sales page on Amazon. Check out the first ten pages! Also, I will include within each post a link to the related books Locket Saga, Gardening, and Career Enhancement.

I will post two Pinterest Posts per book this month (every other day) I’ll be sure to include a link

I will post four Tweets EACH DAY for a duration of a week to THOUSANDS of followers (focusing on the book focus of that day. (28 total per book) be sure to include a link and related hashtags!

I will post four Tweets promoting each blog twice through the month-(books other than the most recent book blog created). The tweets for the first three blogs will be at the end of the month.be sure to include a link and related hashtags!

I will post to four Facebook READER GROUP Posts each day of June (one per each of the four most recent book blog posts. (Other than my own.) I will be sure to include a link to either the book or to the blog related to the book.

I will post four Facebook page posts sprinkled throughout the month for each book on my own Facebook pages (I have several). I will post on the pages on which the book is related. I will be sure to include a link.

I will save these social media posts in a Word Document so that I can easily access them for future use.

I will use Social Oomph to schedule as many of my posts as possible that way I don’t have to spend all day, every day working on this project, after all, I also have a garden, a home, a husband, a farmers market, and a house to run.

There you have it, my “S” and “O” of my SOFF of June., “the Start and Organization” for June’s goals. What are your plans for the month of June? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

At the end of the month, I’ll show you how it all played out by focusing on the challenge and how much of what I was able to finish.


One of my projects this week was to add more summer crops to my garden.

Last week, I showed you how I use the acronym SOFF to seize every moment possible from each day. I start it with a plan and organize my time and material to make the most of that day. I then focus on the planned project so that I can move forward in that area that day. Finally, I finish what I started and have focused on and determine where I will start the next day.

Not only can I SOFF projects and my days, but I can also SOFF for longer periods. This week I am going to share how I SOFF my weeks toward making the most of them.

What Do I Want to Accomplish This Week?

At the beginning of the week, I plan three big projects that I want to do that week that relate to my larger goals. I am going to use this week as an example. One of my big goals is self-sufficiency or in other words, being as prepared as possible for the worst possible situations. One of the key elements of that goal is a perpetually self-sufficient garden and this past week my goal was to get the main summer crops planted. Another big goal that I had was to finish the research from the Lewis and Clark journals for Book VII of The Locket Saga: Two Rivers. (Check out the first six books in the series Here) This next week I plan to get more into developing the plot lines from the standpoint of the characters, but for last week, my plan was to get the research finished.  The third project that I want to do this week is to get my house more cleaned and organized. This is a repeated project that if I don’t do it, life becomes less functional.

Of course, this isn’t all that is being done this week, for instance, the yard needs mowed, and grass clippings added to the garden, and perhaps the plants will need to be watered as well, particularly the seedlings. The dishes need to be washed a couple of times per day, and the laundry and grocery shopping needs to be done once per week. Also, I needed to write my two blog posts this week this one and the one for The Perpetual Homesteader.  However, by starting with these goal-oriented projects in my schedule, I am more likely to get them done by the week’s end.

Breaking Down the Larger Projects

As part of organizing my week, I break down the larger projects that I want to accomplish. Sometimes I have already broken down a project which was the case of Two Rivers. I had determined that every week I would research one week of the journals. This past week was the last month of the journals that were to be covered in the story, so I knew exactly what I was already doing. I have determined that I will accomplish this on

The second project that I am working on this week, involved planting the summer crops in the garden. This is a big project that also takes more than one week to accomplish, and this week I had determined that I would plant sunflowers, okra, cucumbers, zucchini, and other squashes. To get these planted, because I dig my gardens by hand, I needed to weed the areas where I was going to plant them. Monday I would plant the okra and zucchini. Tuesday I would plant the cucumbers, and Wednesday and Thursday I would plant the other squashes.

The third project, organizing the house was mostly planned for later in the week. I planned to deep clean the bathroom, reorganize my desk, and clean out a couple of cupboards in the kitchen. I determined that I would work on these projects on Wednesday and Thursday as well. Fridays were already taken by getting ready for Farmers Market on Saturday.

Focusing or Gittin ‘er Done!

The next important aspect of SOFFing is Focus and that means that I must take action on what I want to do if I want to actually accomplish what I planned.

On Sunday I cleaned the bathroom and finished researching the Lewis and Clark journals. I also planted the sunflowers, okra, and zucchini.  On Monday because I do all the garden work by hand, I spent the day working the soil with my broad fork. On Tuesday I planted the cucumbers. On Wednesday I planted the other squashes and cleaned out my desk where I found the outline that I would use to continue Two Rivers. On Thursday I organized the kitchen so that it would be ready for Friday.

Finishing the Week

Because I was able to get those projects accomplished earlier in the week, I was able to focus all of Friday on the baking and Saturday on the farmers market. On Saturday afternoon, I was able to take the time off to relax. I had finished the week strong.

The Ultimate Keystone Habit

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love my book The Ultimate Keystone Habit, available on Amazon.


I continue to think about life. Perhaps it’s because I can see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of this life. I see that I have a limited number of these days left before I follow the light to its ultimate destination. However, I am not morbid with the idea of my final reckoning, I am, however, more interested in how I make the best use of what time I have left. I am seizing each day and making the most of every hour of each day.

Not that anyone’s day is likely to make that much difference. Each day simply is a pixel in my life. Each light of each day that shines is not bright alone, but when I stand back, it provides a picture of the life I have lived. I am determined to seize each day. Carpe Diem!

How do I seize each day? I seize it by using a system called SOFF. Start Organize, Focus, and Finish.

Start

The first important thing to do each day is to show up. I get up at a reasonable hour and start with my morning routine which gets me ready to begin the first of my daily projects.

I try to plan each day the night before so that I don’t waste that precious time that I have. Will there be distractions? Sure, there will be, but once I deal with the distractions or any emergency that comes up, I know what I will do next. I go back to my plan and do what’s next on that agenda. That’s why I need to plan only one or two or at the most three major things that I must complete each day to move ahead on my projects.

Get Organized

I know that there is only so much that I can do in one day, so I choose to do what is most important to reach my goals. The next most important thing that I need to do is organize my time and my space toward reaching each daily goal simply and easily. This means that I need to look over what I must do today to reach my monthly, weekly, and annual goals.

My current annual goals that I am working on involve growing my own food, writing my two blogs each week, and writing the second draft of my next book in The Locket Saga. I also have other ideas that I want to write There’s The Perpetual Homesteader book series, I also want to write a gardening book for the Ozarks, and there are other books in The Locket Saga that I want to get to, but I am putting those on hold for now. I organize those projects that I am working on by designating certain times of the day to work on them. I have organized the materials that I use for these projects so that I don’t have to spend a lot of time deciding where what I need is located. If I need a tool or a piece of research, I can find it easily and quickly because I am organized.

Focus

I designate specific times during the day to work on the big projects. I got this idea from Stephen Covey who told a story about filling a jar. He said that if there was a pile of rocks (representing big important projects), pebbles (smaller urgent, but less important projects), gravel (unimportant urgent projects), and sand (unimportant not urgent projects).  if you start by filling the jar with sand, there will be no room for anything else. If you put pebbles in your jar, there’s room for gravel and sand, but not for the big important things. Therefore, it’s important to start with the big rocks or in other words, the big important projects, and fill in the time with those other less important but often urgent tasks that we face each day.

The time provided for the big important projects needs to be focused on. If I know exactly what I need to finish each day, even a little time can be enough time especially if done on a consistent daily basis.

Finish

Finishing involves completing the designated project that we assign to a specific day. I complete the aspect of the project that I have assigned for that day. If I plan to plant a row of beans in the garden, I do that. If I intend to write a blog post, I write it and it isn’t done until it is posted and scheduled.

It also determines what it is that I want to do the next day. If on the next day, I intend to research one of my books, I set things up to make that happen as efficiently as possible. If I intend to do the laundry, I put it on my to-do list for the next day.

Once I’ve finished this day and set up for the next day, I’ve makes the strategy of SOFF an ever-rising spiral. I have already set up to start for the next day. I made a step forward and am prepared to take the next step.

Want to Seize Your Day

For more on how to make the most of each day, check out my book: The Ultimate Keystone Habit


apple blossoms
Things change. A few weeks ago the apple tree only had a promise of blossoms, now there’s the potential for the fruit.

Years ago, when I was working as a neuropsychiatric technician, I had a roommate who was in Al-Anon and she invited me to an Al-Anon meeting where they recited The Serenity Prayer which states “God, grant me the serenity to change the things I can and to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.”

A quote by Maya Angelou

Now years later, I am reminded of this when I read a quote by Maya Angelou who had said something quite similar, “If you don’t like something, change It. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.

This fits my philosophy of life. I often choose to write about what I don’t like and rather than just complaining about it on paper, I would try to determine a solution for whatever it was that I didn’t like.

What are those things that I can change? What are those things that I cannot change?

The things that I can change are things that I have control of right now. I can change what I am doing right now. I can change how I feel about a situation.

I can’t change anything I have done in the past, nor can I change anything in the future, but I can change how I react to any situation I face today.

One Day at a Time

I can determine how I will spend my time today, but when I think about it, I can never actually do anything tomorrow. Tomorrow will never come. Think about it. When tomorrow comes, tomorrow will no longer be tomorrow, it will become today. The question I need to ask then is “What can I do today so that when tomorrow becomes today?”

Nothing can happen in just one day, but string several todays together, and by doing the right thing, I am in a better place today and every day after today if I stay on the same path. So, how do I better use the time I am given?

Writing Career Betterment

If I write every day and work to get better at writing every day, even with just one percent of changes made every day, I will become a better writer. If I work to improve my marketing skills every day, I will sell more books.

Financial Betterment

 I cannot change the fact that I have debt, not today anyway. Debt reduction is a marathon, not a sprint. I know better than to think that I am going to win the lottery. The only way to become financially independent is to develop better financial habits. What I can control is what I am spending my money on today. I can also determine if I am going to work today so that I can pay my debts. I can decide whether to save money or invest it. I can focus on changing my spending habits, my income, and my investments over the next series of days, months, or years, and I will be considerably better off than I am today. I just must do it one day at a time.

Relationship Betterment

I cannot change any of the mistakes that I made in the past with my parents, my siblings, my spouse, or my children, but I can determine to forgive myself. I can also determine to forgive anything that my children or my spouse have done. Until I discovered forgiveness, I didn’t realize how powerful forgiveness was until I learned to forgive. Forgiveness puts me at peace. It gives me serenity. It’s not for the other person that I forgive. It is for me. No one understands its power until they learn to forgive. Becoming a forgiving person both of myself and others is something that I can change.

Social Betterment

I cannot change the fact I will someday no longer be in this world, but I can determine how I will make the most of this time that I am given.

I can stop being a taker and become a giver. I can change how I relate to the earth I can give back to the earth that has supported me all these years. I can plant a fruit tree today and someday that tree will bloom and grow fruit, but today all I can do is support that tree in whatever way it needs right now and that is the same with anything I want to change for the better.

If you liked this article, you’ll love my book:

Living Today, The Power of Now

Available on Kindle


Waiting doesn’t have to get in the way of the rest of what you need and want to do today.

As an author, I find time to do the things I like to do by becoming creative with the time that I would otherwise be doing nothing. Today I’m sharing how I constructively use the time in which I am waiting.

We all have a busy life, and it seems like those times when we must wait that we find ourselves wishing we could do all those things that we can’t do because we are waiting. Whether it is waiting for a service person at our home, waiting for our turn at the doctor’s office, waiting for our children to get out of class, or even being stuck in traffic for an extended period, if we plan to do things during this time, we’ll find we could get things done that we wouldn’t have been able to do if we had not had to wait.

Be Prepared to Wait

At one time, I had a briefcase that I carried with me in the car that I kept available with all kinds of things for me to do during those long waits. I kept pens, paper, books, and other items available for me to use to accomplish some of my goals for the day.

Planning your day with appointments in mind will help you know what you should have with you. If you are writing a book, have tools like paper and pens available so that you can jot down ideas or notes as they come to you while you’re waiting. Perhaps you have a book that you what to read. Be sure that you have it available no matter where you are. Before we get to what you can do while away from home, let’s go over what you can do while you’re waiting at home for a service person.

Waiting for a Service Person

Waiting for someone to install or install something in my home used to be a frustrating experience. Sometimes I’m told that the service person will be in my home before noon or afternoon and then I would wait all day and would find that I had nothing done because I had spent the day wasting my time waiting for the service person to arrive and almost every time, the person arrived at the end of that period or would call to say that they weren’t able to make it that day and had to reschedule. I know that I cannot change the situation, but as a wise woman once said:

“If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

Maya Angelou

So, I have come to the decision that if I can’t change someone else, I can change my approach to waiting for someone to arrive. I can determine that no matter what that other person does, I will make the most of my day by getting as much done as possible.

While I am at home, I start doing those things that I need to do at home. I begin by making a list of all those things that I need to do at home. I then separate the tasks from the projects. A simple definition between tasks and projects is that tasks are things that I can do within a few minutes say in 15 minutes to an hour. Projects are things that take more than an hour. Next, I look over the projects that I have to do and break them down into tasks that we have already defined as things to do that take between 15 minutes to an hour. Once that’s done, I determine what tasks need to be done next in these projects. Now I am ready to prioritize all the tasks that I have to do that I can do while at home that day. If I must pick up an item at the store to continue a project, I don’t worry about that project while at home that day. I let it go for now. It’s not on the list of tasks during that time.

Before starting my list of tasks, however, my first task is to be sure that I have done everything that I can do to make the time of the service person easiest. If the plumber is there to repair or replace the garbage disposal, I want to be sure that everything is out from under the sink before that person arrives. I might even wipe out and disinfect under there so that everything is clean so that when I put everything away, the area is clean as well. If I need to move my car to give the service person access, I may want to do that as well. If the service person is coming to deliver living room furniture, I want to have little things cleared out of the way so that the person has easy access to the room.  If they are coming with a new appliance, I make sure that they have easy access to where I want that new appliance. Once I have done all that I can do for the service person, it’s time to start my list. I like to do as much as possible at a time. For instance, I like to start laundry, change bed linens, start cooking in the crockpot and clean the kitchen appliances all at once. Keep in mind that you don’t do things that will get into the service person’s way.

Waiting for a service person could also mean that you are doing work from home rather than going to work that day. In this case, plan your tasks as related to the job and do projects involved in your day job. Plan your breaks to do things around the house if you’d like to be able to get even more done during your work hours. If you do that, however, plan some relaxation time at the end of the day. All work and no fun is not what life is all about.

No matter how long before the service person comes, I want to be sure to have done as much as possible so that by end of the day I feel justified about the way that I have spent my time.

Waiting for an Appointment in a Waiting Room

The opposite of waiting at home is waiting for an appointment in a waiting room. In a waiting room, I don’t want to get stuck with a lot of different things so usually, I do one of two things when I am waiting here. First, I might read a book that I want to read, and second, I write out lists or write down a few ideas that I am able to think of for one of the books or articles that I am writing or want to write. It’s much easier to use a notebook to write than it is to use loose-leaf paper. One thing, if I had one, that I could use would be a tablet. I could do a lot of work on the table and then when I get home, I could transfer it to my computer using either Microsoft Word or Google documents.  I don’t have one, so I use paper and a pen.

I do much the same when I am substitute teaching. I have been known to write out many ideas for articles or books and then later transfer them to my computer. I also do a lot of my reading when teaching. It’s just a matter of writing down ideas and organizing them. If I need to do research for the work, I write down in the notebook what items I need to research.

I wrote the idea for this article and several more the other day while substitute teaching.

Waiting in My Car

Waiting in the car is a cross between working at home and waiting in a waiting room. Perhaps you wait every day at your children’s school to pick them up. This is a good time to plan to make phone calls or answer emails. It is also a good time to listen to podcasts or watch specific YouTube videos.

Even time stuck in traffic can be used constructively if you develop a plan to utilize that time.

You could even plan to clean out your purse or pick up the trash inside your vehicle and use a wipe to clean off the dash and the door. Stop on the way home and wash and vacuum the car and you’ll have gotten a lot done because you structured your waiting time.

Now it’s your turn!

How would you prefer to spend your time waiting? Perhaps getting things done isn’t what you do, perhaps you consider this downtime. Share your opinion in the comment section below.


Fuel-efficient cars are nice, but there are things you can do to save on fuel even without buying a new car.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the problems with the electric cars and at the end, I suggested that there are ways that we can conserve fuel without everyone driving electric cars.

One of the reasons that energy conservation related to driving is so important has to do with what is currently happening in Europe and in other parts of the world. Some countries’ economies are being held hostage by other countries simply because most of the petroleum products that they use come from countries that could soon be at war especially if they were to follow their own convictions.

Because the United States produces more petroleum than any other country in the world, but also because of our consumption of oil products we also import a lot of it as well, we could do a lot here to conserve energy produced by petroleum products and share more of that oil with other countries than what we do.

So many ways exist for us to conserve our use of petroleum products especially here in the States, and one of the ways that we can do it is in how we travel around. Conservative ways of getting from place to place will not only assist Europe but by doing so will save you money in the long run.

If you doubt that conservation would make a difference in petroleum product usage, look back on what happened at the beginning of the pandemic when we all stopped traveling and stayed home. The price of fuel dropped to rock bottom prices because we weren’t using oil like we had been. The reason the price of oil went up at first was that we were using it again. Now with that war in Eurasia, the prices are at an all-time high. Supply and demand. If we cut our demand, supply will be less of a problem than it had been.

This doesn’t mean that we all need to stay home and never go anywhere, however. What it does mean is that we need to get smart about how we travel. Let’s start with getting smart with how we travel to work.

Traveling for Work

This is a lesson that we learned during the pandemic. We don’t always have to go to a job to get a paycheck. We might be able to work from home at least part of the time. Hybrid work situations can work for many people and now is the perfect time to do this especially since there is a worker shortage.

In some situations, skype or other conference calling situations could be used for meetings with associates, colleagues, or potential customers. Customers can also be found just as easily and possibly even more quickly by email, phone, or webinar than by visiting them in person.  

Not every job is set up for every person in the country to work from home, of course, nor do we necessarily want to. However, what we may want to do is try to get together with others that we work with and carpool when possible.

You might also be able to take mass transit like the bus, train, or subway to work. Biking is also an option as well.

With so many people renting rather than buying homes, it might be in your best interest to live closer to your job and perhaps walk to work rather than driving or taking mass transit or riding a bike.

When You Have to Drive

There are times when not driving is not an option and there’s no one to carpool with. For those of us who live in rural areas, it is often not possible. Therefore, learning how to drive more economically is most beneficial.

First, if possible, consider getting a more fuel-efficient model of vehicle.

Second, if that isn’t possible, make sure that the vehicle you do have is properly maintained. Be sure that your car’s tires are inflated to the right tire pressure for your car. Check your tires when they are cold. Also be sure that your car has routine oil changes, and the air filter is changed when needed. In addition, be sure that your fuel firing system is properly functioning. Replacing a fuel filter, cleaning injectors, and changing plugs and points will offer improved gas mileage. Check with a trusted mechanic to see what options might benefit your vehicle at this time.

Next, change some of your driving practices. Accelerate gradually and smoothly, especially from a stop.  Use a light touch on the gas pedal until you’re going about 25 miles per hour. Then continue to accelerate until you reach the speed limit. Don’t exceed the speed limit. When driving on a level highway, use your cruise control, but avoid using cruise control on hilly parts of the highway because you’ll use more gasoline rather than less.

Anticipate traffic and traffic lights. Try to maintain speed. As much as possible synchronize with the traffic lights so that you don’t have to stop and wait for red lights. Pass only as necessary and don’t slam on the brakes any more than necessary. If traffic is stopped for more than thirty seconds, turn off your vehicle and restart when traffic resumes. Take the route with the fewest stops and lefthand turns. Turn off the car whenever you are stopped and waiting for someone or something.

Remove excess items from the car that weigh the car down.

When using the air conditioner less is better. When starting out and driving at lower speeds, drive with the window open then close and use only as much air conditioning as you need to feel comfortable.

Plan Your Trips

Batch errands that need to be done at the same time in the same part of town. Go shopping when you have an appointment. Pick up the dry cleaning when you pick up the kids at school.

When Traveling on a Vacation or Get-Away

Plan activities that don’t require driving at all! Consider hiking, canoeing, kayaking, or camping near your home.

Plan other destinations where you don’t have to drive much.

Consider how you can incorporate walking into your vacation plans.

Eat meals at locations within walking distance of your hotel or wherever you are going. Eat at home more often rather than going out to eat.

Take mass transit at your destination location whenever possible during vacations. My daughter and I went to Pennsylvania from Missouri by Amtrak several years ago and another time my family visited St. Louis and took the train from downtown where our hotel was to the zoo on the other side of the city.

Make it Fun!

Whatever you do, plan every trip you take as much as possible. Give yourself enough time to go where you want to go without rushing. This includes to work, running errands, or while on vacation. Challenge yourself to reduce the amount of gasoline you’re using every day. Make a game of it. It doesn’t have to be a drag. Imagine the pleasure you’ll get by not supporting the oil industry.

Now it’s your turn. How do you save on fuel when driving?


Two hundred and forty-seven years ago this week on April 19, 1775, was the shot heard around the world. No one knows who shot the musket that started the American Revolution, but that shot was discharged on Lexington Green, Massachusetts. It was just the first shot of many that lead to the birth of The United States in a war that would continue until its formal end in 1783.

Several years ago, I started researching for my books in The Locket Saga series and several of the books in this series including Soldiers Don’t’ Cry, A Coward’s Solace, and Sailing Under the Black Flag are all based during the American Revolution.

Here’s a blog post about The Locket Saga

Although the events in this book occurred prior to the American Revolution, I would be remiss if I failed to mention When God Turned His Head. I posted about the first book of this book series which started from an idea that I got the idea of Soldiers Don’t Cry even though When God Turned His Head was the first book in the series.

Over the past several years, I have done a lot of research and written several articles and blog posts about this time in American history. Here are a few.

The Boston Massacre-Powder Keg of the American Revolution

https://hubpages.com/education/The-Boston-Massacre-Powder-Keg-of-the-American-Revolution

The Unsung Hero: Lucy Flucker Knox

This is the story of the wife of Henry Knox. She is a patriot in her own right.

https://discover.hubpages.com/education/An-Unsung-Heroine-Lucy-Flucker-Knox

The Hidden Cause for the American Revolution: The Thirst for More Land

This article explains how the French and Indian War brought about limitations on land attainment and forced the British to limit forts on the American frontier.

https://hubpages.com/education/The-Thirst-for-Land-The-Unseen-Reason-for-the-American-Revolution

How Changes in English Farm Practices Influenced the Colonization of the Americas

See how the change in weather patterns brought changes in the British agricultural system and caused migration to the Americas.

https://hubpages.com/education/Changes-in-English-Agriculture-Brough-About-American-Colonialization

Songs of the American Revolution

Music has always been an important thread in the American fabric. So exactly what tunes did Americans sing during the American Revolution?

https://hubpages.com/education/Songs-of-the-American-Revolution

The French Intervention

How the French intervened to win the American Revolution-We Americans talk about our independent spirits, but we couldn’t have pulled off the revolution without our friends the French.

https://medium.com/lessons-from-history/the-french-intervention-cf6a5c8f0da

Even though I went to dusty old books for information, I loved it when I discovered actual members of the Eighth Pennsylvania when I was in Waterford, Pennsylvania. Here’s an article I wrote about the event where I meant the Eighth Pennsylvania regiment of the American Revolution.

When Historical Writer’s Research and Re-Enactors meet

I hope you enjoy these articles, and they help you appreciate the value of the freedoms that we have in this country that started with that shot on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775. If you have any questions about my articles and blog posts or if you have any comments, please do so in the comment section below.

Also, be sure to check out The Locket Saga series all books are available in paperback and on Kindle!


Electric vehicles have been around since 1830, and were overtaken in use by the gasoline combustion engine, but are now seeing a resurgence.

On August 5, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order mandating that half of all vehicles be electric by 2030 as a challenge to the executives from Ford and GM joined Biden at the White House as well as leaders from the United Auto Workers. In addition to setting this 50 percent-by-2030 goal, the executive order reversed former President Donald Trump’s more relaxed emissions standards with stricter ones.

This goal of having new electric vehicles to provide zero emissions would include battery electric vehicles, and plug-in Hybrid cars that fall back on gasoline only after the electric powered battery has run out. In addition, this includes fuel cell electric vehicles that burn hydrogen and emit no carbon dioxide.

But are electric cars really the solution? There are a number of reasons I think that they might not be.

They’re Not Very Reliable

Newer electric cars aren’t always the most reliable and when they do break down, it’s difficult to find someone who can fix them. The traditional mechanic doesn’t necessarily have the equipment or expertise to repair them. As they become more common, however, this will be less of an issue.

You Pay More For What You Get

Electric cars depreciate faster than their gas-powered counterparts. That means that if you purchase an electric car, the car won’t be worth as much when you go to trade it in for a newer model. In addition, the parts are expensive to replace. Three to eighteen thousand dollars. An electric car is not for the penny pincher.  

Challenges in Charging Your Vehicle

Charging an electric car can be a challenge. To put in a charging station in your home, a home EV charging station costs $350 to $900 alone, and labor costs $400 to $1,700 to install, and then there’s the increase in your electric bill.

On average, it costs around $0.30 to $0.60 kWh to charge your electric vehicle; therefore, a smaller vehicle could cost around $11 to $25 to charge fully. For larger vehicles, it can cost between $22 to $45.

If you’re traveling across the country in your electric car, you’d better be sure that you know where your next charge will occur before you ever need it. According to statistics, as of January 2022, there are 113,600 charging stations in the US. Almost half of those are in California and many of those are in the hands of private individuals. That means that the rest of the charging stations are spread out over the entire country and most of those are around big cities so if you live in small-town, USA, you might be out of luck when it comes to charging your vehicle when you’re away from home.

In addition, it will take you longer to go across the country in your electric car. Public chargers are split into the standard wall-box type which takes one to six hours to charge your car and rapid or quick chargers. Rapid/quick chargers can recharge the latest electric cars in less than an hour, perfect for a lunch stop on a motorway journey.

Most cars charges last between 10-12 hours but some last only about 4 hours. That means that at the optimal value of the charge, the cost of a charge is comparable to the cost of a fill-up at a gas station. If driving across the country, a charge of your electric car would cost about as much as the cost of a tank of gas in the same time period.

Of course, this problem should be better resolved as electric vehicles become more commonplace.

Does Having an Electric Car Really Help the Environment?

I think, however, the idea that electric cars are good for the environment might be a little premature. I have my doubts about the idea that electric cars will help protect the environment first because we heard this same song and dance when we were told that biofuel would help protect the environment. The fact is, growing grains used in the production of biofuel and the conversion of those grains into biofuel costs more than ten times the energy that the biofuel produced. That, of course, is not what the US government documentation says, they say that the fuel produced requires less energy. But that documentation only considers the cost of producing the fuel AFTER the grains are produced. It doesn’t consider the fact the fuel that is used in the fields are plowed, the grain planted, and the grain harvested and delivered to the grain silos at the biofuel production locations.

The same type of scenario can be said about using electric cars. Electricity is the least efficient form of energy because it is a secondary source of it. The electricity must come from somewhere and if that electricity is something like coal or nuclear power or even natural gas, it relies on a non-green energy source. Solar and wind farms may be produced directly from the sun, but they require expensive metal components that must be mined and in the process of mining, those items are highly destructive to the environment as well.  Hydroelectric power is limited use in that hydroelectric plants require creating reservoirs that disrupt animal habitats.

Conservation Is Always A Better Solution

Sometimes the best solutions are the low-tech solutions. Perhaps a better solution would be in figuring out how we can avoid driving so much and learn to be content with staying closer to home more often. We can save by avoiding getting into our cars at all. There are, of course, many ways to be more conservative getting from place to place, and this sounds like content for another post.

If you have any questions or comments or would like me to write about a specific topic, please let me know in the comments below.


Eating fresh vegetables from the garden can save energy in so many ways.

Last week we discussed how we could save energy in the home. This week we are going to talk about saving energy in food production. I bring this up because how we get our food is one of the ways that decrease the increased cost of energy that we are facing.

My thoughts are that if everyone could have a garden, grow it, and utilize their gardens in the most thoughtful manner, we could save an amazing amount of energy in the process.

Your Food Travels Farther Than You Do

The average meal in the United States travels about 1500 miles before it hits our dinner plate. This long-distance, large-scale transportation consumes large quantities of fossil fuels. We currently put almost 10 kcal of fossil fuel energy into our food system for every 1 kcal of energy we get as food.

Long-distance transportation requires huge quantities of diesel fuel Some forms of transport require more than others. Airfreight requires more energy than sea shipping per pound. But sea shipping is slow, and in our increasing demand for fresh food, food is increasingly being shipped by faster and is more energy-consuming.

In order to transport food long distances, much of your food is picked while still unripe and then gassed to “ripen” it after transport, or it is highly processed in factories using preservatives, irradiation, and other means to keep it stable for transport and sale. Scientists are experimenting with genetic modification to produce longer-lasting, less perishable produce.

Cutting the Energy Consumption of the Food We Eat

To cut down the number of miles that the meals that my husband and I eat, we purchase many of the things we cannot grow ourselves in bulk when possible. We purchase sugar, different types of flour, oatmeal, coffee, tea, dried beans, spices, salt, vinegar, canning supplies, and herbs that we can’t grow. By purchasing them in bulk I not only save money, I am also saving the energy needed to process the food before it gets to my home.

I then have started making more of my food from scratch. The bread that I make is the freshest bread I have eaten in a long time, and it doesn’t have any preservatives. I also make things like pies, cookies (that for six months out of the year I sell at Farmer’s Market allowing those who live locally to cut down on their energy usage as well), and granola.

I also produce and use my own garden produce to decrease even more fossil fuel energy. That fresh produce is not traveling all those miles because I am growing as much as possible in my own backyard. I am also eating as much of it as possible from the fresh state as well. The less processing that I do, the less fossil fuel I am consuming. I’m not canning, freezing, or dehydrating any more than I must. I eat my fruits and vegetables in season as much as I can.

The energy savings I have from gardening isn’t just in growing what we eat either. We save energy in the gardening process. Instead of using a gas-hog of a tiller, I use a broad fork to work the soil. I am keeping down weeds by using recycled cardboard and sawdust from a local sawmill. (a broad fork doesn’t expose weed seeds that would sprout if brought up by tiller either.) I sell excess produce directly to the local population. I do have one gardening tool that is gas-powered. I  use a grass-catching self-propelled push-lawnmower so that saves some of my own personal energy. It uses far less than a riding lawnmower and saves me quite a bit of time in the process.

Harvesting of garden produce is done by hand. We eat fresh seasonal foods as much as possible. I tell about how we can produce vegetables all season long in my book The Four Seasons Vegetable Garden.

What we don’t eat fresh or sell, we store as fresh food whenever possible. I tell about the vegetables that you can store over the winter without processing in my book The Survival Garden. Available in Kindle Edition or in Paperback

Preserve or Not Preserve?

Contrary to what these two latest books might suggest, however, I do not believe that preserving food has no place in our home garden setup. We do utilize canning, freezing, and dehydrating, but we first try to eat our foods fresh as much as possible. The less we process food ahead of time, the less energy we will be using in the end.

I hope this post has given you something to think about. If you have a garden, make it a little bigger this year and eat produce as it ripens. Don’t have room for a garden? Grow a few herbs under lights. Can’t grow herbs? Visit your local farmer’s market and get your produce there. At least your food won’t be going more than a few miles to get to you.

For more on gardening, check out my other blog The Perpetual Homesteader.


We may not be able to produce more oil on a dime, but we can easily cut back on what we are using!

As the price of gasoline at the pump rises, we are told that there really is nothing that we can do to alleviate the problem other than extracting more petroleum than we have and according to the oil producers, because they can’t just turn on the spigot to get more, we either have to pay what they say and have increased prices at an alarming rate.

However, what they are telling us doesn’t make sense. Why should the prices be going up so much? According to statistics, the United States only used four percent of Russian oil. The question becomes why is it that if the United States is the biggest producer of the world’s oil that we need to import any oil in the first place and what can we do to fight back to avoid paying those prices.

This increase in price has little to do with the manufacturing sector because our country’s manufacturing sector has been decreasing over the past several decades. Yes, we use plastics and other petroleum products, but much of it is made in China, so we can’t blame manufactured petroleum products for that. Much of what we use is based on personal energy consumption. If we want to fight back on the price of energy, let’s start in our own homes where we have at least some control.

What we can do is something that we learned two years ago. At the beginning of the pandemic, we learned a very important lesson concerning our use of petroleum products that we learned that we can utilize now. Stay home or at least close to home and decrease the demand for oil and price will come down.

But most people are tired of staying home. Are there other alternatives to not being able to travel?

Over the next several weeks, I will be addressing these issues in some very practical ways that if more people in the US does them, the demand for crude oil will go down and we’ll pay less at the pump.

There are numerous ways we can save money on energy, and they are not necessarily as painful as the American oligarchy would suggest. All we need to do is develop a few habits that decrease our need for petroleum through the decrease in energy use to make it so that we wouldn’t need to ever use that source of foreign oil.  This week we’ll be discussing how you can save on home energy costs.

The Use of Energy in Our Homes

Many areas to save energy exist within our homes and this is a good place to start decreasing our dependence on petroleum. First, we must learn how we actually use energy. Here’s the breakdown of the average usage of energy in the home. Here in the United States, we use 47% of our home energy for cooling and heating, 14 percent for water heating, 13 percent for clothes washing and drying, 12% for lighting, 4 percent for running the refrigerator. The other 10 percent is used in cooking and entertainment.

Decreasing Energy Use at Home

Heating and Cooling-We can decrease our energy use at home very easily if we just start changing a few small habits. We can turn down the thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and raise it a few degrees. If you were to adjust your temperatures when you’re not there and at night, you’ll cut energy costs by one percent for every eight hours for every degree you adjust the temperature up or down.

If you have some money to invest, and you own your own home, insulation will also improve the efficiency of the energy used as will getting a high-efficiency furnace.

Living in a smaller home that has good insulation and a high-efficiency furnace is a better investment than a large home of equal efficiency.

Water heating can be improved by finding ways to use less hot water. This can be done by timing your showers to make them as short as possible, not running hot water any longer than possible. If you have some money to invest in your energy, consider insulating your pipes, getting a more energy-efficient water heater, or better yet, getting an on-demand water heater where you’re not dragging hot water down yards of pipe.

Washing and Drying Clothes-The cost of washing and drying clothes can be decreased by using cold water to wash only full loads of clothes and using a clothesline to dry your clothes.

Lighting can be decreased by turning off lights that we’re not using and using the most energy-efficient light bulbs that we can. Use a flashlight instead of a nightlight. Turn off the porchlight when you’re not expecting anyone to need it. Use solar lighting instead of on-grid power for outdoor lighting. Use motion sensing light instead of constant lighting.

The Refrigerator-though the refrigerator only uses a small 4 percent of our home energy bill, there are ways to decrease the cost of refrigeration. First, purchase an energy-efficient refrigerator and only have as big of a refrigerator as you need. Second, don’t open the refrigerator any more than you have to, and don’t keep it open longer than necessary.

The Final Ten Percent-Numerous things can be done to decrease that last ten percent of energy usage. First, decrease fantom energy usage. Unplug appliances that you’re not using. Use smaller appliances rather than using the cooking range when possible. Smaller appliances often use less than half what the range uses because the range runs on 220 current (if electric) whereas the appliances use 110 current. Use the cooktop instead of the oven, when possible, as well. If you are using the oven, do all the baking all at once.

What Suggestions Do You Have for Saving on Home Energy Costs?

I’m sure that this one article has not been all-inclusive regarding how I can save energy used in my home. What have you done to decrease the energy usage in your home?

Next week, I’ll be talking about how we can decrease energy usage regarding how we get our food. Be sure to like and follow this blog to explore how we can save energy on an individual level.

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