Shards of Glass

Oh how sweet,
What a treat!
Shards of shining glass.

Nice and shiny,
Grains so tiny.
Shards of sparkling glass.

Oh so thirsty,
Feel so hungry.
Shards of wayward glass.

Destroys your health,
Consumes your wealth.
Shards of broken glass.

Sores appearing,
Disease nearing.
Shards of toxic glass.

Eyesight failing,
Time of wailing.
Shards of dark’ning glass.

Time’s a flying,
Soon you’re dying.
Shards of deadly glass.

Inspired by Barbara McPherson.
Dedicated to all who suffer from diabetes.
Copyright 2011 John Paul Mueller

Alarming New Obesity Statistics

I monitor statistics related to the overall health of Americans because I’m concerned about how my fellow Americans are faring. It’s one of the reasons I include self-sufficiency posts in my blog—to help others gain insights into making their health better and to get paid for doing it. One article I read recently tells me outright that there is a long way to go. According to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42 percent of Americans will become obese by 2030. There is a price tag associated with this statistic—an increase in health care costs of $550 billion dollars—that’s billion, with a B.

The increase in weight will cause problems with diabetes, a particularly nasty disease that isn’t given nearly enough respect. Imagine the sugar in your bloodstream becoming akin to ground glass. That’s the effect of diabetes on your system. Diabetes slowly, mercilessly, destroys your heart, kidneys, nervous system, eyes, and other organs. Of course, there are other behaviors that can affect your heart, but of all of the things that can go wrong, diabetes is possibly the worst. So, losing weight isn’t about fitting into nicer clothes or impressing your friends—it’s about living a happier, more productive, life.

More than a few people have asked me why I’m so concerned (other than the monetary amounts involved). At one point in time, I
looked at myself in the mirror and decided that there really was too
much of me to love. Not only that, but I was starting to suffer some of
the health problems associated with being overweight and decided I
really couldn’t live like that anymore—I was right, I really couldn’t
live like that. It’s not that I’m even sort of skinny today, but I have
lost 165 pounds since Rebecca and I started our drive to become
self-sufficient (all without dieting). That means I’ve gone from being morbidly obese to simply overweight. I feel better now, but I remember how I felt with the additional weight and I know that it wasn’t the nicest way to feel. For many people, it seems as if there is no way out, but the approach I’ve taken does help.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to say that someone should do something because it’s good for them. Doctors do it all the time (because we pay them to do it). It’s quite another thing to admit to yourself that your quality of life has diminished and you really need to do something about it. However, even after you decide to do something about it, succeeding is harder still because there are so many conflicting sources of information online. I’m not going to say that my method will work for you. In fact, I imagine that many people would find my approach outrageously difficult. However, I followed these principles to lose the weight that I have.


  • Exercise every day by growing my own food and cutting my own wood. Workouts at the gym are boring and non-productive. Growing my own food is interesting and nothing beats the heat from a wood stove.
  • Eat a higher quality of food. Growing my own food means that I can avoid pesticides and other contaminants more often. I can also pick my food at the right time, rather than when it’s best for marketing purposes. Plus, growing my own food pays me to spend time to grow the food, rather than buy it from the store where it costs quite a bit.
  • Eat a wide variety of food. Rebecca and I don’t eat just meat and potatoes. It seems as if we’re always trying something different. During a typical week we’ll eat broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, corn, kohlrabi, cabbage, beets, spinach, tomatoes, okra, carrots, apples, pears, cherries, plums, and many other items—all grown in our garden and orchard. For meat, we eat rabbit and chicken we raise, deer that a friend shoots for us, and fish we catch at a local lake.
  • Reduce my stress level. Living as I do helps me deal with stress better. If I’m having a stressful day, I get rid of the stress by chopping wood. Believe me, after a few hours in the woods, there is no more stress.
  • Eat smaller meals more often. I replaced my plate with a smaller plate. The rule is that if it doesn’t fit on the plate, it doesn’t go in my mouth. There are no seconds and since I’ve been eating better, I seldom crave them.

Nowhere do I mention doing anything weird or uncomfortable in this list. I tried more than a few diets and none of them worked because none of them are lifestyle changes. They’re all cheats designed to lose a little weight, fast. The only way to effectively lose weight and keep it off is to make some sort of lifestyle change. You need to decide that you’re tired of your old self and that you want something better before any change you try will work. Let me know your thoughts about the plight of the American waistline at [email protected].


Appreciating Animal Qualities

Every one of the animals we have the pleasure to work with has unique qualities and we try to draw those traits out as much as is possible. For example, Bubba (a cat) is our champion mouser. I often find Bubba stalking the mice in our garage. In fact, we obtained the dogs we have now for the specific qualities that their breed has to offer. Shelby is the queen of the chickens and guards them quite fiercely. Reese guards the apple orchard and dispatches some of the larger intruders that sneak into our garage.

To be honest, our garage would probably be overrun with pests if it were not for our animals! You see, our garage door does not close properly and this provides a perfect opportunity for rats and mice to make their way into our garage. That being said, one of our friends that lives in Pennsylvania recently got his garage door repaired by a garage door repair company after researching professional garage door services in 19406. It is about time that we got our garage door fixed so once I have finished writing this article, I am going to see if there is anything I can do to repair our garage door.

However, this post isn’t really about our garage door, or our dogs, but rather our cat, Smucker.


You may have heard about animals that can detect certain medical conditions in humans. Many of us associate these traits with dogs, but apparently cats also possess this capability. Rebecca has diabetes and sometimes her blood sugar gets too low. This condition produces physiological changes that even humans can detect when it’s almost too late, but animals can detect them before it becomes an emergency. Smucker has this capability and we didn’t even train him for it-rather, he trained us.

Rebecca recently had a severe bout with low blood sugar over a period of days and Smucker was instrumental in helping me save her life. It turns out that he will aggressively pat Rebecca, lick her, bump against her, and yowl when he detects her blood sugar is low. In fact, he gets downright pesty about it and makes a real nuisance of himself. At first I attributed it to a cat loving his owner, but after a while I realized that he only does this when Rebecca’s blood sugar is low. He’s alerting us to a health condition that Rebecca has.

When Smucker woke me up on a Sunday morning by alerting to Rebecca’s low blood sugar, I knew just what to do. I took her blood sugar and found it at only 41. She was unresponsive for the most part, but still able to let me feed her. So, I fed Rebecca some pear sauce from our larder-problem solved. Her blood sugar came back up without a trip to emergency, as would have been necessary had I slept any longer.

This capability isn’t something we’ve tried to obtain from Smucker, he simply decided to provide it to us. Animals are like that. They often provide the most profound gifts if you’ll only let them. What have your experiences been with your pets? Let me know at [email protected].