I’m writing to give you more information on Iowa. While it’s true we’re too close to Chicago there are only a few handfuls of bridges to cross the Mississippi. These can be blocked by backing semi-trailers onto the spans and abandoning the trailers in rows. Crossing a bridge blockaded in such a fashion, guarded by a few dedicated snipers, makes removal of the barricades a more than interesting proposition! No mob is hard-core enough to attempt removal, or crossing on foot for more than a few minutes, before moving on to a new path of lesser resistance. Field implements with folding hydraulic “wings” can also be used in such instances. Once in place, without the proper equipment, their tonnages are impossible to move, easily or quickly. As for food production, their are many farmers markets during the growing season, that sell everything from fruits & vegetables, to pastry’s & pies, to homemade crafts, (quilts to cupboards). These can be roadside stands to county courthouse parking lots. Usually every Saturday till they sell out of goods. We have good wells with fresh water, most have been tested for contaminants and have passed. We have a good work ethic and have lately been adding solar & wind farms to the economy, plus the expansion of the ethanol industry is helping to get Iowa energy independent. Corn turned into ethanol can still be fed as mash to cattle, the cobs burned to heat the distillers, soybeans turned into bio-diesel for the fleets of semi’s to move grain & goods also improve grain prices, i.e., local economies. Plus we’re far enough away to avoid the problems of the Yellowstone caldera [JWR Comments: I beg to differ! According to geologists, the last time that a super-caldera blew up in the same area, locations as far down wind as what is now Virginia ended up under 15 feet of ashfall!] , and the recently developing 4 Sisters,(soon to be 5?), bulge. Whatever that may entail. The hunting season this year for the first time will also add rifles to the already legal shotgun, handgun, & bow hunting deer hunts. A bonanza of deer & trophy deer being available. Also we are now finding that we have feral pigs in numbers & weights up to 400 lbs. in some timbered areas of the state. I’ve probably missed some other highlights, and hopefully others can fill you in on the price and performance of corn burning stoves, etc., that I have glaringly left out from ignorance. Thanks Jim! Best wishes on this exciting new blog. A fervent devotee, – K.H.