Sunday, 23 October 2016

10:00 – Email from Brittany yesterday, CC’d to Jen. Like many preppers, with only a couple of weeks until the election, Brittany is trying to make sure she has all her ducks lined up.

She’s been reading about fish antibiotics, and wanted to know which specifically I’d recommend she buy RFN. With the usual disclaimer that I am neither a physician nor a pharmacist and so as an unqualified person all I can do is tell her what I would store in her place, I mentioned the following, assuming that neither she nor her family has any allergies to any of these antibiotics:

1. Doxycycline — probably the most flexible of readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotics. The usual adult course of treatment is one 100-mg tablet/capsule every 12 hours for a week to ten days, which means that a bottle of 60 tablets is 30 days’ worth, or three to four full courses. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 12 to 25 courses on hand.)

2. SMZ/TMP — another readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotic. The usual adult course of treatment is one 400/80-mg tablet every 12 hours for a week to ten days, which means that a bottle of 60 800/160-mg tablets is 60 days’ worth, or six to eight full courses. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 12 to 25 courses on hand.)

3. Metronidazole — another readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotic, which is also active against anaerobic bacteria and many protozoal pathogens. Although it varies with the disease being treated, the usual adult course of treatment is 2,000 to 4,000 mg total per day (at 7.5 mg/kg) divided into three or four doses for five to ten days, which means that a bottle of 60 500-mg tablets (30 grams total) is one to two full courses of treatment for a 150-pound adult. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 12 to 25 courses on hand.)

4. Ciprofloxacin — another readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotic. The usual adult course of treatment is one 500-mg tablet/capsule every 12 hours for seven to fourteen days, which means that a bottle of 60 500-mg tablets is two to four full courses. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 6 to 12 courses on hand.)

Although it’s harder to come by than the antibiotics listed above, I’d also want to keep a few courses of 875/125-mg amoxicillin/clavulanate on hand. Resistance to plain amoxicillin is now so widespread that many physicians treat it almost as a placebo, so don’t bother stocking it or other beta-lactam antibiotics.

Posted in Brittany, Jen, prepping | Leave a comment

Saturday, 22 October 2016

09:16 – I see that gun sales are, so to speak, booming as the election approaches. I’m not sure why anyone is concerned. I have it on good authority that Clinton has made an absolute promise: “If you like your guns, you can keep your guns.” And we all know how honorable and trustworthy Clinton is.

Then there’s Trump, who apparently will accept the results of the election if he wins. Otherwise, not so much. I am reminded of Andrew Jackson. This could end up being a real mess. I’m relieved that we’re prepared, come what may.

It’s not that I’m expecting widespread violent civil unrest. I’m not, but nor is the probability zero that it will occur. If serious unrest begins in one or a few cities, there’s a reasonably high likelihood that it would spread like wildfire, and that interruptions to food and fuel deliveries would occur. The inner cities are already tinderboxes, and it wouldn’t take much to ignite them. Our political class is literally playing with fire.

We’ve added John Adams on Amazon Prime streaming to our mix. Barbara can take only so many Walking Dead episodes at a time, so we’re now alternating them with Sam Adams and re-watching the 1971 version of Upstairs, Downstairs.

One of Barbara’s friends from Winston is coming up today to spend the afternoon. Colin will be delighted. He thinks everyone that visits us has come to play with him.

Posted in personal, politics, prepping | 44 Comments

Friday, 21 October 2016

09:35 – Barbara and I both had dentist appointments yesterday in Winston. On the way home, we stopped at Costco to pick up a few things.

When we pulled into the Costco parking lot, Barbara said, “No more flour, sugar, or rice!” I did pick up one teeny, tiny 50-pound bag of rice, but other than that I restricted myself to canned goods: another two dozen cans each of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup, a dozen jars each of Ragu spaghetti sauce and Mott’s applesauce, a dozen cans of tomato paste, and a few miscellaneous items.

We’d arranged to have a termite inspection done by a person recommended by one of our neighbors. She showed up late yesterday afternoon and did a walk-around of the exterior and interior of the house. Termites are much less a problem in our climate than they are down in Winston, but we still figured it was worthwhile to get the house under a pest-control contract. Apparently, pest-control companies no longer use chemical treatments to protect homes. Instead, they use biological warfare, treating the foundations with a bacterial slurry that infects any termites that come into contact with it. When they return to their nests, they spread the infection to all their buddies, who up and die.

While she was looking around downstairs, the inspector opened the door to what Barbara calls our water closet. She commented, “You’re storing water. Good for you.” I asked if she was a prepper, and she said she was and that nowadays anyone with any sense was preparing. She next looked at our food storage room, and again expressed her approval, saying that the more people who were prepared, the better. She also commented that prepping was the norm up here, and that many of the homes she visited had similar levels of preparation. My own experience up here confirms that. I’ve mentioned that many of the homes we looked at before we bought this one had large stocks of supplies. Pretty much no one up here thinks preppers are crazy. About the minimum level I’ve encountered is, “We really need to get better prepared.”

Barbara and I are still watching The Walking Dead, although the violence and despair is starting to wear on her. We just watched the last couple episodes of season two last night, in which multiple major characters were eaten. I think we’ll start limiting it to one episode per evening. I keep telling Barbara that this series is really about a plucky band of Normals facing down a huge crowd of Clinton supporters and Dead Lives Matter rioters, so we should be cheering every time one of those bastards is shot in the face.

Posted in personal, prepping | 69 Comments

Thursday, 20 October 2016

08:11 – Barbara and I didn’t bother watching the debate last night. Same old, same old. Instead, we watched The Walking Dead and the 1971 version of Upstairs, Downstairs.

We have science kit stuff to work on today as well as a couple minor things to get done on the LTS food storage.

14:21 – We just got back from a run down to Winston. Barbara and I both had dentist appointments. Afterward, we made a small Costco run. Not even enough to fill up the way-back of her compact car.

Posted in personal, prepping, science kits | 26 Comments

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

09:24 – With less than three weeks to go until the election, I see that some Democrats are now claiming to fear widespread violence committed by Trump supporters if Trump is elected. They apparently believe that there are tens or hundreds of thousands of white supremacists and skinheads and Neo-Nazis and KKK waiting in the wings for Trump to gain power and turn them loose. They’re apparently expecting black people to be hanging from lampposts in every city and town and black churches to be firebombed across the country. Geez. They really believe this. Someone needs to tell them that something like 99.999% of Trump supporters hate those racist assholes as much as anyone else does.

And that’s been true for a long, long time. Thinking back to the 1979 shootout in Greensboro between the Communists and the Neo-Nazis/KKK, I remember thinking I hoped they all shot each other. I think that was the general reaction at the time. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

We certainly won’t be anywhere near Winston or any other large city on or around Election Day, but not out of fear of violence by conservatives. I can’t remember the last time that conservatives engaged in violent civil unrest. Progressives, on the other hand, do so routinely. They’re the ones to watch out for. If violent civil unrest does break out on or around Election Day, it won’t be happening up here in Sparta. No doubt a lot of local residents would be locked and loaded, just in case any scumbags show up here. But that’s not likely to happen even if Trump wins and the big cities burn. We Deplorable Normals up here have had more than enough of this shit, as have Deplorable Normals everywhere. And if any Walking Progressives show up here, we’re prepared to deal with them.

Other than one 50-pound bag of flour, we’ve gotten all our bulk staples repackaged in PET bottles, labeled, and with oxygen absorbers. Now we just need to get them downstairs into the LTS pantry and up on the shelves.

Posted in long-term food storage, news, politics, prepping | 107 Comments

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

09:20 – Barbara and I have started rewatching The Walking Dead. We’d started watching this back in 2011 and got through only the first season. I liked it, but Barbara was turned off by all the gore.

Netflix now has seasons one through six available streaming, and I convinced Barbara to give it another try. She says she can tolerate one episode at a time, and as long as we interleave it with more peaceful stuff she’ll even watch two episodes in an evening. She just doesn’t want to binge-watch it.

I told her the other night she shouldn’t let the gore upset her because the Walkers weren’t human. I suggested she think of them as progressives or politicians or Obama/Clinton supporters, with whom after all they do have a lot in common. They’re slow, stupid, ugly parasites, who feast on (mostly) middle-class whites. Good people kill them on sight by shooting, stabbing, or bludgeoning them. What’s not to like?

The series is full of people doing smart things, dumb things, vindictive things, kind things, generous things, stingy things, brave things, craven things, and so on. Sometimes the same person doing all of those. In other words, people behaving like real people. This series is very popular amongst preppers. Not because the characters were well-prepared for the zombie apocalype, but because they weren’t. Instead, they have to deal with it, improvising as necessary and often paying the price for their lack of preparation.

Interesting comment yesterday:

ayjblog says:
17 October 2016 at 12:11

Reading I just realized that my grandfather was a prepper, awesome, storing canned milk flour and so on. in the sixties and here

well, he survided Spanish Civil war, Franco concentration camp, and was born in a little village in Spain, maybe is genetic

Nearly ALL of our grandparents were preppers, as were all of their ancestors. The concept of NOT prepping is relatively recent, and if a catastrophe does occur a lot of people will pay the price for not being prepared.

Up until about 1950, everyone prepped from necessity. City dwellers just as much as rural people. Pretty much everyone had a deep pantry, simply because most food was still grown locally, and winter was still something that anyone with any sense prepared for. Power generation and manufacturing were also still largely local, which made communities tremendously more self-sufficient than they are today. People ate mostly what was in season, because not much was shipped long distances. My parents’ generation, born about 1915 to 1930, were less self-sufficient than their parents had been, but they could still get along with only local resources if they needed to. My generation became less self-sufficient than our parents, but that was offset to some extent by the fact that we grew up with the constant threat of nuclear war. We did shelter drills and hid under our desks at school and watched our parents build and stock fallout shelters. Barbara actually spent one night while she was in elementary school sleeping in the bomb shelter and eating survival crackers. I find it hard to believe that anyone our age can NOT be a prepper, given this kind of background.

It’s all down to Normalcy Bias. People think, subconsciously and even consciously, “It hasn’t happened in my lifetime, so it can’t happen.” The problem with that is that it HAS happened in their lifetimes. Not a year goes by that a catastrophe doesn’t happen somewhere. Catastrophes are ongoing this moment all over the world, from Haiti to the Middle East to Africa to Asia. It’s the height of arrogance to think it can’t happen here. Anyone who understands anything about history knows that just before every catastrophe the average person was thinking that it couldn’t happen there. Until it did.

Posted in netflix, prepping | 62 Comments

Monday, 17 October 2016

06:54 – We repackaged 100 pounds of sugar and 50 pounds of rice yesterday, using a mix of one-gallon Costco water bottles, 3-liter bottles, and 1.75-liter orange juice bottles. Sugar and rice go much, much faster than flour. Barbara had no objection to repackaging sugar and rice, but said she’d really, really rather not do the remaining 50-pound bag of flour.

And speaking of repackaged LTS bulk staples, email over the weekend from another correspondent who wants to remain anonymous. I’ll call him Jeff. He and Laura are in their mid- to late-40’s and have two sons of high school age. They live in the exurbs of a mid-size city. Jeff runs the family engineering business, which he took over when his father retired a few years ago. Laura is a stay-at-home mom. She homeschools their sons and runs a profitable eBay business on the side.

They’ve been preppers since 1999, when they became very concerned about Y2K. They’d bought a house shortly after they married, and in early 1999 they started stocking up food and other supplies. Jeff built a false wall in one of their below-grade basement rooms. He framed it out with 2X4’s, they filled it up with food and other supplies, and then he screwed plywood sheets to the studs. They ended up with a concealed storage room that’s 12 feet wide by about 2 feet deep. To camouflage it further, they installed steel shelving units in front of the plywood wall. Then they pretty much forgot about it for the next 15 years or so.

A few weeks ago, they noticed the basement floor on that wall was damp. The following day, there was actually standing water in puddles along that wall. So that weekend they pulled everything off the steel shelves, disassembled the shelving, and took down the plywood panels. Behind the panels were piles of supplies that hadn’t seen the light of day in 17 years. There didn’t appear to be much damage to the supplies other than soaked cardboard boxes. They moved all the stuff that had been behind that wall to another room and then called a contractor to fix the leak.

The food they had stored behind that wall was a mix of cases of LDS #10 cans, cases of supermarket canned goods, and long-term staples they’d repackaged themselves in soft drink bottles. All of it at least 17 years old, and everything other than the LDS #10 cans at least 15 years past its best-by date.

Their first thought was just to throw it all out and start again from scratch, but Jeff decided to check things out before doing that. The LDS cans were in pretty good shape, with some light rust on some of them and a few labels peeling off. The commercial canned goods were in about the same shape. The soft drink bottles looked pretty much the same as they had the day they’d filled them. The only thing that looked like it had aged was the oil in plastic jugs, which had darkened and become a bit cloudy.

As is usual for women, Laura was much more concerned about the age of the stuff than Jeff was, but she finally agreed to test some of it. First up was a 3-liter bottle of white flour. Jeff says it may have darkened a bit, and it was caked in the bottle, but it passed the sniff test. As Jeff said, it smelled like flour. So they sifted it to break up the caking and used it to bake a loaf of bread. It rose normally and the finished loaf tasted just as home-made bread always tastes. No one clutched their throats or keeled over.

They next sampled some of the commercial canned goods. The soup smelled normal when they opened it, as did a can of baked beans. Laura cooked both of them very thoroughly, and they tasted normal. Again, no one keeled over. They opened a can of shortening, which looked and smelled normal. They used it along with some of the antique flour to bake biscuits, which turned out normal. The only fail was their stored oil. When they opened a bottle, it smelled a bit off. Jeff says that he’d have been willing to use it in an emergency if they had no other source of oil, but Laura was greatly relieved when Jeff decided to pitch it without testing it first. As Jeff says, oil is cheap.

They decided to hold onto everything but the oil, as a last-ditch source of food in an emergency. They’re not going to rebuild the hidden room, so they’ll just stack it against the repaired wall. The steel shelving had been mostly filled with more recently purchased food, and that along with stuff they’re still adding will serve as their deep pantry, with the really old stuff as their deepest pantry.

11:06 – Barbara points out that she didn’t say she didn’t want to repackage the remaining 50-pound bag of flour. What she said was she’d really, really rather not transfer it to PET bottles because they’re such a PITA to fill. She wants to transfer it to one-gallon LDS 7-mil foil/Mylar laminate bags. That’s fine with me. For flour, they’re immensely easier and faster to fill, and they’re what we’ll use for flour we purchase in the future.

Barbara is spending the afternoon volunteering at the Friends of the Library bookstore. Tomorrow, we’ll finish labeling bottles, adding an oxygen absorber to each, and transferring them down to our deep pantry shelves in the basement.

Posted in long-term food storage, prepping | 87 Comments

Sunday, 16 October 2016

09:51 – We’re doing stuff around the house today. We got half the flour repackaged yesterday. Today we’ll get started on the sugar and rice. We’ll use 2-liter bottles for both of those. They’re granular and free-flowing, so the narrower mouths of 2-liter bottles aren’t as much of a problem.

Something must have been out in the yard last night. As soon as Colin and I went out the door he went into super-sniff mode and spent the better part of 10 minutes sniffing around before he even took time to pee. I’ve never seen deer in our yard, but I’d guess we probably get them. We did when we lived down in Winston in a suburban area, so it’s pretty likely we have them up here. Maybe bear for that matter. We’re surrounded by fields and trees.

I’m seeing articles that claim we’re closer to nuclear war than we’ve been since the early 70’s. I doubt that’s true. Putin is not stupid, and his advisors must have told him that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is old, decrepit, and well past its expiration date. Both solid-fuel missiles and nuclear warheads have pretty short shelf lives. They must constantly be taken out of service and re-manufactured if they’re to be reliable. Russia has a small economy, probably smaller than, say, Italy’s. Russia can’t even afford to maintain its military vehicles, artillery, and so on, so it’s extremely unlikely that they’ve been performing periodic maintenance on their missiles and warheads. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago, they’ve probably done next-to-no periodic maintenance. My guess is that if they ever did launch, more than half of their missiles would fail on the launch pads. They’d probably lose another half to separation failures after the booster phase, and still another half to re-entry failures. In short, I suspect they’d end up being able to deliver an eighth or less of what they launched. And of those warheads that did survive to re-entry, I suspect a high percentage would fail to detonate.

In short, if Russia does use nukes, I suspect it would be a small number of handpicked warheads on short-range missiles, and it would be in the Middle East rather than an intercontinental attack. And Putin would face a strong US retaliation with missiles and weapons that do work. As I said, Putin isn’t stupid.

Posted in personal, prepping | 59 Comments

Saturday, 15 October 2016

10:44 – We just hauled 100 pounds each of flour and sugar and 50 pounds of rice up from the basement, all in 50-pound bags. We’ll be repackaging that this weekend. We could have repackaged it down in the downstairs unfinished area, but I prefer to repackage food in the kitchen. That means hauling up the bags and then hauling down the bottles, but that’s okay.

That totals 250 pounds, which is basically eight or nine person-months of food. Not balanced nutrition, certainly. It’s very heavy on carbohydrates, light on protein (which is also not balanced), and very light on lipids. That’s fine, though. This stuff is LTS bulk calories. We have meats and oils/fats stored that make it complete nutrition.

Lori, our USPS carrier, mentioned yesterday that she intended to make a Sam’s Club run this weekend to stock up on bulk LTS foods. She asked about repackaging for LTS, and said that she was using 2-liter bottles without oxygen absorbers. I told her that was fine, assuming rodents can’t get to them, and that that food should be perfectly usable for many years. She also mentioned that she doesn’t drink soft drinks, so she was depending on her brother to save his 2-liter bottles for her. I told her that I hadn’t thrown away an empty PET bottle in years, and that we had garbage bags full of them in the basement. I said Barbara would be delighted to get rid of some of them. Barbara said just to have Lori back her Jeep up to the garage and we’d fill it up with 2-liter bottles.

I also told Lori that filling 2-liter bottles with flour or other fluffy stuff was a PITA because of their narrow mouths and that she’d need a funnel with the largest stem diameter that would fit into the mouth of a 2-liter bottle. We have three soft silicone funnels, and I offered to lend her one. Alternatively, she can use the top half of a 2-liter bottle as a funnel, and a 2.5″ or 3″-wide piece of Velcro to wrap and align the two 2-liter bottle mouths together while she fills.

Posted in Lori, prepping | 53 Comments

Friday, 14 October 2016

10:44 – Friday the 13th falls on the 14th this month…

I see that NTSB has concluded that the recent small plane crash in Connecticut was an intentional act, carried out by a musloid jihadi who was attempting to destroy a facility owned by a defense contractor. Any reasonable person might wonder why these scum are even allowed into the US, let alone allowed access to planes. Not to worry, though. That asshole Obama is importing lots more of these scum, and if Clinton is elected you can be sure that she’ll be importing more by the hundreds of thousands. Eventually, such incidents will become so commonplace that no one will even notice unless they’re directly affected. Or so it would appear that the progressives intend.

Email from Jen, who’s anticipating a Trump victory and violent civil unrest to follow. Like us, Jen and her family are pretty well prepared for whatever may happen. But, also like us, Jen intends to devote some attention over the next 3.5 weeks to getting even better prepared before the election. She wants to have sufficient food on hand to be able to help friends and neighbors if it comes to that, so she and David and the rest of her family are planning to add a lot of bulk staples by buying a dozen or more additional 50-pound bags of flour, rice, beans, sugar, and so on, along with several more large containers of cooking oil. She says they may not have time to get it all repackaged immediately, but it’ll be fine just sitting in the original bags on the tables in the basement. They’re also planning another trial run over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Posted in Jen, news, personal, prepping | 90 Comments