Wed. June 26, 2019 – like my men..

Got a bit warmer by late afternoon yesterday, but cool and clear to start. Same forecast for today.

I’m in a suburb of Chicago, and I was quite surprised by the difference in pricing at the grocery store. Items I buy every week in Houston were 1/3 or 1/2 again as expensive. Bacon was $14 instead of $8. Rolls, sliced ham, soda, all more expensive here. Dinner out was more than I expected too. Gas is $2.49 (or more) vs $2.15/gal. Tolls on the highway were $1.10 for a short stretch (and used to be just 40c.)

This is far from a luxury area. Mom’s house will likely sell for $140K, and is 1800 sqft on a big corner lot. The opposite of gentrification is happening here. The streets here in the neighborhood haven’t seen any maintenance in at least 20 years and maybe 30. Houses are smaller than mom’s through most of the area. One car garages are not uncommon. Some blocks, a larger 2 car garage is actually bigger than the house.

All this to say, prices are WAY out of line for the sort of area it is, and yet they are inline with where my sibs live too. I’m pretty sure they are typical prices for most of Chicagoland, if not a bit lower than nicer areas.

Why would you live here or expect to STAY here? It is NOT getting better, it’s getting worse.

My sibs seem to be either suffering from Stockholm Syndrome or cognitive dissonance. Neither is healthy in the long term.

There are millions here looking at the same fate, and many are pulling the ejection lever. I wish my family would too.


Posted in Random Stuff | 17 Comments

Tues. June 25, 2019 – safely in the Chicago area

A bit cool and damp by my standards…hoping for a sunny day.

Lot of driving in the past two days. Spent Monday dodging thunderstorms and missed most of them. Not much traffic on the interstates. Fewer trucks than last time, and that’s a bit worrying. The drive up Illinois from tip to (almost tip) was interesting in that most of the road was in ok to poor condition, but some counties had done a good job of repair. You can clearly see the difference in maintenance as you go, with some bridges freshly painted, and some held together with rust and hope…some fresh paving and some with lots of potholes and only oil and chip seal for repairs. Some counties didn’t even bother with chip seal…

And the rest areas in Illinois are the worst on the trip. No amenities and poor maintenance at most. Arkansas and Missouri have nice facilities with staffed visitor centers….

Lots of standing water in fields and flooded areas. The flooding and impact on crops is real. I don’t know the extent of it, but there is no point in denying that there are large areas too wet to farm.

More from the Windy City as I take breaks from the cleanup,


Posted in Random Stuff | 47 Comments

Mon. June 24, 2019 – free but useless

Wet and humid here in AR. Posting early and from my phone because the hotel free wifi still uses some sort of authorization, and it doesn’t work on any of the android browsers on my tablet.

More driving today. I should be in Chicago by dinner time.

After watching a few movies, we’ve started listening to the Narnia books produced be Focus on the Family. So far it has excellent production. Child is enthralled. I am too.

More updates as I cross borders…


Posted in Random Stuff | 43 Comments

Sun. June 23, 2019 – hitting the road

81F and 94%RH this morning. With light and occasional sprinkles yesterday, the humidity was miserable.

Later this morning I’m hitting the road for Chi-town. Well, near to it anyway. Nearer than I like.

Two days there, work on stuff for mom, two days home. Posting will probably be light. I will post as I travel as I found that to be helpful on the last trip.

I sure hope the world holds together while I’m away from home. I really don’t want to live out a ‘road movie.’

Talk amongst yourselves…


Based on weather, it looks like I’m going N59 thru Texarkana, to 30 thru Little Rock, 40 to memphis, then 55 to 57 the rest of the way home. (That avoids St louis)…Don’t know yet when or where I’ll stop for the night. T storms are sweeping across the upper part of that trip, but I should get to Memphis before they do.

Posted in Random Stuff | 19 Comments

Sat. June 22, 2019 – sleeping in

85F at midnight, so I expect it is hot this am. [added – 83F and 93%RH, so not horrible at 7:30am]

I’m trying to sleep in today, I want to be fully rested for my trip. Still have a lot to do to get ready though. [freaking backup noisemakers on big trucks, woke me up. Neighbors are getting a new roof today. They can’t start with the nail guns until 8 but they can get deliveries and shout at each other.]

One thing I’d like to do is get a couple of audio books transferred onto an ipod so I can get them into the truck with me. Long drives are perfect for audio books, and I’ve got Guns Germs and Steel, and ALL of the Chronicles of Narnia waiting for a listen.

I guess I’ll have my wife do it since she has the i- management stuff on her pc. I did find a free way to get stuff onto a pod, but not off, so I guess I’ll just have to do it the apple way.

Good thing I picked up 3 or 4 ipods… [or just take the CDs with]


Posted in Random Stuff | 53 Comments

Fri. June 21, 2019 – already Friday again, jeez

82F and 90%RH. Never got a drop of rain yesterday, hope today goes the same. Openweathermap (henceforth OWM) has our high at 97 or 98F. It’ll be much hotter than that here in my driveway.

The march to war continues–

This looks like classic Trump to me, promise some outrageous thing, let everyone freak about it, then offer the compromise. We’ll see. I’d prefer not to have a nuclear Iran, and the weaker they are, the better for stability in the middle east.

Lots of kid activities this week so not as many preps as I’d like, and I’m getting ready to head back to Chicago to help my mom with selling her house. I’ll probably be there a week.

The little tiny caterpillars were back with a vengeance and ate all the leaves off one grape vine and most off the other vine. It did reveal on bunch of grapes, which I split with littlest child. They were tasty with thick skins. I sprayed them with the thuricide and I hope the vines recover for next year. Grapes are a huge PITA.

We have one little apple growing on the tree, and one orange is still clinging to its tree too.

Peppers are still producing but tomatoes aren’t showing any fruit. Cukes and zukes haven’t died yet. The stems usually spit open at the ground level and get eaten by ants. I’ve been hitting them with different things hoping to find something that will get them thru the summer. Seems to be working so far. The plants in the one raised bed are still slowly bleaching to white and dying. No time to investigate that further. It MUST be an issues with the soil.

I did add another bucket of rice and some more cans to the stack. I can tell the hand warmers I’m using as O2 absorbers are working because the buckets ‘dent’ in.

I’ve mentioned it before but I think prepping to make tortillas/pita/naan/ or some other flat bread makes more sense than risen breads. They take less time, effort, and fuel. The staples of poor rural people and indigenous people the world over are refined by long history to be efficient in all those areas. (that root you have to smash for hours being an exception necessitated by a lack of alternatives.)

Someone mentioned that my SWAG at a couple of months food for my family was missing some things… yup. It was. There were LOTS of things missing from the list, but it was intended to show that it doesn’t have to be hard, or rocket science to stack a good amount of food. Also it’s what MY family (and by extension, most families I know) will eat. (If I was hispanic or german, the list would be different (and have more pickled stuff on it if german))

There are actually canned beans in the list (red, black, refried,bbq, drunken (borracho), and several others are on my shelves.) For preps, I prefer canned beans to dried. The water is already in the can. The cans are safe from rats and other vermin. The liquid in the can can be used as ‘sauce’ over rice. Of course, they are more expensive than dried beans, but they can be eaten cold from the can, only need to be warmed up to make them tasty, have flavor already added, and are generally easier, quicker, and thrifty with fuel.

If your family already eats chick peas, or dried beans, by all means store them in your preps! I wouldn’t want the list to be seen as EX-clusive. You should always feel free to go beyond or tweak for personal preference. For example, someone else mentioned canned potatoes. I have canned potatoes from a couple different makers with different styles of potato in them. I really like one particular can of sliced new potatoes. I’ve served them as a side dish lots of times. We don’t eat many potatoes though, and most canned versions don’t taste that good to me. I did list pouches of instant potato though. The name brand is really good, especially the varieties with added cheese and other flavors. If we had a real ‘no shit, hit the store for one last run’ event, besides all the overlooked cans, I’d grab bags of potatoes and onions. They store well (up to a year in good conditions) are cheap and versatile. But we personally don’t eat them often, so I usually only keep a couple of pounds of heritage baby potatoes in the pantry, and 10 pounds of onion… we do eat a lot of onion.

And I have to get the wife and kids out the door so I need to continue this later….

what did you do to prep this week?


Posted in cheap preps, gardening, long-term food storage, march to war, prepping 101, weekly prepping | 40 Comments

Thur. June 20, 2019 – month is slipping by…

80F and 98%RH this morning. Broken clouds and hot is the forecast. It was certainly hot yesterday, and no relief from the sun.

The march to war continues–

“Tensions between the US and Iran flared on Thursday when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard shot down an American drone that was said to have flown into Iranian airspace (the US claims the drone flew over international territory). The drone was reportedly flying over the Strait of Hormuz – that critical chokepoint for the global oil trade – not far from where two oil tankers were recently attacked.”

Iran is supposedly a major state sponsor of terrorism. Open war with Iran would increase the risk of a major terror attack dramatically, imho.


And remember all the posturing in Uganda that they were ready for Ebola, well equipped to deal with it? — they didn’t even have access to the vaccine for treatment and won’t for another two weeks according to this article… (although the article says they are vaccinating people, so they must have some vaccine for prophylaxis).

“If you use them, the number of those who survive increases compared to supportive treatment where they mainly use fluids and nutrition,” Prof Kaleebu stated.

Uganda has not registered any new confirmed Ebola case, but there are two people displaying Ebola symptoms who have been put under isolation at Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit.

“Currently, 92 contacts to the confirmed Ebola cases in Kagando and Bwera are being followed up daily,” the press statement issued on Tuesday states.

By Monday, a total of 128 contacts and non-vaccinated frontline and health officers had been vaccinated.”

This is a country where the health minister advised ‘if you have access to gloves, you should use gloves…’ Top men.

Swim meet today, last normal meet of the season. LONG day ahead of me. The competition has been very fast, so my kids are quite discouraged. Oh well, you can’t control the other guy, you can only control yourself.

And that’s a life lesson worth learning.


Posted in ebola, march to war | 56 Comments

Wed. June 19, 2019 – nothing catches my eye

79F and saturated this morning. Hot and humid yesterday, with the sun baking down. Today should be the same. Summer in Houston. Whoda thunkit?

Nothing in the news catches my eye. I didn’t watch, listen to, or even become aware of Trump’s announcement rally until this morning. Not gonna spend any time on it at all. I don’t believe him on the economy, he’s getting soft on 2nd Amendment issues, and his opponents live in a parallel universe and don’t or can’t see the world the way I do. Not much to talk about with someone who looks up and insist the sky is green. They clearly feel the same way. We’ll see what actions reveal about the opposition during the next few months.

Funny what’s not in the news, while some tattooed freak and his girlfriend begging for money online is front page…

What are we being told?
Why now?
What AREN’T we being told.

Teaching my kids to ask those 3 questions about every bit of news they see.

Who’s telling us, and what do they gain are good follow ups.


Posted in Random Stuff | 61 Comments

Tues. June 18, 2019 – wtf, over?

74F and 99%RH.  Finally got cooler after dusk yesterday.  Until then it was plenty hot and humid, if not as much as the day before.  openweathermap has a tiny bit of rain and mid nineties in our forecast.  Yuck.

Facebook Introduces New “Libra” Digital Currency With Landmark White Paper

What in the world are people thinking? Bitcoin is bad enough, letting Facebook have the power to create money? Insanity.

Speaking of insanity, the march to war continues with another 1000 headed to the middle east. Iran is ramping up…

People are in the streets in Hong Kong.

No news out of France for a while, wonder if the yellow vests will be in the news this weekend?

Stack it high…


Posted in Random Stuff | 32 Comments

Mon. June 17, 2019 – back to work

68F and 99%RH this morning .  Gauge said 1.85 inches of rain before midnight, and it’s only been misty since.  Forecast is for more light rain, and higher temps by late afternoon.  No idea yet if our swim meet will go on.  The pool gets in poor condition with inches of rain and the grounds turn to a muddy mess.

Aesop at RaconteurReport is busy laying in some ground truths about the Ebola outbreak (and I’ve contributed a little bit.)  Today’s report out of Africa is it MAY have made a big leap in Uganda.

TL:DR is – if they don’t get a handle on it there (and they won’t), it will get to the west.  It’s likely to get here at some point, and if it breaks out here, it’s SHTF time.  Best defense is self-quarantine to avoid infection.  That means stocking up.

I’m gonna bring together some of Bob’s posts on getting started prepping into one place.  A lot of good info has disappeared when some other good sites sold out.  A new page here with good links and Bob’s advice should be helpful.

Kids are sleeping in, but wife still needs breakfast, so I’m off…



Posted in ebola, prepping | 73 Comments