Sat. Sept. 24, 2022 – gettin’ outta dodge…

By on September 24th, 2022 in decline and fall, lakehouse, personal

Hot later.  Nice now.  Too bad it only lasts until about 10am.   ‘Course the humidity is there all day.   The hot part of the day is getting shorter though.  By yesterday evening it felt cool again.  Still over 80F, but cool compared to 104F in the sun.

Did a couple of pickups.  Lot of driving, but I got a steel cabinet (double door office supplies type cabinet) for less than $20.  It’s in good shape, no rust or dents, and hasn’t been painted.  I like to think I learn from my mistakes, so I’m going to use cabinets and not open shelves to store food at the BOL, when I can.  The plastic tubs have been working great to keep the cans and boxes and pouches clean and un-eaten, but they make it harder to see what I’ve got, and harder to just grab something.   My storage conditions suck.   Cool, dry, and dark they ain’t.  Hopefully at the BOL, I can get enough cabinets for the garage to keep everything out of sight, and rat pee free.

Speaking of the BOL, wife and kids took the dog and headed up last night.   I’ve got a couple of pickups today, so I stayed home until later.  I’ll head up as soon as I can.   I may try to get a couple more plumbing parts before I leave.  I’m thinking that I will have to run both my new pex and the old copper at the same time for a while.   The easiest way to do that is T into the hot water heater, both the cold line, and the hot.  They are the newest, are accessible, and are both the same 3/4″ size.  I won’t have to cut and splice anything either to get supply into the pex if I do that.  Every time I touch the existing copper, I cringe, just hoping it doesn’t break loose or spring a leak.

I’m sure I’ll be breaking some more concrete too.  Joy.

But hey, I’m building out our BOL.  That counts for a lot.  And it gives me a whole new place to stack all the things.

Stack some of your own.



Fri. Sept. 23, 2022 – Another Friday, another week gone by.

By on September 23rd, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, personal

And still the weather is hot and humid.   Freaking sun.  Burns like the blazes.   108F in the sun at my house yesterday, and it was only partly sunny!

So I stayed inside and did paperwork for our tax accountant.   I didn’t get to the storage unit to reorganize and make more room.  I did get some stuff sorted for later auctions, and did get some cleaning done.   I also spent time watching and bidding on the dozen auctions that closed last night.

And I won a few things that will be helpful here and at the BOL.  Another freezer (to sell to a neighbor at the BOL), a metal cabinet for food storage up there, a couple other small things.    I also got a bunch of stuff related to my non-prepping hobby.   I should flip most of it in November at our local swapfest.

One of the things I’ve wanted for a long time finally came my way.   The 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica.   It’s the one I grew up with and I consider it to be about the perfect age.  New enough the science isn’t laughable, but pre-dating all the eco-warrior ’70s bullspit, and all the PC multi-culti nonsense.   My dad read through it twice.   He was very hard to beat at Trivial Pursuit  🙂   I’ve managed to buy a couple other lesser sets from around the same period, but the EB is the best.  Crazy to want it, I know.   The scenarios where it’s useful are so ‘out there’ it should  make me blush.  I don’t care.   I’ve just expanded my ‘rebuild society library’ by a factor of ten.   I’ll pass it off as nostalgia if I have to.   It was pretty close to the sum of all human knowledge at the time it was produced, at least from the ’10 Thousand foot level.’  It’s like having the internet in 24 volumes.  Well, without all the pron and cat pix.  Ever since my siblings gave mom and dad’s set away at a garage sale, I’ve wanted to replace it.  I just didn’t want it enough to pay the price it brings.  This week I got lucky and got a set for under $20.  Hooray.

FWIW, I consider hard cover books and a good library to be essential preps.   Western Civ doesn’t HAVE to die.   The whole Renaissance came about because of books.  Electronic storage and ebooks are malleable and fallible (doesn’t quite rhyme) and while paper books have their failure modes too, at least they can’t be ‘stealth edited’ or rendered unreadable by a change in file format, or hardware obsolescence.  Good collected works volumes are available for a dollar or less.   There’s no reason not to own most of the western canon.  Own them electronically too, but own them.

Stack up knowledge and learning, history and art.  Stack those deep too.




Thur. Sept. 22, 2022 – 09222022 – eh not that interesting…

By on September 22nd, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, personal

Another hot humid day here in the swamp.   Bayou City USA.   Houston, TX.  Jeez.  Fall was nice while it lasted.  Not.  It was 102F in the sun yesterday and it felt like it too.

So I mostly stayed in.   I didn’t feel well.  I’ve got a sore throat and felt a bit off all day, so I napped a little, and puttered.  My wuflu test was negative, so I think it’s just a cold or could be seasonal allergies.  Post nasal drip.   Bah, don’t feel like myself and I don’t like it.

Caught another possum last night.  Took him to the same spot I released the last one.   This one was bigger.   I’ll say that the Hav-a-heart traps are bigger than they look, and more finicky to set than they should be.  Very awkward to bait properly.  Not very good at triggering.   I saw the beastie in the cage on my cam, and went out with a broom to activate the trap door.  Took him a couple of miles away, and released him.  (and not like the krazy komandant in Schindler’s List)

Vermin.   Have a plan.  Get the stuff.   Get more than you think you’ll need.

There is still time to stock up.  It’s costing more every day and getting harder to find bargains.   Still worth doing, in my book.

Today I’ll be doing some auction stuff- shipping an ebay sale, picking up some stuff.  Cleaning the house.  Normal stuff.  Boring stuff. Life stuff.  These are the good old days.

Stack it up, food, tools, friends, and all the things you’ll need.


Wed. Sept. 21, 2022 – hard at work or hardly working?

By on September 21st, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, personal

Hot as summer yesterday.  Probably hot again today.  Humid too.   The sun was searing my brain.  REALLY hoped Fall was here.   Oh well, guess we’ll wait a bit longer.

Did pickups in the afternoon, and some family stuff in the evening.   Hit the Costco for a few things in between.  It was eerie.   530pm and the place was a ghost town.   Hamburger was more than HEB, as was chicken.  I bought chicken anyway because I like the packaging.   Bought some steaks too, as they were reasonable, looked good, and I hadn’t seen any ribeye in a while.  They had the shelf stable bread back in stock.   Coffee prices were low, or on sale, which is odd considering some of the things going on in the world.  Maybe coffee isn’t a ‘core’ expenditure and its price will fall as people cut back.  Most people I know would describe it as ‘core’ but maybe they move down scale to cheaper brands.

There were only 3 pallets of rice.   There used to be 6.   Pancake mix is up from $6 to $6.89.  But canadian maple syrup is cheaper than last year.  That has to be an exchange rate thing.  The store removed another set of cold cases.  This was a smaller open front, for organic drinks and salads, near the meat section.  Guess they are still remodeling and cutting back.  Something else caught my eye and I just figured out why.   They moved the bottled and sparkling water from next to the frozen fish, to an interior aisle.   They put beer in the aisle where the water used to be.   What caught my eye was the space.  The beer was all under the warehouse rack, and so was the water.   In the old days, the water was stocked on 6 foot high pallets in front of the pallet racking.   There is a whole lot less water on display, maybe half as much.

All this adds up to reduced SKUs, reduced inventory, and a much more open store.

Supply issues are just getting started friends.

Buy it while you can, and stack it high.


Tues. Sept. 20, 2022 – Month is flying by… feels crazy fast.

By on September 20th, 2022 in decline and fall

Hot and heavy humidity.   Yesterday was OPPRESSIVE.  We even got some rain in the late afternoon, which helped a bit, but did not entirely clear the air.  I broke a sweat just resetting the live trap in the garage.  The little possum hasn’t showed back up, but there is a much bigger one lurking.   He’s not afraid of being seen either.  I baited the trap with wet cat food this time.

Spent the morning and early afternoon doing pickups.   Hit a couple of thrift stores and scored some good stuff for resale and for home.  Brand new horseshoe game for only $10 was nice.    Big long box of baseball cards might be really nice… or a bust, but the hunt is fun.  The Pokemon cards I found are all too new to be worth much, $1-4 generally.  Still, they are basically free when paying by the pound.  I doubt I’ll ever find a binder with 450 cards in it again, but I always look.  I’ve got several bins to sort and go through today.  Two of my auction houses agreed to take stuff in a week, so I can start planning for that.

No word from the foundation guys about their final site visit before work commences.   Hope I can make whatever date they come up with work.

Went to my local HEB store for a quick trip and it was decimated.   IDK if it was just the time of day, or in combination with shortages, or if things have gotten worse in a week, but OMG.   Every aisle had big gaps, with either one or two lonely items left, or NOTHING.   The sugar section of the baking aisle was bare.  Bread aisle was down to a few random loaves.   Eggs, just a few cartons, all with one or more broken shells.  Peanut oil was 3 bottles, so I got two…

On the plus side, 80/20 ground chuck was on sale, $3.59/lb, and chicken legs were at 99c again.   Only one turkey in the whole cooler though.  Sodas were stocked, but the snack aisle had open shelves.  Very hit or miss, with several things I was looking for just not there.

Buy it when you see it.

And stack it high.



Mon. Sept. 19, 2022 – yeeha! let’s get to work!

Hot again.  It was so nice to have the cooler weather.  But we get a little more of summer’s heat before Fall, I guess.   And no shortage of humidity.

It was pretty hot even at the lake.   Thermometer said 102F in the shade.   The sun was intense.

I decided to break up some more concrete, and clean up some more of the already broken chunks.   Spent a few hours moving rubble and filling holes behind my bulkhead.   Cut the grass that I had been leaving long to reveal the holes, since the foundation guy will be coming out later, and I figured he’d have a better idea of what was involved in stabilizing the bulkhead if he could see it.

Cutting the grass was interesting.   My electric string trimmer wasn’t making much progress, so I got out a manual tool.  Not really a sling blade, but made for swinging at long grass and plants to cut them off at the ground.  It worked ok, but there wasn’t any really good way to hold the handle of the thing to swing it.  And it was a lot of work.   I did about 20ft and was done.   I’ll bring up my gas powered trimmer for the rest of the tall grass.  Labor saving devices rock.   I’ll miss them when the fuel runs out and the machines don’t run anymore 😉

Did some other small electrical tasks.  Changed a light fixture in the kitchen (no box of course, no wire nuts, and the lamps were too hot and scorched the electrical tape until it was crunchy… scorched the wood of the soffit above the light too.  The new LED fixture doesn’t get hot, and I’ll install a box when we redo the kitchen.  Wire nuts are going to have to do for now.   Finished the circuit for the outlet in the master bath.   Pulled the romex with inches to spare, but needed to connect the outlets.  I have a quad above the vanity, and a duplex under the vanity.  That way someone can plug in a hairdryer underneath and store it in a drawer or the middle cabinet and the cord won’t get in the way, or need to be constantly plugged and unplugged.  And it still leaves 4 outlets above the vanity for phone chargers or curling irons, or whatever…. seems like there are never enough outlets in the bathroom.

I’m surprised the previous owner never had a house fire.   I’ve found so much overheated and scorched stuff, including circuit breakers, walls, and the chimney cap, that it’s clear he overloaded stuff and ran things way too hot.   I guess it shows how much tolerance is built into stuff.

My neighbor has started moving some of my leftover dirt to low spots in his yard.   He asked what I was going to do with the huge pile, and so I gave him half…   He had previously offered the use of his tractor, and he let me run an extension cord for the freezers when the electrical work was happening.   Besides being just good neighbors, I figure it’s time to start weaving ourselves into the community up there.   Webs of favors done and owed seem like  a good way to get started.   Because we’ve been so busy, we’ve declined some social offers.   I now think that was a bad choice, and now we need to work harder at joining in.    That’s one of the reasons I am willing to stop work and talk for however long someone wants to talk when they stop by.

Meatspace baby! and Local, Local, Local….  when every person I talk to has been in his house for 40 years, or has been coming to the lake and surrounding area that long, and has generations buried in local cemeteries, we’ll always be the ‘new family in George’s house’, but we can at least work at it.

Today I’ll be doing some more pickups, starting bright and early with the lot I forgot on Saturday.   Should have me out and about most of the day, especially if I get a chance to do some organizing in my storage unit.

Spend some time working on your network.  Stack up a few good relationships.


Sun. Sept. 18, 2022 – Sunny Sunday

By on September 18th, 2022 in Random Stuff

Hotter than I expected.   And far more humid than I’d like.  That was yesterday, and today is likely to be the same.  Yuck.  Sun was INTENSE.


Did my pickups on the way up.   Forgot one big item that I’ll have to go back for on Monday.  Brainfart.  Just forgot to load it.


Did some small things when I got up here.  Mostly unloaded the truck.   Pulled romex to the master bath.   Had just exactly enough.  It’s actually tighter than I’d really like, but it reaches.  Not going to make the connection yet, but it’s in.   I can close up the wall in the bath, and my wife can paint.


Sky last night was big and black.   You could actually see the milky way.  I haven’t seen the milky way in decades.  Wife decided she wants a decent beginner telescope for her birthday.  Recommendations are welcome.   Size and cost will be considerations.  She will probably not be doing any traditional astronomy, like logging objects.   She just wants to look at cool things.  I’m not even sure that’s possible without a big ‘scope.  I guess I’m about to learn some things.


We’ll see what I get done today.  I’ll probably continue breaking concrete and moving it and dirt around.  So much concrete.  So much dirt.

Had dinner from the freezer up here.   I need to stock some bags of frozen veg.   Then we’ll be able to just come up and make normal meals without thinking about it ahead of time.


Always more to stack… get busy!


Sat. Sept. 17, 2022 – on the road again, goin’ places that I’ve already been…

By on September 17th, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, lakehouse, march to war

Hot later, but cool now.   Then cooler.  Finally, there’ll be a lake breeze in my evening.

But that will be later.

Spent some time yesterday doing pickups.  Then did some auction stuff including mailing an ebay sale.  Not much money in it, but it was an item leaving…

Today I’ve got a big pickup from an estate sale.   Lots of stuff for the BOL.  D1 elected to stay home last night and go up with me today, so I’ve got company for the ride anyway.  If surly proto-teen counts as company.  Wife and D2 went up last night.

One of my stops was an auctioneer that I buy from but also sell with.   He is gradually becoming more and more radicalized by SloJoe and the Ho.  He was incensed by the nazty imagery and the speech calling Trump supporters domestic terrorists.   Keep it up Joe, you’re doing a great job, if you want people in the streets and rivers of blood.   That’s about all I am going to say about that, other than if this guy is that mad, some people, some large number of people, are REALLY angry.  People that have trusted the system, that haven’t been immersed in this daily for years, are feeling betrayed and REALLY REALLY angry.  It’s happening very quickly for them.  They can’t feed their families, they can’t drive the cars they want to drive, they can’t do the things they want to do.  And they are finding someone to blame.   It isn’t going to be pretty.

Take care of you and yours.  Be prepared to join in or keep your head down.   Hard choices may be sooner than we think.

Preps will always help.  There is a lot of trouble you can avoid by just not being there.

Stack it higher than you think you’ll need.



Fri. Sept. 16, 2022 – got some driving around to do…

By on September 16th, 2022 in decline and fall, march to war, personal

Slightly cool, but still humid.   Probably getting warmer later, but staying under 90F.  Fall, in other words.  Yesterday got pretty warm in the late afternoon, but was otherwise beautiful.  Fall weather is great.

Did a bunch of auction stuff.   Went to my storage unit looking for an item that sold on ebay.   Found it, right where it should be, and some other stuff I’d forgotten about…

I really need to get one or both kids doing listings.   They both say they want to earn some money  but they’d both rather do something else with their time.  Well, me too.   But needs must…

Talked to several people while I was out yesterday.  Safety was on their minds.   The rapid and visible influx of foreign invaders is to  the point where you see them standing around.  Like the pond that is half covered with lily pads one day, then fully covered the next, they are suddenly everywhere.

Don’t know what can be done, other than make conditions so bad or so onerous that they self deport.  If it comes to shooting, Aesop says ‘your skin color will be your uniform’, and I think he’s right.   Goes both ways of course, as anyone the victim of ‘the knockout game’ or ‘polar bear hunting’ well knows.   I curse George Lucas because all I can hear in my head when I consider the issue is Jar Jar Binks – “Is some people gonna die?”  Yes.  Yes they will.

Spend some time thinking about your personal security.   At home, at work, at the store, and traveling between those places.  Consider making changes if you find issues.

And stack the defensive things.


Thur. Sept. 15, 2022 – how did it get to be the middle of September already?

By on September 15th, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, gardening, personal

Less hot, still humid.   Definitely “Fall” weather coming, but still plenty hot in the afternoon.  I barely broke a sweat cutting the grass yesterday.  That was  a  nice change.

Spent the day catching up on auction stuff.  It’s funny how it goes in waves.  Sometimes I see a ton of stuff I need/want.  Sometimes there is little.   Sometimes you see an item in a several unrelated auctions, sometimes you go years without seeing a particular thing.   There are a few things I’d still like to get more of.

Generators.  Solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, and batteries.  Water treatment.  Unfortunately, EVERYONE wants those things at the moment.  Same for wind generators, building materials, and construction equipment.  There’s always something more to stack.   Especially when you have as many projects going on as I do.

Plan today is pickups.   I only got a few items but they are at different auctioneers.  So I’ll be making a big loop today.  Organizing storage would be good too.

Wife is still work from home, but both kids should be back in class today.  That should cut down on my distractions.  Suddenly time is flying by again.   I’ve got foundation guys starting in about two weeks, if everything stays on schedule.   I should be meeting with them on site to do their final walk thru before starting any day now, but I haven’t heard from them.  Add that to my list for today, I guess.

Speaking of lists, make some.  Think hard about what you still need to get to help you through bad times.   Make an actual list.   Then work on getting those items or skills.  Small engine repair?  3d Printer?  Gardening class?  Roto-tiller?  Couple of acres in the country?  Canning jars and lids?  Seeds?   Fertilizer?  Goats?   You know your needs better than I do.   Do what makes sense for you and yours.

And stack the stuff high.