Tuesday, 26 May 2015

09:13 – Thanks to Barbara’s efforts over the last few weekends, I have something like 3,000 labeled chemical bottles that need to be filled and capped. I’ll get started on that today, along with building another batch of chemistry kits.

I got an interesting email the other day, asking about long-term food storage for dogs. I replied that canned dog food should store as well as any canned food, which is to say indefinitely. As to dry food, I have no data on long-term storage, and no good idea of how to go about making it shelf-stable, if that indeed is even possible. As to Colin, if food supplies are disrupted because of a transportation shutdown, crop failures, or other large-scale problem, he’ll just eat what we eat. For planning purposes, I count Colin as half a person, so I figure 1,400 calories per day, and half a gallon of water minimum. Dogs thrived for millennia eating human food, and Colin would be, if anything, a lot happier eating what we eat.


10:22 – I really do have to keep my bloody-mindedness under control while writing this prepping book. Here’s a Note as I wrote it originally, before I decided to delete the second paragraph. Given the need, I’d still do it, mind you. I just don’t feel comfortable saying that in the book.

One advantage of packing your own dry staples in foil-laminate Mylar bags also holds true for home-canned goods: in a long-term emergency, the “authorities” are much less likely to confiscate them, as often happens in major emergencies. They want commercially-packaged products, and the food industry has spent a lot of money to brainwash people into believing that food past its best-by date has gone bad. You can make confiscation even less likely by labeling your home-packaged food properly. For example, the next time you repackage dry staples, instead of labeling them “Rice, 7 pounds, Packed March 2016″, label them “Rice, 7 pounds, Expires March 1986″ and so on. Who would confiscate food that “expired” 30 or more years ago?

In fact, in case things really go pear-shaped, it’s a good idea to keep the bulk of your food supplies well hidden, with a reasonable amount of bait food stored in plain sight. You can even turn your bait food supply into part of your defenses by making it a trick-or-treat food supply, stuff that’s intended to be passed out to armed goblins who show up at your door. We keep a stock of arsenic trioxide on hand for that purpose. It’s an odorless, tasteless white powder that mixes well with white flour, sugar, and similar foods. It’s lethal in small amounts but doesn’t kill instantly. Anyone who robs you of this food probably won’t be coming back for more.


13:49 – Well, crap. I was sure I had a partial box of 50 96-well plates, but I sure can’t find them. I just ordered another eight boxes, or 400 total, but they won’t be here until late this week. For now, my kit-building is on hold unless I find that box.

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38 Responses to Tuesday, 26 May 2015

  1. ech says:

    Re: pet food. You might mention that while dogs can eat anything, cats are obligate carnivores. (All those ads we see with cat food that has chunks of carrot and veggies are selling you food the cat can’t digest.) I would guess that dry food would need to be rebagged to prevent bug infestation.

    As for the rains, the bayou near our house is out of the banks. (S. Rice at N. Braeswood in Houston). Our street is a little flooded now, was well over the curbs. Most freeways have some impassable areas. Schools closed. Not all the bayous have peaked. We are on a small rise (1 foot or so). Got some water in the master bedroom from under the door and windows. The seal there must need replacing.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The dry food Barbara buys for Colin comes in heavy plastic bags, so insect infestation wouldn’t be a problem. I simply don’t know how long the food would remain appealing to Colin. The plastic bag would cut down greatly on oxidation, but not stop it entirely. In practical terms, we’ll probably start keeping an extra 50 or 100 pounds on hand and rotate it. But I really am planning to feed Colin from our own food stocks.

    The nice thing about cats is that they’re edible. They taste like chicken. But while dogs are extraordinarily valuable in a long-term emergency as early warning systems that don’t require electricity, cats are pretty useless other than perhaps as mousers and even then a lot of domestic cats couldn’t hunt to save their lives, literally. A lot of them have even been declawed.

  3. Richard Brown says:

    Not to mention millenia of eating people and proto people. Although I suspect he’d turn up his nose at dead politicians.

  4. Jim B says:

    You are right about dogs being valuable in ways useful to man, but cats were valuable commodities in our colonial times. I have read that one of the most sought after “products” in the traveling salesman’s inventory was a cat. I can’t imagine there ever being a cat shortage. They are such prolific survivors.

    And, no, I am not a “cat person.” I like both cats and dogs for different reasons, and couldn’t imagine life without a few of each.

  5. Jim B says:

    Good to see our TX friends made it through the storms mostly OK.

    Our desert wx is finally settling into a late Spring pattern: sunny with a slight possibility of an earthquake. Forecasting is that easy. We don’t even have anything (last I checked) for a wx radio to receive.

    Actually, we are near the Garlock fault, one of the most active in the world, with an average of several tremors per day. It would seem that would relieve stress and prevent strong quakes, but apparently not, because there is evidence of them in earlier geologic time.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    If I had a barn, I’d want a barn cat or three, but I wouldn’t feed them.

    As I’ve said, if you suddenly found yourself shrunk to 6″ tall, your dog would respect you as it does now. He would carry you carefully around in his mouth, let you ride on his back, and bring you food he’d captured. Your cat would kill and eat you.

  7. Jim B says:

    Roger that about the cats. but I must say concerning the dogs we’ve had, they all commanded a fair amount of respect, even though I was always the alpha male, and my wife was the alpha female in our pack. Not sure what they would do to us if we were smaller than them.

  8. rick says:

    You can even turn your bait food supply into part of your defenses

    Have you planned a section on unarmed self defense? I cannot always count on being armed, as there are many places where I cannot legally carry, either concealed or open or where I may be outgunned.

    Rick in Portland

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Nah, any tendency to eat people has been bred out of dogs over tens of thousands of generations.

    Living with Border Collies as I have for the last 55 years, I’ve come to think of them as people. They have complex emotions and thought processes, incredible memories, and they’re smarter than some people, literally. I’m talking not just deductive logic here, but inductive. If they had opposable thumbs, we might not be the dominant species on the planet, or at least we might share that role. BCs also communicate bi-directionally with people, and they do it extremely well. Again, give them voice boxes, and it might be a very different world.

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’ve mentioned various things in passing, including extensible batons and bear spray, but the average person has no chance against a goblin if it comes to physical combat.

    I’ve mentioned before that when I taught women’s self-defense classes in college, I always used to start the first session with something like, “I’m 6’4″ tall and weigh 240 pounds. I have a black belt in Shotokan karate. I carry a .45 Auto pistol and compete regularly in combat pistol shooting competitions. And you know what I’d do faced with a bad guy? I’d run like hell.” And I meant that literally. No matter how tough you are, there are always tougher people out there. I don’t care if you’re a SEAL in top condition, you always run from a confrontation if you can. And I think any SEAL would agree with me.

    In my experience, very few people understand that martial arts are a sport, not something that’s intended for practical self-defense training. Maybe something like Krav Maga (the real stuff, not the deballed stuff that’s usually taught) would be useful, but learning it well enough to be useful would require at least months of intensive training and then a huge time commitment to regular realistic practice.

    I always think about that Indiana Jones movie where the ninja appeared suddenly and started going through his kata. Jones stood there watching him for a while and then pulled out his pistol and blew the ninja away. A .45 Auto, a 10-foot separation, and a competent shooter beats a ninja every time.

    If you’re really concerned, buy a good extensible baton, AKA lecture pointer ;), and take classes to learn how to use it. Properly wielded, these batons are fearsome CC weapons. You can break bones and even kill with them, and they’re pretty innocent looking.

  11. brad says:

    The bait-food is pretty evil. Makes sense, and I’m totally sympathetic to the idea, but the problem remains: you don’t know what’s going to happen to that food. Just as a hypothetical: A goblin comes up, demands food, and then goes off and trades it to the local hospital for narcotics.

    As far as unarmed combat, absolutely, avoid it at all costs. Even though I did a lot of judo, I was never particularly fast or strong. Now, in my fifties? Forget it. The only chance any person unused to violence has, is to catch the sucker by surprise. You’ll get one chance, if you’re lucky, and likely no chance at all.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    In the kind of situation where I’d roll out the bait food, no one is going to be trading food. They’d be killing to get it. I wouldn’t expect hospital pharmacies to last long. They’d be looted at gunpoint of narcotics, antibiotics, and anything else useful.

    As I’ve said, I really don’t expect things to get that bad, but a kilo of arsenic trioxide really doesn’t take much storage space. And it’s also useful on rats other than the two-legged types.

  13. Lynn McGuire says:

    If you’re really concerned, buy a good extensible baton, AKA lecture pointer ;), and take classes to learn how to use it. Properly wielded, these batons are fearsome CC weapons. You can break bones and even kill with them, and they’re pretty innocent looking.

    I carry a slingshot in my truck for really bad days when I am at a federal facility. No guns are allowed in the parking lot of federal facilities. That includes Post Offices but a federal judge has ruled against that.

    I have my CHL now so I am covered for most states. It is just those federal facilities that have me worried. I do not want to be the test case.

  14. Alan says:

    The dry food Barbara buys for Colin comes in heavy plastic bags

    I’ve seen several brands of dog food in heavy plastic that have minute holes in the bags. Not sure of their purpose but if you compress the bags you can hear air escaping. Food that I’ve gotten in paper-based bags are usually sealed and have an inner plastic lining.

  15. Lynn McGuire says:

    Alex Jones is rumor mongering again, “Economist: Government Preparing to Seize 401(k) Pensions”:
    http://www.infowars.com/economist-government-preparing-to-seize-401k-pensions/

    We are nowhere close to this. Maybe five years, maybe ten years. But not yet.

  16. ech says:

    In my experience, very few people understand that martial arts are a sport, not something that’s intended for practical self-defense training.

    My daughter and I did Taekwando for a while, and the self defense was taught separately. The first advice was, as you have said, run. The second were a couple of techniques that involved foot stomps, kicks to the groin, and poking of eyes. We were also taught a few techniques for breaking a hold so you could stomp, kick, and poke. Then run.

  17. MrAtoz says:

    Speaking of dogs, the Commie Pope thinks we spend to much on our pets. Screw him.

  18. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Maybe you could carry a .44 cap-and-ball black powder pistol. They don’t count as firearms. You can even mail order them.

    I fired one a few times a long, long time ago, with actual black powder rather than Pyrodex. It was a handful. Not a .44 Magnum, not even close, but maybe a .44 Special with heavy loads in a lighter pistol.

  19. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Some of them can even be speed-loaded if you carry an extra loaded cylinder or two.

  20. Ray Thompson says:

    If I had a barn, I’d want a barn cat or three, but I wouldn’t feed them.

    We kept from 20 to 40 cats on our farm. Their job was to control mice population as the mice really liked oat hay and other grain feed we kept on stock. Mice never seemed to be much of a problem except at the bottom of a stack of oat hay.

    When we got to the bottom layer the cats knew that a feast was coming. The cats would wait anxiously as we would pull up a bale of hay. The mice under the bale would attempt to scatter but the cats were quicker.

    We fed the cats some to keep them from starving. Only once in the evening and generally just some scraps the table. Most of the cats were wild and would not let you near them.

    When the population got above 40 it was time to do some thinning. Cat traps were not an option so a .22 rifle was used. I would spend half the day hunting the specific cats we wanted eliminated, typically the males, and I would shoot them. Dump them in the skip bucket on the tractor and haul them to a remote part of the property and bury them.

    We also had a couple of house cats that were totally domesticated and would turn their noses up at a mouse. They were pets. The ones in the barn were workers.

    One of the wild cats did something surprising. She came to us and meowed repeatedly. We went toward her and she ran a short distance away and meowed again. Out of curiosity we followed her. She led us to her well hidden den where there were six small kittens, born not more than a couple of days earlier. She then disappeared. We found her body a day later. The cat knew she was going to die and wanted us to take care of her kittens.

    My aunt and uncle had a soft spot for animals. So we hand raised those six kittens as my aunt and uncle could not kill animals, especially young animals. That is why I had the job of shooting the excess cats, he could not do it. Once the kittens were old enough to be on their own they were put to work in the barn.

  21. nick says:

    Oh boy, lots of good comment stuff today.

    Re: dogs eating people. LOTS of stories of this still happening, but in cases of unattended death. Can’t say I blame them at that point, and might even volunteer.

    Re: seizing 401K’s, they will probably not actually seize them, but google myIRA which was their test balloon for converting them all to gov debt. For your own good, of course, since you need protection from the vagaries of the free market. It got shot down pretty quickly, but if there is anything to be learned from watching .gov, it’s that once proposed, none of these things ever really goes away.

    Re:storage of pet food. In dry food, it is the fat that will go rancid over time. Not sure how long that would be, but it is def. not forever.

    Re: eating cats. Some of the national prejudice that you never hear anymore, where I grew up the only thing I knew for sure about Serbians was that they ate cats. LOTS of pictures of the chinese butchering cats for restaurant use online.

    Re: sling shot. Picked one up, never thought of it as a DEFENSIVE weapon. I think of it as a varmint tool. I need to get mine out and practice. I have to try really hard to sterilize my vehicle and person when I visit Wallace Pack. To not even have a knife in the vehicle takes real planning. Re: the post office, I just go to a mailbox store instead.

    Re:cannot carry in many places. In TX we have an exception to prosecution that says if you had to use it in one of those places, you can’t be prosecuted for having it with you. Also, no penalties for violation of the “no guns” signs, just leave if asked (and the signs must meet very specific rules to be valid). Penalties for remaining, then it’s trespassing.

    Well, headed out to kid#2’s day care to help clean up flooding. Looks like all clear rainwater, so that’s a bonus.

    @ech, I feel for you. If we didn’t have drains installed in the back yard, we’d have had water. Our neighbors did.

    nick

  22. ech says:

    If we didn’t have drains installed in the back yard, we’d have had water.

    We have drains, they just couldn’t keep up. Not that much water got in. I’m pulling up a 4 by 8 foot piece of the padding and replacing it. I hit the carpet with Lysol and will followup with our rug cleaner.

    There are houses a few blocks to the south that had 1-4 feet of water in them…..

  23. Lynn McGuire says:

    My son lives in a new little subdivision at the corner of Airport and Hiram Clarke. No standing water last night. The guy who built his subdivision first hauled in five ft of dirt before he built any homes starting in 2005. You can tell where the old 1960s homes are, there is a five ft drop off.

    Of course, they just widened Sims Bayou over off Orem from 30 ft wide and 6 ft deep to 100 ft wide and 20 ft deep. Over at Almeda, Sims Bayou is probably 300 ft wide now. All due to the new flooding tax in Houston.

  24. JLP says:

    “Maybe you could carry a .44 cap-and-ball black powder pistol. They don’t count as firearms.”

    In Massachusetts they are firearms. A case settled that a few years back when someone tried to use the loophole and failed. In MA if it goes bang and a bullet comes out, it’s a firearm. Maybe this is unique to MA, but check you local laws.

  25. OFD says:

    “Maybe you could carry a .44 cap-and-ball black powder pistol. They don’t count as firearms.”

    A guy in his 70s and a collector got nailed in NJ for having a damn flintlock in his glove box; the cops who stopped him let him go but then went to his house the next day with SWAT and arrested him. Ongoing case.

    Whoops, just checked; the DA down there saw the light and dropped the case finally:

    http://gunssavelives.net/blog/charges-against-elderly-man-who-was-arrested-for-flintlock-pistol-in-nj-have-been-dropped/

  26. Lynn McGuire says:

    195 flood pictures of Houston:
    http://www.chron.com/business/article/Galleria-mall-floods-due-to-Houston-storms-6286827.php

    Houston is built on a swamp and continuously trying to return to that state.

  27. nick says:

    “Houston is built on a swamp and continuously trying to return to that state.”

    and Phoenix is built in the desert and is trying to dry up and blow away…..

    The fight against entropy is neverending.

    nick

  28. MrAtoz says:

    The IRS got hacked.  Geez. I’m not paying anymore taxes.

  29. DadCooks says:

    And you believe it’s only 100,000? I bet it was at least 100,000 per day for the 3-1/2 months the hackers had access.

    And yes, you will pay, we all will pay, and probably an extra portion for OFD (sad to say).

  30. MrAtoz says:

    I’ll just send my tax money to Russia and China. The IRS is apparently just the middle man now.

  31. Ray Thompson says:

    In MA if it goes bang and a bullet comes out, it’s a firearm.

    I guess my ass could be classified as a firearm in MA.

  32. OFD says:

    “Houston is built on a swamp and continuously trying to return to that state.”

    Ditto Mordor, and oh, how sweet it would be if it returned to that state, primeval swampland, dotted by crumbling Classical-style ruins, and inhabited by whoever is left there, hopefully politicians, lawyers, lobbyists and banksters being hunted for sport by the locals.

    “I’ll just send my tax money to Russia and China. The IRS is apparently just the middle man now.”

    It’s just a giant shell game; the money we pay the Feds goes overseas and to the half of our population that doesn’t work at anything and then it comes back eventually to our banksters, financial speculators and corporations. The Feds just take a nice cut for themselves, coming and going and coming again. It’s quite a nice racket and been going on a very long time.

    “I guess my ass could be classified as a firearm in MA.”

    And in NJ it would be an antique firearm.

  33. OFD says:

    Busier than usual murderous holiday weekend in Chicago and Baltimore, gee, what a shocker. But here’s a solution:

    “After Violent Weekend, Emanuel Says Stronger Gun Laws Needed”

    Yeah, that’ll do it. Always has. Hey, if something doesn’t work the first time, we just need much more of it, amirite?

    We’re gonna see a lot more of this; it’s gonna be one of those long hot summers, but the jury is still out on whether it will get as bad as the ones some of us on this board remember. Meanwhile the cops are apparently standing off in a bunch of places (except Waco, TX, natch) and letting the good times roll. This lets us know that we need many more of them and we should give them total carte blanche to keep the troublemakers down. Which is probably not gonna be too much of a hard sell to the dumbass Murkan public.

    We’re seeing the beginnings now of a series of protection rackets. Them bikers didn’t pay up and weren’t hip to the game. Plus they were mostly Caucasian, so thus fair game. What’s odd about that, though, is the leaks coming from the ATF about the numbers of ex-cops, ex-military, nuke plant engineers and techies, etc. that are in biker gangs around the country. WTF? This was not a feature back in my day.

  34. Ray Thompson says:

    “I guess my ass could be classified as a firearm in MA.”

    And in NJ it would be an antique firearm.

    Rusty and subject to frequent misfiring.

  35. SteveF says:

    Hell, RBT, that paragraph about arsenic isn’t bloody minded. Bloody minded would be giving advice on what poisons to use so that you could still eat them after they died. I think arsenic might not be too bad because it accumulates in organs other than muscles, but I think I’d still be cautious about eating someone I’d killed that way, and I’d rather have something safer — that is, 100% lethal for them but safe for me. What about methanol? Let them “find” my stash and die of it. I think that if I avoid the liver, kidneys, and brain, the meat should be safe, and especially if I brine it first. Expert opinions welcome.

  36. OFD says:

    Yeah, it would be good to know if there are, in fact, any such “expert opinions” here on this board.

    I can see that Mr. SteveF is already building his resume to work as a consultant in the inner city slag heaps when they’re actually prepping and marinating the “meat” prior to skewering it on homemade truck axle spits.

  37. nick says:

    I’ve long used the phrase “roasting dogs over gasoline fires” as shorthand for total collapse.

    Long pig on a spit would add that much more piquancy to the image.

    nick

    (terrible waste of dog and gas, but you pour the gas in a bucket of sand and light it. Supposed to be a nice steady flame. Never been desperate enough to try it. Although, I have passed a bottle while sitting around a railroad tie fire, while others roasted hot dogs on the flames. I thought I’d better not have a hot dog….)

  38. SteveF says:

    I can see that Mr. SteveF is already building his resume to work as a consultant in the inner city slag heaps

    No no no, this is for personal use. I mean, um, hypothetically.

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