Friday, 18 September 2015

09:49 – Barbara is taking a vacation day today and heading out to run errands. We’ll spend the weekend doing science kit stuff. We’re low stock on just about everything.

Speaking of low stock, apparently there’s some kind of significance about this month for many Mormons. Some book or other written by a Mormon woman but not endorsed by the LDS Church is predicting a catastrophe this month, and I’m sure the severe flooding in Utah is reinforcing those fears. The result is that long-term food storage vendors are seeing a gigantic flood of orders. Augason, Thrive, and others are unable to keep products in stock, both on-line and in stores. Even Walmart.com is back-ordered on many of their shelf-stable food items because of the panic buying.

We’ve been covered up working on science kit stuff, but I did manage to get a few items that might be useful in the future. Here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I read Lights Out by David Crawford, which is a different kind of PA novel. It focuses on a typical exurban neighborhood dealing with the effects of a continent-wide long-term power outage. The protagonist isn’t Rambo, which is a refreshing change. It’s a decent book, not great but a lot better than most of its genre. And it does give one something to think about.
  • I started design on a new kit. This one isn’t a science kit per se. It’s an heirloom seed kit, and I’ll sell it on-line via the prepping book. I’m not happy with any of the current heirloom seed kits out there, many of which appear to have an almost random selection of seeds, chosen without consideration for factors like reliability, ease of growing, nutritional value, climate adaptability, suitability for both northern and southern latitude day lengths, and so on.

The other problem with these seed kits is that they simply don’t include enough seeds. Ideally, of course, every prepper would already be keeping a garden, but the reality is that many preppers store heirloom seeds “just in case”. One kit I looked at included only one ounce (28.4 g) of bean seeds, which is 70 or so seeds. Yeah, under ideal conditions and assuming everything goes perfectly, those 70 bean seeds could produce a lot of beans. But what if conditions aren’t ideal or things don’t go perfectly? What if they’ve been in storage for so long that the germination rate is only 40%? What if animals or insects wipe out most of your crop? That’s why my kit will include 300 g of bean seeds, or roughly 750 seeds.

Then there’s the choice of plants. Nearly all of the seed kits include lettuce. Lettuce! It takes up precious space, requires a lot of work, and provides almost no nutrition. What’s the point to trying to grow it at all? Conversely, very few of the kits include turnip seeds. Turnips produce a massive amount of food and have high nutritional value. Anyone considering planting lettuce would do well to plant turnips instead. Or beets.

All of the kits include onions, which is fine. Onions are important for flavoring bulk staples. The problem is, many of the kits include long-day onion seeds. Long-day onions are fine if your latitude is about 45 degrees or higher. But at lower latitudes, the days never get long enough for those onions to flourish.

Almost none of the seed kits I looked at include even a basic selection of herbs, which are essential if you’re trying to cook appetizing meals from bulk staples. An herb garden doesn’t require much space, and I consider it mandatory to have the seeds necessary to keep a reasonably comprehensive herb garden, so those will be included in our kit. Another essential that these kits all leave out is tobacco seeds. Tobacco can be grown successfully up to about 55 degrees latitude if one has the proper seeds, and tobacco is an extremely desirable crop, if only for trade.

The other thing that worries me about many of these kits is how the seeds were processed and stored. Doing it right involves a lot of work, and my guess is that very few of these companies have bothered to do that work. If the seeds are dried properly (to ~7% or 8% moisture content but not much lower, which would “harden” the seeds and reduce germination rates) and frozen, they should remain viable for a long time. That’s how the international seed banks do it, and that’s why their vaults are located in arctic climes. I also noticed that most of these seed kits advertise that they’re packed with an oxygen absorber, which tells me that these companies don’t know what they’re doing. Using an oxygen absorber buys you nothing and may actually shorten the shelf life of the seeds.

I’ve done some germination testing of the Lima bean and carrot seeds that we include in biology kits. After five years stored just in PE bottles with no special dehydration or other treatment, I got germination rates of 50% to 60% (versus 85% to 90%+ on fresh seed). Germination rates of seeds also depend heavily on species, but I feel comfortable saying the seed kits we produce will yield reasonable germination rates after at least three to five years stored at room temperature and considerably longer if kept frozen. If nothing else, we can include a lot of seeds for species that tend to lose viability quickly over time. It doesn’t matter if the germination rate is only 10% if you have ten times as many seeds as you intend to plant.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.


92 thoughts on “Friday, 18 September 2015”

  1. Fantastic news! Please put me on the waiting list for a seed kit – I trust you can export them?
    How about potato seeds? Can potatoes actually be grown from seed? We always used “seed potatoes”, which were just tubers cut into pieces containing an “eye”.

  2. I have tried growing fresh herbs in containers twice. The first time turned out OK, and the second was a flop. I think it could be time to try growing some fresh herbs again. First because it’s some gardening that I can try indoors, and second because fresh herbs are comparatively expensive at the store. The other thing I’m thinking of doing is trying to grow mushrooms. I could grow some of those year round in our basement. Fresh mushrooms won’t keep my family fed, but they make a tasty way to stretch rice or pasta dishes.

  3. @Denis

    Unfortunately, it’ll have to be US-only. There is an incredible tangle of regulations on shipping seeds internationally. Which types of seeds you can and cannot ship varies from country to country. I’d have to make up kits with custom contents for each country we intended to ship to.

    Actually, it’s worse than that. For example, the kit will contain rhizobia inoculum, which is nitrogen-fixing bacteria that increase bean and other legume yields hugely, but which species of inoculum works is dependent on the species of bean/legume. We can ship the inoculum to 49 states, but it’s forbidden to ship it to Hawaii. That’s moronic, but there it is.

    As far as potatoes, yes they can be grown from seeds, but the result is unpredictable. For potatoes that breed true, you need to grow them as you do, from eyes.

  4. I wouldn’t try growing mushrooms. Even experts occasionally commit unintentional suicide by consuming poisonous mushrooms. Mushroom spores are ubiquitous and if you attempt to grow them yourself you could end up poisoning yourself and your family.

  5. Hey all,

    I’ve been trying out gardening for a few seasons now, and I can second the lettuce vs turnip recommendation.

    Turnips are pretty much the only thing besides collards and Japanese eggplant that grew at all this past season. They grew slower than predicted, but produced delicious roots. Turnips are not common on the modern table, but they are a versatile root, that stores well, and is delicious. They can be bitter, but I found that the key is removing not only the visible outer skin, but a slightly deeper inner layer. Even old roots will be tasty with that removed. You can see the difference if you look closely. I don’t know the effect on nutrition, but it makes them tasty.

    Lettuce on the other hand, took 4 times as long as recommended to grow at all, never was prolific, and was bitter and nasty tasting. It almost immediately bolted once it got big enough to harvest even a few leaves. Big waste of square footage and water.

    Regarding seeds, I used several packets that were 10 years old. DON’T do this! Seeds are cheap and available. Your time is not. Even if they sprout, some of my lack of success could be down to old seed. On the other hand, many DID sprout, and with better soil (even weeds aren’t growing in it) they might have produced. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, even old haphazardly stored seeds are better than none.

    I’ll second the herb recommendation too. Most of the common ones can easily be harvested and dried just by hanging, then shredded and stored. They generally grow well as they are basically weeds. My herb garden is vigorous even when my veg is not.

    Finally, I bought a ‘garden kit’ at Costco that had a variety of heirloom seeds and a square foot garden layout already planned. It might work somewhere, but it didn’t work in TX. Not a single plant survived past 1 inch in height. Many sprouted, and then died. Research and make sure that you have something that will grow in your area. (This was in my established bed, with the best exposure.) In my case, if I plant nothing but turnips, collards, and eggplant, at least I’ll get some food for my effort.

    Last thought on gardening for food. It is more difficult to do well than it looks. It doesn’t take time and effort so much as good decision making in the first place, once you have the beds in place. You need to plant A LOT more than you think if you want to eat from it. If you are successful, you need a way to preserve and store your bounty.

    nick

    BTW, you need to seriously look at hybrids, fertilizers, and pesticides. If you will suffer or die from not having food, you need every advantage you can get. This is why farmers have gone down this path. In a survival situation, it is a LUXURY you can’t afford to be snobby about what you plant. The biggest portion of what you plant should be varieties with every possible chance of growing and producing abundantly. Sure, plant some heirloom/organic/non-gmo xyz to harvest seeds for next year…. and starve when that plant’s traditional pest eats it all. I think it’s probably better to store more seeds, and have enough the first couple of seasons before worrying about long term sustainability. Get thru the die off. Modern hybrids weren’t developed JUST so that Monsanto can rape the environment and poison the people. They were developed to maximize yield, grow well outside of their traditional ranges, last long enough to be transported, and other reasons. You need those same things in a survival garden.

  6. Fresh mushrooms are best but both canned and dried are more than acceptable. (In fact my italian grandmother only used dried proccini mushrooms in her sauce. they were a major flavor component)

  7. For general preparedness, I remind y’all that this is National Preparedness Month. Many local activities are planned and this is a great way to broach the topic of preparedness to others who might be skeptical or resistant. Look for something in your area.

    http://www.ready.gov/ is the official FEMA site, and has a metric boatload of info.

    Tons of downloadable material. Generally entry level, but clear and non-threatening presentation.

    I note that FEMA brass seems to be next to useless, but the boots on the ground have produced a bunch of useful stuff.

    nick

  8. I wouldn’t store hybrid seeds, although one of the things I’m writing about in the second volume (one year+) is devolving F1 hybrid seeds into the heirlooms from which they originated.

    Yes, some of the early hybrids would be worth having, but the focus back then was on disease resistance, yields, and flavor. Most modern hybrids are focused on things that don’t matter to us, like ease of industrial farming, appearance and uniformity rather than good flavor, and so on.

    Understand that I have nothing against GM seeds, as long as they’re heirloom/open-pollinated. I want seeds that will breed true.

    Good point about fertilizers and pesticides. I’ll go into some detail in the second volume about sustainable alternatives for both, but having the current commercial products on hand for at least a year’s worth is worthwhile. Knowing what you need for specific crops is a big question, of course.

  9. Yes, FEMA resembles most large organizations. The brass are pretty useless, but the grunts in the field are often competent and helpful, and take their jobs very seriously. That’s one reason I don’t buy into the FEMA concentration camp meme that’s so common in PA fiction.

  10. Incidentally, one of the things I’m using as a guideline in selecting seeds is what people grew back in medieval times. It’s reasonable to assume that they knew what they were doing, and chose crops that provided good yields, good nutrition, and good storage properties. Also, they didn’t have modern fertilizers and pesticides, so ability to thrive without massive quantities of added fertilizers and native resistance to pests went without saying.

  11. Incidentally, one of the things I’m using as a guideline in selecting seeds is what people grew back in medieval times. It’s reasonable to assume that they knew what they were doing, and chose crops that provided good yields, good nutrition, and good storage properties. Also, they didn’t have modern fertilizers and pesticides, so ability to thrive without massive quantities of added fertilizers and native resistance to pests went without saying.

    That’s a good idea that I would not have thought about. But wouldn’t colonial times serve as a better model? At least it would be on the right continent. While the climates of North America and Europe are similar, I would think that indigenous weeds and pests could vary significantly. Although by this point I would suspect that we have unintentionally imported most of Europe’s weeds and pests.

  12. @RBT, I understand the benefits of storing heirloom and open pollinator seeds, and from a practical standpoint as a KIT SELLER you are unlikely to sell kits that aren’t based on those seeds due to the preconceptions of the market. Conversely, there might be a market for a kit that was specifically aimed and pitched to those who are less concerned about those things or NOT concerned at all. I want to eat. I had terrible results with heirloom crops. I’d buy a well thought out package that was all about maximizing success. (I spent $18 on a poorly thought out heirloom package after all.)

    BUT, having attempted to grow some, and recognizing that just getting a crop from your “backup plan seed vault” is very difficult, how much more difficult is collecting seed and propagating plants?

    I’m proposing that many of the attributes of modern hybrids are the same things that are desirable from a survival standpoint. High yields. Uniform fruits. Ease of cultivation. Tough skins and long shelf life. Pest resistance. Lower water use. On the other hand better flavor, interesting colors, variety of size and shape, are all luxuries when you will starve if you don’t get a crop.

    Seeds are small, and cheap (yes they are, how many crops do you get for the cost of a single modern rifle? )

    So I’m arguing that one’s backup plan of growing food should be multilevel. Survive on stored food long enough to get that first crop in. But you are absolutely dependent on that first crop, so use every modern trick to get a good one, with surplus to live on until your second crop is in. By then, if you are still alive and things are not gonna get better, you will a)know a lot more about raising food, and b)know that you will be in it for the long haul, and c)have had time to learn about long term self-sustained growing, and d) can have several smaller plots to grow your “sustainable” crops so your learning curve and mistakes don’t kill you.

    If you start learning about ‘sustainable’ varieties and techniques NOW you can possibly go from that to a garden that meets your full time needs when SHTF. But if seeds and gardening are a backup, just in case plan, you need a transitional period while you learn that has every advantage you can pack into it.

    The seed vault is a tool for survival, and different tools are useful for different things and different times.

    Anyway, that’s where I’m at with my garden plans.

    nick

    SO– a kit that differentiates in a crowded market by emphasizing ease/success of use and yield for the first stage, high yield and getting thru the learning curve in the transitional stage, and then long term self sustaining in the final stage.

  13. Thanks. My hosting company has nothing posted about this. I have no clue. I keep WP and plugins updated, so I’m not sure what else I can do.

  14. @dave, colonial is too far back. They were not particularly good at growing crops when they got here, as they adapted euro techniques and plants to the americas.

    @RBT, medieval is probably too far back and wrong continent, unless you do a lot of correcting for local climate, and modern varieties of the appropriate species. My feeling is that the people were not particularly well fed or healthy either (judging from lifespan and height). They certainly adopted new crops and new techniques as quickly as they could. There was an explosion in productivity, but I believe that was mainly do to the introduction of the horse as a draft animal with the horse collar.

    On the other hand, the medieval estate might be a good model for a PA organizing structure. The lord of the estate had craftsmen, farmers, orchards, animals, and usually some sort of cash crop or light industry. Timber, cheese, flax, wool, etc. were all good money makers. Food, IIRC was grown and eaten locally. So the estate was self sufficient, but individuals were not.

    nick

  15. @nick brings up some good points regarding heirloom vs hybrid seeds. A big point is that while heirloom seeds provide a source for next year’s crop, they do take an experienced gardener. Too many people just think that gardening is just throwing some seeds in the ground and watching them grow. You’ll get nowhere with heirloom seeds unless you have very well prepared, amended/composted, and “seasoned” soil. To be prepared to garden you cannot wait until the SHTF.

    Using hybrid seeds, the seeds should have been hybridized by companies that supply the home market (e.g. Burpee http://www.burpee.com/, Parks http://parkseed.com/, Johnny’s http://www.johnnyseeds.com/) not the commercial market. The home seed hybridizers breed for germination and hardiness across a wide range, ensuring success for the “gentleman gardener”. Use hybrid seed to learn on and develop the quality of your garden soil.

    So while I maintain a small garden (I use square foot and container methods) and a compost pile, my seed inventory contains a mix of hybrid and heirloom seeds. The hybrid seeds are for the short term, that is I have at least a five year supply of all hybrid seeds. The heirloom seeds are a three year supply.

    According to the Department of Agriculture, only 1% to 2% of people farm or live on farms. After the great tribulation and winnowing of the population, that number will be 99%.

    “Thanks. My hosting company has nothing posted about this. I have no clue. I keep WP and plugins updated, so I’m not sure what else I can do.” — Robert

    You’re welcome. Just looking out for one of my invaluable resources.

  16. Severe and fatal OPSEC failure:

    ‘Diamond runner’ and big game hunter who boasted of being wealthy and having a ‘diamond the size of a golf ball’ found murdered in his home

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3240065/Diamond-runner-big-game-hunter-boasted-wealthy-having-diamond-size-golf-ball-murdered-home.html

    nick

    And since when is a 2800 sqft home considered ‘sprawling’ or a ‘manse’? Are the euro weenies who write for the DailyMail so impoverished? That’s only one bedroom bigger than my house, and it certainly isn’t a ‘manse.’ (A quick check of zillow shows that their figure of 28000 is impossible, and their later 2000 is more real. Many homes in the area in that range and price.

  17. Prepping this week was slow and minor.

    Added some food to the shelves. Store had a bunch of buy 3 get one free, buy 2 get one free, or almost 1/2 off coupons on cans and packaged pasta meals as well as other good storage items. Took advantage and saved about 10-15% on the total bill while adding to the pile.

    Continue trying to sell stuff on ebay, still have a long way to go.

    Finally got the unneeded upper out on consignment.

    Experimented more with the vinyl cutter, with an eye toward a small hobby business making stickers. Did a really successful couple of signs for a friend’s business and learned a bunch in the process. If you are thinking of setting up a workshop or small manufactury, a small vinyl cutter is a very useful addition if you can find a used one cheap. (I know of 2 in pawnshops ATM that are under $200.)

    No interesting sales this weekend, so if the weather holds I might finally get the yard and garden stuff done, and maybe some organizing in the garage.

    Watched the BBC series, Wartime Farm, Victorian Farm, and started Edwardian Farm. They are well produced, interesting, have historical insights, and plenty of application for the prepper if you keep your mind engaged and think some of the things through. One of the surprising things is the number of labor saving devices no matter what the era. Farm work is HARD and time consuming. Running the household is HARD and time consuming. Farmers have embraced every labor saving device they could get their hands on. They NEVER did something by hand if they could get and afford a machine to do the job. Animal husbandry is HARD, gross, and has a steep learning curve. You need a lot of space for all the machines, and for dedicated work areas. The biggest lesson that farmers learn is that you can do everything right, and still get wiped out by circumstances beyond your control. And it’s HARD.

    Continuing my classes with the local gendarmes. I am much more engaged emotionally and intellectually than I expected. It’s NOT fun. We’ve spent hours watching people being beaten, traffic stops gone wrong, killings, and use of force incidents and talking about it. While I haven’t been paying attention for the last 30 years, law and police policies have changed slowly, incrementally, but dramatically, until we wake up and find ourselves in our current situation. It is eye opening and wrenching to see what their SOPs, doctrine, and policies are. What they consider to be legal, justifiable and perfectly reasonable will shock you. They are taught to escalate, to overwhelm, and to use sudden violence. They are NOT taught de-escalation, judgement, practical psychology or streetsmarts. Their ‘use of force continuum’ has a very sudden cliff in it, and it is triggered by a VERY minor change in subject behaviour. They are taught to demand ‘compliance’ above all else. Very minor non-compliance will trigger the escalation to the next level, which involves violent action on their part. They have defined ‘resistance’ in such a way as to almost guarantee (with circular logic, catch22) that they will get physical with you if you are anything other than their lowest level compliant subject. The average officer has VERY LITTLE understanding of his legal authority (and yet it’s much broader than most would expect) and when challenged, his ego will almost guarantee you will end up hurting. They also have little understanding of the law outside of their narrow experience. Self defense law in particular is different from their ROE and they don’t know much about the differences. Citizens in general (in TX) have much wider authority to use force, but MUCH more devastating consequences if they get it wrong. They are very worried about Open Carry, but their worries are not based on rational thought, but on emotional reactions, superstition, racism, and straw men.

    Well, I better step away from the pc and actually do something today. (Hah, we’ll see if that happens. At a minimum, I’ve got to go to costco for eggs. I really don’t want to go on the weekend.)

    nick

  18. I read Lights Out by David Crawford, which is a different kind of PA novel. It focuses on a typical exurban neighborhood dealing with the effects of a continent-wide long-term power outage. The protagonist isn’t Rambo, which is a refreshing change. It’s a decent book, not great but a lot better than most of its genre. And it does give one something to think about.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GHNGKE?pldnSite=1

    I thought that you had already read this book. I wonder where I got the recommendation to read it? Maybe I got it from Amazon’s recommendations from the “Going Home” book or something like that.

    Yes, it causes one to think, even though the book takes EMP to the nth degree over the possible reality, according to my reading. We should really run another research project but use the east coast this time instead of Hawaii. Just kidding!

    BTW, I am reading a future Carrington Event book right now. So much solar activity that the sun has increased its solar wind by 5X. The peaks of the solar storm are causing people’s brains to be interrupted and fried.
    http://www.amazon.com/Interrupt-Jeff-Carlson-ebook/dp/B00B3V9GAA/

  19. The real estate site Zillow lists the “diamond runner” house as 3554 sq ft with a 2.7 ac lot. Good sized but not as big a many in the area. Definitely bigger than my 1100 sq ft on 0.5 ac. I have a feeling he was just a braggart.

    My garden failed utterly this year. I didn’t put enough time into keeping it up. When the rainfall is sparse, as it has been this year, the drought loving weeds take over rapidly. At times I was either under-watering or over-watering. I’m very new at this and it takes time to learn**. I should probably test my soil to see if it is lacking in anything vital.

    One the prepping front, nothing. Too busy with regular life the last couple of weeks.

    **Or I might be cursed. A direct ancestor of mine led a battle in King Philip’s War. I believe that one dying Indian said with his last breath “Oh great spirit curse my killer, his sons, and his sons’ sons so that they never bring forth a bounty from this blood stained soil……”. It would also explain why my dad could never grow a good lawn.

  20. @nick

    As I’ve said before, I suspect your gardening problems are caused by unsuitable soil. Have you had a soil test done to see what minerals are lacking? Most county ag offices will do one for free that covers the essentials.

    The type of soil itself may be the problem. Clay soils, sandy soils, or a combination are poor for growing many species. (Incidentally, some species actually thrive in poor soil, probably an evolutionary adaptation.) You may need to add a bunch of organic material to your soil before you’ll be able to get much out of it.

    What about moisture? Again, some species like it wet and others like it dry. How’s the drainage in your garden plot(s)?

    @DadCooks

    It’s not been my experience that heirloom seeds are any harder (or easier) to grow than hybrid seeds. In fact, many of the seeds sold to home gardeners *are* heirloom seeds, simply because there aren’t any hybrids available. Many heirloom varieties are fully competitive with hybrids in terms of ease of growth, yields, etc. More than a few are also pretty disease resistant.

    When it comes to raising food, there really isn’t any shortcut to knowing your soil, knowing your climate, and knowing your environment. That’s why I plan to spend a lot of time with experienced local gardeners once Barbara and I get relocated.

  21. I thought that you had already read this book. I wonder where I got the recommendation to read it? Maybe I got it from Amazon’s recommendations from the “Going Home” book or something like that.

    Wasn’t me. Several people had recommended it, so I decided to give it a try. The ebook on Amazon is $8, which I won’t pay for an ebook. But I had $4 in ebook credits on Amazon from choosing the No-Rush Shipping option on Prime orders, so I decided that since the only place I could use them was to buy an ebook I might as well order the $8 ebook for $4 net. So I clicked on the order button and downloaded it to my PC.

    Shortly afterwards, I got an email invoice from Amazon for $7.99 plus tax. No credit applied. (There’s no way you can know the credit that will be applied beforehand, because all orders for ebooks are One-Click and the credits can’t be used on all ebooks.) So I “returned” the ebook to Amazon. A couple minutes later, I got a credit receipt that made it clear that Amazon had in fact applied my $4 worth of credits and were now giving them back to me.

    This happened before exactly the same way. I called Amazon support to tell them what was going on, and spent half an hour on the phone. They said there was just no way to order an ebook other than One-Click, and there was no way to see if credits would be applied to a particular order until after I’d already paid. Geez. They expect you to order a product and not know how much it’s going to cost until AFTER you’ve already paid for it. Furthermore, there’s no way to find out what your $1 ebook credit balance is, other than by checking the emails that Amazon sends you each time you choose No-Rush Shipping.

  22. “As I’ve said before, I suspect your gardening problems are caused by unsuitable soil.”

    Yep. I’m pretty sure of this-at least the beds that were filled this past season. It is a soil mix that was sold as specifically good for raised vegetable beds, but that is likely a lie. I treated it additionally with a MiracleGro veg fertilizer with long lasting release but the lack of weeds speaks volumes to me.

    I got some advice from our local garden club on what to add, and will be doing that in the coming days as I shift over to a fall garden (compost). The soil does drain exceptionally well, and we had a wet start to the year. Most of what I tried likes to be wet. The radishes that under performed were UNDER watered. They did a lot better when I increased their water. The carrots finally produced a few decent roots (they were a short variety) late in the summer. The rest seemed to be well watered, without wet soil or standing water. Some of the plants in containers got soggy and did very poorly. That I’m sure was a drainage problem. There were pest problems in some areas too.

    It’s a steep learning curve. A safer bet is to stick with stuff that has always grown in the area, but even that doesn’t always work, as my blackberries are not doing well, and this year my collards aren’t even growing. Collards, okra, and blackberries are all traditional to the area. Last year all my dark leafy plants took off once the weather changed although they all failed except the collards.

    I chose tomatoes that were NOT developed specifically for the area (heirloom varieties) and they have slowly shriveled or just barely grown, with no fruit at all. I finally got a couple of peppers on one of my container plants, and I usually do really well with peppers.

    All in all a very disappointing season. I do have a list of things to try differently, so fingers crossed. (and the grape vines seem to finally be growing, so that might end up a success.)

    From a prepper standpoint, I can’t emphasis enough that this is one of those things that you REALLY have to actually get out and do.

    nick

    FWIW, I’m a smart, successful, competent guy, well used to ‘putting my hand’ to whatever I want and getting a pretty good result. It is endlessly frustrating to be stymied by something that could be so critical to my family’s future.

  23. 5 gallon buckets with lids (food-grade I believe) for $2 and support first responders:

    http://www.firehousesubs.com/firehouse-subs-public-safety-foundation/

    Pickle Buckets – Purchase a recycled five-gallon pickle bucket for only $2 each. All proceeds benefit the Foundation. Use the pickle buckets for painting, gardening, washing the car, or anything else you can think of.

    (Cute puppy not included.)

    http://www.firehousesubs.com/find-a-firehouse/

  24. FWIW, I’m a smart, successful, competent guy, well used to ‘putting my hand’ to whatever I want and getting a pretty good result.

    Yeah, but what are we stupid, unsuccessful, incompetent guys supposed to do? I say we deserve a government giveaway program.

  25. I just checked and see we have a Firehouse Subs in Winston-Salem. I don’t think I’ll go for the pickle pails, though. I can get 5- or 6-gallon pails for free from most restaurants, and the pickle odor/taste is almost impossible to get out. I’d rather just donate money directly.

  26. “The average officer has VERY LITTLE understanding of his legal authority (and yet it’s much broader than most would expect) and when challenged, his ego will almost guarantee you will end up hurting. They also have little understanding of the law outside of their narrow experience.”

    This is why I advise anyone stopped by the police to adopt a “yes, sir, yes, sir three bags full, sir” demeanour. There is plenty of time to scream for your attorney afterwards, and have him give the police a trouncing, instead of your spending quality time with a nightstick around the throat…

  27. Well, get out your phone book, turn to the blue pages and start calling!

    Oh, right, middle aged white male. No donut for YOU!

    “Take your hater, cismale gender normative, glance raping, white privileged, hatey, oppressor, micro-aggressing, gun worshipping over-compensator, Hater McHate self out of this office right this minute. How DARE you ask for help that should go to someone who NEEDS it, when you live life set on the ‘easy’ level. You are lucky I don’t pillory you in the courtyard, Hatey McHate.”

    “Oh, and expect visits from Code Enforcement, IRS, Franchise Tax Board, EPA, FDA, BATFEIEIO, the EEOC, Postal Inspectors, and NAMBLA you, you, you BUSINESS PERSON!”

    “Filthy hater.” “Mummble….”

    nick

  28. Anyone who annoys a cop, let alone takes one on, is stupid. Even predators like wolves and bears learned eons ago that those tasty-looking, fangless, clawless humans were extremely dangerous because if you attacked one a whole bunch of them would pile on immediately, particularly if you’d tried to grab a tender-looking young one. Cops are no different. Attack one, and a whole boatload will respond, and they won’t be amused.

  29. “It’s a steep learning curve.”

    Indeed. Our nicely shaded small plot here, much of which is exposed to strong winds regularly all year long from the lake, has had hits and misses:

    Hits: Flowers. Cherry tomatoes and some baseball-sized tomatoes I forgot the name of (Bigger tomatoes grew but split). Pumpkins, so far. Herbs. Zucchini. Grapes? (too early to tell).

    Misses: Peppers (grew but not very high and no fruits). Blueberries.

    Constructing six to nine rudimentary and rustic raised beds from scrap plywood was a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, given that I’m 62 with creaky knees and tired lower back so far. And we would really need three to four times that number to feed the two to four peeps who might be living here if TSHTF. To get started involved hauling many, many bags of topsoil, Miracle-Grow, fertilizer, mulch, compost, etc., etc.

    We are going to revisit what we hope to plant this next season, although it will include the tomatoes, so far. And we’re gonna do more with containers along the sunny and flat gravel driveway. Also start seedlings early and indoors. Maybe look into grow lights for the cellar and attic.

    Mr. nick isn’t kidding when he says it’s a steep learning curve and DIFFICULT. And that’s just for our postage-stamp-sized lot here compared to what we could use. Bear in mind, the larger the space available, too, the more work involved. Not too bad when you’re 20-30; a little tougher when you’re twice to three times that age.

    Thus the importance, as the genuine small-unit tactics trainers tell us incessantly, of PT. If you’re a dumpy couch spud with not much wind right now and creaky joints, it would mos def behoove you to start walking a lot, at the very least. Get the haht rate up, stretching exercises, and good ol’ situps and pushups. This ain’t easy, either, but it’s gotta git done.

    “…A direct ancestor of mine led a battle in King Philip’s War.”

    Ah yes, a very nasty and violent war, with highest KIA per capita of all our wars. It terrorized the hell outta Maffachufetts back in the day; New England’s current second-largest city, Woostah, failed two or three times with early settlers due to native hostilities, in the EIGHTEENTH century. You can still find colonial garrison houses in central MA with embedded arrowhead flints and musket ball holes. 343 years ago. Sudbury, MA was a battle site, and just off the Boston Post Road is a cemetery where both colonist and native KIAs are buried. Besides the flowers around the monument every year there are usually some Indian feathers and wampum. Not far away is the town of Lancaster, another site of violent fighting and the kidnapping of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson and her children; she wrote a fascinating account of it, highly recommended.

  30. Incidentally, Mr. nick’s account of what the LE training is like nowadays dovetails nicely with my own perception of it thirty and more years after my own, which was roughly 180 degrees different.

    As has been hashed out here a number of times, and today, don’t get into it with the cop/s on the street. Their goal is to ALWAYS WIN. Which they almost always do. Beat one or two of them, and you can bet your LIFE that a LOT more are gonna be showing up Real Soon Now. Watch Chris Rock’s old toob vid on how the brothers need to deal with the police; it applies to us all now, and then some.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR465HoCWFQ

  31. I wouldn’t try growing mushrooms. Even experts occasionally commit unintentional suicide by consuming poisonous mushrooms. Mushroom spores are ubiquitous and if you attempt to grow them yourself you could end up poisoning yourself and your family.

    Excellent point. I was thinking of sticking with White Button and Cremini mushrooms. A quick Google search reveals that False Morels (toxic) are indigenous to my state, so given your advice I definitely will not be growing Morels. Before I proceed I will do a little more investigation and make sure that none of the indigenous toxic mushrooms resemble White Buttons or Creminis.

    Also isn’t that another reason to sterilize the crap you grow them in?

  32. @Denis, yep, that “friendly compliant” is the first box on the chart, and the same place they are supposed to start. We’ve all seen video of the guy with a hardon as soon as he engages with the subject though. Even ‘meek and mild’ at that point can get you a beating.

    Interestingly, Texas has a statute specifically about when you can use force against search and arrest:

    c) The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified:

    (1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and

    (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.

    this is in contrast with :

    (b) The use of force against another is not justified:
    (2) to resist an arrest or search that the actor knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful, unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c)

    It’s worth noting what their doctrine considers “resistance.” Ignoring commands, repetition, rolling up the window are all considered “resistance” and justify an escalation.

    nick

  33. @OFD,

    Chris Rock’s video is an excellent resource but it is woefully inadequate. It leaves out the important steps of not punching the officer in the face, and not trying to shoot him in the leg with his gun.

    Also of course there is only one way to win an argument with a police officer. Don’t have one. If you fail to follow that rule, then shut up until you talk to a lawyer and let the lawyer deal with it.

  34. ” It leaves out the important steps of not punching the officer in the face, and not trying to shoot him in the leg with his gun.”

    Yeah. Those things will get you more than a ass-kickin’.

    “…shut up until you talk to a lawyer and let the lawyer deal with it.”

    There it is.

    I remember the adrenalin rush I had after chasing some p.o.s. for a while, either in a vehicle or on foot, and that dude was gonna get some kind of beat-down. Funny chit happens, though:

    1.) Me and my twin tower officer used to pig out with pizza and subs for lunch sometimes and damned if on those days or nights we didn’t have to chase somebody on foot. So we’d have flashlight-throwing contests, with those big maglites. Center back was the bulls-eye.

    2.) Another fellow officer chased a kid a hundred yards or so and the kid finally stopped, gasping “Jesus Christ, Officer, I got asthma!” My boy then managed to gasp “Fuck you, I got asthma, too!”

    3.) Me and another officer responded to a report of somebody busting into cars in a parking lot. We get down there and sonofabitch, our idiot chief had heard the call and ALSO responded. The kid has some kinda knife or slim jim or whatever so Larry had his sidearm out and aimed in that direction; on the other side was the chief, with his out and also aimed in that direction. The punk looked back and forth from one to the other and Larry yells “Don’t move, kid; he’ll fuckin’ kill us both!”

  35. Ah, yeah, I think I said that. These aren’t migrants or refugees. These are invaders, and should be met with lethal force regardless of their age or sex.

  36. One of the funniest things that I have seen in a movie is in “Secondhand Lions” where the two uncles and the nephew buy many types of seeds from a traveling salesman in 1962 in central Texas. They plant all the seeds, carefully labeling each row and wait for them to grow. At one point Michael Caine turns to Robert Duvall and says, “Brother, that first row of plants looks like corn to me”. Duvall and Caine then walk the rows yelling out what the row is supposed to be, “Squash! No, corn. Cabbage! No, corn. Broccoli! No, corn.” Duvall then says, “Brother, we’ve been had.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondhand_Lions
    http://www.amazon.com/Secondhand-Lions-Haley-Joel-Osment/dp/B0000YTP02

    Highly, highly recommended. @nick, Kid safe too (at least by my scale).

  37. Well, we’re getting ours too, from south of the border. And if that wasn’t enough, we’re getting some from State too. They’ve already turned Minneapolis into Somalia, who’s next?

    Oh, and the faux outrage machine is cranking up because Trump didn’t disavow the “obaba’s a muslim” guy. No one is mentioning his comment about training camps here except in a mocking way, but they are assuredly training here. Lodi CA had a problem with them. Kitchener/Waterloo area of Canadia shut one down a few years ago.

    nick

  38. Also of course there is only one way to win an argument with a police officer. Don’t have one.

    Oh, bullshit. I’ve beaten the shit out of several excessively aggressive pigs, locking two of them in the back of their own squad car. You have to be good, you have to be careful, and you have to pick your battles.

  39. “I’ve beaten the shit out of several excessively aggressive pigs, locking two of them in the back of their own squad car.”

    Well sure. There’s YOU, and then there’s MOST Murkan derps. Our advice here is to the latter.

    Our advice to you is to tar and feather the SOB and run him or her behind the cruiser for a few miles and then leave him hooked up to it as an example. Or if you can’t be bothered with all that folderol, simply inject 90 grams of lead in da back of they head.

    Just be advised further that the entire Blue Line will be looking for yo ass indefinitely.

  40. Well, there are plenty of youtube activists beating them (in a battle of wits) at border checkpoints, with sovereign citizen nonsense, etc.

    We’ve been looking at a bunch of sovereign citizen stops because the FBI considers them more danger to cops than foreign terrorists. (Although this might change with someBLM.)

    The useful idiot sovereign citizen activists provide a nice screen for the hard core, who .gov hates because they are tax evaders and weapons violators. Their founders and top guys think they don’t have to pay taxes, and they like machine guns and silencers. They have been willing to shoot cops over it too.

    LEOs are usually dumbfounded when confronted by the wall-o-bs from these guys, and they consider them all potential cop killers when they do recognize what’s going on. They don’t have a doctrine for dealing with it, so they improvise, and that goes badly.

    nick

  41. So, another career politician to run the Army. Did the dude even serve. Let’s overlook that fact because HE’S GAAAAAAY!!!!!

  42. Gee, more micro-aggressions here today. How sad.

    Haters.

    Let it roll.

    Let it burn.

    Put Cankles in charge of this asylum and trannies on SCOTUS and the JCOS.

    Bring in another 30 million Hispanics and hadjis. Each. Give them whatever they want.

    Jack up all our taxes to 90% and put us on rations for food, water, air, and entertainment.

    Crank up the abortion and euthanasia industries tenfold and the state-run/privatized prison gulag a hundredfold.

    Accelerate the development of the North Murkan Stasi networks.

    Tank the economy so bad that only the One Percent and their closest minions live like royalty and the rest of us in a state of nature, where the hand of every man is raised against every other man.

    Maybe by then North Murkan derps will wake up, but I won’t hold my breath.

  43. I fully support an increase, a vast increase, in euthanasia in this country.

    I get to pick the people to be euthanized.

  44. BTW, on food rapidly changing in price and availability, my cashews have more than doubled in the last five ??? years from $4 ??? to $9.44 yesterday at Walmart:
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Planters-Deluxe-Lightly-Salted-Whole-Cashews-18.25-oz/25000367

    Yup, we are all going to die:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3235487/The-heavens-let-loose-powers-darkness-rage-Mormon-woman-s-prophecy-world-ending-month-predicted-Utah-s-fatal-flash-floods.html

    But, I am fairly sure that this month is not the time.

    Wow, can you imagine living in this shelter for two years?
    http://www.atlassurvivalshelters.com/aboutus/factory/

    Bring LOTS of DVDs. And something to play Spider Solitaire on. I guess since there would be no electricity, bring two decks of cards and forget the DVDs.

  45. No thanks. I’m a bit claustrophobic and who’s to say someone can’t just plug up those outlets from above.

    I’ll take my chances on Surface World.

    “I get to pick the people to be euthanized.”

    Absolutely. The way they have it set up now, it’s the WRONG peeps being euthanized. (and I’m not including the self-euthanized or “right-to-die” wack jobs).

  46. “PROTECTING OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”
    https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/second-amendment-rights

    “GUN AND MAGAZINE BANS. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like “assault weapons”, “military-style weapons” and “high capacity magazines” to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own. ”

    “NATIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.”

    “MILITARY BASES AND RECRUITING CENTERS. Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We train our military how to safely and responsibly use firearms, but our current policies leave them defenseless. To make America great again, we need a strong military. To have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves.”

    If Trump is for real then he has my vote. I wonder how he stands on open carry?

  47. “I can get 5- or 6-gallon pails for free from most restaurants, and the pickle odor/taste is almost impossible to get out.”

    That sounds great to me. Yum… 🙂

  48. “If Trump is for real then he has my vote.”

    Wow. Still considering voting and taking our elections seriously?

    With a guy like that? He said one thing about guns, abortion, immigration or whatever five years ago or ten years ago and now he’s been saying something else, like they all do. Whatever these political and corporate hacks think will work in this particular day and time. Immigration a hot-button issue? Let’s generate some new talking points. Cutting up babies and Cankles were OK five years ago and the Ottoman Empire was the cat’s whiskers? Now not so much?

    Hell, I could run for office and talk chit to everyone here tonight and get everyone’s vote without breaking a sweat. Then, once elected, I do whatever my bosses tell me to do. When called on my broken promises (a political and media rarity), I simply blow it off and change the subject. “Look, a squirrel!”

    http://www.examiner.com/article/trump-donations-to-clinton-foundation-add-to-gun-owner-concerns

  49. Hell, I could run for office and talk chit to everyone here tonight and get everyone’s vote without breaking a sweat.

    Are you running for office? I am still going to vote, no matter what. In fact, I am seriously considering voting for Bernie in the Texas Dumbocrat Primary. Won’t that be fun?

    http://www.examiner.com/article/trump-donations-to-clinton-foundation-add-to-gun-owner-concerns

    “As this column observed in 2012, Trump could be a great friend if his seeming enthusiasm for the Second Amendment is real. How we could go about determining that, aside from doing things backwards — trusting him and then seeing if he ends up earning it — is unclear. ”

    There you go. And, people change their opinions over time. Personally, I am getting more Libertarian by the day.

    The fact that Trump is a concealed carry permit holder goes a long way with me.

    In fact, Trump strikes me as a Libertarian Progressive. Or maybe it is a carefully calculated platform to run for President on, tough to tell. For instance, I know that he is against Obolacare but he is for opening Medicare to all US citizens. Works for me, the feddies have messed up our healthcare insurance, let them fix it with a program that works well now.

  50. ” I am still going to vote, no matter what.”

    And thus encourage and enable the criminal scum who work to enslave us all. Thanks.

    “…I am seriously considering voting for Bernie in the Texas Dumbocrat Primary.”

    An admitted socialist who honeymooned with his current wife in Moscow, of all the places in the world they could have done so.

    “Personally, I am getting more Libertarian by the day.”

    If that is true, my understanding of the Libertarian position is that the less gummint, the better. And playing the gummint’s game via voting and elections only serves to prop up that corrupt and venal gummint.

    “For instance, I know that he is against Obolacare but he is for opening Medicare to all US citizens.”

    And you know this how, exactly? Because he says so? Today?

    “…the feddies have messed up our healthcare insurance, let them fix it with a program that works well now.”

    I must confess I am now at a loss here; because the regime screwed the pooch on our “healthcare” insurance, you expect the same bums to fix it now? Tell me; what has been their record on “fixing” problems they themselves initiated and implemented?

    Yikes.

  51. And thus encourage and enable the criminal scum who work to enslave us all. Thanks.

    A couple of points, OFD, if I may.

    1. You’re not making any friends here by insulting the intelligence of those of us who still plan to vote.

    2. Maybe you could dial back the nihilism just a wee tad? Otherwise, you’re in danger of committing the cardinal sin of becoming–please forgive me–boring.

  52. I will vote for Bernie against Hillary. Symbolic, yes I know.

    Medicare pays 25% of the nation’s medical expenses for 15% of the population. Not a big step to move to 100%, just 4x the current payments. Same doctors and hospitals. Just crank Medicare payroll tax to 5 and 5. May need 6 and 6 though.

  53. The voting debate… If I could still vote in the US, and the choice were between (say) Hillary and Jeb, I would stay home.

    However, given the opportunity to vote for a non-politician (Trump, or indeed just about anyone), ask yourself this: what have you got to lose? They certainly can’t make things much worse, and there is at least a microscopic chance that they might improve things.

  54. Libertarian progressive? There’s no such thing. The two are diametrically opposed. One can be one or the other, but not both.

    As to extending Medicare to the entire population, if you like Obamacare you’d love that. I favor a true single-payer system: everyone pays for his own health care, period. If you can’t or won’t pay for it, you don’t get it.

  55. Around a couple of corners, the migration problems in Europe are kind of amusing. Lots of people who were saying all the right, progressive things have suddenly changed their tune, when faced with the reality of hundreds of thousands of barbarians coming through the gates. It’s kind of amusing – I just wish they had come to their senses a lot sooner.

    On the news last night, they were showing crowds of angry young men shouting “open the door, let us in”. My wife, who is a lot farther left than I am, asked “why are they angry? Why do they think they have any right to come here?”

    It sure would have been nice for Europe to wake up a bit earlier, but it may have just barely been in time. Hungary is showing the way. It’s likely to get ugly, because the wave of migrants currently in route will have to run up against the razor wire and be turned back, before further waves will be discouraged.

  56. Re Lynn’s desire for Medicare expansion to the entire US population, I was going to respond last night, but was tired and irritable, and didn’t want to say something ill-considered. Now that I’ve slept a few hours, I can present a considered reply.

    Lynn, are you insane? Medicare has so many problems that I don’t have time even to list them all, let alone discuss in full. Look at England’s NHS for a glimpse into the future of full-population Medicare: delays, political decisions on coverage, ever-expanding costs, people going outside of the country for procedures, people leaving the medical professional or not entering it in the first place.

    Your claim to be moving toward libertarianism is also questionable, in light of your desire for Medicare expansion. Maybe libertarian isn’t the word you want. Libertine, maybe? Liberal?

  57. “A couple of points, OFD, if I may.”

    1.) I don’t think it’s insulting anyone’s intelligence to point out that something is bad for us, like smoking, or driving drunk. Nevertheless, I recognize that faint glimmers of hope still exist in the country, and to despair is a sin. So if it comforts folks to continue voting, so be it. I’d just ask that they revisit their actions at some point after whatever election and see what difference it might have made.

    2.) Political nihilism rejects the necessity of basic societal institutions like the family, government and the law. I certainly don’t, and while tending a bit toward anarchy-capitalism, I’m not there yet. But I’ve given up on elections and voting in this country at the state and national levels for reasons already put forth here, probably too often and boringly so. It’s just hard to look at the circus of candidates and then hear that someone finds it agreeable to vote for one of them and think that anything will be different, in the face of a ton of historical evidence to the contrary.

    Pax vobiscum

  58. Spring-loaded to the cynical position. I love you, Mr. OFD. Somebody has to shine the light on us.

    Trump 2016! “A Gun In Every Belt ™”

  59. The only definition of “single payer” that I will accept is that of @RBT: ” I favor a true single-payer system: everyone pays for his own health care, period. If you can’t or won’t pay for it, you don’t get it.”

    The first time I had health insurance was when I got out of the Navy in 1979 (I don’t consider the “health care” I received when I was in the Navy to be insurance). When I was a child I contracted polio (at 22-months)(had 18 years of 2xweekly physical therapy) , had scoliosis (a side effect of the polio on my left side), broke a few bones, had all the usual childhood diseases (chicken pox, mumps, red measles, strep throat, scarlet fever, and a few more), broke a few bones, had a hernia repair, had braces, glasses, and a lot of dental work. Somehow my parents managed to pay for this without one-cent of insurance or government “assistance”. I do know that the most doctors that I had did “discount” their fees as a “professional courtesy” as my Mom was a Registered Nurse (did not practice after I was born). Today my health insurance, which is a premium plan through my Wife (which will be taxed because of ObolaNoCare starting in 2016 or2017), costs almost $800.00/month. That just about covers what I would have to pay monthly for doctor visits, labs, and drugs as a “cash at time of service payer” if I did not have insurance. Since I have full medical and drug insurance through my Wife, as long as she works, I do not have to pay Medicare Part B and D. When I lose my insurance through my Wife, the current rates of Part B, D, and F (which would almost be identical to what I have now) will be more than $800.00/month, and that is today. Those rates can be raised monthly if the government desires and the government rates are rising faster than the insurance industry.

    My best bet is going to be to get a tan and learn to speak Spanish, and go down to our little “Tijuana” and trade my legal citizen ID for that of an illegal. With my limp I might even be able to get disability payments.

    @OFD, I fully understand your frustrations, “rants”, and views. I am there with you and the youngins here need to understand that they had better hope to live to get where we are today.

    Pax vobiscum – does a nice job of summarizing The Peace from the 1928 BCP

  60. “…from the 1928 BCP”

    Which the ECUSA just had to dump in favor of the 1970s pablum, around the same time some renegade clergy “ordained” several womyn in Philadelphia, in order to be “socially relevant” and thus was the SJW Theology enshrined and venerated. I still have my late dad’s 1928 BCP and his pocket KJV NT which he had in the Coast Guard during the latter days of WWII.

  61. The amazing thing to me about Obolacare is that it is an utter abject failure here in the great state of Texas. The amount of uninsured has dropped from 30% to 20%. That is not a win here in 2nd most populous state.

    You pay your own way works ok until you are in a true emergency situation. Trust me, you don’t care about searching for the cheapest provider while you are having a heart attack. My first heart attack, all I could think about is stopping the pain in my chest and left arm.

    I have been in four ERs in the last 6 years, hospitalized twice via those. I am very worried that we will not have ERs in the future due to the amount of non payers. We really need a place that you can go in a true emergency where minutes matter.

    Or, we can drop the requirement that ERs accept all comers regardless of ability to pay. That is a societal choice that we made back in the 80s that started this mess. Btw the average non payment in the ER is 60%. When the non payment ratio goes to 80%, they convert the ER to urgent care and start doing the walletectomy again.

    This why I want to move the entire USA citizenry to Medicare. Otherwise, we will not have ERs in 10 years. One can argue that the population is not responsible, which is valid. But what about the rest of us who are responsible, don’t we deserve the facilities when we need them? And, chances are that you will need an ER someday.

  62. There’s no excuse for requiring ERs to take all comers regardless of ability to pay. Those who can’t or won’t pay should be rolled out into the parking lot to die.

    Of course a sane person would carry at least catastrophic coverage, which is what the Obamacare we have as of 10/1 amounts to, albeit at a very high price. We pay the first $11K out of pocket.

  63. 1.) I don’t think it’s insulting anyone’s intelligence to point out that something is bad for us, …

    2.) Political nihilism rejects the necessity of basic societal institutions like the family, government and the law. I certainly don’t, …

    Fair enough. Just try to lighten up a bit, whydontcha? 🙂

  64. Good luck in changing the ER law, will never happen. Meanwhile ERs are closing at a record rate due to non payers. An ER has a chest team, urgent care does not. Where minutes matter, hours will pass in urgent care.

    Btw, the libertarian progressive was a joke. But until the apocalypse happens we must live in the real world. And the real world says that reversals of existing policies will not happen.

  65. Of course a sane person would carry at least catastrophic coverage

    Only a sane person with assets. If I had no assets then I would not carry insurance. No downside … and society owes me.

  66. @Lynn

    Most primary care doctors are not taking new Medicare patients today, and you think we should go to Medicare for all. Are you going to bring back slavery? Which is the only way you could get doctors to work if every insured person had Medicare.

  67. We were watching something the other night that had military personnel as characters, among them a Marine Corps lieutenant. He was married, which struck me as odd, and there were also married enlisted men, which struck me as even odder. What happened to enlisted men not being allowed to marry, “lieutenants should not marry, captains may marry, majors should marry, colonels must marry” and so on?

    Also, what happened to military people making much less money than civilians? It used to be that even E-9’s earned considerably less than a skilled laborer in civilian life and even 0-7’s and up earned less than, say a bank VP or CPA, let alone an attorney or physician. And the same was true for civil service pay grades. They made less than half of what a comparable civilian job would pay.

    When did things get so out of whack?

  68. Which is the only way you could get doctors to work if every insured person had Medicare.

    This is an area you rarely see in the libturd MSM. Medical school is expensive. Why go and then be in debt for 20 years making Medicare wages. How many docs can these schools pump out for the upcoming crimmigrant invasion? You know their first stop is the closest emergency room for free health care.

    Reminds me of Mr. Chuck bitching about getting shots from nurses in the US. In his Glorious Germany, only doctors would give Mr. Chuck his shots. What is Germany going to do when their share of the 35 million incoming hordes demand doctor care for every sniffle. Heaven forbid a German nurse vaccinate someone.

  69. What the hell are you guys on. Every doctor I know (dentists too) make plenty. Yes it’s expensive to go to med school and takes hard work. I have doctor and dentist clients. I have known a few who weren’t too wise about money but they still made more than enough. The go-getters really rake it in. Be a specialist and co-own an out-patient surgery center with some of your buds and make even more. You hear them whine but they all drive lux cars and have big homes. I know some that won’t take medicaid but not one that refuses medicare. No its big money business for docs, hospitals, insurance companies and the government. Even some of us poor IT schlubs who work for them make something.

  70. Obolacare is killing off the solitary physician as fast as it can. They are closing their practices and joining a coop in record numbers.

    That said, the Medicare reimbursement rates are too low by 25 to 50 percent.

  71. My Mom is on Medicare and the first two doctor offices I tried to get her signed up with wouldn’t accept anymore Medicare (they were close by, too). I used a find-a-doc service and they hooked her up with a good doc. He’s in his 60’s. If he kicks I’ll be looking again.

    We’re talking about a total Medicare system here, Mr. drkeck. Insurance before ObuttwadCare worked fine. Now I don’t know.

  72. “Just try to lighten up a bit, whydontcha?”

    What, give up my daily dispensing of darkest gloom and doom and despair? R U nuts? Naw, you’re probably right; the later it gets at night the meaner I get for some reason; must hark back to the bad ol’ days of soldier and cop shifts.

    I will endeavor to locate more hew-muh in the ongoing political circus accordingly. For example, I find it funny that Mrs. OFD was all hot for “our” Bernie not too long ago but after a dose of lovely Carly, is singing a new tune. It’s a hard thing, being married to a traditional Irish-American, liberal Catholic Dem from the old school, lemme tell ya. Meanwhile I’m trying to talk Patrick B. into running again, or maybe dig up Attila or Genghis and get them on our side.

    “…getting shots from nurses in the US…”

    I couldn’t care less if a nurse or paramedic or EMT gives me shots; it certainly don’t have to be an expensive MD. In any case, if things get bad enuff here, we’ll be giving each other or ourselves the shots. Good thing to know how to do, actually.

    “…Even some of us poor IT schlubs…”

    I was once a poor IT schlub, working for various healthcare-related corporations or the state; it was an eye-opener seeing how decisions got made and how much dough got wasted, and how low on the totem pole us schlubs were. Besides being run by matriarchies, my worst memory is of how they all wanted straight-up database stuff made into Excel spreadsheets; only damn thing they understood. And of course being permanently married to M$.

  73. Regarding marriage and the military, when I was in Boot Camp a new teenage recruit was whining that he missed his wife, the response of Chief was “if the Navy wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one”.

    @Lynn – in my area ERs no-pay is already 75% to 85% at the three hospitals. Due to the ObolaNoCare, each hospital “serves” a “city” so they cannot refuse or close since they are considered the only place of service. Needless to say the quality and amount of care is silently rationed.

    Our long-time physician (25+ years) recently left family practice to do hospice care full time. Before he left he ensured that not just any doctor took his place. It took him a year and a half and six “trials” before he found a doctor that met his requirements for the care of his patients. A big part was ensuring that all his patients would be accepted for Medicare service and had the necessary skills to treat senior citizens. Otherwise, there is a many year waiting list to see a doctor who will accept a Medicare patient. He, like 99% of the doctors here, is no longer private practice, they are employed by the hospital. He still has enough sway (i.e. he knows where the bodies are buried) that he has control over the hospital management and board.

    For awhile ObolaNoCare will allow some private practice and some “satellite” surgery “clinics” but not too many years from now their will not be any private practice or concierge medicine allowed as there is in the UK and Canada. When ObolaNoCare fully implements those who can afford it will be going to Canada and other foreign countries.

    For those who may not recall, my Wife is a 35+ year RN (mostly in surgery) and a Nurses’ Union Rep so she has access to all the records and statistics. My Daughter is a Certified Professional Medical Coder and Auditor at another local hospital, the “BIG ONE”. She has to be certified on the codes for two years ahead (they add new ones every year) so she can provide guidance to the administration at the BIG hospital and their associated clinics. To get her certification she had to take the same courses as an RN and get a BA is Business Management. She is paid very very well, more than an RN with an equivalent amount of work years.

  74. When I was back there in the mil-spec ops working for Uncle, I recall very few active-duty personnel below the rank of O-3 or O-4 being married. Some senior enlisted guys, yeah, and the National Guard and Reserve troops, sure. Pay sucked then, but thanks to base exchanges, free medical care, free housing (lol), free clothing (even more lol), etc., we did OK. And in combat zones we got “combat pay” and didn’t pay taxes. A lotta guys in SEA bought gorgeous high-end stereo gear via Hong Kong and Japan and shipped it back to The World. I blew mine on wine, women and song, so to speak.

    As for medical insurance stuff, Mrs. OFD has been in the public health field for over thirty years, starting with the admitting ER at Bellevue, and up here being the Medicaid Managed Care Director for the state. She’s been outta state gummint (after ten years of hell) for quite a while now and is an independent consultant and Mental Health First Aid instructor of the instructors, with senior/founder status. Ironically she’s got a dozen things wrong with her and is having a bitch of a time dealing with ObolaCARE as it exists here. (My chit gets taken care of by the VA.). She’s due for the full MD checkup in a couple of weeks, though, and we’ll have to cough up several thousand up-front. This ain’t right. Not when we’re friggin’ Murkan citizens who’ve worked and bled for this country, ditto our ancestors going back a very long way, and the care is given to new crimmigrant invaders.

    Sure, we can dump those who can’t pay out to the parking lots to die, but WTF, when the hospital and MD costs are so astronomical? Soon enough, as Mr. DadCooks says, those who can still afford it will be traveling out of the country to get their care; the rest of us will eat shit and die sooner. Hopefully not out in a parking lot, though.

  75. My understanding on the high costs is that people who could not afford insurance before now have essentially free insurance. One of the guides I was with in Montana back in May is paying $18/month now. They are getting all kinds of things fixed, knees, eyes, hearts, etc. Expensive in the short term. Don’t know about the long term.

    I have heard that medicare is paying hospitals 40% more for physician visits in the hospital rather than in a private office. Unreal.

  76. “This place wouldn’t be the same without you, OFD.”

    It would be saner. More peaceful. Happy.

    The same goes for you, Mr. medium wave; your various links over the past year have been quite the eye-openers and very entertaining, too. Keep on rockin’ in what’s left of the free world, to paraphrase ol’ Neil, who probably still hankers for that burnt-out basement in north Ontario…

  77. Btw, each county in The Great State of Texas is required to sponsor an ER. Fort Bend county sponsors Sugar Land Methodist for around thirty million dollars per year. Biggest item in our county budget. I have heard that their ER non payer rate is around 65%.

    I was in that ER a couple of years ago. I’m bored out of my mind in the heart lab and a sea of dark blue rushes by. They had a cop shot in a drug bust. The shooter went by next, also shot. I know the cop survived, never found about the shooter with lead poisoning.

    So, we in Texas will have at least one ER per county. Don’t know about the rest of you.

  78. Medicare pays 25% of the nation’s medical expenses for 15% of the population.

    In part by free riding on the insured. Medicare payments are substantially below private insurance for most procedures. In some cases, reimbursements are below the cost of service. Example, my dad was a podiatrist and he was paid below the cost of film for an x-ray if done in his office. He could send a patient out for an x-ray and they (and the radiologist) would get paid more than he would. Of course, the patient would need to get an appointment at the radiology center, wait for the x-ray to be read, then wait for it to be sent to my dad (he could read an x-ray better than any radiologist) to figure out what needed to be done. Or my dad could do it at a loss while the patient was in the office. Sure they had to wait half an hour for it to be developed, but that’s a lot more convenient.

    Also, Medicare only covers 80% of the fees. You have to have medigap to cover the rest.

  79. Every doctor I know (dentists too) make plenty.

    Primary care docs make good but not extraordinary money, about $180k per year. Enough for a middle class life on the coasts, upper middle class elsewhere. Specialists can make 2x that on average. Sure, some make a lot of money off investments in surgicenters, but it’s not as much as you think. My wife was a limited partner (a few percent ownership) in a busy surgicenter and made a nice but not huge amount from it. The big bucks are in outside investments and in royalties. One doc at the heart center where my daughter worked as a research tech made a pile from patent royalties.

  80. She may be deported despite her anchor child.

    That’s the solution to the anchor-baby problem anyway. No need to change the citizenship laws, just deport the parents. They can take the child with them, or not.

  81. I made a quick run to Menards this morning where I picked up a multitool, some batteries and a couple of flashlights. The flashlights and batteries are now in our vehicle emergency kits. The flash lights seem to be one step up from the ever popular CREE Ultrafire models. These take two AA batteries. I am now carrying the multitool on my belt and the Tekton multitool I used to carry is now in the emergency kit for my wife’s car. Now the emergency kit for my car has an even cheaper multitool that used to go on a keychain.

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