Sunday, 4 October 2015

By on October 4th, 2015 in prepping

09:56 – The morning paper reports that more than a fifth of third-graders in our school system don’t read well enough to pass to fourth grade. That’s really saying something, considering the standards are already very low. No word on the breakdown of these students, but everyone of course assumes that they’re exclusively or nearly exclusively black and Hispanic. The school system’s solution is neither to hold them back in third grade nor to “socially” pass them into fourth grade. Instead, they’ll start next year in a “transitional” unnumbered grade between third and fourth. Presumably, the year after they’ll still be unable to meet the standards and will simply continue in limbo, warehoused until they turn 18. At which time, they probably still won’t be able to read at a fourth-grade level, and county taxpayers will have footed the bill for more than a decade of very expensive day care.

We’re getting kit stuff organized and inventoried. Yesterday, I finally found the missing 200 inoculating loops, which were in the bottom of a shipping box covered with 20 one-pound bags of rubber stoppers. Today, we’ll fill chemical bags and build another batch of biology kits.

We also received our first shipment of open-pollinated seeds, as well as a bunch of desiccant packets we need for making up the heirloom seed kits. The latest two additions are hulless oats and barley, both of which are grain crops that are much better suited to home gardens than is wheat. We’ve also added the herbs Stevia, which provides an extract that is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, and St. John’s Wort, which is a natural anti-depressant. The kit is currently up to about 4.7 pounds of 20 varieties, totaling more than 70,000 seeds. This week, we’ll begin dehydrating and then testing germination rates of the first group of seeds.

As I mentioned Thursday, our target price for this kit is $150, shipping included, although it may end up higher than that. We intend to begin shipping the first batch of these kits next month. If any of you regular readers/commenters want to order one or more of these kits, you can do so for $100 per kit if you place your order in the next few days. To do so, go to, choose the option to send money, and transfer $100 for each kit you want to orders (at) thehomescientist (dot) com. Make sure to include your mailing address, either street address or PO box.

30 Comments and discussion on "Sunday, 4 October 2015"

  1. SteveF says:

    everyone of course assumes that they’re exclusively or nearly exclusively black and Hispanic

    Aside from that being a racist assumption, it’s a sign that the most vulnerable members of our community are still suffering from pervasive racism and the government needs to provide more money to help overcome it.

  2. OFD says:

    “…taxpayers will have footed the bill for more than a decade of very expensive day care…”

    It’s been like that for decades now; I reckon our generation was probably the last to get a modicum of decent public education in the main areas of study. It’s dead now in this country; simply warehousing of people, like the prisons. Meanwhile the lefties got to them, and we have a couple of generations now of peeps who believe in, and live with a certain mindset and most of them seemingly can’t be talked out of it. A lot of stuff is now just taken for granted that would have been considered Anathema half a century ago.

    And it ain’t just the underclass getting the short end of the stick now in this regard, either.

  3. nick says:

    Yep, money and social workers. Esp. money. LOTS of money. and meanwhile all the white wymyns are being glance raped and word raped. Who’s gonna make the internets safe for celebrities?

    I note that in the secondary economy of yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores, there is a large majority of hispanic shoppers, with a noticeable percentage of middle easterners. The “perma-yard sale” is a popular way for hispanic families to make additional money. I know of only 1 or two periodic semipro sales in my area that aren’t run by hispanics out of dozens. I don’t take into account the large number of ‘flea market’ sellers, either pro,seasonal, or occasional, because I don’t attend the fleamarkets here more than once in a while. I might have to start.


  4. OFD says:

    “…there is a large majority of hispanic shoppers, with a noticeable percentage of middle easterners.”

    Wow, that would be a big culture shock for us; yahd sales and suchlike up here are run by two or three old white farts or middle-aged white derps and it’s mostly dead peoples’ junk that is of no use to us. Certainly haven’t seen any radios, guns, or that many decent tools, but again, we’re a fraction of the pop here and it’s 99% Caucasian. I’m thinking the places to visit are farm auctions…

  5. nick says:

    Ohhh, faarrrmm aauuuccttioonssss.

    I hear lots of good things about farm auctions. One trick is to stay late, and scoop up box lots for pennies. You may get a lot of junk but there is bound to be good stuff too.


  6. ayjlog says:

    well, welcome to bazaar, and, since the historical reasons prevail, the stores will be managed and owned by arab people (whichever the definition) and the hispanic/all another, including WASPs of course (whichever the definition) people will be employees as usual in all the world.

    well, my ancestors ( Roger de Flor) kicked in the ass everyone, including anglo saxons 🙂 course, maybe not

  7. OFD says:

    Good tip; I’ll be keeping an eye out for those here in VT and way upstate NY, maybe even NH. Yahd sales here seem to mostly piddly affairs involving junk and toys and suchlike. Once in a blue moon I see good tool sales on the local Craigslist, also good for older pickup trucks.

  8. nick says:

    The key to successful yard sale-ing is “get out of the car and look at every one.”

    Yep, most will be baby clothes and expired makeup. BUT. Even those can have some good stuff.

    I see it all the time, these little ‘baby clothes’ sales will have one or 2 weird items, that make NO sense in context. A short list of stuff I got at otherwise skippable sales: $300 3M full face respirator, NIB, $2. Box of Kerlix bandages, $2, prosumer level home theatre amplifier, cheap, resold for profit. CB radios. Cooking gear. $40 pans, $1 and a little cleanup. Oh, I’ve listed dozens of things on here and on other blogs.

    Yesterday, I stopped at one, mostly clothes, but a box full of surveillance cameras, and a box full of alarm stuff. I bought a vandal resistant dome camera, with a 1/3 inch Sony ccd, and IR illuminator for $10. I actually think that was a bit high…

    It doesn’t take long to walk in a U and look under the tables, and in the corners. I usually leave the truck running. I have an extra key fob, so I can lock the doors with the motor running. This will drag down your mileage, but saves wear and tear. Park, pop out, quick look round, and back in car on to the next…


  9. OFD says:

    “…well, my ancestors ( Roger de Flor) kicked in the ass everyone…”

    An interesting guy, upon whose character a medieval novel was based, influencing one Miguel de Cervantes; Mr. SteveF is a big fan of his most well-known work.

    A movie was made a few years ago very loosely based on it, too, and one of the actors was Paul McCartney’s ex-girlfriend, the gorgeous Jane Asher. I saw her when I was in 8th grade down in MA and she appeared as Juliet in a Boston theater production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Our teacher that year took us to that and also the new film of that play by Zeffirelli. She also took us to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and I’ve never forgotten that stuff, now half a century later. It has, perhaps, served as an inoculant for me against the virulent anti-Western crap that has sown so much destruction and evil in our societies since then.

  10. SteveF says:

    I get what you’re saying, Nick, but how much time does all that “stop at every single one” cost you? My time is usually in short enough supply that I can’t really take “just a few minutes” every time I pass a garage sale, especially given that if I’m driving on a weekend morning I’ll probably have my daughter with me and either we’re going to piano lesson and don’t have “just a few minutes” or “just a few minutes” will turn into quite a bit longer and probably a bunch of whining that she wants “just this one cute thing”. Not always, but that’s the way to bet.

    (I acknowledge the irony of complaining about being short of time while writing a comment on a blog, but at the moment I’m waiting for software to install, waiting for meat to defrost, and waiting for the daystar to warm up some wood enough that I can put waterproofing on it. I could vacuum or something, but I noticed that in a household with three adults I’m the only one who ever vacuums, so I’m on strike.)

  11. SteveF says:

    Mr. SteveF is a big fan of his most well-known work

    Eh? I can’t stand Don Quixote. Boring and stupid: a fool bumbling from one misadventure to another and learning nothing. I see enough of that crap in real life; don’t need to read more of it.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I think finding stuff at yard sales and so on is Nick’s hobby. One that pays, assuming his time is of no value, but I think it’d be close to a wash one way or another if he counted his time at a reasonable hourly rate.

  13. Jim says:

    “I think finding stuff at yard sales and so on is Nick’s hobby.”

    That’s my take on it, too. But it sounds like he makes decent ching on it while doing some reasonable prepping at the same time. I know more than a few such hobbyists that make pretty good money while doing it. One does that solely, and makes enough that he doesn’t need to be on the dole while avoiding anything resembling “honest work”.

  14. OFD says:

    “…“just a few minutes” will turn into quite a bit longer and probably a bunch of whining…”

    Been there, done that.

    “… I noticed that in a household with three adults I’m the only one who ever vacuums…”

    Been there and done that, too. Also, I’m the only one to this day that picks up stuff from the floors after it’s been dropped. Or stuff that’s been tossed in the general direction of the trashcan, and, missing, ends up on the floor, to be left there.

    “I can’t stand Don Quixote.”

    No chit, hombre, I was yanking your rusty ol’ chain. Even I, a “hyper-literate” s.o.b., won’t spend the time and effort on that. I’ve also long since narrowed down which Shakey plays I’ll read or watch, and ditto the various books of the Bible. (I aspire to exclusively reading and believing in “Revelation,” so, I too, can equate events occurring under Nero with present-day situations).

  15. OFD says:

    “…anything resembling “honest work”.”

    That’s a laugh, when I look back at the various IT jobs I’ve slaved at over the years in a number of data centers and sites that no longer exist. Or the jobs were turned over to guys in Bangladesh and Slovakia so C-level execs could keep paying their greens fees. What a racket; it’s like the old Soviet Union, when workers used to say “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

  16. OFD says:

    Hyperliterate OFD learned a new word and a new phrase today:


    As in, I would like to take advantage of the white folks’ “privilege reduction” option and get my height down to the average Murkan male’s 5’9. So it’s a choice of removing my head or my feet to the tune of eight inches, thus I will then be transabled.

    And “social justice stormtrooper.”

    Which former “Jeopardy” champ Arthur Chu calls himself as he seeks to abolish free speech on the innernets:

  17. medium wave says:

    It has been a week since the semi-official hunt for Chuck W began, and nary a sign of him, so it’s probably not too early to declare him MIA.

    Best case scenario: he’s too busy cavorting barefoot with a modestly endowed Deutsche to be bothered contacting the likes of us. 🙂

  18. SteveF says:

    He’s probably either in jail or on the run. I like to think it’s something involving the “morality” elements of Indiana state law.

  19. OFD says:

    “Best case scenario: he’s too busy cavorting barefoot with a modestly endowed Deutsche to be bothered contacting the likes of us.”

    LOL, good one! But once he starts telling her about his travails with Linux and how crummy everything is here in North Murka, she may tell him Auf Wiedersehen and go bouncing and flouncing off to her Arabic language and belly-dancing classes.

  20. nick says:


    yep each stop does take time, but not much. Worst is following signs to someone who has already packed up, then it’s a complete waste. I’ve tried taking the 6yo to a sale or 2, but “quick” and car seats, let alone 6yo girls, do not belong in the same universe.

    I’ve posted before that you can save a lot of money, but it does take time. The “quality triangle” is a bitch– good, fast, or cheap, pick any two. I’m trading my time for (saving) money, picking up good stuff cheaply. Some people (high earners, who get paid for every extra hour they can work) are better off working the job and buying thru traditional sources. They do give up ~30% or more for taxes, and there is shipping cost or time at the store too. (For some people, it’s more efficient to go directly from work to goods, without all the middlemen and ‘hands out’ folks in between. Payroll taxes, check cashing fees, shipping charges, credit card interest or fees, etc all take a bite if you let them.)

    I only stop at the yard or garage sales I see on my way to other places, usually an estate sale. I know some people who study the ads, and plan a route, but that’s too much like work. All in, most weeks I spend a couple of hours on Friday, while running other errands, and 4-6 hours on Saturday. If there is a good sale (lots of guns, camping stuff, radios, tools) I might spend longer there, but then go to fewer sales.

    It all plays into my philosophy of “living better on less.” When I’m at any sale, I’m looking for stuff I or my family can use at significant savings or something that is better than what we already own; I’m looking for cheap preps; and I’m looking for re-sellable items with big margins. I figure if I’m there anyway, I should try to make it pay. A good day is when I find enough resale items to cover the cost of everything else I bought and the expenses.

    It doesn’t pay me a wage though. I make that money working in my field (which I no longer particularly enjoy doing or work at very much.) Or I make that money with the surplus auction buying and selling, which is much more of a business scale activity. I want the estate/yard/garage sales to break even or do a little better.

    I treat it all as a business and keep books, so I deduct the miles and gas, the storage warehouse, insurance, and all the rest. I pay taxes on the profits. There are modest profits.

    I enjoy the hunt, the thrill of a big score, and it leaves me time to do things I really like. Getting the kids out the door, cooking dinner, prepping… learning a bunch of new things, messing around on the internet with my friends.

    You guys get more of it than it actually is (as a percentage), because I don’t think anyone would be interested in how I spent a day straightening out a client’s phone system after AT&T contractors got done messing with it, or the 8 hour round trip to pick up some industrial gear that I’m reselling.

    Like today, I’d bitch that I didn’t get any work done in the garden ’cause my head is still full of snot, but I probably wouldn’t mention the 4 hours I spent cleaning optics in a microscope for resale. (or the trip to the store because my anhydrous isopropyl ran out in the middle of that project.)

    I do like it, it’s fun, it pays it’s own way, and I talk about it online because the number one excuse I hear from people about why they can’t prep, or why they can’t be a ham, or woodwork, or have nice things, is because they can’t afford it. So many prepper sites are full of gear reviews, this great gun, that new BOB, this shiny knife, prepackaged food, etc all of which costs a ton of money if you only buy new, or buy all at once.

    But you don’t have to buy all at once. You don’t have to buy new (some things you absolutely should). You can have much nicer things in your life if you keep your eyes open. From Le Creuset cast iron cookware, to mechanics tools that you can pass to your kids, to Brooks Brothers shirts, books, artwork, etc it’s all out there. You have to be looking though. Chance favors the prepared mind, and all that.


  21. nick says:


    I have a friend who has a family run, “storefront” business, but there is a lot of free time waiting for customers to walk in. In the mean time he sells on ebay. He buys at surplus auctions, estate sales, anywhere he thinks there is margin. He makes a good living at it and has the backup of the storefront.

    More people move into this secondary economy every day. Whether they didn’t get the raise they needed, or they DID get a pink slip, or mom needs to generate income while home with the kids, (or dad is just a little TOO old to get hired back in his field) it’s a vast web and growing.

    For some it’s fun money, for others it pays the rent, and for some it just feeds their addiction to buying things. If you collect cow pottery, while you are out looking for it, you might as well pick up those vintage toys to resell, right? Then you can buy more ceramic cows!


    (like anything there is a learning curve. Everytime I try a new category of stuff to buy for resale, I spend some money learning…)

  22. Chuck W. says:

    Don’t underestimate those Arab women–penetrating blue eyes on many, and they have been trained on their place in life.

    Admittedly I have been MIA here, but am fine; taking on more work earlier in the year has left me with about zero time for Internet reading. That has been kind of embarrassing at times, as I do not own a TV and my morning ritual of listening to the BBC World Service news during the shower, got interrupted by a failing Smartphone, and I occasionally completely miss some big news item everyone else knows and is talking about.

    I still voice-track the weather on Zionsville’s 91.9 in Hoosierland, so you can check on me by listening to the stream, which servers oddly are located in Iceland (talk about outsourcing)

    I am on for 90 seconds about every 2 hours from 11:00 to 19:00 (or dark in winter, whichever comes earlier). Except for early start video shooting days, or when I am out-of-town, I do that weather nearly 7/365, although a couple new people may begin relieving me of that load. I record it during the first 45 minutes I am up, and believe me, it is HARD to sound fully awake then.

    Or write me at dj;chuck;w (change semicolons to periods)
    then the “at” symbol followed by googlemail dot com. NOT “gmail”, as this is a German email address, and Google is not allowed to use “gmail” there, which another company–that is now out-of-business–holds the rights to.

    Tiny House is under renovations, making things even more crazy. The Roadmaster failed me once too often and has been replaced by a 2016 Subaru Outback. Wonderful vehicle which I have had for only 7 weeks but has over 4,500 miles on it already–and I hate driving. Two and a half hour drive one-way to the job on Wednesday past is a sample of why so many miles. I was literally speeding the Roadmaster to more and more breakdowns with the high miles I drive. It was a classic–’95, the last year for regular Roadmaster production. And a much better suspension than whatever they put in cars now.

    I have a couple blind friends who manage the Internet entirely by sound, and I should learn from them if there is a way to listen to blogs and other Internet reading while in the car.

    Smartphone (my second Galaxy S3 from Sprint–they force you to use their phones–in the serial number range subject to “sudden death syndrome”, which starts slowly with things failing, then ultimately dies) finally hit the point where it exhausted any battery in 2 hours–less if I actually used the phone. Replaced it a couple weeks ago with a Galaxy S6 Edge and the Mophie Juice Pack case with supplemental battery. I now get 5 days from one overnight charge, regardless of how much I use the phone–and I am using it a lot. That’s equivalent to my old Motorola (pre-Smartphone) PEBL, back in Berlin days, when I got 6 days on one charge. It is ridiculous not to be able to get through a whole day without recharging, but tons of people put up with that. Battery case makes the phone heavy, but I can deal with that for the trade to more single-charge longevity. The updated Android software in the S6 is once again a radical ‘reinvent the wheel’ change, and nothing I used is in the same place or works the same way. I am beginning to foster a keen hate for software developers and their company owners who permit this nonsense. Meanwhile, the S6 will not play the BBC links I used in the S3, so I am still not back to World Service with the morning shower.

    No end in sight to my current pace, so any posts will be sparse, but I will try to add something on occasion. Unless I can find some quick and easy text-to-speech way to listen to my former reading list in the car, it is just audio books and Little Steven Van Zandt’s Underground Garage on Sirius-XM. Time flies when there’s work, but the alternative is worse.

    Regarding the yard sales, I have a friend whose main occupation is the flea market circuit. He deals only in ’50’s/’60’s/70’s memorabilia and movie/concert posters and claims to gross 2k/wk if he does not miss any of his appointed places–where he pays for his stalls. It is his only source of income, and he does not appear deprived.

    Way too much moving for the likes of me though, as he spends about 90 minutes loading/unloading his truck at each venue. He travels in about a 300 mile radius to his various flea market locations–some of which are weekly, while others are once monthly. Says his biggest trouble is locating enough stuff to sell, as the demand seems infinite. I have been with him when he offered a diner owner a modest sum for old concert posters on the walls. The owner took the offer.

  23. JimL says:

    I have tried the buy & sell game myself, but found I wasn’t good at it. I want to hold onto everything. Probably half-a-dozen such endeavors. I know when I’m not good at something before I go bankrupt. So yard sales are opportunity for me, when I have a few moments, and get to pick up nice things (like cast iron cookware) that I get for a bargain. Strict limits on pocket cash keep me from doing foolish things.

    So now I sell services on the side – something I really enjoy doing. Sure beats the 9-5 (or 7-5) that sucks the soul a little more each day.

    My dream? For my side job to become the main job – something I love all the time. I like that our host shares his ups & downs with us. It can be done.

  24. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Welcome back, Chuck.

  25. Dave says:

    So I spent Saturday at the Feast of the Hunters Moon walking around with a Children’s Emergency Poncho in my back pocket since the weather looked like we might need it. It drizzled some, but not enough for me to force my four year old daughter to wear it.

    Last week I ordered a 50 pack of Oral Rehydration Salts and some other non bulky stuff. This week the order arrived. I thought the box was a little big, and I was right. They didn’t sent a 50 pack of Oral Rehydration Salts. By mistake they sent the 100 pack. I’m tempted to tell Amazon of their error, but can’t find a way to do so.

  26. OFD says:

    Yeah, Mr. Chuck, great to see ya back here, if even for short spurts. Best wishes on your full plate out there. We wuz worried about ya.

  27. DadCooks says:

    @Chuck W. – good to see you back. Great post and it prompted me to look into the Mophie Juice Pack for our Samsung Galaxy S3, the family 4 are still going strong, but my wife and daughter could use the extra battery time. So I’m going to try one, Amazon has a reasonable price.

    @nick – once again, you’re doing it right.

  28. Dave says:

    @Chuck W.

    I am also glad to see you back. I had wondered what happened to you as well.

  29. medium wave says:

    Good to see your pixels again, Chuck!

  30. SteveF says:

    Welcome back, I suppose, Chuck. Instead of the “too much work” excuse, I’d rather have heard about whacky hijinks as you evaded the long arm of the law on some trumped-up morals charge. Try not to disappoint me again.

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