Monday, 5 October 2015

By on October 5th, 2015 in Barbara, prepping, science kits

08:41 – Barbara is off to the gym this morning. While she was still working at the law firm, she did the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work. This is her first full week of going during the day on Monday-Wednesday-Friday.

The wet weather is pretty much past. In the last 10 days, we’ve had about 6 inches (15 cm) of rain, which is almost two normal months’ worth. Everything is sodden, but we’ve been lucky. No damage other than limbs down, and only minor power blips. It could have been a lot worse, and in surrounding areas it has been.

We got a bunch of chemical bags and small parts bags for biology kits built yesterday. Barbara also taped up a couple of dozen shipping boxes, so today we’ll build another batch of biology kits. We’re still accumulating materials for the open-pollinated seed kits, and will begin production work on those this week and next. They won’t be ready to ship until next month, mainly because we have to do germination testing and there’s no way to speed up nature.

I commented to Barbara last night that I was surprised by how many readers were pre-ordering these kits, which are basically the proverbial pig in the poke. She said she wasn’t surprised at all, because we’ve spent the last five years shipping science kits that demonstrate that our company provides value for money. Interestingly, although the seed kits won’t be ready until next month, we’ve almost sold out the first batch. I’d planned to keep two seed kits aside for our own use, but I decided that since the next (larger) batch will be ready in December or early January, one will suffice for now. That means we have two-count-’em-two kits remaining available for readers who want to order them, first-come-first-served. If any of you regular readers/commenters want to order one or both of these remaining 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. Your telephone number would also be helpful, just in case we need to call you for some reason.

10:19 – We’re now officially out of the first batch of seed kits. I decided to keep the offer in effect for now, so if you want a kit or kits for $100, please go ahead and order. The only thing is that your order will no longer go out with the first batch next month. Instead, it won’t ship until December or early January.

26 Comments and discussion on "Monday, 5 October 2015"

  1. nick says:

    Oh I want one, but I’ve got spending in the pipeline already, and have been dithering over whether or not to do it. It’s a great bargain, and I love bargains….


  2. Dave says:

    My wife already thinks I am a crazy prepper and she hasn’t seen the 100 pack of Oral Rehydration Salts in the basement. Now I only have a month to come up for an explanation for a huge pack of seeds.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, you could make your own, but I’ll warn you that the cost of the actual seed is the least of it. There’s a ton of work involved. Once I finalize the kit contents, I’ll post specific types and amounts, so you could go from there.

    I’ve looked at a couple of dozen commercial seed kits. There are a couple of decent ones, but they’re quite expensive, as in several hundred dollars. They also have many more seed types than anyone needs, which will lead to a lack of focus.

    Most of the commercial kits provide few details. It’s pretty typical for a line item to read something like “Beans, Lima, 100 seeds” or even just “Beans, 100 seeds”. Many of the kits include stupid combinations, like several varieties of tomato, which will cross-pollinate and make it impossible to save seeds that breed true. Quite a few of the kits include only long-day variants of onion, which simply won’t work for people below about 30 or 35 degrees latitude. And so on. Geez, I dithered about including Stevia, because it’s so fragile in even temperate latitudes. It really wants a climate no colder than southern Florida, but I decided to include it because of its value as a sweetener. It can be grown even in the far north if you pot it indoors.

  4. nick says:

    I’m sure that, like any package deal, there will be stuff some people find superfluous.

    I already have most of the herbs we use in the garden, and lots of seed packs, but any comprehensive pack should include them anyway.

    Stevia is something I’d never grow, because I think the taste is disgusting. But I see the value of plant based sweetener.

    There are other considerations for your garden, especially if you have limited ‘in the ground’ space. Peppers and tomatoes do well in pots, so this fall, I’ll be moving them from my beds to pots. That will free up bed space for other veg. Anything that will do well in containers, I’ll be putting in containers.


  5. nick says:

    Don’t know quite why this makes me smile, but it does. Maybe it’s the smug bast@rds getting a taste of the common man? Perhaps Mms. Guillotine is not far behind?

    Air France Executives Attacked as Carrier Cuts 2,900 Jobs

    Human resources chief Xavier Broseta and Pierre Plissonnier, the head of long-haul flights, scaled an eight-foot high fence to escape, shielded by security guards, with Broseta emerging shirtless and Plissonnier with his suit shredded.

    Of course, the dumbassery exists on both sides:

    “Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac has forced the showdown with pilots after last year being defeated in plans to establish a low-cost airline outside of France when crews walked out for two weeks, costing the airline 500 million euros ($564 million) and prompting the government to intervene.”

    Good one union warriors, your employer has been losing money since 2011, and you cost them half a billion dollars. That should result in a nice Christmas bonus, not….


  6. brad says:

    I don’t know the background on the Air France situation. However, France is a country where workers tend to get handled with kid gloves. Workers have sometimes crazy rights: the civil service people who can get full retirement in their (iirc) mid-50s, the farmers who rely heavily on government subsidies (and regularly dump their produce all over the highways). Protests and strikes rarely result in any sort of prosecution or liability, no matter how much disruption or outright damage they cause.

    Without knowing the details, but just because it’s in France with that background, I tend to cheer anytime a French company actually has the balls to fire protesting workers.

  7. Chad says:

    However, France is a country where workers tend to get handled with kid gloves. Workers have sometimes crazy rights: the civil service people who can get full retirement in their (iirc) mid-50s, the farmers who rely heavily on government subsidies (and regularly dump their produce all over the highways). Protests and strikes rarely result in any sort of prosecution or liability, no matter how much disruption or outright damage they cause.

    France has been that way since the late 1800s. It used to be an underground movement and now their culture revolves around it. There’s a reason Marx and Lenin both lived in Paris for a time.

  8. Dave says:

    As at least one person has pointed out, the French Revolution was a collectivist revolution, while the American Revolution was an individualist one. It may have been Bill Whittle, I am not sure.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yes, and the First American Revolution turned out well, at least for the first two or three decades. The French Revolution was a disaster.

  10. nick says:

    Almost forgot!

    Last night I tried the Harvest Creek canned pulled pork that Costco is carrying now.

    Has that ‘canned meat’ smell when opened.

    Texture is good, thumb sized chunks, and some smaller breakage. No long ‘strings’ of meat. Appearance is good.

    Has a good flavor. Very edible cold, and after heating in the microwave, it has a rich stewed ‘dark meat’ pork flavor. Def not lean white pork chops, but no extra fat or grease. Packed in water. NOT BBQ or flavored in any way, other than cooking. Pretty salty, even to my taste so don’t add any without checking first.

    Put some on hamburger buns with a splash of BBQ sauce for the kids, and they ate it up. Not their favorite thing ever (that would be extra rare ribeye steak) but oldest ate it all, and youngest at half. Wife was non-committal but ate it, with seconds. Two cans fed two adults and two kids, with canned corn, and some spaghetti noodles on the side.

    Recommended as a tasty and versatile addition to the canned meat roster.


  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’ll second that. I think I have either 72 or 96 cans of the stuff in my long-term pantry.

  12. SteveF says:

    I object to the plant “Stevia”. In particular I object to something sweet having that name. As anyone who knows me can tell you, “Steve” is not sweet. Fiddling with a few letters of the name doesn’t change that basic fact.

  13. brad says:

    @SteveF: Ah, but I’m sure “Stevia” isn’t really sweet. It’s more of an artificial sweetener, so “fake”. Is that better? Can you fake it?

  14. DadCooks says:

    IMHO, stevia tastes like bad liquorice, or licorice. The stevia that is commercially available and affordable is highly processed and contains additives to make it free flowing, cover its bitterness, and enhance its sweetness. Due to the Chemical Lobby many of these ingredients do not have to be listed because they are below a certain level and are not considered allergens. It’s like if a food product contains 0.5grams of fat it can be called “fat free”.

    People who are Type 2 Diabetics have to be careful with the artificial and pseudo sweeteners. They can cause an insulin reaction, that is where the body senses the sweet taste and begins dumping insulin, preparing the body for “real” sugar. This insulin reaction results in a hypoglycemic episode. Ever feel horrible after drinking or eating something that is artificially sweetened? You are having an insulin reaction.

    My prepping sweeteners are sugar and honey. I’ll stick (pun intended) with those.

  15. Miles_Teg says:

    I’m a Type II diabetic and I’ve never had an insulin reaction from drinks with artificial sweetners. I’ve tested my blood glucose levels before and after the artificially sweetened drink – no change in BGL.

    Some of my family members are ardent anti-artificial sweetner evangelists and are quite dismissive of any claims that dispute their views. But my GP, plus another GP I saw, plus my exercise physiologist are also dead set against artificial sweetners, one of the GPs called them “toxic”.

    The endocrinologist I saw in Canberra, and the one I now see in Adelaide, are both pro-artificial sweetner and are dismissive of the anti-artificial people. I mentioned this to one of the anti-artificial evangelists in my family, he just replied that my endo was “full of sh*t”, which I thought was a fairly cheeky thing to say about a guy who has a medical doctorate *and* a PhD.

    Well, I’m adicted. I could no easier give up fizzy soft drink than I could give up breathing.

  16. nick says:

    I like sucrulose (Splenda), I can taste the aspartame in Nutrisweet, saccarin is awful, xylol gives me headaches and makes me feel really bad. Stevia tastes like liquorice.

    Sugar puts me to sleep, and gives me gastro-intestinal distress.

    Once you get the dose right, splenda tastes like regular sugar. Hard to bake with, due to volume, but tasty.


  17. Miles_Teg says:

    I just looked at the bottle of Coke Zero I’m drinking. It doesn’t say which sweetner it uses, at least not obviously. I’ve been drinking diet soft drink and using artificial sweetners since at least 1976 and haven’t found one I didn’t like.

    My iced tea contains “no artificial sweetners” but does contain “natural sweetner (stevia leaf extract)”. I quite like it…

  18. nick says:

    I like licorice, but not as a sweetener in my coffee!


  19. ech says:

    Coke Zero has Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium in the US ans Australia as the sweetener. I don’t like it as much as Diet Coke, since it has something in it that gives it the same mouthfeel as regular Coke. It kind of coats the mouth.

    It’s not clear that artificial sweeteners can cause an insulin reaction. However, there is evidence that it may, like excess carbs, shift gut biome towards bacteria that cause pre-diabetic hormone changes and metabolic slowdown.

  20. Miles_Teg says:

    I prefer Pepsi Max over Diet/Diet Decaf Pepsi and Coke Zero over Diet Coke. I like all sorts of fizzy drinks when I have a cold as it seems to help clear the gunk out of my throat.

  21. Ray Thompson says:

    I drink MIO for the most part. An artificial drink enhancer that you add to water. Highly concentrated stuff as a single drop on the tongue will almost gag you. But placed into water I think it is quite good. I also use a generic Sweet Tea flavored water enhancer from Walmart that actually tastes, in my opinion, like sweet tea. The advantage to these drink enhancers is that you can make the drink as strong as you like.

    No calories or caffeine of any kind within the flavoring. The ingredients are “Water, Propylene Glycol, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, contains less than 2% of natural flavor, Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium (sweeteners), Potassium Citrate, RED 40, Blue 1, Potassium Sorbate (preservative).”

  22. nick says:

    We store a bunch of different concentrated flavors. They help mask some of the issues that can come up with storage water. Sometimes there is a plastic taste, sometimes chlorine. Sometimes the flavor is from the canteen, or jug, or whatever you have serving the water from.

    In any case, they are small, cheap, easy to store, and “help the medicine go down.”


  23. dkreck says:

    Water. What’s wrong with water? I drink tap water that goes through a filter under the sink (that I should change more often) and then the fridge filter and both the ice and the water come from on door dispensers. My only other drinks are two cups of joe in the morning and some beers on Friday evening.

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    I love water, preferably chilled but room temperature is okay. But ya gotta have variety.

  25. nick says:


    water’s fine. Sometimes it might have an objectional taste. I have Britta filters for storage water, specifically to address the issue of taste.

    sometimes water in plastic gets a taste.

    sometimes you just get bored….


  26. dkreck says:

    Well I do sometimes have a Dr. Pepper. Usually when in a food place with self serve fountain. Maybe once every week or two. I actually like it a lot but know it’s all calories without the fun (unlike beer). Part of it is also my cheapness. Fast food chains all have combos that don’t cost any more than a sandwich and side. Why not, it doesn’t cost them but pennies to serve a drink. The cup costs more. So while I usually prefer local places to chains and I could just ask for water, sometimes I get the drink.

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