Monday, 19 October 2015

08:27 – I got several emails about yesterday’s post on the futility of attempting to maintain “OpSec”. Most of them were in the nature of “it may not help, but what’s the downside?”.

The downside is huge. To the extent that you do succeed in maintaining secrecy about your preparations, the result may well be that some or all of your neighbors and friends will be less prepared than if you’d said something.

The days when preppers were considered nutcases by most people are fast disappearing. The news headlines are seeing to that. A majority of people is now concerned about how things are going, and expects things to get worse, perhaps much worse. When I talk to people, they often bring up these concerns on their own, without any prompting from me. People are worried. When I mentioned to one that it would be a good idea to stock up on food, she agreed emphatically and added that she was going to talk to her husband about buying guns to protect themselves. The idea of prepping for bad times to come is rapidly becoming mainstream. The effects of that stupid Doomsday Preppers series are wearing off, and people are beginning to think that those prepper types might just be onto something important.

I very seldom bring up prepping when I’m talking with someone. I may bring up the latest outrage in the news, whether it’s allowing Ebola patients into the US or rioting in Baltimore or wherever. Then I just stand back and listen. People mostly express their concerns and their growing unease at what this country has become. So when I bring up storing food or whatever, I do so calmly and reasonably, and nearly everyone I talk to says they think doing that would be a very good idea. How many of them actually do stock up, I have no idea, but just planting the seed of the idea helps.

Mentioning in casual conversation that you’re concerned about the way things are going won’t get you branded as some kind of lunatic, since most people you talk to are likely to agree that things are going downhill. Gently introducing the idea of preparing for bad times to come is a great way to increase the readiness of your neighborhood, maybe only a little at first, but every extra can of food your neighbors buy is one you don’t have to buy. Even if they end up only a little more prepared than they had been, that’s a net win. They’ll probably think you’re a Mormon. So what? Most people consider Mormons to be good neighbors.


11:53 – I have now put samples of all of the seed species through a freeze-thaw cycle, so I can start germination tests on them. Any that fail that test will have to be dried further and then retested. I’m defining “fail” as any species whose sample shows a germination rate less than 70% of the initial (control) germination rate. I’m going to recommend that people store these seed packs refrigerated rather than frozen, but no doubt some people will choose to freeze them.

For most species, I can do a germination test simply by placing the seeds in a folded-over damp paper towel in a sealed plastic bag, but some species have horrendously low germination rates when tested that way. Rather than just water, they require some nutrients, so I’ll probably do these germination tests with a dilute solution of fertilizer to keep them happy.

I know it sounds stupid, but I always feel vaguely guilty when I do a germination test. Those poor little seeds get all excited when they sense dampness. They start growing their little root structures and stem/leaf structures and then a few days later they’re shocked when I open the bag, unfold the paper towel, and examine the infant plants. Then I count the number that are germinating and discard the paper towel in the trashcan. The poor babies never had a chance.

I just ordered another case of packing tape, another tape dispenser, and a pack of spare wipe-down blades. I was going to have to do that soon anyway, but I’d hoped to wait until we were relocated so that I wouldn’t have to haul yet another box to the new place. But Barbara is currently packing up books and other items, but we’re down to only three rolls and she’s going to need more packing tape. She was going to pick up a few rolls at Office Depot or wherever, but that stuff is grossly overpriced and isn’t very good quality.