10:31 – Barbara is off to the wellness center to volunteer for a day-long event for the library reading program. She’s picking up take-out for dinner on her way home.
We made an apple crisp yesterday for our dessert/snack, using apples from the tree in our back yard. We kind of combined two or three different recipes, and it turned out well.
I read Locker Nine: A Novel of Societal Collapse, Franklin Horton’s latest, last night. Unlike most self-published PA novels, Horton’s are well-written and well-edited. He does a professional job all around. This book follows his three-part Borrowed World series, which is also excellent. Amazingly, he writes these things on his lunch hour at his regular job. He’s smart enough to pay for professional editing, layout/formatting, and covers. It shows. His books are indistinguishable from traditionally published books. Of course, none of that would matter if the content wasn’t also professionally done, which it is. This boy can write.
Email overnight from another newbie prepper. I’ll call this one Jason. He’s 33 and his wife, Jessica, is 31. They have a toddler, and another child on the way. They both work, and have a decent middle-class income. They bought a house five years ago, just before his wife found out she was pregnant with their first child. They have a mortgage, two car payments, child-care expenses, and all the other financial commitments typical for a young married couple, but they live within their means. Their home is in a nice suburb of a mid-size city in a metro area of just over 100,000 population. Like most people, they follow the news, and they’re both getting extremely concerned about what’s going on in this country.
A couple weeks ago, they decided to start getting prepared for whatever is coming down the road. They made a Sam’s Club run and stocked up on cases of canned goods and lots of bottled water. Jason and Jessica have both been spending a lot of time browsing prepping sites, and are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they need to think about, buy, and do, and the decisions they need to make. Jason said his top priority at the moment was to buy a gun because they have no means of defending themselves. Neither of them have any experience with guns, and Jason wanted my advice about what to buy.
As is my habit, I answered his direct question first. Since they’re prepping on a budget, I told him that the best and most economical choice for him (and his wife, if he wants a gun for her as well) was a short-barreled pump-action tactical shotgun. For anyone large enough to stand the significant recoil, I said the Best-Buy award in my opinion went to the Mossberg Maverick 88 tactical shotgun in 12 gauge, which can be purchased for under $200. Jason said Jess is “five-foot nothing and 95 pounds dripping wet.” I told him in that case a 12 gauge with heavy buckshot loads is much too much gun for her. The alternatives would be to buy a 20-gauge Remington 870 or Mossberg 500/590 for Jess (or both of them) or to buy reduced power 12-gauge buckshot loads for the Maverick 88. The advantage to both of them using 20 gauge is ammunition commonality. The disadvantage of the Remington 870 or Mossberg 500/590 is that they cost $150 to $250 more than the Maverick 88.
I suggested to Jason that no matter how many and which shotguns they buy, they should buy 100 to 250 rounds of mixed buckshot and rifled slugs for them, along with a bunch of #7-1/2 birdshot rounds that they can use at their local sporting clays range to achieve basic competence with a shotgun. I also suggested that they fire at least a dozen or so rounds of the serious stuff to get accustomed to the difference in recoil between light birdshot rounds and serious defensive rounds.
Other than that, I suggested that their top priority should be securing a reliable long-term supply of water, getting their food stocks built up (including powdered baby formula) and the means to cook that food, and making some provision for staying warm in winter. Jason has been following this blog for several months and Jessica has started reading it, so I’m sure they’ll pick up a lot by osmosis.
Back to science kit stuff. I’m going to make up solutions while Barbara is gone today.