Friday, 2 June 2017

08:58 – It was 70.7F (21.5C) when I took Colin out around 0715 this morning, sunny and cloudless. Barbara is due back tomorrow. Only one more day.

Well, that was weird. FedEx showed up yesterday with a box from Walmart. It contained: four 5-pound bags of Aunt Jemima yellow cornmeal; five 2-pound boxes of Alpo Variety Snaps dog treats; two 12-ounce cans each (minimum order) of Armour Treet luncheon meat and Walmart Great Value luncheon meat (I wanted to compare both of these to the more expensive Spam); and one 22-ounce can of baking powder. Oh, yeah. The weird part. Walmart shipped this 38-pound order via FedEx air rather than ground, and (for the first time) they required a signature.

Last month was really dead in terms of kit shipments. We did something like 33% of the revenue we did in May 2016, which itself wasn’t very good. But things may be looking up. As of this morning, so far in June we’ve sold five kits, and kit sales typically accelerate noticeably after mid-June.

Yesterday, I also repackaged the 20 pounds of cornmeal, because I didn’t want Barbara to come home and find still more bulk food that needed to be repackaged. With tamping to settle it, 3.5 pounds of cornmeal fit in a 2-liter bottle. I still need to add oxygen absorbers, but they’re down in the main deep pantry, which is inaccessible until the contractor finishes work downstairs and we can get all the furniture and other assorted stuff moved back into the main downstairs room.

I also did something I’d been thinking about doing for a long time. I made up a 5% w/v iodine standard solution (as potassium iodide), which is 65 mg/mL. The adult dosage for prophylaxis against radioactive iodine-131 is 130 mg (which is obviously arbitrary since 130 mg of potassium iodide contains a conveniently round 100 mg of iodine), so an adult dose is 2 mL. I packaged that solution in 30 mL bottles, which just happens to be 15 doses.

When Lori showed up yesterday morning to pick up a Priority Mail shipment, I asked her if she had any KI tablets or solution in her preps. She didn’t, so I told her to remind me this morning and I’d give her a bottle each for herself and her daughter Casey. I packed the two bottles and a few graduated disposable pipettes in a quart ziplock to hand to her when she picks up the outgoing boxes this morning.


When I had Colin out a few minutes ago, I stood and counted the vehicles passing out on US21. The final count was:

17 tractor-trailers, dump trucks, and other commercial trucks.

53 pickup trucks, 14 of them with trailers

37 SUV’s, 7 of them with trailers

41 regular cars, 2 of them with trailers


I watched the Homestead Channel again after dinner last night. I got through the entire first season (10 episodes, mostly about 15 minutes each) of An American Homestead. It’s about an extended family of six people. Parents Tim and Joanne, 20-something daughter, Jaimie, her husband Zac, and their two pre-school boys.

Together, they buy 100 acres in the Ozarks that is completely off-grid, 20 miles from the nearest gas station. No grid power, water, sewer, or any of the other conveniences we all take for granted. Their only connection to the modern world is the DSL phone line they use for Internet access, powered by solar panels.

They’re preppers, of course, but of the homesteading sub-class. Tim and Zac are always armed, at least with sidearms. Tim and Joanne used to live in Texas. Jaimie, Zach, and their kids lived in St. Louis. But they’re all sick of the rat race and consumer society and wanted to get back to the land. Tim, Joanne, and Jaimie were missionaries and spent a lot of time in third-world areas, so they do have some experience with living off-grid.

What they’re doing is not something I’d ever want to do, but it’s interesting to watch.


I’m currently doing a final read-through of Franklin Horton’s latest PA novel, which is scheduled to become available on Amazon late this month. It’s excellent, as are all of his books. It’s also incredibly dark, as are all of his books.