Month: January 2020

Fri. Jan. 31, 2020 – where does the time go?

Cool and wet. [50F and 99%RH]

Yesterday stayed chilly. I was in long pants and a mid-weight jacket all day.

Some prepping got done this week but not enough.

People seem to be as polarized by the coronavirus as they are by politics. People I’ve been reading for years and generally like and respect are coming down on both sides like, hard. Which is nuts. It doesn’t MATTER if the normal flu kills 2000 or 20000 a year. We go to great lengths to avoid it, including poisoning ourselves and our kids with vaccine cocktails every year. Flu’s got nothing to do with WuFlu, it’s a false dichotomy. Flu is going to kill those folks, and the WuFlu is going to kill MORE folks. They’re BOTH killers and to be avoided.

Now, my feeling is, china inc KNOWS that regular flu kills a bunch of people and no one gets quarantined. But China inc just quarantined 50 MILLION people, and doesn’t seem to think they’ll need food soon. Which is ominous. Bringing food in breaks the quarantine. A hundred cubic yards of mixed stone and dirt makes a difficult barricade to pass with your food and water trucks too, you know, like it’s WAY harder than moving a red and white striped 2×4…. So either no one’s thought this through, or they HAVE and they made a decision we won’t like.

No one would cancel LNY and all tourism without believing or knowing something that WE DON’T KNOW. To pretend that we know better than the chinese making those decisions is ludicrous. They are taking this CRAZY seriously. I think we should too.

I’m taking my standard precautions. I’m not doing anything irrevocable or irreversible but I am taking steps. I’ve got a good supply of masks. My gloves were aging out (they get fragile) so I picked some up. I’ve got lots of bleach but will be watching closely to see if I want more. I’ve got bleach rated sprayers, rubber boots, and tyvek. I’ve got eye pro.

I have been rebuilding food stocks run down by the rats and time, and added 80 pounds of rice today. Also various and sundry other food. My secondary has a great deal of bulk from the first ebola scare. Much might be stale, but it’s there as a back up. I’m not throwing out that rice unless it smells bad.

I’m watching for secondary effects. Our Just In Time and Lean management systems mean that any disruption in the flow of materials and parts from China will effect manufacturing and commerce worldwide. That’s gonna be hard on some companies. In turn it will be hard on workers, and also banks. China focused on internal issues will either have them looking for enemies/scapegoats/targets or will distract them from their empire building… who knows which? Keep your eyes open though. If they stop buying Tbills, the financial house of cards could collapse and that can trigger all sorts of unpleasantness too.

There’s basically a whole bunch of different prepper scenarios that can come out of this. No matter what happens outside China, there already are and will continue to be disastrous effects internally and globally from the disruptions already under way.

The BEST that can come from this if it ended tomorrow would be supply chain disruptions, and the knock on effects from that. The worst is this being the tip of the iceburg of trouble, all the way to mass death and collapse.

I expect to be somewhere in the middle, but to think it will be nothing at all is nuts.


Keep stacking.

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Thur. Jan. 30, 2020 – so much going on

Cold and wet. [51F and 87%RH actualy, “cool, and somewhat drier”]

Yesterday I took a load to my local auction. I’ve got many more loads to take, and a variety of other stuff to sell in other venues too. It’s what I do, but I’ve not been doing enough of it for a while. Much longer than I thought. It’s easy to forget, and the net result is more stuff piling up, waiting to sell.

I’ve been stacking preps in with the ‘inventory’ too, which doesn’t help.

My name is Nick and I have a problem….

So, redouble my efforts. Be more ruthless and do now what I could do later/might do later/probably won’t do later.

That’s the plan anyway.


I admit I haven’t been paying any attention to the impeachment nonsense. Since I consider the whole thing to be a questionably legal if not wholly illegal attention seeking circus, I don’t want to give it any attention at all. Nothing I’ve seen when I’ve paid a few minutes attention has changed my mind. It is a distraction from the more pressing needs of the day, and diverts resources and attention from those needs. If it keeps certain vile persons occupied and keeps them from screwing me, then there is a small plus. Locking those same persons up for their many crimes would also accomplish that, and would be my preferred method, but I’m not king and the rest of the country seems to have lost its mind and will.


I HAVE been paying attention to the WuFlu/KungFlu and it’s advancing up the curve right on schedule. That should really concern people. It now has PROVEN person to person transmission in a social setting. With CDC finally going to China, and cases outside Chinese control, we should get a more accurate idea about lethality. Then we’ll know just how F’d we are. (Side note, stopped in a different Habitat ReStore yesterday and an asian woman had bought ever particle mask in the store. She had a cart full.)

Anyone else wondering about what the Chicoms have planned for the quarantined people? ANYONE see anything about humanitarian relief convoys delivering food and water? Anyone see any distribution points? So do they expect everyone to just die, either from the bug or from starvation? The Japs who got out said that water and food were running out… if they don’t want mass badness, the trucks should be rolling about now. Or is that just not the way china deals with humanitarian crisis?

Anyway, I don’t see any reason not to increase your efforts to decouple from the world around you. My goal is to be able to hunker down (although I hate the phrase and the people who overused it) for 45 to 90 days without having to leave the house. Let this thing burn itself out if it gets a foot hold. We should start to see disruptions caused by China Inc shutting down real soon. When that happens, a whole bunch of people are going to be both caught off guard, and get really scared and angry. Fun times. I’m trying to not be there.


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Wed. Jan. 29, 2020 – the sky is always falling and there’s always more to do

Cold and wet. [48F and wet]

We had intermittent rain all day yesterday, with some really heavy downpour in the afternoon. The rain finally stopped sometime after I got the kids in bed. I guess it watered in my garden.

Yep, finally got the plants I bought a couple of weeks ago in the ground. The broccoli had some little tiny heads starting, which is the best I’ve ever done with it, so maybe I need to container grow it. I guess we’ll see.

Fell down a rabbit hole last night with youtube. Someone in the comments at Commander Zero’s blog linked to the best way to clean and recondition cast iron cookware, and I really like the guy’s method. It is basically get the stuff super hot, using your oven’s self clean mode or a BBQ, and then wash, and oil. He got great results, and I’m going to try it on a couple of pieces, one I just picked up, and one I’ve had a hard time cleaning. I usually wire wheel the pan to get it clean, sometimes followed by vinegar bath, but it’s a lot of work and not super effective on shaped bakeware. I’ll report back on my results.

The cast iron cleaning led to where to find it (didn’t learn anything new there, he likes thrift stores), what to cook in it, and then a couple of cooking vids. First a bushcrafter cooking bread in a dutch oven, then a guy cooking squirrel- from the field dressing to the plate. I hate the company, but I love the way youtube has enabled ordinary folks to create and share their knowledge. It’s an incredible resource.


The WuFlu situation continues to develop. More people are sick, more are dying, and the incongruities keep adding up. There is more to this story than we are being told. On a broader level, people are just starting to think about knock on effects of China being shut down. That won’t be pretty and we should start seeing disruption in supply chains any time now.

With that in mind, I hit the canned goods aisle a bit more heavily than normal, and added some pasta and rice dishes too. Spent $310, but saved $58 by buying sale items and coupons. A third of the $300 is totally discretionary spending on beer and soda and beef jerky.

Weirdly, pork is still cheap. I got pork tenderloin, 10 pound vac pac for $1/ pound. Pork shoulder roast (carnitas, or sausage meat, or sliced as ‘country’ pork chops) was $1.29/ pound.

The store had canned beans and house brand canned chili on sale, so I bought some… and they had some new brands and varieties for me to try. Some more sauce packets for the slow cooker rounded out the cart.

I’ll be headed to Costco later to fill some buckets with bulk.

In uncertain times, having food and stuff stacked is very comforting.

Stack it high. And time to change your batteries out in all your standby gear…


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Tues. Jan. 28, 2020 – and the hits just keep on coming

Cool and damp. [55F and raining]

Yesterday was overcast and a bit cool most of the day, finally clearing for afternoon and evening.

I managed to do a bit more yard work, and some clean up. Not enough, but it’s a start. Then I did an auction pickup, got some stuff into and out of storage (in- my masks, out- some propane heaters for a friend to sell). I also got some stuff to take to my local auction. I need to get more aggressive taking pallets there. I think I’ll be holding on to my full face 3M powered respirators though. Maybe even looking to source a couple more batteries. On the other hand, they should bring a premium ATM.

I’ve got two local sales coming up. First, my non-prepping hobby has a quarterly swapmeet sorta sale. Then in March, the local Hamfest happens. I haven’t been buying a bunch of radios or antennas this year, but I’ll find a truckload of stuff to take anyway. I’ve got a month and a half to source more if I can.


The WuFlu ™ continues to spread. More and more people online are pointing out the disparity between what the chinese government SAYS about the flu, and what they are DOING about it. The stuff they’re doing makes me want to lose my fudge.*

One of the auction items I picked up yesterday was 12 food grade buckets. Less than 1/3 normal price, it leaves me some room to buy Gamma Seal lids. I intend to fill at least half those buckets right away. Kinda coincidentally (but fully in keeping with how my life works) I’ve scored two pairs of new in box heavy work boots, leather with steel toes. If I was superstitious, I’d be worried. Based on past experience, I’m going to be needing those boots soon, and that is worrisome.

It’s a bit disconcerting (due to chinese lies) that we don’t really have a good idea of the lethality or infectiousness of this freaking virus. If no one dies then its spread doesn’t matter. Anyone think it’s not killing people, lots of people, based on the chinese reaction? Yet we don’t know.

One thing we know, the numbers are starting to increase.

Stack it high.


*bonus geek cred to anyone who identifies the source of that line….

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Mon. Jan. 27, 2020 – last week in January, how does this keep happening?

Cool and damp.

Had nice temps and clear sky yesterday, with a good breeze most of the day. A good day for all the yard work I’ve been skipping. I pruned the apple and citrus trees. Looks like it might be time to prune the grapevines. Blew a bunch of leaves out of stuff piled on the patio and the driveway. I added more soil to the windowbox that is planted with asparagus. I’ve never harvested any, it ‘runs’ too quickly and gets ‘fern-y’. Also added soil to the raised bed for the herbs.

Tried to cut the grass but the air filter in the mower was wet and completely clogged. I thought I had a spare, but couldn’t find it. If you can’t find it, you don’t have it.

The coronavirus (WuFlu) situation continues to evolve. The chinese actions don’t match their words, in that they are going all out while the numbers aren’t very terrifying. Take this seriously. Even if you didn’t get sick, what if your city was quarantined? Water filter, and rice, with stuff to add to the rice as a bare minimum….you know the drill. And if not, use the keywords on the right —————>>

Keep stacking.


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Sun. Jan. 26, 2020 – did I mention I had two extra 10yo girls last night?

Cool and rainy. [63F and 99%RH]

Rain started late last night, around 11pm. It wasn’t bad during the day with mostly overcast skies and shirtsleeve temps.

Last night was sleepover night for two of my daughter’s school friends. They were up late, scaring themselves. There is a self reinforcing behavior spiral that they get started on. Not just convincing themselves that there is a monster outside, but for other things too, like guilt. Not fun to short circuit that.

And the Girl Scout cookies arrived by the van load during the day.

I was out, doing deals and stocking up. I’ve got a craigslist sale later today. Finally.


I’ve said before, I’m treating this coronavirus as an incoming Cat5 hurricane. It FEELS a lot like the start of the zombie apocalypse in the John Ringo novels. My biggest concern is that the actions the chinese are taking do not match the numbers or the reported threat levels.

Aesop, who was a voice for MAX RESPONSE during the first Ebola epidemic is the voice of moderation in this one. He’s got training, experience, and is on the front line,so I’m not discounting his opinion. I’m considering that he’s basing it on info out of china, though, and if that info is bad, so can the conclusions be…

My personal red line for this will be the start of person to person transmission in the US. Right now, it seems that every foreign infection started in China. Once we have it in the wild in the US all bets are off.

So, touch up those preps people. And stay tuned.


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Sat. Jan. 25, 2020 – oh, little china girl, oh oh oh oooh….

Cool and damp. [51F and 92%RH at 9am]

Yesterday was clear and beautiful. Today the national forecast is for rain in Houston. We’ll see, I hope not.

I may grab the kids and go buy more masks. Amazon is sold out of some brands and styles already. China is panicking. I might be able to make a bit of money, and provide a public service. . .

I’m not panicked yet, and don’t want anyone to do so, BUT if this takes off it will do so very quickly. It will appear as if it is suddenly everywhere at once. Act now, beat the rush. For me, when it starts to spread from a “returner” to people here by person to person contact, I will look hard at pulling up the drawbridge. Until then, I’m upping my readiness as much as I can. If we start to see cases that don’t involve a “returner” at all, then it’s crunch time.

Think about child care, work situation, food, etc if this gets bad and congregating gets banned and the schools close. Make any preparations you can that won’t commit you to something irrevocable if it doesn’t go to hell. Start your ‘battle space preparation’ with any significant others.

Pray it’s a non-event.


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Fri. Jan. 24, 2020 – another week gone bye bye bye

Cool and damp. [39F and 99%RH] Of course.

It stayed a bit coolish and dampish all day yesterday, although the rain mostly stayed away. I’m hoping for no rain today. Temps were 44F when I went to bed.

Busy week for me, and it didn’t leave much time for preps. I am feeling caught off guard by the sudden change in the china virus status. Fortunately the extreme case has the same preps as our old friend ebola, without the blood. Unfortunately, I think people won’t be as freaked out without the whole ‘sh!tting yourself to death while your eyes bleed’ aspects and won’t isolate themselves appropriately.

I don’t have anywhere near enough PPEs to interact with people in a mostly normal way if that is what’s needed. I intended to severely limit any contact at all, not don a mask and go shopping….

I guess we’ll see how things progress, but we should have at least a couple of days before any panic starts here. Think hard about stocking up on some stuff, like any masks, tyvek, bleach, wipes and hand sanitizer, and snivel gear for dealing with flu symptoms. I haven’t seen much about actually treatment/care for patients, but you can be sure that it won’t take long if there is an outbreak to saturate available care facilities. I don’t even know if we ever got restocked on IV fluids after the shortage. Puerto Rico has had their own issues and that’s where most of it came from.

I know our Habitat ReStore has shelves full of 3M surgical style face masks and they are cheap. I’ve already bought what I thought was a good amount, but now I want more. I don’t think there will be a run on them at the ReStore. (or anywhere in the US, yet). That said, I’m headed there today and I am going to stock up if they’re still on the shelf.

I’m going to treat this as if there was a hurricane headed straight toward us. I REALLY don’t like the way the numbers are quickly ratcheting up, or the revelations about the spread. I’m aiming for ‘better safe than sorry.’

I know, it’s always something, and the sky doesn’t usually fall, but this feels weirder than normal.

Lots of driving around today, so I’ll be out of the loop on news, and updates. Keep an eye on it….


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Thur. Jan. 23, 2020 – second volunteer day

Wet and cool.

Rained most of last night. We had just over an inch total for the day at 11pm and it was still coming down fairly hard.

I’ll be at school doing the Fifth grade classes. We’re going to do the same thing again as the Fifth graders haven’t seen this activity before. Saved me coming up with something new yesterday evening too.

I got a funny email the other day. It was from Basecamp, the online project management and collaboration site that was all “web 2.0”. It let me know that my account was going to be deleted for inactivity. So I logged in. It has been 10 1/2 YEARS since I used their site. That’s a long time to carry an inactive account 🙂 they are still there though, and still look about the same as they did. Their emphasis was on simplicity and limited features.

It made me feel old. I’ve been using AOL longer than some of the teachers at the kids’ school have been alive.


Speaking of being alive, the chinese coronavirus is here in the US, and spreading throughout the world. No way they get this genie back in the bottle. This bears close watching. It’s pretty lethal and they say it already mutated. If you haven’t made preps to stay home and wait for it to burn out, you might want to stack some food and necessities. If it takes off, you will NOT want to be around people. I figure we’ve got a week, if it’s bad and takes off, before the panic starts. Maybe two weeks or a bit longer if it takes a while for the deaths to start. Not kidding, and not fun.

Go out and buy some food. And face masks are gonna disappear from the shelves pretty dang quick.


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Wed. Jan. 22, 2020 – volunteer day today so short shrift

Cold and wet.

42F when I got up yesterday by the kitchen thermometer. It did get nicer as the day wore on, and it was clear and sunny, but it cooled back down by evening.

I’ve got my Hands On science day today, so I’ll be out all morning. We’re going to erode some dirt with water and wind… and talk about our ever changing planet. My last slide says “Despite all this, we live in a golden age where more people have more food, health, and wealth than ever before.” and I’ll wrap by saying that it’s all because of…. SCIENCE!


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