Sat. Aug. 1, 2020 – well this sucks

Hot and humid, probably rain.

It was hot and humid both yesterday, but we never did get the rain at the house.   Elsewhere in Houston they did get rain, but not us.

I didn’t get much besides my pickup done.  My back has been hurting for the last few days and it’s been getting worse.  Unusually for me, it’s my lower back this time, on the left, like sciatica.  I can feel the pinching and it’s getting scary.  I tried to do a few things, even floated in the pool for an hour to try to relax whatever is pulled out of alignment, but nothing worked.   I don’t see any choice but to try my chiropractor.  Hopefully they’ve figured out how to treat people without giving them the wuflu.  I guess I’ll know in about 2 weeks.

One thing I did get done was look at the gardens.  All my squash and melons died.  Couple of days ago they were fine, today just straw.  The cabbages that were doing so well?  Couple of days without water and they shed all their outer leaves and don’t look good at all.  Both pepper plants that were still producing like crazy look dead.   The brusselsprouts (that never sprouted but were nevertheless very leafy and vigorous) also look like they’re dying.  Leaves are curling up.    I’ve got a couple of green tomatoes on the plants, so that is one bright spot, but my hopes for any kind of real harvest are done.  I’m hoping for the citrus to make it at this point.

I did order food from the store.  Since I can.  Got my instacart from Costco and HEB in only an hour or two, even though the app said “as long as five hours”.    HEB had prime top sirloin for $4.95 a pound.   Even with the insta-addon price it was still less than $7.  It had a 2 day sell by, but was oxidized on the underside.  No indication that it was short time and the Manager’s Special, but I don’t care because it went right into the freezer.   Good hamburger in the bulk pack was <$4/lb.   Choice ribeye steaks were ~$12/lb.   Select were ~$11.   Turkey legs were in stock so I got 8, and a bunch of pasta and cans of veg.  The pasta selection was almost normal, except no real egg noodles.  10 more pounds went on the stack.  The veg selection was good, even had canned green beans.  A flat of mixed veg was added to the can organizer.   Soda and snacks were reduced selection.  Costco limited chicken thighs to one package, TP to one (but they had blue package Charmin), and name brand paper towels, limit one.  I don’t think I hit a limit on anything else.  They had bleach in stock, even clorox, but no cleaners or wipes and no windex.

I broke down the bulk meat, vac sealed it all, and put it in the new freezer.  VERY convenient to just open the door and stack on the shelves.

I also put away the coffee and maple syrup from the auction.   No matter the condition of my back I’ve still got to pick up the alcohol I bought today.  Should be good on wine for a while, and liquor for a LONG time after this purchase.    Not something I’d normally be too concerned about, but when you shop the secondary market, you buy it when you see it, and stocks were running low at the Casa anyway.

I’ll update after seeing what optional medical care looks like in the age of COVID.

We’ve got time to get in better shape before it all goes more wobbly than it already is.  Take advantage of it.

Keep stacking.

 

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

40 thoughts on “Sat. Aug. 1, 2020 – well this sucks”


  1. Obama strikes me as a man who is desperate to protect his failing legacy. Whatever that legacy is.

    The United States of America stood out among nations because for 240 years its leaders lawfully and peacefully transitioned power, even when predecessor and successor despised each other.

    That ended in 2017.

    That is Obama’s legacy.

    1
    1
    6
    3
  2. Obama strikes me as a man who is desperate to protect his failing legacy. Whatever that legacy is.

    Obama has to make sure Plugs is elected in order to keep Comey and other members of his administration out of orange suits. Certainly the lower level operatives are on Barr’s list.

    We don’t fit ex-Presidents for orange suits, but the implication will be there for the rest of his life.

    1
    1
    2
    3

  3. We don’t fit ex-Presidents for orange suits, but the implication will be there for the rest of his life.

    At this point, that strikes me as naive. After all, John Schindler tweeted that “the IC (Intelligence Community) said of President Trump: “He will die in jail.”

    If you think that if they regain power they won’t make that happen, well…

    Re: @Nick and his gardening problems.

    I’ve been at this emergency prepping game a long while now, wrote a novel about it, and created a large website about it, and it seems to me that unless you have years and years of experience either with a truck, farm, market, or kitchen garden, you’re probably being overly optimistic if you think your garden will provide significant calories in any true SHTF situation.

  4. At this point, that strikes me as naive. After all, John Schindler tweeted that “the IC (Intelligence Community) said of President Trump: “He will die in jail.”

    If you think that if they regain power they won’t make that happen, well…

    Biden will be busy keeping Hunter out of an orange suit and prepping his own Impeachment defense … if he lives to 2023.

    Fortunately, the VP short list comes with a lot of baggage too. Plugs can’t go get the Dem equivalent of a Pence now like Hillary did with Kaine, since he painted himself into a corner announcing his criteria off the cuff like he did.

    1

  5. you’re probably being overly optimistic if you think your garden will provide significant calories in any true SHTF situation.

    Very true. My wife has a green thumb. We are getting tomatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, and onions from our two 4×12 raised beds. She also grows flowers for cutting in them. She planted asparagus this year, so we will see how it produces next year.

    In a SHTF event, our gardens wouldn’t provide enough to live on. We could multiply the gardens by ten and it woldn’tbe enough. Multiply by 100, maybe. But how do I get materials to make that many beds? Do I till up the lawn instead (which is heavy clay soil)? Suppose I do that, how do I keep it watered if there isn’t rain? Pest control? Preserve all that food for later? what if it doesn’t produce like expected?

    Yeah, in a true SHTF event, real farmers will be the kings, and they will need a lot of help.


  6. My back has been hurting for the last few days and it’s been getting worse…lower back this time…it’s getting scary.

    Nick, have you had a blood test for your PSA level as part of your annual physical exam? Lower back pain was my first sign that I had a problem, and my high PSA score was the first clue as to the cause.

    I hope that it turns out that you are on a different path, but regardless of that, an annual physical and tracking your values on the standard tests are still a good idea.

    I neglected that for four years after I turned 50, and it bit me.

    2
  7. Bill is right, it is nearly impossible for a novice to grow enough calories to survive. But it is not impossible for those so inclined. We learn every year. Don’t lose heart, because those garden vegetables & fruits can be essential supplements: they provide vitamins and acids and minerals that are essential for good health. And frankly, they also provide “something to do”.

    My garden right now looks like what Nick described. I stopped watering it nearly a month ago, and my water bill is still $50 more due to the last time I put the soaker hoses on it. The reason I stopped watering is that the ongoing destruction by spider mites has made my tomato crop unsellable so I can’t earn back the cost of the water. The pesticides that are effective against spider mites have been declared verbotten and the last good one was taken off the market a couple years ago.

    My winter squash plants & peppers & tomatillos & beans & okra all died from weeks of 100+ temps with zero rain and worse, low humidity. The tomato plants ARE still producing, as are my Japanese Eggplants, and Nick’s plants will probably start setting fruit again come Sept or so when the weather cools down.

    I still have about 20 quarts of tomatoes from the 56 quarts I canned last year, so this year I am dehydrating some to make oil-covered sun dried tomatoes (plain dried tomatoes do not store well), but those will have to stay in the fridge/freezer to avoid bolulism OR I will need to cook them in dishes that boil for 10 minutes to destroy any botulism poison.

    My dad has a green thumb, and a water well, and his garden is sand where mine is clay. He always grows more than they can eat. Next year, I’ll just gather at his garden! For now, I’m canning okra from his garden with tomatoes from mine, and when his black eyed peas start producing again, will can those – I canned 10 quarts of them earlier in the season after my stepmother had canned all she wanted.

    I turned our peach crop into jam, and used Sure Jell’s “Low Sugar” (pink box) which makes it much more palatable for modern tastes – still a lot of sugar, but more fruit than sugar.

    Nut trees and fruit trees and perennials are the best bang for your buck, as they will increase production the older they get (there’s a moral in that). Our asparagus after 10 years now produces enough for us to share, over a long time, and they are nice big spears. But this winter I need to dig up and move a lot of the plants. I am praying that doesn’t set production back for years.

    Our little peach tree didn’t give us any fruit for the first 10 years in the ground, it all froze off. I bought BIG 5 year old fig trees two years ago and planted but they have still not bloomed… we’ll see how long it takes them to make fruit. A 100 year old pecan tree will outproduce a 10 year old one, but pecans from the 10 year old tree are still high calorie! If I had been able to gather all the pecans from our trees last year, we’d have had about a 5 year supply. As it was, I gathered 50 lbs which will last us a couple years.

  8. In a SHTF event, our gardens wouldn’t provide enough to live on

    When I lived on the farm we had about an acre that was garden. Fertilized with manure from the barn. Stuff grew really well. Many varieties of vegetables. Corn, Eggplant, dozen different varieties of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, watermelon, onions (green, red, white), radishes, strawberries, green beans, and some stuff I don’t remember.

    My aunt was really good at canning stuff so we had produce from the garden all through the winter. Not enough to live on but really helped on the food budget. We still bought fresh stuff but fell back on the canned stuff quite often.

    We had a tractor for tilling the soil in the spring, tilling in a few tons of manure. Planting was a lot of work planting that large a garden. Keeping weeds at bay was time consuming as no sprays were used. Insect control spray was used as there were no real effective options. Tilling between rows and sections of crops was done with a power tiller, between plants was done with garden hoe. A lot of work.

    Watering was done using a hose tap of the main irrigation line. We pumped 600 gallons a minute for regular irrigation so a little for the garden was not an issue.

    Even with all that effort the garden was not enough to fully sustain a family of four. We had machinery, the tools, the space, the water, the resources, and it was still not enough. We had the advantage of the agricultural extension service for free soil testing and access to products from the local co-op to balance the soil. We were excellent gardeners and it was still not enough for a family of four.

    Growing crops is tough. Big farms can do it well because of automation and big machines. Yields are plotted on charts so that targeted fertilizing can be used. Massive irrigation systems. Top of the line techniques to produce consistent yields of high quality produce. Without farms 2/3’s of the population would cease to exist. Farmers are the backbone of the current living standard.

    The farm was actually 147 acres and we kept about 200 head of cattle, registered Angus. We had four tractors and the usual assortment of implements. Put up about 10,000 bales of hay each summer for winter feed. Mix of alfalfa, oats, and grass/clover mix. Lot of work.

    4
    1
  9. My dad’s side of the family were farmers. I never had any direct experience, but just looking from afar, the differences between individuals was huge. I had one uncle whose only “success” was getting on a government program that paid him to leave his land fallow – he made ends meet by holding down a job as a rural postman. In the exact same area, I have a cousin who made good money doing actual farming – I expect he still does, though we’ve lost contact over the years.

  10. Headed out to my pickup, so of course it’s raining….
    At least it’s cooler.
    n

  11. Who doesn’t have baggage on Plugs’ short list for VP?

    I grew up north of Clearwater, FL, and I understand why the politicians walk around on eggshells when it comes to Scientology. They are very high tech and play a long game.

    https://www.mediaite.com/news/karen-bass-reportedly-on-biden-vp-shortlist-praised-scientology-at-2010-church-ribbon-cutting/

    Trust me, 40 years ago, no one but a Scientologist would have imagined this would be the fate of Clearwater’s daily paper, then one of three major dailies in Tampa — building razed down to the foundation and kept that way. The nearby bureau of the St. Petersburg Times met a similar fate, except the city turned the property into a bus transfer station.

    https://goo.gl/maps/WsAKZaizSARQbpsc6

    The dark discolored area where cars are not parked is where the presses sat. The lighter L shaped area was the main footprint of the building, newsroom on a second level.

  12. Picked up my booze.

    5 bottles of champagne, ~$200 each Dom and Cristal….

    full bar worth of unopened liquor, all top shelf, some premium. 2 dozen bottles red wine, 10-40usd each. Half a dozen white. half a dozen mixers.

    I’ll be the life of the party when we can have parties again.

    n

    1
  13. In other news:

    Government Teachers’ Unions Unveil New COVID-19 Demand: Pay Us For Doing Nothing

    As Dr. Pournelle used to say: Well, soooprise!

    Plus a capital spending commitment for the trades unions. I’m shocked! Shocked!

    1
    1
    4
    1
  14. Picked up my booze.

    5 bottles of champagne, ~$200 each Dom and Cristal….

    full bar worth of unopened liquor, all top shelf, some premium. 2 dozen bottles red wine, 10-40usd each. Half a dozen white. half a dozen mixers.

    I’ll be the life of the party when we can have parties again.

    Craft cocktails! Subsidizing this mess indirectly only cost us the ability to buy a house in Vantucky.

    kindredcocktails.com

    He’s a pro alcoholic in the Hunter S. Thompson sense of the word — when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Though, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was ANTIFA.


  15. More information has started to drop about this story. For the uninitiated, Downtown Austin is a long way from Fort Hood, a solid two hours minimum.

    AD Service Members need their Commander’s approval to work outside the military. If his duty location was Fort Hood, he could be in some doodoo. No problem driving for Uber, but no Commander would approve with a four hour response time. Perhaps he is stationed in Austin.

  16. AD Service Members need their Commander’s approval to work outside the military. If his duty location was Fort Hood, he could be in some doodoo. No problem driving for Uber, but no Commander would approve with a four hour response time. Perhaps he is stationed in Austin.

    There exists a small command in Austin to justify officers’ trips to 6th Street, but the story indicates that Perry serves at the base. Most of the bars are shut down in the area so I can’t imagine driving Uber in Austin being worth the 60+ mile drive each way, figure four gallons of gas plus whatever he spent in town.

    I put 500 miles a week on my car driving to CGI in Belton every week. I made more than I would driving for Uber, but I wasn’t going to be able to justify that forever since a car payment on the eventual new vehicle, insurance, and gas would have easily been 20% of my take home once the Gecko caught on to my commute.

    Lots of weird stuff going on at Fort Hood lately. You may or may not see this story outside of Central Texas, but the girl isn’t the only soldier who went missing on base.

    https://www.fox7austin.com/news/protesters-in-austin-demand-justice-for-vanessa-guillen

  17. “Biden’s multi-trillion dollar climate action plan is full of promises that the law says he cannot keep. Promising to do what you cannot do is a false promise. Here are some big ticket examples.”

    The auto industry has been expecting a restoration of 54 MPG CAFE enforcement in 2025 since the 2018 election, but that’s simply an executive order. I doubt Plugs will get much else done.

    Maybe Cash for Clunkers 2.0. That’s been planned for a while. Get your beater late 90s-early 00s Tacoma, F150, or “unsafe” Frontier pickup while you can.

    1
    1
    1
  18. “Biden’s multi-trillion dollar climate action plan is full of promises that the law says he cannot keep. Promising to do what you cannot do is a false promise. Here are some big ticket examples.”

    The auto industry has been expecting a restoration of 54 MPG CAFE enforcement in 2025 since the 2018 election, but that’s simply an executive order. I doubt Plugs will get much else done.

    Maybe Cash for Clunkers 2.0. That’s been planned for a while. Get your beater late 90s-early 00s Tacoma, F150, or “unsafe” Frontier pickup while you can.

    AOC’s Green New Deal is to not allow ANY internal combustion engined vehicle to be built starting very soon after Biden becomes president. All new vehicles must be electric starting in 2021 or so.

    Any internal combustion engined vehicle will become valuable at that point.

    1
  19. Cash for Clunkers is a horrible program. Half the reason I adore my 2001 Jeep Cherokee is that it does not have automatic door locks or “childproof locks” aka Flash Flood Fatality Features. Bad enough that the windows are electric. Now if I could only get someone to remove the air bags. I told my husband 3 months after we bought it that we never needed to buy another car for me, because I was keeping this one forever…. that is still my plan.

  20. AOC’s Green New Deal is to not allow ANY internal combustion engined vehicle to be built starting very soon after Biden becomes president. All new vehicles must be electric starting in 2021 or so.

    Any internal combustion engined vehicle will become valuable at that point.

    Of course, there will be horrendous CO2 taxes that double each year starting in 2021 also. Many of the farmers and truckers will go out of business..

    1
  21. Last night’s supper was “yeah, I’ll make this again”. With rice, I think. Or on egg noodles.

    Balsamic Vinegar is just odd stuff. On a salad, fine. In last night’s pan o’ gruel, it left a sweet after taste. Not bad. Unexpected.

    I found a jar of sliced kalamata olives in the pantry. I don’t recall buying them. They’re fine. Tasteless filler.

    Jarred garlic? Yes. I bumped it and it just packed itself into jars. All nice and chopped. I would rather use fresh but the stuff keeps sprouting. And then dying because I’m too lazy to plant it. Anyway, it’s in the Produce Department for some reason. It’s not refrigerated, seems like it should be with the various olives and jars of cocktail onions…. but that’s me.

    /I/ would have barley somewhere near the rice and pasta and not in the section with canned soups and bouillon cubes. It took almost a month to find it. The grocery manager poked around on her scan gun and it showed as in stock. But where? “Marketing”.

    Svengouli (sp) tonight. That’s almost always fun to watch.

  22. Of course, there will be horrendous CO2 taxes that double each year starting in 2021 also. Many of the farmers and truckers will go out of business.

    Congestion pricing on surface streets. EVs ride for free.

    The limitation right now is that the vehicle detection/classification tech requires construction of a gantry, but smaller pole-mounted tech is coming.

    I just solved a major problem getting images off cameras quickly enough for that kind of volume but the bosses won’t acknowledge the achievement. Respect is a two way street.

    1
    1
  23. Now if I could only get someone to remove the air bags.

    I’m torn about this. I think air bags can be a good thing. Just sit back from the steering wheel and hold the wheel at 9 and 3. Then again, it’s a bomb aimed right at your face.

    My ’02 Dodge truck has a couple of “retained” fuses. They are regular fuses in a carrier. You can pull them to kill power to the air bags. What the freaking body computer will do is, well, I’m not sure I want to go there.

    When I added cruise to the Ford van I had the steering wheel apart and the air bag is just a spade connector. Tempting. But if I have a wreck and the bags don’t blow, maybe the insurance company says FU.

    We have a 2000 Cherokee here. Two door and it is loaded but for leather.. The lockout switch for the windows is wonky but hey, so what, the driver can still work the passenger window. Been there with my truck, it’s just a bad switch. Fun thing about it is that it has the factory alarm system. When the a/c was repaired a few months ago, they somehow broke the alarm switch. No way to disable it. Oh, the previous owner towed it around behind a motorhome, so, yeah, need a kill switch. “Auto-arm” is not a wanted feature.
    I’ll fix it some day. It’s not like I drive it and have to put up with stupid stuff like doors auto locking while at the gas pump or the thing going off just for shutting the tailgate. 🙂

  24. Cash for Clunkers is a horrible program. Half the reason I adore my 2001 Jeep Cherokee is that it does not have automatic door locks or “childproof locks” aka Flash Flood Fatality Features. Bad enough that the windows are electric. Now if I could only get someone to remove the air bags. I told my husband 3 months after we bought it that we never needed to buy another car for me, because I was keeping this one forever…. that is still my plan.

    Just rear end somebody without collision insurance on your vehicle. The cost to replace those two airbags is abhorrent without insurance. That is why my son’s 2003 F-150 does not have air bags. He is actually fixing it up to sell right now, without the air bags.

    BTW, the cost to replace the air bags is also the air bag computer, the sensors, the wiring to the bumpers, etc, etc. Plus the explosive air bags. Once they have gone off, the entire system is suspect.

  25. I’m torn about this. I think air bags can be a good thing. Just sit back from the steering wheel and hold the wheel at 9 and 3. Then again, it’s a bomb aimed right at your face.

    Two easily replaced, preferably without shrapnel, are good.

    Ten gets silly. Then there are the pedestrian bags which are coming.

  26. I’m torn about this. I think air bags can be a good thing. Just sit back from the steering wheel and hold the wheel at 9 and 3. Then again, it’s a bomb aimed right at your face.

    Two easily replaced, preferably without shrapnel, are good.

    Ten gets silly. Then there are the pedestrian bags which are coming.

    I think that my F-150 has six air bags. If they go off then the vehicle is totaled if it is 2 or 3 years old.

  27. I want to put brush-trimming gear on the front of my van, basically large-toothed circular saws on arms. Pedestrian airbags would be a nice, mocking supplement.

  28. Well, it stayed relatively cool and overcast so I decided to put in the window A/C unit in the garage. It’s the unit I picked up off the side of the road, and fixed a switch…

    Got the hole cut, framed, outlet installed and wired, unit in the hole, insulation around it, and plugged in. It’s on an extension cord, but it’s making cold air. It’s probably too small and will run continuously until it fails…

    I didn’t put the new outlet on the breaker panel, as I don’t do electrical work when no one is home. Took a long time. BUT it’s in and running.

    Back was fine all day but now is killing me again.

    n

  29. “Arlington fines groups of more than three on sidewalks”
    https://www.independentsentinel.com/arlington-fines-groups-of-more-than-three-on-sidewalks/

    “Arlington is like a mini version of Communist China. They passed a new rule that if more than three people gather on the street, they will each be fined $100. It’s not America any longer, at least not in Arlington.”

    Arlington used to be a bastion of conservatism. That ship has obviously sailed.

    The amount of federal excess of employees over the last 20+ years has correupted cities all over the place, but especially near DC.

    Hat tip to:
    https://thelibertydaily.com/

  30. “GEICO Ratt problem”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o5cpVdaO0A

    Second comment: “You know… their Ratt problem could be easily fixed with a little Poison. But they gotta get a Warrant for the job because The Cure might not Rush to solve the problem. But if they live on Skid Row then they may have Scorpions living there too. If they can solve it… then Dr. Feelgood can enjoy Paradise City.”

  31. Arlington used to be a bastion of conservatism. That ship has obviously sailed.

    The amount of federal excess of employees over the last 20+ years has correupted cities all over the place, but especially near DC.

    And Amazon hasn’t even started moving in yet.

    DC and the suburbs woke up this week. Dunno if it is the election or people tired of being isolated. I saw numbers almost as high as normal through our systems.

  32. DC and the suburbs woke up this week. Dunno if it is the election or people tired of being isolated. I saw numbers almost as high as normal through our systems.

    Driving around this week was just like a normal summer day. All five lanes in action in Sugar Land. Both ways. Plus the service roads for a total of sixteen lanes on our freeway. That is a lot of cars/ trucks / eighteen wheelers running across the river.

  33. I did the Beltway from I 10 east to I 45 and traffic was light going and coming back this morning, 10 am and 130pm.

    Lots of constable’s deputies out doing traffic and speeding violations. Must be a new month..

    n

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *