Month: September 2020

Wed. Sept. 30, 2020 – well, that went by fast

Cool and breezy.  I hope.

Yesterday stayed cooler all day, starting out and ending up positively chilly for this time of year.  Of course, this is Houston, so we could still get some 90F days before Fall really gets here.  In any case, September is on it’s way out the door, and we’re on the downhill slide through the Holidays and into the New Year.

I did spend yesterday running a bunch of errands.  Picked up my auction items.  Dropped off some clothes for goodwill, and some cleaner for my buddy who got water in his house during the flooding.   Best to nip any issues in the bud, before mold has a chance to get established.  Sold one of the things he listed for me— I mean ALL of the things that weren’t lost in a boating accident.

Took 166 pounds of dead lead acid batteries to the scrapyard.  With a couple of pounds of aluminum and some motors, I got $40.   Prices have not recovered from the china trade war, or covid.  Not gonna get rich scrappin’ but it gets the stuff out of here and it’s money.

Fixed an issue with the A/C blower in my Expedition.  Only took a few minutes to find that the plug on the resistor pack had come undone.  Much easier and cheaper than replacing the pack, but unfortunately, I already bought the pack.  I guess I have a spare for a common issue now.  Nice to have a choice of fan speeds again.

Gave the down coat I washed to youngest, who loves it.  Gave the down vest to my wife.  Fits great and is true outdoor gear from Eastern Mountain Sports.  I’d like to find a down coat for daughter one, then we’ll all have a couple of choices for cold weather gear.  Don’t usually need it, but my girls are southern belles.  Daughter one was wearing a coat in the house today, ‘cuz it was 74F inside and she was chilly sitting on the couch.  They’ll freeze solid if it ever gets really cold 😉

The shouting match sold as a debate did not reassure me of anything.  They got sleepy Joe to stand up for over an hour, and he only slurred and lost focus once that I saw.   Other than that he was rude, dismissive, called Trump names, and seems to think he only has one son, the dead one.  I noticed that whenever he says “my son” he means the dead one.

Trump avoided making definitive statements on the Proud Boys and AGW.  Got lots of shots in about Hunter, socialists, law and order, and ballot irregularities.  He was a bit squirrely on his taxes.

None of it showed me a likelihood of a peaceful transition.  Both vehemently denied the others’ statements calling them lies, and I’m sure the partisan supporters feel the same way.    Certainly no one’s mind was likely to have been changed about who to vote for.

Which means, you guessed it, stack it high.  Find a place to hide out for the duration, even if it’s your living room.  The streets will not be safe.


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Tues. Sept. 29, 2020 – more cool and damp?

Maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll get the cool without the damp today.  ADDED- 54F and 90%RH this morning.  Fall is here.

Yesterday was certainly nice.  It was a bit overcast for part of the day, but the sun did peek out.

I got seeds in the ground in the remainder of the raised beds.  I put turnips, beets, and quick growing radishes in the beds.   I’ve still got the window boxes to do, but I feel better now with something in the ground.  The peas are coming up, and I think the beans might be too.

Beyond that it was little things knocked off the list.  Washed two down jackets I picked up for the kids.  Like new condition, real down, traditional makers, and I used a technical down wash on them. I’m running them in the dryer on the ‘no heat’ cycle until dry.  Just in time for cooler weather!

Moved some more stuff to the auction pile.  Looked through the current auction, which finally lists some of the stuff I dropped off last month.  Maybe I can drop off this stack soon.  I put back one of my UHF antennas, and moved another wire antenna.  Not super high on the list, but I was up on the roof to look at the chimney cap.  I’m not going to be changing that out for new.  The repair guy mortared it in place.   I’ll leave it until we need to have the chimney cleaned to worry about access.  At least the cap won’t blow away ever again.

Had a real nice dinner with a new recipe.  I talked about it in yesterday’s comments.  Usually my ‘go to’ book is an older copy of “Joy of Cooking”.   If you only have room for one food prep reference book, I think that should be it.  It will answer any questions, provide delicious recipes from simple and basic ingredients, and it’s funny besides.  Add a couple of other category cookbooks, preferably older or put together by a church lady, and you are pretty well covered.  I’ve got a couple of wild game books, the Fanny Farmer book, a bread book, some specialty books like on chinese cooking or low carb,  and several ‘church lady’ books.  Those are great for regional favorites, simple and hearty meals, and classic ‘church social’ dishes.  I’ve done posts or comments on recipe books before to cover the other ones I consider essential from a ‘prepping’ standpoint.  Search should find them.

We finished the night with a little campfire in the fire ring in front of the house.  We made s’mores and watched the flames for a while.  I’ve got a mexican pottery bowl half filled with sand that is perfect for a little fire made from twigs in the yard.    Just what you need for a dozen s’mores.

Later today I’m making a scrap run with a couple dozen dead batteries.  Then I’ll head out for a couple of auction pickups.  If I have time, I’ll stop at my buddy’s store and drop off some mold killer/disinfectant/odor killer.  He got some water in the house during the big rain.   And of course, all the backlogged tasks are still there too.  Maybe I’ll get some of them knocked off.

I’ll try.  And I’ll keep stacking.


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Mon. Sept. 28, 2020 – well, I had a plan…

Back to hot and humid I guess.  edit— not so much.  72F at 7am, 68F and misty rain at 9am.  I am a terrible forecaster.

It got pretty hot later in the day yesterday and the humidity stayed plenty high.  Perfect day to swim in the pool and no one did.  The kids played Skyrim, my wife and I did tax stuff.   I never even got out to the garden.  She’s motivated to clear the decks for a lakehouse purchase I guess.

All that just means I better be pretty productive today.

Wonder how that will work out?




(stock up and stack it high…)


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Sun. Sept. 27, 2020 – hey, growing things are growing

Nice and cool compared to just a couple weeks ago, still damp.

Saturday was really nice out.  Cool-ish except in the late afternoon sun, with a light breeze.  I did get some stuff done, but if you sleep through most of the morning, you get a whole lot less done.

I got some more cleaning and organizing done in the garage.  It was only a little bit, but still some progress.  I moved some stuff out of the house,and moved stuff around in the house to put it away, or put it in the ‘to be sold’ pile.

On most days what I did outside would just be ‘piddlefarting’ around, but some things DID get done.  I pruned the grapefruit and orange trees.  I intend to keep them about 10ft tall and 2-3ft thick to fit in the narrow bit of my yard between the house and my  neighbor’s driveway.  I also need them to be small enough I can cover them when it freezes.  The grapefruit has about 10-12 fruits, the orange 5-6.  They are starting to get ripe too.  That will be my best yield to date.  I’m hoping it gets better every year now.

Pruned a bit off the grape vines.  They are basically done for the year anyway.  Never got a single grape this year.

Moved my weather station from the north side of the house (my driveway) to the south side (neighbor’s driveway.)  That puts it in more natural air, and closer to both displays.  It’s still too close to my roof and will continue to read higher than if in shade.  I changed the batteries again, and now I can see it on the displays in my office and bedroom.

I used the Garden Weasel ™ on the bare spots in the lawn and seeded them.

I didn’t get more seed in the garden though.  That is on the agenda for today.  Root veg.  Lots of root veg.

My peas are already sprouted in the side garden!   I better get some steel mesh over them before the tasty sprouts get eaten.  I really hope that I’ll get some viable plants and a crop this year.

Spent some time cleaning the pool.

Went through some stuff I’d squirreled away.  I keep finding stuff tucked here and there.  A lot of it really needs to be sent to auction.

Won a couple of auction items.  Another really nice battery charger.  If I’ve got a forklift to keep charged, I need a good charger to leave with it.  If I end up with a lake house, I’m sure I’ll need at least a charger there.  Having good ones makes a difference.  I’ve really increased my ability to charge batteries lately.  I also won a boat battery selector switch, and some 10gauge jumper cables.  I will look at wiring my inverter into my batteries now, with the AC charger and the switch to choose charge or discharge through the inverter… or something like that.

Found 3 laptops in the trash at my secondary location.  Grabbed them.  I had a charger for one, a dell inspiron with win7 installed.  Someone shut it off during an update and now it’s boot-looping.   It’s a nice widescreen machine in good condition.  I’ll set it aside for now, but will likely get the OS fixed, or use a linux bootable to see if it will run.  There are a lot of ham related things to do with older laptops.  One was an older compaq that probably isn’t worth even booting and I didn’t have a psu handy for it, the other is a really big Toshiba gaming machine.  I might order a psu for that just to see what it’s all about.  I think it has discrete nvidia graphics, and about a 17 or 19″ HD screen.  It’s a giant with full sized keyboard.  Funny that 15 year old machines are still usable for something.

What can I say, I like older stuff that works.  It’s cheap.  I like fixing and using it.  If it lasted this long, it’ll probably last for a while longer.

“Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without!” a plan for the coming unpleasantness.  Keep stacking.




Today is the two year anniversary of the death of Dave Hardy, or OFD as he was affectionately known here.  There’s not enough Moxie and pretzels in the world for what’s coming.  Miss you.   -Absent friends-


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Sat. Sept. 26, 2020 – still asleep if all goes to plan

Cooler, but nice out.  That’s the plan anyway.

Started heading that way yesterday.  It was sunny in places,overcast elsewhere and generally cooler than it had any right to be.  Still saturated though as my driveway still has standing water on it.

Ran my errands, and now have another alternative for Things That Go Bang(tm).  The current ammo situation points up the validity of having a couple of different systems in the safe.  556 or 762.  Why not both?  There was an argument to be made for .40S&W when 9mm was hard to get, and the agencies were all dumping 40s after the FBI changed… but I didn’t move on that.  I’ve always been bi-curious when it came to rifles though….

Enough of that tomfoolery 🙂

I’m at home all day.  My wife is off looking at another lake with a friend from the neighborhood who has decades on that lake and more than one property there.  That should mean I’m working in the driveway, garage, and garden.  I guess we’ll see.

And hopefully the females of the household let me sleep in today.  I’m been short of sleep and very run down.  Not a good place to be during a global pandemic.  If not, I’m making waffles for breakfast.

Maybe I’m making waffles for brunch…

So much to do and so little energy.  I better get started.

Tiny steps, big steps, doesn’t matter.  TAKE A STEP toward improving your position.  Stack something!



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Fri. Sept. 25, 2020 – month and week are almost gone by

Cool and overcast.

Thursday was both cooler and overcast.  I did some cleanup in the driveway, which mostly involved dumping out water from any place it accumulated.  I’m pretty confident that we got slightly more than 12 inches over the last few days.  Three different containers had that much water in them.

I managed to get a bunch of little things done.  Mostly cleaning and organizing, but also ordering some stuff.  I ordered the weird N size batteries for one of my night vision devices, and moved that case out of the house into the garage for storage.  I ordered the switch for the drain cleaner machine I bought.  I have to clear our main kitchen drain line twice a year.  The machine will pay for itself in one year or less.  I’m hoping the current snake is a good size to work with my pipes.  I’ll see when I use it I guess.  One less thing to call a specialist for, or make the trip to the rental yard.

I received the power switch for my new mower, just in time to cut the grass this weekend.  Hope that goes in without difficulty.

The national security situation continues to fluctuate locally.  The rioters in STL went right to shooting and firebombs this time.    That’s an escalation.  Riots in other uninvolved cities too.

I never did hear what our local disturbance was about.  The coppers did chase the guy around my neighborhood, and the FB group says “low speed chase”.     The disturbance at the neighbor’s house a couple of nights ago seems to have been a domestic.  His girlfriend was the one in the squad car, and she hasn’t been back around since.

I did a bit more research on the possible lake house, and surrounding area, looked at some historical topo maps and current maps.  There is a 2 acre lot for $24k with lake ‘view’ that also caught my eye.  There are smaller lots for $9-14K 1/4 and 1/2 acre, unimproved, in the same area.  If there are lots still around this lake, there are probably lots around others not too far away.  You might be surprised if you go looking.  Better to have somewhere definite to go, if you have to go…

Speaking of my lake house stay, I had a couple of lessons learned to share.

–the matches I’ve been carrying in a tube in my Dopp kit for the last few years didn’t light.  They weren’t damp exactly, but they weren’t dry either.  I didn’t have a lighter due to air travel restrictions.  I DID have a bunch of fire starting stuff in my wife’s car in the ‘bail out kit’.   The commercial fire lighter sticks that look like square slim jim sausages work very well, even if they are years old.  I will be adding some of the big brick of lighters to all sorts of places, including my carry on bag.

–I have been carrying one of those cheap hotel corkscrews for years.  Used it for the first time last weekend.  It was pretty flimsy, but got the job done.  Happy wife, happy life…

–I like to carry my little shortwave radio on trips to the country.  I forgot it.   I was a tiny bit disappointing.

–one of the neighbors was a ham with a big antenna setup.  They aren’t subtle, if it ever turns out to be a liability.  If I needed help, I would consider a fellow ham before random strangers.  Conversely, I’d be willing to help if approached by another ham.

–I know NOTHING useful about fishing in Texas.  I need someone to help me go through all the fishing gear I’ve accumulated and help set me up for salt and fresh water fishing.  Some lessons would be useful too.  The kids have expressed interest in fishing, and I’d like to be able to encourage that.

–Modern kayaks are inexpensive and fun.  I looked at a map once and discovered that I could get from my folk’s house south of Chicago, all the way to Peoria IL and beyond by water… probably all the way to New Orleans although I didn’t map that.

–there are pipelines everywhere.  If you know what to look for while driving you will see the markers, and the cuts through the forest.  Pipeline rights of way might be an easier and less traveled path if you ever had to walk out, or ride a dirt bike, or atv.  Look for them if you think things might get that bad.

–I had no cell service at all in the rental house, except one room upstairs.  My wife has a wifi calling app so she barely noticed.  I don’t.  It was radio silence for me.  I don’t think I’ll be ebaying the cell booster I have sitting here at the house.

–I’ve been stacking stuff for a second home for a long time.  It would be nice to actually use it.  This lockdown has proven the wisdom of having stuff, and backups to the stuff, to me and to my wife (not that I needed convincing, but she’s always been skeptical past a certain point.)

Well, that’s it for now, I’ve got auction pickups and gardening and repairs to do.  Maybe I’ll get some of it done…

Meanwhile, keep improving your position, and keep stacking.



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Thur. Sept. 24, 2020 – Rain seems to have moved through

Warmer and humid.   Some sun.

Sun came out yesterday for a bit, depending on where in town you were.  I was by Hobby Airport and it was grey and looked like rain was imminent, while on the NW side, it was patchy clouds and sun.

I did my auction pickup, 15 lots of mold and virus remover, and a couple of personal items.  Two weeks ago, the lots were going for over $36, this week I got a bunch at $6.  Weird.  I also took some stuff to my secondary location.  If we end up with a lake house, I’ll have another location to stock and maintain.  And secure.  Sweet, more preps.

The kids had MAP testing, which is a measure of how well they are doing for the District.    They were not thrilled.   It’s an adaptive test so it gets harder and harder until you stop succeeding.  In any case the testing messes up the normal school week and the kids come out feeling dumb.

Speaking of dumb, the Brionna riots have started.  STL started off the night with cops getting shot, and the NG in the field.  The guy streaming ends his stream with “that’s tha way ya do it, if you’re gonna do it, that’s the way you do it….”

Riots/protests have broken out in other areas too.

If you aren’t making plans for how you will deal with a variety of likely scenarios, and some unlikely ones too, you are gonna find yourself behind the eight ball if and when things get sporty near you.  I think it’s pretty likely they’ll get sporty.

Today I’ve got a bunch of my normal stuff to do, tomorrow I’ll have some auction pickups.  SKS, ammo commonality, say no more…  and some household supplies.  I’m stacking as it comes to me.

And you need to be gap filling, and stacking it high.  Can’t hurt, might save your life.


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Wed. Sept. 23, 2020 – kids have tests today

Cool with more rain.

Rained all day yesterday, and all night.    I don’t know how many inches we got here at the house but it was a bunch.

I was stuck in the house all day and not at all productive.   Eyes have been aching a bit.  Glasses were covered in a light film but I didn’t notice.  And I spent a lot of time in front of the computer.

Mostly I messed around with sketchup and the lake house, and watched auctions close.  Did help daughter 1 with some math problems.  The whole school was virtual due to the rain and flooding, and some people were not prepared, having left their stuff at school.  That’s why it’s a laptop folks, so you can take it with you.

Today both children will be going to the school to take a test.  There were online versions available, but we were told that the proctoring requirement was very onerous.  So the kids will be masking up and going in.  Assuming the rain doesn’t cancel school again.  Writing this in advance and going to bed.

I’ve been crazy tired lately, due to short night’s sleep.  I’m falling asleep in my office chair several times a day.  I’m trying to get to bed early, but it never seems to work out.

Other people have been full of energy- Bloomburg is buying votes in FLA, handing out $20M to clear the debts of convicted felons so they can have their voting rights restored.    Don’t worry, we’ll be able to use the ballot box in November… and the election will be completely honest and above board.

Anything short of a Trump landslide and I see the right picking up arms.  Anything short of a Biden Presidency, and the left will.  The great middle will try to keep their heads down, but will be forced to choose.    Add a stock market crash and there will be shooting and riots in the streets.

I’m hoping to stay home and keep my head down.  So I’m continuing to stack.  And continuing to beat the drum for you to do so too.  Even if I sound like a broken record, broken record, broken record.


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Tues. Sept. 22, 2020 – some people are getting flooded

Cooler, rainy.

Looked at the pictures from the Gulf Coast yesterday.  Lot’s of places I’ve been were under water from Beta’s storm surge.  Not much in the news though.  Twitter and FB for the on scene pix.  Trad media is dead.

We got a steady rain most of the day.  Kept me inside.

I did a bit of work on the possible lake house.  Some research in public records, and some time in Sketchup addressing my wife’s main concerns about the house.  Virtual remodel is a lot cheaper than actual…  The lot is great.  The house is a big weird mess.

Gave a buddy some supplies for his security cam install.  He’s got a neighbor problem.  Also gave him some stuff for his kids to play with – some “take aparts” (old mech and electronics), and some learning toys (soda can robot, potato clock, solar crawler, etc)

I’ve got stuff to do today, since I spent yesterday on other things.  Auction pickup, maybe stop by my buddy’s store, who knows?  Maybe something crazy like drive thru food.

Or not.  Cooler weather means more work in the attic and bathroom.  There’s always something to do.

And that’s all in addition to stacking it higher…



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Mon. Sept. 21, 2020 – back home, back at it…

Less hot and humid, but hurricane coming?  Who knows anymore.

Spent the weekend on a small lake about 2 1/2 hours north of Houston.  Kind out in the country.  Still within one tank of gas, so not ideal for avoiding mutant biker zombies, but judging by the number of Trump flags, the zombies might find it a tad inhospitable come the day.

And now we are really actually ramping up to find somewhere to GTFO to…  ‘cuz my wife is a pretty smart cookie and while we sometimes take different routes, we usually end up in the same place.   And that place says, having somewhere to go that isn’t in a potential riot zone is a Good Idea ™.

Lots of people out there preaching that it’s long past time to get out of the cities.  The argument is getting more compelling by the day, and there are a lot of people out there, and a lot of them are paying attention.    The little lake we were on had more than 5 houses for sale last month.  This month, there is one left.  It’s been on the market for over a year with no takers.  As we left yesterday, there was another couple looking at it.

A short while ago I shared the thought that if the economy got worse, people would have to start selling off their toys.  I’m seeing that in the auctions.  LOTS of collections coming up for sale.  I thought that people under money stress would sell vacation homes, and that there might be a decrease in prices, and THAT’S when I’d swoop in.  What I didn’t consider is that there are a lot of people paying attention.  It looks like they are quietly acting like preppers, even if that whole idea is foreign to them.  Or maybe, because of hurricanes, BLM, and a whole lot of stuff coming to a head, it’s REALLY FREAKING OBVIOUS to anyone right of center on the bell curve– getting out of the cities is a REALLY GOOD IDEA all of a sudden.

The upshot is, I’m feeling like we already missed the boat.  I feel like I’m looking at the last package of TP on the shelf and I REALLY don’t like that feeling.   Inventory is shrinking before my eyes.

Sometimes this whole blogging and prepping thing can get to feeling pretty insular.  You all feel like a small circle of friends, especially the group of frequent commentors.  I get a little boost when someone who doesn’t comment frequently shares something and I remember that this thing is bigger than it feels, that there are a lot of you still coming by and hanging out.  (Thanks by the way, I am humbled and grateful that people still keep coming by, I credit that to the larger community that exists here in the readership and comments.)

Anyway, the pace of whatever is coming seems to be picking up.  There is a sense I’m getting that the herd is starting to stir and get restless.  I keep asking people to rebut the idea that we’re headed for worse, but no one does.  That adds to my sense of unease.   No one on either side of the political spectrum is saying “you’re nuts, better times are right around the corner.”  It seems to me that there is a large element of ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ to this sort of thing.  Once the momentum builds to a certain point, people are just going to say “F it, let’s go” and then the dark age starts.

I don’t know what the timeline will be.   I’m not thinking deeply enough about second and third order effects.  I don’t want to see the country continue down the current path.  And I don’t have enough of anything for what’s coming.

Start stacking.  Keep stacking.  Move your stack somewhere safer.  Do more.  It feels like time is getting short.


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