Sun. Jan. 31, 2021 – still not done with January…

Cool and clear today, if the forecast holds.  It was misty drizzle in places Saturday, and warmed up significantly.  It was 68F when I went to bed.

I did my pickups, got some cleaning in at my secondary.  Co-incidentally found my stored pool shock/powdered bleach… and put my hands in it.  I was cleaning up some rags and discovered it mixed in.  The bags had broken down and it got wet with something that made it gel.  I’m pretty sure the liquid was a theatrical flame retardant, since that jug was above the bleach, and was empty.   I had to rinse and wash my hands several times, but I think the gel actually stopped me from getting any real burns.  I’ll have to replace the pool shock now.  No wonder the nearby steel was so rusted.  That stuff is 4377 on ferrous metal, even from a distance.  I had forgotten where I put it, and even though I was thinking about it last week, I wouldn’t have ever looked where it was.  There’s a lesson there I’m sure.

I also managed to get a few more things together for both auctions next week.

Today should be clear, and it’s the last day for me to get my stuff in order and get my forklift stowed away in my own area.  That’s gonna take some time, and a lot of ‘tetris’ with moving stuff to move other stuff.  Hopefully I get it done with enough time to do something in the garden.

There are a host of other things piling up too.  Having a couple of clear days in a row will help knock that list down.

There is always something more to do.  It’s a journey, not a destination.  Keep stacking.

 

nick

 

Sat. Jan. 30, 2021 – so, still January. Jeez.

Cold and clear, until it rains.   And it will probably rain, just to mess with me.

Yesterday was cool and clear everywhere I went, but I could see the rain coming down HARD in the distance.   Some parts of the Houston area must have been hammered.

Ran my errands.   Have another load of industrial stuff scheduled to drop off on Monday or Tuesday.   Most of my stuff in the last auction did well.  Both auctioneers are happier with the stuff I’m bringing.   Me too for that matter.  Now I just need to get MORE of it to them each time.

If I can I’ll work in the garden today.  I’ve got cleanup and pick ups scheduled though.   Sunday is supposed to be clear so that’s my backup plan.

Got the dog’s ashes back yesterday.   There will need to be some time spent dealing with that, and the family, over the weekend too.  I’m still checking for him every time I walk through the room, or checking that his water dish is full when I walk past that area.  It’s amazing how much energy an 18 pound chihuahua mix can infuse into the house, and how empty it can feel when it’s gone.


Out in the world, the crazy continues to grow and spread.  The government wants to make literally half the country into outlaws and domestic terrorists.   (Funny how we have so many flavors of ‘terrorist’ these days.)  It’s a bit like the constant use of the ‘racist’ label, and I can’t help thinking of the saying, “as well to hang for a sheep as a lamb”.   Be careful what you wish for….

The casino that is the financial markets finally met a card counter they didn’t own, and they’re running scared.   It’s been a house of cards for a long time, and it might finally be crashing down.  This isn’t good by the way.

I saw a meme that kinda lifted a veil so to speak, exposing something I’d internalized that wasn’t true.   For a long time, I’ve been referring people to the election map of the last election BY COUNTY because it shows quite clearly that the majority of the country is red, with only the big cities in blue.  It looks very different from when the whole state is colored in.   The meme (I can’t find again) showed the same map, and said- There are no blue states, only corrupt blue cities in red states.   And just like that, I realized I’d been programmed.  My way of thinking about the issue was framed by someone else in a way that benefited them more than me.  Watch out for that.

We have some time yet before whatever breaks things for real happens.  I don’t know how long, but it’s not infinite.   Keep working to improve your position.   Keep stacking.

 

n

Fri. Jan. 29, 2021 – time to garden

Cool, clear, and windy.  [38F at 6am- so COLD, clear, etc]  It was a bit cool yesterday, especially overnight, but once the sun came out it felt like spring.

And with spring in the air, a young man’s fancy turns to getting a garden in.

But first, I spent all of yesterday at home, except when I drove to school to get child 2.  I hit the Lowe’s on the way home to get some more of the bins I’m using to organize my food storage, and they  had vegetable garden plants.    So I bought a bunch.   They were well stocked on seedlings, and the seed display was full too.  It seems a bit early to me, but I’m going for it.

Sometime this weekend I’ll be planting all that stuff I bought.

This time, I’ll use fresh seeds, and put hardware cloth over all the beds.   I’m hoping for much better results, because then I’ll know what to blame, and how to move forward.   “Gardening” is not my thing.   Trying to grow some food to supplement my stores for my family is.  IE.  it’s not a passion, it’s a chore.  Still, I like to succeed when I try to do something.   So far my successes have been limited.  The learning curve is much steeper than I could have imagined.  Get started on your gardens, even if it’s just planning, and just a couple of pots or a window box.  Grow something.  You’ll be glad you did.

Plan for the day is to continue getting stuff out of the house, continue getting my secondary location cleaned up, and continue with all the other myriad things that take  my attention.   Including some more auction stuff.   I let a ton of stuff go by, but I did snag a couple of useful things.   I am focusing, little by little, on what’s most important.

Time for  a Costco order too.  Instacart, here I come.

Stack it up, flip it, rub it down, oh no, this world’s gonna kill me…  Or something like that.  I am a child of the 80s after all.

Seriously though, start something this weekend that you’ve been meaning to get to.  Time’s a wasting.

nick

Thur. Jan. 28, 2021 – Home today, plenty to do

Cool and clear.  Windy?  Yesterday was.  Very windy and all day long too.   I wore shorts, but also a sweatshirt.    50F when I went to sleep, and not all that much warmer during the day.

I ran my errands, starting with helping my wife pick up the GS cookies.  Did a pretty good job of filling a honda minivan, and then the half of the foyer.   The volunteers at the warehouse rocked.

Then I got some stuff together and took a pickup load to auction.  My check for the last one was about ~$840 after commissions.  I don’t know what my net was but we are getting back into the area I used to be in- a decent part time income from part time work.    If I can get up to doing $500 a week I’ll be happy.  And yes, my wife has a great job, for which we are all thankful.  Everything I make is “extra” if there is such a thing.  I am the ‘stay at home’ after all.

Everyone should be establishing some extra lines of income.  Everyone should be exploring alternative sourcing.   I’ve mentioned I think things are going to get a lot worse, right?  I seem to recall saying something at some point…..    anyway.   People are still buying stuff.   That could and probably will change.  Pokemon cards are not going to fill empty bellies, so there is a ‘sell by’ date on Pokemon.  Ditto for most of the stuff on ebay or etsy.  However, local trading groups and FB, and all the other forms of local selling are going to facilitate barter and money saving reuse/repurpose/resell for the foreseeable future, and may shift from unloading stuff to selling desperately needed basics.

Explore your options now.   Everything has a learning curve.   Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, or a mix of both, the ‘secondary market’, which is where I’ve been living for years, will play an increasing role in your everyday life.  You want to be careful of course.  One man’s money saving yard-sale-ing  could become .gov’s black-marketeering in short order.   The prepper-sphere is always talking about barter for after SHTF.   Consider that the fan isn’t so shiny, and has a suspicious odor already….  and start working on some of those skills.   In Gulag-19, I’m the ‘scrounger’.  Who are you?

Skills, people, stuff.  Stack ’em high.

nick

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021 – just keeping on keeping on

The national forecast shows us on the edge of a weather system.  Usually when that happens, we don’t get the weather.   Local forecast calls for clear and dry.   I would like some more dry weather for a couple of days at least.

Yesterday was nice out, cooler and a bit less humid.  It was 60F when I went to bed.

I got one auction closed out, and made decent money on it despite some very poor pictures and low prices.  I’m taking some of the leftover items to the other auction house, where I’m sure they will do better.   That’s today’s job, get stuff to the auction house, and to and from storage and my secondary location.  Not only did I remove the stuff in the entryway, I got several bins off the patio too.

Foyer is clean and empty, ready for piles of cookie boxes.

Progress has been made.  Always at the expense of something else on the list, but ‘them’s the breaks.’

Today was also haircut and shave day.  Still got the ‘stash and chin beard, but my cheeks are smooth again.

I also took a tiny bit of time to do more cleanup in my office.  In this case, sorting some of the auction receipts, and fixing a couple of small things.  The ‘fixing’ mainly involved cleaning up leaking batteries, and getting the contacts working well again.  It did get a couple of things off the desk and surrounding area, so that is  a good thing.  Baby steps are still steps 🙂

Out in the garden, I’ve been adding my used coffee grounds to the raised beds.  Can’t hurt, might help.  The potted limes are in bloom, well, “bud”.  Flowers soon enough.   The collards are about the same as they were.   I haven’t harvested anything from them at all yet.  They seem to do much better in the second year for me so I’ll wait.  I expect they’ll start growing enough I feel ok harvesting leaves soon.   The grapefruits were and are delicious.  Big, juicy, almost sweet, needing only a bit of salt to moderate the bitter.   The Meyer lemon is still producing big and sweet juicy lemons.   For all the rest it’s getting to the point I need to start planning the planting…  and get a couple of areas ready that I blew off last year.  I want more stuff in the ground this year and hopefully I’ll get more out.

I don’t want to tempt fate, but we were expecting a cold winter.  Fat squirrels, white tipped ears, etc.  So far, we’ve only had a couple of nights dip below freezing, and not by much.  I’m glad, as I didn’t have to cover and heat all the citrus.  I’m concerned because it didn’t kill off the vermin.

Speaking of which, mice have been eating the poison baits in the attic.  The ‘evidence’ is too small to be rats, I think.   I’ll refresh all the bait boxes over the next couple of days in case, and maybe set a couple more pads or traps.   If you don’t have stacks of rodent and pest control already, get some in… they won’t be going away, and they typically prosper when the humans get to fighting.   You don’t have enough food to share.

Just one more thing to stack, so get going!  Keep stacking.

nick

Tues. Jan. 26, 2021 – references, they’re not just something that never gets checked on your resume’

Cool and damp again.  Maybe some rain, maybe not.

Yesterday was misty in places, overcast most places, and somewhat warm for a short time.  Just a pretty gross day.   So I spent it indoors.

Solved my client’s issues with a lot of technical help from my sometimes business partner.  A piece of hardware somehow lost its “IP Table” which tells it where the other parts that it controls should be found.  The fix meant downloading a current version of the IDE, then a firmware file, uploading the firmware (32 minutes), then downloading the control software files, and finally reinstalling them.  All that messing around followed by rebooting, restarting, and testing.  Still, it got him back up.   He’s getting a bit tired of piecemeal replacement of the stuff that got damaged by lightning.  I may be doing a complete remove and replace on the system.  That won’t be cheap.  Should be good for me though.

Lest anyone think I know what I’m doing with any of the above, I have good help.  I’m just monkey punching the buttons.  I’m the remote set of hands when it comes to the software side of all that.  Kinda like here, where Rick keeps it all working, while I’m the smiling face that people see.  I’ve been very lucky in my  career to have access to really good people to backfill my gaps…

I’m sure you have gaps in your preps and skills, and I can’t emphasize enough, that you need good people to help you fill them.  Consider how you’ll repay them for the help too, either through stuff or loan of skills of your own.   There is a great feeling too, when you can help someone else with your own expertise.  It’s about building a community, or network of resources and it helps in normal times, as well as bad times.

On the other hand, your normal network might not be available.  That’s why you need a reference library.  It doesn’t have to be a ‘rebuilding society’ library, but should cover the sorts of things you don’t know well, and it should also provide backup for the stuff you DO know well- because you might not be there.

It has to be offline too.  Consider infrastructure failures.  Consider censorship.  Consider the internet balkanized.  Consider search engines distorting results.  And consider your browsing history being weaponized against you.  Can’t happen?  If I’m an oppressive government and there is a general famine, and I want to seize the “excess” or “hoarded” food, I’m going to start with everyone who bought canning jars.  I’m going to cross that with searches for “how to can vegetables” and “beginning gardening” or “stealth gardening”.   After 9-11 there were stories that various agencies went on a terrorist hunt by collecting grocery store ‘loyalty card’ purchase histories, and looking for people that bought hummus, or falafel.  It’s part of their institutional knowledge now.   Even if they don’t have the resources to do it as a dragnet, they will certainly use it to build a case, or reduce the pool of candidates.  And they’re likely going to go for recent low hanging fruit, because they’re lazy.

Now that day may never come, and you and I will both continue doing searches for what we think of as normal or ordinary things.  We’ll leverage the beast for our own betterment with youtube and google.  Just keep in mind that you really really might not want to have watched a repair video, and then ordered a gun part, after having declared all your illegal guns to be sold or lost.   Much better to have a couple of books, picked up used, to answer your questions in what might become the ultimate in ‘non-permissive environments.’

With that cheery thought, I once again suggest that you keep stacking…

nick

Mon. Jan. 25, 2021 – I think Covid 19 will be here until Social Security is solvent…

Cool and damp again, some chance of showers.

Sunday was cool and saturated.  Light mist at various points in the day.  Some light spatter of rain in the late afternoon.  Overcast all day.

I got some stuff organized.   I set up a shelf in my storage unit and took a bunch of stuff to my secondary.   As long as I have space there, there is no reason to be stacking stuff long term in the storage unit.

My wife started the carpentry badge with her Girl Scouts.  I supplied a bunch of small hammers and some other manual tools.  None of the kids, and even the other mom, had ever used a handsaw.  They had fun, and there are at least one and maybe two more sessions to get the badge requirements finished.  That’s despite the badge requirements being both simple and baffling.

GS cookie season will be starting soon.  Support your local girls.  It helps the girls and their troops.  If you don’t eat cookies, they have a program to donate the boxes you buy to first responders, and you can usually just give them cash.

I’m still slowly relocating my radios and cleaning my desk.  I’ve got the 2 all band all mode radios moved to the file cabinet drawer, and the mobile quad bander fits too.  Now that I know the concept is good, I’ll get the power and antenna lines moved so they enter the drawer.   I had the radios on a little 6U rack shelf system, and that worked, but I decided I needed them off the desktop so I had room for some organizers for my other hobby stuff.

To say my workspace is cluttered is a MASSIVE understatement.

One of the drivers for the cleanup is the amount of dust that I can’t clean because of too much stuff everywhere.   If I sit here all day, I start coughing.  Not good.  Spring is coming anyway so it’s a good time for it.

Today I have to head over to my client’s house.  He’s having some networking issues with his control system.  Stuff is dying by degrees due to the lightning strikes and pure age in some cases.  Hopefully I can get him back up quickly.

Then it’s all the normal things that need doing.

Use this relatively quiet time to get your stuff in one bag…

Keep improving your position, and keep stacking.

 

n

 

(nope, no more to be said about the post title.)

Sun. Jan. 24, 2021 – more of the same today

Forecast calls for heavier rain, T-storms, etc.  Given our microclimates, I’ll hope for the best, and find stuff to do if it rains.

Spent Saturday afternoon running around, and then doing cleanup and organizing, and re-stacking at my secondary.  Then headed home.  Not much interesting, except I’m going through a patch of increased serendipity and heightened coincidence…. and that usually gets weird.

Plan for the day is organizing at my nearby storage unit, in order to get more ebay stuff out of the foyer.  I need listed items close enough I can ship them the same day but I also need them out of the house.  The storage unit is temporary, as I clear out more space elsewhere.

Everything takes more time and more effort than you think.  That’s why it’s so important to get started.

Whatever you’ve identified as something to add to your preparations for the hard times ahead, get started.   Take the first step.

And keep stacking.

 

nick

Sat. Jan. 23, 2021 – busy day, making progress though

Cool and clear, I hope.   National map has us on the edge of a rainy area.  Usually the edge misses us.  I would like to get stuff done without getting rained on.

I spent some more time at my secondary  location doing clean up and throwing out stuff.   One of the things I un-buried was a shelving unit for my nearby storage unit.  I’ll be setting that up today if the rain holds off.  That will get some of my ebay stuff out of the house, without it being very far away.  Farther than I’d prefer, but keeping it here is not an option at this time.  Room needs to be made for GS cookies.

Yep, cookie season is almost here.  We thought it would be fully online this year, but I guess not.  Soon I’ll have hundreds of boxes of cookies in my foyer and living room.  Few of them for me, though.

My auction pickup yesterday was two ham radios.  Early 80s, solid units.   One was bringing crazy money on ebay.   I’ve got some work to do cleaning them up a bit and hopefully doing a little bit of testing.  Even as just a ‘parts’ machine, it should bring >$1100, which is nuts.  I am selling it, and not keeping it.   Need the money, have radios…   In fact, I’m toying with the idea of doing an auction in March of all the stuff I’d normally take to the hamfest.  I’ll talk to my local auctioneer and see what he thinks.

I’ve got a pickup in Conroe today, it’s stuff for building antennas.  I’m hoping to leverage some collapsible flagpoles into decent antennas.   They are always in that particular auction and go relatively cheaply.

There has been some discussion in various places regarding alternate comms and news sources.   Alex Jones led the way by having his show on shortwave for years.  Say what you will about him, a few of his darts have hit the board, and he was deplatformed before it was even a word.   He’s still around though.  I’m sure his shortwave show contributes to that.   In general, I thought the standard prepper recommendation to own a shortwave radio was not particularly useful.   The main broadcasters are religious based or state propaganda organs.  That said, many of the church people do news and talk too, and it’s possible to learn stuff from propaganda.   Given the crackdown on free speech in the US, I’m moving shortwave radio up the list a couple of notches.  Lots of good info about shortwave radios and listening on youtube.  (yes, evil youtube.  support the content creators that are making a living or living their dream on the platform.   Use patreon or whatever the creators like, and run adblockers to starve the beast.)

Compromise (or at least the appearance of ‘going along to get along’) is going to be the word-o-the day for a long time.  We need to maintain our ability to act, to support those that need support, and we need to get THROUGH this and out the other side, to wherever that may be.  There are times when that is not going to look very pretty.  I’m sure my tolerance for the necessary levels of compromise will vary and there may come a point where I can’t do it.  But given what that would cost  me, the current plan is pull back, pull in, and abide.    You may evaluate the situation and come to a different conclusion.   I may come to a different conclusion at some point too.  But I intend to survive this as intact as possible, and I’m PLANNING and provisioning to do that.

Stack it high.  Stack it in a bunch of small piles scattered all over.  Stack it wherever you can.  But STACK up some resources, friends, and knowledge.

nick

 

Fri. Jan. 22, 2021 – Finally Friday, and I can see the end of Jan. from here…

Cool and wet, super humid even if not raining.

Thursday was overcast and misty fog to light drizzle, depending on where and when.   Some of our microclimates probably stayed dry.  I was all over and it was wet wherever I went.

I spent several hours clearing stuff out of my secondary location.  This time it was mostly empty boxes.  Yeah, I save boxes.  Nope, not going to need these.   Haven’t used them in 8 years, unlikely to use them ever.   When the space was free it didn’t matter.  Now I need the space so they had to go.  Two big pickup truck loads shifted to the dumpster.  Then I moved stuff into the newly cleared area.  I think I’m going to be pretty sore today as some of the boxes weren’t really empty, and some weighed 20-30 pounds.  I had to do a lot of holding them out in front of me and over my head to get through the labyrinth…  (this falls under the heading “using what you’ve already got”)

The deal for the BOL/lakehouse fell apart.  Perfect for me, not perfect for my wife.  On top of that the owner countered with some stipulations we didn’t like,  and there are still  the questions about Army Corps flood easements…. My wife’s back looking at listings.  Armed conflict in the Capitol would have made that decision easier, but even I’m not that selfish.

I didn’t get a chance to put away all the food I bought yet.  Maybe today.  I’ve got a couple of pickups and more cleaning to do though and that’s higher priority.

I did get lucky at Goodwill and got about 10 reference books about guns, everything from modern sporting rifles, to historical black powder.   50c each.  I also got a bunch of books about hunting and fishing with a couple specific to Texas.  I like books and I like reference material in hard copy form.  With every search and web visit logged, with every purchase saved and correlated, it can’t be  a bad thing to have some stuff that is completely off the radar.  One of the books was published by Paladin Press.  Man, those guys would be going NUTS in today’s environment.  Build a reference library that won’t rat you out with every page view.

One of my local auctions closed and prices looked pretty good.  I will get some more stuff to them for their next auction.  The ‘industrial’ auction lots are getting bids this time, and look like they might be ok pricing too.  I recommend checking out your local estate sale and consignment auctions.  Lots of stuff, prices can be good to great, and “Lot 3, box of books” looks very different in a database than “Modifying your AR”, “Homemade silencers”, “Gunsmith’s Bible”, “Nosler Reloading Guide”, etc.*

One of the auctions next week is a nearby medical center that closed or somehow ended up surplussing a lot of stuff, including several pallets of masks and other PPEs.  WTF?  I guess they don’t want to just give them to the state to redistribute.   I’ll be a bidder.  Lots of weird stuff out there, you just have to find it.

And speaking of weird, this is an example of how my life works.   I bought a windows Smartab tablet for <$20.  It all works great except the wifi card.  I tried the Realtek drivers to no avail.   The card is recognized but just doesn’t work.   Just when I think I’m at a dead end with a bad card, I find the EXACT SAME Smartab in a bin at Goodwill, with a cracked screen.   I’ll be prying that one open to steal the wifi as soon as I get the time.  Weird, but that’s why I suggest being flexible and open in your plans.  Stuff happens.

Figure out what you’ve got, figure out what you might need, but be open to what the universe sends your way.  And keep stacking.

 

nick

 

*not the actual titles