Tues. Aug. 31, 2021 – so. now we’re done with August.

Hot and humid. It was 85F when I went to bed, that doesn’t bode well for today. And while yesterday started cooler, it got plenty hot by afternoon. I knew I should have cut the back yard grass early. Now it’s so long, and the temps are high, and I just can’t get motivated to do it.

Plenty of stuff to do though, as usual.

Spent the day doing auction and sales stuff. Picked up D2 and did a couple of hours of together time. We spent the last part of that sorting through some thrift store bags. She likes the treasure hunt too, although she gets excited about different things. Since many of the items in the bags are things I picked up for her, or the household, she was pretty excited.

Then the other one came home and the sniping and general sororite‘ dynamic went into full effect. Joy. I understand ‘man cave’ much better now and I expect that will only strengthen. Unless they’re living in the streets taking potshots at UN blue helmets…

Freaking world does not want to settle down. Get your self set up now, while amazon delivers and things are a click away. Water collection, storage, purification, heating, and use. Electrical generation, storage, and drastically reduced use. Solar panels, charge controllers, batteries, led lights, and window air units. Fans. Shade and breeze. Food. Stored, grown, caught, processed, preserved, and eaten. Got enough salt? You can improvise a lot, but some things you need. Got books on fermentation? Any practical experience? People ALWAYS want to have a drink. What are the critical components you just can’t fake?

How does your garden grow? Seeds are small, light, available, and you need more than you think. Also, you need pesticides specific to what you are growing. Heirloom varieties, saving seed, and local knowledge. Greenhouse, seed starters, rooting compound, grow lights, heat mats, plastic sheet, depending on climate. Don’t count on it getting hotter. Don’t count on it being cooler.

What goes in must come out. Sanitation, trash disposal, pest control.

String, cord, rope. Wire. Cable. Wire rope. Chain. Webbing. Repair for all of them. Tapes and glues. Repair, reuse, recycle. Be prepared to squeeze every bit of use out of stuff.

Think about the stuff they had on the farm in 1910 and you will be close to what you need. This is my grandfather’s ax. My father replaced the handle and I replaced the head.

Doom, gloom, oh no, oh woe… and yet it fits better than cheerleading. I keep looking for reasons to be optimistic and I don’t see them. I’ve asked you guys to chime in if you see them and no one mentioned any. (SpaceX might be able to get away just in time, but they’re a long time from being a liferaft… for a while, computing applied to medicine looked poised for a huge leap, but that has cooled.) So plan to get through some bad times. I intend to.

Keep stacking.

nick

Mon. Aug. 30, 2021 – long weekend wore me out.

Hot and humid, but maybe a BIT cooler. Did get some random rain drops yesterday, and some overcast, but mostly it was hot and humid.

The final day of my convention/meeting/swapmeet was a shorter day. The group does a couple of things to keep people there ’til the end. Most conventions or sales have much reduced attendance and fewer sellers on the last day. Our group does a drawing for sellers/exhibitors for $250 cash, but you have to be there and your booth has to be still set up. They follow that with a drawing for attendees for a $250 voucher to spend at a remaining vendor’s booth. There are still a lot of people who bail early, but there are people there until the end and there is excitement and good feelings just before calling it a day. I’ve worked a huge number of meetings/conventions/tradeshows and ours is unique in my experience with this incentive to stay the whole scheduled time.

Today I have to get all the things I put aside over the weekend done, as well as putting my leftovers away, and I have to do this week’s stuff too. I’m going to be extra busy for a while until I catch up. Like I wasn’t busy enough anyway.

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For a blog with a high degree of prepping emphasis, I said very little about the freaking CAT 4 hurricane that hit Louisiana and bordering states yesterday. I put it down to selfishness and inward focus. I will be looking outward for a while at least to cover the aftermath. If you’ve been affected by IDA, please share your experience. What worked, what didn’t, what surprised you. If you want, you can email it to me and I’ll post it whole with any anonymizing requested. Obviously it might be a bit before you’re actually done with IDA. I’ll wait, but please consider commenting or writing something.

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What little news I did see over the weekend wasn’t good. Same stuff and more of it would sum it up. It will get sporty out there, and could be very soon. Don’t wait with your prepping. Get at least some of everything that you want or need. If we have more time, you can add to that. In these times, it won’t do you as much good to have 5 buckets of white flour, but no rice, or 8 rifles and no food. Balance. That is what is needed and you might not have enough time to correct an imbalance in your current purchasing.

That said, anything is better than nothing. Get to stacking.

nick

Sun. Aug. 29, 2021 – last day of my show…

Hot and humid with rain, just like yesterday. No direct evidence of the storm yet.

Today I’m headed to a breakfast get together, and then the closing day of the meeting/show/swapmeet.

Yesterday was the second day of our regional association meeting with sellers mart (kinda swapmeet). We ended up with a bunch of no shows on pre-purchased seller tables. I don’t know what the real number is yet, but it feels like about 1/3 to 1/2 were empty. I’m guessing wuflu delta worries, or actual sickness kept them home. People were going table to table, sales were made. Everyone was happy to be back together, but there was an undercurrent. These are mostly small business owners, mostly rural, older, and white. A lot of them have been doing this show for a long time and usually treat it as a social opportunity to get together with friends they haven’t seen in a while.

I spent most of the day talking with people either at my table or theirs.

I joined about 5 conversations about the coming troubles- either world war, civil war, or economic collapse. One guy even said “gotta get in as much normal as we can before it all falls apart.” I didn’t start any of them, but did join and spoke honestly. People aren’t sure what’s coming, but they are sure it is coming and that it will be bad. No one was talking politics, Biddn, or the losses in Afghanistan. I’m not sure they could have without tears. It’s that kind of crowd.

I’ll see if I’m over reacting today, but it felt a bit like a last hoorah, or a last good bye. A lot of people were leaving early so I’m not expecting a busy day. I’ll look around with an eye towards the mood, but it felt a bit melancholy.

My kids were great all day. It was long, 7am to 6:30pm and they were troopers. The youngest was her vibrant and precocious self, charming most of the other sellers. She got me to loan her $45 to buy stuff for herself. Oldest spent the morning building a metal model from Metal Earth, then took a nap under the table. The other folks were amazed at her focus and dexterity with tweezers. (the models are super cool, and the results are impressive.)

I sold a bunch of stuff, and hope to sell some more today. I think I can find a few fresh items to put out this morning. I have so much stuff I forgot about some of it that would have been appropriate for this venue. I’ll miss a bunch of early leavers, but all I need is one buyer for each thing after all.

A quick scan of the news shows me escalating street violence, international destabilization continuing apace, local natural disasters, and all the regular stuff, turned up a few notches.

In the words of Yoda, “save you what can”. And keep stacking.

nick

Sat. Aug. 28, 2021 – out all day

Hot and humid to be sure, unless it’s pouring down rain…

Got the show loaded in yesterday morning with a minimum of sweat. Thanks mostly to Mr Carrier and his desire to not sweat to death.

Sold a few things right off the bat, and a couple more later in the day. I’ve had the same guy come by the table and fondle one item multiple times. I’m thinking he’s gonna be a buyer at some point.

Taking the kids with me today. Hopefully they’ll occupy themselves with a minimum of fighting.

I’m taking more stuff to sell today too that I didn’t get rounded up in time for yesterday. Wife wants to put an offer on a lakehouse, sight unseen. I need cash suddenly 🙂 (I don’t think she will, the price is too high for what’s on offer.)

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I know we talk about being on lists, and about the surveillance machine the online services have built, and how they have you profiled to the tiniest detail…. and we give some sort of shrug and move on. Think for a few minutes about the taliban having access to that same sort of information. Think really hard, because tech trickles down, and they will be the legit government in Afghanistan. Consider how MUCH some of the ‘Karens’ and lefties here profess to hate some of us for our beliefs, skin color, age, or success in life. Now think about google and facef#ck selling those detailed dossiers sorted by street address.

Think REALLY HARD about your response if they showed up at your door. Think about expanding your options before the need, like a prepper should, and a prudent person would. Suddenly your wallet, phones, computers, and vehicles are all worse than useless, and will remain so for some period of time. What ya gonna do when they come for you?

It’s much more likely that we all suffer when the SHTF. Stacks will help. Having a plan to drop it all and walk away when you see the heat coming down your street wouldn’t hurt. Lately a lot of really unlikely things have been happening. The baying crowd always wants someone to punish, and it’s a bonus if they have stuff to steal too. Just sayin’.

nick

Fri. Aug. 27, 2021 – early to rise…

Hot and humid. Rain in the forecast. Certainly that was true for yesterday. Hot and hot, with humidity and rain in various places throughout the day.

Did my errands, including cutting my hair. I don’t know if I’m any better at it, but I’m quicker. Looks good OK from the front :-). Loaded a bunch of stuff for my convention and swapmeet.

Truck is full.

After I get the girls out of the house to school, I’ll be finishing the load, getting ice for the water and drinks, and heading to a hotel to help with setup. Then I’ll help other folks get loaded in, and maybe sell some early bird stuff.

Before I can do that though, I need to mount the cargo platform on the hitch. I can’t fit 3 coolers in the truck. And I had to replace the broken hinges on one cooler. I have a small bucket full of cooler repair parts. Drives me nuts that people just throw them out when the hinges, drain, or handle break. Saves me money to scoop them up though, so I shouldn’t complain. Saves money and time to have the repair parts standing by.

Yep, I’ve got a bunch of coleman coolers. Igloo too. Different sizes, styles, and ages, but enough to keep at least one freezer’s worth of stuff cold temporarily. I mostly use them for icewater and soda at gatherings. Speaking of coolers, I picked up another 12v travel cooler/fridge. If you have meds that need refrigeration, get one of the small coolers so you can run it off a car battery if needed. (or solar longer term) They are pricey new, but are common at estate sales. I grabbed one at the goodwill outlet this time. I think I’m up to four? Maybe 5 and I’ve got one or two of the bigger ones too.

Coolers are very ‘dual use’. You can claim camping use, or sodas for youth sports, or just cold drinks at a party, but you and I know they are preps. Fire pits, gear for open fire cooking, cast iron cookware– also stealth preps. Backpacking water filters, kamp toilets, gas stoves and lanterns, even freeze dried foods are solid preps that you can get a lot of other use out of. I’ve got a lot of ‘camping stuff’ even though we never go. “oh I bought that when the kids were little, but we never seemed to find the time.” ” Oh, we used to go more often but now we’re so busy.” Anyone who sees it doesn’t have to think “prepper”.

If stuff ends up in short supply, you might want innocuous reasons for all the gear and preps in your storage area. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but hope isn’t a prep.

So keep stacking, keep building networks, and keep working to improve your position.

nick

Thur. Aug. 26, 2021 – month is winding down

Hot and humid. Chance of rain. Almost a surety that it will rain SOMEWHERE in Houston. It got pretty hot yesterday. I think my weather station topped out at 104F in the sun. It was still over 80F at dinner time, and just 80F at midnight. I did drive through some rain during my errands too.

Did a lot of running around yesterday. Did some thrifting too, since I’ve got a guaranteed auction coming up and he’ll take the stuff to his warehouse. There were a couple of good scores.

Today I’ll be packing up stuff for my non-prepping hobby show this weekend. So far they haven’t asked me to help load a truck today, so it’s all my stuff to get ready. I really hope some or all of it sells.

Moving the stuff is the important part, getting some money is second. Hanging out with people who share an enthusiasm is pretty cool too.

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I got a funny phone call yesterday. Out of the blue, someone from the local Republican party called and asked if I wanted to be a precinct chair. It turns out the precinct is basically my neighborhood, and a couple of blocks around it. The duties seem to be trying to get out the vote, shaking hands and knocking on doors. I’m actually considering it, since I encourage all y’all to get involved with local politics. Well, if not involved exactly, at least familiar with the people and the process. IDK if I would be good at it, or want the exposure, or would be acceptable to them. Everything they said about Kavanaugh could have been said about me… only the names and places were different. The 80s were a great time to be coming of age…….. Anyway, no one’s had the position in years. This tells me that the local R’s might be trying to up their ground game.

That they think they can overcome fraud with effort is funny. And I don’t actually care about most of the R’s, since they turned out to be politicians first, deep staters or quislings second, and generally not people I’d put in charge of a Prom Committee, but they at least aren’t actively pushing socialism. We can continue to pretend things are normal for a while longer. And it might lead to some good insights… or a spot in front of a pock marked wall. That last being the important bit. Hard to be the grey man when people know you as part of a political machine.

I’ll put it in the ‘meatspace baby’ pile for now and give it some thought. I don’t see much upside to doing it, and a lot of potential downside.

We’ve still got some time, use it wisely. Stack all the things!

n

Wed. Aug. 25, 2021 – nut cuttin’ time is getting closer

Whoooeeeee, it shore got hot in the sun yesterday. Gonna happen today too, reckon. Oh, it’ll start out slow, but I’m betting on ‘hot’ and sunny later. At least the humidity was slightly lower. It wasn’t so low I didn’t sweat through my shirt in minutes outdoors, but it was better than the last few days.

Since I spent yesterday morning and early afternoon dealing with power issues here at Casa de Nick, I didn’t get very far on my list. Most of that will have to push to today. Also, most of the prep for my non-prepping hobby convention and swapmeet needs to happen today. I’ll be doing prep for my role in things Thursday, and actually doing the things Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Posting will be as normal but commenting will be light.

On the plus side, now that my service drop is replaced, my electrician buddy should be willing to do the gennie hookup.

On the minus side, there is a smell in the garage like the rat poison worked. No ratons in the traps, so he’s somewhere else. Unlike the house, he can get into the walls in the garage. I’m really hoping that isn’t the case. I’ll know more in a day… Whether I’ll be able to do anything about it is another question.

Whether the world holds together is starting to be a good question. Portland has another ‘autonomous zone’ taken over by antifa thugs. They seem to be entirely without introspection as they’ve named the area the “SSPAZ”. Maybe the ‘kids’ are so well conditioned that they never called anyone a spaz and they just don’t get the reference. Elsewhere shootings and public violence continue to increase. An example of the unequal application of the law has the leader of the Proud Boys facing jail for stealing and burning a flag, while looters, BLM thugs, and antifa punks roam free. Oh, and he had a “high capacity” magazine with him in DC, while antifa tries to literally blind cops and gets away with it.

As well to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

Disruptions to supply lines continue. Disruptions to the food supply continue. Remember last year when people were saying “don’t worry about the poor crops, we’ve got plenty of grain in storage…” well, this year that grain is probably mostly gone, and it looks like we aren’t going to have bumper crops.

People are talking and advocating for vax status to determine access to and level of medical care. Think about that one for a second. Now extend it out a year or two… what else will they want to use to discriminate against you? There will be shooting when that costs someone a loved one. And honestly, I don’t think it will take a year. You will need tribe and like minded folks to get access and resources. What will you bring to that exchange?

Black market, grey market, secondary market, informal market, whatever you call it and whatever nuances there are between them, start looking. Start practicing. Swapmeets. Yard sales. Garage sales. A guy who knows a guy. You might find yourself locked out of the main economy. Yeah, things would have to be pretty bad before that could happen. Illegals already live that way though. It’s not that big a step and the legal framework went in years ago. There were articles about it, and the pretext was ‘extremism’, but they promised not just to lock you out but also anyone who would do business with you. I don’t know where such a scenario fits on a risk matrix, but it’s on there. And we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and the early stages of a civil war. Just sayin’. Planning. Some preps. Some people. Some practice. Just sayin’.

And stacks. Tall stacks.

nick

Tues. Aug. 24, 2021 – ‘nsert ‘itle ‘ear

Yep, it got hot yesterday. And it’s going to get hot here today. Despite that, this summer has been cooler than the last two at least. We’re getting down below 80F most nights, and barely over 100F most days. The tomatoes are still producing fruit. They generally stop from the heat at the beginning of summer. Part of the country is unusually hot, but not us.

I spent the heat of the day indoors yesterday. I was not feeling well, so I took an extra hour nap in the morning, and then did some light auction stuff. Sold a cable on ebay so dug around trying unsuccessfully to find it. I have more elsewhere, so that will be my mission for today. I did find some other stuff for the auction that I’d forgotten about.

My work day was short because on Monday I pick up youngest from school and we have about 2 hours scheduled with just the two of us. We tried to complete the bookcase project from last week, but the vinyl I was hoping to wrap it in didn’t stick. So we pivoted to where it would go in her room which quickly turned into ‘where will it fit?’ That led to us measuring everything and building a rough 3d model in Sketchup so that we could move things around and try out arrangements. It didn’t take long before she was driving the mouse, at least for the ‘arrangement’ part.

Sketchup is a great tool. It’s easy to get good results, especially for ‘sketch’ or approximate drawings. You can be precise, but it excels at fast and close enough. It took less time than a scale drawing on grid paper and cutouts of the furniture, and has the advantage of 3D and perspective. Plus, we can refine the models as we like, and now we have it in the computer as a starting point for next time. My hope is that this gentle introduction will encourage her to explore further. I’m using the 2014 version. They want me to upgrade, but it works fine for me.

Plan for today is a lot of driving around. I still have things to drop off and things to pick up. One for my hobby, one needful thing, a couple of prepping things, and the rest is for the household. My wife even asked me to get a couple of things for her. She’s still working from home, no test result yet. Still doesn’t feel great. I’m incentivized to get out of the house and stay out. Yes, I’ll be wearing a good mask.

It will be a good time to ‘take the temper of the clans’ so to speak. I’ll see first hand what people are thinking of Afghanistan and SloJoe&ThaHo. (funny, I left the “h” out of Afganistan, and spellcheck offered me the correct spelling and “Satanism”.) I’m betting anger and a bit of resignation. If no one is talking, I’ll assume they are getting ready for something serious.

This ‘get the jab or lose your job’ business will get out of hand pretty quickly. We’re already pretty close. TPTB don’t seem to have learned anything from the movies of their youth, or Guido the Killer Pimp.*

Move physical security up a notch or two. Strengthen your defenses, physical and mental. Buckle in. Stack it up while you can.

nick

Mon. Aug. 23, 2021 – insert title here — ;-)

Hot. Sunny. Humid. Overcast. Rainy. Houston. Sunday was hot and humid, no rain, no overcast.

I did some small work in the garage, and I continue to be impressed with how well the exhaust fan keeps the temps down. Oh, it was still hot, but nothing like last year or the year before. Definitely worth doing.

I set two more traps for Sr. Raton. He walked past the traps I’d already set, so I baited these with peanut butter and bacon. I know he was there, because he knocked a package of Costco canned chicken off the shelf. However, someone‘s been nibbling on the poison block I screwed to the wall along a likely infiltration path…. so SOMEONE is not long for this world. I just hope he takes himself outside before expiring. I’m sure I’ll know it if he doesn’t.

I had a box of rat traps that I bought last year at auction, and I have been using the poison block refills for the bait stations. I have been baiting with Tomcat Attractant because all the previous rats learned that peanut butter equals death. It got one up in the attic, but my garage thief is not interested, hence the pb&b bait. If you don’t already have some pest control supplies stacked, I’d recommend getting some. If the slide continues, services like trash removal, junk pickup, etc. will be impacted. Your neighbors, floods, droughts, and new construction all influence the migration and presence of pests too. When the need arises, there might not be any available.

The same can be said for soil supplements, and garden pest controls. It will be critical if you are relying on a garden for food, even just supplemental food, that you get as much as you can. Can’t have pests eating or ruining food your kids need. We’ve already seen that gardening supplies can vanish if the demand goes up even a little. Having some reference books with alternative methods wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Of course the best case is you getting your garden up and productive long before you NEED it. In most places the learning curve is probably not as steep as here, but it can be hard to find the varieties that grow well for you in your location. Local knowledge helps a lot with that. And every farmer knows that luck plays its part, particularly bad luck. Start climbing that curve. (also, you probably don’t have enough seeds, or the right seeds. Work on that too.)

In other news, the Biddn administration has decided to punish Russia by blocking importation of guns and ammo. Give the popularity of the AK and SKS platforms, that is not good news. Cheap imported steel case 7,62×39 didn’t stay cheap during the recent drought, but it was cheaper than 5.56, and a bit more available. It made for a good argument to have both platforms available in your safe. Who knows, the UN peacekeepers and the chinese ‘advisors’ might become mobile resupply pods if things get super sporty, and in that case, 7.62 will be plentiful again. Until then, the supply chain just got broken.

If there’s something you want, or think you will need in the next 2-5 years, I’m suggesting you buy it when and if you see it. If you need fast computers, might want to accelerate your purchase schedule. Even I’m thinking about getting a new box for the house. Almost everything here is a decade or more old, except the NVR I built, and it’s not new. With all the chips that come from Taiwan, if things get a bit sporty on the global geopolitical front, and it seems likely that they will given our withdrawal from the world stage and increased focus on internal issues, it’s possible that the supply of new things of all sorts could be disrupted.

To put it bluntly, Chinese misunderstanding and foreign adventures could wreck Taiwan’s foundries. Chinese really don’t seem to understand that there are some things that actually must be done correctly and well to work, and not just have the appearance of quality. Chip foundries, like aircraft carrier battle groups and nuclear attack subs, are hideously complex and all the pieces have to genuinely work for the system to work. There is no ‘faking’ it and there is no commanding it to happen.

How long could you go if you had to start from what you have now? That’s the question to ask when considering what and how much to stack. It might not come to that. Sanity might prevail. Doesn’t seem like the smart bet though.

Stack it high and wide. Stack some in secret.

nick

Sun. Aug. 22, 2021 – not much rest for the sorta bad…

Hot again, and humid. Yesterday was over 103F in the sun, so we’re back to HOT. It was so humid I had sweat dripping off my eyelids and nose just standing still in the garage working on small things. Soaked through my clothes. Yuck.

Slept late with a sore back in the now familiar pattern of one tough but productive day, one recovery day. I’m getting better at ‘fixing’ the pinching painful misalignment in my back so I can get back to my normal self, but it can take a while before I get to the point where it actually works. Getting old is not for the weak, and all the abuse adds up over time. There may even be a log scale for ‘damage done to my body’ vs ‘continued use of my body’.

I did get a bunch of stuff done, even if it was low priority and low value stuff. There are things on the list that make good ‘filler’ for those times when a bigger project or something critical won’t fit or would require more than is available. And there are targets of opportunity for when I’m already in a place or moving something, or stacking stuff in that area. Some people might call them ‘distractions’ but since they have to get done sometime, this time might be the time.

If I want to take more stuff to the auctioneer, I have to pull it and get it ready today. I’ll be pulling a bunch of electronics as well as other stuff that I’m sure I’ll find when pulling the other stuff. I am sort of ‘cherry picking’. In a true estate sale you start at one end and move to the other, putting a price on everything. I’m just pulling a layer off, picking stuff I think will do well. I want this sale to be successful, so he doesn’t find reasons not to have another, and another, and another.

This coming Friday is setup for my non-prepping hobby swapmeet and gabfest, so I have to pull that stuff too. The weekend is complicated by my wife’s plans to get a Girl Scout cert in some sort of water activity, so she’ll be gone. Managing the kids while working a convention and selling at the meet is gonna purely suck. Some advance planning is needed.

And normal prepping activities will continue. Stuff will be acquired, stacked, used, or just piled somewhere. Some sort of learning will happen, and bonds in the community will be (hopefully) strengthened.

Oh, and there is a storm hitting Long Island and the surrounding area. If you are in the path, be safe, be smart, and be prepared. And give use a report after.

Everyone else, keep stacking.

nick