Month: April 2022

Sat. Apr. 30, 2022 – may go north today…

Forecast for another nice day.  Yesterday certainly was nice, although humid.   Evening was very nice.  It’s nice when it is nice out.  So nice.

Did some errands.  Picked up some stuff. Took the smaller kid to swim practice.   Talked to a septic contractor.

Today I’ll take the smaller kid to swim, then either head to the lake, or work around the house.  I really need to get up there, but there is a ton of stuff to do here too.  Having my wife and one kid out of the house makes it easier to do stuff here so I should take advantage of that, right?  Oh, and the HVAC contractor wants to look around again and get a contract signed and I’d have to be here for that.

On the other hand, not having D1 here to manage the dog means I have to do it.  That complicates going to the BOL, as he can’t be trusted not to bolt.  I did not and do not want to be one of those people who are bullied by a pet, arranging everything around that pet.  Him climbing onto the kitchen table is pretty close to the last straw.  No good solutions to this problem.

I guess we’ll just have to play it by ear.

There is always something you can be stacking, always something that will improve your position.  Find that thing, and stack it, find that thing and do it.


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Fri. Apr. 29, 2022 – Lots of catching up today

Clear and pleasant again, with some clouds.   It sure was nice yesterday, with only an intermittent threat of rain from some cloudiness, and a bit of humidity later in the day.

Finished up my shade tree mechanic LARPing.  Got the Ranger running, and picked up a replacement wiper for the rear window of my Expedition.    I c’nae believe how hard it was to find the correct wiper, or why Ford went with a completely different attachment means for that one wiper.  AdvanceAutoParts, and Autozone had me running around, but O’Reilly had the parts I needed.  I’ll check with them first next time.  I bought a second wiper as a spare and it was the last one they had.  More reinforcement for the idea that if you think you might need it, you better stack it.

I also shipped my ebay sale and couple of other things I’ve been putting off for no good reason.

D1 had a play at school last night and tonight, so we went to see that.   Every kid was miked, ever mic was too loud.  I know I’ve got hearing issues, but I couldn’t get but one word in 10.   Daughter is following in the wife and my footsteps with her work backstage.  Mixed feelings about that.  It was a great learning experience, and it put us both where we are now, but times change, and I’m not sure I’d want to be working in the industry now.

I suppose that is true for most parents.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups, and some driving to do.  Then I’ll have more sorting and stacking at my storage unit.   Wife and D1 are headed to GS camp for the weekend after the curtain comes down on the show tonight.   D2 and I are home alone.   Might just load up the truck and head to the lake after swim practice Saturday.  There’s plenty to do up there, if I get bored with all the stuff that needs doing here…

WRT site issues here, please keep reporting them, but bear with us as Rick tries to sort it out.

And for pete’s sake, stack some food.  Don’t forget fats.  Peanut oil stores well, and can be used in place of butter in most cooking.  Lard in sealed plastic buckets should last a long time too.   With the decrease in sunflower oil exports from Ukraine, people will have to buy other oils, which will put pressure on them as well.   Get some, even if you don’t use much now.  It’s relatively cheap, stores for a long time, and is an important prep.  Salt and vinegar too, in mass quantities, mainly for food preservation, and a few jars of ‘pickling spice’ wouldn’t be a bad idea.

FWIW I like multiple smaller containers, rather than one big one.   It lasts longer if you don’t have a giant container open, you can more easily share a smaller container, and if one is spoiled the rest will still be ok.  To me, multiples are better, even if the unit cost is higher.  The most expensive prep is one you have to throw out without using.    Had a rat (might have been the possum) gnaw a bottle of peanut oil this week, made a mess on the shelf.   That was just one liter damaged, not the whole supply.  I could have used what was left in the bottle for frying I suppose if desperate, or as lamp oil, but I just tossed it and replaced it.   That might not always be an option.  So….

Stack something.


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Thur. Apr. 28, 2022 – so we’re a quarter of the way through the year…

Clear and nice for the next two days according to the national forecast.   We’ll see what our local microclimate actually does, but it certainly was nice yesterday.

Too bad I spent most of the afternoon literally pretending to be a shade tree mechanic.   And laying on my back in the shade under a filthy truck.   The result of a few hours spent is ruling out the alternator and the starter/solenoid.  Most of that time was driving from store to store to get the parts checked.    My next possibility is the corroded cable at the battery clamp.  I found a 2 volt drop in the first inch  of the cable.   The weird thing is that the problem appeared suddenly.  Damage from corrosion is usually a slow and gradual problem.  JEP said “it’s almost always the cable” and he may have been right in this case too.

I spent the morning getting dinner ready (crock pot pot roast) and packing the bulk meat I bought.  Should have done it sooner, but it was still fine.   Did I mention that Costco has standing rib pork loin roasts for less than $2/pound?  I forgot that it was Easter time, and that they carried my favorite pork cut at Easter.  Cut up as pork chops, or cooked as a roast, you can’t  beat the flavor.  The pot roast is a family favorite, and couldn’t be easier.  Just add whatever sturdy veg you have in the fridge, I used turnips, carrots, potatoes, and onion, the meat (seared in cast iron first) and the Betty Crocker pot roast slow cooker seasoning packet.  6-8 hours later, add a fresh baked (shelf stable) loaf of sourdough bread to the table, and you have a feast.   Stew in the slow cooker is pretty much the same, except the meat is cubed first, and I use the “beef stew” packet…

Plan for today is more exploration and hopefully a resolution to my truck issue.  I need the truck  to do about 80% of the stuff on my list.  If I get it fixed, I’ve got all the other stuff that didn’t get done this week stacked up.   If I don’t, that stuff will slip even more.

I guess I better get moving.

And btw, the head of Goya foods is warning about famine too.

It’s real and it’s coming.   Stack it up.


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Wed. Apr. 27, 2022 – “We loin as we go.”

Cool and damp, but maybe clear?  Maybe not clear but not raining either.  Yesterday started overcast and ended sunny, so it’s possible either way.  I’m hoping for clear so I can do the stuff I haven’t been able to do.

Truck problems persist.  Something is badly wrong, and I’m hoping it’s the alternator.  That is on top, easy to get to, and relatively cheap.  I need the pickup running for so many reasons, but mainly to move stuff around.

I did some errands, and some troubleshooting, and messed around.   More of those same things on the schedule for today.

No further progress on the BOL work.   Frustrating to be dependent on others.   Yeah I know, I’ve been reading about the issues, and they’re not just happening to other people.  They are real, not theoretical, and they suck when they happen to you.

Busy week and weekend coming up here at the Casa De Nick.   Swim team is starting up with nightly practice, Girl Scout weekends are on the calendar, and all the normal stuff is happening too, AND the work at the BOL needs to keep moving forward.  It’s a bit challenging.


But, hey, no one said it would be easy.  Or cheap.


And in the wider world, the chip shortage will continue for at least another year, according to industry sources.  Standing up new fabs takes time, and it takes some of the chips that are in short supply.   Electronic Design magazine has several articles on the issue in this month’s issue, and there is some fascinating stuff there.  Like that it takes about 6 months for a chip to move through the build process, or that 70 countries are involved in a typical chip, either through materials, or processes, or design and execution.  I’ll link the article in the comments if I can find it online.  As a note too, based on my habit of watching how thick or thin the trade mags are, we’re in trouble in the electronics design and manufacturing sector as the magazine is down to ~30 pages.  The more general Machine Design magazine is 32 pages this month.  MD used to be hundreds of pages 10 years ago but has really slimmed down since wuflu has been ravaging the world economy.   ALL my trade mags are thin, some are VERY  thin.

If you need it, or will need it, get it.  Don’t wait, as it probably won’t be available later.  If there is something you must have to live, or do business, or conduct your daily activities, make sure you have a spare, and repair and maintenance parts.  Seriously, I’m behind the curve on some things and it sucks.   We might be very close to the point where suddenly everyone is buying anything just to grab onto something they hope to use or trade or sell later.   That truly will be ‘panic buying’ and it will kick off a major slide downward on the slippery slope.   Get your ducks lined up.

And stack all the things.



bonus points to anyone who identifies the movie quote in the day’s title…

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Tues. Apr. 26, 2022 – everyone should know how to tell at least one good joke, and a couple of bad ones…

Cooler and wet today as a followup to yesterday.   It did finally rain yesterday.   It was about 3pm when it finally hit my neighborhood.  Temps dropped 10 degrees and the wind picked up.   We had some pretty hard rainfall, and the gutters filled up.   My gauge says only 0.43 inches, but it certainly seemed like more.

It was raining cats and dogs by the lake, so countrygirl begged off delivering my crazy thick and heavy fence pipes.  I’m ok with that.   Whenever they get there, I’m not ready for them anyway.   I did spend some time looking over the old victory garden stuff to see if it would help me plan my garden.   I have an approach, if not an actual plan… and maybe it will refine itself over time.  Still no word from septic or structure guys.   At home, we can’t seem to get an HVAC guy to replace our system now.  Waited too long maybe, because they aren’t calling back.  We’ve got a short window before it gets really hot up in the attic again, so I’d think they would be anxious to get as much done before then as they could.  Maybe they are, and I’m just not on their list.

I also did not get anything done with my pickup not starting.

I did play a couple of games of backgammon with D2 before having to pick up D1 from school.  She’s got afterschool activities going on, so I get to be the taxi.  Looking back, I can’t believe the amount of driving my dad did to pick me up from MY afterschool activities.  My high school wasn’t close to our house at all, and there was a lot of snow and ice involved during the winter.  It explains why I got a license and a car at 16.  Also why I had so many tickets and wrecks.

Today will be some prepping, as I’ve got meat to repack and freeze.  Then some auction stuff if it’s dry enough for me to pull stuff out of the storage unit, and if the pickup truck is running to take the stuff to the auctioneer.  Then some pickups that are all things for the BOL.   Busy day in other words, although some may slip if it’s wet.

I’m trying to stack all the things.   For some reason, a bunch of auguson farms 30 day buckets have been in the auctions here.  I’ve gotten 2 so far.   They are not worth the money as they are very low calorie per day, and pretty much all plant based, and mostly carbs and sugar from what I can see.  Still, at the price I paid, they are a decent addition to my long term stores.  In other words, half retail or less.

Stack it up, it’s changing fast.  And not for the better.



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Mon. Apr. 25, 2022 – birthday and anniversary this week

National forecast says we might be getting some rain today and tomorrow… which I’m hoping against.  I’ve got stuff to do that needs dry weather.   It was 76F and 91%RH when I went to bed.

I did some stuff Sunday.  Mostly fled the house and the squealing of tiny proto females.   Did two pickups, both mainly for my non-prepping hobby.   Did daddy daughter stuff, then wasted time on the internet with my friends. Oh, and during that time the dog ate an unknown quantity of Easter chocolate and caused some concern and an attempt at making him vomit it up.  The little poop factory eats aluminum soda cans, a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide didn’t phase him.  He’s still alive so I guess he didn’t eat too much of the chocolate.

Today’s plan is to figure out what’s gone wrong with my pickup truck, get some bins of stuff ready for auction, and do a pickup or two of BOL stuff.  Rain complicates all of that tremendously so I’m hoping it misses us.

I’ve got so much going on this week, swim team practices start, D2 has a birthday, I have a wedding anniversary, and all the normal things too.  It’s crazy.

Some comments at the end of the day yesterday regarding supply chain, food, and corn.  If you haven’t caught up, take a minute and read them and consider how they’ll affect you if it happens that way.

Beyond local and national farm issues, the brutal lockdown in China is backing up shipping and supply chain like crazy.  The effects will start showing up in a couple of weeks and it will take months to un-flock this clustered mess.  Expect anything coming from or through China, and particularly Shanghai to be delayed or unavailable, possibly for months.

The situation is worsening folks, in just about any way you look at it.  I know, I know.   Sky is falling yet again.  Yep.  Look at the material and make your own conclusions.  If you decide it’s overblown, then at least you’ve considered it, and didn’t just keep running forward with your eyes closed.

If like me and others, you see all the signs pointing to things getting worse, not better, ACT on that.  Take actions that work for you and your family and for your financial situation.  I’m still in “don’t do anything irrevocable” mode, but we did turn a whole pile of cash into a whole pile of bricks and dirt because my wife agrees that inflation is eating our savings like a fat man at a buffet.

Interest rates are rising.  They’ve already risen.   If you are selling a house, do the deal.  If rates rise too much the housing bubble will pop again.  If you are buying a place to live, and it’s within your means, know that you might end up underwater on your loan for a while, and that might limit you for a few years or longer.  I wouldn’t be buying any place as an “investment” and I wouldn’t be entering into an adjustable rate mortgage at the moment either… nor would I ‘stretch’ to make a purchase that is outside what I can safely afford.  If I was renting, I’d be looking at long term leases to lock in monthly payments.  If I was the owner, I’d be looking at short term leases as much as possible.

Also consider what these changes and trends mean for fixed incomes and government assistance programs and the people dependent on them.   Food shortages almost always lead to riots.     In other words, I expect violence and lawlessness to increase.  It will be variable by area, but everyone will be affected.   And people will be fleeing to your safe semi-rural area when the cities get worse.  They’ve already started.

Time to really get busy getting ready.   Suck it up and stack it up.


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Sun. Apr. 24, 2022 – sometimes, I just throw up my hands…

Possibility of rain today, with moderately warm temps.  Yesterday was fairly nice.   Sun, moderate temps, and not too humid.  Not many of those days left before summer really hits.

Slept in, didn’t get a whole lot done before I had to put my chef’s hat on.   Dinner was a success with the birthday girl, her friends were a  lot less enthusiastic about the lamb.  Which is a shame because it was pretty good.  I tried something different with the bread, and it worked out.  When I was in college, we’d sometimes eat at a steak restaurant attached to a wholesale butcher.  It was great food and cheap, and the meal came with “Roman Bread”.   I’ve been thinking of that bread for a while, and finally decided to try finding a recipe and making it.   The actual recipe from the restaurant was online, and it was straightforward.

It was as good as I remember, a hit with my wife, and the kids liked it.  The yeast I used wasn’t very vigorous (the packet was one year past best by date) but it’s a pretty flat bread anyway, and it rose enough.  The onions make it sweet, the rosemary makes it savory, and it has a great texture.  It’s not as simple as true flatbread or tortilla, and uses more energy and ingredients, but it’s about half way there between a loaf and flat…   I’ll be making it again, that’s for sure.   Variations might be great too, like grated cheese instead of onion, or chopped chives, or any number of other things.

The Roman Bread is a lot like fruit cobbler, in that little can go wrong, you can do variations, and prep time is minimal.


Someone mentioned it in comments, but I’ll repeat that the Texas preparedness tax holiday continues until Monday midnight.  As long as you order and pay before then, you get the tax back, or don’t pay it.   The list and limits are here.


The problem with my truck not starting may not have been the battery failing.   There was no juice, and the battery read 12.8v while connected, but a new battery failed to solve the problem.   Still no start, still not enough juice to run any accessories.   I will be troubleshooting that further today, I didn’t have time to look at it before, once I knew there was still an issue I just closed the hood and walked away.  Very weird though.

The rest of today will be me working the list.   And it gets bigger every day.

I encourage you, in the strongest possible way, to build up your food supplies.  Stack it high.


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Sat. Apr. 23, 2022 – sleeping, then working, then cooking, then hiding

Clear and warm, maybe hot.  Yesterday turned into a gorgeous day.   Just a fine spring day.  It is getting to be summer already here and I don’t know how many more cool-ish days we’ll get.

Did a couple of pickups, BOL stuff, minor stuff.  Then went to Costco.   The short report is that they had meat, and it was reasonably priced, especially pork products.  I bought a bunch.   What they didn’t have was normal chicken.  Only organic, and $6/pound.  Nope.  Didn’t get any.   The fish cooler had everything spread out, with each package “tiled” in a single layer to fill the open top cooler.  And by everything I mean mostly salmon.   They had just a couple other seafood items.  I was able to get most of the other stuff on my list.  It was  a big bill.  Meat, school lunch snacks, and OTC supplements.  $50 in TP.  Wine for  the  missus….

Today’s plan is to sleep in a bit, do more work around the house.  Then I need to start cooking for D2 and her guests.   Then after dinner, I’ll be hiding out from 4 screaming 10yo girls.   Dental work without anesthesia might be less painful…  but, these are the good old days, so I’ll find what joy I can.

Stack up the memories too.


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Fri. Apr. 22, 2022 – whelp, I got nothin’

Clear and moderately warm in Houston today.  I hope anyway.  I have a bunch of running around to do and most of it involves the pickup truck.   Which I couldn’t use yesterday due to a dead battery.

I’ll be dealing with that this a.m.   Don’t know yet if it’s just run down or if it’s dead.   I did notice it when I put fluids in all the vehicles, and thought “naw, it’s fine, I replaced it recently”… but now I’m not sure.   Haven’t had a look yet.

With a start like that, or rather a lack of a start, I only got some stuff done.   I put off going to Home Depot.  It occurred to me that I could use Amex points for HD gift cards and buy my garden stuff with those.   That is what I’ve BEEN doing, but didn’t actually think about it this year.   So I ordered some cards, which are normally in my email inbox in minutes, but for some reason now say that they can take up to three days.   They weren’t there yet when I went to bed.   Seems odd that it takes any real time at all, let alone days.

Lot of weird stuff going on in the world at the moment.  Par for the course at this point.

Speaking of stuff, according to my wife, NPR quoted NYTimes about the coming food shortages due to Ukraine not planting as much, and not exporting.  Of course it’s all Russia’s fault, but they sure were late getting to the party.   The flip side is that even lefties are now clued in, so expect the self fulfilling prophesy.   Get yours while you can.

Violence continues to increase.   Boston seems to be the latest city to lose control of their feral youths, but NYFC continues to lead the way.  The west coast is well represented with violent crimes and attacks on innocents too.

Services are continuing to break down all over the place.

It sucks, but it’s coming.   Get yourself ready, and stack up what you need.


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Thur. Apr. 21, 2022 – wedding anniversary and child birthday coming up… I better get busy

Cool and humid again, possibly clear. We started yesterday with misty drizzle, and had overcast and occasional localized misty drizzle all day.   I did see the sun in various places around town.

I actually got a few of the things done that I needed to get done.

Now to get a whole lot more of them done!

Today should be pretty much like yesterday, except for the trip to Conroe.  And I might spend a bit more effort at home, or doing some modeling on the computer.

For the editorial content I might usually put here, see my last comment last night.

Share your thoughts.

And stack it up!


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