Month: April 2022

Wed. Apr. 20, 2022 – something about dope? That would be dopey.

Cool and hopefully clear again.   Yesterday was nice.  A bit overcast in the afternoon and evening, but cool and sunny for most of the day.

So I spent it driving around.   And I’ll do that today too.   I have enough stuff for the BOL, and I have two more things to pick up about an hour into the drive, that I might just drive up to the BOL today.  Might even stay overnight.   Besides dropping off another load of stuff, there are  a couple of dimensions I’d like to check against the “Sanitarian”‘s plan for my septic.   Weird name, but apparently a Texas licensed position…

He’s drawn part of the drip field in a place where it can’t go.   I think it’s just because the field isn’t drawn strictly to scale, but it doesn’t match all the measurements I made while we were up there and I’d like to be sure.   I also didn’t ‘close the box’ when I did my survey measurements, so I’m missing a couple measurements that would confirm and validate all the others.  I don’t really want to spend 6 hours going up and back without getting anything done up there.   Plans.  Who needs ’em?

Plans get changed.   Planning is useful.

And I need more food safe buckets, because I plan to get through what’s coming.

Stack it up folks.   Ways and means.  Figure out how you’ll keep making a living.  Stack the things you’ll need for that.

n

Tues. Apr. 19, 2022 – now the week can really get started

Clear and moderate again today.  Like yesterday I hope.

Didn’t get much done on my personal list yesterday.  My wife had a list for me, and the universe laughs in my face when I make plans…

So some will shift to today, and some will fall by the wayside.

And some other tasks will get added to the pile.   Stack up all the things, he said.   Stacked up all the tasks is what happened!

Ah well, life IS the stuff we do while we’re planning to do something else.

So, start the day at the desk, get out of the house, do some things, and come home and do some more.   Simple, and yet complex.

Like everything, including prepping.

Stack up the stuff you need.   Including the knowledge that you won’t get it all, and you won’t get it all done.  Journey, not destination, and it has its own rewards.

n

Mon. Apr. 18, 2022 – time is flying by…

Time and tide wait for no man.   Or wo-man.

Supposed to be clear today, with moderate to warm temps.   Humidity will probably be Houston normal.  I’m going to wish we’d gotten more done in the attic before too long…

And more done on the bathroom, and more done in the garage, and more done with the garden.

Garden is my focus today.   I’m really starting to  fret over food.   I took a good look at the ag extension garden recommendations and I am late for getting the garden in in Houston.  I’m on time for the BOL, but both locations would do better with transplants than seeds.   I feel like I need to get something in the ground, even though it might not be ideal.

At the lake the area I rototilled is about 20ft x 30ft.   It’s on a slight slope and the rows need to be across the slope.  Unfortunately, that is 90 degrees to how I’d want them based on the sun.  Instead of one row of this and one row of that, I’ll have to change plants as the row goes along, because of height and hours of sunlight.  Well, to be optimal for sun I’d have to, but I might just do the rows anyway.   It’s gonna come down to what’s tallest and does it block the next row…

Since fencing has gone up to crazy high costs, I’ve been watching my auctions for substitutes or “creative” things I can use.   I won two lots of fencing last night.  They are 4 foot tall lightweight metal grid panels, and are intended to keep kids out of an in-ground pool.   They should work to fence in the garden.  I might even just add a wire above the fence to help keep the deer out.  I’ll have to keep watching for more to completely fence it in.   Until I can get the fence set, I’ll just put metal hardware cloth over the rows to keep the grazers from nibbling, and the diggers from eating the seeds.

I got a quote from the auction to deliver the remainder of my pipes, and I’m taking them up on the offer.   It’s almost break even between the trailer and the gas, and it saves me a solid 4 hours of life, and a special trip up there.  It pushes the cost of the pipe up, but still FAR less than retail and they are crazy heavy and strong compared to normal fencing.  So much to strong that it will be a waste to use them as fence posts but it’s what I have.

Here at home I need to get some transplants into the beds.   My wife misunderstood my request and threw out my sprouted heirloom potatoes, so that won’t be going in, unless lowes has some in stock.   The rest will probably be beans and peppers in different varieties.  Some will be root veg if I can find space.  It won’t be enough for more than a few dinners but it is something.    And hey, yesterday’s dinner included a pound of collard greens from last year’s plants, which are doing great and have taken over a whole bed.  Last year’s asparagus just bolted this year.  Not one stalk graced my plate.

It would be nice to re-plant my “window boxes” hanging on the fence, but I might not get to them.

The blueberry bushes are setting leaves and flowers, so I need to get them back under their bird netting.

The potted lime did not come back with spring.   The potted grapefruit did though.   The apple tree is budding, the peach has leaves coming in.   The well established orange, grapefruit, and Meyer lemon were killed by last year’s freeze.  I’ve decided not to replant them.   Other than the Meyer lemon, they are too hard to keep alive in the cold.   I think we’re headed into long term cooling not warming, so planting cold-sensitive citrus is foolish.

Both varieties of grape vine died back to the ground with the big freeze, but both look like they are still alive.   The green grape variety has always been stronger and faster to grow, and it is already climbing back up the arbor.    The red is not vigorous, so we’ll see what it does this year before the caterpillars come.  In any case, no grapes this year no matter how crazy the vines are.

I’ve got some tree pruning to do too.    Kids are home today, but wife is at work.  We’ll see how much, if any, help I get.

 

Get your garden started.   Get your pantry filled.   Get some of it offsite and secret and safe.  Stack it high.

nick

Sun. Apr. 17, 2022 – Happy Feast of the Resurrection

Cool and damp this morning in Houston.   Dew is heavy on the ground.  I’m hoping for sunlight and warm soon.

 

To the readers who are believers and who follow this calendar, I wish you a glorious Feast of the Resurrection.   If you have to wait a bit, please remind me when the day comes so I can offer you good wishes as well.

 

If you are a believer of an older tradition… and celebrate Passover, I wish you well.

 

And if a believer of a still older tradition, Happy Feast of Hestia/Esther.

 

Whatever your faith or lack of faith, or even if you reject the idea of faith, I think we can all celebrate being alive, which is not guaranteed nor mandated, especially in these unsettled times.

 

If you are so inclined, don’t forget to prep you spirit, as well as mind and body.

 

nick

Sat. Apr. 16, 2022 – got my workout yesterday

Continued cool and overcast with high humidity here at the BOL.  Well, probably.   It was humid enough yesterday for three days…   We had the windows open all day but ran the A/C at night.   Really glad for A/C to knock down the humidity.  The A/C here blows cold and strong.

 

See yesterday’s comments for some of what I got done.   Today’s plan is trim and carpet removal, cleaning and new lights and fan in another bedroom.  I have some garden stuff to do in between.  I might do some plumbing.  There is always more on the list.

At some point we’ll head home to prep for Easter.

It’s all prepping.

Take a moment this weekend and look at what you’ve got.  Add to the stacks.

n

Fri. Apr. 15, 2022 – Good Friday

Clear and cool at the BOL.  Houston is on the edge of a system and may get rain.  I’ll be here for at least a few hours today.  I’ve got pickups in Conroe (one hour south) and La Porte (hour and a half south and east.)

 

I was going to do the pickups on the way home, but now my wife and kids are supposed to be headed out here for an overnight and work party.  Dang family, complicates everything.  (KIDDING!)  I should have picked up the La Porte items on the way here, since they are for here, but didn’t have the time.  I’ll be making time now….

It really has been too nice up here not to share.  Leaving aside that every toilet flush might be the last…in the previous 10 days it seems to have drained somewhat.  No idea how much until it backs up again though.

The joys of rural living.

And of providing your own infrastructure.  But, needs must and all that.

So stack up some knowledge and skills.  You’ll need it.

nick

Thur. Apr. 14, 2022 – driving to BOL

Clear and comfortable today.  I hope.  Yesterday was overcast and some parts of Houston and surrounds got hammered with rain.  I never saw more than a drizzle.

Picked up a third of the pipes I went north for yesterday.   What looked like ordinary light weight fence posts turned out to be crazy heavy, schedule 80 galvanized pipe.   I only got six 10ft pipes on the truck and it was already caving in the roof.   I’ll either get a trailer for the rest, including the 20ft pipes, or have them deliver to the  BOL.   I did not know delivery was an option.  It might not be if the cost is more than renting a trailer and buying the gas.   The pipe is so heavy I might save it for the dock repairs and use pipe instead of pilings.

 

Today I’ve got two pickups on the way to the BOL to meet with the second opinion septic engineer.  Haven’t heard back from the first guy yet about schedule, or cost.  He’s got a reputation for good work but also for being hard to pin down.  Considering we’ll be living with the system for a long time, it makes sense to have another opinion.

So I will not be commenting or riding herd for most of the day.   I’ll likely spend the night up there, and drive home on Friday to get ready for Easter.   There I go, making plans.   Hope that doesn’t bite my backside later.

I’ve got a bunch of stuff to take up with me of course, and work to do while I’m there.  No rest for the wicked I’m afraid.

Stacking for two now, turning money into stuff.  It’s one strategy for dealing with high inflation.  Stack it up, while it’s still cheap.

nick

 

Wed. Apr. 13, 2022 – ya put your right foot in, ya put your right foot out…

Warm and wet again.   It did rain on the plain in Spain yesterday, for values of ‘rain’ and ‘spain’ that are closer to ‘houston’ and ‘misty drizzle’.   Rounding error.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.   Today should be more of  the same, overcast, humid, rain in places.

Did my ‘south’ pickups.  Stuff for the BOL and gub accessories mostly.  “Why, no sir, I don’t have a single complete gub in the house….”   I might have a “few” parts in a box somewhere…

I’ve got my ‘north’ pickups to do today and tomorrow.   Looking at the map, I may not combine them with my trip to the BOL to meet the engineer.   One is WAY off the path.  It might make more sense to do the out of the way pickup today and just leave it all on the truck for the trip up tomorrow.  So many choices.

Americans are certainly used to an overabundance of choices.   We even have a branch of science* to study why having too many choices is bad in retail, and in life.   I’ve argued for a while that one of the main underlying and crucial differences between Americans and Europeans (well, really everyone else) is that we come from a culture of abundance and they come from a culture of scarcity.  It really does impact how you relate to almost everything.

With that in mind, the coming shortages and economic collapse are going to be very hard for Americans to accept and ‘deal with’.   I think there will be a lot of people whose brains just sort of vapor lock on the idea that there AREN’T any choices.  They are going to sputter, and deny, and b!tch, and fail to adapt to the new reality.

Don’t be one of them.  Get your head around the idea that things are not normal, won’t be normal, and it will be a long time before a new normal establishes itself.  This will free you to act accordingly.

Stacking up stuff so you personally still have choices might be a really good idea too.

nick

*well, not ‘science’ exactly, but SOCIAL science…

(and Friday the Thirteenth falls on a Wednesday this month)

Tues. Apr. 12, 2022- lots of driving today

Warmish, but maybe clearer than yesterday.  Maybe not.  One forecast has rain over us for the next two days at least. As usual, we’ll see.

Spent the day doing indoor stuff.  Had some banking in the morning, and early pickup for D2 in the afternoon, so that pretty much precluded getting out and doing anything that would take more than a single hour.  The early rain meant I wasn’t going to work outside either.

Today I’ve got to do most of this week’s pickups.   Since I’m going up to the BOL on Thursday, I’ll get the stuff that is up that way then, but I have to get the rest before that.  And I’ve got to sort and box a few bins worth of stuff to drop off at one auctioneer today, so there is that as well.   It never rains but it pours.

Add the shopping, and prep for the Easter weekend (not going to the BOL, D2 wants another holiday here at home, and no septic system…)  and it’s going to be a busy couple of days.

And there must be some shopping.  I’ve let my stocking levels of some staples drop because we’re eating less of them, and because we got busy and were out of town last week.   The result is fewer eggs in the house than at any time during the last two years.  Milk is similarly low, and there are a couple of other things, like supplements, that I let run down.  Of course I need EXTRA eggs now for Easter too.

Speaking of Easter, I better get a lamb roast out of the freezer.

No guests for Easter this year though.

Life goes on, even with the threat of WWIII, during a worldwide pandemic, with runaway inflation and the prospect of famine on the horizon.

Preps smooth out the ups and downs, and provide a great deal of comfort.  When they run low, I get extra nervous though, so there is balance in the world 🙂

Go out and stock up.   There may come a day when “Prepping, it’s what’s for dinner” saves the day.

Stack it up.

n

 

Mon. Apr. 11, 2022 – let’s go bran… flakes. Get ready for ‘meatless Monday’…

Windy and clear, not particularly cool.   Yesterday was nice until the evening when there was some misty drizzle.   Never got too hot, and the sun stayed behind clouds.

That was perfect weather to wash the truck.   I figured if it was time for an oil change, it was probably time to wash it too.  I’m really not interested in washing vehicles, but it occurred to me that for what I paid, I should take better care of it.   I’ll try to be better, I  swear.

I actually got a bunch of stuff done, and some stuff just had a bit of progress made, but even baby steps are steps, right?

Having someone over (our buddy the electrician) made me realize how far I’ve let some things go.   I still have the boxes of  Christmas lights sitting on the patio, because I didn’t put them right back in the garage attic where they belong.   So I did a bit of tidying.  Also got some plumbing supplies together for the BOL, and washed the truck.   Checked the oil and fluids in all the vehicles, and added wiper fluid to all of them.  When I bought the gallon of 1:50 concentrated windshield washing fluid, I thought it would be about a lifetime supply.  I’m down to the last inch and a half in the gallon bottle though.

As a side note, all three vehicles need DIFFERENT weights of motor oil.   What the what?  Honda’s is one I’ve never heard of and never even noticed in the store- 0W-20.   I guess I’ll get at least one oil change for the Honda, although my wife has been having a mechanic shop do the changes for her.  Oil changes for my trucks make sense to stock, as I’ve actually done a change on the Ranger, and on my old Expy.  I can do it again if I have to, but I don’t like to mess with it.

It does all sorta circle back to the idea of “timeliness”.   Changing oil, checking fluids, they are about catching or preventing problems.   Putting stuff away as soon as you are done using it helps keep it in good condition, and keeps it where it can be easily found later.  Acting once you’ve come to a conclusion about a course of action keeps the action timely too.  Wait too long and the conditions might have changed.   It’s not a new or profound concept, there are aphorisms and ‘rules of thumb’ galore that address it, from “A stitch in time…” to “for want of a nail” to “make hay while the sun shines…” and “strike while the iron is hot” among countless others.

I’m guessing I’m not the first guy to dither, or procrastinate, judging by the number and pervasiveness of the culture hacking aphorisms.  I’ll share with you that I feel like time is getting short and the ability to act in a timely manner is becoming more important than ever.   In Taoism, it’s the idea the you maintain yourself in a ‘centered’ state, equally ready to move in any direction.  Whatever tradition you come from, being awake, alert, and ready to move in any direction as needed (literally and figuratively) will be very important for your well being during the next couple of years.

If you’re not there yet, start practicing the mindset, and gathering the resources.

Don’t delay, stack something today.

 

nick

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