Month: September 2022

Tues. Sept. 20, 2022 – Month is flying by… feels crazy fast.

Hot and heavy humidity.   Yesterday was OPPRESSIVE.  We even got some rain in the late afternoon, which helped a bit, but did not entirely clear the air.  I broke a sweat just resetting the live trap in the garage.  The little possum hasn’t showed back up, but there is a much bigger one lurking.   He’s not afraid of being seen either.  I baited the trap with wet cat food this time.

Spent the morning and early afternoon doing pickups.   Hit a couple of thrift stores and scored some good stuff for resale and for home.  Brand new horseshoe game for only $10 was nice.    Big long box of baseball cards might be really nice… or a bust, but the hunt is fun.  The Pokemon cards I found are all too new to be worth much, $1-4 generally.  Still, they are basically free when paying by the pound.  I doubt I’ll ever find a binder with 450 cards in it again, but I always look.  I’ve got several bins to sort and go through today.  Two of my auction houses agreed to take stuff in a week, so I can start planning for that.

No word from the foundation guys about their final site visit before work commences.   Hope I can make whatever date they come up with work.

Went to my local HEB store for a quick trip and it was decimated.   IDK if it was just the time of day, or in combination with shortages, or if things have gotten worse in a week, but OMG.   Every aisle had big gaps, with either one or two lonely items left, or NOTHING.   The sugar section of the baking aisle was bare.  Bread aisle was down to a few random loaves.   Eggs, just a few cartons, all with one or more broken shells.  Peanut oil was 3 bottles, so I got two…

On the plus side, 80/20 ground chuck was on sale, $3.59/lb, and chicken legs were at 99c again.   Only one turkey in the whole cooler though.  Sodas were stocked, but the snack aisle had open shelves.  Very hit or miss, with several things I was looking for just not there.

Buy it when you see it.

And stack it high.



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Mon. Sept. 19, 2022 – yeeha! let’s get to work!

Hot again.  It was so nice to have the cooler weather.  But we get a little more of summer’s heat before Fall, I guess.   And no shortage of humidity.

It was pretty hot even at the lake.   Thermometer said 102F in the shade.   The sun was intense.

I decided to break up some more concrete, and clean up some more of the already broken chunks.   Spent a few hours moving rubble and filling holes behind my bulkhead.   Cut the grass that I had been leaving long to reveal the holes, since the foundation guy will be coming out later, and I figured he’d have a better idea of what was involved in stabilizing the bulkhead if he could see it.

Cutting the grass was interesting.   My electric string trimmer wasn’t making much progress, so I got out a manual tool.  Not really a sling blade, but made for swinging at long grass and plants to cut them off at the ground.  It worked ok, but there wasn’t any really good way to hold the handle of the thing to swing it.  And it was a lot of work.   I did about 20ft and was done.   I’ll bring up my gas powered trimmer for the rest of the tall grass.  Labor saving devices rock.   I’ll miss them when the fuel runs out and the machines don’t run anymore 😉

Did some other small electrical tasks.  Changed a light fixture in the kitchen (no box of course, no wire nuts, and the lamps were too hot and scorched the electrical tape until it was crunchy… scorched the wood of the soffit above the light too.  The new LED fixture doesn’t get hot, and I’ll install a box when we redo the kitchen.  Wire nuts are going to have to do for now.   Finished the circuit for the outlet in the master bath.   Pulled the romex with inches to spare, but needed to connect the outlets.  I have a quad above the vanity, and a duplex under the vanity.  That way someone can plug in a hairdryer underneath and store it in a drawer or the middle cabinet and the cord won’t get in the way, or need to be constantly plugged and unplugged.  And it still leaves 4 outlets above the vanity for phone chargers or curling irons, or whatever…. seems like there are never enough outlets in the bathroom.

I’m surprised the previous owner never had a house fire.   I’ve found so much overheated and scorched stuff, including circuit breakers, walls, and the chimney cap, that it’s clear he overloaded stuff and ran things way too hot.   I guess it shows how much tolerance is built into stuff.

My neighbor has started moving some of my leftover dirt to low spots in his yard.   He asked what I was going to do with the huge pile, and so I gave him half…   He had previously offered the use of his tractor, and he let me run an extension cord for the freezers when the electrical work was happening.   Besides being just good neighbors, I figure it’s time to start weaving ourselves into the community up there.   Webs of favors done and owed seem like  a good way to get started.   Because we’ve been so busy, we’ve declined some social offers.   I now think that was a bad choice, and now we need to work harder at joining in.    That’s one of the reasons I am willing to stop work and talk for however long someone wants to talk when they stop by.

Meatspace baby! and Local, Local, Local….  when every person I talk to has been in his house for 40 years, or has been coming to the lake and surrounding area that long, and has generations buried in local cemeteries, we’ll always be the ‘new family in George’s house’, but we can at least work at it.

Today I’ll be doing some more pickups, starting bright and early with the lot I forgot on Saturday.   Should have me out and about most of the day, especially if I get a chance to do some organizing in my storage unit.

Spend some time working on your network.  Stack up a few good relationships.


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Sun. Sept. 18, 2022 – Sunny Sunday

Hotter than I expected.   And far more humid than I’d like.  That was yesterday, and today is likely to be the same.  Yuck.  Sun was INTENSE.


Did my pickups on the way up.   Forgot one big item that I’ll have to go back for on Monday.  Brainfart.  Just forgot to load it.


Did some small things when I got up here.  Mostly unloaded the truck.   Pulled romex to the master bath.   Had just exactly enough.  It’s actually tighter than I’d really like, but it reaches.  Not going to make the connection yet, but it’s in.   I can close up the wall in the bath, and my wife can paint.


Sky last night was big and black.   You could actually see the milky way.  I haven’t seen the milky way in decades.  Wife decided she wants a decent beginner telescope for her birthday.  Recommendations are welcome.   Size and cost will be considerations.  She will probably not be doing any traditional astronomy, like logging objects.   She just wants to look at cool things.  I’m not even sure that’s possible without a big ‘scope.  I guess I’m about to learn some things.


We’ll see what I get done today.  I’ll probably continue breaking concrete and moving it and dirt around.  So much concrete.  So much dirt.

Had dinner from the freezer up here.   I need to stock some bags of frozen veg.   Then we’ll be able to just come up and make normal meals without thinking about it ahead of time.


Always more to stack… get busy!


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Sat. Sept. 17, 2022 – on the road again, goin’ places that I’ve already been…

Hot later, but cool now.   Then cooler.  Finally, there’ll be a lake breeze in my evening.

But that will be later.

Spent some time yesterday doing pickups.  Then did some auction stuff including mailing an ebay sale.  Not much money in it, but it was an item leaving…

Today I’ve got a big pickup from an estate sale.   Lots of stuff for the BOL.  D1 elected to stay home last night and go up with me today, so I’ve got company for the ride anyway.  If surly proto-teen counts as company.  Wife and D2 went up last night.

One of my stops was an auctioneer that I buy from but also sell with.   He is gradually becoming more and more radicalized by SloJoe and the Ho.  He was incensed by the nazty imagery and the speech calling Trump supporters domestic terrorists.   Keep it up Joe, you’re doing a great job, if you want people in the streets and rivers of blood.   That’s about all I am going to say about that, other than if this guy is that mad, some people, some large number of people, are REALLY angry.  People that have trusted the system, that haven’t been immersed in this daily for years, are feeling betrayed and REALLY REALLY angry.  It’s happening very quickly for them.  They can’t feed their families, they can’t drive the cars they want to drive, they can’t do the things they want to do.  And they are finding someone to blame.   It isn’t going to be pretty.

Take care of you and yours.  Be prepared to join in or keep your head down.   Hard choices may be sooner than we think.

Preps will always help.  There is a lot of trouble you can avoid by just not being there.

Stack it higher than you think you’ll need.



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Fri. Sept. 16, 2022 – got some driving around to do…

Slightly cool, but still humid.   Probably getting warmer later, but staying under 90F.  Fall, in other words.  Yesterday got pretty warm in the late afternoon, but was otherwise beautiful.  Fall weather is great.

Did a bunch of auction stuff.   Went to my storage unit looking for an item that sold on ebay.   Found it, right where it should be, and some other stuff I’d forgotten about…

I really need to get one or both kids doing listings.   They both say they want to earn some money  but they’d both rather do something else with their time.  Well, me too.   But needs must…

Talked to several people while I was out yesterday.  Safety was on their minds.   The rapid and visible influx of foreign invaders is to  the point where you see them standing around.  Like the pond that is half covered with lily pads one day, then fully covered the next, they are suddenly everywhere.

Don’t know what can be done, other than make conditions so bad or so onerous that they self deport.  If it comes to shooting, Aesop says ‘your skin color will be your uniform’, and I think he’s right.   Goes both ways of course, as anyone the victim of ‘the knockout game’ or ‘polar bear hunting’ well knows.   I curse George Lucas because all I can hear in my head when I consider the issue is Jar Jar Binks – “Is some people gonna die?”  Yes.  Yes they will.

Spend some time thinking about your personal security.   At home, at work, at the store, and traveling between those places.  Consider making changes if you find issues.

And stack the defensive things.


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Thur. Sept. 15, 2022 – how did it get to be the middle of September already?

Less hot, still humid.   Definitely “Fall” weather coming, but still plenty hot in the afternoon.  I barely broke a sweat cutting the grass yesterday.  That was  a  nice change.

Spent the day catching up on auction stuff.  It’s funny how it goes in waves.  Sometimes I see a ton of stuff I need/want.  Sometimes there is little.   Sometimes you see an item in a several unrelated auctions, sometimes you go years without seeing a particular thing.   There are a few things I’d still like to get more of.

Generators.  Solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, and batteries.  Water treatment.  Unfortunately, EVERYONE wants those things at the moment.  Same for wind generators, building materials, and construction equipment.  There’s always something more to stack.   Especially when you have as many projects going on as I do.

Plan today is pickups.   I only got a few items but they are at different auctioneers.  So I’ll be making a big loop today.  Organizing storage would be good too.

Wife is still work from home, but both kids should be back in class today.  That should cut down on my distractions.  Suddenly time is flying by again.   I’ve got foundation guys starting in about two weeks, if everything stays on schedule.   I should be meeting with them on site to do their final walk thru before starting any day now, but I haven’t heard from them.  Add that to my list for today, I guess.

Speaking of lists, make some.  Think hard about what you still need to get to help you through bad times.   Make an actual list.   Then work on getting those items or skills.  Small engine repair?  3d Printer?  Gardening class?  Roto-tiller?  Couple of acres in the country?  Canning jars and lids?  Seeds?   Fertilizer?  Goats?   You know your needs better than I do.   Do what makes sense for you and yours.

And stack the stuff high.


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Wed. Sept. 14, 2022 – “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man…”

Still hot in Houston.   Not ‘summer melt the car’ hot but still hot.   Yesterday started nice and cool for me, but ended on the warmer side.  It was down to 75F at midnight though.   That’s a big change from last week.  Fall is here.

Didn’t get much done yesterday.   I’ll admit to throwing fake bait at fish for a short time in the morning, without success, but then I cleaned up and secured the house for the week.   Headed home, made my pickups.   Dumped my trash at my secondary.   And came home to sick wife, unhappy kids, and a messed up garage…

So I ate dinner, messed around on the computer (all hail king bandwidth) reset the trap for the possum, and headed for bed.  Some days that’s the best you can hope for.

Today I’ve got plans but I’m not going to tell the universe what they are.   Maybe I’ll have a chance to stick to the plan if I don’t.   Some are gonna depend on the wife and D1’s booger test first thing in the morning, some will depend on weather, and some might depend on other people.   Prepping will be involved.   Home maintenance might be involved, and gnu willing, possums might be involved.

If you don’t have traps and poisons for dealing with vermin, get some.    And stack it high.


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Tues. Sept. 13, 2022 – progress is being made

Not so hot, and only kinda humid. At least here at the lake. Probably warmer in Houston. It was 68F when I came up from the dock last night. The outdoor shower was a bit chilly once the water was off.

Spent yesterday finishing up the main gas line, the manifold, and lines to the kitchen and the hot water heater. I can get the furnace and dryer later. I don’t have a long enough line for the furnace (store was out) and I may not have enough for the dryer, even though it’s pretty close to the manifold. We currently have an electric dryer, but almost every home I’ve lived in had both connections, so that’s what I’ll do here.

Before that we got approved for the septic install. Shouldn’t have any issues for a few years if things all stay together. Depending on cost, I might stock a spare aerator and drip line pump. Should be 3-4 years before the tank needs pumping.

It’s interesting that almost everyone I talk to up here is harvesting protein from the surrounding area. A country boy will survive, indeed. I’ve got a lot to learn.

My septic guy said he cut his one acre garden back to only a half acre this year. He’s also got an orchard with pretty much every fruit tree that will grow in Texas. He said he’s “not one of those extreme preppers” but he’s got more food independence than most hard core preppers. He’s also got more land. Most of the people up here have several plots of land nearby. They are hunting it, or growing stuff on it, too.

Spun the dial on the radio but the bands weren’t great before about 1030pm. They were a lot better after 11pm. Still, I was able to listen to New Zealand without issues.

Today’s plan is to do some plumbing, then head back to Houston.  I’ll stop and do a couple of pickups on the way.


Get out of big cities. If you can’t, make a plan for where you can go if you have to, and what you’ll bring with you. If it all drops in the pot, you’ll be more welcome wherever you end up if you bring resources and skills along with mouths to feed.

Stack it up, knowledge, skills. stuff.



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Mon. Sept. 12, 2022 – once more into the fray…

Hot.  Mostly.  Humid. Definitely.  Although it stayed in the mildly unpleasant range yesterday.   It was humid all day.

Did some shipping for ebay.   Sold some more of a staple item for me.   Every so often the algorithm kicks me to the top of the list for this item and I have a cluster of sales.   We’ll see if that happens this time, or if it was a one off.

Went by my secondary location to pick up some more stuff for the BOL.  Hit the Goodwill for a couple of interesting books, and some leather for a project.  Got 4 milk crates too.   I use them for all kinds of things, but I mostly use them to stabilize propane bbq bottles.   A bottle fits in the crate snugly and is much more stable in the square crate, and much less likely to slide around.

As I was driving around I noticed a significant increase in groups of men standing around drinking outside of little convenience stores, around the back of apartments, in alleys and near the trash dumpsters.   Hispanic men.   I also noticed a marked increase in homeless men, both singly and in groups around my secondary and throughout the areas I drove through.  I don’t usually drive around on a Sunday, so maybe it was due to the day of the week, but I’ll be keeping an eye open this week.    The groups of drinkers hanging out I blame on illegal immigration.  The homeless camps and growing number of homeless likely has several causes, including economic stress.   None of it is an indicator that things are getting better.

Take an extra hard look around you  this week.    Take some different routes than you normally do.   Look for changes.  Look for signs of trouble.  Graffiti tags.  Trash.  Illegal dumping.  Homeless men, singly or in group camps.  Drug dealing.  Prostitution.  Overgrown lots. Abandon vehicles.    Get in the habit of noticing these things, and noting any changes.   Day before yesterday, one of our long term “urban campers” was begging for money at an intersection near my storage unit.   I’ve never seen him begging before.   Changes.  Not for the better.

Headed to the BOL this morning after I get the kids out the door.   Need to meet with the septic guy to settle up, and with the inspector to get approval.   I’ll probably spend the day working on gas and plumbing, and spend the night there.   I can drive home Tues, and hit two auction pickups on the way home, which is a plus.  Wife is working from home since she was sick all weekend.  I’m happy not to be breathing the same air….

Work on your local knowledge.   Get a feel for ‘normal’ and for ‘changed’.   Stack up the things you need.


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