Month: December 2023

Sun. Dec 31, 2023 – 123123 – New Year’s Eve

Cold at night, pretty nice during the day. Then cold again. We did get some ice on standing water Friday night, but I don’t think Saturday night was quite as cold- it was 37F when I went to bed. I was in shirtsleeves in the sun for part of the day.

I got lots of little things done. Added to the front walk path. Put a security/work light up under the carport. I can switch it on independently of the other porch lights,and it’s super bright. It will make a good area to work now, or play ping pong… Cleaned, put away, and organized some more in the garage. Even got a lure in the water for about 20 minutes in the afternoon. Didn’t catch anything.

Moved the small chiminea to the deck by the house and got it set up. Had a small fire in it before dinner. It’s nice to have a small fire without having to go down to the dock, and it’s warmer away from the water. I had a nice time watching the sun set, feeding it twigs. You get a lot of heat from not much wood, almost like a rocket stove.

Played several family games, and even played some pool before bed. The kerosene heater and a fan added 10F to the temps in the garage. Oh, I got a stereo and CD player hooked up for the garage too. It’s not the final system but it was nice to listen to Christmas music while playing pool.

Played “Ticket to Ride” (still love it), some dice game called Farkle that was sorta fun, once my wife had an app to handle the scoring, and played the SmartAss trivia game again. I like it. The clues are a very good mix so that everyone has a real chance to get the answer. Board games and card games are a great diversion that doesn’t require electricity. I recommend stocking a variety.

Today will be more family games, and more small jobs while cooking. I’m making a pork roast (standing rib) which we all like. This is my stock up time, because Costco only stocks it for Christmas, New Years, and sometimes Easter. Vac seal and freeze. Stack it high…

Don’t know what we’ll do for midnight tonight. We usually turn on the tv in time to watch the ball drop in NYFC, but no tv reception up here. I really hope NYPD and all the three letters can keep the hamas sympathizers from killing a bunch of people in NYC tonight. I wouldn’t be anywhere near Times Square in a normal year,– this year? NF way. It’s one of my recurring nightmares that someone walks a few mortar rounds into the middle of that crowd.

If they want to do something, and the primary targets are well protected, they’ll look for someplace else. Keep your awareness up if you are out and about, and know where the exits are. Stay safe my friends.

And stack. Just cuz…

Read the comments: 64 Comments

Sat. Dec. 30,2023 – New Year’s Eve, eve…

Cold and clear. 33F when I went to bed, and pretty sure it went below freezing after that. Cold enough, we didn’t want to have a fire on the dock, but stayed in to play cards…

Spent what was left of Friday (most of the day really) doing chores and small projects. The majority of which I did in the garage, where the kero heater brought the ambient from 54F to 64F in an hour or two. Considering the lack of insulation, and the gaps around the door, that’s pretty good. A small fan to break up the stratification would have helped too.

I wore a variety of overclothes throughout the day, adding and subtracting to be comfortable. In the old days, I’d have just toughed it out, either too cold or too hot, but I’ve got a variety of coats, vests, and layers so I’m using them. I guess I’m getting smarter with age 😉

Had dinner and opened Christmas presents with Grandma, then played cards for a couple hours. NOT bridge. 😉 Oh, and Rumikub, which is a tile game that has elements from rummy… It’s one of my mom’s favorites. Since there is luck involved everyone can win if they play well. Kids like it too.

Fired the garage heater back up and played a couple of games of pool before bed against my wife. I won 2 of 3 but we both kinda suck. It’s been a long time since I played with any regularity and I was never really good. She played a lot when she was a kid but that was (mummble mummmble, mmuuuummmbbllle) years ago… If the world holds onto its collective marbles for a while longer, we might get better.

One of the things I did was spend some time talking to my fisherman buddy about doing a joint garden in the spring. There is a plot across from his house he has permission to use and has used in the past. I showed him a couple of 100 gallon rain barrels and a 40 gallon tank on wheels we can fill from the lake and tow up to the garden. I’ve actually got another at home too that I could bring up. If we can do some rainwater capture, and supplement that with hauled water from the lake, that will save a bunch of money for irrigating with drinking water.

The time to plant a garden is BEFORE you are hungry.

And the time to stack is before you need it. Get some plans in the works…


Read the comments: 21 Comments

Fri. Dec. 29, 2023 – at the BOL and it’s chilly!

I don’t think we’ll get a white New Year, but it feels cold enough… at night anyway. We’ll see how warm it gets in the daytime and sunlight, but it was 37F when I went to bed. It’s supposed to be clear and cool.

Got my errands done, truck loaded, and made the trip to the BOL yesterday. Nikki Heat audio book kept me awake and alert. Freaking moon was HUGE and yellow orange, and just above the horizon for most of my drive. VERY dramatic. Unfortunately it was cloudy when I got here.

I drove up to the house and half my Christmas decor was dark. Dang fire ants love them some electrons… They’d built a mound over the outdoor timer/photosensor and invaded it enough that it wasn’t turning on. I banged most of the debris out, and got it working again. Wife and kids got the full experience when they drove up later.

There was some extreme weather up here this last week. The wheelbarrow was full of water, and there was plenty of evidence of high wind and severe gusts. Lake is still not at normal levels though. I think I better get some rainwater capture set up because long term, anything could happen with the lake. Sabotage could drain it, it could get contaminated, or it could just be very low in a drought. ‘Course in a drought, there won’t be much rain either. Still, I’ll feel better if I have a few hundred gallons of my own sitting here.

Wish I could store a few buckets full of electrons as easily.

And why the h-e-double-el is kerosene $15 per gallon? Gas is $2.50, and even the pre-mixed gas-oil for small engines is only $9/ gallon… it pains me but I picked some up anyway. It’s an expensive choice for heat at the moment. I pay $12 for a bbq bottle of propane,and even less in the bulk bottle for the house. I will look at firing up my Mr Buddy to warm up the garage rather than the kero heater.

Maybe I’ll install one of the wood stoves in the garage (now that we’re using it as another room)… Plenty of wood around here… and it’s not dependent on infrastructure I don’t control. Of course, that’s why I’ve been holding on to the stoves, for the house and my eventual workshop. Insulating the garage is on the list, and will happen. I skipped the step at the house in Houston when I had the chance and have regretted it ever since. Funnily enough, there have been several stoves come through the auctions with shipping damage (like mine) and despite sometimes severe damage, they STILL sold for more than I was willing to pay. Some other folks are getting ready too.

Think about infrastructure and what you can live with and can’t live without. Make some choices, and start some stacks.


Read the comments: 41 Comments

Thur. Dec. 28, 2023 – now we’re counting down to the new year…

Another cool but clear day ahead of me, and one in the past. Yesterday was nice, a bit on the cool side, but clear and not too damp. Today should be the same.

I did my main pickup, of all the stuff for resale. That took a while and I was chatting with the auctioneer. He’s a guy who is new to me, having bought the business from the guy I knew before. He sees hard times coming as the dollar is failing, because of inflation, debt, and the other countries that have built alternatives to SWIFT and are looking to avoid the dollar. In other words, pretty clued in.

We also chatted about rent houses. He takes a different approach, renting houses in the ‘hood to individuals, on a per room basis. He’s got several houses, with 2-4 rooms each, cash money every week. He collects in person, and charges a lot if you miss or are late. With weekly rent, he gets a lot of turnover… I want the opposite. One renter, for a long time, with as little involvement as I can manage. I’ll accept that I’m getting less money than I could, if I was more hands on. Not my thing though. And frankly, IDK if it would work for me, being a paleface, vs him, who looks like his renters. Even if I was in Kentucky or someplace, renting to white tweakers and transients, I wouldn’t want to work that hard for it.

There’s room for more than one way of doing business.

Came home and did some domestic bliss, worked on computer stuff, and then had family game night. The first game was not one of my favorites, but the second might become one. Called “SmartAss” it’s a trivia game, but much simpler, faster, and easier than Trivial Pursuit. The kids were able to keep up, and enjoyed playing. My wife won 2 games, I won 3. There are some chance elements that can help or hurt you, which makes for some interesting rounds. Tentatively recommended for a mixed age and experience group, or when looking for a game for adults when alcohol might be involved and nobody wants to work to hard.

Today I’ll be wrapping some things up, probably hit the Lowes for some parts, and the HEB for some groceries, and then off to the BOL for the weekend.

I’ll be taking some stuff up to add to the stacks there, and reduce some of the stacks here. It’s a difficult balance. I’m not sure I have a good strategy or feel for it yet, but I know I’m really short on some stuff (defense mainly), and I need to get a handle on that. I like having stuff close at hand, which makes the decisions about what to put there even harder. We’ll see how it goes.

In the mean time, adding to the stacks is a no brainer, no matter where they are stacked.


Read the comments: 53 Comments

Wed. Dec. 27, 2023 – just another day…

Cool and clear. Supposed to be clear for a couple of days at least. Yesterday stayed clear most of the day, but somewhat overcast at times.

I spent another day of down time, watching videos, and doing minor stuff around the house. I did pick up one item, a table that will get the kids’ 3D printers. D2 was supposed to help me assemble it, but she played video games all day instead.

Today I’ve got one pickup, with a bunch of stuff for resale. Very good scores should get my 2024 ebay off to a good start. I just hope prices on ebay hold up long enough to sell the stuff. There is always some risk.

One slightly odd observation… as I was driving to get my auction stuff today, I noticed a garage door opener laying in the road. People were just going around it. It wasn’t a busy road, but it is two lanes each way with a center median. 15 minutes later on my trip home, it was still there. No one had stopped to clear it. Ten foot long metal thing laying in the road. So I stopped and threw it in the truck. I’ll take it to the scrap yard on my next trip. It really bothers me that no one took the time to move it, even to pick it up and throw it to the side, off the roadway. A couple of semi trucks were stopped at the intersection, and then continued on. Used to be, someone would have cleared the road, especially in a working area where it was easy and safe to do so.

I’ll put that in the declining social cohesion column.

Keep your eyes open, and don’t count on things being the way they’ve always been. Things are changing.

And stack what you need. No one knows as well as you what is critical to you.


Read the comments: 36 Comments

Tues. Dec. 26, 2023 – Boxing Day.

Cold and windy, supposed to be clear for a couple of days. It got pretty chilly last night, but not cold enough to freeze. I don’t think we ever got out of the low 60s Christmas Day.

Spent yesterday eating, cooking, eating, opening presents, playing with presents, and snuck in a little domestic bliss as well. While I was waiting for food to cook, I changed the LED downlights in the kitchen. That has been on the list for a while… I also did a couple loads of laundry and cleaned up about 80% of the present opening mess. I’m a multi-tasker! A nice relaxing day.

Today I’ve got one pickup scheduled. I’ve also got one errand that has to get done this week- I’ve got to drop a check off but it’s not urgent. The pickup is for a desk/table to set up for the kids’ 3d printers. It’s not the perfect solution but it should work until I find something better, and it was cheap. It doesn’t have the storage or any doors underneath that I would prefer, to hide supplies when not in use, and it’s a plain, industrial looking design, but it’s a flat surface and should be reasonably sturdy. I’m looking forward to a test print.

I took a quick first pass at the manual for my new DMR handie talkie. Yeah, I’m gonna need a “getting started with DMR” guide. Operating the radio and programming it doesn’t look any harder than any other cheap chinese radio, but I’m a total noob wrt to digital ham radio. I don’t know WHAT to put in it… We do have DMR systems in Houston, and I think the club I joined at the BOL operates one DMR repeater too, so maybe I can get some help from them one of these trips.

Learning new things is good.

Oh, and D2 superglued herself while assembling her ‘book nook’ gift. Fortunately, I’m a prepper, and decided long ago that if I was going to have super glue in the house I’d better have the solvent too. I even know where the bottle is, so that didn’t take long to fix. Mom says “wow, good thing daddy had the solvent.” AHEM, not “good thing” like it was random chance, it was the result of planning and foresight… No matter how many rabbits I pull out, I’m still Rodney Dangerfield.

I’m glad I had it, and D2 went right back to work, which is all that really matters.

Ya never know when you’ll need your stacks!


Read the comments: 70 Comments

Mon. Dec. 25, 2023 – Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all…

May the blessings of this season find you and yours.

Thank you all for continuing to stop by, and making this place great.

Enjoy the day, make some memories, live your life, and celebrate His.


Read the comments: 69 Comments

Sun. Dec. 24, 2023 – Christmas Eve

Cool and wet. Was raining when I went to bed, probably raining when I got up, and still raining. Or not and I’ll fix this part of the post… It as grey and overcast, with some patchy clouds in different parts of town, and as I drove around there were places with wet pavement, but I didn’t see any rain until well after dark. That is not what was forecast, but I’m glad it held off.

Did two small pickups then headed home. Wrapped presents, messed around. Lazy day while the kids took turns playing video games and my wife alternated wrapping with reading on the couch. Somewhere in there one batch of cookies got made. There will have to be some more made today, or there will be foot stomping…

I’m pretty sure I’ve got all my presents wrapped, at least the ones I’m going to give this year. Some will slide a couple months and be birthday gifts, since it turned out I had plenty for Christmas. More than I thought I had actually. I will need to make another check of the present closet, and a couple other places, to be sure.

I intend to do some cleaning, some organizing, and some relaxing today. And I’ll eat some cookies if someone makes some…

Today and tomorrow are for stacking memories.


Read the comments: 62 Comments

Sat. Dec. 23, 2023 – 12232023 – or Christmas Eve, eve…

Cool and dreary. Supposed to rain today, but we’ll see. Got the faintest couple of drops late in the day yesterday, barely a mist. That would be fine with me for today too…

Spent most of yesterday driving around. Got some good stuff so that’s ok. New in box inverter generator, 1/3 retail. That will go to the BOL asap. Solid core door that matches my interior doors. Some tools and supplies. Fishing gear. Some stuff for resale, some stuff to bribe gift to people.

Got home and unloaded the truck. Took some time to add lights to my display. I wrapped a couple of strings around several wreaths, now they look nice at night too.

Then I did one of the security upgrades I first thought about years ago- I replaced the door between the living/public areas of the house and the bedrooms with a solid core door. I still have to change one hinge, and add reinforcement to the frame around it, as well as a couple of deadbolts. Then my wife will need to paint it, but for now, it’s in place. It was an exact fit with even the hinges lining up. It already makes a difference in noise transmission. Next will be the master bedroom door, or the master closet door. It’s been on my list for a long time, but there were always other ways to spend the money or time. This time it all fell in my lap.

I’m hoping the universe will give me what I need for the bedroom project, and for the front door to the house. I need to do some work to the door jamb and the side lites and I’d like to upgrade and make them more sturdy and break-in resistant. The door itself is solid core with fiberglas skin, so it’s pretty strong, but over the last 50+ years the bottom of the strike side of the jamb has rotted loose. Ideally I’d find a metal door jamb that would fit. They come through the auctions, but I haven’t caught one that was just right, yet. I reinforced the strike area with additional steel long ago. Hardening your residence is something everyone should do.

My stop at REI didn’t get me a water filter, but it did get presents for my wife. And I got a few more isobutane canisters for the jet boil and little backpack stoves. She likes them for camping with the GS troop, when they are backpacking. I like them as one of several layers of backup for cooking food and boiling water. Which reminds me, I should just bite the bullet and buy a case of 1 pound propane bottles for the BOL, and one for here. I have been coming across them in the auctions and estate sales, but I guess everyone knows how pricey they’ve gotten and I can’t pick them up cheap like I used to.

I did get several kerosene lanterns in the past couple of weeks. I really like using a small one when I’m at the lake sitting on the dock. They seem to attract fewer bugs, and I like the soft light. Easier and longer lasting than the candles that I used to use too. So I’ve added several to the stacks. I used the kerosene heater in the garage last time I was up there too, so now I need to increase my kero stacks. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any ‘end of season’ sales last year, and the stuff is expensive. It’s very common to see the wick based heaters out in the country as supplemental or even the main heat source for a home, so I won’t find any bargains at Tractor Supply either.

Today I’ve got two minor pickups. One for my hobby, one is some maintenance items, and I’ve really got to get some stuff out of the house and over to my secondary location. That should occupy my time for the middle of the day. If it’s raining, I’ll be confined to the house for the rest of the time, but that’s ok too. Still plenty of stuff on the list for indoors.

And there is Christmas to get ready for. I’ve got presents to wrap, and it would be nice to have them done BEFORE 10 minutes prior to opening them… like last year. Baking would be nice too. Even just watching the kids playing Skyrim would be nice.

Stacking memories as well as stuff. It’s all good.


Read the comments: 57 Comments

Fri. Dec. 22, 2023 – 12222023 – Christmas is imminent …

Cool and overcast. Rain in the forecast. Light rain anyway. No idea if it’s going to affect my part of town though.That’s a “wait and see” for sure. It was overcast all day Thursday, but never even got a mist.

I hung around the house all morning, after my leisurely lie in… then finally got out to do my pickups. The auctioneers at my stop have been making interesting comments about politics and the state of the world that had me thinking they were leaning toward being like minded… and they definitely are. They are late to the party,but have figured out that they’ll need more than ammo and guns to get through what’s coming. I’ll be sharing some links to other sites, but probably won’t de-cloak… every prepared person is someone who won’t be knocking on my door, come the day.

Today I have another pickup or two, and I need to get to REI to buy my wife a gift… should have gone online immediately, now the shipping would be too long. I do like browsing the store though… been a member long enough to remember when they sold actual climbing gear, and not just bikes, tents, and clothes. In fact I remember the newsletter when they hired the guy who shifted the focus to general retailing. He cited the examples of some other formerly great outdoor brands and mentioned the siren song of how much money there was to be made with clothes… he followed through, that’s for sure. Seems like at some point the socialist/commie/hippies all want to cash in. Anyway, my rebate check will expire if I don’t use it.

Maybe I’ll get something for myself, like a large group water filter… I should get some new webbing, cord, and a climbing rope. Or another FLASHLIGHT!

Next time you are at the outdoor store, maybe pick up something to back up what’s already in your stacks, maybe pick up something to extend your stacks. If you think you’ll be eating off the land, do you have the butchering gear?

There is always more to stack.


Read the comments: 43 Comments
// ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- // end of file archive.php // -------------------------------------------------------------------------------