Month: January 2024

Wed. Jan. 31, 2024 – livin’ on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine, all I know is ain’t it a shame…

Cold, then warmer. Clear, but maybe some clouds. Or maybe overcast. The liars can only guess, and dress the guess up with “science-y” pictures and charts, but at the end of the day, it is still a guess. I can guess too. With about the same consequences if I’m wrong.

Although it got all the way to “warm” yesterday, despite guesses that it wouldn’t. In fact, it was a beautiful warm day. I drove around with the windows down all day. Starting with taking D2 to the orthodontist, and then to school. Ran some other errands, then took 3 black bins to my auctioneer. Picked up a 200w solar panel, and some other stuff. Got D1 from school. Got an adjustment from my timeshare chiropractor. And went to the sporting goods store to buy food for the gubs…

I’d looked online to see what prices were, and if there was stock at the store. Their website assured me that there was, and that there were choices that were in line with national pricing here in the ‘new normal.’ Stock on the shelves did NOT match the online inventory. There was ammo in pretty much every caliber, but choices were very limited. Most had two choices. Really common, like 9mm – had several. 556? one choice each load, and only 3 loads (green tip, fmj, optimized for hunting.) Not a lot of stock on the shelf, but if you had the scratch, you could get a couple of thousand rounds of the most common calibers, and many thousand rounds of 22LR. No 7.62×39 at all though. Hunting calibers were limited to a few boxes and a couple manufacturers in every type. Still, I’d say that there was SOMETHING to buy for everyone except the commie guns.

I bought some fish hooks and attractant spray too, while I was there. I’ve got more fake bait than I know what to do with, but all the estate stuff was very short on actual hooks. I got a couple of seasons worth in a variety of sizes and styles, based only on what I’ve seen my neighbor at the BOL rig for me. FWIW, Academy Sports has a LOT of plastic bait with a big markdown, on clearance. If you’re short on worms or rage swimmers, you might want to check them out.

With all the driving around, I didn’t get as much done here as I needed to. I’ll be working on that today before I do my pickup. And I’ll be setting a live trap in the attic. I looked, but didn’t see any issues earlier this week, but I’ve heard the movement, and I’m sure something is up there. The rat poison is still there, so I’m thinking possum. We’ll see if the trap gets him.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Keep the faith, and keep stacking.


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Tues. Jan. 30, 2024 – Cookies will brighten your day…

Cool to cold-ish again, then warming with the sun… like yesterday. It was pretty chilly at the bus stop, watching my breath condense, but the driver was on time and I was back in the warm house lickety-split. And isn’t that a strange turn of phrase? It did warm up as the day went on, until I was in shorts and a t-shirt in the afternoon. I’m hoping today is the same- cool enough to work in the attic, and to strain, but not so cool I need extra layers.

Spent the day getting caught up on some auction stuff, knowing I had to get both kids from after school activities within 15 minutes of each other… Stayed close to home and didn’t get into any involved projects.

Dinner was my biggest project. I found the freezer door slightly open, and a pork roast pretty much thawed out… The rest of the freezer was still rock hard, so that was a plus. It meant cooking the roast pretty soon though, and yesterday was one day later. It was delicious. I made sauteed cabbage and onion, and honeyed baby carrots, with naan bread on the side. Which got me thinking about this year’s garden. Cabbage. Onions. Carrots. Collards. Turnips. Beets. Potatoes. Staples that last all winter. I hope they will grow in my soil. I personally only had luck with the beets and carrots and collards in the past. I’ll run it past my neighbor, and see what he thinks. Tomatoes and peas are nice, but will they feed your family in January? Put some thought into it.

And then stack some cans in case the deer, or the neighbors, or the weather, or the pests get your garden.

Today is more of the same. I’m really trying to organize and move stuff to get ready for cookie season. Selling it would be good too, but moving it has to happen.

I looked at prices and availability of ammo at my local sporting goods store. They had a lot in stock. I’m swinging by there later today, as I didn’t get to it yesterday. Hope I beat the rush. Some of the online sellers have stock too, check the usual suspects. There are always shortages and panics, but really, can you say that you have enough?

Stacks. Lots of stacks.


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Mon. Jan. 29, 2024 – a whole new week, yippeee!

Ahem, cool to cold, clear for a bit. It was nice yesterday at the BOL with clear sky and sun, and a high in the mid to high 60s. Got cold quickly when the sun went down though…

I spent most of the day organizing the ‘big’ shed. I’ve been using it to store material for projects, and just dumping stuff into it. I took a bunch of stuff out, built some more of the steel shelves I got months ago at an estate sale with a bunch of circus stuff, and cleaned out wasp nests.

I made progress, is about all I can say. More to do later, but at least I have a better idea of what is in there, and there is room to move stuff from other places to the shed.

Today is ‘stuff around the house’ day, and maybe a pickup. Certainly I’ll be doing sorting and stacking for an auction drop off tomorrow, if my auctioneer agrees. I’ll be sorting in any case. Cookie time is coming and stuff needs to get out of the house to make room for cookies.

Really, all the auctions stuff should get out of the house, but that’s a task for another day.

The stressors in the world and nation continue to increase tensions and the likelihood that it will all end in pain and bloodshed. Do as much as you can to brainstorm what that might look like in your area and for your life, then act accordingly.

Stack. Resources will help.


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Sun. Jan. 28, 2024 – huh, more to do. Whoda thunkit?

Chilly this morning. Lot of moisture on the ground, so damp too. Stayed pretty cool all day Saturday, and really never got sunny either. Fortunately, I had work to keep me warm.

The fact that it was not work that was on my list was a bit unfortunate, but thems the breaks. Own property and you’ll end up doing stuff. In this case, it was dropping a tree before it fell on the adjoining lot.

I put on all my safety gear, chaps, helmet with screen shield, and ear muffs, and fired up the chainsaw. Got a little gentle mocking from my neighbor, but it would be really dumb to get hurt with the proper gear in the garage. Plus, we’re a long way from any good reconstructive surgeons. It’s one thing to take ordinary risks when you’re 2 minutes from the EMS response, quite another when the first help is 20 minutes away, and has a 20 minute mobilization response time, and then you are looking at lifeflight to Houston for anything major. Never mind the rehab time…

So 50 ft of oak tree is stacked by the fire pit. Funny thing is I brought a new electric chainsaw up here with me this trip. At home I find the electric is great for almost everything I can’t easily get with the pole saw. And I like to have tools with multiple fuel options, so when one came up in the auction cheap, I bought it and brought it up here. Used the gas one for this job though. If in some future time gas is hard to come by, the electric will run off solar and an inverter…

There are a lot of things that might not be life or death during grid up, that would be a really big deal off grid, or grid down. Safety gear is important. The injury you prevent is one you don’t have to treat.

I will mention that I forgot to bring my new logger style boots up here with me. I was thinking about that while tromping around in the mud and branches as I limbed and cut up the tree. The Under Armor tactical boots I usually wear up here are comfortable, but I wouldn’t say they were ‘sturdy’ or ‘durable.’

Footwear is a lot like gloves, cameras, or the right gub, something is better than nothing, but the right one for the job is best.

I did have a nice little fire and some shortwave listening last night. Heard a show called which played one pop song from each decade, 1910 to present. It was really interesting and I hope I’ll catch it again. One of the things I like most about radio is the serendipity and novelty. Of the 12 songs, I recognized 9,and enjoyed hearing all but one.

Today I’ve still got stuff to put away, and it would be nice to spend some time with D1 and an air rifle. We’ll see how it goes. Kid has school on Monday so we will be headed home at some point.

Stack some safety gear, stack some tools. You never know when you’ll need them.


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Sat. Jan. 27, 2024 – I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you’ve got a brand new key…

Cool and damp but supposed to be clear for the next two days. Yesterday was overcast until it started drizzling in the late afternoon. Some places got a lot more than drizzle too.

Did my quick pickups, then headed home. Loaded the rest of the stuff on the truck in the rain. Didn’t get it all on board. The 40 gallon water tank on wheels will have to wait for the next trip. I have one up here already, but given my water situation at home it makes more sense to bring the second up here too. I waffled about bringing both new Portacool units up here,but only had room for the smaller one in the end.

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing today, there is a big list after all, but I’m leaning toward cleaning and organizing the shed. I’ve got stuff on the truck that needs to go into it, but no room. So it just moved up the list.

I’m also thinking that I might sit down with D1 and do some work with the air rifle. She had the Girl Scout unit on air rifles, so it should just be learning to work this one, and doing some target work. We’ll see about that. Mood and energy level are going to be determinants. Also I might not have brought up any pellets. I’m pretty sure my neighbor would have some if I forgot.

Might try to get some fishing in too. Don’t know if they like the rain, and all the new water flooding in or not. I’ll throw the crawdad pots in the water too, just as a test.

Plenty to do.

Y’all keep stacking. Weirdness abounds.


*title is from a popular song lyric. Who is going to remember what a skate key is or why you would want one?? Lots of things like that in our shared culture.

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Fri. Jan. 26, 2024 – stuff to do, people to see, dragons to slay…

Cool, warming later, and clear. Please let it be clear. It was really nice yesterday, I wore shorts and a t shirt. Damp, from all the water on the ground, but a nice breeze, and sunshine is helping with that.

Mostly hung around the house. Stacked my plywood to dry. Put some holiday stuff back up in the garage attic. Found some needful things that will transfer to the BOL this trip. Went through one tray of sauces and seasonings in foil packets while getting the slow cooker dinner together. Several had failed, with little tiny holes in the envelope. Not sure if it’s some sort of corrosion, little bugs inside the packets, or bugs eating their way in, but it’s a common failure mode for the aluminized pouches and packets. I’ll do a tally later, but I lost mostly crockpot seasonings and gravy mixes. Maybe $20-40 worth, and they are several years past ‘best by’ date. Depending on the contents, they start to taste “old” at that point anyway.

Started going through some auction stuff. I’m sorting, cleaning, and testing some big items. And for some reason, I’ve been picking up sewing machines.

Everyone should have a good sewing machine and know how to use the basic functions. Having an embroidery machine, or one with a whole lot of specialized stitches is icing on the cake. I already have a good sewing/embroidery machine, and a serger, and my wife has her machine. I’ve got an old Japanese machine at the secondary location as backup. I would like to have another machine for the BOL, but I can’t decide which one to take there. The three new ones are a Husquavarna computerized modern and very nice machine, a Bernina Burnette (manual machine, solid ordinary, entry level), and a Bernina that takes a computerized embroidery accessory as well as being a computerized sewing machine.

My first impulse is to take the Burnette. It’s probably the most reliable and fixable of the bunch, and the others will bring more money on ebay. But. The Husky has a leather setting, can do bar tacks, and other very useful stitches. FWIW, web gear uses a lot of bar tacks. If I was really prepping in depth, I’d be picking up a treadle machine too. They usually go for more than I’m willing to pay (100-200 USD, much more for leather working machines) so I’ve held off so far. I’ve actually used a treadle machine, so I know I could use one successfully. My mom had one when I was a kid. It’s a statement about how far you think things are likely to degrade though, unless you’re religious.

In any case, a sewing machine is a tool, one that historically played an important role in the home economy, and one that is very useful still, even if you have no plans to make your own clothes.

Tools that let you repair and customize your gear are worth having. You need to practice with them, and have at least the rudimentary supplies to make good use of them. Think about what tools you already have, and what you might need.

Then start stacking.


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Thur. Jan. 25, 2024 – maybe no rain today :-)

Yaknow… It’s Houston. It’s a swamp. In winter it rains. In summer it rains. I decided shortly after I moved here that if you were going to do stuff in Houston, you would have to get used to doing it in the rain. Still sucks when it’s coming down at 1″ per hour or more, the streets are flooded, and you are soaked. So these last few days of rain have been unpleasant, and not much work got done on my part. Today should start changing that, as the forecast is for clear.

We’ll see.

I did drive around and do pickups. A couple of my auctions will only hold your winning lots until Wednesday, so that’s kinda my ‘drop dead’ for picking up. I threw a couple of black and yellow bins in the back of the truck to keep stuff mostly dry, and it mostly worked. Some small stuff fit in the cab. Despite needing to hustle to get all my stuff done, I spent a bit chatting with one of the new guys. VERY red pilled. Clearly reads the same news, and follows the same stories. Two of the big auctioneers have massive preps in place. One has asked me for advice and links to getting caught up on prepping. This guy is politically aligned but IDK where he is in prepping. That’s a lot of people in one field all doing the same thing…and sharing similar attitudes.

Today I’ll be doing a couple of things around the house. No pickups that absolutely need to be done, no chores from the family, and yet, the best use of my time is probably staying home… Gah. Can’t get out of the house some days when I need to, can’t STAY at home others. And then choosing to be home on the remaining days.

The border thing, and sharing the pain, and now a possible Constitutional crisis brewing… can you all guess what I’m going to advise?? Class? Bueller? Yep. Get prepped up. Keep stacking and be ready for some more crazy shite to be zooming toward a fan.

It takes a long time to get all the pieces moving in the same direction. Read Germs Guns and Steel for a discussion of the run up to WWII for an example. Then SUDDENLY everything changes. We’re headed toward a Pearl Harbor moment. Or Tomkin Gulf. Or Kent State. or Day of the Jackal. Be ready to pull in and wait to see where the chips fall. You should be able to stay home for at least a week, and better if it’s a lot longer than that. Or be ready to go, if you have somewhere to go to. Better too early than too late.

No matter what happens, and something will, it’s just building and building, you can feel it, having stuff, being self sufficient in most things, at least for a while, will help.*

Stack it up. Touch base with your friends and relations. Gather the clans.


*whew, that’s a sentence….RBT always poked me for using too many commas…

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Wed. Jan. 24, 2024 -01242024 – the rain continues, “how high’s the water momma?”…

Cool and wet again, with more rain on the way. Ground is saturated, and there has been so much development in town replacing grass with concrete, that I’m sure the downstream watersheds are flooding. My house is about 100 yards from the edge of a watershed, so about as high as it gets locally, it all flows downhill from here… I’m not worried about flooding for myself, but there are going to be some people who get wet.

Had kind of a busted day yesterday. Tried to get to the rent house, but the roads were flooded just getting out of my neighborhood. I didn’t really want to head downstream and then try to get back in time to pick up the kid, and my renter hadn’t replied to my messages. So I went and hung out with my gun store buddy. Had a good long chat with him and his wife. Tenant eventually texted that she’d been sick, but later would be ok… so I’m headed over there today.

EVERYONE I talk to has had the crud that’s been going around, either in December, or they’re finally getting it. I remember a December in 2019 that was similar…

I haven’t been able to do any auction drop offs with the rain pouring down. Just getting stuff out of storage, or to the truck, would mean it got wet. I need to get some lots listed on ebay too. I’m only listing high value lots, pipes, and whatever I can get the kid to list, but I need to actually do it. Inertia is a thing. So is being over-committed.

Stopped at the HEB on my way home yesterday. Bought some more pork shoulder, and beef brisket. Still $1/pound and $2.50/pound. That’s cheap protein.

Dinner was supposed to be pork ribs, but they were spoiled. Still had a day to go on the Best By too, so I’ll be trying to get that money back. If the problem was the store, they need to know about it. If no one else complains, then I guess the problem was me, but I don’t know when it happened. Sucks but it was cheap so worst case I’m only out $12.

I expect a certain amount of “breakage” but food from the store should be good.

Meanwhile the world gets crazier every day.

Stack it high and deep people. We’re gonna be on our own, together.


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Tues. Jan. 23, 2024 – 01232024 – nothing for Rainman here…

Cool but warmer than it has been, and wet. Plenty wet. Steady raining yesterday, although the rain wasn’t steady… Don’t know what the final count was but we had inches. Forecast for today and tomorrow is similar to yesterday. More rain.

I got a few things done. Not what I wanted to or hoped, but some alternatives. Never heard back from my tenant, so didn’t install the washer. Technically I can enter and do the work, but single women living alone are rightly skittish about that, so I will wait for her to get back to me. And there is a small dog that I would prefer was locked into the back bedroom.

I pushed one pickup off for a week. Bad weather affects everyone, and they didn’t want to hang out waiting for me. Unfortunately I missed an appointment to pick up my solar panel because of traffic delays, so I’ll have to wait to get it.

And today’s plan involves more pickups, if the weather isn’t horrible, and if I can get the washer off the back of my truck. One of the things I won was a smaller Portacool evaporative cooler for outdoor use. I won one last week too, which brings my total to three… One is none, and all that. They make working outdoors in Houston much more bearable, and safer too. And if both kids swim this season I’ll be using them at the meets. At least one will head to the BOL with my next load if they check out and don’t need any refurb or repair. Some people worry most about heat when the weather is cold, down here it’s important to worry about cooling when it’s hot. AND we get cold too, but less so, and for a shorter period of time. Any heat generation we need is by definition a short term event. Getting these coolers should top me up for dealing with heat. Or maybe one more big shop fan would be good too……..

I wouldn’t have purchased another Portacool new at full price, but they were practically giving these away. It’s always best to buy AC when it’s cold, and heaters when it’s hot. And a bargain when you see it.

Stack all the things. Infrastructure too, once you have more basic needs taken care of.


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Mon. Jan. 22, 2024 – Back to school, back to work…

Cool but not freezing, chance of rain. Not the most pleasant of days but better than ice and snow. It was grey, blustery, and cold yesterday. I was out in it for only a couple of hours for my pickup, and it sucked.

Did my pickup. Got there and the laundry machines were still hooked up. The valves were stuck in the open position. I ended up going to Home Depot and buying caps for the faucets so I could disconnect and take my washer. Poor form on the seller’s part, but I got it done. Easier to solve the problem and move on, than remonstrate about it. And hopefully the auctioneer will think kindly of me the next time. Picked up a nice mountain bike too. It’ll need tires and tubes but otherwise is in great condition.

I’ve got a lot of tires and tubes, and various other bike parts. When I was a poor student, I rode my bike a lot. Poor people ride bikes. The world is getting poorer. So you should look at riding… it’s good exercise too.

Today I’ll try to get the washer off my truck and installed at the rent house. I’ve got a couple of auction pickups too, including another solar panel. I’ll add setting up a test frame and learning about putting a system together to the list o things to do…

And I’ve really got to get the plywood off my front lawn and into my attic… maybe I’ll start there today. The neighbors will surely appreciate that.

So I’m stacking. Income streams (auction, rent house), alternative infrastructure (solar, water collection), transportation (more bike stuff) and knowledge (making those things work). Stack something for yourself… I’ll feel better if you do 🙂


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