Thur. July 8, 2021 – flyin’ by…

Hot and humid, chance of rain. Might be sunny. Yadda yadda. Well, yesterday started cool, got hotter, got sunnier, and then ended hot and sticky. Lots of mosquitos in the yard too.

We are working on housebreaking the new puppy, which means sitting outside while he sniffs the entire yard looking for the perfect spot to NOT do his business, until we give up and let him back in the house. Then within a minute, he’ll have soiled something… so I’m getting reacquainted with sitting in the sun in the yard, swatting bugs. Joy.

Spent the day mostly not getting stuff done. I did get pickups done at two different auctions. One was half household stuff, the other half stuff for my non-prepping hobby, the other was all household. Got a tiny little dog life jacket for the new little guy. Fits him, and is even a bit big. He doesn’t like it at all, but if we ever find some lake property, we’ll need it. Got some pink safety glasses for the girls in my wife’s troops. If they’re gonna do woodworking with saws, hammers, and screwguns, they need safety gear. Got some small sized gloves for them too.

I did not get daughter two signed up for a day at the rock climbing gym today, but will get her in for tomorrow. She likes the gym and they had lots of day camps there the summer before wuflu. I will try to send the puppy to day care too. That should break me loose to actually do some work. And I REALLY need to get some auction stuff ready.


Meanwhile, I think I’m starting to see the shape of the rest of the summer. The Dems in DC are establishing offices in other states for the DC police. Federal police force expansion cued up in 3, 2, 1 …

Chicago will ask for fedgov police or troops as the murders and lawlessness continue to get worse. They already have gangbangers trying to kill each other in the street with ARs firing 3 rnd bursts from 100 rnd Beta mags in broad daylight. I watched the video with my own eyes. Cops are saying “F this noise” and leaving or retiring on the job.

If Chicago falls, NYFC will be the next to ask for help. Cops in NYC are doing the same thing as cops in Chicago and elsewhere. Ie, leaving.

Whoever DC sends will just be more targets for the ‘bangers and revolutionaries who are already targeting cops (at least 3 that I can think of off the top of my head before the triple shooting in Chicago this week.)

NYC and Chicago are already blaming legal gun owners, and the gun manufacturers for the “gun” violence. The word they should be using starts with a “g” but rhymes with “bang”, and not “fun”. They’ll try to crack down even harder on the people who traditionally have just shut up and taken it. Only I don’t think they will this time.

Which should lead to even more sportiness, which the pro agitators will be sure to take advantage of. Their cadre has been blooded now, cycled away from the ‘front’ to share their experiences, and to gear up for the next wave. They haven’t gone home to tend their gardens and make war no more. They’re waiting, organizing, and equipping for the next skirmish.

Then there is the question of outside interference. Some people are concerned that China has used the foreign exchange student programs to pre-position tens of thousands of troops here already. We have a failed narco state to our south, that can move drugs, people, and guns over our border with impunity. THEIR fifth columnists are fully emplaced, dispersed to every city and town in the US, ready to provide an organized force either directly or as harassers. They are savage and have an ideological framework based on the Reconquista, and La Raza movements. If and when they are unleashed, the streets will run with blood and cities will burn.

There are many forces at work, they sense the weakness. Some of them have worked to create the weakness for decades. They’re looking at the fat, bloated, drug- addled Elvis, and they’re ready to kill the King and divide up the kingdom. My only hope is that we’ve been getting ready too, and no matter how much family fights, they all turn on the outsider.

The economy isn’t going to survive something like that. Personal violence is going to go through the roof. The economic engine of the world will stop, and then the whole world is in a world of hurt.

The elephants are dancing. I hope all the mice have a nice little bolt hole ready to hide in. If they don’t, what’s stopping you? Get to stacking.


Fri. July 2, 2021 – getting close to Independence Day…

Hot and humid. No prediction about rain, because I was as wrong as the pros yesterday… Hurricane shaping up and aimed at south Florida with additional impacts in the Gulf, maybe next week. Weather is getting spicy.

Well, mostly I moved people and animals around yesterday. Puppy is doing fine, gained a pound in 3 weeks. He’s still so cute you can’t help yourself… Child is fine too. Second child is hopefully having a good time with her friends, I’ll get her back later today. My wife has a busy schedule of meetings and site visits at work, so I’ve been 100% stay at home dad this week.

And that’s fine. Except that I’m also supposed to be getting large piles of stuff out and to the auction, and I can’t. It’s very frustrating.

Add the hurricane prep, rotating gas cans, checking the generators, and all that, and I’m extra full again. Really couldn’t afford the week off in Florida wrt doing all the things, but couldn’t afford to miss the time with mom and family either. Balance, and priorities. I got ’em, but they don’t do me any good.

Just piling it up is easy. Making it all work is hard. I better get more practice.

Keep stacking, and practicing….


Tues. June 15, 2021 – getting jammed up

Hot and humid. Maybe rain, maybe not. Yesterday we hit 107F in the sun. We didn’t get any rain either despite being well into the T-storm area on the national map. Same forecast and map for today, so we’ll see what the weather liars come up with today.

It was hot yesterday, and sunny. I stayed inside. Got my expenses all split and categorized for my taxes. That sucked up most of my day. I still have mileage to total today, pay my business personal property tax, and then I’ll be done with my bit.

I’ll be poking at my NVR today too. We’re going out of town all of next week and I won’t be here to restart the software after dotnet pukes daily. The cams will record to their onboard microSD but they only have a couple of days recording space. It sucks that I got the linux part running well but the MS part pukes. The initial install had it reversed. That has been my experience with Linux since the beginning though, stuff will work without issue, then will break completely. Something changed when I did the reinstall/ upgrade, and while it fixed the linux issues, it broke the MS side of the software. SOOOOooo don’t want to be messing with this.

I’m also beginning to think I won’t get the pallet auction started before I leave. That would push it back another 10 days. I need to get it moving forward. I’m going to have to drop the kids at the pool and work during the hottest part of the day. Or I miss my chance and everything slips another 2 weeks. Jeez. I feel like I’m trying to swim in peanut butter.

Nothing like getting some momentum going and then shutting everything down for a week.

Puppy is doing well. Transitioning him to a new food, made in Texas, no grain, and real ingredients. He gobbles it up. He gets so excited about food, or toys, that he pounces like a cat, runs around and falls over, like he just forgot to balance. His little tail waving in the air just kills me. It’s great to just play with him for a while.

In fact, I’m going to start the day with some puppy play time.

And then I’m going to clear some room to stack some more, because even if I’m having trouble making forward progress, any little bit is better than none.

Keep stacking, even if it’s just a little bit.


Fri. June 11, 2021 – a third of the way thru June already…

Hot and humid with very little chance of rain. Yesterday was hot, humid, sunny, and generally a nice day, with some overcast in various parts of town. That is one of the features of Houston weather, lots of variation depending on location. Some is consistent enough I call it a micro-climate, although the pros would likely take issue with that. Since the pros can make stuff up without ever paying the consequence for being wrong, I don’t particularly care what they would say in this case.

It’s funny that the same thing can be said about economists and financial pundits. Even investment advisors and financial pros always have a good reason why they didn’t get it right. And yet we LIKE the idea of hidden knowledge and revealed secrets. We keep going back to them for more. It must be part of our genetic and memetic heritage, although I can’t see a benefit to it. At least with everyone but the weathermen, you can simply say “their goals may not be our goals” and that offers possible explanations for why they are wrong so often.

Anyway, keep in mind that if 80% of everything is cr@p, (and I believe that is a pretty good estimate, if possibly low), that includes any predictions about the future, or explanations about the present.


I spent yesterday running errands and avoiding my MIL. Took eldest child and puppy to see my gun store buddy. A puppy brightens everyone’s day right? The mom and pop stores should be raking in the dough in the current climate, and yet they are mostly in jeopardy of going out of business. Two gun stores in one day, and the differences were pretty dramatic. If you have inventory, you have sales and income. If you don’t, you don’t. Having other income (from a range, gunsmithing, transfers) can help, but it is only part of the equation. Stores without stuff to sell don’t last long. And that might be the biggest irony and disaster to come out of this past year- the destruction of the mom and pop gun store by extreme demand for guns.

Today I’ve got some pickups if I can fit them in, household stuff again. Then I’ve got a site visit at my client’s house. There are a couple of questions that need answers that I just can’t remember even knowing, and that I can answer by going and looking. So I’m going. Sometimes you just have to be there.

The pot roast in the slow cooker was a success. The only side was a loaf of shelf stable sourdough bread, and the veg and gravy from the pot. Every ounce of 3 pounds of meat got eaten, and even most of the veg disappeared. For seasoning, the CrockPot ™ seasoning mix single use pouch is nice and savory without being particularly overwhelming. It’s one of my ‘goto’ meals when I know I won’t be home to make dinner, and I’m not sure when exactly dinner will be.

Stews and one pot meals are great to use up food that might be getting a bit older. In this case it was some potatoes, turnips, and carrots that had been around for just a bit long. On a plate, by themselves, they might not have been really nice (although very nice compared to Little House on the Prairie at the end of a long winter) but in a pot with 6 hours to stew and blend, they were awesome and indistinguishable from fresh.

This is one of the keys to economical cooking and meal planning, and a skill that you might have to learn or re-learn with hard times on the way. Use what you have, in a way that plays to its strengths. If you have more bread than you expected, make french toast, Texas Toast, or bread pudding. If you have extra milk, use it in a dish that calls for a lot of milk. Too many veg? Make a chutney or salsa. The goal is to get the best use possible out of what you have, and avoid wasting any of it. In an economy based on abundance, you can get exactly what you want. In an economy based on scarcity, you take what you can get, and if you are smart, creative, or prepared, you make the best of it. Most people lived this way throughout most of history, we can do it too. Old recipe books can be a big help. Any recipe book sold by Williams Sonoma probably won’t be.

Of course, one of the ways to mitigate scarcity is to have big stacks of stuff, so don’t stop stacking…


(it pays to know what to do with it, and to have practiced too…)

Wed. June 9, 2021 – hope to get out of the house today

Hot. Humid. Hot. Hot enough yesterday that the air conditioner couldn’t keep up. At 12 midnight, it was still 4F hotter in the house than the setpoint. Cutting down the tree that shaded the house made a HUGE difference. We used to have a few days when it was hot enough to do that, but not when it was just in the 90s. Today should be even hotter.

I was hoping to leave the house early and get some work done at my secondary, but now my wife has scheduled the A/C guy to come by. It’s possible the system might need freon, but the coil isn’t iced… and the neighbor is having the same issue. I KNEW I wouldn’t get a week to work on my stuff. This is what we get from not doing the A/C rip and replace earlier in the year, like we talked about doing. It’s always something.

Didn’t really get much done yesterday. I ended up waiting most of the day for a guy to get back to me, and he didn’t. The thing I was going to pick up showed up in the mail though, so I’m glad I didn’t just drive down there without hearing from him first. I did work on domestic bliss. Two loads of laundry, trim and cut the backyard, cut my hair and shaved, put some groceries away, and got dinner together for the family…as well as doing two craigslist listings. I guess I did get some stuff done.

I still have to pick up the one useful tool I won, but I can do that as late as Thursday afternoon.

Thursday at 11 I’m taking the pup in for his first check up and shots. That wipes out my whole day anyway, so making a pickup in the afternoon won’t make it worse. We weighed the little guy yesterday and he was 3 pounds 1 3/8 oz. I wouldn’t have guessed that much. He did a good job doing his business outside, when taken there. Plenty of playing and sleeping throughout the day to keep him and us busy. He’s at least 10 pounds of personality.

It’s gonna be interesting with the inlaws. Trump is still living in their heads rent free. And they just toss out stuff like “making ghost guns” or “probably an Oathkeeper”. I’m treating it as anthropology to keep my sanity. They have no idea WHY they believe or say what they do. When I ask directly they start yammering and shifting around. It’s like trying to grab a fist full of jello. She’s upset that his security costs money, thinks he should be paying for all of it himself, and that he wants to live at Mar el Largo… no problem paying for Obamma et filles or the Clinton grifters’ security though. A constant diet of tv and print news has mal-educated them very thoroughly.

It makes me want to stack even more, and to buy more guns. Well meaning, generally nice, and sure that people I align with would be better off dead or in prison. They are exactly the kind of people who would turn someone in “for their own good” fully believing that they were HELPING that person. It’s terrifying seeing it up close.

You need more LIKE MINDED friends. You need more stuff. I need to pick up my pace.

Stack it high. Bad stuff IS coming.


Tues. June 8, 2021 – busy week, of course.

Supposed to be a bit more clear than previously, and about as hot. Didn’t get any rain yesterday. Did get heat and humidity. Still 82 F and 82%RH at midnight. Under those conditions, water won’t dry out in the buckets on the driveway.

Spent the morning yesterday getting fangs polished. No cavities anywhere in the brood.

Spent the afternoon cleaning, and hitting the grocery store for fresh veg. Picked up some meat too. Prime chuck at $5/pound seemed reasonable and so we’ll be having pot roast once this week, and the rest will go into the freezer. Everything else was more than I wanted to pay. Still managed to top off a couple other things, and spend over $300. Soda aisle was still half empty. The major brands and flavors were there but a whole lot was missing. No non-alcohol beer in the cooler either.

Picked another 16 blueberries. I have three varieties that mature at different times because they need to be different to pollinate or something, so some of the ripe berries are a bit more tart than the others. So far it’s been a bumper crop (and given the count in individual berries, that is pretty sad.) I am seeing improvement every year.

Oh, and the puppy got love and attention.

Grandparents arrived, were fetched and welcomed. Dinner was eaten, and another day passed by.

Today I’ve got auction stuff to set up. I’ve got to get out to my client’s house this week to check a few things before we can finalize the design for the rip and replace. Also, I’ve been scheduled to take the puppy for checkup and shots in the middle of the day on Thursday. Suddenly, the week that looked like a great time to get a bunch of auction sale stuff done, isn’t. C’est la vie, and especially my vie….

So I should probably start on something……..

After all, it ain’t no step for a stepper.

Keep stacking, and read John Wilder’s latest Civil War update. Time is flying by. These are the good old days.


Mon. June 7, 2021 – puppies are fun! and cute! and needy…

National forecast changed a bit yesterday to have us on the edge of the storm system today. We’re supposed to be gradually getting farther from the edge over the next two days too. That will be nice, as I’m tired of rain. Yesterday was mostly sunny and got HOT. I think summer is finally here. It felt like a sauna outside and was still 80F when I went to bed.

Spent Sunday mostly cleaning and organizing. Nothing major got done, but some small projects advanced. The biggest thing to advance was getting a new puppy. He’s 6 weeks old, a good size, super active, and cute as a button. The girls are getting the idea that a puppy is not all snuggles and fluff. He is meant to be primarily my older daughter’s dog, but I’m the pack leader so there is that. It’s been a while since we had a puppy in the house.

To add to the disorder, inlaws are arriving for a week long stay this evening. That will free me up during the day, but it will also be a whole bunch of disruption to what little routine we have. We’ll see if I can get through another visit without accidentally making MIL cry. I spend a lot of time chewing my tongue…

First order of business, get my pallet auction set up and start stacking stuff to sell on pallets.

I really need the world to hold together for a while yet….

I need more time to stack, and so do most of you.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

09:50 – It was 2.7F (-16.3C) when I let Colin out this morning. He ran out, peed on the bird feeder pole and well casing, and ran back in. I’m not sure what the new-fangled, politically-correct official wind chill is out there, but I’d estimate the actual wind chill at around -40F (-40C).

Ordinarily, I take Colin out for his morning constitutional, but yesterday and today Barbara did that. With as much snow and ice as we have on the ground and my balance issues, even if I took Colin off-leash, it’s very likely I’d fall.

Actually, it turns out that falling is an issue for Colin. When Barbara took him out, he plopped down on the snow. At first, we both thought he was telling her he wanted to play, but it soon became obvious that he had actually fallen and was having trouble getting up or standing. She lifted him by his tail, which we’ve done with all our dogs as they’ve gotten older. Colin turns six years old in about a month, and it seems that he’s developing a minor problem with his hips. So we’ll be very careful with him, particularly when there’s snow or ice on the ground.

I’d forgotten to mention that I’d gotten email from Jen about the ten-day readiness exercise they ran from before Christmas to New Year’s Day. She didn’t have much to report, because everything went pretty much without a hitch. Although this was their longest exercise to date, it’s the fourth or fifth one they’ve run and, as Jen says, they’ve pretty much got all the kinks worked out by now. They heated with wood, pumped well water with solar power, and cooked and baked LTS food and heated water with propane. As Jen said, although they had only a few snow flurries, it was pretty much like a snowed-in weekend with the family all present.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the other day Barbara’s comments about grocery shopping. Ordinarily, she makes a weekly supermarket run on Fridays on her way home from the gym. Because of the winter storm forecast, she decided to head to Lowe’s on Thursday to do her weekly grocery shopping. In Winston, it would have been a madhouse, crammed with people stocking up for the emergency, and the shelves empty of bread, milk, and eggs. Here in Sparta, it was just like an ordinary supermarket trip. No more shoppers than usual, and the shelves fully stocked. For people who live up in the mountains, a winter storm warning is just normal for this time of year. People don’t need to rush out and stock up because they’re already stocked up.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

09:43 – Barbara picked up Bonnie, our next-door neighbor, at 9:00 to drive her up to the Walmart Super Center in Galax, Virginia. Bonnie is almost 90 years old and doesn’t get out much, so this will be a real treat for her.

About two minutes after Barbara left, Lori pulled in the drive to deliver/pick-up the mail. Lori’s daughter is home from college for the week. Lori said she’d finished repackaging the current batch of LTS food, and volunteered that she loved watching the oxygen absorbers dent in the 2-liter bottles. I’m not the only one who takes pleasure in small things.

The Lowe’s delivery truck is supposed to show up today with our gas cooktop. Eric with the Blue Ridge Co-op called yesterday afternoon to schedule installation of the propane tank and connecting the cooktop. They’re kind of backed up this time of year. He said the next date they had available was the morning of December 9th, so we grabbed it. It looks like we’ll be cooking dinner that day on the gas cooktop.

I did look around for a gas oven, but the only ones I could find that could operate without electricity were commercial models that cost several thousand dollars. There’s no way we’re spending that much. If we do have a long-term power failure, we can use the gas cooktop for baking by using a Coleman Camp Oven or a large Dutch oven.

Barbara took Colin to the vet yesterday to have him looked at. One of his ears was bothering him, and he’d torn a claw on one of his rear paws. A week or so ago, we’d tried cleaning out his ear with dilute vinegar and cotton balls, but it was still bothering him, so we decided to take him to the vet. Their charges are extremely low: $12 for the office visit and another $12 to swab out his ear and do a microscopic stain/exam. The medication they provided was $38, so Barbara got out of there for just over $60. Down in Winston, it would probably have been $250 or $300.

While Barbara was gone, UPS delivered four cases of quart wide-mouth canning jars. When she returned and noticed them stacked up in the foyer, she asked what they were. I told her “another four dozen quart wide-mouth canning jars,” and she said there was no way she was going to be canning food. I didn’t tell her that I’d renamed our new 23-quart pressure canner “Ma Kettle”. To be fair, I also renamed our 9-quart cast-iron camping Dutch oven “Pa Kettle”.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

09:38 – We had another monsoon yesterday afternoon. It dropped more than an inch (2.5 cm) of rain on us in about 20 minutes, accompanied by very high winds and lots of lightning where there was only a fraction of a second gap between the flash and the boom. Colin was beyond terrified. He’s a high-attention dog all the time, but heavy rain, high winds, and lightning/thunder scare the hell out of him. I finally went back and stretched out on the bed, where he went into four-paw drive and climbed up on top of me. I went out to my desk. He hid under the desk for about 30 seconds and then forced his way up between my legs and climbed up into my lap. I wouldn’t mind so much, except that he also claws me the whole time, demanding that I do something about the problem. After the rain, wind, and thunder slacked off, the sirens started. I suspect there was some significant property damage, and maybe some injuries. Every time he hears a siren, Colin heads for the front door or windows to bark at it. If it’s particularly close, he does synchronized howling.

Some people are unaware that one can actually starve to death even with an unlimited supply of wheat, rice, and corn or foods made from those grains. The problem is that the amino acid profile of grains is low in some essential amino acids (those that the human body cannot synthesize from other amino acids). The same is true of beans, but the essential amino acids that beans are short of are present in abundance in grains, and vice versa. That’s why all cultures, going back to prehistory, have eaten grains and beans in combination. Together, they provide complete protein.

Meats, eggs, milk, and other animal-based foods include complete protein, and may be used to “fill out” the protein profile of beans or, more commonly, grains. We store a lot of canned meats, but in a long-term emergency additional meat will be harder to come by than beans. Also, obviously, animal-based proteins are much more costly and difficult to store than are vegetable-based proteins.

The problem is that most citizens of the first world are used to getting their complete protein by combining grains and meat. Beans generally play a relatively minor role in our diets. People generally prefer to eat what they’re used to eating, so few people would regard a combination of grains and beans to be appetizing.

I mentioned this issue in passing to Jen, and told her that we aren’t storing any dry beans, although we have about 100 cans of Bush’s Best Baked Beans. We don’t store dry beans, because neither Barbara nor I knows how to make a bean-based dish appetizing. I got email from Jen yesterday with a recipe she suggested we try. She and her family felt much the same about eating beans as we do, but she said this recipe turned out extremely well. She says the herbs and spices are what makes this dish worth eating. This recipe makes enough to feed four to six people. We’ll probably halve it for our first test run.

Bean Gloppita (Feeds four to six)

2 cans (15-ounce each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
6 cups of water
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 cup of fresh chopped onion (or equivalent rehydrated dry onion)
1 cup of fresh bell peppers (or equivalent rehydrated dry bell peppers)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped (or equivalent rehydrated dry garlic flakes)
2 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of dried oregano
½ tsp of dried coriander
½ tsp of ground red pepper
¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Bring five cups of water to a boil. Stir in rice, return to a boil, turn down heat, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add fresh or rehydrated bell peppers and onion. Cook until tender, about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute or two. Add the remaining one cup of water and all of the remaining ingredients other than the cheese. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until rice is ready.

Serve bean gloppita over hot rice and sprinkle cheddar on top.

FedEx showed up yesterday with three more #10 cans of Augason Farms dehydrated potato shreds from Walmart. Those three cans are equivalent to about 10.4 30-ounce packages of the Ore-Ida frozen shredded hashbrowns, but at a total cost of $24.72 plus tax, versus $31.10 for 10.4 packages of the Ore-Ida frozen shreds. (Walmart has since increased the price from $8.24/can a week ago to $9.77 now; they bounce prices up and down regularly.)