Thur. Jan. 28, 2021 – Home today, plenty to do

Cool and clear.  Windy?  Yesterday was.  Very windy and all day long too.   I wore shorts, but also a sweatshirt.    50F when I went to sleep, and not all that much warmer during the day.

I ran my errands, starting with helping my wife pick up the GS cookies.  Did a pretty good job of filling a honda minivan, and then the half of the foyer.   The volunteers at the warehouse rocked.

Then I got some stuff together and took a pickup load to auction.  My check for the last one was about ~$840 after commissions.  I don’t know what my net was but we are getting back into the area I used to be in- a decent part time income from part time work.    If I can get up to doing $500 a week I’ll be happy.  And yes, my wife has a great job, for which we are all thankful.  Everything I make is “extra” if there is such a thing.  I am the ‘stay at home’ after all.

Everyone should be establishing some extra lines of income.  Everyone should be exploring alternative sourcing.   I’ve mentioned I think things are going to get a lot worse, right?  I seem to recall saying something at some point…..    anyway.   People are still buying stuff.   That could and probably will change.  Pokemon cards are not going to fill empty bellies, so there is a ‘sell by’ date on Pokemon.  Ditto for most of the stuff on ebay or etsy.  However, local trading groups and FB, and all the other forms of local selling are going to facilitate barter and money saving reuse/repurpose/resell for the foreseeable future, and may shift from unloading stuff to selling desperately needed basics.

Explore your options now.   Everything has a learning curve.   Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, or a mix of both, the ‘secondary market’, which is where I’ve been living for years, will play an increasing role in your everyday life.  You want to be careful of course.  One man’s money saving yard-sale-ing  could become .gov’s black-marketeering in short order.   The prepper-sphere is always talking about barter for after SHTF.   Consider that the fan isn’t so shiny, and has a suspicious odor already….  and start working on some of those skills.   In Gulag-19, I’m the ‘scrounger’.  Who are you?

Skills, people, stuff.  Stack ’em high.

nick

Wed. Jan. 27, 2021 – just keeping on keeping on

The national forecast shows us on the edge of a weather system.  Usually when that happens, we don’t get the weather.   Local forecast calls for clear and dry.   I would like some more dry weather for a couple of days at least.

Yesterday was nice out, cooler and a bit less humid.  It was 60F when I went to bed.

I got one auction closed out, and made decent money on it despite some very poor pictures and low prices.  I’m taking some of the leftover items to the other auction house, where I’m sure they will do better.   That’s today’s job, get stuff to the auction house, and to and from storage and my secondary location.  Not only did I remove the stuff in the entryway, I got several bins off the patio too.

Foyer is clean and empty, ready for piles of cookie boxes.

Progress has been made.  Always at the expense of something else on the list, but ‘them’s the breaks.’

Today was also haircut and shave day.  Still got the ‘stash and chin beard, but my cheeks are smooth again.

I also took a tiny bit of time to do more cleanup in my office.  In this case, sorting some of the auction receipts, and fixing a couple of small things.  The ‘fixing’ mainly involved cleaning up leaking batteries, and getting the contacts working well again.  It did get a couple of things off the desk and surrounding area, so that is  a good thing.  Baby steps are still steps 🙂

Out in the garden, I’ve been adding my used coffee grounds to the raised beds.  Can’t hurt, might help.  The potted limes are in bloom, well, “bud”.  Flowers soon enough.   The collards are about the same as they were.   I haven’t harvested anything from them at all yet.  They seem to do much better in the second year for me so I’ll wait.  I expect they’ll start growing enough I feel ok harvesting leaves soon.   The grapefruits were and are delicious.  Big, juicy, almost sweet, needing only a bit of salt to moderate the bitter.   The Meyer lemon is still producing big and sweet juicy lemons.   For all the rest it’s getting to the point I need to start planning the planting…  and get a couple of areas ready that I blew off last year.  I want more stuff in the ground this year and hopefully I’ll get more out.

I don’t want to tempt fate, but we were expecting a cold winter.  Fat squirrels, white tipped ears, etc.  So far, we’ve only had a couple of nights dip below freezing, and not by much.  I’m glad, as I didn’t have to cover and heat all the citrus.  I’m concerned because it didn’t kill off the vermin.

Speaking of which, mice have been eating the poison baits in the attic.  The ‘evidence’ is too small to be rats, I think.   I’ll refresh all the bait boxes over the next couple of days in case, and maybe set a couple more pads or traps.   If you don’t have stacks of rodent and pest control already, get some in… they won’t be going away, and they typically prosper when the humans get to fighting.   You don’t have enough food to share.

Just one more thing to stack, so get going!  Keep stacking.

nick

Sun. Jan. 24, 2021 – more of the same today

Forecast calls for heavier rain, T-storms, etc.  Given our microclimates, I’ll hope for the best, and find stuff to do if it rains.

Spent Saturday afternoon running around, and then doing cleanup and organizing, and re-stacking at my secondary.  Then headed home.  Not much interesting, except I’m going through a patch of increased serendipity and heightened coincidence…. and that usually gets weird.

Plan for the day is organizing at my nearby storage unit, in order to get more ebay stuff out of the foyer.  I need listed items close enough I can ship them the same day but I also need them out of the house.  The storage unit is temporary, as I clear out more space elsewhere.

Everything takes more time and more effort than you think.  That’s why it’s so important to get started.

Whatever you’ve identified as something to add to your preparations for the hard times ahead, get started.   Take the first step.

And keep stacking.

 

nick

Sat. Jan. 23, 2021 – busy day, making progress though

Cool and clear, I hope.   National map has us on the edge of a rainy area.  Usually the edge misses us.  I would like to get stuff done without getting rained on.

I spent some more time at my secondary  location doing clean up and throwing out stuff.   One of the things I un-buried was a shelving unit for my nearby storage unit.  I’ll be setting that up today if the rain holds off.  That will get some of my ebay stuff out of the house, without it being very far away.  Farther than I’d prefer, but keeping it here is not an option at this time.  Room needs to be made for GS cookies.

Yep, cookie season is almost here.  We thought it would be fully online this year, but I guess not.  Soon I’ll have hundreds of boxes of cookies in my foyer and living room.  Few of them for me, though.

My auction pickup yesterday was two ham radios.  Early 80s, solid units.   One was bringing crazy money on ebay.   I’ve got some work to do cleaning them up a bit and hopefully doing a little bit of testing.  Even as just a ‘parts’ machine, it should bring >$1100, which is nuts.  I am selling it, and not keeping it.   Need the money, have radios…   In fact, I’m toying with the idea of doing an auction in March of all the stuff I’d normally take to the hamfest.  I’ll talk to my local auctioneer and see what he thinks.

I’ve got a pickup in Conroe today, it’s stuff for building antennas.  I’m hoping to leverage some collapsible flagpoles into decent antennas.   They are always in that particular auction and go relatively cheaply.

There has been some discussion in various places regarding alternate comms and news sources.   Alex Jones led the way by having his show on shortwave for years.  Say what you will about him, a few of his darts have hit the board, and he was deplatformed before it was even a word.   He’s still around though.  I’m sure his shortwave show contributes to that.   In general, I thought the standard prepper recommendation to own a shortwave radio was not particularly useful.   The main broadcasters are religious based or state propaganda organs.  That said, many of the church people do news and talk too, and it’s possible to learn stuff from propaganda.   Given the crackdown on free speech in the US, I’m moving shortwave radio up the list a couple of notches.  Lots of good info about shortwave radios and listening on youtube.  (yes, evil youtube.  support the content creators that are making a living or living their dream on the platform.   Use patreon or whatever the creators like, and run adblockers to starve the beast.)

Compromise (or at least the appearance of ‘going along to get along’) is going to be the word-o-the day for a long time.  We need to maintain our ability to act, to support those that need support, and we need to get THROUGH this and out the other side, to wherever that may be.  There are times when that is not going to look very pretty.  I’m sure my tolerance for the necessary levels of compromise will vary and there may come a point where I can’t do it.  But given what that would cost  me, the current plan is pull back, pull in, and abide.    You may evaluate the situation and come to a different conclusion.   I may come to a different conclusion at some point too.  But I intend to survive this as intact as possible, and I’m PLANNING and provisioning to do that.

Stack it high.  Stack it in a bunch of small piles scattered all over.  Stack it wherever you can.  But STACK up some resources, friends, and knowledge.

nick

 

Fri. Jan. 22, 2021 – Finally Friday, and I can see the end of Jan. from here…

Cool and wet, super humid even if not raining.

Thursday was overcast and misty fog to light drizzle, depending on where and when.   Some of our microclimates probably stayed dry.  I was all over and it was wet wherever I went.

I spent several hours clearing stuff out of my secondary location.  This time it was mostly empty boxes.  Yeah, I save boxes.  Nope, not going to need these.   Haven’t used them in 8 years, unlikely to use them ever.   When the space was free it didn’t matter.  Now I need the space so they had to go.  Two big pickup truck loads shifted to the dumpster.  Then I moved stuff into the newly cleared area.  I think I’m going to be pretty sore today as some of the boxes weren’t really empty, and some weighed 20-30 pounds.  I had to do a lot of holding them out in front of me and over my head to get through the labyrinth…  (this falls under the heading “using what you’ve already got”)

The deal for the BOL/lakehouse fell apart.  Perfect for me, not perfect for my wife.  On top of that the owner countered with some stipulations we didn’t like,  and there are still  the questions about Army Corps flood easements…. My wife’s back looking at listings.  Armed conflict in the Capitol would have made that decision easier, but even I’m not that selfish.

I didn’t get a chance to put away all the food I bought yet.  Maybe today.  I’ve got a couple of pickups and more cleaning to do though and that’s higher priority.

I did get lucky at Goodwill and got about 10 reference books about guns, everything from modern sporting rifles, to historical black powder.   50c each.  I also got a bunch of books about hunting and fishing with a couple specific to Texas.  I like books and I like reference material in hard copy form.  With every search and web visit logged, with every purchase saved and correlated, it can’t be  a bad thing to have some stuff that is completely off the radar.  One of the books was published by Paladin Press.  Man, those guys would be going NUTS in today’s environment.  Build a reference library that won’t rat you out with every page view.

One of my local auctions closed and prices looked pretty good.  I will get some more stuff to them for their next auction.  The ‘industrial’ auction lots are getting bids this time, and look like they might be ok pricing too.  I recommend checking out your local estate sale and consignment auctions.  Lots of stuff, prices can be good to great, and “Lot 3, box of books” looks very different in a database than “Modifying your AR”, “Homemade silencers”, “Gunsmith’s Bible”, “Nosler Reloading Guide”, etc.*

One of the auctions next week is a nearby medical center that closed or somehow ended up surplussing a lot of stuff, including several pallets of masks and other PPEs.  WTF?  I guess they don’t want to just give them to the state to redistribute.   I’ll be a bidder.  Lots of weird stuff out there, you just have to find it.

And speaking of weird, this is an example of how my life works.   I bought a windows Smartab tablet for <$20.  It all works great except the wifi card.  I tried the Realtek drivers to no avail.   The card is recognized but just doesn’t work.   Just when I think I’m at a dead end with a bad card, I find the EXACT SAME Smartab in a bin at Goodwill, with a cracked screen.   I’ll be prying that one open to steal the wifi as soon as I get the time.  Weird, but that’s why I suggest being flexible and open in your plans.  Stuff happens.

Figure out what you’ve got, figure out what you might need, but be open to what the universe sends your way.  And keep stacking.

 

nick

 

*not the actual titles

Fri. Jan. 15, 2021 – lots to say, brain running on empty

Cool and clear.  Sunny.  Should be nice.

My day today should involve pickups and drop offs that didn’t happen yesterday,  and some new ones.    I got some odd things and some good things this week.   In the odd but good overlap- packaged setup for a backup battery, charger/maintainer/ and sump pump…  I’ll just use the battery and maintainer.   Odd but useful, 50 pounds of Himalayan salt.   My wife prefers using it in the kitchen, and it was cheap.  Into a bucket you go!  I got a couple more battery chargers, and a nice big 13.8v power supply for my radios/ workbench, and another 12v tire inflater for the vehicles.   Since batteries and chargers are coming my way right now, I’ll keep stacking them.

I missed getting a load dropped off because I actually had an ebay sale that needed to pack and ship.   I took the opportunity to do some family pack and ship errands too.

I’ve got a lot of little things need doin’ today and this weekend too.  Putting together and stocking another two sections of FIFO can manager.  Putting stuff AWAY that’s been sitting out too long.  A grocery order would be prudent too.  No time for complete sentences!

My buddy tells me that most of the Home Depots should have their new garden seeds out and on the floor.   You might want to buy early this year.  Just sayin’.  Also any pesticides or treatments you need might end up in short supply, so you might want them too.  Rabbit wire/ hardware cloth was very hard to find locally this past year.  I’ve got a bunch now, but who would have thought that would run out?  Canning jars and lids are selling VERY well in the auctions, higher price than retail.  Hmm.  Maybe like ammo, people are laying in supplies wherever they find them?   Like guns and ammo if you shoot, if you can, you can never have enough jars…

I hope everyone is planning their garden, even if it is only salad greens in containers.  Get some practice.  And, some container gardening is good cover for much more extensive efforts in the back yard, where no one can see…

Short shrift today, because I’m really tired as I write this and my brain is slow.

Keep stacking.  You have holes in your preps.  Find them and fill them.

nick

Fri. Jan. 8, 2021 – the disaster is headed our way now for certain, just a question of how long and how bad

Cold.  Hopefully clear though.

Yesterday stayed cool all day.  It was clear and dry but never really warmed up.  It was 40F when I went to bed.

Didn’t really get much done yesterday.  Watched my local auctions throughout the day, and watched the news stories roll in.

Didn’t do super well in the auctions.  One was a disaster.  I had lots of items sell for a couple of bucks that should have sold well.  I even bought one of my own items the price was so low and I’d actually spent money on buying it originally.   I won’t be using that auctioneer again.   The lego sold well.  The k’nex sold badly, some bulk even going unsold.   40 year old concert T shirts brought $30-$50 EACH.  Crazy.  Hot Wheels and train stuff brought what I was hoping for.  Kitchen stuff- corel and pyrex sold ok, not super, but not bad.  Purses sold poorly.  The photos were really bad.  When a genuine Coach handbag, in simple black leather goes for $3 something is terribly wrong.

The stuff I dropped off Wednesday should list for next week in the better auction.   I’m supposed to take a load to my ‘industrial’ auctioneer today.  That’s why I’m hoping for clear weather.   It will get more stuff out of my storage and that’s a good thing.

I want to accelerate getting stuff sold.  I think the economy will not survive Biden and his plans.  Not at the ‘man on the street’ level, not in the financial markets.

It’s possible we might be going to look at a couple lake properties on Saturday.  I really want to accelerate that plan now too.

Lots to do, little time.  Hurricane in the Gulf time… gotta get ready.   Well, more ready.

Stack all the things.

nick

Mon. Jan. 4, 2021 – ah, love the smell of fresh new year…

Probably quite nice out today.  Low 50s when I went to bed, and forecast is for sun and moderate temps.

Sunday was very nice out after late morning.  I ended up doing inside stuff, and not much of that before I headed out to my secondary location.   Once there, I went through some stuff and made some plans for today.   Kids are still home from school until tomorrow, but my wife’s office went back to everyone working from home due to the upswing expected in wuflu cases.  They can work from home so why take the chance?  She’ll be watching the flock from home today while I’m out.

Anyway, I’ll be headed over to clear out some more stuff.  So much stuff.  A lot piles up over 17 years.  This is going to be the longest I’ve ever lived in one place, including my childhood if we make it another year.  If you  move every few years, you get a chance to go through all your stuff and cull.  I’ve been too busy/lazy/preoccupied to do the culling on my own, so now it’s a daunting task.   The reward is there at the end.  If I can  make enough room to run my own online auction sales, I get to keep 40% more of the money.   I’ll be doing 80% more of the work, but them’s the breaks.  TANSTAAFL after all.


 

With the new year, it’s traditional to make some goals.  I’m not big on Resolutions ™ but  I do have things I want to work toward, if the universe is headed in the same direction.  If it’s not, no amount of work on my part will overcome that.  So, what goals?

Broadly, improve our living situation.  Improve our physical and  mental condition.   Improve our future.

I’m starting by getting all the superfluous stuff out of here.  That is number one.   Congruent with that is turning a bunch of it back into cash.    Then get somewhere to go, if it becomes wise to go somewhere else.  That goal has a large input from my wife, so compromise is the name of the game.  It will be an escape hatch, not a primary residence.  We are tied to this area for the foreseeable future with work.  If that changes, then other possibilities open up.

We’ll also continue improving what we already have here.   That means secondary power system up and running, and maybe a tertiary system as well.   It means doing upgrades to the house and grounds like finishing some remodel stuff, possibly doing some security upgrades, and doing some other projects that improve our current lifestyle and harden us against future problems.   We’ll be proactively doing some maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure too.  And I’ll be working on the gardens in the spring because hope springs eternal…

It also means working on myself and the family.  My wife is anxious to do more physical activities with the kids.  I’m realizing that I have to WORK at maintaining my physical self, or I will lose abilities.   I can’t afford to lose much 🙂  A bit more biking, hiking, boating, and certainly STRETCHING is in my future.   It means staying healthy.  It means working on new skills.  This is a good year to introduce the kids to firearms and to other defensive pursuits.  Both have expressed the interest, it’s just a matter of doing it now.  I’m no spec ops ninja but I can get them started with the basics.  If we can get some bushcraft/camping/fishing/hunting in, that will be even better.

All of those things can be applied to ‘working for the future’ too.   My planning horizon expanded dramatically once we had the kids.  I went from being a guy who wouldn’t commit to a multi-year magazine subscription to being a homeowner with college savings plans for the kids.  11 years has gone by in an eye blink.

GET STARTED by the way.  Whatever it is, in 5 years you’ll be well along the way if you just GET STARTED.  Continuing to accumulate stuff, skills, friends, and options is what I believe will give us the best chance of getting through what’s coming.  YMMV.

Seriously.  If you’re single, turning everything into cash (or equivalent) and becoming a modern nomad might be a better choice than digging in harder.  Or the two of you buy a boat and start the endless cruise…or RV…  or get into politics and join the parasite class.   If the rise of islam is inevitable, converting early and wholeheartedly makes the most sense- so there are other approaches than mine.

Whatever is coming it won’t be the end of THE world.  It might be the end of my world or your world, but there will be someone on the other side of it, just like the Civil War, WWI & II, the rise of the Soviet Union, and whatever happens here next.  Stick it out.  Get through.  Look for opportunities to thrive.  And keep stacking.

 

nick

 

Sun. Dec. 27, 2020 – even fewer days left in the year

Cold in the morning, warming throughout the day.  Sunny and clear.  We all hope.  52F and breezy at midnight.

Saturday was a bit of a mixed bag, wrt to getting stuff done.  I had a guy I was supposed to meet to sell a 3d printer, but he stood me up.  Flakes.  Had to reschedule for Tuesday.  So I did some other small stuff around the house.   I took the package I couldn’t ship on the 24th to UPS.  I took a small item I sold on ebay to the USPS and dropped it in the box at the station.  That’s two sales in 3 days.  I hope things are picking up.

I did a little bit more yard work.  Poked around in the garage a bit, trying to fix a couple of minor things.  Put one of the new batteries on the smart charger to top it up.

After dinner played “Pit” with the kids.  The new hearing protectors came in handy for that…

Took two bins of pool stuff to storage.  Still need to take the pool itself out of the house, but won’t have anywhere to put it until I get rid of more stuff.

That is the plan for today.   Head over to the secondary location and get rid of stuff.   More cutting and trashing is in order.   I have to make room for my forklift before January.  And get stuff out of the house to keep my promise to my wife.  So I will be AFK for most of the afternoon.


In the course of my travels, I drove past our local mall.  Not particularly busy.  No lines of cars waiting to turn into the parking lot.  Not much going on at the strip/cluster development around our ‘big’ HEB, or the Lowes/BestBuy/costco development across the street.    Traffic was light too.  I don’t think there was much ‘day after Christmas’ shopping going on.  That doesn’t bode well for the economy.

The explosion in Nashville is very strange.  Disgruntled employee?  Proof of concept?  Opening shot?  We may never know, but we did learn that some of the infrastructure is a lot more vulnerable than one might expect.  You can work that info from at least two different perspectives…..  Several people have taken first pass looks at the event with what’s currently known.   If you can’t find them on your own, I’ll post some links later in the comments.

And you need to think about second and third order effects.   You might want some ham radio.  You might want a sat phone.  You might want to join with some local hams and get a mesh network up in your area.  You might want a cell that uses a different carrier’s network than your primary phone.  (I carried sprint and att when I was traveling for work both before and after 9-11, and my Skytel satellite pager.  On 9-11 in NYMetro area only Skytel worked.  I don’t have that level of redundancy anymore.  Might need to order the sim for my satphone.   We’ll see if this happens again.)   You might want something like goTenna to keep your family cells working as more than flashlights.

Alternate  comms and a disaster comms contact list should already be part of your plan.  Time to check through the plan again.

Been a while since the muzzies attacked something too…

And winter is happening in the north and northeast.

Lots of reasons to keep stacking.

nick

 

Fri. Dec. 18, 2020 – one week ’til Christmas.

Cold and dry or maybe cold and damp.  But certainly cold.

Cold all day yesterday but above freezing by mid morning.

I spent the afternoon doing pickups that I was going to do today, so that I can go to my client’s house today instead.  And I would really like to drop off a couple of bins, and pickup some stuff, but that auction house has pickups for yesterday’s auction and they’ll be busy.

I’ll also try to get my expired ID exchanged for current for the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association today.   The training officer will be close to somewhere I will be driving by, and is willing to make the exchange.

It will be a busy couple of days today and tomorrow.

On my way home yesterday I stopped in the Goodwill Outlet.  In the weird items category, I grabbed two new sealed tubs of Cascade dishwashing pods.  These are the very same ones I buy normally.  At ~$3 each, that was a pretty good deal compared to $19 each in the store.  I grabbed a dozen DVDs for me, and a dozen name brand ladies’ purses for the auction with the money I saved.  I should make good money on the purses, they’ve been selling really well.

The batteries I picked up will add to my future solar bank.  I now have 4 or 5 identical 65AH batteries, 3 or 4 identical 55AH batteries, and a mix of others mostly car or truck batteries.  I’ve got a 100w panel, and 70 panels at 10w.  I’ve got a couple of big inverters.  Still need charge controllers though, as the one that I have is NFG.  Once I have all the pieces, I’ll start on cobbling some sort of system together.  Or maybe 2 or 3 systems right next to each other.  Future project though.

If CWII breaks out and the Monkey Wrench Gang goes to work, solar and supplemental energy will be really important.  And if not, it will be an interesting project that I can use to run the air conditioner in my garage.

Cisterns for water, local solar and batteries, these are current tech and part of everyday life in places like Cancun Mexico.  I think we might see them here too, and too soon.  So I’ll keep stacking the stuff to make that work.

Keep stacking the stuff you think you’ll need.

nick