Sun. Sept. 27, 2020 – hey, growing things are growing

Nice and cool compared to just a couple weeks ago, still damp.

Saturday was really nice out.  Cool-ish except in the late afternoon sun, with a light breeze.  I did get some stuff done, but if you sleep through most of the morning, you get a whole lot less done.

I got some more cleaning and organizing done in the garage.  It was only a little bit, but still some progress.  I moved some stuff out of the house,and moved stuff around in the house to put it away, or put it in the ‘to be sold’ pile.

On most days what I did outside would just be ‘piddlefarting’ around, but some things DID get done.  I pruned the grapefruit and orange trees.  I intend to keep them about 10ft tall and 2-3ft thick to fit in the narrow bit of my yard between the house and my  neighbor’s driveway.  I also need them to be small enough I can cover them when it freezes.  The grapefruit has about 10-12 fruits, the orange 5-6.  They are starting to get ripe too.  That will be my best yield to date.  I’m hoping it gets better every year now.

Pruned a bit off the grape vines.  They are basically done for the year anyway.  Never got a single grape this year.

Moved my weather station from the north side of the house (my driveway) to the south side (neighbor’s driveway.)  That puts it in more natural air, and closer to both displays.  It’s still too close to my roof and will continue to read higher than if in shade.  I changed the batteries again, and now I can see it on the displays in my office and bedroom.

I used the Garden Weasel ™ on the bare spots in the lawn and seeded them.

I didn’t get more seed in the garden though.  That is on the agenda for today.  Root veg.  Lots of root veg.

My peas are already sprouted in the side garden!   I better get some steel mesh over them before the tasty sprouts get eaten.  I really hope that I’ll get some viable plants and a crop this year.

Spent some time cleaning the pool.

Went through some stuff I’d squirreled away.  I keep finding stuff tucked here and there.  A lot of it really needs to be sent to auction.

Won a couple of auction items.  Another really nice battery charger.  If I’ve got a forklift to keep charged, I need a good charger to leave with it.  If I end up with a lake house, I’m sure I’ll need at least a charger there.  Having good ones makes a difference.  I’ve really increased my ability to charge batteries lately.  I also won a boat battery selector switch, and some 10gauge jumper cables.  I will look at wiring my inverter into my batteries now, with the AC charger and the switch to choose charge or discharge through the inverter… or something like that.

Found 3 laptops in the trash at my secondary location.  Grabbed them.  I had a charger for one, a dell inspiron with win7 installed.  Someone shut it off during an update and now it’s boot-looping.   It’s a nice widescreen machine in good condition.  I’ll set it aside for now, but will likely get the OS fixed, or use a linux bootable to see if it will run.  There are a lot of ham related things to do with older laptops.  One was an older compaq that probably isn’t worth even booting and I didn’t have a psu handy for it, the other is a really big Toshiba gaming machine.  I might order a psu for that just to see what it’s all about.  I think it has discrete nvidia graphics, and about a 17 or 19″ HD screen.  It’s a giant with full sized keyboard.  Funny that 15 year old machines are still usable for something.

What can I say, I like older stuff that works.  It’s cheap.  I like fixing and using it.  If it lasted this long, it’ll probably last for a while longer.

“Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without!” a plan for the coming unpleasantness.  Keep stacking.




Today is the two year anniversary of the death of Dave Hardy, or OFD as he was affectionately known here.  There’s not enough Moxie and pretzels in the world for what’s coming.  Miss you.   -Absent friends-


Sat. Sept. 26, 2020 – still asleep if all goes to plan

Cooler, but nice out.  That’s the plan anyway.

Started heading that way yesterday.  It was sunny in places,overcast elsewhere and generally cooler than it had any right to be.  Still saturated though as my driveway still has standing water on it.

Ran my errands, and now have another alternative for Things That Go Bang(tm).  The current ammo situation points up the validity of having a couple of different systems in the safe.  556 or 762.  Why not both?  There was an argument to be made for .40S&W when 9mm was hard to get, and the agencies were all dumping 40s after the FBI changed… but I didn’t move on that.  I’ve always been bi-curious when it came to rifles though….

Enough of that tomfoolery 🙂

I’m at home all day.  My wife is off looking at another lake with a friend from the neighborhood who has decades on that lake and more than one property there.  That should mean I’m working in the driveway, garage, and garden.  I guess we’ll see.

And hopefully the females of the household let me sleep in today.  I’m been short of sleep and very run down.  Not a good place to be during a global pandemic.  If not, I’m making waffles for breakfast.

Maybe I’m making waffles for brunch…

So much to do and so little energy.  I better get started.

Tiny steps, big steps, doesn’t matter.  TAKE A STEP toward improving your position.  Stack something!



Thur. Sept. 17, 2020 – getting close to my wife’s birthday….

Hot and humid.  Overcast with possibility of rain.

Yesterday was a little bit cooler but so humid that puddles in the driveway never dried out.  It was overcast which helped a lot for comfort.

I did manage to get some things done.   I got stain and preservative on my teak outdoor furniture.  It needs to be power washed and the oil renewed every year or so.  Looks great now and should last for years more.  Quality pays off in longevity, with a little bit of care.  The chairs will probably need another application, and all the bolts tightened.  Domestic bliss will undoubtedly break out.

I swapped out my weather station for a replacement.  I got one new in the box for $12 so I took a few minutes and changed it.  I haven’t seen an update on the display yet, so I’ve got more messing with it to do.

I also got some seeds in the ground.  I got snap peas, some sort of green bean, spinach, and radishes planted.  I made some more progress installing the drip system for my window boxes.  The feed line is in place now.  That was the biggest problem I had with the window boxes- I didn’t water them enough.  Having the drip system fed by the grass sprinklers will mean they get watered on a schedule.  That should help.  Ag Extension says next week to plant the turnips and beets…  If I had plants for my dark green leafies, I could plant them but I don’t have any this year.  I suppose I should have started some, or gone and bought them.  Too much else going on.

Couple of things to do today outside the house.  We’re going to a lake house for my wife’s birthday.  I need to get the presents, cake, decorations, etc today, and do an auction pickup that is entirely stuff she wanted.  The lake house is on a lake we’ve been looking at for a while.  We’ve got one family we know up there, and it’s nice.  It will give us a retreat from hurricanes and somewhere to ‘vacation’ that is close and not infected.  It wouldn’t be an ideal bug out location, but it would be one… and it turns cash into stuff which is a hedge against hyperinflation.

So I better get to it.  Hunter/gather mode engaged…





(keep stacking!)


Mon. Sept. 14, 2020 – another week, another list of things to do

Hot and humid, but definitely less so.  Couple storms headed vaguely our way should make things interesting.   I do think that we are on the downhill slide toward fall though.

And since fall is coming, it’s time to get the fall garden in.

Yesterday I got the beds ready.  The one with the cabbage had no surviving crops, so that just got turned and fertilized.   The one under the grape vines still has a couple of broccoli plants which I left in place but I turned and fertilized the rest.  The attached herb garden got turned and broadcast seeded with a handful of mixed herbs.  I don’t think we’ll see anything from it, but it was worth a shot.  Of the two remaining beds, one has a single volunteer melon growing, so I left that but turned the rest.  The other has brusselsprouts and a pepper plant.  I can sneak some carrots and maybe some peas in around them.

The rain started up while I was working on the beds, so I packed it in.

I’ve still got to get the window boxes turned and planted.  Some of them are a solid mass of roots holding the soil in blocks the same shape as the boxes.  I guess that’s why nothing grew last time.  The first year I got some good beets.  I’d like to get some turnips and radishes.  I’ve still got one or two of the onions surviving in one of the boxes.

I’ve also got some tubs that I’d like to use on  the driveway as container gardens.  We’ll see if I get that far.

I still have to decide which beds get what seed too.

I did get the Honda gennie running well enough for now.   It will run on idle or full throttle with only minor hiccups.  Fueled it up and put it aside. That’s two running generators.  I’ve got to get the whole house running next.

The insurrection is heating up.  Cops targeted in LA and a crowd emboldened to the point that they are mocking the cops outside the hospital.   That is pretty damn bold.  Those people do not fear any consequences.  I wonder how long it will be before the death squads are visiting in the middle of the night, and which side will start first…

Prepare yourself for hard times, in mind, body, and spirit.  They are coming.  How hard remains to be seen, but they will come.  If you see a path where they don’t, please share, ‘cuz I don’t see us going back to ‘normal’ without passing through the fire.

Whatever you think you’ll need, I’m suggesting you get it now, rather than later.  And stack it high.


Sun. Sept. 13, 2020 – not even close to a Friday

Hot and humid, but perhaps less so.  I think Fall may have arrived, although my wife doesn’t think so.  I don’t even think it got over 100F in my driveway yesterday…

It was still hot out.

After spending the morning watching an auction close out (got a couple good things), I finally got out and did some stuff around the house.

I cleaned the pool, and then got right to work on my Honda eu3000.  The new  battery, fuel petcock and filter, were installed.  The fuel gauge turned out to be fine, the part I thought needed to be replaced was a separate part and just needed cleaning.  It started right up and ran smooth for a short while.  Then the roughness started.  Looking at the carb, fuel was spitting out into the venturi part, and that would bog the engine.  I decided to tear the carb down again and be certain it was clean.  That took up the rest of the daylight so I’ll be finishing that reassembly today.  I didn’t find anything obviously wrong though.  Next step is a little more trouble shooting, then a replacement carb.  There is progress as it now runs, just not as well as I’d like.  And it is worth spending some money on it, as it is a nice gennie.

Also on the list for today is planting something… I’ve got a bunch of fall stuff I can plant,  and want to get it in the ground.  I’m going heavy on the seed, assuming I’ll have low yields like last time.  I’ve also got a couple more “window boxes” to build and hang on the fence.  I’ve had the material for months.  Except the dirt.  I’ll need to order some more dirt.  Or use the dirt from the failed potato towers.  Actually, that’s a good idea.  I can order more dirt later.

Like all my plans, we’ll see what survives contact with the day.

What, if anything, have you guys and gals been doing to improve your position?  I’d especially like to hear from anyone who Bob talked to about prepping directly, now that it’s a couple of years later…

You know me, I’m going to keep stacking.  And I think you should too.


Wed. Sept. 9, 2020 – still stuff to do

Hot and humid, but less so.  I really do think we may be over the hump.

I mostly spent yesterday afternoon driving.  I picked up a couple of things I probably could have easily done without.  I’m backsliding.

It was too wet to cut the grass or work outside.  We got little showers throughout the day.    I spent the morning sleeping.   Too beat to consider almost 3 hours of driving around.  Not a productive use of my time.

Today I’ve got pickups, and some of the stuff is preps so there is that.  I got mortar, cement, other project stuff, and various sundries.  The guns and ammo went for too much, but they did have some.  556 brought 70c/rd before adding fees and taxes.  One box of 100, name brand FMJ 9mm went for $53 plus about 25% for tax and fees.     All the rifles went for big money, and the pistols went for more than gunbroker prices.  There were a couple of accessories to be had cheaply though.    I should be able to get the auctioneer to commit to my consignment arriving tomorrow.  I’ll get that loaded up later in the afternoon if he will commit.

And if the rain stays away, I’ll get the grass cut.  Fingers crossed.

My ag extension planting guide says it’s time for fall beans and peas, and almost time for fall root veg.  I’ll get some beans and peas in, and get the beds ready for the roots.  Dark green leafies are due too, but I don’t know if I’ll try them again this fall.  Geez I feel like Charlie Brown and the football with this gardening business.

But hey, social unrest, civil war, crime, disease, economic collapse, famine- all possible; some almost guaranteed.   Time’s a wasting.  Keep stacking.



Sun. Aug. 23, 2020 – more to do, big wind coming

Hot and humid.  Rain?  Wind?  No idea, but it’s sure to be hot.

Saturday was overcast and rained, so it was actually cooler than I expected.  I got some of the yard work done.

Mostly I was watching auctions closing throughout the day.  Preps and stuff for the house, mostly.  I got some good bargains, and I’m set for life wrt butane lighters.  I got 100 of them for $14.  I also got an arrow fishing reel, that should go perfectly with the little crossbow pistol I was talking about last week, to make a line thrower for getting ham radio antennas up into the trees.  The rest of the stuff was very mixed.  Some magpul gub parts- mainly rifle furniture, some shotgun shells, several bike maintenance items, roof rack rails, knives, and some target stuff, cleaning supplies, political items, flags, and some building supplies rounded out the list.  Mixed bag indeed.

Took a few minutes to break down and vac seal the meat I got from my grocery order, and put away all the things.  I moved stuff into the new, very small, refrigerator part of the fridge/freezer.  I think it will be fine for the stuff I usually put in the garage fridge, and it will force me to get my vac seal and freeze done promptly.   It’s very strange putting gallons of milk and cartons of eggs into what 40+ years of conditioning tells me is the freezer….

I’m going to put the old fridge on a local FB sale group.  The shelves and door system fit a ton of other fridges, so someone might want an unreliable fridge, if only for parts.  I DON’T want to have to figure out where to take it to get rid of it and my scrap yard won’t take it.

Today will be more cleaning, more organizing, more putting stuff back in place.  After getting the yard finished, that is.  And maybe some pool maintenance.  And some indoor stuff to let my brain cool…

My gardens are a shambles.  I have one cabbage left.  The corn stalks turned brown, and the ears are about finger sized.  The mini ears had full sized kernels, where the squirrels didn’t get them, which is weird.  Several of the peppers died.  The brusselsprouts are hanging in but aren’t producing the stalk or buds.  A couple of the broccoli plants are still alive but not growing.  The asparagus is about 3 feet tall and very fern-like.  Tomatoes have lots of plant, not much fruit.  I got one good tomato, smaller than a tennis ball last week.  Turns out that tomatoes and potatoes are enemies, so maybe it wasn’t just the heat that killed my potato towers.  They are right next to, and in between the tomato plants.  I did get one volunteer, either a watermelon or acorn squash.  So far it’s about 6 inches tall.  We’ll see if it continues to survive and thrive.  I need to start thinking about fall planting.  I feel like Charlie Brown and the football with this garden nonsense.

I better stack the cans a little higher, since I’m not growing anything but frustrated.

On the ‘decline and fall’ front, in Portland the cops are finally doing what Chicago cops have been doing for decades– nothing.  They decided to just let some lefties and righties fight.  Nobody got shot or stabbed this time.  The Chief says if they are voluntarily looking for fights, he doesn’t really see any way the cops could make that better… And the cops were no where to be seen when the insurgents ran through the suburbs harassing the sleeping normies.   Soon it won’t be loudspeakers and threats, it’ll be sticks and stones, fire, and gunfire.   You are on your own.  Ammo up.

Stay away from crowds.

Stack it high.


Sat. Aug. 1, 2020 – well this sucks

Hot and humid, probably rain.

It was hot and humid both yesterday, but we never did get the rain at the house.   Elsewhere in Houston they did get rain, but not us.

I didn’t get much besides my pickup done.  My back has been hurting for the last few days and it’s been getting worse.  Unusually for me, it’s my lower back this time, on the left, like sciatica.  I can feel the pinching and it’s getting scary.  I tried to do a few things, even floated in the pool for an hour to try to relax whatever is pulled out of alignment, but nothing worked.   I don’t see any choice but to try my chiropractor.  Hopefully they’ve figured out how to treat people without giving them the wuflu.  I guess I’ll know in about 2 weeks.

One thing I did get done was look at the gardens.  All my squash and melons died.  Couple of days ago they were fine, today just straw.  The cabbages that were doing so well?  Couple of days without water and they shed all their outer leaves and don’t look good at all.  Both pepper plants that were still producing like crazy look dead.   The brusselsprouts (that never sprouted but were nevertheless very leafy and vigorous) also look like they’re dying.  Leaves are curling up.    I’ve got a couple of green tomatoes on the plants, so that is one bright spot, but my hopes for any kind of real harvest are done.  I’m hoping for the citrus to make it at this point.

I did order food from the store.  Since I can.  Got my instacart from Costco and HEB in only an hour or two, even though the app said “as long as five hours”.    HEB had prime top sirloin for $4.95 a pound.   Even with the insta-addon price it was still less than $7.  It had a 2 day sell by, but was oxidized on the underside.  No indication that it was short time and the Manager’s Special, but I don’t care because it went right into the freezer.   Good hamburger in the bulk pack was <$4/lb.   Choice ribeye steaks were ~$12/lb.   Select were ~$11.   Turkey legs were in stock so I got 8, and a bunch of pasta and cans of veg.  The pasta selection was almost normal, except no real egg noodles.  10 more pounds went on the stack.  The veg selection was good, even had canned green beans.  A flat of mixed veg was added to the can organizer.   Soda and snacks were reduced selection.  Costco limited chicken thighs to one package, TP to one (but they had blue package Charmin), and name brand paper towels, limit one.  I don’t think I hit a limit on anything else.  They had bleach in stock, even clorox, but no cleaners or wipes and no windex.

I broke down the bulk meat, vac sealed it all, and put it in the new freezer.  VERY convenient to just open the door and stack on the shelves.

I also put away the coffee and maple syrup from the auction.   No matter the condition of my back I’ve still got to pick up the alcohol I bought today.  Should be good on wine for a while, and liquor for a LONG time after this purchase.    Not something I’d normally be too concerned about, but when you shop the secondary market, you buy it when you see it, and stocks were running low at the Casa anyway.

I’ll update after seeing what optional medical care looks like in the age of COVID.

We’ve got time to get in better shape before it all goes more wobbly than it already is.  Take advantage of it.

Keep stacking.



Mon. June 29, 2020 – another week, Let’s get started!

Hot, humid, but perhaps not so hot as last week.  And in theory, we’re on the edge of a system with T storms and heavy rain.

Yesterday stayed mostly overcast, which helped with the temps.  It still got over 100F in the driveway.

After cutting the grass, blowing the debris, and weeding the gardens, I got some small things done.  I finished changing out the sprinkler heads that were sticking up too far.   I’d gotten 70% of the way done and stopped, so today I finished.  I did a couple of other small tasks too.

Then I thoroughly cleaned the new freezer inside and out.  I’ve got a bit more to do on the door.  The outside is streaky where the clorox bleach cleaner lifted some 28 year old dirt but left the rest.  I’d really like to go over that when I refill my spray bottle.  The inside was in great shape.  It’s been wet in the heat, so anything that WOULD grow in it DID grow in it.  And that was very little.  I plugged it in to start it getting cold again, and to keep it clean inside.

I’ve figured out how I want to change my garage layout to accommodate the new freezer.  I’m taking out an old workbench that did nothing but catch piles of junk.    I’ll slide the old fridge and new freezer to the end of the wall, and move the chest freezer over too.  I’ll have a chance to put a file cabinet and some shelves where the chest freezer used to live.   It will open stuff up a bit.  Hopefully it will be a better use of the space, with less opportunity to just pile stuff on horizontal surfaces.

I need a dry, cooler day, to pull everything out of that side of the garage and move stuff around.   Hope I get one soon.

The gardens are what they are… something has eaten almost every onion I planted.  There are only a couple left.  The broccoli is struggling.  One plant died off this week.  The others might or might not produce another stalk for my dinner.  Probably not.  The grape vine that lived is going gangbusters and has taken over the whole trellis.  I don’t know if that means grapes or no grapes though.  I haven’t seen any yet.  The vine that died back to within a foot of the ground has put out new leaves and grown a bit.  Maybe next year it will be back up the trellis.

Tomato plants are still alive, still setting flowers, and have a couple more tomatoes growing.  I took two last week.  Tomatoes have never grown well for me.  One potato tower is empty of living plants, the other is down to one remaining plant.  No idea if they died or were eaten.  I can’t keep up with the sweet peppers.  I had several rot on the bush.  They are really tasty but I’m the only one who eats them.  The brusselsprouts are finally thriving but haven’t put up the sprout stalk yet.  Cabbages are about tennis ball sized through to slow pitch softball sized and looking good.  Corn is about 2 1/2 to 3 feet high and has tassels.   It LOOKS like it is growing well.  I guess we’ll see later in the year.   The melons/squash are still alive, with flowers, so I’m hopeful they’ll continue to grow.

I harvested 6 more blueberries today- go me!   I was pleasantly surprised to realize I had more green fruits on the orange and grapefruit trees than I thought.  I hope they ripen into good fruit.  The container lime has a fruit or two left.  The Meyer lemon is heavy with fruit.  I had some garlic cloves sprout in the cabinet, so I stuck them in the window box today.  No idea if they’ll root and grow, but the box was empty, and I’m not eating the sprouted cloves.  I’ve got a couple of small cilantro plants started.  I love cilantro and will eat and cook with it if I have it.  It will be nice if the heat doesn’t kill them.  Now if only I had 10 to 20 times the stuff planted, I might get more than the occasional taste… Growing food has a long learning curve, better get started.

Because the world isn’t getting better.  “Protests” and rioting are continuing.  Wuflu is continuing, although as the people getting sick are younger this time around, maybe it won’t kill so many of them.  I’m nervous about it.  My neighbor at my secondary location told me one of his coworkers and his whole family have it.  Several of his other coworkers all have strong exposures now, as they drove around in the truck with the sick guy.  My neighbor said he was outdoors (construction) and wearing a mask, but he’s still been told to stay home until he’s clear.   I spent a few hours chatting with him in the parking lot.   I’m hoping like he11 that 6 feet and a steady cross breeze is enough to keep me well.  My next door neighbor at the house went to the Doctor in a big hurry this evening.  I haven’t had a chance to find out why, but I really hope it wasn’t for a covid test.

Today I’ll be headed out to my client’s house to try to get him buttoned up before the Fourth.  I’ve got auction pickups too (for my wife and her projects mainly, now that she’s discovered how handy and economical it is to have me on the lookout for stuff.)  Since I was going anyway, I got some web gear, gub accessories, and a couple of things for me as well.

The scanner last night had someone in town running a drug surveillance op.   Last I heard, they were watching a group of about 30 people hanging out, having a bonfire in the middle of the street around midnight.  “That’s a really big fire!” says one cop.  Just another weekend night in the ‘hood, I guess.   Not something you’d know about from the news.

I hope everyone is healthy this week.  And working on preps for the future.  It’s comin’ like a freight train….

Keep stacking,



Mon. June 15, 2020 – just another manic Monday

Hot and humid.  We’re on the edge of a system so we could get rain or not.

Yesterday was certainly hot.  I was very uncomfortable, even with a hat and my evap cooler vest.

I did mostly stuff around the house.  Cut the grass, cleaned the pond filter, watered the gardens.  Weeded.

Citrus is still all growing.  Cabbages are doing well.  I’ve got some cilantro coming in.  Mint is going nuts.    Grapevine is taking over the whole trellis.  Harvested more peppers and then I traded some sweet peppers for some tomatoes with one of the other swim team families.  MEATSPACE!!  We’ve got the Thunderdome, we need a Bartertown too.  Practice.  The family also raises chickens and sells eggs, and they live near us.  Probably good folks to know if things get thin.

It looks like all my potatoes have died.  I’ve got one plant left in one ‘tower’.   No idea what went wrong, just one by one the plants died.  Acorn squash and watermelon are growing, well protected by the wire mesh.  Corn stalks are getting taller.

My trash smells like death.  10 pounds of raw chicken and two gallons of milk.  100F heat.  OMG.  I dumped about a cup of bleach on the contents today and that helped.    Holy hell what a stench, and the flies are THICK.  The bleach did help quite a bit, but we’ve still got 4 days until trash pickup.  I’m really glad we’ve got trash pickup…

I’m really glad we still have civilization, and I don’t understand the people who want to tear it down.  I think they just don’t have any experience, knowledge, or imagination.   I do.

I’ll try to keep my personal world at a first world level as long as I can, no matter what else is going on.  Unfortunately, parts of this country and parts of too many cities have already fallen to third world levels.  It’s tempting to blame the third worlders that live there, but they came once it got cheap enough.  Of course they didn’t raise it up after they got there, either.

Today, I’m doing auction pickups.  I was feeling better about the world and our situation, so I started back into my old life.  Over the last week or so, it’s becoming clear that cases are rising, and the economic issues continue.  I’m switching back to hunker down/isolation mode.  I’m also going to be continuing to increase my stocks, rather than running down what I have.  I don’t see  things getting better for a long time. Trying to save money will have to take a back seat to resupplying.  I don’t feel comfortable running down stocks, and hoping to replace them more cheaply later.  I am still applying my number one rule, that prepping can’t negatively or irrevocably change our lives, ie. we’re not selling everything and moving to Idaho and buying a bunker.  I’m not going to run up the credit cards buying pallets of Mountain House.

We will continue to look for opportunities during this time.  There are always opportunities to prosper, but you need the resources available and the willingness and ability to act.  You also need to recognize the opportunity.  That’s the hard part.

So, look for opportunities to meet helpful people.  Work on your skills and knowledge so YOU can be a helpful person.  Keep your eyes and mind open to opportunities. And keep stacking.