Mon. Mar. 8, 2021 – did some cooking and cleaning

Cool again today, and hopefully dry.   It stayed cool yesterday and was sunny and bright.   A beautiful day.  A day for . . . yardwork!

Well, my wife did some planting, and I did some cleaning.   She got some new plants into the herb garden and replaced some of the decorative stuff that froze.   She cut back the stuff we’re hoping recovers.

I raked some more leaves, especially by the citrus trees.   I shook and knocked most of the dead leaves off the trees and then I cleaned up around them.   I didn’t quite get everything bagged, I’ll have to finish later.  In the back yard my wife planted some tomatoes (and the herbs) while I picked up debris and ran the lawnmower.   Put the fire pit cooker back in the middle of the yard.   Pressure washed some spots on the patio and a few things I’d missed, basically just to run  the gas tank dry.  And then, because the firepit was just sitting right there, we decided to have a little fire.   And if we’re going to have a fire, might as well use it to cook dinner, says the 9 year old… wisdom from the mouths of babes.

So that’s what we did.   The firepit is enclosed with mesh all the way around and has a cast iron grill that you can cook on.   We re-heated beef stew, put some mushrooms in butter in foil, and grilled some kielbasa sausages.  I put a can of red beans and rice on too and that made a real nice meal with the sliced sausage.   During the blackouts we ate a couple of cans of the stuff, and gave some to the neighbors too.   Recommended.   Tasty, hearty, and easy to make.

(And of course dessert was s’mores.   We had the fire going anyway…)

Canned and ‘instant’ versions of food and ingredients should be high on your stored food list.   They take less time and less heat energy to prepare and you might be short on both of those things during your emergency.   I’ve got lots of regular rice, but during short term events, I reach for the Minute Rice.  Everything we had for dinner had already been cooked, and really just needed to be heated.

Speaking of shortcuts, for breakfast I made eggs, and biscuits with sausage gravy.   First time for me and the gravy.   It was from a can too.  Biscuits from a tube, gravy from a can, and eggs (ultimately from a chicken, but yesterday just from the store.)   The gravy was pretty good, the family all ate it and my wife got seconds.   It was FAR better than the white goo I got from a gravy packet last time I tried biscuits and gravy.  Younger daughter also got fried sliced spam.  She loves it.

So breakfast was from medium and long term storage, and dinner was from the pantry but cooked over a wood fire.    Eat what you store…   and store some stuff you don’t normally eat so that you have some novel foods if you get bored.

Cooking over a wood fire is fun when you don’t have to do it.  Practice using some of the different ways you have stacked to cook, clean, heat water, etc.  MUCH easier to do so in the daylight on a nice day, when the indoor stove is there for backup…

And of course, keep stacking the stuff you need.

nick

Mon. Feb. 22, 2021 – no school for you! so sayth the school board…

Mild and dry.  Hopefully.   Beyond that, I don’t care.

Nice day on Sunday, if a bit overcast for most of the day.    Shirtsleeves and shorts if one was so inclined.

I did get some stuff cleaned up.   I got a couple of the raised beds weeded and ready for planting.   I’ve got a couple more to go.

The citrus trees all have crunchy dry leaves, but waxy and supple branches.   I’m cautiously hopeful that they will survive.     The two in pots that I took inside have dropped most of their leaves but are in bloom and smell fantastic.   I hope they’ll be fine with a return to outdoors, light and water…

The big koi fish in the small pond survived.  He had 55 gallons of water to hide in, but there was about an inch and a half of ice on the top for two days.    He seems ok now that the ice is gone.

Lots of people walking down the street Sunday, including some I’ve never seen before.  Had a casual chat with one of them and he volunteered that the disaster was no big deal if you took some simple steps before hand, and it wasn’t even expensive to do so…  I agreed completely.

Get ready for the next one.   There will be one you know.

Today I have auction pickups to do (birthday present for a certain small child) and some household stuff, and since I’ll be on the south side of town, I’ll check what used to be the Sears Outlet for a scratch and dent clothes dryer.   Seems the dryer at the rent house stopped working, just before the cold snap.   I need to get that fixed so they can wash clothes.  The rental doesn’t usually need a lot of attention, but when it does, it tends to come in clumps.

Kids get another day off school, but my wife is working from home so she can keep them from burning the place down while I run errands.

After that, I’ll keep working the list at home, starting with finishing the cleaning up and putting away.   Gardening and getting some stuff done with electronics come next, and some radio stuff should happen too.

What did Jerry P say?  It’s a great life if you don’t weaken…

So stay strong and keep stacking.

n

Sat. Feb. 13, 2021 – Friday the 13th comes on a Saturday this month

Cold.  Low 30s.  Damp.  Dreary.  Winter.

It was cold all day yesterday too, staying pretty consistently 35F all day long.  It was 35F when I went to sleep.

Ran my errands, then headed over to pick up kid 2.  Very un-usually and disconcertingly, my truck died several times during the trip.  I first thought it might be low oil, but now I am wondering if the battery is dead from the cold.   It had a really hard time cranking, and I don’t know if the truck will run without a functional battery.   I’ll be dropping it off at my mechanic’s place as soon as I can.   Truck repair was not on my radar.   But hey, prepping wise, I had an extra quart of oil to add when it said it was low.   That got me going again for a while.

In the mean time, I’ll drive the Ranger to do my pickups today, after my non-prepping hobby meeting.    Yep, I’m going.   I have stuff to sell, need to renew my membership, and it’s time to re-elect the suckers I mean Board Members who make it all work.  Plus there is some crossover with my ham lunch guys, who I haven’t seen in months.   I can touch base with two of my meatspace groups at the same time.  If that’s not efficient use of time I don’t know what is…. 🙂

The wuflu restrictions make it much harder to meet and build networks in meatspace, and I don’t think that’s accidental.  Especially as this goes on, the political aspects are outpacing the medical ones.  Given TPTB’s other actions, it’s not hard to see the sinister in everything they do.

Almost every day I thank God I live in Texas, where we’ve been spared the most egregious of the nonsense.

Did an instacart order from Costco in the late afternoon.   It’s very convenient to place the order and then go on doing other stuff on your list until it arrives.

While I was waiting I got all three of my mature citrus trees covered, and the other potted trees and plants either under cover or indoors.   The citrus got heavy black poly sheet over them, secured like a big balloon, with a 50 or 60 watt incandescent bulb in the center to provide some heat.  I’m as ready as I can be garden-wise.   I am going to try to get some more gas cans filled just in case.  After hurricane season, I usually draw down my gasoline at home.  If we end up running a gennie, I want to be ready.  I’m kicking myself once again for continuing to put off the connection of the whole house gennie.  Money, time, and access- they all need to be there together, and I haven’t made it a priority.   That is a prepper fail.

I’m actually much more concerned about the plumbing at my rent house.  It’s pier and beam construction with no insulation, and the pipes are under the house.   We’ve had pipes crack from freezing there before.   I’ll be confirming with the tenants that they understand about leaving taps running and cranking the heat.  I may put poly over the screen that blocks the airspace under the house.   Normally you want the air to blow freely, but I think stopping the air would help keep the temps up.

The school district has already cancelled all in person learning for Tuesday.   They’re off Monday anyway, and the infrastructure is all in place for ‘learn from home’, so I guess it’s prudent.  It feels like a huge over-reaction.

It’s hard to believe that it could be as bad as predicted.  Like always, I guess we’ll see.

It may be we’re already sliding down the slope to civil war and economic collapse, but that doesn’t stop Mother Nature from putting the boot in.  Get your short term house in order, top up your supplies, and get ready for winter…

And keep stacking.  You don’t want to be one of the  ‘french toast people’ do you?

 

n

 

FTP- the ones that rush out before every weather event and buy milk, eggs, and bread.   Like they’re gonna live off of french toast alone….

Wed. Feb. 10, 2021 – another day another dollar

Cool and damp becoming cold and wet later.  Or so they say.

It was mostly overcast with localized rain in the Houston area.  I never saw more than a sprinkle or two, but I could see it coming down in the distance.

The forecasts for freezing temps continue to change daily.   I’m not going to worry for a couple of more days.  I’ll cover and heat my citrus trees if it’s going to freeze more than one day at a time.  Otherwise, I might just cover them, or might let the mature trees ride it out.   They’ve had one or two nights with a few hours below freezing already this year.  If you’re currently getting winter, I hope your preps are serving you well.   Do a quick after action report, or ‘lessons learned’ in the comments when you get a chance.

I’m home  this afternoon to pick up daughter two from school so that is going to limit my list of stuff today.  I really need to crank through some stuff around here though.  As usual.  Maybe I’ll start with my Costco order…


The political show trial looks set to continue.  What are we still missing from full on marxist socialism/communism?  We’ve got the confession/self abasement, the two minutes of hate denunciations, a show trial, self censorship and imposed censorship, a privileged group that can commit street violence, and a group to scapegoat.  Secret police?  Hit squads roaming the streets?    We’re pretty close to the first, and I hope it never gets to the second, but we certainly have people being prosecuted mainly on the basis of their political beliefs.

Not looking good for Freefor at the moment.  Still, it’s early days.   I’m afraid that if they go looking for ‘right wing domestic terrorism’ they’re gonna find it in the form of an insurgency.   And I think shooting judges and politicians can certainly be classified as ‘violence’.   That will be a problem for Freefor as they like to think of themselves as ‘the good guys’.   It will take some really ‘bad’ guys to get the ‘good’ guys over that hurdle.  Given what I’m seeing on the national stage, I think it’s a good bet that those bad guys are up to the task and eager for it.  May God have mercy on our souls.

Keep stacking, something bad is bound to happen.  And then you’ll be glad you did.

nick

Mon. Feb. 8, 2021 – Monday morning quarterback… there’s a phrase from the past

Cool and windy, clear with sun.   Like yesterday.

Although it wasn’t dry.   I had water on the driveway that never dried.  I’m not sure what the humidity level was, but it was high.

I spent the afternoon cleaning up stuff and scrapping out stuff in the driveway.   I’ve got about half a pickup truck load of mostly aluminum and wire, so I need to run that to the scrap yard today.  I’ve also got to return the RugDoctor cleaner that my wife put to good use yesterday.

We only have carpet in the room we call the toy room/library/kid’s room, but was originally the formal living room.  We’ve got no need for formals, but we left the carpet in that room as a place for the babies to play.  White carpet.  More than 13 year old white carpet.  With two kids and a dog.

I cleaned it a couple of years ago but it was LONG overdue.   Looks much better now, but it’s still 13 year old white carpet.   We had planned to eventually put the same glue-down engineered hardwood in there as the rest of the house.  We even have the flooring already.  But.  Moving the bookcases out would be a BIG job, and there’s no reason to create more projects at this point.

I didn’t do any garden work, possibly today I’ll get the beds ready and move stuff around.   I’m home in the afternoon to pick up child two anyway.  I’ve got plenty to do around the house and I was making progress yesterday that I’d like to build on today.

Part of the work in the driveway is getting the shelves I put up moved into the garage (or some others).  I’d like to get the stored food out of the driveway under tarps and into the garage.  It will be a lot cooler in the garage this summer, with the A/C unit running, than under a tarp.  I made progress by scrapping out stuff that was on one shelf, and moving some of the canned soup to the other shelves and the can rack on the patio.   I’ve still got to reorg the patio shelves to add the two new can racks.  It was all a bit hurried when I shifted from stacking food to getting ready to USE the stored food. It needs to be tweaked a bit.

I really need to do a bunch of ebay listings too.  I’ve got stuff that is best sold to a worldwide market, and it isn’t going to list itself.

As long as people are still buying, I need to be selling.


The political and economic insanity continues.   Looks like the dems will try the former President of the United States in absentia for stuff he clearly didn’t do.  If you think otherwise, go to the primary source and watch the video in question.  I’ve linked to it before.

The stock market looks more rigged and more casino-like every day.

The left is screeching for blood from the right.  The deplatforming continues, and shows no sign of slowing.  People who have been plainspoken in expressing their views are taking steps and spending money to preserve their ability to use their public voice.  There’s no way to scrub your online persona, so you might as well own it, and continue speaking your mind.

You may want to take some steps to cushion any blowback you get if you come to the wrong sort of attention.  Other people are.

And I’ll say plainly, as long as we are ONE NATION, we have ONE National Anthem, and anyone promoting anything else is an agent of subversion.  You want apartheid, you’ll get it.  I don’t think you’ll like it much.

It will get worse.  Keep stacking.

nick

Sun. Feb. 7, 2021 – the post titles rarely match the content

Cool but clear after some misty drizzle and locally spotty rain.

As I drove around yesterday I did hit some pockets of very light drizzle and I could see that some areas were getting heavier rain.    But it was mostly dry for most of Houston.

Got my errands run, did a bit of work at my secondary, but weather and exertion took their toll, and my back was killing me.  When it sends various jabs and pokes, and generally feels like a bundle of glass rods with some cracks and breaks, it’s time to take it a bit easier before I really hurt myself.  Getting old and decrepit is a b!tch.

As a note about how my life works, one of my pickups was three spools of filament for my uPrint 3D printer.  Gnu only knows why, but the proprietary support material, and the ABS filament in the original (chipped) cassettes showed up in an auction.  ~$15 each, when they sell for over $100 on ebay.  Since it’s an old machine, it requires the cassettes and the proprietary filament, which hasn’t been made or sold new in years.  It was really great to get some so cheap.

Plan for today is more stuff around the house, to include prep of the garden beds, but likely NOT planting.  Seems we’re going to get a bit more winter before we really get spring, so I’ll keep the little plants where they won’t freeze until the danger passes.  I guess my laziness busy-ness worked in my favor this time.

Played the Harry Potter version of Clue for family game night.  Really liked it.  It solves some of the problems inherent in the game play of the original, and has a couple of neat additions.   If you like Clue, and are at all fond of Harry Potter, you’ll probably like it.

My ‘rip all the DVDs’ project is continuing apace.  27 discs so far.  Maybe it won’t be next year before I’m done after all.  Next choice is whether to use Plex or something built into windows to serve the streams to appropriate devices…   No hurry on that though.

Listening to the scanner while I’m in my office doing other things and it continues to reveal the techniques, tools, and limitations that the police and other agencies are working with.   It also gives me a lot more information about what is going on around my area.  By no means is it telling me all that is happening, but it reveals stuff you won’t hear from your neighbors.  Listening regularly gives me a baseline too- a sense of operational pace.  Definitely recommended.

Information, skills, people, and stuff.  You need them all.  Get to stacking.

 

nick

Sat. Jan. 30, 2021 – so, still January. Jeez.

Cold and clear, until it rains.   And it will probably rain, just to mess with me.

Yesterday was cool and clear everywhere I went, but I could see the rain coming down HARD in the distance.   Some parts of the Houston area must have been hammered.

Ran my errands.   Have another load of industrial stuff scheduled to drop off on Monday or Tuesday.   Most of my stuff in the last auction did well.  Both auctioneers are happier with the stuff I’m bringing.   Me too for that matter.  Now I just need to get MORE of it to them each time.

If I can I’ll work in the garden today.  I’ve got cleanup and pick ups scheduled though.   Sunday is supposed to be clear so that’s my backup plan.

Got the dog’s ashes back yesterday.   There will need to be some time spent dealing with that, and the family, over the weekend too.  I’m still checking for him every time I walk through the room, or checking that his water dish is full when I walk past that area.  It’s amazing how much energy an 18 pound chihuahua mix can infuse into the house, and how empty it can feel when it’s gone.


Out in the world, the crazy continues to grow and spread.  The government wants to make literally half the country into outlaws and domestic terrorists.   (Funny how we have so many flavors of ‘terrorist’ these days.)  It’s a bit like the constant use of the ‘racist’ label, and I can’t help thinking of the saying, “as well to hang for a sheep as a lamb”.   Be careful what you wish for….

The casino that is the financial markets finally met a card counter they didn’t own, and they’re running scared.   It’s been a house of cards for a long time, and it might finally be crashing down.  This isn’t good by the way.

I saw a meme that kinda lifted a veil so to speak, exposing something I’d internalized that wasn’t true.   For a long time, I’ve been referring people to the election map of the last election BY COUNTY because it shows quite clearly that the majority of the country is red, with only the big cities in blue.  It looks very different from when the whole state is colored in.   The meme (I can’t find again) showed the same map, and said- There are no blue states, only corrupt blue cities in red states.   And just like that, I realized I’d been programmed.  My way of thinking about the issue was framed by someone else in a way that benefited them more than me.  Watch out for that.

We have some time yet before whatever breaks things for real happens.  I don’t know how long, but it’s not infinite.   Keep working to improve your position.   Keep stacking.

 

n

Fri. Jan. 29, 2021 – time to garden

Cool, clear, and windy.  [38F at 6am- so COLD, clear, etc]  It was a bit cool yesterday, especially overnight, but once the sun came out it felt like spring.

And with spring in the air, a young man’s fancy turns to getting a garden in.

But first, I spent all of yesterday at home, except when I drove to school to get child 2.  I hit the Lowe’s on the way home to get some more of the bins I’m using to organize my food storage, and they  had vegetable garden plants.    So I bought a bunch.   They were well stocked on seedlings, and the seed display was full too.  It seems a bit early to me, but I’m going for it.

Sometime this weekend I’ll be planting all that stuff I bought.

This time, I’ll use fresh seeds, and put hardware cloth over all the beds.   I’m hoping for much better results, because then I’ll know what to blame, and how to move forward.   “Gardening” is not my thing.   Trying to grow some food to supplement my stores for my family is.  IE.  it’s not a passion, it’s a chore.  Still, I like to succeed when I try to do something.   So far my successes have been limited.  The learning curve is much steeper than I could have imagined.  Get started on your gardens, even if it’s just planning, and just a couple of pots or a window box.  Grow something.  You’ll be glad you did.

Plan for the day is to continue getting stuff out of the house, continue getting my secondary location cleaned up, and continue with all the other myriad things that take  my attention.   Including some more auction stuff.   I let a ton of stuff go by, but I did snag a couple of useful things.   I am focusing, little by little, on what’s most important.

Time for  a Costco order too.  Instacart, here I come.

Stack it up, flip it, rub it down, oh no, this world’s gonna kill me…  Or something like that.  I am a child of the 80s after all.

Seriously though, start something this weekend that you’ve been meaning to get to.  Time’s a wasting.

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

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