Tues. May 3, 2022 – about to get even busier…

Forecast says “clear” for the next two days at least.   Monday started out very gusty, with spatters of rain while I was putting the kids in the car, but it soon cleared up.   Today should be clear all day, but I’m sure it will be humid and hot.

Because I’ll be doing some work in the attic.   HVAC guy came yesterday and did whatever poking around he needed to do to get the job actually started.  I’ve got a feeling it will be about 80% of what we want, it’s costing more than the luxury system quote from two years ago, and I think the work will be pretty haphazard.   BUT, he got the unit we needed, and the approved ductwork, and the system has been patched and babied along for two extra years past its failure point.   I NEED to get new stuff installed.  And for that to happen, I need to clear space in the attic for them to work.   That will be … difficult and a pain in my sweaty backside.

On top of that, I have the normal weekly stuff to do, and I am supposed to be taking stuff to auction today and tomorrow.   Which probably will not happen if I’m in the attic all day.

I did get a few things done yesterday.  Did a billable half day of work for my client.  AT&T has pushed all the conduit to his property, they just need to get fiber in it, and make the final several hundred foot push to the house.   It looks like they  hope to light up the rest of his neighbors too at some point.   There are lots of drops along the way to his house.

More food got put away.   The $2/pound pork loin got turned into three roasts, and one got eaten for dinner.  The others joined their piggy friends in freezer camp.   I opened a can of cajun style lima beans as a side, didn’t tell anyone what they were besides “beans” and not only did they get eaten, my wife actually called them good.   It must have been the butter and bacon crumbles.

Also got 40 pounds of flour into buckets.  20 pounds per 5 gallon bucket, a paper plate, and a couple of hand warmers to eat the O2.   Those buckets will go to the BOL.  My wife notably didn’t say anything about the 40 pounds of flour sitting in the living room until I could pack it.   I think she’s coming around to the idea of shortages.  It would be hard not to given the news and predictions from every direction.  Yet there will be people crying that ‘nobody told us’.   I’M telling you, there will be shortages, and some people are going to be very hungry, both here, and pretty much everywhere else.   Dust Bowl, Great Depression, soup kitchen levels of hungry, only without the civility of a homogeneous society.  That last point should be top of your mind too.

Ammo prices have come down slightly and availability has increased.  I’m even seeing sales on large quantities.  Some places have complete uppers for sale again too.  If you’ve been waiting, this is as good a time as any.

ATF has new rules ready to go into effect.   We may be facing whatever comes with what we’ve got.   And something bad, really bad, is coming.   The DHS created a department to police thought and word.   That’s how far we’ve come, and the direction we’re going.  They didn’t ‘float a trial balloon.’  They created it and staffed it.  Just like that.  With no lead up or indication ahead of time.  Once we’re on a war footing, even the token resistance from conservatives will be stifled in the name of the war effort.  It’s all happened before, it can happen again.

So stack it high. And hide it well.  You’ll need it.

 

nick

 

Mon. May 2, 2022 – so there I was, no sh!t…..

Pretty much the same as yesterday, lots of humidity, some small amount of moisture from the sky, and some sun to keep things a bit too hot… that’s my forecast anyway.  It would be nice if the rain held off.

Stayed in Houston this weekend despite having been away from the BOL too long, and having stuff up there that needs to be done.

So I was motivated to work my list here at home.

Got the wall closed up where the water heater used to be.  It’s just temporary, because we’ll need to get back in there when the house gets re-piped with pex.  And in theory, there will be a cabinet in front of the wall patch so you can’t even see it.  It will probably be the same as now in 5 years, if I’m honest about it.

Got the bird netting up over my blueberry <s>bushes</s>  sticks.  I’ve got berries on a couple of the plants already, so it was time.   That net is so nasty to work with, it gets stuck on literally everything and you can barely see or feel it.  We don’t think of netting as a weapon, but the Romans used nets in the Colosseum.   I think there might be a use for stronger netting inside a fence, for example, as a defensive measure.   You’re gonna get tangled up but good, especially if you don’t expect it to be there.

Got one raised bed cleaned up, two bags of dirt added, and zukes and peas planted.   Got another cleaned up, added the two bags of dirt, but they were wet and mucky so I’ll wait to plant until today or tomorrow when it’s dried out a bit.   I removed and potted several ‘volunteer’ trees from the bed.   I’m pretty sure they are the ornamental chinese cherry we have along the fence, and if they survive, I’ll find somewhere to put them.

I’ve got one more raised bed to clean up and plant, and I’ll save a couple of ‘volunteer’ oak saplings from that bed too.   I’ve got space for trees at the BOL.

Did some weeding, pruned the apple tree.   The peach needs some pruning too.   I cut all the dead branches out of the potted grapefruit and got rid of the dead lime.  There is room for another raised bed on the side of the house now that the orange and grapefruit trees are gone.  I’ll have to think a bit about that.  I have some plastic tubs that would make good beds but they look bad.  It’s basically next to the neighbor’s driveway and right outside their kitchen window so I have to consider the appearance out of neighborliness.

Wife and child returned from camp, much dirty laundry was piled on the machines.  Both of them had a good time.


This week will be more catch-up locally, and pickup of some more stuff for the BOL.  It’s mostly lighting this time, but also a gas powered chainsaw.   There are some big limbs and trees that need to come down at the BOL.   I have a dozen non-running saws, and it’s time to just buy a new one that doesn’t need fixing.   I have enough projects.

Speaking of projects, I picked up a 12v fan for a car radiator for $6.   I have been picking up 12v stuff when it’s cheap and useful.  It will go in the pile of “solar system” stuff.   Seems like a good idea to have some things that run on 12v natively if we ever end up on the solar for any length of time.

Along those lines, I’ve been rotating my charger and topping up all my random 12v batteries this weekend.  I have a matched set of three that stay connected to a smart charger/maintainer, but I also have a bunch that I’ve been lax about charging.  They are big industrial lead acid batteries that I got at auction a year or more ago.  They’ll be part of the solar project if I can find a reliable charge controller for the right price.  I’ll keep rotating through them all of this week.

There’s always more to do.

The title is a classic form of story telling, common to soldiers, cops, and others who were in the right place to get a good tale…  I’m sure there must be some good stories out there… this being the anniversary week of the Rodney King Riots in LA.   They were one of the formative events in my prepping journey.  Watching the city burn from your front porch while the smoke blows in through the door will focus your attention on safety and security issues like very few other things could.  Lots of people were ready, I was not.  I didn’t have enough guns or ammo, something I never really want to feel again.

Stack something today.  One or all of the ‘three Bs’, a skill, or a contact, doesn’t matter, just DO it.

n

 

Sun. May 1, 2022 – a day of rest. Oh, who am I kidding?

Moderate temps today with some chance of light rain.  So someone in Houston will be getting rain, I hope it’s not me.   Saturday was humid but otherwise very nice.   I am glad for the extra bit of Spring before the heat of Summer kicks in.

Did my dad duties, did some shopping for the garden and to close the wall where there water heater used to be.  Did some cleanup around the house, but really should have done more.

Wife and D1 will be home late this morning.  I’m planning to sleep in as long as possible.

Then I’ll do some more household chores and cleanup.  I should have a few minutes to dump the bags of dirt onto the raised beds and get the potted plants into the ground.  I’m going with a minimum here this spring as it’s already a bit late.  Peppers, zukes, cukes, small watermelons, and some beans if I can remember correctly.  The small pots that were $3.83 each last year are almost $5 this year.  Even the cashier at Home Depot asked me if I was sure I wanted that many plants…   But I use AMEX rewards for the garden expenses, so I was sure.   My wife already put in a couple of tomato plants, the collards are  from last year, and the herbs are either new or from last year too.  Gardening work is predicated on no or little rain of course.

I really need to get up to the lake and get the garden going.  I’ve got other stuff I need to do up there, and there are at least two pickups full of stuff waiting to go up.  The latest load includes an armchair, and a wheelbarrow, along with some long term storage food.   On the one hand, since we have a ton of work to do, we don’t want a ton of stuff in the way.  On the other, it’s piling up here, and needs to move.   On the gripping hand, I’m much more comfortable getting some back up stuff up there.

Diversification of location.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Supply chain is getting worse.   The shutdowns in Shanghai should start showing up in delays pretty soon.  Don’t get caught flat footed.  Stack what you need.

nick

 

 

Tues. Apr. 26, 2022 – everyone should know how to tell at least one good joke, and a couple of bad ones…

Cooler and wet today as a followup to yesterday.   It did finally rain yesterday.   It was about 3pm when it finally hit my neighborhood.  Temps dropped 10 degrees and the wind picked up.   We had some pretty hard rainfall, and the gutters filled up.   My gauge says only 0.43 inches, but it certainly seemed like more.

It was raining cats and dogs by the lake, so countrygirl begged off delivering my crazy thick and heavy fence pipes.  I’m ok with that.   Whenever they get there, I’m not ready for them anyway.   I did spend some time looking over the old victory garden stuff to see if it would help me plan my garden.   I have an approach, if not an actual plan… and maybe it will refine itself over time.  Still no word from septic or structure guys.   At home, we can’t seem to get an HVAC guy to replace our system now.  Waited too long maybe, because they aren’t calling back.  We’ve got a short window before it gets really hot up in the attic again, so I’d think they would be anxious to get as much done before then as they could.  Maybe they are, and I’m just not on their list.

I also did not get anything done with my pickup not starting.

I did play a couple of games of backgammon with D2 before having to pick up D1 from school.  She’s got afterschool activities going on, so I get to be the taxi.  Looking back, I can’t believe the amount of driving my dad did to pick me up from MY afterschool activities.  My high school wasn’t close to our house at all, and there was a lot of snow and ice involved during the winter.  It explains why I got a license and a car at 16.  Also why I had so many tickets and wrecks.


Today will be some prepping, as I’ve got meat to repack and freeze.  Then some auction stuff if it’s dry enough for me to pull stuff out of the storage unit, and if the pickup truck is running to take the stuff to the auctioneer.  Then some pickups that are all things for the BOL.   Busy day in other words, although some may slip if it’s wet.

I’m trying to stack all the things.   For some reason, a bunch of auguson farms 30 day buckets have been in the auctions here.  I’ve gotten 2 so far.   They are not worth the money as they are very low calorie per day, and pretty much all plant based, and mostly carbs and sugar from what I can see.  Still, at the price I paid, they are a decent addition to my long term stores.  In other words, half retail or less.

Stack it up, it’s changing fast.  And not for the better.

n

 

Mon. Apr. 25, 2022 – birthday and anniversary this week

National forecast says we might be getting some rain today and tomorrow… which I’m hoping against.  I’ve got stuff to do that needs dry weather.   It was 76F and 91%RH when I went to bed.

I did some stuff Sunday.  Mostly fled the house and the squealing of tiny proto females.   Did two pickups, both mainly for my non-prepping hobby.   Did daddy daughter stuff, then wasted time on the internet with my friends. Oh, and during that time the dog ate an unknown quantity of Easter chocolate and caused some concern and an attempt at making him vomit it up.  The little poop factory eats aluminum soda cans, a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide didn’t phase him.  He’s still alive so I guess he didn’t eat too much of the chocolate.

Today’s plan is to figure out what’s gone wrong with my pickup truck, get some bins of stuff ready for auction, and do a pickup or two of BOL stuff.  Rain complicates all of that tremendously so I’m hoping it misses us.

I’ve got so much going on this week, swim team practices start, D2 has a birthday, I have a wedding anniversary, and all the normal things too.  It’s crazy.


Some comments at the end of the day yesterday regarding supply chain, food, and corn.  If you haven’t caught up, take a minute and read them and consider how they’ll affect you if it happens that way.

Beyond local and national farm issues, the brutal lockdown in China is backing up shipping and supply chain like crazy.  The effects will start showing up in a couple of weeks and it will take months to un-flock this clustered mess.  Expect anything coming from or through China, and particularly Shanghai to be delayed or unavailable, possibly for months.

The situation is worsening folks, in just about any way you look at it.  I know, I know.   Sky is falling yet again.  Yep.  Look at the material and make your own conclusions.  If you decide it’s overblown, then at least you’ve considered it, and didn’t just keep running forward with your eyes closed.

If like me and others, you see all the signs pointing to things getting worse, not better, ACT on that.  Take actions that work for you and your family and for your financial situation.  I’m still in “don’t do anything irrevocable” mode, but we did turn a whole pile of cash into a whole pile of bricks and dirt because my wife agrees that inflation is eating our savings like a fat man at a buffet.

Interest rates are rising.  They’ve already risen.   If you are selling a house, do the deal.  If rates rise too much the housing bubble will pop again.  If you are buying a place to live, and it’s within your means, know that you might end up underwater on your loan for a while, and that might limit you for a few years or longer.  I wouldn’t be buying any place as an “investment” and I wouldn’t be entering into an adjustable rate mortgage at the moment either… nor would I ‘stretch’ to make a purchase that is outside what I can safely afford.  If I was renting, I’d be looking at long term leases to lock in monthly payments.  If I was the owner, I’d be looking at short term leases as much as possible.

Also consider what these changes and trends mean for fixed incomes and government assistance programs and the people dependent on them.   Food shortages almost always lead to riots.     In other words, I expect violence and lawlessness to increase.  It will be variable by area, but everyone will be affected.   And people will be fleeing to your safe semi-rural area when the cities get worse.  They’ve already started.

Time to really get busy getting ready.   Suck it up and stack it up.

n

Mon. Apr. 18, 2022 – time is flying by…

Time and tide wait for no man.   Or wo-man.

Supposed to be clear today, with moderate to warm temps.   Humidity will probably be Houston normal.  I’m going to wish we’d gotten more done in the attic before too long…

And more done on the bathroom, and more done in the garage, and more done with the garden.

Garden is my focus today.   I’m really starting to  fret over food.   I took a good look at the ag extension garden recommendations and I am late for getting the garden in in Houston.  I’m on time for the BOL, but both locations would do better with transplants than seeds.   I feel like I need to get something in the ground, even though it might not be ideal.

At the lake the area I rototilled is about 20ft x 30ft.   It’s on a slight slope and the rows need to be across the slope.  Unfortunately, that is 90 degrees to how I’d want them based on the sun.  Instead of one row of this and one row of that, I’ll have to change plants as the row goes along, because of height and hours of sunlight.  Well, to be optimal for sun I’d have to, but I might just do the rows anyway.   It’s gonna come down to what’s tallest and does it block the next row…

Since fencing has gone up to crazy high costs, I’ve been watching my auctions for substitutes or “creative” things I can use.   I won two lots of fencing last night.  They are 4 foot tall lightweight metal grid panels, and are intended to keep kids out of an in-ground pool.   They should work to fence in the garden.  I might even just add a wire above the fence to help keep the deer out.  I’ll have to keep watching for more to completely fence it in.   Until I can get the fence set, I’ll just put metal hardware cloth over the rows to keep the grazers from nibbling, and the diggers from eating the seeds.

I got a quote from the auction to deliver the remainder of my pipes, and I’m taking them up on the offer.   It’s almost break even between the trailer and the gas, and it saves me a solid 4 hours of life, and a special trip up there.  It pushes the cost of the pipe up, but still FAR less than retail and they are crazy heavy and strong compared to normal fencing.  So much to strong that it will be a waste to use them as fence posts but it’s what I have.

Here at home I need to get some transplants into the beds.   My wife misunderstood my request and threw out my sprouted heirloom potatoes, so that won’t be going in, unless lowes has some in stock.   The rest will probably be beans and peppers in different varieties.  Some will be root veg if I can find space.  It won’t be enough for more than a few dinners but it is something.    And hey, yesterday’s dinner included a pound of collard greens from last year’s plants, which are doing great and have taken over a whole bed.  Last year’s asparagus just bolted this year.  Not one stalk graced my plate.

It would be nice to re-plant my “window boxes” hanging on the fence, but I might not get to them.

The blueberry bushes are setting leaves and flowers, so I need to get them back under their bird netting.

The potted lime did not come back with spring.   The potted grapefruit did though.   The apple tree is budding, the peach has leaves coming in.   The well established orange, grapefruit, and Meyer lemon were killed by last year’s freeze.  I’ve decided not to replant them.   Other than the Meyer lemon, they are too hard to keep alive in the cold.   I think we’re headed into long term cooling not warming, so planting cold-sensitive citrus is foolish.

Both varieties of grape vine died back to the ground with the big freeze, but both look like they are still alive.   The green grape variety has always been stronger and faster to grow, and it is already climbing back up the arbor.    The red is not vigorous, so we’ll see what it does this year before the caterpillars come.  In any case, no grapes this year no matter how crazy the vines are.

I’ve got some tree pruning to do too.    Kids are home today, but wife is at work.  We’ll see how much, if any, help I get.

 

Get your garden started.   Get your pantry filled.   Get some of it offsite and secret and safe.  Stack it high.

nick

Fri. Apr. 15, 2022 – Good Friday

Clear and cool at the BOL.  Houston is on the edge of a system and may get rain.  I’ll be here for at least a few hours today.  I’ve got pickups in Conroe (one hour south) and La Porte (hour and a half south and east.)

 

I was going to do the pickups on the way home, but now my wife and kids are supposed to be headed out here for an overnight and work party.  Dang family, complicates everything.  (KIDDING!)  I should have picked up the La Porte items on the way here, since they are for here, but didn’t have the time.  I’ll be making time now….

It really has been too nice up here not to share.  Leaving aside that every toilet flush might be the last…in the previous 10 days it seems to have drained somewhat.  No idea how much until it backs up again though.

The joys of rural living.

And of providing your own infrastructure.  But, needs must and all that.

So stack up some knowledge and skills.  You’ll need it.

nick

Fri. Feb. 18, 2022 – you load 16 tons and whadda ya get???

Cold today.  Yesterday was rainy in the morning, but dried up and got hot in the afternoon. Temps  started dropping in the late afternoon and it was down to 42F at 11pm.  Wind was variable but quite gusty.  Stuff was blowing around in the yard and driveway. Today is supposed to be cold with overcast.  Joy.

Did my pickups.  Got some stuff for the BOL.   Got some stuff for this household.   Picked up a couple of small things to resell to pay for the rest and one item for my hobby.

Got stuff to donate to school.  White man’s burden?  Noblesse oblige?  Can’t call it either, but in our district they definitely expect parents with the means to step up and contribute in some way to the schools and the district in general and there isn’t a lot of diversite’ above certain income levels.   It’s not just income though, it’s free time and the ability to work at something effectively.  The loss of the fraternal service organizations and their ‘women’s auxiliary’ and the womens service clubs was a nearly fatal blow to US society and western culture.  “Moms’ Clubs” and other informal groups are stepping up, but they lack the continuity and structure of the old groups.  The transition from high trust to low trust is everywhere and increasingly common.

Stuff for the BOL is piling up.   I need to close so we can start moving stuff out of my spaces and out to the country.  Unfortunately,  unless the title company pulls their head out of their backside, I don’t think we’ll be closing on Monday.

There is the additional macroeconomic consideration too.  We transferred a bunch of money into one place, in preparation for buying the BOL.  Now Canada has gone and said they will seize bank accounts if they feel like it.   That SHOULD cause a bank run.  There is some suggestion that at least a low key bank run is happening.  A real bank run could cause widespread damage and disruption worldwide, but certainly in their largest trading partner, the US.    So, I want to get the transaction done without delay, so as to avoid getting screwed if the banks shut down.

And all of the vehicles need maintenance of some kind.  Ranger and Expy need oil changes.   Expy is going to need new front brake pads soon.  Wife’s minivan probably needs everything…  it never ends.

The house still needs all the stuff it needed a couple of months ago, with the only exception being that the water heater is installed and making hot water.   Not completely installed, or anywhere near finished, but installed.

After a month or two of feeling resigned, I feel like fighting again.   Not rested, but going back at it anyway.

I’m stacking, hopefully the right things, and you should be too.

 

N

 

(and congrats to everyone that is, Mr Lynn, Mr Atoz, and anyone else who is trying out a prep, or stacking.)

Thur. Jan. 27, 2022 – making progress, and yet falling behind…

Cold again, with more damp.  Maybe getting to the low 60s like yesterday.  We had occasional sun, but mostly overcast, and I expect the same today.

Spent the morning doing email and phone calls.  Actual talking to people.  I know, how strange.  Had to call the insurance people and get a quote for the new house.  NOT cheap as it turns out.  Also spoke with them about the work on my Ranger (I can still get it done if I can find the time) and the burglary at my storage unit.    Then I spent some time on the phone with the county clerk in Houston County.  She was able to pull the deed history for my new properties, and the boundary descriptions.   It’s pretty cool to go back  to the original land grant, Ramon De La Garza in this case.  Only took a couple of steps.  And I confirmed that the mineral rights were separated from the land rights before it became a subdivision.  Most of the area was in timber production prior to the ’70s, and there is still a lot of timber in the area.  She printed old scans to a pdf, emailed them to me, and I was good to go.  She was apologetic that it cost $1/page.  The $5 is the smallest bill I’ll pay in this process, I’m pretty sure.

So I made some progress on something.   We completed the sales contract and got it back to the seller, and hope to close on the 21st of Feb.

Didn’t make any progress on getting more stuff to auction.  I’ll have to email the newest auctioneer and try to get some stuff placed with him.  I need to get some bins filled from the burgled unit too.   Today I’ll do something, so I don’t fall farther behind.

Girl Scout cookies arrive next week and the house needs to be clear for that.

I did get some needful things and some good stuff for the house and the new place too.

The seed display had a LOT of good veggies and tons of flowers in it.  I think I’ll scatter a bunch of the flowers at the new place.  Most of the veg were varieties I haven’t tried and failed with yet, so I’ll give them a try too.   The seeds sold 4 packets for a dollar.  I never saw any that cheap before, and the label says they have the same number of seeds as the other guys… wonder if they’ll germinate and what the rate will be.  It’ll be ‘science-y’ content for sure 🙂

That’s that for today, I better actually get some stuff done.

So I can stack some other things that will help more.

n

 

Sun. Jan. 23, 2022 – 01232022 – silly, I know.

Cold and clear.  Was 34F when I went to bed.  Didn’t get very warm during the day, probably won’t today either. Pretty sure we froze at some point, but I’ve got the citrus indoors, and I’m hoping nothing is negatively affected.

Did some more cleanup on the old family pc.  I’d previously upgraded it with an SSD and it breathed new life, along with making the RAM and adding a second drive for data… but the main reason for retiring it (technically anyway, the real reason was the newer $8 pc I picked up) was that the SSD was full and it’s a pain to manage where stuff goes on it.

Well.  I killed more than half the drive’s capacity which was taken up with LOG FILES from failed updates.  150GB of pure crap was filling the drive.  And windows ‘drive cleanup’ tool doesn’t even look for the files.  WinDirStat identified the biggest files, and where they were, and I deleted them.  Just like that the PC is usable again.   I went looking because windows update was failing with useless error messages.  It sure looked to me like the updates were failing when they tried to make a restore point, because the drive was full.

After making space, update found 23 more updates to apply under ‘safety and security’, so I did those and it updated without an issue.  Freaking windows storing cr@p and failing with useless errors.

Now I’ve got to look for the same sorts of things on this, my primary desktop.  I bet it’s full of cruft too.

— spent the evening watching Bukaroo Bonsai with D1.  She laughed and enjoyed it.

The at bedtime we had a long philosophical discussion.   Kid’s smart but since we’re not religious, she doesn’t  have a framework she can fit the more mystical workings of the universe into…  And old movies give us plenty to discuss regarding PC language, wokeness, and changing times.  She’s anti-wokeness.  The kids are starting to back lash against it.  They’re tired of saying the opposite of what their eyes tell them.  Interesting times.

Took some stuff to my secondary, and spent some time stacking stuff on a pallet for auction.   Monday I’ll be talking to another auction company about consigning a truck full of stuff with them.  They definitely do ‘estate sale’ type stuff, and it sells, if not always for highest dollar.   They just moved to a bigger, and empty warehouse space so the time to strike is now.

Ordered some powdered cream for the stacks.   It was finally back in stock.   The powdered cream, butter, and cheese all do age out.  They get hard and lumpy, and get an ‘old’ flavor, so I need to rotate them, even if it means wasting them.  I won a ‘seed display’ in one auction too.  It looks like it’s about half flowers, half veg.  We’ll see if it was worth the money when I pick it up.  Seeds aren’t cheap.

Don’t forget to stack up  the little things that make all the other things better, like butter and cream.   Stack the things.

 

nick