Wed. Dec. 30, 2020 – sooooo close….

Cool and wet is the forecast, with rain throughout the day.  If so I’ll work on inside stuff.   There is plenty of it.

Yesterday I did some errands, the biggest of which was getting a large 3d printer out of my friend’s workspace.  It was an inkjet and powder type, and we weren’t going to be able to run it anyway, so when the original purchaser called with his sob story, I agreed to get it back to him.  That generosity led to a bunch of messing around and time wasted.

Eating donuts for lunch took me out for a bit over an hour too.  Then off to pick up some auction stuff, mainly PPEs.   N95s in very battered packaging are showing back up in the auctions, a box at a time, and are selling for reasonable amounts, $1-$2 per mask.  I’m set for a while yet, so I’m buying respirator cartridges if the price is right.  Gloves and eye pro too.   In austere conditions protecting what you’ve got is more important than trying to heal afterward.

Throughout a long career working with my hands, I haven’t been that big on wearing gloves for ordinary work.   That is changed now.  The molded grippy rubber coated stretch fabric gloves give a high degree of dexterity, while still giving cushioning and cut protection.  I wear them for any job where I’m touching metal and can cut or nick myself.  There are so many choices now, that you can find a glove engineered for whatever task you are faced with.  I still have some goatskin leather ‘drivers’ for jobs like swinging an ax or sledge hammer, but for everything else, there’s probably a better choice.    The anti-vibration gloves made a HUGE difference in my comfort while running the pressure washer all day.

Eye pro should be a no-brainer.  I have clear, amber and grey tints with and without ‘reader’ or ‘cheater’ lenses in the bottom, yellow for high contrast, and goggle types for chemical use.  I’ve got mesh shields for chainsawing and clear shields for metal and wood working.  I’ve got lots of spares, and lots of cleaning solution and wipes.  I think I can check gloves and eye pro off my list for a while.

That is one of the main ways I approach prepping.  In addition to ordinary stacking, I’ll focus on a specific area ‘while the getting is good’.  Usually I keep acquiring the items for a bit too long.  It’s been that way with storage batteries and gloves and eye pro for the last couple of months.  The stuff was on my list, and it came available, so I’ve been a buyer.  I prefer that method to trying to fill the list at a particular time.  I save a bunch of money by waiting for it to come to me, but it does take longer.   Of course, being me, I had stuff in all those categories, just not as much.  Enough to meet an initial or short term need, but not ‘bulk’.  Now I’ve got some depth to the shelf.   I will keep looking for batteries and charge controllers, and I wouldn’t say no to cheap solar panels.

Whatever your list looks like, start filling in gaps.  Get something in each category,then start building depth.  Food, water, shelter, defense, health and hygiene, comms, education and reference, entertainment and morale, any other that suits you.  Evaluate what you already have, you might be surprised, then build on that.

Keep stacking.

 

nick

Sat. Dec. 26, 2020 – Boxing Day. And counting down to the New Year.

Cool and damp-ish.  Supposed to be clear though.

Yesterday was cold to  start but got up into the 70s by mid-afternoon.  It was 44F at midnight.

Spent Christmas with the family.  Lots of good gifts were exchanged.  I got an ESR tester, and an LCR tester.  Those will bring my electronics troubleshooting  ability up a notch.  The LCR tester will measure values for coils and chokes which are common in radio projects.  That should be helpful if I ever get the time to work on stuff.

I got a set of Surefire Ear Defenders.  I usually use 3M foam ear plugs, but these are reusable, and cut loud and percussive sounds more than quiet sounds.  They were effective and comfortable for all the blowing I did yesterday.   They seem to do what they promise.  I’ll have to try them at the range, if I get to the range again.

In the list of things I’ve gotten in the last year or that lasted through it that are really cool/useful/actually work  –  the inductive desk charger for my phone is a joy to use.  Plugging in a phone nightly isn’t hard.  It does wear out your port, but it’s not HARD, so spending $18 or more on a charger dock seems unnecessary.   However, it works and it’s super convenient.  I won’t buy another phone without it built in.

I really like my Toro battery powered lawn mower.   I wish it walked just a bit faster, but it works, it’s quiet, and it doesn’t use up my stored gas.  The battery will self discharge so pull it if you go weeks between uses.

I’ve got more than a dozen kindles, but I use the backlit paperwhite most often.  The reading experience is great.  If you only get one, that’s the one to get for reading books.

My EDC flashlight is a Pelican 1920 two AAA battery light.  I love how it feels in the hand, the brightness is great, battery life is good with eneloops.   The endcap switch rubber cover can tear.   Still recommended.

I love my Dewalt 20v liON leaf blower.  It’s small, hand held, has 3 speeds and a VSR trigger.  I use it most days to clear the porch, blow leaves out of the garage, or to blow hair, dust, and debris out of the house.  5AH battery is a must.

Having 4 and 5AH LiON dewalt batteries and the 18v tool battery adapter lets me finally use my battery angle grinder, sawzall, and circular saw as I wanted to from the beginning.   If you own dewalt 18v NiMH tools that you like, get some 20v LiON batteries/charger and the adapter.  New life for old tools.  Ditto if you have Milwaukee or other good NiMH tools.  Look for the adapter and appropriate LiON batteries.

I have a grease storage tank/bin on the kitchen counter.  I’ve linked to it on amazon before.  I love cooking with bacon grease, and love that I’m saving it for reuse.  Very convenient.

The last for now is maybe a bit odd.  I have a little mini swing top trash can on my bathroom counter.  They sell them for use on coffee bars or in bathrooms.   I use breathe*rite strips at night.  The strips have a bandaid type shiny paper outer cover, but they also have two little paper strips to cover the adhesive.  The paper strips go everywhere when you toss them toward a trashcan.  The used breatherite strip is still sticky and will end up stuck to everything, so I peal open the outer cover, leave it on the counter, and peal the two paper strips.  The paper strips go into the little trash can.  In the morning, I stick the used strip to the outer paper envelop, then throw that into the little can.  That little can made a big difference in my bathroom so even though it’s an odd little thing, I’m recommending it.  Those are the only things I put into it.

I figure I need to do an actual prepping post sometime soon.  Maybe it will just be a link roundup, or maybe I’ll manage to write something new.  Either way, if there’s anything anyone wants to hear more about, let me know in a comment.

In the absence of orders, keep stacking the stuff you use all the time.  Can’t go wrong with that.

nick

Sat. July 25, 2020 – so tired and still stuff to do

Hot and humid, storms on the way.

Yesterday stayed pretty darn hot until late in the day.  Here at the house they got a huge rainstorm, but it didn’t last and the humidity dropped enough that the streets dried off.  I was south east and east, and I missed all but a smattering of the rain.  Traffic was very light for Friday at 4pm.

I did get a couple of things done, but really, not much.  Today I’ll be running around and picking up stuff for the house.  Did I mention that my wife figured out I can buy stuff for her and the house?? I think I might have mentioned it…

It lets me buy preps too, so I should quit b!tching, even in fun.

Speaking of which, 37.5 pounds of metal and chemistry is headed my way.  Still more in stock according to the email I got…   If you have a commie rifle, you can still feed it, if you haven’t already stocked up.   Everyone thinks they have enough guns-until the zombies come….

More likely we’ll be short food and meds, but hey, you can’t keep either if you can’t defend yourself.   Although I think the best tool might be a small tool with a suppressor.  Even a big tool with a suppressor is better than no suppressor.  IDK if there is any chance of getting your stamp under the current conditions, but you might want to consider it.   I have and wish I’d started the process.  I’d probably have one today if I had just taken that first step.

Which brings us to the heart of prepping.  TAKE THE STEP.  Whether that is stacking stuff, taking some classes, or getting out and meeting some new people, do it.   Get ready to take that ham licensing test.  Get those gunsmithing dvds.  Order something with a long lead time.  Take the step.  Start the journey.

 

Keep stacking.

nick

 

Wed. July 22, 2020 – some days I’m my own worst enemy

Hot and wet.  No, there is no joke about my likes or dislikes there, definitely not.  Nope.  Definitely not.

Yesterday was actually not so bad, on the roasted by the sun, steamed by the swamp scale.  It was actually cool most of the morning and only slightly hot in the afternoon.  So was I slaving away in my garage and driveway?  No, I was not.  SHOULD I have been?  Yes.  Yes I should have been.

Got stuff done, just not what I’d set for myself.  I did finally deliver an ebay item sold back in February.   Nice guy.  Moving from Oceanside in  Cali to Lake Conroe.  Plans to spend the rest of his days there.   Now I’ve got an open spot on a shelf, better fill it with something.  OH, I just picked up another pair of vintage speakers?  WTH is wrong with me?  They are selling though, so there is that.  Not much else is.

And so, I set myself up for today’s tasks.   Work, freezer, work, pickups, freezer, garage, maybe put the half a squirrel in the trash, cook dinner… or I could combine some of those tasks.  Hmm.  Which ones?

It is the zombie apocalypse and we all need to learn new skills, right?

Speaking of selling, this is the time when you get out those cheap steel cased rounds, and the $324 PSA AR-15s and sell sell sell………   remember the ones you bought just so you could flip them when prices went up?  But now you don’t WANT to sell them.  You figure you might need them at some point.  YOU were smart and got them cheap and stocked up, so now you’re covered, and why would you sell when there aren’t any replacements?  What if things go pear shaped?  Then you’ll wish you had the black rifles and not the worthless fiat bux…….. Or is it just me?

Ammo Depot had 762 in stock and shipping yesterday morning.  They still had some late last night.  It was roughly 27c/rd.   They are showing some 223, at roughly $1/rd unless you want steel jacket, and even that is 40c/rd.  Score one for the commie gun in the black rifle internet flame wars.  Zombie apocalypse lite happens and your barbie gun goes hungry but your re-shaped shovel from krapistan is still affordable…  Don’t delay, order some today…

No idea why my brain is where it’s at, but there is still time to stock up on some things.   Body armor might be a smart choice, if you’ve got everything else taken care of…

No matter what it is, you probably don’t have enough if things really go sideways.

Keep stacking.

 

nick

 

(did I mention I tipped the AAA service guy with a few N95 masks?  It felt…. very strange.  The world is changing around us.)

 

Wed. May 13, 2020 – Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday this month

Rainy and wet. [so wrong, 76F and sun is out]

Yesterday was nice, but humid. Really humid compared to the last couple of days. We got actual rain too, after dinner and sporadically all night.

I did get some stuff done, but no where near what I would have liked. I’ll keep chipping away at it though.

I did receive checks from my auction of the full face PAPR respirators. Made decent money on them. They went at slightly more than my low estimate. Also got paid for some items I couldn’t ebay. It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was money.

Dinner was elk roast. Details in last night’s comments. The central part of the roast was very similar to an eye round beef roast. The cooking, texture, and taste were very similar. Sides were the heat and eat shelf stable bread, and the root veg from the roasting pan. Dessert was Easter candy. I found a half bag of chocolate candy left over from Easter. Hooray!

I mention it in comments yesterday, but I’ll repeat it here. Wound care uses a LOT of supplies… even something as simple as a badly scraped knee. I restocked my medicine cabinet with wound wash, and kerlix from the deeper stores, but then went online to buy more. Some of what I wanted was out of stock everywhere but the arbitrageurs on ebay, and they were short. There were substitutes, but I’m taking it as a sign that things are tight. Supply chains are still disrupted, and demand might be higher than normal.

Check your stock of normal things that aren’t food. Do you have bandaids? Razor blades? Cosmetics and soaps? Gauze, nonstick pads, wrap, tape? Wound cleaning liquids? How about sewing supplies? Got needles and thread? Fusible liner? You might need to repair your high speed low drag web gear if the zombies beat you up. Is there something you usually just order when you need it? Time to check and see if it’s available.

Do you have some repair supplies in general? Crazy glue in different viscosities? Shoe Goo? 5 minute epoxy? Wood glue? Duct tape? Cellotape? Electrical tape? If we really are headed into a big downturn, repair and reuse is going to be important. How about expendables for your vehicles/mowers/garden tools like wipers, belts, air/oil/gas filters, a replacement pull rope? Oil, additives, Sta-bil?

Flints for lighters, butane, lighter fluid? Baling wire? Twine?

Further down the list but important, this home isolation looks like it will be continuing for a while yet, even if things don’t go to sh!t. Do you have playing cards, board games, dice? How about a Hoyle’s book of card games? Pens, pencils, paper? Art supplies? Software to replace something you play online? (My dad loved to play spyder solitaire on the pc, but win10 made it online only. I had to figure out how to install the games pack from win7 so he could play what he was familiar with.) Wife got out the watercolors and did some painting with the girls today for ‘art class”. We love puzzles, so I buy them at Goodwill if they are unopened. The mom’s club in the neighborhood has a puzzle swap going on for those who were not prepared. I find puzzles to be very soothing.

There’s a million things our grandparents or even parents would have kept on hand, just to save a trip to the store, if for no other reason. Think about your tool box or junk drawer, or anything you’d like to do if you had some extra time on your hands. Might want to get that stuff now, if you have the time and funds, and your “sustain life” stuff is all in order.

I’ve got to stop slacken and get back to stackin’…

nick

Wed. Mar. 4, 2020 – more to do, time is short

Warm and wet.

Yesterday started in the high 60s and warmed up throughout the day. No rain for me though.

I picked up some extra food, OTC meds, and cleaners. Hospital grade and they have that smell… I hope I never have to use them.

But I suspect I will.

My wife and I both try to avoid carbs as much as we can so we’ve gotten out of the habit of eating potatoes, with the occasional exception for the little colorful heirloom ones or tiny reds roasted. But some of you will have noted that I’ve bought over 100 pounds of potatoes in the last couple of days. I’ve bought a bunch of onions too. Other than rice, I can’t think of anything as cheap, versatile, durable, and tasty as the potato. Combined with onion and a fat, it can be cooked in dozens of ways from simple baked to fried, mashed, twice baked, with additives, or even raw. 100 pounds for $35. 100 meals for 35USD and it will store for 100 days if kept cool and dry. Go get you some!

As a taste of what’s to come, I thin sliced a few, and saute’d them in bacon fat with sweet onion and served them with dinner. Kids ate them up and oldest daughter complimented me and asked for more. Low carb prepping is hard. It can be done, but it’s expensive. The bulk of my “bulk” stored food is not low carb. It is what it is, and at the very least, I can give it away if not needed. If needed, I’ll enjoy the flavors of the forbidden carbs….

Keep stacking folks. If you don’t need it you can celebrate that it missed us… if you do need it you’ll be glad you had it. Remember Italy. They went to bed on a normal day and work up under quarantine. When it happens it will be sudden and unwelcome and probably completely unexpected.

nick

Tues. Oct. 22, 2019 – work, work, work…

Hot and wet? Could be, but it was beautiful by the end of the daylight hours yesterday. Sun came out, temps were held down, and the clear blue sky was great. Even had some pretty pinks and reds at dusk.

Picked up some of my auction items. Lots of parts for various build projects are piling up in the garage.

I’ll probably never get to them. Oh well, I’ll have them there if I need them.

Hit the Costco run yesterday and spent a bunch more than usual. Didn’t get bulk, but did pile a bunch of stuff in the cart. Sometimes my self-discipline sucks. I hope I do better at the grocery store today.

Rain delayed and shifted some of my plans so there is a cascade effect. Running around doing pickups added to that.

I’ve got my school volunteer days on Wed. and Thur. so I really need to get ahead of the curve.

Lots of yard decor to do too, but that falls down the list with each day.

nick

Sun. Sept. 29, 2019 – donuts!

79f and saturated at 9am.

Wife and child have returned from an overnight GS thing. They brought an extra child home with them. And donuts, so that was OK… (someone will pick up extra child at some point. I hope.)

Sunny day and lots to do, and I’m just getting up. Lazy. That’s me. I better get started.

n

Monday, 18 July 2016

09:37 – Lots of interesting responses to the preparedness level thought experiment I posed yesterday, both in the comments here and via email. The typical level was about what I expected, somewhere between a couple weeks and a couple months. Some longer. Some much longer. The limiting items crossed all categories, from water to food to shelter to power. Interestingly, very few people answered my question about how comfortable they were with their level of preparedness and what, if anything, they were actually going to do about it. If you haven’t answered or would like to amplify your answer, leave a comment or send me an email.

Two of my shiest readers, Jen and Brittany, were among those who replied via email. As I expected, Jen’s answer was that her family of six is prepared pretty much across the board for one year plus, with backups to their backups. Brittany says her family of four is good at this point for probably two or three months, with food the limiting factor. They haven’t received the foil-laminate gallon bags from the LDS on-line store yet, so they have lots of bulk staples sitting in bags awaiting repackaging, and plan to buy still more of those this week, along with a lot of canned goods. Her guess is that they’ll be up to six months by the end of July and a year by the end of August.

Brittany brought up powdered eggs, which are kind of an odd situation. Back when I bought our initial supply (about 84 dozen worth), I paid about $17 per 33-ounce #10 can for Augason Farms whole egg powder from Walmart. With the chicken plague last year, that price shot up to ridiculous levels, over $50/can for a while. Meanwhile, the chicken population has recovered to the extent that eggs are a drug on the market. From a high of nearly $3/dozen wholesale last year, the price bottomed out at $0.55/dozen wholesale a couple months ago. It’s now recovered to just under $1/dozen, but that should still make powdered eggs pretty cheap. When I looked several days ago, Walmart was still charging over $30/can for Augason Farms eggs, when they should be about half that. (It’s not Walmart; the retail price on the AF site is still very high.) Brittany asked about Walton/Rainy Day powdered eggs. Their #10 cans hold 48 ounces rather than 33, which is pretty odd in itself, and their retail price is about $30/can. Resellers list it at $22/can or so, which is actually cheaper per ounce than I paid at Walmart before the chicken plague. But both the Rainy Day website and reseller websites list it as out of stock. Not sure why that is, unless preppers are stocking up in bulk. And I note that the Rainy Days website lists a 10-pack of #10 cans of powdered eggs at $150, or $15 per three pound can. Also out of stock, of course.

Brittany is also concerned about cooking/baking in a long-term emergency, so she was considering ordering a solar oven. There are several popular models out there, most of which sell in the $250 to $400 range. I told Brittany that in my opinion that’s a lot of money for not much product, and I thought she’d be better off making her own. She can make a functional solar oven from cardboard boxes, shredded newspaper, and a sheet of glass or plastic. If she wants a more durable solar oven and is willing to spend a little money on it, she can get her husband to knock something together with some boards, plywood, black spray paint, and aluminum foil.

In my research on solar ovens, I learned something I’d never considered. I always thought a solar oven used a transparent cover made of glass or Plexiglas, but many solar ovens just use simple plastic sheeting (like a disposable drop cloth). I recently ordered a 10-pack of True Liberty Goose Bags. They’re US-made, 18×24 inches (46×61 cm), food-safe, and rated for use up to 400F. The double layer of plastic with an air gap provides excellent insulation, and should allow a box oven with reflectors to get up over 200F even in cold weather. The Goose Bags are large enough to make a good size solar oven, cost under a buck apiece, and I’d rather use them in an emergency than be pulling windows off the house.

One of our upcoming minor projects will be to knock together a solar oven from boards and Masonite that I can use to test temperatures. I’m told that one can even bake bread in a solar oven, although it may take several hours and may not brown well. A solar oven also gets hot enough to kill microorganisms in water, so it’s a good option for water purification.


Friday, 1 July 2016

09:32 – I got an interesting email from a guy who’s about my age, and has been a pharmacist for almost 40 years. He started in a hospital pharmacy, worked for an independent drugstore for a few years, and for the last 25+ years has worked for a national drugstore chain.

Things have changed a lot in that time. Years ago, he spent a lot of time keeping track of inventory, discarding drugs that were nearing expiration, and manually ordering to replenish the supply. Nowadays, it’s all computerized just-in-time. They get a delivery every day, with the computers at the central warehouse deciding what items to ship and how much of each. The only time he has to order manually is if he needs oddball items for which the demand is sporadic. If they need something they’re out of, it’s delivered via overnight express. He said that’s why having prescriptions partially filled is a lot more common than it used to be. I’d actually noticed that myself. In the last several years, Barbara has had several prescriptions partially filled and we had to return the next day to the pharmacy to get the rest of the prescription.

This guy has been a prepper since 9/11. As he says, most preppers understand that JIT inventory systems for supermarkets mean that there’s only about a 3-day supply of food in local supermarkets at any one time, but most don’t realize that the same or worse is true of pharmacies. If the trucks ever stop rolling for any reason, local drug inventories will be exhausted very quickly. Especially because in a serious emergency, just as with supermarkets, what would normally be a 3-day supply will disappear in a few hours as people refill prescriptions to make sure they don’t run out.

His advice for people whose lives depend on medications is to convince their physicians to write prescriptions for the longest term and most refills they’re willing to do and that their insurance will cover. Refill them as soon as possible, and ask your physician if each medication can be stored in the freezer. With the exception of some liquid medications, notably insulin, most can. Store any excess medications that are freezable in the freezer, where they will remain usable for years to decades.

For those of us who don’t routinely take prescription medications, the most important thing to store is antibiotics. You might never need them, but if you do it may be the difference between life and death. I wrote about that here, including links to specific antibiotics at aquabiotics.net. Interestingly, not long after I posted that article six months ago, aquabiotics received a visit from the feds and stopped selling antibiotics. Just the other day, I visited their site and found they were again offering antibiotics. If you haven’t already stocked up, you might want to grab some now while the getting is good.