Category: lakehouse

Tues. Jan. 24, 2023 – same old, but more…

Cold again, and clear, but windy.   It was pretty chilly yesterday whenever the sun wasn’t hitting me.  And it got very unpleasant around 7pm.   It’s not quite as bone chilling at midnight, but cold enough to promise cold for today.

I did a small repair to my Ranger.  Swapped some parts from the parts truck to the driver.  The plasticized “rubber” over the cruise control buttons fails and crumbles.   I’ve replaced them with NOS once, and now with the ones that have been sitting in the donor vehicle for the last few years.   They are already failing, but I soaked them with silicone spray.   It seems to help, for a while.

Did some ‘domestic bliss’ (cleaning up around the house, laundry, shopping, etc.)

Got the CO2 pistol out and did some target shooting in the yard.   It’ll put holes in stuff, and dent sheet metal.   I remember meaning to do a lot more work with the airguns, but then we bought a BOL…   was nice to do some trigger pull work.

Collards made it through the freeze and cold spell, nothing else did though.   Time to start planning for gardens, here and at the BOL.

Bid on some pavers for the BOL.  Didn’t win them.  They would have made a good short term solution for hardscape around the house after I remove all the broken concrete.   They went for more than I was willing to pay.  Something else will come up.

Today is a trash run, and auction pickups.  If I can, I’ll drop some stuff off at my auctioneer.  That will clear some space at the house and in the storage unit.  That would be a Good Thing ™.

I’ll be stacking some stuff, and organizing, and generally getting ready.   All y’all should be doing the same.


Tues. Jan. 17, 2023 – what to do, what to do….

Cool but damp.  Maybe sunny and warmer later.   I hope so.    It was very nice most of the day at the BOL.  Started a bit dreary, with a sprinkle of rain, but cleared and got sunny in the afternoon.  Here in Houston it was 66F when I went to bed.

I did get a bunch of small things done at the BOL.   Main thing was capping off the supply to the clothes washer, and opening the wall to figure out what I need to add a trap to the drain line, and to pull in the water and gas lines.   I will move that up the list for the next visit.   I really need to get OFF the copper water lines.

Today I’m at home and there are piles of stuff to do.   Which thing gets tackled first is the question of the day.   Knock off some small things, or tackle something big?   I guess it will come down to how I feel at the moment.   Stuff needs doin’, and I need to do stuff.   Match made in heaven?

I know I’ll be adding to the stacks or working on them…   you should too.


Mon. Jan. 16, 2023 – at the BOL, working…

Cool and damp, but not cold.   Hoping the wind blew yesterday’s patchy clouds out of the area.   Some sun and warming would be nice.

I spent more time getting out of the house yesterday than I’d hoped, so I got up here a bit late.   Did some small things, basically decided not to start anything big I couldn’t finish on time.   Broke up and moved some concrete.  Literally chipping away at that task… move three wheelbarrows full before I lost the light.

Did some more planning for how to reshape the grades around the house to better deal with water  and drainage.   It must have rained up here because there was evidence that my channels from last visit drained a bunch of water.   That gives me some good contour lines for how the grades need to be.

Lake is up some more toward normal levels, but still a bit low, maybe 6″.   The waves make a lot more noise when the level is up.  I must have forgotten that.

One of the things I listened to on the shortwave last night was two western journalists living in Peking talking about their bouts with chinkyflu and the changes in the city since the restrictions were lifted.   They both had mild cases, in bed for a couple of days despite being fully vaxxed and boosted  (so- worse than most recent cases here).  They were excited to ‘just get on a train and travel’ without having to register, get tested, show vaccine passports, plan ahead, quarantine, etc.   That is for domestic travel this week.   I almost never even think about restrictions or getting wuflu any more.  What a difference.   And an interesting ‘slice of life’ I wouldn’t have come across if not for shortwave listening.

Maybe having been burned so badly, now china will be a bit more cautious?  Naw.  It’s not in their nature.

I’m sure there will be another plague that spreads around the world.  It’ll likely be worse too.   Don’t get complacent with preps.  45 days without leaving the house would be a nice level to have…anything really nasty should burn itself out in that time.  And if it’s less nasty, that level of preparation will stretch and be supplemented with whatever you can get, just like the past three years.

It’s funny, youtube put a gardening video from 2 years ago in my recommended list, and I watched it day before yesterday.   It was a guy in the UK, who decided to start a garden, since he (and everyone else) was essentially locked in his house due to wuflu response.  [he was pretty successful, but that wasn’t what caught me.]   We were never confined to quarters.   I had enough exemptions that I was able to go out if I wanted to, being a landlord, among other things.   Most people had no problem moving around if they wanted to.  I can’t imagine what it was like in places where they heavily restricted movement, and I have trouble believing that people COMPLIED the way they did.   But they did.  And they will again.  Except in the US.  Unless people are dropping in the streets with their eyes bleeding and skin sloughing off, I don’t think we’ll comply.

Stack your stuff high.  Ordinary stuff.   Extraordinary stuff.  Stuff that would be ‘nice to have’ and the stuff you need every day.  ‘Cuz I’ve got a feeling we’ll need it.






Sun. Jan. 15, 2023 – ok, this time for realz…

Cold and damp again, although possibly just “cool” and not “cold.”   It did warm up a bit during the day, and I ended up in long pants and a T shirt to get the lights down.   It was 52F when I went to bed.

I spent Saturday morning at my non-prepping hobby meeting.   Lots of good conversations in one of the best (largest) groups we’ve had in a while.  Next month is our quarterly ‘swap meet’ meeting.  I’ll have some stuff to sell by then, and the stuff I didn’t sell last time.

After my meeting I was supposed to quickly take down the Christmas stuff and head to the BOL.   Of course that didn’t happen because reality smacked me around.   I did get the lights down, and the lit up figures put away.   Got some more stuff cleaned up and sorted for the local auction, and did some planning for the coming week with my wife.   Girl Scout cookie season is only a month away.  Our house will be a cookie depot for a while and needs to be cleaned with a place for all the cookies.  That is mostly me getting my stuff out of the way…

The upshot was delaying my run to the BOL to today.   If everything goes to plan, I’ll have a good night sleep, early start, and head out.  My plan is to tackle some more plumbing and convert either the hall bath, or the laundry to pex.  I should have most of what I need to do either, but the laundry is the least critical if I don’t get it finished.  It’s also got some of the most corroded looking pipes.   I’m going to just play it by ear.  Maybe I’ll do work on the deck or yard.  Hard to tell, but I should at least open the walls and make sure I have what I need.  Which reminds me, I’m out of straight join pex connectors.  Gotta get some on my way up…  It’s always something.

The one critical thing is to deliver the freezer to my neighbor up there.   Weaving my way into the community is a priority.  Meatspace baby.

Also, figuring out what I need to keep the septic system running grid down.   That’s a priority too.  Batteries, solar, and inverters should do it but which ones, and how, and when and where do I get them….

Stack up the stuff you need.  Infrastructure, money, and friends being three of the things!



Sat. Jan. 14, 2023 – non-prepping hobby day, and heading out…

Cold and damp.   It was 44F when I woke up yesterday, didn’t get much above the mid 50s in the shade all day, and was 38F when I went to bed.  I expect that to continue today.   At least it is supposed to be clear for a couple more days.

Did my pickups.   The damage to the scratch and dent freezers is less than I thought, so hooray.  One is perfect, one has the dent mostly confined to the access panel over the mechanicals  (easy to straighten), and the last one has about 6 vertical inches of the back corner edge pushed in a little bit.  They should all work fine, with only one even having noticeable damage.

I’ve been chatting with various of my sellers and I think I can say that this economy is wearing on them.   They look tired and beat up.  I’m pretty sure that isn’t a good thing.

Today I’ve got my non-prepping hobby meeting in the morning.   Then I’ll come home and take down the Christmas stuff that’s outside.  I don’t have to be at the BOL at any particular time, and the decorations need to come down.  I haven’t managed my time well enough to do it before now, but time is up.   Then I’m headed out.   I will probably stay until late Monday.  The kids have Monday off, but my wife doesn’t, so they will not be joining me.  It does make certain tasks easier if I can cut off power or water for an extended time.  And if the weather gets any colder I’ll feel better about being up there and having an eye on the situation.  It’s almost always colder there than here.

I’m moving some more food up there too, frozen and canned, and some bulk buckets.  It occurs to me that salted pork would need a whole bunch of salt.  And some buckets.   Hmm.  More for the list.  If every bucket you have is in use, how do you replace one that you dropped and broke?  Or what can you brine that ham in?  Or put up some windfall food?   The bucket is the unsung hero of prepping, but how many do you have that aren’t in use?  What if you couldn’t just run to Lowe’s for another few?  EMPTY buckets are important preps too.

So  stack up a few!



Mon. Jan. 9, 2023 – ah the smell of a fresh new week….

That will almost certainly be cool and wet, although warm and wet could happen.  That’s the joy of living near the Gulf…  It was pretty chilly yesterday morning at the BOL, but it did warm up and it was a beautiful sunny day.   Got chilly again when  the sun went down though.   National forecast has us in clear weather for a couple of days anyway.

I did get some smaller things done.   Got two sets of shelves up in the garage, and some stuff moved to them.  Took down a rickety old shelf ‘thing’ that was left behind for us.   It worked for a while, but if not wedged into the corner and held in place by a metal cabinet, it wouldn’t have stood for 10 minutes.

Took a few minutes and broke some more concrete.  I feel that in my arms today.

Took an hour and worked on my  truck.   On the way up I noticed that only a little bit of water was spraying out of the window washer.   Topped up the tank, but it was mostly full.  Since I  had the compressor at the BOL, I thought I’d try blowing air back through the nozzles to clear out any blockage.   Didn’t work, but did reveal the issue.   There is some sort of check valve in the line, and it was broken.  Cracked at first, then  40 psig air blew it apart.   Had to take a couple of panels off to get to the part, and replaced it with a 1/4″ barb fitting from my drip irrigation parts box.  How’s THAT for a prep!  Well, a lucky improv anyway.   Cheap brittle plastic part.  (edit- it may have frozen, I haven’t driven the truck much.)   I’ll look it up today and see if I can get a replacement.  If not, I’ll just run with the barb.

This was the first time I’ve really towed anything with the new expy and it did fine.   Better than I did after moving all that rock by hand.

Today will be moving stuff around, going through auction stuff, returning the trailer, and sorting some stuff out.   If it’s dry, I’ll start taking down outside Christmas decorations.   Maybe I’ll do some stretching exercises.   I really need to get back in the habit.

And of course, I’ll be stacking things.  Why don’t you join me?


Sun. Jan. 8, 2023 – all work and no play…

Cool and damp, or warm-ish and damp, but certainly damp…   we got a rainstorm right in the middle of the afternoon yesterday.   Before that it was sopping wet.  During it was pretty wet.  After it was pretty wet…  definitely a theme yesterday.

So I got less outdoor stuff done than I’d have liked, but I did get the stone unloaded from the trailer.   I don’t get much practice backing up trailers.   I’m amazed I got it under the cover in the dark with only a bit of to and fro.   Took me about 12 tries to put it back in the same place after pulling it out to clean all the debris out of it.  If I can look out the back and SEE the trailer, I can do it no problem.  With mirrors and backup cam, well, it must have been entertaining for any watchers.

That’s me, entertainer of the year…

Today will be some tidying up and some stuff from the list that doesn’t involve a lot of time or commitment.   There should be no shortage of jobs.

Then it’s back home.  I’ll return the trailer Monday morning.   Truck pulled the trailer no problem.   ~5000 pounds and I was doing 80 when I didn’t pay attention.   The gas mileage widget said 10.5 mpg though.  Putting the cruise control on, and dropping to the limit of 75 mph got me 11.6 mpg.   Truck normally gets about 15-18 mpg the way I drive and with the extra stuff in the cargo area.   No way an EV truck would work for me.  And as a BOV, an electric is a complete non-starter.

The world situation continues to get more dire.   The US has political prisoners.  Canada has quasi-government agencies that wants to re-educate an outspoken and contrary person because his beliefs don’t match theirs… We’re sending even MORE hardware and weapons to the proxy war in Ukraine, escalating that conflict.  In far too many western countries “mohamed” has become the most common baby name.  The new owner of the ‘public square of the internet’ has joked that almost every conspiracy theory about it was true [that would be the publishing service that banned a sitting President’s speech.]   And our food and energy situation isn’t any better than it was last year.

So plant a seed.  Literally and figuratively.   Stack food, friends, and skills.


Sat. Jan. 7, 2023 – supposed to get gas today…

Warmer than Houston, and damp, but still chilly.  Had a nice clear day to get my stuff up here, now I need one to unload.

Made all my appointments yesterday, but by the skin of my teeth.   The Uhaul reservation had the wrong pickup time, so that was a challenge.   Then their checkin system now needs pix of everything, including me “for their facial recognition system” so they “can tell who’s driving”… with pix of the DL and a scan of the data fields on the back.   And 15 opportunities to upsell services, and 12000 or more times to be goaded into taking their insurance, which I managed to decline eventually.

One thing I couldn’t do was get my pallet jack on the trailer.  Couldn’t get it out of storage.   I will be unloading the stone piece by piece I guess.  Not the first time, as mentioned before.  Just takes a bit longer.

I am supposed to meet with a driver and a gas truck in the morning.   Maybe leaving a message that I’d hook up BBQ bottles prodded them along.  Whatever, as long as they fill the tank, and we can work something out about the pipe.  All this ‘provide your own infrastructure’ business is a pain.

Wife plans to put down flooring in the master bedroom today, and I’ll be doing something, probably electrical and plumbing, but certainly moving stone.

Work.   Work.  Work.  Joy.  Joy.  Joy.   Time to make the donuts…


Stack it up,



Fri. Jan. 6, 2023 – pickups, deliveries, lots of driving…

Cool and damp again.  Hopefully clear, as that will make all my driving nicer… It was 50F when I went to bed.  National forecast is for more of yesterday, so I should be ok.

Didn’t get much done.   It’s mostly mental, but I’m still not 100%.  I feel better, but tired, and weary.

Plan for today is pick up rental trailer, use it to pick up two pallets of stone, and some geotextile, then pick up my pallet jack, and whatever else I can get on the trailer and head to the BOL.

If everything goes well, and I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get there in enough time to meet the gas guy and maybe we can work out some temporary reprieve so we can at least have hot water while I get the line replaced.

Which is sub-optimal but may be unavoidable.

Family will join me later today if there is hot water and heat….

I’ll be bringing up a few bins of stuff including about half of my OTC meds.   I went through and divided up the stuff I stocked up on 2 years ago, and I might end up with it all at the BOL, because I have normal stuff here already, but for now, I’ll just send half.    I need to split up the first aid and wound care stuff too.  To be an actual BOL, it needs to be stocked as if we weren’t coming back to Houston.  Yet, I need enough stuff stacked here to stay if we can’t or won’t leave….   It’s an interesting balancing act.   One consideration is that we won’t USE the stuff up there at anywhere near the rate we use it here, and so turnover will be a lot slower.  More spoilage, more waste.   Oh well, we’ll figure it out as we go.   Or we’ll get caught short.  But I hope to get  it at least 80% right.

One solution would just be stacking all the same stuff in the same quantities, starting from scratch so it’s not already aging out…   and I’m trying to take the newer stuff up there, not the oldest, but I can’t afford to simply double everything at this point.   As I said, interesting balance…

One thing for sure, keep stacking.



Sun. Jan. 1, 2023 – Happy New Year!

Cool and damp to start the new year.  It stayed pretty nice yesterday, and was 59F near midnight.  Not super cold, and certainly not ‘warm’.


So.   Happy New Year!  I am sincerely grateful to everyone who comes by,whether you just read or comment and participate in the discussion; whether you come by every day or just once in a while.  Thank you to Barbara for her continued support, and to Rick for his.   It’s been an interesting and challenging year, personally, generally, and here at the Daynotes Journal.

I’m not much for navel gazing, but I do think it’s important to reflect on what you’ve done and what’s been done to you.   It’s important to learn lessons from that, change what needs to be changed, do more of what needs doing, and to keep making progress toward your goals.   I think it’s important to have goals, and this time of year is a traditional time to set goals, evaluate progress toward them, and to focus on changes.

This past year, I finally started making progress toward one of my major prepping goals- getting somewhere to GO when it’s time to go.  Call it a BOL, a retreat, a ‘country place’, or a lakehouse… it’s somewhere to go when the time comes.  It’s also a lot of work  and a new dimension to my prepping journey.  It has eaten a lot of my ‘excess’ energy and time, which has resulted in much shorter daily posts that previously.   There should be some good blog fodder coming up though.  I’ve got big ideas and goals.

To wit, I want to look hard at water treatment, starting with storing more at the BOL, and getting set up to treat more.  I want some off grid back up energy generation.  Start with a fueled generator, add solar and possibly wind, and include battery storage.  I want to get some wood burning heating set up.  I’ve got two wood burning stoves, I’d like to get at least one of them installed.  THEN I’ll need lots more stored wood… I want to get my radio shack and antennas set up for backup comms.  I want to make more progress learning about harvesting food from the environment, to include fish and other creatures from the lake, deer and pig hunting and processing, and getting a productive garden set up.  I want to get a workshop set up and a full set of tools up there so I can be productive and make or repair what needs to be made or fixed.

On a more day to day level, I need to continue making progress on the repair and remodel of the BOL and all  the grounds and outbuildings.   I also need to get some of the neglected projects here at home finished.  I need to focus on selling stuff and having my business make money this year to pay for all the other stuff that needs doing. I also need to be involved in my kids’ lives and education.   That might mean a lot of volunteering at school, which takes more time.   My other volunteering for the Constables and HPD needs to be increased too.  I made those contacts and started building relationships, but let it go for too long.   Time to re-engage in that community.   Time to start meeting with my fellow hams again too.

Oh, and a little physical fitness, maybe some martial arts or other self defense classes, particularly with the kids, and more shooting are all “wants” for the new year.   Yep.   Lots to do.  Much of it is just expansion of what I am doing or resumption of what I was doing, but some of it is new, and all of it will be taking place in the context of work and time spent at the BOL.

Nothing like setting some goals 🙂

My outlook for the coming year is the same as it was.   Dumpster fires to continue and worsen.   I expect more economic woes, more political shenanigans as the existing order falls apart.   I am more convinced than ever that we’re already sliding down the slope into what Bob called the long slow economic collapse.   I’m also convinced we’re currently entering one of those times in world history where everything changes.   The world will look very different in a few years.  I can’t even begin to pick a likely scenario, but I’m going to do my best to get through it, and come out the other side.  If bare survival is all I can manage, I’ll take that as a win, but I’m shooting for positioning myself and my family to thrive in whatever comes next.

Part of that positioning is having somewhere to go if we have to leave here.   Part is increasing the stacks NOW while the stuff is available.   IDK what the next ‘toilet paper’ or ‘N95 mask’ will be, but something that is common and cheap now will certainly be in short supply or even unobtainable later this year, and in the coming years.  Part is getting out and networking, meeting and making myself useful to other people.  Who you know is always important, but when things go really pear shaped, who you know and who knows you can make the difference between working or not, getting help or not, being safe or not… Part of it is building skills.   A vague plan to ‘live off the land’ won’t help if you don’t know how to do it, and haven’t the stuff needed to make it possible.  Fishing is turning out to be harder than gardening, and I’ve positively sucked at gardening…

Prepping is a journey.   It’s also fractal in nature, so there is always more to do, learn, or stack.  I’d love it if you all keep hanging around, sharing my journey and taking one of your own.

Here’s to a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year for us all!



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