Category: march to war

Wed. Apr. 17, 2024 – ah, “hump” day. Never was much interested in that.

Not so cool in the am, warming later. Should be clear. It was nice yesterday although it did get into the mid 80s. Breeze was nice too.

Although I didn’t get out much in the nice weather, I did get a bunch of small things done or underway in the house. About half way through the day, I found out my Wednesday obligation got moved to Tuesday… which makes my day very short. That meant trouble doing my pickups. BUT when I looked at them, I found I could delay all of them to today. So today I’ve got a bunch of stuff to pick up in a bunch of places. I will be making a BIG loop as I hit all the auctioneers. It also adds two pickups to the loop that I would have had to go back for today. Saves a trip and gas…

Gas is averaging around $3.30/ gallon last week and this week. You can find it cheaper, but that’s what I see most often. I’m also noticing more “small” fills at the pump, seeing round dollar amounts as people add just enough gas to get by… $10 and even $20 doesn’t buy much mobility any more.

Between the war drums in the middle East, and our own strife here at home, I am surprised gas isn’t more expensive. I know it’s an election year and TPTB want to keep gas low, but the tool for them to do that, selling the SPR to drive down prices, isn’t an option anymore. Pressuring OPEC is another tactic but the war parties need OPEC more than OPEC needs them at the moment. Sh!te is about to get real for a lot of people who have been just ‘getting by’ and using credit cards to make up the difference. There is about to be a serious contraction in discretionary spending. I don’t think the summer driving season it going to be very big this year.

I wouldn’t want to be in the Hospitality or Travel sectors either. I could be wrong. The people with covid campers might see it as a cheap getaway. And some people might figure that blowing the last of their remaining credit before throwing in the towel is the way to go out with a bang. People are funny, and trying to predict the future is hard. Spending more money to get what you need leaves less for what you want. The prudent already know this. Fix it up, wear it out, or do without. The profligate are going to learn at some point.

Still time to stack some reserves though. Put a little by for later, while you can.

nick

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Tues. Apr. 16, 2026 – more messing around to do

Cool and cloudy to start, then warming later. And some wind- “fresh” in the words of openweathermap.org. It was blowing all over last night.

Yesterday I did my doctor appointment. I like him, he’s just a bit younger than me, but the current nonsense over any meds used to treat pain is nuts. I take a simple med for chronic back pain. It’s not abuse-able, has a long and well understood history, is cheap, and is an NSAID with minimal side effects. I’ve been on it every day for about 15 years. It works for me. So why change? Why the intrusive nonsense about renewal? The office wanted a contract like I was a barely under control junkie mandating monitoring, blood tests, when and how I could refill, all sorts of nonsense for a drug that ISN’T controlled, ISN’T abuse-able, and technically ISN’T a painkiller. I pushed back with increasing firmness until he admitted all the above, and agreed I didn’t need the stupid contract.

I’m going back to the way I got it for years. F this S, I will not have my ability to control my pain and ability to work and do stuff at the mercy of a just in time delivery system, especially considering that it’s essentially Motrin, and in any sane place would be over the counter. I thought this guy was more reasonable. Guess not.

After that, I did some shopping and one pickup. Did a bunch of cleaning and moving stuff around while waiting for my chauffeur duty to be called upon. Did some more after. Tripped and fell over the child gate we use to keep the dog out of the bedrooms. Smashed myself and the gate up. Bought another in the auction last night. They always have child gates for some reason. So it was a mixed bag yesterday. I did get some stuff done, but was frustrated and stomping around, both metaphorically and in reality.

Today I’ve got several pickups to do. That should keep me busy until I have to get the kid from school. STAAR testing this week so no afterschool activities. That means a short day for me too.

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Traps in the attic haven’t caught anything. I’ll have to try some different bait. The poison boxes are untouched too, but I still hear scurrying at times. SOMETHING is up there. Possums usually go for the traps, rats usually eat the poison. I guess it could be squirrels…

Stack some poison, traps, insecticide, and the like. You may not be able to get them when you need them. Stack the other things you need to be comfortable too.

nick

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Mon. Apr. 15, 2024 – Uncle Sam says, “Pay up sucker!”

Should start cool and warm later, maybe even into the 80s. It was nice at the BOL in the afternoon, following the somewhat grey and windy morning. Sun even came out around 4pm.

I got some stuff done while I was there. Because of issues with the drive belt coming off the PTO, when I went out to mow yesterday I decided to go ahead and replace the belt before mowing, despite the lowering sky. Because my life is fractal, you can probably guess at the sequence of events…

I had three new 42″ belts, because they were a dollar in an auction, but I had mis-remembered as what I needed was a 46″ mower deck belt. Gah. So I figured that instead of a new belt, I’d take a look at it and see if I could figure out what changed and why the belt is coming off… And I did. Wear. LOTS of wear. Holes that were wallowed out, bolts that weren’t tight, guides in the wrong place. So I took apart, cleaned, greased, and replaced what parts I could. Last year my buddy gave me his old mower, because the deck was shot, but it turned out to have lots of stuff I could use to rebuild mine. Some washers for spacing, some grease instead of rust, some parts that weren’t half worn through, and some time, about 3 hours, and I had the deck back together and in better shape than it’s been in in years. Seems to run better too.

Mowed the rest of the yard, trimmed it too. Then went to check on the garden. Peas are doing well, much better than the variety we planted first. Peppers and tomatoes are doing well. Potatoes are growing like weeds. Something is eating the leaves off the turnips. I thinned out my radishes. Planted the cukes and zukes I brought up there. Went back to my place and planted the blueberry bushes on top of a sand pile. That’ll have to do for now. Decided I didn’t know were to put the mint, or the other herbs, so I brought them home again. I’ll either pot them or put them in dirt here. We’ve been getting over an inch of rain each week up there so irrigation isn’t an issue yet. It will likely be an issue eventually, so I am still moving forward with my plan to make a water wagon to bring lake water to the garden. Plans. I’ve got ’em.

The next thing on the list was more poking at the irrigation pump. I decided that a)the suction pipe wasn’t tight enough in the pump inlet, b) the intake was down in the silt, and c)there was air trapped in the suction pipe preventing the pump from priming. I lifted the intake, cut and rotated the pipe to make it tighter then glued it back together, and adjusted the level of the pipe to “burp” any air trapped in a high section… and that worked. We’ll see if it keeps running this week.

Unloading the truck, putting stuff away, and then prepping to leave took the rest of the day, and part of the night. This was a quick trip and I’m actually surprised that I got as much done as I did.

Today I’ve got catching up to do at home. Auction stuff, domestic bliss, stacking… hopefully I’ll have a somewhat productive day. Oh, doctor’s appointment right in the middle of the morning too.

But it beats working for a living.

Stack stuff. Just ‘cuz.

nick

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Sun. Apr. 14, 2024 – still here? Good.

Cool and clear. Dunno what the forecast says, but I’m hoping for a nice day. Yesterday certainly was, if a bit windy. Spring is cooler this year, and it’s nice so far…

Spent Saturday morning at my non-prepping hobby meeting, and enjoyed sharing with fellow enthusiasts. A chance encounter at a yard sale has led to half a dozen years of enjoyment with other humans. Get out and meet some people!

Spent longer than I expected loading the truck, and headed up. Got most of the yard mowed before losing the light. I’ll finish up today, then I’ll probably work on the sprinkler pump. I will also probably take some time to weed and thin the garden. Haven’t heard from my buddy yet, so I’m a little concerned that he might be ill… but I’ll find out later today.

Played a few games of eight ball with D1 last night. I’m rusty, but still better than a 14 yo who has only a few dozen games under her belt… Go me!

It was nice having some time with just her around.

The world is going nuts, as it does, and I hope you all take your joy where you can find it.

Stack up some good times. They’ll help later.

And stack all the other stuff too. That’ll help anytime.

nick

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Fri. Apr. 12, 2024 – “it’s Friday- I’m in love…”

Cool and clear again. Hooray. Yesterday was nice too, but I spent most of it indoors. I will get out of the house today… if it’s nice. It was in the low 60s when I went to bed.

Spent the day doing domestic bliss. Dishes. Laundry. Cleaning- a little. Mostly moving stuff around and sorting for auction, BOL, and house. It’s slow going to put some of the stuff away, or find new spots for it. My office is a shambles with my non-prepping hobby, my ham radio stuff, and the pipe refurbishment all stacked on top of the other older stuff…

I did manage to do some work in the driveway and patio too. I threw away a bunch of failed cans, mostly soup with pop tops, and the Hill Country Fair canned peaches. I’ve mentioned the peaches before, they failed way early. The other cans were rusted either by rat urine, condensation, or the liquid from the failed peaches and soup. The particular shelves were stocked at the beginning of wuflu lockdowns, so I haven’t messed with them for a while. I did identify that they’d failed some time ago, but couldn’t find the time to sort them out. I’ve still got more cleanup to do there, but I moved some bottles of cleaning supplies there in the mean time.

I also checked the live trap in the attic. No joy. I added a smaller live trap baited with different stuff. I’ll check that today. I didn’t hear the critter so IDK if it was even in the attic while the traps were up there. I’ll leave them until they need re-baiting, or I catch something.

Today I’ll do a couple of pickups, and some more auction organizing. I’m headed to the BOL this weekend, after my non-prepping hobby meeting on Saturday. I’m sure there are lots of things waiting for my attention there. Meanwhile, I’ll do more of the organizing and storing here.

I’ve got some brisket to break down and freeze too, as well as bacon and a chub of hamburger. Freezers are full, so I may have to do some re-stacking to make room. Probably time to rotate some of the deep freezes to the more accessible upright…

There is always stuff to do.

And always stacking.

Get busy.

nick

* I didn’t always like the Cure, but I find I like to hear them now, and I’m a bit surprised that my taste for 80s music has solidified over the years. Back then I mostly listened to the radio, so I heard everything, but preferred rock. Now I mostly listen to Alt Rock and New Wave, with a lot of other stuff mixed in. Rarely do I listen to classic rock, even when it’s bands I loved. One of the good things about getting older, is that like women, I find a broader range of music to be attractive…

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Thur. Apr. 11, 2024 – Just ‘cuz they say it, doesn’t mean it’s true…

Cooler, clear, and still damp. But should be nice later. It cleared out yesterday and turned into a nice day. Sunny, a bit gusty, and low 70s. More of that would be nice.

I spent most of yesterday at home. Did some domestic bliss, and will do more today. Put a pot roast in the slow cooker, and fixins in the bread machine and ended up with a fine dinner 6 hours later. And for not much effort. I tried to test the goodwill bread maker, but I’m obviously missing something about how it works. When I hit “start” I got a 6 hour timer. Should have been about 3 1/2 hours, so I dumped the bucket into my tried and true maker, and proceeded. I should d/l the manual and try again. I made “honey french” instead of my usual “old fashioned oatmeal” bread, and it came out great. Could have used a bit more salt, but other than that, soft airy inside, crunchy outside.

I also hit Costco for gas and groceries. Gas was $2.99, so 32c cheaper than Chevron. That makes a difference in an Expedition. Maybe not so much in a Geo Metro. Spent $400 at Costco and didn’t even overflow the cart. Two bales of Charmin, not on sale. It’s definitely not going on sale with the old frequency as I’m running out before the next sale. I have backup at the offsite location, so I am letting the home supply get low, hoping for the sale to stock up. Didn’t work this month so I sucked it up and paid the $30 per bale. Worse, it feels like there are fewer rolls now. I’ll have to check against the deep storage at some point. USED to be $18 on sale.

Between Costco and HEB, I spent about $800 this week on groceries and sundries. That would have been a HUGE week back in the Trump era.

I found the bin of medical supplies I was looking for. It didn’t have the stuff I needed in it. I’ll have to do some more organizing of medical preps at some point. I need to sort, label, and separate home and away kits. My two main home medical bags need to be refreshed too. I built them when the kids were little, and that was some time ago now…

There’s always more to do.

My auctioneer waved me off as they’ve been working on an in-home estate sale this week. I’ll just stack the bins and have more for next week I guess. I didn’t win anything in the last couple of days’ auctions either so I find myself without any pickup pressure today. I still have a couple of things to pickup, but I won’t be rushing all over the place.

Plan for the day is continue cleaning the house and putting stuff away, as well as processing auction wins, and outgoing auction stuff. Maybe plant some stuff in the garden if the soil isn’t too muddy, and I don’t run out of daylight. The water feature pond pump needs to be fixed or replaced soon too. The thing is getting stagnant. It’s part of the house and yard that I’ve been neglecting in favor of the BOL. Too much to do, not enough time or motivation.

All I can do is keep plugging away. At least I don’t have livestock making demands on my time too. Oh, I do have the kids, and they do need an hour or more of ferrying around every day, and it’s right in my most productive part of the day too. Oh well. I’ll miss it when it’s gone, I’m sure of that. Time is flying by as it is.

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Stack, organize, refresh, build, renew, network, upskill, downsize, and monetize… while you can.

nick

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Wed. Apr. 10, 2024 – My name is Bond, Municipal Bond, and I’m here to indenture your children…

Wet and dreary today, with warm thrown in… it’s almost like we have to pay for all the beautiful days we had recently… or just that there is variation in the weather. Naw, it’s a conspiracy. Stonecutters or Illuminated probably. In any case a little rain started last night and continues…

[yes, I know the ellipse isn’t used in a grammatically correct way in the paragraph above. I use it as a conversational gimmick, to suggest the ‘trailing off’ of a thought, or as a longer than normal pause in the narrative flow. I’m cool like that.]

Anyway…

Did my pickups yesterday. Chatted with one of the auctioneers who I’ve been dropping verbal hints on for a few weeks. I know he’s politically conservative, most small business owners are. Now I know he’s a doomer and a prepper too. He’s working on his BOL. I won a knock off version of the Big Berkey (sp?) filter and that was the opening he needed. He asked me if I meant to use it or flip it, and to share with him how it worked if I used it. That led to a chat about securing drinking water supplies, and other personal infrastructure. He had intended to go full off grid solar, but ended up with a diesel generator solution because in his words, “he doesn’t care about the noise because he’s way the F out in the middle of no where.” I was surprised he didn’t know about the solar company bankruptcy auction that morning, but he’s an auctioneer on the platform, not a buyer. He did think about keeping the filter for himself. This makes three of my auctioneers that are active preppers or getting started increasing their level of preparedness (that I know of.) He also mentioned that he was prepared to defend what is his from those who might want to take it.

I know that this place has a preponderance of “like minded” people especially wrt certain ideas and topics. That’s to be expected given the focus of my life and the blog. I like to think that there are others who visit, that we don’t hear from too often (but of whom I was reminded while going through some old posts and old comments yesterday) that may have differing views or rate the hazards of life differently. And that is great. Right now, I want to encourage EVERYONE who comes here, and through them, everyone they influence, to consider the cost of prepping vs. the cost of NOT prepping, if the future plays out the way I, and many many others, expect it to. Consider that it’s not just those few of us here, or a few other corners of the intarwebs that think bad things are coming, and indeed have already started arriving. Ordinary people from all walks of life and all situations are taking a look around and deciding to make changes to their lives to better prepare for what they have decided might be coming.

Think hard about what you can stack, actually and metaphorically, and then take action. It’s a bit of ‘preaching to the choir’ I know… but I’m specifically preaching to the others not already in the choir today. No matter what happens, even (especially) the normal trials and tribulations of life, stacks and preps will make it better. There are plenty of stories shared here of the minor, and even potentially major, problems overcome more easily and with more style due to having prepared for problems. Come and join us on the journey.

Stack.

nick

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Tues. Apr. 9, 2024 – …world without end, amen.

Still here and it’s a bit muggier and a bit warmer. Might get some actual rain. We did get a light misty drizzle at various points yesterday, and the sun poked through for just long enough to get a glimpse of the eclipse if you were ready for it. I wasn’t.

I wasn’t particularly effective yesterday wrt working my lists… That’s a problem I’ve been having lately and I’m not sure of the cause. I just lack motivation some days. I did advance a couple of projects, and made some small progress on outstanding issues. I was feeling a bit sore from all the string trimmer use in the back yard, but that’s just an excuse. One of the things I did get fixed was the vacuum breaker/backflow preventer repair for the sprinkler system. I need the sprinklers working so I can have a garden, and so my yard doesn’t deteriorate further. We’re starting to be the shabbiest house on the block as more people move into the neighborhood and renovate. I’m convinced we’ll look like a time capsule if I don’t allow W1 to paint all the brick white or grey. Grey and black are very much the palette of the times.

WTF is it with the Simpsons show accurately predicting the future?? Remember the episode where the school took all the colors away? I drove past a line of parked vehicles the other day, and for three blocks of tightly packed vehicles there was not one car or truck that was brightly colored. Champagne and a dark blue were the closest things to different- white, grey, silver, black, and blue so dark it looks black dominated. Every parking lot is the same. Occasionally an older sports car will stand out, or a dark red vehicle will catch the eye. And it’s not just cars, all the new housing is mostly variations on black and white and grey. Color has gone out of peoples’ lives. That is a profound indicator of the times and mindset, I believe.

Hard times are here for a whole lot of folks, and they think they will be getting harder. No one is buying bright color, when they are feeling bad about the future. The local exception is all the low rise apartment complexes here. They are re-branding and painting themselves with muted versions of bright colors– “south of the border” colors. They are renting to illegals, and it must look like paradise to them. (New spanish names for the complexes, and signs about being “zero deposit communities” are the ‘tells’.) I’m adding the changes in product colors to my ‘indicator’ list, as a symptom of mood and zeitgeist.

Yep, we’re already on the downward slope. It can slow, or accelerate from here. My feeling is “accelerate”. Dramatically. Afterwards, people will say “who could have seen it coming” or “it happened so suddenly”. But people DO see it coming, and the seeds were planted years ago. I expect that people will adjust and tolerate for a while, as the lily pads slowly double and double, until the pond is half covered… and that last doubling, when the pond is suddenly completely covered will be the point most of them finally react. There will be hurt, and surprise, and anger. Feelings of betrayal. And violence as people lash out. Someone will harness that. Someone will direct that anger. It’s going to be ugly on a scale not seen in a LONG time.

Are you ready for that? Stack some more things. Have someplace to go if you have to leave. And pray that I’m wrong.

nick

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Mon. Apr. 8, 2024 – ah, the sun’s going out! We’re all gonna die!!!!111!!1 “let’s go watch”

Cooler and overcast with a chance of thunderstorms. That’s from the national forecast. Local calls for clouds, north of here is calling for clouds. Where the totality is is likely to be covered with clouds. It’s a cruel universe that sets up a compete solar eclipse and then hides it from us.

Spent yesterday avoiding work. Cut the whole back yard for the first time this year. Some of the weeds were 5 ft tall. Had to use the string trimmer first, then follow up with the mower to mulch and level everything out. That took a good long time. Then I blew the debris back onto the lawn and used the mower to mulch them, and since I had the blower out, I blew all the leaves in the front yard too. The lawn guys tend to blow the leaves toward the house, where we have some plantings. There used to be bushes there, and sometimes mulch. Not so much anymore. But they don’t like picking up leaves so they blow them there, as if they were mulch.

Took a while to blow all the accumulation out onto the grass and then use the mower to mulch it. It was dark when I finished up.

All that to avoid setting traps in the attic for whatever creature is scrabbling around up there. I’m convinced it’s possums using the soffits to move around. I don’t see any obvious evidence in the attic proper, and nothing is eating the rat bait. I’ll set the traps today, if we don’t got searching for the eclipse.

Wife is convinced we should head to the BOL and onward into the path of the moon’s shadow. But she’s also convinced that it will be poor weather. So there is conflict in her soul about leaving early today to try to make a viewing location in time. We didn’t leave last night, because of the weather forecast, but if things change… I won’t have to put the traps in the attic.

[man, my writing is disjointed and choppy at 2am]

I’m up for the road trip if she decides to go. Otherwise, I’ve got plenty to do.

IF we stay home, I’ll be doing all the stuff I’ve been shirking for the last week. And dropping off auction stuff, if I can.

Oh, and shopping if I get the time, because this stuff won’t stack itself. Join me?

nick

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Sun. Apr. 7, 2024 – getting close to tax time…

Cooler and still clear, warming later… which is yesterday’s weather as well. Although there was periodic overcast yesterday, and I would really like ‘clear’ today. In fact I thought it might rain in the late afternoon. Didn’t though.

Did my driving around and pickups. Stopped at goodwill bins and scored some great books. Literally volumes of the great books of our time. These I’ll send to auction, as my time for reading history is limited, as is my desire. At 50c per book it’s ridiculously cheap to build out a library to rival anyone’s. You do have to take what you get, and fill it in over time, but eventually, everything comes to the outlet.

You never know what you’ll find either. This time it was a giant instapot with the air fryer attachment and accessories, and a complete Panasonic bread maker.* The japanese brands of bread makers still bring crazy money online. A Champion juicer will provide a bit of spending cash too. I filled two carts with appliances and books, no clothes, no electronics. I almost never do that. I found about half a flip top bin’s worth of “smalls” for the local auction too, stuff like old cookie tins, novelty salt and pepper shakers, and a HUGE coral. I’ll keep the smaller brain coral for my collection, but the branching piece that is as big as a basketball will likely go to auction. The bag of seashells will definitely go, and could do really well as there are large and unusual specimens.

I haven’t been doing much thrifting or yard sale shopping lately. I’ve been too busy, and my auctioneer put me on hold. I’m trying to get rid of stuff, not build inventory, but adding fresh pieces to the stuff coming out of storage helps bring up the average price per lot, since I’m a better judge of what will sell now than I was.

In any case, I’ll be testing the instapot and breadmaker today. I’ve already sorted most of the stuff and put away what went into the stacks…

Thrifting is a great way to build your stacks, as is estate sale shopping. Most people will look right past the stuff a prepper wants, like sewing supplies, books, and camping equipment. So as we get back into yard sale season, look around and see what you can stack.

nick

*It’s rare to find a complete breadmaker. The highest value to weight ratio in the bins is the paddle for a bread machine. Second is probably the bread pan. (leaving off collectible cards and ephemera, and mostly considering stuff that you see there all the time) The paddles are almost always missing, and the pans are gone about 1/3 of the time too.

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