Category: prepping book

Thur. Jan. 11, 2024 – meatspace baby! Get out there and talk to people…

Cold and wet. Again. Or at least cold. Chance we might have another dry day like yesterday, with wind and sun. But we are definitely headed toward much colder. Because, it’s JANUARY and the middle of winter. Even in Texas.

Despite a nap, I did manage to get stuff done yesterday. I did a drop off at my auctioneer. I went by my storage unit and got some stuff out. Ran the kid to her things. Even stopped at a regular Goodwill store with her and got some T-shirts for her, some nice Allen Edmond shoes for me, a couple of LPs for resale, and a piece of artwork that is worth more than I thought. Case of beer money, nothing huge, but it definitely didn’t look like anything more than a pop culture print. I mention it mainly because I’ve said there was little left in the stores worth buying, but yesterday I got lucky.

I also met another pipe enthusiast. The guy in front of me at checkout had a pipe rack in his cart. I mentioned it, and it turns out he was buying for himself. Young guy too. Transitioning from cigars to pipes… which seems to be the path a lot of commentors on the youtube pipe channels are taking. It’s cheaper, smells better in a room, and there are cultural aspects that I’m trying to sort out… but it’s definitely a growing subculture.

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One interesting aspect of my shopping trip was D1’s reaction… She’s like “you just talked to that guy, and had a conversation and now you exchanged phone numbers? How does that happen so fast?? He volunteered his number and offered to buy something from you!” (guy was interested in seeing the pipes I’ve been working on to flip) “and then you had a chat with the cashier about California and the places you used to live and found out where she lived, how long she’s been here, and all that, just like that???” “Is that how it is for adults?” “How do you make friends so quickly??”

Well, I didn’t make friends, I made contact with people that COULD be turned into friendships… if I was looking I guess I could have further pursued the cashier (female), and I’ve already exchanged a couple of pipe related texts with the guy. I didn’t do anything weird or tricky, I just said “hi” in a way that engaged them for a couple of minutes, and had a brief friendly chat. I found a shared interest, pipes, and living in California, used that to make a few remarks, and let them make a few back. Friendly chitchat, nothing out of the ordinary or unusual… “making conversation” is what it used to be called. Except that I guess it IS out of the ordinary for kids today, and maybe for adults too. The phone number exchange would have been business cards just a couple of years ago, or if the guy was closer to my age, but it is easier for one person to just send a text to the other person’s phone, and then get a reply. It occurs to me that it’s the third time in a month that I had a younger person share contact info with me that way.

I wasn’t always able to just have a quick interaction with people like that. I had to work at it for a long time and specifically in work and business settings. That helped in non-business stuff too, and now I just do it. Could be because I sit at home alone so much of the day that I make up for lack of in person contact by trying to connect for at least a moment with others when I have a chance. Or it could be that the things that kept me from doing it in the past are no longer important to me. Not caring about some things can be very freeing… And if you have a lot of interactions, each one has less “weight” for lack of a better word- less of me is at risk in each one. In any case, it is definitely a skill that can be developed. Given that we live in the world, getting along with other people in it is something I think is important.

And it’s part of what I mean when I say “Meatspace baby!” When push comes to shove, who you know and who knows you is going to be vitally important. Heck it’s important now. Almost everyone I know had gotten jobs by word of mouth or through acquaintances, not through job boards, or services. Most people like to help out people they know and like. Most opportunities come when someone decides to share something… If your interpersonal skills are weak, it’s time to work on them. We are all going to need all the help we can get to get through the bad times.

Stack up some skills, and widen your circle of casual contacts. You never know what might come your way.

nick

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Tues. Jan. 9, 2024 – school days again

Cold and damp, but supposed to be clear today. Had all the weather yesterday- warm, cold, windy, wet, sunny, and dry… Just depended on where and when you were.

I did my pickups without incident. Stopped by my auctioneer and got approval to bring stuff by today. I’ll have to go to my storage unit and load up… and clear out the foyer. That will make the wife happier, as GS cookie season is going to start soon, and SHE’LL need the space.

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I’ve decided that I can’t arm wave it away anymore- I’ve got an animal living in my wall in the laundry room. It pushed the dryer vent out to get access, or maybe to escape when I initially walled it in with the poison blocks, a couple of months ago. It’s coming and going freely, and hasn’t died, so I’m betting on possum, not rat, at this point. It’s driving the dog nuts. I didn’t want to believe it, because I couldn’t figure out how it got in the wall alive, but now that I know the vent has been compromised, it makes sense.

Time to move and bait the live trap again. Then fix the vent.

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Probably time to do the bug spray around the foundation too.

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Nothing to report from the dentist visit, except that he’s planting 1 acre of veg garden this year. That’s at his country property. He runs some cattle too, probably for the ag exemption on property tax. He’s still got woods when all the surrounding wind break wooded patches are being turned into housing, so he’s getting all the deer. He’s got a ‘herd’ on his land now, and a problem with poachers. If the trucks stop rolling, his problem will briefly get very intense, then there won’t be any more deer for the poachers to poach. Which is, btw, what I expect to happen anywhere there are rifles and pickup trucks, good ol boys and deer.

Given their nature, there should still be pigs.

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Since I don’t hunt, or fish, or garden, at least not with any real success, I’m stacking cans.

Do I need to mention that you should too?

nick

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Wed. June 28, 2023 – ‘life of a repo man’s always intense…’

Oh my, hot hot and more hot. Yesterday started at 78F with a breeze off the lake that felt nice in the shade. Eventually it got to 100F in the shade, and humidity in the high 80s. It was 84F at 11pm, so I skipped radio and dock time.

I did get a lot of progress made. The decision to start backfilling the patio area was a good one. It’s filling in, and the mounds of dirt in the yard are going away which is win-win. My productivity was dropping, so it was a good time to change things up a bit. The heat is draining, and climbing in and out of the machines is taking a toll.

I even stopped at 8pm so I could use the remaining light to figure out what broke and how to fix the washing machine drain line. I ripped it up good getting that root ball out… I’m going to call the septic guy and see if he wants to take a look. Where the pipe enters the tank is loose, and I think it should be tight. Otherwise, I’d just replace the elbows and repair the pipe myself. I’m going to have to start stocking 2″ pvc if I keep digging. What a maroon. Eh Doc?

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Water. Water and prepping. You can’t have too much. Our new septic system is sized for 750 gallons A DAY. Obviously during a disaster or grid down, you won’t be using that much, but it takes far more than people think. Standard prepper lore is 1 gallon per person per day, and half for each pet. That is SURVIVAL. NOT living. Figure more like 5 gallons each to maintain some little bit of normality. You need drinking water, hygiene water, cooking water, washing up water, and if the event lasts long enough, clothes washing water…

Store lots. As much as you have room for, in different containers. Have multiple ways to treat and make water potable. Your plan should include stored drinking water, stored clean water that can be used for washing, food prep, and made into drinking water.

You should have a filter that will supply your whole family’s needs every day. You should have the means to capture and store water in a long term event. I’ve got a kiddie pool to capture rain water. But I have stored water in case the rainwater or surface water is contaminated. My rainwater capture for the garden doubles as stored “can be made drinkable” water. Counting the rain barrels I’ve got over 500 gallons stored. Over 100 gallons are supposedly ‘ready to drink’ but I usually run it through a Britta filter just for taste. If there was any issue visible or smellable, I’d filter or treat with bleach.

Water treatment plans should include everything from liquid bleach (unsented, plain bleach), Porta-aqua tablets, iodine, the ability to filter and to boil, UV sterilization (there were some neat pen style sterilizers but I never bought one) but systems designed for drinking water aren’t uncommon, and even distillers or reverse osmosis systems (like on a boat) are available.

Know the theory of building a solar still as bushcraft, survival lore, or camping, just in case. Better to practice it but I’m somewhat realistic… at least stack a roll of clear plastic, and a roll of black- they have MANY other uses too.

Water is your first need, and should be treated accordingly. Have choices, fallbacks, alternatives, and ‘just in case’.

So much to stack. So little time. If I only had one choice to make, I’d probably get two Sawyer Mini filters. Because two is one, and one is none. And five new food safe 5 gallon buckets with lids. Put paper cups and the filters in two of the buckets, keep the others to fill as needed.

Stack it up.
n

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Tues. June 20, 2023 – toil and trouble

Hot, humid, hot and hot.   Sun supposed to be set on Broil today. So humid yesterday that you sweat through your shorts just standing still.   The sun was so hot, my feet were burning in my black sneakers.

Did my pickups and loaded the truck, and eventually got up here.  Where it was hot and humid.

There are some issues with my equipment order, so I’m only getting the mini-excavator today.   If the part comes in, I get the skid steer tomorrow.   And while communicating all that we discovered that my extra bucket was interpreted as “just send one bucket” so hopefully that is now straightened out.

I still don’t know exactly what I’ll be getting but I’m pretty sure it won’t be what the website showed in pictures.   Oh, it’ll be the same “class” but probably not as nice or new.    I will start practicing and doing what I can with just the excavator, and maybe doing some scoring cuts with the concrete saw in preparation for using the breaker.  Life’s an adventure.

At least most of the concrete breaking is in the shade.

Tree guy might be able to come on next Monday or Tuesday.


 

I stopped at the store for some food before heading up.   HEB had some canned smoked tuna clearanced for 50c/ can.   They had several flavors so I bought about 30 cans.  Beef was crazy high.   They had bacon in stock though.

Has anyone else noticed an unusual number of ‘out of order’ gas pumps?   Seems like every station has one or more nozzles with bags over them now, and for the last couple of weeks.  It seems to be getting worse as I’m seeing it at more stations, and I’m seeing more nozzles out of service at each station.   No gas? or just can’t keep the pumps running?   Weird though, whatever it is.

Maybe an indication of an issue coming our way.   Might want to increase your storage a bit.   Typical prepper guidance is one full refill of your vehicle, or a week running your gennie.   I think that’s good advice if you have somewhere safe to store it.   And it is now hurricane season for those in the affected areas.

Speaking of, Tulsa got clobbered by weather, not ‘tornadoes’ but crazy strong winds tearing the place up with widespread power outages.   I looked for some news to link, but didn’t see anything national.  I’ve got friends there and it’s really messed up.

BTW, if you can’t or don’t have a gennie, at least get an inverter that you can hook to a car battery.   A 1000w inverter will run your freezer no problem and probably your fridge too.   It’s a bit inefficient to sit in your car for an hour just to use the inverter, but it’s less wasteful than losing a freezer full of meat.  No gas, no mess, and small package that could save your food.    Add a deep cycle battery and a battery charger/maintainer for normal times, and you don’t even need to run your car if the outage is only a day or two.  Just don’t leave the inverter connected when you aren’t running it.

There’s always something you can do to improve your position.   Stack it up.

nick

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Sat. June 10, 2023 – Hot here at the BOL

Hot and sunny today.   Or not, but probably hot.   Was plenty hot yesterday.  Started mild, but then someone dumped on the hot and we were 102F in the shade before I left Houston.  Humidity was high too.

Did my pickups.   Loaded the truck.  Didn’t get to my client’s place.   Hit the road and got up here just before full dark.

Today should be doing smaller tasks in between organizing and moving stuff.   There is still a lot to put away.  And I’m going to get some fishing in.  My fishing buddy had a birthday, so I might not see him today as he has plans.  I got him some worms…   (he’s the king of bass fishing with fake worms, won his virtual tournament!)   don’t know if he’ll like them, but they are sparkly.

I brought 6 buckets up here with me.   Some were a bit crunchy from UV exposure.  One gamma seal lid cracked.   Cool dark place.   COOL.   DARK.   If you want it to last.

Of course spoilage is the reason to stack extra.   You are stacking extra, right?

 

nick

 

 

 

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Fri. June 9, 2023 – there’s always an excuse…

Cooler, but damp and warming up later.   Probably get all the way to hot.   It certainly followed that path yesterday, but ended in “cool” when the front rolled in around 6pm.   Gusts and 10 degree temperature drops say “excitement is on the way”.   So we retreated to the cars.   Well excitement never arrived at the swim meet, but the cooler temps were appreciated.

I did my pickups yesterday.   Got D1 from the airport.  She’d been with grandma for the last week.  Got a couple more pickups done on the way home, and then got D2 to swim.   Not a lot of time in there for messing around with restacking food on the shelves.

Maybe I get it done today.   If not, most of it is under cover or in covered bins and can sit for another few days.   I say ‘maybe’ because I’ve got two pickups in the morning (stuff for the BOL), lunch with my sibling who is in town, then possibly a quick trip to my client’s to tweak some things before the weekend…  It’ll make him happy and his wife too, so IF I can make the timing work it is worth doing.

Then load the truck for the next trip up to the BOL and head out.   No non-prepping hobby meeting on Saturday because of a scheduling conflict with the venue.

Full day.   Full night.   Full life.

Over at BayouRenaissanceMan, the inevitable commentor when Peter brings up food shortages.. “But I don’t have money or room for those things.”    Might be true for a very limited subset of people, mainly those in care or institutions, but it’s REALLY unlikely.   As shown here by RBT and me both, and in innumerable other prepping sites online, you can MAKE room and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  It’s easier to find reasons not to prep than it is to prep, but the reasons don’t sound very convincing to anyone who has begun the journey.

The best time to plant a tree might be 5 years ago, and the same might be true for prepping, but there won’t be any stored food in 5 years, or any new trees if you don’t start NOW.  Stop looking for reasons not to, and look for was TO prep.   There are lots of resources out there, and  a whole bunch here, just use the keywords on the right.

Get started stacking up food and other preps.   If you already have some nice stacks, congrats!  Now do more!  Take control of your life and your future.  Take this step to ensure both.

nick

 

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Mon. May 8, 2023 – another week closer to the end of the school year…

Cool and damp.  Got some rain yesterday, expect we’ll get a bit more today.   Wasn’t hot, but wasn’t cool either.   I have tried a bunch of things to get my weather station reporting again, but nothing seems to work.   I’ve tried changing the outdoor unit 2x, and I have two different indoor units showing different things.   A third couldn’t find the outdoor unit either.   Something is interfering with the signal is all I can think.  Probably a cheap USB charger, but I can’t correlate the malfunction with any particular changes.  I’ll have to go on a hunt, so that’s farther down the list for now.

Did some sorting and cleaning up for the return of my bride…   got some of it done.   Pack is once again united.   Girl Scouts had a nice weekend.  I got some minor stuff done.   Rain put a damper on any outdoor stuff for me.  On the other hand, I didn’t have to do any more sprinkler work.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups I can do, and a couple of things that are weather dependent.   We’ll see what we can get to.  I’ve got a bunch of stuff to go through for my  non-prepping hobby quarterly swapmeet/sale next weekend.  Don’t know if any of it will sell, but won’t find out unless I try.

Might have purchased some needful things in an auction.   I won, but this auctioneer will often pass items that don’t bring enough money.   Since I’m a bottom feeder, and need to get stuff cheap, I might not actually get it at my low bid.  They passed on a bunch of other stuff.   People waited too long to empty their safes and prices have come back down.  No one is buying Del-ton for what they had listed as a starting bid, but consignors haven’t realized that apparently.  I’m actually surprised any of my bids held up, let alone three.   I’ll have to find some cash somewhere if they DON’T pass on my bids.   Winning at a low price hasn’t been an issue for me for some time.  I feel a bit like Commander Zero this week.

There are always opportunities during times of trouble for the person with preparations and resources.   Keep your eyes open, there are bargains out there.

And you want to add to your stacks.

nick

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Thur. Dec. 29, 2022 – in praise of standards

Cool, turning warm later.   Part sun, and humid.  Probably.  If I guessed right.   But that was what the day turned into yesterday, so I’ve got at least a 50/50 chance of being right.  Weird to go out in low 80s temps after the cold.  Houston.

Spent the day catching up on stuff, not doing plumbing.  I did cut my hair, shave, and trim my beard.   Cleaned up around the house too.

Ended up selling an ebay item,  so now I have to find it.    It’s somewhere.  Not where the other listed ebay items are, unfortunately.   While looking for it, I went through about half of one storage unit.  Found stuff to bring home, sorted some bins, and found the bigger grinder I picked up earlier in the year.   It’s a vintage Enterprise “tinned” number 22 meat chopper.   It is manual, and bolts to a table.  I’ve got a couple of smaller Universal grinders, but they clamp to a table and tend to squirm around too much.

I spent a while boiling the grinder and parts, then scraping and cleaning.   It came up pretty nice, considering it’s about 100 years old.  The plates are razor sharp still.   Unfortunately, it was missing the blade.   Fortunately, grinders were sold by size, #12, #22, #32, #8, etc. for a long time. There are brand new parts available, plates and knives.   So I bought the cheapest one on amazon, to see how it works.   I don’t use the grinder very often, and a replacement blade that looks like the original was $37 instead of $13.  Even the cheap blade should outlast me, but if it doesn’t, we’re either living like it was 1890, or I can order another.  If push came to shove, I could make one from steel plate.

A manual grinder/chopper/sausage stuffer is a good backup tool, and a useful kitchen accessory.  If you are harvesting wild game, you already know that.  If you think you might in the future, or that you might process it yourself instead of paying a shop to do it, get you a grinder…  They are widely available in estates, and online.  Make sure it’s not worn out and comes with the blade and a variety of plates.   I see smaller ones still in the box relatively often.

Why my sudden interest in getting my grinder working?  I want to make some of my family recipe sausage for the holidays.  Pork butts were on sale, and allspice was back in stock, so with a working grinder, I’m good to go.  Just need to get some sausage casings.   My local HEB used to carry them, but doesn’t have any.  There is a sausage supply house near my secondary location, and I’ll be headed by there later.  They keep in the fridge for a long time, and are pretty cheap, so I’m not worried about the cost, just the availability.

Of course, anything I do today will be after my semi-annual trip to the dentist to get my fangs cleaned.   Whole family is going this morning.    That will probably occupy us most of the morning.  Dental care is important.   People died from dental problems.  Don’t be a people.

Get out there and find some stuff to stack.   This week, try to get everything you’d need to process wild game- or at least familiarize yourself with what is involved.   Knives, saw, grinder, lift, trays, pans, cutting boards… and watch a video or two.   You might not every need the familiarity, but the tools aren’t expensive, fit in a smallish box, and might feed your family.

Stack it up.

nick

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Tues. Jun. 7, 2022 – no snappy title

Hot and humid.  Maybe a breeze, probably sun.   Got over 98F in my yard yesterday.  I know because I was out in it cutting the grass.   Poor planning on my part, but it needed to be done, and that’s when I had time to do it.   Made it in record time and it looks like it…  Today will be the same in all likelihood.  It was 78F when I went to bed, and the same when I woke up.

I’ve got several pickups of BOL and home stuff, and a couple of smalls for resale.   I’m hoping to pay for the rest with those items.  All part of the neverending list of stuff needed to furnish another home, especially when some of the stuff is duplicating preps.

The world continues on its way down.  Gas prices continue to rise.  Stuff continues to not show up in the stores…

WRT Russia and the Ukraine, well, the food they’d export is not being exported this year, and the food for next year didn’t get in the ground.   That shortage is now “baked in”.  It’s gonna happen, is happening.   Riots in Pakistan over food price increases have already started.   Lots of people in lots of places are going to be lots of hungry.   And angry.  And desperate.  Some of those places are even going to be here.   Tyrants have always used food as a weapon.  Take the steps you need to take to keep you and yours in groceries.

Some good discussion in yesterday’s comments.   Some more in today’s comments if I get to it…

Stack it up.  The life you save may be your own.

n

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Mon. Jun. 6, 2022 – D Day 1944.

National forecast has Houston in clear weather for the next three days.   Goes without saying it will be hot and humid.   Beautiful just a couple of hours north though.   Ah well, it is what it is.

Started yesterday at the BOL, did a bunch of work, and came home.   Now I get to do a bunch of work here too.  It’s all the normal stuff, plus the stuff that got put aside.   I don’t know what I’d do if I could actually catch up.    Up north I didn’t get back to my garden weeding, it was just too hot in the sun, so the carrots will have to compete with the grass for another week.    Here I’ve got grass to mow, gardens to weed, and maybe some blueberries to harvest, if the birds didn’t get them.   Plus a ton of stuff to move or put away, or organize.

Then there is all the stuff that needs fixing… and that is a growing pile too.   And the hurricane season has officially started, so there is all the normal hurricane prep to do.   This is not the time I’d have picked for rotating stored gas, but again, it is what it is.

It will be a short work day for me on top of everything else,  as D2 has a swim meet tonight.

Monday is not my fun day.

But hey, no rest for the wicked.

Do some stacking.  Don’t get caught lacking.

 

n

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