Mon. Feb. 14, 2022 – Valentine’s Day in the US, so pony up for the pretty….

Cool, clear, some wind…  I hope.   Yesterday was, with a gorgeous sky.   I could use more nice days, without the freezing howling wind.

Did some stuff during the day, but mostly auction shopping for the <s>new house</s>  BOL.  Then ran a couple of errands, swung by the storage unit, and got ready for today.

Pickup and drop off today, with a visit to my secondary.  Then daddy and D2 will do some projects or play chess… and dinner, etc.

I feel more sense of accomplishment when I don’t list all the things I am not going to get done.  Funny that.

Getting to be time for some planting.  Officially, we could still get a frost, but it doesn’t feel like it this year.  I need a plan for home and for the BOL.  We’re still a week or more from signing, but there’s a lot to do and I’d hate to miss a planting because I didn’t do the planning.  I’m bidding on another of the seed displays too.  Isn’t it Alas Babylon that the lady decides to store seed packets as light and cheap trade goods?

Needles and thread might be a good choice too.   The old treadle powered sewing machines are going for crazy money in the estate auctions.   Hundreds of dollars if they are in good shape and running.   Electric ones, unless they are brand new and feature rich, are going for $20-50 for the most part.  Older Kenmores are solid machines and can be had cheaply.  If you don’t have a sewing machine, I’d recommend getting a used one, and a basic book on sewing, and use it.  Since the crowd here is mostly men, use it to do some masculine stuff, like making your own web gear, or covering some old furniture… or make a shop apron.  Or doll clothes for the kid.  Think of it as just another power tool to learn and use.

Stack some tools and the knowledge to use them.  Stack the stuff needed too.

 

n

 

(and get something nice for your spouse.  you need the support and help.)

 

 

Tues. Jan. 4, 2022 – school’s back in session… and kids are SO grumpy

Cold again, clear, sunny, but cold. 36F when I went to bed, and not expected to freeze, but that is ‘see your breath’ weather for sure. I know, some of you are laughing right now. I’VE got the clothes and accessories for it, but a lot of people don’t. Not that I care all that much about them, they can prep too. It gets cold often enough here that a wind proof shell and a couple of layers should be in everyone’s closet.

I spent most of yesterday working at my desk trying to find money in shoeboxes. Not literal cash money, but stuff to send to auction. Found a bunch too. I checked a couple of spot prices on ebay and I don’t think I’ll get as much as I first thought, unless the auction brings better than ebay prices, but you never know.

Today the plan is to head out to my client’s house and clean up some outstanding issues before the programmer comes back down Wednesday or Thursday. It won’t be a super early start for me, as I have to make a pickup on the way, and I’d like to move some stuff to storage before I head out. We’ll see about that.

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Speaking of moving stuff around, one of the things I did in the beginning of the wuflu response was to bring a bunch of long term disaster items home from storage. When it looked like movement restrictions might be put into effect, I brought home a bunch of storage bins and buckets that made up my “ebola” stacks. By that I mean the panic buy (over the course of months, so not really ‘panicky’, just hurried) of bulk and long term storage items that I stacked up in case ebola got loose over here. I suddenly wanted to be able to stay home for 45-90 days without leaving the house for anything so I massively increased the amount of bulk food I had stacked. Of course that was in 2014, so that food was between 5 and 6 years old.

Most of it had just been put into black bins, with the lids on, and literally stacked. They were stored in a ‘cool dark place’, but I didn’t stabilize them or repack them. All of the bulk food was edible. The wheat flour has an ‘old’ flavor, but it’s edible with no ill effects. It would work fine in pasta, tortillas, or sourdough bread. The rice had no noticeable changes. Nothing was heavily infested with bugs. The canned veg were all fine. Canned tomato paste, not so much. UHT milk? Ugg. You might have been ok eating it, it wasn’t bloated, but it turns to something like tapioca pretty soon after it’s expiration date. Canned meat was all fine too (kirkland chicken mostly.)

Compare and contrast with my storage at home, in my garage. I had much higher ‘breakage’ in the heat and humidity. Cans rusted, and were covered with rat urine. Boxed goods that weren’t in a bag inside the box got stale. Some of the ready to eat meals changed consistency. They didn’t swell, so they probably wouldn’t kill you, but I tossed them. Flavoring packets got hard and stuck together, and often had an ‘old’ smell or taste. In general, if it had fats or dairy in it, it didn’t fare as well, although it all outlasted the ‘best by’ date by a large margin.

We’re still eating peanut butter, katsup, Miracle Whip, and hot sauce from the ebola stacks. The ketchup is a darker color but tastes the same. Miracle Whip too, darker but tastes fine. Mustard isn’t as bright yellow. Peanut butter separated from the oil despite me flipping the jars whenever I noticed. That’s easy to fix with a butter knife and some ‘butter churning’ action when you open the jar. Nutella separates too, but into more than just oil and nuts. It will mix right back though.

Peanut oil lasts a long time past ‘best by’ if it’s in the dark. It’s my go to fat.

I did move all the ebola bulk from bins to buckets over the summer. When I put it in buckets, I used “hot hands” chemical hand and foot warmers to act as oxygen absorbers. When they worked, the buckets dented in a little bit. If I had ‘cool and dry’ here at the house, I probably would have left them in the bins and original packaging, but I put a lot of it under my covered patio, up against the house, and I figured I needed to give the buckets the best possible chance of staying good.

Now that I’ve mentally transitioned to living like this as ‘normal’, and prepping for whatever is coming next, it’s time to move a lot of the bulk back to offsite storage. I’ll move the newest stuff there and keep the old ebola stacks close by.

One last observation- with a lot of stuff, I left it in the original packaging even though it went into a bucket. I could fit more if I dumped it in, but having some additional separation makes sense if the bucket is breached or you have a bug problem, then it’s not automatically contaminating the entire bucket contents. Three bags of pasta might still be sealed, while the fourth got eaten before you noticed the problem. I’ve also made a few buckets with different stuff in them, like one bag sugar, two bags flour, some yeast packets, a carton of salt, and a bag of cornmeal. Might be a pint or two of peanut oil in there too. I didn’t worry too much about the ratios. Water and any of that in any proportion would work fine in a real disaster. People are a lot less picky when they’re hungry.

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Anyone else made the transition from “we’re living in a pandemic, I’m using my preps” to “this is what life looks like now, time to get ready for what’s next”?

Anyone really use their stacks? (besides TP and PPEs)

Think about what you’ve got stacked, and stack some more…

nick

Tues. Nov. 9, 2021 – why yes, I am tired…

Cool and damp. Possible sunny later. I really hope it’s nice as I’ve got stuff to do. Was nice yesterday but I ate something that disagreed with me and I was afraid I might do a Biddn if I strained lifting and toting… so I worked on stuff around the house until it was time to get D2.

Mondays are short work days for me anyway with the kid home and projects piled up. This time we did a sewing project. I picked up a fabric backdrop of a fantasy jungle scene, and put it up as the back wall of her lower bunk, making a kind of jungle play fort out of the bunkbeds. Unfortunately it was two pieces and they were only glued together, and they seam failed. Fast forward and we have a nice project to sew it back together. So we sewed. Got the machine out, set up, tacked the seam back together with fusible interface, and then ran a line down the seam. She did the next one. She did ok for her first time, and we’ll try something more complex next time.

Since everything was out, I did some small repairs on a back pack/ laptop bag that has been waiting for a long time for the repair. It ended up being a bit more complicated than I thought, but I got it done. It’ll either go into the auction, or my wife or kid will steal it…

I think everyone should know how to do basic sewing with needle and thread, and at least straight seams with a machine. My ‘everyday altoids tin’ has a golf pencil, with 18 inches of stout black thread on a heavy needle wrapped around it. It’s great for a quick repair, and works well on webgear too. I’ve got an embroidery capable sewing machine, a serger, the wife’s machine, and an antique mostly manual machine. You don’t need much- a set of needles, a few spools of thread, some fray check liquid, and some fusible interface will go a long way. A basic machine isn’t expensive though, and a pair of good scissors is worth spending money on. You can do a lot with just an iron, fusible interface, and fray check. Heck, for years I kept a variety pack of iron-on patches in my travel bag. If I got a tear in my pants or shirt while on the road, I could iron the patch onto the INSIDE of my pants and fix the tear very well until I got home. For fabric and leather, I hit up the Goodwill, and I used to hit the IKEA ‘as is’ section for drapes, bedsheets, or curtains to re-use.

In the last year I added specialized leather repair tools- mainly stouter needles, heavier thread, and something called a ‘jerk needle.’ I’ve got some hope that I can do some leather work at some point just because I think it is cool, ever since seeing a guy doing tooled leather at a craft booth at the Silver Dollar City amusement park when I was a kid.

I don’t expect I’ll be making shoes or shirts after the fall, but it’s definitely worth knowing how to fix your own stuff, whether it’s gear, shoes, or clothes. (I did make an entire long overcoat/trenchcoat modeled on the one Jack Nicholson wore in Witches of Eastwick for my final project in my costuming class. Well, I designed it and sewed it. The woman that ran the shop did the pattern and cutting…) For anyone who is too ‘manly’ to sew, it’s a POWER TOOL! Are you going to tell me there’s a power tool you won’t try to master??? You don’t have to actually master it for it to be useful, but it is good to have an idea of what you’re doing around sewing. One more skill, one more system to add to the stacks.

Keep stacking my friends,

nick

Thur. July 29, 2021 – kids at rock gym, me working…

Sunny and hot, chance of rain. We’re in the middle of the thunderstorm zone today and tomorrow so we might actually get it. We didn’t get any rain yesterday despite the possibility. I even drove across town, and didn’t get wet.

Did my pickup yesterday and have a couple to do today. Then I’m off to my secondary to do a bunch more clean up. It’s gonna be a long day of hot hard work if everything goes to plan.

And I need to keep an eye on some auctions. There is a vet clinic selling everything, not too far from my house. There are a number of things I’d like to have from that auction… if the zombies ever come.

There’s another fairly close auction with a bunch of air rifles and the current prices are low. In the auctions in general, there has been a lot of late bidding lately, so low prices 8 hours out might not mean what it would have last year, but I’d like to pick up a couple of nice ones for the stacks…

And there is another auction with a bunch of stuff for my non-prepping hobby. I didn’t win any of the stuff I was bidding on this week, so I’m keeping an eye on this sale.

But I can’t sit in front of the computer all day, the kids are out of my hair, and I’ve got stuff to get done.

SO MUCH STUFF.

But it will let me break this log jam and keep making forward progress. “Everything takes longer and costs more.” If I repeated that mantra at work, I should understand that it applies to me in my home life too, right? But I’m SPECIAL and I operate as if it wasn’t true. Well it is true, and not acknowledging that can lead to frustration and disappointment and discouragement. Time to deal with it and just keep pushing through.

The end goal is to have stacks of stuff that will help me, not hinder me. Anything that hinders has to go. And if it helps, it gets priority.

I’m picking up more shelves today… and while it costs time, they should help organize, condense, and ultimately improve my situation.

Keep working to improve your situation. By stacking, or by getting rid of some stuff. Sometimes getting rid of a stack is the best thing you can do.

nick

Sun. June 20, 2021 – Fathers’ Day

Hot and humid here in Fla. High of 90, low of 70F, sure to be humid.

Flight was ok. Pretty bumpy for about half the trip, but because of hearing issues, PA issues, and a thick spanish accent, I don’t know which route the pilot chose. It must have been the one with the best flight characteristics, but it still knocked us around.

Mask usage was mandatory at the airport and on the flight. Silly to raise and lower a mask between bites of food and sips of drink, all that does is contaminate your mask and your food. I guess no one said this stuff was supposed to make sense or work.

I think we’re headed to the beach today. In any case, it will be short shrift from me on the keys….

y’all talk amongst yourselves.

nick

keep stacking!

Sat. June 19, 2021 – travel day.

In theory, we’re getting stormed on by the thing in the Gulf. In practice, yesterday was nice and sunny all day, and HOT reaching 109F in the sun by my roof. I guess if there is weather in NOLA, my flight to the Tampa area will either go through it or around it. It makes more sense to go south of it, but then your plane needs to be rated for ‘over water’. What to do, what to do.

Spent yesterday tying up some loose ends around the house and around town.

Today we’re flying, after dropping the dog (and hamster) off with friends, the fish having become an ex-fish just a few weeks ago. This will be my first flight post-wuflu lockdown and frankly I’m not looking forward to it. I no longer like to fly anyway, but the additional nonsense is just that much more to hate.

I told the kids we will be practicing grace and flexibility on the trip, and I’ll have to remind myself.

Still lots to do before I’m ready to leave, so I better get busy.

I’m hoping, as I always do, the world holds together until I’m back home.

So I can get back to stacking.

nick

Sat. April 17, 2021 – Rain? could be, or not, work to do regardless.

Possibility of rain, and moderate temperatures. Like yesterday. For some values of Houston. I heard on the radio that areas got hammered with hail Thursday night, while we got nothing. That’s why, despite looking at it every day, I don’t put much stock in the forecast. I don’t think anyone was predicting hail…

Spent a lot of time yesterday driving around. Between wasting time on the internet with my friends, and driving, I do come up short on actual work time, some days at least.

Cut my hair, did some laundry.

Bought some shirts a couple of sizes too big. Just in case I might find myself in a situation where I was wearing something that I wanted to put a shirt over, but it was thicker than my cool vest. I don’t know where that thicker vest or vest like garment might fall on your preparedness spectrum or threat continuum, or just contingency planning, but if you own or think you might have cause to wear something like that, you might want jackets and shirts that you could wear over it. So much of what we do to prep can be thought of as systems- a collection of parts that work together in a way that is more useful that just the parts themselves. The more complete your system is, the more effective it will be. I think being stealthy and unobtrusive is going to be the uniform of the day for a long time.

I’ll be working the list today, depending on weather.

I’m going to link Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for today’s political/observational/situational update. https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2021/04/the-consequences-of-stolen-election.html

“If you’re stuck in a conflict zone, or a city likely to become one, I can only recommend that you prepare as best you can. This article and this one offer many helpful suggestions. Prepare today, so you aren’t caught unawares and unprepared tomorrow.”

Saves me a bunch of typing.

Keep stacking.

n

Sat. April 11, 2020 – gonna be Easter soon, hope the bunny is ‘essential’

 

Cool and clear, rain in the forecast.

Did not get as much done I hoped. Spent time reading fiction during the day. I don’t usually do that, because I’d get nothing done at all if it became a habit.

I did get a low voltage power line run through the attic to the back of the house. I got the IR emitter hung and thought everything was good to go. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing much IR in the camera image at night. There is a BIT of foliage, but not enough. Maybe the camera doesn’t have good IR capability. In any case, not the slam dunk I hoped for. (Looking at a different camera with good IR capability, it looks like a floodlight is on, so I think it’s the camera. Bummer. One more thing to look at changing.) In the process though, I found a setting that needed to be changed on the other camera that is looking at my front porch, so net-net it was a positive.

Started to get kinda warm up in the attic in the afternoon, despite the cooler outdoor temps. I managed to run another network line for new camera number two, if I can find a good way to mount it on my chimney. It’s the other new 8mpx camera to cover the other end of my street. With possibly sketchy neighbors on that side, I would like to have more coverage of the street. Camera’s not doing anyone any good sitting in a box, I might as well hang it.

Still have a lot of outdoor stuff to do, so I’m hoping the rain holds off again.

Dinner was leftovers. Wasting food is a lot more of an issue when you’re in a lifeboat…. which is the metaphor I’ve been using with the kids.

Take a bit of a break this weekend. Recharge mentally and physically. Do something nice with your other shut-ins….

Stay in, stay safe.

n

 

Tues. Feb. 11, 2020 – so much to do

Warmish and wet. [not so much, front moved in, 50F and dripping this am]

Had overcast all day but didn’t get any rain until after 9pm, and it didn’t last long.

Spent the afternoon running around doing pickups and drop offs. So much stuff to do normally, and I’m also trying to step up my preps.

I’m going to try to fit in a Costco run today with all the other stuff going on.

I’ve been a bit casual checking my email lately. I’ve got my reader open to my sales addy, hoping to see orders coming in… so I was very pleasantly surprised to see a note from Barbara.

It was in regard to our discussion of Bob’s works in progress. She didn’t want to pursue the fiction book, and had this to say–

The best prepping insights from Bob are what he posted on the site.

All of his previous science and computer books are now pretty much out of date. Those that are still in print can be found on the O’Reilly site.

I want to thank you, Rick, and all of the readers on Daynotes for keeping his ideas and memories alive.

Barbara

I’m sure I speak for all of us saying “Thank You” to Barbara for supporting our continued efforts here. It’s a unique place on the web, due to Bob and the readers he attracted. It’s been a daily part of my life, and I’d miss it enormously.

Now, off to work. Go forth and prep, because it’s bad, and it will be getting worse.

nick

Mon. June 17, 2019 – back to work

68F and 99%RH this morning .  Gauge said 1.85 inches of rain before midnight, and it’s only been misty since.  Forecast is for more light rain, and higher temps by late afternoon.  No idea yet if our swim meet will go on.  The pool gets in poor condition with inches of rain and the grounds turn to a muddy mess.

Aesop at RaconteurReport is busy laying in some ground truths about the Ebola outbreak (and I’ve contributed a little bit.)  Today’s report out of Africa is it MAY have made a big leap in Uganda.

TL:DR is – if they don’t get a handle on it there (and they won’t), it will get to the west.  It’s likely to get here at some point, and if it breaks out here, it’s SHTF time.  Best defense is self-quarantine to avoid infection.  That means stocking up.

I’m gonna bring together some of Bob’s posts on getting started prepping into one place.  A lot of good info has disappeared when some other good sites sold out.  A new page here with good links and Bob’s advice should be helpful.

Kids are sleeping in, but wife still needs breakfast, so I’m off…

 

n