Category: book- infrastructure

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?


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.

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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.


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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…



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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

09:11 – It was 60.7F (16C) when I took Colin out at 0630, partly cloudy. Barbara is off to the gym this morning, after which we’ll be doing more work on science kits. She’s spending the day down in Winston tomorrow, so I want to get the highest priority stuff done today.

Just to give you an idea of how seasonal our business is, August revenues through today total 33% of our revenues for the entire year to date, and next month’s revenues should be similar to this month’s. Things’ll slow down after that until about Thanksgiving, when we’ll have another heavy sales period that runs through mid-January.

Kim stopped by the house Monday afternoon to ask if we’d mind stopping over at Blue Ridge Electric Co-op and signing a permission document to allow them to come onto our property to do some work on the electric feed to their new house. They’re running the power feed underground and need to tie it to a distribution box that’s just over the property line into our field. We told them we’d be happy to do so, and Barbara stopped by Blue Ridge yesterday morning to sign the permission slip. It turned out she didn’t need to. As I thought, there’s a utility easement, and they don’t need our permission to access their distribution box.

Yesterday afternoon, I saw that a bunch of people were up at the house working on it, so I walked up to let Kim’s husband Ricky know that everything was clear for work to proceed. Grace was up there watching what was going on. I ended up standing there talking to her for the better part of an hour.

She’s originally from the Wilmington, NC area down on the coast, and went to college at UNC Wilmington. Her main concern about living up here is the winter weather. Living on the coast, she hasn’t seen much snow, and has no experience driving in ice and snow. I told her that, as a Northern boy, my advice was to avoid doing so as much as possible and if she had to drive to wait until the plows had run. Oh, and to keep a good stock of emergency food, bottled water, and so on in case we do get snowed in.

She seems like a sensible young woman, so I’m sure she’ll be fine. She really likes living up here in a rural/small-town environment with the laid-back mountain lifestyle. As she said, everyone is so friendly and so normal. And that the cost of living was so low here. I told her that that had been Barbara’s and my reaction as well when we moved up here in 2015.

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