Sun. July 25, 2021 – hooray, pack is back together…

Hot and humid again. No rain in the forecast for today, although the edge of the zone isn’t that far away. Yesterday was over 100F in the sun and the humidity was high enough stuff didn’t dry outside. So of course I needed to be working in the heat. It was a little bit cooler at my secondary location, mainly because the sun was mostly hidden, and there was a bit of a breeze.

I just kept hammering away (or sawing and carrying) pulling a trade show exhibit out of its shipping containers and piling the pieces up for trash or recycle. Carry, cut, carry, cut, plod…. The end goal is worth the drudgery. The drudgery should have been done years ago, btw. Real Life ™ got in the way though. Danged Real Life ™, always making demands…

Before I could go do that work, I needed to be home to greet the kids on their return from camp. Lots of fun was had, some things were learned. Oldest didn’t quite make her ‘Mariner’ certificate. They try to fit a longer course into the week and it didn’t quite make it. Still, she now officially knows more about sailing small boats than I do.

I had two vehicle issues. My Ranger battery appears to have died. I’ll look at replacing that today or tomorrow. The heat here kills batteries and it’s been hot. I’m pretty sure I looked at the battery not too very long ago and decide it was near EOL. Poor timing, but not a tragedy as I have the other truck to backup the Ranger.

Took the backup truck to work, and on the way home the Expedition got a flat tire. There is some more detail in yesterday’s comments, but the 10,000 foot look is one of potential fail. I was all set to swap in the spare, which I had a high degree of confidence in, because I actually look at it fairly often, and thump it once in a while, and I’d done that when I bought the truck. It was fine, and I knew how to get it out from under the truck. I’d also checked that the jack and tools were there when I bought, and I added a couple of things to that compartment when I moved into the truck. I recognized that I’d run over something and was able to get to a safe and flat area- all set to be all self sufficient…

And then the lug wrench didn’t fit the lug nuts. Seriously? Upgraded ‘fancy’ wheels. They must use bigger nuts than stock and no one ever realized. Or whatever they did to compensate didn’t get transferred to me when the sale went through.

Here’s the prep part. I considered using the can of Slime Fix a Flat to just repair the tire and get home. Then I thought about the mess when actually fixing it and decide the situation didn’t call for it. I could have used my plug kit and 12v compressor to effect a repair, but it would have to be redone for ‘realz’ by my tire guy, and really, grid up. Only 6 miles from home. So I called AAA for help. I figured the tire tech would have the right sized lug wrench and it would only take a few minutes to change the tire. I was right, and was back on my way after about 45 minutes total.

Having a roadside service company is a prep. All the stuff in bins in the back of the truck is prepping. Prepping is really about having options. Prepping CREATES options. Absolute worst case I could have abandoned the vehicle and walked home. I’ve got a dozen different routes I’m familiar with between that point and home. I’ve got two cases of mountain house and water in the truck. I was wearing sturdy shoes, and armed sufficiently for most encounters. I had a wide continuum of choices because of my preps.

In the end, I didn’t use the stacks, I used the credit card… and my connections to society, because we’re still grid up, and it was the least disruptive choice as well as the second fastest. It also points out the importance of practicing and USING your preps. The spare tire is the prep for a flat, and as a system it failed when I needed it because I hadn’t tested it. New vehicle, should have been tested.

While I didn’t use the stacks this time, they were there if I had needed them. Stack some for yourselves…

n

Fri. April 2, 2021 – stuff to do, no rest for the wicked…

Cool and dry, hopefully. We’re supposed to get two nice days in a row. Yesterday was bright and sunny with cool breezes. And it got down to 51F by the time I actually went back to bed.

Spent yesterday mostly doing nothing. Drove to one pickup. Got the child from school. Went to the chiropractor and came home. Pain sucks. Chronic pain changes who you are and how you get through life. It colors everything and it’s possible to be in so much pain that you don’t even realize that you are in pain until it stops. That was the case with my lower back injury a dozen years ago. It had just crept up on me and poisoned my whole life. Fortunately I sort of accidentally got treatment, and suddenly knew what was going on. I’ve been pretty careful since then to not push it, or find myself without the means to manage the issue. Only a few months ago I found myself in that situation and vowed not to let it happen again. But it did. Ran out of my maintenance meds and suffered for it. This time I misunderstood the tele-doc and the pharmacy has not been as engaged as usual, and instead of toughing it out for a couple of days, I’m now going to be dealing with this for a week or more unless I get lucky.

What are the prepper lessons? The same old ones. Two is one and one is none. A stitch in time saves nine. Grid down will likely purely suck.

I’ve started the process to help insure that this won’t be happening again and that’s all I’ll say about that. The really frustrating part is that the meds which work very well for me aren’t abusable, aren’t even pain related, are well known and cheap, have minimal side effects, and are widely available as a vet med throughout the world. If the market was bigger, they’d be over the counter by now. There is no reason why I should have to beg anyone else for the ability to stop the pain and go about my life. And there is no reason to dole them out one month at a time. My condition is not going to improve. I won’t be needing less. I can manage my own stockpile and dosing. But I’m not allowed. The changes brought about by obama-no-care destroyed the family practice that was my primary care physician, and made my access to care more difficult, more expensive, and more time consuming.

Degradation of services that used to work well is a sign of a collapsing society. The current situation is exacerbated by the china flu and the response to it, but it was not CAUSED by it, the causes were already in place.

All of this is to say, if you have a medical condition that you are taking meds for, you MUST take steps to insure your continued access to them. Whatever the cause of any disruption, be it society wide, just a glitch in the supply chain, or your doctor is suddenly unavailable, there will be a disruption at some point. Lots of people online have discussed strategies and ways to do so for most conditions and we’ve talked about it here too. Some take more effort, some more time, and some just more money, but get started if you haven’t already. I used to have a cushion, I used it up, didn’t replace it, and now I’m paying the price.

——————————————————————————————–

Today, if I can manage it, I’ve got to check on some issues with my client’s site. Stuff continues to fail piecemeal from the lightning strikes, and I continue to patch it up. We are developing a plan to rip and replace everything, but as you can imagine, that costs money, and people with means, who came to them honestly and through hard work, don’t just spend money wildly. They are often very conservative and contemplative when it comes to that.

——————————————————————————————–

In any case, for the next little while, I’ll be focused on my physical issues and what to do about them, WHILE all the other things demand my attention too.

Don’t wait, start stacking stuff today.

n

Sat. Feb. 20, 2021 – 02202021 – another funny number on a not so funny day

Cold again.   This is really starting to get old, ya know?  I’d hate for this to be the beginning of the new normal.  A whole lotta people are gonna starve if the US can’t produce and export a whole lotta extra food.  Global warming has always been a more human friendly trend than global cooling.   I guess that’s why they hate it so much.

Spent yesterday getting ready to go to my rent house, then coming home.  Don’t know what I’ll be doing today but it’s probably going to revolve around drinking water.

I opened two aquatainers last night and both were contaminated.     One had the spigot crack, which let air and ‘stuff’ into the jug.    There is nasty looking stuff on the bottom of the jug, and the water smells of mold or mildew.

The other jug was stored with the spigot reversed and inside the jug (as I learned to do years ago) but the screw cap had loosened.    Faint ‘stale’ odor, and some sand or sediment at the bottom of the jug.    Prepper fail.

Both jugs spent the summer and fall sitting in the driveway, heating and cooling every day, eventually pumping air into the jug.   Previously I’ve had water in aquatainers, treated with bleach, that was perfectly drinkable after 7 years.   That jug was stored in the proverbial ‘cool dark place’ though.

I didn’t find out until around midnight, since we haven’t had to even crack the stored drinking water to that point.  My interim solution was to put a pot of tap water on the boil, so I could refill the brita filter and make coffee in the morning.    That’s why I think I’ll be looking more closely at our stored water today, in the daylight.

I trusted the aquatainers to perform as they had in the past without considering that conditions had changed.  Prepper fail.

The aquatainers are generally quite good and I recommend having some.  They are about as big as can be reasonably handled at 7 gallons.  They have a couple of weaknesses though.  The spigots are fragile.   To combat that, I take the cap off, unscrew the spigot and rescrew it into the cap from the inside.    That puts it inside the jug when stored, which is safer for it.   It must be sterile and spotlessly clean when you do that though.   You can also replace the spigot with a plumbing fitting.   The threads are standard, and a simple plug can be screwed in.   It’s also a good idea to order and stock some replacements for the spigots, and for the cap over the breather hole.  I’ve got several of each.

Like most plastics, they will become brittle and crack if left in the sun long enough- so don’t.   The biggest downside, as far as I’m concerned, is you can’t stack them, and you can’t lay them on their side and leave them like that either for storage, or for dispensing.

When I fill them, I use chlorinated tap water and add plain bleach.  There are a lot of official and semi-official recipes for bleach to water ratio, but they all boil down to– mix in bleach very thoroughly, adding more slowly until you can just barely smell it in the water.  (this is for already potable water, follow the recipe and rules for treating suspected bad or dirty water).

Doing this, and keeping the container sealed and stored well, I had no problem with 7 years of storage.  The water was clear, and only a bit ‘flat’.   To fix that you can aerate by pouring from container to container a couple of times, or I just pour it through a Brita filter pitcher.   It’s easier to use and chill that way anyway.

I use the same method for all the water I store.  Scrupulously clean bottle/jug/container/tank,  already chlorinated tap water, add plain bleach until you can smell it even after thorough mixing, seal well and protect from air, light, and heat.

Worst case, I might have to use the Sawyer filter on the stored water, or some other treatment option, or just use the contaminated water for flushing and washing while  using the uncontaminated OTHER containers for drinking.    That is one advantage of multiple smaller jugs, if one is contaminated the others are usually still fine.   That’s one reason why I prefer smaller containers to one big tank.   That and mobility issues.  A 55 gallon drum weighs a lot, ~450  pounds.  You aren’t putting a 55 gallon drum in the back of your BOV.


Water is your first need, and you should have plenty on hand.   I think a minimum of 2 gallons per person, per day, half that for pets, is a good number for planning purposes.   More is better.   Plus you need the means to treat the water to make it safe to drink.  Hiking filters are good, if they have small enough pores, and the chemical means should be on your shelf too-iodine tablets for your personal cup of water, gallons of bleach for bulk treatment.

 


 

More on water storage and redundancy later, for now, keep stacking.

 

nick

 

 

Thur. Feb. 18, 2021 – losing track of the days…

Cold again, supposed to get a hard freeze tonight.   Yesterday felt colder than it was.   With the sub-freezing temps, it was very dry, but with the advent of the melting and the rain, humidity was HIGH and the damp cold felt REALLY damn cold.   (srsly, some of you are laughing but it hurt it was so cold.)  35F at 930pm down from 38F and higher during the day.

As I figured I would, I got the chance to help out a couple of neighbors.  (We are a neighborhood.   I live on a cul de sac, and about half of us are ‘chat in the street, talk about the kids’ friendly, especially after the storms and hurricanes, etc.  The other half we just never see except to wave as they drive by.  And that is a bit of an issue but not one to solve in a day.)

I helped the family across the street get their 1950s era gennie running.   It ran in the summer but wouldn’t start now.   There were a couple of minor things, the metal piece you touch to the spark plug to shut it off was too close to the plug and was grounding it out and there was water in the fuel and carb.   Drained a half cup through the carb and float bowl, reset the idle speed, and it fired on the 5th or 6th pull.   Ran pretty well too.   Put my meter on it, 57hz and 115v – so, well within range to be expected.   Small engine repair is a real world usable skill and being able to get and keep your gear running could save your life.   Youtube probably has someone fixing exactly your problem, but to learn small engine trouble shooting and repair in general, and be entertained by a guy who loves what he does, spend some time watching Mustie1.

Did a welfare check on the elderly couple down the block and found out  they didn’t have heat, or a way to cook food because of the power outage, so I brought them a gallon of already hot water, a single burner coleman stove, and a Mr Heater Little Buddy .  Unfortunately it looks like that single burner Coleman is out of production.   That is a real shame because it stores easily and uses the same bottle as the Mr Heaters and Coleman lanterns.    My wife loves it for Girl Scout camping.   I’ve picked up a couple at yard sales or estate sales and there are two on ebay for crazy money.   If you were going to standardize on 1 pound propane bottles, I’d recommend a small stove that uses the bottle, one of the Mr Heater Buddys, and maybe a lantern (and only because you won’t be caught with dead batteries).

The lantern is iffy, because the Streamlight lantern is so good, I can’t really recommend anything else as a serious area light.   Anything you’re going to be moving around with you and setting in different places will always be safer if it’s not fire.   I have a dozen of the cheap little battery powered LED lanterns from Costco, the kids use them at camp and around the house as toys.   They actually work pretty well, and like cheap flashlights, buy a bunch and scatter them everywhere for convenience.  But for disasters, when you need light, I love my Streamlight Siege.  Mine normally lives on the floor beside my bed within easy reach.  My wife loves her smaller Siege too.

Later in the day I got a call from my buddy about borrowing a space heater.    I loaned him the one from the garage.   It would have been pretty hard to say no to a friend with kids just to heat the garage (not that I would have.)  It does bring up a point.   Having multiples of items isn’t just a good idea for redundancy, what with two being one and one being none.  Unless zombies are eating people on your front lawn, you are probably going to want to help people in your circle/tribe/etc if you can.  Unless it’s truly TEOTWAWKI, people WILL remember your help or lack thereof, and it would be an extraordinary individual that wouldn’t look for payback later.   Just sayin’.  Help where you can.  Build your community.   Later you can help them build their own resilience.

Plan for today is more of the same, with some additional experimentation if possible.   We’ll see if I get to it.  And I just realized I was going to do a “why the 5 gallon bucket is the preppers multitool” post, but got completely sidetracked by my life…   Jeez, it’s like I’m on instagraam jumping around shouting “look at me!!!” in a bikini.   Now try to get that image out of your head.  You are stocked up on eye bleach right?   😉

Keep stacking.   And ask yourself the question I never asked about storms in winter, “What if the disaster comes when I’m NOT expecting it to?”

nick

Wed. Feb. 17, 2021 – interim boring details, and hotwash

Ah, sweet sweet internet….

On my dual screen pc at that!

Ok, here’s the rundown on yesterday.

Big gennie (gasoline, generac) died around 4 am. I was asleep and didn’t wake. I had fueled both gennies at 230am before bed. Honda died at 808am and I got out of bed to deal with it at that point.

Wife was up after 4am and did the ‘run the hot water until the wall cavity warms up and the cold runs freely’ and ‘flush the toilets a couple of times to keep their lines moving’ dance until I got up.

She pointed out that across the street had power and I should try that before restarting the gennies. Did that and LO! we were back up. No cell or internet service though.

Got some breakfast and looked at the machines. I really expected ERCOT to rolling b/o us in a couple of hours so I wanted to be back up. Honda was dry, so that was just my bad-overestimated the run time. I did wake up at 750am and think “I should refuel before they die” but didn’t. I fueled it up and it restarted easily. I removed one load in the house but kept running the oil filled space heater in the garage. No need to add my garage heat to the TX baseload while people didn’t have power…

The generac still had fuel. About a half tank of milky fuel. It looked funny when I filled it at 2 am, but I put that down to weird lighting. The fuel seemed thicker, ‘oily’ in the way it flowed, and not clear. F me. Bad fuel. The honda had enough good fuel to run anyway when I added the bad, but not the generac.

Put the fuel issue to the side and did a bunch of chores. No cell or internet.

Gave one oil filled heater to the neighbor to put in his attic to thaw his pipes. They left around 130 in the afternoon so the house was cold for 16 hours… not good. Saw that my sick neighbor had his son over, and with power on, I didn’t worry about his breakfast.

Went back to draining the bad fuel. Very sluggish coming out of the petcock, so yep, it was nasty. My hand fuel pump took me a while to find, and it didn’t want to work so I just let the tank drain slowly. Made plans to go to my rent house and meet the tenant, thought the power was on and wanted to be there for the pipe test… but before I could leave, my sick neighbor’s brother came out and told me my neighbor’s wife had died that morning in recovery from her emergency surgery. (did I mention his wife had a ruptured bowel and needed to get emergency surgery? I think I did.) I would not be surprised if my sick neighbor didn’t just give up and pass in the next day or so. They were married 55 years and the chemo is killing him faster than the cancer.

Then before I could leave, the other neighbor had water pouring out of a light fixture… so they needed help fixing the busted pipe. I gave all the supplies to yet a third neighbor, who helped him do the repair (I checked when I finally got home.) It paid to have a bunch of plumbing supplies stacked and waiting…..

Finally threw 4 empty gas cans in the truck and headed out. Sweet jebus. Plenty of slick spots on the otherwise dry roads. As I got out of my area, the power was still out, and all the traffic lights were blinking red. SEVERAL cars managed to get wrecked, with one sideswiped and ping ponged up onto the median… I saw people just cruising thru lights too. LOTS of people on the street. When I got closer to my rental (Heights part of Houston) the lights were just out. That made for some interesting intersections…

Met with my tenant, house was 36F inside, no power, no heat. We shut off the water and drained the pipes. He headed back to a friend’s place, I went by my secondary to pick up a bag of snow melt salt. Yeah, why the he77 did I buy a bag of salt in Houston? No idea but I did- at an auction a couple of months ago… that’s how my life works. For what it’s worth, the box of Morton’s Kosher salt did the trick on the front walk, and where I needed it, just fine. It will be nice to have bigger chunks in places though.

Headed home on surface streets, but a different route than I took to get there. Any fast food place that had power had a line of cars out the lot and onto the street. Ditto for gas stations. I kept driving, figuring I’d eventually find a station without lines. I did. Got all my cans ready, reached for my wallet, and, I left it at home. Carry pistol too. I was so scattered trying to get out of the house I messed up. No consequences this time but of all the times to be driving through those neighborhoods, and to not have any resources with me…

Made it home, armed up and grabbed money and wallet and went back out. Took three tries to find a station that was taking credit cards. I had cash but didn’t want to stand in line, and didn’t know how much gas I needed. There were LOTS of angry people yelling and cursing that it was CASH ONLY. Worth taking note of that. Filled the cans and got home. I wanted fresh gas for the night. I’ll go through the stored fuel in the daylight and warmth, and cycle it through my truck if it is not too bad, or pump off most of it and leave the water in the bottom of the can… I just don’t have time today or tomorrow and there is gas at the store. Note to self, REALLY need to rotate the stored fuel more aggressively.

Back working on the generac. I really wanted it running before I lost the daylight in case we lost power again  (it’s the 220v that feeds the house so that we have heat).   There was still a LOT of bad gas in the tank that wouldn’t flow out. I took another look at my pump and fixed it, then used it to pump out the bad gas. Used the new gas to rinse the tank several times, then pulled the carb bowl and let the new gas flush the line and the carb. Put it all back together and it started on the second pull. That generac ROCKS once the carb is clean. It’s just unfortunate that you have to clean it before every use… I’m VERY familiar with that gennie since I’ve been fixing it since y2K… The note there is you should be familiar with your critical gear, and know how to keep it running.

Then it was time to do a bit of snow shoveling before a dinner of jambalaya with sausage… one pot meals are great when you have limited fuel or time or water for washing up. Delicious and filling.

And then I got caught up on the comments and wrote this…

Today should be more of the same, with more helping neighbors and less running around. I hope.

 


 

The honda EU3000i is quiet, started right up, runs well, is QUIET, and is worth every penny. The only down side is lack of 22ov output. You can get two and link them for 22ov and I will consider that. I’ll definitely watch for another in the auctions. The (out of production) generac is rock solid and has been my saving grace several times. I don’t take good enough care of it but it still performs when needed.  The liquid cooled commercial Generac whole house gennie is only effective if it’s actually INSTALLED. Procrastination is a b!tch. Resources and time are limited, but it makes no real sense that I’ve had it all this time without connecting it. That’s just dumb, and a huge fail. So much of the angst and additional effort could have been avoided if I could have just switched that on and let it run.

Having multiples of things and having repair materials ON HAND can turn a disaster into an inconvenience. I had the oil filled radiators for YEARS in storage and never used them, but they sure made it easier to stay warm during this disaster.

The Mr Heater Buddy series ROCKS. Absolutely the easiest way to get heat in a disaster, or when you are away from home. HIGHLY recommended. And buy a case of bottles per heater… if you need them you REALLY need them. A full bottle lasted about 4 hours on the low setting. Besides helping my neighbor, I used one in the back bathroom to warm ME when using the throne, and to keep a room that’s cool on the best of winter days warm enough protect the pipes. Grab and go heat. Super handy.

The aphorism that you must help yourself first in order to help others proved out during this disaster so far. We were able to feed, warm, and help neighbors with repairs because we were in good shape. Even for (crusty selfish old) me it feels good to be able to help.

We’re not through it yet, but so far we’ve kept up…

Even really unlikely things can happen, so keep stacking….

nick

Sat. Feb. 13, 2021 – Friday the 13th comes on a Saturday this month

Cold.  Low 30s.  Damp.  Dreary.  Winter.

It was cold all day yesterday too, staying pretty consistently 35F all day long.  It was 35F when I went to sleep.

Ran my errands, then headed over to pick up kid 2.  Very un-usually and disconcertingly, my truck died several times during the trip.  I first thought it might be low oil, but now I am wondering if the battery is dead from the cold.   It had a really hard time cranking, and I don’t know if the truck will run without a functional battery.   I’ll be dropping it off at my mechanic’s place as soon as I can.   Truck repair was not on my radar.   But hey, prepping wise, I had an extra quart of oil to add when it said it was low.   That got me going again for a while.

In the mean time, I’ll drive the Ranger to do my pickups today, after my non-prepping hobby meeting.    Yep, I’m going.   I have stuff to sell, need to renew my membership, and it’s time to re-elect the suckers I mean Board Members who make it all work.  Plus there is some crossover with my ham lunch guys, who I haven’t seen in months.   I can touch base with two of my meatspace groups at the same time.  If that’s not efficient use of time I don’t know what is…. 🙂

The wuflu restrictions make it much harder to meet and build networks in meatspace, and I don’t think that’s accidental.  Especially as this goes on, the political aspects are outpacing the medical ones.  Given TPTB’s other actions, it’s not hard to see the sinister in everything they do.

Almost every day I thank God I live in Texas, where we’ve been spared the most egregious of the nonsense.

Did an instacart order from Costco in the late afternoon.   It’s very convenient to place the order and then go on doing other stuff on your list until it arrives.

While I was waiting I got all three of my mature citrus trees covered, and the other potted trees and plants either under cover or indoors.   The citrus got heavy black poly sheet over them, secured like a big balloon, with a 50 or 60 watt incandescent bulb in the center to provide some heat.  I’m as ready as I can be garden-wise.   I am going to try to get some more gas cans filled just in case.  After hurricane season, I usually draw down my gasoline at home.  If we end up running a gennie, I want to be ready.  I’m kicking myself once again for continuing to put off the connection of the whole house gennie.  Money, time, and access- they all need to be there together, and I haven’t made it a priority.   That is a prepper fail.

I’m actually much more concerned about the plumbing at my rent house.  It’s pier and beam construction with no insulation, and the pipes are under the house.   We’ve had pipes crack from freezing there before.   I’ll be confirming with the tenants that they understand about leaving taps running and cranking the heat.  I may put poly over the screen that blocks the airspace under the house.   Normally you want the air to blow freely, but I think stopping the air would help keep the temps up.

The school district has already cancelled all in person learning for Tuesday.   They’re off Monday anyway, and the infrastructure is all in place for ‘learn from home’, so I guess it’s prudent.  It feels like a huge over-reaction.

It’s hard to believe that it could be as bad as predicted.  Like always, I guess we’ll see.

It may be we’re already sliding down the slope to civil war and economic collapse, but that doesn’t stop Mother Nature from putting the boot in.  Get your short term house in order, top up your supplies, and get ready for winter…

And keep stacking.  You don’t want to be one of the  ‘french toast people’ do you?

 

n

 

FTP- the ones that rush out before every weather event and buy milk, eggs, and bread.   Like they’re gonna live off of french toast alone….

Fri. Sept. 25, 2020 – month and week are almost gone by

Cool and overcast.

Thursday was both cooler and overcast.  I did some cleanup in the driveway, which mostly involved dumping out water from any place it accumulated.  I’m pretty confident that we got slightly more than 12 inches over the last few days.  Three different containers had that much water in them.

I managed to get a bunch of little things done.  Mostly cleaning and organizing, but also ordering some stuff.  I ordered the weird N size batteries for one of my night vision devices, and moved that case out of the house into the garage for storage.  I ordered the switch for the drain cleaner machine I bought.  I have to clear our main kitchen drain line twice a year.  The machine will pay for itself in one year or less.  I’m hoping the current snake is a good size to work with my pipes.  I’ll see when I use it I guess.  One less thing to call a specialist for, or make the trip to the rental yard.

I received the power switch for my new mower, just in time to cut the grass this weekend.  Hope that goes in without difficulty.

The national security situation continues to fluctuate locally.  The rioters in STL went right to shooting and firebombs this time.    That’s an escalation.  Riots in other uninvolved cities too.

I never did hear what our local disturbance was about.  The coppers did chase the guy around my neighborhood, and the FB group says “low speed chase”.     The disturbance at the neighbor’s house a couple of nights ago seems to have been a domestic.  His girlfriend was the one in the squad car, and she hasn’t been back around since.

I did a bit more research on the possible lake house, and surrounding area, looked at some historical topo maps and current maps.  There is a 2 acre lot for $24k with lake ‘view’ that also caught my eye.  There are smaller lots for $9-14K 1/4 and 1/2 acre, unimproved, in the same area.  If there are lots still around this lake, there are probably lots around others not too far away.  You might be surprised if you go looking.  Better to have somewhere definite to go, if you have to go…

Speaking of my lake house stay, I had a couple of lessons learned to share.

–the matches I’ve been carrying in a tube in my Dopp kit for the last few years didn’t light.  They weren’t damp exactly, but they weren’t dry either.  I didn’t have a lighter due to air travel restrictions.  I DID have a bunch of fire starting stuff in my wife’s car in the ‘bail out kit’.   The commercial fire lighter sticks that look like square slim jim sausages work very well, even if they are years old.  I will be adding some of the big brick of lighters to all sorts of places, including my carry on bag.

–I have been carrying one of those cheap hotel corkscrews for years.  Used it for the first time last weekend.  It was pretty flimsy, but got the job done.  Happy wife, happy life…

–I like to carry my little shortwave radio on trips to the country.  I forgot it.   I was a tiny bit disappointing.

–one of the neighbors was a ham with a big antenna setup.  They aren’t subtle, if it ever turns out to be a liability.  If I needed help, I would consider a fellow ham before random strangers.  Conversely, I’d be willing to help if approached by another ham.

–I know NOTHING useful about fishing in Texas.  I need someone to help me go through all the fishing gear I’ve accumulated and help set me up for salt and fresh water fishing.  Some lessons would be useful too.  The kids have expressed interest in fishing, and I’d like to be able to encourage that.

–Modern kayaks are inexpensive and fun.  I looked at a map once and discovered that I could get from my folk’s house south of Chicago, all the way to Peoria IL and beyond by water… probably all the way to New Orleans although I didn’t map that.

–there are pipelines everywhere.  If you know what to look for while driving you will see the markers, and the cuts through the forest.  Pipeline rights of way might be an easier and less traveled path if you ever had to walk out, or ride a dirt bike, or atv.  Look for them if you think things might get that bad.

–I had no cell service at all in the rental house, except one room upstairs.  My wife has a wifi calling app so she barely noticed.  I don’t.  It was radio silence for me.  I don’t think I’ll be ebaying the cell booster I have sitting here at the house.

–I’ve been stacking stuff for a second home for a long time.  It would be nice to actually use it.  This lockdown has proven the wisdom of having stuff, and backups to the stuff, to me and to my wife (not that I needed convincing, but she’s always been skeptical past a certain point.)

Well, that’s it for now, I’ve got auction pickups and gardening and repairs to do.  Maybe I’ll get some of it done…

Meanwhile, keep improving your position, and keep stacking.

 

nick

Mon. Aug. 3, 2020 – new month, new week, same stuff on my list

Warmer, wetter, swamp-ier.

Because yesterday wasn’t humid enough, it rained.  And got to over 100F in my yard, even without sun.

But I mostly didn’t do much anyway.  Sometimes I hurt, sometimes I didn’t.  Didn’t want to push it too much in any case.

Cleaned the pool, opened a power supply that let the smoke out to show the daughter what magic smoke smells like, piddled around.

I did get a crossbow pistol in an auction, and I got it together and shot it a few times.  It says it is a 25 pound pull, and it looks like a toy, but it was putting quarrels 4 inches deep into the same target our little bows were putting arrows 2  inches deep.   It is a toy, really, but I sure wouldn’t want to be in front of it.  I’ll probably add a fishing reel and set it up as a line thrower for getting temporary wire antennas up into trees.    It’s really unpleasant to shoot, not fun at all.  The frame is polymer, and the spring is a nasty piece of shaped spring steel.   Lots of sharp edges and it takes two fingers to pull the trigger.  Using it once or twice a year sounds about right.

Dinner was courtesy of oldest daughter.  She wanted to make spaghetti and meatballs.  Do we have any hamburger defrosted?  No, but we do have frozen meatballs…. and lots of pasta.  So she heated everything up and we had dinner from stores.

I’ve done a pretty good job of stocking the larder.  There are things that tripped me up, mainly when my wife wants to cook.  She uses stuff I don’t even think about.  Diced tomatoes for example.  I have diced tomatoes with chilis.  I have tomato paste.  No plain diced, because I don’t use them.  Same with Worcestershire sauce.  I ordered a couple of bottles on my last HEB order because I had none on the shelves and she used the last in the cupboard.  So if your spouse isn’t fully involved in your stacking, find some way to address the things s/he uses and buys, that you don’t even think about, or you’ll be the goat and not the hero when the item is needed.

If you think you’re all set, and just need to add more of what you’ve already got, you’re probably missing something.  So look for gaps, and keep stacking.

nick

 

Thur. July 9, 2020 – catching up with stuff

Hot.  Humid.  Hot.

Yesterday was hot, and I spent hours in the sun going through my auction purchases.  Won some, lost some.  Only one $30 item wasn’t what I thought and was a total loss.   It’s surprising how quickly $1, $6, and $12 items add up to real money.  I’ve got to get busy and list the stuff for resale so I can keep the stuff I want to keep.

And pay for a new freezer full of meat.  ‘Cuz freezers only stay cold when they’re plugged in.  I can go through the whole ‘for the want of a nail’ chain, but the upshot is I didn’t get my  new freezer into it’s safe and forever home, and it got unplugged.   I WAS checking it at least every day to be sure it was cold but I stopped.  And now I’ll be replacing all the meat, butter, lard, and bread that I put in there.  F me.  At least the stores are still open and we won’t go hungry.  Still a costly mistake.

Lowes updated me that my replacement door is available for pickup.   It showed ‘in stock’ at my local when I bought it, but I immediately got an email that it wouldn’t be available until the 12th.  Since it’s only the 9th, I guess I should be grateful…  hopefully they’ll have my food safe buckets too.  Curbside pickup, here I come.

Projects.  I’ve got em’.

Time and motivation are what’s missing.

So I better get moving.

Stack it high, but keep and eye on it…

 

nick

 

Tues. May 26, 2020 – running errands today

Hot and humid, possibly some more rain.

Yesterday was hot and humid until it was cooler and humid, then finally we got some more rain. Oddly it seemed warmer with the rain.

We did get some nice sun during the day.

I still wasn’t feeling 100%, between back pain and ‘weather knee’ so I didn’t do much. Did manage some more work in the garage, and I can see progress, just less and more slowly than I’d like.

Pulled some bike parts out of thin air to keep my wife’s project moving along, and yet no connection between doing that and having all the stuff hanging around. Hmmm.

Had some fun with the archery stuff in the evening. Youth bows and practice arrows mean you can have fun in a much smaller space. And given the number of arrows in the returned merch for sale in our local amazon returns auction, I’m not the only one who thought archery would be a good way to pass the time during the isolation.

Did a quick check of the gardens and fruit trees. Picked and ate a small handful of blueberries with Kid2. Some of the small ones were really sweet and delicious.

Dinner was a prepper fail. It was supposed to be pork ribs on the grill. But, time got away from me and the ribs were in the fridge too long. Vac seal was good, but they smelled bad. I hated throwing them away, but there was no way I could justify the risk of eating them. I kept meaning to seal and freeze them, but didn’t and suddenly it was 3 weeks later. So we ate sausage and red beans and rice. Frozen kielbasa, Knorr side dish rb&r… It was good. Meat was a bit spicy, and the rb&r were not. Kids prefer less spicy.

Today I’ll be headed over to my client’s house again. We had a big storm and he’s got gear that isn’t working. I think we lost his DSL modem, and possibly the network switch, and at least one of the patio TVs. I’ll know better later.

And I’ll keep chipping away at the projects.

Keep stacking.

nick