Category: prepping

Thur. Sept. 29, 2022 – Hurricane Ian…

Cool and less humid today, and yesterday for that matter.   NOW Fall is here.  It got warm in the afternoon, but morning was glorious.  I hope for the same today.

I did some auction stuff earlier in the day, then did a couple of pickups in the afternoon.   In hindsight, I shouldn’t even have bid in the one auction, but I forgot how far away it is.  And that they misrepresented the condition of a bike I bought from them (which I still haven’t fixed.)  I won’t make that mistake again.

The rest of the day got eaten by ducks.

Today should be a pickup or two, some ebay stuff, and getting ready to head to the BOL for two weeks of foundation work.

Of course for south Florida, and central Florida too, today is the beginning of cleanup following Ian.   Looks like they got hit pretty hard.   Several of my ‘daily read’ bloggers are in affected areas, and my mom is a bit north.   She should be ok, but hasn’t checked in yet.   My best wishes to all affected.   Hopefully your damage is minimal, and your preps were good.   Anyone who is a regular here, who is affected and has unmet needs, please let the group know.   And if you’ve got some AAR or lessons learned, please share those as well, as you move into the Recovery Phase.   There are always lessons to be learned.

One that I learned after Ike, here in Houston, you will need more water than you have.    That’s when I got serious about water storage.   The old standby  of one gallon per person per day is WOEFULLY inadequate for anything other than bare survival.   You will want  a LOT more than that for cleaning, hygiene, cooking, cleaning, and cleaning….  It doesn’t have to all be potable- flushing, washing, cleaning can all use clean but not treated water or minimally treated, in any case.   You will want lots of potable water for drinking, cooking, and kitchen cleanup too.

Don’t forget to stack the things that will allow you to get and treat more water.   Filters, bleach, containers, buckets, laundry tubs, pots, turkey fryers, propane, and transfer pumps, hoses, siphons,  along with tanks of some kind, will all help you replace what you use.   Hot water on demand is one of the signs of civilization.   The propane fueled instant hot water heater I’ve been using to shower at the BOL has been an incredible convenience.  It’s relatively inexpensive, leverages the propane infrastructure I’ve been building out, and has been incredibly useful.  A camping shower, or something improvised with a coil of hose and sunlight will work too.   As long as you have what you need to make it work…

So stack some stuff.   Water (and the means to collect, store, and treat it), food (and the means to collect, store, preserve, and cook it), shelter, medical, etc……   Get busy.  Sooner or later, you’ll need something from the stacks.

nick

Sat. Sept. 10, 2022 – non-prepping hobby day, then family stuff…

No idea what the forecast is calling for, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say “hot and humid.”

It was nice at the lake yesterday morning.   Even a bit cooler than the day before.   It got much warmer in the afternoon.  Kind of a theme, cooler mornings, but afternoon still scorching.  Eventually it will be merely warm in the afternoon, and we’ll call that “Fall”.  But I natter on …

Did some work on the gas line to the kitchen and getting stuff back together before I had to leave the BOL yesterday.   Neglected to clean everything, and pick up.   DID run 2 loads of laundry including towels.

THAT WAS AWESOME!  Laundry robots.   Put the dirty in, take the clean out.   Western civ ROCKS.  Laundry and keeping clean used to take an inordinate amount of time, by anyone’s standards.   Industrialization, wealth, and civilization gave us indoor plumbing, potable water delivered to the faucet, sewers, and robots to clean our clothes.  Clothes that are so cheap, we buy some that we NEVER WEAR until we GIVE THEM AWAY!  Don’t forget how amazing this is.  Don’t forget that a large part of the world does NOT live this way, and that we are more likely to “revert to the mean” than they are to install washers and dryers.

Make a plan to gradually step down the ladder.  Get the pieces in place.

And stack the things.

nick

Wed. Aug. 17, 2022 – aye, que loco

Slightly less hot today, but clearing with less chance of rain.

Kids start a full day of normal classes today.

After the late start yesterday, I got some stuff picked up.  Went by the Habitat reStore looking for stuff for the BOL.   The southside store used to have a great selection of doors, but they were pretty much all gone.  Their tile selection was meager too, and it used to be extensive.  Most of what they had appeared to be from a closed Ace Hardware.   The whole reStore system is dependent on donations, and it looked a bit sparse the last couple of visits.  Could be there is less slack in the system, could be people are being more careful so they don’t have excess to dispose of, or it could be people are buying the store out…

 

The thrift stores are looking a bit sparse too.   And I noticed a couple of closed strip joints, and in my neighborhood, a closed pawn shop.   I think things are probably worse than they look economically.    The closed auto dealerships and especially the little used car lots are another bad sign.   Even one of the big Ford dealers is still spreading cars and trucks out to fill the lot.

 

Today I’ve got fence to fix at the rent house, and a few more plumbing items to find for the BOL.   I’ve got stuff in deep storage that I need for there as well, including the pex compression tools I bought years ago, well in advance of need.  Later I need to get to the bank and have my septic permit application notarized so I can get it to my contractor this weekend.  Septic is the only thing you need a permit and inspection for at my BOL.  While that might make some things easier, remember that the  inspection is to protect you, the building owner.  It’s another set of eyes to make sure your contractor is doing the work to minimum standards.

I did notice that Lowes had 2×4 studs for just under $5, which is down from just under $8 not too long ago.   The reported record number of home buyers walking away from their contracts and the slowdown in home sales might be contributing to that.  Make of it what you will, but rising home prices make people feel good (owners and sellers) while falling prices make them nervous.   Some price lowering in general should help with inflation, but if it is really the beginning of deflation in the non-core sector, then bad times are right around the corner.   I mean, worse times.   Given the recent increase in crime and violence, and in costs,  I’d say we are already in bad times.

There is still food in the store and stuff to buy, and generally if you want to work you can.   That can change, and if it does it will change rapidly.  Preps are a cushion against rapid change, especially when it’s for the worse.

So stack it up.

nick

Tues. Aug. 16, 2022 – and away we go!

Hot, humid, chance of rain… and all that noise.   It was a bit cooler yesterday than it has been, so maybe summer is winding down.  On the other hand, it was still 82F at midnight.

Got the kids off to school, kinda.   Turns out the bus drives by, then picks up some other kids, and returns to pick up mine.  As it was 20 minutes late when it passed the first time,  we didn’t wait.   Kids had a good first day.

I did some auction stuff then went shopping.   Dropped a bunch of money at Lowes on plumbing stuff for the BOL, then hit up Costco.   Dropped a bunch of money there, but got a bunch of meat too.  Freezers are full again, until I move more to the lake.

Today I’ve got auction pickups, home and rent house maintenance, and some other errands to run, but first D1 needs to have her braces checked.   That takes up most of the morning, by the time I’m back home. Oh well. Poor planning to schedule the appointment during the school week, when we could have done it last week, but we are getting near the end of her treatment.  ‘Bout time to get D2 started.


One of the auction items I picked up last week was a solar inverter.   Solar for the BOL is moving up the list.  I just have to figure out how all the pieces work together, and find the time to assemble what I have.   Seems like it should be more straightforward than most people online make it out to be.   Hmm.  Lotta things like that.

 

The other thing I have to do is some auction listings.   I’ve got some high value stuff just sitting here, getting older, without being listed.   Keeping up with listings is probably the hardest part of reselling, but there isn’t any “selling” without listing.   Seems like there is always something more important to do though.

Dinner yesterday was all from stores.   Sesame chicken “simmering sauce” from HEB, costco chicken from cans, and instant rice.   Came together pretty quickly and tasted good.  Every bit got eaten, and my wife said she’d eat it again…  Starting with the packaged food cuts prep time considerably, reduces cook time dramatically, and makes it easier.  All of those are good things in a disaster, or just when you can’t be bothered to cook from complete scratch.   All of the elements of the meal store for a long time too.

Bulk ingredients are great, and are an integral part of any long term plan, but consider some meals that use less time and energy for the times when you are short of both.

Then stack it up!

nick

Thur. Aug. 4, 2022 – Busy day.

Hot and humid because, well, because Houston in the summertime.   Even a couple hours north it was butt sweaty hot yesterday.   It was 104F in the shade at my BOL.  Fortunately it was cooler than that here by the time I got home, but it was still 85F at 11pm.   Same for today I think… although it keeps threatening rain.  It would be nice to get some rain, but maybe AFTER I’m done running errands.

Spent the day at the BOL with contractors.   We’ve got a tentative plan to spend a bunch of money and do a bunch of work.   It’s not happening instantly but to have it finally happening at all is a good thing.   We really must be in a recession as people are beginning to work again… or be available for work (although the guys I talked to this time all seem busy and hard at work.)  Something about if you want something done, get a busy man to do it, mumble mumble…

Today, I’m the busy man.  Or that is the plan anyway.   Tires for the truck, pickups, a drop off, and the normal shenanigans should keep me occupied all day.  And if not, I’m sure something will jump up and demand attention.

Prepping advice for today, check your tires.  Check your spare and jack.  While you’re at it, look at your brakes, and your fluids.   Check your stock of expendable maintenance stuff, like wipers, headlights, tire repair, and fluids.  I was able to find some tires that suited me, but many others have reported some difficulty getting what they wanted.   Tires will ‘age out’ so stockpiling them might not be indicated, but if you are close to needing them, you might want to go ahead and replace them.  You can even keep the take offs if they have any life left in them, just in case.  If you plan to drive around in an area affected by a hurricane or tornado, you  will want mounted spares, probably a full set, and a repair kit with a compressor.  Roofing nails go everywhere.

Stack up some spares, for all your important things.   Take a systems approach, not just a ‘things’ approach.   And commonality and redundancy are Good Things ™.

n

 

Fri. Jul. 29, 2022 – busy then headed out…

Hot, humid, but less of both if we are lucky.   Got some rain late in the day yesterday and it did clear the air and cool off a bit.  Not much mind you, but a bit.

And it was hot during the day.  I know because I cut the grass in it.  Yes I am that dumb.  Or motivated.  Or guilty.   But in any case the yard hadn’t been cut in a couple of weeks and it looked like it.  In furtherance of that, I also did a bit of work on the gas string trimmer.   I replaced the bump head, and tried it out.   The string I have on hand is too thin.   The thing still starves for gas and dies.   I have thicker string at the BOL and some will come home with me, and I think the issue with fuel is related to the filter stone I replaced to get the thing running in the first place.   Specifically, I think it is too small.   Looking at the package, it has a picture of a chainsaw and a hand held blower.  I’m thinking the trimmer engine needs a higher flow rate.   I’ll pick up a new kit at the store today.

I’m going to the store for more plumbing fittings.   I will be at the lake doing plumbing this weekend, and I’ve got a list.   Since it’s so hot, I think I’ll just get new ends on the pipes for the hall bath sink and wait to do the pex lines until it either leaks again, or gets cooler out.   With the hall bath working again, I can strip the master bath, and then that job can get started.

Or maybe I’ll do something completely different.  I might be using the camp toilet, but I’m staying all weekend, just me and the dog.  Everyone else is sailing.

Then I’m home for a day or two, then back out to meet with the engineer, and also the septic guy to see what we can move forward on.   Suddenly stuff might be breaking loose.   I  hope so, because stuff is breaking loose out there in the world too.   I need to keep working on the house as a BOL.

And I still need to build up stacks.

At the grocery today, some empty shelves.   Pork was up about 10%.  Chicken was the same as last week.  Beef was either nasty or too high.   I did buy two pot roasts that were onsale and looked ok.   The bread I like was in stock.  Limes are 32c each.   They used to be 10/$1.  Avocados were slightly cheaper but still $1 each for small.  Makes me wish I’d planted the tree 10 years ago.  (Thinking about it, I believe I did plant an avocado tree but it died.)  The best time  to have done a lot of things was 5 years ago (or 10), so do them NOW and be glad you did in 5 or 10 years.

Add to your stacks while you can.  Don’t be kicking yourself in a couple of years that you didn’t.

nick

Tues. Jul. 26, 2022 – Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!

Humid and hot, with a small chance of rain.   So someone will be getting rain.   Yesterday, when I was coming home from my pickup down south, there was a huge storm cell west of me.   I outran it north and then cut across west, and only got a bit of very light drizzle.  A bunch of people got a good soaking though.  Nothing at my house at all.

I’ve been watering the grass and the raised beds.  Little to show for it in the garden but the grass is growing.

Did my errands, have more to do today.   Got some stuff for the house, for my non-prepping hobby, and for the BOL. Today will be a lot like yesterday, maybe with a bit less driving.   I did score another of the 7cuft chest freezers.   I’ll have to find a spot for it.  It may sit empty until I catch some meat on sale, or I may give it to a buddy.  $75, new in box, but probably scratch and dent under the foam.

I’m bidding on some solar panels.  They look like 200w panels.  Used of course, but 20 in a lot.  4 lots, but I only want one.   They were installed for some sort of traffic or camera control, and come with the big aluminum roadside enclosure boxes.  Last time I got one panel, and the box brought enough when I scrapped it to pay for the panel.   No batteries, inverters, or charge controllers though.  Wish me luck.  I’d love 4000w of solar at the BOL or here.

Infrastructure.   It’s critical, and is usually only noticed in its absence.  Plan to provide for your own needs.  And plan to reduce those needs to something that you can provide.

To smooth everything out, you should have some stuff stacked.  Lots of stuff 🙂

n

 

 

Fri. Jul. 22, 2022 – finally Friday… or what the heck did I do this whole week?

Hot and humid again, without any rain in sight.  Like yesterday.  Like all week in fact.  So I’m gonna bug out.  Should be cooler at the lake.

That is the plan.  Do my pickups.  Do my shopping for stuff to do at the BOL.   Then head up there.

I’ll be there with D1 while mom and D2 finish out the Girl Scout sailing thing.   I will probably be buying a sail boat in the near future.   Just a tiny little Sunfish style boat, but with two daughters that can sail, and a place on a lake, it seems like a no brainer.  Especially when one  of my auction guys has one for sale cheap (couple hundred bucks cheap).  Networking.  Meatspace.  Secondary market.  It’s not what you know it’s who you know…. all that and more, and it’s the future in a collapsing economy.   Get some practice.

Didn’t get much done.  It’s really disruptive to my whole day to have to be home at 3, and stay home for the rest of the afternoon.  I spent far too much time learning about the scanner I picked up yesterday.   It’s a Uniden, similar to the Home Patrol, but not as intuitive.    Later I got to the grocery store.   LOTS of gaps in the shelves.  Checker said it was warehouse and staff issues.   I got the last heavy cream, the last of the soda I like, and there were several things I didn’t find.   I didn’t buy any meat, as it was all too nasty or too expensive.   Chicken legs finally broke the resistance at 99c/ pound.  They were on “super special, limit two” at $1.09 / pound and thighs were $1.39.   Oddly, the house brand frozen turkey was still the same price it’s been for years, without any fluctuation.   There weren’t many items on sale either.

Pharmacy was busier than I’ve ever seen it.  Don’t know why, but there was a line, and more techs working than I’ve seen in a while.

I don’t make the news, I just report it.

And I encourage you to stack it up.  Pork is still cheap.  Chicken, even with the price increases is cheap.   Beef might be cheap for a short period coming up.   Rice, flour, sugar, salt, peanut oil.  Don’t forget yeast.  Canned veg, some canned fruit, and a big bottle of multivitamin…

Stacks, lots of them.

nick

Tues. Jul. 12, 2022 – I like fixing things.

Hot and humid.   Record hot? Maybe.  Maybe not.   Pretty dang hot though.   Yesterday was well into the 100s, even in the shade.

I got part way through cutting the grass in the back yard, ran out of battery.  That is the downside to electrics, not being able to refuel and continue with minimal interruption.   You either need to wait, or exchange the battery.   On the other hand, if I’d paid attention, I’d have pulled the battery and put it on the charger at the end of the last use.  It’s more than enough to do the back and the front  most weeks.

While waiting for the battery to charge or some sense to break into my skull, I fixed a couple of the gas string trimmers I’ve had sitting around.   I usually use the electric one, but that is broken at the moment, and I wanted to finally take a good look at some that I’d gotten cheap, but just put to the side for later.   Well, at 100F, later decided to come.   Air, spark, fuel.   Which aren’t you getting?  Solve that and the thing will run.   On the small gas yard tool engines, it is usually the air filter is so clogged the thing can’t get air, or the gas lines have fallen off or rotted in the tank, or the primer bulb has failed.   I had one with a bad primer bulb AND rotted  hoses.  I had one with rotted hoses. And I have one with a bad spark plug wire.   I replaced hoses and filters, and swapped stuff around until I had two that ran.  Popped on the trimmer head, and… it was fubar’d.    So I didn’t get the yard trimmed.   Oh well, maybe today.  I did feel pretty good about getting two of them running.  Even if the attachment was broken.

I took a break from working in the heat and did pickups.

Picked up a bunch of building materials for the BOL and the attic here.   Chatted with the auctioneer, mentioned I was looking to make some crawdad traps, and he said he had one on the shelf I could have.  Sweet!  Now I’ve got a real one to use as a model for my DIY effort, and I think I’ll buy a couple more as they are only ~$10 with free delivery.   I’ll let you know if I successfully sample nature’s bounty…

Scored another chest freezer (actually two) in last night’s auction.  Half off isn’t bad.  New in box too.  They are only 7 cu ft, but that is a good size for the BOL, to run on battery backup or solar, and I’m unlikely to lose both at the same time, so I wouldn’t lose all my frozen food to a mechanical issue, like I might with one big freezer.

Still didn’t get to lowes or Costco.   Today for sure.  I need PEX and fittings and a variety of hardware for the BOL, and I need to do my normal Costco buys.  I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time getting to the store.


In the wider world, political violence seems to be increasing.  Our own situation is getting more precarious.   Groups are now soliciting the murder of Supreme Court justices.  No other way to look at the offer of “bounties” for real time location info on them.  They’ll claim it was just to harass them and ‘protest’ but it will get someone killed.  They’ve already tried once.

Food insecurity and price inflation is on everyone’s lips this week.   There are people saying it will get better later this year, and better after that.   But there are plenty saying it will be longer than that and far worse.   I’m stacking food. But then you all know that by now.

I’m looking at supply chain for construction and maintenance stuff and I’m stacking that too.

I am even buying new underwear.   I bought a lot of it at the same time, and so I have a lot of it that is all wearing out at the same time too.  Time to do something about that.    That is one risk with one-time, or bulk purchases.   The stuff will either expire, or wear out at about the same time, and you have a bigger whack to replace it.   Better to spread purchases out in time and replace them on a staggered schedule too.   Real Life ™ doesn’t always work out that way though, and better to have it than not.

Clothing is not something that has been hard to get, since our current run of prosperity started decades ago.   But specific items might be out of stock or unavailable in the future.  If it’s been a while since you bought basics, you might want to evaluate the condition of your drawers. 😉

And if called for, stack it up.

nick

 

Tues. Jul. 5, 2022 – gotta work on being independent of the power grid…

Hot and humid, but less so.   It got up to 99F in the shade and it was scorching in the sun.   Waves of heat coming off the grass in the yard.

Spent the day working on the projects list.   Got a bunch of stuff done.   Nothing major, but making progress where I can.

Got some new names of contractors to try.

Then we finished up, ate dinner, and had friends over for movies and drinks.   Watched “Pixels” and enjoyed it.

Just a few minutes after the movie ended, we, and a bunch of our neighbors lost power.

In our neighborhood, it started on our street, starting with my house… and  other places around the lake also went dark, with about 104 subscribers affected.

We were back up in almost exactly one hour from reporting the outage.   Of course you need to use the website to report an outage.   Good thing my wife’s phone had service without the booster….

A big UPS will be headed up here for the networking and comms.   And another big one for the freezer, with backup power moving up the list.

Oh, and a bunch of cheap LED lanterns will be headed up here too.   We all have our personal flashlights, and I’ve got a couple of headlamps, so we were good, but a few of the little lanterns that are cheap copies of the Streamlight Siege are very handy.  Just don’t drop them.

I’ve realized that my focus has been on getting the place ready as a family vacation spot, and prepping it up has come after that, and slowly.   That balance will shift a bit starting this week.   If we’re here, we need the same level of backup we have at home, and for the same reasons.

As an aside, the two most useful things I’ve brought up with me are batteries and my jar of miscellanious hardware.   I brought a big pack of each type of battery and I’ve been tearing through them.  So much stuff uses batteries, and a lot of the tools, remotes, radios, and other things need fresh batteries.  I’ve even brought up some eneloops and their charger because I was using so many batteries.

The hardware is all the random screws and nuts I collect while fixing other things, tearing them apart, or stripping them before getting rid of them.   I throw all the hardware into a coffee can and when that’s full, I start another.  If I have a bunch of similar stuff from one project, I put it in a peanut butter jar and keep it separate.   I figured I’d be fixing random things here so I threw one coffee can worth of hardware into a box for use here.    I’ve been dumping that out, and sorting through it for replacement parts, screws, and nuts, since I got up here.  Crazy useful.

Today’s plan is more work, a quick dip, and head home in the afternoon.  It’s been a great weekend despite the challenges but it will be good to be home too.

It’s much easier to stack it up at home… and I still need to.  So do you.

nick

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