Wed. Jan. 29, 2020 – the sky is always falling and there’s always more to do

Cold and wet. [48F and wet]

We had intermittent rain all day yesterday, with some really heavy downpour in the afternoon. The rain finally stopped sometime after I got the kids in bed. I guess it watered in my garden.

Yep, finally got the plants I bought a couple of weeks ago in the ground. The broccoli had some little tiny heads starting, which is the best I’ve ever done with it, so maybe I need to container grow it. I guess we’ll see.

Fell down a rabbit hole last night with youtube. Someone in the comments at Commander Zero’s blog linked to the best way to clean and recondition cast iron cookware, and I really like the guy’s method. It is basically get the stuff super hot, using your oven’s self clean mode or a BBQ, and then wash, and oil. He got great results, and I’m going to try it on a couple of pieces, one I just picked up, and one I’ve had a hard time cleaning. I usually wire wheel the pan to get it clean, sometimes followed by vinegar bath, but it’s a lot of work and not super effective on shaped bakeware. I’ll report back on my results.

The cast iron cleaning led to where to find it (didn’t learn anything new there, he likes thrift stores), what to cook in it, and then a couple of cooking vids. First a bushcrafter cooking bread in a dutch oven, then a guy cooking squirrel- from the field dressing to the plate. I hate the company, but I love the way youtube has enabled ordinary folks to create and share their knowledge. It’s an incredible resource.


The WuFlu situation continues to develop. More people are sick, more are dying, and the incongruities keep adding up. There is more to this story than we are being told. On a broader level, people are just starting to think about knock on effects of China being shut down. That won’t be pretty and we should start seeing disruption in supply chains any time now.

With that in mind, I hit the canned goods aisle a bit more heavily than normal, and added some pasta and rice dishes too. Spent $310, but saved $58 by buying sale items and coupons. A third of the $300 is totally discretionary spending on beer and soda and beef jerky.

Weirdly, pork is still cheap. I got pork tenderloin, 10 pound vac pac for $1/ pound. Pork shoulder roast (carnitas, or sausage meat, or sliced as ‘country’ pork chops) was $1.29/ pound.

The store had canned beans and house brand canned chili on sale, so I bought some… and they had some new brands and varieties for me to try. Some more sauce packets for the slow cooker rounded out the cart.

I’ll be headed to Costco later to fill some buckets with bulk.

In uncertain times, having food and stuff stacked is very comforting.

Stack it high. And time to change your batteries out in all your standby gear…


Tues. Jan. 28, 2020 – and the hits just keep on coming

Cool and damp. [55F and raining]

Yesterday was overcast and a bit cool most of the day, finally clearing for afternoon and evening.

I managed to do a bit more yard work, and some clean up. Not enough, but it’s a start. Then I did an auction pickup, got some stuff into and out of storage (in- my masks, out- some propane heaters for a friend to sell). I also got some stuff to take to my local auction. I need to get more aggressive taking pallets there. I think I’ll be holding on to my full face 3M powered respirators though. Maybe even looking to source a couple more batteries. On the other hand, they should bring a premium ATM.

I’ve got two local sales coming up. First, my non-prepping hobby has a quarterly swapmeet sorta sale. Then in March, the local Hamfest happens. I haven’t been buying a bunch of radios or antennas this year, but I’ll find a truckload of stuff to take anyway. I’ve got a month and a half to source more if I can.


The WuFlu ™ continues to spread. More and more people online are pointing out the disparity between what the chinese government SAYS about the flu, and what they are DOING about it. The stuff they’re doing makes me want to lose my fudge.*

One of the auction items I picked up yesterday was 12 food grade buckets. Less than 1/3 normal price, it leaves me some room to buy Gamma Seal lids. I intend to fill at least half those buckets right away. Kinda coincidentally (but fully in keeping with how my life works) I’ve scored two pairs of new in box heavy work boots, leather with steel toes. If I was superstitious, I’d be worried. Based on past experience, I’m going to be needing those boots soon, and that is worrisome.

It’s a bit disconcerting (due to chinese lies) that we don’t really have a good idea of the lethality or infectiousness of this freaking virus. If no one dies then it’s spread doesn’t matter. Anyone think it’s not killing people, lots of people, based on the chinese reaction? Yet we don’t know.

One thing we know, the numbers are starting to increase.

Stack it high.


*bonus geek cred to anyone who identifies the source of that line….

Mon. Jan. 27, 2020 – last week in January, how does this keep happening?

Cool and damp.

Had nice temps and clear sky yesterday, with a good breeze most of the day. A good day for all the yard work I’ve been skipping. I pruned the apple and citrus trees. Looks like it might be time to prune the grapevines. Blew a bunch of leaves out of stuff piled on the patio and the driveway. I added more soil to the windowbox that is planted with asparagus. I’ve never harvested any, it ‘runs’ too quickly and gets ‘fern-y’. Also added soil to the raised bed for the herbs.

Tried to cut the grass but the air filter in the mower was wet and completely clogged. I thought I had a spare, but couldn’t find it. If you can’t find it, you don’t have it.

The coronavirus (WuFlu) situation continues to evolve. The chinese actions don’t match their words, in that they are going all out while the numbers aren’t very terrifying. Take this seriously. Even if you didn’t get sick, what if your city was quarantined? Water filter, and rice, with stuff to add to the rice as a bare minimum….you know the drill. And if not, use the keywords on the right —————>>

Keep stacking.


Sat. Jan. 25, 2020 – oh, little china girl, oh oh oh oooh….

Cool and damp. [51F and 92%RH at 9am]

Yesterday was clear and beautiful. Today the national forecast is for rain in Houston. We’ll see, I hope not.

I may grab the kids and go buy more masks. Amazon is sold out of some brands and styles already. China is panicking. I might be able to make a bit of money, and provide a public service. . .

I’m not panicked yet, and don’t want anyone to do so, BUT if this takes off it will do so very quickly. It will appear as if it is suddenly everywhere at once. Act now, beat the rush. For me, when it starts to spread from a “returner” to people here by person to person contact, I will look hard at pulling up the drawbridge. Until then, I’m upping my readiness as much as I can. If we start to see cases that don’t involve a “returner” at all, then it’s crunch time.

Think about child care, work situation, food, etc if this gets bad and congregating gets banned and the schools close. Make any preparations you can that won’t commit you to something irrevocable if it doesn’t go to hell. Start your ‘battle space preparation’ with any significant others.

Pray it’s a non-event.


Fri. Jan. 24, 2020 – another week gone bye bye bye

Cool and damp. [39F and 99%RH] Of course.

It stayed a bit coolish and dampish all day yesterday, although the rain mostly stayed away. I’m hoping for no rain today. Temps were 44F when I went to bed.

Busy week for me, and it didn’t leave much time for preps. I am feeling caught off guard by the sudden change in the china virus status. Fortunately the extreme case has the same preps as our old friend ebola, without the blood. Unfortunately, I think people won’t be as freaked out without the whole ‘sh!tting yourself to death while your eyes bleed’ aspects and won’t isolate themselves appropriately.

I don’t have anywhere near enough PPEs to interact with people in a mostly normal way if that is what’s needed. I intended to severely limit any contact at all, not don a mask and go shopping….

I guess we’ll see how things progress, but we should have at least a couple of days before any panic starts here. Think hard about stocking up on some stuff, like any masks, tyvek, bleach, wipes and hand sanitizer, and snivel gear for dealing with flu symptoms. I haven’t seen much about actually treatment/care for patients, but you can be sure that it won’t take long if there is an outbreak to saturate available care facilities. I don’t even know if we ever got restocked on IV fluids after the shortage. Puerto Rico has had their own issues and that’s where most of it came from.

I know our Habitat ReStore has shelves full of 3M surgical style face masks and they are cheap. I’ve already bought what I thought was a good amount, but now I want more. I don’t think there will be a run on them at the ReStore. (or anywhere in the US, yet). That said, I’m headed there today and I am going to stock up if they’re still on the shelf.

I’m going to treat this as if there was a hurricane headed straight toward us. I REALLY don’t like the way the numbers are quickly ratcheting up, or the revelations about the spread. I’m aiming for ‘better safe than sorry.’

I know, it’s always something, and the sky doesn’t usually fall, but this feels weirder than normal.

Lots of driving around today, so I’ll be out of the loop on news, and updates. Keep an eye on it….


Thur. Jan. 23, 2020 – second volunteer day

Wet and cool.

Rained most of last night. We had just over an inch total for the day at 11pm and it was still coming down fairly hard.

I’ll be at school doing the Fifth grade classes. We’re going to do the same thing again as the Fifth graders haven’t seen this activity before. Saved me coming up with something new yesterday evening too.

I got a funny email the other day. It was from Basecamp, the online project management and collaboration site that was all “web 2.0”. It let me know that my account was going to be deleted for inactivity. So I logged in. It has been 10 1/2 YEARS since I used their site. That’s a long time to carry an inactive account 🙂 they are still there though, and still look about the same as they did. Their emphasis was on simplicity and limited features.

It made me feel old. I’ve been using AOL longer than some of the teachers at the kids’ school have been alive.


Speaking of being alive, the chinese coronavirus is here in the US, and spreading throughout the world. No way they get this genie back in the bottle. This bears close watching. It’s pretty lethal and they say it already mutated. If you haven’t made preps to stay home and wait for it to burn out, you might want to stack some food and necessities. If it takes off, you will NOT want to be around people. I figure we’ve got a week, if it’s bad and takes off, before the panic starts. Maybe two weeks or a bit longer if it takes a while for the deaths to start. Not kidding, and not fun.

Go out and buy some food. And face masks are gonna disappear from the shelves pretty dang quick.


Wed. Jan. 22, 2020 – volunteer day today so short shrift

Cold and wet.

42F when I got up yesterday by the kitchen thermometer. It did get nicer as the day wore on, and it was clear and sunny, but it cooled back down by evening.

I’ve got my Hands On science day today, so I’ll be out all morning. We’re going to erode some dirt with water and wind… and talk about our ever changing planet. My last slide says “Despite all this, we live in a golden age where more people have more food, health, and wealth than ever before.” and I’ll wrap by saying that it’s all because of…. SCIENCE!


Tues. Jan. 21, 2020 – back at it

Cold and wet.

It stayed pretty cool yesterday. Clear and sunny though, which was nice.

The Virginia buffalo jump turned out ok after all. Thank God. And some of the coverage at least was fairer than I expected. The contrast to antifa and BLM rallies was striking. Physical fitness is also clearly not a priority for either the demonstrators or the cops standing by. I hope they have beans as well as bullets stacked up.

Spent some time talking to my dentist yesterday about liberty issues, and hobby gardening. Meatspace!

I’ve got some auction pickups today. I know I said I was gonna cut back, but I also believe you have to buy it when you see it. All useful and needful things.

My science class is tomorrow and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be covering. I need to get that sorted out today too.

And all the usual things need doing this week, including grocery shopping… The week seems two days shorter whenever I lose a Monday. So sad.

So I’m off to get started.


Mon. Jan. 20, 2020 – unhappy anniversary

Cool and damp.

Today is the two year anniversary of the passing of Robert Bruce Thompson. It seems incredible to me that two years have passed both because it doesn’t seem that long, and because that means I’ve done more than 700 blog posts (wordpress says 756 of 3157).

When some men die, it’s as if a library burned, and that is certainly true for Bob. I thought to ask him a chemistry question just a couple of days ago. His books and kits go a way toward filling the gap, but the gap remains.

I’m enormously grateful for all the people who visit and comment here and help keep the place a living legacy. My sincere thanks for hanging around. It is the commentors and exchanges in the comments that make this place what it is. And I couldn’t do it without Rick’s help and support.

So please, take a moment, raise a glass to absent friends. Remember those who have gone before us, and those left behind.


Sun. Jan. 19, 2020 – family home later

Cooler and damp.

Yesterday the sun eventually came out, leading to a fairly nice early evening. I got my Jack in the Box dinner, and then fell asleep in my office chair. Wild women and parties, indeed.

From the news–

-I hope this isn’t a surprise to anyone here:

EXCLUSIVE: Secret document that PROVES Iran was building a nuclear weapon as far back as 2002 – even while they claimed the technology was only for peaceful purposes

The document was seized as part of a raid by Israeli intelligence agents on a compound in Tehran in 2018
It is from an Iranian official requesting the parameters of a warhead fitted on a missile in November 2002
Scribbled in the top left corner is a note from regime’s nuclear chief Moshen Fakhrizadeh, who signs off plans
Document forms the centrepiece of an as-yet unreleased report highlighting Iran’s ‘clandestine’ nuclear

–you know, or it could be a brilliant forgery designed to lead us by the nose. Since it’s opposite what BHO pushed, I’m inclined to go with “truth”.

-OR this, again, no one paying attention here should be surprised:

Hundreds of law enforcement agencies are using a new facial recognition app that can reveal names and addresses of unknown individuals by comparing them to THREE BILLION images scraped from the internet

More than 600 police departments are said to be using the Clearview AI app
The app reportedly uses facial recognition AI to match uploaded photos to the three billion images it has in its database
The database contains images gathered from all over the internet and can include identifying details, such as names and addresses
Police have said that they were able to solve cases by using Clearview AI

–the ability to remain anonymous is going to become the new status symbol of the truly powerful.

–I’m pretty sure that NO ONE at the Virginia demonstration will remain anonymous. Someone has to do it, but I’m not going.


I better get the house cleaned up before everyone gets home!