Category: rats

Tues. Aug. 23, 2022 – like sands through an hourglass….

Hot and humid, seriously.  Why would I lie?   It was certainly humid yesterday.  Even just sitting outside while working on my gennie I was soaked to the skin.  Today should be the same, with the BOL due to get T storms and heavy rain, but Houston just sweltering…

Did some inside desk stuff to start the day, but finally decide it was time to get the gennie running.   The kit went in and the directions were pretty clear and straightforward.   The longest time was taken up putting stuff back together before I could take it apart and add the propane conversion.

There is one thing that doesn’t make sense, so I’m going to take the advice in the instructions and call them today.  If it needs fixing, a simple drilled hole should solve the issue.   It took more adjustment than I expected to get it running and the idle circuit seems to have an issue.   Since the missing hole is part of the idle, it all makes sense… sorta.  It does run, and I can run with it how it is.   Still, I think it can be better.   I still have to figure out a good mounting solution for the regulator and drill a big hole to pass the hose through.   My drill and step bit are at the BOL though, so that detail will have to wait.  With a couple of minor tweaks it should be great.

I also cut the grass and did some weeding.   Ants.  Freaking ants.  Raised bed is full of them.  I hate ant bites, I’ve got 3 new ones  on my hands from the BOL, and another from my garden here.   I’m going to have to look at the poison to see if I can use it in the raised bed and still plant veggies later this fall.

In other pest news, whatever has been moving around in my garage and knocking stuff off my shelves found the rat trap bait yesterday.  Stupid thing ate its way into the box and snacked on the bait.   I’m hoping it doesn’t die in the garage walls or soffits, but I’m hoping it does die.   Drought is causing stress for the wildlife and vermin too.  One of my buddies reports coyotes moving around his property, eyeballing his chickens.  His dogs aren’t up to fighting coyotes, and he has reasons why he can’t be armed properly.   I think he’s gonna be feeding coyotes.

Pickups and driving around today.   And maybe some prepping for my sale/show this weekend.   But certainly lots of stuff to do.   (ha, fragments, and style violations! I’m feeling saucy.)   I was still pretty sore and stiff yesterday from the sledgehammering and breaking rocks in the hot sun, I’m hoping to be back to normal today.   Say it with me — “we’ll see.”

Time to stack some things.



Fri. Apr. 29, 2022 – Lots of catching up today

Clear and pleasant again, with some clouds.   It sure was nice yesterday, with only an intermittent threat of rain from some cloudiness, and a bit of humidity later in the day.

Finished up my shade tree mechanic LARPing.  Got the Ranger running, and picked up a replacement wiper for the rear window of my Expedition.    I c’nae believe how hard it was to find the correct wiper, or why Ford went with a completely different attachment means for that one wiper.  AdvanceAutoParts, and Autozone had me running around, but O’Reilly had the parts I needed.  I’ll check with them first next time.  I bought a second wiper as a spare and it was the last one they had.  More reinforcement for the idea that if you think you might need it, you better stack it.

I also shipped my ebay sale and couple of other things I’ve been putting off for no good reason.

D1 had a play at school last night and tonight, so we went to see that.   Every kid was miked, ever mic was too loud.  I know I’ve got hearing issues, but I couldn’t get but one word in 10.   Daughter is following in the wife and my footsteps with her work backstage.  Mixed feelings about that.  It was a great learning experience, and it put us both where we are now, but times change, and I’m not sure I’d want to be working in the industry now.

I suppose that is true for most parents.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups, and some driving to do.  Then I’ll have more sorting and stacking at my storage unit.   Wife and D1 are headed to GS camp for the weekend after the curtain comes down on the show tonight.   D2 and I are home alone.   Might just load up the truck and head to the lake after swim practice Saturday.  There’s plenty to do up there, if I get bored with all the stuff that needs doing here…

WRT site issues here, please keep reporting them, but bear with us as Rick tries to sort it out.

And for pete’s sake, stack some food.  Don’t forget fats.  Peanut oil stores well, and can be used in place of butter in most cooking.  Lard in sealed plastic buckets should last a long time too.   With the decrease in sunflower oil exports from Ukraine, people will have to buy other oils, which will put pressure on them as well.   Get some, even if you don’t use much now.  It’s relatively cheap, stores for a long time, and is an important prep.  Salt and vinegar too, in mass quantities, mainly for food preservation, and a few jars of ‘pickling spice’ wouldn’t be a bad idea.

FWIW I like multiple smaller containers, rather than one big one.   It lasts longer if you don’t have a giant container open, you can more easily share a smaller container, and if one is spoiled the rest will still be ok.  To me, multiples are better, even if the unit cost is higher.  The most expensive prep is one you have to throw out without using.    Had a rat (might have been the possum) gnaw a bottle of peanut oil this week, made a mess on the shelf.   That was just one liter damaged, not the whole supply.  I could have used what was left in the bottle for frying I suppose if desperate, or as lamp oil, but I just tossed it and replaced it.   That might not always be an option.  So….

Stack something.


Tues. Mar. 29, 2022 – my how time flies…

Another cool and clear day, warming later.  Maybe.   It did get a bit overcast yesterday but it certainly stayed warmer.   Never did rain,  so I’m calling that  a ‘nice day’.   Hopefully today will be too.

It would  be nice to have the weather station set up at the BOL and have a full time internet link to it.   And monitor stuff like freezer temps and if there is water in some place it’s not supposed to be.   Like dripping from the attic ladder…. for instance.

Overflow tray overflowed.   Water was dripping from my ceiling here again.  Joy.  We still haven’t gotten a contractor to replace the HVAC.   And I haven’t fixed the ceiling from last time either.

At least D1 noticed and I could remedy the situation.   It wouldn’t have been a flood, but it would have damaged the floor.

I tell you, it’s always something.

Today should be a bunch of home stuff, shopping, and maybe a pickup or three.   I should also get over to my storage unit and move more stuff around.

Oh, and I need to get the dead thing (probably a rat) out of the garage.   So much joy.

You need to think about rodent and pest control.   I’ve got 18 bait stations and two buckets of bait blocks.  I really hope that’s enough, but they seem to be like the cicada, coming back when you thought they were finally gone for good.

Stack some more stuff.  Broken record here (to use some boomerspeak ™ ) I know.  But it’s still good advice.


Sun. Dec. 5, 2021 – maybe I can do some outdoor stuff

Possible rain. Yesterday was overcast most of the day and then we got a rip roaring gully washer around 4:30 or 5pm. Really came down. Nice and clear air when it was all done though. Killed any thoughts of a second trip to storage though.

I did get one load out of the toy room and foyer. One more today and then maybe tree shopping. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Turns out that I have some stuff in another local auction. The lady who I did the pokemon cards, and collectible toys through finally relisted stuff that either went unsold, the buyer didn’t pay for, or didn’t make it into the previous auction. I’m hopeful for a good sale.

On ebay I got a low offer for some books, but I did sell a dvd today. At least that proves ebay is showing my stuff to people. They have always penalized me in the past for putting my store on vacation hold. I better get some more stuff listed and take advantage of it.

And I need to put out a whole bunch more rat poison…

I bought all that was in the store last time. That is definitely something to stack…

Stack what you use all the time. Stack stuff you only use infrequently but couldn’t substitute. Stack stuff you put off buying until you need it. Get spares for critical stuff.

If you see it, buy it. Stack it high.


Mon. Sept. 6, 2021 – Labor Day, or Punch a commie in the salami day

Hot and humid. Still. And all day yesterday as well. So I hid inside and did office stuff.

I spent some time getting stuff moved around, pulling the old UPSs out, and putting the new UPS in place. Then had to move the computers and NAS drive to the UPS. Since I had the NVR off, I figured I’d upgrade the fans and clean it. Well, I got some dust blown out. See yesterday’s comments for the rest of the details if you want to know why you should buy from Dell’s small business division and not Costco.

Started copying stuff to the NAS until a poorly behaved uninstall routine shut down ALL instances of file mangler, including the copy window. It was taking ridiculously long anyway. I’ll try connecting the NAS directly as a USB drive for the copy next time. The newest firmware for the box is from 2008. I’m not recommending Buffalo as there is not long term support (and the company is probably gone anyway, right?) There isn’t any reason for a box o drives to go out of support.

Did some cleaning and organizing.

Put the dog and D1 to bed but the dog just wouldn’t settle. Lots of yipping. Then I heard it too. Noise from the attic. Yup. Caught a rat on a gel trap. No idea where he got stuck, because the trap wasn’t anywhere near where they were set. Have I mentioned I don’t really like the live traps? I got my gloves, and a bag, and the rat plus the trap took a trip to 2×4 land and then into the trash. Dog settled right down and everyone went to sleep. Vermin. Only gonna increase as the troubles affect services. Stack some traps and poisons now.

In fact assume that you’ll be providing at least a portion of every service you receive now. Think about any way to leverage that to your advantage too. There are surely services that people will want. Maybe old school laptops with linux and no tracking built in? Maybe Faraday cage lined purses? Hardwired networking instead of wifi? Cameras? There will be something. There are always opportunities.

Stay centered and ready to move in any direction, mentally and physically. Provide for yourself so you can help others (if that’s your thing, but if not, you miss out on some opportunities you only get if you are out there in it.)

Stack it high.


Wed. Sept. 1, 2021 – more water under the bridge

Hot and humid. I’m hoping for a bit cooler in the morning so I can get the grass cut. I waited too long yesterday and it did get over 100F in the sun. It was still 84F at midnight.

Spent yesterday mostly indoors. Despite having a lot to do, I ended up doing electrical work at the house. We had some outlets in the kitchen stop working. I was too busy to look into it until yesterday, although my wife ruled out breakers, and normal things, and we figured it was probably a GFCI outlet upstream of the others. Once I pulled the cover plate off, and could see into the receptacle I figured that I’d found the problem. You are not supposed to be able to see INTO the receptacle. I had spare GFCIs in the stacks, so I set about changing it.

Shortcuts are only short for the person making it originally, and probably not even then. Freaking 10 minute job took over 2 hours because the remodeler cut every corner. Loose wire nuts, wire too short (even after it had been extended) wrong hardware used, missing box extenders, it was all there. The working position was very awkward too. I got it done, redid what I could. Figured I’d also replace a tired outlet at the end of the chain while I had the power off. More cr@p work hidden behind cover plates. Money spent, 0. Time spent, 2 hours. Smoke released, 0. Swear jars filled, 3.* I had the knowledge, the parts, and the supplies stacked so I got it done.

Also modified the wire gate we’re using to keep the doggy in the kitchen. That went surprisingly well.

Cleaned up a few things.

Found a dead rat, possibly THE dead rat, in the garage. I’ll get that cleaned up today. Poison,not trap.

Cooked dinner (discounted steak from last year, frozen mixed veg from last year, canned red beans and rice.)

Played a game for family game night.

Lots of prep items involved in my day.

Hooray for stacks of things and the knowledge to use them. Keep stacking both.


*not really. I was alone so the swears went unheard and if a guy swears in the kitchen but there isn’t anyone there to hear it, did he really swear?

Wed. Aug. 25, 2021 – nut cuttin’ time is getting closer

Whoooeeeee, it shore got hot in the sun yesterday. Gonna happen today too, reckon. Oh, it’ll start out slow, but I’m betting on ‘hot’ and sunny later. At least the humidity was slightly lower. It wasn’t so low I didn’t sweat through my shirt in minutes outdoors, but it was better than the last few days.

Since I spent yesterday morning and early afternoon dealing with power issues here at Casa de Nick, I didn’t get very far on my list. Most of that will have to push to today. Also, most of the prep for my non-prepping hobby convention and swapmeet needs to happen today. I’ll be doing prep for my role in things Thursday, and actually doing the things Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Posting will be as normal but commenting will be light.

On the plus side, now that my service drop is replaced, my electrician buddy should be willing to do the gennie hookup.

On the minus side, there is a smell in the garage like the rat poison worked. No ratons in the traps, so he’s somewhere else. Unlike the house, he can get into the walls in the garage. I’m really hoping that isn’t the case. I’ll know more in a day… Whether I’ll be able to do anything about it is another question.

Whether the world holds together is starting to be a good question. Portland has another ‘autonomous zone’ taken over by antifa thugs. They seem to be entirely without introspection as they’ve named the area the “SSPAZ”. Maybe the ‘kids’ are so well conditioned that they never called anyone a spaz and they just don’t get the reference. Elsewhere shootings and public violence continue to increase. An example of the unequal application of the law has the leader of the Proud Boys facing jail for stealing and burning a flag, while looters, BLM thugs, and antifa punks roam free. Oh, and he had a “high capacity” magazine with him in DC, while antifa tries to literally blind cops and gets away with it.

As well to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

Disruptions to supply lines continue. Disruptions to the food supply continue. Remember last year when people were saying “don’t worry about the poor crops, we’ve got plenty of grain in storage…” well, this year that grain is probably mostly gone, and it looks like we aren’t going to have bumper crops.

People are talking and advocating for vax status to determine access to and level of medical care. Think about that one for a second. Now extend it out a year or two… what else will they want to use to discriminate against you? There will be shooting when that costs someone a loved one. And honestly, I don’t think it will take a year. You will need tribe and like minded folks to get access and resources. What will you bring to that exchange?

Black market, grey market, secondary market, informal market, whatever you call it and whatever nuances there are between them, start looking. Start practicing. Swapmeets. Yard sales. Garage sales. A guy who knows a guy. You might find yourself locked out of the main economy. Yeah, things would have to be pretty bad before that could happen. Illegals already live that way though. It’s not that big a step and the legal framework went in years ago. There were articles about it, and the pretext was ‘extremism’, but they promised not just to lock you out but also anyone who would do business with you. I don’t know where such a scenario fits on a risk matrix, but it’s on there. And we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and the early stages of a civil war. Just sayin’. Planning. Some preps. Some people. Some practice. Just sayin’.

And stacks. Tall stacks.


Mon. Aug. 23, 2021 – insert title here — ;-)

Hot. Sunny. Humid. Overcast. Rainy. Houston. Sunday was hot and humid, no rain, no overcast.

I did some small work in the garage, and I continue to be impressed with how well the exhaust fan keeps the temps down. Oh, it was still hot, but nothing like last year or the year before. Definitely worth doing.

I set two more traps for Sr. Raton. He walked past the traps I’d already set, so I baited these with peanut butter and bacon. I know he was there, because he knocked a package of Costco canned chicken off the shelf. However, someone‘s been nibbling on the poison block I screwed to the wall along a likely infiltration path…. so SOMEONE is not long for this world. I just hope he takes himself outside before expiring. I’m sure I’ll know it if he doesn’t.

I had a box of rat traps that I bought last year at auction, and I have been using the poison block refills for the bait stations. I have been baiting with Tomcat Attractant because all the previous rats learned that peanut butter equals death. It got one up in the attic, but my garage thief is not interested, hence the pb&b bait. If you don’t already have some pest control supplies stacked, I’d recommend getting some. If the slide continues, services like trash removal, junk pickup, etc. will be impacted. Your neighbors, floods, droughts, and new construction all influence the migration and presence of pests too. When the need arises, there might not be any available.

The same can be said for soil supplements, and garden pest controls. It will be critical if you are relying on a garden for food, even just supplemental food, that you get as much as you can. Can’t have pests eating or ruining food your kids need. We’ve already seen that gardening supplies can vanish if the demand goes up even a little. Having some reference books with alternative methods wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Of course the best case is you getting your garden up and productive long before you NEED it. In most places the learning curve is probably not as steep as here, but it can be hard to find the varieties that grow well for you in your location. Local knowledge helps a lot with that. And every farmer knows that luck plays its part, particularly bad luck. Start climbing that curve. (also, you probably don’t have enough seeds, or the right seeds. Work on that too.)

In other news, the Biddn administration has decided to punish Russia by blocking importation of guns and ammo. Give the popularity of the AK and SKS platforms, that is not good news. Cheap imported steel case 7,62×39 didn’t stay cheap during the recent drought, but it was cheaper than 5.56, and a bit more available. It made for a good argument to have both platforms available in your safe. Who knows, the UN peacekeepers and the chinese ‘advisors’ might become mobile resupply pods if things get super sporty, and in that case, 7.62 will be plentiful again. Until then, the supply chain just got broken.

If there’s something you want, or think you will need in the next 2-5 years, I’m suggesting you buy it when and if you see it. If you need fast computers, might want to accelerate your purchase schedule. Even I’m thinking about getting a new box for the house. Almost everything here is a decade or more old, except the NVR I built, and it’s not new. With all the chips that come from Taiwan, if things get a bit sporty on the global geopolitical front, and it seems likely that they will given our withdrawal from the world stage and increased focus on internal issues, it’s possible that the supply of new things of all sorts could be disrupted.

To put it bluntly, Chinese misunderstanding and foreign adventures could wreck Taiwan’s foundries. Chinese really don’t seem to understand that there are some things that actually must be done correctly and well to work, and not just have the appearance of quality. Chip foundries, like aircraft carrier battle groups and nuclear attack subs, are hideously complex and all the pieces have to genuinely work for the system to work. There is no ‘faking’ it and there is no commanding it to happen.

How long could you go if you had to start from what you have now? That’s the question to ask when considering what and how much to stack. It might not come to that. Sanity might prevail. Doesn’t seem like the smart bet though.

Stack it high and wide. Stack some in secret.


Sat. July 31, 2021 – early to bed, early to rise….

Perhaps not quite as hot today? Maybe we’ll get some of the rain that threatened yesterday but never got to my house. Still in the T-storm ‘possible’ zone according to the national weather liars… we never got more than a spatter, although we did get the delta T and the wind.

I spent the day messing about indoors for the most part. I was wiped out from my day shifting tradeshow booth from storage to dumpster, and my back and hands hurt, so I took it easier. Had the kids at home so my options were limited anyway. Mostly I did maintenance stuff around the house and yard. Not much of it, but some. I also did some auction stuff, and while everyone else watched a movie (Jungle Cruise), I put a repair project back together.

It had been sitting apart in my office for a LONG time. Didn’t work when finished. There was a part that was completely rotted away that I hadn’t noticed, but it was obvious that something was missing when I got it together. Oh well, it takes up a lot less room together than apart, and I may sell it for parts.

Everywhere I clean, organize, or move stuff, I find more stuff that I’d ‘tucked away.’ It’s ebay stuff for the most part, but it never got listed. Some is stuff I wanted for myself, but never moved to its final location. And a lot of it is books. I would really like to have more bookshelves, but I’ve run out of wall…

Today I’ve got two pickups then I’m headed back to my secondary to continue plugging away at it. I need the space so I can do the auction, to start getting more space… and summer is running out. School in about 2 weeks or just a bit more. When school starts I’ve got the big rip and replace for my client to do, as well as the auctions. And all the house stuff.

I better get to it.

Stack something! You know you wanna.


Fri. July 30, 2021 – whew, I’m beat up today…

Hot and humid, possible rain. We didn’t get the rain yesterday, and I was north, south, and in the middle. It was a bit cooler with the breeze when the sun went behind a cloud. Otherwise it was hot.

I got my morning stuff out of the way, then got out of the house to do my pickups. Shelves mostly. Then I headed to my secondary location. Set up some shelves so I can move the stuff that’s on top of the shipping containers, and chop up the containers. I also decided to just trash everything, not save the stuff with aluminum frames for recycle. Let someone pull them out of the dumpsters, if they get lucky.

I filled my pickup 3 times and filled two dumpsters. Cut up two of the containers and emptied them. I am starting to see a big space, that will fill instantly as I start moving stuff around. Still, progress, right? It is beating me up though. I can do two of the containers before I’m stumbling and starting to not be coordinated and graceful. Working alone with saws and moving stuff, not a good idea when you get weary.

Part of that is being 55. Part is that it’s very hot. Part is that each container needs about 30 trips out to the truck while carrying the stuff. Since I started with the shelves and dumping the stuff that was on pallets in the parking lot, I was ready to be done after one container. I pushed through and got the second done too. I’m starting to get pretty scratched up too. Just handling and moving around the stuff has been beating up my arms, shins, calves, and hands.

Wah, wah, wah…. ok enough whining. I also chatted with my neighbor there, and sold him a metalworking tool. He’s going to assemble it, then we’ll finalize the price. Even if it’s beat up or missing fasteners, he should be able to get it working. Walking around his space, I realized I’ve been selling him stuff for years. He gets the machines and tools he needs, I get to move some inventory. Win win! And that is how meatspace is supposed to work.

Puppy had a good day, despite being home alone. No accidents in the house! He used the doggy door and went out during the day. Hooray. That is definitely progress.

Today I’ve got the kids at home, so my tired body will get a bit of rest, but there is still a lot do do here. Maybe I’ll get some of it done 🙂

And then I can continue stacking all the things!


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