Category: rats

Thur. Sept. 14, 2023 – more bins of stuff to the auction…

Hot and humid. Slightly less hot, but still. 80F to start the day is hot. An actual hot wind before the distant storm is hot. And I expect more of the same today. Maybe with the added joy of a thunderstorm. We did get a spatter of moisture from the sky late afternoon yesterday, but nothing that stuck. And we saw distant lightning with strong winds while watching the marching band last night, but it never got to us. I’d just as soon avoid rain for another day.

It avoided us yesterday and I was able to get several more bins to the auctioneer. A flip top bin full of lego weighs quite a lot, enough that it’s hard to lift chest high anyway… and I’ve still got at least one more to go. So far no really valuable lego, but you never know. Auctioneer takes a look through before listing, and sometimes sorts some of the mini-figs out for their own lot. C3PO is worth finding if you might have him. There are several versions but they are all expensive for lego.

Today I’ve got a Dr appointment in the morning, then more auction stuff in the afternoon. I’ll be doing a couple of pickups on Saturday. I won a metal cabinet and a 100 gallon rainwater storage barrel, both about an hour north of me. I was hoping to get them on the way to the BOL, but we’ll see how that shakes out. Meanwhile, I’ve got an item or two here in town, and a few more bins ready to drop off. Prices are still low, and it’s beginning to look like a real slowdown. Dang. Nothing like waiting too long… although realistically, it’s happening when it’s happening, and I wasn’t able to bring loads to my local guy before now. One seller thinks it just might be people are over-extended from back to school spending and it will recover soon. I hope she’s right.

BTW, metal cabinet will stay here for my pantry. The cans in dispenser racks, and some other stuff was out on shelves and I’ve decided it needs to be enclosed. The stuff in plastic bins and tubs on the shelves has been fine, protected from the elements and the rats, but I want to do what I’ve been doing at the BOL and put the rest in metal cabinets. It still won’t be “cool”, but it will be “dark” and protected from more stuff, including prying eyes. At my secondary location, I’ve hung bedsheets with magnets to cover the metal shelves and contents. The more obscured the preps are from casual observation, the better I’m feeling.

Keep it secret. Keep it safe. And keep stacking it!


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Thur. June 8, 2023 – some thoughts about food storage

Damp and cooler, but getting hot later.   It was 94F in the shade by late afternoon yesterday.   Then it rained, just enough to mess me up.  I’m hoping for dry today.  Got lots to do.

So yesterday, of all the things that need doing, I chose to attack the food shelves that had been despoiled by the rats, and the possum, and the exploding peach cans.   Joy.   Just moving all the cans to milk crates took a while, and I haven’t cleaned them yet.   Threw out a couple dozen.   Mostly  peaches, but also some other failures due to rust or acidity.  A case of tomato paste.  A case of tomato puree.   A half dozen condensed milks.   Some random veg.   There might be more as I clean them and restock the shelves.   I know I’ll have ‘breakage’ due to my extremely bad storage conditions, so it’s just part of the cost, but it sucks to have it all at once and for it to mess up other cans too.

I moved 6 months, one meal a day for 2 adults and 2 kids to milk crates.   It’s my minimum, my version of RBT’s “iron rations.”   One can meat, one can veg, rice.   Of course I have more, breakfast and more canned and dry food, but 6 months fits in 12 milk crates.   Stacks really well too.   Plus the buckets for the rice, one bucket per month.    32 cans per crate.  Roughly the same for meat.  There is a bit more variation in the size of the meat cans.   So two milk crates and a bucket will feed you a nutritious meal a day for a month.  You and your family.   You won’t get fat, but you won’t starve either.   Add a bucket of flour or tortilla mix, and a crate of soup cans and you get two meals a day.   The cans leave a bit of room at the top of the crate that could be filled with oatmeal in bags, or repackaged pancake mix too.

It’s all very compact for storage and isn’t crazy expensive.

For box meals, retort pouch meat, and mixes I’m still using shallow tubs with lids but you could pack that into either buckets or milk crates too.   I just find it easier to treat the tubs as ‘drawers’ and have access to the contents without un-stacking a bunch of stuff.   And for day to day, I’ve got the cans in FIFO racks.  Those racks were FILTHY from the burst cans, and the rodents.  I ended up pressure washing them, using a scrub brush and clorox cleaner on the shelves, and then pressure washing again..

Lessons learned, fruit in cans is not a super long term storage item.   Fruit in the cheapest Hill Country Farms cans is REALLY not a long term item.   Rust is  the enemy of cans.   The FIFO racks are very hard to clean and keep clean.   From now on, I’ll be putting a waste paper basket trash can liner over each bucket in storage.   The lids get filthy and opening a gamma seal lid is a 20 minute ordeal of cleaning before opening to be sure you don’t drop cr@p in and contaminate your dry food.   Clear plastic liners over the buckets should help tremendously.   The shallow tubs worked.   They protected their contents from cross contamination, and predation, and when a can inside popped, they kept the mess confined to the one tub.

If I was designing a storage/pantry system from scratch, I think I would build it around buckets and milk crates.   Each milk crate holds about 32 cans with some space at the top.   Mix your veg, beans, and other cans so each crate has a variety of food.  Do the same with your canned meat or pouch meat.  Fill a bucket with 25 pounds of rice (just shy of 3 cups to the pound, btw, and 200 calories a cup.)   Stack a few months worth in the closet.  Both buckets and crates stack well.  Pull two crates and a bucket at the start of the month, and refill them to rotate back into storage before the month is over.   You could decide to skip the rice and add another crate of veg instead.   Top off the crates with breakfast food like oatmeal or pancake mix.   Add a crate of soup for lunch.   Campbells cans are a bit smaller but not enough to get more in a crate.  There is more room for breakfast or condiments though.

Compact, sturdy, organized, and moveable if needed.  Easy to rotate.  Plus you can see at a glance how much time/food you have.  Easy to share if you want to.  Hand them a bucket and two crates.


Busy day today, I don’t know if I’ll get the remaining shelves cleaned and everything put back.  I’ve got pickups, an airport run to do, swim meet this evening, and all the normal domestic bliss…  I’m pushing my client into next week when the gear arrives.  DirecTV can wait a week for their gear.

Stack some more food.   You know you like to eat.  And if you don’t, I’m pretty sure you don’t like to starve.   Having at least one secure meal a day could make the difference for you and your family.



4 milk crates, and 2 buckets per month and you are living large.

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Fri. May 26th, 2023 – headed to the BOL… to spend the long weekend, not because the rad sensor alarmed…

Clear and damp, with a little coolness, rapidly heating up.   It was only 72F when I put the kids on the bus yesterday, but it got warmer throughout the day.   I’m glad I didn’t have to get in the attic at my client’s house, but using the ladder in the yard was a bit sweaty.   I think today will be even warmer, but maybe some of the humidity will blow out.

There are a lot of mosquitos this year, and they are even biting me.   They normally don’t, and if they do, it doesn’t leave a mark.  Wonder what it’s gonna be like at the lake?

Which is where I’m headed later.   Have to get loaded up and make a pickup on my way out of town.   The auction had the wrong times listed, and I thought I would be able to make it.   I guess it’s good I didn’t drive up last night…  although I would have liked to start the day at the BOL, not driving.

Did get some stuff done yesterday.  Got the NVR to display image from the existing cams.  Well, mostly.   I may even be able to re-use a couple  to extend coverage with the new system.  Can’t order the cams until next week because B&H closed for a long holiday.  Memorial Day weekend must coincide with a Jewish holiday this year.   Maybe every year, but I never noticed…

In any case, I’ll be back out at the site to swap out cams in a week or two.  In the mean time, at least the NVR is recording.

I’ll be taking a load of stuff up with me.  Mostly not food, but I’ll add a couple of buckets if I can.   I saw a pair of rats on the patio yesterday.  They’ve eaten all the stuff they can get into, except the stuff that exploded, so they aren’t wrecking more, but I’ll refill the poison baits anyway.   Cleaning up that whole area has been pushing down the list for a week or more, but that was when I though it was a possum in the mess.   Possums I can live with, rats, no.   So it’s back to the saga of the rats for me.  Good thing I bought those buckets of bait blocks.

Stack some rodent and pest control.  They’ll be increasing as city services decrease, and you’ll be on your own.   Remember when there was nothing in the stores?  That will happen again.

Stack all the things!


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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.



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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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?

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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.


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