Fri. June 21, 2019 – already Friday again, jeez

82F and 90%RH. Never got a drop of rain yesterday, hope today goes the same. Openweathermap (henceforth OWM) has our high at 97 or 98F. It’ll be much hotter than that here in my driveway.

The march to war continues– https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-21/trump-backs-down-military-strike-iran-last-minute

This looks like classic Trump to me, promise some outrageous thing, let everyone freak about it, then offer the compromise. We’ll see. I’d prefer not to have a nuclear Iran, and the weaker they are, the better for stability in the middle east.

Lots of kid activities this week so not as many preps as I’d like, and I’m getting ready to head back to Chicago to help my mom with selling her house. I’ll probably be there a week.

The little tiny caterpillars were back with a vengeance and ate all the leaves off one grape vine and most off the other vine. It did reveal on bunch of grapes, which I split with littlest child. They were tasty with thick skins. I sprayed them with the thuricide and I hope the vines recover for next year. Grapes are a huge PITA.

We have one little apple growing on the tree, and one orange is still clinging to its tree too.

Peppers are still producing but tomatoes aren’t showing any fruit. Cukes and zukes haven’t died yet. The stems usually spit open at the ground level and get eaten by ants. I’ve been hitting them with different things hoping to find something that will get them thru the summer. Seems to be working so far. The plants in the one raised bed are still slowly bleaching to white and dying. No time to investigate that further. It MUST be an issues with the soil.

I did add another bucket of rice and some more cans to the stack. I can tell the hand warmers I’m using as O2 absorbers are working because the buckets ‘dent’ in.

I’ve mentioned it before but I think prepping to make tortillas/pita/naan/ or some other flat bread makes more sense than risen breads. They take less time, effort, and fuel. The staples of poor rural people and indigenous people the world over are refined by long history to be efficient in all those areas. (that root you have to smash for hours being an exception necessitated by a lack of alternatives.)

Someone mentioned that my SWAG at a couple of months food for my family was missing some things… yup. It was. There were LOTS of things missing from the list, but it was intended to show that it doesn’t have to be hard, or rocket science to stack a good amount of food. Also it’s what MY family (and by extension, most families I know) will eat. (If I was hispanic or german, the list would be different (and have more pickled stuff on it if german))

There are actually canned beans in the list (red, black, refried,bbq, drunken (borracho), and several others are on my shelves.) For preps, I prefer canned beans to dried. The water is already in the can. The cans are safe from rats and other vermin. The liquid in the can can be used as ‘sauce’ over rice. Of course, they are more expensive than dried beans, but they can be eaten cold from the can, only need to be warmed up to make them tasty, have flavor already added, and are generally easier, quicker, and thrifty with fuel.

If your family already eats chick peas, or dried beans, by all means store them in your preps! I wouldn’t want the list to be seen as EX-clusive. You should always feel free to go beyond or tweak for personal preference. For example, someone else mentioned canned potatoes. I have canned potatoes from a couple different makers with different styles of potato in them. I really like one particular can of sliced new potatoes. I’ve served them as a side dish lots of times. We don’t eat many potatoes though, and most canned versions don’t taste that good to me. I did list pouches of instant potato though. The name brand is really good, especially the varieties with added cheese and other flavors. If we had a real ‘no shit, hit the store for one last run’ event, besides all the overlooked cans, I’d grab bags of potatoes and onions. They store well (up to a year in good conditions) are cheap and versatile. But we personally don’t eat them often, so I usually only keep a couple of pounds of heritage baby potatoes in the pantry, and 10 pounds of onion… we do eat a lot of onion.

And I have to get the wife and kids out the door so I need to continue this later….

what did you do to prep this week?

nick

Fri. July 20, 2018 – busy week

Another hot one, 80F at 6am. Forecast for record heat.

Whether we’re swirling around the edge of the toilet bowl, or at the dawn of a new age, it’s pretty clear that big changes are happening in the world. The march to war might be delayed a bit, or we might be getting played while our enemies align themselves and get ready. We might be headed toward civil war, as people on both sides seem almost to yearn for it. Who knows?

Or we might be headed into a general collapse. I think it’s well underway and we just don’t see the signs. Today is pretty much like yesterday, and so it’s been throughout history. Certainly our star is not ascending.

We have MASSIVE homelessness. We have a stunning number of people on welfare and other forms of .gov aid. We have lost control of our borders to the point that somewhere around 10% of the population is currently foreign invaders. They have spread throughout the nation, and are suddenly visible, like when a geometric progression doubles to the point you see it, then doubles again… just consider the number of machete attacks.

If people defecating in the streets, gangs pulling people out of buildings and hacking them to death, and record low workforce participation rates aren’t enough, consider the rise of socialism in our political realm. This is an idea that is opposite to our national character, but the long march has been so effective that openly socialist candidates can win party primaries. Our elites get wealthier, while our ‘normals’ get poorer, and civic institutions degrade. [consider than when I was young, it was entirely normal that a man in a skilled trade, as the sole breadwinner, would be able to afford a cabin on a lake, a pontoon boat, snowmobiles, a camper, etc. Contrast that to today.]

The very things we establish government to provide are no longer working. Clean water. Education. Safety and rule of law. Public works infrastructure.

Consider just thirty years ago. What was the relationship of the public to cops? Bottled water? Aid organizations? Refugees? What did inner cities look like? Gangs? Public infrastructure? What was public morality like? What was cultural sexuality like? Cultural violence?

Consider 40 years. 50.

I think we don’t see it because we are too close to the problem. Convince me otherwise. Or what have you done to prep this week??

nick

Sun. July 1, 2018 – open

Whew, slept in. Kids are now fed, the dad is fed, the wife is fed, and the kids are squabbling so the dad is also fed up! (now there is crying)

Only 96F at 11am, so not quite following Nick’s rule of tens for a hot day in Houston…. 70 at 7am, 80 at 8am, 90 at 9am, 100 by 10am…

Got a lot of work done at the rental but ran out of material and still have to go back today. Wife got all the remaining cleaning done. We should have it back on the rental market in a week. Pure laziness on my part to have let it go this long. We’ve lost 10k in rental revenue while dragging our feet. That was super stupid. I have a line on a management company with a very affordable rate. If they are taking customers, I think we’ll sign up. This was super stupid. (did I mention this was stupid?)

Drank half a gallon of gatoraid while working, and another half gallon of water and tea before and after. Then drank some more. Peed once and woke thirsty. No headache or hangover today though.

WRT the previous discussion on revenue and wages being down, my ebay sales continue to limp along. I have never had sales this low since starting to take it seriously. I do have a bunch of high value inventory to list, but almost nothing is selling, my views have dropped way off, and my watchers are mostly at zero. I don’t know if it is the economy in general, my vacation hiatus killing my search results placement, or the move to an ebay ‘store’. I think I’ll be calling ebay’s business ‘consultant’ next week to ask about my store move, since that seems most likely to be the culprit.

Garden is growing. The bush and pole beans are growing like crazy, with neat little purple flowers, but no beans yet. Zukes are still hanging in there, with flowers but no fruit yet. The grape vine that didn’t fruit yet has suddenly started growing like crazy. One was red, the other purple, both table varieties. I think this one is the purple. Maybe it has later fruit? Got a shot glass full of blueberries, and was happy to save that much. No peaches again this year. Beets are doing well. Onions seem to be getting bigger, so I’m letting them grow. Would be starving if I needed the garden to eat. Something to keep in mind.

Finished reading the Oregon Trail cookbook. You can make a lot of different things from flour, corn meal, bacon, fat, sugar, and salt. You can make a cake with almost no ingredients. Not sure that any of it was much more than ‘iron rations’, but the breads and pastries sounded pretty good when they had the spices. Bear fat in a lot of dishes. Bears must have been a staple of their hunting and foraging. The main idea is that you can vary your diet, and survive with almost no veg or fruit. LOTS of fat for flavor and energy in EVERYTHING. One of the PA novels has a group slowly starving despite plentiful deer and fish, because they aren’t eating enough fat. Pigs used to be more valuable on the homestead for their fat content than their meat, and the heirloom varieties are all MUCH fatter than current. Something to keep in mind if our situation were to devolve.

Hit one sale this weekend on my way to the gas station. Grabbed a new camelback bladder and sippy hose for $2. Still had the plastic on it. Got a couple other useful things for no money last week. I’m getting more selective as I get my ‘stuff’ topped up.

And that’s the week that was….

n

Fri. Feb. 23, 2018 – What did you do to prep this week?

Friday again.  If time was passing any faster, it would be going backwards….

I’ve added an OFD Project page.  It’s link is in the black bar at the top of this page.  I’ll copy relevant comments or updates there as a record of what’s going on with that.  (Edited by RickH: that page now has comments enabled, so you can post comments here to be moved, or on that page to be shown on that page. All comments, no matter what page posted, are shown in the Recent Comments list over on the right [or below this post on smaller screens].)

And I’m bringing back Bob’s “What did you do to prep this week.”   It’s always the “quiet before the storm”, well, when the storm isn’t  “on the horizon”.  With that as a given, I’ll just say, “what can’t continue, won’t.”   We’ve seen examples elsewhere, and historically even here of how quickly things can change and how bad things can get.  This is a good time to take inventory, rotate some stuff, try some stuff out, get some more stuff, connect with new people, and learn a new skill.

No one knows the future, but in the last couple of years talking about it, we’ve seen Venezuela go from “man they have trouble coming” to “mmmm, tasty zebra.”

We’ve already GOT ‘Hoovervilles’ only with more drugs and crime.  We’ve already got social influencers touting “tiny homes” and normalizing reduced expectations.  Youtube “van life” to get a window to a whole culture of nomadic homelessness and reduced expectations. We’ve got a whole generation conditioned to socialism, envy, selfishness/narcissism, casual sex and violence, and most of them have really poor prospects.  They are gonna be REALLY ANGRY and ready to lash out when they figure it all out.

So what did I get done this week?   I got the first coat of cold galvanizing on my new HF antenna mast.  The rain came back so getting that done and the antenna back up is on hold.

I cleaned up my raised beds.  I need to add manure and soil, and get my spring garden planted.   I did move some onion starts to a window box, but I don’t know if they’ll prosper.  They are pretty lame looking.   I planted some herb seeds along with the onion, but it looks like I was just feeding the squirrels.  I’ll be doing more garden stuff this week.

I bought a used metal gate from Habitat and will adapt it to close off my driveway.  Another project that needs some dry days.  For now, I’m just mounting it simply.  Eventually I’ll add a better post and an electric opener for convenience.  It will control access to my driveway and garage, and visually hide all that stuff from the street.

My work on my ‘hurricane room’ continues slowly, but progress gets made.

I’ve got a rental house as a retirement plan and income stream, and I’ve got repairs and painting to do there after the last tenants moved out.  I made some progress on cleaning and paint prep.  Wife hired a painter, which just leaves the repairs for me.  Still more fair weather tasks though.

My battle with the rats continues.  I’ll have a whole ‘lessons learned’ but the short version is- they are extremely destructive and will literally eat you out of house and home.  Jump on them hard and quickly at the first sign.   Stock up on the supplies NOW.  If, like me, you have an environmental change that ends with a rat infestation, your neighbors are likely to have one too.  Rat traps and poisons are in short supply in local stores at the moment.  Rats are smart, social, and seem to pass on their learning.  They are not trapped more than once or twice with the same technique.  They will avoid peanut butter like death itself once they know it is bait.

Ebay selling is slow for big items and ok for smaller stuff.  I’ve sold a mix of industrial controls, collectibles, housewares, and public safety gear this month.  I’ve sold old crap and new old stock to police and fire departments and to individual cops.  They are looking for bargains on ebay, so I know budgets must be tight.  Even though my sales are slow, I’m encouraging everyone to get selling on ebay or amazon.  You’ve got crap you can get rid of as a starter, and it is a decent part time income from part time work.  You WILL need the income stream at some point.

 

With that, I’ve got another day of paying work today, so will be away from the pc for a while.

What did YOU do to prep this week?

 

nick

 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

09:19 – Happy New Year’s Eve

2016 in Prepping

We closed on our new house in Sparta in December 2015. In the year since, we’ve gotten moved in and gotten things more or less the way we want them. Among the many things we checked off our to-do lists were many prepping-related purchases and activities. Here are some of those:

o We got moved into the house, got our house in Winston cleared out, and sold it. We’ve gone from living in a metro area with a population over 1,000,000 to living in a rural mountain county with a population about 1% of that.

o We installed a wood stove and laid in a supply of firewood sufficient to keep the house livable for at least a couple of months. We intend to double or triple our firewood supply in the near future.

o We’ve expanded our LTS food supply significantly. We’re now at the point that we could feed ourselves, Colin, Frances and Al for more than one year without any outside resupply.

o Rather than eating mostly fresh and frozen foods, we’ve started cooking and baking from scratch for a lot of our meals, using mostly LTS foods. We also greatly expanded our selection of cast-iron cookware.

o Although we haven’t yet started canning, we do have everything we need to can, including a pressure canner, several dozen new canning jars, re-usable Tattler lids, and so on. Early in the New Year, I’d like to get started canning meats, initially probably ground beef and dark-meat chicken.

o We greatly expanded our inventory of medical supplies, notably the most important SHTF antibiotics (doxycycline, SMZ/TMP, metronidazole, levofloxacin, and amoxiclav) from maybe a dozen courses total to more than 150 courses. All of those sit in the freezer, where they’ll remain usable for literally decades.

o We purchased the essentials for a small off-grid solar power setup: four 100W solar panels and a charge controller. I ordered a 2.5KW/5KW modified sine-wave inverter yesterday, which will suffice to drive the well pump. I still need to buy some deep-cycle batteries, although if TSHTF later today I could get a functioning solar power system going using car batteries.

o We installed a 330-gallon propane tank and a gas cooktop. That will suffice to allow us to cook and bake completely off-grid for literally years. There’s enough propane that we could also use it to heat water for bathing and laundry.

o We made a lot of new friends and acquaintances locally, including our immediate neighbors. Most of that is down to Barbara, who volunteers with the Friends of the Library and the local historical society, but I’m doing my bit as well. We’re both doing what we can to become part of the community.

So, what did you do to prep this year?


Sunday, 23 October 2016

10:00 – Email from Brittany yesterday, CC’d to Jen. Like many preppers, with only a couple of weeks until the election, Brittany is trying to make sure she has all her ducks lined up.

She’s been reading about fish antibiotics, and wanted to know which specifically I’d recommend she buy RFN. With the usual disclaimer that I am neither a physician nor a pharmacist and so as an unqualified person all I can do is tell her what I would store in her place, I mentioned the following, assuming that neither she nor her family has any allergies to any of these antibiotics:

1. Doxycycline — probably the most flexible of readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotics. The usual adult course of treatment is one 100-mg tablet/capsule every 12 hours for a week to ten days, which means that a bottle of 60 tablets is 30 days’ worth, or three to four full courses. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 12 to 25 courses on hand.)

2. SMZ/TMP — another readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotic. The usual adult course of treatment is one 400/80-mg tablet every 12 hours for a week to ten days, which means that a bottle of 60 800/160-mg tablets is 60 days’ worth, or six to eight full courses. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 12 to 25 courses on hand.)

3. Metronidazole — another readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotic, which is also active against anaerobic bacteria and many protozoal pathogens. Although it varies with the disease being treated, the usual adult course of treatment is 2,000 to 4,000 mg total per day (at 7.5 mg/kg) divided into three or four doses for five to ten days, which means that a bottle of 60 500-mg tablets (30 grams total) is one to two full courses of treatment for a 150-pound adult. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 12 to 25 courses on hand.)

4. Ciprofloxacin — another readily-available broad-spectrum antibiotic. The usual adult course of treatment is one 500-mg tablet/capsule every 12 hours for seven to fourteen days, which means that a bottle of 60 500-mg tablets is two to four full courses. (For a dozen people, I’d keep 6 to 12 courses on hand.)

Although it’s harder to come by than the antibiotics listed above, I’d also want to keep a few courses of 875/125-mg amoxicillin/clavulanate on hand. Resistance to plain amoxicillin is now so widespread that many physicians treat it almost as a placebo, so don’t bother stocking it or other beta-lactam antibiotics.


Friday, 19 August 2016

09:56 – Barbara is off to the gym and supermarket. Colin and I are doing kit stuff.

If you’ve been meaning to stock up on whole egg powder, you might want to visit the Augason Farms website. Today and tomorrow only, they’re having a 30% off sale on 18-pound buckets of whole egg powder. Regularly $248.99, on sale for $174.29. That 6-gallon bucket is the equivalent of just under nine of their 33-ounce #10 cans at $20/can, and is sufficient to provide a dozen eggs per week for a year. I’m not ordering a bucket because I already have quite a bit of AF powdered eggs in #10 cans and because I expect the price of powdered eggs to drop further any time now, but then I’ve been expecting that for months.

When we lived down in Winston, Kevin, our regular USPS carrier, would have someone riding along with him maybe every six months. That person was evaluating his route to make sure that it required about the same amount of time and work as all the other routes served by that post office. Lori, our carrier here, has mentioned more than once that the increase in volume from Amazon.com is killing her and the other carriers in the Sparta post office. They haven’t had anyone ride their routes with them since Amazon’s volume started ramping up big-time. As Lori says, that means they essentially end up delivering Amazon packages for free. The post office gets paid, of course, but the carriers are having to deliver much, much higher volume. That takes them more time and more work, and they don’t get paid any more for it.

USPS also treats in-town carriers and rural-route carriers differently. In-town carriers are provided with vehicles. Rural-route carriers, including ones that are actual USPS employees rather than contractors, have to buy their own vehicles. They’re paid mileage, but even so it’s a hassle that in-town carriers don’t have to deal with. Lori is still driving the RHD Jeep Wrangler she’s been driving for years. I actually emailed the postmaster general a month or so ago, and suggested he give Lori one of the new vans that USPS is starting to deploy. I haven’t heard back from him yet.

I’ve been so busy with science kit stuff lately that I haven’t had time to do any prepping to speak of. We do plan to make a big Costco run in the next couple weeks to restock on stuff we’ve used over the last few months and add more flour, sugar, oats, and other bulk staples.



Friday, 12 August 2016

09:35 – Barbara is off to the gym and supermarket. She spent the night last night at Bonnie’s our 88-year-old neighbor. Bonnie fell a few weeks ago and fractured her hip. Her local family are trying to keep someone with her 24 hours a day until she’s fully recovered, but providing 24-hour coverage isn’t easy for people who have their own responsibilities. So Barbara and Vickie, our neighbor on the other side, are doing what they can to help out. When she returned home this morning, Barbara said that Bonnie was doing well, and she thinks she’ll be okay by herself now. Bonnie does have a fell-and-can’t-get-up pendant, so she can summon help if necessary.

We made dinner again last night from only LTS food. Baked spaghetti, and we made up enough for at least two meals and probably three for the two of us. Baked spaghetti, which we made up in vegetarian form. It was quite good, even without any meat. After dinner, Barbara cooked up a pound of ground beef and added it to the leftovers before freezing them in two portions. I’ll be interested in seeing what it’s like with meat in it.

The recipe called for a jar of Cheez-Whiz or similar, so we made up some cheese dip with the Augason Farms Cheese Blend Powder. It tasted fine, but it needed more water. AF provides a recipe to make up cheese sauce and another to make up cheese dip. The latter specifies equal amounts of the cheese powder and water, and the former uses a higher proportion of water. I used 1.5 cups of the powder with 1.5 cups of water to make up two cups of cheese dip because I figured the cheese dip recipe would more closely resemble the Cheez-Whiz stuff. As it turned out, a 1:1 ratio is way too much cheese powder even for a dip. The next time we use the cheese powder, I’ll be mixing it with more water.

Prepping stuff from walmart.com and costco.com is starting to stack up in the foyer. In the last week, I’ve ordered and/or received a 26-pound bucket of Augason Farms Brown Rice, several #10 cans of Augason Farms Potato Shreds, another can of AF Cheese Blend Powder to replace the one we just opened, several different kinds of canned mushrooms to test, some spices we don’t currently stock, two 24-can cases of Costco canned chicken, two dozen quart wide-mouth Ball jars, a Victorio apple corer/peeler/slicer, a Lodge 8-quart deep cast-iron camping dutch oven with lid lifter, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On our next trip down to Costco, I want to restock a lot of items we’ve been using for the last year or so without replacing. Stuff like spaghetti sauce, applesauce, canned vegetables, and so on, as well as more bulk staples–bags of flour, sugar, rice, oats, etc.

So, what did you guys do to prep this week?

Back to work on science kits.




Friday, 24 June 2016

09:35 – Good news overnight. The UK has voted to leave the EU, and that prog POS Cameron has announced his resignation. Apparently, Boris Johnson is likely to become leader of the Tories and probably the next PM. It would be more fitting if Nigel Farage became PM. He is, after all, the leader of the UK Independence Party.

I have a modest proposal. I think we should rename the North American Free Trade Agreement to the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, eject Mexico (which is in Central America anyway), and invite the UK to join the new NAFTA. Eventually, we could invite Denmark and Holland, most of whose citizens speak English anyway, and of course Australia and New Zealand. But the UK is most important. As Europe continues being muslimized, the day may come when we again need the UK as an unsinkable aircraft carrier.

I didn’t do much prepping this week, other than ordering half a dozen boxes of Krusteaz cinnamon crumb cake and a pail of Augason Farms brown rice from Walmart. I note that the Krusteaz product has gone up from $2.14/box to $2.25. Eleven cents may not seem like much, but it’s more than 5%. At least that’s not as bad as the Augason powdered eggs. The last time I bought them, they were $17/can. They got up over $50 last year, but are now down to $34.50, only twice what I paid.

More science kit stuff today, of course.


Friday, 13 May 2016

09:58 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month.

Barbara and I drove down to Winston yesterday to meet our realtor and get the house listed and ready to go on the market. It should be on the market today or tomorrow. That’s a big thing out of the way.

On our way home, we made a two-cart Costco run, which is unusual for us. Barbara filled her cart with $340 of mostly meat. I filled mine with mostly heavy, bulky stuff, which came to $130.

Not much prepping related stuff this week. We’ve been too busy doing kit stuff. I did pick up three 6-gallon packs of water at Costco, along with a couple large cans of Country Time lemonade, a 3-pound can of coffee, half a gallon of soy sauce, a bottle of vanilla extract, a cannister of cinnamon, and a 500-foot roll of Kirkland/Reynolds heavy-duty 18″ wide aluminum foil. Oh, and a 50-pound bag of sugar, which we’ll repackage today into PET bottles. In the past, we’ve repackaged our working supply of sugar into those Costco PET wide-mouth nut jars, which we keep in the kitchen cabinets. I suggested to Barbara this morning that we should re-purpose some of those nut jars to store baking soda. Those 12- or 13-pound bags it comes in are awkward to use, particularly since we normally use baking soda a tablespoon or two at a time. If we don’t have enough nut jars remaining to repackage the whole 50 pounds of sugar, we’ll just use 2-liter bottles. Or perhaps we’ll use clean, dry jars that formerly held applesauce to hold the baking soda. Either way should work better than those retort bags it come in.