Sat. Sept. 25, 2021 – what did you do this week to prep

Cool and sunny, cold fronts are lovely. Spectacular weather on Friday. Hopefully more of the same today.

Got a bunch of stuff done yesterday. Posted some listings on ebay. Sorted some stuff. Picked up some stuff.

I’d been thinking about the difference between prepping and using your preps. I’ve also been thinking it was time to shift back into a “prepping” mindset. Aesop asked the question, “What have you done this week?” and I realized I’d stopped doing the quintessential prepping posts.

Opsec has become more of a concern than ever, so you might not want to say, or you might think it unwise to say. Mention that if you will.

If you share or not, keep stacking.

n

Thur. Dec. 9, 2020 – if I were a rich man, deedle deedle deedle diedle dum..

Cool and windy.  Getting warmer later.  Basically nice.

Wednesday was cool to start but got to 84F in the sun.  Still pretty damp, there was water in the buckets from days ago, and condensation on the concrete.

I started my day with a fresh from the tree grapefruit.  Ruby red and sweet.   Success at last!  There are about a dozen more.  There are a couple of oranges on the other tree that I’m giving a bit more time.  The lemons are ready, but I leave them in place as long as I can.  Broccoli is doing ok, and I might harvest some spears in a couple of days.

I spent a good part of the day going through ebay/auction stuff, moving it from bin to bin and getting some ready for the next auction.  They stood me up on meeting to get my check and do my dropoff so I’ll have to reschedule.  Next week I’ll have stuff in 3 of the local auctions, and it still won’t have made much of a dent.

I didn’t get much else on my list done, so that all slips into today.  If I’m away from the keyboard, I’m working my list.

Interesting thought experiment, what would 2021 look like if there are aliens here?  They have been here for a while, they haven’t dropped rocks on us, they are either in a lifeboat or have some business with us.  What might it be?  What would the confirmed announcement do to current social issues?  I bet they’d get the blame for wuflu…  What the heck would they want?  Botanicals?  Slaves?  Food?  Fuel?  Colonization has always been about resource extraction for us, or later new markets, and cheap labor.  What would prepping look like for benign aliens instead of zombies?

My suspicion is that people would lose their shirt and we’d want to stay quietly at home for a while, just like a lot of other scenarios.  Couldn’t hurt to be prepped up.

Which raises another issue.  If you didn’t have to worry about budget, beyond some reasonable amount (no buying Yard Moose Mountain) what would a serious prepper look like and be stacking?  Vs an ‘ordinary’ prepper, or a beginning prepper?  What do you start stacking when you realize that 2 weeks while waiting for FEMA and the outside aid to get there isn’t going to be enough?

What makes one serious?  Is it building a “Rebuild society” library?  Or stocking fish meds?  A suture kit?  Injectable drugs?  Having a stocked root cellar?  Livestock? A garden measured in fractions of an acre?  Bushcraft knowledge?  Foraging for food?  Hunting/fishing/trapping?  Butchering your own food?  A pantry measured in “person-years”?  More than one gun safe?  Off grid power?  Off grid property?

I consider myself pretty serious, but there are things in that list I don’t even have plans for.    Ok that’s a lie.  But there are things in that list I don’t have serious plans for 😉

Get to work.  Stack something today.  Even if it’s just knowledge.

nick

Sat. Oct. 17, 2020 – non-prep hobby meets today…

Cooler and damp.

It was 58F when I went to bed last night, and it was about that cool most of the day.  Overcast and misty rain finally burned off late in the afternoon.

Most of what I picked up yesterday was household related.  Of the prepper stuff, the Dometic porta-jon was brand new in the box.  The RV inverter wasn’t.  It was the old 12v power supply module from whatever RV old boy updated later with the part that came in the box.  It looks intact and included a fused multi-circuit 12v distro panel.    It will make a great 12vdc power supply for my ham radios, whenever I get around to it.  Lemonade from lemons and all that…

I harvested an actual lemon from my lemon tree.  The other citrus is getting yellower every day.  I hope some is not woody and hard, but I’ll take a dozen fruits, even if they’re not great this year, and hope for better next year.  Planting trees is an act of faith that there will be a future.

No other visible sprouts, so I’ll try replanting with different seed packets.  My neighbor at my secondary location is getting a good fall garden, so it isn’t just a bad year in Houston, it’s me.  Try try again.  (And buy more canned food.)

Lots of articles out there about people bum rushing to rural housing, buying lots of guns and ammo, and stocking up.  The flip side is I’m seeing weird stuff in the amazon (and other store) returns auctions.   Most of the online and brick and mortar stores just take their returns and auction them off in bulk to wholesalers.  The wholesalers sometimes auction smaller bulk pallets, and sometimes auction individual lots.  That’s what I mean when I talk about ‘returns’ auctions.   Well, in the last couple of months, I’ve seen some interesting stuff.   Chicken coops (reviews were that they were too small.)  Chicken waterers.  Chicken nesting pads and nesting boxes (lots of people trying to grow chickens.)    Small animal nesting and bedding.   Farrier starter tool kits (several in this week’s auction.)  Farriers!  Moon cups (reusable menstrual supplies are a prepper staple.)  Solar panels.

Of course I’m seeing lots of other stuff that speaks of the lockdown, exercise equipment, bikes, and home reno bits and pieces, home decor too.

One puzzler is the TONS of child safety gates.  I mean TONS.  Every auction has dozens of lots.   And just general human debris, as summer ends a lot of yard tools are being returned.  Freaking thieves and returns fraud.  Tents and camping gear are being returned in bulk as well.

Firearms and ammo are showing up in the consignment and estate auctions.  Not much in the way of modern defensive arms, (except Hi-Point pistols- the modern ‘Saturday night special’.)  Most of what I’m seeing is single shot rifles, old single shot shotguns- unloved brown rifles in other words.  The ammo is usually sort of “cleaned out a drawer” quantities and a lot of non-defense calibers.  It all sells for high prices, and defensive ammo or modern defensive arms are bringing eye watering prices compared to a year ago.

Surprising me, there are a couple of campers/trailers in this week’s auction.  I figured people would hold on to them as a last resort living arrangement, but there must be folks who don’t expect to get to that point, who are looking to cash in on high demand.

On another note, I drove across all of Houston Friday, all the way to Baytown, and then up to IAH.  Today I’ll be going down to Dickenson and back up through Bellaire.  I crisscross Houston fairly regularly.  I’m seeing a LOT of empty commercial buildings.  I’m seeing a LOT of ‘For Lease’ signs.  I even saw two new ones a few blocks from my house.   The landslide has just started rumbling, a few pebbles are starting to roll down hill…  I’ve got a feeling that ‘we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’  But not in a good way.

Keep stacking, and keep your eyes and mind open to opportunity.   There are always opportunities.

 

nick

Fri. Oct. 9, 2020 – week FLEW by, 20 days ’til Halloween

Dreary and warm.  Humid and overcast.

Thursday was overcast with scattered showers.  Most parts of town got at least a bit of rain.  I dodged through it mostly as I drove all over town and back.

Picked up the new desk chair to complete my daughter’s room makeover.  It’s purple mesh!!11!!111!11   It’ll match very well.

I also swung by my secondary location and did a small bit of reorganization.

All in all, didn’t get that much done this week.    Not really thrilled about the progress.  I better get something done this weekend.  Oops, probably won’t as we’ll have rain and weather.  And Monday-Tuesday I’ll have roofers messing up everything and making noise.

It was nice eating mostly out of the freezer this week, with a few canned goods.  King’s Hawaiian rolls freeze very well, fwiw.  The new temp monitors give me some peace of mind too.

The peas have sprouted and are currently growing.  None of the other seeds have sprouted yet.   I super suck at gardening.  My wife made the argument that I should just give it up as I’ve only really grown collards and carrots, and a couple of beets.  I’m going to keep at it though.  Eventually I’ll have to find stuff that grows just through blind luck, right?

The oranges and grapefruits continue to ripen.  I’m really hoping for a success there.  Unless they’re ‘woody’ they should be fine as the color is coming in, and they are a good size.  The Meyer Lemons are like weeds, they grown in spite of me.

The second house search continues.  They’re doing land office business for rural properties at the moment.  Lot’s of people planning to GOOD…

And now we’ve got Delta headed across the Gulf.  Fortunately for Texas, it is supposed to turn north, which is un-fortunate for Louisiana.  They are going to get hammered again.

Fires are burning, riots are raging, hurricanes are still coming in, and civil war 2 looks to be heating up.   About all I can say is — keep stacking.

 

n

 

 

Sun. Sept. 27, 2020 – hey, growing things are growing

Nice and cool compared to just a couple weeks ago, still damp.

Saturday was really nice out.  Cool-ish except in the late afternoon sun, with a light breeze.  I did get some stuff done, but if you sleep through most of the morning, you get a whole lot less done.

I got some more cleaning and organizing done in the garage.  It was only a little bit, but still some progress.  I moved some stuff out of the house,and moved stuff around in the house to put it away, or put it in the ‘to be sold’ pile.

On most days what I did outside would just be ‘piddlefarting’ around, but some things DID get done.  I pruned the grapefruit and orange trees.  I intend to keep them about 10ft tall and 2-3ft thick to fit in the narrow bit of my yard between the house and my  neighbor’s driveway.  I also need them to be small enough I can cover them when it freezes.  The grapefruit has about 10-12 fruits, the orange 5-6.  They are starting to get ripe too.  That will be my best yield to date.  I’m hoping it gets better every year now.

Pruned a bit off the grape vines.  They are basically done for the year anyway.  Never got a single grape this year.

Moved my weather station from the north side of the house (my driveway) to the south side (neighbor’s driveway.)  That puts it in more natural air, and closer to both displays.  It’s still too close to my roof and will continue to read higher than if in shade.  I changed the batteries again, and now I can see it on the displays in my office and bedroom.

I used the Garden Weasel ™ on the bare spots in the lawn and seeded them.

I didn’t get more seed in the garden though.  That is on the agenda for today.  Root veg.  Lots of root veg.

My peas are already sprouted in the side garden!   I better get some steel mesh over them before the tasty sprouts get eaten.  I really hope that I’ll get some viable plants and a crop this year.

Spent some time cleaning the pool.

Went through some stuff I’d squirreled away.  I keep finding stuff tucked here and there.  A lot of it really needs to be sent to auction.

Won a couple of auction items.  Another really nice battery charger.  If I’ve got a forklift to keep charged, I need a good charger to leave with it.  If I end up with a lake house, I’m sure I’ll need at least a charger there.  Having good ones makes a difference.  I’ve really increased my ability to charge batteries lately.  I also won a boat battery selector switch, and some 10gauge jumper cables.  I will look at wiring my inverter into my batteries now, with the AC charger and the switch to choose charge or discharge through the inverter… or something like that.

Found 3 laptops in the trash at my secondary location.  Grabbed them.  I had a charger for one, a dell inspiron with win7 installed.  Someone shut it off during an update and now it’s boot-looping.   It’s a nice widescreen machine in good condition.  I’ll set it aside for now, but will likely get the OS fixed, or use a linux bootable to see if it will run.  There are a lot of ham related things to do with older laptops.  One was an older compaq that probably isn’t worth even booting and I didn’t have a psu handy for it, the other is a really big Toshiba gaming machine.  I might order a psu for that just to see what it’s all about.  I think it has discrete nvidia graphics, and about a 17 or 19″ HD screen.  It’s a giant with full sized keyboard.  Funny that 15 year old machines are still usable for something.

What can I say, I like older stuff that works.  It’s cheap.  I like fixing and using it.  If it lasted this long, it’ll probably last for a while longer.

“Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without!” a plan for the coming unpleasantness.  Keep stacking.

 

nick

 

Today is the two year anniversary of the death of Dave Hardy, or OFD as he was affectionately known here.  There’s not enough Moxie and pretzels in the world for what’s coming.  Miss you.   -Absent friends-

 

Sat. Aug. 15, 2020 – hurray for the weekend, just 2 more days to work…

Yup, hot.  Real hot.  Sunny and humid too.

Friday was a bit of a bust.  I got done the stuff outside the house that I needed to do.  Did some organization at my secondary space.  Picked up some stuff.

Today I need to do some catching up here at the house.  I’ve been slack.

I don’t think I mentioned it on Wednesday, but I broke down and vac sealed a bunch of meat for the freezer.  9 pounds of pig roast, into 3 smaller roasts and 4 chops, 6 pounds of hamburger into 1 1/3 pound blocks, 6 pounds of bacon into 1 pound bags, and we ate the steaks I’d bought in the last order.  It’s great having <s>some</s> lots of freezer space.  I also vac sealed a couple pounds of coffee that I got from my auction guy, $1 / pound.  I’d have bought more if he had more in roasts that I like.  You get what you see, when you see it if you want it.  The vac seal and freezer let you keep it a long time.

Speaking of which, I can’t really imagine prepping without a vac sealer.  It lets you keep stuff fresh for a LOT longer than any other packaging technique I know of for the freezer.  I’m still using the same one I bought on sale at Costco 5 or six years ago (or maybe 10 years ago).  I do have a backup that I picked up at a yard sale (same model), and a couple of backups to that that are simpler and more in the original Seal-a-meal style.  I like backups.  They were all super cheap at yard sales or thrift stores.  Even new in the store, the vac sealer will earn it’s cost back when you can buy cheap bulk food and break it down or when you can buy lots of food when it’s on sale and keep it in good condition for years.

Of course, with a freezer full of food, you’ll want a gennie, or solar setup.  Or battery backup and inverters, or hamsters on a wheel…. but that’s prepping too, it’s fractal.   And some people have opted for pallets of freeze dried food, or shelves full of canning to avoid worrying about the freezer.  If you do that, you need canning supplies, ways to clean them, heat source, storage, etc, and if you go for freeze drieds, you’ll need deep pockets 🙂

Whichever way you go, get busy.  You will feel better with food in the pantry.  So keep stacking!

 

nick

Sun. May 10, 2020 – Mother’s Day

Cooler. Overcast opening to nice later.

There- that almost guarantees that we’ll get rain.

Yesterday was overcast, cool, and windy most of the day. Not unpleasant. Just unusual.

Ventured over to my secondary location to move some things, and collect a couple of small items for projects here at the house. Sold a piece or two to a friend while I was at it. Then hit two other friends just to touch base. Meatspace. Still important.

Today, here, we’re having a special meal to celebrate Mother’s Day. I’ve got half that elk roast defrosting, and I’ll figure out how to cook it. I guess the sides will be similar to either lamb or beef, but I’ll know better after reviewing a couple of books. Paper books, just as an exercise.

Dinner last night was grilled over a small fire in the back yard. We used the firepit/grill I’ve mentioned before and it worked great again. Nice bed of hardwood coals from backyard tree waste. Kids had hotdogs, my wife and I had homemade sausage, half deer, half wild pig, that the neighbor gave us at our Neighbors’ Night Out a year and a half ago. It’s been vac sealed and in the freezer. I also made sliced red potatoes with butter and seasoning in foil tucked in the ashes and coals. A bed of saute’d onions went under our sausages. S’mores for dessert, natch.

WRT the coming unpleasantness, my gun store buddy told me to ‘make a list’ of anything I might want. “Lots of guys in the oil patch” are starting to consign their guns for sale. So it’s already starting. Fancy guns and hunting guns, musical instruments, “man” toys- stuff with motors, boats, etc should be first. RV’s, trucks, and tools will probably be last. You can live in an RV, you need a truck for work, and tools (especially if you use them to make your living) are always useful.

Garden is… continuing. Potato towers are going gangbusters. The bag o dirt is about 2ft high now, and I’m running out of dirt. That might be as high as I go this year. The other stuff I planted as seed is coming up, wherever the squirrels didn’t eat the seeds, and where I have metal mesh to keep it safe… I don’t have enough metal mesh, that’s clear. Either that or the seeds just didn’t germinate. My ‘window boxes’ are a big disappointment. No sprouts, and the onion starts have been disappearing at the rate of one a day. Did I mention I need more mesh?

Blueberry ‘bushes’ have fruit ripening. I planted different varieties for pollenization, and because with different maturities, we should be getting berries for a longer season. So far, 4 berries have been harvested and eaten. They are very tasty, if not exactly going to fill buckets…

Last year’s pepper plants continue to provide a bounty. Delicious sweet peppers, without a hint of heat. Cabbages look sturdy, but are all leaf and no head at this point. Broccoli is a bit spindly, but the other dark green leafy (either brusselsprouts or collards, can’t remember) are starting to grow. They stayed the same size while something eats holes in the leaves for the last couple of weeks but are finally getting bigger. The grape vine looks caterpillar free at the moment, so I think I got that in time this year. The other grape vine is staying short, having died back to within a foot of the ground. I’m not hopeful for that vine coming back. It’s just not and never was, as vigorous.

Citrus is doing well, where the tree rats leave it alone. Something stole the oranges off my potted orange tree, and can’t even eat them as they are only golf ball sized. Damn spoilers. The lime does still have one or two fruits developing. The Meyer Lemon is set to produce well, but then they do very well here in Houston. And the other orange still has at least one fruit on it, and the grapefruit tree has a bunch. Still hopeful for that one. No flowers on the peach tree, but it’s fully leafed in. Not a garden that would feed the family, that’s for sure, but it will hopefully provide at least a bit of variety and tasty nutrition.

We are in this for the long haul, here at Casa de Nick. I hope you are too.

Keep stacking, keep building skills and knowledge, and do what you can to maintain your meatspace relationships. Call your mom if you can…

nick

Sun. Mar. 29, 2020 – almost done with March

Cooler and wet.

Never really got rain yesterday but it stayed wet all afternoon and evening. Kids and wife ‘camped’ in a tent in the back yard. I hurt too much to do that if I don’t sleep in my bed.

I got some work done in the garden despite the heavy mist. Cleaned up an area next to a raised bed, transplanted 3 tomato plants, planted one trash bag potato tower.

My cabbage is currently thriving, but my broccoli has ‘bolted’. I cut it back and am hoping for a second growth.

Meyer Lemon tree has flowers already. We just picked the lemons a week or so ago.

Blueberry bushes flowered and look to be setting berries. I worked on the bamboo to support the bird netting. The bushes aren’t exactly thriving, but it’s neat to have some berries in season. The bird net means I’ll get them and not the thieving wildlife.

Old pepper plants continue to fruit. New peppers need transplanting. Maybe today.

No sign of sprouting for my radishes or turnips yet, nor the mixed herbs.

I need to get my onion sets in the ground and get some other veg in too. Maybe today.

If the weather clears I’ll be working in the driveway moving stuff around too.

Breakfast today is hillbilly donuts. Tube biscuits, cut with a shot glass to donuts and holes, fried up in peanut oil in my cast iron. Then shake in a bag of powdered sugar, cinnamon, or chocolate powder. Or do all three. Special treat for the family. Makes a mess with the oil, but I filter and save the oil just for donuts. It lasts a long time.

Dinner last night was spiral slice ham, baked potatoes, cabbage saute’d with onion, and mango cobbler for dessert. All but the cabbage and cobbler mix was from Costco.

I better get to it.

Stay in, stay safe. Get your garden started!

nick

Sun. Mar. 1, 2020 – time marches on

Cool, chance of rain in the national forecast.

Beautiful day yesterday. Just awesome. Clear, relatively cool, and fairly dry.

I got some stuff done in the driveway before losing the light.

Before that, I was out foraging and getting stuff from my secondary location with my 10 yo. It gave us a lot of time to talk about preps. She’s anxious, and I hoped that by showing her the depth of prepping I’ve done, she’d be reassured. It’s the first time I’ve shared the extent of some of my preps with anyone. My wife doesn’t go anywhere near my secondary location. It made the whole thing very real to be showing someone stuff I hadn’t before, and making her aware of stuff that even my wife doesn’t completely know about.

And while I feel better about our ability to live through a ‘shelter in place’ or lockdown, the vast majority of people will be in real trouble pretty quickly. Unlike a hurricane, there isn’t anyone coming from outside the zone. It’s really a question of shifting from a mindset and expectation of abundance to one of resource constraints. If it all goes to hell, we’re just not getting more stuff for a while.

I know that US citizens and illegals will not calmly undergo the kind of restrictions Chinese are suffering from. The FSA will be out in force by the third day with empty stores. The fires will start soon after that, and it won’t be irregular .gov squads burning plague houses. No one here will be welding shut apartment building doors. We’ve got guns.

My daughter is really struggling with the idea that we probably won’t be helping anyone and that her friends likely aren’t prepping. I keep emphasizing that they’ve had the same opportunities we had, and made different choices. And that every thing we give away decreases our ability to survive. We’ve also talked about when and how we COULD help people and that I have put up stuff specifically for that. She gets it that we can’t help everyone, and that all of our stuff will vanish in minutes if we tried, and then we’d have none and most of the people would STILL not have anything. But she’s really worried about her friends. I am too, but for different reasons. I know she’s mentioned our prepping before. I’m worried they’ll remember. She is under orders not to talk about it anymore, and I think she understands how dire it could get.

It’s a lot for a 10yo to deal with but I need her to both cooperate, and understand why she can’t talk about it.

—-

There’s always more to do.
-make sure all the propane tanks are full
-get the adapter to refill 1 pound tanks from BBQ tanks– ordered
-barring that, get more 1 pound tanks
-many of my coleman fuel cans were empty when I checked on them. I need to add more cans.
-potting soil for the garden and lime for a slit trench
-all the gennies need attention
-stored gasoline needs to be increased
–which means more sta-bil additive too
-I’ve used the concrete blocks I had for a rocket stove to hold up my rain water barrels, so they need to be replaced.
-I pulled the trigger on an outdoor propane tankless water heater. $109 on amazon. Also another morakniv

Daughter was concerned about hot water if utilities fail. I’ve been looking at the heater for a year, and if everything is normal, it will be welcome at swim team practices in a month or two. Bought.

Think through your day under quarantine and consider your preps. So far in China utilities seem to have stayed up. We should be able to do the same, but if we can’t, it’s better to have a plan.

Keep stacking. We have community transmission in more than one place in the US. Everywhere in the world that they start testing they find cases. Even very casual contact seems to spread this (vis. google employee in Zurich.) If it gets into a group it can spread like wildfire (vis. Korean church group) Our ‘leaders’ seem to be intent on bringing this to all of us. All that combined, and we’re in for a world of hurt.

nick

Sun. Feb. 23, 2020 – maybe vehicle maintenance today

Cool and damp.

Yesterday actually got to be very nice by the end of the day. Shirtsleeves weather.

Roofer came by and we’re going to pursue the new roof. Insurance call on Monday. Big deductible, but if we don’t do it now, if we were to sell in the future, we’d have to do it all on our dime. Preps, sometimes the best prep is money in the bank.

I’ve got a fan speed resister pack to put into my Expy, and a windshield washer fluid pump to change out in the Ranger. Both are just annoying issues, but are also simple fixes, so only lack of time has prevented me doing it.

The rest of the day will be filled with all the normal things.

I will be buying some additions that I wouldn’t normally buy. Feminine hygiene stocks are low here, as are some of the kid’s things like toothpaste. I looked a bit farther afield, and I’m going to order two more cams for my system. They are JIT from China thru a US distributor and repackager. Chances are good that the supply chain isn’t going to be there for long and existing stocks will run out. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of months, and decided to pull the trigger. If you want something that is normally made in China, you should look really hard at getting it now.

The virus has now showed up in the strangest places. “Worse, infected travelers from Iran already have been discovered in Lebanon and Canada. “ And it’s killing folks. Coverage is getting weird too. Try this line on for size–

“A cluster of cases isn’t inherently worrying – in fact, it’s expected as an infection that’s easy to spread is carried around the world by travelers. “

–nothing to see here folks, everything is proceeding as expected….

Remember the big differences between this and ebola- the chinese can afford air travel, and this one seems to kill fewer people, at least in some places.

Take the time we have and take your preps to the next level. I know I’m sounding like a broken record on this but just look at the numbers…

Keep stacking,

n