Wed. Sept. 14, 2022 – “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man…”

By on September 14th, 2022 in decline and fall, lakehouse, personal

Still hot in Houston.   Not ‘summer melt the car’ hot but still hot.   Yesterday started nice and cool for me, but ended on the warmer side.  It was down to 75F at midnight though.   That’s a big change from last week.  Fall is here.

Didn’t get much done yesterday.   I’ll admit to throwing fake bait at fish for a short time in the morning, without success, but then I cleaned up and secured the house for the week.   Headed home, made my pickups.   Dumped my trash at my secondary.   And came home to sick wife, unhappy kids, and a messed up garage…

So I ate dinner, messed around on the computer (all hail king bandwidth) reset the trap for the possum, and headed for bed.  Some days that’s the best you can hope for.

Today I’ve got plans but I’m not going to tell the universe what they are.   Maybe I’ll have a chance to stick to the plan if I don’t.   Some are gonna depend on the wife and D1’s booger test first thing in the morning, some will depend on weather, and some might depend on other people.   Prepping will be involved.   Home maintenance might be involved, and gnu willing, possums might be involved.

If you don’t have traps and poisons for dealing with vermin, get some.    And stack it high.


Tues. Sept. 13, 2022 – progress is being made

By on September 13th, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, lakehouse, personal

Not so hot, and only kinda humid. At least here at the lake. Probably warmer in Houston. It was 68F when I came up from the dock last night. The outdoor shower was a bit chilly once the water was off.

Spent yesterday finishing up the main gas line, the manifold, and lines to the kitchen and the hot water heater. I can get the furnace and dryer later. I don’t have a long enough line for the furnace (store was out) and I may not have enough for the dryer, even though it’s pretty close to the manifold. We currently have an electric dryer, but almost every home I’ve lived in had both connections, so that’s what I’ll do here.

Before that we got approved for the septic install. Shouldn’t have any issues for a few years if things all stay together. Depending on cost, I might stock a spare aerator and drip line pump. Should be 3-4 years before the tank needs pumping.

It’s interesting that almost everyone I talk to up here is harvesting protein from the surrounding area. A country boy will survive, indeed. I’ve got a lot to learn.

My septic guy said he cut his one acre garden back to only a half acre this year. He’s also got an orchard with pretty much every fruit tree that will grow in Texas. He said he’s “not one of those extreme preppers” but he’s got more food independence than most hard core preppers. He’s also got more land. Most of the people up here have several plots of land nearby. They are hunting it, or growing stuff on it, too.

Spun the dial on the radio but the bands weren’t great before about 1030pm. They were a lot better after 11pm. Still, I was able to listen to New Zealand without issues.

Today’s plan is to do some plumbing, then head back to Houston.  I’ll stop and do a couple of pickups on the way.


Get out of big cities. If you can’t, make a plan for where you can go if you have to, and what you’ll bring with you. If it all drops in the pot, you’ll be more welcome wherever you end up if you bring resources and skills along with mouths to feed.

Stack it up, knowledge, skills. stuff.



Mon. Sept. 12, 2022 – once more into the fray…

By on September 12th, 2022 in decline and fall, lakehouse, personal

Hot.  Mostly.  Humid. Definitely.  Although it stayed in the mildly unpleasant range yesterday.   It was humid all day.

Did some shipping for ebay.   Sold some more of a staple item for me.   Every so often the algorithm kicks me to the top of the list for this item and I have a cluster of sales.   We’ll see if that happens this time, or if it was a one off.

Went by my secondary location to pick up some more stuff for the BOL.  Hit the Goodwill for a couple of interesting books, and some leather for a project.  Got 4 milk crates too.   I use them for all kinds of things, but I mostly use them to stabilize propane bbq bottles.   A bottle fits in the crate snugly and is much more stable in the square crate, and much less likely to slide around.

As I was driving around I noticed a significant increase in groups of men standing around drinking outside of little convenience stores, around the back of apartments, in alleys and near the trash dumpsters.   Hispanic men.   I also noticed a marked increase in homeless men, both singly and in groups around my secondary and throughout the areas I drove through.  I don’t usually drive around on a Sunday, so maybe it was due to the day of the week, but I’ll be keeping an eye open this week.    The groups of drinkers hanging out I blame on illegal immigration.  The homeless camps and growing number of homeless likely has several causes, including economic stress.   None of it is an indicator that things are getting better.

Take an extra hard look around you  this week.    Take some different routes than you normally do.   Look for changes.  Look for signs of trouble.  Graffiti tags.  Trash.  Illegal dumping.  Homeless men, singly or in group camps.  Drug dealing.  Prostitution.  Overgrown lots. Abandon vehicles.    Get in the habit of noticing these things, and noting any changes.   Day before yesterday, one of our long term “urban campers” was begging for money at an intersection near my storage unit.   I’ve never seen him begging before.   Changes.  Not for the better.

Headed to the BOL this morning after I get the kids out the door.   Need to meet with the septic guy to settle up, and with the inspector to get approval.   I’ll probably spend the day working on gas and plumbing, and spend the night there.   I can drive home Tues, and hit two auction pickups on the way home, which is a plus.  Wife is working from home since she was sick all weekend.  I’m happy not to be breathing the same air….

Work on your local knowledge.   Get a feel for ‘normal’ and for ‘changed’.   Stack up the things you need.


Sat. Sept. 10, 2022 – non-prepping hobby day, then family stuff…

By on September 10th, 2022 in decline and fall, lakehouse, personal, prepping

No idea what the forecast is calling for, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say “hot and humid.”

It was nice at the lake yesterday morning.   Even a bit cooler than the day before.   It got much warmer in the afternoon.  Kind of a theme, cooler mornings, but afternoon still scorching.  Eventually it will be merely warm in the afternoon, and we’ll call that “Fall”.  But I natter on …

Did some work on the gas line to the kitchen and getting stuff back together before I had to leave the BOL yesterday.   Neglected to clean everything, and pick up.   DID run 2 loads of laundry including towels.

THAT WAS AWESOME!  Laundry robots.   Put the dirty in, take the clean out.   Western civ ROCKS.  Laundry and keeping clean used to take an inordinate amount of time, by anyone’s standards.   Industrialization, wealth, and civilization gave us indoor plumbing, potable water delivered to the faucet, sewers, and robots to clean our clothes.  Clothes that are so cheap, we buy some that we NEVER WEAR until we GIVE THEM AWAY!  Don’t forget how amazing this is.  Don’t forget that a large part of the world does NOT live this way, and that we are more likely to “revert to the mean” than they are to install washers and dryers.

Make a plan to gradually step down the ladder.  Get the pieces in place.

And stack the things.


Fri. Sept. 9, 2022 – work progresses, progress works

By on September 9th, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, personal

Cool and humid turning to hot and humid, with a possible bit of rain.   Which forecast pretty well describes yesterday’s actual weather.  It got to just around 100F in the afternoon.   It was certainly hot in the attic.

Shortly after  getting started for the day (with stretches and limbering up) I crawled up into the attic to finally run the new gas line to the kitchen.   Spent some time slithering on my belly like a reptile, and finally got in place, drilled a hole, and failed to get into the wall cavity.   Approaching the problem from outside, by cutting a hole in the soffit and reaching in from the other side confirmed that of all the places I could drill through the top plate of the wall, I’d  hit a freaking stud.  Couldn’t do it on purpose.   I was able to hog out the hole a bit, come through the side of the stud, and make  a path for the pipe.  Except that the fiberglas insulation in the cavity kept the pipe from moving.   I gave up.  Decided to run the pipe down inside a cabinet, and move it when I had the wall open during the [future] kitchen remodel.

Got the pipe run in, but ran short of connectors, valves, and gas appliance hookup kits.   The rest of the install will have to wait until next time.

Helped the septic guy trench for the kitchen drain, then he got everything on the uphill side backfilled and graded.   There is obviously a septic tank in my front yard, but some plants will screen it eventually.   Meanwhile he moved on to the drip line, and we both laid out the pattern.    He’s hoping to finish the install today, with possible cleanup on Sat.

I’ll be home with my non-prepping hobby meeting, and my littlest Girl Scout. My wife and D1 will be doing sailing stuff.    It’s been a long hard working week, and I’ll be glad to be home.

Spent some time chatting with the neighbors about politics and the future.   They are very like minded and have a lot of skills and success harvesting all the local game.  I volunteered to help break down the next big thing they brought home.  I hope they take me up on it, as I’m anxious to learn.

Keep stacking skills and people.   They will make the difference.


Thur. Sept. 8, 2022 – “I got the rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu..”

Day starts nice and cool, but still gets up near 100F in the afternoon.   Maybe some spotty rain.  Maybe not.  We did get a few drops yesterday and the sky turned black for a couple minutes but it blew right past us.

We got a lot done yesterday.   Tanks are placed, inspected, and wiring and plumbing are underway.  Hopefully today we’ll get the stuff that was never properly connected to the system plumbed in, and the electrical done.   If we get lucky, drip line will go in too.   This guy is good, conscientious, but he works alone, so it does take a bit longer.   To be fair, the additional plumbing was a surprise, as was the giant root ball, and the crazy thickness of the concrete.   Just getting the hole dug, and the lines trenched in was more difficult than it should have been.  Still, progress is being made.   The pace has slowed a bit as we are both getting worn out by the additional effort required.

I did not get gas lines in, because I was prepping for the additional plumbing.   Lots of poor choices were made decades ago, and I’m paying for them now.

Spent some time spinning the dial on the shortwave, which is where today’s title came from.   WTWW on 5.085mhz plays a lot of good music at night, and it’s  a WIDE variety.   Lots of stuff I haven’t heard in years.  If you are looking to get familiar with shortwave listening, that’s one freq to check along with the national time signals.

Prepping involves testing gear and assumptions.  Get your radio out and see what you can hear, and if you can actually tune to anything.   Shortwave is an entertaining way to get a feel for propagation, without firing up your ham rig.

And as always, stack some things.


Wed. Sept. 7, 2022 – diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole…

By on September 7th, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, lakehouse, personal

Cool in the morning but rapidly warming.   Some small chance of rain, or overcast.   Overcast would be welcome as we will be in the sun otherwise.  It got up to 99F in the shade yesterday and well over 100F  in the sun.   Where we were.  Working.  In the sun.  The hot sun.

Moved a ton of dirt yesterday.   Had to reduce the height of the front yard by about a foot and a half to correct slope and water issues.  Over time, or just through poor design, the yard had become raised, and about half sloped toward the house.   This contributed to the foundation issues and needed to be corrected.

While digging we found landscape drain lines, sprinkler pipe, the copper gas pipe, and a small diameter plastic pipe we can’t identify.   What we did NOT find was the outflow from the septic tank.   By all logical layouts we should have found it while trenching.  Maybe we’ll find it today when we dig the big hole for the new tanks.  We also found random lengths of steel angle iron, some rebar, and various other chunks of metal.

The biggest issue was massive root balls from some long dead trees or bushes.   They were co-joined and huge, one spanning about 8 ft by 5 ft, and a good foot thick.  They were just under the soil and had to be removed.   We ended up nibbling away from the edges to get enough cut loose that the big machine could pry up the rest.   Took most of the effort of the day.

Some construction notes for the DIYer.   Sand is not just sand.   Sand has very specific characteristics, some of which are suitable for construction use, some not.   Fluffy soft sand is not suitable for fill under anything.   It will not compact or lock together, it will squish and slide out from under any load.   You want “sharp” sand for something like that.   You do not need a vapor barrier under an outdoor slab.   Rebar is engineered and shaped to do its job.   Smooth hot rolled “pencil” rod is not.  They are not interchangeable.  Random lengths of angle iron have no place in a concrete slab.   Wire reinforcing panel works only when properly embedded into the concrete.  If you can’ t use “chairs”, then use a hook to pull it up into the mix and don’t walk on it after that.  Finally, if your original patio slab sank 6 inches, simply putting another 6 inches of concrete on top of it won’t solve the underlying problem and may make it worse.

And people, if you are going to use bare copper tube with flare nuts as buried gas pipe, DO NOT make a  SPLICE with flare nuts and a short iron pipe nipple and then BURY THAT.

More hole digging is on the agenda for today.  As is running gas pipe.

Stacking up the knowledge.  Stacking up the skills.   Stack some of each.


(and today’s title courtesy of the pop culture intersection of pirate metal music (Wind Rose), online gaming (minecraft) and youtube content creators making vids about playing games)

Tues. Sept. 6, 2022 – more digging, more work

By on September 6th, 2022 in computing, decline and fall, lakehouse, personal

Cool to start but warming up later.    Humid of course.  It was 89F when I knocked off working yesterday, and still 80F when I went to bed.  Even though it started cool, it ended pretty warm.

Spent the day breaking rocks in the hot sun.   Didn’t fight the law.  Details in yesterday’s comments.

Today should be more work by the septic guy, and I should do a lot less to help.   If it’s reasonably cool, I’ll be in the attic running gas pipe.  If not, I’ll do something else.   There is always something else to do.

Wife and kids made it home safe.  I had a nice fire, and the shortwave bands were pretty wide open up to about 9 mhz.   Nothing much after that.   Ham bands, 40m especially, were crowded.   Didn’t hear much, too many pileups.

Early to bed, because today will be early to rise.  Don’t think it’s gonna make me wealthy, or wise, but I’m sure to learn more about septic.

Stacking up the knowledge.

Stack something, ‘cuz you never know what you’ll need.


Mon. Sept. 5, 2022 – Labor Day in the US

By on September 5th, 2022 in culture, decline and fall, lakehouse, personal

Hot and humid.  Well, maybe just humid for a while.  It got downright chilly last night.   A front moved by, with horizontal lightning and spatters of rain, in the evening and temps got down to 74F.   That felt pretty chilly with the high humidity.  Today might be hot, or could be moderate.

Septic guy is supposed to be here today to start.  Don’t know what that means, exactly, but maybe the wife and kids are headed home early.   Maybe not…   I’m here for the next few days at least.   Tank arrives Wed.  Could be he installs the drip field and the lines down to it.   That will be a lot of work and isn’t dependent on any other thing being in place.

Yesterday my wife painted all day and I worked on plumbing and electrical.   Found time to do a couple small things too.   DIDN’T get up in the attic to run the gas line.   I guess I’ll do that today.  One of the first things that will happen when the digging starts is turning off the LP gas, and pulling up the existing line to the house.   I’ll be cooking on coleman until I get the new gas in place.

It’s a weird feeling to be getting stuff done.  Good, but somewhat odd.   It seemed like the stuff was all in the future, but now the future is here.  Maybe it’s because if the future can arrive for my construction jobs, the future can arrive for the bad things too.  Dunno, but it does feel weird.

I’m stacking up the work!   Stack something yourself.