Tues. May 17, 2022 – home again, home again…

By on May 17th, 2022 in gardening, lakehouse, personal

Hot and humid in Houston.   Probably nicer at the BOL.  I’ll deal, as long as it isn’t raining.

Did a long day at the lake yesterday.   Met with the A/C guy, got the compressor motor capacitor swapped out and the refrigerant level checked.    Worked on the garden.  Got a sprinkler set up, but not on a timer yet.  Did more cleanup and filled the pickup for the dumpster run.  Swapped out a couple more light fixtures.  Put some privacy film on the garage door windows.

That one was on the list from the first day.   It makes the door look better from the outside (there isn’t a row of black windows in the white door) and it makes it much harder to see into the garage and decide if there is anything you want to steal.

I also put up a new mailbox, and weed whacked…  even put a couple of plants in pots out front.

All little things but all important for curb appeal (lets the neighbors know we’re committing to the neighborhood) and to make the house look occupied.   They haven’t had issues with breakins or theft, but I don’t want to be the nuisance house either.   I do need about 4 entry doors though, between the garage, outbuildings, and dockhouse.  Even a soyboy could kick through the garage man door.

Today is for catching up on things around the house here.

There is plenty on that list.  Boy howdy.

If you can’t stack, organize, or maintain.

But if you can, stack it high.


Mon. May 16, 2022 – still at lake

Sunny cool and clear in the morning, getting hot later.   Probably the same in Houston.

After I set up an A/C service visit, I’ll work in the garden for a bit.  I spent several hours yesterday rototilling the whole thing again.   I thought I’d just get the grass off, but that took multiple passes, and increasing the depth.  I eventually got the whole plot tilled to an even depth.  Made my rows and planted two of them.  I did not know that beans should be soaked overnight before planting, so they will get planted today.

The planting choices are a bit wierd, but some of the seeds I have won’t do well this late.  I’m pushing it with what I am planting.  I wanted to get SOMETHING in though.   Since the fence isn’t in yet, I covered the whole row with hardware cloth in a tunnel shape.   I’ll either have to bring up more hardware cloth, or get busy on the fence.

I spent the hottest part of yesterday doing some other things, including taking a break to eat lunch with my wife on the dock.  Very cool breeze on the dock…   So I tried my hand at throwing the cast net.   Tougher than it looks.  I did manage to catch 3 little fish that would have made decent bait, which is what you do with the cast net in Texas.   I’ll need more practice, and maybe an in person coach…

The eclipse was cool.  Glad I got to see another one.

Unless things go horribly wrong, I’ll head home in the afternoon.  I’ve got a list of stacks to move up here, and more stuff to do work with.  We have one bedroom with the paint, ceiling fan, flooring, and furniture in it.   There is only the closet floor still to do.   Plenty of other work to do…

I’ve been sipping the news through a tiny straw, so I might have more to say later.   Someone asked the question “what will they come up with next to distract us?”   Now we know.   Yes, I know that is crazy conspiracy talk.  I will need to see more coverage before it’s anything more than a wry observation, but the question was asked.

Stack some stuff.   It’s getting weirder daily.


Sun. May 15, 2022 – so the eclipse is tonight…

By on May 15th, 2022 in Random Stuff

Hot and humid.   Even here.  Still sunny though.

Was hot and humid in Houston and here yesterday.   I finally got up here around 430 and did a few small things, mostly cleanup.  I did change a light fixture and found more questionable electrical work.  Every fan and fixture so far had something sketchy.  Old boy did not like wire nut, but he loved tape.


A/C stopped cooling about 530pm.  Fans were fine after the sun went down, but the humidity is still unpleasant.  I’m thinking about staying through Monday to deal with that, and get some more tasks finished.

It’s always something.

Stacks aren’t gonna help with the A/C as I don’t have my spare capacitors here.   If I did, I’d swap one and see if that did the trick.  As it is, I’ll have to call someone.  I don’t want to call them on Sunday though.

Cash money is the best prep for this, at this time.

I did sell my one big thing and a couple of small things at my swapmeet, so it was worth staying in Houston for that.   I am behind up here though.

I better get something done…

Stack it high.  Body armor is next on the restricted list.


Sat. May 14, 2022 – and we’re off…. no not really

Hot and humid, although it didn’t seem as hot yesterday as the day before.

Picked up a pickup load of stuff for the house, took it to storage, swapped it out for the thing I’m hoping to flip today.  For today is my non-prepping hobby quarterly swapmeet/ sale day.    Really only a half day, and most deals will happen in the first 10 minutes anyway.

My hope is to flip the big thing, and then after the meeting, load the  truck for the lakehouse and head out.  My wife was planning to  take the kids up last night and get started painting another room, or putting floor down, I’m not entirely clear which.  However, they ended up staying late at a birthday party so they’ll be heading up sometime this morning.   I’ll already be gone to my meeting.

Work at the BOL will be whatever I can do, but emphasis will still be on getting the garden stood up.

I don’t have to set the fence yet, I decided I can do a tunnel of hardware cloth over at least a couple of rows of low plants to start.   I have this fear that the heavy equipment for the foundation work will need to go through the garden to get to the down slope area.  That would suck.  It’s not going to stop me from trying to get something to grow, but time is slipping away.

At home I’ve got blueberries ripening on the bushes.   The seedlings I planted haven’t died yet.   The grape vines are trying to make a comeback, and the herbs are doing well.  It won’t feed the family, but it’s something.  There were almost no fruit trees at the Lowes and Home Depot yesterday.  I was hoping for an apple tree, but there was one persimmon, a couple of meyer lemons, and some peach trees.  Very limited.

Shortages are getting attention from a wider array of folks.   Predictably they are clamoring for .gov to “dooooo sooommmeeethhhiing “.   I don’t really know what they expect Slow Joe to do, pull some baby powder out of his diaper?  If they do try something, I expect it to make the situation worse.

You are on your own.  Plan accordingly.

And stack some stuff.


Fri. May 13, 2022 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month

Hot and humid, probably clear.   Mid 90s likely, both in temperature and humidity… summer is here in Houston.

Spent the afternoon doing a round of pickups.   I realize it sounds like I’m doing nothing but buying stuff at auction.  Well… that isn’t wrong, as such.   What might be missing is that I buy almost nothing from stores or online anymore unless it is something very specific that I need quickly.  For example, one of the stops yesterday was for cleaning supplies- two gallons of dish washing soap, 4 spray bottles of bleach/soap, and a couple of other things.   Was it cheap enough to drive across town?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Some flexibility was involved as the dishsoap was Joy lemon scent, when we prefer the blue stuff, but at only a buck or two a bottle, I’ll smell the lemon…

A stop at goodwill yielded a box of silver colored indoor door knobs because the universe still loves me.  I wanted to change out the gold colored ones at the BOL, as most are very worn after 40 years, and they weren’t high quality to start with.    I wish they were levers, but beggars blah blah…  Flexibility.  Anyway, not a priority, but doorknobs are something you touch every day and if they don’t work right, it’s frustrating.

A chat with another seller and he’ll send me advance pics of some of the stuff I’m looking for for the BOL before it hits the auction.   People, networking, meatspace.  Relationships are important.   I’ve been saying it, and I’ll repeat and I’ll repeat and I’ll repeat that you need practice in the secondary economy, just like anything else.  It could just be confirmation bias but I’m convinced that you or someone in your group of acquaintances will have to play the role of ‘scrounger’ or supply clerk, or whatever you want to call it, but someone will have to know where to get stuff, who to try getting it from, and what is worth trading.

A lot of preppers talk about stacking stuff ‘for barter’ but they’ve never dickered over a price, or shopped anywhere but a big box store.  I don’t stack ‘for barter’ but I do have stuff that I think I’ll need later, and if I need it, probably other people will too.  And since no one can go it alone, or stack every thing they might need, it might be that I end up trading or bartering or just plain selling some of that stuff.  A HUGE amount of commerce is happening in the person to person space already.  That is only going to increase.   Get some practice.   Hit some yardsales this weekend, and check out a thrift store…  driving around your area will help you survey the current conditions near you too.   Lots of benefits to getting out and looking around.


The best part of shopping in the secondary economy is saving money.   Second best is getting something you couldn’t get otherwise.   Leverage it to build your stacks…



Thur. May 12, 2022 – change, flexibility, and decisiveness

Hot and humid, another sunny day.  It got pretty dang hot yesterday.  I was sweating and pretty dehydrated after working at my storage unit for over an hour.  I had some water with me this time, and that helped.

I took a pickup truck load to the auctioneer, and picked up a lot to flip to my “non-prepping hobby” guys ( I hope) on Saturday.  I will be picking up a few things for the BOL today, and heading up there Saturday afternoon.   I was just too tired and had too much to do here to head up yesterday.

The post title is about what we are facing and what I think you need to get through it, besides massive stacks of course.  There was a shortage of used vehicles, and I bought a truck.   There is a shortage of rural properties, and I bought a nice one.   There are ongoing shortages of food, cleaning supplies, parts, construction materials, and skilled labor.   I’ve had a chance to buy some, and am still waiting for that chance for others.

What let me get what I wanted was knowing what a good deal looked like, having the resources available to act immediately, acting immediately, and a willingness to compromise on what I was getting.

We’re still in a period where you can get what you want, maybe even precisely what you want IF you can search for it, and wait for it to become available.  And if you can afford it… but that is rapidly becoming less common, and NOT being able to just walk in and get what you want, right here and right now, is becoming the norm.

We have a culture of abundance.   We are entering a phase where some things, many things, are no longer abundant.  That is a pretty big change and one that some people are going to have a hard time accepting.   It’s going to be critical for your own success at seeing this through to the other side to recognize the change in our reality, and to develop new ways to deal with that fact.

It may mean carrying more inventory than you are used to, either at work or in your domestic arrangements.  A full and deep pantry is going to ease a lot of misery around shortages of foods.   Adequate spares for your critical systems need to be on hand, and not in someone else’s control.  You may need to plan ahead, order early, and you may need to pay immediately, rather than on the terms you are used to.  That means having access to more cash or bigger credit lines than you might have had last year.  And it means accepting less than you would really like, because that’s what IS available.

That last point is going to be really hard for some people.   The personality that likes to research thoroughly before a purchase, that likes to mull over a decision, is going to suffer if they don’t change.  Do the research, make the decision, but then act decisively when the opportunity presents itself.  Be open to alternatives.

And be open to alternative sources.   The secondary economy is booming.  Resellers are making hay.  Used, damaged, fixable, or cleanable may be your best choice.  Traditional retail and traditional supply lines will not be able to supply all your needs.  Start exploring your other options now, while there is still time to climb the learning curve.

Finally consider the changes in culture.  Respect for the law and for law enforcement is crumbling.   Violence is increasing and occurring in areas that were formerly safe. Some people LIKE chaos and strife, it breaks down social norms and increases their freedom to do what they like doing.   Some of them like hurting other people, taking their stuff, and destroying whatever strikes their fancy.  Some people will go along to get along.  It won’t matter to you if they guys running the roadblock are doing it for love or to feed their family, you lose either way.

It’s going to get tough, but we can get through this.

Stacks of stuff will help.


Wed. May 11, 2022 – well it’s Wednesday already…

By on May 11th, 2022 in decline and fall, lakehouse

Hot and humid again.  Pretty nice yesterday, although hot, the  humidity was lower and in the shade it was very pleasant.

I got some pickups done, and took some stuff to storage.  Oh, and I used the dumpster at my secondary location to get rid of more debris from the BOL.

Today the plan is  to get another pickup done, then move stuff from storage to the auction, and get an item for my non-prepping hobby swap meet sale this weekend.

I might make a run up to the BOL depending on timing and how I feel.  That would put me up there overnight and part of Thursday.  If I’m there, I might as well do some work…  and if I’m doing work, I will do it in the garden.  I’ve got a whole load ready to go up anyway.

Meanwhile, the world turns.   The stock market might be finally reacting to the other stuff going on, and the thing that can not go on forever will come to an end.  Remember that in 2008 the collapsing market values were a stairstep down, a pause, then again, and again, and again.  There were mini recoveries, but the trend was down.  I’m hoping against it, but I think this might be time.  It is well overdue by most accounts.  We’ll certainly know soon enough.


No matter what happens, as many folks have been saying in one way or another,  stacks will help.

So stack, like your life depends on it.  Because it might.


Tues. May 10, 2022 – no pithy comment today

Hot and humid, but clear, like yesterday…   So I better get some stuff done early, or sweat to the skin later.


Did all indoor stuff yesterday.  I spent a bunch of time trying to model the slope and terrain at the BOL in Sketchup.   The ‘sandbox’ tool is great for fantasy terrain, but there doesn’t seem to be a good fast way to match existing.   I’m about half way through trying to do something with contours… which if it doesn’t work, I’ll have to do over with a different method.   Just plotting my elevations has been useful to see the ‘lay of the land’ though.

Speaking of the BOL, I think I’m shooting for heading back up on Wednesday.  I’ve got so much to do, and I get more done when I’m there by myself, that I can’t skip a week.  We’re heading up for the weekend, but it will be another short trip.

New A/C system seems to be a bit more efficient than the old.   Days like yesterday, the old system would be falling behind by 330 pm, but the new system kept up just fine.  Tentatively I’ll call it money well spent.

Sometime soon, I’ve got to do some personal checkups and maintenance on this old body of mine.  Better to do it than to wait.  Obamma-lamma no care kicked my various doctors’ @sses and I’ve been without a primary care doc for too long.  Past time to do something about that.

Add it to the list.

And stack it high.



Sun. May 8, 2022 – Happy Mother’s Day

By on May 8th, 2022 in gardening, lakehouse, open thread

Hot here, and continues to be hot in Texas, and much of the mid-west.  It was in the 80’s even with some overcast, and late in the day.  I’m expecting the same today, but maybe today I’ll get in the lake.

Saturday had me doing a bunch of stuff before leaving the house.  One thing was putting my network rack back together and making sure my cams were up and recording.   Two of the neighbors had their trucks burglarized the night before and I didn’t get any video.  Both left the trucks unlocked, both lost gubs.   That is just seriously stupid, and it’s the second time for the one guy.

Finally I got on the road.  Stopped in Conroe to do a pickup.  More stuff for the BOL.   Eventually got here.

My perfectly prepped garden has sprouted GRASS in a uniform layer.   If I’d  planted it, I doubt it would have looked so good.  That’s going away today, and some veg WILL get planted.  One good thing, it showed that the back two feet of tilled earth don’t really get enough sunlight.  The new grass was much thinner there.  I will keep that in mind as I plant.

Lots of projects today, we’ll see what gets done.   We will get out on the water, and I think I’ll probably get into the water this trip.   My wife insists that we have some fun today.

And since it’s Mother’s Day, and she’s a mom, I guess I better do what she tells me to do….

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.