Sat. Sept. 19, 2020 – nice place

Hot but not HOUSTON hot.  So humid puddles don’t dry.

Arrived at the rental house early evening.   Nice place.   Great layout, great condition.  Kids and wife went for a kayak paddle first thing.  I worked on dinner.

Lovely dinner was had, and a firepit with s’mores.

Today is looking around at the area, and looking at a specific house for sale.  We’re 2 1/2 hours north of Houston, and pretty well off the beaten path, so if this ends up being a retreat location, well, I can think of worse.

RBG finally kicked it.  And the left, which applauded her for hanging on to the seat, is now condemning her for the exact same thing.  Did they really think she’d last another 5 years?

I find it to be maddening that they are perfectly fine with stacking the court in their favor, and in fact see it as the natural order of things, but lose their sh!t when the right does it.   The left is completely lacking self awareness.   I also don’t think there is any way to accomplish it before the election.  Not gonna happen.  Nice distraction though while wuflu decreases.

The crazy is just getting started.  Stack it high.

nick

Fri. Sept. 18, 2020 – week flew by

Cooler but still humid, probably.

It’s definitely feeling a bit cooler during the morning and evening.  I think we are on the downside into fall for sure.

I wasn’t super productive yesterday.  I did get some stuff done in preparation for our weekend trip/ wife’s birthday.   It’s definitely weird letting a big milestone go by without a big party, but I’m not going to be the next news article about 50 people getting sick from a get together.  Instead we’ll have a nice quiet family weekend, NOT in our house.  That is the important thing for the kids and my wife, a bit of change of venue.    I admit, I’ve been getting out way more than they have so I’m not so eager for the change.

About the only thing even remotely prep related was that I bought 12 gamma seal lids for $18 and a CB antenna in an auction.  I’ll be picking those up today before we leave home.

And of course nothing will be getting done while I’m gone…  but you gotta live life, that’s the whole point.

Lots to do before we hit the road,

 

n

(keep stacking)

Thur. Sept. 17, 2020 – getting close to my wife’s birthday….

Hot and humid.  Overcast with possibility of rain.

Yesterday was a little bit cooler but so humid that puddles in the driveway never dried out.  It was overcast which helped a lot for comfort.

I did manage to get some things done.   I got stain and preservative on my teak outdoor furniture.  It needs to be power washed and the oil renewed every year or so.  Looks great now and should last for years more.  Quality pays off in longevity, with a little bit of care.  The chairs will probably need another application, and all the bolts tightened.  Domestic bliss will undoubtedly break out.

I swapped out my weather station for a replacement.  I got one new in the box for $12 so I took a few minutes and changed it.  I haven’t seen an update on the display yet, so I’ve got more messing with it to do.

I also got some seeds in the ground.  I got snap peas, some sort of green bean, spinach, and radishes planted.  I made some more progress installing the drip system for my window boxes.  The feed line is in place now.  That was the biggest problem I had with the window boxes- I didn’t water them enough.  Having the drip system fed by the grass sprinklers will mean they get watered on a schedule.  That should help.  Ag Extension says next week to plant the turnips and beets…  If I had plants for my dark green leafies, I could plant them but I don’t have any this year.  I suppose I should have started some, or gone and bought them.  Too much else going on.

Couple of things to do today outside the house.  We’re going to a lake house for my wife’s birthday.  I need to get the presents, cake, decorations, etc today, and do an auction pickup that is entirely stuff she wanted.  The lake house is on a lake we’ve been looking at for a while.  We’ve got one family we know up there, and it’s nice.  It will give us a retreat from hurricanes and somewhere to ‘vacation’ that is close and not infected.  It wouldn’t be an ideal bug out location, but it would be one… and it turns cash into stuff which is a hedge against hyperinflation.

So I better get to it.  Hunter/gather mode engaged…

 

n

 

 

(keep stacking!)

 

Wed. Sept. 16, 2020 – nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,….

Hot and humid.  Storm and rain possible.

Yesterday it never did rain on me, and it got stinking hot in the afternoon sun.  So I mostly hid from sun and work.

Pickup went well.  Everything needs some little thing to be complete, but given the money saved, I’m happy enough.  Really F’d up though, the way people are stealing through returns fraud.  One of the things I picked up was a Glock G19 factory magazine.   Got it today and someone stole the guts out of it.  They split open the cardboard  of the blister pack, stole the spring, follower, and base plate and re-sealed the cardboard.  It was a bit wrinkled but looked fine, like the packaging was crumpled.  Then they returned it to wherever they bought it, and it ended up in the auction.  Looked like an unopened package to me and everyone else.  I’ve got a couple of items now, I’ll take them with me next time I go to that auctioneer and see what he’s willing to do, if anything.  Technically it’s all sold as is, where is, with buyer responsible for doing an in person inspection before bidding.  Usually though, if not as described, the house will take it back.

One of my security trade magazines noted that retail “shrink”, ie theft by insiders and shoplifting, was up dramatically.   I’m guessing that as things get tougher for more people, theft and fraud will go up dramatically in all sectors.

Speaking of trade mags, one of the things I watch as an indicator of the health of the broader economy is the thickness of trade magazines.  If it’s a reliable indicator of supplier sentiment (you don’t spend money on ads when you’re broke, so the trade mags can’t afford to print the same number of pages) then we are majorly F’d.  Machine Design is down to less than 40 pages, and is just center stapled instead of bound.  Electrical Design is the same.  EC&M is as thin as I’ve ever seen it.  Some mags for the material handling, pipeline, and plant equipment industries are thinner than that.  Even Military & Aerospace is thin, but it’s still bound, not just stapled.  The mags are all thinner than I remember them being at any other time, even in the aftermath of 2008.  The publishers also tend to send out more mags and to more marginal recipients (like me) when times are tough.  They are trying to pump up their circulation numbers and capture more of the reduced business… I started getting some mags I’d never seen before just a few months ago, and re- started getting mags I’d stopped getting when times were great.  All in all, not good indicators of the state of American businesses.

And all the more reason to stock up if you can.  Manufacturers and suppliers are going to fail.  Their warehouses and existing stock will be blown out at auction, and then there won’t be any more.  In the last month, I’ve seen two large local wholesaler/distributors come through my auctions, a ship chandler, and a general industrial distributor.  There are two Chuck E Cheez stores being liquidated this week.  One auction has the contents of several CVS stores- which is especially telling, as that stock would normally just be redistributed to other stores, they must not want it.  Heck, a month ago, a major jewelry store chain had the contents of two stores seized and sold off to pay their school district tax bill here in town.

Everywhere I look I see signs of real trouble headed our way, outside of the trouble in the news.  Certainly there are going to be bright spots.  The rush to get out of the cities is producing some local boom times in some areas.  UHaul is probably making money.   Bankruptcy auctions are picking up.  Auto parts stores and used car lots will probably do well.  Optional services like housecleaning and yard maintenance will likely do poorly.  Repair should do well in general.    A lot of cleaning, repair, and remodeling already happened though.   And the secondary economy/grey market/resale is booming as people look for bargains, and sellers are unloading excess or closing out stock.

It’s gonna be important to keep your economic head on a swivel too, so to speak…

And keep stacking.  That will likely help, no matter what.

nick

Tues. Sept. 15, 2020 – still hacking away at the list

Hot and humid.  We’ll see about the rain, but with a hurricane in the Gulf we should get some.

I’ve got a pickup today that I really don’t want to do in the rain.  Every thing that has to ride in the bed of the truck will be ok if it gets wet, but it’s just a bigger mess to deal with.  I guess it beats 105F and sunny….

Yesterday I had lunch with frequent commentor and friend of the blog Ray and his wife.  It was a bit weird ‘de-cloaking’ from the semi-anonymity of the web, but I had a great time meeting them.

It was the first time I’ve been in a restaurant since March.  People seemed to be coping and accommodating themselves to the current situation.  No way would I call the pace of business in the place “brisk” but there were customers, and it was only a Monday afternoon.  For a place that mostly did a business lunch trade, I’d say that was ok for conditions.

Still overall, traffic is light, business volume is clearly down.  If the rest of the country is even worse off than Texas, the ‘new normal’ is going to settle out into a deep depression-absent a world war to encourage production and then destruction of all that production…

Or hey, after a Trump landslide, when he has the mandate of the people, maybe we’ll see a glorious renaissance and explosion of growth…  or get plunged into a civil war for the very nature of our country…  I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess which one I think is more likely.

Food, water, shelter, security, skills, companions, resources.  You need more.  Keep stacking.

 

nick

Mon. Sept. 14, 2020 – another week, another list of things to do

Hot and humid, but definitely less so.  Couple storms headed vaguely our way should make things interesting.   I do think that we are on the downhill slide toward fall though.

And since fall is coming, it’s time to get the fall garden in.

Yesterday I got the beds ready.  The one with the cabbage had no surviving crops, so that just got turned and fertilized.   The one under the grape vines still has a couple of broccoli plants which I left in place but I turned and fertilized the rest.  The attached herb garden got turned and broadcast seeded with a handful of mixed herbs.  I don’t think we’ll see anything from it, but it was worth a shot.  Of the two remaining beds, one has a single volunteer melon growing, so I left that but turned the rest.  The other has brusselsprouts and a pepper plant.  I can sneak some carrots and maybe some peas in around them.

The rain started up while I was working on the beds, so I packed it in.

I’ve still got to get the window boxes turned and planted.  Some of them are a solid mass of roots holding the soil in blocks the same shape as the boxes.  I guess that’s why nothing grew last time.  The first year I got some good beets.  I’d like to get some turnips and radishes.  I’ve still got one or two of the onions surviving in one of the boxes.

I’ve also got some tubs that I’d like to use on  the driveway as container gardens.  We’ll see if I get that far.

I still have to decide which beds get what seed too.


I did get the Honda gennie running well enough for now.   It will run on idle or full throttle with only minor hiccups.  Fueled it up and put it aside. That’s two running generators.  I’ve got to get the whole house running next.


The insurrection is heating up.  Cops targeted in LA and a crowd emboldened to the point that they are mocking the cops outside the hospital.   That is pretty damn bold.  Those people do not fear any consequences.  I wonder how long it will be before the death squads are visiting in the middle of the night, and which side will start first…


Prepare yourself for hard times, in mind, body, and spirit.  They are coming.  How hard remains to be seen, but they will come.  If you see a path where they don’t, please share, ‘cuz I don’t see us going back to ‘normal’ without passing through the fire.


Whatever you think you’ll need, I’m suggesting you get it now, rather than later.  And stack it high.

nick

Sun. Sept. 13, 2020 – not even close to a Friday

Hot and humid, but perhaps less so.  I think Fall may have arrived, although my wife doesn’t think so.  I don’t even think it got over 100F in my driveway yesterday…

It was still hot out.

After spending the morning watching an auction close out (got a couple good things), I finally got out and did some stuff around the house.

I cleaned the pool, and then got right to work on my Honda eu3000.  The new  battery, fuel petcock and filter, were installed.  The fuel gauge turned out to be fine, the part I thought needed to be replaced was a separate part and just needed cleaning.  It started right up and ran smooth for a short while.  Then the roughness started.  Looking at the carb, fuel was spitting out into the venturi part, and that would bog the engine.  I decided to tear the carb down again and be certain it was clean.  That took up the rest of the daylight so I’ll be finishing that reassembly today.  I didn’t find anything obviously wrong though.  Next step is a little more trouble shooting, then a replacement carb.  There is progress as it now runs, just not as well as I’d like.  And it is worth spending some money on it, as it is a nice gennie.

Also on the list for today is planting something… I’ve got a bunch of fall stuff I can plant,  and want to get it in the ground.  I’m going heavy on the seed, assuming I’ll have low yields like last time.  I’ve also got a couple more “window boxes” to build and hang on the fence.  I’ve had the material for months.  Except the dirt.  I’ll need to order some more dirt.  Or use the dirt from the failed potato towers.  Actually, that’s a good idea.  I can order more dirt later.

Like all my plans, we’ll see what survives contact with the day.

What, if anything, have you guys and gals been doing to improve your position?  I’d especially like to hear from anyone who Bob talked to about prepping directly, now that it’s a couple of years later…

You know me, I’m going to keep stacking.  And I think you should too.

nick

Sat. Sept. 12, 2020 – almost half way through the month

Hopefully, low 80s?  Still gonna be humid though.  And it would be nice if the rain holds off.

Yesterday was raining off and  on all day.  I got a brief time to prune the citrus trees a bit, and harvest my cabbage.  ONE golf ball sized head.  The others were doing well, but I let them dry out and they all died.  I need the bed for fall planting so I pulled it.  It’s cute.  Like a giant brussels sprout.  Not gonna feed the kids though.

I also took a look at my IR flood for the front yard.  It’s not working.  I determined that the psu is good, and then the rain came.  I’ll poke at it some more soon.  The flood for my driveway is a cheap ebay chinese one, and it’s been slowly dying for a while.  Finally enough of the IR leds are out that I just get a black picture at night.  It lasted surprisingly long for what I paid compared to a “real” name brand flood.  Given where it is, I’ll probably replace it with another china part.

Last weekend (or was it 2 weekends ago?), I washed the chimney and discovered some of the mortar had eroded and a couple of bricks were deteriorated.  I called a chimney guy to look at it and he came by  during one of the breaks in the rain.  He’s going to fill the joints, re-do the top seal, and anchor the cap.  Then he’ll seal the brick and mortar.  Surprisingly affordable, quick, and I don’t have to get up on the roof to do any of it.   At some point, we’ll have them get started on the roof too.  There is always maintenance that needs doing on a house.

All the normal things need to be done too.

I probably ought to get to it.

 

nick

Thur. Sept. 10, 2020 – getting close to the day

Hot and humid, hopefully less so than yesterday.

Yesterday,  when it was hot and humid.  Until the rain came, then it was hot and UNBEARABLY humid.  Bah.

I got the grass cut.  I did my errands.  That was it.  Rain killed the rest of the plan.

Today, I was going to do a “ok you just realized you don’t have enough stuff stacked, what do you do?” post but I fell asleep.  I’ll do it in comments.

Cuz y’all need to keep stacking.

 

nick