Helping Don and Sarah

May 22, 2015

I wrote about Don back in January  and his gas can explosin . As you can imagine they have some high medical bill so they got a gofund me site started.

If you can add a little to help them out and/or keep them in your prayers. I would thank you!

Sometimes we all need a little extra help.

Again thank you all

Great start on my shopping this week

May 21, 2015

Sometimes I get lucky and the things I want to get go on sale at the right time. This was one of those lucky weeks, though I got a bit of sad news about Deb, my beer Lady at Nampa Brewers closing down her shop after a diagnosis of Leukemia.  She had a sign posted that she needs some quiet and privacy while she fights this disease so I got a couple of cards I will mail her and keep her in my prayers. I think she may have been overwhelmed with offers of help by neighbors as well as students and customers. One thing nice about snail mail it is quiet compared to all the electronic and phone ringing!  I am lucky that Nampa has another Brew shop I can get supplies at though cheaper, it is not quite as personal as going to Deb’s shop.

So onto the shopping, which is sort of tied into going to the new brew shop and picking up 50 pounds of 2 row malt.  There is a small second hand store next to the brew shop and they had a small camp chair I wanted for the BOV and it cost a whole $3.00!  Harbor Freight has a 4ft. x 6ft welding blanket rated for 1000 degree F. that I want for additional heat/fire protection with my little camp stove and it is only $17.99 with coupon.  I know the welding blanket is not a replacement for proper hearth but I figure it will give me more options in a Bug out situation.

I got a few bone less beef round steaks and a roast at Paul’s market for $2.88 and $2.68 per pound. I went to chicken and pork when beef got so expensive that eating hamburger seemed to be a treat. Overall pork prices stayed fairly low the last 12 months in this area except for bacon. Now even bacon is coming down in cost, Cash & Carry has 5 pounds of bacon for $11.95 for a per pound cost of $2.39.  Cash & Carry has a great buy on frozen chicken quarters for 50 cents a pound for 40 pounds. That is a lot of chicken but that amount should let me get through this “bird flu” thing hitting the mid west and avoid paying through the nose for chicken later this year.

Home depot and lowes have a good memorial day sale on lawn and garden stuff.  Lowe’s has a good wood  mulch $2.00 per 2 cubic foot bag and Home depot has the Scott’s earth grow mulch for $2.50 per 2 cubic foot bag.  I prefer the Scott’s Earthgro mulch as it seems to cover a bit more area per bag and I like the color of the Scott’s brown mulch. Personal preference on my part but I’m willing to pay an extra 50 cents per bag for the Scott’s earthgro mulch.  Home depot has a roll of 40 inch high and 25 foot long green plastic garden fence for $7.98 per roll. I’ll need about 4 rolls to keep Mom’s chickens out of my raised beds. But I think I can use a some of my scrap lumber to setup a the temporary fence around the beds.  Mom’s chickens are well fed and sort of lazy so a simple barrier fence should work. Home depot has concrete blocks for a $1.49 each and some rock I want to test in my alley 4 bags .5 cubic feet for  $10.00.

Unlike some people (non-preppers) who seem to think that prepping costs a lot of money. I find I save a lot of money as I buy items that are “loss leaders” on sale and I can adapt quickly to changes in food costs yet still maintain a good diet.  When you start doing something new there is usually an initial investment you must pay for up front,  but in the long run you can save a lot of money.  What I have found out about prepping food is once you have about 3-6 months of the basics you can start buying only the items that are on sale and you will need in the future.  There is an ebb and flow to prices based on supply and demand. The price of an item jumps up for some reason, a bunch of people want that price and start growing that item and then there is an over supply and the price drops. What you have to do is buy on those dips and have plenty on hand when the price spikes then reload on the dip in price.  I always start to worry when the PTBs say don’t worry. There will be plenty of turkey this November, though at a slightly higher cost. Well if turkey goes up to $2.00 – $4.00 per pound I can imagine there will be plenty of turkey available as most people won’t pay $40.00 + for a 15 pound frozen bird. I think if things work out as I suspect and the economy does not melt down this fall, we may see great sale prices on frozen turkey after the 1st of the year.

Prepping in many ways is similar to being in a small boat at sea. If a storm is coming you have two choices, get out of the way or run before the storm. Either way you are going to get wet!

Tuesday was my prepping day and I sort of dropped the ball as I wanted to do a local HAM radio net call and Spaced it. I did get out all radios and got them recharged.

D-day/Divorce court day for Mom is this Friday. So far I do not seemed to be required to go to court unless Mom’s lawyer tries and works on the judge’s sympathy of me being a disable vet.  What I have heard about will happen both will be less than happy with the settlement but over all I think it will be the best outcome for both of them.  I worry a bit about Mom as she seems bound and determined to move out as quickly as possible. I have no problem with her taking her time and finding the place she really wants rather than the first available that might work financially.  It is sort of funny that she raised me to value myself as a human being and she often does the opposite with herself. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m way less than perfect and I work very hard to make up what I lack but I think I’m a fairly descent human being to be around. I sometimes think I’m the only person in Mom’s life that valued/accepted her as she is, simply because she is a darn good person. Just a human doing the very best they can in all situations. Perfect, no just human and the last perfect person was hung on a cross and I don’t need that in my life.

People are are just people, Goodness knows I bought into the debt and death paradigm.  I’ve “screwed the pooch” many times and I’m still learning stuff especially after I have screwed up.  God did not give me CIDP because he hated me, at best it is part of a flawed human condition at worst God made me wake up to my screwing up by the numbers.  Either way I have changed and have become a better person I hope! I certainly have less stress in my life.


Mini-van is loaded with the most of the basics and adding a prepping day each week!

May 18, 2015

I was pleasantly surprised by how my GHB (Get Home Bag) and the rest of my stuff fit in the mini-van.  The mini-van is a 2003 model and while it has a lot of little drawers and jockey boxes for small items, newer mini vans have even more storage under the floor. If you add a luggage rack, the amount of gear you can load up is darn impressive.  Speaking of luggage racks I saw a site online that added a tarp, a couple of telescoping poles, rope and carabiner clips to make a shelter with a tarp.  Using a tarp to add shade or to protect against rain/wind seems like a good idea for a BOV.  I added a small dome camping tent to the mini van for a good 3 season sleep shelter.  I hope I don’t have to Bugout as I will be at a big disadvantage being disabled.  But if a buguot is required I want have as much equipment within reason to give me a chance at survival.  I found a camper model of Katyden water filter and added it to my GHB.

I know that many people BOV’s  is a car and a daily commuter vehicle and you don’t have a lot of room for storing Bug Out gear/equipment in your vehicle.  You might look at the Tupperware “Roughneck” tote for storing and staging your camping/Bug Out  gear. These totes are lockable, weather-resistant and very rugged.   These totes are strong enough to work as a seat and the height is not bad for a work table though a bit short at 16 inches in height. Stage your Bug Out gear on shelves in your garage or shop.  While I have a solid Bug Out setup I have staged a big camping tote with the big tent and a propane stove, 3 sleeping bags, a portable wood stove, and fishing rods+ tackle box that I can toss into the minivan if I get 30 minutes notice of a disaster.

If you have a wood or propane stove and camping buy a Welding blanket on sale at Harbor Freight this month! For less than $50.00 you can buy a welding blanket that will give you great heat resistance and using tarps you can make a modified fire place.  Please do not use a wood stove in a tent unless it has a roof hole for a chimney.  But a welding blanket is rated for higher temps than most camp fire mats of 575 degrees F. Think about your tent/tarps in layers just like your clothes.  Trap air in layers of insulation and don’t kill yourself via oxygen depletion or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Update on the small Peak energy, 12 volt DC car cooler/ warmer. The insulation worked better than I expected this winter.  While it got into below zero temps. in November this winter was somewhat warm compared to the early 1980’s when we saw – 10 to-30 degrees F. for a couple of months.  None of my metal water jugs split, though I only fill them 2/3 to 3/4 full of water at most.  If you live a climate that is above 0 degrees for a short time or you need to add a layer of insulation and have a thermo-electric cooler/warmer at a good price I would add it to your preps.

I have been prepping for several years and I often get a wake up call and get all shook up about new knowledge and  stuff.  All a person can do is learn and do their best.  You might guess right or wrong but at least you are making progress and learning.  Be ready to learn and try new things. At worst you will find out what does not work!


Car tire “might” be fixed and the garden beds have been tilled

May 15, 2015

I took the car into Les Schwab again for a slow leak and a nail was found in the front tire.  I think the nail was in the tire causing the slow leak but when the tire was off the car the nail actually plugged the hole enough not to release bubbles when the tire was checked.  While Les Schwab tires can be a bit higher than some, they really back up their work and warranty no questions asked! I also liked that Les Schwab offered a free wi-fi connection that worked great with my kindle fire.

Wi-fi may become the new local way connect to the internet or create a Intranet or WAN (Wide Area Network)  as the gatekeepers lose control. I want to go digital over Ham radio waves some people have satellite up-links for internet and some people still have old style modems that can work over telephone land lines.  The basics of the internet was an information highway designed via the concept of so much redundancy that info/communication could get through in a nuclear war.  While I’m not sure about wi-fi  or how well most electronics will survive in a Carrington Event, CME  or nuclear war. Outside of those events an average person can build a simple email or chat server at home using old PC’s and a Unix type software that is free of charge.  Most ‘”old school” PC gamers have set up a simple LAN (Local Area Network) and perhaps a game server.  Different software but the concept is the same. I know for a fact that any one with a router and XP software can assign 256 unique addresses in a Local area network or LAN.  I bet when you connect to your wireless network you see 2-5 networks you could connect to if you have the password/encryption. Each of those networks could handle 256 users. Now if every one jumps online at the same time the “data pipeline” gets slow and iffy. Within the original network of router info/ data will work at a 10/100 megabit rate if not higher.   Could I pay for a big data pipe and stream movies? Yes I could or I could simply lend out my physical DVD movies to my neighbors for a movie night!

I got the raised beds tilled and Mom raked tonight just ahead of the rain. While we do have a few environmental wacko’s Idaho has a very strong lobby for agriculture. Plus Idaho has a very proactive water works than tends to think of worse case scenarios but will adapt based on weather. I know last year the irrigation for farms looked pretty iffy and the government irrigation stated a hard min. in May of available water unless we got rain in August and September.  I will get a late start on my garden  but I have collected a lot of rain water via my barrels. Mulch heavily and try to put your water where it can do the most good.  I have seen droughts  for several years in the mid-west and southeast and no one give a damn unless grocery prices skyrocket and the MSM accuse farmers of price gouging.

Good news both beef and pork prices are starting to drop. Chicken is very low cost but I believe stores are clearing out inventory of older chicken before a big price spike up in dollars via avian flu.  No,  I do not trust the MSM  about turkey prices this fall. I think whole turkey $1.59 per pound will be a bargain this summer and be consider a great buy/steal this fall.  I might be wrong in my forecast about prices.  So you need to  look at “dollar cost averaging”. I have a small turkey in the freezer I bought for $.99 per pound.  I bought another big turkey 15 pounds at $1.49 per pound. My total cost per pound is about $1.30 or a bit less.

Of course the story is there will be plenty of turkey for the holiday meals though it may be a bit more expensive!! But everyone will be able to afford that extra  turkey cost because…. If you are poor and can’t afford a turkey you are just a slacker and terrible American!

Updating the BOB, GHB and the GOOD plans

May 13, 2015

I did a good job getting the weight down on all of my bags but I will be at a severe disadvantage going off-road because of my disability. I just don’t have the strength or stamina to carry a 30 pound back pack 10 miles a day.  I walk the local mall about 3-4 miles 5 days a week with the aide of my walker. But that is very easy “terrain” of indoors and tile floors so it isn’t the best training for a Bugout scenario!  Don’t get me wrong about walking, I think it is a great exercise but walking five miles in the mall is nothing like “rucking 10-15 miles with a 60 +  pound  backpack most infantry Grunts do as daily/weekly training or what you may need to do in a Bugout situation!

I got the BOB down to 25 pounds without water but it has all the basics needed for about a week. I also live in a high desert area so finding water is not the easiest thing, so I figure I need to have about a gallon of water in my pack just in case I can’t make potable water and that adds a lot of weight.  Well I need a solution to the weight problem and it is a vehicle, wheeled carts and/or my “trike”.  Hopefully I can just toss the BOB in the mini-van add my camping box and be on my way, but that is a best case scenario. What could be the worst case scenario….

The GHB is a svelte 18 pounds and it is a rolling backpack I got a yard sale last year for about $3.00. It has about 3 days worth of the basics though no water or filtration system other than the ability to boil water for purification.  Daily, my furthest trip from home is about 5 miles so my GHB is supplied with a bit more of the basics over and above what I would use normally to get home.  Office Depot/Max has a great little cart for $15.00- $20.00 that holds about 50 pounds makes a great little camp table and folds flat when not in use.   I don’t think being disable or handicapped in any gives you a pass on not preparing. In fact I think you must prepare because only you know your physical limitations and how best to work around them.

The GOOD or “Get Out Of Dodge” plan. I have stated my disabilities limit me but I think any could stage items in the garage or RV.  In the Army we called it Combat parking, but you basically back your vehicle into a garage/carport. So if the SHTF and you need to scoot all you need to do is pull forward and hit the road.  How fast can you load your BOV? How long can your Bugout supplies last?  Do you have cash on hand to buy supplies?  Personally I think bugging out is an act you are forced into via desperation.  Bad things can happen so you must prepare to leave in less than 10 minutes.  If every member of you family has a BOB and you plan/practice for evacuating you should be okay. But you must plan, prepare and practice.

Some people will not be able to handle the “new” paradigm and they will break when things get a little difficult.  My generation “mid 1980’s” really got into helicopter parents and special snow flake children.  But a lot of those Millennial kids are waking up and taking action on a local level.  We should be a bit tolerant as these kids have discovered Sex , truth and justice once again for the first time!  I think most of them are good folks, but I’m an optimist!  Give me a big pile of crap,  I start looking for a a pony or at least start another compost pile.

To quote Chris Duane “if you are aware, you can prepare.” That does not mean things/ prepping will be easy. It is simply doable if you will sacrifice short term gratification for long term security.



Happy Mother’s Day and yard maintenance.

May 10, 2015

My sister is just “giddy” about doing a Mother’s day meal for Mom. She got some lobster tails on sale from Albertsons this week for $4.99  and I have the sirloins and 16/20 count shrimp I got on sale last month so it should be a darn good feed on Sunday.  I think my sister felt a bit hurt we didn’t do anything special for Easter so she is just “champing at the bit” to do a great Mother’s day thing.  My sister is a darn good cook and she is finally asking me about sales on stuff.  In her mind I’m still the “little sister she had to protect” though that fantasy does not have much basis in reality. Heck we all go through our trials and tribulations with family.  I don’t know if things are getting better, but at least they are getting different!  I may whine, piss and moan about my sister but she was there cleaning my house when I got disabled and shopping for the few little items I could afford to buy when things tough for me. Yes she’s a bit of a nut, but she has a good heart and will help out when she is needed.

Overall the Mother’s day meal turned out good though my Sirloins were medium or well done rather than med. rare.  My first BBQ of the year and I always have to re-learn my charcoal heat for cooking. My sister’s lobster turned out awesome and she made a very nice salad plus pie and cake. I didn’t cook up the shrimp as we had plenty and Mom said that worked out great as she would not have to share her shrimp dinner with anyone else, LOL.

I got the grass mowed for all of the yard in just a couple of hours. That’s kind of unusual for me as I usually need a break it down into a couple of days.  I have been adding a lot of mulch around the garden/flower beds so I don’t save to mow as much grass.  The part of the front lawn I de-thatched, aerated and fertilized this spring is looking green and vibrant. I added a bit of fertilizer to the other half of the lawn but did not de-thatch or aerate the soil is sort of green but it is not doing as well as the area where I did all the work. The wood mulch seems to be having an impact on the front rose beds as well as the holly plants along with retaining moisture. While SW Idaho is not quite as desperate for water as Cali. I believe in being pro-active on water conservation and adding mulch seems to be one of the best things I have done for water conservation in my lawn and garden.  Another thing I have noticed where I have laid down mulch is weeds don’t seem to send deep tap roots, but tend to spread roots in into the mulch that is decomposing. You still have to weed your beds but mulch seems to make it a much easier job. This is only my second year of adding a thick layer of mulch to my first thin layer of mulch to my beds.  Remember water does not move simply by gravity but also through osmosis to find a it’s level. If you mulch heavily to cover bare soil, any available water will move to dryer sections if you have a semi- level yard.  Trust me if you don’t think water is important simply cut off all your access water via city/power pumps of water for one day.

I got the compost pile turned over and working again. Oh! my gosh, it was a job and half! I’d like to blame Mom about adding compressed hay and straw but I dug deep and got compressed hay and straw I must have added earlier.  The compost pile has broken down stuff though it would do a better job if I kept up with the turning it over and adding water regularly. Smokey the cat was very happy with me turning over and soaking the compost as she got 3 mice today!  I’m using Pallets for my compost pile walls but I think a person should add wood slats or some rigid wire at the middle board so the compost drops and I think it would be much easier to gauge your water saturation level as well as add more air to your composting. Plus it will make gathering the finished compost easier to remove from your bins. I’m getting some lovely compost on the bottom layers of my bins. It is just a lot of work to dig down to that layer.

Some good news I have a few peas that are coming up in the front garden beds.  I had about given up on those plants but they are coming back. I had great luck cutting back the rose bushes and all but one old bush is showing new growth.  My apple tree is already setting fruit though my cherry trees are looking pretty sad this year.  I will cut the cherry trees more this year to get rid of a lot of the dead stuff, suckers and crotch growth. I’m not the biggest fan of cherries though it is a great fruit and the wood from the trees is great for adding flavor. I won’t be heart broken if my cherry harvest is minimal. I added a little bit of fruit wood to my wood pile via a neighbor pruning his trees. All I have to do is cut the wood to size and he doesn’t have to haul it to the dump.  That is a win/win in my book.

One last thing please stock up on all poultry and poultry products while the cost is low. Freeze it or can it, get all you can acquire now for under a dollar per pound before the price hike after “avian flu” gets on the Main Stream Media.  Approx. 30 million birds are already infected and will go to the garbage dump. So based on supply and demand I expect the price for any poultry product cost to jump  a lot higher.

Sorry to be all doom and gloom but you must buy low wherever you can and survive high.  While I do not expect an empty  meat department of poultry items. I think $2.50 per pound price and higher would not be out of the ordinary.  Buy now for less than a dollar per pound or wait an pay $2.50 + per pound. Your choice….

Stocking up on meat, solar and odds & sods

May 6, 2015

Both Paul’s Market and Albertson’s are having good sales on meat last week and this week. I have been spending some of mu “mad” money stocking up especially on poultry items. Paul’s had chicken thighs and drumsticks for 79 cents per pound, so I bought a little over 6 pounds for the freezer. I really like chicken thighs as they are very easy to can compared to cutting up a whole chicken.  I bought a 14 pound turkey at $1.49 per pound at Albertson’s this week because the “avian flu” is getting very bad in the mid-west. The stories I have been seeing say that over 21 million birds have been destroyed or will be destroyed in the near future to contain this flu outbreak . While chickens grow quickly as a meat animal.  Turkeys need at least 7 months to grow to cooking size and some people are forecasting a very limited turkey supply for holiday meals this year. While $1.49 per pound seems like a crazy price to pay for a whole turkey it isn’t a bad price compared to most meats you buy in your local mega mart! If you want turkey deli meat or a big bird for the Holidays I suggest you try and get a turkey or two in the next few weeks even if you pay $1.50-$1.80 per pound and store that bad boy in the freezer. While holiday traditions are very important to your morale you might think about doing a holiday ham now that pork prices are starting to stabilize or drop just a little bit.  I am looking at making a “Holiday Food” storage box/container for items that you need to make my holiday meal. Things like spices, stuffing, canned pie fillings or cranberry sauce, divinity, fudge and snacks can all go into the box now and the holiday meals covered no matter what happens to the economy!

I got a fairly good deal on some 85/15 hamburger today at Pauls, though paying $2.99 per pound for hamburger on “sale” still strikes me as odd. A while back I paid that for Sirloin but when things change your price point changes.  I have spent a bit more on food because I’m stocking up but I should be okay because I basically only stock-up on sales and with dollar cost averaging my budget should be okay in the long run!  Albertson’s is having a sale on Lobster tails for $4.99 for Mother’s day as well as Rib eye steaks for $6.99 per pound.  Speaking only for myself having some of those “luxury” food items to cook at home really make me feel good and boost my morale. Mom and I have been living on chicken and pork for a few months and cooking up a small sirloin steak really hit the spot and gave us boost mentally.  I think you need a good protein and fats at least once a day and while you can survive on beans and rice I don’t think there is anything wrong with stocking up on the good stuff when you can afford it.  You won’t be eating lobster and prime rib every day but you will have some very nice special holiday meals once and awhile.

Last but not least on the meat front Albertsons has it’s butcher block bacon for $2.99 per pound. This is my favorite bacon as it has a a nice smoke flavor and is more salty than sweet.  My price point for good bacon is $2.99 and I can afford to get 5 pounds at that price.  Don’t get me wrong as I have bought plenty of bacon ends and pieces on the cheap around $2.33 per pound but I will stock up and freeze bacon when I get a good buy!

Building the small solar power system starting with the RV. I got a hub that will make my wiring solar panel very simple for the RV if not the most efficient use of the panel over all.  While the solar panels and AGM batteries  is not perfect it should power the RV’s fridge on DC power and give me a fridge until I can store the food safely. has a great solar power system primer for a small 400 watt system that will power a small chest freezer, a couple of fans and charge up small electronics and some electric odds and ends would make a huge difference in any short term disaster. Any power generator simply buys you time during the reset. You may have generators, an RV and go solar but they really sort of suck compared to big dams or coal fired turbines via cost per kilowatt hour.  Independence of the grid is priceless and just being able to store/use a bit of energy, without being dependent on the PTBs is huge.

Personally I think we should go local with small power project similar to the old farm co-op models.  One person could provide a simple wifi network , email or chat server with off the shelf components for a small block of neighbors. I could add a charging station for phones and small electronics via my jumper pack charged via a generator or solar.  These thin are not easy but they are simple if you can think outside the box the PTBs try and put you in.  At harbor freight the have lithiom/ nicad  batteries good for 800 charges. Let’s say that is marketing hyperboly and the batteries are only good for 400 charges, that little battery is still good enough for 12 months of charges every other day.

The very worst that can happen is going to pre-electric late 1800’s and not the stone age.  Even if an EMP hits like a “Carrington event” the human race can make new turbines as they are relatively simple, if not always easy constructs of magnets and copper wire.  The human race will not suddenly lose the ability to create steel, kevlar or how to weld/blacksmithing.  Radio/ TV/fax machines are simply eltro-mechanical devices and we know cell phones and computers are possible and can be built easily.

I have no doubt that may get a bit dicey but there is no reason to go “mental” and imagine things will get midevel if you are prepared.


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