The last post of 2012

December 31, 2012

I can’t say I like how 2012 is finishing up, but overall I did get most of my goals done and then some!  I managed to fill my last shopping list  and get a box 9mm, shotgun shells at a real good price along with gallon of 15-40 weight oil for the vehicles at my local farm store. Amazon order will be in next week so I can get you all a report on the dual band radio at least as a reciever without breaking the law!  🙂  The collapsible water barrel and the inverter are going to be nice additions for building the portable solar generator and start on the ice house.  I got a price on the metal 55 gallon drums with lids of $23.00 so I think the gas storage as well as the barrel stove for the garage will be a go for 2013.

I like using the real gas in the Kia as I seem to be getting better gas mileage. I did a little test and filled my gas tank on the 1st of Dec. with real gas and I still had over 1/4 tank when I filled up today. Using ethanol gas my tank is  just barely above empty if I go a month with no refills. Plus I think the Kia fuel system is staring to get clean from all the gunk that the ethanol attracts. She kind of sputtered and coughed on the first tank of the real stuff but that is starting to go away. The Kia is getting a bit spoiled having some new tires and nice oil, gas  to make her a happy car. I’m going to run the diesel fuel additive I read about at Six Bears blog through the tank again and see if the Kia keeps improving on her cough. It was a pretty nasty sputter she had on the first tank of real gas + the fuel additive but it is getting a lot better and I think it should keep improving. Not sure if it will kill the check engine light, but overall I’m pleased with results.

We had a a new baby born into the family today, Grandpa celebrated his 70th birthday and is getting all into the anger phase of waking up. The NY roast was a big hit and I think he liked his little birthday present I got him. Nothing big just a little solar powered light  built into a boat for his pond area keeping with his nautical theme of lighthouses.  I think he is getting a little scared that the kids are not ready but while not perfect we got enough on hand to have a little time to react. It’s kinda weird when I’m the one telling folks to calm down and not panic.

2013 is looking to be a little more work with a little less money and add some rising prices on food and energy just to make things more interesting.  But the seed catalogs are out and with my little rototiller I’m looking forward to the spring planting season being a little easier for me to maintain and add a few new garden beds. I’m feeling confident on my water storage plan and I’m adding to my replacement water plus filtration for the long term.

I do think life will take a bit more work and time compared to what we got used to in the past. I think having about 6 months of all your basic needs stored will let you ride out most bad times and get you to the next harvest as well as time to adapt to the new “normal”. While 3 weeks to 3 months is a great starting goal, if the  SHTF in Jan. that only gives you 3 months of food till April and most gardens are just getting planted up north at best in April.  Six months of staples could get you into 1st harvests of lettuce,tomatoes and smaller root crops like carrots and radishes. As well as get you into the lowest prices at the local markets if you can’t plant a big garden.

 

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Time shifting when you buy. Or always try to buy on sale!

December 30, 2012

I have to say that this last year my preps have really proven themselves as far as letting me ride out some nasty price spikes on everything from coffee to bacon to ammo and gas.  Not perfect, but I had enough on hand that I could shift my shopping list to other things I needed that were good buys.  Sometimes you will just have to buy something you need right away because of a specific need but, if you have covered all your basic daily needs ahead of time you can buy that item and let your basic prep purchase slide for a couple of paydays.  Once that little issue has been taken care of you can go back to your original plan.

I see a few stores are offering milk for less than $2.50 or less per gallon on some circulars. While I’m not a big milk drinker I do use it for cooking, learning to make cheese and yogurt myself.  We got little ones in the family and they or their mothers do need milk.  If the price goes too high they just won’t buy any milk!  I’ll get a bit and freeze the fresh stuff and wax the cheese while the price is still low so I can make sure they get the nutrition they need during the price spike!  You might be a little surprised just how long a “vacuumed sealed” block of cheese can last if it is refrigerated.  I have a couple of small blocks I’m testing that are over 6 months old in the fridge. That will give you plenty of time to find and purchase some cheese wax for storage in a cool pantry. If you don’t have the cool spot for storing waxed cheese you can always keep it in the fridge!

Folks it looks like for a few items we are starting to get to a SHTF moment. Yes, I think it is a bit of panic buying and just a bit less than rational.  But we have to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it to be. This is not a good time to buy anything firearms related and I think milk products will start to climb in price in the next few weeks.  Hopefully you are stocked up and ready to it ride out. If not you might find some other needs you can fill.  Gas has come done a lot and most petroleum based products are slowly coming down in cost. So if you need those items for storage get those now and we can hope in a few weeks ammo and or gun related products will recover from the panic buying. Meat products are a good buy and they will be going up in a few months so you could shift your buying to filling up your freezer or get some meat canned!

Let’s say you budgeted for a box of ammo that cost about $20.00 but now costs over $30.00. Don’t get the ammo if you have a few boxes already. Do an inventory and see how you are doing on toilet paper, paper towels, flour, sugar and salt. Put that $20.00 to use on something you will need and can get on sale, don’t follow the herd!  Just like you don’t rush out when you hear about a big storm is coming to buy food, water, candles, flashlights and a generator, because you already have that stuff on hand! You have time to wait out this panic buying.

But Jamie, what if the PTBs really get the bill passed?  Well, I think most of knew it could happen so we will just have to make the best of it.  What good will it do for you to spend all your money on ammo and guns based on what might happen in congress in 1-3 months at best?  If you don’t have enough shelter/heat, water, sanitation and food that you know you need every day. Hypothermia and lack of clean water can kill you just as dead as any bullet, it just takes a few hours or days.

I screwed the pooch myself . I thought the first 3 months of 2013 would be a good time to buy reloading stuff I wanted and that was a big part of my 2013 goals. But you know what, I can find plenty of other projects to spend my time, energy and money on rather than beat myself up over something I have absolutely no control over that just “might” happen in sometime in the future.  The Stock market may crash, the North Koreans might try and nuke the USA or Japan, Iran might mine or stop the flow of oil though the straight of Hormuz. The Muslim brotherhood in Egypt may try and take the Suez canal and I might get diagnosed with ALS.  So what?!  All of these things could happen, that does not mean they will happen!

Don’t panic or freak out!  Adjust your plans and be flexible with what you buy and stay within your budget.  Myself,  I’m just changing my shopping list to add about $20.00 in dairy products because of a few sales before the “Milk Cliff”.  If I find a good price on ammo I’ll get some if not I’ll get something else.  I’m pretty good on most of the daily need items. I would like to have some more food oils/fats in the pantry and a couple of cans of Butane fuel for my little AS&S camp stove. If you get a good price it’s pretty darn hard to screw up buying daily need items.  I can always find more items I would like to have on hand without getting caught up in the herd’s panic buying.


Finishing up the year on a positive note!

December 28, 2012

Well 2012 has certainly been an interesting year, in the  sense of  the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” . But I did manage to get almost all of my 2012 goals accomplished and added a few items that I planned to put off until 2013. I will be finishing up a few purchases on Monday the 31st that I did not think I could manage/get a start on the 2013 goals. I found a good price on the collapsible water barrel at Amazon for $35.00 with free shipping so I can get one and start working on the “Ice House” parts. I have gathered a few pallets that I will use as the frame to hold the insulating materials and I saw a neat idea using pallets used as a vertical garden so I think I will look for some plants that like partial shade and start my first insulating layer as dirt in between the slats of the pallet.  Hopefully this will give me some  use out of the Ice house area if the water won’t stay frozen into summer. I saw some neat little solar fountain pumps that might work for a modified swamp cooler for those hot summer nights.  This may also work as an above ground root cellar depending on what temperature  it can maintain. The main idea is if the original plan fails I have 3  more ideas that may work along with storing some rain water.

The Ham radio looks like a go for purchase thanks to the heads up from Selco at SHTF school.  I can listen in until I get my license and this radio offers VHF so I can talk to a few folks that have marine radios. That gives me a cheap entry point for backup communication and information. The last purchase is a 1000 watt inverter for my solar panel set up for a small portable generator for the RV and the house.  I have a gas generator but the solar generator won’t run out of gas or oil or make any noise! I hope to pick up 2 really good (expensive) 12 volt batteries a little later in the year to finish up the project.

If you have been watching the news you have noticed our fearless leaders have been screwing up by the numbers on most everything. One item that is not getting a lot of notice is the stalled farm bill which could cause a double or triple price of the cost of a gallon of milk to $6.00-$8.00 per gallon. That will also mean a huge price increase on cheese, butter, yogurt anything that uses milk as a ingredient.  So if you can be flexible on your food budget and preserve it, this would be a good time to add those dairy products to your shopping list. Albertson’s has two pounds Tillamook cheese on sale for $5.00 a package, this a good size to wax and store.  I will be adding some more milk to the freezer as well as some additional UHT milk for the pantry.  I think the PTBs will correct this oversight eventually but the price could get very high, very fast so be ready and have a bit on hand to ride out the price spike.

As for the guns and ammo situation, I’m not rushing out to buy anything at super high prices as I have already prepared and have what I need on hand. I think many people are reacting almost on the edge of panic and it does not seem to take much for them to go over the edge,  that has me a bit more concerned than the going price of an AR-15 or some magazines. I figure in about a month we may see quite a lot of stuff hit the second hand sales ads, gun shows and pawn shops when the credit payment is due and folks have a little time to think rationally again. So start saving a little cash for any good buys that might come along in the next month or two.  I would not be surprised that quite few people spent a few thousand on guns and ammo and don’t have more than 3-14  days of water or food stored.

Preparing and self-reliance can give you one of the most precious items in the world and that is time. Time to think rationally and adjust to what is happening without getting into panic mode. I think at best the 114th Congress won’t be in office until late Jan.2013 and then they still have submit the bill in the senate if Harry Reid even let’s the bill on the floor for debate and you can bet people will be watching that happening. Plus the USA will be dealing with the aftermath of the “fiscal cliff” as well as the mandatory cuts from Simpson-Bowls sequestration. Quite few people are going to be a bit peeved when they get to have even less money in their paycheck as the FICA rates go back to normal and hit with additional taxes. Or having all extended unemployment benefits just stop suddenly as well as the cost of food will probably jump in price as the effects last year’s drought starts to hit the grocery stores with a vengeance.  At best the new Assault weapons ban might reach the floor of the senate in Feb. or March 2013.  You will want to watch carefully if the PTBs try and use an emotionally charged issue to make people panic and beg the government to “do something”.  Your homework assignment is to research the Reichstag Fire in Germany 1933.


Brewing, bottling and other odds and ends

December 22, 2012

Seems that my timing on the mead and the ale is going to be just about perfect.  The mead finished a little faster than I anticipated but I went with a low (7%) potential alcohol. I think that is why it fermented relatively quickly to most other mead. I got some real cute 5oz. clear bottles for the mead and I’ll be adding  to the adult’s Xmas presents.  Started a batch of all-grain wheat beer and from heating the pot of water to pitching the yeast took about 5 hours. Three hours of that is letting the grains steep in the bag and boiling the wort(more of a hot simmer) No, it’s not fast, but it sure does make good beer! Plus in the winter time it will add some much needed moisture to your house, as most well insulated homes tend to have less humidity than the Sahara desert in the winter time.

Got the equipment and culture for making home made yogurt. I need to pick up the milk but this will be my start on the cheese making idea for next year.  The Beer Lady has cheese making classes and gave me some hints for the yogurt and then hanging it up to drain and make some Greek style yogurt for some additional ways to use the milk. The politicians have been sitting on the “Farm Bill” and if it is not passed we could see all dairy products take a huge jump in price after Jan. of next year.  I have seen some of the cheese I buy starting to slowly  go up in price. So along with everything else if you can, get your dairy products and learn to preserve them! A pound of cheese wax is around $10.00 or under and can be ordered via the web. A pound of wax will cover over 15-20 pounds of cheese that is cut into 1-2 pound blocks.  The “average” American eats about 15 pounds of cheese per year so there is your starting  amount.  Shredded cheese freezes well, but the blocks of cheeses like cheddar tend to crumble after they are frozen. If you want to store cheddar by waxing get a mild cheddar as it will continue to age and get sharper tasting the longer it is stored.  There are a lot of recipes on the web for making Mozzarella and Queso fresco for a quick start on cheese making. Cheese is great for adding flavor as well as a super simple meal of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup is something anyone can make easily.

One concept I have been working on is “value added” to any basic staple. Since I’m in the city I can’t keep farm animals, but with a little equipment, time  and some knowledge I can turn some basic staples into foods that are easier for people to use and are similar/better  to what they can get at the local Mega-mart.  A dairy farmer might have lot’s of milk but no time, skills or equipment for making cheese for his family. I might be able to work a trade of me getting some milk but he gets a finished product like cheese or yougurt. My labor is paid by some me getting some of his milk product for “free”  and the farmer gets cheese for “free”.   So far I can do that with wheat/barley and get beer, I can turn honey into mead, and fresh meats into smoked, dried or canned for longer term storage,  next will milk into yogurt and cheese.  I can use all of those skills in my own self-reliance preps but there is no way I have found that my yard space can provide all that I need. I’m not giving up on trying to figure out a way for me to accomplish being as self-reliant as I can I just keep adding skills and knowledge and hope others may find value for trading for what I can do via “value added”.

Latest update on the E -cigarettes I just picked up a pack of 5 cartridges for $15.00. This is supposed to be equivalent to a carton of cigarettes. The holidays will be my first time of using the E-cigs in the home of non-smokers and getting feed back on what they think about them and if the e-cigs are acceptable in their homes. Even if they do not care for them I still think they have a spot in the BOB and BOV based on price, storage space and how they are more safe tactically than smoking a cigarette.

My dogs have been extra itchy lately and shedding with a vengeance so I have treated for any possible fleas on them and were they sleep with some DE.  I was adding a bit of olive oil to their breakfast and that helped some but it wasn’t enough. So for about the last week I have been splitting an Omega three supplement capsule and it is really starting to make a difference!  Smokey the cat was not so itchy or shedding much but her coat has improved a lot and feels soft ,thick and warm. It’s  taking a little longer with the pekes as they have longer hair than Smokey the cat but I’m starting to see and feel a real difference in how much softer their coats are getting since I started the Omega three, and they are both a lot less itchy.  I picked up some kitty no -water cleaning clothes at the dollar store. With the big bag cat food and some treats all of the critters are fairly well prepared for next year.  I’m lucked out with Smokey the cat she prefers to go outside and while she knows how to use a cat box , a bag of kitty litter lasts a very long time for her.

I’m not sure if I’ll post again before Xmas, though I’ll probably do a few more posts before New year’s but if not I wish you and yours a very merry Xmas, a happy New Year and I don’t know about you but I still have plenty of work to do for 2013.  It’s not a problem or disaster we face. It’s just an opportunity to excel!


Merry Xmas

December 21, 2012

We will be triumphant

A bit of rebellion is good for the heart and remember your roots

Families/life  always start on a date.

Please remember the season ain’t about stuff you can buy. It’s about what you do and what other generations have given to you.


A free man can be killed, placed into camps or prison but never conquered

December 20, 2012

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German: [ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈboːnhœfɐ]; 4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi, and founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world, in which he called for a “religionless Christianity”, have become widely influential, and many have labelled his book The Cost of Discipleship a modern classic.[1] Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer became known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship. He strongly opposed Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews.[2] He was also involved in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender.

The date was February 22, 1943. Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, along with their best friend, Christoph Probst, were scheduled to be executed by Nazi officials that afternoon. The prison guards were so impressed with the calm and bravery of the prisoners in the face of impending death that they violated regulations by permitting them to meet together one last time. Hans, a medical student at the University of Munich, was 24. Sophie, a student, was 21. Christoph, a medical student, was 22.

This is the story of The White Rose. It is a lesson in dissent. It is a tale of courage, of principle, of honor. It is detailed in three books, The White Rose (1970) by Inge Scholl, A Noble Treason (1979) by Richard Hanser, and An Honourable Defeat (1994) by Anton Gill.

Hans and Sophie Scholl were German teenagers in the 1930s. Like other young Germans, they enthusiastically joined the Hitler Youth. They believed that Adolf Hitler was leading Germany and the German people back to greatness.

Their parents were not so enthusiastic. Their father, Robert Scholl, told his children that Hitler and the Nazis were leading Germany down a road of destruction. Later, in 1942, he would serve time in a Nazi prison for telling his secretary: “The war! It is already lost. This Hitler is God’s scourge on mankind, and if the war doesn’t end soon the Russians will be sitting in Berlin.” Gradually, Hans and Sophie began realizing that their father was right. They concluded that, in the name of freedom and the greater good of the German nation, Hitler and the Nazis were enslaving and destroying the German people.

They also knew that open dissent was impossible in Nazi Germany, especially after the start of World War II. Most Germans took the traditional position, that once war breaks out, it is the duty of the citizen to support the troops by supporting the government. But Hans and Sophie Scholl believed differently. They believed that it was the duty of a citizen, even in times of war, to stand up against an evil regime, especially when it is sending hundreds of thousands of its citizens to their deaths.

The Scholl siblings began sharing their feelings with a few of their friends, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, as well as with Kurt Huber, their psychology and philosophy professor.

I don’t want to die though I know I owe God a death for this life. But it’s seems to be a pretty good group people I get to hang around with in the after-life if I do have to die.

Now let’s dance!


Celebrating those little victories.

December 20, 2012

If you have been preparing and getting self-reliant you know any “atta boys” are few and far between.  You are consider a threat to the PTBs and probably a bit of a kook by your friends and family. You work hard and invest money, time, going without new stuff and sweat to do all that you can to get ready and at best someone says they will come to your house to share the outcome of all your hard work that they were to lazy or selfish to do for themselves.  Don’t feel guilty when you ask them what they will be bringing with them. Ask them about their “Survival resume”. While I don’t do great in the physical strength and endurance I think I would be an asset to most tribes because of my stored items and skills.

Quite a lot of people have nothing to offer as far as skills or stored goods.  I’ve had it happen in my own family with a relative and their idea of a 50/50 relationship seemed to be I give and they take.  I kicked them out after a year when they had made no progress and I was told since it was family I had to help them. Yes, it was hard to do but this person moved in with another family member same thing happened and even living in a homeless shelter would not wake them up or change their ways.  I just could not let myself be destroyed by this person and these types can be just as dangerous as any mob. Instead of killing you out right the slowly drain you, and like any parasite  just as bad for your health.

I have had one of my best shopping weeks this week, as money, sales and wants all matched up at once! I went meat heavy but I’m thrilled I have 2 “organic” turkeys sitting in the freezer that cost only .98 per pound! I told some folks I know about the great bargains to  save them a little money, plus I like to help others save a few bucks whenever possible!  The Toilet paper and paper towels are stored and I got paper towels covered for a year, but I want to get another big pack of TP before the end of the year. I like these Big Lots  paper towels as the perforations let you tear off as little as a 1/2 sheet at a time so there is less waste. The stop at the farm store worked out great! Kitty food was on sale so I got the 40 pound bag and while I was searching for the cat food I found wicks for kerosene lamps in the perfect width so grabbed a couple for me and Mom for backup/replacement. Not quite as good a price as buying in bulk but  I know I’m covered for lamps and I can get more locally. I got a 2500 BB’s for my little pump air rifle and saw some slingshots and ammo that are low cost and I think I might add to my little backyard “arsenal”.

While Mom and I walk we are sometimes joined by a gentleman and he had a great idea about turning his yard into little “wildlife habit”.  Make the yard appealing for birds and squirrels to come by for a meal and how those animal might be used as meat animals if TSHTF.  He is now attracting doves with his landscaping and I have seen others that have a few ducks that like hanging out in the yards and that got me to thinking about turning the front yard into an attractive place for critters to gather. I would never knowingly violate game laws, but if thing get bad and I have the slingshot and air rifle to shoot safely in the city so this might be an option to add some protein to the diet at least in the short term. Plus watching animals is darn cheap entertainment as they live in the moment and it’s fun to see birds and smaller critters find a “happy place” like a small pool for ducks or bird bath and see them enjoy themselves. Plus  birds love insects and can help keep the yard clear of  pests.  Perhaps add a little fish pond to add a little variety to the diet and the yard will still look “normal” to the city!

We had a very windy day and I can report that the cheap “storm” window plastic I bought at the Dollar store held up great.  I think adding several these packages of plastic that will cover two 30″x36″ windows each is a good buy.  A lot of value for helping to insulate your home and they could be put up fairly quickly inside to help seal your home against a NBC attack or just a chemical spill/radiation dust if a nuke plant melts down. Gamma radiation can only be stopped by lead or lots of dirt/concrete but both Alpha and Beta particles can be stopped by a something as thin as a piece of paper and tend to degrade rapidly (14 days).  If you keep the dust off your skin and don’t ingest it via food or breathing you are relatively safe. Same thing for volcanic ash, as ash tend to be full of sulfur, will cut like crushed glass and if breathed in it creates sulfuric acid if mixed with water. Very bad for the lungs not to mention your car’s paint job!  So one cheap little dollar store plastic purchases can help to protect you from many threats as well as save you money on heating costs. I’ve seen a this a lot in my prepping and becoming self reliant, by solving one major problem I also solve several others that might happen with just one purchase.

So we have made it through another year and I know I’m learning and growing in ways I never thought of a couple of years ago. You are living in “historic times” and while sometimes it may suck think of all you have done, how far you have come and what you have learned. Remember it takes both heat and pressure to turn a lump of coal into a diamond!