Winter is coming…..

August 31, 2013

If you are like most in the USA it’s still plenty warm but you need to keep working on your preps and getting ahead of the power curve.  As you all know I’ve been working on getting the wood stove installed from taking out a small loan for the stove and installations to paying for and stacking wood for the winter. Since my garden was a bit of a bust this year I will need to buy stuff for the fall harvest. No worries I’m still learning, the Grapes, apple and nut trees look to be pretty good.  Very few plans work out the way we want so you just have to stay fluid and move to the next thing that is working out.

Walgreen’s has a great deal on Ivory Bar soap in this week’s ad. Basically it is 6 bars for $2.00 but there is an in store payback coupon that makes it equal to 6 bars for a dollar if you  go to Walgreens using your card a couple of times next week.  I live in town where I drive by a Walgreens regularly so taking advantage of the sale/coupon is easy.  If you want to add a good multi-tasker soap and get stocked up take advantage of this sale!  I think soap wil be a great barter item if you have extra and we all need soap to maintain some level of hygeine.

Are you prepared financially? I believe that if there is a collapse cash will be “king” at least for awhile. Can you pay for your basic utilities for 30 days? Have you paid ahead or have the cash on hand to pay those bills? I can’t see paying more that 30 days ahead on most things unless you have a Mortgage and you are getting debt-free. Even with that caveat in mind you may want to keep a bit more cash on hand to stay liquid and flexible. I know FRNs are a joke and often wonder why people accept them? But they do and you might as well hand out paper as opposed to something of real value!

How are you looking on food, heat and security. Guns and ammo are still a bit pricey though coming down.  Both food and energy are looking to get a bit more expensive this year. Have you got your fuel oil/wood or propane for cooking and heat? I’d get it now if you can or as soon as possible if you can’t afford it right now.  I don’t see anything that suggest that fuel will get cheaper in the next couple of months.  Looks like another mediocre to bad harvest on most grains in the USA though sugar has come down a bit. It looks like food cost will be going up so buy up now when you get a sale!

Toys, gifts and learning new stuff!  I generally love homemade gifts, even as a kid I would pick out colors for sweaters a great aunt would knit for me. I was never going to be trendy so I might as well be warm. I loved those gifts!  I tell my Mom the same thing I love her  dish rags, and knit slippers. I got a beautiful quilt in the colors I love. At times I think they think I’m just being polite and encouraging them. Heck no!  I know the work that they do and how time consuming it is as well as the quality they put in every stitch.  I see the time and energy they put in, the craftsmanship.  I admire the skill and if others want some store bought gift well that’s on them. I’ll sit tight as snug as a bug in a rug.


Feeling much gooder today!

August 29, 2013

I did a few more things to get ready and have a few more planned for the weekend. It has helped to get me moving and taking some positive actions rather than dwelling on the news, doom and gloom.  I’m rather pleased that England voted no on the rush to war and even France is backing off  and toning down the rhetoric.  Perhaps the politicians realize just how massively they missed public opinion and support for yet another war. I’m not holding my breath but it should take some time for the propaganda machine to get going properly and convince the sheep.

I stopped by Paul’s grocery store to pick up some Popsicle on sale and they had the buckets of lard in stock. I used my rain check and got two, 4 pound buckets at $3.19 each.  I have 3 gallons of  different liquid oils, a few pounds of Crisco, 12 pounds of lard and couple of cases worth of the canned butter.  That should take care of all the fats needed for a couple of years. I trying to add some Asian foods into my diet for some variety and picked up a package each of won ton and egg roll wrappers and C&C.  I had no idea they could be so cheap at less than $1.50 per package. I still need some of the sauces and stuff used for Asian dishes but slowly I’m getting the stuff I need added to the pantry.  There is a huge Asian grocery store being built not to far from me that I’m excited about.  A new place to shop and  for adding more ethnic foods to the menu.

Mom has busy as well, getting some oil for her new generator as well as lots of things like pens, paper, books and little trade items for her boxes.  A barrel for burning trash is standing by for her if she needs it along with a couple of small A/C units she can power with a gas generator. She has worked hard filling up all the fuel tanks and getting in wood for the winter the last couple of weeks. It’s been a struggle getting it all done in such a short time but we both think it will pay off/save money having all of the heating stuff done before winter gets here. I think last winter was a warning that we need to be ready for the winters to be a lot colder than we have had the last ten years.

Just going though all of the things Mom and I have managed to get done in a few years is amazing!  There is more we want to do and stock up on but we should be able to take care of ourselves and help family and a few friends and neighbors.  A few years ago I had a gamer buddy stop by and spend a couple a days here while he checked out some local colleges and I was appalled that he went through a big power outage and had to drive over 40 miles just to heat up some soup and have a warm shower.  While it wasn’t a SHTF moment I gave him a little stove, flashlight, some emergency candles and a lecture on having a few basics on hand when he got home. I hope it made and impression, but I know I will want to help folks out even if I can’t take in besides my own little tribe.  But my charity bucket may help someone move on to a safer place for them. Might not be smart or safe but if the whole world goes”higgly piggly nothing will be truly safe. I feel this is something I must do because God has blessed me so much!

Murphy’s  Law of war states ” Anything can get you killed, including doing nothing”.


Running through my checklists

August 28, 2013

I can’t say I feel all that optimistic going into this Labor day weekend.  All this war talk is making the markets jittery and is doing much for my nerves either. But all a person can do is the best they can with what they have to work with.  It seems to help me if I can do something to at least make me feel in control of my own life.  So, I’m going around and double checking my lists  and see how I can handle whatever may happen and doing some contingency planning.  It’s amazing the motivation you get when you think your country might be starting WWIII.

Vehicles: I already got the gas tank topped off last week and still have over 3/4 of a tank for the van.  I got my big “bugout box” finished up with my small tent and added some other odds and ends.  I picked a couple of the one pound propane bottles for my portable shower and added some batteries for the  pump. Stopped by the sporting goods store for a couple of the small blended cans of fuel for my new little backpacker stove. If I read the reviews correctly for the stove those little cans should be good for about 5-7 days each. If I have to use the van I have my dual fuel camp stove, fishing poles and other items I can load up at the last minute.

I’m not quite sure how I want to handle water if I have to bugout. I have a couple of gallons already in the van along with my water filter in the BOB but more on hand would be nice.  I’m hoping to sit tight but I forgot that my area provides call center/tech support for the Navy and Marine Corps. Dumb because I worked for that company before I got disabled. If you are wondering why Idaho is under Cyber attack that is probably the reason.

For backup electrical power I am charging  or have charged just about every battery I have for electronics.  Both of my little jump/power packs are charged and ready to go.  Plenty of small batteries are on hand for flashlights and radios.  Lighting can be done via kerosene and all of the wicks have been trimmed and tested out. I put the smaller electronics I don’t use daily or that I’m charging  in my Faraday cage.

I can cook, heat water all via propane, charcoal, wood or solar oven, but I will feel much better once the wood stove is installed.  I will be testing out my small generator tomorrow just in case besides it needs to be tested prior to winter anyway so I won’t be wasting my time or fuel.  Just move up my pre-winter storm checklist a little early.

Food, water and everyday stuff  is in good shape, but my local farm store has no wheat and is not sure when they will get any more in stock. I let myself get low on lighters but I got stocked up at Walgreen’s along with a couple of Canon printers that are on sale this week for $20.00. The printer may sound a little crazy but if you have read ferfal’s surviving in Argentina, having paper and the ability to print was a big deal.

Financially I should be in great shape as long as we don’t have a banking shut down of any sort. I have a couple of ideas but I don’t think they will work in the short term.  I need another week or two before I feel confident in my financial preps, it’s just a time issue because this administration loves to inform us of any bad news just before a holiday weekend. Hopefully I’m over reacting, but I have zero confidence  in the PTBs doing the right thing  for “We the People” instead of what they see is the best for them!

 

 


Stay fluid and frosty my freinds

August 26, 2013

If you have done all the things I and others have recommended on having the things you need already on hand. If you have got out of the TBTF banks and gone local. If you have started paying your bills ahead of time. Great!

A bank holiday/run or capital controls could throw a big monkey wrench on my stove installation.  I hope the PTBs can hold the economy together. But I can’t say I have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the PTBs.  I’m getting a bit ahead on a few bills and perhaps I’m over reacting because of the wood stove installation debt.  I mean what does a business do when the have a contract yet a bank or a government freezes all bank funds?  Many Independent truckers can’t afford to deliver if  diesel goes over $5.00 a gallon and right now it is over $4.00 a gallon. I’m guessing a war in th Middle east might spike oil pricing.

Of course the new Sec. of state now says there is no time or room for debate about Syria.  They have WMDs they have “supposedly” used these WMD against innocent women and children and we must stop this evil dictator!  Any one else  getting a feeling of deja vu? I am truly sorry for the people of Syria and the middle east in general but I think these are problems they must resolve themselves. The USA and Europe don’t have a really good track record of spreading democracy or creating stable nation states.  I can’t see how the USA has any national interest of defense, terrorism or anything else that would justify spending either our blood or treasure in the ME. Sorry Isreal your on your own because you picked a crappy neighborhood to move into in 1947.  Of yeah Great Britain and France think war is a great idea and they both have such a wonderful reputation in the Arab world after WWI and the Balfour declaration.  THe USA’s hands are not clean either with the CIA finally admitting they created the coup in Iran that toppled the monarchy in 1953.

Folks you can’t change any of this war talk. Congress won’t stop this out of control president, all they are worried about is PR, re-elction and their own jobs/pensions.  Obama makes Nixon look like a “piker” as a tyranical presidency. As the Sec. of State says there is no room for debate well that seems pretty bad in a supposed democratic republic.

So what do you do as an individual?  Control your immediate area!

  1. Have the basics you and your family needs to survive daily. Hopefully you have been stocking up and have enough of everything for at least 2-3 weeks so you can plan without panic!
  2. Cash!  We have seen Google, Amazon, major media outlets, some of the TBTF banks along with the NASDAQ all suffer major computer/internet “glitches” in the last two weeks.  If you use EBT/debit or credit cards have enough cash on hand to cover you purchase of what you need and then get home if the terminals get shut down.  If you don’t have the cash in hand leave the store empty handed if you must! You don’t want to hang around there if stuff gets ugly.  If it is just a simple glitch go shopping the next day.
  3. This goes along with item #2 pay your bills a month ahead and have cash on hand to pay your absolute need to have bills for 3-6 months. If there is a bank run, capital controls or a bank holiday you must be able have some cash on hand to keep your basic utilities going and if you are getting out of debt you know what compounding interest and late fees can do to your budget.  Your utilities and bankers are going to desperate for any liquidity. They will probably get more strident and perhaps change the terms of any contract in order to keep themselves afloat.
  4. Don’t be surprised if you see a strange mix of anarchy and checkpoints.  This tends to happen when your local PTBs lose control over a broad area so the concentrate where they can maintain control. Watts might be burning but they will have 42 check points in the safer neighborhoods so statistically speaking they can say they had….
  5. Stay away from crowds and looting as tempting as it may seem. We humans are good at rationalizing our bad behavior. If you are bored do a check of your preps, try out some card/dice or board games.  If you still have power, clean the house, get dishes and  laundry done, Get a construction grade garbage bags and put all your freezer and fridge food in it and stuff it back in the fridge or freezer. Showers or baths for all, get books, art projects  all set up. Look if you have to GOOD and your house is not destroyed or looted you can pull that garbage bag full of rotted food and dump in the trash and your fridge and freezer will not smell and work just fine when power is applied.
  6. I know I plan on bugging in. I live in a good spot have friends and family close by and have set up to make that possible in most disasters. But I may have to bug out for whatever reason from chemical spill at the Railroad tracks or whatever. While I have set up my RV as my bug out vehicle it might be just be a target simply because it looks like a good BOV.  A mini van looks less like a rolling pantry/home. So low profile BOV mark II is the minivan.

I know I’m feeling a bit nervous about the world economy and how this talk of war has me a bit shook.  What I’m doing is working on everything from baking a few extra loves of bread for the freezer, to stocking up on things that seem to be going up in price and trying to have at least some basic plans if the SHTF for real.  I thought the PTBs would lows control back in 2011 so I might be over reacting again!

Even if I am wrong, are the things you need to  live cheaper or more expensive than a year ago?  The business you work for planning to expand or is looking at reduced hours, pay and benefits?  Winter is coming and are you ready?


A little of this a little of that and working on some new plans/ideas

August 24, 2013

It’s been a bit cooler since the big storm rolled through an couple of days ago. We had a cloud burst and even a little flash flooding in Boise. No casualties but the normal stuff of power outages, down tree limbs and that sort of thing.  I managed to get all the collapsible rain barrels daisy chained together and the rain barrels up front open for rain.  We got just under a half inch in less than an hour and it filled three of my rain barrels about 2/3 full.  Since we have had such a dry summer the irrigation water is getting shut off about a month early so having the rain barrels is going to be my main method of watering.  I’m so glad I got those rain barrel early this year. They should really help out keeping my water costs lower and the garden watered through September.

Cooler days almost always means baking some bread and getting some beer brewed.  Now that I have my own grain crusher I can do my beer brewing whenever we have a cooler day because I don’t have to plan ahead to get the grain done at the beer lady’s shop.  I picked up a big bag of 2 Row pale malt barley that is the main barley for the beers I make. I’ll get another big bag of the wheat next check for my German wheat beer.  I have most of the equipment on hand to make an all-grain beer from start to finish.  I do have a couple of ideas to make the beer brewing work a bit easier and cooler in the summer months. I  have a spare bedroom that gets good light for working and even growing plants. So I’m thinking of making that a storage/work room for all my beer making and canning supplies. I can move some furniture around to bring the nice bookshelves out in the living room so I can make a nice reading spot next to the wood stove.  The tall shelves I got, will line the walls of the beer room so I can move  beer stuff  out of the kitchen into the room and store it out of the way till I need it.

The outdoor kitchen/canning/beer brewing area makes a lot of sense as well as being very practical. With one of those double propane burners we could get a couple of pressure or hot bath canners going and do all of the work outside and keep the house cool. I have a couple of tables and my water spigot and a couple of electrical outlets are nearby and would work great for cleanup/prep area. I have plenty of buckets we can use to transport the water or waste to the compost bin or trash.  I think in a SHTF environment that a community kitchen might be needed for the neighborhood.  While I may not be able to do much physical labor I can certainly supervise a stew pot or canner while some one else does the physical stuff.  Having a good meal ready to go at the end of a hard day of work can be a real morale booster!

I know a few people will be horrified that I’m thinking in terms of doing group feedings, sanitation and water supplies. They will scream OPSEC and see me trying to do battle with the horde.  Because I’m handicap I have to stay close to the city for life support of all of the conveniences of power, water, food and sanitation, I can’t physically do the work to survive on my own. I must think of ways to be so valuable that other people will want to keep me alive!  That is my reality for SHTF or whatever disaster may happen.  Will it work? I have no idea, I just keep working, learning and doing stuff that I think will stack the odds more in favor of me staying alive. I’m not niave and think people will all work together to make the world a better place. I have no problem with shooting someone who is trying to harm me and have many ways of ruining that person’s day  some of them quite permanently. But I’m not going to fool myself that the predators and scavengers of society won’t see me as an easy target.


A little different mindset on prepping

August 22, 2013

I’m not a person that does well with the “status quo”.  I always seem to test preconceived ideas and mindsets.  You might call it a talent or just stubbornness to question everything or I’m just kind of the annoying kid in the back of the room that actually questioned what the teacher said. Of course I see myself as a brilliant rebel questing for truth and defying the “status quo”.  Then again I’m thinking about soap, toothpaste and laundry detergent. Not exactly the stuff revolutions are made of.

On average I do about 2 loads of laundry a week.  Now I could make my own laundry detergent but I have good luck using Sun brand laundry detergent. Now I can buy a big jug of “Sun” laundry detergent for under $ 10.00 that will do about 120 loads of laundry.  By buying the big bulk version I have enough laundry soap for over a year and a bit extra. 52 weeks in a year times 2 loads of laundry per week on average = 104 loads of laundry per year.  I don’t know how much laundry you do per week but I think you  can see about how much laundry soap you need to store for a year. If you like a more mainstream brand like Tide or you do more laundry per week. If you buy your laundry soap in bulk and on sale for less than $50.00 you have all your laundry soap needs covered for the year and that is for a family of four!

I love Ivory soap because it such a great multi tasker. Did you know if you dry out Ivory soap chips you can use them in cleaning laundry, dishwasher to making new soap? How many bars of soap does your household use in a week or month? How about toothpaste? You can stock up on all of these items via sales or at your local dollar store and have one years worth of one item on hand for very little money.  I don’t want to tell you how to live your life but I lived in the field in the Army and no one liked some one who was funky or incapable of brushing their teeth. If you guesstimate about a bar a month for soap, a tube of toothpaste a month and at least to new toothbrushes per year per person. Figure about $30.00 per person a year if you shop sales or your local dollar store/Big Lots.  You might be surprised how many brands names are carried at those stores. So if you have a favorite brand there is a good chance they have it stock.

I have done the same thing with garbage bags I got at Cash and Carry. I got my price point and watched for a sale on the 150 count kitchen bags. The bags are better quality than the dollar store versions and since I use on average 2 bags a week I’m stocked on garbage bags for a year.  There are a few extra bags just in case I need more than my weekly average of 2 bags.  You can do the same with tissue paper, figure out your average use per week then buy it on sale. I have to say I like the Albertson’s “Everyday Essential” Soft & Strong double roll TP.  It is noticeably softer than the Big Lot’s brand and I think it is a bit softer than the Kroger/Fred Meyer store brand.

Once you have a good three to six month of  your basics you can watch for sales and loss leader for items that you want to have one years worth stored.  Shopping/storing this way  gave me a big boost whenever I could “check the block”  having one year of an item stored.  Sometimes looking at the total number for one year of goods can be a little discouraging. This way of “prepping” is good for me as it was much easier to see progress.  I think it also helps people that are trying buy a little of everything but never seem to reach the goal of a years worth of anything.  This method helped keep me motivated on my goal of  working on a years worth of storage.

I  just got another big bottle 120 loads of Sun laundry detergent for $5.90 at Big Lot’s.  My old bottle of Sun detergent was under half full so it was time to get a new jug for next year. The big Sun laundry detergent comes with a spigot and I can’t wait until it is empty and I can use it as my Soap/washing stuff dispenser for camping.  I’m trying out a generic version of Mr. Clean magic eraser.  Supposedly you can clean just about anything with just a bit of water. I won’t go quite that far but I have to say it does a great job on cleaning things with a textured surface like walls and my fridge.  Using this item might give you more options to recycle water after using it for cleaning if it has no soap or harsh chemicals.

Don’t feel bound by these ideas. I took what I learned from others and put my own little twist that worked for me.  What you do to prepare is your skill and if you do things different and it works for you and your family great!  That’s what should happen!  While it has been almost five years since I began I started out a day and a week at a time.  I’m a bit stunned my method actually works so well even for someone on a limited income. Yes,  I have made a few mistakes and learned a lot. I’ve had a few lucky breaks and was able to take advantage of them. Had a little bad luck as well but that is life, you got to take the good with the bad and hopefully treat them the same.  I’m not there yet but I have got good at mitigating the bad.


Shopping, goats, stove and trying new stuff

August 20, 2013

I bought a new Crock pot for $10.00 at Albertsons. It’s a small 1.5 quart, has a removable ceramic crock and only uses 120 watts. I have a couple large crock pots but I wanted some one I could use for smaller meals and used less energy than the big crock pots.  I tried out the little crock pot last night making up overnight steel cut oats. They turned out okay but I learned to give the oats and water a good stir to makes sure the all oats mix with the water, use spray or coat the crock with oil to prevent sticking. My recipe for about 2 servings was 1/2 cup of oats, 2 cups of water and then set the crock pot on low overnight.  Talk about an easy morning, breakfast and coffee were all ready to go when I got up.

While I was at Albertsons they were having another good sale on seafood, so I picked up some lobster tails for $3.88 each, a pound of large shrimp and had a seafood night for myself.  I’m set for food for the rest of the year so I have been able to splurge a bit on some treats for myself.  Albertsons had a good sale on toilet paper 12 double rolls for $3,98 so I’m bought two packages to try out. If I lke it great, if not I can add the TP to the barter box.

I did a little shopping at Paul’s and picked up a couple pounds of sausage and some nice looking pork chops. They were out of the pails of lard but I got a rain check for them.  Don’t forget oils and fats when you are preparing, most sites recommend about 16 pounds of oils and fats per person. Figure a gallon of oil weights about eight pounds that should give you a good working number on how much you need on hand.

My aunt got some goats and was looking for equipment to make yogurts, cheese even soap and butter from the goats milk. I hooked her up with the beer lady at Nampa Brewers.  I got Mom “the make your own vinegar” kit when I stopped to get a bag of barley and stuff for beer making.  It is fascinating just how many things you can do on your own if you are willing to put in the time and a little effort to learn.  These things are easy to do they just take time.

I signed the contract for the stove and got to see the hearth pad and I like how it looks.

My new hearth pad

The neutral color should work great with the decorating ideas I want to try out this winter.