A few observations, jobs done and perhaps a new project

September 28, 2013

Now I know why a lot of furniture in the old days was rounded or had wings. They do a great job concentrating the heat from a fireplace or wood stove. My cat will generally sleep on the backs of my furniture, but with the wood stove going she moves down to the seat and spreads out to soak up the heat.  I don’t know if there is a better critter in the world for finding the best comfy spot than a cat.

I got Mom’s laptop hooked up so she can use her full size monitor and keyboard to do any computer stuff. The laptop is more than enough for her as she is not a power user like I am. She just needed things to be physically easier to use daily.  I had a small four port hub just sitting around that could handle mouse, keyboard, printer and her backup hard drive and she had the monitor cable so I think it will work out okay for her.  If she wants to use the laptop she can just unplug the hub and monitor and she can go mobile.  I uploaded about 20 books via CD from Baen.com on her kindle.  That gives her some more Sci-Fi and Fantasy books and Authors she can check out.  Mom and I both are very big readers and love books, but I’ll tell you I’m really loving my kindle.

I updated the last post about Dad giving me a block of instruction on the table saw.  I have a lot of respect for power tools and other than my fear of my little chainsaw I don’t usually fear power tools, but I know when stuff is not working right it’s time to stop and learn more about your equipment. The table saw Dad gave me belong to his Dad and I think he is happy to pass it along to the next generation who will get immediate use and benefit from it.  Dad is talking about getting a larger chop saw so he can give me his older and smaller chop saw.  Mom will probably kill me for giving him any excuse to buy a new saw!  I’m still happy I got the Black and Decker circular saw at the pawn shop. I have some projects around the house and in the RV I want to get done.

In the house I got some laminate flooring I want to put down at the back door entrance.  The saws will make that a fairly simple job to get done.  Now the RV needs a bit of work removing some of the previous owner’s furniture preferences.  The old owners went with a futon for the lower bed/couch.  While a bit over sized it was not to bad till the klick/klack mechanism broke and it is in permanent bed down mode. Now have plenty of wood, foam and tools on hand, I can make a bed/couch that fit’s the small RV and does not take up so much space.  The chairs I want to install will probably be the chairs from my KIA that I don’t use in the minivan. I can move them somewhat easily between the to vehicles depending on need.  I will set up a 20 watt solar panel and install new AGM battery in the RV to have a bit of free energy to run some of the electrical without using the generator or at least keep the batteries charged.  If it can keep the fridge going on DC power I will be very happy, if it’s just a few lights it’s a start on solar energy for the BOV.  I can’t afford to do the Cabana room add on this year, it should be doable next year if the PTBs don’t get crazy!  I have a few trips I’d like to make in the RV and since it well stocked with stuff with about 3 months of food and ways to harvest and purify water, I have two gas tanks for fuel so I can start stocking that up for a little road/camping trip. Heck even my little RV will be more prepared than 90% of the population!

Playing around with the wood stove. UPDATED

September 26, 2013

I thought I had most everything covered when I made the wood stove a goal for the year. Overall I did good with big items such as the stove itself and getting the wood but a few little items have cropped up.  I thought I’d share a few of the of the lessons I have learned so far on this little adventure.

Wood stoves are more work than you think!  I had a plan for the wood  I bought to be much shorter in length. I will end up cutting nearly all the wood compared to what I had planned on it being mostly shorter pieces of wood. When you get into the actual cutting it takes time and effort and there are a few safety considerations as well especially if you are using power tools.  Dad gave me his old table saw when I moved into the house and I think it’s a good one but I never used a table saw before and the saw seems to be snatching the wood away from me.  I think the blade needs to be replaced and I should get a block of instruction before using it again. Dad is working right now so my main teacher is busy and I still need to cut some wood. I could use the electric chain saw but it isn’t the right tool for the cutting this wood.

I stopped by my favorite little pawn shop to see what they had and I picked up a heavy duty Black and Decker circular saw. I like that it doesn’t have 6 different buttons to push “for safety”. Heck I believe all those dang safety buttons and levers make the saw harder to use and less safe over all.  I set up a board to be a guide for the correct length and started doing some cutting.  I did  30- 45 minutes worth of cutting to get about what I hope is about two days worth of wood for the stove.  The circular saw did great though it is a bit on the heavy side I could let the weight work for me. I’m using the big party buckets for the cut wood and it worked out great having them catch the wood as I cut it. So far this is a good solution and I added a circular saw to my tool box.

I don’t have a fireplace tool set for the stove, but I can clean the ashes once they are cold with my little shop vac. I  will need a metal can to hold the ashes just in case any embers are present when I start using the stove everyday.  So far the wood seems to be burning cleanly and is not generating a lot of ash but better to be safe than sorry.  I found a Carbon Monoxide detector on Amazon that uses AA batteries and has a low battery warning light as well as sound. I can live with using batteries only as I have rechargables on hand. The detector has a good rating and is only $12.75 with shipping so I can afford to get 2. Once I find a good deal on a detector, electric with battery backup the battery only models can go into the RV and or handed out to a family member with the Mr. Buddy heater.

While I hope to use the wood stove exclusively for heat this winter I still have the big central heater. If I can’t get wood cut or have a couple of bad days with my CIDP I can stay warm.

Update:  Dad stopped by to look at the table saw and give me a block of instructions. There was a few small problems with the settings and how I was cutting the wood. Everything looks and works good now and I should be able to get all my Party buckets filled so I can go a few days without cutting wood.

Updates on a few of my tests and long runing projects

September 24, 2013

I tried out the chefdini manual food processor and so far I’m pretty happy with it. It feels solid and when I mixed up a small amount of eggs the paddle of the mixer reached the bottom and mixed all the eggs.  The mouth where you feed the foods you are slicing or grating  is some what small but I think that is good as this is muscle powered and for smaller jobs.  I think that for $10.00 you will get your money’s worth using this as a backup food processor or in your camp gear.  I don’t know about your camp/RV/BOV setup but I don’t buy expensive knives for camping. So the chefdini may add some extra ability for cooking without taking up a lot of space with a low cost.

On the “fiora” brand tissue from Albertson’s, both the two ply and three ply is very strong. I was surprised how strong it is based on the cost. The Everyday Essentials at Albertson’s is softer and tends to cost about a dollar more per 12 pack and is comparable to the Fred Meyer’s and Big Lot’s store brand.  So now you can buy tissue paper based on what you value most be it strength or softness.  The dollar off coupon for the fiora at Albertson’s runs until the 1st of October.

I’ve added another 150 pounds of whole wheat to the 55 gallon drum this week.  Bad thing is I can’t remember for sure just how much wheat I already loaded up. I think I’m up to 250 pounds total in the drum so far and it looks like another 100 pound will fit easily in the drum.  I will be shifting to the steel cut oats instead of rolled oats for my misc. grain drum mostly because of space and I know how to cook them for breakfast now!  The last drum is the rice drum that I need to start filling. I can afford about 50-100 pounds a month at $20.00 a bag for long grain white rice.  By using the 55 gallon drums you can store over half a ton of food in an area that is 6 feet long by 3 feet high and about 3 feet wide. Cost for the four barrels was about $100.00, cost for the food will be approx. $500.00-$600.00 total. While it’s not a gourmet freeze dried food set up not a bad price for about three years of basic food for one person that can last 10-25 years.  I think this would feed a family of four for a year if the children are not teenagers.  One of the biggest advantages of doing long term food storage this way is you can start out with of a $25.00 budget and build it up a little at time.

I did a little shopping for some more non electric backups.  This is a great time to get tools for the yard and garden though the selections might be a little hit and miss on how much they have in stock.  Fred Meyer’s has a Black & Decker 21 inch bow saw for $5.99. I think I got the last 2 at my local store, one for me and one for Mom.  I’m not sure why but a bow saw seems easier for me to use compared to a regular carpentry saw.  At the local farm store they had blades so Mom and I got one backup blade  each though I know I want to get a few more to have on hand.  I found a two gallon garden sprayer with the bent wand to use as a modified bidet to help with sanitation.  That garden sprayer has potential for a lot of different tasks if the tap water stops and you need some water under pressure for jobs around the house.

I lit the fire tonight and my smoke detector isn’t going off and I don’t smell any off odors so it looks like my initial burn took care of any fumes that could come from a new wood stove and the installation.  It looks like the wood is burning hot,  fast and fairly clean that might be a bit of a problem on long cold nights and I may have to look for some longer burning wood but so far I’m pleased with the wood stove.  The house might do great holding the heat over night in the winter and I have to say I do like how quickly the wood lights and starts putting out the heat.

So far so good this year! Barring any silliness from the PTBs it looks like I will hit most of my goals for the year. I hope that I’m completely wrong and we won’t see any economic collapse at least for another 12 months or never would be even better!  Give me another 5-10 years I can pay off the house have my wood for heat and set up a solar power system that could make all the energy I need.  I don’t think we have that long so I’ll do a bit here and there and slowly build up the things I need daily and hope for the best while I prepare for the worse that can happen.

“I’m coming to your house if TSHTF” and varations got me thinking

September 23, 2013

We have either heard or read folks that seem to think they can just show up on your doorstep and they will just walk in to home and you will take care of them. Some others think they can turn renegade/criminal  and just walk in and take your stuff  you have prepared.  I have very little sympathy or tolerance in either mindset as they both miss the point that by being prepared you are not dependent on others be it the Government, Friends and family or potential victims.

I do some prepping for friends and family, heck I even have some “charity buckets” that I can give out to help someone move on down the road. I do this because of my beliefs and I’m trying to help out my Mom with the other family members.  My neighbors joked about coming to my house when the wood stove was installed to stay warm. They are folks I would welcome with open arms as they have helped out with my yard work, given me produce from their garden. Even my trike I got from them for free because of the volunteer work they do in the community. I have got a lot of help from them because they are young and strong and just “good people”.  I have no problem helping these kind of people out.

For the moochers, I have no time for because I have proven in less than five years even on limited income you can not only prepare but thrive.  It takes some work to pay down debt, to not go out to bars, cafes and give up things that save time.  You will have to take time to learn new skills and practice them. You will probably looked at as a cheapskate or at least a little odd by people and yes they will talk about you!  You won’t have the latest and greatest stuff while you do that hard work of paying down debt and building up you provisions and skill sets. I know for me it seemed like it was taking forever the first two years, then some things became habits on saving money. I got excited about paying off a debt and instead of going out to celebrate I plowed that money into paying off other debts or food/equipment for my preps. How do you think I came up with my original $100.00-$125.00 shopping list. I got it $20.00 at a time starting cooking from scratch and as I used those bulk foods to learn and eat I would add more to my preps. Making up a bunch of bread or beans and rice is simple. Learning to make it tasty takes practice and cook books/internet.

One of my pet peeves is most prepping sites only recommend buying whole grains. If you can’t afford to buy a good grinder that’s dumb and if you are not used to eating whole grains it can effect your body badly making you feel quite ill. Buy 50 pounds of unbleached flour and start making your bread to save money. Once you can afford a grinder then you can look at slowly adding things like whole wheat to your diet slowly and mixing your flour 1/2 and 1/2 with whole wheat as your body gets used to it.  White flour will last about 5 years if stored in cool dry place so you will have plenty of time to use it up by making bread and stuff then rotating it.

Now for you criminal wannabes who think you can simply take what ever you want from those who prepare. I’d like to enlighten you on a few facts about preppers and survivalist.

  1. Most preppers and survivalist are not pacifists. Most of them have several weapons and consider 1000 rounds of ammo per weapon a good start.
  2. Most have upgraded their doors and windows and have local alarms, lights and other defensive measures installed or can be installed quickly in a SHTF scenario.
  3. Many have set up neighborhood watch groups or live in rural areas where strangers are noticed quickly and are encouraged to move along.
  4. Most practice self defense skills quite regularly and pay for classes to become more proficient at dealing out violence.
  5. While you might be a vet so are many of us.  For what you spend on your tacticool crap and the latest camo (which makes as camouflaged as a school bus) You could probably buy your own basics if you weren’t so obviously lazy.
  6. Let us assume that all your great secret squirrel, ninja tactics work and you take over my home and my preps. You are going to do what with them?  While I do have canned goods most of my preps are in long term food that needs to cooked from scratch.   At best you might be able to carry away about 3-7 days of food.  Lack of clean drinking water will probably kill you in a couple of weeks before you can ever stage an attack.
  7. Let’s just take a look at the quality of people that will join you in your little criminal escapade and just how comfortable with them not to shoot you in the back to take from you what you need to live.  I mean you have all agreed that murder, rape and pillage are quite acceptable in order to live. Good people to have watch you back.  /sarcasm
  8. Now let’s look at the logistics and your so called supply train for your merry bunch. Heck I will even give you a vehicle or two to support your bunch of 5-10 criminals. Now you will need at a min. 10 gallons a day of water though 30 -50 gallons is more realistic, so that’s about 400 pounds of water you will need daily just to cook and maintain a min. level of hygiene. You will need about 2 pounds of food per person per day just to maintain basic health and closer to 3-4 pounds because attacking people in good defensive positions is physical work and takes quite few calories.  So you need about 20-50 pounds of food daily. Now you could stage a raid against a prepper or survivalist and take some casualties. Or watch a place for a week and maybe get lucky and catch someone unaware.
  9. So if you are somewhat lucky, you will need to carry off over 2 tons of water and about 700 pounds of food just to pay off for that one raid. You better hope that prepper had a bit more than a few months on hand to deal with local disasters to justify your investment of time, energy and risk.
  10. That’s only trying to pull off a raid twice a month and does not consider fuel for heat, transportation, the weight of ammo, clothes or anything else your group will need. People need water, food, basic shelter, sanitation and security everyday.
  11. Oh I suppose you and your guys could take over a home for a few days to month until everything runs out. Guess what you just became a target to other raiders.

It’s dumb to think that you can raid homes and folks like preppers or survivalists when it is easy and fairly cheap to build your own supplies up. Most preppers might have 3-6 months worth of supplies for a family of four and a couple of those members are small children that are not food intensive.  Depending on the population you may not have a lot of time to loot and run back to your camp. Exactly how long do you think you may last before you run out of preppers to pillage? Three months,  six months at best as those preppers will be eating and using all those supplies while you get your little raids together. Even if you become good at raiding you will eventually run out of victims and then what?

A bit of work done inside and out.

September 21, 2013

I finally got the front yard mowed and a rather large branch came off the big tree got moved to the backyard. Our irrigation water is still running, looks like those storms that rolled through topped off the canals and dams so I’m watering the lawn with the big sprinklers instead of the rain barrels.  It’s overcast and we might get some rain this weekend but since I still have irrigation water I’m hoping the rain will hold off and I can get some yard cleanup done!

The front porch got a little bit of attention today.  I have a 3000 watt generator I want to put on the porch for backup power.  The porch is enclosed but has windows so any fumes can vent away from the house. I hope that the walls of the porch will help dampen the sound of the generator running but I can always use the old army trick of sandbags  as sound insulation if it is too loud. I have wanted to run a good test on that generator before winter hits but the test run always seems to get pushed back with all the other things I’m trying to get done this month.

The front bedroom got set up with my grain crusher and I am getting all the beer making stuff in the room.  The room is becoming a secondary pantry for things I don’t want to store in the basement or too big to store in my kitchen.

I clear out a path in the shop to use the table saw Dad gave me a while back. I cut up some of the wood and used one of my “party buckets” to hold the wood until I get something better and more appropriate for the wood stove.  I have several “buckets and I want to get few more filled with wood before it gets cold and I need to use the wood stove.  With the front porch clean I will have a place to store the extra wood without having to run out to the shop or carport to have wood ready to burn.  Having the wood cut up and easy to use is my biggest concerns on using the wood stove. My physical energy levels can be iffy and while the wood is light weight it takes some effort to cut and stack.  I should have another few weeks to build up a good supply of cut wood and hopefully it won’t be to hard to maintain.  It will take some time and practice to see how much wood is needed for a day’s worth of heat in cold weather.

So far so good!  I got a lot done this month and I’m feeling confident in my preps. I got a plan for getting the solar next month and adding a few long term foods to my 55 gallon drums.  The budget looks good for the rest of the year barring any disasters. In November I want to get one month paid ahead on my house payment. In December add some of the smaller bills like Internet, TV and the water bill as being paid one month ahead of the due date.



For the trolls

September 20, 2013

I have great commentator overall and I learn from them but since I can’t reply to all the trolls I encounter at other sites I thought I would respond to most trolls and their arguments/posts.

  1. I am wasting my money preparing.  Well I don’t know about you troll, but I prefer eating on a semi regular basis as well as practicing basic hygiene.  I don’t foresee a time in my future that I will not need food, water, shelter, first aid and sanitation.  If you have found a way to avoid all those little things for daily living I would love to read about them!
  2. While I am on a fixed income I don’t get food stamps, I’m paying off my home and my food bill is about $75.00 -$125.00 per month and I have some long term food storage as well as the basics of living.  I can make my own bread and beer and I am working on using alternate energies. I’m actually saving quite a bit of money by shopping only loss leaders at the store.
  3. I should just sit and wait for FEMA, in a disaster and hope the president declares a disaster area.  What if I lose my job, declare bankruptcy, get sick or disable? I didn’t notice FEMA rushing to the scene when I got disabled.
  4. Let’s wait on the low skilled and militarized cops that will probably taze you and shoot your dog. When seconds count your local cop will be minutes away.
  5. People will be nice in a disaster and politely wait in lines for food and water. No looting will occur because FEMA is on the scene.  Folks won’t go dumpster diving for food in a place like NYC. That’s impossible!
  6. We will never have to wait in lines to fill up gas cans, or get food and water.
  7. It can’t happen to us in the USA!  We are a first world nation and those disasters only happen to other people.
  8. Do you think folks that have got debt free or mostly debt free will suddenly decide you are correct and will get into debt up to the eyeballs simply to support a debt and death paradigm on your say so?
  9. How many credit cards do you have MR and MS Troll and are you paying them off every 25 days so you don’t pay interest?
  10. I worked very hard and went without for several years and now I can afford to pay cash for good stuff. But I am stupid for doing that?
  11. Please tell me your life strategy and show how it is superior to mine,  I think you are full of stuff and nonsense but I’m willing to learn from anyone.

Mister and Miss troll I wonder if you realize that some people may actually die from the advice you give?  If some one follows my advice the may not have to go shopping for a month or more. They will have water on hand and a bit of energy,. Some basic medical supplies and can handle some small health care things on hand. If you don’t want to get prepared no one is going to force you have a couple of weeks of food, water and every day things on hand that may save your life and the life of your family members.

I maybe wrong and the trolls are correct. I should not waste my money on things I know I will need in the future. I will be taken care of by FEMA and DHS and have no worries. Both agencies have done a stellar job when given a couple of weeks to prepare for disasters. /sarc


Please feel free to copy and past any of the bullet points that can be applied to a troll. I also await your responses to any said troll.  It may not do much good, but I will feel better doing a bit of offense instead of all defense!

Big shopping day

September 18, 2013

I got most of the shopping done.  I got most of the speciality stuff for Chinese cooking at Cash & Carry as well as some discounts on a few other items that were not in the ads. I added a bunch of whole spices on sale and I got a great buy on Butane cans, a four pack of cans for $4.47 so I picked up two packs. Kellene at preparednesspro.com has a little video about using butane stoves for cooking and how you could store enough fuel to cook for a year that is interesting for any prepper.  I think anyone with limited ability to store fuel and needs a cheap cooking method this is perfect!

I went to Les Schwab to pay my bill and they had a great 100 amp hour AGM battery for $135.00 including tax. I got one and will be adding another ASAP!  This battery looks to be perfect for the solar generator set up I want to build and the price is much better than the first AGM I bought along with more amp hours.  I figured out how to afford 200 watts of solar panels in October so it looks like I will be able to meet my solar energy goal for this year.  I think going mostly solar for my electric is now doable even though I’m just getting the equipment a little at a time every few months.  I won’t be able to run everything electric and I will have to replace some old appliances with more energy efficient models.  With a little time and using the wood stove for the energy/electrical intensive appliances like the oven or dryer I can reduce what I pay the electric company by a good amount.  If not I can have at least some electric to run the basics if the grid goes down.

Albertson’s has pork chops for $1.29 a pound  and I have to get the 3 ply toilet paper from Albertson’s to test out . It seems the “fiora” brand normal price will be $3.99 for 12 double rolls at Albertson’s so a good buy on TP.  I got some more “real” gas and the price had dropped a dime a gallon from my last fill up and I used a bit less gas this last month.  I have an overdrive feature I can turn on or off on my Kia and since I do a lot of city driving  I get better gas milage with the overdrive turned off.

Wheat grain was back in stock and I got another 100 pounds for the 55 gallon drum. It looks like a drum will hold about 300 pounds of wheat.  I’m guessing it would be about the same for rice and maybe about 275 pounds of beans or corn based on the size of the individual product. I stopped by the Farm store and they have foodgrade DE in a big 50 pound bag for $37.00. I will talk to Mom about splitting a bag between us and we will have enough DE for the rest of our lives.

Big Lot’s had a couple of items I wanted and I’m trying out a Chefdini cost $10.00.  It’s basically a non-electric a food prossesor/mixer.  If you have tried to find a hand operated mixer you know how expensive they can get. I have put it together and it feels solid enough but the proof will be in how well it does the job.  As I test it out I will give you all an update. If this Chefdini work well as I hope,  I will add one to the RV.  I picked up a few cleaning supplies as well.

It was a bit cool today so I fired up the wood stove to get rid of any fumes that may come from the paint and sort of break it in.  I’m not sure how clean my wood will burn but I did not see a lot of smoke from my chimney outside.  My smoke alarm did not like whatever fumes were coming off the stove, but I’m not seeing or smelling smoke in the house.