My longer response to Kris

November 30, 2013

I’d like to rebut Kris because there seems to be a little problem with communication.

There are circumstances that you will never understand until they happen to you. Two years ago, I was as self-righteous as you are and threw around judgment and condemnation as easily as you do. I paid a high price for thinking I was so high and mighty, so immune from circumstances that I had never considered could happen to me.

I’m not sure why you consider myself high and mighty simply because I call out parasites that gloat about being parasites. I believe these people are created by God, have a spark of the divine and can do more for themselves besides simply leech off soceity.

 Then I started to lose things. My dad, my job. To survive I sold my car, my motor home, collections I had treasured for years, my furniture, and the food I had canned. 

Kris sad to say that parents die. My Father died a couple of years ago so that can be tough but that doesn’t really make either of us special! You sold stuff to survive and lost your job that has also happened to a lot of people. It sucks but it is also how the economy is right now. I’m not sure why you would sell your canned food but I wasn’t there so you did what you had to do as you saw it.

Then I lost my health (multiple sclerosis) and had to abandon a HUGE and prosperous garden that fed three families because I fall multiple times a day. So, I have lost my abilty to walk freely. I have lost my ability to make choices with my time because even though I am disabled, it falls to me to care full time for my mother.

I bet you thought I was not 100% disabled when you started your little lecture to me. I have CIDP I may be looking at ALS in the future and if it happens I will deal with it. I’m sorry about the garden, but you still have all that knowledge to share with others. I’m not sure what you mean that you can’t walk “freely” are you using a walker, wheelchair or some other sort of assistance? I use a walker myself and I have a wheelchair backup. You can’t lose your ability to make choices, but you can give them up! The only thing you have to do in this life is die. Everything else is a choice! You choose to take care of your mother and that is a fine thing but you made that choice.

I can’t provide for myself, live on Social Security (not disability, I don’t get it because I never paid into it, being self-employed. You never know what is going to happen, so it is wise to keep your opinions a little kinder.

Again your choice to be self-employed and not pay as much into SS. I know about what you bring in per month because I have a sister in a similar situation so I don’t have much pity for you in that respect. Thank goodness there is a safety net, but I don’t take it for granted and with what the PTBs are doing with the budget and threatening to cut us all off to score political points I think being prepared is even more critical to us on the edge! You are correct in saying you never know what may happen. All the more reason to prepare and be as self-reliant as possible!

Tomorrow, it may be YOU who is being called a ;drain on society, lazy, unmotivated, or any of the other ignorant and hateful names that you so cavalierly bandy about. But for today, just try and be thankful it isn’t YOU that people generalize about. In other words, stop being a jerk. Kharma is not a joke.

I have been called those names as part of the expansion of those on SSD. Yes, I paid into the system for over 20 years and I thought this was supposed to be an insurance system for those of us that became disabled and couldn’t work, not refused to work.  Guess what the PTBs lied to us so now we have to do something to try and protect ourselves from the “generosity” of the PTBs. I called out the parasites that work the system not the folks that need just a hand up not a hand out.

Kris I’m not trying to pick on you. I see that you have a lot of potential and quite a bit of knowledge to share. The skills and knowledge of your garden that fed three families alone is huge. How much land did it take?  I bet you have learned a lot of care giving skills taking care of your Mom and dealing with your own MS and keeping a home going probably takes a lot of adaptability day to day. I’m not your enemy, but I’m not going to apologize when I call out people that have work the system or try to play the “victim” card. I figure if I can prepare and thrive there is not many excuses  I will accept for others not to prepare!


Big storm hitting the west!

November 30, 2013

Today Dad and I got some of the Apple wood. I was going to wait till next weekend but there is a nasty cold front moving in and it’s going to get cold very fast.  The apple wood should burn a long time and help keep the house warm overnight. A big plus for me is most of the wood will fit in the stove with no additional cutting needed! With all the buckets filled, ashes cleaned out and some extra kindling I think the stove is about as ready as I can make it for next week.  I have been learning a lot about how to get the wood stacked and how much work a wood stove can be when you have limited physical energy. Overall I have been very pleased with how things are working out.  Next year I will be ready to put those lessons learned to good use.

I got the car topped off and it helps the budget now that gas prices have dropped a little bit.  Besides the wood I don’t have much to do for storm preparations this time. I think that is a one of the big advantages of using other storms as a test. It seems to up my confidence that I’m ready for most of the basic storm related issues. Of course Murphy can come along and screw up any plan, but having the simple things done gives you more time and energy if something more extreme happens during the storm.

It looks like it will be a good week for doing inside work on the house. I have been wanting to reorganize the pantry and finish up washing the walls. The rest of the soap ingredients should arrive and we can get to work on that project.  One thing about becoming self reliant is there is always something to do or learn.

This has been the year that I turned the corner on becoming more self-reliant. I know when I started out I was almost in a panic mode. Then I was just trying to get ahead a little bit, then life would happen and it always seems to cost money, that can be more than a little discouraging at times. Learning to adapt when things don’t go according to plan will be of huge help in any disaster type situation.  As the say in the Army you don’t have problems. Just another opportunity to adapt, overcome and excel.

Be the change you want to see!

November 29, 2013

I think most preppers and survivalist go through an annoying stage! We have started prepping because we are aware just how bad things can get and we try to convince our loved ones to prepare.  I know when I was in that stage I was probably very annoying as I forgot just how big of a smack upside of my head it took for me to wake up.  I have done a lot more good since I have stopped trying to wake people up and just live my life.  Being happy, engaged and at peace is attractive to people, preaching to those who don’t want to listen not so much.  Let’s face it being a prepper is a pretty hard sell, as all to many folks believe in the consumer paradigm and are taught what they buy defines them as a person.

Being self reliant is all about being an adult and taking on adult responsibilities.  Sad to say we have raised a nation of overgrown and spoiled children.  We have been saying the toys you have count more than the character of your heart. What you can get from society counts more than what you give.  I have been seeing more stories lately of people who are simply parasites on society. The get a stipend(SSI, SSDI) EBT energy and housing assistance and then sit around watching TV, smoking dope, drinking and playing with their friends.  Then ask who would blame them?  I do! I think every human should aspire to a higher purpose than simply turning the food they eat into crap that goes into the sewer.

I believe that each person has a spark of the divine and they can work to reach more than what they are today. I understand good  jobs are hard to come by. But there is no reason a person can’t start doing for themselves in a small way to become self reliant. It can be as simple as starting a little herb garden or baking your own bread that saves you money and you eat better food.  I think we are headed for an economic collapse of the dollar. How long do folks living on handouts from the PTBs think they will last? We have already seen that the PTBs have threaten to cut all entitlements to make a political point/threat. It won’t matter that I’m a vet or that I worked for over 20 years or that you are a single Mom with 8 kids and 6 baby Daddies that won’t pay child support. No money means no money! Actions will have consequences and it doesn’t matter my fault, your fault or nobodies fault!

I know I can eat, have shelter and security as well as be a blessing to others. I am the change I wish to see, how about you?

This, that and the other thing

November 26, 2013

The Camp Chef big two burner propane stove just went on sale this week at the local farm store for $69.99.  I have been looking to get one of these for canning and doing the beer outside during the summer.  Sure would be a big help with keeping the house cool and a great thing to have for the outdoor kitchen idea I’d like to do next year.  Once I have the the propane burners the only things left to get is a prep area/sink and a brick oven for doing bread. I have an old plastic patio table I think I can turn into a prep area though I’m still working on how to do the sink and water spigot. The outdoor kitchen would make a life a lot easier and the house a lot more comfortable in summer.

Smokey the cat seems to be over her “cold” and the pekes are looking much better since I switched over to the real beef doggie treats instead of the biscuits.  These treats are more expensive but if the dogs are healthier and happier it will be worth the extra cost. I have to wait and see how long the treats last before I have an idea how much to add to the pantry for long term storage.  Thankfully it was a very easy fix for the pekes.  On the backup dog I’m going to look at a couple of new ones that are at the shelter. I want a dog that is not only bigger than the pekes I want one that is more of a guard dog so I think that leaves the pointer mix out.  The shelter is always getting more dogs so something will turn up eventually.

Got in a little more practice with the chain saw, it was one of the chunks of wood Mom brought over. This was more of an actual log and  long for my wood stove.  Oh it wasn’t huge just about 5 inches across but well within the capabilities of my little chain saw. I want to confident as well as competent with the chainsaw when I get the next batch of wood, just in case it is cut to big for my stove.  I got all of the backup buckets full and enough wood in standing by to be cut to finish up the last couple of party buckets. It hasn’t been to cold here so far this year, teens and twenties for the lows. But the wood stove is really making a big difference in my power bill this year.

I have been reading on some of the other blogs about people  having some trouble doing all those things that are recommended for preparing. Yes it can be hard to keep working on that debt, adding to the pantry as well as getting the basic equipment and fuel needed to be prepared.  I know there were a few times I felt I would never accomplish my goals and I would get frustrated at how much I was  “sacrificing” to get everything done. I think worst was about the third year of working on it when I was in okay shape but it felt like I was not gaining any ground. Like it took all my energy and resources just to stay even but that feeling did pass. Mostly because I stopped looking for a finish line and started to embrace prepping as a lifestyle.  A few things that helped me get over that hump:

  • Never stop looking for ways to save money.  Even if it is just $5.00 a month that can get you a start on a big box of wooden matches or your first aid kit.
  • Budget every month: You have to know exactly where your money is going and make it work for you. Most of us have a basic budget of the big items like the house payment or rent, insurance, cable, internet, phone that don’t vary a lot from month to month. If you don’t adapt your budget for what’s on sale or you let dollars trickle away from you in unplanned spending it will make things a lot harder to stay focused on those goals.
  • Know exactly what and how much you can cut on your budget for things that are not necessities.  If you are on track there is no reason not to have hi speed internet or cable/sat. TV if you can afford it.  I got great peace of mind knowing nothing is on contract and I could drop those items if I needed too for an emergency.
  • Mad Money: Have a ten or twenty dollar bill stashed away from your regular spending money in case you run across a great deal or if you need to pay cash if the electronic system goes down. Sometimes you will just want some fast food or a silly little item. As long as it is a just once in awhile thing that should not bust your budget.
  • Trick yourself:  I suck at using credit cards, but if you can use a credit card and pay it off every 25 days so you don’t pay interest and get all those bonus points and goodies, DO IT!  I can’t, in fact I notice a big difference when I paid in cash and using a debit card. For some folks it is writing out a check, however you spend pick the one you like the least when shopping!
  • Make a list: Write out your goals for the year, the month and the week.  Learning skills can be very cheap and those skills can never be stolen. Make sure to update those lists along with smaller goals that help you achieve the bigger goals.

It’s not easy and there will be times you may wish you could go back to being asleep and unaware. You will get over the hump and start seeing real progress in time. I think it is worth the effort!

Everybody is much better, so back to work

November 24, 2013

I was worried the most about Smokey the cat not eating but she is doing much better, she even did a little bit of play today so I think she is on the mend. Tuffy is doing about a 150% better and is back to his goofy fun-loving  self.  I will go to this new doggie treat and get rid of the doggie biscuits. I will take the biscuits to the animal shelter and see if they can use them. Besides the animal shelter has a couple of new dogs in I can to look at and see if the might fit in here at Casa de Chaos.

I tried out a different way of gathering and cutting my wood. By changing the order of doing things and spreading it out over a longer period of time seems to be working better for my physical energy levels. Not quite as efficient but I don’t seem to wear myself out.  I’d like to have four of the big buckets always full and try to rotate three of the buckets every other day. That way I always have a couple of days worth of cut up wood on hand. The front porch is working out great as a place to store the wood that is protected out of the way but still easy to get to on a wet or cold day.

Got a lot done cleaning the house. Both bathrooms got a much needed scrubbing and a few items found a new place so things look neat and they will be easy to find. I washed up a bunch of beer bottles that had stacked up. Washing beer bottles is about the only part of the beer making process I don’t like. It’s not hard just tedious so I tend to put it off until I need the counter space for something.  It sure feels good to have the house all cleaned up for next week.

The soap making items are starting to arrive. I got in the lavender essential  oil and got a very nice sheet of instructions for other uses besides using lavender in soap. Sort of winter/cold remedies that you can treat illness naturally with essential oils.  I believe that we are going to have to do more ourselves in regards to health care and taking care of at least the minor illness and injuries, instead of a “magic pill” to make us feel better.

I have pretty big food shopping list for next weekend. Cash & Carry has the Bob’s Red mill steel cut oats 25 pound bag for $13.95, a fifty pound bag of the Calrose (med. grain rice) for $19.85,  boneless pork butt for $1.49 a pound and some vegetables I want to dehydrate for a soup or stew starter.  Other than stopping by Cash & Carry I’ m going to stay away from all stores this next weekend.

I’m not BBQing  a turkey for thanksgiving this year but I will do up a batch of the decadent Mac & Cheese for a dish. This is going to be an easy holiday for me and finally the dinner won’t be at 3 pm when I take my nap and my energy level is at it’s lowest.  I still need to buy a prime rib for Xmas and New year’s eve but I have almost all the presents bought except the for the secret Santa gift.


No luck on the emergency backup dog

November 22, 2013

Stopped by the pound and took a look at the dobie mix. She looked a lot smaller in the pictures and the dobie was a bit taller than I anticipated. I’m afraid she would have been out of the back yard in just a second if she wanted to go some place. She almost reminded me of a hunting dog the way she acted in the enclosure and was very strong. To bad, she did have a very sweet disposition! I’m not giving up as the shelter is always getting in dogs in fact the had a nice looking German shepard and a rottweiler mix pup show up on the website today so I’ll check back again next week.  Pups tend to go quick and I want to help an adult dog find a home if at all possible!

Had a problem with one of the pekes. I think it is what was called canine hysteria and it can be caused by over breeding as well as some food ingredients to overweight. Tuffy had a couple of bouts with this and while it’s a little scary I think he was getting a few too many doggie biscuits as treats. I usually mix up the treats with those soft doggie chew sticks and doggie biscuits but the store no longer carries the little doggie chews.  Tuffy isn’t overweight but his mother has had a couple of bouts with this and she was a puppy mill breeder dog before my Mom got her so over breeding might also be an issue. Another thing I found during a little research that may cause this hysteria is White flour in a dog’s food or snacks. Now all white flour was banned for dog food and snacks but many snacks now come from China and who knows if they are labeling the bags correctly?  I started reading the ingredient list on those biscuits and most start off with Wheat flour as the first ingredient!  So I cut way back on the biscuits as a treat and added a new chewie that has beef as the first ingredient, a little more expensive but in just a couple of days it has made a huge difference!

Smokey the cat seems to have reacted very badly to the change in the weather and may have got  bit of a cold. I’m keeping a close eye on her as she is sleeping more than usual and isn’t eating quite as much though she is drinking water and not having vomiting or diarrhea. There are a couple of nasty diseases that cats can get that have similar symptoms. I think it’s just like she took a chill out in the rain that happened earlier this week but if she hasn’t started eating a bit more we will have to go to the vet Monday and get her checked out.  If you are like me you think of pets as a part of the family and you are concerned when they get sick and want to do all you can to help but a little knowledge and the power of the internet you can often treat a few thing yourself and save the vet for things you can’t treat at home.  I’m not telling you not to use the vet especially if your animal is vomiting or has diarrhea because they can dehydrate quickly which can be life threatening to them and they need to see a vet right away!

Other than playing animal hospital I did get my sister’s present dropped off and had a nice easy day. Probably just putter around this weekend getting a few housekeeping chores done and keep an eye on the critters.


Finished up the soap order

November 21, 2013

Not exactly the most efficient way of ordering supplies but with Mom and I just starting out,  it is a good way for us to double check each other.  Once we get a few batches done and have a better idea of just how much we need and how quickly it will need to be restocked I think the process will get much smoother and efficient.  Considering we just came up with idea of soap making as a home business at the start of November.  I think it is moving along at a brisk pace and we will meet the deadline of the first batches made by the end of the month.

Mom brought over a few of the big red fir chunks o’ wood from her woodpile. I think she is a little worried about the house staying warm over night with it getting into the lower teens. I’m doing a test of one of the smaller pieces to see how many hours it will burn. Of course that one “small” chunk of wood fills over half of the fire box all by itself.  I really like how the wood I got is so easy to start and how fast it can warm up the house.  So a combination of both types of wood is what I’d like to have on hand. Mom took a look at my strawberry planters from that bunch we dug up for free in the fall. She says the look just like they are supposed to at this time of year. I don’t know that the raspberries will produce next year but adding strawberries to the harvest would sure be nice.

I finally got the bread baked and the ceramic stone is large enough to do about 3 artisan loaves at one time.  I don’t have the problem of the bread sometimes sticking to the ceramic stone like it did with the terra cotta. The new stone has been worth the $15.00 cost if for no other reason than baking multiple loaves at a time.

All of the basic needs are covered and all the bills are paid so I will kind of sort of plan another day of recovery for Friday. I think I’ll run over to the animal shelter and take a closer look at a three of the dogs I saw on the website that have some potential as the emergency backup dog, and then drop off my sister’s birthday present. That should be enough plans for another easy recovery day.  I have couple of small projects to finish this weekend and I hope to be all set  up to focus on the soap making and cleaning the beeswax next week.

Feeling a lot better today

November 20, 2013

I t was nice not having anything major on the to do list today.  Just a little shopping and getting the mini-van topped off. Fred Meyers had the stick blender but the coupon expired yesterday. My fault,  as I didn’t check the date as most coupons usually last a week.  I like the store and I’m regular shopper there so at the checkout the cashier tried very hard to find another coupon but no coupons were available. Even at $20.00 the little blender was a good price and the had a small  heavy duty plastic “French press” coffee maker that is also a travel cup.  I have a french press coffee maker in the house but it is made of glass so it could break easily. These cups give me a backup and will be perfect for the bugout bag and GHB.  Adding a zip lock bag full of coffee is very easy and will make a nice addition to both of my bags.  Freddy’s has the store brand of coffee on sale for $5.99 a can and I grabbed the last two cans of the french roast for the pantry.  Usually the french roast is about $7.50 per can so I got a good deal to build up the pantry stockpile.

We had a a short little power outage just I was getting ready to leave. Not a big deal but I thought I knew how to disengage the garage door opener and I was wrong on how to do it.  I couldn’t reach the power cord so just plugging it into the generator would have taken quite a bit of time and time might be of the essence in a disaster. This weekend I’ll see if I can get the power cord routed so I have easier access and test my little jumper pack to see if it can open the door.  If the jumper pack 400 watt inverter is enough to open the door that would be the quickest fix. If the jumper pak doesn’t have enough power I will need to use the generator and have quick access to the power cord anyway.

Got the amazon order done and topped off the mini-van. Getting gas is a little better now that the price is finally starting to come down here in Idaho. The Gas stations like to keep the price jacked up until people start asking why Idaho’s price is the highest in the lower 48.   Idaho tends to lag on price changes since we don’t have a refinery in state and get gas from Utah or Washington and the stations have a bad habit of keeping the price high as long as possible.

Stick a fork in me I’m done

November 20, 2013

Between the weather and being worn out from Monday it was a struggle to get most of my todo list done. I didn’t get all the wood buckets filled but I got enough wood in the shop to fill at least two and maybe all three. The garden cart tires are still holding so it looks like the Slime is working out for a repair for those tires.  That little garden cart is a huge help getting things done around the house so having all the tires working saves me a lot of  physical energy.  I had a good size chunk of dried cherry wood I tossed on the fire tonight and that log lasted for hours which was nice.  Now I really want to get some of that fruit wood for the wood pile. It’s still mild here but it will get colder and I’m not sure how long the house will retain heat overnight after the stove goes out and I don’t want to run any electric heat if I can avoid it.

I made up a batch of the 16 bean soup instead of the black beans. I like how you can make up just the beans or use up leftover meats and add a cup of rice and you have a meals for several days.  I used my big crock pot so of course I had to fill it up but I’ll take over some to my Mom and sister so it gets used up. Plus there is always the freezer to store the leftovers. I’m not satisfied with the recipe yet as I’m using some of the Hunt’s pasta sauce and I’m still learning what my ratios should be, but it’s getting there.

I managed to get the vacuming done but the dusting and other jobs fell by the wayside. I just tried to do to much so I’ll take it easy the next few days and recover.  There is nothing that is time-sensitive but getting in the order for soap making supplies so I can get that started next week. I will be stopping by Fred Meyer’s because the have a stick blender on sale and a 10% of coupon for housewares. I think an Oster stick blender for about $18.00 is a good deal and that will finish up most of the hardware purchaces needed to start soap making.

There are a few little odds and ends I want to do for the week but I’m not going plan to much until I recover a bit.


Just a little cloudy and cool but I got stuff done.

November 18, 2013

Not quite as nice of a day as Sunday but no rain so I could get my front yard cleaned up a bit. The electric mower did a super job getting up the leaves and the last mowing of the grass for the year. I was a little surprised that I filled 2 of those big garbage bins worth of cuttings so the lawn really needed a good mowing.   I even got all the leaves up from the sidewalk and by my curb picked up using the mower. Hey if it’s stupid and it works,  it’s not stupid!  I have to say if you are looking for a good electric mower I would recommend the Greenworks 20 inch with the cord. It’s about the same cost as a new gas mower but without all of the headaches of using gas.  It is so nice to just push a button and get mowing, plus I don’t have to winterize this lawnmower.

I still have more to do on the yard but Tuesday is going supposed to be a little rainy and cold so I can do a few inside jobs and if I can get a few more buckets of wood cut up. I didn’t really plan it out this way but with saw in the shop and the wood under the carport I don’t get to damp while I’m cutting wood. The shop isn’t insulated, but just being out of the wind and rain makes cutting wood an easier task. While cutting the wood can be annoying at times,  just comparing last winter’s electric bill to this year’s bill provides all the motivation I need to get to work!  The tires on the little garden cart held air overnight and I didn’t detect any leaks so it looks like the Slime did the trick.  I bought the 8 oz. bottle for about $8.00 and did two of the small garden cart tires with couple of ounces leftover.  Slime does work for quick tire repair, I’ll keep watching to see how long it lasts and give you all updates as needed.

I have plenty of things to get done in the house on Tuesday.  A big thing will be vacuuming the carpets since I got most the leaves up in the yard there is a good chance my pekes won’t keep dragging leaves inside via the fur on the legs and bellies. Not the peke’s fault they were designed for palaces not romping in a backyard full of leaves that are almost belly high and my pups love a good romp. I have been looking at getting a dog that is a little more substantial than my little pekes. The pekes have fierce hearts but they are about as intimidating as a marshmallow.  The local animal shelter is having a special on dogs that are over a year old and black in color, the adoption is free.  I find it hard to believe that many people don’t like black dogs and that they are much harder to adopt out. This seems to be a national problem in the USA and not just my area. Well good for us we get the opportunity for a great “rescued” dog at a great price because other people are morons!

They have a couple of Dobie/Sheppard mixes that might be a good fit for me. I need to make sure of the size and energy level as I can’t walk or run a dog for any distance, but I do have a good size yard and my little pekes that will help them feel part of a pack and keep them happy. I wouldn’t mind a bull terrier or even a pit bull, but many of those are in the shelter because they are unable to socialize with other dogs.  Both of my pekes are over ten years old though they don’t look or act like older dogs they are slowing down a little bit. Getting a younger dog will probably make them happy and I will have a dog if and when the pekes die.  Sounds a little cold that way, but I need an emergency backup dog now as I would have a hard time replacing my little pups after they died.

Off to make some of the Artisan bread dough to bake on Tuesday and I think I’ll soak some black beans and use up the rest of that pork roast for some comfort food while it is all cold, damp tomorrow.