ARRRGH! I broke the toilet tank

February 26, 2015

Well so much for tightening up the bolts with a wrench. I went very slowly but there is no warning when you crack the porcelain, but the floor is very clean now! I have not found a replacement tank yet though I’m checking out some of the 2nd hand/recycle stores for a tank or even a used toilet that has a tank that will fit my toilet.  It might be that the tank already had some cracks or chipping around the bolt holes and that is why it was leaking.  While my learning curve has been high I’m glad I have been replacing water shut off valves as this makes it easy to isolate the problem without turning off the water main. Having those valves makes this broken tank mildly inconvenient rather than an emergency.

I don’t want to scare anyone away from trying out some DIY repairs.  Making mistakes has always been a part of my learning process. So while a little peeved about breaking the tank but,  if I could not fix the leak I would have had to buy a new tank or toilet anyway. I learned a very valuable lesson about how to tighten bolts on porcelain so it was not a total loss!  These are things I sort of count as my cost of education.  I think having the ability to do minor repairs around the house will be a critical skill in the future. The tools and parts you have on hand for those repairs should be part of your prepping.  Minor plumbing is one of the best skills you can learn and practice. I’m not belittling skilled plumbers as they craftsman who can do a job efficiently. But I have worked electronics repair and I’m sure it as frustrating to a “good” plumber to have to clear a clog as it was for me to tell a person to defrag a hard drive and run a scan. Sure you get paid for the house call and it pays the bills but the simple things that anyone could repair is actually a waste of the knowledge and skill. I’m sure there are more than a few of those guys that want to add to the bill a “Stupid tax”.  Goodness knows I wanted to add that tax to some of the repairs I did on PCs.

Mom and I are hoping to do our “walk” around downtown Nampa Friday rather than Karcher Mall.  Of course a little storm is moving in, but as long as it isn’t to windy or rainy we can handle it. I want to take Mom to lunch for her birthday as well as see all of changes they are making to the downtown area.  Downtown Nampa has become a great place for small business and this summer a new Co-Op is going in along with the Farmer’s market and new shops it is getting a nice make over. I’m not quite sure how to explain it but the driving force seems to be high-tech, but back to land sort of Millennial generation, if that does not sound like a contradiction in terms.

These are the kids that did the “right” things they were  told to be a success.  But found no jobs and got saddled with massive debt. But what is so cool is how many are not whiners and they got to work on raising chickens, growing gardens and making food from scratch.  They also embrace social networking, streaming shows over the internet and using technology.  They have embraced rain barrels and solar panels, wood stoves and Ipads and they don’t see any dichotomy nor are they Luddites to decry all technology as evil. I’m not one to say “kids these days are soft”  while some are that live in a protected bubble. A lot of kids are changing things for the better and incorporating old school skills with high tech.  These kids are creating wireless mesh networks, cell phone apps that turn every cell phone into a walkie-talkie, some are working the Ham radio freqs and satellite uplinks into a internet that mostly bypasses the gate keepers. I can kill my Internet connection and still print flyers on my little $20.00 printer no matter what the PTBs do to stifle dissent the people will find a way to communicate and trade!

The director of DHS Jeh Johnson thinks Sovereign Citizen movement is critical because in the last 4 years Nation-wide there have been approx. 24 shoot outs with cops that maybe connected.  In Chicago there have been over 500 shootings that were declared gang-related in 2014 alone.  No, I don’t see the average sovereign citizen as a critical threat to me and mine. Always remember to put statistics in prospective. There are over 315 million Americans in the USA according to the last census. 24 incidents of “violence” is about the equivalent of folks that have Bic lighters exploding in their pants and burning down a home.

A few different priorities and a time crunch

February 24, 2015

It seems that I have been in recovery mode since the mad dash to get Mom moved in and then the Holidays hit. So all of Feb. has evolved in crisis management and getting by until we find a fix for how life goes.  I hate “crisis management” and I prepare so I can avoid that situation as much as possible.  Overall I give think we rated a 7 out of 10 for handling the move and the divorce things that were time critical, though I underestimated the rest and recovery part of this little event.  Plus we had a few minor little items of critters getting sick as well as a major appliance deciding it was a good time to stop working. So both cash reserves took a hit and trying out new work arounds for dealing with a broke dryer added some stress.

I was going to add the pulley clothes line to my patio when I noticed a couple of Eye hooks from my patio to a beam planted in the backyard that looks like it held a clothesline. While the clothes line crosses the yard the impact on my work should be minimal and the drying clothes will still be protect from the full force of the sun yet catch more of the wind to assist in drying. Screwing the J-Hooks into the wood will be easy and I can slip the pulleys off the hooks if a really nasty windstorm comes through the area.  So far Mom and I can dry almost everything we wash inside using drying racks around the wood stove though the living room feels a bit crowded. Adding the clothes line will eliminate that little problem in good weather.

Mom has another knee surgery coming up in March that we hope the surgeon can clean up the scar tissue build up from the last surgery. So Mom will be less than 100% going into Spring and I will have to help her while she has limited mobility.  I have to say Mom has spoiled me with all she is doing, from the dishes/cleanup and assisting  my little projects. While I can do many things myself having and extra pair of hands an extra set of eyes or someone to bounce around ideas and brainstorm is wonderful! I sort of envy couples and families that are on the same wavelength about financial stuff and prepping.  While there can be a difference in priorities, they do find a way to get the critical stuff done.

I finally replace the toilet tank bolts and I still have a drip.  I have a very hard time calibrating “hand-tightening” bolts as my strength is much weaker compared to most people.  I think since the tank is older I may have to use wider rubber washers compared to the standard or add water proof putty/sealant of some sort. I don’t want to replace my old fashioned toilet for a new water saving type that require 2-3 flushes to work. I think I’m getting close to stopping the small leak but it is taking more time and effort than I originally thought.   If you decide to use a hose to drain your modern washer rather than use the sewage/drain line make sure it is kink free and less than 25 feet or less in length.  Based on my experience a washer will not get rid of all the water via the spin/rinse cycles using a 50 foot or a kinked hose.

Some new developments might be coming up here at Casa de Chaos, that I hope may work out for a small income stream and perhaps a teaching opportunity for me.  It’s funny that the “Progressives” think all good must be government mandated and truly hate preppers/survivalists that teach people to be independent and self reliant.

Third week drying clothes without the electric dryer and washing walls

February 22, 2015

After working with the racks I have on hand I’m quite surprised there was a learning curve about how you  arrange clothing on your racks and how much difference having a fan to move air made a difference in drying clothes indoors.  Now it seems intuitive but when I started heat seemed to be the priority.  The new shelf bracket behind the wood stove is working out great for thick towels and throw rugs.  If you are thinking about not using your electric or gas dryer, I would recommend getting as many clip clothing hangers from stores as possible. Now many stores remove those hangers at the checkout stands but some will let you take those hangers home for free if you ask!  These clip hangers are great for drying all sorts of items, from small rugs to large sheets.  So far Mom and I have been able to dry our two loads of washing in about 24 hours as we have learned a how to hang the damp clothes in order to make them dry quickly as possible.  I would recommend you have at least three sets of things the take the longest drying time.  We are older gals with no rug rats to clean up after.  I think (2) three day cycles of  a set of one clean set, one dirty set and one drying might make washing twice a week do able for many families.  This sort of a starting guideline, much of what you do will depend on your circumstances and your resources.  Do you have a generator that will power you washer through the wash and rinse cycle?  Or are you you using a wash tub and a plunger?  There is nothing wrong with either, as they work are a around but how you dry clothes maybe different.  Practice your setup now and learn those little tweaks that you can only learn by doing. One thing I have learned using drying racks inside is put your thickest cloth at the back of your drying rack as heavy cloth blocks air flow for drying!  I put the heavy/thick cloth closest to the heat and fan and all I got was a dry towel and all small items like undies and socks were damp.

First Street degreaser is very good for cleaning walls that have tar stains from a smoker. Add  bit of Dawn Dish soap in a rinse bucket and you will have a great wall cleaner no matter what type of dirt you face.  Add a couple of cheap dollar store soft bristle scrub brushes and some of the “Magic eraser” sponges and you will be ready for most Spring cleaning needs.

If the SHTF, you probably won’t face a Mad Max or Zombies scenario.  I’m not saying things won’t get tough but I think most neighborhoods will band together for mutual protection. While I would not count on that happening it is possible and has happened when people face a disaster. You might be the “local nut” preaching prepping in your neighborhood or town.  Please don’t treat everyone as “sheep” as you will need help to survive. No one person can do it all! Can you feed yourself after a 7 year drought? This happened in the Midwest in the 1930’s.  I think the Bible is true and could you survive a 7 year famine with some warning?  I don’t understand people that think that 6 months of food is enough, while talking about the Tempo Famine that lasted 4 years. In the Weimar Republic bread prices escalated in less than 10 years from about a US quarter a loaf to over a  billion dollars per loaf.  I think many people think that sounds great, but you are buying on that economy! Can you bake bread and do you have all the ingredients on hand or stored?  Perhaps you have gold or silver stored and you may think you can trade but you have to recognize some people will not sell based on survival.



Picked up the last items for the clothesline

February 17, 2015

Lowes had the clothes line pulley I wanted, the wheels are a hard plastic but it has an aluminum frame.  I went with two heavy duty tie-down hooks to attach the pulleys to the house under the patio awning. My hope is the hooks will allow the pulleys to move with the wind rather than bend/ break if I installed a more rigid attachment.  Overall the cost so far is two pulley at $3.49 each, two of the tie down hooks $1.99 each and 50 feet of “clothes” line for $9.00. I think I got a good deal as most drying racks are over $20.00 and  the Umbrella type clothes lines/dryers are over $50.00 new. Plus I don’t have to dig any holes or set poles in concrete to make the clothes line stable and sturdy!

True Value had the shelf brackets with hook to hang behind the wood stove for another drying area. I have a rod I can use with clothes hangers for drying plus I get additional shelf space. We hung a four-foot long mirror then added the shelf brackets below the mirror and I think it looks pretty good. The shelf is on standby until I get my check this week, perhaps a couple of small hanging plants and then everything will be complete.

Mom and I wash about two loads of laundry each week on average so we are not a good example of drying needs compared to a family with kids. Between the drying racks and the  pulley clothes line system we have a fairly inexpensive way to dry clothes both inside and outside the house.  FYI: the little mini-green house works as a drying rack after you remove the cover and the shelves.

I love the cordless/battery-powered Bissel spotbot! This was the low-end model without the hands free or the carpet beater bar you see in the more expensive systems but it still has a small scrub brush built-in and will work on both carpets and hard surface type floors. While I still have to do cleanup with the older dogs tinkling on the carpet. The cleanup for potty spots are down to about one a day and the dogs no longer pooping in the house. The cordless spotbot is easy to use and makes clean up a breeze.  One of the hardest thing about “house training” dogs is eliminating the smell of where they piddle as the dogs tend to back to their potty spots. All of our dogs are getting older and have some health problems so I’m not sure we can keep the dogs from piddling in the house.  If they do piddle the little spot bot will help clean up after the pups.  If you have carpets, pets or small children the Bissel spot bot is a good buy at $50.00 or less. To keep your hour home’s rugs clean and as sanitary as possible. Plus the little cordless spot bot is so quick and easy to use compared to sponges, paper towels, scrub brushes and spray cleaner. The procedure that seems to work best with the spot bot is suck up what liquid first, spray a bit of carpet cleaner on the spot and then scrub/suck up all liquids making sure you work the carpet’s nap and against the nap.

I will be getting another Linksys 54 gl type router to try out the mesh network protocol that Matt suggested. The walkie-talkie cell phone app has some potential as an off-grid idea.  I’m a little less than impressed by the NSA has read every email or listen to every cell phone intell agency. I have no doubt the NSA has collected the data but they simply don’t have the analysts that can make sense of the data or unable to sell it to the PTBs.  The NSA infected all hard drives yet they seem incapable of understanding Putin!  Remeber don’t get intimdated, you are a needle in a haystack of other needles! Don’t get cocky either and be smart about your security and communications.

Great price alert: Amazon has a great deal on the Sawyer mini water filters that are good for several thousand gallons of water. A four pack of water filter systems for under $70.00 and the filters are different color so each person can have their own filter!  Best price I have seen in years and these systems don’t take up much space in a BOB or a GHB. These filters will handle most of the most of the germs from open water sources though are not great about chemicals or hazardous waste.  Personally I think the Sawyer system beats “Life Straw” because of the amount of water it will filter in its lifetime. I think each homeowner should have a big gravity fed water filter and each family member should have an adequate water filter in their BOB/GHB. While you will not need it in most disasters, planned redundancy is a good thing for all preppers.

Did a bit of Armageddon shopping this weekend for Electronics and drying clothes

February 15, 2015

Mom and I did go shopping, I got a small Bissel spot carpet cleaner ($50.00) the savings in toilet paper and paper towels used to clean up after the dogs will payoff the cleaner in a year.  Another reason I like the little spot carpet cleaner is that it is battery powered cordless and it make clean up very easy.  Added a full sheet set for summer for Mom’s bed and I’m trying out some flat sheets that may fit my German bed. I think a normal twin sheet might fit the German mattresses because most American sheets are made to fit thicker pillow-top type mattresses.  I wanted to pick up some of the Egyptian cotton towels on sale at Kmart, yet corporate seems to have reduced the shelf space. I can’t blame them as Kmart does not appeal to most high end shoppers. Trust me a good Egyptian cotton or the highest thread count cotton sheets does make a difference in comfort. Though it is a trade off of quality versus quantity.

This is the second week end of washing clothes and drying them without a heating dryer.  We can use the tumble dry setting for the dryer so that helps somewhat with drying the clothes.  The two small drying racks work okay, but Mom added her tall “mini-green house” shelves that really helped drying out blankets and the sheets. The local True Value store did not have the pulley system I wanted to setup but the local lowes store has them on hand.  Monday I’ll get the pulleys and then setup the clothesline and the shelf/hook brackets that I want to put behind the wood stove. That should give us plenty of space to hang all of the laundry we do weekly to dry in about 24 hours. Adding the vinegar to the rinse cycle like you add fabric softener, has made a huge difference in softening the clothes while drying, along with running the clothes no-heat tumble dry cycle.

We picked up an all in one printer as Mom’s printer decided to die just after she arrived here and was needed for copying/faxes. Lawyers charge a lot of money for copies or any type of paperwork so now we have plenty of printers both large and small for making hard-copies as well as scanning in stuff for electronic storage.  Got a used ($5.00)  digital camera that does not eat batteries like my high end Olympus. I screwed up on that high end camera purchase, a digital camera that gorges on battery power is almost worse than no camera at all. Perhaps I can start adding a few more pics to the blog as we head into spring.

I want to thank Matt for the  you-tube vid about using the Linksys 54 G router with a basic email server via radio freqs any Ham with a tech Lic. can operate. I looked up the Linksys Router on Amazon and you can pick one up for under $30.00. Now most wireless routers I have used have 6 channels so you can use channel 1 as your emergency communication channel and run your basic wireless network on one of the other 5 channels.  While I don’t care for the non encryption required for Han radio networks you could limit access to the router by using MAC addresses of each devices authorised to access the router,  which is a fairly secure alternative to encryption. Security is built in layers and it does not mater if it is your home or your c0mputer/communication network.

I got another of the rechargeable flashlight/night lights off the clearance rack at True Value. If you find these little combo night lite/flashlight for under $10.00 I think you should add them to your prep gear and I think they would be great for kids as a night light/rechargeable flashlight that is simple to use and recharge. I talk about kids but I have seen plenty of so called adult freak out during a little power outage.  This might be something to add to an office or your little cubicle for your GHB. A fully charged LED flashlight is nothing to be sneered at and may prove to be quite useful.

Last but not least Diana the peke responded very well to the steroid therapy but it appears she needs long term steroid treatment as I dropped down to the one tablet every other day and she had very significant pain today, went completely off her food and very wobbly on her legs. I may owe the Vet. an apology as far as the Carprophen putting Diana off her food when it was the pain she was in that turned her off food!  Mom and I got a steroid tablet and half a tramidol into Diana and she started moving much better though a touch fumble footed from the pain killer.  Diana has been doing the steroid treatment for about a week and she may need a bit more time to get somewhat right.  I know the Vet. and I were looking for anything that could help Diana get out of pain and this was sort of an experiment that might help an older dog have a good quality of life and not be put down.  It will take a bit more time to get her healed up but the steroid treatment has really worked wonders for Diana the peke! I have plenty of tramidol on hand to handle her pain issues so I don’t need to pay for that prescription. Some more of the steroid pills for nerve/back pain should put her right and hopefully heal her up!

Going gray man and why it is so diffacult

February 11, 2015

If you own property, have a loan or mortgage, served in the military, get government benefits, on the internet or have a driver’s license it is impossible to go gray! I think there are many things that you can do to reduce your “footprint” that can help keep you from setting off the PTB’s radar.  Many of the things you have to do slowly so you don’t set off any red flags because of a noticeable change of patterns. If you want to start going Gray you will be inconvenienced and unable to take advantage of all technology that makes life easier if less private.

Get off social media like face book. If you are a bit curious about Web presence just google your name and you will see just how easy it is for the PTBs to track you down and learn about you. Don’t remove yourself from the web all at once as that may raise a red flag. Get off facebook, twitter or Linked In, over a couple of months. Don’t post photos or take selfies and upload them. Facial recognition is a very big thing to the PTBs. Slowly start encrypting emails and tell folks you are worried about Identity theft.  Create disposable emails and aliases, use proxy servers and browsers like TOR and some of the don’t track me software. Unless you know code or get off the internet completely you will have a presence but you “may” be able to get “lost in the weeds”, along with all of the other people on the internet.

Grocery discount cards and going to mostly to cash for purchases. Use a fake name, if you put your real name on a card simply destroy the card and fill out a new application under a new name and personal information.  You are not breaking any laws by creating an alias for those cards so have a little fun. Create a couple of email addresses for that persona at free email sites. Remember that security is done in layers and no one thing you do will protect your identity. No more than a single dead-bolt lock will protect your home!

I went mostly cash on my purchases in order to save money as giving away those little green pieces of paper seem more real to me  compared to swiping  a plastic card and if I run out, I stop spending! There are time you do want a paper trail for payment on loans and that sort of thing but pay with a check rather than a debit card and write out the item in the “For” section of your check.  I suspect few companies or people pay attention to the “For” sections of checks but that is not your fault. Especially if you are making the final payment on a debt.

In the state of Idaho a concealed carry weapon permit is under your driver’s license number as well, motor/voter laws the registration of your vehicle. In the rural west it is almost impossible to get by without having a car or vehicle.  Things and places you need to go are just too spread out to bike or use a bus a viable transportation option.  It is your choice about what risk you are willing to do in order to live your life and what you can afford if you get caught out.

Even doing a few little privacy protection things will make life less convenient. Is it worth the hassle? I think it is worth the extra effort. Plus you can explain it all away to the” sheeples” in your life that you are doing these things for Identity Theft protection rather than prepping/survivalist stuff.  People will talk,  but most sheep like easy answers that don’t require much thought. So it it will be easy to explain going off face book because of Identity theft or it is no longer hip/cool or whatever the word is people are using.

A person could leave the USA but I wonder where they will go for a safe haven?  I suppose if person is rich enough they maybe welcomed in nearly any country. I make less than $20,000 per year and I doubt many countries will welcome a disabled person on a limited income.  I’m stuck fighting it out here in my way. If you can get away safely, do it!  You will have problems either way but at least you have the option of choosing the problems you want to deal with daily!




Back to work, I figured out the new clothes line for outside and drying racks for inside

February 9, 2015

The weather has been affecting my pain level but I finally got off my butt and got the Xmas lights down.  Mom gave me a hand with the lights along with sweeping some loose straw out to the muddy drive way areas where water is puddling. I need to add a bit of sand and gravel when I can afford it but overall the alleyway is getting better with what we can use that is alrerady on hand.  Bear the peke’s paw is looking great after a couple of days of using the Curad “colloidal silver” cream. I’m a bit scared to use the comfrey salve as it can heal the skin cuts so well as it does not drain. While pus looks nasty it is the body’s way of building up white blood cells to fight an infection and it needs to drain away. You don’t want to block all the drainage in most wounds normally. Using the Band-aid anti-septic with Lidocaine along with the Curad colloidal silver cream I think you could safely handle most minor infections and cuts for humans and pets.  Many preppers and self-reliant type focus on human 1st aid we may need animals to survive so learning some basic pet 1st aid and doctoring skills might be something to research.

Matt, one of the commenters on my site found a great video about Mesh networks and using wireless routers. Linksys  54B/G/N routers are very common at yard sales as well as  being very programmable and you might want to check out Matt’s comment in the previous post. If you can run an e-mail server you can run any type of data server. While I’m a bit leery of running unencrypted traffic to comply with the rules.  I wonder if the router might be consider a repeater via Ham radio rules? If the router is considered a repeater, my Ham license should cover those without a license. I don’t know all of the aspects legally but in an “emergency” most rules get very flexible.   What I do know is the VHF and UHF band is available to any one with a basic Technician Lic. if you don’t stomp o the freq. and let others talk.

I looked up the cost for a clothes line pulley and was a bit surprised the cost was only $5.50 each at Truvalue. Add 50 feet of clothes line and a bracket to support the pulley, the total cost is under $20.00 for the setup. Going with a pulley system should make hanging the clothes to dry, physically easier compared to a traditional clothes line as well as a bit cheaper than I had imagined. I know it might seem a bit odd setting up the clothes line on a covered patio but it will protect the clothes some what from the elements and easy to use.

For the indoor drying rack I will use a shelf bracket that come with a hook for a dowel that you see in many closet organizers. The brackets are $3.69 each and I could setup four brackets behind the wood stove and get some shelf space as well as drying space behind the wood stove. The wood stove is does not need much clearance for safety and I don’t think anything could catch on fire since the wood stove does not require an insulated fire barrier to protect ordinary walls.

Think about what you can give up and what you need to have on hand. I hate having all the payments and bills of a car! While I love my Kia mini-van it is very expensive to drive via gas, insurance, registration and the environmental  check via the local auto garages.

What if you ride a bike? no taxes, no driver’s license or Real ID via the Feds. No Concealed Carry Weapons permit tied into a database via your driver lic. Inconvenient, Hell yes doable definitely!

If you want to play the game and get counted as a good little sheep that is your choice. If you want to go “grey man” and stay under the radar. I understand your choice. I think I  may sound nasty because I want people to survive and thrive.  Think about your line in the sand. It does not have to rational, but you must be willing to pay the price for your stand. You have seen how “preppers and survivalist” are treated in the media for the last few years.

Your choice! Depend on FEMA and the PTBs or depend on yourself and what you can do.