Yard and garden work/cleanup.

September 27, 2015

I conned Mom into getting my Strawberry planter squared away while I weeded the front yard flower beds and planted a daffodil bulbs and some pansy for additional color next spring.   My hope is I will add enough plants I like to start choking out the weeds I don’t like have in the front beds. The front yard house bed I planted Colorful/Flowering Kale and it is looking great with the cooler weather. This bed will be my leafy veggie bed next year. I planted a multi-color swiss chard  in a raised bed and we are still getting a nice harvest of leaves.  Mom also got a great harvest of tomatoes out of the back yard raised bed garden today. My first mossy rose plant was looking a bit sad, but it has perked up a lot after getting a few chunks of wood dropped on it as well as moving the mulch around it.

The “Good Neighbors” are officially moved out and the new neighbor is moving in this week.  I feel a bit sad for myself but I’m very happy for N & L making a bit of profit on selling the house and moving on with their lives. They are the type of people that will create a great community wherever they go.  Luckily, for me they still have many friends and family here in the valley so they will be visiting from time to time. I know it is darn easy to talk about “kids these days” in less than positive words.  N & L and their friends give me a lot of hope for the future.

I know the future may appear bleak and things look sort of dark.  It is always this way when the paradigm changes. Keep on prepping build your skill set and building real wealth you can pass on to your kids.  The tale of the glass half full of water, an optimist states it is half full, a pessimist states the glass is half empty. A realist states the glass is always full, even if it is full of air. Be a realist, it is up to you fill the glass!


Wood delivered today!! Huzzah

September 25, 2015

I am so glad that I got the wood area cleaned up last week!  Off loading the wood and getting it stacked only took about 2 and half hours with Mom and I working.  A huge bonus, I did a lot better job stacking the wood correctly this year. Last year Dad chucked in the wood and I had to burn, then  I stack the wood as space became available. I might order another cord of wood to finish filling up the wood area since I’m not sure how this wood will burn in my fireplace.  I have never started a winter with a neatly stacked wood pile so I’m not sure how much “neatly stacked” wood I will burn over the winter.   Over all Mom and I have done most of the winter prep, though we need to caulk the windows in October and will put up plastic to seal the windows and then all winter prep will be done.

I did not have much of a “last minute shopping list” for the Government  budget shutdown as I stocked up last week via sales.  I added a few items to this week’s shopping list as I had the cash on hand and a bit more motivation to stock up on some trade goods.  I had to ration myself as I have sister on EBT and she might need a “care package” if the government shuts down. Luckily I have several types/ levels of care packages on hand. I think the PTBs will pass a CR or Continuing Resolution and we can face this again in December. Just so we know how much we need those “Congress critters” and government workers.

I don’t suggest anyone panic, as I see the point of prepping is to avoid any panic. If you prep you should be ready for not shopping for at least a couple of weeks or more.  You have nearly a week to add a few last minute items if the government shuts down and EBT cards are  not refilled October 1st.  An event that probably won’t happen in October, but some day soon I think if “SHTF”  happens and you should be ready to stay home and to protect you and yours.  I got a couple of bottle of booze today at the liquor store and I had no idea about prices, because I seldom buy liquor.  I got couple of a pints/fifths and saw the prices for stocking up on booze. Whining about the price of stuff is not helpful. Get the stuff stored and then complain about the cost of stuff!

What I recommend is you keep stacking and learning new skills as many of my readers have already built a good stockpile of the basics , before I got a clue about prepping.  If you are prone to panic, stash away any credit cards and go to cash or stack more PMs (Precious Metals).  Have cash/emergency fund on hand to pay the bills for 1-3 months at a min. Get into a local bank or Credit union for any “direct deposit”  money and keep cash on hand for any small bills or basic shopping.

I think you should protect yourself buying goods with no counter-party risk.  You will always need food, water, energy and security.  Get out of all debt other than your mortgage if you have low interest rate first and do not take an interest only ARM/ HELOC.  All credit/debt must evaluated critically if it is the right move for you.  Debt can make slaves of us all, but you can use a bit of debt to improve your economic position. By used cars for cash, don’t pay interest on credit cards and pay all bills monthly.

I bought two refurb. laptops on credit and it is so tempting to get stuff now and pay later but I can’t call the economy in 2 weeks little lone in 2 months.  I’ll pay off  debt as quickly as possible (October) and if the stars align I’ll buy a bit more on “credit if I don’t pay interest.

Overall we have a great setup going into winter.


Warning !! Food stamps may not get paid Oct. 1st if the government shutsdown

September 24, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government shutdown Oct. 1 could immediately suspend or delay food stamp payments to some of the 46 million Americans who receive the food aid.

The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that it will stop providing benefits at the beginning of October if Congress does not pass legislation to keep government agencies open.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONGRESS_BUDGET_FOOD_STAMPS?SITE=DMN&SECTION=HOME

We had a trial run of this October of 2013 What did you do during the great ebt blackout . People were very upset and a lot of food got wasted as shopping carts full of food were abandoned and people just left the stores.

I will be finishing up my shopping and getting my gas in the next couple of days. But I’m not taking any other special precautions at this time. If the government shuts down I’ll probably just stay home and see how things work out.

 


Busy weekend organizing stuff and deliveries of rock, wood and shopping

September 21, 2015

I was very surprised to get another load of rock delivered via good neighbor N.  The good neighbors are moving and made the “rock” offer before they got a such a quick offer to buy their house. Mom’s parking area is completely covered in rock and should make getting around this winter easier and safer with her bad knee.  We put down a thick layer of the rock. Hopefully between the rock, wood ash and the  homemade vinegar weed killer, the weeds  in the alley will finally die off!   I made a lot of progress on the alley way garden this year.  I want to add more plants that do well in poor soil, love lots of sun and are drought tolerant. I have seen sunflowers do well in the alley so I might add a few plants as a border and next year add a bit of shade for plant that need a bit less sun.

I got a lot of the wood area cleanup done. I pulled down the make shift plastic and got a good look at the construction of the roof.  It is worse than I thought and needs to be torn down and completely rebuilt. I will need to get a few more treated 4×4 posts and  a couple of 2x6s to frame the roof correctly. I’m not sure I will get all of the work done this fall so I will cover the wood with tarps a quick fix and start buying up more lumber as I can afford it. While things are not quite the way I planned, I don’t mind doing some quick fixes until I can afford to put up a proper roof. Plus once the roof is built I will have extra tarps, which are great to have on hand for quick repairs due to storm damage and making shelter from the elements.

The $100.00 cord of wood arrived this weekend.  Well it wasn’t a cord of wood nor was it regular firewood, it was all mill ends and I already have plenty of mill ends on hand. I had a bad feeling about ordering this wood as it seemed to good to be true. I did not take delivery, though I felt a little bad that the guy did all that work for no pay off. Perhaps they will be more forth coming on what the wood is and how much the they are really giving people for the money.

Albertson’s had a great sale on Quilted Northern toilet paper, Brawny paper towels and MJB coffee for $4.99 each. 12 packs of the toilet paper, 8 packs of paper towels and the 26 oz. can of coffee.  The “catch” is you had to buy at least 6 on sale items total to get that price  though you could mix it up buying 3 of one item and 3 of another.  While I don’t mind buying store brands but, many have gotten very cheap as far as quality. Getting a good name brand product I like is worth spending the money when it goes on sale as you tend to get a “good bang for your buck” it seems you use less product for the same results.

One of the things I love about preparing is once you get your basics stockpiled you can shop only the sales/loss leaders and you save a lot of money! I just spent about $75 dollars at Albertsons and all I got was 72 rolls of good quality toilet paper, 18 rolls of great paper towels plus increased my stock pile of coffee.  I don’t feel the need to grocery shop weekly as I’m good on my other food/ household items though Cash & Carry had chicken quarters for .39 cents a pound if you buy 40 pounds. The chicken is packed in 10 pound bags so you don’t have to store the whole boxed case if you have a small freezer. I have plenty of chicken on hand now!

I can’t speak for all preppers but for me, what I consider a six month supply on hand for any item means I should start looking for sales. A three month supply of an item means I need to shop and build up my supply even if the items I want are not on sale but can be had for a good price. I’m doing all of my prep on a fixed income so I have to work sales.


My refurbished HP arrived and the setup went much better than the Dell

September 18, 2015

The HP 8440P arrived and I did a better job on the initial setup and transferring files from the old machine to the new laptop. I made a rescue CD right after the first power up and seeing Windows 7 loaded properly. Load up any software programs before you transfer any file via the Windows 7 Easy Transfer. Stay off the internet and hold off loading any anti-virus software until you load all of the basic software on your new laptop/PC.  I use Microsoft Office 2003 and if you load that software before transferring files all of your Outlook setting are transferred so moving to a new computer seems almost seamless. If you load the Microsoft software after the Win 7 transfer you will need to add all of your settings (email) from your old PC/laptop.  Most third party software did not transfer though most of the individual files worked fine after reloading the third party software.   External hard drives and jump (USB) drives are very cheap and make baking up your files easy.  If a storm comes and you have to Bugout because your home is destroyed, that little USB jump drive or External hard drive can rebuild all your files or can be printed at any Office Depot/Max of all your critical paperwork!

While I said many nasty words about the refurbished Dell Latitude 4310 because the problems I dealt with fighting a Windows update glitch.  I think the Dell is a good bugout/prepper laptop, based on price ( under $200.00 @ newegg.com) , the exterior is metal and it packs a good bit of power for it’s small size. I was quite surprised how well the battery held for a refurbished machine.  Batteries can only take so much charging, and if you use a laptop like  I recommend you get a backup battery and for daily operations remove the battery from the laptop and use the cord power only , charging up  the battery occasionally and then remove the battery so it does not over charge.  Laptops do not need a battery to work if corded power is applied.

I recommend you start learning about Linux/Unix type software systems. If you use a Windows OS (Operating System) you set all automatic  updates to “off “and decide when to install updates. Unix/Linux is a great operating system for older PC’s and laptops. Open Office  offers a darn good software suite that is mostly compatible with most Office files.

If you are on any Windows type operating system make a printout of the “System”  this is a big print job, but it is comprehensive.  If you choose to use an Unix based system you will need all those details for divers for hardware and stuff. I suppose some may think I’m a bit paranoid on software and other stuff.  I prefer to retain as much control as possible over my machines, rather than trust the software corporations to do whatever updates they feel like pushing!

The only hardware upgrade I have left is my cable modem and perhaps a new router. I’m not sure I need a new router as the old linksys router is doing a great job since I upgraded the software to open source dd-wrt software.  I want to build a couple of new desk top PCs for Mom and I but that will have to wait a couple of months as we settle into winter and are sure all of the basics needs are rock solid.

Overall I have been very pleased with the “refurb” laptops from newegg.com.  Both the Dell and HP have been a good upgrade (for us) to Windows 7 and do good job for most business and personal applications. These are not machines that can run high end Video games  or CAD programs as they use Intel integrated graphics and shared memory.


Mom’s laptop arrived today.

September 14, 2015

The laptop was a Dell 4310 Latitude, Intel i5 core CPU, 4 gb memory, 500 gb hardrive, DVD-RW, Windows OS 7. Dimensions are 11 inches x 13 inches and about 2 inches deep. The laptop has a metal/aluminum? exterior and hard plastic keyboard area.  The little laptop supports a wide screen LCD monitor and is “wicked fast” on downloads and internet Youtube videos. This laptop also has a spot for an additional battery. I have to say I am very impressed overall with this little Dell laptop.  Windows 7 transfer of Windows XP files went well if not perfect.   I hate Dell desk tops because they use proprietary hardware and are a bitch to upgrade. Laptops must use integrated software and all laptops are a bitch to upgrade hardware. I really hope the HP laptop is in good of shape as this Dell and I’m thinking about adding another Dell 4310 to my bugout Electronics set up. This little laptop is not a high end, gaming type of machine.  I will test it out on some high end sort of programs along with the HP laptop on Monday and see how they do on basics and some of the intense software programs.

With any new computer you must create a rescue or recovery disk! Mom did a normal Windows update and I got a major error and could not boot windows 7. The Dell BIOS does not see partition drives but only the basic hard drive. I had to work with the recovery disk and set the active partition to Partition 1 via the MS-DOS command prompt.  I can’t believe we are still using MS-DOS commands to troubleshoot in Windows 7 but knowing  a little about DOS is very helpful trouble shooting windows at least up to Windows 7.  With the Dell refurb I did not get a windows 7 OS disk, I had just a “Recovery” partition installed. If you can’t access the hardrive, the recovery partition is basically useless. Making a “recovery CD/DVD” first,  will at least let you boot Windows via the DVD drive and let you trouble shoot your OS installation. So far windows 7 is an easy upgrade to learn, about the same learning curve an upgrade  from Windows 98SE to Windows XP. Most of the basic programs are available though you might have to use an internet search to find them.

Mom and I went to work on the garden and yard respectively.  I cleaned out a bunch of overgrown Iris beds and replanted the Iris bulbs. I got quite a few “bulbs” I can store until next spring besides all of the replanting I got done today. The Mums are just happy little flowers that make me feel good looking at them.  I can’t speak for other people only for myself, and I like having flowers around  my home.  I have access to straw for a protective layer but this year I am going to try mounding up leaves from my trees to protect my plants this winter.

Cash money is a little tight this month getting the wood and bit ahead on my house payment. I think you should have an “Emergency fund” as well as cash on hand. Murphy’s Law  states “that anything that can go wrong will and at the least convenient moment”.  I think we might see a stock market/economic collapse this fall and I’m planning for it. I have often been wrong and my gift for prophecy is not that great.  Keep building your future, don’t put off replacing a toilet because you think the city sewer system will fail.  There are plenty of things you can do to save money as well as prep.

Buy LED light bulbs on sale to save on electricity. The LED bulbs provide a nice light, don’t need to warm up like CFLs and don’t require a Hazmat crew clean up  if the CFL bulb breaks.  I have prepared the best I can and there is a good chance my best is not good enough. With my disability I’m not sprinting to avoid gunfire nor setting up a garden without mechanical help!  You do the best you can with your resources.  Is it enough? I have no idea!  I think doing nothing to prepare is a bad idea.


Electronics have become the focus this month

September 10, 2015

I had my main wireless router die after upgrading my Internet service. I got a bigger data pipe for the same money as my old connection and no new 2 year contracts.  To replace the “dead” D-link router I got out the hand me down router from Dad Linksys WRTG version 5  with routing software that sucks.  The router actually throttled back my connection to a few MBs.    The FCC is wanting to stop all after-market type software upgrades for wireless routers. If you have a router you might check out the community built dd-wrt software upgrades for your router before the government outlaws those upgrades.  I’m pretty good with network stuff and PCs but you will want to have all of the instructions and a bit of cash on hand to buy a new router before starting the upgrade just in case  you “Brick” your router. Now that I have scared you, upgrading the router software is straightforward but not simple. I recommend  you have all the documentation on you PC/laptop and read through it a few times before you start the upgrade.

Mom loves the new router upgrade as her laptop has more power than mine and it is streaming video like a champ.  My little laptop is starting to struggle on the internet.  I don’t blame the laptop as most websites tend to think they can write bloated flash and other types of code because everyone has great CPUs, video cards and tons of memory to handle resource intense coding.  Both Mom and I have to Upgrade to windows 7  and get off of windows XP.  With a little bit of research I hope to up load a linux OS will work on the older machines and Windows 7  is about the last good upgrade that does not give your info a direct line to the PTBs.  Trust me Microsoft is not giving away windows 10 for free to us plebes without some compensation from the PTBs.  Remember if some thing is free like facebook, you if don’t know what the market is, you are the product.  I hate windows 10 just because it is free to people.  Microsoft always profits so if MS OS 10 is “free” how and who is making a profit? Especially when XP pro went for $200.00 per disk and windows 7 went for nearly $300.00 per disc for a business edition. Now Windows 10 is free to any goomba that asks for it for free? What is the catch?

I am upgrading both Mom and my own laptops with a windows OS 7 capable refurb laptops, costs are about $200.00 per laptop with shipping via newegg.com  I applied for a newegg credit line and was totally blown away about how much credit Newegg extended me. Once the laptops are paid off, I want to get the 18 inch wide dishwasher for my kitchen. Going into debt/using a credit card is not always evil. Compounding interest is terrible if you are in debt and making min. payments.  I understand the tendency of going a bit crazy buying stuff when given new “Credit Limit”.  Remember there is a big difference I want and I need! The PTBs hope you don’t understand interest and how they make you a debt slave. I got deferred intrest for 6 months on the refurb laptops and I will pay off the bill in 2 months.

Remember just because you have “credit” does not mean you have to use it!