Busy yard work day

June 15, 2015

Mom got out early to weed the garden beds and a couple of her plants to the “sunny” raised bed.  Mom sprayed down the plants with a mix of Dawn dish soap and water. The bugs are really bad this year, I think letting Mom’s chickens free-range has helped. . I usually cut my lawn for the last time around Thanksgiving. In 2014 we had very cold weather in early November and a relativly warm winter. Back in the early 1980’s, 10- 20 below zero F. was the norm in January.  It is weather and climate and these things move in cycles. I wonder what the PTBs think is a “perfect” temperature? While an average of 75- 80 degrees  F. works well for humans it is not great for all plants and animals.

I started installing the borders and got 1/2 of the  front yard Rose beds done. Added weed & feed to the front lawn  and watered the lawn. I’m not sure how I want to add the wildflowers in the front yard.  I can add the flowers along the fence line but I’m not a big fan of squares and rectangles. The rose and holly beds are established so I don’t have a lot of options on borders.  The wild flower bed is limited by my imagination, cost of borders and fence line.

Mixing up another batch of the essential oil pain relief salve.  I know many people won’t believe an essential oil salve can work almost as good as Oxycodone or Vicodine for pain relief without the side effects. It works for me and I have not used Hydrocodone/Vicodine for 24 months to control my pain.  Using the pain relief salve does not stop all pain and it does not work for all people, but for me it works good enough.

Mom’s little wood camp stove arrived and I got a start on burning off the cheap paint.  I forgot just how much heat that small stove can put out but it nice sitting in the back yard with the little stove burning even if it smoked a bit.  Mom got the wood stove and little water heater for the stove for $90.00 at Amazon which I thought was a pretty good deal. On the little kettle/hot water tank you get two washers, one flexible plastic/rubber and a metal washer for the tap. Place the Plastic washer in the nut on the tank and the metal washer between the tap and nut of the tank spigot.  I did not get a perfect seal and there is a very slow drip at the nut, but it was the best I could get without any instructions and breaking out my plumbing tools. I saw no leaks at the tank seams and I think better quality washers would stop all leaks at the tap!

Getting the stove got us thinking about doing some car/ tent camping plus do some testing our bugout setup this summer.  I have few more items I want to add to my setup. Amazon has a very nice folding 14 watt solar panel for $65.99 with lots of connectors for cell phones, tablets, laptops and a 12 volt battery. I want to add a couple of small power sticks to take advantage of that solar power to recharge my gadgets and those cost about $6.00-$30.00 depending on stored amperage.  Home depot has a neat little fan and mister that has a small pump and runs on Ryobi 18 volt Lithium batteries and cost $80.00.  The reports on both items are very positive though the solar panel is a little “iffy” charging Ipads. I figure if you can charge a small battery unit and then charge an Ipad you should be okay.  I don’t own an Ipad or Iphone but I have read they are very particular about using any sort of  backup power.

Out and about committing random acts of kindness and senseless beauty!  I picked up a few little plastic storage cups. Nothing fancy though you might store some dried herbs or small nut/bolts.  Any how I filled the small container with my essential pain salve and handed it out to a few neighbors that have been doing hard work and might need a bit of pain relief.  Now I bet a few folks think I am being a bit foolish giving stuff away for free. But all of these people are young and are willing to work to make their lives better. Those are the sort of people I want to have around me.

I get so pissed off at all congress critters and our so called elite wishing they could change the system yet find excuses not to do a damn thing.  My answer to them is “you are part of the PTBs” and you really don’t give a damn about the common people.  All Senators have the power to introduce all sorts of laws and you still pander to the corporations and other ruling elite. The Republicans told the Tea party give us the House and we will de-fund Obamacare, oh wait give us the senate and we can override any Obama veto.  Who is working with Obama with TISA and the TPP it is Republicans!

So all you Presidential hopefuls need to act now to get my vote. I don’t give a damn about what you will do as President. Other than Hillary and Perry you are are all in elected offices and may introduce bills at any time.  So you can introduce legislation to limit SSD/ EBT, revoke both the 1968 and 1934 acts against firearms.  If a female can invoke my body my choice for abortion why can’t a person invoke my body my choice for drugs?  Presidential hopefuls want to play it safe. I don’t want that,  I want some one that will take stand  and find a hill they will die on in the literal sense.  If you can not do those those things I will not vote for you! I’ll vote democrat and give them all they want and more so we crash the system and a folks may wake up.  I’m prepared for that are you?

 

 

 


Great start on my shopping this week

May 21, 2015

Sometimes I get lucky and the things I want to get go on sale at the right time. This was one of those lucky weeks, though I got a bit of sad news about Deb, my beer Lady at Nampa Brewers closing down her shop after a diagnosis of Leukemia.  She had a sign posted that she needs some quiet and privacy while she fights this disease so I got a couple of cards I will mail her and keep her in my prayers. I think she may have been overwhelmed with offers of help by neighbors as well as students and customers. One thing nice about snail mail it is quiet compared to all the electronic and phone ringing!  I am lucky that Nampa has another Brew shop I can get supplies at though cheaper, it is not quite as personal as going to Deb’s shop.

So onto the shopping, which is sort of tied into going to the new brew shop and picking up 50 pounds of 2 row malt.  There is a small second hand store next to the brew shop and they had a small camp chair I wanted for the BOV and it cost a whole $3.00!  Harbor Freight has a 4ft. x 6ft welding blanket rated for 1000 degree F. that I want for additional heat/fire protection with my little camp stove and it is only $17.99 with coupon.  I know the welding blanket is not a replacement for proper hearth but I figure it will give me more options in a Bug out situation.

I got a few bone less beef round steaks and a roast at Paul’s market for $2.88 and $2.68 per pound. I went to chicken and pork when beef got so expensive that eating hamburger seemed to be a treat. Overall pork prices stayed fairly low the last 12 months in this area except for bacon. Now even bacon is coming down in cost, Cash & Carry has 5 pounds of bacon for $11.95 for a per pound cost of $2.39.  Cash & Carry has a great buy on frozen chicken quarters for 50 cents a pound for 40 pounds. That is a lot of chicken but that amount should let me get through this “bird flu” thing hitting the mid west and avoid paying through the nose for chicken later this year.

Home depot and lowes have a good memorial day sale on lawn and garden stuff.  Lowe’s has a good wood  mulch $2.00 per 2 cubic foot bag and Home depot has the Scott’s earth grow mulch for $2.50 per 2 cubic foot bag.  I prefer the Scott’s Earthgro mulch as it seems to cover a bit more area per bag and I like the color of the Scott’s brown mulch. Personal preference on my part but I’m willing to pay an extra 50 cents per bag for the Scott’s earthgro mulch.  Home depot has a roll of 40 inch high and 25 foot long green plastic garden fence for $7.98 per roll. I’ll need about 4 rolls to keep Mom’s chickens out of my raised beds. But I think I can use a some of my scrap lumber to setup a the temporary fence around the beds.  Mom’s chickens are well fed and sort of lazy so a simple barrier fence should work. Home depot has concrete blocks for a $1.49 each and some rock I want to test in my alley 4 bags .5 cubic feet for  $10.00.

Unlike some people (non-preppers) who seem to think that prepping costs a lot of money. I find I save a lot of money as I buy items that are “loss leaders” on sale and I can adapt quickly to changes in food costs yet still maintain a good diet.  When you start doing something new there is usually an initial investment you must pay for up front,  but in the long run you can save a lot of money.  What I have found out about prepping food is once you have about 3-6 months of the basics you can start buying only the items that are on sale and you will need in the future.  There is an ebb and flow to prices based on supply and demand. The price of an item jumps up for some reason, a bunch of people want that price and start growing that item and then there is an over supply and the price drops. What you have to do is buy on those dips and have plenty on hand when the price spikes then reload on the dip in price.  I always start to worry when the PTBs say don’t worry. There will be plenty of turkey this November, though at a slightly higher cost. Well if turkey goes up to $2.00 – $4.00 per pound I can imagine there will be plenty of turkey available as most people won’t pay $40.00 + for a 15 pound frozen bird. I think if things work out as I suspect and the economy does not melt down this fall, we may see great sale prices on frozen turkey after the 1st of the year.

Prepping in many ways is similar to being in a small boat at sea. If a storm is coming you have two choices, get out of the way or run before the storm. Either way you are going to get wet!

Tuesday was my prepping day and I sort of dropped the ball as I wanted to do a local HAM radio net call and Spaced it. I did get out all radios and got them recharged.

D-day/Divorce court day for Mom is this Friday. So far I do not seemed to be required to go to court unless Mom’s lawyer tries and works on the judge’s sympathy of me being a disable vet.  What I have heard about will happen both will be less than happy with the settlement but over all I think it will be the best outcome for both of them.  I worry a bit about Mom as she seems bound and determined to move out as quickly as possible. I have no problem with her taking her time and finding the place she really wants rather than the first available that might work financially.  It is sort of funny that she raised me to value myself as a human being and she often does the opposite with herself. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m way less than perfect and I work very hard to make up what I lack but I think I’m a fairly descent human being to be around. I sometimes think I’m the only person in Mom’s life that valued/accepted her as she is, simply because she is a darn good person. Just a human doing the very best they can in all situations. Perfect, no just human and the last perfect person was hung on a cross and I don’t need that in my life.

People are are just people, Goodness knows I bought into the debt and death paradigm.  I’ve “screwed the pooch” many times and I’m still learning stuff especially after I have screwed up.  God did not give me CIDP because he hated me, at best it is part of a flawed human condition at worst God made me wake up to my screwing up by the numbers.  Either way I have changed and have become a better person I hope! I certainly have less stress in my life.

 


Mini-van is loaded with the most of the basics and adding a prepping day each week!

May 18, 2015

I was pleasantly surprised by how my GHB (Get Home Bag) and the rest of my stuff fit in the mini-van.  The mini-van is a 2003 model and while it has a lot of little drawers and jockey boxes for small items, newer mini vans have even more storage under the floor. If you add a luggage rack, the amount of gear you can load up is darn impressive.  Speaking of luggage racks I saw a site online that added a tarp, a couple of telescoping poles, rope and carabiner clips to make a shelter with a tarp.  Using a tarp to add shade or to protect against rain/wind seems like a good idea for a BOV.  I added a small dome camping tent to the mini van for a good 3 season sleep shelter.  I hope I don’t have to Bugout as I will be at a big disadvantage being disabled.  But if a buguot is required I want have as much equipment within reason to give me a chance at survival.  I found a camper model of Katyden water filter and added it to my GHB.

I know that many people BOV’s  is a car and a daily commuter vehicle and you don’t have a lot of room for storing Bug Out gear/equipment in your vehicle.  You might look at the Tupperware “Roughneck” tote for storing and staging your camping/Bug Out  gear. These totes are lockable, weather-resistant and very rugged.   These totes are strong enough to work as a seat and the height is not bad for a work table though a bit short at 16 inches in height. Stage your Bug Out gear on shelves in your garage or shop.  While I have a solid Bug Out setup I have staged a big camping tote with the big tent and a propane stove, 3 sleeping bags, a portable wood stove, and fishing rods+ tackle box that I can toss into the minivan if I get 30 minutes notice of a disaster.

If you have a wood or propane stove and camping buy a Welding blanket on sale at Harbor Freight this month! For less than $50.00 you can buy a welding blanket that will give you great heat resistance and using tarps you can make a modified fire place.  Please do not use a wood stove in a tent unless it has a roof hole for a chimney.  But a welding blanket is rated for higher temps than most camp fire mats of 575 degrees F. Think about your tent/tarps in layers just like your clothes.  Trap air in layers of insulation and don’t kill yourself via oxygen depletion or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Update on the small Peak energy, 12 volt DC car cooler/ warmer. The insulation worked better than I expected this winter.  While it got into below zero temps. in November this winter was somewhat warm compared to the early 1980’s when we saw – 10 to-30 degrees F. for a couple of months.  None of my metal water jugs split, though I only fill them 2/3 to 3/4 full of water at most.  If you live a climate that is above 0 degrees for a short time or you need to add a layer of insulation and have a thermo-electric cooler/warmer at a good price I would add it to your preps.

I have been prepping for several years and I often get a wake up call and get all shook up about new knowledge and  stuff.  All a person can do is learn and do their best.  You might guess right or wrong but at least you are making progress and learning.  Be ready to learn and try new things. At worst you will find out what does not work!

 


Car tire “might” be fixed and the garden beds have been tilled

May 15, 2015

I took the car into Les Schwab again for a slow leak and a nail was found in the front tire.  I think the nail was in the tire causing the slow leak but when the tire was off the car the nail actually plugged the hole enough not to release bubbles when the tire was checked.  While Les Schwab tires can be a bit higher than some, they really back up their work and warranty no questions asked! I also liked that Les Schwab offered a free wi-fi connection that worked great with my kindle fire.

Wi-fi may become the new local way connect to the internet or create a Intranet or WAN (Wide Area Network)  as the gatekeepers lose control. I want to go digital over Ham radio waves some people have satellite up-links for internet and some people still have old style modems that can work over telephone land lines.  The basics of the internet was an information highway designed via the concept of so much redundancy that info/communication could get through in a nuclear war.  While I’m not sure about wi-fi  or how well most electronics will survive in a Carrington Event, CME  or nuclear war. Outside of those events an average person can build a simple email or chat server at home using old PC’s and a Unix type software that is free of charge.  Most ‘”old school” PC gamers have set up a simple LAN (Local Area Network) and perhaps a game server.  Different software but the concept is the same. I know for a fact that any one with a router and XP software can assign 256 unique addresses in a Local area network or LAN.  I bet when you connect to your wireless network you see 2-5 networks you could connect to if you have the password/encryption. Each of those networks could handle 256 users. Now if every one jumps online at the same time the “data pipeline” gets slow and iffy. Within the original network of router info/ data will work at a 10/100 megabit rate if not higher.   Could I pay for a big data pipe and stream movies? Yes I could or I could simply lend out my physical DVD movies to my neighbors for a movie night!

I got the raised beds tilled and Mom raked tonight just ahead of the rain. While we do have a few environmental wacko’s Idaho has a very strong lobby for agriculture. Plus Idaho has a very proactive water works than tends to think of worse case scenarios but will adapt based on weather. I know last year the irrigation for farms looked pretty iffy and the government irrigation stated a hard min. in May of available water unless we got rain in August and September.  I will get a late start on my garden  but I have collected a lot of rain water via my barrels. Mulch heavily and try to put your water where it can do the most good.  I have seen droughts  for several years in the mid-west and southeast and no one give a damn unless grocery prices skyrocket and the MSM accuse farmers of price gouging.

Good news both beef and pork prices are starting to drop. Chicken is very low cost but I believe stores are clearing out inventory of older chicken before a big price spike up in dollars via avian flu.  No,  I do not trust the MSM  about turkey prices this fall. I think whole turkey $1.59 per pound will be a bargain this summer and be consider a great buy/steal this fall.  I might be wrong in my forecast about prices.  So you need to  look at “dollar cost averaging”. I have a small turkey in the freezer I bought for $.99 per pound.  I bought another big turkey 15 pounds at $1.49 per pound. My total cost per pound is about $1.30 or a bit less.

Of course the story is there will be plenty of turkey for the holiday meals though it may be a bit more expensive!! But everyone will be able to afford that extra  turkey cost because…. If you are poor and can’t afford a turkey you are just a slacker and terrible American!


Updating the BOB, GHB and the GOOD plans

May 13, 2015

I did a good job getting the weight down on all of my bags but I will be at a severe disadvantage going off-road because of my disability. I just don’t have the strength or stamina to carry a 30 pound back pack 10 miles a day.  I walk the local mall about 3-4 miles 5 days a week with the aide of my walker. But that is very easy “terrain” of indoors and tile floors so it isn’t the best training for a Bugout scenario!  Don’t get me wrong about walking, I think it is a great exercise but walking five miles in the mall is nothing like “rucking 10-15 miles with a 60 +  pound  backpack most infantry Grunts do as daily/weekly training or what you may need to do in a Bugout situation!

I got the BOB down to 25 pounds without water but it has all the basics needed for about a week. I also live in a high desert area so finding water is not the easiest thing, so I figure I need to have about a gallon of water in my pack just in case I can’t make potable water and that adds a lot of weight.  Well I need a solution to the weight problem and it is a vehicle, wheeled carts and/or my “trike”.  Hopefully I can just toss the BOB in the mini-van add my camping box and be on my way, but that is a best case scenario. What could be the worst case scenario….

The GHB is a svelte 18 pounds and it is a rolling backpack I got a yard sale last year for about $3.00. It has about 3 days worth of the basics though no water or filtration system other than the ability to boil water for purification.  Daily, my furthest trip from home is about 5 miles so my GHB is supplied with a bit more of the basics over and above what I would use normally to get home.  Office Depot/Max has a great little cart for $15.00- $20.00 that holds about 50 pounds makes a great little camp table and folds flat when not in use.   I don’t think being disable or handicapped in any gives you a pass on not preparing. In fact I think you must prepare because only you know your physical limitations and how best to work around them.

The GOOD or “Get Out Of Dodge” plan. I have stated my disabilities limit me but I think any could stage items in the garage or RV.  In the Army we called it Combat parking, but you basically back your vehicle into a garage/carport. So if the SHTF and you need to scoot all you need to do is pull forward and hit the road.  How fast can you load your BOV? How long can your Bugout supplies last?  Do you have cash on hand to buy supplies?  Personally I think bugging out is an act you are forced into via desperation.  Bad things can happen so you must prepare to leave in less than 10 minutes.  If every member of you family has a BOB and you plan/practice for evacuating you should be okay. But you must plan, prepare and practice.

Some people will not be able to handle the “new” paradigm and they will break when things get a little difficult.  My generation “mid 1980’s” really got into helicopter parents and special snow flake children.  But a lot of those Millennial kids are waking up and taking action on a local level.  We should be a bit tolerant as these kids have discovered Sex , truth and justice once again for the first time!  I think most of them are good folks, but I’m an optimist!  Give me a big pile of crap,  I start looking for a a pony or at least start another compost pile.

To quote Chris Duane “if you are aware, you can prepare.” That does not mean things/ prepping will be easy. It is simply doable if you will sacrifice short term gratification for long term security.

 

 


Bug out Vehicle/camping setup

October 26, 2014

I added quite few things this year to my bugout/camping setup in order to use the Kia Minivan as a Bugout vehicle rather than just relying on the RV as my BOV. One reason is fuel economy, I can get a lot further away using the minivan compared to RV based on fuel mileage alone. Another consideration is the minivan offers a better chance at blending in compared to the RV.  Lets face it if things get bad the RV will probably look more like a target to others, where as a minivan is the vehicle of choice of “Soccer Moms” everywhere.

I keep a lot of small items in the mini van at all times because of there are plenty of little drawers and cubby holes that can hold many items that are just always great to have available. Some of the newer minivans have in-floor storage which is very handy. I have a few items I keep in the minivan at all times for emergencies. In the small glove box I keep a 12volt USB adapter and extra cable so I can recharge my kindle or my cell phone. I have a small fold up solar panel and a wind up flashlight with adapter for additional charging options. I keep a ball cap with a clip on flashlight for working hands free in the dark in the CD case drawer. Under the driver’s seat I have quilted wool shirt and snuggie for keeping warm if I get stuck in a snow storm or just slide off the road along with a collapsible snow shovel for digging out. I use a large canvas tarp to protect the cargo area but can be used as for shelter if needed. Then there is my small car box https://myadventuresinselfreliance.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/the-car-box/ along with basic tools and 2 cans of fix-a-flat. I keep my small thermo electric cooler in the car at all times and I have stored two boxes of soup, shelf stable pudding and jello, a package of dehydrated potatoes and some Ritz crackers. With my my small rolling backpack as my GHB I could survive for 3-7 days without loading a single thing.  Of course prepping isn’t just about survival and getting by. It about planning ahead to be somewhat comfortable long term.

I think your first step to preparing your BOV is prepping your 72 hour bag/BOB. This is your bag you can grab as you go out the door if there is fire in your home. I keep mine in a closet on my way out the door. http://www.theplacewithnoname.com/blogs/klessons/index.html refers to this bag as you are gone in 60 seconds. If you have not seen this site it is one of the most detailed I have found that deals with a Bug Out situation (Katrina) and what went right and wrong and how he fixed the things that went wrong.

For my Bug out/camping gear I use two totes to hold most of the items I need. One is a cheap rolling tote I picked up that was sold as a basic kitchen set up for a college student. These college kitchen totes are fairly cheap around $40.00 or less and you can have a full backup kitchen for camping and bugout with one purchase. Plus it is already packed and ready to go though I adjusted mine quite a bit adding and subtracting items. The other tote is a heavy duty Rubbermaid Roughneck that you can lock with a couple of padlocks. I used these totes while in the Army and they are in great shape after 20 years of hard use. This is the tote I need to adjust by trading out the small tent for my new larger tent as well as changing out the older full sized air bed for a smaller twin size air bed. I like air mattress to sleep on as the air insulates and some of the foam camping mattresses sweat and soak your sleeping bag.  By using these totes you can use them as tables, sinks or even to catch and store rain water. You know how I love multi-taskers!

On the shop shelf ready to load is my duel fuel camp stove that use white gas or unleaded fuel and  next to it is a siphon so I can use the gas from the minivan or from a gas can. I have a small plastic French press coffee maker in my GHB and by adding my new little 12 volt coffee maker I am covered for making coffee and teas. I have two sleeping bags, one is a lighter weight bag for summer and the other bag is the old Army Arctic weight, down filled sleeping bag for winter. These bags are super cheap now that everyone wants the new Gortex sleep systems. If you have a tent and good mattress to stay dry, these military surplus sleeping bags are a bargain.  For lighting I have a propane lantern and a small battery powered lantern. For comfort I added a small battery powered fan for the summer and moving air. I will be moving one of my Mr. Buddy propane heaters to the camping shelf for heat in the tent. These are great little backup heaters and while this shelf is for the BOV you can always use these items in your home if a disaster happens. I think of  loading the items on the shelf as my 15 minute Bugout. I need to move a small chemical toilet to that shelf and add a few more detailed maps to the minivan. I wish my shop was insulated so I could store 10 gallons of  water on the shelf. The best I can do is have a 5 gallon camp jug and my BOB in the same closet so I can have some clean potable water to start my bugout. I have a small Hibachi type grill ready as well as a small barrel type wood burning  stove I need to finish burning off the old cheap paint and add to my Bug out/camping shelf.   I have one of those battery jumping power packs that I keep charged in the house. It has both an AC and DC outlet with  a 400 watt inverter that I can grab and go in my 15 minute Bug out plan. Sorry I almost fogot the pets and pet carriers so they critters have a safe place to ride and have food. If you have critters you must plan for their needs as well as you own in a disaster.  No,  I don’t think letting them go, and roam is a good answer as your pets need the basics like any other family member.

Last but not least is food https://myadventuresinselfreliance.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/the-charity-bucket/ I call it a charity bucket but it will work nicely to hold your dry goods for your Bug out and camp food. I’m a firm believer that a person can’t have to many buckets on hand and each bucket can hold about 14 days worth of food for one person.

Overall I have covered most of the basics from water, shelter, food, heating, cooking and sanitation. I will leave you to add your basic defensive and security measures. In my Every Day Carry gear (EDC) I have a 9mm, pepper spray, a tonfa/billy club(in the car),  multi-tool, a P-38  can opener,  a jump-drive with important files, and some backup “junk silver” and mad money.  I can’t tell what disaster you might have to deal with, but this post should give you an idea where to start and cover the basics you would need if you have to bugout.

 

 


Figured out a plumbing issue, a new addition to the BOV

October 25, 2014

I think I finally located the washer’s  drainage problem. It is in the trap, and the way the pipe was installed is completely FUBAR.  There is no way to access the ABS  pipes at all without cutting them apart. Plus there are to many elbows and crazy turns in the pipe. Seems like the idiot that installed it was just using up leftover pipe to make things fit or had no concept of how to measure things.  My plan is to cut out a section in the basement and add Y drain fitting so I can run a snake through the pipe if it gets clogged again. The drain pipe trap by the washer will need to be cut out and replaced with a straightforward layout of pipe and I will add in a way to disconnect the pipe so I can clean it in the future.  With the Y fitting I should be able to clean out either the kitchen sink pipe or the washer’s drain pipe if  needed to in the future.  I can be cheap and will some times make do, but for gosh sakes plastic pipe isn’t all that expensive to buy and a few couplers or Y-drain type fittings sure makes dealing with clogs a lot easier and they cost only about $10.00!  I got the dryer vent hose trimmed and hooked up properly so it does not kink and dries much better over all and should eliminate most of the lint build up which is a fire hazard.

I love my house, but it has been frustrating to fix things that were just installed stupidly.  I’m not much of DIYer but some of the things I have dealt with just boggle my mind.  I can’t think of a good reason why to add a two 90 degree elbows before and one after a trap when you can add a longer section of pipe and things would have lined up including the trap.  My plan to buy a new trap and some pipe and it will make the pipe run much cleaner by eliminating the all the elbows and then add straight run of pipe to tie in to the drain pipe in the basement.

It wasn’t all bad as I got a neat little 12 volt coffee maker/soup can warmer at the Holiday Bazaar today. It cost all of 25 cents and it works with my little power pack as well as the 12 volt system in the minivan.  All I need is a 12 volt hot plate and the minivan will have a small 12 volt electric kitchen in case I need to bugout. In some ways I think the minivan might make a better BOV compared to the RV because minivans are so common and they could be less of a target because they blend in so well.  My plan is to have a small solar panel system that will recharge the minivan’s and my little power pak’s batteries for a backup to my little camp stoves if they run out of fuel.  With the addition of the big tent and a few more additions the minivan should make an excellent short term bug out vehicle or car camping rig.

 

 


Moving on to winter preps

October 13, 2014

With the shopping list mostly finished up it’s time to get back  to work on winter preps. An important item is getting the basic oil change and fluid check done and have my tires and brakes inspected on the mini-van. I have a coupon for one of the local oil change guys that runs an independent shop and are super good about letting you know about any additional problems. These guys are old family friends and always do good work!  I will stop by Les Schwab and get the tires and brakes inspected and basic maintenance done for free which is part of the warranty.  Most of my emergency kit is set up for winter but I need to double check one of my small boxes for any out of date stuff and make sure all the batteries/ flashlights are working.  One thing about Idaho is the weather can change fast so it’s usually best if you plan for the worst in winter and you won’t be disappointed.

I need to rotate some of my gas cans to ensure I have good fuel for the winter. I got some neat little stick on labels that are made for chalk and they should work for dating my gas cans. I’m rethinking my strategy for gas cans for mini-van in a bugout situation. Almost all of my cans are 5-6 gallons and while I use a contractor trash bag to transport and fuel up those cans in my mini-van. It would be best to have the cans outside the van in the roof/luggage rack for a bug out. Each gas can weighs about 50 pounds and would be difficult to load at the last minute so getting some smaller cans in the 2.5 gallon range is a new addition to my bugout plan.  A plus for getting some smaller cans is it would make gassing up  the generator quicker and also a better size for handing out to family or for barter.  I have some good tie downs for securing the cans to the rack and if I load 10 gallons worth of fuel it won’t exceed the roof rack’s load limit.

The garden is still producing but the squash leaves have mostly died back so I can get started on some garden clean up. I’m going to let the tomatoes keep going until we get a frost warning and then pick any green ones left and let them ripen on the counter. I have been very pleased with my garden this year. I learned a lot about proper soil and composting so I have high hopes for next year’s garden.  There is some maintenance to do on garden tools and I have many things to do moving from theory to practice.  A big one is storing tools in a bucket of sand with some oil that is supposed to keep lawn tools from rusting.  A very nice time/money saver because I have moved to using mostly electric and battery powered tools is I don’t have to worry about oil, gas or spark plugs with my lawn equipment. If you have not used some of the new battery /electric tools you need to check them out as they are very good.  For a small/urban homesteader these tools can sure make your life a lot easier.

I did a test of of some of the elm in my stove and it worked great. The wood was dry, burned very well and the chunk of wood lasted about six hours. Having the wood rack on my front porch made it very easy to stack up wood and the wood isn’t taking up space in my small living room.  I cleaned up the front porch and have a place for kindling sticks I gathered from the lawn as the trees shed small stuff.  About the only thing I’d like to add  is one of those paper log rollers but overall I’m feeling very confident in my heating preps.  It’s sort of strange as I look at winter as being a cheap energy  season compared to how expensive using electric to heat a couple of years ago. I’m a little bummed I have not paid off the loan early but 2014 was a year of little personal disasters that simply needed money to fix.

Overall things are in darn good shape here at Casa de Chaos. While less than pleased about the potential epidemics the PTBs seem to be courting. I have to say I upped my game as far as 1st aid and medical preps. I’m in good shape for most disasters and if not perfectly ready I have enough on hand to at least have a chance at surviving.


Experimenting with food for the GHB/BOV, 1st aid and a helping hand for Phelan

September 25, 2014

One thing about getting most of prepared meals is they lean heavily towards pasta. If you have someone that is not so keen on processed flour and pastas it makes it tougher getting your little BOV food box filled up.  I tested out a couple of the single serving mashed potato cups to add  a little variety and overall they were okay. The potato cups are made to be microwaved but you can make do by adding some boiling water and letting them sit for a minute or two. These cups are also a little expensive for a side dish item rather than a meal but you don’t have to clean anything but your spoon after you finish with it.  I decided to go with a larger four serving pouch of potatoes because of the lower cost and the package takes up less space. It is easy to guesstimate the amount of potato needed for a single serving or two, so nothing goes to waste.  I found a store brand (Everyday Essentials) of soup that comes in a box like stocks for soups and the ingredient list is actually surprising good for processed soup. These soups have a best use by date a year out and a square box stores in less space than a round soup can so they will work for packing in the mini-fridge.  Ritz crackers in snack pack size were on sale and make a nice addition for the soups so the only thing left is some salted peanuts vacuum sealed in jars and my little picnic/BOV food box is complete.  I tried to keep the size of the food box small so I can slide it away under a seat.

I found some very colorful plastic table cloths for the sickroom and one clear tablecloth protector at the dollar store. These will be easier to sanitize than regular fabric table cloths, cut down on laundry and can be thrown away as  needed.  I got a big bag of Styrofoam cups  for soups/stock and teas for disposable dishware to cut down on water use and or extra work sanitizing dishware.  I need to add more of the clean suits,  N95 masks and gloves but it will take some time and money to build up those stockpiles as I did not anticipate the open border or the virulence of the diseases a person might have to deal with this year.  One thing I’m not seeing in most of the pictures of these out breaks is the patients are not masked at all. So I stocked up on a lot of the simple face/surgical masks that will be used on the patient and save the more expensive N95 masks for the care giver.  I can’t build a fully isolated bio-containment room, but I can afford to keep adding extra layers of protection. It looks like burning any contaminated waste is the best option for destroying any viruses on sickroom items. So I’m working on a “burn barrel” as a possible project next month.  Trying to build all of these items up is not cheap or fast but once you have these items on hand you can use them for multiple disasters that might be rare (biological attack) or even some DIY jobs like adding insulation or a great Halloween costume 🙂

I have been reading Phelan at http://a-homesteading-neophyte.blogspot.ca/ for a few years. What got me was her description as  “I am a death metal homesteader” You got love that for originality!  She in her family have had a run of bad luck and she has been a successful homesteader in Kansas, the ‘holler” has been very challenging for her this year. As in “But other than that Mrs. Lincoln, How was the play?” sort of challenging!

http://www.gofundme.com/e8g26c has met the goal of $1000.00 to run a power line to her place but a little extra would really help replace the stove pipe that exploded.  Yes, you read that correctly the stove pipe exploded but at least that was outside the house and there wasn’t any fire! Send your prayers and send what money you can afford to get the stove pipe fixed.  I know how hard it was going 5 days without tap water and she has been cooking, canning and doing laundry over an open fire for many months for her Hubby and 3 growing boys!  She has enough experience being grid down she needs a little break and learn about how wonderful electric power is again! I will be adding her to the blog roll as I sort of missed her site when I changed over to wordpress. Go read her blog and I bet she can teach you something. I know she has taught me a thing or two.


Playing taxi driver and a few updates

August 21, 2014

I get to run Mom to her Doctor appt./followups as Dad has to run up to Montana for the weekend.  I’ll also be helping to do the garden and take care of the chickens a little bit as Mom isn’t quite up to doing much walking or moving around on uneven terrain.  Playing taxi is something me and my Kia mini-van seem to do a lot at least within the family. I don’t read a lot of good things about Kia’s on the web and very few people consider a mini-van as the vehicle when the SHTF and I’m not sure why unless it not a very “cool” vehicle.  I love my Kia and everyone I talk to loves the Kias they bought and would buy another. I have an older 2003 model Sedona but I can add up to 6 very comfy chairs or remove them for hauling and storage and it comes with a luggage rack standard for even more storage. I can add both my walker and Mom’s and still have a plenty of room to go shopping. While I would not take it off-roading the mini-van has descent ground clearance for an urban environment and has a bit of weight and you sit higher than most cars. For a  “grey man” type prepper vehicle I think it would be hard to beat the all around advantages of a mini-van.

Update on the grass seed: It seems that giving the grass seed area a daily watering of short duration is better than watering a lot via the sprinkler 2-3 times a week. The areas were I laid out a thin layer my new compost back in July has broken down and worked into the soil.  I’m a little slow at times learning but I finally figured out what I’m doing is building a new layer of topsoil. Building topsoil the natural and cheap way is not fast but I have been quite surprised that you can make a very good start on making good topsoil with all natural ingredients from a composting heap adding some mulch and not killing the weeds but adding good plants for your area that displace the weeds in time.  Heck I have only been doing this new method for about 6 weeks and about 2 weeks with the new grass seed and the water main area is growing grass and taking on a a green hue if not vigorous growth yet. My idea for the grass is to become somewhat established this year as I improve the soil in hopes of very good growth next spring. I see the potential and my theory seems somewhat sound but I won’t really know how well it works till next spring.

I was chit chatting with my Aunt who is a great gardener about how I’m gardening and how well it seems to be going and she said that a good gardener is one that never gives up and is persistent, I would also add that is willing to learn!  I have seen a folks that give up after a year or two of gardening and most of the time it is not their fault as we have had “wonky” weather the last couple of years as this area seems to be shifting to hotter dry summers and colder somewhat wet winters for high desert.  Well I’m not going to let a simple thing  like weather stop me. I have spent over 7 years just trying to grow strawberries and about 3 years trying to grow potatoes in Idaho. I got about 10 strawberries and I think I’ll do a bit better on potatoes but what made my garden this year is I got a bit smarter and I did not quit trying.

If you are hitting a wall in your gardening don’t be afraid to try something a little different. Form me it was using my party buckets and adding store bought soil and mixing it with my yard’s soil with the rototiller along with starting a large compost heap. Using seeds and plants that are better suited for my region and mulching with a vengeance to save water. I think I’m getting a bit better working with mama nature instead of imposing some arbitrary human timeline or schedule.