A New Year to get stuff done

December 29, 2018

It may sound a little crazy but I get a huge boost in December when I see the days start getting long even if it is only a few minutes per day.  Oh it can still be dark with clouds having day light last till 5:30 pm compared to 5:00 pm gets me think that Spring is coming and the daylight will last longer each day.

For today’s fire wood work I went back to cutting the Doug Fir for kindling rather than the mill ends.  I was a little surprised how easy it was to split the Doug fir compared to the mill ends even with the additional step of using the regular sized axe to split the logs into smaller chunks for the hatchet.  As of now I have both of my boxes full of kindling, so I should have about 3-4 weeks worth of worth stored on the front porch.  With the winter weather staying mild, I can start filling up the big 18 gallon buckets with kindling.

I seem to be getting a little better at staying ahead for this year’s wood heating but I’d really like to spend next year getting all the fire starters, kindling and fire wood I need for the winter season completed around July or August.  I did a little better in 2018 buying and stacking some of the firewood starting in April/May but I did not follow up getting the kindling cut or making the fire starters.  In 2019 I will do a better job  preparing now that I know what I  need for the winter heating season.

I have to recommend getting a garden cart/wagon for anyone that gardens or moves thing like firewood around your property.  Sure you can carry arm loads of  fire wood and make many trips daily or you could load up the wagon and make only a couple of trips filling the porch wood rack once a week.  I prefer using the wagon to carrying armloads of fire wood.  I can fill the wagon, take a little break, then unload the wagon.  I do that a couple of times and my porch wood rack is full for about 4-5 days.  Plus wagons can also move garden stuff in spring and summer.  I prefer a wagon to a wheel barrow because I don’t have to lift to move the cart!

Time to start thinking about your spring and summer garden plans. I have to finish building my garden beds, add better fencing to keep one of my dogs from digging in the garden beds. I need to take out a couple of dead cherry trees and start preparing the foundation for a new greenhouse. Plus I’m not a big fan of cherries. I prefer apples, peaches, plums or apricots for fruit trees

Perhaps you have trees that need some work or need to be removed for safety.  Start saving up cash because having pro’s  do the work costs some money.  I’m big into DIY but sometimes it is best to pay the money  for pros because they do the work and they take the risk.  What I can do is minimize any risk to the pro’s or my self if I decide to take on a job.  I hope once all the trees are cleaned up an healthy I can use my basic tools to keep the trees and plants healthy.

For New Year’s dinner I’m going simple.  The local grocery store had some nice steaks and lobster tails on sale and I can grill them in under 15 minutes.  A salad, corn on the cob from fall and homemade bread and you have a great meal.  One thing nice about cooking steak and lobster is the cooking time is minimal, even if it sort of expensive to purchase.  New Year’s only happens once a year so it won’t break the budget.

I am moving into storing twenty dollar bills for “Oh Darn!” money if the power or the internet goes out.  Locally I’ve seem folks unable to pay for grocery shopping because Century Link (ISP/Phone provider) went off line. I had cash and paid easily without depending on my “smart phone” that I don’t own.  For cash on hand I’d recommend $20.00 or smaller bills.  If your savings gets a bit bulky convert some of the cash into silver or gold.  Just a FYI about digital money and smart phones.  They can be convenient but when the ISP goes down or a power outage happens cash is King.

 

 


It’s like watching the human equivalent of moths and a bug zapper

March 10, 2014

I found out that my brother just “bought” a new car. I’d like to feel happy for them but the declared bankruptcy a couple years back and lost their home,  I believe it was a short sale of the house.  They just could not wait to get back into debt and “playing the game”.  In less than a year they had bought a used car on credit on the advice of a”financial adviser” in order to rebuild their credit rating instead of paying off the debt and getting small financially. They are renting a huge four bedroom house in a high end subdivision and it’s just the two of them living in the home and just for extra fun they have a student loan they have deferred the payments on, though it still is accruing interest! But hey they got a great deal and low payments on the new car!  I feel a bit more sympathy for the moth as electricity is fairly new and the moth doesn’t get a chance to learn from it’s mistake.

This is one of the most frustrating things for me to deal with is denial and willful ignorance of family members. They all seem to be getting worse getting into debt even as the economy tanks. What scares me is they are consider the normal ones and good little consumers and I’m the weirdo. I know some people have to learn the hard way, it took me getting 100% disabled to wake me up but for gosh sakes two bankruptcies seven years apart would seem to indicate a problem with your financial planning. These folks didn’t suffer a job layoff, disaster or massive medical bills. Just plain old fashioned over leveraging and to much debt.

Kind of scary that I tried to teach them how to get debt free and live a simpler life style before they lost the house but it all fell on deaf ears. They did not see themselves as the cause of the problem, it was bad luck, the economy tanked, it happened to a lot of other people, so they could not be the problem! I’m quite concerned about all of them if the cost of living goes up as much as I think it will. I’m sort of figuring about 10-20% rise in food, energy and medical costs, add in dropping wages and hours and it looks like 2014 could be a tough year overall for the middle class and the rest of us at the bottom of the economic food chain.

As I say every person you meet can be used as an example, sometimes good and sometimes bad. I don’t waste my breath trying to convince people any longer. I’ll drop a few ideas/hints about preparing and self-reliance and if they ask then I will help if they remain open to the idea. I get some of the family members that occasionally “Humor me” about prepping and then either proceed to tell me it is somehow impossible for them to do it or they already know everything so they do not require my help. I figure eventually everyone will wake up though it might be a very nasty surprise to many people.

I need to adjust my goals for this year as the water main repair was a surprise and I should have had an emergency fund built up so I could have handled better on my own. Dad did spend to much for the repair but if I had the funds on hand to at least made good down payment on the repair I think it would have cost less over all.  Sometimes you end up paying a “stupid tax”. While annoying it’s best to just learn from it and not beat yourself up. I need to work on getting the revolving credit account at Les Schwab paid off since I have the Kia’s tires and brakes done. That should be paid off by the middle of April. At this point in time the only major purchase I have forecasted is the greenhouse and I plan to spend about $200.00. I hope to get a small greenhouse with rigid walls but if it’s to expensive I’ll go with soft side walls. I’ll add any savings from paid off debt to my emergency fund and then will be time to get rocking on paying off the wood stove as the Credit Union charges me interest on that loan.

It might not be a good Christian thing to do but I would really like to surprise the parents at the end of the year with good chunk of cash as repayment for the loans they gave me to help me out.  The idea I have is a bit of showing off but it is also that actions speak louder than words. Besides I tend to do better when I have a challenge that is almost impossible to do, I may not succeed but it often works out much better than any rational person would expect.


Mom and I are getting a soap making class

October 31, 2013

Getting  a soap making class from my aunt on Friday. I’m getting kind of excited about adding another skill as well as something that might work as a cottage business. My aunt is going to give us a class on making regular soap and a goat’s milk soap and I think she is getting excited about it too. The  worst that can happen is I learn a new skill and hobby that will provide me with soap I like no matter what happens in the future.

My rain barrels will help with the soap making as the water should be soft compared to city or well water. It seems that the softer the water is the better the lye mixes and makes a better end product.  While the wood I’m burning in the wood stove is a pine and not very good ashes for making soap. Going with fruit hard woods next year and the mesquite I use for charcoal should work very well to make in the future. I found instructions for making my own leeching barrel for lye and a different use for the ashes from the wood stove. I’ll be using the ash out behind my shop and the alley to kill off the Goatheads (puncture vine) and it will also add some traction for the driveway/alley in the winter.

So far the soap making and beeswax looks like a fairly small money investment of a couple of hundred dollars at most. Not all that much money compared to most hobbies and is very small when compared with most small businesses.  Buying and selling local, being self-reliant and telling the government that I no longer need the disability payments would be priceless!

I brewed up a batch of wheat beer and I’m cooling the grains so my aunt can see if her chickens and goats like it as feed.  The grains should be a bit like sweet feed that has some of the sugars extracted. The grain is crushed so it should be easy to digest but when I worked on the ranch as a kid I saw cattle get terrible bloat when overfed with grain. So while I doubt the chickens will have a problem this will be the first time using the grain to feed a larger animal.  Good thing about goats is they have a very strong stomachs and can survive on stuff that other grazers can’t tolerate.

I have no idea if the soap and beeswax idea will work as a business, but I think it does have potential especially with my disability.  I’m going to keep working on more things and researching ideas that I can physically accomplish and make me less dependent on the government.  I don’t much care for being used as a bargaining chip while the PTBs play their little games. Funny how they never put their government checks on the line. It’s always the taxpayer, the disabled, the elderly and the poor that are threatened!


There is still time to prepare! You just need a plan and begin.

August 8, 2013

Now you can sit and make excuses or blame universe or whatever else in your life.  You can cry about life not being fair and that someone should do some thing. But when it come down to it your life is your responsibility. No one owes you anything and if you believe someone owes you something, you believe in Slavery!

Now I’m a disabled vet and I also worked to pay into the Social Security system and it was supposed to be a safety net for me. Guess what the PTBs  lied and if there is no money I won’t get paid. Same for a lot of you, you were lied to and many of us wanted to believe the lies. Many Americans are no better than the government as Americans are incredibly in debt with car loans, student loans, credit cards and huge home mortgages. I was not as bad as some but I wanted to believe I could have it all as long as I could make the payments and I would pat myself on the back for not being in as much debt as those “other people”.

It can be tough to admit you got conned, were ignorant and played for a fool. But I think your first step is to admit that, and do a brutally honest assessment of yourself. In order to have money to prepare you must know where your money is going and I mean down to the last penny!  You can do it via a notebook or save all you receipts, write checks for every thing or whatever works for you but you have to know where you spend your money down to a can of soda out of a vending machine. Most people who do this often are surprised on how much money trickles away, getting a burger at the drive in, a latte at the coffee shop, a dinner out or a night on the town. I’m not saying you can’t do these things but those can add up really fast if you don’t pay attention and have it in your budget!

When you start seeing where your money is going you can take a hard look at your budget and see where you can cut back a bit and save money. No you don’t need to throw away your TV, Ipad or internet but take a look and see what you are actually using and perhaps you can lower the cost by dropping a certain cable package, or go from unlimited data/minutes to what you actually use and a buffer. I’m on my Dad’s Verizon Friends and family plan and I pay him for the line. I don’t use my cell phone much and when I call most of it is free minutes cause it is Verizon cell to cell.  Otherwise I use my magic jack internet phone that costs $30.00 a year. No quality isn’t always perfect but it’s good enough for the price. Yes, you will need to do a little research and find the best bargain for you but even saving $5.00 a month equals $60.00 a year and that is enough to buy 150 pounds of rice or just over 2 years of rice for at 2 meals a day for one person or six months worth of rice for a family of four.

Water is critical, here in Idaho we will get our irrigation water turned off a month early. Over in Oregon they have a boil order in Baker for a germ in the city water supply and last year Twin Falls water supply broke down completely during a power outage as the backup generator did not work and there was rationing and a boil order for a week or two while the city scrambled to repair the damage. You got three days tops before the lack of water kills you and after about a day to 36 hour your brain starts going  to mush and you don’t think clearly. You must store water and you should be looking to store as much as possible and not the bare min. of a gallon a day. Water regulates your body’s thermostat and you need water to stay warm in winter as well as cool in summer.  Start shopping around now for sales on camp jugs, rain barrels as we shift to fall those should start going on sale. You may also find camp water filters on sale so you can purify water from rain barrels.

Fall and winter are coming and you need to stay warm as well as handle any power outages from storms. Got a snow shovel, salt or sand if you live where they get snow or ice? Got a backup heat and light source, how will you cook or heat water if the power goes out?  I’m seeing generators at the local farm stores and stoves are showing up at the home improvement stores. Got fuel and oil for your generator? Have you tested it out and made sure it works or did you leave old gas in it? If you have gas in fuel cans stored how old is it? Do you need to get fresh gas and some Stabil to make it last longer? If you use propane, wood or oil stoves have you ordered fuel for the winter? Get it now before the rush or prices go higher!

You can start building skills and doing things that will save you money. Libraries and the internet have all kinds of classes, books and things you can learn that cost little if no money. You need to work on changing your mindset and think outside of the box. Think of what is possible instead of making excuses for yourself of not learning and doing.  Embrace failure and learn not to fear it, because that is how you learn. Stop using the word can’t and figure out a way to make it happen! I loved playing basketball as a kid and I was never going to slam dunk a basketball simply because my body was incapable of leaping nearly 5 feet in the air. So I learned to shoot 3 pointers from outside.

Last but not least have you got your holiday shopping done or at least started?  Keeping those family traditions going will make you feel more in control and boost your morale when things get bad. I think the PTBs will hold it together in the USA for another year, but after Cyprus and all of the banking changes I plan for a bank holiday every paycheck by paying my bills as soon as I can or a little ahead and taking all the remaining cash out of my Credit Union. Cash will be King at least for the short term, your credit or debit cards not so much.

Will you have a week, a month,  a year, five years I don’t know.  I do know you will probably have a disaster of some sort in the because Mama nature has a bizarre sense of humor and “Life” is trying to kill you and one day will succeed. You will always need the basics of food, water and heat in the future so there is no harm in getting those things now that you will use. Instead of using a credit card/debt to buy what you need/want today and pay for it in the future. Buy what you need in the future and pay for it today.


Planning for family and friends or adding to the barter box

January 24, 2013

During my little adventure I  have met many people who refuse to prepare in any way and quite a few of them are related to me or are friends.  Needless to say I have had very little luck convincing these people to prepare.  I think that was a big reason I started this blog was to try and help people who wanted to prepare but it look to expensive or there was just to much info to take in.  At least that’s how I was when I started out.  I hope I have been able to show how a disabled person on a fixed income can not only prepare but start working on becoming self reliant.  But it’s been very tough dealing with people who refuse to even consider prepping for a disaster. Or somehow that being self-reliant is some kind of “fringe movement”.

If you have been prepping or are into self-reliance, I’m sure you have had very similar conversations as I have and are just as frustrated by them as I am. You probably have given up talking to people about preparing because they just refuse to listen or say something like “I don’t need to prepare.  I’ll just come to your house”!  Now I have worked very hard and went without for years to make sure I’m as ready as possible and now I am supposed to support 10 other people who decided that a Wii, Iphone, Big screen TV and going out every weekend to dinner and drinks at the bar was more important than having some extra food, shelter, first aid, water and sanitation items stored.  I do understand that kind of frustration and have often thought I won’t share with those greedy SOBs but I know I do love them and I will try to help them if I can afford to help!  They will also pay for what they get from me, though it might just be in muscle power, instead of cash.

I started my charity buckets and I keep a few gallons worth of water in soda bottles that I can give out and move refugees along. No,  I’m not planning  take them in as it will be to dangerous for me. I plan for helping family members but they may not like the cost of that help as they will work, pull security and learn, or they will leave and get nothing.  Sorry it has to be that way but life is hard and it ain’t fair.  Now many will refuse to pay the cost and that is where my “Barter Box” comes into my planning.

A lot of the stuff  I have in my barter box started off as cheap backups for me then for the non-preppers I know. My little sterno stove and canned heat fuel for example cost less than $15.00 and if the power went out I could still heat up a can of soup or boil up a little water for a cup of coffee or whatever I had to eat without using electricity.  I now have better stoves and oven for backups, so the Sterno stove goes into the barter box. Same thing starting off with candles for light. Then I got good flashlights and kerosene lamps, so some of the candles go into the barter box along with some of the cheap flashlights, now that I have higher quality lights on hand.  Some small items are always great barter goods like bic lighters or wooden matches.

Just because you start out prepping getting the cheapest you can afford does not mean those items will have no value as barter in the future. A small battery powered or wind up radio can have huge value if the store sells out. Or in a power outage that little sterno stove!  I’m darn frugal and hate the idea I may have wasted money and I don’t feel as if I have wasted anything.  Because I always had a backup as I moved up. So  set aside a couple of boxes for those little items for family, friends and barter.  Sure you are not giving them the best that you have but if they complain tell them to eat that Ipad or burn that big screen TV.

It’s not different for me than it is for you. Yes, you will be pissed off that you are aware of how bad things are and at times you will wish you could go back to being a sheep for a few minutes. Then you will look at what happens in a storm of sitting on the freeway waiting for a pileup to clear and you have food, heat, water and blankets or warm clothes to put on and you will know it’s worth it. Or all of the stores sell out of heaters during a cold snap and you have all you need already on hand.  The ATMs and debit card readers all go out and you reach into your wallet for your “Mad Money” pay cash and walk out with what you need/want.  You are no longer living paycheck to paycheck, out of debt, have your little emergency fund and are even a month ahead on paying your bills.  I’ll tell you that is a huge stress reducer and will give you true peace of mind!

 


The last post of 2012

December 31, 2012

I can’t say I like how 2012 is finishing up, but overall I did get most of my goals done and then some!  I managed to fill my last shopping list  and get a box 9mm, shotgun shells at a real good price along with gallon of 15-40 weight oil for the vehicles at my local farm store. Amazon order will be in next week so I can get you all a report on the dual band radio at least as a reciever without breaking the law!  🙂  The collapsible water barrel and the inverter are going to be nice additions for building the portable solar generator and start on the ice house.  I got a price on the metal 55 gallon drums with lids of $23.00 so I think the gas storage as well as the barrel stove for the garage will be a go for 2013.

I like using the real gas in the Kia as I seem to be getting better gas mileage. I did a little test and filled my gas tank on the 1st of Dec. with real gas and I still had over 1/4 tank when I filled up today. Using ethanol gas my tank is  just barely above empty if I go a month with no refills. Plus I think the Kia fuel system is staring to get clean from all the gunk that the ethanol attracts. She kind of sputtered and coughed on the first tank of the real stuff but that is starting to go away. The Kia is getting a bit spoiled having some new tires and nice oil, gas  to make her a happy car. I’m going to run the diesel fuel additive I read about at Six Bears blog through the tank again and see if the Kia keeps improving on her cough. It was a pretty nasty sputter she had on the first tank of real gas + the fuel additive but it is getting a lot better and I think it should keep improving. Not sure if it will kill the check engine light, but overall I’m pleased with results.

We had a a new baby born into the family today, Grandpa celebrated his 70th birthday and is getting all into the anger phase of waking up. The NY roast was a big hit and I think he liked his little birthday present I got him. Nothing big just a little solar powered light  built into a boat for his pond area keeping with his nautical theme of lighthouses.  I think he is getting a little scared that the kids are not ready but while not perfect we got enough on hand to have a little time to react. It’s kinda weird when I’m the one telling folks to calm down and not panic.

2013 is looking to be a little more work with a little less money and add some rising prices on food and energy just to make things more interesting.  But the seed catalogs are out and with my little rototiller I’m looking forward to the spring planting season being a little easier for me to maintain and add a few new garden beds. I’m feeling confident on my water storage plan and I’m adding to my replacement water plus filtration for the long term.

I do think life will take a bit more work and time compared to what we got used to in the past. I think having about 6 months of all your basic needs stored will let you ride out most bad times and get you to the next harvest as well as time to adapt to the new “normal”. While 3 weeks to 3 months is a great starting goal, if the  SHTF in Jan. that only gives you 3 months of food till April and most gardens are just getting planted up north at best in April.  Six months of staples could get you into 1st harvests of lettuce,tomatoes and smaller root crops like carrots and radishes. As well as get you into the lowest prices at the local markets if you can’t plant a big garden.

 


Buy a Gun Day and Thank you progressive idiots you gave me a reason to vote for Mitt!

November 4, 2012

As passed by the Congress:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Not a damn thing about hunting or what kind of Arms (Militia would seem to suggest Battle rifles and pistols at a minimum). You also notice it does not say this right is only for people who make up the Militia:

1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers The People
2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency. The National Guard or the Reserves  does not constitutes a true Militia as they can be activated by The United States government and are Subject to the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice)
3. The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service. Conscripts/Draftees  become Soldiers and areSubject to the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).
So while you are out on November 6th and voting. Exercise you 2nd Amendment rights regardless of who you vote for as we can tell the PTBs the WE THE PEOPLE are the true rulers of this country!
If you can’t afford a gun, buy ammo, buy any kind of gun related article you can and send a message to the PTBs!
Here are some suggestions from III Arms

The 1911

The 1911

III Arms

III Arms: Made By Patriots- Made For Patriots

For all you progressives who have tried to convince me to vote  the “correct” way and have used fear, lies, intimidation, threats of riots and murder. You just got Mitt Romney a vote from me that he did not have a couple of weeks ago.  If you look at what I have said above , I think you can guess exactly how a might respond to being threatened!