Monday, October 12, 2015

Yard Clean Up - Preparing for Winter and Preparing to Move

I spoke with a realtor and was told to clean up the yard to make it presentable.  In other words, make it look empty, sanitized, open.  Never mind that I had cords and cords worth of firewood rounds.  They weren't split, but they were cut to size.  Much of it was eucalyptus which burns nice and hot.  I also had oak plus other some other nicely burning wood.  There was also the scrap wood pile.  I did give some of that away so an acquaintance could build a shelter for her lamb.  I have about 3/4 of a cord of wood that we will use for the winter.  I'm sure if there's some wood in the shed the realtor won't have a fit about that. 
Last Friday morning I had a 30 yard dumpster delivered to the house.  When the guy delivered it he said that along with the rental price for the dumpster it's $50 a ton to dump it if it's mixed items but it's $60 to dump the entire 30 yard dumpster if it was all wood products.  All wood products it will be! I started filling the dumpster on Friday and decided that since I was going to save so much money by not having to pay the $50 a ton that I'd hire someone to come and help load it.  I have grandsons who could use extra money but they certainly don't work hard.  Boy and Girl were at school.  I called Labor Ready.  I used them many years ago and at that time the price was $15 an hour.  Now it's $20.99 per hour with a four hour minimum.  They sent someone over within the hour but he was only able to work for five hours.  Since I had to let him have a lunch break if he worked over 4, I knew I'd get 4 1/2 hour of work out of him.  We filled over 20 yards in that time.  OK, he filled 15 or 16 yards.  I filled the other 4 or 5, maybe.  I was home but also working from home that day, so I would do some office work and go out side for my break and load wood. I was able to get my eight hours of work in plus those few yards.  I felt pretty good about that.   
This same person came back yesterday morning and worked for another 3 hours.  I paid him cash rather than going through the labor company and he earned $15 an hour rather than the $10 the company gave him.  Saved me money and he got more.  The dumpster was completely filled with wood product and there's still more in the yard.  It is really frustrating to know that people want to buy a place that looks perfect and then they will just turn around and buy their own cords of wood.  Stupid.  Since he was here I picked up 15 bales of hay and had him stack it.  I had to show him how I wanted it since he'd never done that job before.  It's not hard as long as you can handle the 100-120 pound bales.  You just have to offset them when you stack so they don't fall over.   He was happy to learn a new skill and I didn't mind not having to deal with 3/4 ton of hay!

I'm off today for Columbus Day.  It's the last time the company is giving this  holiday.  Starting next year they are giving MLK Day instead.  Works for me! I'll take another holiday in January since I won't be with the company to get next October's holiday.  It was really nice to be off during the week and the grandkids were in school. 

Early this morning I had the dumpster picked up and emptied and then had it brought back.  I still have stuff in the barn that I am getting rid of.  It's cheaper to get rid of some of it and repurchase it used once we get to Colorado.  Boy has decided that he wants to earn money so as soon as he got home from school today he went outside to do yard work and fill the dumpster.  I went to check on him and he's not filling it right.  You have to start at one end and work your way to the other.  Otherwise it will be full of empty spaces, and we can use all the space there is.  You want to get paid, do it right.  It's a lesson he needs to learn now.  There are so many people who think that just because they show up they should be paid.  Or if they do the job but not right, they should be paid.  According to our labor laws they have to be paid whether they do the job right or not.  Show up, get paid.  He needs to learn to do it right. 

He gave me the excuse that he was just dumping it at the door end and once that area was full he was going to move it to where it was supposed to be.  No.  Do it right every time.  You never know when you are going to have to stop and I don't want a pile at the wrong end when you leave.  He had a little bit of attitude and told me that he was going to do it.  Then about 30 minutes later he came in the house.  Is it done?  No, I have a splinter.  See, you are stopping and you left it wrong.  Let's get the splinter out but if you don't have it done right you don't get paid.  Tough grandparent!

I moved the trailer into the front yard.  We are having company at the end of the month and one is allergic to cats.  This person usually sleeps in the trailer.  So I'll get it cleaned up for the company before it's sold. 

We are finally going to have a garage sale next weekend.  I've always had sets of everything, especially because of owning the bugout place, the travel trailer, and our house.  I'm selling the trailer because future spouse already has one.  Bugout place is on the market so it's empty of my stuff.  FS isn't quite as redundant as I am but we really could just pack a clothes bag (and the electric, with a hand crank, wheat grinder, and canning jars, and...we've got lots to bring!).  Is anyone going to buy any of this stuff?  I have no idea. 

I was given a five gallon can of linseed oil - over $100 worth.  Work was going to throw it away because it didn't have the right coding on it.  I don't know what I'll do with five gallons but I knew what I wanted 1/2 gallon for.  I put a nice coat of linseed oil on the oak floor in the dining room.  It's a 40 year old oak plank floor.  About twice a year I oil or wax it.  Linseed oil is perfect for it.  The rest of the year I wash it with a mop and Murphy's Oil Soap in a bucket of water.  It's certainly not the way I treat the finished wood floors in the rest of the house!  I have another 4 1/2 gallons of oil.  The wood furniture is going to get coated.  The floor is going to look great by the time the house is ready to sell! 

I picked the last of the persimmons from the tree.  The bees are desperate for food this year.  They normally go after the persimmons once they are bright orange and starting to soften, around Thanksgiving.  This time of year they are hard as a rock and green with a tint of light orange.  This past week the bees ate them all, except four!  I've never seen anything like it in the 15 years or so that I've had the persimmon tree. 

We still have pears and apples on the trees.  I wasn't going to can any more pears and I canned lots of apples.  I may can some pears anyway.  We had people over yesterday so I offered them pears.  Take as many as you want.  They took six.  Take apples as well.  They took four.  That's not what I meant.  Take 100! 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Interesting that my last post I wrote about how brother analyzes evil in the world.  Then not long after that I saw an article that the DIA analyst reports were being changed and sugar coated prior to being handed out to the important government officials.  I guess the picture wasn’t rosy enough, so it’s better to just make it all up.  The country is too interested in seeing who Trump is going to insult next or what some tv star is wearing so that story didn’t last long on any news program.  It then popped up again just yesterday.  I guess it was a slow political day.  This topic worries me and brother can’t say anything.  I just remember that his wife said he insists on them keeping lots of extra food.

Future Spouse’s son passed away a last month.  Obviously it’s affecting FS.  Makes me wish I lived closer than 1500 miles away.  I can hear the improvement in FS’s mood each day, which is good.  I went to Oregon for FS’s son’s memorial service.  I drove the 750 miles each way without trouble.  I didn’t get out of my hometown until 5:30 in the evening so I ended up at the rest stop at the top of the state. I had my weapon with me, as well as a full tank of gas (about 500 miles worth) and a fully provisioned car.  The plan was to only be away from home for 2 ½ days, but I always have to plan for the worst.  Especially in this area, where roads can be closed due to earthquakes or wildfires.  Around 1 in the morning I folded the back seat down and was able to sleep in the back of the Prius.  I wouldn’t recommend it for two people, but for just me, it worked fine. 

Like California, Oregon doesn’t recognize other state’s concealed handgun licenses so sleeping on the California side was more comforting.  I was able to legally keep the weapon by my side while I was sleeping.  I wouldn’t mind being the one to challenge that decision of non-reciprocity, bringing it all the way to the Supreme Court, if I had an attorney who wanted to volunteer their time.   Each year Congress puts forward a bill for federal constitutional concealed carry reciprocity but it never goes anywhere.  The Act of 2015’s latest action occurred on 2/12.  It was read twice and sent to the Committee on the Judiciary.  This isn’t new.  Someone puts out this bill each year and same old nothing happens. 

While I was driving up the 5 in Roseburg I was listening to local radio.  They were talking about their wonderful program for disenfranchised youth and how they are able to help them and keep them in school, including college.  And once again there’s another school shooting. I don’t think their program is working very well.  Last night Girl was singing praises about herself.  She is perfect just the way she is.  Really?  She rarely does anything to help anyone other than herself.  I don’t believe her D average is perfect, and yes, I told her so.  She wants to be a forensic pathologist, at least this month.  Darling Girl, you do know in order to do that job you have to have a Masters or Doctorate. Ds aren’t going to cut it.  Girl got suspended from school for tomorrow for calling a substitute teacher a name in her English class today. Yet, all she does is complain that life isn’t fair.  As long as she has it in her head that she is perfect, the fault will lie with everyone else.  It is an attitude that breeds discontent.  Like the shooter in Oregon who complained that he had a lousy job, no life, no girlfriend, and was not successful, their attitude is a big reason they have no life and no success. 

FS’s son’s passing has slowed down the new house building, as FS took a three week break.  Now FS is trying to beat the weather, which is coming quickly.  We have the electricity in, the well in, the road and house pad.  FS is trying to get someone to come and help set up the forms for the stem walls.  In this area it’s just about impossible to find people willing to work.  It’s not that everyone is employed, it’s just that they don’t want to work when looking for a job.  I don’t think FS will be able to get the building framed with a roof on by the end of November, which was the initial plan (or was it by the end of October?). If it can’t get built until next spring that will be ok.  It will put off the next set of projects which is the chicken coop and garden, but I am patient, after all, we aren’t moving to Colorado until next summer. 

This past week I was up in Washington State for a conference.  I was in the area described in The Road Home by Andrew Baze.  It’s one of Boy’s favorite books so I spent a lot of time thinking about what if scenarios while I was there.  It wasn’t hard to daydream about this, especially since my drive from Seattle airport (point A) to point B included rush hour traffic getting out of the city plus a very slow stretch on Interstate 90.  The state was conducting nightly blasting along the side of the road, which meant closing the freeway for an hour or two each evening.  I could have gotten off a few miles before the stoppage but I was hoping to beat the 6:00 road closure.  I didn’t.  I sat on a closed freeway for an hour. But it was a fun use of my imagination and made a good story to tell the grandkids.

While I was at my conference interesting things were going on back at the office.  After three months of company indecision and the boss on leave, the boss was able to retire rather than get fired.  Our section at work really hasn’t noticed any difference having a supervisor there or not.  We believe his job entailed more than just supervising us, although we don’t know what else he was supposed to do, nor do we see that anything has been dropped.  At least we haven’t gotten any citations by the state or feds, so we must be doing something right. 

Today I was asked by someone if I had heard the latest work rumor of buy-outs if we retire or leave the company.  No I hadn’t heard.  In January, supposedly they are going to be asking for volunteers to leave or retire.  Two years ago the package was severance pay plus up to $10,000 for two years of additional education.  For my age and so very few years of company seniority, I would receive almost six months of pay!  Just because one volunteers for the buyout doesn’t mean the company will accept it from everyone who volunteers.  If they do conduct the buy-out I will definitely put my name into the hat.  After all, I'm leaving next summer anyway.  I wouldn't mind leaving several months early but still get paid.  Since it sounds too good to be true, either they won't be doing another company reduction or they will be but will decide that my position is too valuable and not give me the buy-out.

I’m buying a new breeding goat from one of the FFA kids.  I bought a goat from her last year.  She does a really good job working with the goats and has produced some very well behaved critters.  Unfortunately for me, I haven’t put in the same kind of time with our baby goats and they are more on the wild side.  I’ll probably end up selling this years baby goats and well as next spring babies.  My plan is to move one buck and four does with us to Colorado.

Boy and I read Curtain Fall and I read Lamp Black, which was the second of The Gatekeeper series written by Kenneth Cary.  It’s an interesting combination of massive volcanic eruption, earthquakes, and a not yet revealed surprise…a nuclear explosion.  The main character has visions and is given help by his not yet born grandson.  The visions and dreams confused Boy, who then didn’t enjoy the book as much as he otherwise would have.  Curtain Fall takes place in three days (plus some flashbacks of previous dreams).  John, the husband/father, has a vision plus he sees a quick news story that disappears after one airing.  He believes that a major natural disaster is going to happen soon.  He decides to act immediately to bolster his preps.  Lamp Black is the second of the series. The ash starts to fall and chaos isn’t far behind.  The second book is a little more graphic, although still mild.  Boy hasn’t read it, but his still young and mostly childish mind would be rather disturbed by some of the detail (one woman is found bound to her bed naked and spread eagle, other women are naked and tied up in a trailer used for men’s folly).  The books are supposed to be for ages 8-18.  I guess I’m just old fashioned because I wasn’t reading about naked ladies spread eagle when I was eight.   I’ve read reviews on the third book and although the actual survival story line is good the main character spends a little too much time on the supernatural side – including deciding he doesn’t need a gun since he can foretell the future. 
Since I like to pick apart the preparedness part of books, I was able to overlook some of the grammar and misspelled words (e.g. plane instead of plain) but I wasn’t happy about his comment on the propane tank.  The family had a little more than half a tank of propane, I’d guessing around 300 gallons.  The author then states that this will last a couple of months if they are careful.  Really?  In Texas? If they are using the propane to cook and for a very short shower every few days but not heating the house they should be able to make 300 gallons stretch for an entire year.  Perhaps the author hasn’t ever used propane.    

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The past week

We had a full weekend with several out of town relatives coming for a family celebration.  Brother who lives in Europe and can’t really tell me what he does for a living came as well.  There aren’t too many people under 50 who aren’t on Facebook or aren’t found on a Google search.  He is one of those people.  Nothing.  
His wife, SIL, grew up in Appalachia in a pretty poor family.  Sometimes she has to be reminded that she can buy good food.  She knows how to make moonshine and her relatives brought bottles of it to their wedding.  I was giving SIL a tour of our house since she’s never been here.  When we walked into the home store I said it was my favorite room and it would probably be hers too.  She then made a comment about how Brother requires that they have at least two years worth of food in their home.  She said they do but it’s hard because they don’t have a specific room to store it all. They also grew a large garden. 
I found her conversation really interesting because Brother always tries to say things are fine and nobody should worry.  His job has to do with analyzing all the evil in the world yet he when he talks to family and friends he downplays the evil in the world.  I know he can’t give away secrets but he must be worried if two years of food storage is their plan. 
He also said that he only has one more year overseas.  After that they are coming back to the US to stay and they need to figure out where they will be.  He mentioned Colorado, which would make us happy since that’s where we are going next year.  About 20 years ago he worked at NORAD so I’m sure there’s work for him back there again. 
I got a Facebook message from a realtor who said she may have a buyer for the Bug-out place.  She wanted to know if I’ve picked out a realtor yet.  I told her I hadn’t because I was waiting until I was finished with the house.  She is going to come up to the property on Saturday morning and look at the place and give me a pitch on why I should choose her.  Her last name is an old family name in the area where I work.  I thought she may be the wife of my coworker so I asked him.  He said that she was married to his cousin about 15 years ago.  The marriage lasted for less than one year and produced no children.  She kept the last name.  It makes me wonder if she did to try to drum up new business. 
The boss is still off work.  It’s been about a month and no word as to whether he is getting fired or is coming back.  It’s interesting because we really don’t miss him.  His boss (who works 5 hours from our office) shows up each week for a day or two.  Anything that’s come up he has been able to deal with. 
I finished reading the book that I won from an Apartment Prepper give-away,   A Time To Endure by Kyle Pratt.  It wasn’t great but it was not bad.  It’s ok for Boy and Girl as well.  It’s much less graphic than some of the books I’ve read and again makes a teenager a hero.  The shootout scene with the teen and his girlfriend against the gang was farfetched, but boy liked it because the teen made some mistakes but reasoned out his strategy.  The main character is a few years older but still on the young side.  He has a lot of integrity and is very sensible.  Those are good qualities for a main character that I like having the kids read about.  It’s the second of a series and I haven’t read the first.  Max in Colorado Springs gave Boy Curtain Fall and Lamp Black written by Kenneth Cary.  Boy is half way through the first book and is enjoying it.  I told him to hurry so I can read them too.  Girl said she wasn’t interested but if Boy and I like them then she will want to read them to see what she is missing.
I can’t believe the price of eggs.  I went to the store to shop for the family gathering.  No, I wasn’t buying eggs.  I just noticed the price as I walked by.  One dozen cost between $4.75 and $6.99.  For one dozen!  In some places in the country I’ve been told that egg prices are up because birds have died of disease.  That’s not the case here.  A couple of years ago a law was passed that hens needed more room to be happy.  The farmers have cut the number of hens in half in order to provide additional cage space.  There are also a lot more who have gone to free range.  It’s just a lot more expensive and makes my home grown eggs much cheaper! 
While I know that I’m moving and I am very happy about that, it is still an uncomfortable feeling to sell the bug-out place.  It’s also uncomfortable to not be putting away more and more supplies.  While it’s nice to be saving a bunch of money right now by using up the supplies, I sure will feel better once the new place is built and we’ll be able to start stocking it. With the stock market going crazy this past week, I think many people are on edge.  I am a little but only because I've pretty much stopped my prepping due to the upcoming move.  I really could stay away from all stores for the next year until our move, if I choose to do so.  That would mean no dairy until next spring since we dried up all the goats, but we'd get through it fine.  I haven't thought about putting money that would normally be spent on preps into a separate account.  I am going to do that so when I get to Colorado I wouldn't be breaking the bank when I go make a mass purchase of all the things I'm not buying this year. 
We ended up canning 20 jars of applesauce.  I would normally can more but since we are moving I wanted to can just enough for the year.  Not canning a several year supply is another thing that’s bothering me.  I am getting impatient for my new home and new garden. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Girl's surprise

Today Girl turned 14.  I hope this year is better because 13 was a terrible year.  Girl is very musical and of her long list of gifts that she wanted, and most were absolutely never going to be given to her by me, I saw one item on the list that I thought would be great.  She asked for a clarinet.  Here at home we have a piano and accordion.  I don't think the piano is going to make the move, and who, other than me enjoys accordion?  She wanted a clarinet so I figured that would be a good gift. 

I didn't want to buy a new one and I saw an ad for one that was being sold by someone who buys used instruments and repairs them to sell to school kids.  Perfect.  So he and I made a deal that we were going to meet at a McDonald's in V-town, about an hour from our home. 

Yesterday Girl asked what we were doing for her birthday (other than her party on Saturday).  I told her that we were going to V-town to have lunch at McDonald's with one of my childhood friends and her mother.  Then I had to work for about 15 minutes another hour further away.  Girl was not happy about having to eat lunch with Boy, and three old people, then sit in the car for several more hours.  She wanted to hang out with her friends but I said no.  She'd see them on Saturday. 

I gave the clarinet seller a description of what we looked like and the vehicle we were driving.  When we got there we sort of stalled in the parking lot looking for my friend.  I noticed a person inside McDonald's staring out at us.  The clarinet seller.  I told the kids that I didn't see my friend's car so we were just going to go in and wait inside. 

When we walked in I said to girl, "Look, that looks like a clarinet salesman. Let's see what he's selling."  She's so gullible!  We walked over and I said, "That is a beautiful clarinet.  It is Girl's birthday and Girl, would you like the clarinet?"  She said she would so the clarinet seller took it out of the case, put it together, and handed it to Girl.  She started playing there in McDonald's.  I sent the kids to a different table and I paid the man. 

When I went over to our table Girl started quizzing me.  What perfect timing to have a clarinet salesman sitting there at McDonald's in V-town an hour from home.  Was that really a coincidence?  I thought about my answer for a second.  No, it was planned.  Then I showed her the texts on my phone and told her that was why she couldn't send a text to one of her friends. 

After lunch she serenaded us for the hour drive to where I had to work.  It was nice.  Tonight she told me that the older she gets the more she realizes that birthdays aren't really fun but they sure are nice.  This is the best birthday that she can remember.  Yes, I hope this year is a good year. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fitting Everything into the Schedule

What a title!  I can't ever fit everything into the schedule.  If there's free time then I have something to fill it with.  Each weekend I make a list of about 20 things.  I'm lucky if I accomplish half.  But, I'm realistic and know that I won't actually finish it.  I don't feel bad at the end of the weekend because of the unrealistic list.  If I did then I'd cut down the list.  After all, if you feel like you aren't accomplishing enough you become less motivated. 

I think the less motivated part has happened to me lately on weekdays.  I feel overwhelmed when I get home from work. It's still light out and not too hot so I should be taking advantage of the time and DO SOMETHING.  Lately though, I come home, make dinner, and sit down and sort of read. Just sort of, because it's taking me forever to get through my book.  That makes me feel bad because I won it from Apartment Prepper and I wanted to write a nice review.  I will, just really late.

This week I decided to make a change. I'm not going to put off all my chores on to the weekend.  I WILL accomplish something when I get home from work.  It won't take up too much time and I'll still be able to end my evening reading. 

Yesterday I stopped at Home Depot and picked up another gallon of paint. (After my typical 12 1/2 hour workday including commute, spending an hour running into the big city to pick up paint is an accomplishment!) Today I finished painting the mud room.  I started the room on Sunday and would have finished except Girl helped roll out the walls and knocked over the paint can in the process.  OK so knocking over the paint can didn't help... Tomorrow the coat hooks and shelf go back up on the wall. 

Girl has been behaving very well the past couple of weeks.  She is even being nice to her brother, in an almost 14 year old sister to 12 year old brother way.  Why?  Her birthday is coming up and she has planned a party for herself in town.  I told her that she could invite 7 friends, plus herself, Boy, and me.  She knows if she isn't good I will have no problem cancelling her party.  Too bad she can't have a birthday every month or so! 

Our division's new VP started today.  This is the 3rd VP in my 2 1/2 years with the company.  Our supervisor has been put on leave of absence for the past two weeks, as well.  Who knows if he will get fired.  The first one I had did.  So glad I am no longer a supervisor!

Work was crazy today.  I was told about a project over one year ago.  About 2 months ago the company had a job walk so everyone involved would be on the same page. They are in a huge "rush" to get this done because it's mandated by the state regulators.  At that time I found out that it wasn't my project, I was just supposed to provide support to the other specialist.  Great!  Then I was asked to actually take the lead because I had more knowledge on this topic.  I've been asking for specific documentation since even before the job walk.  Every week I get a different story about what their project is, which then changes what I need to accomplish.  Last week I got what was supposed to be their final decision of how the project was going to take place.  So, I again asked for a copy of their documentation.  I can't do my work without including a copy of what they said.  Just today at noon they finally emailed it to me.  Then one person wanted to know if I could get my work completed either today or tomorrow.  Sure, even though I had something else planned for tomorrow, I could start today and finish up my document by tomorrow.  Then someone else emailed to say it has to be in the mail today.  This was at 1:00!  I only had 3 1/2 more hours to work and I didn't feel like working extra. Normally I say sure but my response was I'll try.  Then I realized their documentation was flawed so I asked more questions.  They got pissed and someone else sent me an email and asked if I wanted the original person to take over this project.  Of course.  After all, it was supposed to be that person's project and I was supposed to be the technical expert.  It wasn't supposed to be dumped on me at the last minute.  Anyway, our local post office closes at noon.  Even if I had finished my part today it wouldn't have made it into the mail.  I didn't see a copy of the other person's report tonight, so I wonder if it got done.

I have two fun days for work tomorrow and the next day.  Tomorrow I have to go to a federal office to look at some of their documents.  Oops, the company planned a project and I realized that part of the project is ok and the other part is would be breaking some federal regulations.  So we are going to work out a deal.  We will do the federal government's work at no charge to the government.  They should like that.  It's reasonable so probably not!

Then on Thursday Boy, Girl, and I are going to drive for two hours to get to another project.  This project isn't mine to work on but it's at a facility that I'm responsible for so I need to do a double check.  If I recall right, I saw something a little over a year ago there that wasn't documented.  On the other hand, I keep thinking that maybe I'm imagining that I saw something and I really didn't.  After all, if it's been inspected a dozen times and nobody else has noticed then does it exist?  Perhaps I'm just that good at my job?  We will see on Thursday! 

The apples are almost ripe on the trees.  They are very early this year.  I will be doing a lot of canning.  We only have two jars of applesauce, four jars of cinnamon apple slices, and three jars of apple syrup left from last year.  That's pretty good planning.  But now should I make double the jars of apples because I doubt I'll be wanting to can apples next year right before we move.  If I make lots of applesauce the kids will be happy.  One thing I do with the apple sauce is put it into the dehydrator (on plastic wrap) and make fruit rollups.  I can add a tablespoon of any flavor jam to about a cup of applesauce and it will change the flavor.  I like blackberry and the kids like strawberry rollups. 

I think the pears are going to be about a month early also.  That's too bad because we always have pears on the trees at Thanksgiving and I doubt they will still be on at the end of October if things progress like they are.  But canning a bunch of pears will be good too, so I'm not complaining! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Talking Survival Works! Silver Doesn't

With all letdowns I’ve dealt with this week (at the end of the post) I was really thrilled to hear about the 16 year old girl who walked through the mountainous woods for over two days after her grandparents planed crashed.  Her parents said that one of the things that they did as a family was watch survival shows and also talk about survival issues.  It’s the same reason I talked with Boy about walking 200 miles home from camp if a big earthquake struck.  I don’t expect that he’d really have to walk even ¼ of that distance ever.  These discussions and small challenges we give them give the kids the strength to KNOW that they can take care of themselves and get themselves to safety.  This 16 year old girl proved that.  She set her mind to it and didn’t give up on herself even though she couldn’t rescue her grandparents. 

I got thinking about silver.  You know we are all told to save silver and, if we can afford it, gold.  Don’t forget to save nickels too since they are worth more than a nickel.  I have about a month’s worth of take-home pay in silver and small bills sitting in the safe at home.  What good is the silver really?  When we read all the survival books they all use silver coins for payment when they aren’t bartering.  When will this need really happen where silver coins need to be used rather than dollar bills?  Not during Katrina.  Not during Sandy.  Not in Greece when the banks were closed for a couple of weeks.  Only if the entire country completely collapses.  If China succeeds in having world’s oil bought and sold in their currency rather than in U.S. dollars would this destroy our economy so bad that we’d be paying in silver coins?  Would the price of silver skyrocket?  I decided to do a little research.  Most of the websites that show silver prices don’t give a full picture.  I found one that gave me just what I was looking for. 

This chart shows the price of silver for the past 100 years.  This is not the price with inflation included, just the price.  What do you see?  Twice in the past 100 years has the price of silver skyrocketed.  In the late 70s through 1980 it was caused by a frenzy spurred by political issues and investors clamoring to get into the market.  Industrial use during that time fell about 25% although everyone was told that there was a shortage.  What about just a couple years ago? Do you remember that spike?  I do.  People were standing in line to buy silver.  Silver dollars were all sold out in my area and 1 oz. silver coins were all that was available.  I bought some and felt really happy that I bought it for $26 an ounce.  Industrial use wasn’t causing a shortage. It spiked because of political frenzy.  But isn’t the political frenzy the reason hold silver?  The state of Utah will take silver value as payment.  Some stores, mostly survival minded stores will take silver and bit coin.  I can’t find any place that has reverted to a silver economy during disaster, have you?  So silver just sits and waits along with the storage of survival foods.  At least with the foods we rotate the stock!

The bug-out place didn’t close escrow and the reason was because the buyer worked too far away.  Imagine that!  The bug-out place is not close to San Francisco!  According to the lender, and I got it straight from his lender, they can only consider it a second home rather than his primary residence because of the distance.  This means that we may not have enough money to put up the barn/apartment this summer.  I think we still do, at least the barn part.  The apartment portion can be completed once the building is weather-tight.  It also means that I have to put more money and time into the bug-out place.  It doesn’t have a kitchen or any flooring and the bathrooms still need repairs.  I was really hoping that I wouldn’t have to spend any more money on it.  Oh well.  Am I thinking about selling some of the silver?  It’s weighing on my mind. 

New property has the permits for the septic and also has the arrangements for the electricity.  It’s going to cost $17,000 to put the electricity in.  The county has an interesting program that if anyone, within the next five years, uses the additional line that we are having put in then we will get a refund for their portion.  Does that mean I want to hope we get more neighbors?  No.

Girl has been really obnoxious around her brother.  Boy was home for one day before heading back to camp and Girl was with us for the four hour drive.  He couldn’t say one sentence without her telling him to be quiet.  He was sitting in the back seat entertaining himself quite nicely by reading road signs out loud.  She was really annoyed because he was “stating the obvious,” as she put it and that he should be quiet because nobody cares.  As soon as I dropped him off her attitude completely changed and she was happy and cheerful.  But guess what?  I wasn’t in the mood to be happy and cheerful back.  She started doing the same thing that he was doing to keep herself entertained.  I told her she should be quiet because she was “stating the obvious.” She said she thought it was perfectly fine.  I told her she was a hypocrite. She said that people have told her that before. It’s not something to be proud of.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

And How Would Boy Get Home?

Boy spent the last two weeks at camp in the Bay Area (San Francisco area for non-Californians).  Today I picked him up, drove 400 miles round trip in the process and get to repeat it tomorrow.  Why?  Because he asked if he could go back for another session and being the wonderful grandparent that I am, I said yes.  Before I told him he could come back I explained that the two sessions of this camp costs about the same as going to Fresno State for half a year.  He offered that neither he nor his sister should get anything extra bought for them for the rest of the year. Why your sister?  I'm not spending all this money on her.  He said he was sure she would want to pitch in.  Right...

Unfortunately there wasn't going to be anyone at the camp who could keep him for two days.  The camp really starts Tuesday afternoon but I told the head of the camp that I could not get him there then since I had a mandatory meeting each Tuesday and two weeks ago I missed it because I brought Boy to camp and last Tuesday I missed it because I was sick.  I'm sure work would not be happy if I missed it again.  The head of the camp said that I could bring Boy back tomorrow afternoon since the counselors would be back at the camp the evening before the next session starts.  So 400 miles today and 500 miles tomorrow, including driving to work.  It's a good thing I have the Prius.

Each time I drive up there we go past the PG&E substation that was hit in the terrorist attack a year or two ago.  Very few people remember that one or the one just last spring down in southern California where "someone" loosened the main bolts on quite a few transmission towers, hoping that the towers (and electrical transmission lines) would fall in a domino effect. 

On the way home from camp today I started quizzing Boy.  What happens if a big earthquake hits and you have to leave camp but I can't get there to pick you up?  We figured it would take him 5-7 days to walk home if he had to walk the entire way.  Fortunately, crazy panic wouldn't set in the city until a few days past the disaster and he'd be out of the city by then.  But does he know how to get home?  After all, he's 12. 

The first thing he said was he'd go buy a map.  You can't buy a map.  The stores are all closed.  Pretend you can't look at a map on a cellphone.  The phones may not work in or near the disaster area.  How would you get home?  Which way would you go?  He said he'd walk along the 280 freeway.  Where is that?  How do you know which direction to head when you leave camp?  Look at the mountains.  The mountains are west of you.  If you are facing the mountains your left hand will be the direction you will want to go - south.  After he was able to verbalize that he told me which other roads he would follow.  He got all the freeway numbers right.  The 85, or if he couldn't walk there then just continue onto the 101.  Go South!  Once he got to Gilroy he'd head east on the 152.  Once over the Pacheco Pass he could continue on the 152 all the way across the Great Central Valley or he could head south on the 5 and head east at any time.  But, he concluded, the 152 is a good highway and if I was trying to find him we should have the main plan all squared away.  He figured that he would be somewhere along the 101 or the 152 by the time I was able to reach him. I did remind him that he would probably be able to call me once he got out of the bay area. His last remark was that he should pack his life straw so he could get a drink anywhere along the way that he could find water.

He also has a small get-home bag in his suitcase.  It's filled with snack foods.  He knows that he's not supposed to eat these at camp.  They are for an emergency where he has to come home.  He has a little blanket in his bag.  He doesn't need it for warmth, but if he has to find his way home, having something to wrap himself in while he sleeps is good for the morale. 

I was really pleased that he was able to figure out how to get home and smart enough to realize that we needed to work together on the plan for me to find him and also that food, and more importantly, drinking clean water was necessary.  There's more to disaster planning than just preparing for an earthquake and how to escape from the city but getting a child comfortable by filling him up with the knowledge and ability of being able to do this on his own is really important. 

Am I not going to worry, now that he has a plan?  Of course I'm going to worry.  He's a 12 year old in camp in the Bay Area, 200 miles from home.