Sunday, January 17, 2016

Underground Shooting Range

People make the comment all the time that gun regulations are only there for the law abiding citizens.  The criminals don't worry about the laws.  What's concerning are the gang members.  They are getting much more sophisticated in their training.  If you go to a local gym and look around you will see that gangs are there working out.  They know that you have to be physically fit to be able to outrun or just outlast your opponent.  Most "regular" people, including myself are not fit enough.  I use the excuse that I don't have enough time in the day.  That's true, but I can make more time.  Five or ten minute spurts can be done at anytime, even at work.  If the gangs are getting into better shape, we had better as well.

Gang members are also joining the military.  They are being taught fighting tactics as well as being given expert weapons training.  Gang members have been found on police forces and as prison guards.  Nothing like them building community!  While I live a half an hour outside a big city, the gang presence is pushing its way further into the countryside.

Just this week there was an interesting find here in the Great Central Valley, in a town about 45 minutes from here known for more gang members than not, an underground shooting range.  It made the news for about ten seconds. Someone dug a large hole (or a small tunnel) in their backyard, in the city.  The hole wasn't noticed by anyone. They covered the entrance with old mattresses to deaden the noise.  People thought that kids were playing with airsoft guns because the noise wasn't loud. There were no arrests for the shooting range.  No arrests for any felons in possession of guns.  Only one arrest for possession of drugs. This is the same little community where a man in his late 50s and his mother were out walking at 2 a.m. and he was shot and killed and she was injured.   Was the tip about the shooting range in retaliation for the shooting?  Who knows.  All I know is the gangs hold no value or respect for human life and they are spreading throughout the country.  Don't think they aren't!  Gang violence is a great indicator of what may become normal life for all, not just in those little pockets of larger cities. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fixing the eye infection and visiting/researching the new town

I did get to go to the property during Christmas break.  Unfortunately for me I ended up with an eye infection.   I wasn't sure if I had pink-eye, as I was near someone the previous day who had pink-eye, or if it was an irritation because I got a piece of sawdust in my eye.  Either way, my eyes were all gunked up and I was well blinded for a day. My vision was like I was looking though waxed paper.  Is this what glaucoma is like? Future Spouse has NO medications at home believing things can be healed naturally or you need a trip to the emergency room - there's no middle ground.  (This will change once I move in!) There was no Neosporin, no Benadryl, nothing, and it was Christmas and we were in the middle of nowhere, meaning no stores were open.  The next day we were back in the city.  I went to the local CVS and bought Benadryl, Claritin, and Neosporin.  Yes, you can put Neosporin into your eyes if you don't have the kind for eyes.  In two days my eyes cleared up.  Now if this was pink-eye and I didn't have any medication to put into my eyes, it would still clear up on it's on after a few weeks.  But having antihistamines and Neosporin made me much less miserable!

The property is in a beautiful location.  It's on the slope rather than in the valley.  It's higher elevation so we will have more snow that will stay on the ground longer than down in the valley.  The property overlooks the entire valley as well as the mountain range on the far side of the valley.  It has a great view, but that means that others have a great view of us.  In fact, coming over the pass to reach our valley provides a direct view of our slope.  Not private at all, but it can be fortified. 

I stopped at the local grocery store and was impressed with their selection of fruits and vegetables. I will shop there to help the local economy but absolutely never rely on that store to keep us supplied.  I could imagine the place running out of everything within a couple hours if everyone in town came in on the same day to buy a weeks worth of food.   I expect to do monthly shopping in the city an hour or so away.  I will immediately build up the food supply once we get there - number one priority even before all the boxes are unpacked.  (I'm figuring I'll be bringing 6 months worth with me.)      

I have been reading the local weekly paper for our new community.  In a county of under 5,000 people, the local paper is a good way to learn about people before you actually meet them.  Reading the letters to the editor one can figure out who is for self protection and who is for waiting for the authorities.  You can also figure out who wants to be self supporting and who wants the government to provide all their services.  They also have a section on police activity for the week: how many people were arrested, including their names and offenses, who got tickets and for what, where domestic disturbances are, burglaries, fights, everything gets listed. I am keeping the papers and will start mapping the locations soon.   

Fortunately for me Max in Colorado is vetting a lot of people to see if they would fit into his group.  I hope our family fits in with his, although if we don't, it will still be good to know that there is another group close by.  But he will know who not to include.  To me, that's as important as knowing who to include. 

I met one of our next door neighbors.  They are a nice younger retired couple but they certainly don't seem to be preppers.  They never spoke about putting in a garden come spring.  They gave me a tour of their home and they showed me the pantry.  It held a dozen cans of soup and about two dozen bottles of wine.  Not quite enough to sustain them.  This is their first winter on the property and it will be interesting to hear after winter is over about how often they had to leave during stormy weather to go get groceries. 


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dead chickens - dead bobcat

Getting ready to head out for over a week.  Boy and Girl are going to spend the time with their cousin in San Diego and I am going to head to Colorado. I'm looking forward to seeing first hand our new property.  However, it's not easy to go away for over a week when you have a bunch of animals.  The dog is going with Boy and Girl.  The cats, goats, sheep, and chickens are staying home. 

Boy did a good job today putting hay bales out for the goats and sheep.  Although there's grass and leaves to eat, if the weather is bad the animals will stay in the barn and go through at least two bales per week.  I'd rather put out extra bales for them in case we get delayed or they get extra hungry.  He also checked on the chickens and made sure their food bin was full.  All was good.

We got all our bags packed. The car is loaded and ready to head out in the morning.  All day I was telling the kids to eat whatever leftovers are in the refrigerator.  No making any new dishes.  Let's use up what's here.  After dinner I cleaned out the refrigerator of all the leftovers they didn't devour.  It all went into the chicken food bowl.  Boy, I need you to do one last chore for me.  Please bring this bowl out to the chickens. He asked if he could do it in the morning.  No. I know it's raining but go do it now.  He asked Girl if she wanted to go with him.  Of course not. 

Boy came running back into the house.  Bobcat in the chicken coop!  I went out and shot it.  Fortunately it only killed two chickens.  I'm not sure how the bobcat got into the coop.  I asked Boy if the coop was open or locked up when he went in.  He said it was locked up. Girl said that there was a hole in the fencing a while back but she fixed it.  I will try to figure it out in the light of day.  Hopefully it will be an easy fix since we are supposed to leave early. 

We told future spouse and FS wanted to know why I didn't have Boy shoot it.  Actually, the thought never crossed my mind.  That was a good suggestion, although I hope we don't have a repeat so that Boy gets the opportunity! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Realtor sleeze-balls and starting to pack things

I have brought three realtors over to the house so far to ask several questions. None of these questions are out of the ordinary.  In fact, I would assume that they are the typical questions asked.  But three realtors gave me three very different answers. 

What are you going to do for me? The answers ranged from taking video, having its own YouTube channel, paying for up front posting on realtor sites, open houses, and lots of photos, to I'll tell you more once we sign the contract.   How are you going to market my house?  Same as above.

What repairs or changes need to be made to make the house more sellable?  This was really interesting.  I made the comment that Boy's room is going to have carpet put in as right now it's just the cement slab. One realtor said good idea and provided color suggestions.  Another said carpet both kids rooms.  The third said just leave it as is.  But, I countered, the crack in the slab, although it hasn't changed in 18 years makes the house not able to get a mortgage if the appraiser doesn't believe that it isn't an issue.  It won't take much to fill in the crack and put down carpet.  The realtor still said no I shouldn't spend the money.  Really?  And possibly lose a sale because some idiot appraiser can't tell the difference between a new crack and an old one?  How do I know they can't tell the difference?  Because several years ago I wanted to refinance and was told no because I had to hire a structural engineer to guarantee the repair.  I was also told to make the bathrooms look spotless and sparkling.  I spent the day before Thanksgiving regrouting my shower.  That was easy.  I also pulled two tiles that were buckling outside the kids shower and cleaned off the mortar and remortared them onto the wall.  Looks great. 

What needs to be packed up prior to putting the house on the market?  I sure didn't like walking even the realtors through the house for them to see the hidden closet with the safe or the home store with all our food.  Nobody said to pack up the home store.  One realtor wanted to show pictures of all the food and show how well prepared this house was.  No, I think showing all the fruit trees, garden, and barns, along with a fairly empty pantry is better for me.  Another said to pack up as much as possible and also to move out half the furniture.  That's what I'm going to try to do.

How much is the house worth?  This was really interesting.  All three asked how much I thought it was worth before they would tell me their opinion.  Well, the house down the street that is the same exact size as mine only they have a pool and the house is older sold for XX.  I think mine should sell for the same.  More because my house is more updated.  One of the realtors said that I should market it for $50k less and have people start a bidding war.  Sounds great if we had a really hot market. 
How's the market?  Slow...  Then who is going to create a bidding war?  Sounds more like they want the house to sell really fast at a much lower price.  They get their money faster.

What is the market like for sellers around here? Things priced right are selling for just about full price in a few months.  It has picked up a lot over the past few years. 

When should I put the house on the market? As soon as possible said one, in March said the second, and beginning of summer said the third.  I actually like the one who said as soon as possible.  He said that although there aren't as many buyers during the winter there aren't as many houses on the market either which means that my house can stand out.  And if it doesn't sell there's always spring and summer. 

So for now, I am trying to pack up stuff.  Did you know that if you buy boxes at U Haul you can return what you don't use?  Or in my case, a bundle of 25 boxes didn't have enough glue and had to be returned.  Not a problem as long as you return them to the U Haul you bought them from.  This meant driving past two U Hauls to get to the right one. I've packed around 30 boxes so far.  It hardly looks like I've made a dent in any room other than the family room and there it's because most of the bookshelves are empty.   I think we have around 200 feet of shelves throughout the house just for books.  I did go through them and give away a lot.  But we are keeping a lot as well.  Same with the games.  I got rid of as many as we are keeping.  Although the house still looks full, most of the drawers are much less cluttered or are completely empty. 

I packed my wheat grinder, water bath canners, pressure cooker, canning jars and lids, and all those items that I'm not going to use this year that have to do with food preservation. It's really strange to know that I won't be canning fruits and vegetables this year and that other than the citrus we won't be enjoying any of the other dozens of fruit trees.  

Trying to do any of this work while working full time is a real challenge.  On top of that, our weekends are full.  Every single weekend from now until the end of year we will be away from home at least one of the two days and some weekends both days.  Can't get much done that way.  But I do get to take a trip to Colorado to see future spouse and our new property.  That will be a great motivator to get things going in the house and get it on the market soon.  I think I will interview another realtor.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Putting in a winter garden and Girl problems again

I had a realtor come over the other day and he gave suggestions to make the outside of the house and garden look good.  He was pleased with the clean up that we did.  He wants me to take down the front pasture fencing to open the front yard up.  OK, about a week or two before the house goes on the market.  Next week the animals are going out to the front pasture to eat all the mulberry leaves that are falling to the ground.  They save me lots of time by taking care of this task and I don't have to feed them any hay while they are cleaning up the leaves and brush. 

The realtor thinks planting the garden will evoke someone looking at the house to be able to imagine the garden belonging to them.  I wasn't thinking about putting in a winter garden because I didn't want to spend any time on it, but after looking at my empty garden space I realized that I have to put in a winter garden.  Where I live a winter garden is easy - as long as the goats don't get out and eat it all.  I am going to put in broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, and all those "winter" crops.  Once they are planted I really don't have to do anything to them.  I'll keep the weeds down to give it the glamorous look.  After all, when the house goes on the market it will all be about "staging".

Girl is still being challenging both at school and home. After she was suspended for three days the school took away her I-pad. Now she is on the old-fashioned books, paper, and pencil routine.  She is also no longer able to access Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, and Twitter.  Because she is no longer occupied with the I-pad at home she is a bit more pleasant.  Just a bit.  She is doing her homework and reading again.  She still isn't helping with anything around the house or yard but at least the school attitude is better.  

Why do I write so much about the antics of Girl? Since my goal is to be self-sufficient as much as possible as well as to watch out for our safety when the SHTF as well as any time we leave our home, problems with family members have an impact on everything we do.  Even if it was a SHTF situation, she is still not an adult.  I can’t dump her on the street (although at times it crosses my mind).  I can’t pretend that her parents will somehow come to their senses and want to take back their obligation to raise their child.  She is still my responsibility.  How can I balance my preps with her actions?  She knows why we store things but she has an overwhelming need to do what she wants, no matter who it harms. 

So what is it this time with her?  I tell her that if she doesn’t keep her room clean then I will be happy to clean it.  I’m not really happy but it gives me the opportunity to go through everything.  Now I cleaned out her drawers just a few weeks ago.  Even with the house rule of only eating in the kitchen or dining room, she had eaten in her room and stashed 4 yogurt containers, a box of cake mix, 2 cans of beef stew, a container of frosting, a couple bottles of Gatorade.  She had a baggie filled with Ibuprofen, another with Tylenol, and another with aspirin.  Topping off my find was a container with over 100 pills.  There were about 15 different types of pills. She had gone into the medicine cabinet and taken some of everything she could find. 

I took all the pills back and put them back into the proper bottles.  (I was very tempted to get every type of laxative I could find and exchange her pills! Of course, she’d have gotten sick and I would have gone to jail!) I locked everything that was a prescription medication into the safe.  The rest of the medications are still in the cabinet.  I asked her why she had them.  She said that she wanted her own supply for when she needed them.  No, I have a bottle of the three main pills in the kitchen.  They are always available but you still need to ask before you help yourself.  Nobody needs a stash in the dresser drawer.  What about the container with mixed pills?  She said that she uses them to help her sleep.  What?  The doctor said if you can’t sleep then you should take a Benadryl.  For some reason Benadryl helps people sleep and is non-addictive.  I even offered that to her before.  I had also given her other tips if she can’t sleep – mainly get up and clean something.  You’ll be tired soon enough, and if you aren’t then at least something will have gotten cleaned.

Girl pulled her normal if I loved her then I’d let her have the pills.  No. Because I love you you cannot have the pills.  You cannot self-medicate.  She wanted to know why not since there’s no law saying she can’t.  I had to explain that it is against the law to use prescription medication in a way other than to who and what the doctor prescribed it.  She just complained that she doesn’t want to live with me anymore and that she wants to live with her friends parents because they would let her use whatever pills she wants. 

So with Girl constantly eating the preps and hiding what she eats, and now getting into the meds, I’m realizing that I have to keep things locked up from my own family, not just the roving masses.  I have to figure out how, in our next home I am going to arrange things so she can’t get into our preps.  While it’s normal to lock up dangerous items when you have little children around, it’s frustrating to have to do so for a fourteen year old.  At times she’s mature enough that she can really be counted on, but more often than not, her behavior is that of a temper tantrum throwing two year old.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

UC Merced - It was a terrorist attack after all

My hunch was right.  Last weeks terrorist attack at UC Merced was just that, a terrorist attack.  I was not surprised by the comments that came from the students though.  The students were saying that they need to be more inclusive and make sure everyone is friendly to everyone else.  They shouldn't have kicked him out of their study group. After all, if everyone was more friendly then the student who stabbed four people certainly wouldn't have done what he did.  Right?  Wrong! 

The sheriff is still trying to state that it wasn't a terrorist attack.  Why, because his parents and family are not radical so he couldn't possibly be?  His family has apologized.  They didn't know he was taken in by radical Islam.  Unfortunately that doesn't mean it wasn't a terrorist attack.  Let's go over a couple of facts, not the twist it so people don't worry.  Faisal Mohammed carried an ISIS flag with him.  He had a manifesto which stated that this was an attack and praised Allah.  His plan was somewhat juvenile though.  He wanted to use the petroleum jelly not for making a bomb but to grease the floor so people would slip.  Easier to attack them I suppose.  He also wanted to confront the police and try to take one of their weapons so he could use it. 

What isn't known yet, at least by the public, is whether he was being directed by someone else or if he was doing this on his own.  Isn't that was the terrorists are asking for?  For people to strike on their own?  They don't actually have to have an association with the terrorist group, just want to participate. 

Individuals committing terrorist acts in this country has started.  The biggest may have been the Boston Marathon bombing but I'm sure they are happening all the time. They just aren't being publicized as terror attacks.  After all, most Americans want to put their head in the sand and pretend it's happening everywhere but here.  If we don't pay attention then it's not really happening so we are all safe.  Just as safe as those students and staff at UC Merced.

The other day I was doing some research and came across a vulgar website that was run by a "Christian" group who hated Jews and blacks and was pushing the same agenda as the radical Muslims.  Those "Christians" aren't Christian just as the radical terrorist "Muslims" aren't Muslim.  I just read that the man who killed the people in Kansas because he thought they were Jews (oops they were Christian!) has received the death penalty.  Good. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Extra people means less supplies and the knife attack at UC Merced

Last week we had a family and friend gathering at our home for the weekend.  Some out-of-towners stayed with us, either sleeping on mats, extra beds, the couch, or in the trailer.  Feeding 25-30 instead of 3 uses up a lot of supplies really quickly.  I used 10 times as much food and supplies during that one 3-day weekend. Yes, that's equal to one month of food and supplies used up in 3 days.

While we plan to supply ourselves with food and household goods, and we daydream about having our family and friends join us when TSHTF, last weekend sure was a wakeup call!  If you open your house to extra people, are they bringing a full range of supplies? 

Future Spouse came out to California last weekend.  FS was asking some of the relatives, especially those in Southern California, what they plan on doing to prepare for a disaster, even if it's an earthquake.  The relatives gave responses such as they didn't need to do anything or they had a few days of food in the house.  I think they are complacent because they've lived through many earthquakes and haven't ever really been affected. 

FS is back in Colorado and now is planning on building my greenhouse.  I made it very clear that I wanted one big enough to grow all the vegetables that we would need.  I have never had to do intensive gardening as I've always had as much room for a garden as I wanted.  It's a different way of thinking.  I was asked how large of a building do I want.  How should I know?  As big as we can afford?  I was told that there is a greenhouse building boom in Colorado right now.  That's because they are being used for all the new pot farms. 

FS is also planning on building a root cellar.  I'm not sure if it's going to be built into the side of the hill or if it's going to be built like a storm cellar.  I don't always know what FS has in mind.  All I know is I'm pleased that FS is taking a proactive approach to the requirements needed for a full scale homestead.  While FS is an avid hunter, it's good to prepare for a well rounded diet.

On a different note, the person at UC Merced that slashed four people with a knife prior to being shot and killed by the police was being identified yesterday as "a Californian".  I knew there was something strange about that.  The person's identity couldn't be made public until the next of kin were notified.  Normally the news still says something about the person, just not their name.  Why was this person being identified as "a Californian"? Illegal alien perhaps?  No, it's because his name was Faisal Mohammed. 

He was described by one of his victims as looking scared but at the same time looking like he was having fun and he was smiling as he was stabbing people.  Now if this was just an attack by someone who was having an argument, he wouldn't have been looking like he was having fun and smiling.  Perhaps he was following the orders of the Gaza Imam?  I'm sure we will be told that he was just a lonely teenager who was unhappy because he didn't have a girlfriend. 

I wrote the above paragraph during my lunch break at work today.  Then I had to leave the office.  On my drive I listened to the news conference put on by the university.  They made it very clear this was not intended as a terrorist act. Yet, they said they have no idea because they couldn't find anything on social media nor through his family.  So that rules it out?  He had a backpack on him that the bomb squad had to neutralize.  After doing so they were able to go through his pack to see what was in it.  Zip-tie handcuffs, duct tape, and Vaseline and some other items.  The sheriff said the Vaseline could have been used as a poor man's napalm.  Really?  Why would the sheriff say that in one sentence and a minute later say it's not terrorism?  His dorm room was searched and they found his checklist of items needed to be included in the backpack.  The only thing on the list that they didn't find in the backpack was a pair of scissors. 

Due to privacy issues the neither school nor the sheriff can release the names of the victims. Now the contractor wasn't someone he planned on stabbing, the contractor walked in and interrupted the attack.  But Mohammed did attack two students in his class and then stabbed a staff member in the back. It would be interesting to note what sex, race, and religion the victims were.  I'm sure the results will be played down.