Monday, January 31, 2011

Last day to buy ammo anonymously- OVERTURNED! and I want another gun

Starting tomorrow if you want to buy ammunition in the state of California that can be used in a handgun the state will require your thumbprint and ID.  Or so we thought.  The Tehama County Sheriff and the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation and the NRA filed a lawsuit in Fresno and the court overturned the law stating that it was unconstitutional due to being too vague.  You see the law didn't really specify which type of ammunition.  You can use .22  in a little Beretta pistol.  (That was fun to shoot at my CCW class a couple weeks ago.) But normally .22 is for rifles not pistols.  So would you need to be printed and ID'd if you were going to use it in the rifle? 

Of course this is going to be appealed.  If that doesn't work, then those wanting to restrict guns and ammunition will just go back to the drawing board and write up another bill that will be more clear.  Thank goodness this state does have some law enforcement officials with some good sense who oppose these restrictions. 

One good thing to come out of this for me was that I've purchased quite a lot of ammunition in the last couple of months.  I even purchased 500 rounds of 9mm even though I don't have a gun that uses 9mm yet.  I went to the gun store on Sunday and asked about the Glock 26.  I used that at CCW class and liked it.  They didn't have one in stock but the dealer said that's just used for people with CCWs, you should get this other model instead.  I said I am getting the CCW.  OK, then he showed me a Smith and Wesson M&P 9c which he said he liked better than the 26.  It's a newer model and had a longer grip but still not too big for concealment.  It felt good in my hand.  He then said the Springfield was another good gun.  Not for me.  That was the one that I couldn't pull the slide.  I need to go back to the range and try out the 9c but from what I've heard from others who've reviewed it on the internet, it will probably be the one to get.   

CCW exam, fingerprints, and paying the money on Wednesday! 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I added my blog list

I added my blog list but I know it's not complete.  I'll keep adding to it but if you see your blog not listed please let me know.  I'm sure if you are reading this that I am reading yours as well.  Thanks and don't take it personally if I missed you on this first go round.

What to do with the money?

Last October I asked a question to people about what I should do with a lot of extra money.  I got a couple of answers but I think I'd like to ask it again. 

I had some ideas of my own.  Number one idea was to pay down the mortgage.  It would make a small dent in the mortgage but it would mean that I'd owe for less.  Second idea was to put in solar power.  I would like to get a stand alone system, but sometimes wonder if it's worth the effort.  Sure I won't be tied to the grid but would I be better off just going non-electric?  The third idea was to finish the front fencing.  Right now I have a wrought iron gate but cattle panels across the property.  After deciding to build the hedgerow putting in the wrought iron fence would be a waste of money.   The fourth idea was to make more improvements to my bugout property.  It needs fruit trees, fencing, and just about everything.  The renters are cleaning the place up but I am going to have to spring for the price of the fruit trees.  I will be doing this because every property should have fruit and nut trees.  I'm also going to put in more trees here at home.  I'm planting a date tree for a source of sugar plus more trees although I don't know what kind yet. 


Here were the three responses that I could publish...   

1. My thought is to put it into the solar power. The more independent you are the better off you will be. If you have solar then you won't need to worry about your well or the refrigerator or the washing machine. You can even have enough power to run the air conditioner some of the time. You'll be able to grow as big as a garden as you'll need without worry about water.

2. If you don't have a year or two supply of food you need to do this. Do you have enough weapons and ammunition? You should also look at Rawles Gets You Ready and head to Costco. Then buy silver coins. Then finish fortifying your property.

3. You've said that you have kids there. Do you have clothes, shoes, and other necessary items for them for all of the sizes that they will be growing into in the future?

I can discuss each of these three suggestions:

I still don't know about the solar.  I'd like to get a solar backup to the well.  One reader sent me specific information on how to do this.  There's a good probability that I will do this.  I'd much rather have the water on solar than anything else. 

I have a good handle on the supply of food.  There's never too much saved, but if the stores stopped selling today we'd be ok.  I have the skills to feed us.  I have been focusing on buying ammunition.  I bought between 100 and 500 rounds for each of the weapons just this past month.  I have between 500 and 5000 rounds for each.  I never bought the Rawles Gets You Ready course.  I figured I'd rather spend the money on stuff than spend it on the course.  I was hoping to find a friend who had bought it and would let me read it.  That never happened.  It's now out of print but I'm sure it would have been a good investment. 

I spent one weeks salary buying silver coins when they were $14 an ounce.  I haven't bought any since.  Wish I bought more then.  I don't know how much is enough when it comes to silver coins.  Are you better off investing in your living situation if you don't think you will be bugging out or should you invest it in coins?    Am I better off buying a fruit tree or an ounce of silver?  When buying silver, California has a stupid rule.  If you spend over $1500 then you don't have to pay tax of almost 9%.  If you spend less you have to pay tax.  Is it worth saving the money then purchasing them? Depends on if they are going to go up that 9% while you are saving.

Keeping stuff for the kids.  I can buy clothes for myself and they can last ten years.  This doesn't work with the kids.  I do have bins in the garage with shirts, pants, jackets, undergarments, and shoes for each size 0-16. There's the minimum amount needed for each size. I do let the kids buy new things each year and we add that to what's in the bin.  When they outgrow that size I save the minimum amount in case it's needed by someone else in the family.  All the rest gets donated.  Once the kids reach adult size I can sew or rework other clothing I have.  

The question is, if you had a spare $10-20,000 (probably closer to the $10,000) how would you spend it? No trips to Disneyworld as the kids and grandkids suggested...

Friday, January 28, 2011

What did you do this week to prep?

Each week we should ask ourselves, "what have I done to further my goals?"  
I cured an infected finger...after bragging about Kaiser's new system where you can email your doctor for advice or a quick prescription, I found a glitch.  If your doctor goes on vacation someone should be able to review the inbox but they don't!  I took ibuprofen 2 times a day to help keep the swelling down. I soaked my finger in warm water a couple times each day.   I also bandaged it with an antiseptic towelette under a bandaid.  I massaged it (really I rubbed it a lot, which really hurt) to try to push some of the pussy gunk that was building up in my finger out.  Disgusting!  It's almost better and will be by the end of the weekend. 
I had a safe installed.  I placed all my ammunition in it plus the few guns that I have.  I put my coins in it too.  I gave the combination to two out of town relatives whom I trust.  It's an easy to remember combination because I remember it by months.  For example, if the number is 27 then I could call it Lincoln Ford for Lincoln's Birthday (February the 2nd month) and Ford's (the 7th month).  A combination of 27-49-6 would then be Lincoln Ford Jefferson Taft Russell Bush1.  Of course, I use family birthdays of brothers, sisters, kids, parents, grandparents, etc.  A zero uses a nonexistent name, for example there hasn't been a president Russell. 
I put together my shelf greenhouse.  It's against a brick wall.  This is a metal shelf (four shelves) that I have aluminum foil taped to the entire back side and plastic sheeting going over the top and the other three sides.  The temperature the other day got up to 80 degrees inside my greenhouse although the outside temp was about 55.  I'm going to make sure it doesn't get too hot and cook my plants.  This coming weekend I'm planning on planting some of my earliest seeds. 
I cleaned out my closet...sort of.  I was given about 100 pairs of shoes many years ago.  They are all great shoes.  They are comfortable, they fit perfectly, and cost over $100 each pair, which I wouldn't ever spend that kind of money on shoes except for good boots!  But I did the same thing to these shoes that I do to my clothes each January.  If I didn't wear them in two years they had to go.  I got rid of more than half the shoes.  It really hurt because of the sentimental value...they belonged to an aunt.  But it's ridiculous that I wanted to keep as many as I did.  Sometimes we keep stupid stuff because of the sentimental value.  Take a picture and get rid of it, unless you want to overload your home with so much that you don't have room to breathe.  The shoes now have good homes in someone else's overstuffed closet.
I started working on the hedgerow out front.
I spent no money on food at any restaurant or fast food place.  I spent no money on prepackaged food for any of the meals we made at home.  
I bought 9 boxes of ammunition.   
This week was a very good week. What have you done?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Up and running again

I really messed up a couple of months ago and because of this I'm now responsible for putting my friend and her entire family into the public eye of this blog (somewhere between 50-75 people per day).  I'm writing this on my blog to openly apologize and to also ask the readers of this blog to please remove some information from their files if they saved some of those specific blogs into individual files.  I can explain better when I go back to the beginning.


My friend talked me into starting this blog.  She's known me for many years (we met when I tutored her in statistics in college) and has observed my evolution from wanting to "emulate Mormons" in their food storage ways to becoming more and more of a survivalist.  She set up the blog for me and used her email address when setting it up.  She also set up the remote blogging where you can email in your blog; you don't actually have to be on the blog to post something.  The remote blog address was a combination of her email and my email.  We both had access to it and every once in a while I'd write something and have her edit it and then post it for me. 


One of the early posts was done at her mother's house while we were both there visiting her mom.  We were on her mom's computer.  Her mom asked for a copy of the post and since we really didn't want her mom to read the blog (sometimes I'm not too polite about the doings of family and friends) I emailed the post to her mom.  Unfortunately, the way I did it was to blindcopy her mom when I emailed the post to the blog.  What ended up happening is her mom then saved the "secret" blog posting address for my site as one of her contacts.  Since the email address to the blog looks like her daughter's email address she assumed it was just that…her daughter's email. 


So, what happened last week on my blog was "mom" posted some family emails.  Anyone who read that post got to hear that my friends work email address wasn't accepting her email so mom decided to send it to her personal email.  She just couldn't remember which of those email addresses in her contact list was the right one so she forwarded her original email to both email addresses.  Voila, two emails, including the email about her fallen bladder got posted!  It would have been funny but this email provided many names and email addresses of my friend's mom and her family members! 


This was the third time she has posted something accidently.  I thought that my blog posting email address was removed from her moms contacts, but I thought wrong.  It never occurred to me that I should just change the secret posting email address.  After being horrified by what was posted on my blog on Monday, and not noticing until Tuesday, I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to change the posting address. It's changed!  The invasion of privacy that I caused my friends family by sending her mother an email which also had my blog posting address for my site was blameworthy.  And for that I am truly sorry. 


I'll be back to writing my blog once again.  I've missed it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Someone took over my blog!

Very interesting that someone somehow has got my blog address and is automatically posting onto my blog.  Very odd.  I don't quite understand how all this stuff works but I'm going to try to change the blog address for me to post without messing up my site.  It may be too late.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Salmon Patties, stored food, and cooking cheap

A few years ago I was at the drugstore and I noticed they had 16 oz. canned salmon on sale for a dollar each.  I bought 50.  I should have bought more.  Last night we had one of my favorite dinners. It fed six.  This meal is easily adaptable to your food storage program, especially ours since we have fresh eggs from our chickens. Every once in a while I post a recipe to remind people that having a food storage program is great  but if you don't use it then everything will be new during time of crisis.  This will only make things worse. 
Salmon Patties
1 can salmon
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used about 1/4 cup dried onion) although in summer it would have been fresh (I buy dried chopped onions in bulk at Winco)
2 tablespoons shortening or butter (I used butter flavored Crisco)
2/3 cups dried bread crumbs (made from left over pieces of homemade bread)
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 or 3 more tablespoons shortening for frying
Open the can of salmon.  Take out most of the bones and skin, although if you don't get it all it's not a big deal.  The bones are good for you... Reserve the liquid.  Cook the onions in butter until tender.  Since I used the chopped onions I cooked them in the shortening for about a minute or two.  It softened them up a bit, but again, this isn't a big deal.  You could actually use the dried onions without cooking them in the shortening.  Mix all the ingredients together (except the shortening for frying).  Stir it well so it looks sort of like a sandwich spread.  You don't want big chunks.  Small chunks are ok.  If you want big chunks then keep big chunks.  It doesn't really matter here either.  Stir as much or as little as you want.  Shape into patties.  You can make big patties or small ones.  I made 12 small patties.  You can make six big ones.  Fry them until they brown on each side and look done (just a couple of minutes - more if they are thicker).   
We top it with a lemon cheese sauce.  Again, we are able to use all storage food and what's in our garden.
Lemon Cheese Sauce
2 tablespoons butter or shortening (again butter flavor Crisco from our storage)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 cup milk (powdered works)
Cook this all over a low flame.  stir a lot.  Heat until it is thickened.  After it thickens add
2 beaten egg yolks
1/2 cup shredded cheese (from storage or even cheese powder (which I also buy in bulk from Winco)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (we picked our first lemon off our tree!!!!)
Cook, keep stirring, until all is melted and smooth.
We also cooked a big pot of rice.  The lemon sauce goes well with the rice and over the salmon.  The entire dinner cost two or three dollars and fed six. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feels like spring and the Hedgerow barrier

I know I am being optimistic here because spring has not sprung.  It is a nice day out and I've been able to finally spray the driveway and the weeds.  I did hear on the news this morning that it was -46 in Minnesota this morning.  The coldest I've ever been in was 2.  Never minus anything.  I can't even imagine it that cold or how you prep for something like that.  Daughter said once it gets to a certain cold temperature it doesn't really matter how cold it gets.  Well enough said but I don't think she's ever been in the minus degrees either. 

We are finishing up the chores from last weekend.   Last week I told them to pile all the brush up into a large pile in the middle of the garden. I had them tarp it to dry it out a little bit and I figured that we'd burn it all in another week or so.  Last week the neighbor came over to tell us that air quality control board just popped him with a $500 ticket for having a burn pile.  You see in this part of California you can't burn.  Very few of the farmers are allowed to burn either.  You have to hire a chipper to come in.  We don't have enough brush to hire a chipper but the amount we do have is too much for the little Craftsman chipper that I bought 15 years ago.  We usually pick a good foggy day and light the pile.  By the time the fog lifts the air pollution patrol can't catch us because it's all burned up. 

The other day I was on the web and one survival site led to another which led to another and I found one called Survival Thoughts by Survival Chic.
The grandkids think I've lost my mind. You see, on this site she wrote about making a hedgerow barrier along the property line.  I started this as well.  I planted some non-inviting plants along our road frontage, including some whitethorn, which isn't doing well, and some berries, which are very happy.  Survival Chic wrote that she used her brush cuttings and piled them in rows and then planted berry plants along the edges.  The berries are going to grow over the cuttings.  What a great idea!  Berries, when left uncut, will make their own hedgerow, but this makes it happen so much faster. 

Now I'm having the grandkids pick up the branches and other cuttings that are piled in the garden and move them to the front of the property.  They are being placed on the street side of the fence.  We have cattle panels going across the front with t-posts every 8 feet.  This only makes the fence 4 1/2 feet high and the front of the property is very open to the road.  Once the berries start growing they won't overtake my pasture because the animals will eat it down from the inside of the fence.  The berries can grow out towards the road and all I'll need to do is mow some of the new growth down each year if it's blocking my view of leaving the driveway.  On the other hand, if we get into a SHTF scenario, the berries can overgrow easily and block much of the driveway as well. 

The swollen finger

When we were doing yard work last weekend, I got poked a couple of times by the rose bushes and also the chinese jujube.  My right hand index finger got infected.  It's swollen and a bit sore, especially when I touch it.  (As I was demonstrating this to daughter this evening she kept saying then don't touch it!) It's not really a big deal and my immune system works well enough that in a few more days or a week it will have fixed itself. 

Kaiser has a unique program.  You can email your doctor and include pictures when you have an ailment.  The doctor can diagnose and prescribe stuff for you and you don't have to have an office visit.  I'm trying it here.  I am taking this opportunity to see if my doctor will write me a prescription  for something.  I don't know he will come up with but whatever it is, I can store it for the future. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Gun Safe

After all these years I've never had a gun safe.  I've always kept the long guns in their cases on a shelf in the closet.  I've always had these guns around the grandkids with strict orders that they can't touch them.  They never have.  (My son has, but that's for later in this post.)  I've always kept the handguns near my bed.  The grandkids have never gotten into them there either.  If they ever did, and they hurt themselves or someone else, then I would have been in lots of trouble. 

I decided it's time to be responsible.  I bought a gun safe.  Before shelling out my hard earned cash I figured I'd look for one that was used.  I scoured Craig's list.  I also looked on the local auction site.  Nothing.  Actually Craig's list did have some safes but there's no way I'd ever buy any of those as they were junkier than junk.  I ended up buying a Liberty Safe,, the Franklin model. 

It will be a good place to store all my guns, ammunition, and even my silver coins.  It's larger than I need at the moment, but I hope to fill it in the future.  I will share the combination to the safe.  Not with any of my kids though.  Some of my sisters and brothers will be given the combination. 

By putting the guns in the safe, I will not have to worry about my son getting into them.  He has a tendency to get into my stuff and use them inappropriately.  For example, one year I wasn't home and he got into the fireworks and lit them off.  Now, these are the safe and sane kind that aren't supposed to be too dangerous.  Somehow, one of them went sideways and burned the trim to my patio door.  Another time he came over and got into my shotgun.  He decided it would be fun to target shoot with my gun.  I didn't find out about it for a while.  He thought it was funny.  I told him I'd call the sheriff if he ever did it again. 

One of the things I had to do was figure out where the safe is going to go.  The dealer said that many people just keep them out in plain view in the house as a piece of decoration.  He also said that many people put them into the garage so they don't take up space in the house.  I didn't like either of those ideas.   I think just the opposite about having the safe as what the dealer suggested.  I don't want to announce it to the world, I want it to be my secret. 

In my bedroom, I have a closet within my closet.  My closet is L shaped, and I've got the rack going straight, so unless you know the back part of the closet is there, it's a pretty hidden spot.  Right now I have some of my food storage in that space.  I decided I want to put the safe into this space.  There's still room for food buckets. The store has their own delivery and installers, they don't hire it out.  It's taking a chance by having someone come to the house to install it, but it's a chance I'll willing to take.  It weighs almost 700 pounds.  I have cement floor and subfloor and the installers are going to bolt it to the floor.  They are scheduled to come this Thursday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How do you know when deadly force is justified?

In last part of the CCW class the instructor posed this question.  How do you know when it's justified to use deadly force?  After all, receiving a permit to carry a concealed weapon should mean that if "it" came to "that" you would use the weapon to inflict deadly force.  It's reasonable, immediate, unavoidable danger. Death or serious bodily injury to the innocent - you or someone else.

Deadly force?  What someone is trying to inflict on you which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury,  you can inflict on them.  Serious bodily injury - death; extreme physical pain; unconsciousness;  protracted and obvious disfigurement; or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or faculty.

When do you know reasonable fear? When the assailant has the ability - physical power or a weapon, opportunity - close enough to attack, and intent - either verbally or with actions.  What about the unarmed assailant?  Look at disparity of force - male vs. female, multiple assailants, their skills in unarmed combat.

What if the assailant has a knife.  How close is too close?  The mythical number is 21 feet.  This accounts for 1 1/2 seconds for the assailant to reach you, and 1 1/2 seconds for you to pull the weapon and fire a shot.  Why is this mythical?  Just because you fire a shot doesn't mean the assailant will instantly drop.  An assailant may not even realise he's been shot because he's so pumped up on adrenalin, or drugs.  Even if a person is shot in the heart they may have from 8 to 10 seconds before the brain doesn't get the blood it needs and they drop.  That person can do a lot of damage in 8-10 seconds of slashing you. So how close is too close?  It depends on your training ability.

Visualize winning the fight but don't paint yourself into a corner.  Be able to change.  Don't get freaked out if something you did didn't work out.  Visualize 5 shots not one. 

Are you shooting too much gun?  If you can't shoot and quickly bring it back on target then it's too much.  Try something else.  Bigger doesn't always mean better.  Check out the penetration testing and ammo characteristics, especially when going through a layer of denim.

The criminals practice!  For many criminals it's their job.  It's their lifestyle.  They are either victims or victimizing everyday.  They practice shooting, disarming, and keeping fit.  They go to the gym.  They are serious about their training.  You need to be as serious about yours or you will lose.

Lastly, if you are involved in a shooting and you survive the encounter there are two things that are guaranteed.  First, you will go to jail.  It may not be for long, but you will be brought in.  Second, you will be sued by the criminal or his family.  If you are involved in a shooting you need to contact the police first.  Call them.  Tell them who you are, where you are.  Make the statement that you've been involved in a shooting and you had no choice as you thought the person was going to kill you.  Then HANG UP.  Don't stay on the line.  When the cops come don't say anything other than your name and your statement that you had no choice as you thought the person was going to kill you.  And, you want to speak to your attorney.  Don't talk to anyone in the jail cell, they will testify against you in court and lie about what you said.  Don't talk to your neighbors once you get out.  Don't talk about it to anyone other than your spouse, your clergy (make sure they are actual clergy and not associates), or your attorney. 

I pray that I never have to use deadly force but if it is justified and it's him or me that survives, it's going to be me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The CCW lecture

As I wrote yesterday, I sat through 2 1/2 hours of lecture during my CCW class.  I'm going to highlight some of what the instructor told me.  I'm sure many of you know this stuff already.  I knew a lot as well, but mainly because it was common sense, not because someone had specifically taught it to me.

Four safety rules:
1. Assume all weapons are loaded.  You need to check when you pick up your weapon or when someone hands you one.  Just because they said it isn't loaded doesn't mean it isn't loaded. 
2. Don't point at what you don't want to destroy.  Muzzle awareness! Most of the time you will point down. 
3. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the guard until you have your sites over the target and have made a conscious decision to shoot.
4. Always be sure of the target and backstop.  You are responsible for every bullet you shoot.

Store your weapons unloaded, but if it's for self defense then it's not stored!

What if your kids come across weapons?  The NRA teaches them to stop, don't touch, leave, and tell an adult.  No matter what, if another kid picks up the found weapon do not ever have your kid try to take it away.  Remember their four rules. Stop, don't touch, leave, and tell an adult. 

Situational Awareness:  This is something that we talk about a lot.  It's noticing things and forming a plan to what you notice.  Some examples here...You are going to Walmart to do some shopping.  Think about the parking lot.  What do people do in the parking lot?  You get out of your car and you walk into the store.  Or you come out of the store and you walk to your car.  Be aware of people sitting in their cars.  Why are they just sitting there?  Are they watching people?  Are they scanning vehicles?  Be aware of people walking through the parking lot but not going into the store.  Are they looking at vehicles?  Are they looking for people?  What are they doing with their hands?  Can you see their eyes?  What kind of shoes are they wearing?

Your two best friends - Deterrence and Avoidance. Your best day is when nobody notices you.  Don't look like a threat to anybody in your dress or your actions.  Go out of your way to stay inconspicuous.  Don't dress tactical - your looks should come as a complete surprise that you are CCW. 

Don't dress tactical?  Lots of people like to.  What if you are in a bank or a store and a group comes in to rob it?  They make take down the few people who look like they are a threat to the guy in camo.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day at the shooting range

I had such a great day today, or at least for the four hours that I was at the range.  I was required to take the six hour CCW class but because there were only two of us in the class the instructor said that we would be taught in much less time.  That's because while the larger classes have to shoot one at a time for the instructor, with only two of us there was hardly any wait time. 

The other person was a very good shot and every shot was within about a six inch circle.  Not me.  I never missed the target and the instructor was impressed that I did as well as I did considering I've never been formally instructed how to shoot.  For the permit I had to shoot my weapon with my right hand with the left bracing it (the normal stance), with my right hand but my left in a fist and clinched against my chest, then with my left hand and my right in a fist and clinched against my chest.  As I said, I never missed the target but my spread was about a foot. 

I was using my .38 Special.  The instructor then let me use some of his handguns just so I could try out a variety.  With one I was an utter failure!  The XD, which many of my coworkers just rave about, was impossible for me to operate.  I couldn't pull the slide.  The instructor said to hold it one way, no, I couldn't pull, try it this way, still no.  Failure.  Good thing I didn't buy that kind.  Then I tried a Glock 26.  This was really easy to shoot.  I used another that shot .22s.  I don't remember the brand of that pistol.  Being a .22 means it's really inexpensive to shoot.  I also had a three inch spread using this one.  Wow, it made me look like I was quite a talented shooter!  I think I liked the Glock the best of the four I used today.

I passed the written test, which I could have passed even before the 2 1/2 hours of lecture, although the lecture was great.  Tomorrow I contact the Sheriff's Department to bring them a copy of the certificate, fingerprints, and pay the fee. 

Oh no, California is going to flood!

I just got done reading an article about how a major rainstorm can hit California and cause $725 billion dollars in damage.  USGS called it ARkStorm (for Atmospheric River 1,000) (coincidental that they discussed a forty day rain event?). The conclusion to this report was that the government needs to figure out if it should fork out the money up front for infrastructure mitigation or pay later for recovery.  They also realize they need to educate the public about the risk of such an extreme disaster (perhaps a bug-out bag, a place to go, and good insurance).
What a surprise.  Just like it was a surprise that Hurricane Katrina caused levees to break which inundated homes that were built below sea level.  A large portion of the Central Valley is 25 feet above sea level or lower.  It's no wonder that it floods and has great potential to flood.   Tulare Lake, ele.200 feet, is no longer a lake (although it was in 1997 due to flooding).  It was about 600 square miles in size, the largest freshwater lake in the US west of the Great Lakes.  By the end of the 1800s the lake was just about gone due to water diversions throughout the valley.  Do people think that 1997 was a fluke and the lake won't ever return?  That was a rain on snow event which caused the snow pack in the mountains to quickly melt.  What about those people who live in Sacramento or Stockton?  Do you know why the older houses in downtown have a dozen steps to climb to get to the first floor?  It's because the place used to flood almost yearly.  People raised the houses so the first floor wouldn't flood.  Sure the basement did, but not the main living area.  
The valley is a great place to farm.  It has some of the most fertile soil in the world, and some of the best weather for growing just about everything.  But it's no place for large subdivisions of homes, unless of course you expect the government to step in and bail you out when it floods.  I suppose that's why I wouldn't live there.  My property is about 400 feet elevation.  Perhaps someday I'll have that lakefront property that I've always dreamed of.  I'll be glad the roads won't be passable for everyone else to get here.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Yesterday one of girls friends came over to play.  They both got picked up at the end of the day and brought to the friends house to spend the night.  While she was here, friends mom kept making comments about them not being rich.  They live just down the street (2 miles away) in a house the same size as ours but on two acres as compared to our five.  They have several cars and trucks.  I have a work truck (that's not mine) and a family truck. They have a pool.  We don't, although I wish I could afford one. We have a garden.  They don't.
I made a comment to her that houses can be deceiving.  Just because someone lives in a big house doesn't make them rich.  Nobody else knows how much money they make, how much money they owe, or just how wisely they spend what they have.  It's all about priorities. 
I told her my comment at work is always that the more they cut our pay the bigger my garden has to get.  I can't see spending hard earned money on something at the store that I can provide for myself.  People comment that a garden can't really provide for all your calories.  I disagree with that, although we aren't self sufficient around here yet.  We produce lamb and sometimes goat, but rarely do we run a steer.  I don't have irrigated land which means I have to provide hay for a steer for about 9 months out of the year.  It's better to have the sheep and goats.  I rarely have to buy feed for them. 
If you like asparagus you should have an asparagus patch, or two, or three.  The nice thing about asparagus is that it lives for twenty or thirty years.  You can grow it from seed or you can buy the plants bare root.  You can also divide the plants once they get bigger.  My asparagus has been in one location in my garden for about 10 years now.  Today I am going to dig up many of the plants and divide them.  I'm going to replant some back in the same location but will plant others along the fence in the front. 
Around here, until the asparagus gets established in a couple of years, you need to water it in the summer to keep the roots strong.  After a couple of years I don't have to water it at all.  The asparagus shoots come up in the spring while the ground is still moist.  After several weeks of cutting asparagus the plants will leaf out and you leave them alone until the winter.  During the winter you cut the plants back down to the ground.  That's all there is to it.  Around here though, if I want asparagus during the summer or fall, I can cut the plant down (as I do in winter) and the plant will send up more asparagus.  You can get a second or even third crop this way.  It's hard on the roots so I make sure that I don't cut back the same ones each year, and I also make sure they stay moist.
You can gather seeds from the plants and plant them in the fall.  It will takes three or four years for those plants to provide large enough stalks to eat.  Until that time you just let them grow and cut them down each winter.  Easy.  
Plant some asparagus if you don't have it.  Plant more if you do. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chipping away at the chores

Not much left to do on my huge list for the weekend. Everyone got done with this round right before lunch.   We spent the day playing and figured tomorrow everything will get finished.  Tomorrow we are going to have a slingshot contest. 

I'm amazed that the good job the eight year old did on trimming the roses.  He was equipped with loppers and a pair of hand clippers.  And eventually he got a pair of gloves.  Here were the instructions: Cut every stem to the height of your hips.  Once that is done pick the best five stems that are growing.  Cut everything else down to the ground level. 

The 13 year old pounded in about 20 t-posts.  When I was talking to his mother on the phone this morning she said that he wasn't big enough or strong enough to do t-posts.  I'm sure glad I didn't pass on that message.  I made his mom look at the good work that he did when she picked him up this afternoon.

The chores:
Clip the base of the olive tree (suckers)
Trim fruit trees by lawn
Cut firewood from some large trimmings
Dig up some asparagus to transplant
Open the pen on the side of barn for the sheep
Put up fence panels in pasture two and three
Oil kitchen counters (the counters are all butcher block)
Straighten the tool shed
T-posts around the front pasture trees to hold the fencing in place
Take the pile of branches from the front into the back

Trim fruit trees by garden
Gather all trash, bag it up and put into back of pickup
Add more buckets of rocks inside the barn
Cut down the asparagus
Pull weeds around the asparagusCut back berries
Dig out the thornless berries (they are awful, the thorn berries taste so much better)
Trim roses
Sweep Patio

Sweep garage
Weed under the kitchen window
Wash floors
Take down the tarp the kids used for playing by the swingset
Cut back the chinese jujube
Wash baseboards
Wash doors and door frames
Wash family room floor
Clean family room bookshelves
Dust dining room shelves
Cut down the bushes in front of the bedroom windows
Rake leaves
Rebuild the fourth stall
Prepare Income Taxes

I'm not going to do the spraying because the humidity is going to be around 90%.  The spray doesn't soak into the plant if it's too cool or wet.  It can wait for another week or two. 
Spray along the road
Spray around blueberries
Spray driveway

Physical Training for the kids

Ever watch the movie Spy Kids?  It's a fun family movie but the part that really impressed me was the physical training that the parents had the kids doing.  Each morning the kids were required to cross a huge jungle gym and do other physical activity on their way to breakfast.  The kids had no idea that their parents were spies.  They just thought their parents were strange for making them do that activity.

We do things about the same around here.  There's always a time for training, even when they don't know it's training. 

Just this morning boy was outside trimming the roses.  He wasn't wearing gloves.  I told him to go into the garage to get a pair.  We were racing, then he decided to take a short cut.  The roll-up garage door was open about a foot high.  He decided to go under the door.  I laughed and said now that you've gone under the door you need to crawl under the truck.  He laughed and did so while I ran around the back of the house to get into the garage through the man-door.  I got there first. 

I watched his crawling technique.  It wasn't great because his rear was up in the air.  I told him the proper way and told him to get his aunt, who has spent the last 17 years in the army.  She can show him the proper technique.  So, aunt and boy got under the truck and crawled to the other end.  Boy thought it was fun.  My daughter thought I was nuts.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chore Chart

The grandkids have their chore chart.  It's on the refrigerator.  Even though they do the same thing each day they still refer to the chart.  They have a few things to do during the school week.  On the weekends they owe me two additional chores of my choosing.  Sometimes the chores are simple.  Wash the baseboards.  Other times they are long and hard. 

Since we haven't been home on Saturday for the last several weeks none of the Saturday chores have been done.  This week, I was determined to make up for it.  After all, it's a three day weekend and we aren't going anywhere!  There isn't any Sunday School.  We can have some good family together time by doing chores.  We got even luckier because the oldest grandson came over last night and traded a couple of hours playing on the Wii for six hours of chores.  Tonight grandson number three is over with the same bargain.  He's not as good of a worker and I expect that he will give me about two or three hours of chores.  An extra granddaughter is over as well.  She doesn't do well with outside chores but will find some "fun" things to do like dusting.  Tomorrow night the oldest grandson and grandson number two are coming over.  Good.  Monday they will give me lots of work time.  The grandkids that live here were told three chores today, and two on Sunday and Monday.  We should pretty well tackle the list.

Here's my list for this three day weekend.
T-posts around the front pasture trees to hold the fencing in place
Take the pile of branches from the front into the back
Spray along the road
Clip the base of the olive tree
Trim fruit trees by garden
Trim fruit trees by lawn
Cut firewood from some large trimmings
Gather all trash, bag it up and put into back of pickup
Add more buckets of rocks inside the barn
Cut down the asparagus
Pull weeds around the asparagus
Dig up some asparagus to transplant
Cut back berries
Dig out the thornless berries (they are awful, the thorn berries taste so much better)
Trim roses
Sweep Patio
Open the pen on the side of barn for the sheep
Sweep garage
Put up fence panels in pasture two and three
Weed under the kitchen window
Wash floors
Spray around blueberries
Spray driveway
Take down the tarp the kids used for playing by the swingset
Cut back the chinese jujube
Wash baseboards
Wash doors and door frames
Wash family room floor
Clean family room bookshelves
Dust dining room shelves
Oil kitchen counters (the counters are all butcher block)
Cut down the bushes in front of the bedroom windows
Straighten the tool shed
Rake leaves
Rebuild the fourth stall
Prepare Income Taxes

We got 16 of the 36 items done.  If it doesn't warm up a little more I won't be able to spray, which is three tasks. I'm really fortunate that the grandkids all have a good work ethic and want to come work on the farm.  OK, they really want to play the Wii and drink Gaterade! What a deal for me!

Dealing with your daily routine

Having a routine is a good way to bring order into your life.  What happens when the routine is broken?  Do you continue on without any repercussions?  Do the children and spouse have meltdowns? 
Morning routine.  In this house the kids get up at 6:00 on school days, shower, make their beds, dress, eat, and do some chores.  Girl sweeps the kitchen and the hall.  Boy unloads the dishwasher and feeds dog.  Breakfast is on the table at 7:00, sometimes earlier if I am done with what I'm doing.  Out the door at 7:20 to catch the school bus.  Me.  I get up, make bed, check on animals, turn on computer to see if any disasters from the evening before with work, shower and dress, get a cup of coffee, make breakfast. Get kids out the door at 7:20.  Either head to the office, work at home, or head out to the field.  If I am working at home I usually do outdoor activities from the time the kids get on the bus until close to 8:00.  Then I hit the computer and phone.
School days are the same, each and every day.  Almost each morning boy and girl checks the refrigerator door where the chore chart is to make sure they've done their chores.  They do the same thing each day but they still review the chart. 
Routine is good but a person can't get so stuck in their routine that they can't function if something goes a little haywire.  I mix up the routine on purpose just to make sure they don't have a meltdown.  It may be as simple as swapping chores, or something more traumatic as no hot water for the shower, or not getting them up until 6:45.  They still have to function and they still have to complete what's required.  Boy just does what's needed with a smile on his face.  Girl on the other hand gets affected by a change in routine. 
If their afternoon routine gets changed by even one item then there are problems.  If they can't do what they normally do it's like their entire routine gets thrown out the window.  We are working on this as they have to be able to be functional but flexible at all times.
I have had so much practice being fluid with my routine that I can function no matter what gets thrown my way.  I do keep a list of chores or tasks taht need to get done.  I keep a calendar for work and appointments that the kids have.  I also write a list of chores that need to be completed.  I may start the list at the beginning of the week and by the end of the week have a huge list.  I will chip away at the list each day but it seems lately that work has been so crazy that I haven't done enough.  I still keep up on the main tasks.  Everyone gets fed.  Everyone has a clean bed to sleep in at night.  All is good.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I want to thank the fifteen people who have listed themselves as following my blog.  Twelve of you are complete strangers. Two are friends, including one who insisted that I start this blog, and one is me because when I started this I didn't know what I was doing and signed myself up as a follower!

My blog has been viewed over 5000 times, lately about 50-60 times per day...I'm not really clicking on my own site 45 of those times!  Writing this blog has helped me with my survival preparations.  It's kept me focused.

Just yesterday one of the grandkids was complaining that a girl at school was making fun of her new shoes.  This girl said that her shoes were better and granddaughter's.  The snob also bragged that they cost more.  Granddaughter was complaining and said that she made some snotty comment to the girl.  OK, I have to respond properly...always the lesson to be taught and learned.  First I said that the girls shoes may have cost more but they didn't cover her feet any better.  I also told her that I felt sorry for the girl who felt it necessary to point out her shoes. 

Some responses granddaughter could have made...1. Your shoes are really nice!  2. You are lucky to have such parents who can afford to buy you something so expensive.  3.  How pretty. 

What went through her head...1. Those are hideous (which is what she said).  2.  Don't you realize that what's in style doesn't really look good?  3. Your parents spend lots of money on you, my family spends lots of time with me. 

What did I tell her?  Before anything comes out of your mouth pretend it's not a two way conversation with the snobby girl.  Pretend that it's a one-way conversation.  The only thing that matters is what comes out of your mouth...and by the way...God is listening to you and judging you on what you are saying.

Why am I retelling this story?  I'm not quite sure other than it's my blog and while I'm very focused on keeping my family safe and sound no matter what, which is why I choose to be a survivalist, I'm also aware that our everyday trials and tribulations are very similar to what others are going through. 

Two boxes of ammunition!

I went to Big 5 sporting goods today and they had two boxes of the ammunition I was looking for.  I bought both.  They had signs posted all over that starting on Feb. 1 fingerprints are going to be needed when you purchase ammunition.  For my CCW class on Tuesday I'm required to bring ear and eye protection. I also bought earmuffs since I hate using the little spongy plugs you stuff into your ears.  I haven't spent much money so far this year.  I can't think of a better use than for the CCW.

I will learn the rules about what is defense of yourself and your family.  After all, that's the reason I'm getting the CCW permit.  I got lectured by a friend of mine that I'd better watch out who I shoot once I get the permit.  I'm not planning on shooting anyone but then again, the sheriff doesn't plan on shooting anyone either.  I guess the only ones who plan on shooting anyone are the bad guys.  The others do so because they are forced into it.  If I am forced, I will.  As with anything else, I will practice on the range and in the backyard. 

This instructor usually teaches group classes on weekends or evenings.  I asked for a class during the weekday.  After all, I have a flexible work schedule at times and I'd rather have my evenings and weekends at home with the family.  Tuesday morning we will be at the range.  I'm very excited.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cooking Beans

We've all heard the term Beans, Bullets, and Bandaids.  While the term Beans really means have a large storage of food, how many of you actually cook dry beans?  It's one of the easiest, cheapest, most nutritious foods you can make.  If you  read the directions on a bag of beans you may get a little scared.  Soak, boil for a couple of minutes, soak some more, simmer forever or boil hard for an hour.  I've made beans by putting the beans and water into canning jars and processing the jars for an hour.  You get a canner full of jarred beans and they are ready to eat at any time.  I used to do it that way.  Now I cheat and do it the easy way, except my easy way does take all day.  I also have electricity which I may not always have. 

I bought a $9.99 crock pot from Walmart that holds 1 1/2 quarts.  It has three settings, off, low, high.   I put two cups of beans in the crock pot in the morning, fill the thing with water, put the lid on and turn it on low.  By the time I'm ready to make dinner they are done cooking.

Tonight I didn't get home until 9:00 since I had to work out of town.  My daughter and son-in-law made dinner for themselves and the grandkids.  Usually what they cook isn't edible, which explains why they go out to eat at least once a day.  Tonight they made Tuna Helper.  Daughter said it's pretty good and I should try it.  She said they also had cornbread.  I looked on the counter and there was a package from the bakery.  They spent four dollars on a small little loaf of cornbread.  They could have bought a Jiffy brand box of cornbread mix, added water, and it would have been the same as what they bought.  Yuck...

Daughter complained that I wasn't home to show her how to make cornbread.  I guess reading a cookbook, of which we have over 100 would have been too hard. 

She didn't use the beans.  I pointed out that my food bill is usually low because we use "non-instant" food like dried beans.  I asked how much beans cost when you buy them in the cans.  Son-in-law said $1.69 a can.  Well, I just cooked up three cans worth of beans.  It would cost them over five dollars to buy the beans.  It cost me under seventy five cents.  It's really a good way to stretch your food storage dollar.

Daughter said we can have chili tomorrow and cornbread.  It's a three day weekend for the grandkids.  I think we will probably have about six or seven grandkids over this weekend.  Good, I'll swap chores for all the delicious chili they can eat.  I need to cook up another pot of beans.  Perhaps I'll make daughter finish her Tuna Helper.

Another Walmart - still no ammo to purchase

I had to work out of town today so I went to a different Walmart to try to pick up some ammo.  This store is three hours from home.  This store was interesting because they kept the ammo behind an unmanned counter.  Anyone could have walked behind the counter and helped themselves.  I didn't.  They didn't have the kind I was looking for.  It's not that my handgun uses an odd caliber bullet.  It doesn't.  They just didn't have my size in stock.  I'd say that their shelves were only 1/4 full, if that.  A man struck up a conversation with me and suggested I go to Big 5.  I didn't have time but Friday at lunch I'm going to have to pick some up.  I don't want to go into town this weekend.  The plan is to stay home and do yard work.  I'm also going to do a little bit of target shooting in the backyard. 

On Tuesday I've got the CCW class.  I am supposed to bring extra ammunition.  I have the recommended amount but sure would like to find some more.  I know I can buy it at the range but the cost is a whole lot more.  If I can't find what I'm looking for I'll buy it online.  I only have a week to do that, as after that, the companies are going to stop taking orders for us Californians. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tried to buy ammunition and my CCW training

I was in town today and had an hour to find something to do.  I decided to go to Walmart.  That's where I buy dog food and it's a cheap place to buy some of the ammunition that I use.  I picked up two 44 pound bags of dog food then headed toward sporting goods.  The ammunition case was just about bare.  The last couple of times I've been to Walmart they've had a terrible selection.  I guess I need to find out when they stock the shelves and pounce! 

I will be back in town next week.  I'm taking my six hour training class for the CCW permit on Tuesday.  The instructor is supposed to email me a list of what I need to bring to class.  The weapon, ammunition, and money too.  The class costs $90.  I wonder what else I will need.

I'm sure I have enough ammunition for the class but if not, I'll stop by a local gun shop.  Their prices are higher than Walmart but at least I know they will have what I need in stock.

Rooster update

The banty rooster and the barred rock pullet were put back into the chicken coop last Monday morning.  It turned out great.  The banty is still healing.  He's hopping around on one leg but his foot is healing well.  It's not all shriveled up anymore.  He's not putting weight on it yet but it is looking normal. 

By putting the two birds together for the five days (I'm sure glad to have my shower back!) the banty was able to get used to the pullet.  When I put the banty back into the coop the first thing he did was cockadoodledo.  I'm back he screamed.  Because he made "friends" with the pullet, none of the other hens dared pick on the pullet.  It sure was a good way to add one chicken to the flock.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Food Shopping is Ridiculed by Fox News

Fox News did a report on people rushing to the grocery store in the northeast as they were making last minute preparations for a predicted snowstorm.  Come on Fox.  You should know better.  You should have spun the story in a much better way. 

The story discussed the upcoming snowstorm that is predicted to drop a couple of inches of snow.  People made a run on the grocery stores to stock up at the last minute to prepare.  Fox reported that the grocery store opened at 6 in the morning and people were lined up waiting for them to open.  Bread, milk, and eggs were flying off the shelves.  The reported interviewed a couple of people who sounded stupid. 

The reported then started ridiculing people.  These people just went through a huge storm and this storm is only supposed to drop a couple of inches.  Why are they rushing to the store?  You'd think that these people think they won't be able to get to the store and buy food.  It's like there isn't going to be any more.  People were even filling up their carts with food!  Filling their carts!  Some people went in for a second cart.  The reporter ended up making the comment "just how much food does someone need to have on hand anyway?" 

This would have been the perfect opportunity to state that if these people had a food storage program at home they wouldn't have to worry about rushing to the store to stock up right before a storm.  Fox, you blew it.

Some California news - all bad

There are two items in the news in California today that are of concern to survivalists or preppers.  Both are related to the safety of your home and family.  First, starting next month it will be illegal to purchase ammunition (that can be used in a handgun) from mail order.  All purchases must be in person and you must provide your fingerprint.  So much for keeping the amount of ammunition you purchase somewhat private.  The second concerns the protection of your property.

This second item is an odd one.  In the state of California you can get a doctor's prescription for "medical" marijuana for any reason: no appetite, too much appetite, can't sleep, can't stay awake, backache, headache, finger or toe ache.  Any reason is a good enough reason.  For this prescription you are allowed to grow your own marijuana plants.  There is a limit of the number of plants.  I think it's somewhere like 100 plants if you say that you want to use the leaves in your cooking but a lot less if you say you want to smoke it.  I don't know the actual numbers, but nobody needs to correct me because it doesn't really matter. 

Getting on with the story... one of the problems is that thieves are now seeing these plants growing in people's back yards since the plants get really tall.  As soon as the plants are ready for harvest the thieves are breaking down the fences, pulling plants out of the ground, loading them into their vehicles and driving away.  There have been lots of gun fights over this. 

In the one case that caught my attention the story was about a man on trial for shooting a thief.  He had almost 400 pot plants in his backyard.  All legal.  Four bad guys came and broke down the fence and started stealing the plants.  The homeowner fought back by shooting at them.  He killed one.  (good shot!) He was on trial and was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.  He may get over 20 years. 

Now, don't get me wrong.  I think these pot laws are a joke.  I'm sure there are viable alternatives for medical use, although this may be the cheapest alternative.  I don't use the stuff.  Never have, never will. I don't hang out with people who openly use drugs.  I don't hang out with people who use drugs (or at least I am not aware of it).  That's not the point.  At what point is it ok to defend your property?  Or can you not defend your property?  Can you only defend people?  And, at what point can you defend people?  How close does the bad guy have to be?  In your yard?  In your house?  Brandishing a weapon? 

In Texas I've heard you can defend your property using a gun.  What about in Arizona?  Two bystanders "heros" tackled the shooter.  What would the story have been if the "hero" was carrying and shot the shooter?  Would the "hero" be prosecuted if the shooter wasn't pointing the gun directly at the "hero"?

It's a crazy world.  Go buy your ammunition...before the end of the month.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The cordless electric chain saw

I just had to try the chain saw.  I couldn't wait for the weekend.  This thing is nothing like my 36" husky.  That is a monster.  Even my 20" craftsman is a monster saw compared to this little Earthwise cordless 18 volt chain saw.  

My friend bought it for about $80 dollars at Orchard Supply and decided it wasn't what he wanted.  It was too small, the battery didn't last long enough, although I think mainly because it looks like a chain saw for sissies.  I'm not a sissy but I do have to say that the thing is very light weight and worked perfectly well.  It was offered to me for $35 and I'm going to buy it.  Even the $80 would be a good price if you had some money to spare. 

As I said yesterday, most of my tree trimming is able to be done with a hand lopper, although some is done with a pruning saw.  This sure goes quicker than the pruning saw.  If I was cutting trees in my orchard down then I'd need a larger bar but for the tree trimming (which did mean cutting some three and four inch branches) this worked great.  It was also quiet. 

When the grand kids left for school I had about 15 minutes to do a little yard work.  I actually trimmed - ok more like whacked three of the trees.  Several of my trees need radical trimming and I finished a peach, a nectarine, and started on the Chinese Jujube.  With the pruning saw it would have taken quite a bit more time.  I still need to get out the loppers and trim some of the smaller branches because as those of you with chain saw experience know, you don't cut small things with the saw.  They will whip all over and hurt someone.

I don't know how long this saw will last, or what type of maintenance it needs.  The directions weren't clear about needing to put in oil.  Once I got through the middle of the booklet it said, caution, don't run without oil.  It should have been one of the first things listed.  Charge the battery, put in oil.  The battery looks like a common style battery.  I haven't researched whether it is interchangeable with other brands.  I also don't know how long the battery will run without draining since I only used it for 15 minutes. 

I'll know more this weekend, but I do like it.  And it's not just for sissies.   

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Getting ready to garden

The grandkids and I were each given a $25 Target gift card as gifts.  They wanted to go spend theirs today so after Sunday School we headed to the store.  They each got a pair of shoes and a couple of tops.  Girl needed socks but she went over her $25 so some of mine went to cover her bill.  After all, they needed shoes but wanted to buy them themselves.  I bought a gallon of milk and a bag of planting mix and a small aloe vera plant.

Another granddaughter was with us today...the whiner.  She had a little scratch on her leg.  You would have thought she was dying.  After I bought the plant I broke off a little piece and rubbed the gel on her leg.  That got her to be quiet.  So did my telling her that I didn't want to hear her screaming unless she was dying and since I didn't see any blood gushing out of her leg she'd better knock it off. 

It's about time to get the garden started.  While I was at the store I was looking at all the cool stuff in the garden department (although not quite as much fun as going to Armstrong Nursery the day before).   I looked at where the stuff was manufactured.  Mostly China.  Didn't buy anything in the gardening section other than the planting mix. 

I did notice that they had premixed Roundup.  1/2 gallon for about $5.  Lately I've been buying Buckeneer, which is the same stuff only costs less.  I also don't buy it with a surfactant (just squirt some liquid dishsoap into the sprayer).  I just bought 2 1/2 gallons of the 41% concentrate for $55.  That will make 160 gallons using 2 ounces per gallon of water, which is the way I usually mix it.  Let's see.  Thirty four CENTS per gallon if I mix it myself or ten DOLLARS per gallon already mixed. 

After we got home I went out to the barn and got my planting pots and shelf unit and brought it up to the back patio.  Tomorrow the kids go back to school so I'll be starting work early and will be able to have time at the end of the day to put the shelf unit together and get it covered with the plastic.  I don't think I'm going to plant the seeds yet.  I'll wait another month.  It's still foggy and cold around here but I may as well get part of it ready. 

I'm looking forward to this coming weekend.  It's a three day weekend here in California and I've got tons of work to do in the garden.  Not having been home for the last three weekends has really gotten me behind on my work.  I need to get the trees all pruned.  It takes about an hour per tree and I've got about 15 that need heavy pruning.  One of the things I've done is watch the local fruit farmers pruning methods.  It's so different than the way you learn in a book or even on the internet.  We are always taught to have the trunk come up to at least waist high, sometimes even shoulder high.  Most of the fruit trees in my area branch out around a foot off the ground.  They have five or six branches coming off this spot in all different directions.  Others come up two feet.  Very few of the farm trees look the way most people grow their trees. 

When the trees start getting older the farmers will revise the tree.  They will cut off all the branches but one.  Then the next spring a bunch of new branches grow.  The farmer will then train those new branches.  In a couple of years the one old branch that was left will be cut off.  It will be a completely new tree on the old established rootstock. 

I have a couple of peach and nectarine trees and one prune plum tree that I am not at all happy with.  Their structure is terrible and each year branches break off no matter how well they are propped up.  The plum tree looks like it is going to fall over and pull all the roots up.  This year I'm going to try to revise those trees like they do at the local farms.  The trees are going to be cut almost completely down with the exception of one branch.  This will probably lead to a lousy crop this year but I've got over a years worth of jam and jelly put up as well as canned and frozen fruit.  We won't feel the pain of not having these trees produce much.  I still have a peach tree that will give us plenty of fresh fruit.  It will mainly be not having those fruits to put up for winter and spring. 

Usually I do my pruning with a little handsaw and loppers.  I have chainsaws but have never used them for pruning the trees.  A friend of mine had a battery operated pruning chain saw with an 8 inch bar.  He bought a large gas powered saw and asked if I wanted to buy the battery saw.  I said sure as long as I could use it first and if I liked it I'd buy it.  If I didn't like it then I'd give it back and owe nothing otherwise $35 which was a little less than half of what it cost him.  I'll report on it next week.

It's going to be a good year for the olives with all this rain.  Half of the olive trees get watered.  Not on purpose but because they are near some of the roses which are on a drip.  The rest of the olives are never watered.  One of my neighbors processes olives.  Each year he comes and picks my olives and brings me a couple of jars of processed olives in exchange.  This year he's going to show me how to process them.  With the dozen trees we have there will be plenty for both of us.  At some point I'd like to try making olive oil.  I haven't found anyone who makes it at home using simple methods.  I knew someone in Northern California who makes it but they have very expensive equipment.  Olives were processed into oil thousands of years ago.  Did everyone go to the olive presser or did they grind them at home?

I know in Israel they have bedrock mortars in which olives were processed just like the Indians processed acorns in them here in California.  Did they just grind them then float the grindings in water to separate the oil from the pulp?  I don't know.  Anyone have any experience in this?    

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trip to the Nursery

When I was in Southern California yesterday I went to the nursery with my mother.  She likes to garden and takes great pride in the little container garden that she has.  For a gift we got her a raised planter.  She wanted to pick out some vegetable plants for it so I went with her to the nursery before I headed back home. 

We walked up and down the rows of plants.  I explained the different types of vegetables and fruits that they had available.  For example, she has a strawberry pot with some strawberry plants.  She wanted more plants.  Do you want June bearing that give you a heavy crop at once or do you like the plants you have that give you three or four strawberries a month.  She got the June bearing so she can have a handful in June and then one each week the rest of the year. 

She also wants an artichoke plant.  There is room for one of those in the yard.  It will grow year round where she lives but she should cut it down to the ground in the winter for it to refresh itself in the spring.  She also wants to plant asparagus.  That won't go well in her raised planter either but I will give her some starter plants when mine start growing in the spring. 

She did pick out several types of lettuce, kale, and sugar peas.  She's going to have a great time with her garden.  It's not going to sustain her in any crisis but it makes her feel good. That's about as much as she is capable of.

Me on the other hand.  Going to a nursery is like taking a drunk to a bar.  I love looking at plants and buying them if I had enough money.  I buy new fruit trees each year.  I have over forty here.  It's still not enough.  I will never have enough!  I need to buy several for the bug-out place.  It doesn't have any fruit trees at all.  It's not quite bare root season here or there.  Give it another month. 

I am just about ready to start planting the survival seeds I got from the contest I won at .  Although they are supposed to be for a future emergency, I'm planning on planting them now.  I have a shelf unit that I'm going to put in the front yard on a south facing wall.  I'll cover the unit with plastic to make a small "greenhouse".  I've seen these with zip up plastic covers for way too much money. 

If you need large pieces of plastic for your own greenhouse, you can buy a drop cloth, or if you want thicker plastic you can use some heavy duty clear trash bags.  Or, for those of you who want to make it cheap or free, go to Lowe's or Home Depot and right by the door they have a roll of plastic that you can tear as many sheets off as you want and it's free.  So's the twine right next to the plastic. 


Walked anywhere lately?  What were you wearing on your feet?  Flip-flops? Probably not since it's winter.  Tennis shoes?  For the ladies, high heels? Boots?  Rubber farm boots? Snow boots? Nothing?
Around my house my prefered footwear is barefoot.  I can't be barefoot outside although as a kid I was nothing but.  Now there's a weed called puncturevine that will knock you on your rear if you step on it barefoot.  If I'm feeding animals or something you can usually find me in a pair of flip-flops.  If I'm going for any type of walk on the property I'm in rubber farm boots.  This weekend, with the grandkids still at the bugout place, the only shoes they brought with them are farm boots. 
What about if you have to take a hike?  When was the last time you wore good boots?  Do you own any good boots?  I have many pairs but some are definintely more favored than others.  With my job I get reimbursed for buying boots every couple of years.  Each time I try out a new brand.  I have a pair of boots in each vehicle.  I have a second pair in my two week supply bag. I have a pair in the trailer.  I have a pair at home. 
I only buy American made.  My favorite by far is my West Coast Boot Company (Westco) pair.  In the olden days at work everyone had White's but they'd complain that dirt and ash would seep through the seems.  I had my Wescos and never had that problem.  I could wear that pair all day. 
I liked my Bailey's boots although those were 10" high and I prefer 8" high.  It took a while to get used to where the boot top would rub on my leg.  Right now I have a pair of Wolverines.  I like them too but they don't fit my foot as well as the Westcos.  My Westcos need to be rebuilt.  The company will do that for about half the cost of a new pair. 
You need a good pair of boots.  Maybe two.  Unfortunately you may have to buy several pairs before you find the perfect one for you.   

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Up and Down the State

Yesterday we headed north.  We came home today.  Some friends picked up the Grandkids.  I'm heading south now to avoid bad fog in the morning.  I have to work in Southern California tomorrow and Saturday.  Just the other day I made some sort of comment about liking being out in the field rather than sitting behind a desk.  After this bit of travel it's about time for a break!  The kids go back to school next week.  Perhaps I'll take a couple of days off and put in some hard work around here. 

The banty rooster is doing a bit better.  At least he didn't look half dead when I got home.  Checked everything else around here.  All is well after a week of not being around.

The kids get to spend the next couple of days at the bug-out place.  I'm jealous.  Well sorry about not writing much today.  I need to leave before it gets too foggy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spending Money

It's the new year.  How much money have you spent so far?  I'm not talking about rent or mortgage, utilities, or anything like that.  I'm talking about on nonessential stuff.  How much money have you wasted? 
When we were at my sister's house last week a table leg collapsed sending wine glasses and alcohol crashing onto the floor.  This was in the morning, way before any of the guests started drinking!  When one of the grandkids asked what happened I said that we were thinking about just taking two one-hundred dollar bills and twisting them up and lighting them on fire.  Instead we decided to make a mess so we'd have some extended fun cleaning it up.  It cost the same.   
The reason I bring this up isn't to laugh about breaking all but two of her glasses.  It's because we waste money.  In this case it wasn't purposefully wasted.    But in many cases it is.  Perhaps if the table leg was checked prior to loading it with stuff it wouldn't have collapsed. How many times have you had to buy something because you didn't take care of the original one you had?  How many times have you misplaced something because it wasn't put away properly and you needed to use it right away so off to the store to buy another one. 
How much money have you spent on things you don't need?  In my case I stopped buying things for the kitchen.  How many baking dishes do I need?  I have some that are nice in case we go to a pot luck.  These are the kinds that I'd like to just keep buying and buying and buying.  I don't need them, I just like them.  But I don't buy them. 
Which do I use most of the time?  Either the glass pyrex baking pans or the metal ones from my buffet set up.  I like those the best.  There are two sizes - a half tray and a whole tray.  The whole tray barely fits into the oven.  Those last forever.  Even the pyrex baking pans are hard to break.  Mine are about 30 years old. 
How many plastic cups do you have?  Did you just buy new ones to match this summers latest colors?  This year it was orange and pink.  I didn't.  I do have about 30 plastic cups.  We have a stack of tupperware bell cups that I used when my kids were young.  The grandkids use them now.  I also have six of the aluminum cups that I used when I was a kid. 
How much money do you spend buying something to eat while you are away from home because you just can't wait for another hour until you get home?  Forgot to put a box of crackers into your car?  How much have you spent at Starbucks so far this year?  Ten, twenty? After all, we are on day four of the new year. 
I have spent exactly NOTHING so far this year.  I haven't charged anything, I haven't paid cash for anything.  I haven't used a debit card.  We did travel on New Years Day.  We brought our food with us.  We are traveling today.  We will bring dinner with us or just eat a little earlier than normal.  The hotel has free breakfast (and an indoor pool!).  The place where I have to work tomorrow is providing lunch.  We'll be back by dinner.  I'm not counting spending the money on the hotel or the gas because I'll drive the work vehicle and work will reimburse me for the hotel. 
We will need milk on Sunday so that means Friday or Saturday I'll buy milk.  I may spend five dollars.  I'm not going to do a grocery trip until either the end of January or beginning of February.  I wonder how long I can go without spending anything other than milk money? 

The rooster

We have two roosters in the chicken coop.  The Aseel banty rules the roost.  That's good because at one point the Araucana rooster was starting to get mean to people who would enter the coop.  The banty beat him up one day.  Now the big rooster is docile to humans.  I really like the banty.  While this breed is known to be aggressive to other chickens, the only one he is agressive to is the rooster and only when humans are in the coop.

I just went out to take care of the chickens and found the banty caught in a chain link fence.  Somehow he got his foot into it and his spur is so long that he couldn't get his foot back out.  He was laying on the ground with a bloody leg.  I got him unstuck.  With the bloody leg, I know the the other chickens will at some point attack him and kill him.  Chickens are cannibals.  I picked him up and he doesn't appear to have anything wrong other than scraping his leg trying to free himself. 

I brought him into the house and had to figure out what to do with him.  I'm leaving again today.  I'll return tomorrow but am leaving again tomorrow evening or Friday morning for another overnight trip.  I have the baby chicken that's been in a plastic bin in the house since we brought it home a couple of weeks ago.  It's about ready to go out to the coop.  I decided to put both the baby chicken and the rooster into my shower.  After all, I won't be here to use it for a couple of days.  The baby chicken shouldn't harass the rooster. When I return after the second trip I'll be able to put both birds into the coop.  I'm hoping that the rooster likes the chick enough that when they go into the coop the chick won't get picked on by the other hens.  It'll be a good experiment. 

Hopefully the rooster will heal and I won't come back to a dead chicken in my shower. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's for dinner?

I prefer field days to sitting behind a desk.  I'm tired today after a very long day at the office finishing up a project.  It's one of my least favorite places to be but I do have to show up there every once in a while.  I tell them it's so they remember I work there. 

It's almost dinner.  The grand kids were famished but I was too tired to be hungry.  What should they be fed?  I have to remember that kids have a different feeding schedule than adults.  We often put off eating until a project is done.  Just another hour before I come in for lunch.  Not with kids.  They want their food and they want it NOW!!!!!

They wake up in the morning starving.  They want a snack an hour after breakfast.  They can't wait for lunch.  They want a snack right after and another right before dinner.  Then when they are done with dinner they want to know if there's more.  What's for dessert? 

When I don't go to the office I am a spectacular cook in my own mind.  I will make fresh bread daily.  I'll make just about everything from scratch, including noodles.  Most of the vegetables come from the garden.  Same with the fruit. 

So at 18:00 they wanted to eat.  NOW, if I want to live!  What's quick, nutritious, cheap, and filling?  Just about everything I make, that's for sure.   

Last night I even amazed myself.  I still had half a loaf of bread that was put into the freezer before we left for San Diego.  I took a small piece of beef (about 1/4 pound) out of the freezer, threw it into a pot of boiling water, took an ear of corn (frozen from last summer) and threw that in.  Took tomatoes off the vines (cut the plants off at the base and threw the entire tomato plants into a bin in the garage before the first frost) and cut them up and put them into the pot.  Took one carrot, one onion, equivalent to a stalk of celery (dried cut up pieces left over at Thanksgiving) and threw it all into the pot.  I took one jar of homemade "V-8" juice and a handful of elbow noodles.  I boiled it for about 15 minutes.  I took the chunk of meat (now thawed and partially cooked) out and cut it up into small bite sized pieces.  I cut the corn into 1 inch slices.  I put it all back into the pot for another 10 minutes.  Added a little salt and pepper.  In less than 30 minutes I had a very good beef noodle vegetable soup. 

But for tonight, I mean really quick.  I'm tired.

I always have bread dough starter on the counter.  If I don't make bread today, then tomorrow, or the next day.  If we go through a streak of not making bread then the next loaf is a really sour dough loaf.  I love sour dough with olive oil...

I made tortillas tonight.  Did I mention the other day I put a bunch of pinto beans into the crock pot then when they were cooked blended them up and put them into the refrigerator?  (Not quite refried, but close).  I put a scoop of beans into the tortillas, added a bit of cheese, rolled them up and baked them.  Easy, quick, and so good for you.  They topped these burritos with a jar of homemade salsa.  Tonight's dinner took 15 minutes.  It may have cost seventy-five cents.  Their glasses of milk probably cost as much as the rest of the dinner.  Dessert, an orange. 

Easy, hardy, almost all from stored staples or the yard.  The beef could be canned or dried rather than frozen, same with the corn.  The cheese is a five pound bag from Costco.  That's the only thing that I don't have in my storage program.  I have cheddar cheese mix to make a sauce but don't yet have shredded cheese.  I've seen it advertised, I just haven't tried it. 

Monday, January 3, 2011


I like using the dishwasher.   Sure if we didn't have electricity I wouldn't be running the dishwasher.  But we do and I'd like to keep using the dishwasher.  We keep a dishpan full of soapy water in the sink.  All dirty dishes go into it.  Then they are put into the dishwasher.  No running water is used to rinse the dishes.  The dishpan water is often thrown outside to water the lawn (don't need that with all the rain though).  I think we use a lot less water this way.  Today grandson unloaded the dishwasher and he told me that the bottom was filled with water. 
I couldn't feel any obvious blockages.  I took the racks out of the dishwasher and scooped the water out.  Then I took out the sprayer and the bottom strainer.  Interesting because in the four years this dishwasher has been in place I've never had to fix anything.  The last bits of water were removed with a couple of large bath towels.  Under the strainer I found broken glass, paper, plastic, hair, and gunk.  I cleaned all this out.  I felt around and all seemed clear.  Proudly, I announced that it was fixed.  I put a few things in for a test run.
I opened the dishwasher after the cycle ended and to my dismay it was full of water.  I took the whole thing apart and figured there was a clog in the spot where the water left the dishwasher.  For a few minutes I tried to push water through.  No luck.  Then it hit me.  Maybe there's a kink in the line under the sink.  Looked, no kink.  I decided to remove the end of the hose that attaches to the garbage disposal.  I saw a little liquid in the line (it's opaque) but when I lowered the hose no water came out.  After looking closer I realized the stoppage was there in the line.  It was a three inch chunk of orange fatty grease.  Grease must have been on something that went through the dishwasher yesterday.  After all, I wasn't home and house-destroyer son and his family came over to babysit the grandkids.  They must have put dishes in that had solid fat on them.  They must have not turned on the "use hot water" button when they ran the dishwasher . 
I didn't need anything other than a wire coathanger to clear out the grease.  Then I ran the dishwasher using hot water.  All is well.  Of course that got me to thinking about the supplies I have on hand for the dishwasher.  I have no repair parts at all.  Most repairs to the dishwasher are really quite simple.  This one needed a screw driver and a wire hanger.  What if I needed a hose?  What if the door doesn't seal properly?  I figure for under $20 I can buy all the replacement parts I'll ever need for the dishwasher.  It's on the list for the next shopping trip. 

Letting the world know who you are and where you live

What are people thinking?  Especially survival minded people.  I try to keep my blog general enough that if you don't know me you can't just look me up on the internet and find out who I am, the names of the kids and grandkids, our address, phone number, and pictures of all of us.  In fact, the email that I correspond to people who contact me through this blog is a specific email that is only used for this blog. 

I read blog after blog after blog.  I spend about an hour a night on the internet.  I'm trying to get more hints about what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.  Some blogs are great.  Some are so riddled with profanity that even if there is good stuff in it I'm turned off by the words.  When I read a blog, my mind imagines that the writer is reading it to me.  It's like we are sitting at a table and the person is telling me their story.  With every other word being profane I just think that's not someone I want sitting around our kitchen table.  I don't want that language coming out of the grandkids.  They'd get their mouths washed out with soap.  Once again, I digress...

I want fellow preppers that I "associate" with to believe in God and if that's part of their writing, that's fine with me.  The other day I thought I found a good blog only after reading additional articles I realized that one article may be good but they had a Jew is bad, skinhead is good attitude.  Not what I'm looking for.  I don't want to read hate blogs.  I don't believe that one race or one religion is the cause of all the problems in the world.  There are a lot of problems and a lot of causes of those problems.  There are good and bad people associated with every religion.  Whether one believes that their religion is the only right religion or not, doesn't mean they should be blaming everything that has gone wrong in their life to another race or religion.  After all, just because you got an F in algebra doesn't mean it's because Lincoln abolished slavery. 

I'd really like to meet more survival minded people.  I'd like to go to their homes and see what they've done to prep.  I don't know if I want anyone to come to my house.  How do you decide who is honest and who isn't?  Who has good intentions and who doesn't.  I do know that I will not ever put pictures of my family or the location of our home (or even the street name) on this site.  What are preppers thinking when they post pictures of the wife (or husband) and kids?  I just saw one that has pictures of the front yard garden, and there's the address on the mailbox and the car with the license plate visible.

That's not to say that I'm invisible on the internet.  I'm not.  My name and work phone number are listed.  There are many reports I've written for work that are on line.  There's even some pictures of me on the internet.  They just aren't associated with this site. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Getting nothing done and another resolution

I got nothing done in the yard this week.  We were out of town for four days, prior to that I had to work long days, and today, a big zero!  I did get out to the animals and take care of them this morning.  It was the first time anyone had looked at them since we left on Wednesday.  All was well except the barn is flooded again. The extra rock that we put in in front of the chicken food cans made it so I didn't sink in the mud.  Before I left I laid down some old chicken feed bags to walk on.  Using this was the only reason I didn't sink a foot into the mud when I threw some grain out to the sheep.  They don't need it, I was just feeling nice.  I had a celebration to go to today so that was all the outdoor work I accomplished.

With all the rain we've received and the mild weather, the weeds are taking off.  I have a garlic patch that grows year round.  Right now it's hard to tell the difference between the garlic and the wayward grass that's growing there.  It's going to be a quick job to weed this, but the rain hasn't stopped.  I'll wait for a break in the rain.

I have to work every day this week although the kids are off school for another week.  They are going to the bug-out-place later this week to hang out with our friends who are renting the place.  I have to go out of town for work once again.  I'll be back on Sunday but I think Sunday school is going to get back into session so I think that day will be shot for yard work once again.  Maybe I'll take some time off the next week on a sunny day.  Otherwise I'm going to be so far behind on work once spring comes. 

I made another resolution.  As far as the exercise resolution from the other day goes, that's an easy one to do.  A few extra exercises in the morning, eating less cookies (I was really good at the party today) and parking the car at the end of the parking lot and walking, all add to the exercise.  Of course, this isn't enough to successfully operate in hard times but I'm in better shape than most even when out of shape. 

The new resolution has to do with debt.

Being successful in prepping can't really be complete when you have debt.  I'm speaking monetary debt.  There's all kinds.  Mortgage, student loans, car loans, credit cards, and big bills from lots of "necessities" of life.  We are better off than most, I think.  We have a mortgage on the main property.  The bug-out place is paid for.  Our monthly necessities bills are rather low.  I do have some extra money each month to buy prep items or to make improvements to the property, usually. 

I was listening to a radio money show the other day.  I can't remember if it was Dave Ramsey or Howard Clark.  Either way, they both harp on paying cash, getting out of debt, and living below your means.  Some months we are successful at living below our income, some months we are not.  We've had several major things happen to family members over the last couple of years - major car accidents (and a life flight), sick newborns, and a handful of grandkids permanently moving in - and the savings account is just about nil.  But there're no credit card bills, no student loans (there used to be though), and no car payments.  Mortgage only.

I do have silver put away.  I can't imagine using it to pay some bills.  To me, that purchase was to be put away for TEOTWAWKI not because grandkid needs braces.  That needs to come from saved money now, not the put away money.

Paying off the mortgage is the issue.  You've heard about how your mortgage should be 1/4 of your income.  I've also heard that your total bills should be about 1/3 of your income.  Well, that's not happening here.  Due to cutting my income in order to have time at home with the grandkids who now live with me my mortgage is around half of my income (if I include taxes and insurance it's definitely over 1/2).  Fortunately the rest of the bills are low.  Is it possible to get rid of the mortgage?  In the radio show that I was listening to they said that people who are diligent about it get rid of all their debt, mortgage included, in about 7 1/2 years.  Can we do this?  Doubt it.  I'm not willing to stop prepping in order to pay off the house. 

When are you done prepping?  I'm not talking practicing skills, I'm talking about buying stuff.  What is enough prepping?  How much ammo is enough?  How much food is enough?  How much material to make clothes is enough?  How many spare tools?  How many fruit trees?  How much stuff? 

I suppose when I figure out these answers then I can finish up my prepping by paying off the house.