Sunday, July 31, 2011

Off to work

This morning we watched a nice lightening show in the local foothills.  This afternoon I got called to work.  I may not be blogging for a couple of days - we'll see what the work assignment is or what my internet reception is.  Have a good beginning of the week and stay cool.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Teaching the kids

Today was a very productive day.  At eight this morning the electrician came over to show me how to wire the whole house fan.  I had cut the hole in the hall ceiling two weeks ago and got it all ready to go, except the electricity.  Since all I really know how to do is rewire outlets, switches, and lamps, I figured since there's an electrician at work who said he'd show me how to do the wiring I should take advantage of the free help and the electrical lesson.  The fan and a high and low switch which made the wiring a bit trickier than if it was just a straight on-off.  I did have a switch that was originally for a wall outlet but several years ago when that outlet got replaced it was made hot all the time and therefore I didn't need the switch on the wall.  This was good because I didn't need to punch any holes in the wall to put in a new switch.  It did take over an hour to fish the wire up the wall and into the attic.  One person was in the attic and the other in the hall, each holding a wire with a hook on the end.  Once we got them hooked some of my paracord was attached to the end of the smaller wire that was up in the attic.  I pulled it down through the switch box in the hall and we were set.  We could then take the heavy wire that was going to be used for the fan and tie to paracord to it and pull it up through the wall.  Easy.  And another use for paracord!

I sent boy and another grandson who had spent the night outside to pick the two plum trees clean.  We still have two other plum trees whose fruit isn't ripe yet and a new Santa Rosa but the two mature Santa Rosa's were only going to last a few more days before the birds and bugs got hold of every last plum.  They brought about 2 gallons of plums in for me and gave about two gallons of plums to the sheep.  I already canned about 30 jars of various plum things: juice, slices, jam.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these plums.  I'll probably dry some plum fruit rolls.  Yes, I know that dried plums are prunes but there's actually a plum tree that's a prune plum.  Those plums are oval shaped and not as juicy.  They still taste good fresh but are much easier to dry than the Santa Rosas or Green Gage plums that we also grow.  We only have one prune plum tree and it rotates between abundant harvest and poor harvest.  It usually gives two poor harvests then one so heavy that the branches all try to break.

I was hanging clothes up on the line when Army daughter came in from her  Today she bought groceries.  I think she's going to stop bringing stuff in when I'm home.  For example she brought in one can (yes she bought just one) of tomato paste.  Why would you buy that?  She said that she doesn't want to use ours and when they move out she wants to make sure that we still have lots of food.  Whatever...  Anyway, when she got home she said that since she was gone most of the day she just wanted to sit and chat.  How about I just put the laundry into the drier?  How about you come outside and help me hang the laundry on the clothes line?  So I went outside to hang the clothes.  She brought the baby outside to keep me company.  I guess she didn't want to be out when it was in the high 90s. 

When I was getting ready to make dinner I told boy that I bought him a present yesterday.  I got out the little thumb can openers that I bought for him and his sister.  She wasn't home to get hers so he got to admire his gift first.  I told him that he should keep it in his backpack that we have in the truck.  Let's pretend that we go down to San Diego for a visit with his cousin and on our way home there is an earthquake.  We may not be able to drive home.  We may have to walk and he may need his can opener.  He thought it was really a great gift.  Then I told him to go out to the garage and get a can of creamed corn.  We could mix the corn in with the squash that I had just finished cooking.  I showed him how to hook the opener on the side of the can to make the first cut.  The I showed him how to lift it a little to continue making cuts all around the can.  He opened the entire can and then asked if he could now just eat the contents of the can.  No! 

When Army daughter got home he came out to show his aunt his new can opener.  She was not impressed because it took more work than using our Swingaway opener.  True, and while we have a Swingaway in the house, another in the trailer, and another at the bug-out place, they are too heavy to carry around in a backpack.  Boy kept opening and closing the can opener.  I told him that he better be careful because he can easily cut himself.  Perhaps it wasn't such a great gift for an 8 year old!  Army daughter reminded me that when he cuts himself he can just get into his backpack and pull out a bandaid from his first aid kit.  True. 

Tomorrow we will do more canning.  The apples are ripening and so are the pears.  I soaked the asparagus because a coworker asked for some roots.  I'm going to dig out another plant.  Each plant has been producing about 40 crowns that I can replant.  I've been giving away asparagus crowns plus I'll have about 200 feet planted when I'm done with the transplanting. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

What did I do to prep today?

I haven't done too much this week to prep.  Tomorrow I'm going to try to make up for it although the way things have been going lately something else will come up to mess up my plans.  Today I did do some things, so at least the entire week wasn't a bust. 
The other day I was on the Lehman's website and ordered a catalogue.  It came today and I was able to glance through it.  I figured this would probably have some things in it that I would like to have on hand.  I love kitchen things and when I saw the handcrafted cherry noodle cutter, which looks like a rolling pin with lots of edges to cut 3/8" wide noodles, I said that's something that I would love to have.  Never mind that I have and Atlas noodle maker which was shown on the same page.  That noodle maker works by putting in your dough, turning the handle, and out comes your noodles slices in whatever size your cutter is set to.  There were stoneware crocks that I would love to use for making pickles or sauerkraut.  Right now I use gallon sized Vlasic pickle jars.  I think the most useful thing that I found was the plastic storage caps for canning jars.  They are just plastic lids that fit onto canning jars so you don't have to use your rings to keep the jars closed.  They were under four dollars for a pack of eight reusable lids.  The catalogue was free.  You can get one from their website at
Other than ogling over the catalogue, I went back to GI Jim's today to use another one of my $20 certificates.  Today I picked up a knife.  I don't remember the brand but it had a small serrated edge at the top and a several inch straight edge.  The knife also had a seatbelt cutter and a point to break a window.  It will be a good knife to carry for work. I also bought two little thumb use can openers.  These cost fifty cents each and are going to be gifts for the two grandkids.  They will love them.  Now all I will have to do is actually use food that comes in cans so they can practice using them by opening the cans.  I can see it now...girl and boy fighting over who gets to open the can for me.  I better use two cans when I prepare meals with cans!
Jim and I had a good conversation about being prepared...storing food, knowing how to hunt and prepare what you've caught, living without electricity if things come to that, preparing children, etc.  Conversation turned to the paracord that I bought last time.  Since I made a headband and belt for girl and a belt for boy, I wanted to know if there are other colors that I could buy.  Olive drab is a great color but I was hoping to get a navy blue or black if navy wasn't available.  He said that he'd order navy for me.  I figure if the kids or I are wearing navy paracord belts it would look less conspicuous than the olive drab.  That just shouts out military - or I am pretending to be military.
One of the other things we talked about is coming up with little get home bags or more likely "stuck in school" bags for the kids since school will be starting in a couple of weeks.  I am going to rig their backpacks to have a false bottom.  Inside this false bottom will be a storage space for a few items although I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to want to put into them.  School is 5 1/2 miles from home and they've walked it before, so them getting from school to home isn't really an issue.  Yes they are 8 and 9 and no I did not give them permission to walk to school and back by themselves...they just did so one day this summer when they were bored(...little monsters).  Perhaps a poncho to keep off rain, some granola bars, first aid kit, walkie-talkies (although the ones we have only have a two mile range without obstructions - good from the house to the back of the property, etc.).  It would be nice to be able to communicate with them if something went wrong.  Something to think about.  
Overall, I didn't accomplish a lot today to prep but I did put some more good ideas into my head.  That's always a start.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

When the authority is wrong.

I got a little ticked off today when I was at work.  The person I was working with had written a landowner a ticket.  I had to go out to investigate something that had been impacted by some illegal happening (how’s that for being ambiguous).  During the inspection I asked many questions.  The first one was why this even qualified for a ticket.  The person I was with said that it was dusk when he was out looking around.  He didn’t have all the information to explain any of what he saw.  Instead of asking the landowner or doing some additional investigation, he wrote the ticket that night and mailed it off the next morning.  A week or two went by and he went out again.  At that time he realized that it wasn’t really his jurisdiction.  Then he told me that since the landowner didn’t know that the ticket was an error he was going to continue with the charade and continue to ask for things the landowner needs to do to fix what the landowner did. 

I asked why he couldn’t take the ticket back.  He said that he couldn’t take it back.  He would have to wait until they went to court, if it went that far.  Then if the landowner complained he wouldn’t have anything to back up his ticket so it would be dismissed. What do you mean, if it goes that far?  If you realized you ticketed someone and you were wrong you shouldn’t push it further.  This conversation was none of my business of course but I had to continue to ask. 

We were to look at something that is my expertise.  Did this landowner mess this other thing up?  Yes he did.  It was obvious, but again, where is your authority?  The person I was with didn’t have the authority but again since the landowner didn’t really know who had authority the landowner is going to comply. 

If the person had done something wrong, and I’m not saying he didn’t, should you contact the proper authority and have them deal with it?  Sure except the proper authority doesn’t care.  This doesn’t mean that “we” should be continuing to pursue this.  It’s wrong.  If the proper authority doesn’t care then you bring it to the local officials.  If they don’t care then you bring it up the line to congressional leaders.  You don’t fake it and pretend you have authority. 

Confused?  I’ll make up a silly story.  Let’s pretend a city cop from Anchorage Alaska was in Los Angeles for a training class.  In Anchorage they have an ordinance that states you can’t paint your house yellow.  While in LA he sees a yellow house.  He goes to the landowner and writes a fix-it ticket stating that the house can’t be yellow.  Instead of the landowner coming back and saying that it’s legal to have yellow houses in LA, the landowner doesn’t know any better and paints his house blue.  I was asked to verify that the house was originally yellow.  Of course it is yellow, but so what?  You, Mr. Anchorage cop don’t have the authority to tell the person he can’t have a yellow house. 

My day went something like that.  I don’t really know what I can do about it other than go over this guys head.  I may do so.  Tomorrow will be interesting.  I am working on a completely different project and spending the day with the person who got the ticket.  I can’t say anything about anything to that person.  Then I’d be in trouble. 

At least I didn’t get shot at today.

Some interesting news today:
A pot farm of 54 acres was raided this morning.  About 40 people have been arrested so far.  The plants were being grown as a regular row crop on local farmland.  The plants were 20 feet from the road but the perimeter fence had tarps over the fence so people couldn’t see the crops from the road.  I guess the farmer forgot about the aircraft that fly over.  Not too smart to be right under the flight path of the local airport. 

NYPD is proud to announce they now have 2000 cameras on line in portions of lower and midtown Manhattan.  They expect another 1000 to come on line prior to Sept. 11.  It’s called their Ring of Steel and is supposed to keep an eye out for terrorist activity and common criminals. 

There was a near riot yesterday in LA when 3000 people showed up for an impromptu block party that was tweeted by someone who was in a movie premiere. 

What does this have to do with prepping?  I am a law abiding citizen who encourages my kids and grandkids to be a law abiding citizen.  We’ve discussed civil disobedience and how that can be used for the good but you have to be very careful.  You can find yourself locked up or dead.  If TSHTF more people are going to be hit with out of control government officials who are doing things that they are not supposed to be doing. Those in authority are not always right.   Just another reminder to stay out of crowds and big cities, if possible.   

Oh I almost forgot.  Another bad evening for squirrels around here.  Two shots, two dead.  My old eyes were working pretty well tonight. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Doing nothing

Today I'm in a mood to do NOTHING.  The house is quiet.  I dropped girl and boy off at oldest daughter's house this afternoon.  I have to leave early for work tomorrow so she's going to bring these two plus two of hers to their day camp tomorrow.  Army daughter, son-in-law, and baby are out doing what they do best - going out to eat and shopping.  This means the only person at home is ME!  And I've been by myself for four hours now. 

I made myself some dinner: left over tri-tip, squash from the garden, home made roll, home made fruit juice.  Then I cleaned up the kitchen.  It was clean when I left this morning but somehow the messy kitchen fairy showed up while I was at work.  I left the rest of the mess that Army daughter made.  She can clean it up herself in a week or so when she gets around to cleaning.  (I'm sure boy or girl will end up cleaning it up this weekend)  I finished doing some office work since I left the office early today.  And for the past hour...nothing. 

I don't feel like watering, I don't feel like pulling weeds.  I don't feel like doing any chores inside the house.  I don't even feel like reading all the wonderful blogs that I spend time visiting each evening.  I'm just enjoying the silence and doing nothing.

It's even respite day for bunnies and squirrels.  Lucky them.

Tomorrow I have to leave early and head to the hills.  I'm going to be working on the project where we were shot at several months ago.  It's nearing harvest season so I'll be armed and very alert.  It's really dangerous working in areas where pot is being grown.  Right now it's big business for Mexican drug rings to come to California and plant crops and grow them in our mountains.  It's not just in California that this is happening, it's just that I'm familiar with it here.  The cartels force Mexican men to tend and guard the crops.  If anything happens to the crops then these men have no families to go home to.  It's that brutal.  I certainly won't be wearing any type of official looking clothing tomorrow.  It will be t-shirt and jeans for me.  I will have several radios on me plus the cell phone, even though it doesn't work well in that area.  The person I'm working with is pretty lackadaisical and doesn't really give protection a second thought.  I do.  I may call in for armed back up if we get out there and anything looks array. 

What if TSHTF?  People don't realize how dangerous some of these foothill areas and wilderness areas can be.  It's not because of the hungry hordes of people but the drug trade that has taken over areas that are very lightly populated.  People think that they can just head for the hills and rough it.  You can't.

Doing nothing to prep today.  I will tomorrow or I'll get very restless.  I'll write more tomorrow too.  Now I think I'll just head to bed.  Wow!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slow shot

It's a good thing that I don't have to be a sharp shooter to keep me alive at this point in time.  I may be able to hit my target but I am so slow at setting up the shot that half the time my target hops or runs away.  It also doesn't help that as I age my eyesight is fading. 

My vision is still not too bad, I am not required to wear glasses when I drive and if the light is good I don't need them when I read.  I do need glasses if I'm traveling in an area that I'm not familiar with and I have to read the small street signs.  That will only happen if I'm so close to the corner that I can't make the turn, unless I am wearing glasses to see the sign from further away.  My joke over the last few years is I only wear my glasses when I want to see. 

Unfortunately, this means my glasses are not always near me.  Usually they are in the truck.  This didn't do me much good last night when we were eating dinner.  Lately we've been overrun by rabbits and squirrels so I just keep the loaded .22 rifle on the kitchen counter.  I always make an announcement to the house that the gun on the counter or the table is loaded.  Boy and girl know not to touch it and they've been pretty good about it.  They know I'll bring them into the yard and let them shoot it if they want.  They also know that they are not good shooters yet but I am. 

Anyway, as we were eating last night girl yells out "rabbit".  I hopped up out of my chair, grabbed the rifle and opened the sliding door from the dining room to the back patio.  Where's the rabbit?  I couldn't see it.  They said there on the back driveway to the barn.  I saw a blob in the rock road about 120 feet away.  "Is it where I'm pointing?" I asked them.  Yes it was so I aimed and fired.  Fortunately for me the rabbit was just sitting there for a long time.  I hit it in the head.  Perfect shot. I was able to aim well.  I would have been happier if I could see the rabbit rather than the blob.  They were very excited that I killed it after they directed me to it. 

Today I went to the sporting good store.  I'd like to buy a scope for my .22 Marlin 70.  I don't need anything fancy, I'd just like to know what it is I'm shooting at.  The guy said that he wanted me to bring the rifle in and they'd mount the scope and get it all squared away rather than just sell the scope.  That's fine except I'm not allowed to bring the gun into the work truck (and carrying a rifle into the store would be rather obvious) and my truck is in Nevada transporting Bug-out renters mom to her final resting place (see my posting from last week).  I guess I'll have to wait another week until my truck gets back to see what I'm shooting at.

Because I can't really see my shot, and don't get me wrong my vision is 20/50 so it's not terrible, I am very slow at setting up the shot.  If I don't have around ten seconds to get a good aim then I can't get the shot off.  Usually by then the creature has run into the woodpile or something.  Still, I may be slow but I get one or two creatures per day.  You'd think at some point the property would run out of rabbits and squirrels.  No, not until I get totally fed up and poison them.  One year we were over run with foxes.  That was about five years before I got our dog.  We didn't ever have any problems with rabbits or squirrels.  Almost wish we had the fox issue.  On the other hand, the chickens are happy the foxes are gone.

I really need to set up some sort of moving or revolving target in the backyard and practice shooting faster.   If I was faster at focusing on my target I could get off two or three shots before the creatures scatter.  Once they scatter because I'm shooting they won't come out for about an hour.  It makes it hard to cut down on the critter population when I really only get the opportunity to kill one or two each night because I am too slow on my shots to get more.  Any suggestions?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Repairing the chicken coop

Yesterday morning I noticed that the big rooster was getting picked on a little too much by the banty.  Since I enlarged the chicken coop I had a brilliant idea to now divide the coop in half.  I decided to put the three hens that are continually broody into the new part and put the little banty in there with them.  The other 30 plus hens and the big rooster can stay in the old part. 

I also had some repair work to do on the coop.  The new part was having some issues.  For the door I recycled my sister's front door heavy duty screen security door.  It's metal and pretty heavy.  I'm not sure if it was my son or Bug-out renters son who hung the door initially.  But the other day the door fell off when girl was in the coop.  I guided the chickens back into the coop and paracorded the door back on to the 4x4 posts.  The door had a metal strip on the left side that was to be attached to the post.  Whoever hung the door initially nailed the door up with 3 inch nails and some washers.  This obviously didn't work.  I brought out some heavy duty screws that were as wide as the holes in the strip and screwed the door back up.  It will fall off in about 100 years or so.  No, I'm sure the wood post will rot first. 

Then I took a look at the new nesting area that they built.  My idea for this nesting area was to build a three sided room that the chickens could go into and have some peace and quiet.  I wanted a solid roof on it too.  The older part of the chicken coop has an 8x12 enclosed room that is solid enough to move into if we wanted to move out of the house.  Not so with the new little room in the new part of the coop.  First grandson and son-in-law dug the holes for the posts.  Then I cemented them in.  Then grandson nailed up two walls.  The kids used the wood from the pallets that I got for free.  They had to take the boards off, pull nails, then use them.  This method worked great.  So far so good.  Then renters son nailed up the third wall and boy was his helper.  Those boards were so crooked.  I'm not at all sure how he did that!  Renters son left the side facing to the west open even though I wanted the north side left open.  Then son came around and said the hens will never use it because the opening is too big.  He boarded up half the opening.  He found a piece of plywood and nailed the whole thing up then took the sawzall and cut out a door!  What a waste of wood.  With the little room enclosed like that the inside of the room just baked.  There was no way any chicken would ever even want to walk into that room, let alone set on their eggs.  Son also took down the entire side of crooked boards and rehung them.  They looked much better. 

I had to redo the entire nesting area room back to my vision.  The helpers were not much help, although they all thought they did a great job.  I tore out the bottom half of what was the crooked wall.  I left one board down at the ground level and put about four inches of straw on the floor of the room.  I used those boards to board up the west side.  There's not a door there anymore since the north side has a four foot tall opening. 

I moved the food holder that was in the main coop into this new room.  This bin holds fifty pounds of feed.  I filled it up.  I then took a bin that was being stored in the barn and put it into the main part of the coop.  It holds 150 pounds of feed.  I filled that too.  I've now quadrupled the amount of food in the coop from 50 pounds to 200 pounds.  I could go out of town for a long time and not have to worry about the chickens running out of food. 

Next I had to close off the old coop from the new.  I went into the barn and found a 2x6 board about 8 feet long.  That was the opening between the two parts of the coop.  I nailed that to the 4x4 post at each end down at the ground.  I then found some wire with 2x4 inch squares (rather than using chicken wire) and used staple type of nails to nail it to the posts and bottom board.   

I then went into the coop and carried each of the three broody hens into the new part of the coop.  They were not happy with me.  I took the eggs out from where they were holed up (all three hens have been stuffing themselves into one nest box), made several nests in the new room and put the eggs in there.  I don't care if the hens abandon those eggs or whether they sit on them.    As long as they stay broody I'll be able to supply them with eggs to lay on. 

Lastly, I moved banty rooster in there with the three girls.  This leaves the big rooster in with the rest of the hens.  We will be able to collect the eggs every day in the big coop, mark them, and then put them under the broody hens.  Any eggs the broody hens lay we can take out since they won't be fertilized.   

It was a long, hot day but it looks great.  Now all we have to do is wait for about a month and perhaps we will get some new baby chickens. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The fake broken legs

I came home a little late last night after going to a friends open house.  Their new grandchild was being shown off to family and friends.  I wanted to get out and visit a few friends just in case I had to leave for work.  My normal work hours are Monday through Friday during the day but there are times that work calls and I have to drop everything and go. immediately.  I have some really excellent people under me who can handle most everything except sometimes they do need extra help.  I talked to the employee who's working this incident and so far he's able to take care of it all and doesn't need my assistance.  The kids are chomping at the bit for me to leave.  I bring them home all the snacks that I don't eat from my lunches.  Since I rarely buy candy or cookies they get their fill from my leftovers.  For me, this is my only opportunity for overtime, and while it's not a regular time and a half set up, it's still extra money.  Unfortunately, when I do leave something in the garden usually dies or gets wasted.  As a just in case measure boy is picking all the peaches off the tree and I'll put the fruit into the freezer.  I can can it at a later date.  
When I came home last night I didn't notice what groceries Army daughter bought.  Making breakfast this morning I rolled my eyes and actually called them idiots.  What was on the counter?  Tomatoes, potatoes, apples, and plums.  I asked her why she bought this stuff since it's all in the garden.  She didn't want to get any potatoes out of the garden because they have dirt on them.  Oh, the potatoes you bought at the store never had dirt on them?   You brush off the dirt then you rinse the potatoes.  How does she think they do it with the store bought potatoes or are they just grown in the air?  And the tomatoes?  She likes to buy them on the vine and ours aren't on the vine!   Ours are vineless?  I pick them off the vine when I bring them into the house.  Where did Army daughter come from????  What happened to the girl I raised?  And the stories on why they bought what they bought just continued.  As I said...idiots.
The grandkids both wanted to play with my set of crutches.  They are on the top floor of the barn, don't break a leg getting them down.  They both decided they wanted to pretend breaking their leg so they can use the crutches.  I told girl her day could be yesterday and boy's could be today.  They were both very excited.  I said they'd have to have "broken legs" for at least two hours.  Ten minutes may be fun, two hours will be torture.  We spoke about improvising and how you have to think quickly and not get flustered if you have to do something and the way it's done isn't exactly the way it should be done.  Remember, in most things it's the outcome that's important.  There is usually a best process for everything but if the process has to change due to circumstances just go with it.  Most people freak out if their routine is messed up.  I can be one of those people until I remind myself that there is always more than one way to get the end result. 
Home Depot has long stir sticks (about two feet) and last time I was there I picked four up.  I probably should have picked up more.  Yesterday morning I had girl lay down on her bedroom floor.  I wrapped some gauze at her thigh and also by her ankle.  I then placed a stir stick on each side of her leg then taped the top and bottom with duct tape.  Using the gauze meant I didn't tape her skin.  Then I wrapped two ace bandages up and down her leg over the sticks.  Her leg was straight.  She was so happy, at least until I got up off the floor and walked out of her room.  Wait!  Aren't you going to help me up?  No.  Get up yourself.  So she had to figure how to get up with one leg straight.  She walked around a bit with the crutches and in less than five minutes wanted the thing off her leg.  Sorry, at least two hours.  Then her friend called to see if she could go swimming.  Sorry she has a fake broken leg.  Girl was not a happy girl.  Two hours exactly and the stuff was off her leg.
This morning boy came begging it was his turn.  You sister didn't like it, are you sure you want it on?  Absolutely.  His leg was going to be needing a different splint position.  I had to cut the inside of the leg stick anyway because it was too long.  He was going to have a bent leg which meant triangulating the brace.  I took some cardboard and the broken stir sticks and strapped it to his leg with duct tape.  Since girl lost the gauze when she took the bandages off yesterday, and I didn't want to use more gauze, I took one paper towel and cut it into strips.  I used these on his leg so the tape wouldn't stick.  He loves his braced "broken leg."  With his leg at an angle it's harder for him to hobble without the crutches.  He's out in the garden picking peaches while leaning on one of the crutches. 
The kids wanted to know if they would be knocked out if they really had broken legs.  I told them no.  They aren't thinking that breaking a leg would be so much fun anymore.  Good practice for me setting a leg while they aren't screaming in pain.  Hope I never have to set their legs for real. 
They just came in with three buckets of peaches.  I think we will make some quick peach sauce and then dehydrate some rolled fruit. There are several ways to do this.  My favorite is to split the peaches, take out the seeds, put the peaches and a little water into the blender.  Add a little sugar.  Line the dehydrator trays (or baking sheets if you are drying in the oven or outside) with plastic wrap - not waxed paper.  Dry.  I either make them the size of pancakes and then they are individual pieces or I smear it over the entire tray and then once dry I roll it up and cut into inch wide pieces.  Either way works but drying one full sheet is trickier since the outside edges dry before the inside.  Just make the inside a little thinner.  Yum. Better than store-bought...unless you are Army daughter. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Note to DC Josh

DC Josh,
For some reason your website will not take comments.  It's not that I'm not trying, it either says it doesn't recognize my Open ID which is this blog address or it just keeps redirecting it to another copy the letters page.  So I'm sending it this way.  Once you read it let me know and I'll remove the post. 
Sorry everyone else for sending a message this way.
My comment was to remember to include your water heater when figuring out how much water you have on hand.  Between that and the two toilet tanks we have 60 gallons of water without doing anything extra. 
Stay safe in your hot and humid weather.

It's hot

It's not really too hot here today.  It's 95 here but we don't have the humidity.  When the thermometer says 95 it feels like 95.  The east coast sizzled yesterday.  I hope they get some relief soon.  Since I wasn't sure if I'd have to work today or not (and things settled down so I don't have to head down south) I decided to get the chores started early.  The grandkids had the same idea.  Girl was done with her chores by eight this morning.  Boy is still working on his but that's because he has to do a couple extra today.  He is going slow because he won't stop talking.  I'm not minding the endless chatter today because there are just the two of us at home.  Girl went to a friends house and Army daughter, son-in-law, and their baby are doing what? and going to the they ever do anything else?
Boy had to clean the toilet today. He told me about this product on a commercial he saw that cleans the toilet for you.  All you have to do is buy the product and put it into the toilet tank.  I told him that we won't do that and he has to clean the toilet instead. Since our house is older and we haven't replaced the toilets, there are about four or five gallons of water in each tank, so somewhere between 8 and 10 gallons of water are stored there.  Although it's not water I'd want to drink (it's just psychological) it is clean water.  If we put the toilet cleaner in it we wouldn't be able to use the water.  He understood and went back to scrubbing the toilet. 
One thing that didn't go right yesterday was keeping water in the little duck bowl.  Our duck keeps laying eggs, hatching the ducklings, and then they die.  I ended up catching her three ducklings and put them in the chicken coop.  The mama duck was pissed off that I took her babies and followed me right into the coop.  We put a saucer for a large pot into the coop for the ducklings to get wet in and also to drink from.  One of the babies had a bum leg and it died the next day.  Of the other two, one is much smaller than the other.  Today we went out to the coop and it wasn't following mom around.  I noticed that the little bowl of water was empty.  The poor little thing was dehydrated.  The other stronger duckling was doing ok.  I filled the water up and told girl to keep an eye on it.  It seems to be doing better but I don't have a lot of hope for it.  The ducks are a week old and this one is really lagging behind in wing size and just overall size.
The laundry is on the line and dries faster than it takes for the next load to get washed.  Lately I've been so busy that I've been doing all the laundry on one day rather than spreading it out throughout the week.  I don't have a preference other than if things fell apart it would sure be nice to have just about all the laundry done.  I'd rather not have a weeks worth of laundry to do and then have a power outage. 
Speaking of power outage, my friends back east have no power.  And it's hot.  Their power went out yesterday so there's no air conditioning to keep them cool.  They have an above ground pool so they are aren't complaining.  They also have Kindles so it wasn't a big deal to the parents to not get to watch tv last night.  The kids on the other hand were not happy.  Their power still isn't on.  Soon they will be affected because their refrigerator will soon be holding a bunch of spoiled food.  I have read about how in the olden days people would get blocks of ice from the lake and wrap it with sawdust to keep their food cold year round.  That wouldn't work around here since it would take about and hour and a half to get to a lake or pond that would freeze that solid during the winter.  If TSHTF I'm sure we wouldn't be making those treks up the hill.  But there may be some enterprising person who would probably be able to charge a good amount of money to deliver ice.  In fact, that's what one of my great grandfathers did for a living.  Deliver ice to people in the city.  My friends live in an area that freezes so it's something they can do.  Even the bug-out place doesn't have hard enough freezes during the winter to make blocks of ice. That's ok though because if today is the day then we'd take the stuff out of the refrigerator and freezer and dry it in the hot weather.  I suppose you'd have to make that command decision as to whether you think the power would be coming back on soon or if it's just going to stay off.  Most people would be upset if they started to dry their food then the power came back on.  On the other hand, there's always an other hand with me, what if the power didn't come back on.  What if one day stretched to two or four or a week or a month or a year?  I'm almost ready.
Get your outdoor stuff done early.  Stay cool. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What do you do with a dead person?

Had an interesting day yesterday, which is why I didn't post.  I have Mrs. Bug-out renter staying with me because she had a couple of doctor appointments in town this week that I was going to help transport her to.  Mr. Bug-out renter stayed home.  His aged mother has lived with them for a few weeks because she got kicked out of her adult care facility (thanks Medicare for saying that she didn't need the extra help because she was fine).  Aged mother was from Nevada and they transported her in their tiny pickup from there to here.  She needed round the clock care so Mr. Bug-out renter couldn't help with the doctor appointments.  Not a problem, I'll help out.
We got a text message right around dinner last night that aged mother died.  He called 911 and just waited.  (The ambulance arrived in 24 minutes and it was a priority one.  This means that if there's a fire or something it will take the engine 24 minutes to arrive.)  I got the family fed, including the extras since we had son and his family plus Army daughter and her family plus Mrs. renter plus myself and the grandkids.  Got the kids put to bed and then headed up the hill to the Bug-out place. 
Since aged mother's burial plot and prepaid funeral arrangements were in Nevada the question was how to get her from here to there.  Also, the bug-out renters are very poor, they barely have the money to drive there and who knows how they'd come up with the money to get home.  Mr. renter was going to drive dead aged mom back to Nevada last night.  We found out that it's illegal to transport a dead person across state lines unless they are embalmed.  Since he had called 911 it was known that she died in California.  Fortunately someone from the local trauma intervention program was able to help out and get aged mom picked up by a local funeral home to be embalmed.  That funeral home is going to work it out with the prepaid place in Nevada. 
It still leave the question of how to get aged mom there.  Mr. Bug-out renter is going to drive her (she's going to be in the back of the truck) back to Nevada for a nice burial.  I told them I'd pay for gas. 
All I want is a little peace and quiet and not any drama!  Some day, perhaps when I'm the aged parent?  I'll be the one causing the drama but won't know it! 
But this got me thinking as I was driving back home after midnight, and coming home to find Mrs. Bug-out renter sleeping in my bed so that I'd wake her up and tell her everything that was going on at her house.  I sat on the bed and worked on my paracord belt as I retold the evenings events.  But it really struck a cord with me. 
What do you do with a dead body?  Fortunately I didn't have to participate in making a quick 5 hour run to the border with a body in my truck.  The grandkids were having fun this morning talking about who would want to sit next to the dead aged mom during the trip.  At least they have a sense of humor.  Of course it wasn't their grandmother or mother. 
Sure we have ideas such as burials at the local cemetery, at sea, cremation, or however and where ever you want your remains to be.  What if TSHTF?  Are you prepared to deal with a dead body?  I have a body bag in my gear but that won't prepare me for emotional distress of the death of a loved one.  (I've been around many dead bodies. It's not too emotional.  Their soul is not there so it makes it just a body.  Of course this all changes when it's a loved one because you are suffering the loss of their being in your life.)  Is burial in your yard something that can be done?  What about something like the earthquake and then disease in Haiti?  Mass burials.  I wouldn't want that.  How quickly can you dig a deep hole? 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paracord and knives

I had to work in Tollhouse today so I headed up to GI Jim's Military Surplus there in Tollhouse on my lunch break.  I wanted to use my $20 certificate that I bought for $10 from one of the half price deals that the local radio station advertises.  Much to my surprise the store had moved.  Instead of going on my lunch break I ended up going after I finished for the day on my way down the hill as they are now in Prather.  That's a more convenient location for those who live in the city.   

I didn't know what to buy because I have a huge list of stuff I want.  I would like good backpacks for the grandkids for our trip to North Carolina.  I would like to get a couple of knives since NC doesn't recognize the CA CCW.  But I need to make sure that the knives are legal.  Of course, they'll be packed in the suitcase and not in my pack. 

The knives I was looking at are assisted opening knives.   Under California law, you are allowed to carry, concealed in your pocket, a non-switchblade pocket knife of any length, including any assisted-opening knife.  The knife must be carried in the closed position.   Knives that are disguised as any other object are illegal.  Where can you carry a concealed knife in California?  Almost anywhere.  At public schools no type of concealed knives are allowed.  Knives over 2 1/2 inches are allowed as long as they are visible.  So if you carry a knife at a school it better be attached to your belt in a little carry case and not stuffed in your pocket.  At colleges or other post-secondary schools, no fixed-blade knives are allowed of any length but other types of knives may be carried legally.  Well, I didn't buy a knife, although I probably will on my next trip to GI Jim's. 

I ended up buying paracord.  I got a 300 foot roll.  Tonight I made a headband to hold back girls mop of hair.  I took nine feet of cord and folded it up so I had three two-strand lengths.  I kept it all one piece, I didn't cut it into three strips.  I taped the top so it would make it easier for me.  I then braided the cord using a pretty tight weave.  I finished up the ends by knotting the two ends together.  It fit her head perfectly.  It's not a quick release style; if she needed the cordage she'd have to unbraid the entire thing.  I will probably put a strip of elastic with a button closure on the headband.  It will provide a tighter fit and the elastic can just slip off if she needs the paracord.  I've also seen bracelets made with paracord.  I'm going to make some of these so we can all wear them on our trip.  We will also be sporting paracord belts.  I bought olive drab but I think I may pick up some black.  We may as well have some "fancy" looking belts to wear in North Carolina.  We are going for a wedding after all.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How much water do we use?

Rudy over at Preparing Your Family,, wrote about rain water harvesting today.  He said that at his house he could collect 17,000 gallons of water in one year.  It got me to thinking, how much water do we use?  If you live in a city and have a water meter connected to your house it's easy to calculate how much water you use.  Just read the meter. 


On the other hand, when living in the country and using a well it's a harder task.  I read that you can purchase in-line water meters to figure out your usage.  The water comes out of my well and heads in two different directions.  One is to the house which also goes directly to the water spigots in the front yard.  However, the pipe that goes to the back garden does not run through the house.  The pipe splits at the well and goes to the back or to the front.  How do I figure out my water use?  I found this site which will help. 


Using the above calculator and stating water use on the high side, it showed we need over 200 gallons of water per day for inside use and another 400 gallons for outside use.  Again this on the super high side.  Perhaps with the kids home during the summer and going through a heat spell needing lots of water in the garden.  I just can't imagine us using 600 gallons of water a day!  I then put in my responses using what I believe to be typical, not high.  This time the calculator came back with 100 gallons per day inside use.  That's more reasonable.  I doubt we use 400 gallons of water per day outside.  The animals do go through about 25 gallons a day during the summer.  The chicken coop rainwater does drain into their water container during winter.  The sheep don't drink too much during the winter, and they will drink out of puddles if they are clean. 


Since I run my garden and back fruit trees off a hose drip system it should be easy to calculate how much water I use.  You'd think that all I'd have to do is turn on the faucet, take off the hose, and have the water go into a bucket.  I'd time it and as soon as the five gallons filled up I'd be able to multiply or divide and add or subtract (depending on how long it took) to figure out my gallons per minute.  That sounds reasonable since I don't have the water on full blast when I'm running the drip.  If it was full blast it wouldn't calculate properly because the water doesn't come out full blast; there would be a backup in the system.  About twice per week I water the trees and vegetables during the summer.  I only turn the faucet a ½ twist but I let it run for two or three hours.  It will be interesting to do the bucket test to see how much water is coming out of the faucet. 


If I was able to collect all the water from the barns I'd get about 20,000 gallons per year and another 25,000 from the house and garage.  That's if I collected every drop - 45,000 gallons if I had a storage tank that large.  Just calculating the inside water, our needs would be 36,500 gallons per year.  That would leave the rest of our 45,000 gallons to give water to the animals.  Forget about watering the garden. 


What did I learn from this calculation?  I need to make sure my well works!  I am still putting a water collection tank in but no matter what, it will not be able to provide for our needs if we expect it to water the garden and the trees.  That's the price of living in an area with 11 inches of rain per year. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Don't pray, people may be watching. (And I added two sentences at the end because forgetting to put in your conclusion doesn't work!)

I'm a bit cranky today.  First let me tell you a couple of stories…

When Moses was leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt the enemy was almost upon them when they hit a dead end, the Red Sea.  Israel cried out for God to show this power and so something.  God didn't respond in an instant.  The people had to wait until all hope in their ability to deliver themselves was gone. All man-made plans have to be exhausted.  It was only in that darkest hour did God respond.  Otherwise the people would not have realized it was God.  They would have figured their saving was their own doing.    

My second story is something I wrote about in the blog about 9 months ago.  Grandchild 11 was born and after about 10 minutes took a terrible turn for the worse.  She was transferred out of the military hospital and into a hospital that specializes in babies.  They didn't know if she would live long enough to make it to the hospital.  She did make it to the other hospital and once the transfer was complete and she was taken to the Neonatal ICU (NicU) the doctors hooked her up to a lung machine and stuck her with lots of IVs.  After they got done with that the doctors brought Army daughter and son-in-law in to see her.  They tried to explain what was wrong and what they were doing.  Then the doctors told them to pray.  They said that they can only do so much for the newborn but that God could do everything.  Just go pray.  And they did.  Probably their first real heartfelt prayers in their entire lives.  They did so ONLY because the doctors told them to but at least they prayed.  Army daughter and son-in-law were amazed that the doctors told them that they could only do what they are trained in and that it's all in God's hands anyway.  After 2 months in the NicU the baby was able to go home.  She has been a very difficult baby but is now pretty much a normal 9 month old.  Army daughter got off of active duty and she and son-in-law moved home.  And I've enjoyed every minute of it (except when I'm complaining about stupid stuff that they do). 

God will be there for us, although none of us can predict the plan he has for us as individuals.  The power of prayer works.  Often we only see that God is there when we are at our lowest and God answers.  We forget about all the day to day involvement that God has.

Ok, so why am I crabby today?  Yesterday boy got into trouble…he's getting into stuff that he should get into (not really bad stuff) but then lying about it when he's asked.  It's the lying part that got him in trouble much more than getting into Army daughter's shower gel.  Anyway, this morning Army daughter and I were discussing his having put money into the justice jar (charity – as it's often called, but I don't like that term), Army daughter told me something that happened earlier in the week.  She assumed that the kids had already told me about this incident.  They hadn't.

At one point, I don't even know which day, she and son-in-law had the boy and girl with them and they went to Taco Bell.  No wonder the kids didn't say anything.  I always tell them that we don't go out to eat instead of coming home to eat.  It's a waste of money and the food is not nearly as good.  Army daughter and son-in-law love going out to eat so to Taco Bell they went.  (Where was I that I didn't know this?)  Back to my crabbiness…

Around here we always say a blessing to thank God for our food.  It doesn't matter if it's a piece of candy or a full meal.  You should thank God after you eat too.  It's really easy to say a prayer of thanks when you are hungry…try putting out the effort when you are full.  Gosh, I'm really digressing today.  The grandkids were at Taco Bell, their uncle just brought them their food, so they start singing their blessing.  Army daughter was embarrassed that they would actually pray in public.  She told them that in today's society people react strangely and praying in public could put them at risk.  WHAT????  So they stopped their prayer.  I'm sure they said it to themselves but what a STUPID thing to tell the children. 

After she spent hours and days in prayer to have God save the live of her daughter she doesn't want anyone to know that these kids want to thank a higher source than the Taco Bell worker and their uncle for their food?  After all, they were required to say thank you to them! 

I am not a happy grandparent today.  Army daughter and son-in-law didn't want to hear my complaints.  They went to the gym.  All right no more crabbiness, thanks for letting me blow off steam.  Thinking about it I am blessed.  Their beautiful daughter that God saved the life of is sleeping soundly in the other room.  Boy is in the back yard picking plums up off the ground and giving them to the chickens.  Girl is hanging out at her cousin's house this weekend.  Another grandson is helping boy with the yard work.  I am sitting at a computer with electricity and am about to get off my rear and put in the whole house fan.  Then maybe I'll get back to the solar oven. 

So why do I prepare for the future when I know that God will be there when I am at my lowest?   After all, he told Noah to build an Ark.  He told Moses to take his people out of the land of Egypt and into the unknown.  It got put into my head to prepare.  So I do.  But before you get your "stuff" ready try to know God, not just believe in God.  That's the first part of being prepared.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Solar Oven Progress

I gave away my solar oven and am in the process of building another.  It's not all the way done but I've got it sitting on the chair in the backyard anyway.  I'm planning on having an interior box set inside an exterior box (which will help hold in the heat).  Right now I just have the interior box built.  It's just a cardboard box with foil and glass.  I am going to redo it somewhat because the top has a little too much shadowing of the interior. 

It's 11:00 in the morning and it's 70° outside.  It's almost 200° in the oven. Not bad for an incomplete project.  I'll post more pictures soon.  I'm hoping to work on it some more this weekend and get it finished. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back up glasses

Once a week Army daughter heads south on a two and a half hour drive to attend a class.  Last night was the night.  Just as she was getting off the freeway her eye started bothering her.  She felt like a speck of dust had gotten under her contact lens and was scratching her eye.  She closed her eye and drove with one eye open and one eye closed until she reached her destination as couple minutes later.  Once she parked her car she immediately took the contact out.  She didn't have her glasses with her.  She sat in class with one eye red and watering and the other eye trying to look at the board and read what the instructor was writing.  She wasn't very successful.  At the break she called home and told her husband what had happened. 
Son-in-law told me that he was going to take the drive and bring her her glasses.  He wanted to know if I'd watch the baby.  Of course, but wouldn't you prefer we get one of the older grandkids to come watch the baby and the two other grandkids and I go down there with him?  That way he could pick up his wife and I could drive her car back home. Oldest grandson wanted to come over for the night anyway.  No, son-in-law figured that would be too much trouble and besides that, Army daughter said that she just wanted her glasses and she'd drive her own car home.  Whatever you choose.  I'll be happy to not make the five hour round trip drive to pick her up at 10 and get home past midnight.  I'll stay home and go to bed.  Not a problem.  Really.
And that's exactly what transpired, sort of.  I went to bed.  He drove down and met her after class at 10.  Her eye was red so being the sweet husband that he is, decided that she shouldn't drive home.  I heard them come home a little after midnight but was happy to be in bed and not just coming home with them.  The problem with me staying home was they now have a car parked two and a half hours from home.  Instead of taking care of it yesterday evening, which I really would have been happy to help with, they are going to drive down tomorrow to pick the car up.  That's an extra five hours of driving for no reason at all. 
OK, so why do I care?  Army daughter wears contacts.   She has one pair glasses but prefers the contacts since she sees clearly with them.  She had more than one pair but one of their yip-yips decided to chew them up.  She never got any other backups because she prefers the contacts.  And she left that pair at home rather than as a backup in the car.  Will this experience compel her to purchase another pair or two and keep a pair in each vehicle?  I'm sure it won't.  What about sunglasses?  If she wears regular sun glasses because she uses contacts shouldn't she have a clip-on sunglasses just in case?
What about me?  How do I stack up?  I wear glasses although I don't wear them all the time...the joke is I only wear them when I want to see.  I wear prescription sunglasses when I'm driving during the day.  I don't normally wear my regular glasses and probably wear the sunglasses ten times as often as the regular pair.  Of course, when driving at night I use my regular glasses.  I do not wear contacts.  I don't own any.  How many pairs of glasses do I own?  Lots.  Well, each year I get a new pair of glasses, either regular or sun.  Every few years I get one pair of each at the same time.  Now I do have my up to date, bought this year pair of sunglasses that I keep in my truck (either the work truck or the family truck) and if they are in the opposite truck that I'm getting into it's just routine to take them out of the other vehicle.  After all, if it's daytime they are going on my head. 
What about backup?  I have a pair of sunglasses and regular glasses in the glove box of each truck.  I have a pair of regular glasses and sun glasses in my bug out bag and in my two week bag in the work truck.  This means I have five pairs of glasses.  A little overkill sure, but even if I break a pair I won't need someone to drive five hours round trip just to bring me another pair.  How well can you see?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Killing Rabbits and other pests

The rabbit population is out of control.  One breeding pair can produce up to 800 offspring, children and grandchildren, in a single year.   Around here the rabbits are out in the greatest population in the early morning and also just before evening.  I went out into the garden yesterday evening to find two rabbits starring at me with mouths full of okra leaves.  I turned right around, went into the house and got my .22 and went back out.  Killed one, the other ran away.  I left the dead one out in the yard, perhaps to deter the other rabbits.  Stay away or you may end up like this one... Tonight I went back out to find one rabbit in the garden.  It took off before I could get close enough for a shot.  I could use a scope for my .22! Or at least go out there with my glasses on.

There are several ways to cut down on the rabbit population.  First is to have the yip-yips in the garden area to chase them away.  That would work if the yip-yips cared.  They don't.  The big dog will chase them away but she is usually too busy sleeping at that time because she stays up most of the night keeping the coyotes and mountain lions away.  Coyotes and mountain lions would kill the rabbits but they will also kill the sheep, ducks, chickens, and children (at least the lions will) so I'd prefer they stay off the property. 

Since the dogs aren't doing a great job keeping down the rabbit population there are several other ways to control them.  My favorite is shooting them but the most effective way is to poison them.  Since we don't eat rabbit meat I don't care how they die.  If we ate rabbits then the cause of their demise would be an important consideration. 

You can trap them live and let them out somewhere else.  That's a nice thing to do if you live in the city and your kids think that rabbits are first cousins with the Easter Bunny or Bugs Bunny.  But you aren't doing anyone a favor other than the rabbit. 

There are traps that will crush them and kill them.  The only problem with these kinds of traps is that they will kill  and/or crush whatever happens to get in them, whether it's the puppy, the duck, or your hand.  They aren't legal in all places and I have no idea if they are legal here or not.  I won't use these. 

You can put up fencing.  You can use up to 1 1/2" chicken wire for this job.   I just can't see fencing my garden beds, although if I needed to survive on my garden then you bet I'd be putting in the fencing.  You need to bury the fence between 6 inches and a foot deep and have it about 3 feet high.  I could either put it around each 4'x16' garden bed or just around the entire garden perimeter.   I've heard you can use a plastic mesh but I have visions of animals eating this, or a small fire burning through and melting it.  (I've seen those beautiful fake-wood white plastic fences melt when a fire comes roaring through.  Nothing like miles and miles of melted goop that used to be a fence. And the stuff costs more than real wood because it's maintenance free.)  I have several rolls of chicken wire stored in the barn for future needs.

What do I do besides shoot them?  I buy Rodenticides (stuff to kill rodents).  When I first moved here I was hitting up the local Orchard Supply almost weekly to buy bait to kill the mice.  One of their staff told me since I lived in the country I could go to the County Ag department and buy the stuff there for a much cheaper price.  I do that now and purchase a several year supply at a time.  I keep it stored safely because this stuff is an anticoagulant and I certainly wouldn't want the dogs, cats, or ducks to get into this by accident. 

The product name is Diphacinone.  There are a couple different strengths but I always get the .005 anticoagulant grain bait for $1.70 a pound.  It looks like blue oatmeal.  It kills ground squirrels, rats, mice, rabbits, and chipmunks.  You put it into bait stations, which are often made of PVC pipe or old cat litter buckets.  You do this so birds and other critters don't get to it.  I will also go out to the pasture and pour a little into each ground squirrel hole.  I'll go back a day later and see where it's been eaten and pour some more in.  I'll do that for several days and pretty soon the squirrel problem will be solved. 

In the barn I use the Diphainone .005 wax bait block.  You can buy these at Orchard Supply as well but they are much cheaper, at $2.64 a pound when I get them from the county.  I put these in the garage and the barns.  Very rarely do they get any nibbles in the garage.  My Clark Pest Control person told me that one of the problems with these is that they attract mice so I shouldn't put them in the house.  I used to but took his advice and don't do that any more.  We don't have mice in the house anyway as they pretty much hang out in the barns.  If you don't stake these down in the barn some creature will walk off with them.  I will put a wire stake through a stack of three or four near the grain in the barn since mice like that area anyway.  It seems to work pretty well. 

I know we will never get rid of all the mice or rabbits or squirrels but with the rodenticides and my shooting they will be kept under control. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Expected Car-mageddon on Southern California freeways

"Do you think Carmageddon fears are overblown? If not, how are you prepping? Have you stocked up on canned food?"  This is a quote from Yahoo's post LA Preps for Carmageddon. 

Next weekend the 405 is going to be shut down in Southern California.  This stretch of freeway sees 500,000 cars each day!  Signs are being posted throughout California letting people know.  People in Southern California are being asked to just stay home.  During the Olympics in the 1980s people were asked to stay home to keep traffic jams down.  It worked so well that all the freeways in the entire city were wide open.  There wasn’t any rush hour traffic.  That probably brought another million people to the area…beautiful weather and no traffic. 

Interstate 5 and the 170 also go through LA and people coming from the north can take those routes.  If you are heading to the airport it’s about a half hour to an hour out of your way. Perhaps people will stay home this weekend and leave the freeways open for those who need to travel.  I am hoping that I don’t get called to work down there.  I am not expecting anything to happen since the weather will be good.  But if I do have to go down I'm sure hoping that people heed the call and stay home to keep the other freeways from turning into a parking lot.  Otherwise it would be a good time to fly.   

OK, but lets turn this back to Yahoo.  Many times I've come across posts where Yahoo and other organizations say some really stupid remarks about prepping.  Prepping has turned into a joke.  The joke is on you Yahoo writer Adriana Diaz.  When you lose your job or are in the middle of an earthquake I hope you have prepared.  Probably not since you have too much to do already.  After all nothing's more important than keeping up on Justin Bieber and the Beckham's new baby.   

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Knot today

A site I really like is Animated Knots by Grog.  Their motto is "Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it."  It’s a really good site and I use it a lot.  The site sells disks and downloads and an iPhone app but you can also get it all free right there on the website.  By purchasing a disk or download you can get this information without needing to rely on the internet.  They also claim that it’s faster, more convenient, and advertisement-free.  Perhaps if enough people who read this blog purchase the disk or download they’ll give me a discount…hint, hint.

They have a list of 166 knots that they show how to tie.  For example, if you go to “The Basics” eight knots are shown in good detail so you can easily copy the knot.  Not only that but if you move the mouse over the knot a description of the knot and what it’s used for will come up.  If you click on the knot you want to see a new page will come up.  This page is animated and will actually show you how to make the knot!

The eight knots on the basic page are Overhand Knot, Half Hitch, Half Knot, Square Knot, Sheet Bend, Figure 8, Slip Knot, and Noose.  The animated knot pages include the basic page and pages for fishing, boating, climbing, scouting, rescue, household, decorative knots and rope care.  And last, but not least, their knot store where you can make purchases.    

While the top of the page shows you how to make the knot if you look at the page carefully you will find lots more information.  In the box with the animated picture you can have it shown to you in a normal fashion, mirrored, inverted, and rotated.  This helps if you are like me.  I need to see it exactly in the fashion that I’ll be working with the rope.  It also has fast, medium, and slow for the animation.  It that’s too quick, or you have a question about any part of the knot tying, there are numbers that you can press to show each of the steps individually.  If you don’t like the animation you can watch the video.  There are also several paragraphs providing more information about each knot.

This is a really good site.  Check it out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Will I ever meet, in person, another prepper/survivalist or will the blog just have to do?

Today I had to work in a small town about an hour away from home.  It’s home to a couple who write blogs that I enjoy reading.  I was hoping to be able to meet them.  It’s hard to meet complete strangers, especially when all you’ve done is converse back and forth on a blog. 

Some blogs are set up where your comment automatically posts.  This makes it even harder to communicate.  In trying to set up a meeting I had to publically state that I was going to be in their area and would like to meet.  I requested that they write a comment to my blog which does not automatically post.  If they’d give me a phone number or tell me where to meet then it could be set up without the world seeing this information.  I would delete their comment rather than posting it. 

We could have met at a gas station and they could have sized me up prior to introducing themselves.  After all, I may not be some normal mild mannered person!  They would have figured it out once they saw me. 

Unfortunately it didn’t work out.  They may not have read my comments, or perhaps they did and decided they didn’t want to take the chance meeting a stranger.  I was only in their area for four hours but could have stayed another couple of hours if we were able to meet. 

I’m still looking to meet people and be able to talk with them about what they do, how they do it, and perhaps even get a sneak peak at their setup to see if I can get some hints on how to improve ours.  I hope another opportunity comes along.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekend ramblings

I’ll start off my blog tonight with dinner.  Army daughter made half and I made half.  She made the chili.  It was good.  It was almost as good as mine.  She used 6 cans of beans, each a different variety: pinto beans, Bush’s chili beans, generic chili beans, pink beans, and two other kinds that I can’t remember.  She ground two pounds of ground beef.  She added two packages of McCormick chili seasoning.  She also added garlic salt.  This was all cooked in the slow cooker all day.  As I said it was good.

 If I was making the chili I would have put dried beans in the slow cooker last night, filled the thing with water and set it on low to cook all night.  In the morning I would have drained the water, added more water and cooked it most of the day.  I would have added chili powder, cumin, perhaps a dried chili pepper or two, onions, garlic, and whatever else came into my head.  I would have cut up the leftovers from last night’s meat and put it in the pot. 

I wasn’t asked to make the chili though as she’d much rather have chili from beans in cans rather than using those hard beans and cooking them until they are soft.  (Doesn’t she know the beans in the cans were hard before they were canned?)  I was asked to make the corn bread. 

That’s an easy one.  Corn meal, flour, egg, frozen cream corn –from last year’s garden (yes we have pieces of corn in the corn bread), baking powder, salt, and molasses.  Yes I know it’s usually honey but I felt like making it with molasses this time. 

When it’s time to eat you take a piece of corn bread and put it in your bowl.  Then you pile your chili on the top.  Delicious. 

Bug-out renters asked if they could have my solar oven so I started making another today.  Army daughter thinks this is funny.  Why would I want to do that when I have two ovens in my kitchen?  I also own three different sizes of slow cooker.  Who needs a solar slow cooker.  I tried to reason with her “save the resources” side.  She wasn’t buying that since I’m an advocate for logging.  Son-in-law said that he’s heard of these types of ovens being used in poor countries.  Yes, and in rich countries too.  I didn’t get the oven completed today so it’s a project for next weekend. 

The electrician came over today and we figured out where the fan is going to go, what wiring is available and what he will need to do to get the switch installed.  Fortunately there is a perfect spot where the entry hall and the long hallway come together.  The only issue that I may have is you are supposed to have a large vent from the attic to the outside of the house somewhere near the location of the fan.  The large attic vent on this house is about 40 feet away.  I may have to put additional vents somewhere on the roof.  If so it will be one of those vents that has a fan that automatically rotates when the hot air rises through.  The electrician is going to come back next weekend.  If I have time during the week I can punch out the 30” square in the ceiling.  If I do so, then I’ll have to cover it with plastic so we don’t lose all the cold air from the air conditioner.  (Or perhaps I’ll leave it open so we can lose some of the cold air and this air conditioned house won’t keep me on the verge of being frozen.)  It will be interesting when Army daughter gets this months electric bill.  The first $35 is mine.  The rest hers.  I bet it’s going to be close to $350.  Ouch.   

We had too many grandkids here this weekend to spend any time practicing shooting.  We are starting to get too many rabbits on the property although I've seen very few squirrels this year.  If I don't start shooting almost every day I'm going to have to set out poison or traps or both. 

I would like to spend more time with my 9mm since I’d like to add it to my concealed weapons permit.  I’m also trying to figure out what I’m going to do on my trip to North Carolina next month.  They do not accept a California permit so I’m not going to be able to carry while I’m there.  It’s a pain to go through the airport declaring a weapon but it’s something that can be done if you plan on spending a little extra time getting checked in.  But I won’t have it for the 9 days.  I’ll have a knife and other things in my luggage but will probably need to pick up some other items when I’m there.    

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Finally ate a good dinner and my purchase of the day

Around here Army daughter likes to do the cooking.  Since they live here almost for free (they paid their share of the bills and also they buy most of the "food") she likes to think that her cooking is part of their share of doing things around here.  Her cooking is awful.  When she was a kid I used to tease her that she liked putting a little bit of peanut butter in her salt cookies and she liked putting a little bit of tomatoes into her salt sauce for spaghetti.  She hasn't improved much.  Yesterday she was coughing and looking absolutely terrible.  She said that she was going to the store in the morning and wanted to know what I wanted for dinner.  I told her that even if she was going shopping don't worry about dinner on Saturday night.  I'll do the cooking. 

Ah, real food for dinner tonight.  Before I get into what I cooked I need to tell a little story about her grocery shopping.  Remember, she doesn't help in the garden because they'd rather shop at the store.  On her last shopping trip she brought home a jar of jam and a lemon for the salmon they were going to make for dinner.  What about the 50 jars of jam in the cabinet?  Or the lemon tree in the back yard?  Nope, not as good as store bought.  With this in mind, let me tell you about dinner tonight. 

We had a deer roast, given to us by a friend of mine who hunts.  I made scalloped potatoes using potatoes from the garden, powdered milk, cheese powder, and a tablespoon of butter.  I also made a vegetable medley all from the garden of yellow and green zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion, and garlic.  I threw in some Italian seasoning that I buy in bulk at Winco.  I made bread using flour, yeast, salt, garlic, a little sugar, and water.  I spread about a tablespoon of melted butter on top just prior to baking it.  We ate it plain without adding any more butter or oil to it.  The grandkids (five of them tonight) had a juice mixture of peaches, plums, and apples just blended together in the blender with some crushed ice and water.  Yes, we had real food tonight.  I am one content person.  Son-in-law likes my cooking; I think Army daughter would prefer store bought preservative filled fake food.  I fed eight of us for a grand total of less than one dollar - the cost of my stored food plus the butter.

I researched some whole house fans and picked one that I purchased today from Home Depot.  It's a Master Flow 30" belt drive unit that's supposed to move 6000 cu. ft. per minute.  That's enough to knock me off my feet if I'm not careful.  The plan is to only have to run this thing for about 10 minutes in the early morning.  I figure if it's in the high 60s or low 70s first thing in the morning I can cool the house down to about that temperature and then close up the house for the rest of the day.  It should keep the house no hotter than 80 if I do it right.  The electrician friend is supposed to come help tomorrow but since this is not just going to be put right in since it's wider than the joists I'm going to have to do a little bit of framing first.  I'll see if he's willing to help with that or if he just wants to make sure the wiring is done right.  If he's not up for actual physical labor the project may not get completed until next weekend. 

I haven't spoken to anyone yet about the wind turbine.   Since there's a dealer a few hours from here there should be someone who has one that I can take a look at and interview them to see how happy they are with it.  I like that it's advertised to be either grid-tied or off grid.  You can have it set up to charge your batteries off grid then when the batteries are charged tie it back to the grid and turn the meter backwards. 

Today a friend of mine gave us a 52" TV.  Army daughter also went to her storage unit to pick up her 52" TV.  We were all scratching our heads at dinner tonight wondering why we got either.  We now have 5 TVs in the house.  The grandkids only watch if I'm watching with them.  We watched High School Musical last weekend.  The TV hasn't been on since.   I think I'll give one of the TVs to oldest daughter and her family.  The rest can collect dust. 

Bug-out renter's chicken is broody again.  I'm going to bring some of our fertilized eggs up there for the hen to set.  She hatched two of the four eggs I brought last time.  The chickens run loose up there.  One of the things that struck me about Hawaii was all the wild chickens.  I'd like to get a lot of wild chickens running loose at the bug-out place.  

Granddaughter decided she didn't want to wash her clothes in a bucket this week.  She was perfectly happy with me putting them in the washing machine.  They are getting hung up on the clothes line although Army daughter and son-in-law keep offering to take their clothes out of the drier so I can put ours in.  Do you know where the lint comes from that you collect in the drier vent?  That's from your clothes falling apart.  No thanks.  I'll let the sun do the drying.