Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dead chickens - dead bobcat

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Realtor sleeze-balls and starting to pack things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Putting in a winter garden and Girl problems again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

UC Merced - It was a terrorist attack after all

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 5, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

Yard Clean Up - Preparing for Winter and Preparing to Move

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, October 6, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The past week

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

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Girl's surprise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fitting Everything into the Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Talking Survival Works! Silver Doesn't

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 12, 2015

And How Would Boy Get Home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Disorder and debt - how to not be at peace

Today is just a complaining session.  I will get back to updating on the new property and going through everything here on my next post.  It's really a fascinating process to go through boxes of "treasures" and figure out which ones I actually want to bring to the new home.  Of the things that I've collected over the years as a prepper, what is really needed?  Am I overstocked on things of little importance and things that are really necessary I am lacking?  Yes, that's for another day.  Today I really have on my mind how much damage you do to your peace of mind when you live your life in a disarray.  And how thankful I am that I try to keep order in my life because Boy and Girl, especially Girl give me enough stress.  I don't need to be my own cause of stress. 

Army daughter and family moved out today and into an apartment across town.  It's a nice area across the street from a family park.  They should like it.  Littlest granddaughter was in tears when they left.  She has enjoyed being back on the farm and seeing me everyday for the past couple of months.  I will miss her too.  She is a very messy four year old but the only one in the house who continuously offers to help out with farm chores. 

I will not miss their greasy cooking and never having fresh vegetables, nor the mess they would leave in the kitchen, bathroom, and every room they occupied.  I spent this afternoon cleaning and straightening.  Not the little things, the big things.  I cleaned and defrosted the big freezer in the garage and I cleaned the freezer in the house. AD didn't like using any stored food and would spend about triple or quadruple the amount I normally spend on food each month.  Much of it would go to waste, or it would get put into the freezer never to be seen again. I am pretty organized, meat on one shelf, fruits and veggies on another, flour and rice on the next etc.  (I always freeze flour, rice, and cereals when I bring them home from the store.  Even dog and cat food gets frozen.  I do that to kill moths that may be in the food.  After  they are frozen for a week I repackage them and then don't have problems with my stored food.)  The freezer was such a mess that I couldn't find anything.  After I just straightened out the house freezer, without getting rid of anything, somehow the freezer was about half full, yet when everything was shoved in you couldn't get anything else in and things would fall out when you opened the door.  That's not a good home storage method.  

 I didn't get to the refrigerator yet.  It's just as bad.  I can't see anything because it's all jammed in and in such a disarray.  Left overs get put into storage containers but if I don't take it to work for lunch then it gets lost as it's shoved further and further back on a shelf. AD and son-in-law buy lunch out each day so they don't often eat the leftovers unless we eat the same thing for dinner for two or three days in a row.  I have a feeling when I clean it tomorrow the chickens are going to have lots of food to eat.  The way AD and family keep the house and refrigerator and freezer is pretty much the way they keep their lives.  In a constant disarray.  The way I see it, when they live their lives that way it adds a bunch of stress.  They both are stressed and are taking meds to keep themselves "normal".  They don't see the connection between the house and everything else being a mess and their mental stress. 

Another stress they have is debt.  I don't mean house debt, which they do have because they bought their house in Texas, nor do I mean car debt.  They have a lease on their car so when they are done paying for it they will still owe a bunch of money or they will have to turn it in and buy something else.  But that's not the debt that is stressing them.  It's that they are living way beyond their means.  They owe credit card debt on top of credit card debt plus student loans to boot. 

When they sold their house here in the Great Central Valley prior to moving to Texas for six months, they came out with some extra money.  They told me they paid off their debts. Then they said the debts were paid except for the student loans.  OK, when you get to Texas just rent and live within your means!  They lived with son-in-law's family for two months and then rushed out to buy a house.  I advised against it until they had some money saved up and they knew they were going to stay.  Instead they put less than 5% down, including all the closing costs.  Then they decided that their jobs weren't satisfying and they needed to come back to the Great Central Valley.  Fortunately they have a renter in the house because if they sold it, they would have to come up with money out of their pocket to pay the closing costs and realtor fees.  Money they don't have. 

Now, they are making almost double what they made when they left six months ago!  That should be a blessing and they should get their debts paid off.  They aren't going to be able to because their cost of living is so high that they are still broke and still racking up more debt.  They rent movies almost every day.  They have gym memberships.  Dry cleaner bills, manicure bills, new clothes almost each week, and even the four year old gets her hair trimmed every month. They go out to eat one or two meals per day, including weekends, and they buy lots of prepackaged food...yes she still buys egg whites in the quart carton even though we get a dozen eggs a day from the chickens.  AD tells me she likes convenience.  I tell her I like not having debt and being able to sleep at night without the aid of Prozac or sleeping pills. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

4th of July and Gaining Independence and missing Tylenol

Every year I read the Declaration of Independence to everyone who shows up at our home to watch fireworks.  This year it's just Girl, Army Daughter, Son-in-law, and Cutest little granddaughter. The rest of the family is off at the public fireworks shows.  Boy is at camp for two weeks. I doubt they read the Declaration of Independence at camp.  I doubt most people would recognize most of the Declaration.

It is interesting when people get into the debate over God and how society is being destroyed by a Godless group, or by those who skew God's word. It just all depends on whose side you are on. People debate whether God is part of our country's history or not.  So, I'll start this evening off with this.  God, the creator, was mentioned four times in the Declaration of Independence (that 4th of July document).  In the Constitution God isn't mentioned.  It is stated in the year of our lord.  So God isn't mentioned but Jesus is, just not by name. God shouldn't be included in our laws?  I don't believe that at all.  The Constitution was built on the Declaration. Much of the guidance for writing the Constitution came from the bible. 

The problem comes when we want to use the bible word for word in our laws rather than using the concepts.  What do I mean?  Let's take the 10 commandments for example.  They are the 10 commandments, we all know them right?  Wrong.  Protestant and Jewish commandments 1 and 2 are different.  The Jewish version starts one line in the bible earlier.  3-10 are the same.  The 10th is split in two for the Catholics as it is 9 and 10. Same document, just read differently so when we want to quote exactly we fight.  Stupid.  

But what about money and the pledge of allegiance?  In God We Trust and Under God were added in the 1950s as our answer to the growing concern of communism. Or at least that is what you would be led to believe if you believe everything you read on the internet!  I've included an interesting article from the US Treasury, which provides a history of In God We Trust on our money.  In God We Trust was first included in 1864 on the 2 cent coin, 90 years earlier than most websites will tell you. 

The pledge of allegiance was changed in the 1950s to include Under God. It was due to a push by religious leaders and groups.  I think by associating it with anticommunism it was able to get pushed through.  I just don't believe that was why it was added.  

OK, enough of that, I just had to throw some of that in.  People get so caught up in this that they don't think about the big picture.  Future Spouse stated it really well on the 4th of July during our daily phone call.  What do we celebrate on the 4th of July? Independence!  Our independence from England because we didn't like the lack or representation and the extreme taxes.  So how about now?  FS says we as a family are declaring our independence from our own government because we don't like the lack of representation and the extreme taxes.  Because so many people are getting something from the government, rather than contributing to it, the government is perpetuating the desire of more and more people to just let the government take care of them. 

FS wants to be as self sufficient as possible so we don't have to rely on the government to help us out.  Stay out of our life!  OK, not total independence from the government, I have to pay my taxes or I go to jail.  But I will try to pay as little as possible.  I can't ignore the fact that they are there, and at times I wouldn't want to not have them around.  I like the local sheriff to be there when I need them.  Same with the fire department.  And the schools (just not all their curriculum).  And the military.  Those things I don't mind paying for.  On the other hand, just today the county government took over $500 of my money in fees for my new property.  A fee to put in a culvert, a fee to put in the septic tank, a fee to put in a road... Now these fees are cheaper than in California but fees nevertheless.  And after they saw the thoroughness of the paperwork for some of these items they said that they weren't going to come out an inspect.  Yes, it was just a money grab, with more to come. 

With moving next year, my normal thoughts of prepping are changing.  I am still trying to stay as independent as possible.  Trying to stay as prepared as possible while cutting back on some of the things I've collected over the years.  We sold most of the chickens. I still have enough for all our egg needs and will butcher the extra roosters.  The broody hen may still raise another clutch or two of chicks.  I could have butchered the extra and put them into the freezer but instead I am trying to clear out the freezer.  All while still keeping a good stock of food on hand.

I got sick yesterday and found a hole in the prepping while I was trying to self-medicate.  A hole due to theft?  I had a terrible sore throat and ear ache.  It hurt to swallow but worse than that was the pressure in my ear.  I gargled with salt water and took some aspirin.  It's interesting because my medical guidance book says to take aspirin for a sore throat, not Tylenol or Advil. That wasn't enough so when it was bedtime I decided I was going to take a Tylenol with Codeine.  Went to the medicine cabinet.  No Tylenol with Codeine.  Went to the drawer, none there either.  Went to the safe where I keep some of the strong stuff.  It wasn't there either.  Nowhere could I find the Tylenol with Codeine.  I know that I have plenty.  Or at least I had plenty.  Who swiped it?  Mrs. Bug-out renter hasn't been here for a long time.  I always had to put all the meds into lockup because she would "borrow" some because she needed it.  Adult grandsons have been here.  Did they get into it?  Son-in-law hasn't had a drink since he's been here.  Is he compensating for lack of alcohol by downing the Tylenol with Codeine?  Is it Girl?  I have no idea where it went.  I took 1500 mg. of regular Tylenol and went to bed.  Fortunately when I woke up this morning the ear ache was gone and the sore throat much better.  I'll continue with the gargling with salt water but next time I see the doctor I need to get another prescription and into the safe it will go.

Life is an adventure.  We will be fine.  After all, it's life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that we strive for, not the government providing for us.  4th of July, Independence Day from England in 1776 and in 2015 from the overreaching arm of our own government.  I think I'll go pick some fruit.