Archive for March, 2009

Non-perishables

March 29, 2009

I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to run out of anything.  What is survival, but being prepared for the unexpected.  The feeling of being able to get a new razor, soap or bottle of hydrogen peroxide out of storage in priceless.  I love being able to go into the pantry or closet and grabbing what I need.

I’ve always been a bit of a squirrel storing nuts for the winter, but over the past 18 months or so as I’ve seen what the future is that is facing us, I’ve geared it up a bit.

You will be amazed at what you can gather by dedicating $5 or $10 a week towards preps.  You’ll really start paying attention to prices and if you buy things on sale you can have six months of toilet paper and a years worth of razors in no time.

A week or so ago I did an entry on food to store.  So I figured that I’d put together a list of some non-perishable items that you may want to have stored up.

As you start making purchases I’d start with things that are most important then move to the less important and finally when you have a good amount of stuff stored start to think about buying things to barter.  I consider anything that is imported as being good to barter with.  I fear the day may come when it may become near impossible to get imported goods.  That’s one thing that I try to prepare for.

I think a good way to figure out what you need is to look around each of the rooms in your house and figure out what you go through in six months or a year.  Make lists.  Everything I list below is non-perishable so you really can’t have too much of the stuff.  With the way paper assets have been performing over the past ten years and the rate of price inflation I think you’d get a better return on your money buying non-perishables than putting it into the stock market.  Besides I know a roll of TP bought today will still be a whole roll one year from now.

So without further aye-dee-eye-eee-you (adieu)-

  • Toilet paper – TP gets its own bullet point.  You do not ever want to run out of this stuff.  You know how much it sucks using leaves or a newspaper when you’re in the brush.  Imagine if hot water ever becomes a luxury.
  • Plastic bags – you cannot have too many of these.  I’d get heavy contractor grade bags and food storage bags, ziploc bags, sandwich, quart and gallon size and kitchen trash barrel size.
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Paper plates, plastic cutlery, plastic cups – if your water is limited then using disposable stuff to eat with can save you gallons of water.
  • Food wraps like foil and plastic wrap.  When you buy foil get the biggest roll you can because you pay less per square foot that way.  If you want to get the smaller 75 sq. foot rolls in case of barter than once you’re all set in other areas go right ahead so you can give a few of the smaller rolls to friends and neighbors.
  • Wine and booze.   The big 5 liter boxes of wine are good to store.  Because they’re boxes they stack n’ store easily.  Store both red and white.  Great to cook with too.  I also have stored some Jamesons, rum, tequila and of course vodka.  Booze doesn’t go bad so I also have some 1/2 pints of various booze to trade with.
  • Batteries – lots and lots of batteries.  Don’t forget to store the 9 volt batteries too.  The 9 volts go into smoke and CO detectors and if the lights ever go out we’ll all be using candles, lanterns, wood stoves and fireplaces.  You definitely want to be able to keep your smoke and CO detectors going.  The lithium batteries store a long time, up to ten year I think.  Other than that you need to be careful not to buy so many that they’ll go bad before you get the chance to use them.  I really like the new rechargeable batteries.  Get lots of these.  Also a good idea to get some solar powered battery chargers.
  • extra bulbs
  • canning jars, rings and lids

Then you got stuff in the bathroom –

  • I store lots of disposable razors.  You know I’ve tried the generic brands, but they don’t seem to work as well as the Gillette brand.  I’m not big on brand names either.  The generics seem to stick to my face and the Gillettes slide smoothly.
  • shaving cream
  • toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash – if dental care becomes hard to find or you lose you dental insurance oral hygiene will be key.  Hell, seeing dentist sucks so take good care of your mouth.
  • First aid supplies – peroxide, alcohol, qtips, band aids, ointments and salves, chapstick, lots of gauze pads, tape, hot and cold packs
  • feminine hygiene products listen guys your ladies may not be on board with you prepping so you may have to man up and buy extra stuff for them.  Just look what is under the bathroom sink and go buy a pack of 72 or 100 and store them somewhere.
  • Nail clippers – a nail clipped now can save a ton of agony and infection later.  Store a few extras.
  • baby oil, baby powder and epsom salts
  • petroleum jelly

Cleaning

  • sponges
  • steel wool & sos pads
  • dish soap
  • window cleaner
  • simple green, pine sol or whatever you use

Clothing -get extras for everyone in your household

  • Get a few extra pairs of jeans, get the wearguard or carhatts and store them somewhere.
  • Ditto for an extra pair of sneakers and boots.
  • I like big rubber boots that come up to my knees.  They’re great for walking right across shallow rivers  or through mud and crap.
  • can’t forget socks, underwear and tshirts

Miscellaneous stuff to store, trade or barter

  • shoelaces
  • sewing needles, thread, buttons, velcro, snaps
  • safety pins

Fire starter stuff –

  • strike anywhere matches, lighters, butane fuel, zippo fuel, extra flints
  • fire starters
  • fire steels

Lighting-

  • lanterns and mantles
  • oil lamps, wicks &  oil
  • candles, candles, candles

Hardware

  • have a toilet repair kit and an extra wax ring or two – this just makes sense for the everyday living too
  • motor oil, brake fluid, tranny fluid, coolant
  • extra bulbs for the car too
  • duct tape, electric tape, teflon tape
  • nails and drywall screws
  • epoxies and glues
  • wire, ropes and strings

Some people like to store tobacco.  I don’t smoke any longer and the leaf goes bad over time so I don’t store it.  Might be worth storing rolling papers though.

This is a cattail that is dried out and exploded.  You can see what fine fire starter it is.  You can also make a pillow out of it or use ir for insulation.  p1010003All parts of the cattail are edible so it is one of our best wild edibles.  The young roots, the young stalks, the young flowers (before they mature like the one pictured above) and even the pollen are all edible.  Because cattails are so widespread, easy to identify and a great source of food even in the winter you should familiarize youself with them.

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They just don’t get it!!

March 27, 2009

Remember all the bitching last week from the ponies on the Hill saying, “how dare, how dare the banks give out bonuses?’  Do you remember all of the showmanship?  It makes me want to puke.  Well all of the banks that gave out bonuses to their overpaid executives also gave out campaign donations to the same actors on the Hill.

Our congress people take our money from US.     Then they give it to the bankers.  Then the bankers give the congresspeople kickbacks in the form of campaign donations.  What a piece of crap this is.

The people are going to rise up.  There will be one catalyst event that just pushes it over the edge, the stick that breaks the camel’s back sort to speak.

“…the political action committees of five big TARP recipients doled out $85,300 to members in the first two months of this year—with most of the cash going to those who serves on committees who oversee the TARP program. Among them: Bank of America (which got $15 billion in bailout money) sent out $24,500 in the first two months of 2009, including $1,500 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and another $15,000 to members of the House and Senate banking panels. Citigroup ($25 billion) dished out $29,620, including $2,500 to House GOPWhip Eric Cantor, who also got $10,000 from UBS…”

They just don’t get it.

Other schtuff

March 26, 2009

Mike Morgan had an interesting post on his bog a few days ago Geithner’s Gift to Hedge Funds.  I strongly advise reading Mr. Morgan on a regular basis.

Market Update – The market is up 6% as I write this . . . and moving higher. We are short the markets and losing quite a bit of money today. Do we bail out? I think not. I think reality will set in. And if it doesn’t, money will not matter. We are just steps away from a complete break down in government. It may take weeks or months, but I still firmly believe the people will rise up in revolt before the end of this summer. Our financial system was all but eviscerated today when T3C decided to turn our fate over to the boys and girls that created the mess we are in. And I close with this . . . not even King Henry was prepared to pull this obscene maneuver. He knew it would end far worse than the 1930’s or Japan’s lost 20 years. T3C was out of bullets and desperate to make friends with someone.

If the plan holds up, our country will collapse. That might take a year or two, but it is inevitable. That is inevitable, as we are throwing our money at the men that created this disaster. If the plan is pulled, the markets will move lower and I would hope our government allows free markets to work, even if that means painful times. Because the pain we will suffer under the latest plan, is pain we cannot recover from withou grave social unrest.

Government needs to address the problems, not create more. Government needs to go after the Wall Street Crooks, not reward them. Government needs to claw back what they stole, put many of them in jail, regulate the conduct of business and to dish out consequences to those that created the mess . . . instead of the people that are at the wrong end of this social and economic disaster.

Get outside everyday!

When the world is collapsing around you, you can always find peace and serenity in nature and take comfort in the fact that each of our physical existences is but a temporary insignificant blip.  Went for a walk the other day.  You can see how nice a day it was.  Living in Mass. not too far from the ocean decided to take a walk along the shore.  Looks like the last of the snow is melting, huh?  That’s not snow though.

p1010002We have farms around here too.  We even have silos.  The guy that owns this land has a clam business.  His biggest problem is what to do with the shells.  So he uses them as pavement.  Imagine having so many clams that you can pave miles of road with the shells.  Thats a whole lot of shell!

p10100081That white stuff on the path is not snow.  It’s clam shells.  This is a good deer hunting area.  There was even a tree stand still in a tree left behind from the fall.

p10100101Here we walked down to a river.  This is a tidal river.  We’re just a few hundred yards from the Atlantic.

p10100071He has a bunch of clam shuckers working for him.

p1010016These are piles of clam shells.  The largest of them is maybe four feet tall.


Are you pissed yet?

March 23, 2009

As many as 50 people a week arrive at the tent city and the authorities estimate it is now home to more than 1,200 people.

tentcityI generally don’t like using profanity because it doesn’t lend much to one’s argument, but WTF is wrong with our country?  I mean really what is wrong with US when we can print up Billions and Billions and Billions and yet we have people living out of tents like a third world nana republic. PD*27349658

It’s mind boggling to me.  Don’t bother with your high and mightiness holier than thou either.  If you don’t realize that it can happen to anyone at the drop of just about anything, you soon will.

Cut the size of the freaking military by 80%, let’s move out from 120 of the 132 countries that the US has military bases in and let’s allocate some funds to getting this country up and working again.    I believe in the goodness of humankind.  I believe that most folks want to work.   My issue is that I believe if the military is too large that we will be more likely to use it.

To demonstrate how the system is rigged against the lunchbox and 401k crowd, I was watching CNBC on March 19, 2009, Rick Santelli was remarking about the Fed’s announcement that it would buy US Treasuries.  Santelli said that about an hour before the Fed’s strategy was made public that folks started buying boatloads of options.  Do you get that – stop – about an hour before the Fed made the announcement some special folks who were in the know, who had advance notice of the Fed’s move, the Chosen Ones started buying options on the bonds.   Santelli also said he couldn’t figure out what he missed that made it apparent to some other folks that buying the options on the Treasuries made sense.  In other words some people were given a heads up and acted on it.

This is the link – go to about 6:50 in the video.

Look at the video.  It’s rigged man and we are all being ripped off.

Due to computerized trading it would be easier to track down the culprits than it would be to make a pie crust.  Think it will happen?  Not on your life!!  Why?  Because if you are tied in tight enough to get advance notice of what the Fed is going to do than the Government has no interet in tracking you down and holding you accountable.  If you are in the publicly traded markets make sure you look at it no differently than going to the casino or the track.

The markets are rigged and fixed.  If you aren’t in the know you are nothing more than a rube strolling the games at a traveling carnival show.

And as you toil away to bail out the banks the banks are sticking it to you mister.  Imagine that,  they need help from US to stay afloat and what do they continue to do, nickle and dime everyone of us to death.  They must have whole departments whose sole job is to come up with ever new and inventive fees.   The banks  come to you with their hands held out and then they have the balls to charge you late fees, over balance fees, statement fees and ever fees to pay by phone.  They are leeches.  Let them die on black top in the hot sun.

If you aren’t already mad enough as is, have you guys seen this, “At least 13 companies receiving billions of dollars in bailout money owe more than $220 million in unpaid federal taxes, a lawmaker said Thursday.”  Don’t you know only the Little People the Lunchbox and 401k crowd has to pay taxes?

Met a guy in Walmart at the ammo cabinet.  We were both waiting for the clerk to come and unlock it so we could get our goodies.  As we’re standing around this absolute stranger to me says, ‘People are nervous.   Everyone is buying ammo.  They’re expecting riots.‘ This is where we are at today.  Plan for it.  In addition to brass I got toilet paper and plastic cups.

Get outside everyday and you will be blessed with discovering new things.  I was out walking and we saw this little guy hard at work.

p10100051Kinda cute, aya?  He had no fear of me or my dog, but we do come in peace…..for now.

p1010008This guy was industrious and had no time to spare for even a small howdy do.

Protests

March 21, 2009

Hoo boy.

Just as winter falls down to spring things are heating up, figuratively as well.  Did you see or hear that farmers in Connecticut were out protesting the economic fallout on them?

farmers2

And come they did. Farmers left their spring chores, and vocational agricultural schools sent busloads of youngsters, to form a crowd of more than 100 (plus one cow) on the Capitol steps.

“Do you want a sticker,” called Hillary Woronik, a teenager from Lebanon, and a proud member of Future Farmers of America, as she waved a stack of green stickers at new arrivals. “Keep farms local.”

“Among the legislative proposals being protested is a bill that would eliminate the farm sales tax exemption and farm fuel tax exemption. The end to the tax exemptions is being proposed to help close a massive state budget gap, but farmers say it would put many of them out of business because their profit margins are so low.”

Protests are breaking out all over.  The pot on the stove is covered for now, but it is coming up from a simmer to a boil.  The bankers and government types are the frogs in the pot of cold water.  They don’t feel the temperature of the water that is surrounding them getting warmer.

That pot is going to boil over.  Groups in Massachusetts had protests the other day.  There were protests in a dozen communities.

boston

“Nearly a dozen protests occurred in Massachusetts alone, including in Worcester, Lawrence, and Andover.  Harris Gruman, executive director of the SEIU Massachusetts State Council, said his organization is hoping to push Congress to take action against companies like AIG, while also working to “restore middle-class purchasing power.” “We want Congress to build a recovery for everybody, and not just banks – especially after they have misused the money they were given,” Gruman said. Caraballo, the janitor and a member of SEIU Local 615, marched, in part, to represent several colleagues who had been laid off recently.”They lost their jobs, their healthcare,” Caraballo said, blaming Wall Street’s risky decisions that have hurt the economy. “That angers me.”

I don’t understand why poor and middle-class folks hate unions so much.  If you are poor or middle-class and you hate unions, you’ve been fooled by Republicans and charlatans like Limbaugh.

aigprotestpink__1237521674_8885

Gallery of some pictures of the protests in Boston.

I wish I heard about the protests in advance.  I’m surprised I did not.  There are few things I enjoy more than Civil Disobedience.   Engaging in Civil Disobedience isn’t only your right, it’s also your obligation.  It’s part of the advance payment each of us needs to make in order to live in an ostensibly free society.  Remember the First Amendment, MEMORIZE IT. Now this is from my memory, “the right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of their grievances shall not be abridged.” I just checked.  I was admirably close, but I’ll keep it the way I wrote it rather than the actual words written because I like my ending more.

I expect we will be seeing many more protests over the coming months.  I also expect that the protests and marches will attract larger and larger crowds.  I wonder what will happen when the police or protesters get carried away and some people are bloodied, seriously injured or worse.  I wonder what may happen when people get really angry and resort to the destruction of private property, Molotov cocktails or toss newspaper machines through banks’ windows.

Imagine some economy related protest.  A window is broken.  A pregnant woman gets pushed to the ground.  The police are blamed.  The police call in backups in riot gear.  The clubs and gas come out.  Maybe the rubber bullets and tear gas balls.  The protesters start overturning cars and throwing things at the police.  A cop is hurt.  Maybe a group of cops are cornered by the crowd.  The cops end up using deadly force.  Maybe someone in the crowd is armed shoots at the cops.  Imagine seeing on the news and cell phone video a bunch of citizens getting shot by the authorities. “What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?

How’s that quote go about the tree of liberty  needing to be refreshed from time to time?  BTW I know it, I’m hoping you know the quote too.

Another day I’ll write an entry about my experiences with civil disobedience.

Anyways, Get Outside Everyday! I thought the following two pictures were pretty nice.  Nothing special.  You do know what these are, right!?!?

p1010001It was a little muddy, but still this must have been a heavy creature to leave such deep prints.

Here’s another cool picture.

p1010007Look at the color of this blue jay feather.  It is so blue.  Amazing.  Proof of God?

Food and misc.

March 19, 2009

Looking at the pantry got me to thinking why not do a post on the food I have and why I choose what I did.  Some folks like to store buckets of wheat.  Me?  Not so much.   I don’t think that I’ve ever bought a bucket of wheat in my life and I hope that I never have to either.

My stores mostly are based on canned foods.  Granted by having a large portion of your food preps based on canned goods that you are giving up the ability to pack it and move fast if need be.  Face it canned food weighs a lot.   Do you have a bunch of GOOD can openers?   Did you see my excellent and the best entry ever ever ever on can openers?

My plan though is to stay in my house.  Only if my town became unsafe because of environmental or security reasons would I decide to bug out.  Other than that though my house holds all my stuff so I’d rather stay put if possible.   It would have to get really, really bad for me to blow off the jobs and hightail it out.  The other downside is that prepared canned foods have a ton of salt in them.

I’ve been buying extra food for about 18 months now.   You obviously want to eat your oldest stuff first and you need a system to ensure that that happens.  I have a Sharpie pen. You should buy one too.  Anytime I get back from the market I write the month and the year on the can, box, package or bag.   That way you can be sure to be on a FIFO system. You also need have the discipline so when you use something you write it down so you remember to replace it.

One of something is none of something.  Now you got two of somethings and you can start to talk.

Now just checking out my food let’s try to tell you what I generally have so you don’t forget anything.  I don’t mean to rag on the buckets of wheat folks, but buckets of wheat?  I don’t even like whole grain bread.

Breakdown of food stores:

  • I have some prepared foods like chili, soups, ravioli, beef stew, corned beef hash, chicken ala king, sloppy joe mix and those sort of things.
  • A good pile of canned tomatoes – the big 32 oz. cans and an assortment of smaller cans of sauce, paste, stewed, chunks, cans with chilies or basil.  Also, have spaghetti sauce in jars and you know what the spaghetti sauce that comes in cans is great.  It’s real tomatoie.  The canned spaghetti sauce is cheaper than the glass jarred sauce too.
  • Then you need veggies like green beans, french cut beans, carrots, spinach, asparagus and corn.  I like Chinese food so I also have cans of water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, chow mein mix and bean sprouts.  If I can’t buy my number 5 with fried, eggroll and chicken fingers than I’ll make it myself.  Don’t forget jars of salsa.  I also like Goya salsa verde, salsa roja and Mexican salsa.  They come in little cans, but it’s good stuff.
  • Then there are the canned potatoes, both whole and sliced.
  • You gotta have your fruits so have a variety of fruits in cans and the little plastic tubs.  Stuff like mandarin oranges, pears, fruit cocktail, pineapple,peaches, tropical mix with mangoes (!), applesauce and a good assortment of canned fruit juice, coconut juice and coconut milk.
  • Get a shelf with proteins on it like canned roast beef, canned chicken, some small canned hams, tuna, also that real tasty Italian tuna in olive oil, Spam, potted ham and Vienna sausage.  Get some cryovacced sausage that can be stored at room temp.  Can’t forget about the anchovies, sardines, canned crab, oysters and smoked trout.  Seafood is high in fatty acids that are good for you.
  • You know you need a good pile of spaghetti, pasta, egg noodles, rice, Chinese and Japanese noodles.
  • Boxed stuff like ramen noodle and macaroni and cheese.  The ramen noodles are incredible.  They are so small and so cheap and I don’t think they ever go bad.  I like them.  They can be spiced up by adding spices, proteins or veggies to them.  Add a can of tuna to mac n’ cheese and all is good.  Also in here would be the hamburger helper, boxed scalloped and au gratin taters along with stove top stuffing.   Don’t forget about bags of soup mix.  These things are great too.  A package of soup mix, 8 cups of water, a can of this or that and you can feed 10 people if you had to.  Charity, helping and assistance are a good thing.
  • Canned beans of all sorts.  My favorites are small red beans and garbanzo beans.  Cans of baked beans are good too.  You can make a nice spread from mashing garbanzo beans.
  • Also have some dried beans.
  • Some snacks like crackers, granola bars, poptarts, bags of chips, pretzels, and cans of pretzels, chips and tater sticks.   Can’t forget to get chocolate pudding and chocolate bars.  Some old fashioned popcorn is a great snack too.  It pops fast in a little hot oil.
  • Then there are the drinks.  I like juice so I have canned juice concentrates.  I water them way down because corn syrup is death.  Also need tubs of Tang, ice tea, funky red stuff, lemonaide and whatever you may like.  Tea is great because it tastes good.  Plus you  can teas for specific ailments or if you can’t sleep or have a cold.  Don’t forget powdered milk if you like milk.  Coffee and teas and non-dairy creamer. Hot chocolate.
  • You need your spices: garlic and onion powders, lots of black pepper corns.  Don’t ever buy pepper that is already ground.  You don’t have to know why, just don’t do it. Get peppercorns and smash them yourself, with a hammer if you need to.  Walgreens sells already filled salt and pepper grinders for a buck a piece.  So you hhotsaucecatalog_2046_7327548ave chili powder, dried herbs like: oregano,  Italian, rosemary, basil, thyme, dill, crushed red pepper and so on.  Any special rubs you may like.  I like Jamaican jerk and Paul Prudhomme redfish magic.  If you like grated cheese on your pasta you better buy a bunch and store it.  The dry kind in a jar can last a long time.
  • You also need your sauces and condiments like bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, hot sauces, terriyaki.  I like things spicy so I have Tabasco, Franks, Buffalo, Siricha (that is Sriracha to the right.) It’s from Vietnam and it’s spicy and flavorful.  Don’t forget relish, pickles, jalapenos, pepperoncini and other hot peppers.
  • Sweeteners – I like that natural brown sugar for my coffee.  You need maple syrup and honey.   I don’t think honey ever goes bad.  Also try to get a good pile of sugars both brown and refined.    I like molasses so we got some molasses.  Might as well put jams and jellies here too.
  • Don’t forget gravies.  A gravy will make anything more palatable.  You can buy cans, jars and packages of gravy that you just need to add a cup of water to and heat.  A can of roast beef, a pack of gravy, a cup of water and some egg noodles or rice and you got a good dinner.
  • Salt gets its own bullet point. You need lots of salt.  Salt will last forever as long as you don’t let it get washed away.  Salt can be used to pickle things and cure things.  You need lots of salt.  Near the ocean you can at least make some salt through evaporation.  Inland I don’t know.  Get a variety of salts: pickling, kosher and iodized.  You should also get some one pound containers because that size would be good for bartering if it ever gets that bad.  You should make sure that you have salt and pepper in your bug out bag.  Store pounds and pounds of salt.  I’d say you need to think in the tens of pound range for storing salt.
  • Vinegar also gets its own category. Vinegar can be used to cure and pickle things.  Vinegar is also a great all natural cleaner.  Get cider vinegar, red wine, distilled and balsamic.  You can get most of them in gallon containers for small money and vinegar lasts a very long time.  I’d say you need to think of vinegar in gallons.
  • Baking stuff like flours and packaged goods like pancake mix, corn bread mix, Bisquick, bags of pizza mix and yeast.  The bags of pizza dough mix are great, under a buck on sale.  Might as well throw in the corn meal, oatmeal, corn starch, evaporated milk and such other things in this category.
  • Fats – I like olive oil a lot so I buy it by the gallon when it goes on sale.  Olive oil can last a long time if it is kept cool and in a dark spot.  You also need to get lots of corn or vegetable oil.  By it by the gallon and keep it in a cool dark spot.  You need fats in your diet and it makes clean up easier which may save you water.  Some folks like canned butter.  I don’t have any, but I’d like to try it.
  • I’d also give bouillon it’s own category.   There are all kinds: chicken, beef, fish and pork.  You can add bouillon to rice or make your own soups from scratch.  A few cubes, a box of elbows, cans of corn, beans and tomatoes and you got some minestrone soup.

Get outside everyday.  Got a day off midweek last week so went skiing with a friend.  It was my first and only time downhill skiing this year that I didn’t hike up in order to ski down.  The tickets were $62 each!!! But, but, but, but they got six inches of snow the day before and this day promised to be sunny, warm and not too much wind.  it was a great day.

sk17The ski area we went to was Mount Sunapee.  That’s Lake Sunapee there that you are looking at.  You probably can’t make it out, but there are still ice fishing huts on the ice and snow mobile tracks criss crossing the lake.

When we pay that much, which we never do, we make sure to get as much out of the day as possible so of course we got there well before the lifts opened.  The lifts generally open at 9, but we were lucky to be riding up at 8:55.  We skied until 1:30 or there abouts, ate lunch outside on a picnic table and back on the lifts by two.  The lifts close at 4 and we managed to still be riding the lift after 4.

sk22

We were the third persons on in the morning when the place opened and the third from the last in the afternoon when the place closed.  I bet we skied over 35,000 vertical feet.  We’ve both been skiing a long time.  It’s good when you go with someone that skis like you do becuase you can ski the same trails without holding eachother up.

Getting out

March 16, 2009

Don’t think that you can buy a bunch of new equipment and let it sit around in your basement unopened until you need it.  You might think that you are all set because you have purchased sleeping bags, a camping stove, a tent, maybe some sleeping pads and a lantern or propane heater.

p1010014

You need to learn how to use your equipment.  Firing it up once to see that it works is the bare minimum.  You need to get out and use it.  Setting up a tent that you haven’t set up before can be a difficult thing.  And it seems like the tent always needs to be set up after dark or at dusk while in a hurry.   Stoves and lanterns are all different and you have to learn how to use them, how to fill them and how to start them up.

If something doesn’t work right, or is broken, you don’t want to learn about the failure when you are depending upon that piece of gear to work right.  You need to get everything out once in a while and make sure it works right.  Do any maintenance that the equipment may need.

If you camp you are already ahead of the game.  If you haven’t camped in five or ten years or even longer then you better make sure everything still works.  Check to ensure that the tent isn’t dead due to mold or moths.  Did you leave Coleman fuel in your stove or lantern a decade ago?  Well you better empty it out, fill it with some fresh fuel and make sure you can still get it started.  You don’t want to wait till your lights go out before you find out whether or not works.

If you’ve never camped then that gear in your closet is useless until you try it out and can be 100% certain that you can use any of it in the dark.  Yup, you need to be able to set up your tent, get your stove and lanterns going in the dark.  You need to be able to set up or break camp in the dark.

In addition to learning how to use your gear and making sure that your stuff still works the other advantage of using your gear is that it should get you out into the field.  While you are in your home or car you control everything.  Out in the woods there is no such thing as control.  You have to learn to take what is given to you and make do. Enjoying your equipment in the field is different than using it in your backyard.  Each is good, but you’ll get more out of using your gear afield.

“Those who get the most out of a given situation are those who make the most out of the situation that they are given.”

So getting out and about will toughen you up a bit.  Spend enough time outside and it won’t matter what the weather is.  The weather won’t bother you ever again.  Rain, snow, sleet, wind, heat, humidity, none of it will bother you.  You’ll learn how to dress for different weather.

So what to do?  Plan a walk about on a nice day.p1010005

Today was a nice sunny day.  It was kind of windy, but it was around 45 and this time of year 45 is warm as May.  In the fall 45 feels cold.  We took a nice walk in the woods with friends of ours.  I got to go someplace new.

The first trail went along the base of a small hill and on the other side was a slow shallow river.  We walked in maybe a mile or two to an old stone lock.  Believe it or not up until the 1840’s crops and other commercial goods used to be moved up and down this river.

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So the whole point was to get outside, get some exercise and make a nice little lunch.  Over there is the lock that they used to raise and lower the water level.

We brought a stove with us and made up some grilled sandwiches, a spicy Italian sausage and a duck breast.  It was a win win day.  Got outside on a great, sunny day.  Got some exercise.  Got to cook some stuff outside and develop skills in the process.  After a while cooking outside is the same as cooking at home.  I can’t think of anything that I’d make at home that I wouldn’t try to cook outside.

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Here is Cookie doing what he does best, cooking.  That’s why he is called Cookie.  Any of you old enough to remember watching the old westerns?  Remember Cookie was the cook on the chuckwagon?  Anyways, that’s Cookie leaning over the stove.  He is a great guy to bring on camping trips.  In fact he usually plans all the meals.  Imagine planning 3 meals a day for 15 guys along with snacks, drinks and so forth.  He does it all then tells us that’ll be $20 each.   Not only that but Cookie cooks everything too.  You’ll wake up in the morning and there is a pot of coffee already going and 30 egg sandwiches made and waiting for the eating.  The strange thing is that a lot of times Cookie is also one of the last to go to bed.

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Here is a picture of a duck breast on the left and a hot Ital sausage on the right.  Nothing like the smell of food being cooked outside.  The fresh air makes everything taste better.  All that duck fat had Cookie and me wishing that we had a potato to throw in there.

So you need to Get Out Everyday, try out your gear, get some exercise and make some tasty grub.

The right thing

March 14, 2009

I got to thinking as I was waiting in traffic.  I was in the long line on the right waiting to go straight.   There were no cars in the left lane to make a left turn.  So you know what happens next, some Ass cuts past everyone waiting and then cuts back in to the lane on the right.  Pissed me off!

So it got me to thinking about doing the right thing.  It’s tough because I see so many people that don’t choose to do the right thing seem to get ahead.  We see tax cheats appointed to presidential cabinets.  There are wheelers and dealers taking billions in bonuses after driving companies into the ground.  People who bought more house than they could afford get a bailout from those of us who didn’t.  We see scam artists cash out with billions in offshore accounts.

It’s hard to continue to try and do the right thing sometimes.  I try to treat every person I meet fairly and act decently in every transaction no matter how small.  Seeing how it seems like just about everyone else these days is looking to lie, cheat and steal their way to the mansion on the hill.  It seems like everyone is looking to exploit every angle all of the time.   One can start to wonder why bother playing by the rules.

Does it seem to anyone else that more people are behaving more badly more often?  There are a lot of rude people out there.

This doesn’t bode well for our society or us, the constant slide into disregard for rules, manners, chivalry, politeness and law.   Men feel no need to hold a door for a lady or an old person.   People disregard saying please or thank you.  As a country we arent’ even really suffering.  Our supermarkets are open.  You can go to Walmart to buy your Cheap Chinese Crap and then call in an order to Pizza Hut.  We still get our mail six days a week.   Banks and markets are open.

The reason I say this doesn’t bode well for us is because I still expect things to get much worse than they are currently.  (Don’t be fooled by the current suckers rally.) If people are behaving so poorly now just think what’s gonna happen when their ATM card doesn’t work, the supermarket shelves aren’t quite as full or they’re out of gas but it’s an odd day and their license plate is even.  (Who remembers that?) The people that are behaving poorly now are going to freak out if things get bad.   Hell, normal polite churchgoing folks will freak out.  And when things get bad enough for Sarah Palin to freak out I don’t want to be around her.

Be careful who you trust.  Keep your preps to yourself.  Keep your mouth shut.  Make sure your kids, wife or husband, roommates, boyfriend or baby’s daddy also know to keep their mouths shut.  Make sure everyone can keep a secret.  You have to be considering not who you can trust in times of plenty, but who you can trust in times of hunger and thirst.  Forget about casual acquaintances or people you only know at work.  I see a lot of bad stuff go down between families, so you even need to think twice about trusting your own family members.   You know those cousins that ain’t quite right, well they ain’t quite right.  When people are hungry they will remember what you gots and they don’t.

Remember, in the end no matter what happens to you, no one can take your honor or reputation from you.  You only lose these by your own acts and deeds.  Treat others fairly and deal fairly, but keep you mouth shut.  Mind you business and keep it to yourself.  Keep others secrets too.  Don’t be a bigmouth.

So looks like my state is going to get some bailout monies.  A lot of it went to law enforcement. WTF!  Almost a billion dollars from the stimulus package is devoted to law enforcement.  It looks like spending for the funds is pretty much unrestricted so the cops are going to be able to buy more cop toys. I appreciate the job that the cops do, but enough is enough.  And the pension package law enforcement gets is crazy.  I saw an article in Forbes a month or so ago that basically said public sector pensions are killing us.  A cop is on the force for 20 years retires at 42 with a guaranteed inflation adjusted pension of $65K a year, full bennies of course too.

Enough is enough.  No more money on law enforcement, drug sniffing dogs, cameras or tactical gear.  Fine, the stimulus passed and the president signed it.  Spend the borrowed money on the people.  People who have lost their jobs, their homes are hungry or cold.

Quite frankly I think that we already are spending more than enough $ on law enforcement.  I came to this conclusion when I realized that cameras were being put up in the intersections around my town. I feel like they’re spying on me.  Oh, I know they tell me that the cameras make me safer.

Anyone else agree with me that law enforcement and the military are already large enough and get more than enough tax money!?!  We need to shrink our military by 80%.

Get outside everyday.

I have a feeling this is our last snow of the season.  I’m looking forward to getting the garden in the ground, but I really do enjoy the snow.

sk14Just a nice snowy trail.

sk16Who couldn’t like the way this tree looks? Goodbye sweet snow.  Well the seasons change an so do I.

Misc.

March 11, 2009

We got some snow last week so I went back to that abandoned ski area that is not too far away from my house.  I hiked up and skied down eight times.  I was beat.  One trail is through this awe inspiring birch forest.

sk2This place is like magic.  If I was to die here and be buried amongst these trees that would be ok.

It was most likely the last day it was possible to go out skiing for me so I wanted to be sure to take advantage of it.  Here is the trail through the birch.

skYou can see the huge office buildings in the background.  This a heavily populated area a couple of minutes off of a major highway. You wanna know what I don’t get?  I was hiking/skiing for maybe two hours and I didn’t see another soul.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, the first warm day since November and I didn’t see another person enjoying the out of doors.  People – you need to GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!

Here’s another trail I was skiing down.  I’m telling you that I was pushing it by squeezing out one more day skiing.

sk3You can see my tracks on the right hand side of the trail looking up.  If you aren’t familiar with snow you can see that you really don’t need very much in order to slide stuff (skis, sleds and goods) over it.  And sliding stuff is much better than carrying stuff.  You can see it was another beautiful day spent outside doing stuff and getting exercise.  You figure that exercise is a form of prepping?

The pussy willows are blooming.  sk7And I saw so many deer rubbings.

sk4How many deer rubbings do can you count in each of these pictures?

sk5Then not too far from my house is a local farm where they grow their own grass fed beef.  I don’t know about any of you, but grass fed beef in New England isn’t too common a sight.  This beef is so good.  It’s some of the best that I’ve ever had. Plus I’m able to shop locally.  You need to shop locally whenever it makes sense and you can.  Get to know the farm stands in your area. Believe me you don’t want the Super Walmart to be the only source of food in you area.  You need to give the little guy the business.  Join the local chapter of the organic farmer’s association in your area.

The beef is a bit more money, but it goes right into the hands of a family that lives near me and it is a great product.  These guys taste great.  Thank you cows.

sk11I get to see my food and watch it eat.  I like that.  No ugly feed lots or slaughter yards.  Doesn’t my food look content?  Thank you guys.  I really appreciate your sacrifice.  The family also sells maple syrup that they boil themselves.  I can’t stand fake maple syrup like Mrs. Butterworth’s.  That’s not maple syrup.   It’s corn syrup.    Don’t be a rube spring for the good stuff.  It lasts forever.

Things are breaking down in Russia.  I saw an article in Newsweek about it.

“Now serious unrest seems imminent despite those autocratic moves. “We are expecting mass unemployment and mass riots,” says Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB colonel and current chairman of the Duma’s Security Committee. “There will be not enough police to stop people’s protests by force.”  The Kremlin evidently sees worse trouble ahead. In December it shelved plans to retire 280,000 Army officers (part of a sweeping military reform). A long-expected reduction in the number of Interior Ministry troops was also abruptly canceled. At the same time, the Interior Ministry set up a special command center in Moscow, packed with surveillance equipment designed to deal with street unrest. The Duma, on Kremlin instructions, added seven new articles to the criminal code. One expands the definition of high treason and espionage to include advisory “and other” assistance to foreign and international organizations; another makes “participating in mass disorders” such as the one in Vladivostok a “crime against the state.” More sinister still, defendants accused of the new crimes can only be tried by a special court of three judges, not by a jury—a system reminiscent of the Stalin-era troika courts that sent millions to the Gulag.

And like the bailouts in the US that favor wealth holders more than wage earners, “major beneficiaries of both handouts include oligarchs like MMK’s owner, Victor Rashnikov, and Russia’s current No. 1 billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, owner of the AvtoVaz auto plant.”

The PTB better realize that using the poor and bail out the insanely wealthy is a recipe for social collapse.

Can openers

March 7, 2009

You gotta have your can openers.  If you are like me you have a fair amount of canned food set aside.  I have a few different can openers.  I bought one at Walmart not that long ago.  I think I paid maybe five bucks for it.  I should have checked it out more before I bought it.  Since day one it has never worked right.  It doesn’t grab the can.

ns10You can see it has plastic handles and the knob you turn is plastic too.  It feels cheap.  It comes from China.  Mayberry had an entry on Cheap Chinese Crap.

He was right about everything he wrote.  Cheap Chinese Crap sucks.  Worst of all is that you can’t depend on it.  The rivet in the center of the Chinese can opener isn’t even a real rivet.  It’s an after thought.  Nothing is lined up right and it shows.  This simple Chinese can opener won’t even do the simply job that it’s designed for.

I twisted it a bit and ….ns11and the handle snapped right off.   I’m telling you a clam could have snapped the handle off this thing.  It’s trash and that is where it now sleeps.

Here’s the can opener that has sat in the draw for years.

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This is the one that I’ve had for years.  It’s made in the United States.  It is heavier than the one in made in China.  The handles aren’t an after thought, the rivet is a real rivet that is hammered down, the knob is metal and it’s made in the US. It’s lasted quite a while so far and still works great.

Can openers are too important to worry about saving a few bucks.  You need to have at least a bunch of good ones.  Imagine having a whole bunker of canned goods and having way to open them.  You’d have to resort to using a knife, hatchet or hack saw.   Been there and done that camping.  Someone usually ends up cutting themselves.  A lot of people seem to like the P-38s and P-51s.  I don’t get it though.  Those things are so little.  They’re fine for camping, but I’d suggest having a few regular size ones around the house.  Make sure you try out any can openers that you have.  Next can open I buy I’m going to check out better before wasting even $5.   You can feel the difference between Cheap Chinese Crap and Made In USA quality.

Get Outside Every Night.

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Went out skiing at night.  This trail is actually downhill.  You can tell by the way Green Eyed Dog is running.  The full moon is next Tuesday.  Between the moon and the light reflecting off of the snow no headlight is needed.  We were actually casting moonshadows.   I’m being followed by a moonshadow.

ns2Here’s my buddy going down another trail.  The snow was soft.   Once again this trail is much steeper than it looks.  You can see that my buddy is snowplowing.  If you don’t ski, snowplowing is when you form a V with your skis.  It’a way of slowing down and steering.  Not only is the moon waxing, but Venus is also blazing in the west sky.  You can’t let a little night darkness keep you from getting out.

School bus

March 5, 2009

It seems like whenever I drive in the morning or the afternoon I get stuck behind a school bus.  You know that feeling when you’re in a hurry and you get stuck behind the bus for what seems like three miles and 20 stops?  Why don’t kids have to walk to school anymore?  When I was in elementary school I walked 1.25 miles each way to school.  I was 6 or 7 years old and I was walking both ways to school.  Even in the winter.  When is the last time one of your lazy ass kids walked a mile?  I remember we used to try and take an unauthorized shortcut.  Even back then I hated the System and still do to this day.   It even made no sense to a six year old kid to have to take the long way. If Katie the Crossing Guard caught us taking the shorter unauthorized way there was Hell to pay.

These days you never see kids walking to school, except kids in the city.  Now it seems like every kid gets to take the bus, has a car or get his parents to chauffeur him.  What’s the problem with young Americans?  No wonder kids are so fat these days.  Walking to school is good for kids.  Kids don’t get nearly enough fresh air either today.  And not only does each kid get to take the bus, but the bus stops at the end of every kid’s driveway too.  In middle school I got to take the bus.  I hated it the whole time.  We even had to walk to the bus stop.

Which reminds me, you don’t see kids playing outside anymore either.    Sure you may see kids if they’re playing some organized sport like baseball or soccer, but I never see kids playing street hockey or capture the flag.  This isn’t good either.  My parents couldn’t drag us in from outside.

We have lost our pioneer spirit.  What lazy ass, fat, dumb American now has the guts to head out on a trip like Lewis & Clark? I read we knew more about the moon prior to Armstrong setting foot on it than Lewis & Clark knew about there destination.

We deserve what we reap.

I don’t like the whole school choice thing either.  Stop wasting money on shuttling every kid from one end of town to the other and spend the money on teachers, books and technology.   All cities and towns are poor enough, end school choice.  Even beyond the transportation issue though I don’t like school choice.  Kids should go to schools in their neighborhood.  If the local school sucks than fix it.

Stop driving your kids and make them walk or ride their bikes.    In the long run you’ll be doing your spoiled little darlings a favor.

So Bernanke comes out a week or so ago and says that the economy should turn around later this year then the Fed releases a report saying that the economy is worsening and the recession is deepening. Bernanke obviously has no idea what he is doing.  He isn’t even cognizant of what his own team is doing.  Is he tripping?

The weekly unemployment claims figure just came out – initial claims are still over 600,000 and continued claims are still over 5,000,000.  We’re supposed to be happy because they both dropped by a little bit.  Santelli had an interesting comment that although claims are the highest since 1981 (or something like that) that the workforce is much larger now than it was then.  I feel like asking him is the way we calculate unemployment the same?  No it isn’t.  The government massages the numbers down.  The good folks at Shadow Stats calculate an unemployment rate of near 18%.

My wife works with maybe eight other women.  Over the past year the husband or boyfriend of every single one of them has lost his job at some point.  Ask your own friends, family and neighbors and than let me know if you believe the BS government pablum about unemployment being at 7%.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, which mean more attention than our Fed chairman, you know things are bad and getting worse.  Act appropriately:

  • Cut your expenses where you can
  • Diversify your income
  • Buy extra non-perishables every week – food, water, candles, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, TP, etc.
  • Stock up a bit on imported things that you buy (which means just about everything) – nothing wrong with having an extra pair or two of jeans, sneakers, boots, BVDs and jackets.
  • Get a firearm and learn how to use it
  • Learn some new skills
  • Get some camping equipment – stove, sleeping bags, tent, cookware, lantern, knives, axe, sleeping pads
  • Have an escape plan – local, state and out of state – make sure your family is in on it and knows what to do.
  • Have battery powered radio/tv/walkie talkies/flashlights and a bunch of batteries
  • Do some Internet research on Get Home Bags and Bug Out Bags.
  • Buy some extra propane or charcoal if that’s what your grill uses.
  • Get Outside Everyday!

Get out everyday!  This is the good and the ugly.

m1Here is the good.  Beautiful sunny, blue sky day.  I was skiing down this trail.  It looks steep, but it is twice as steep as it looks.  I took a good face plant.  Oh well, no falls no balls.  Believe me it was a trudge skiing to the top of the hill.  Although it was maybe 28 degrees out because the high March sun was shining the snow was sticking to the bottom of my skis.  The trail going down is on the northside so it was still fast.

This is the ugly.

m4Had to go into the city yesterday and I saw this smokestack spewing death.  The plume was blowing towards a residential area where poorer people live.  There are many three families and small apartment buildings right downwind of this balck crap.  If you want to talk about survival and you live near where something like this spews poison on you 24/7 move, at least move someplace upwind.  Forget about your survival kit and move someplace safer.

Kali

March 4, 2009

A bunch of years ago I studied this martial art called Kali.  It was strange stuff so I figured I’d write an entry about it.  Martial arts are good ways to stay in shape and learn useful skills.  Some of the more traditional martial arts even have healing systems included in them.  Big problem with all of them is if you have to pay someone to teach you.   Anyways, this Kali system is from the Philipines.  I only took it fora year or so and if you ever studied any of the martial arts you know you could do it for two lifetimes and still be a beginner.

Kali is basically stick fighting.  There are also empty hands and edge weapons training included.  You work with a partner and you do flowing drills where you try to flow seamlessly from one move into the next.  Having only done it for a year I was always one step out of time like trying to do the electric slide at a wedding.  There are single stick and double stick drills.  Each stick is made from rattan and is about two feet long.  The butt of the stick can be used to grab limbs and the tip of the stick when swung can carry good force.  One drill you may stand across from your partner who also has two sticks.  Your partner swings at you and you block the swing with you own stick and maybe strike with the stick in your other hand.  Then they block and strike.  There is a lot of footwork in Kali.  There are no single moves.  Everything is a strike, block, trap, strike.  Then you can put the sticks down and do basically the same thing with empty hands.  Because of the flowing from one move into the next it translates into a good system for self-defense.  After a while it’s almost like a dance.  The sticks click clacking against each other also have a rhythm.   So the different drills become more natural.  Ever wonder why we sing our ABCs, because it’s natural.  I also find that when I’m doing something natural instead of mechanical it’s much easier to put weight and momentum into strikes.  I still keep my sticks in the trunk of my car.  Once in a while when I’m walking away from the public’s prying eyes I’ll practice as I’m walking or work out on a tree for a bit.

Hey all martial arts are good.  We can debate about this or that, but they all have strengths and weaknesses.   Although I studied Okinawan karate with an amazing teacher, I’m not a big fan of the real traditional arts.  If you want to learn how to fight in a phone booth and make the most of hip rotation Okinawan is the way to go.  The traditional arts just seem to move too slowly for me.  Like every other aspect of my life I focus on what works and discard the rest.  If you do Brazilian Ju Jitsu don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s the end all and be all.  Ditto for MMA.  They all have rules and if you practice fighting by rules then you’ll fight for real the same way.  You have to be careful when training because muscle has memory too.  If you train to never strike to the eyes, throat or balls, if you train to not bite a chunk out of your opponent, not fishhook or not pull hair, strike to the back of the head or spine or stomp a hand then when the fighting is for real you won’t be prepared to fishhook, bite, pull hair, grab nuts and twist or strike to the eyes, nose or throat.  Do you practice finger locks and breaks?  The way you practice is the way you’ll react.

You can’t really explain Kali though so I figured I’d just post a video from YouTube.  If you watch the video try and follow the footwork, the hip rotation to get strength into strikes and the flowing from one move to the next.

Did you check out the video? Pretty cool looking stuff, huh?  I also studied Systema which is a Russian marital art taught to the Russian special forces.  This stuff was really weird.  They could use the harmonic distortion of your body to actually rub you down to the ground.  You know harmonic distortion and how vibrations get larger and larger?  Well you throw a punch and these guys that study Systema take that motion and somehow multiply it and actually rub you right down to the ground.  It’s crazy stuff.    I really enjoyed studying Kali.  It was fun.  Because you don’t fight alone, working with a partner for most drills is a good way to do things.  So get out there and practice.  Practice makes perfect.  Buy a video or two and find a partner to practice with.

Here’s a good one.  I was Getting Out Everyday and I come down this path and you see that nice old stonewall and that nice old juniper right in the center of the picture?  Well there was a herd of deer standing there staring at us.  I’d say there were probably 5-6.  I think someone spooked them and they were moving and we inadvertently headed them off at the pass.  In my experience cows are curious.  I think deer are the same way.  The deer seemed to all be looking us over.   So I’m getting my camera out and of course Green Eyed Dog can’t control himself and splits.  He chases one deer one way and the other deer go the other way.

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You can see Green Eyed Dog taking off to the left like a banshee after the deer.  If you click on the picture to expand it or look real close at the oak tree farthest to the left you can see the deer running for it’s life.  You can see it’s head and it’s hind leg.  It’s body is hidden behind the tree.  I took some other pictures, but my camera has a delay so I missed all the other deer.  The air was thick with the smell of the deer.  Have you ever been in the woods and smelled wildlife?  I’m telling you the air was thick with the scent of deer. Man, we have so many deer around here that they’re like pests.  Not a lot of people hunt here and WTSHTF I think that our game will be more plentiful in the suburbs than in the more rural areas where everything large and small will be killed, cleaned and cooked in a week.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

March 1, 2009

This news just in 12+ inches of snow.  I couldn’t be happier.  This means at least another two or three weeks of skiing.  I love the snow.  I hate the snowplow, more below.  It can’t snow too much in my mind.  If I woke up tomorrow morning and there was four feet of snow on the ground I would be overjoyed.  I’m not afraid of being snowed in for what a day, a week or a month.  We’d be fine.

special_560x389Are you prepared for the electricity to go out?  Ready to live without lights, heat or a stove for a while?  Got flashlights, batteries and lanterns?  Warm clothing?  Have some fresh water stored or a way to melt snow? A way to stay warm when the heat goes out?  Sand, shovel and jumper cables in the car?  Have candles?  How about way way to open and heat your canned food without electricity?  Got activities to keep you busy – books, games, hobbies or battery radio? Wood, propane & C0leman fuel?   Maybe some booze or beers tucked away?

And look at this list not a single firearm, bullet or high capacity firearm needed.  Spend your money where you want.  Please don’t take this as a dig against firearms.  I love my guns and I think everyone should own a few and daily carry too, but a gun should be just one of the many tools in your toolbox.

Anyways, if you aren’t familiar with snowplows this is what happens, when the snowplows plow the street they leave a big, big pile of snow at the end of the driveway.  And if you aren’t familair with shoveling snow, snow is frozen water, water weighs a lot, shoveling water is heavy, heavy work.  So what happens is you shovel your driveway and just when you finish the plow comes buy again leaves an enormous berm of snow at the end of your drivway.  Everytime the plow comes by it basically plows you in.  So the system is shovel out and get plowed in.  Shovel out and get plowed in.

Drought

March 1, 2009

You guys following what’s happening in Cal-eye-forn-eye-aye?  There’s been this ongoing three year drought that’s battering California.  Making a living off the land has always been a tough way to survive.   It seems you either have too much water or not enough water.  I’m happy to be living where I do where lack of water is not an issue.   Water is our lifeblood.  Without abundant fresh water you die and then I take your stuff.   “Economists at the University of California Davis estimate that the drought could cost 95,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in revenue this year. Much of the pain is centered in the San Joaquin Valley, where idle fields idle workers.

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This area of the San Luis Reservoir near Gustine was previously underwater but was dried out in January because of drought conditions. (Patrick Tehan / Mercury News)

Because so much food is grown in California on top of everything else, you can expect higher prices for produce in the supermarkets.  “Last year, during the second year of the drought, more than 100,000 acres of the 4.7 million in the valley were left unplanted, and experts predict that number could soar to nearly 850,000 acres this year.  All of which could mean shorter supplies and higher prices in produce aisles – California is the nation’s biggest producer of tomatoes, almonds, avocados, grapes, artichokes, onions, lettuce, olives and dozens of other crops…

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Docks at Lake Pillsbury, north of Santa Rosa, sat high and dry in late January because of below-average rainfall. (Associated Press file) -

These pictures are reminiscent of the old black and white pictures from the Dust Bowl years.  This is the result of too many people placing unreasonable demands on nature.   How many swimming pools you figure there are in California?  At a time when food crops are drying and dying could there be a bigger waste of water than all the swimming pools in Southern California?  In the coming years as there are more people and more swimming pools you can expect the water problems out in the Western US to escalate.  I mean look at Vegas too.  There are too many people living in too dry an area to be sustainable.  I wouldn’t ca_dmwant to own property in Nevada.

If you live in California I don’t know what to tell you.  Maybe move someplace there is more water more consistently.

I was out walking the other day and stumbled upon this old piece of what I think is animal hide nailed into a tree.  At first I thought it was a fish, but it looks like deer spine.  That’s what that white thing at the top of the picture is white spine bone.  Not sure what it comes from or why someone would nail it to a tree though.  a17

Does anyone know what this is?