Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Quote(s) of the Day

Walker looks accusingly across the table at Wifey "Mom, This is a terrible dinner."

A couple minutes later after the kids went to play in the other room out of earshot for normal conversations. She leans over and says quietly to me.

"4 year old's are assholes."

For the record she made us philly cheese steaks with fries and salad. It was really good. The kids had cheese sandwiches and fries, usually one of their favorite meals but apparently not today. It as classic kid, say something very matter of fact that is totally outside of social norms.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines Day, 5.56 Ammo Run and Reader Question

Well today is Valentines Day. It was a pretty good on. We did normal stuff during most of the day. This evening I cooked up some Chicken Parmesan with noodles, salad, broccoli and french bread. In hindsight cooking an untried recipe that's pushing my skill level hard probably wasn't the smartest thing to do but it worked out well. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

Now that the kids are fed, bathed and in bed we're going to have a few drinks and watch a movie together. A nice quiet night.

On the downside the whole M855 thing has me pretty irritated.

My rifle likes M855 so I tried to get some from Lucky Gunner but they were sold out. Ended up with  a case of 55 grain 5.56 instead. Honestly I hate to incite a panic but there was plenty of M855 yesterday and probably this afternoon but now there is none to be had. A run seems to be on big time. I suspect more than a couple people had the same thought I did. (Note in 45 seconds by their live inventory LG sold 2 cases of 55gr 5.56). Well I wanted a case of training ammo for the next ban and it looks like I got one. Right now I am, at least once the newest purchase shows up, probably honestly at my happy number ratio in 5.56

Of course the panic is slipping into other bullet offerings in 5.56. Thankfully if you are not too picky about an exact offering there is plenty of 5.56 still available. I don't know what, if anything, is going to happen next but I'd say if you are short on whatever your SHTF goals are for 5.56, plan on buying more in the next year or shoot 5.56 regularly I'd buy enough to ride out at least a few rough months.

Looks like an end run of administrative actions, import regulations, etc all is being used instead of some sort of actual law which given the R's running the house and senate would be DOA. Aside from .22lr Firearmagedon is over and things have been good for awhile. I hope you didn't waste that time. Money is tight all over and there are bills to pay but I hope you have purchased, if not everything you want, at least everything you NEED.

To balance out my, buy all the 5.56 right now OMG tone earlier step back and take a look at your situation. If you are totally happy with your situation in that caliber then don't do anything crazy and spend a couple grand on ammo just because. What I am driving at is that if you own an AR/ Mini 14/ Sig 556 and are not happy with your ammo stash then you should look at doing something about that while it is still fairly affordable.

High Desert Livin asked

I recently traded a glock 26 plus 3 bills for for a colt magpul (total 850 out pocket). Now I have a psa complete lower that I'm not sure what to do with. I thought about dropping a bravo co. On top, but am unsure if a awesome upper on a so so lower makes any sense? 

My thoughts:  It really depends on what you are going for with the build, concept of use if you will. Since you mentioned BCM I presume the goal is not a budget build. As to the upper/ lower question let us go part by part through the lower.

-Lower receiver/ stripped. Any aluminum lower with normal specs is just fine. Unless we are talking about some BS Bob's Basement lower made from melted Busch can's they are all the same. Honestly as Chris noted 'the most important thing about a lower is the roll mark'. With a stripped lower folks mostly pay for a name to brag to their friends about. If you want to pay 4 bills for a Noveske instead of $45 for DPMS or Anderson Arms then by all means do so, it's your money, but don't trick yourself into thinking it's going to make the gun run any better.

-Lower Parts Kit. This is all the little springs and pins that make the gun work as well as the hammer and trigger. I would be more cautious here than with the actual lower itself. Wouldn't go lower than decent sporting brands like DPMS/ Stag/ CMMG/ Bushmaster. That being said it would be an uphill battle to convince me a Daniels Defense LPK (if they sell one) is vastly supperior to say a DPMS LPK.

Personally I have seen very few rifles get deadlined with lower receiver issues. The way the AR works there just isn't that much stress down there.  Sure a spring can wear out over time but that is part of life, not an inherent failure of the weapon.

Presuming mechanically sound parts the only exception to my 'an LPK is an LPK' is the trigger. If you are serious about accuracy, and capable of holding up your end, a good trigger matters a lot. There are a lot of ways this one can go from just getting a good match trigger from say Colt to a drop in upgrade like a Geissele trigger. If I was going to put any extra cash into a lower it would be into the trigger.

-Receiver Extension/ buffer tube. These are all basically the same. They come in mil spec and commercial but otherwise I think they are a common entity.

-Buffer and buffer spring. These matter but any decent one will do. DPMS/ CMMG/ etc are just fine. Actually where people get into trouble here is when they want to upgrade and get fancy messing with spring tension and buffer weight. I'm not a professional firearms builder or a mechanical engineer so I just buy mil spec buffers and buffer springs.

-Stock. These are easily replacable so get whatever one you like. They all work fine.

That lays out my thoughts on each individual part of the lower. As to your situation if you want a BCM upper I'd say get one. If you don't like the trigger in the lower you have then upgrade it. That's really the only part in the lower that is going to affect shootability. If you are somehow unhappy with the PSA internals for a hundred bucks or so you could upgrade the LPK to Rock River or Stag if you really want. The point is that letting a roll mark on the side of a common part built to standard specifications dictate the way you go with the rifle doesn't make too much sense to me.

There are a lot of smoking deals on uppers right now. A buddy mentioned seeing a complete COLT upper in Cheaper Than Dirt's newsletter for 5 and change. Since it would have a bolt, charging handle and hand guards, which a current BCM would not,  that is a darn good deal.

Anyway I wanted to

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Randomness

Watched the Super Bowl. Was semi interested as the Seahawks were playing and it was a fine excuse to do nothing all day, have early cocktails on Sunday and appetizers for dinner. It was good till the end which sucked. Why would you pass on 3rd and 1? At least give the run a shot then go for the hail marry. Doubly so when you heck a beast of a power running back who could probably push a semi truck 1 measly yard. That sucked.

Looked at my blog stats and for some weird reason Trimming Things Down- EAA Bounty Hunter SS 12 Gauge Sold got a bunch of hits. Why I really don't know. Definitely glad I sold that shotgun. It just didn't make much sense as a practical weapon unless I was in a place (like most of Europe) where I couldn't have a pump shotgun. If that was the case I would have 3 or more double barrel shotguns with auto ejectors that worked and the most practical rifle I could own. Anyway....

For my foreseeable future I will confine the shotgun collection to various 870's and single shot New England/ H&R 12 gauges. That being said I am good to go on shotguns. Presuming things stay more or less normal I have, at least in pencil, planned my next 2 years gun purchases. This year I will build some sort of AR, buy some ammo and just maybe get another pistol (either a little .380 or another Glock to put away) or .22 rifle and of course ammo. Next year I would like to acquire some sort of semi auto mag fed .308 and whichever of the pistol or .22 rifle didn't get purchased this year. The only real exception I can see would be if a pretty good deal on an H&R singe shot or plane jane  Maverick 88/ Mossberg 500A fell into my lap.

The option I wanted to work for the Kahr was a bust. I did some thinking and realized the 642 was where my energy, along the deep concealment line of effort, needed to go. They are a very traditional deep concealment/ pocket carry handgun so it SHOULD work. Looking back at Alexander Wolfe's Snub Nose Round Up I decided to try a Safariland pocket holster. Also wanted to have a real quality IWB leather holster. Thankfully to help get this out of the conceptual phase I happened to have an amazon gift card. I figured why not. Those two holsters will show up soon enough. I really hope this will crack the code on my problem.

Something fell into my lap that I had to jump on. It was a smoking deal on for an ever so slightly used piece of professional grade hardware at 50-60% of retail price. Not sure exactly where that will land so I'm going to stay quiet about specifics. I had planned to purchase a case of .223/5.56 soon but that is going to get bumped down the road a couple months.

Last month I ran/ rucked 22 miles. That was not good. In February I want to focus on moving more, do better, and be closer to 35 or maybe 40 miles.

Anyway that is about all I can think of to talk about.




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carry Update, Life and the Scenario: 1k Cache Challenge at T Blog

Over the past several years I have pretty regularly blogged once a day. Recently I have not felt the need to write if nothing strikes my fancy or I am busy. Part of that is spending more time on my own fitness and preparations and just not forcing it when I am busy. Also I'm trying to focus more on quality. Would rather do 2 good posts, a 'what did you do to prepare' and an 'around the web' than 1 good post, 2 slapped together ones and a random thought. Sure I'll post a link or a quote or a cute little story if one jumps out at me but I am not going to push to make it happen.

Late last night I looked and the last time I had posted was Sunday. OOPS!!!

The Kangaroo carry holster showed up. It arrived 4 days or so after my order in a nice package. I put it on and it was comfortable. However unfortunately it did not work for me. With the horizontal method of carry used in the Kangaroo carry system I had two choices. 1) The holster is ready to grasp but prints. Not a little bit but definitely prints. Given that my concept of use for this holster is deep concealment for legal but less than permissive environments that is obviously a problem. 2) It is adjustable, highly so, to carry the pistol further around ( more armpit than pectoral) the body but that makes it harder to draw. My flexibility in getting a hand that deep to my weak side in a hurry is bad. Basically for me, while set way back, the Kangaroo carry might conceal a pistol the draw is pushing sun dial range pretty hard to the point where ankle carry looks good and sprinting back to my glove box doesn't seem like such a bad option.

The service was good and it was a nice product. I will not speak ill of them or their wares but this holster but it does not seem to work for me. The owner of this company seems to have pistols vanish with the holster but I've probably got 40 or 50 pounds on him. Maybe it is a build thing. I'm a decent sized guy who lifts weights and could maybe stand to lose a couple of pounds. [Am working on it and making measurable progress. Have 10 or maybe 15 to go.] The point is it ain't working. Thankfully they have a very liberal return policy which I plan to exercise. Again I do not have anything bad to say about those folks or their products; it just didn't work for me and as always YMMV.

TEOTWAWKI Blog threw out the Scenario: 1k Cache. A very interesting prospect. My first thought was, well my operational cache would be a darn good option.. However after looking at it even with pretty outdated prices and poor arithmetic there is no way that is a 1k cache.

My second thought is this is a pretty well thought out scenario. The topic is totally valid.  Caches are an incredibly valid topic  far too often talked about but not acted on in preparedness oriented crowds.

I thought about this for a couple days. Alexander's take on his ideal 1k cache is worth looking at. I do not entirely agree but he is a lot closer to right than wrong, at least within that concept of use. As to the dollar amount at first I thought it was an arbitrary, if conveniently round, dollar amount. Upon consideration I realized it was, while still conveniently round, a very valid dollar amount.

The reason it is a very valid dollar amount is that it is an amount that is both attainable and on the other hand meaningful. A grand is a reasonably attainable dollar amount for most people that, given some planning, they could realistically free up for an important purpose to secure their well being. For all but the lowest income people with some planning a a grand could be put back for an important reason.

I am not for a second saying anybody is a bad person because they genuinely can't throw real money at a cache. A guy with a stay at home wife and a couple little ones making 25 or 30 k probably can't throw a grand at a cache. That family are trying to keep a roof over their heads and food in bellies. If they are right minded and preparing I'm sure they are doing the best they can to work on that.

A grand is enough to have some options but not enough to get into unrealistic for most and almost silly "I'll stash a bug out bag, a few cases of MRE's, a tent, a couple glocks, three AR's plus a few dozen ounces of gold ready to go in my jeep territory,"

Will talk more about the cache discussion tomorrow or maybe in a few days the way I have been going lately. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Invisible Friends Met In Real Life

A family member who is active in another online community brought the term 'invisible friend' into my vocabulary. Invisible friends are people you talk to often and know fairly well but have never actually met. Sometimes things work out so you want to meet people in real life. Being semi nomadic there are more opportunities for that to happen for us than might present themselves to a more settled person. The way things worked out some folks were coming through my area and schedules worked out to get together.

C and H are people I have talked to a lot over the years. We've talked about getting together before and it never quite clicked. Anyway this time it did. It's always interesting to meet people for the first time and see how they are in comparison to the picture in our heads.

We went to dinner at a local place. It was under new management which is always a bit iffy. That can always be a risk. Thankfully it was pretty good. Nothing fancy, just the kind of generic Louisiana/ Cajun ish food that is very common here but it's different than normal road fare and sort of the local thing to try.

Anyway I knew I had a lot in common with them and it turned out there was even more than I thought, almost eerily so. The decisions we made similarly were rather boring. While an agreement circle a la 'Why we all love X Gun Thread' in any forum is fun the differences were more interesting. I do not mean in our lives so much as the choices we have and have not made in terms of preparedness. Hearing what they did and why was interesting. For instance we spent a fair bit of coin on a Honda EU2000 while they went with a $100 Harbor Freight generator. They purchased a trailer while we decided to put that off for 2-3 years. None of these choices were necessarily better or worse than the other persons; most of them were explained by some unique consideration or the way other things in our lives cracked out.

We got to talk about more personal stuff than we otherwise would via the interwebz. Good times were had and the evening came to a close too soon. Hopefully I'll get to see them again some time.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Open Lines Friday 2 JAN PT 1- My Former CO Authors

Blogger Matt LBS said...Saw someone ask last time about the other guy(s) you started the site with. Admittedly I joined this party late so I don't know a lot of the backstory, but if OPSEC allows and there's a good lesson to be learned there somewhere I'd love to hear about them. Not in search of gossip, so only if there is something positive to be told.
 
Ryan here: 
When I got this question previously I just dropped the guy a note. Anyway to travel back in time. The blog started late one evening when I was visiting Ryan at the college he was attending. Several drinks into the evening we decided to start a blog and gave it the most ridiculous title we could think of "Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest." He talked about libertarian and legal type stuff and I mostly talked preparedness, which I was just really getting into. The third leg of our proverbial tripod Chad ended up joining also.

The way things worked out I had some knowledge and bit of talent for the whole blogging thing. Between my heavy (Scouts, camping, hiking, skiing, etc) outdoor background and military experience I brought something fairly unique to the table. Also at that time things worked out so I had a lot of free time to do the sweat equity guerrilla advertising type stuff to get it going. Ryan kept writing now and then but the audience I had built was not really interested. Chad mostly joined because we were all doing it.  
 
In terms of blog stuff they both sort of started with minimal amount of interest then had it decline. I started with a  medium amount of interest than found my voice and it increased. After a year or so it was almost exclusively me posting.

Them dropping off the blog did not change our friendships any. Ryan and I are, by guy standards where not talking for 6 months means everything is fine, still definitely friends. We get together almost every time I am back in town. Unfortunately both of us have grown apart from Chad. It wasn't a big dramatic scene or anything, just that our lives changed and over the years there was less and less in common. I still hold out some hope that circumstances and situations may change so we can have more in common to renew our relationship.

So what are they up to? Well Ryan finished school, worked for a small county government for awhile then moved to a major city in the PNW, threw up his shingle and started a practice. He currently has a long term GF who seems like a nice gal. We are all very proud of him. Chad has sort of moved from job to job. He hasn't exactly found just the right thing. He is married with 2 kids and another on the way.

So anyway that is the story there and what those guys are up to.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Obligatory New Years Post

It is New Years Eve. A good time to reflect on the last year and look forward the next year. I pretty much covered the tangibles of buying this or that in the New Years Resolutions piece so no need to rehash that. I got PRK corrective eye surgery which is pretty awesome. We recently got a new dog.

This year we ran a Fighting Load Contest. You can see the all the entries here. That was our second big winter contest. It ended up running piece mil till the summer. In some ways I was quite happy with it and for a variety of reasons I was not so pleased about some parts of it. You might note it is now winter and I have not said anything about a contest this year. Well that is because we are not doing one. Maybe next year.

Overall at the blog not a whole lot changed. Generally that is a good thing as I am pretty happy about where it is at. Stalled out on the book writing efforts but no use crying over spilled milk.

The first half of last year was weird in a lot of ways which threw some things off. That made me miss a CSAT Combat Handgun class which really bummed me out. Also that fundamental uncertainty shaped all manner of plans and goals in different ways.

It was yet another year without a super grid down collapse. Giving further credence to putting at least some of our preparedness time/ money/ efforts into more practical and less sexy areas like saving money, paying down debt, etc. (HT to Commander Zero who pointed this out.) While those risks exist we should not focus on things that MIGHT happen at the risk of ones that ACTUALLY happen.

As to next year:

Politically/ etc-


Interestingly in 2000 the CIA made some predictions for 2015. 


Since the Rep's will own both the house and senate any additional gun control measures at the national level are DOA. However with President Obama's current YOLO stance on executive orders who knows what might happen. Off the top of my head likey targets would be importation of blatantly non sporting (military pattern rifles, ammo, etc) weapons as well as interpretation of various statutes on questionable letter of the law items like bum fire stocks, AR pistol accessories, etc could happen. I generally rate these as unlikely. The biggest pressure against freedom will come from liberal big money backing local initiatives at the state (and major city/ county) level.

It will become increasingly clear that our current 'recovery' is either A) entirely a figment of our imagination or B) best case only benefiting a small number of people who are very wealthy or in specific sectors.

Person-

Work on relationships. Put effort into the ones which already exist and maybe try to start some new ones with people who bring value to my (our) life.

Be more intentional about my use of time (and to a lesser degree money) towards my priorities. Also look at my self identified priorities and how they do/ do not measure up to my actions to figure out of I need to adjust self identified priorities or stop screwing around and make stuff happen.

Get back to where I want to be physically. Things got off track and I was never really able to get back to the right course. This year one of my biggest goals is to fix that.

Cook more. We have pretty traditional gender roles, in no small part because I work and Wifey stays at home with the kids. Still I find cooking relaxing and generally enjoy doing it.

Preparations-

I will address this a lot more specifically in my upcoming New Years Resolutions post. Honestly it should be called 'Annual Goals' but at this point I'm going to stick with the name/ format. My broad goals are to build an AR pistol, buy some .308, 5.56, 12 gauge and 9mm ammo, beef up our fuel storage and round out some odds n ends. As to food I need to do a real inventory then look to fill the holes which come up.

Blog-

Better allocate my efforts in terms of posts. Do 1-2 more in depth posts with pictures, etc instead of 3 ish medium sized ones. Total post frequency won't likely change and worst case it would slip from roughly 1.3 posts a day ave to 1.1ish.

Build new relationships with different entities (blogs, companies, forums etc) for collaboration, fun, growth and profit.

Maximize passive income.

Anyway that is where I plan on going with this coming year. What are your plans?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Evening Chaos and Random Thoughts

Our darn dishwasher kicked the bucket about 2 weeks back. It's a Kenmoore and was installed in '03 so certainly doesn't owe any money but if we could keep it running for awhile that would certainly be nice as it's the most expensive time of the year and all.

It wouldn't cycle or drain. We fiddled with it and through process of elimination realized it was probably the timer. Wifey ordered a new (used) timer off the web for $22. We got the door open and found a chopstick shoved in there and a couple of random loose parts. In Wifey replacing the timer the whole thing was disassembled further than intended. We got it back together except a couple pieces (which are almost surely the issue but we can't find them in the parts lists or diagrams so heck if we know how they fit).  It cycles but won't drain.

About this time we got infested with drain flies. Haven't been able to kill the darn things. Fly strips and spray to catch/ kill them didn't help noticeably and certainly did not interrupt the breeding cycle. Read you are supposed to clean out the pipes real good but the one that doesn't have the garbage disposal has an attached grait so you can't get in there. I could take the pipes under the sink apart and clean them but the odds of that going bad somehow; since I have little experience with that (and IME the first time doing anything often goes bad) are not insignificant and the whole darn sink being down would really suck.

It seems quite odd these two problems popped up together so most likely they are related.

Christmas was coming so we sort of put these issues on hold since we were going out of town and had so much going on. We did bug bomb before leaving though it did little noticeable good. Well now we are back. Got some IG stuff to try and prevent them from breeding but am not exactly confident it will work.

Tomorrow we are going to give fixing the dishwasher one last shot. Given that it's rather old getting a repair man doesn't make any sense so if this doesn't work I suppose we will have to replace it. [We have savings to do so but would prefer not to shell out the $$$] As to the flies heck if I know a good way forward.

Any advice on either front would be appreciated.

Wifey noticed today that Dog #2 is probably pregnant. She is gaining weight and starting to produce milk. We got her and shortly therafter (NOV) found out she was not fixed when she went into heat. Despite our efforts to the contrary that big ole gal might have found the Doggy Mr Right Now. We need her to have puppies like I need another hole in my head. If Dog is preggers I guess she'll have the puppies and we'll find them homes.

There have been some interesting things around the web:

Bayou Renaissance Man is looking to swap some stuff to help himself and his disabled students get squared away.  Knowing the guy a tiny bit I suspect a lot of the cost of helping these folks out comes right out of his pockets. Anyway for sale or trade they have:
  • Two (2) Jarvis drop-in match barrels for Glock 19, caliber 9mm Parabellum:  regular price (as per Jarvis' Web site) $200 apiece.  Brand new and unfired - never installed.
  • One (1) Jarvis drop-in match barrel for Glock 23, caliber .40 Smith & Wesson;  regular price (as per Jarvis' Web site) $200.  Brand new and unfired - never installed.
[It is worth noting that aside from being quality match grade barrels these have conventional rifling so you can shoot lead reloads through them. If I had spare cash lying around I would buy one of the G19 barrels.]
 
 They would be interested in trading for:
  • Good-quality weapon-mounted lights, although (for obvious reasons) not the more expensive brands.  The Streamlight TLR-1 series are particularly desirable (or equivalents).  A specific model that would be very useful is the Streamlight 69217 TLR-1 HP (High Performance) long-range light for mounting on rifles and carbines.
  • Vertical or angled fore-end grips for the AR-15, possibly incorporating a light and/or laser sight, to fit a Picatinny rail or Magpul MOE handguard with the appropriate adapter.  I don't want the cheap Airsoft-type 'toys', but serious-use hardware.
  • Two caliber conversion barrels for the Glock 22, to convert it from .40 S&W to 9mm Parabellum.  These are available from Lone Wolf, KKM Precision (select the G22, then the 'Conversion Barrel' option) and Storm Lake.  I'd particularly like to get one of the longer threaded conversion barrels, if anyone has one lying around.
If you need what Peter is trading and or have what he is looking for leave a comment or contact him via blogger. On general principle since Peter is trying to help our folks on very limited budgets I ask that you take it a bit easy on the negotiating. Not saying you should lose your shirt on the deal but this is for a good cause so please be reasonable.

Commander Zero did a 2014 review. Dude bought a whole lot of guns this year. Lucky for him the guy is in a position, between career choices and building a network, in a place to have a higher than average amount of good deals come across his lap.

Weapons Man mentioned the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. Great stuff. It is possible that a person might end up in a place where they wanted to resist a regime but had few good options on how to do so. Instead of simply getting killed and maybe taking a low level thug along to the afterlife a person in the right place might be able to make a reliable power grid to the regime base become unreliable,  decrease a plants efficiency by 30% or decrease enemy patrols by 50% due to dead lining vehicles.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Emails and Comments May Not Be Answered Promptly

Posts are scheduled through the end of the year so do not fear a disruption on that front. However my monitoring of email and reading/ replying to comments may not be timely. We have some family holiday stuff going on and honestly I might just take a little break since this thing is on auto pilot for a bit more than a week.

Merry Christmas and I hope you all have some fun, wholesome stuff planned.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I really did not plan to make any black Friday purchases but some deals were too good to pass up. Purchased

.22/.223/5.56 Bore Snake for $6.99

Butler Creek Ruger 10/22 'Hot Lips' 25 round mags for $5.99x 10

Blackhawk Sportster Shooters bags for $7.99

Bushnell Powerview 12x25 binoculars for $8.99

Ten boxes of 2 3/4 Winchester Super X Heavy Game #4 shot to knock it off my years list

and a Leatherman because they were on sale for $20.

Additionally thanks to you all buying stuff through my Amazon (check out the search thingie on the bottom right side) I had some spare jingle in my pocket. Purchased a Morakniv stainless companion and a Italian Army Style Wool Blanket- 62" x 80" . If you purchase stuff through Amazon and want to start through my widget I'll make a bit of coin.

Also found the great deal on the Pelican rifle case.

In terms of actions (vs buying stuff) Turkey Day took up some time and watching my sisters kids for the weekend not too much happened. Hit fitness well in the first half of the week. Also I re did the shelter piece of the chicken coup. Put the cord higher and angled it better to avoid pooling and protect the hens from the rain. Added coverage on two sides also. Will see how it goes. Wifey said I was playing 'overgrown boy scout'. Hopefully that will protect them from the rain a bit better.

Speaking of which the three new girls (or some subset of them) must be laying because our egg production is up. We went from roughly .75 eggs a day to 1.75ish. Wifey (who knows these things from a childhood of FFA and animal husbandry) says at least one of the older hens is about done laying eggs. That one is headed towards the crock pot to serve her last loyal duty (probably X2) as chicken and dumplings.

I planned to add winter components to our systems but the weekend was a blur of small children so that did not happen. Next week or weekend I guess.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Productive Saturday

This morning I took the rug rats out shopping and doing errands. Wifey was able to get a bunch of cleaning done while we were gone. Got back and cleaned the garage. It was a big mess and I have been putting off dealing with it. Well today was the day. Put some nails up to hang folding chairs and strollers on. Organized a bunch of stuff. Threw junk away. Reorganized my ancillary gun gear. Also split my general mag storage from one huge container to two large containers. This will make them easier to move around (a 30 gallon tote full of mags and spare parts is pretty heavy) and if/ when I work out the details to store them separately. The garage is now a well organized useful space.

Wifey did some much needed landscaping.

Fired up the chainsaw just because. Going to do the same with the generator tomorrow.

The way things have worked out right now the prep fund is flush with cash. Sadly not FLIR kind of money but I guess I could buy a rifle, if that's what I needed. However since I am preparing not just buying guns I'll probably get some #4 shot in case I need to hunt little stuff, some buckshot for two legged predators and those Baofeng radios if just to finally get them off my list. Of course I plan to order a month or two worth of food also. Also toying with a knife purchase.

Put a couple items up for sale. 

Given that we usually get nothing done on Saturday this was an excellent and productive day.

Additionally I found a source of some more wood so tomorrow I'll probably do that. Also got to rig the tarp over the chicken coop up better. Water is pooling in low points and putting stress on the structure. Given the roof is a redneck setup I made from free components stress on it is sub optimal. Definitely something I need to fix before winter really sets in.

Anyway lots of stuff got done today. Did a little shrimp boil for a late dinner now I'm sitting by the fire. Going to read for a little bit then go to bed.

Hope you all had a great day.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cold Weather, Fires, and Minutia

Seems it has finally gotten cold here in Central Louisiana. Well it's hitting the 40's at night anyway. Good morning running weather. Had the first fire of the season Saturday and another yesterday. Sitting by a fire in the evening is very nice and relaxing. Something in that experience is hard wired into the human psyche.

Today the darn dishwasher gave out. I got to messing with it. Kinda didn't read carefully in the manual and unintentionally disconnected the inbound water line BEFORE TURNING IT OFF!!! So uncomfortably hot water started spewing everywhere. Wifey came into quite a mess of spewing water and me quite uncomfortably trying to get the line reconnected while getting spewed in hot water.

Eventually got the line turned off then we cleaned up the giant mess of water on the floor. Thankfully at least I got it reconnected OK so we can have hot water while figuring this mess out. Will do some research and see what to do next. Hopefully we can fix this because it has already been an expensive month and we're rolling into the holidays.

Had planned to write something smart about the elections tomorrow or something but my time was spent messing with the washer. Talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween

It was quite the day here. Of course I had work and Wifey had her usual stuff. This evening of course we took the kids trick or treating. That was quite the event.

To start out evening holidays are REALLY hard for little kids. They have to wait days till the correct day and then they wake up and still have to wait. A pair of little, impatient messes.

Walker was a Dinosaur and Princess was well, a princess. Except Walker refused to wear the hood part of the costume and princess needed a shirt under her dress. Anyway at the appointed hour of 6pm we went out to gather candy from the neighboring homes. A big bowl of candy was left at our place along with a sign not to ring the bell because it bothers Dog #2. The door opening bothers her less than the bell, which is not ideal as crooks probably won't ring the bell.

Dog #2 stared at everyone who came by. Some folks thought Dog #1 was a bear. If anyone had been casing places they probably scratched ours off the list.

Took Walker to the Fire Station to get a piece of candy and look at the trucks. He completely lost his shit but it had been a long day.

Anyway it was a crazy day but had some high points.

Oh I should mention it is almost ten at night and my kids are still awake, 2 hours past bed time. Madness I tell you but a time or two a year won't hurt them.

Hope you all had a great Halloween.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Neighbors Doing Good Turns

Awhile back a couple from the neighborhood knocked on the door. An older man who, according to his hat was a retired Army CSM and Vietnam Vet and his wife. The CSM said they walk by here twice a day and we had an abundance of something they enjoy. He asked if they could grab some when they were around. The thing they wanted was something we had in abundance and did not need. Wifey said of course.

The Wife was quite embarrassed by her husband. She asked if we liked egg rolls. Wifey said of course we do. She offered to bring some the next time she made them.

Fast forward to today. I answered an unusual knock at the door around noon. An older Asian women was at the door and she asked if we were going to be around at 5. I said we would be. She said something about egg rolls. Honestly the conversation was pretty broken between us. Had I not known this was coming at some vague point I would have been quite confused.

We were not quite sure what to have for dinner that goes with egg rolls. Well around 5 there was a knock at the door. I answered, as always, and it was the lady. She handed me a plate covered in tin foil. Wifey came to the door and they talked for a minute. After she left we uncovered the plate.

It was a whole bunch of hot, fresh egg rolls and some sauce. Turns out we didn't have to worry about what to eat with egg rolls because egg rolls were what was for dinner. We figured they would be good. At the risk of being offensive if a person who is of a generally non everyday white American culture offers in broken English to make their particular flavor of ethnic food it will be good. They were amazing. Hands down the best egg rolls either of us ever had. The sauce was amazing too.

I guess we are repaid for the nice things we do sometimes in life.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Stay At Home Mom Discussion

I talked about this not so long ago but this topic has come up in our social circles a couple times lately so Wifey and I have been talking about it.

[Note I am going to speak of dad (or to account for different paternal situations the man in the relationship) as the one who is going to keep working and mom as the one who is going to stay at home. I do this not because I am sort of old fashioned, though I am, but because it is by far the most common situation. So if Momma is going to work and Dad is going to be Mr Mom swap the titles in your head. Additionally if you have some sort of other non traditional situation where Tim and Sue are going to work and Bob, Jill and Ally are staying at home with the kids then adjust in your head as appropriate. I am not judging any of these scenarios it is just that I am writing to the situation I have experience with that is also the most common.]

I have said simply "For momma to stay home you need to live on at least a dollar less than what dad makes" before and while that is accurate it is a bit simplistic.

We will touch on what I believe are the most important parts of deciding whether momma staying at home is feasible and if it is something YOU AND THE SPOUSE want to do.

Agreement that momma staying home is a common goal: Unless you are rich to the point where mom's income does not factor into the lifestyle it is absolutely 100% essential that BOTH PARENTS AGREE MOMMA STAYING AT HOME IS IMPORTANT AND THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO MAKE SACRIFICES TO ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. This is not biting the bullet and going to the restaurant or movie the spouse wants, this is a major decision that will have a massive impact on your economic, social and family lives for at least several years. I would say this is probably something that if a partner feels strongly about they would be well advised to discuss it prior to making a (at least theoretical) life commitment to another person.

Obviously you have to be able to live on dads income for this to work. The three biggest points here are debt, income and lifestyle.

The thing about debt here is that, especially if the prospective momma has been working in a good job for awhile it is easy to accumulate stuff, or more accurately in the current American fashion stuff 'bought' with debt based on that situation.

I have long been on the record about hating debt. Personally I think debt should be used to fund education and purchase reasonably priced homes. The only exception I can think of is if you need to borrow to get a vehicle decent enough to get out of the clunker car $500ing you to death trap. Even then it is more like a 10k commuter car not a 50k extended cab 4wd diesel truck. The biggest reason I hate debt is that by promising your future earnings you are limiting your options. Want to quit your job because the boss sucks? Too bad you have a jumbo mortgage, a line of credit, 2 vehicle loans, a motorcycle loan, 4 credit cards, 3 store cards, 2 student loans and a vacation loan from last year's trip.

[The second biggest reason is that you pay extra to get a hamburger today and pay for it tomorrow. Fundamentally personal debt is currently and has historically been a vehicle of the poor. There is a reason for this. The third reason was good too but it just slipped my mind.]

Obviously for momma to stay at home the family will have to be able to service all their debt as well as live on Dads salary. This is where planning comes into play. A couple, unless they were anti debt for other reasons, often cannot decide a few months before the kid is born for momma to stay at home because of decisions they made months and years before. This is really the hardest problem to unravel and the only one where there is not a very good way forward for families. I know multiple families who are stuck in this debt trap of their own making.

Income is something we Americans have a hard time talking about. There is a reason folks working low/ no skill jobs for 25k a year living in old  single wide trailers and professionals with advanced degrees earning 250k living in McMansions both self identify as middle class. This topic is taboo to us for some reason; I think it is our egalitarian national identity or something. The hard truth is the family has a lot more options if dad makes a decent living and a lot if he makes a good one.

Families certainly can live 25-35k or whatever a year if they are in a place with a very low cost of living and have no debt combined with significant discipline. However transport them to a medium cost place and live them a pretty typical student loan, a vehicle loan and a bit of consumer debt and less than perfect discipline and dad's 40k is not going to make it work.

In the overall income to expenses discussion the income side far too often gets ignored. Sometimes if the family runs the numbers and falls short the answer is for dad to figure out how to earn more money to close the gap. Maybe he is in a job where extra shifts and or side work are an option or maybe he is not maximally employed and needs to seek out a better job. Along these lines momma doing a bit of something is an option. It is important to be reasonable here if dad can work harder. more at work going from 42k to 46k is realistic but 40 to 60 is probably a hard sell without some significant game changers

Lifestyle is a big one. I would argue aside from already existing debt (which is arguably the non smart way to finance a lifestyle;) lifestyle is the biggest single barrier to momma staying at home. As the saying goes you can have anything you want but not EVERYTHING you want. Many if not most Americans live a pretty materialistic lifestyle. We like cool shiny new things.We like traveling. We like eating out. We like tv with 7,000 channels in super 30,270HD.

Having momma stay at home means less money and that your things will be older, duller, smaller and fewer than they would otherwise be. Relative to your situation you are going to have less cool stuff than neighbors, friends and co workers.

Personally I would like to say I/we are not materialistic at all but that is simply not true. I would love to drive an awesome new shiny 4 door Toyota truck with all kinds of cool tactical/ SHTF mods but we do not want (and can't afford) the inevitable payment that would go with it. Ditto a motorcycle, a riding lawn mower, a sweet cabin/ bug out location, an awesome vacation every year and a Steyr SSG.

I/ We have chosen to have Wifey stay at home instead of having somewhat cooler stuff. There are times when that sucks and you get a bit jealous of the Jones's. That is called life.

Will not go as far as to say a couple are bad parents if they both choose to work in order to have bigger shinier stuff, travel more, etc. We all make choices for our lives that others could criticize but at the end of the day folks are doing what they think is right. There are lots of factors involved and it is hard to judge a persons choice. I will however say that if momma claims to want to stay at home she should be brutally honest with herself and admit to choosing a newer car and a bigger house or whatever over doing so.

So those are my thoughts on that. To recap for momma to stay at home the couple needs to agree it is a common goal, avoid debt that can't be serviced on one income and adjust their lifestyle to what the remaining income allows.

I do not want to be a kill joy. In most cases I have seen it is possible for momma to stay at home if they are willing to take the lifestyle hit. Maybe they need to ditch a vehicle with a big note and/ or a fancy toy in the process and generally living more modestly. YOU CAN DO THIS. Now whether mom and dad are both willing to take that hit is the question that matters.

Thoughts?


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Animal Update

A week or so back we lost a chicken. I was in feeding and checking for eggs and only saw 3 hens which was a problem since we have 4. Looked around their small enclosure and in the house. Definitely just 3 of them. Looked around the area . Some wire that was covering the gap between the door and the enclosure was pushed back. Also I found a few feathers and a wing on the grass nearby.


Had meant to better reenforce that roughly 3" cap but it never happened. That night I blocked it with a big chunk of wood. The next day I covered the gap with a board and shored up the surrounding area. So we were down a chicken.

Well this week we went to the local feed store/ farm supply for some chicken food and ended up coming home with not one but 3 young chickens. They are not chicks but aren't laying yet. So now we have 3 layers and 3 layers in waiting. The girls have been doing an egg or two a day. We switched back to the first food they were on so hopefully that helps a little bit.

My sister and her family were over that weekend and brought their dog. He got on with ours just fine which got us thinking about a second dog. Also Dog is really showing his age lately so we are not sure how much longer he will be around. We want a dog that will play more with the kids than current Dog is capable/ willing to.

Wifey started looking. We ended up getting a 3 year old female Mastiff/ Boxer mix. She is a large dog (probably 80lbs but a bit on the lean/ skinny side) but her head and neck are HUGE. Like ridiculously comically so. Also she has a freakishly giant tongue. She is super easy going and loves the kids. She is interested in being around them but not TOO high energy. So Dog #2 is looking to be a great new pet for the family.

She does however have a few quirks. She farts pretty often and they smell a lot. Also she is really drooly (which was a given). She eats food off the counter if it is left unattended. Also she carries stuff around in her mouth. Doesn't hurt it but just carries it around. So if something was left on or near the floor you might have to look around for awhile to find it.

So we currently have about 170 pounds of dog and 6 chickens. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Huge News: PRK Eye Surgery Complete!

I have been wanting this for awhile and things finally came together. Didn't want to say anything beforehand because I could have been disqualified for one reason or the other up until the day of the surgery. Anyway my eyes are pretty sore and vision is a bit blurry. They say pain should subside over the next couple days and vision should continually improve over 3-4 months.

Anyway right now my  vision is infinitely better than my previous uncorrected (no glasses) vision so it is definitely a huge improvement.

The next couple of days posts are scheduled. I won't be around much because 'screen tie' honestly hurts my eyes.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Note: Correspondences and Due Out's

Over the next few days I may be slow about responding to emails and completing various due out's. Please bear with me.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Random

Like many families we have a running grocery list. The one where you write down the things that come up or you run out of (or need to replace one from storage) during the week.

Our list said
BBQ Sauce
Wolves

Both were in my handwriting. Really not at all sure why I would have added 'wolves' to the shopping list. I looked at it for a couple minutes to see what else it could potentially say and it was definitely wolves. Obviously I do not want Wifey to pick up some wolves from the grocery store so heck if I know what that was about.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

I do not have deep thoughts about Labor Day. Organized labor did some great things for people and arguably was a major contributor to America forming a strong middle class and becoming a great nation. On the other hand in the last couple (or arguably few) decades Unions have lost sight of reality and one could say they have driven some businesses into the ground. The historically strong union areas of the upper mid west recent history read like an article about how to fail at business. I hesitate to say unions no longer have a place because I think they do. Also in other countries, most notably Germany unions are very strong and businesses do quite well. I do not know the answer to this and honestly don't really care.

Without getting muddled into the current state of unions; I greatly respect the sacrifices of folks in the first half of the 20th century. Those men who organized and stood up to exploitative and intentionally neglectful businesses in the face of clubs and bullets from hired guns as well as various levels of murderous thugs for hire with badges 'law enforcement officials' to be respected and treated decently. People like my uncles are able to make a good living for their skills and sweat in no small part due to their sacrifices. Maybe I should be more thoughtful about the whole thing but I am not.

I did not have to work today. It is approaching dinner time. I'm cooking ribs and having some Blue Moon. So it's a pretty good day here.

Hope you all have a great Labor Day.


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