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Saturday, September 18, 2021

On the Raggity Edge



You might have noticed that people are a little crazy these days.


It really shows up on the roads. People are doing everything from constantly running stop signs to road rage with shots fired. A road rage incident recently happened about 30 minutes down the road from me. That sort of thing used to never happen around here. According to the stats, New Hampshire is one of the safest states. What the heck does the rest of the world look like?


There are homeless people moving into the woods. They have no woods skills either. One guy pitched his tent in the middle of a trail. Someone else destroyed his stuff so he was wandering around with a large knife in his hand.


The weather has been mild for September in the Great North Woods. We’ve yet to even have a frost. That’s not going to last. In recent years there have been October snows that stayed on the ground until spring. People who are already having a bad time being homeless will be in a world of hurt.


People are losing it and it’s not pretty.


-Sixbears

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Ammo Update

 


Over the weekend I got to talk with two close friends who work in the firearms industry. They have many years of experience and both have worked for different companies over the years. The US firearms industry is not that big a club. A lot of the professional people know each other. My friends are in contact with a lot of people.


I figured these would be the ones to talk to about ammo shortages. In short, they have no solid answers.


Here’s what I could get from them. A certain percentage of the shortage is real. Part of the shortage is a result of the same type of thinking that caused toilet paper shortages. When people see it on the shelves, they buy it all. However, my friends would not even guess the percentages.


There are a lot of rumors out there, but real hard numbers and solid answers are in short supply. Your guess is a good as mine.


-Sixbears

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Supply Disruptions



There’s a lot of chatter out there about supply disruptions. There are broken links in the chain reaching from the factory to your house. Remember when they couldn’t find enough truck drivers? Well now they can’t even keep the trucks on the road due to the unavailability of spare parts.


Previously I mentioned the food supply issues and how knowing to make something tasty with whatever is available is a needed skill. Pro tip: stock up on spices while you still can and don’t be afraid to use them. The same basic ingredients, with the proper spices, can be anything from Mexican, to Asian, to Indian meals. It’s a quick way to get variety when you don’t really have many ingredients.


Being able and willing to fix things will make all the difference. Going down to the store for a replacement is no longer a guaranteed option. Fortunately, I’ve always had a tight budget and learned how to make do. One of my cars had a bad temperature switch for cooling fan. It was fine at highway speed what would overheat if stuck in traffic. The replacement part was expensive and difficult to find. Tapping a manual switch directly into the fan did the job for a couple bucks.


Another thing I’m glad I never got into was the whole decluttering thing. That “unsightly clutter” is where I get the parts and materials to keep my stuff running.


Given enough tools and junk you can make just about anything out of almost nothing.


-Sixbears


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Road to Nowhere

 


Normally by now my lovely wife and I would be nailing down our plans for winter travel. Instead I find myself getting the house ready for another winter. The fuel tank is full and a service guy will be out here in a few days. The basement door has been rebuilt and is now much more weatherproof. My solar electric system battery bank has been inspected and serviced.


Currently our only possible long trip will be out to Texas to visit the in-laws. We haven’t seen them in a while and it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to make the trip to New Hampshire. It looks like our niece will still be living with us and she can keep the home fires burning.


There is always the option to change our plans. We can have a vehicle loaded up and the house winterized in matter of hours if we want to. Bugging out is something we know how to do. One time we decided to go camping for a long weekend. My lovely wife and I were packed and gone in twenty minutes.


There’s a hurricane in the Atlantic right now. As long as the jet stream holds steady it should stay off-shore. Coastal areas will have some serious wave action to deal with, but here in the mountains we’ll be fine.



-Sixbears

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Tested

 


Last Thursday night my lovely wife came down with a cough and generally felt lousy. Friday morning we were in the drive through line at the hospital covid testing site. Both of us got tested. Their turn around had been 24 to 48 hours and you’d get the results. It took six days for us. We both tested negative. My lovely wife is mostly feeling better now. No idea what she had. I’ve been fine the whole time.


Apparently we isolated for a week for nothing. Better safe than sorry. I’d feel petty bad if I had something and was spreading it to others. The testing site has been getting slammed as cases are skyrocketing locally. The school district has remote learning back on the table. It was fun while it lasted.


In other medical news I actually signed up for medical insurance again. It’s a slightly better plan the last one I had and for a bit less money too. It’s still a crap plan, but I won’t get refused treatment if something happens. Sure, they can’t turn you away from the emergency room, but they don’t have to do follow up tests and treatments. When I was in the hospital a couple years ago there were tests that just were not done as they required me to prepay before doing them. My doctor was extremely frustrated by that as she wanted to practice medicine to the best of her ability.


In other news the hurricane remnants will not make it over the mountains and will turn out to sea. The Northeast is not prepared for flash floods and tornadoes. I’m glad I live up in the hills.


Hurricane Ida has passed through the Gulf states and now the real problems begin. How do you deal with over a million people who need water, food, shelter, and utilities? This was one of those instances where bugging out was most likely the best thing to do. Even buildings that survived multiple hurricanes in the past were destroyed. Authorities will have to try to move the people to other states as they can’t bring in enough supplies to keep everyone alive. It could get nasty and my prayers are with them.


Buckle up. Interesting times ahead.


-Sixbears



Saturday, August 28, 2021

Some Updates



It’s been a busy summer. Early on we were stuck down to Concord NH for a week as my lovely wife got picked for Federal jury duty. After being isolated for so long it felt weird to have to be out in pubic. Worse yet, it was for a civil case with no good guys. Picture the sleazy bank vs the sleazy land investor.


After that we spent lots of time with family and that was wonderful. 


 


I’ve been riding the scooter a lot. Still knocking off sections of the New England Backwoods Discovery Route. There are plenty of back roads around here that are a joy to ride. Good fun and it goes a long way on a gallon of gas.


Speaking of gas, I’m making sure my vehicles and a couple of jerry cans are topped off. Also ordering a heating oil fill up. Hurricane Ida will be taking down more oil production that Katrina did.


If you are anywhere near the projected landfall it’s time to get the heck out of Dodge. This is shaping up to be a major hurricane. I’m praying for those people, but prayers go better with a ride out of the area.


-Sixbears




Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Supply Chains and Expectations

 


Your experience with supply chain disruptions and shortages depends on where you live and what you plan on buying.


My area of northern New Hampshire is a known food dessert in the best of times. It’s gotten worse. A few days ago the food section of the nearest Walmart was half empty. They were out of some very basic items like eggs. A much smaller store had them, but they get a lot of supplies from more local sources.


One underrated survival skill is the ability to cook a wide variety of foods. A good cook can take whatever is available and make something good tasting out of it. At one time I said, only half joking, that I did so much with so little for so long that I could anything with nothing. That goes for more than food, of course.


It’s been well publicized that there have been shortages of everything from computer chips, to foam to even lubricants. If you were shopping for a new vehicle or an RV you know all about it.


So what’s going on? Why are we so vulnerable to supply chain disruptions? Blame late stage Capitalism. Capitalism is very good at selecting more and more efficient ways of doing things. That’s great, but it comes at cost of making the whole system more fragile. For example just in time manufacturing is efficient because it eliminates the cost and expense of warehouses full of parts. Unfortunately, when there is a disruption the whole line shuts down.


Toyota is smarter than most companies. While they benefit from the just in time system, they don’t use it for all their parts. They’ve identified key parts, like computer chips, that need to stockpiled to prevent manufacturing shutdowns. It makes them a bit more resilient to fluctuations.


Going into the winter I’m planning having at least three, maybe four, ways of heating my house. Keeping warm is a basic need that I won’t gamble with. Do I expect heating oil and gas shortages? Not in particular, but it’s something that could always happen.


-Sixbears