Sunday, July 31, 2022

How to disappear and live off the grid

I stayed up late last night to finish reading How to Disappear and Live off the Grid by John C. Kiriacou. He’s a former CIA counterterrorism officer. 

I’ve mixed feelings about the book. Read it more for entrainment purposeless rather than for definitive knowledge on how to disappear. Much of the book is spent on covering the exploits of people who’ve tried to disappear in the past. While that can be entertaining, it’s not useful. How a person could disappear in an earlier time is not so useful today. Most of those methods just don’t work anymore. 

He did point out the differences between someone who’s fleeing the law and someone who’d just trying to leave their old life behind. It also matters how serious the crime is. In short, disappearing from the law is a lot harder due to governments having a lot more resources.

Some stuff is pretty obvious. Careful planning is going to make a difference. Being on social media will get you noticed. Staying in contact with people from your old life will get you found out. 

He makes a big deal about establishing secure communications. I think you have to pick through his recommondations very carefully. Some of his suggestions sound like bad advice to so that antigovernment types will get caught. 

Reading his book one would get the idea that it takes a lot of money to disappear successfully. He makes it seem hopeless for people of limited means. I know that’s not true. 

In my travels I’ve come into some seriously off the grid people. All of them are of limited means.  Some are just avoiding bad financial situations, but one guy was definitely dodging serious legal trouble. I know he was doing it successfully for years. It would not be right to reveal his methods as it would give too many hints to where he’s hiding. 

There are some basics to going off the grid. You always need food, shelter, water, and a certain amount of safety. Being totally isolated from people is bad for your mental health. Most electronics spy on you.  

Having transportation is useful if you can avoid the pitfalls. For example, while a car means freedom, the paperwork of ownership is a leash. Things like gps, toll transponders, On Star, and other services track you. There are pros and cons to public transportation. 

All in all, the book was better for entertainment than useful info. Actually, it was a great source for things that don’t work.


Friday, July 29, 2022

Bugging out in the wilderness

I was reading a book recently with a big section about bugging out into the wilderness. The problem with such a book is how general it has to be. Of course we need the basics: water, food, and shelter. A big issue is that your strategies will vary greatly depending on the local environment. 

For example I have a pretty fair idea on how to survive in the Great North Woods. I’ve lived here all my life and spent a lot of time in the woods. My dad started teaching me how to survive here from the time I could walk. That gave me a good background to build upon. 

I also spent enough time in Florida to at least learn the basics. My lovely wife and I spent many days staying with locals who showed us how they survived in the woods. One of the difficulties about Florida is that it’s really about three or four different environments. The skills needed for the north central region are different from the requirements of the Everglades. 

Personally, I know my desert skills are not up to the task. My basic survival knowledge is good, but it’s the little things that can kill you. I don’t even know how much I don’t know. Nobody ever taught me the skills. Frankly, it’s not the sort of place I’d want to bug out to if I had any other choice at all. 

What it comes down to is that books are good, but there’s no substitute for local knowledge.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Looking for adventure

A lot of my blog posts concern being prepared for emergencies and survival. I’ve also posted about projects I’ve done, like boat building and converting diesel vehicles to waste vegetable oil. Some of my posts concern travel in everything from a converted ambulance to sailboats to train trips. 

Survival is critical as you can’t have any adventures if you check out early. Survival by itself is pointless. Just surviving is not living. At least that way I feel about things.

So now I find myself getting that itch again. Maybe it’s due to travel being limited the last couple of years. Maybe it’s just time to do something interesting. 

There are some limitations. My budget is not that large. I’ve never spent any more than $2500 on a sailboat. Even my ambulance was picked up at auction for a ridiculously low price. The projects I’ve done were all fairly low cost. Many of them ended up saving money in the long run. 

So what shall my lovely wife and I do next? I’m open to ideas. Some things are out. We aren’t exactly in condition to hike the Appalachian Trail. We used to go on long extended canoe camping trips, but my lovely wife had both shoulders rebuilt. No sense in ruining those surgeon’s good work. While small aircraft are fascinating the hobby is beyond my budget. 

I thought she had completely ruled out motorcycle adventures. Today she said she might be okay riding on the back of one again -if we didn’t go too far in a day. That could be done on a budget. We wouldn’t be on a new Harley-Davidson, but an old Honda Goldwing might be doable. That being said it was an idea she was only sorta lukewarm to. 

So I’m throwing this one out to my readers. Any idea what would be a interesting adventure? 


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Winter is coming

It’s looking pretty bad for Germany and Austria this coming winter. The price of natural gas has gone up considerably. Even worse, availability is a concern. Natural gas is used extensively for heating. With that in mind a lot of Europeans are buying cheap electric heaters. Even those tiny heaters use a couple of thousand watts of power. Unfortunately, their grids are also powered by natural gas. Switching to electric heat only stresses the grid more. They’d better prepare for blackouts. 

Woodstove sales in Europ have been brisk all year. Some people are worried about air quality, which will probably be impacted. I happen to wonder what the heck they’ll be burning in those woodstoves. Europeans generally lack the access to woodlands that we have in the United States. They may end up burning construction debris and furniture. Paints, varnishes and preservatives make that a dangerous thing to do.

Here in New England heating oil prices are still very high. Eversource electric power company is about to have a 47% rate increase. While our grid is more robust that a lot of other places, heating with electricity will be expensive. 

As some point I might find myself charging my 60 volt Toro electric chainsaw from my solar panels so I can cut firewood. At least I live out in the woods, so that’s handy. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Armed Revolution

Surveys indicate that about a third of the country think armed revolution may be necessary at some point. I wouldn’t read too much into that. People of all stripes are dissatisfied with the government. It’s a big freaking step to take up arms. 

Who do you plan on shooting? Why is that a good idea? You do realize that people shoot back, don’t you? Then there’s the role of law enforcement and the military. They get a say in how that shakes out. 

Burning it all down sometimes seems like the only solution. Democracy is slow and messy. Revolution appears quick, but it isn’t. Historically civil wars last about 10 years. That’s a long time to be in constant danger. Don’t expect the power and water to keep flowing. Supply trucks don’t make regular runs into combat zones. Medicines won’t be available. Millions would die. 

When it’s all over the government that is formed probably won’t be better than what we have now. That’s just how these things tend to sort out. That’s if you are on the winning side. Things will really suck for the losers. 

As boring and tedious as the process can be, our best bet to improve lives are political solutions. Efforts to make our elections fair and our voters educated will produce the best results. The United States already had a civil war caused by political failure. That didn’t work out very well for most people.


Monday, July 25, 2022

Military Recruitment

Currently the US military is only meeting about 40% of their recruitment goals. 

This is good news. So why do I think that way?

First of all, it appears that most of the military aged young people don’t think the country is in danger. There was a huge increase in people signing up after 911. People thought the country was under attack. Of course, then a lot of those kids found themselves fighting in Iraq -a country that had nothing to do with the 911 attacks. 

Under Trump it probably didn’t help when he refereed to military personal as suckers and losers. 

Lower recruitment is a sign that the economy isn’t doing too badly. Poor kids with few opportunities are prime recruitment targets. When even unskilled service jobs have to pay real money the rigors of military life are a lot less attractive. 

Some people feel a need to serve their country. That’s honorable. However, you can serve your fellow citizens as an EMT or a Firefighter just as easily. In the time of pandemics there’s also plenty of risk if that’s what excites you.

The nation has several options to deal with unmet recruiting goals. There’s always conscription but that doesn’t provide the best of troops. Just ask the Russian conscripts in Ukraine how they feel. 

The military could reduce its size. Heck, they might have to. 

Another option is to make the military a more attractive option. I’m not just talking better pay and better veteran support. Those would help, but what you need are missions the public feels good about. Nobody wants to die for oil companies and other corporations. 


Sunday, July 24, 2022

How hot is it?

How hot is it where you are? It got to around 90 here in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. It’s been known to get hotter. Once in a great while we experience triple digit temperatures.

I still don’t have AC and still really don’t need it. How does that work? Fortunately, while it gets hot during the day it cools down to about 60 at night. That’s when I use fans to pull cool air into the house. My house is also shaded by huge hemlock trees.

Cities have heat island effects. All that brick, cement, road tar and black roofs really absorb the heat. I happened to drive through town on my scooter. Being out in the air like that it’s easy to notice when the temperature suddenly jumps up. Heading out of town it’s a relief to get back under the trees. 

In the northern part of New Hampshire it’s still not terribly dry. I’ve a daughter in California and it’s bad out there. Personally I couldn’t deal with the heat and the smoke from the wildfires. I’m also concerned about family members in Texas. They need AC to survive and the TX grid is pretty fragile. 

There are huge sections of the country dealing with the heat right now. Hope everyone is getting by and that you have a backup plan if the grid goes down.


Saturday, July 23, 2022

After Camping Report

I’ve had some time to process how our camping trip at the beginning of the month went. We were gone for six days, which is plenty of time to test things out. If you have everything you need for a week you can pretty much go indefinitely. You don’t bring enough food and laundry to last for months. On a long trip you do like you do at home: wash your clothes and do some food shopping. Repeat as needed.

For years we had our ambulance to camper conversion all dialed in. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. The old girl needed more work and money than I wanted to invest in it. With the price of gas the way it is we downsized to a Nissan Versa Note. It’s a tiny car. 

Even though it’s small it was large enough. We packed our big L. L. Bean Alpine 6 tent, air mattress sleeping bags, clothes, toys, chairs, a table, electronics, water, cooking gear, 2 stoves, optics, and a fair bit of food. It all fit with room left over. 

One of the clever things we did was to mount a 105 watt solar panel on the roof racks. The panel charged a group 27 deep discharge lead acid battery. The battery powered some 12 volt outlets and a 400 watt inverter. Our solar electric system took care of all our electrical needs. We even power a small cooler type compressor fridge.

The compressor types are much more efficient and work better than thermoelectric coolers. One of the things I always hated about camping was using ice and coolers. It seemed I was forever buying ice and often the food would get soggy. While my fridge is little no space is lost to ice. 

In the end we had everything we needed and quite a bit we could have done without. There was still room for more stuff. Even packed as we were, the car got a solid 35 mpg. It does help that we have the manual transmission rather than the crappy CVT automatic that was an option. 

All in all it was a great trip. I feel confident that we could easily travel for months with basically the same set up.


Friday, July 22, 2022

Homeless in the National Forest

Studies have been done and there’s new laws on the horizon. The “Journal of Forestry” has an article about a recent study concerning homelessness and Non Recreational Campers. What the heck is a Non Recreational Camper? (NRC). 

They list ten categories, everything from retirees living in their rig to fugitives. It’s interesting that they are lumped together. The main thrust of the study seems to be about dealing with homelessness in the forest. In short, it’s not allowed. Dirty vagabond kids and retired people in million dollar RVs are lumped together. They also seem to be targeting groups like Rainbow Gatherings. 

To be fair the National Forests have suffered a lot of abuse. People don’t follow the 14 day camping limit. Too many people damage the forest and leave heaps of trash and human waste behind. Law enforcement officers are looking for stronger laws. 

So how do avoid being recognized as an NRC? First of all respect the 14 day camping limit. That’s already on the books. Never admit to being a NRC. You are not living in your RV, you are camping. In conversation with LEOs mention the scenic places you’ve visited and mention the tourist attractions you are on the way to. It wouldn’t hurt to keep your RV stocked up all those promotional pamphlets about tourist traps. Have an “official address.” You are going to need one anyway to register your vehicle. It could even be a friend or a relative who will accept your mail and say you “live” there. 

If you are living in a car or van it really helps to have a canoe or kayak on the roof. That makes you look more like someone on vacation. 

So what’s the difference between a hobo with a backpack and a legitimate backpacker? Trekking poles. If a LEO asks you what you are doing be prepared to name local hiking trails. Have hiking apps on your phone. 

Being homeless is hard enough without running afoul of law enforcement. Be careful while bending the law. 


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Double energy gain

Recently my solar electric panels haven’t been performing as well as they should. Partial shading seriously reduces their efficiency. Over the years the trees have been growing in. 

I did as much trimming as I could with a manual pole saw. One limb was too big for that so I dug out my electric pole saw, only to discover its battery was dead. Unfortunately it takes up to 9 hours to charge it up. That limb will wait until tomorrow.

There’s a big increase in solar power output already. Power output could be improved by cutting some some maples that shade the panel in the morning and late in the afternoon. Those trees will all go in the firewood pile. 

So I’m getting both solar electricity and firewood. I love it when there’s a double benefit. 


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Winter Heating

A week or so ago I received a letter from Irving Oil Company. They are one of the big players in New England’s energy mix. Irving’s generally the company I use when gassing up the car or filling the heating oil tank. 

The letter was about their price protection plan. It’s supposed to lock in the price for the season and let you spread out payments. So I log onto their site and use the direct link to the program. The link is dead. After poking around site the protection plan page was eventually found. In big letters it stated the program was unavailable in my area. Since they sent a letter about the program in the mail it seemed like a sudden reversal. 

Currently heating oil is running about $5.50/gallon. If the oil company thinks it’s too risky to lock in a price like that we are in trouble. What do they know that the rest of us don’t? 

Looks like my plan of only heating a third of the house and doing it with wood is still in effect. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Without Rule of Law

I’ve been asked when do I think we’ll be in a without rule of law situation. That’s a tough one. 

Look around the world and see what’s going on right now. Sri Lanka is a recent example. When protesters are swimming in the president’s pool things have fallen pretty far. The country is essentially bankrupt. It’s still not in complete collapse. The government’s been replaced and the new people are going to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. They think the country will be stabilized in a year. 

That might be optimistic but time will tell. The thing about a country like Sri Lanka is that they are part of an International community. Outside forces can help restore order. Sri Lanka could even sort their own problems out themselves. While the rule of law is shaky there, it hasn’t totally disappeared. 

Haiti is another country where the rule of law is pretty spotty. It doesn’t help that the police are greatly outgunned by the gangs. They still have rule of law. Enforcement might be sketchy, but it’s there. If you are poor and not politically connected you’d better believe you must watch out for the law enforcers. 

Power vacuums do not last for long. When gangs become powerful enough they make their own laws and government. It’s pretty rough and ready, but it exists. Over time there are gangs and terrorist groups that end up being the legitimate government. 

We sometimes experience lawless situations in the US. In New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina there were areas without rule of law. It was temporary, but for a few days law enforcement was pretty darn thin on the ground. 

Being without rule of law is not necessarily a time of total chaos. A generally polite and civil society is your best protection. Most people do the right thing because they want to be good people. Law enforcement is actually only effective if most people act that way. It’s the outliers that need laws and law enforcement. 

If we are lucky, we’ll never experience true lawlessness. When laws and civil society both break down it’s ugly. That’s one reason why so many people settle for crappy governments. While they aren’t great, the population knows what chaos is like and don’t want any more of it. If you need an example look at the current state of Egypt. 


Monday, July 18, 2022

Okay Boomer

I hate that phrase, but I see where it’s coming from. I’m generation boomer and I must admit that sometimes we are clueless. When you grow up in large cohort of boomers sheer numbers twist things. There were so many of us the world had to adjust to what we wanted -not so much the other way around. 

There were downsides. It wasn’t uncommon for my classrooms to have forty or even more kids. There were times we were all reaching for the same thing. In some markets that made job hunting or house buying tough. However, the economy expanded at such a rate that mostly our large numbers were absorbed. 

Thanks to an expanding economy we generally did pretty well for ourselves. Many mistook good luck for talent. A lot of us thought we did something special. Sure, it took effort, but effort was rewarded -and sometimes just bare minimum competence was rewarded. 

Too many of my generation have no idea how much conditions have changed. I had a blue collar job and money was tight, but I did raise three kids and bought a house in my 20s. That sort of thing is almost impossible with a high school education these days. It’s tough to do with a college degree. 

Boomers rode a good economic wave. Most of us are making it to retirement on the momentum from that wave. We don’t realize the follow up waves are pathetic little things. A college educated couple lacks the buying power of an old school boomer factory worker. 

Of course, it certainly helped to be while, straight and Christian. That’s another story. 

Younger generations blame boomers for using up all the good stuff and now they can’t have any. Maybe there is something to that. I’d like to think we were pushed along by social pressures at the time. That might be the case but the lack of compassion for younger generations is telling. 

When younger people want a functioning social safety net boomers yell Socialism as if it’s a curse. Many of us actually believe we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps -which is hilarious. The original meaning of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” was to attempt to do something impossible. 

Boomers, because of their sheer numbers, had to be catered to. It made most of us think we were something special instead of just numerous. Younger people have it rougher than we did in a lot of ways. Frankly, I’m come to appreciate their attitude. Young people don’t put up with the crap at work we boomers did. Being a good little worker bee drone is not a virtue. Companies have no loyalty to the workers. 

Generational conflict doesn’t benefit anyone but the establishment bosses. When the generations pull together towards a common goal stuff gets done.


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Wasted Day

I wasted a perfectly nice Saturday. It was going to be a ten or fifteen minute phone call to sort some cell phone issues. My old cell phone company had been bought out and service went down the drain. There were issues with connecting to cell towers. 

With that in mind I tried to set up an account with another company. The sim card came in the mail in a timely manner. However, their on-line activation did not work. So much for trying to deal with companies on-line. This is where phone service hell came in. We started in the morning and didn’t finish until the evening -and by finish I meant I was finished with the company.

Monday I’m going to be reduced to walking into a cell phone phone store in town to see what they can do. After setting my unlocked android phone on the counter I’m going to grunt and tell them to make it go. Hopefully by Monday my patience will have returned. The on-line service folks used it all up. For some reason every time my case was bumped up the chain of command the techs got dumber. Was that a plan? 

Anyway, the day would have been better spent fishing. The morning started with me having accounts with two cell phone companies and the day ended with me having no accounts. That’s progress, of a sort. 


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Last call for beef

If you need to add some more beef to your freezer you should not wait too long. There are some major factors working against cattle men these days. The big one is drought. Hard to grow cattle on dust and sand. Normally ranchers would truck in hay to keep their herds alive. Current transportation costs make that a bad deal. The only thing they can do is to ship their underweight cattle to market.

That will help supply in the short term, but it’s like eating your seed corn. If the drought ended next month it would still take a very long time for the herds to build up again. 

Personally, I’ve built up a bit of beef in the freezer but not all that much. We don’t eat beef like we used to anyway. We’ll always find something to eat as we are not picky. While a steak or hamburger is nice now and then, beans and rice will keep you alive just as well.


Friday, July 15, 2022


9.1 % inflation last month. Buckle up Buttercup, it ain’t over yet. In fact there’s no reason for it to go down in the near future. That rate is from the United States. Guess what? For the rest of the world it’s worse. Europe is really getting it on the chin. Compared to most other places the US is a freaking success story.

Did you expect a major war without world wide consequences? The number one wheat exporter, Russia, is invading the number four wheat exporter. That can’t but help affect food prices. 

To make the food situation worse fertilizer is in short supply. China is restricting the export of phosphates. Russian potash exports can’t get out of the country. Nitrogen fertilizers are made from natural gas which has gotten too expensive. Looks like there will be some adjustments to say the least.

So what do you do? Everybody knows you have to reduce expenses but this is big. Adjusting your thermostat a few degrees isn’t going to do it. Cutting out your monthly dinner and a movie won’t cover it. Desperate times will call for desperate measures.

Everyone’s situation is different. Some people still have money to burn. One of the reasons inflation is so high is that prices have yet to seriously limit demand. Apparently there’s a lot of money saved up from reduced spending during the pandemic. Some people are determined to get out and enjoy the summer no matter the cost. 

For other people times are already tight. When you have a pile of bills it’s a matter of who gets paid and who doesn’t. Hint: can they repo or shut off something if the bill isn’t paid?  If they can’t those are your lower hanging fruit. 

Look into whatever government assistance is available but don’t count on it. One year my daughter and granddaughter moved back with us and we qualified for fuel assistance. Great, but the program had no money. The next year the program had money but we no longer qualified. Funny how that worked out. 

Plan for the long term. You can’t paper this over with credit cards and expect to catch up when times are good. It won’t be over in a month or two. 


Thursday, July 14, 2022

Long Term Energy Planning

Fossil fuels are pretty darn handy. There’s awful lot of energy in a cup of gasoline. Even the best electric batteries are nowhere close. That’s why electric cars are so aerodynamic: they have to squeeze every bit of performance from those batteries. 

The problem with fossil fuels is that they are limited. The fossil fuel age has been extended with better technology and extraction techniques. That gave our civilization a breather. In recent years alternative energy systems have improved a lot. We are about to see how far they can go.

Keep an eye on Germany. They are in for a tough year. Currently the direct Russian gas pipeline is shut down. Who knows if it will ever open again? Germany had hoped to top off their storage facilities before winter. It didn’t happen. In the near term Germany will do a lot of stop gap measures in an attempt to keep the lights on. They are even reopening old coal plants, which is bad news for air quality. 

What you won’t see are massive build outs of infrastructure to allow them to accept liquefied natural gas imports. Some floating LNG plants will operate in German waters, but that’s about it. Nobody wants to plow money into dying technology. Instead they are doubling down on alternative energy. Of course, had they done that from the get go they probably wouldn’t be facing a cold dark winter. Part of the reason for using Russian gas was political. They thought Russia would not invade its neighbors if they were financially tied to the west. Oops. Bad plan. 

The US is in a much better energy situation than Germany. We produce a lot of fossil fuels domestically. The problem is that eventually those sources will also run low. It’s inevitable; we just don’t know the exact timing. Politicians that favor fossil fuels over renewables are doing the country a disservice. As we’ve seen from Germany the worse time to switch to renewables is when you have no other choice. 

That’s all on an International and National level. What does your personal energy situation look like? Do you “import” all your energy or do you produce some of your own. When my budget is tight it is good to have solar electric that a power company can’t shut off. I’ve also kept my house warm by walking out my door with an ax and a crosscut saw. It’s good live in the woods. Still, even an apartment dweller can put a solar panel in a south facing window and make some power. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Solar Storms

If you are reading this, congratulations. Your grid is still up. We have a serious amount of activity on the sun. It’s possible there will be CME blackouts. Just to make things interesting solar activity has  been linked to earthquakes. All that energy hitting the earth shakes things up. 

The sun is going through a period where blackouts could happen at any time. Are you prepared? If you in an area suffering from heat I hope you have options. Life without AC could be dicey. Also there are people who need to keep medications refrigerated. 

As for myself I sleep much better using a c-pap machine. It’s plugged into my solar electric system. I can also run it on my other backup systems. If you do use a c-pap look to see if it has an option to run directly on 12 volts. I had to buy a separate power cord but it works just fine. The machine uses a lot less power running on 12 volts. Most c-paps them use a transformer to step the power down from house current and there’s efficiency loss there. 

No matter where you live it pays to plan for life without grid power. In some places lack of grid power is life threatening.


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Where to live

It really matters what state you live in. If you find yourself in a state where you don’t feel safe you have about 5 years to move someplace else. Moving will get harder as the nation deals with a number of issues. After 10 years you might find it extremely hard to move for various reasons. One reason could be that you home no longer has any value on the market. For example, imagine you live in a drought prone area and your town’s water supply dried up. Who would want to buy into that?

Politics are an issue, of course. You might not want to be too different from your neighbors when folks are having a hard time. That’s when they look for scapegoats. Some areas are more tolerant towards different cultures and beliefs. Will they still be tolerant in the future? In the 1920s Germany was one of the best places in Germany to be a Jew. We know how quickly that flipped. 

Climate and weather are big considerations. The western drought has been going on for a while now. There’s no reason for it not to continue. Historically, long periods of drought has been a major factor in the downfall of civilizations. Wildfires, heat waves, storms of all sorts -they matter. 

So what am I doing? As much as I enjoy the south in winter I could never live there full time. The heat would destroy me in the summer. When out west the smoke from wildfires gave me a lot of breathing difficulties. Right now I’m pretty good in the mountains of New Hampshire. 

Vermont is also a nice place but I’d take a beating financially due to their tax system. It’s hard to give up New Hampshire’s lack of sales or income tax. Maine’s taxes don’t affect my personal finances as badly and I’ve a lot of friends there. Currently I’m going to stay where I am. Politically my state is a “purple” state, divided between Republicans and Democrats. It makes it hard for any one party to go too far off the rails. 

While I currently like it where I am, staying here is a choice that I make. It’s not automatic. Things could change that would make moving a good idea. If your state is about to go down the tubes it’s best to get out before most people realize that fact.


Monday, July 11, 2022

Sitting it out

It’s my guess that were are going to get some serious political shakeout by the end of the year. Politics will be almost unrecognizable by 2023. With that in mind it’s probably best to let some things run their course. Not too much I can do about it anyway. Try not to hate your neighbors. 

What I can do is pay attention to the basics. It looks like we are seeing some price relief in key areas: fuel, shipping, and even used cars are coming down in price. The housing bubble is busting in a number of of places. Not everywhere as some markets are still hot. In fact, there are areas of the country where prices never inflated all that much in the first place. 

I’ll probably put off buying lumber for house projects another few weeks. There’s a balancing act involved. Prices may be lower in the future, but my construction has to be done before the weather turns cool again. One year the price of 2X4s was so high that I ended up framing a well cover in peeled cedar poles. I could rough saw some of my own lumber but it’s a pain and time consuming. 

Dehydrated long storage food has come down in price. A friend of mine now has enough dehydrated food to last him about a year and a half. I’ve restocked some, but there’s more bang for the buck in other dried foods. Beans, rice, wheat berries and oats are good staples to have. Don’t forget lots of spices to keep things from being too boring. 

Our garden looks like a confused jumbled mess and that’s a good thing. Our raised beds are hidden behind the tall sunchokes so people don’t even know we are growing food. We also have a lot of flowers for bees. This fall the plan is dehydrate a huge mess of sunchokes. I really like them in soups and stirfrys. 

While the days have been pleasant, nights have been cool -down into the 30s even. Pretty chilly for July. I actually have the heat on right now.  On the bright side, we are still not quite in drought conditions. 

This could be an interesting hurricane season. There’s probably a good reason the weather folks have added a category 6 to the hurricane scale. Conditions look ripe for some interesting weather. If you live in a hurricane prone area better check your preps. Even if you don’t live in hurricane alley be aware that disruptions ripple through the country. Food and fuel supplies could get disrupted. 

Medications could become an issue. Locally we’ve seen a lot of supply disruptions and pharmacy closures. That could be because we are rural and at the tail end of supply chains. These issues could become more widespread. With that in mind we’ve been expanding our knowledge of local herbal alternatives. They’ll be better than nothing. 

There’s been a rise in religious intolerance. What I mean by that is religious people are being more intolerant of other’s religions -or lack of religion for that matter. One of the strengths of the US is that it’s a secular country. If you want to live in a theocracy move to Iran. 

To sum up, shore up your preps and remember to be kind to one another. Like it or not we are all in this together. 


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Stones in Georgia

If you are unfamiliar with the Georgia Guidestones look it up. I’ll wait. Most people have heard about them -especially since they’ve been blown up. 

They are, or were, perfect for any theory you wanted to propose. They were big, meant to last a long time, were inscribed in multiple languages and had a mysterious origin. To this day no one knows who paid to have them made and installed. It is important to remember they were put up in 1980 during the height of the cold war. A civilization ending nuclear war was pretty much expected. 

I’ve known about them pretty much since they were installed. While mildly curious about seeing them it never happened. Mainly that’s because they were located in the middle of nowhere. There was no other reason for me to make the trip. I suppose Elberton GA just lost its only tourist attraction. 

The stones were always a sort of conspiracy Rorschach test. You could interpret them to fit your pet theory of the day. I’ve heard arguments from the left that it was a right wing conspiracy. The right claims it’s a left wing project. Frankly, there’s a little in there for everyone. All you have to do is mix and match, stir, simmer and serve while hot. I’m not going to go into that.

However, and it’s always a however, there are some curious things. One thing that bugs me is that someone is willing to solve issues with explosives. This time it’s just a  bunch of stones. Who knows what will get blown up next? The other curious thing is how quickly the rest of the monument was torn down. One would think a long in depth forensic investigation would be ongoing. Nope, it was quickly torn down with heavy equipment. 

One more thing: there’s supposed to be a time capsule buried six feet under the stones. I wonder if that’s been dug up while all that equipment was on site? 



Saturday, July 9, 2022

The beat goes on

New York City just issued an indoor mask advisory . . . again. Buckle up for another round. Covid is the gift that keeps on giving. Blame the new variants. The current covid maps clearly show NYC is a hotspot. California and much of the west looks bad. Florida is on the rise, probably from more people staying indoors and using AC. 

Dang, I know this is unpopular news. I just had a fairly normal feeling camping trip with a lot of friends and relatives. On the other hand we were mostly outside so ventilation was excellent. Currently New England numbers are pretty low so that helped my sense of security. Even so, I worse a mask when shopping in stores. While New England numbers are good people travel to the coast of Maine from all over. It would not surprise me if Maine sees a spike because of it. 

Personally I was never bothered by wearing a mask. It might help that I’ve invested in really good masks that are comfortable and effective. Since I have a preexisting lung condition I’m probably more cautious than most people need to be. 

I was feeling fairly crappy the day after coming home from vacation. My covid test was negative. I suspected it was mostly my bad allergies kicking in, but it didn’t hurt to be cautious. Besides, I have all these free covid tests lying around anyway. 

My guess is that we might be dealing with outbreaks for a year or two yet. I hope I’m wrong. 


Friday, July 8, 2022

Back from vacation

We had a good camping trip. Between family and friends we occupied six sites with over 20 people. Additional friends in the area came over to visit. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many of the family together. It was a bit overwhelming. 

The weather was ideal. We only had two rain showers and those happened at night. 

The 105 watt solar electric system mounted on my car’s roof rack served us well. There was enough power to run a small fridge, my cpap machine, and to charge electronics. All those sunny days didn’t hurt either. 

Nothing like evenings around a campfire.

I was almost totally out of touch with the news and it felt pretty good. 


Friday, July 1, 2022


I’m disappearing but only for a week or so. My lovely wife and I are finally going on a much delayed camping trip on the coast of Maine. 

I’ll be back.