Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Afternoon excitement!

I had myself convinced it's Friday, that would have been funny in the morning. I was all excited about what I was going to get done tomorrow when someone at work had to ruin it and tell me "see you tomorrow". Workplace full of excitement haters!
I just finalized plans for a 5 day trip for my annual Ouray and Silverton area expedition. I'm spoiled and get out in the mountains a lot, but this trip is usually the most fun as I hike and rope up mountains to check out old silver and gold mines. I usually take about 2500 pictures and keep around 100. I'm very self critical.

The morning after I get back I head to Vegas for a few days. Haven't decided where to stay yet, perhaps the one with the gondolas or maybe Mandalay Bay. Mandalay is my favorite since it's at the end of the strip and it's a nice run to the stratosphere and back at 4am... I'll have some good stories I'm sure, 4am in Vegas is different for sure.

Here are some pictures since I have so many hobbies. Enjoy!
Homestead remains, circa 1890


They don't make them to last this long anymore, circa 1900

First time in years the snow has lasted this long in a full sun spot

Covered about 190 miles in one day exploring a few weekends ago

Alpine tunnel rail tracks, circa 1890

Physical stuff

Not the turn your head while you get felt up by a doctor...

I like books and magazines. I have a couple of books on my Ipad (on the beach and some thousand+ page survival type book with a road warning sign on the cover... yes my memory is getting old too). I just prefer real physical stuff that I can read. I have all the books from when I was growing up, all in mint condition still, that I love to read over and over. I have magazines on (surprise) running, rock climbing, diving, Jeeping, etc. Whenever I decide to go to a new place for one of my sports I dive into past issues and see what I can find.

That in mind I ordered Backwoods Home Magazine. I'm hoping it's filled with neat stuff and will be nice to have laying around. I also ordered the current and past issue. There are honestly so many magazines and books out there I could get that I usually get overwhelmed when I try and find something. I try and rely on reviews and opinions on other blogs but often find when I actually look at the book at Barnes and Nobles (since borders just imploded) most of the information is recycled and I just take a pass. I'm actually excited that this magazine will be different, hopefully!

I also got invited to a potluck Sunday night. I was asked to bring some dessert, so I am thinking apple pie since I was planning to can some apples but I haven't made a cheesecake in a while. My graham cracker crust is a little different since I add shredded coconut to it. I think it's funny how much people love homemade food and yet refuse to even make an effort to cook anything. I started cooking when I was 8, seemed like a useful thing back then. I admit I will get some "chicken" nuggets and such fast food treats sometimes (like my 4 hamburger and 2 apple pie ritual when I travel out of town for an ultra run) but nothing beats home cooking!

How's that for a Wednesday morning ramble.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

paracord vs. goliath

When someone you know has a 2.5 million dollar coach (can't mistake it for a camper) what do they do when the door handle breaks off. You know, the 1 door for entry/exit unless you break a window or remove the windshield.... and you certainly can't get in.

How about some paracord! Behind the pull handle is some thin steel that you can pop a hole in with a punch. Make the hole a little bigger and you now have access to the opening mechanism with a screwdriver and you can open the door. Once the door is open you remove the inside handle plate and loop paracord around the upper portion so it wont slip off and then feed it into the hole you made. Ta-Da!

I mean this thing has it all, marble, slide-outs, generator to run all 3 A/C units and everything else you could turn on, even a TV underneath for when you have the auto-retract awning open. This is supposed to be the best made coach on the planet and it got shut down entirely by a part smaller than a penny and fixed with less than 25 cents worth of paracord.  The coach owner has 2 spools of it now in case he has to open some other doors.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Round is not a shape to be in

Western view of Pikes Peak from a favorite camping spot.
So I chose this Sunday as my 2nd run of Pikes Peak for the year. I'm not looking forward to it and might push it off a week. Being a holiday weekend I really don't want to have to dodge a bazillion people trying to get a final hike in for the year before the snow comes down.

I'm working hard to hit 1500 miles for the year and I had such a good time running the peak a couple of months ago I want to do it again. This past week was horrible for me running, I let myself get dehydrated and didn't have a choice but to finish my 2 hour run otherwise I would have had to walk the same distance. Running when dehydrated (or hiking, walking) causes you to overheat and your form is terrible. Sure, you can die, but what normally happens is you just feel like crap and stoop over without realizing it and stop using the correct muscles. Hydration is super important and even I can forget to do it, and I'm going to have 1500 miles of trail running done this year and can easily drink a gallon or more of water each day.

Staying in shape for a SHTF scenario is important, since you might have to hike with your bug out bag on or get from the grocery store back to your house without driving. If you can't sling your pack on and have no cardio or endurance to get where you need to be then you are screwed. Practical conditioning for strength, cardio and endurance are very important. I know it's 2011 and we are surrounded by modern conveniences but if you get worn out hauling a propane tank and groceries from your car to your porch, you are in big trouble. Small steps like not always parking close to the door, taking the stairs, walking around the neighborhood, doing some manual labor, etc. If you at least make the effort and stick with it you will see and feel the results. I'm not even talking about ditching McDonalds, just perhaps get the small fry instead of the 5 lb. bag super size.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday evening

A good day of working at the house. I got the chimney repaired where the mortar had been falling out over time. The house was built in 1880 so there is always something to do. I had a plan to get some more canning and jamming done but the in-laws house decided to have a sewage backup. Lucky for them I have water barrels and therefor a 12 volt water pump so we were able to get most of the water out with that and then follow it up with a shop vac. The new carpet might be ruined but at least it was in rolls still and not installed or we would have to do that project again.

I did spend some time getting my last few months worth of photo's downloaded. I like to share, so enjoy a couple of the 500 or so I took!

He is normally not into me and the camera, lucky shot.

I love the old west and the objects you can find in the mountains.
Lion fish have no natural predators to fear except us, and they don't.
Ever vigilant even with locked gates. Cute too!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My monthly prep check

Today was a check-out day for my supplies. I wanted to make sure I had everything dated, organized, labeled, etc. I also wanted to see what I could put in rotation that I might be missing or that I had forgotten to replenish. I was dreading doing the monthly check, but it's hot out and I already got my run in for the day. I estimate that I have about 15 months worth of food and about 11 months worth of water. This doesn't include anything in my kitchen (everything is stocked full like usual, including 20 gallons of water). Since 80% of my food storage is what I actually eat, everything get rotated often. I also checked all my water to see how it looked and if any was getting close to rotation time.
My buy list has 120 pounds of dog food, 6 #10 cans of various items and it looks like I need more spam, kerosene and wicks and all of my usual pantry shopping items for the month.
320 pounds of dry dog food takes a lot of room.

Not the healthiest selection of cereal but it's still 30 boxes of calories
Buckets, water, milk, etc.
Looks a little empty but it's the newest rack addition
Week buckets with water need for fast evac, dogs too!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Big Spender

I love chili, soup, stew, etc. Why not have some stored that I made myself. Much too long waiting for this purchase.

I figured in order to make my stove look even smaller I would get the largest pot I could find for my jellies and jams and such.

Yes my stove has large pot and heavy thing envy.

I had planned to make some blueberry jam and some bread tomorrow, so this will work perfect since I can make some chili and get it canned up. As I started getting all my stuff together my ipod went to the next random song (the guitar man, by bread) and of course it was a great memory of childhood: Dad, his girlfriend and I picking blueberries and I just about had to call it a night. When my father passed away it was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, mentally, but I owe all I am and all I do to him.

Tomorrow I will have blueberry stains on my clothes, chili sauce on the counter and fresh bread baking. That's for you Dad!

local deal

Albertsons is where I like to shop for groceries and a lot of my storage canned goods and such. They don't track you like the NSA when you buy items and just have a sale price, no membership needed. The also normally have a coupon in the weekly flyer for $10 off a $100 purchase.

During the NFL season they have a save 10% off your purchase when you wear your favorite team NFL jersey while you shop. Even if you don't like football 10% and $10 off a $100 purchase seems to equal $80 to me. Guess I need to see if Walmart has some football shirts I can buy for cheap.

Go Broncos I guess.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What a waste!

The wonderful Colorado governor decided he wanted to know if the state employee's are happy.
 100k people will get the survey and it's costing the taxpayers $200k.

If someone isn't happy with their job they can leave. They might not get another one, but we all have options. The option I don't have is any type of a voice in something so stupid as spending such a large amount of money on something so utterly stupid.

It's going to cost more than that to have ballots in spanish so everyone can read the ballots (and only in 16 counties, not all of them yet). Another unfunded federal mandate we can't afford and we are pissing money out to make sure employed people are happy.
If I got a survey I would get a crayon and write: OMG I IZ HAPPI" on it.


Advanced first aid kit almost complete!

My advanced first aid kit will finally be complete once this package I'm anxiously awaiting shows up. I will have all the stuff I need to give an IV and stitch up a wound, something I've been lacking for a while now. My medic bag will be bursting at the zippers just like it should, it's just the right weight and can you ever have too much stuff (that is labeled, inventoried and accessible)? I've thought about getting some painkillers for it, but they are really expensive to ship in and I can't be sure of the quality of that type of purchase.

I think I was mentally excited to cross this project off my list (and after an exhausting 2 hour zero energy trail run) that I found myself dreaming about Iraq again. After we raided a safe house we then took the insurgents prized item, a guitar. Apparently we never took them since they showed up at base in a low-rider (some Chevy thing) and were demanding the guitar or they would kill everyone. I had my shotgun out and the snipers on the rooftops were on target as well. One of the snipers was being loaded down a ladder on a stretcher (not an easy task). While the insurgents (who suddenly were very Mexican right down to the hair nets) sat in the car, General Sullivan pulled up in his Toyota 4 Runner and once he got out he started admiring the Chevy and tensions started to lower.

Odd that my mind would even let them into the FOB like that. I must be slipping.

I used to have dreams like this all the time, but over the last few years they have been less frequent. Normally there is a lot of death and destruction involved, but I don't think anyone died last night so perhaps I'm making gains. Odd for sure with the mixed content, but it still doesn't top the horrific dream of escorting Dick Cheney and 150 million dollars through Baghdad. That was a slaughter-fest on an epic scale that had me curled up on the floor for a while after I woke up.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Long term storage for your dog

Please note, I do not advise packing your dog in Mylar and food grade buckets for long term storage...

Feed me, eh?
The fat content in dog food means packing it in mylar with absorbers isn't a good thing. The shelf life of dog food is around 12-15 months for bags (I buy the 40 pound variety) and cans can be around 2-3 years. Just like your canned goods rotation, the same can be done for pet food. I'm a fan of Blue Buffalo brand and Blue Buffalo is a fan of my money. What a great relationship but I think it's one of the dog 5 dry foods available. I store the food in the original retail bags, and put those bags in large plastic bins to keep critters out.

Dry food will last longer than the expiration date listed and you can tell it's going bad when it starts to get pale/white (normally on the top layer). If the brand you buy lasts 12 months, and you use 1 bag a month then you should keep 13 bags on hand. When your current bag is low, go buy another one and put it into storage and take the closest expiration dated food out for consumption. Canned food lasts longer and I keep about 10 cases of that. A year supply of dry food ran me $600, the canned food ran me about $250 since I found it on sale.

I know it seems simple but many people I know say they have food and water and such for SHTF actually have nothing at all for the pets. Sure, your pets can eat rice and veggies just like you, but then you have to factor in how much they will eat and how that will divide your food storage supplies or how much you need to add for them. Water is something many people miss out on too, an average dog will use 1/2 gallon of water a day even if just lounging in your zombie bunker next the the artificial grass bathroom spot.

For those people like me who pour the open bag into a bin for easy feeding frenzy access, make sure you keep the bin clean or you can poison your dog if the old food pieces turn rancid in the bottom of the bin.


While in the big city of Denver my friend decides we need to go to the new Ikea store, he is looking for something they have, in a certain color. I tried to avoid it by mentioning how much traffic there would be at rush hour but luckily for me he knew the back way all over. It was hot so I was fine with killing time so it would cool down before I went running (that never happened, it was just too hot and I'm not that crazy).

We had a nice conversation about how he should go and spend about $100 on some water and food in case he is without power for a few days. Longer than that he said he has had a nice life and will be one of those people who just die in his bed. Ok, at least he has thought about it, and at least I made the effort like a good friend should do.

Suddenly the road is filled with cones, people guiding traffic, no parking and parking signs. I'm screaming BRAKES BRAKES thinking there must be some hazmat disaster ahead..... nope, apparently the long awaited Ikea opening caused major traffic issues and needed signs on the highway and all kinds of craziness on the streets around it. I was amazed and suddenly I was excited about going into the store as surely there would be something in there I needed (wanted, I always want stuff, but need is better). We roll into the parking garage and I jam my pistol down my pants like it's a Wesley Snipes movie, I'm dressed for work and don't feel like screwing around with a belt and such but at least I'm armed and more comfortable.

Into the store, up 2 flights of stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, and into the wonderland of Ikea... a store full of crap. Flimsy, press-board, decorative, cheap bullshit. How could this store possibly have traffic backed up on the interstate and need cones and people directing traffic. First thing I saw was a stack of about 500 cutting boards, white and plastic and I swear they actually were flimsy. How about a little carpet... sure, but why would anyone want a carpet with 2 inch long (whatever they are called... fibers? weave?) things to burn up whatever you run over it to suck the dirt out.

The way people were running around snatching up stuff once again proved to me that I am no longer normal. The line has shifted more than I had thought. No one wants things that are made to last and I don't understand decorative stuff unless it's a picture of the family or perhaps a centerpiece. Do people really like having all kinds of useless stuff around them just to make them feel like they have a lot? Perhaps so, maybe I should go back and spend $500 so I can put so much stuff in my bathroom that I have to walk in sideways and backwards in order to sit down.

I was glad to get back to the Springs this morning for work. Something to be said for comfort zones.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Denver, The big city

I don't think of Denver as a real big city, not like Chicago or LA.... but it's too big for me. I have to head up there for the night and I am already anxious about it.

I'm staying with a friend in his high rise... amazing view of the city on one side and the other has city and mountain view. When I first see it at night I am always in awe, it does look great. Then I start thinking of earthquakes and fires and how could I get out of the city if something happened. I have a pretty good b.o.b. but it's not going to do much for me until I get out on the edge of everything. It's only 80 or so miles to home and that's no problem over 3 days, and it would only take that long since I would have to skirt along the mountain edges away from the highway and sneak behind the Air Force Academy.

I'm sure I will have a great time, we plan on going for a nice 2 hour run (on pavement, yuck) and we will get a lot of work-type-talk done. But still, it's Denver and for the times I think Colorado Springs is big (I grew up in a town of 100 people and it was an hour bus ride to school), Colorado Springs is a town to me compared to just about anywhere.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's in your cart?

Food Stamp Nation

I like how the article said you are not allowed to buy hot food with food stamps

$100 in food stamps can buy a lot of food. I will be the first it might not be what people "want", and it might require that meals be planned and cooked but it's food. Less than $8 will get you split pea and ham soup, 6+ quarts of it. $5 will get you 2 cans of tuna, a jar of mayo and a loaf of bread. $9 will get you 9 or more cans of store brand spaghettios. $8 will also get you a bag of double stuff oreo's and a 12 pack of Coke but let's see how that works out for you.

I grew up on food stamps and to this day my brother refuses to eat chicken since it was so cheap when we got it in bulk we had chicken ALL the time. I know how the system works, I used to really want stuff like lucky charms, doritos, coke, etc. Instead our cart was full of condensed soups, rice, chicken, the cheapest bread we could find.
Yes we had a garden and we had fresh blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries all over the place for eating. The garden was so much work, it was about 50 feet wide by 80 feet long but it didn't kill me. You can get seeds with food stamps.

Walk the talk?
You know whats in my food stores? Split peas, tuna, spaghettios, cheap store brand beans, condensed soups. If I can buy a weeks worth of food for myself for under $50 (how about under $15 like I did on Saturday) for long term storage, and someone who is making $9 an hour who also gets food stamps can't afford food the problem isn't the food stamp program itself. It's probably whats in the shopping cart.

Do it right

Of all the things that tend to chap my ass, let's talk about fence posts.
Not an electric fence to keep the neighbors cats out, but a real 6 foot or taller wooden fence. A fence is very basic and actually not hard to build, even if it's a little crooked and not perfectly even on the top. The concept that people can't seem to understand is that wood will rot when stuck in a hole, even when you pour concrete around it.

Dig hole, pour concrete in to make a barrier from the dirt, let it set. NOW put the post in and fill the rest of the hole with concrete and be sure to mound the concrete around the top of the hole so when it does rain the water will run off into the dirt and not just sit on the concrete top happily rotting the wood away waiting for you to come back in 7 years to do the shit again. Better idea, spend the $25 and use a metal post, it will last longer than us. I know it's cheaper to use wood but for those of us who don't like to get a new place every 7 or 8 years it's worth it. The metal posts are also better against the wind since the fence will have to pop off the posts (that you have screwed on) in sections and that's not likely to happen. Since we started replacing the wood with metal (as it needs) it's replace and forget and don't worry about the wind. You can also put a metal post right behind the wooden one and screw it in and not actually have to remove the 6x6 wooden post your fence is attached on.

6 posts replaced, 1 at my place and 5 at the in-laws. Replacing posts is more work than building a new fence since you are working with less room, a fence in the way, and have to get the old rotted post out. It was hot and humid, sweat was pouring down but I got the job done until the storm rolled in. There are about 10 more posts to be done at the in-laws but they are not mission critical to keeping the dog in and zombies out. I'm glad they moved back, and I like the house they picked, plus it's nice to have random stuff to do as they are getting ready to move in.

On a side not, hauling 80 pound bags of concrete around is not for the out of shape or stick figure emo types. It's a fucking gun show baby!

Day one

It's Monday and I've decided to start a blog. Perhaps there won't be anyone reading this, ever, but that's cool. It's neat to have an outlet and a place to put stuff. Why not right, wasn't everyone taught to share?

Testing how pictures will work. I think I was born 100+ years too late since I love mining structures, history, covered wagons, etc. When I have a day of hard manual labor I think how easy I actually have it compared with people who worked in mining back in the wild west. 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week and a few hours for "lady friends".