Monday, December 31, 2012

Kitchen, food storage and the great panic

We ordered the counter top yesterday. Smokey quartz, a great darker color that will bring out the wood grain in the cabinets as well as the rust look we have in the pendant lights and knobs (to be installed soon). The top will take about 3 weeks to be produced and then installed. We will wait for that to be finished and then we can trim in the windows and pick out a paint color.

Right above my new awesome stove is a breaker box. Once the kitchen is completely done this will be moved. It means busting out some drywall, but it requires a permit so we will just deal with it. I'll cut the drywall out nice so I can replace it really easy. This will also prevent some breakers from tripping when we run a lot of things in the house at once. The breakers will go in the basement and an on/off switch will be placed outside the house (right behind where the box currently sits). We have all the wire pulled in the basement for it, the electrician staged it to save some labor for us. Once the box is moved I think I'll hang some stainless rods in that space (for large serving utensils on hooks) and a couple of knife magnets.

The new cabinets next to the fridge are over twice as deep as the old ones. I spent a few hours bringing food storage supplies upstairs to fill them up. I have a couple more hours of work on this small project, I'm amazed how much stuff I can hold in the cabinets now. I also spent time writing down things I need to restock on to replace what we've used and what I'm pulling upstairs. BBQ sauce, mayo, syrup, pickles, canned chicken, deodorant, shampoo, hair gel, chocolate syrup, peas, corn, green beans, soup, neosporin, soap bars, etc. I'm predicting a Costco trip this weekend.

The state of 'the great panic' locally is like this:
2500 people are currently in the waiting list for background checks.
Concealed carry and firearms classes are booked out for a few months.
The large gun show in Denver had a line of about 150 people waiting to get in for most of the day on Saturday and Sunday (I'm glad I didn't drive up north for it).
Sportsmans Warehouse had about 5 pistols on display, and of course zero 'assault weapons' and 40% of the normal rifles on display.
The only handgun/rifle ammo you can get locally is .45, .38, .10 and some odd calibers. Anything else is pure luck based on restocking. We found 10 boxes of 9mm hollow points and picked up 4, the rest were gone in a few second (not that we stalked the guy who was restocking or anything).
The only magazine we found was for a buckmark.
Colorado is working to pass restrictions so you can't order ammo via the internet (this is all based on the Aurora theater shooting, but we all know this ammo could have been purchased locally without any problem, at the time).

The order from Brownells for pmags is being prepared for shipping. I wasn't optimistic at all but it just took a few weeks. Once they show up I might trade some out for a few AK mags that I could use. I could trade for some ammo or cash.

My Banshee plate carrier finally showed up and as I was expecting it's way too small for me. It fits the other half just perfectly so we ordered some rifle plates (front, back and sides). It seems I've spent a small fortune lately on armor and ammo, but if I tried the same today it would cost 8x as much IF we could even find it available. These purchases weren't panic driven but they all happened close together.

Luke dog is completely blind now, it was super fast going from bad to complete. Nothing can be done but continue to be patient and understanding. This morning at 4 after I let him out I had to walk out in the yard and rescue him from the fence, he couldn't figure out where the house was. Lucky I was hot like usual so I didn't mind being outside in the 12 degree weather in my boxers... it was the snow on my bare feet that wasn't fun.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A long day of cabinets

If we didn't live in a barn I would be upset that nothing is level. Since we do live in one, I expect things to be a little wonky. From the sink to the back wall cabinet it's a 1 inch drop in the floor level. I spent a lot of time on the floor shimming and leveling and moving and shuffling. Good lord.
The dishwasher and stove showed up and we ended up having enough room to add a 12 inch cabinet on the close side (where you can't see). We didn't think we would have room for a 9 inch, so more space is always welcome. We think it's will seem smaller once it's done, the stove and the wall cabinets will stick out more than before but it's a better stove and deeper (yet narrower) cabinets.
New ammo safe photo; filled up all the new magazines I picked up yesterday, some 5.56, .38 and .22 showed up today. That's what I get for ordering right before the panic, everything was delayed. I think the rifle notches need to be taken out and shelving added. Over 17,000 rounds of ammo now and I'm still waiting for some 9mm to show up.
Raptor charging handle was a surprise Christmas gift that arrived tonight. It's really nice, ambidextrous and super smooth. I have some handle ends to swap on the other carbines but they are not this nice. I never liked the one sided operation when I was in the military so I'm glad there are options out there.
I'm exhausted and have an early meeting tomorrow, can't wait to cook this weekend and stop eating out.

Install part 1

This is the cabinet type we selected. The rustic look fits well with our barn and they were 20% off. A lot of people don't like the grain, knots, etc. but we think it will work out great. The ammo can withe the dremel was my Dad's, I have a lot of his tools but my Brother sold just about everything I didn't take.. see what happens when you try to be fair.

This morning I screwed in most of the floor boards, raising the height of everything once it's done. I found my handy hole saw and cut out the pipe holes for the water and the radiant heat toe kick heater. I don't have a lot of hole saw sizes but the one I used for my water barrel PVC piping was perfect.

The stove is due between 10 and 2. Thanks for the good timing! They were the only thing we purchased at Home Depot and they had the best price. Everything else we wanted Home Depot doesn't carry, can't do or is special order with a minimum quantity. That's ok, Lowes has always seemed better quality and selection.

I did get 5 pmags last night, the soldier I got them from asked if I had just got an AR or was just getting more magazines. I told him they were a gift for someone (that someone just happens to be me). I checked and ebay has some for $60+ and a lot of bids on some for $85+. We shall see what happens, maybe I'll be over stocked with magazines if everything comes in, eventually. I certainly don't regret picking up a few here or there for at or close to original retail prices.

Back to kitchen slavery.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finally it's a normal day

I don't mind the holidays, the holiday cheer, nor each employee asking how my Christmas was. I sucked up repeating myself 100 times this morning just knowing it's was over. No more luxury car commercials with Santa, no more 50 emails a day from vendors with last minute gift ideas, and finally my prime country XM station has returned to prime country.

Christmas eve was spent pulling tile up and then half of the in laws went to Macaroni Grill for dinner. We tagged along to help mother in law keep from being depressed and I did my part to smile a lot. Nephew was sucking his spaghetti out of the bowl so I asked him if he was the lady or the tramp. Instead of stopping the activity (he is 12) he said he was done eating and pushed his food away. Good, stop being a brat.
The kitchen will be assembled tomorrow once the stove and dishwasher are delivered. 3 Cheers for being able to cook this weekend.

Christmas day was spent shoveling some and we all met up at the in laws for breakfast. Pancakes and bacon while everyone opened presents. Technically not everyone, we didn't get anything and didn't give anything. We are 40+ years old and unless someone want's to spend a lot of money on us, there isn't anything we need. Things we want cost a lot too. That's prefect, I don't need a holiday to buy something for someone, and I don't need a holiday to not feel appreciated as a person by the nephews and nieces.

We did have a nice day off, and being super bored without the ability to bake made us hit the movies. Jack Reacher was actually a great movie, I wasn't expecting too much since all the headlines were about the Hobbit and whatever movie Jamie Foxx is in that I won't watch.

The great panic seems to be in full swing still, but as expected people are already starting to dump items in the classified websites. I'm picking up some pmags tonight locally from someone who already needs money for bills. Classified websites are nice since private parties don't take credit cards, this will help keep prices in line. People spent a lot of money on plastic in the last month (well really since the election) and the bills are coming in. Might be a great time to pick some stuff up for those who still need it... and not even feel bad about it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a great evening and day. Spend some time with your family, friends, pets, etc.

We are cooking dinner for the in-laws tomorrow, steak and taters', and if they are lucky I'll make a pie on the spot. The entire family isn't getting together for the first time in... maybe ever... so we will hang out all day watching football and conversing. I had a nice phone call with my brother, he is trying really hard to be a better communicator and I'm trying real hard to forgive him for selling Dad's property and house. Small steps, but as long as I am working towards it, I feel better each time we talk.

Work is having a pot luck with some Popeyes chicken catering. I'll hit the chicken then it's off to the gym. Today is an hour on chest, not sure if I can do it all since they gym is closing at 2. My piss poor planning around a holiday schedule. Tomorrow I'll get a nice run in as long as the incoming storm doesn't ice anything up.

Someone clicked follow, that was kind. I don't keep track of names, but I saw the number bump up by one. Thanks for (hopefully) finding these ramblings useful once in a while!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Progress and inventory

The drywall is done, the texture is done, the mess has been cleaned up. Tomorrow morning we will paint the ceiling and start the cabinet install.
 The walls shall remain plain until the counter top is done. We don't want to pick just plain white, we figure waiting until the kitchen is almost done will let us play with some colors to see how they really look compared with the tile, top, lights, etc. The stove and dishwasher arrive on Thursday, I'm planning on cooking a nice meal next weekend, even if I have to make temporary counter tops!

Rock decided to stand guard over some ammo that arrived. "The great panic" was in full swing and we were still able to get whatever we wanted earlier this week, at regular prices. The magazines I've had on order still aren't here, I don't really think we are short on them, but more would be favorable. Having 6 per person is a big load out in standard combat, that's what we go with here on the edge of town. We have 2 a couple of 40 round magazines, I prefer those instead of the 2 mag coupler to keep the rifle balanced.

This is a photo of a gun store who carries the largest selection of rifles and pistols in the entire state. What you see over along the wall are a lot of missing rifles. What they usually have on the wall they also have 1 or 2 in the back. The ones there are .22's or more of a normal rifle. They had plenty of shotguns and you could get a .50 cal rifle. The pistol selection was a little thin.
I had been over there on Monday, this picture was from Friday and I was shocked. I'm not usually shocked, but I didn't think "The great panic" was really this bad. In books there is 'the crash', 'the happening', 'the eruption', 'the collapse'... so I am calling it 'The great panic'.
Many shops are completely sold out all over town, backordering isn't a possibility, nobody knows when things like 'assault type' rifles, ammo or magazines will show up. The market will be flooded with very expensive stuff for those who can afford it. If things settle down or stay as they have been, the market will be flooded with people needing money to pay for the stuff they are using credit cards for right now..

I was bored waiting for the texture to dry so I got the new safe moved into position. The furniture dolly wasn't working and I couldn't move it much on my own. I could tilt it around but there wasn't enough room to spin it on the corners. I grabbed a 2 foot section of 1 inch wooden dowel and set it under the far edge. This let the safe slide right across it, much like the Egyptians would do with logs to move stone blocks. Once the safe was close to where I wanted to place it, I removed the dowel and repositioned it on the back corner, letting me turn the safe right into place. I used a small board as a temporary shim so I could get the dowel out and was done.
Moving all the ammo in let me take an inventory. We have about 12,000 rounds in the various calibers, the only surprise I found was there is only 50 rounds in .38 special. I know a wheel gun isn't something you need thousands of rounds for, but I suspect we just forget to replace a couple hundred rounds from the last time we shot our revolvers. I prefer .38 instead of .357, even in the big Python. It's a comforting picture in case 'The big panic' doesn't subside for a while, or if the government places limitations or controls.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The icebox that used to be a kitchen

The poor kitchen has no heat, we pulled that out on Tuesday so we could start the drywall. It was too windy and too cold to get any done today, have to cut it on the porch so we will wait for better weather this weekend. The walls are well insulated but it's 10x15 and the cold seeps in no matter what. No drywall yet and half of the kitchen in above ground with a crawlspace underneath.With wind chill it's about 5 degrees outside right now.

That seemed like -50 when I stepped outside of the gym in my wet swim trunks. I've changed my training once a week to swimming, being coached by someone who works at USA Swimming. Tonight I did the hardest parts of the workout with 1 breath per 5 strokes.

breathe and left
breath and left

I'm a sucker for cardio now that I've switched from a lot of running and this was a super hard hour session. I have to keep the cardio and endurance up so I can get back into running this spring, so it's either swimming or the dreadmill.

I had 3 buckets of powdered milk show up today. 1311 servings (cups) of milk, bringing my total milk servings to about 3000. Not that 1 cup of milk means anything unless you are rationing, but I'm not the big milk drinker like someone else in the house. Sometimes it's a gallon a week and I don't know where it goes.

I also got 3 boxes of these:
They are cool little hockey pucks made of cedar and paraffin wax, 90 per box, 30 minute burn time (at my altitude). I found an awesome deal on them and plan on giving some to the in-laws to help them start the fireplace. Father in law with a hatchet trying to make kindling is not a pretty sight, he bleeds at the slightest bump into anything and I don't like sharp objects around him. Besides, it's a sort of holiday gift thing I suppose.

All the hustle and bustle over ammo, guns and magazines in the last few days made me glad I didn't need anything. Sure I would have loved to get a SCAR or some other high end fancy black shooting thing, but I've been a prepper on and off my whole life so we were already set. It's a very good feeling to be set for a lot of things, even cold weather we could manage with propane and heaters (but it wouldn't be fun). I realize that we have a lot of stuff that is simply nice to have so it's not such a hardship right away if something were to happen.
Sometimes we feel silly for buying more of anything... why get fuel pucks when you can make your own fire with fire starters. I like to think of it as comfort, convenience, ease. It doesn't mean we cant do without, it's just nice to have and we are very fortunate to be able to get this kind of thing while we are able.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Busiest CBI day on record

I happen to wander to both large gun stores today. I had picked up a polymer magazine for my .308 and it fit/worked great, I thought I would get a few more. I also need a blackhawk shotgun stock for our new mossberg. My mind doesn't work like most, I didn't think the stores would be empty.

Sportsmans had 3 AR type rifles (compared to the usual 45 or so), about 50% inventory on everything else. There were only a couple boxes of 9mm, zero .223, zero 5.56 (unless you wanted tracer rounds), 4 boxes of .308

The other store (Specialty sports) had a lot of bulk ammo in all calibers but .223 and 5.56. This store had over 300 pistols and rifles put aside awaiting background checks. They had about 70% of the usual inventory and that's a lot of inventory missing considering they have the largest inventory in the state. I said hello to the owners and picked up a case of .308 that I had been planning on buying to replace what I shot last month.

Colorado background office said this was the busiest day on record, black Friday being the 2nd. If you purchased something today, the pickup was Wednesday afternoon, moving into Thursday.

Panic buying has it's place, if it's stuff you need. After hearing what the POTUS had to say last night, and all of the other gun control statements on top of the election... what a fantastic time to sell guns and ammo. Sure, in a few months you could be selling tents and coolers, but take what you can get.

I ordered some more pmag's for our carbines a few days ago, now I'm wondering if they will show up. It's serious panic buying again for most people, I think anything available over the next 60 days could easily double in price. My timing on buying the ammo and mags was pre-planned and while I looked at some rifles across the counter, I never touched any. The kitchen comes first and we only have 2 hands each.

It always takes a tragedy to unite people, unfortunately. It's also unfortunate that uniting people isn't always in the best interest of the things we like to do.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More armor? Yes!

Normally I'm never in the right place, or more often than not I'm in the wrong place. A coworker friend mentioned he had a friend who wanted to sell some body armor but didn't want to list it on craigslist, did I have any suggestions. The young man was fresh out of the Army and in need of some cash.

I am now the owner of the 2 items above. The top one is a multi cam Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV). The lower one is a digital camo Interceptor. Both have throat protectors and all of the soft armor. There were enough ceramic plates for 1 vest including side protection. The IOTV had the lower back and groin protection as well, neither had deltoid armor.

Prices on this stuff are down right now but I'm comfortable with saying I have about $1500+ worth of stuff in the package. The IOTV is brand new, the plates were all inspected and passed in 05/2011.
Considering I just paid $500 for a basic armor carrier and 4 soft armor inserts, I'm happy at paying $600 for this, it's a much better protective package.

Maybe it's just the holidays but Sportsmans Warehouse was down to about 10 AR type (evil black) rifles this afternoon. Most of the ones left were the $1500+ kind, all the talk of new gun control measures (on top of the election) is making people whip out some plastic. I picked up a p-mag for my .308,  hopefully it will work fine and I can reduce some weight by using those instead of the metal ones.

My doc told me I tore some cartilage and it's going to take a while to heal. but otherwise I'm gtg... don't do anything that hurts and get lots of rest. Good advice for someone else, I'm too busy working hard at the gym to relax. Last night my trainer had me use the pool so there wasn't a lot of impact, but she teaches Olympic athletes so it was very hard. I actually thought I was going to drown a few times, funny how your body needs all of that air all the damn time.

My dog Luke is almost completely blind. I'm adding night lights all over, leaving lights on, making sure nothing is in the normal paths around the house. It's a challenge in patience but we will take care of him. I told him I'm sad he can't see the sunsets and mountains anymore but I will describe them to him. I'll probably cry when I do it, each time, but he has been a great friend to me and I wont let him down. This is just the standard cycle of dog's for us, it's never easy even when they are healthy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheating the system

First off, I looked at blogger stats. I've gotten a lot of visits from people typing this in the search engines: why isn't there money on my ebt card.

That sure gave me a chuckle.

The electrician is coming back out tomorrow to do his work including adding more outlets as required by code (like people can't move the coffee maker 2 feet, have to plug it in wherever it sits?). Tuesday the heating company is going to cut and cap the lines for the baseboard heater and service the boiler. This means we can start the drywall and texture and with any luck start installing the cabinets and such next weekend.

We found out that we should have pulled a permit for the kitchen. We should pull a permit for the electrical. We aren't swapping our hot water heater out for one a friend gave us until the kitchen is done... that requires a permit. Get one permit, get them all, then have someone snooping around. We should have pulled a permit when we replaced some deck boards this past spring. I suppose it means we are cheating the system, but the system is jacked up. If we replace the cabinets... no problem. Stove replaced... no problem. Replace stove and cabinets = permit.

I'm just a country boy from the woods. We had to make out own power pole when we finally got electricity growing up.

We decided to get a toe kick heater for the kitchen. It puts out more heat with the electric fan and costs 40% less than a new baseboard heater. It's also 70% less labor and that will save some money. We will spend more than we planned, but at least the electrical and heating will be correct. We anticipate $9000 for the whole project and that should give us a $30,000 kitchen.

My ribs are back to about 70% of normal. My gym workouts are great, I just can't do situps or pullups yet. If I didn't know better (and i probably don't) there is something seriously wrong with me, but I'm going to hang in there a few more days before I get an xray. I can reach under my left lower ribcage and push and prod.... nothing. If I push on my ribs on the left middle side I see stars. I do know it's better than this past weekend, but I also know I have a extreme tolerance for pain.

The powdered milk we ordered should be showing up real soon, just simply nowhere to put it right now. What we couldn't fit in the dining room is sitting in the basement, and the basement was already tight on space. It's temporary at least and since it's winter the upstairs rooms stay very cool so I'll put the new food storage items up here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is everything to code?

We pulled down all of the r11 insulation in the kitchen, I would have rather been handling snakes. There were a couple sections of r19 that we left up, but 4 rolls later the kitchen is insulated. We used 2 cans of foam insulation in all the little crack and seams that we could see light coming in. Total time in the project is around 20 hours, we figure each hour we do ourselves is saving us $100.

The siding was directly installed on the studs, one of the biggest wtf moments so far. I would use wood boards vertically, then the horizontal siding. Using press board will work and it's cheaper, but I don't like it. I don't want to rebuild the entire house so we aren't messing with the siding anytime soon.
The electric needed some work, and we decided to leave this to the professionals. They are there right now installing some junction boxes and an outlet. We can install lights and replace things but we've never done junction boxes or added an outlet. Sometimes it's worth paying to have it done correctly when you aren't sure.
Unfortunately, if the plumber has to pull a permit to move the baseboard heater, the electrician needs a permit as well. This means all of the kitchen wiring and the panel will need to be replaced to current code. It also means we will have to add MORE outlets. That's right, new code means adding things that aren't necessary or wanted. I don't care if the breaker box is old and above the stove, it works and I don't need anyone coming into the house inspecting anything.

The work around is doing the drywall first, then the heater moved and then having the heater inspected.... then doing what we want with the electric. I don't think moving a baseboard heater unit will require a permit, but it depends on how much the city needs tax revenue. It's highly annoying to try and live right, debt free, prepared, etc. and still be over regulated by the government when you just want to upgrade your kitchen. We don't want a crap-built new house, we don't want an electrical outlet every 5 feet. I just want a new stove.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It only hurts to breathe.

I forgot to take some motrin this morning, trying to gimp my way along until my chiropractor is in town on Monday. Everything I did hurt, but damned if that was going to stop me. It wouldn't have been my first brush with death (maybe my 6th, lost count), but since there aren't ribs poking into my lung or out of my chest I had to carry on.

I dropped 6 hours into the kitchen today. This included fixing the plumbing in the basement with new shutoff valves going to the kitchen sink (thank you inventor of sharkbite fittings!). The old ones were knob type, on galvanized pipe, and of course wouldn't work. I wanted to put more time in but need to get ready for the employee appreciation holiday dinner.... I'm somehow in charge of the entire evening and yet didn't help plan or put it together.

 The old plumbing for the original kitchen is behind the newer looking 2x4 section. Always interesting what you find. We left the baseboard heater hooked up, I want that moved by professionals since the system is pressurized and I want it to work. It's going to be 22 degrees tomorrow and I didn't want the entire system down just in case there was an issue. The area showing subfloor will be built up to the same level as the tile (of course they don't make the tile we have) so there wont be any removing or adding of tile.
 Fortunately only one spot lacked insulation. The old stuff will be pulled out (the really old stuff) and replaced. The windows will be foam sealed where applicable. I'm debating if we should put more insulation under the newer 2x4 section. I don't know if it will make a difference, but I'm sure it won't hurt anything. It depends on the price at home depot tomorrow.
The studs are so far apart, it's no wonder we had a hard time ever finding one to screw or drill into. I might add some cross braces in the large above counter level areas. The upper left is missing insulation, I tore it down to check the water damage. There are some boards with damage but since the roof is fine, and the boards are still sound, we won't worry about it (now that it doesn't leak).

The good thing is now that it's stripped we can move light fixtures around, add outlets, whatever we feel like doing. Since we won't start drywalling for a few days, we have some time to decide on anything else. I pulled 8 trash bags of drywall and all kinds of wood scraps out and into my wagon and into a pile in the garden area. I'm going to borrow a friends dump truck when we are done, it will be cheaper for one big load to the dump.

It was a great day of work, especially when the motrin kicked in. I think the shop vac worked harder than I did.

Friday, December 7, 2012

6 Hours of kitchen work

I never realized I could pop a front rib out of place from bench pressing, but guess what I did...

It's like having a broken rib, it's hurts all the time but you have to breathe still. If SHTF I would have to continue on and just suck up the pain, so I did just that. We spent a total of 6 hours in the kitchen yesterday, here are the results so far:
 You can see the baseboard heater behind the shop vac. The copper is routed in the cabinets, behind the stove and under the sink. We decided to move the heater entirely, this will give us another 3 feet of cabinet space and help heat the kitchen better. Since there is a crawlspace under that end of the floor, it's almost all wasted heat and I loathe heaters directly under windows. I don't understand the thinking of your heat going out the glass. When we redid the heating system 16 years ago we couldn't afford to change anything and had to use the original steam radiator holes to save money. This is why there isn't heat upstairs.
The original house sink drained right into the sewage line grease trap (that was located outside the window). You can see the large drain pipe that is still there for no reason. Once the sink is out tonight I'm going to saws-all the shit out of everything, hopefully by tomorrow morning everything will be out.
We put a couple holes in the drywall, as expected, pulling the tile off. The hole behind the fire extinguisher was my oops, but it showed me there isn't any insulation in the wall right there. WHAT! Yes, no insulation where the 2 additions meet, that will be fixed with some pink roll type once I cut the drywall out. I also discovered there isn't a turn off for the kitchen sink water, only the main line off and on lever. That will be fixed along with removing the final few feet of galvanized pipe (I think that's what it's made of).

So far we have an extra days worth of work, but so far it's not frustrating us. It does suck living out of boxes, not knowing where the spoons are, debating pouring milk into the cereal box instead of trying to get a bowl at 6am. We have saved about $500 in labor.

We went to a work related party last night, I busted some moves on the dance floor (in between gasping for air over my rib pain) and I was happy my pistol didn't fly out. I was jumping around like a white guy on the dance floor and it held just fine. It's good to be armed and goofy on the dance floor! I also photo-bombed my face in about 10 random photo's, sometimes I get to act like I'm 15 again and not get in trouble for it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Before. and it's raining.

Apparently the wishing for moisture thing worked. It was raining when I left the house this morning, reminding me of a cool spring morning. It wasn't a downpour, but in the winter even a little moisture is a big bonus to the yard. Hopefully the mountains are getting a lot, won't be able to tell until the clouds burn off around noon.
Perhaps this whole wishing thing works, but I'll just say it's the weather being unpredictable like always.

Here are two before pictures from last night in the kitchen.

The only things in the kitchen are pictured. Some dishes, protein powder, chicken TVP, etc. Yes, the empty booze bottle on the floor was puzzling to me as well.
We have to get the wallpaper backing down and just start to remove everything. The far upper left corner of the bottom picture has some water damage from this past spring, otherwise it's going to be fairly simple. The tile on the wall started popping off last night with no fuss, it's around 30 years old.

The original structure was a barn built around 1888. The first addition was added and extended the kitchen to the middle of the stove, as well as adding a bedroom downstairs. The second addition pushed the kitchen all the way out and made the downstairs bedroom twice as large with a bathroom and walk in closet. Whomever did the 2nd addition didn't dig the basement out, causing the house to droop a little in the back. The basement doesn't extend to the house edge in any spot, creating a droop in other spots. In the next 5 years or so we will need to spend about $50k to have the house jacked up and the basement redone (including dug deeper).

Everyone says old houses have character. I didn't realize character caused my ass to hurt. Perhaps it's the charm that's causing it.

Since I won't be cooking for a few weeks, have a picture of meatloaf.
I'll be cooking at the in-laws and our boss/friends house from time to time. But meatloaf with large onion chunks and (don't ask me why) bright red ketchup.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Moisture please.

I don't know when winter officially started, or if it even has. I can't think of any moisture in the last 90+ days, it's going to be another drought type year ahead. It's December 5th and I will water the yard again today, tomorrow, Friday and probably Saturday. They are predicting highs in the 20's for Sunday, and if we are lucky some snow. I'm already starting to plan my garden based on using less water.
I can't remember ever watering the grass and tree's in December, it's usually Thanksgiving that signals the snow to come in. Sure, it's nice on the utility bill to keep the heat off during the day, but I worry about water tables, stream runoff and reservoir levels. I have to be selfish and think about my water sources. If the world doesn't end before we get the kitchen done, I'm going to add two 55 gallon water barrels to the supplies.

No moisture doesn't help my rain water collection in the spring and of course makes us very nervous about forest fires. The other day a vehicle went off a dirt road above the house and started a grass fire. Luckily it was out fast but the scanner was blowing up with panic from all of the departments. The plates were missing from the car but the idiot who drove it.. yes, get ready.... dropped his license as he fled the scene.

I watched Doomsday Preppers last night, they had another rich guy on there who thought he had better protection than he really did. He said there was only one way in, one way out. However the 'cliffside' on the back wasn't tall and the tree's growing right next to the house made an obvious approach angle. It seemed he was relying on power without a backup system to run it during a grid down scenario. I did like the .50 he was using, but the beowulf (alexander arms .50 beowulf)ammo isn't easy to find and I don't see it being much better than a .308. The recoil is nasty on a short barrel .50, how can you keep it on target for semi-rapid fire?

The kitchen is /12 empty, tonight the rest of it will be boxed up. Demo will start on Thursday so we are already ahead of schedule. Saturday will be redoing the baseboard copper piping, then drywall repair. The baseboard heater routing is top priority, I'm frail and get cold easily.
We think that 20% of the stuff we removed from the kitchen will get donated/tossed out when we move it back in. It's a perfect time to get rid of excess or never used items.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New safe, go bucket and inventory check

Today was a full day and I was moving like a slug. I had a great gym session on Friday night, squats, deadlifts, leg presses and leg extensions. I piled on more weight than I have ever done and have made some amazing progress in 60 days. I had never done squats before, and didn't know how to do them so I'm happy to be hitting 225 pounds, same for deadlifts at 275. The downside to this is I'm in serious muscle recovery mode today, more so than yesterday.

Hard work can kill you and it can make you sore. However, if SHTF I would have to drive on and continue, so that's exactly what I did today. The cabinets were ordered for the kitchen remodel, they will be picked up Thursday. The issue we ran into is timing, the counter top will take 4 weeks to be built and installed once it's ordered. This means no kitchen during the whole time, since we won't have a sink. The stove will work so we can help cook the Christmas dinner, but all cleanup has to be done in the master bathroom, in the bathtub.

We might hold off and start the remodel after Christmas dinner. The deciding factor will be if we can get the new sink installed before the counter top measure, or does it need to be done when the counter top is installed. We are going for a large stainless divided sink, similar to what we have now but under counter. I have to ask around, I don't know the step order for that.

Go buckets go opened today and checked out. There was some food that is coming up on expiration so we swapped that out and sealed everything back up. The buckets are 3 home depot buckets that will carry us and the 2 dogs for 1 week, including hygiene and gas masks. These are the no notice evacuation buckets since we are in an area where a forest fire can rush down the mountain. We wanted everything in them checked and to make sure the water requirements written on each bucket was still accurate. We have a pull wagon we keep at the back door that can hold all the buckets and water for one trip to the vehicles. While one person does this, the other grabs the combat load out and dogs. Out of the house in under 10 minutes easy, including extra clothes if it's winter.

We finally got our second gun safe delivered. It's been our fault in combination with it being locked in a warehouse that we don't have keys to. This second safe is for ammo and the seldom used rifles. The ammo will stay dry and moisture controlled and allow us to have more room in safe #1. The new safe is used but it was free once we paid for the heavy duty movers. It's in the middle of the basement until we figure out exactly where it should go. I think safe #1 needs to be unbolted and moved so we have room for them side by side and still be able to put a freezer where I want.

We also went over the inventory list and decided it's low on black beans and powdered milk. I can get and store the beans myself but the milk I need to order in. 25 year shelf life, 20 lb. bucket, 648 servings per bucket. I will get 3 buckets and add make 3 buckets of beans. We are adding more potatoes to storage while the holidays are here, 15lb.s of large Idaho's for $1.99, hard to pass up.

1.5lbs ground beef, 1 egg, 1 C bread crumbs (I prefer fine crushed), 1/2 white onion chopped. Mix, coat with ketchup (or BBQ sauce if you are a communist) and cook 1 hour @ 350 degrees.
93% lean ground beef works the best but I got the 85% on sale. Just pull the loaf out of the pan and let it drain on some paper towels and it's perfect.
I took a picture but my stupid technology won't email it for some reason. I'm 2 feet from the router, phone and computer.... maybe an emp hit my phone!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kitchen remodel.

We measure tomorrow, then it's demolish time.

The new stove has been decided on and is going to be awesome, here is a link to it. With some gift cards we have been hoarding, we will end up getting it for half price. It has a downdraft as an added bonus! The dual ovens will be really handy, the small over will be used 90% of the time and will save a bit on the electric bill.
You can get the options of dehydrator and bread proofer but I like my bread to rise in a bowl, like the olden days. Some of the reviews on it make me chuckle how much people rely on some things:
'the timer needs to be louder'
'pizza setting doesn't work right'
'everything must be manually set
'have to clean the glasstop each time to keep it clean'
I have manual timers, can set a temperature and check on food, clean a stove, etc. Sometimes technology is too much of a crutch.

More exciting new is we are going to redo the cabinets, sink and counter top. I helped build my house growing up, and while I'm not making new cabinets, we are going to do everything on our own until it's time for the counter to be installed. There will be a lot of work to be done, we are hoping 2 weeks from start to counter top order. Since we have very little time in the evenings, it's going to be a little bit here and a little bit there. It will save us about $3k in labor and of course it's a nice feeling to do it yourself.

We will gain  about 4 feet (length) of cabinet space, that will be perfect for storing the mason jars and such. We contemplated a large cabinet where most of the dishes are but I prefer the deep shelves instead of opening a cabinet door when I need a plate or bowl. This and the silverware drawer are the most used so convenience over looks.

My cereal was empty this morning so I went into storage and grabbed some more. I noticed I have a lot of stuff that is expiring soon in the cereal bins. I'm not eating as much as during the summer, I don't need the massive calorie and carb load when I'm not running. I set aside what we will eat before the end of the year and dropped  14 boxes off to the Mormon neighbors. I think it was 14 anyhow, it will probably last them 2 weeks with 4 kids. I'm eating cereal that expired in July, it's fine, but I don't want things getting stale and being tosses when I can donate it to someone.

I resisted buying cereal at the grocery store tonight, it was even on sale. I picked up a couple of items for storage that were on the list and some fruits and veggies for the week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Powerball, doomsday and Wednesday randomness

Everyone is pooling money and buying Powerball tickets, it's all about the dream and hope. I'll admit we are going to drop $20 on tickets, we can't win if we don't play, but unlike many people we don't sit around talking about the what if. Chances of winning are silly remote so why sit around and pretend what you will do, it always seems to make a lot of people depressed about the current situation they are in.

I've watched a little more TV this week than normal, but I see the choices are still horrible. It does make us thankful for the lifestyle we have, the jobs, the family and friends, etc. How about some home improvement shows (not loaded with drama, fights, flamboyance). I guess I'm so fringe that I don't like 99% of the shows on TV. The few I record and watch are usually in hopes I can learn something. One small idea or sliver of knowledge makes it worthwhile, but it's often painful in the meantime.

Doomsday preppers last night was one long episode about the same group. They certainly had money to burn, good for them, should have used some of those millions for a garden. I would give them the most prepared out of all the episodes I've seen so far (2 years I think). The concussive blast in the 'hunting blind' made me laugh a little, way to get jacked up while you are trying to set off IED's... everything about that segment was way too unsafe. They should have built something on the building tops so they could keep an over-watch/lookout without having to leave the safety of buildings. There were a lot of things they could have improved on, like we all could do, but some of it seemed so basic it was a little silly.
One of the brain dead moments occurred when one half of the group got dinged hard for not bringing/having food stores. That family took the criticism to heart and started to take fencing lessons.... what!?

We found out there are negotiations underway for drilling on some of the properties we leased out a few months ago. Hopefully they get going fairly soon, it will take around a year from start to finish before we see any results, we want to bathe in black gold and pay off the mortgage.

My gym workouts are going great, I've got some amazing progress under my belt and I'm feeling better. I know I'm stronger, but for me it's about getting stable. I won't see the real long distance endurance running progress until spring, but I'm hopeful my back wont hurt after a few hours of slogging up and down the mountains. I don't think I'll try for 30+ miles anymore, it becomes too much of a job and sucks up all of my free time. I think a nice mix of trail endurance runs and power lifting will work great.

I've been generator and freezer shopping online. Freezers seem easy, no frost free and we want a standup. Generators are another story, so many choices. I would like a nice Honda generator but those are super expensive, I'm still bouncing around all the choices. Diesel, propane, gas... pull start or pull start backup, 3000 - 3500 watts but portability is important. I'll get it figured out soon, right after we decide what to do in the kitchen and get a new stove.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday goes by with a thud.

Buying a robot on cyber Monday isn't popular anymore, people spend on Black Friday (or a few hours earlier). I only received about half the junk mail cyber Monday offers as last year, hurt my self esteem.
I took a trip to Walmart today for work and was told I have an invalid credit card number card. I said no problem, let me call up Amex and I'll find out what's going on. The head cashier storms over and tells me the transaction has to be completed or else they have to get a manager over. I replied 'I can't pee money' and walked away to make a phone call.
Amex told me everything was fine, have them type in the card manually.... that required a manager too.
Typing the card number in manually is safer than using a card reader, managers needing to do this help prevent fraud. A card reader doesn't require ID for under X $ in purchases and most of the time they never ask for ID. How often are you really asked for an ID, especially if using a debit card and it's all self swipe.
I let them know the card reader was bad, the manager wasn't pleased she had to do her job and made sure to belittle the cashier to the head cashier. The holiday spirit is alive early this year in one of my least favorite stores of all time.

I ordered something from Tactical Assault Gear, something I've had my eye on for over 6 months. I checked to see if it was on sale (no luck) and noticed they had the color I've been wanting in stock. I've never seen multicam in stock before so I figured it was fate and stepped up.

Banshee carrier with optional attachments.

Soft Armor IIIa: front, back, and love handles!
The question at home was 'why did you buy it?'. It was a great question, and it wasn't about the expense.

I could have picked up another weapon, more ammo, food, etc. There are a ton of things I could have picked up that might seem better suited (generator and/or freezer come to mind). Having supplies is great, being able to defend your supplies and family is even better. I'm not sure that most people think they will ever get shot at. Countless sites, blogs and forums all seem to be big on weapons and having 50,000 rounds of ammo to fend off the countless 'zombies' (hungry neighbors) who will come and try to take your 'brains' (food). I assume if I have to shoot, I will get shot at.

If I'm prepared to defend my 'brains' and non infected family, why wouldn't I want a combat multiplier, an edge. This purchase might save my life, everything else I could get can only extend it. This isn't a movie, you don't get shot and rub the crushed bullet off your vest and bounce up, but you can get back up and you can survive. We have some a nice concealable armor vest in the closet but it's too small (better than nothing), from back when someone was 20 years younger. 20 years ago for me and I was still wearing flak vests, body armor for the military was never thought of.

We will check it out when it shows up and probably order another, why have just one person with an edge when you can have 2. Once we fit and play around with it, I'll think about getting rifle plates, depending on how the month ends up at work. There is always the factor of never knowing when you won't be able to purchase this stuff, some websites still ask for proof of 1st responder employment. I'm thinking not to far in the future the average citizen (or people like me) won't be able to buy armor anymore.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Red Dawn, or how I wasted my day

When half the people I know don't want to see a movie, maybe it should ring a little bell in my head. Instead I wasted $7 on a movie that only had a few good moments. Sure, I knew the Titanic would sink but it was still a great movie.

Some people were kind and I have a few more followers. I'll try not to annoy everyone.

A great day to water the yard and watch some college football. Since I really did waste the day away, here are some fun pictures of my lazy Saturday.

 Luke doesn't care about being outside, the couch is more comfortable.
 Rock trying out his raccoon mask in hope he can sneak up on a squirrel.
 This no knead bread goes great with:
Irish stew (and a large bowl of it at that!).
More bread was made, good bread never lasts long.
Apple crumb, the in-laws placed an order and I'm sure there isn't any left.

I was successful in wasting the day away and yet getting so much done. There is football on right now that needs me and I have a workout at the gym in a few hours. I should take a nap, I'm 40 after all and it's hard being this old....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Irish stew on Black Friday!

After staying up a little late cleaning some guns, I wanted to sleep in. 5 minutes after my alarm would normally go off the calls and text's came in from work. SoandSo doesn't have a key to X, the receptionist didn't show up, no one can open up X, my password doesn't work, are you working today, where are you. How do they manage when I'm normally not there I'll never know.

Since I was up and about I hit the gym early but my workout sucked, I'll go back tonight and do 25 laps in the pool.

A friend called me up and off we went to get a scope for her husbands birthday present. I was wary about going out today but I wasn't driving and the traffic was all normal. The scope she wanted was still in stock, but at Sportsmans warehouse there is always so much stuff, we checked out the sale stuff and this is what I picked up:

2 Panther .308 magazines
Electronic hearing protection
500+ yard rangefinder
4-Sided small archery target

What I really wanted to buy this weekend: new shoes. I figured since the traffic and people were behaving I would venture out on my own once we got done shopping together. Sports Authority had buy one, 50% off second shoes but of course didn't have the size I wear. Just my luck and I was so adventurous to brave the traffic a second time. I should have gone where I always buy shoes but I got sucked into the sale flyer. Tomorrow I'll go buy my 6th or 7th pair of running shoes this year, I'm an addict.

Time to cook for the weekend:

Irish stew

2 lbs. stew meat
2 lbs. ground beef
30 oz. stewed tomatoes (I use fire roasted)
15 oz tomato sauce
2 C. chopped celery
4 large potatoes, 1" squares
15 oz corn
2 white onions
2 C diced carrots
3 C elbow noodles

Sear meat in yuo stock pot. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, 30 oz water, and the following spices:
1 TBS: Chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 tsp: oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Cover and cook an hour until stew meat is tender, add carrots and cook for 10 minutes, add 'taters and cook until they are almost done, add onion and cook until they are almost done, add elbow noodles and corn. When noodles are to your desired tenderness get a bowl and eat.
You can add 1/4 head of cabbage at the same time as the elbow noodles if it's not Irish enough for you this way. I suppose you could drink a 5th of whiskey too.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Barkday?

Today is a special day for us, it's both of our boys barkdays!

Sure, they could be birthdays but we don't know when they were born. Instead we celebrate when they came into our lives and graced us with barks.

We found Luke 8 years ago on the way to Thanksgiving dinner. We tried to get him in the car and he wouldn't come so I said let's go, can't rescue them all. The game being over he hauled ass and leaped into the backseat. We took him to the Humane Society but they were closed and the after hours rescue drop off was locked. He decided to let me know that I was his owner... he pee's on my foot.
His original owners were visiting the area when he dug out and escaped. He must have heard them talking about returning him to the shelter since he was getting too big for them and they were afraid their landlord would complain.

Rock (as some of you know) was a rescue last year after our beloved Tobie passed on after a long battle with leukemia. Rock was more than a handful at first, and honestly still is a little big for his britches at times but he has become a wonderful addition to our family. He spent around 9 months in a rescue shelter apparently just waiting for us, he didn't like anyone else at all.

Apple crumb pie, oatmeal white bread x 2 and no knead pan bread has been done this morning. The turkey goes into the over in a few minutes. I also made some barkday treats for the boys!

That's right, I have dog bone, dog house, dog paw print and sitting dog cookie cutters. Don't you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Out of eggs and a special treat

When you need to bake 10 loaves of bread you should make sure you have all the ingredients before you start. This goes for anything I suppose.
I set all the boxes, tubs, containers, etc. on the counter, wet on the right and dry on the left. I had 3 eggs and needed 15. I could have stopped what I was doing and hit the store but what kind of preparedness level would that be if each time I needed something I went to the store.
Those are eggs in the sifter. 1 T whole egg powder and 2 T water equals 1 egg. I actually added a little more water than it calls for, each type of egg powder will be different so you need to find out what works. They don't make the best scrambled eggs but it's good enough to eat. I use the whole egg powder from Shelf Reliance, I just happen to like their products. The added bonus of egg powder is you don't have to worry about uncooked eggs. I opened a #10 can a couple of months ago and am slowly making a dent in it. The #10 can of baking powder sitting next to it will eventually get dumped out, that's a lot of powder.

Amish friendship bread made with real eggs, minus a sample slice.
Amish friendship bread made with egg powder. They were a little lighter in color and a little 'fluffier' but otherwise tasted the same. My neighbor friend stopped by unannounced (they are used to me opening the door with a gun in my hand when they do that.... maybe I shouldn't have given them a gate key) so they were my test subjects. No one complained and one entire loaf vanished when they left. I had the sample slices only since I had to visit the gym when done cooking.

If you make quick bread, especially a sweeter type (banana, zucchini, etc.) you can give it a special twist. Grease the loaf pan and coat it with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. I use 1/4 C sugar and 2T cinnamon (saigon cinnamon is my favorite but you can use regular store brands just fine), mix in a small bowl and then coat one loaf pan. Pour the extra into the next pan, repeat until it's gone or you run out of pans to coat.
It should look like this when you are done. I went high with the grease and sugar but it's a good habit in case you have breads that rise a lot. Amish friendship bread is similar to a sourdough starter:
1 packet (or 2t) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (to dissolve the yeast)
1 C. Sugar, Flour, Milk
This is day one. Day 2-5 let it sit (I use a zipock, make sure you check the air level so it doesn't explode).
Day 6 add 1 C. Flour, Milk, Sugar.
Day 7-9 let it sit
Day 10 cook it up with this stuff (makes 2 loaves):
1 C Oil, Milk, Sugar and starter batter
3 eggs
1 T vanilla
2 T cinnamon
1/2 t soda
1.5 t powder
2 C flour
1 package pudding powder (I use vanilla non instant)
dash of salt

Bake in greased and floured (or sugared) loaf pans @ 350 degrees for 43 minutes (my oven, yours may need an hour).
The standard recipe says to add to the starter before you cook with it but I'm special and throw caution to the wind. You can give people a cup of starter and instructions, etc. but they really just want the bread to eat. I make new starter each time, but I know how to keep it going if I decided to not start from scratch each time. I start from scratch for more of a virgin batter, that's just me. I also use metal bowls and most recipes say not to.
My way will result in 4 (ie. 8 loaves) batches. Sometimes I can get 10 depending on how active the yeast was (or if I left the bag in the sun, added a little more than 1 C. of sugar, etc.).
If you forget the pudding it's a plain tasting sweet bread.

Tonight I need to make the rest of the bread. Tomorrow I'm making a ham, turkey, pumpkin pie and apple crumb pie. Perhaps a chocolate sheet cake as well, depending on how much help I get in the kitchen. Once all that is done it's off to the in-laws.

Happy Thanksgiving. People are always thankful for stuff on this day. I'm thankful all year for everything in my life, it's been amazing and many times frightening, I'm thankful I wake up each morning.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Clutter from my mind to the keys

We are stove shopping, at least we might get a good deal with the holiday season here. Our 1970ish stove is on the fritz and it's time to upgrade. We are thinking about doing the counter tops at the same time, it's just hard to part with money. We have $800 in gift cards saved up from Home Depot and Visa, that will cover half of the stove. We want a 6 burner smooth surface electric. We put some thought into a gas stove, but you have to have a large over the stove hood vent in order to have it installed. Our kitchen won't allow for that, so we will stick to electric. You can see in the below picture it's a 2 burner on the right, but either side is a large insert (we have a grill for the left side as well), but the contacts are all wearing out. If you have the 2 burners on the right cooking, the left burners barely work. Not acceptable as much as we cook.
I'm amazed, and totally not surprised by the number of people who can't make bread.... or anything. Someone at work assumed my bread was from a bread machine and told me how they can't figure out how to use the one they got as a gift. I know it's hard to measure and dump....
Fresh bread not only has an amazing taste, it's only about .50 cents per loaf worth of ingredients if you don't buy in bulk. It's so much work... oh my poor hands, all that kneading. A solar over isn't really inexpensive

Organizing: Making room for a second gun safe and a possible freezer had me in the basement for 4 hours. I moved a rack, added a rack, organized a rack and checked the expiration dates on the canned goods. I noticed my 7 day go buckets have expired pop tarts in them, this weekend I will swap some mountain house packets in their place. I had about $50 in goods to stock in from the staging area, it's only a pain when you have to move all the cans to put the new stuff in the back/underneath.

Surfing: I read an article over here, about a LEO during Sandy. A few of the comments talked about a sense of community and how they hope people will pull together and learn from lessons in the past. Good luck.
We are guilty of not wanting to socialize with the people who live around us, for the most part. It's ok to be friendly, but when people go out of their way to cross the street so they avoid you... well that's all I need to know. Who's fault is it that people aren't prepared, it's not ours. If there is a crisis, people do band together some, it's natural. After the crisis, it's back to the Xbox and ignoring each other.
We have enough to do right now with friends and family, I'm not going to waste crisis energy or supplies for people who never wanted anything to do with us. I'm sorry if I walk out of my gate and someone notices a pistol on my belt, tough cookies, see you on the other side of the street.

Everyone has the same opportunity to be prepared for whatever. Income and expenses will vary but the opportunity and choices are/have been there. I grew up on food stamps, government cheese, low income firewood delivery programs, etc. Once a month we would get some ice cream or a bag of cheetos, otherwise everything we had went into just getting by. Thankfully there was a free school lunch program to help, I'm not sure we could have done one more meal 5 days a week for my Brother and I. We made the right choices the whole time and even when were off food stamps we didn't change much, (we did get electricity and a 19" color tv) our shopping habits stayed the same.

Lesson learned: Some blogs and websites I have read/read talk about using a .308 as a main battle rifle... After shooting the carbine and .308 this weekend, I don't think that's feasible. With the recoil on the .308, you are way off target after a couple of rapid shots. The carbine I can get a 30 round magazine on and around the target with no issues. It makes me wonder if I'm reading things from 'armchair preppers', or am I just a weak sissy boy.

Finally: I was in Safeway yesterday grabbing some fruit for the week (work nibbles) when I saw they were doing some type of fundraiser. $10 donation and they will fill a grocery bag and give it to X charity. Hey, good idea to help those less fortunate. THEN I saw the sign said you could use your EBT card for the donation. HOLD UP, WHAT? Your EBT card is to help you purchase groceries, it's not so you can give to charity. If you can give $10 to charity then you shouldn't be using an EBT card. People should be allowed to donate the money they were donated.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Boom boom day

After a 45 minute drive, we arrived at a nice shooting spot. There are shooting spots closer but they either cost money to use or are completely trashed out by all the irresponsible shooters who use them. The bonus is the longer the drive, the less people you will encounter. We shared the spot with one other group of shooters, for a total of 9 people.

This is my neighbors daughter shooting the other halfs carbine. I left mine at home and spent most of the time sighting in my .308 (the one on the ground) and still didn't get it dialed in perfectly. I really need a bench and a better spotter, but for what I had to work with I was drilling center mass at about 300 feet.
I love to shoot, I hate to clean up. Not only do we pick up all of our trash, we also pick up a ton of other garbage that people leave. It's not hard, just frustrating that even the people we range shared with left trash. We got lots of brass, I might look into reloading if I get a year end bonus, shooting $100 of .308 and about $250 of other calibers adds up fast, luckily we don't shoot so often and one of our group does reload. I'm honestly not sure I have enough time, or want to dedicate the time.

Made a few loaves of bread, finished a book, worked out at the gym, cleaned the house, went to the movies and saw Skyfall. Great movie with a small audience right next to huge wrap around lines to see Twilight. Yuck.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

6 weeks at the gym

It seems like forever ago that I stopped trying to run hundreds of miles a month and began dedicating that time to the gym. My core strength was lacking a lot, it made my running form go from laughable at the start to horrible a few hours later.
I miss running for hours on end, I miss the alone and quiet time to think and scheme and plan. The gym is filled with a majority of people who bullshit too much, do a lot of things the wrong way, and/or strut around wanting everyone to see how (insert descriptive word here) they are.
How do these people not break a sweat?

I'm there for 50 minutes or so and my shirt is completely soaked. I may look silly doing some low weight and a lot of body weight stuff, but I'm working my ass off. When I am doing handstand pushups, there is a pool of sweat on the floor from where it's dripping off my face. If I talk it's usually 4 letter words directed at myself. I often channel the anger at not being able to do something and it helps me continue.
Inner voice: "Really, it's just 10 more dead lifts, if you can't do these how can you expect to run away from the zombies when you really need to do it?"

I've had a good transformation in these few weeks, I'm expecting big things by the end of the year. My running has really taken a back seat, I'm only hitting 5 miles a week... maybe less. I'm feeling better and even sleeping a little better as well... and best of all I don't feel like it's a second job. Being prepared means a lot of different things to each person, but if you are not physically prepared then perhaps a lot of other things don't really matter in the end.

Having a route from your work to your house that can leave you virtually undetected (google earth help with this kind of plan) is great, but if you can't physically walk the route right now then how can you walk it with gear in a time of crisis?

This weekend is firearms practice, canned good expiration date check and some grocery store stock up. Lot's of great sales starting for the holidays, it's pretty amazing how much food you can get right now. I shop at Albertsons and they have a lot of $1 items right now. Canned goods, starches, bag of X... I'm probably going to scrounge up $100 and see how well we can do.

I also have to vacuum and mop. Why won't the house self clean.

Monday, November 12, 2012

and you voted for....?

My friend and neighbor popped into work today stating that she needed to buy a gun....

"I need to get a gun"
Me: "Oh. Something going on?"
"No, I just heard something about not being able to buy a gun soon."
Me: "I see... and whom did you vote for?"
"I voted to protect my lady parts."
Me: "You are a typical American voter, persuaded by some shocking commercial without educating yourself on the possible facts."
Me: "You disgust me."

Me: "See you at 4."

That's what friends do, but I hope I made her think a little bit. I don't hold back, I've always told people how I feel and a friend gets it the same. I don't care how anyone voted if it's what they really believe in and they know the facts. There are a lot of people who are reading the headlines since the election that wish they could change their vote (including many people I know and/or work with). Fail.

When I drive over to the gun store, I will ask her what type of gun she wants and what she wants to do with it. She will reply, "9mm, something to keep in the nightstand in case I'm home and something happens."

I love when people say that. Especially when it's someone who doesn't lock the doors at all. Numerous phone calls about letting her dog out and of course the house is always unlocked. I have a key but I've never had to use it. Then of course the whole gun in the nightstand drives me nuts, it's not like you are always next to the nightstand. How about strapping that thing on all the time? I mow, make bread, vacuum, play computer games, etc. and I'm packing.

I know, small steps...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Get that oven cranking!

It was a brisk 28 degrees this morning and I let myself sleep in a little. I am sore from the gym so it was nice to stretch out with the doggies for a few extra minutes. Sleeping in for me means 8am if I am lucky, sleep doesn't come easy and when it becomes light outside my body says it's time to get up.

Alabama lost yesterday, they really beat themselves in the end. it wasn't a very good game to watch, the ending was even worse. I thought Oregon was going to have a tough game, guess they finally got the lead out and it was nothing but ducks zipping around on the field. I like football, it's something to do when I haven't figured out what book to read  next. I have 2 at home I need to read and another 6 that should be delivered on Monday.

Today I got some baking done (it's not even noon yet), adding the oven heat to the house on a cold day doesn't hurt one bit.
 I love bread, fresh from the oven. The way it makes the house smell can't be beat. We have a lot of windows in the kitchen so I put the dough in a cabinet so it will rise. The hot water baseboard heat is really nice, but the water piping in the lower cabinets makes for warm dishes and great bread.
 Nothing in the world makes better toast than bread you made yourself. My bread machine doesn't even come close to the taste, but it's much more convenient when you don't want to fuss over the entire process. This is a basic white oatmeal bread so I won't post a recipe, easy to find. We don't eat much processed food, I'm amazed the things you read on an ingredient label.
 Apple crumb pie! I wanted pumpkin but the other side of the family doesn't like it a lot, so this is my contribution to the birthday dinner. I prefer a crumb style pie vs. a traditional top crust. It's about 1/3 less flour but it doesn't always keep the juices contained on the edges. This is a recipe from my 1953 cookbook, the bottom crust is from scratch with only the best ingredients (1.5 C flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, .5 C shortening, 5 Tbs. cold water).
Finally some Amish bread starter was made. I'll have 8-10 loafs in 10 days and then I can send some out to a blogger in CA, I just haven't had time to get it started but enough with the delays!

It's Veterans day. I'm glad I'm in doing ok, not everyone can say the same who served. There have been a lot of sacrifices over hundreds of years, I'm thankful to those who came before me and those who are serving or will eventually serve. Regardless of political or personal opinions that people have, These United States of America are worth it. Father in law served 2 tours in Korea, he was one of the lucky ones to come home, so even if I don't like hanging with the entire family.... he has damn well earned it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Family prepardness weekend

It's father in laws birthday, everyone will be there and the subject will no doubt turn to politics and then to things in the preparedness area. We have been down this road about 6 months ago, and 6 months before that.

One brother in law said he was going in on some bug out land with a guy who is a real survivalist and even owns an AK-47

One brother in law said he wanted to get some food storage and weapons, but the only thing he has done in 6 months was snag an AR.

Sister in law thinks that father in law will shoot mother in law if we give him my 20 gauge, or one of the grand kids... to the point she will have a heart attack if we actually do it when she is there.

I'm always torn how much to say, or how much to help. It's obvious to me that they, like many, are more about talk than about action. I'm an action guy, the only talk is about how to be better prepared and what things we need to add to the stockpiles. I don't want to sit around talking about all kinds of stuff, and giving everyone great ideas that I know won't get acted on. I did a ton of stuff this week and added a lot of supplies, I bet all they did was watch whatever crap was on TV abut dancing, moms, stars, etc. Chances are none of them watched doomsday preppers in hopes of getting 1 single idea.

I also really have an issue with brother in law #1 that I haven't been able to overcome, so I don't really care if he/his family are prepared or not.

I already made it very clear that we don't have much ourselves and I will turn away anyone who shows up thinking otherwise. We have the smallest house and when relatives are over there isn't anything to see. Sure, we are always armed, but it's Colorado and it's America! Father and mother in law are welcome, we have planned for them but still can't get them to work on food storage past having enough food for about 3 weeks.

I'm really not looking forward to this weekend, I don't want to seem rude but I'm going to just tell people to get off the couch and get stuff done. I know they can all afford to do it, even if it's all at once, they just don't really want to do more than talk. Maybe I can distract myself with football.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Giving up my favorite shotgun and new additions

It's Father in laws 83rd (maybe 84th actually) birthday this weekend. The whole family will be there and he asked for suspenders. He also asked for a shotgun, just so he could pump it and scare people away. I told him nothing scares someone like a large hole in the door.
We didn't want to spend a ton of money on something that wouldn't get used (hopefully), so we decided my office buddy would do the trick. I love my 20 gauge, it's so tiny and lightweight and the sheath straps to the side of my get home bag just right. I will miss my shotgun, and I will miss seeing it behind my chair. For now my Taurus subcompact will sit behind my chair.

It was a MAD MAD WORLD at the gun store today. I honestly went to check some bulk ammo prices to see if buying local would be about the same as shipping it in. People were tossing credit cards around, one guy said "max it out, I don't care!"
I watched half a pallet of 5.56 vanish in the hour I was there, I can only imagine what it will be like this weekend with payday and people being able to actually get to the store.

The owner of the store saw me and came over to say hello. I've been doing business with him for 17 years and he knows I don't browse. I told him I wanted to check out ammo prices and to see if our names had been moved up the list for the M&P Shield 9mm. He did have 2 Shields that just showed up and weren't tagged for anyone and he would give them to us. I don't always buy my stuff from him, sometimes it's cheaper down the road, but I always give him a shot and at least buy all my ammo there at a minimum.
This is my M&P Shield 9mm and I just happen to pick up a Mossberg Plinker (.22) while I was waiting the 45 minutes for a background check. The wait later in the day was hitting 3 hours I was told. I didn't take a picture of the 2nd Shield, it looks the same.
Bulk ammo was a little cheaper than shipping it in, so we picked up 2000 rounds of 5.56 and 500 rounds of .308
To replace my .20 gauge we decided to step up and get another 12 gauge. This is the Mossberg 590 with heat shield and Insight slide light. Our current 12 gauge will become my new office and sheath shotgun once we get a synthetic slide, this new model will soon have a collapsible stock installed.
I also got a package today with these fun toys. 70,000 cubic feet of white smoke per, pull ring igniter. Now I'm hunting for need to find some Molle pouches for them to hook onto my vest. I've seen some videos on the volume of smoke they produce, and I'll test it myself next time I'm out in the boonies so no one thinks the house is on fire.

We feel comfortable with the preps we have for firearms and ammo, but have been wanting to add to the supplies a little. It wasn't panic buying, just things that we had planned that happened sooner than we thought they might. This will put off a generator purchase for a couple of months, unless I can't find any long term food storage black Friday deals.

The election happened, there are a lot of people freaked out and very angry. No need to get worked up, if you think you need preps then get them. I'm just going about business as normal until the situation demands otherwise.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Please vote for this important political issue!

Please vote for wider doors, getting sticks into the house is too hard.

Happy Voting!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post number 2, welcome home

For the first time since my military days, I drew my pistol with the intention of having to use it.

I wasn't even home 12 hours, but there is no rest of situational awareness or preparedness. We had just left a store where I picked up a new toy:
I know the picture is hard to see, but it's a .308 DPMS rifle. I've been saving up for a longer distance rifle that wasn't bolt action. This was on sale and had everything I was looking for, and they just happened to be out of the M&P shield in 9mm that we went to hopefully purchase. I will order a few things for it this week.

We left the store and I was in the right lane with a few cars on my left and behind, 35mph area. I see someone in the middle of my lane as we round a corner (in a not so awesome part of town), so I let off the gas thinking he was crossing the street and would be on the curb in no time. I'm now going slow and can see he isn't walking across the road, just sort of standing there so I am almost at a complete stop when he starts waving his arms around and stumbling towards the drivers side of the car.
I already know I'm blocked in with other traffic, I already know the doors are locked, and I am in a spot where I can't curb hop to get away. As soon as he took 1 step towards us, the brakes were applied and instantly I had drawn and racked a round in the chamber, with the gun just below the top of the dashboard. Someone else in the car had a holster unsnapped and ready to draw as well. The man stopped suddenly and walked off the street, out of the way, and I nailed the gas.

While I'm sure there wasn't any real threat, that's hindsight. Perhaps mentally disabled, perhaps drunk, perhaps thinking someone would stop so he could ask for money, perhaps it was going to be an ambush. I don't know and everything worked out ok... it was just a HUGE reminder to always be ready. I was really surprised how smooth and fast it happened, it's not something I practice while driving or in the driveway.

With the particular setup and holster I had on today, I don't keep one chambered, I don't like the idea of having a loaded gun aimed at my nether regions when I move it out of the preferred car driving position on my belt. There is no snap or strap, it's a perfect smooth pull holster that I love for driving around (or being a passenger).

What else... I have leaves all over the yard, the 2 people I was going to overpay (by a lot) failed to do more than 20% of the yard, so they will not get paid unless they finish this week. I can do it myself but am trying to help out a couple of kids who can use the money.
.308 is $1 per bullet, I purchased 5 boxes of 20 and that shelf was bare. They didn't have any 5.56 unless I wanted the Tulammo, but that doesn't shoot well in my carbine.

Be prepared, be ready and listen to your instincts. While this particular situation turned out to be nothing more than a conversation piece, there are plenty of stories all over the country that don't turn out so well.