ShopTalk Sunday: Prepping Disaster – Field Day

Famine is coming.

Yeah, sure, Roe, Wade, demonstrations, hype.  Have fun with that.

The larger reality is there’s no caloric payoff to any of it and damn few people will have noticed the recent Newsweek story Gathering Storm of Famine Looms Over Many Nations.

What Preppers Miss

Most preppers I know have never done a “dry run” of survival gardening.  “I have stored food, so I’m good.”

No, not really.

Unless someone tells you to get Ace 55 tomatoes – which can produce in a little over 2 months in reality – you are in for an ugly and hungry surprise.

Most crops take 120-days, or so.  Which means if you have 120-days of food stored, you’ll only be alive four months while society finishes burning out.

At some point, you will have to wean off the freeze-dried and get back to survival food sourcing.  Eating squirrels shot with the .22 are going to depopulate quickly, too.  Along with other meat sources.  Why do you think beans were so important in the West?

At best, you might get three gardens in per year: spring, summer, and fall.  But, what about the water supply for them?  We can tell you from experience that our rainwater collection system was emptied last month and we’re on the second mains refill now.

Tomato Crisis

We were, as preppers very pleased with the “early results” of our tomatoes.

Why, we could almost taste these delicious fruits.

But a few morning’s later, a trip to the garden revealed this:

Birds had eaten our fledgling tom’s and as the blue arrow shows, it doesn’t take a “rocket surgeon” to figure out who the perps were.

REALITY CHECK:  Have you really figured out how to garden when society collapses?  Because right now – in our misadventure into self-sufficiency, we can get on the web and load up with all kinds of “scare tape” and bird netting on the cheap.  It’s all on the way.

When EMP or surprise first strike comes along (or just descent into general anarchy because people are SOOO stupid!) recovering from this kind of gaffe won’t be an option.

Ground Problems Too

And what about Ure’s prized cantaloupes?  Same story, different culprit:

And do remember those sugar pumpkins that sprouted from the 30-foot runner we let escape from the raised bed?  I mean, this looked just dandy!

Until along came squirrels.  Then, a pumpkin half again the size of a soft ball was eaten overnight by some kind of ground critter.

In our prepping inventory, the only quick option was a large sticky trap designed for rats and such.  We’ll see how this works when the blooms turn to edibles in the next week, or four.

Point is?

If you don’t have absolutely everything in stock and on-hand to get serious food production online again within 120-days year-round, your prepping efforts are likely just a one-way ticket to hell. Sorry to report.

The good news is that rather than piss away time into media distractions, you can be container gardening like crazy.  Building that lean-to green house and doing all kinds of other basic food production work.  Hydroponics, for example.

Just thought you might want to know – if we were forced to eat ONLY what we have grown here, we’d both be thin as rails.  For now – short of famine knocking – skinny is Elaine’s province, not mine.

Cold Air Idea

Want a free 2-degrees cooler from your air conditioner?

I got to looking at the window mounted units in the shop and my office this week.  Did some “wet finger testing” to see how the air flows were doing.

And made the useful discovery that air tumbling was causing the a/c units to work less efficiently.

See, when cooled air comes out of the a/c unit, it tumbles – air turbulence.

This already cool air – at least some of it – drops down and recycles into the intake area.

Naturally, it’s obvious that if 100 percent of air was moved away from the cooler, it would be more usefully employed in cooling the room!

The solution is two small pieces of thin plywood though you could use some duct tape and cardboard, too:

These make the return path (from outflow to intake) much longer as shown by the white arrow.

Thanks to 100-degree days this week I was able to do some serious testing.  The overall improvement (because a laser printer is close to the a/c (as you can see lower left in the picture) was about 2-degrees.

That seemed like a pretty good payoff for literally 4-minutes of thinking and doing.

Ham Radio Field Day

This being the last weekend of the month ahead of the Fourth, it’s Ham Radio Field Day.

The event is held twice a year and is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League.  Contest rules are over here; Field Day 2006 Rules (

The basics of ham radio are not difficult to learn.  With the Morse Code requirement being dropped a couple of decades back, robust citizen radio with global reach is widely accessible.

The best way to play at field day – is to use low power, a suitable antenna, and an off the grid power source.  Batteries or solar – whatever is at hand.

A low power radio is good, too.

We usually have several, including the USDX(plus) which son G2 has with him on whatever mission he’s out on (doesn’t talk about it).  You can find these radios on eBay for between $120 and $150.  Be aware of gougers, though.

The radio I’m thinking about putting on line today is my uBITX.  This radio can be had for just over $200 from HF

The uBITX is a much more capable radio mainly because of better power output at 12.volts and a much more mature receiver.  Still, any radio in a storm, huh?

The best antenna for these kinds of exercises (I mean really portable) would be an off-center fed dipole.  135-140 feet of wire, with a balance to unbalanced transformer (4 to 1) because the antenna will be around 2oo ohms of impedance (AC resistance) and the coaxial feedline will be 50-ohms, or so.

William at the Radio Ranch is partial to the one other good antenna for such events:  An End-Fed Half Wave (EFHW).  These use a higher turns ratio for antenna matching (often 9:1) and they work quite well.  My problem with them is you need to get two ends as high as possible.

The Off-Center Fed Dipole (OFCD) will work well in an “inverted vee” (think droopy ends) off a single center support.

Whichever way you go, great weekend to look in on public parks and such.  If you see a collection of people (often looking up into trees for no obvious reason) those are likely hams.  Go say hi and tell ’em AC7X sends 73s.  *(my call sign, and 73 is the Morse abbreviation for “best regards”).

On that note, still some phantom rain in the forecast to time to fire up the riding mower and prune 3-acres of time sink.

Write when you get rich,

ShopTalk Sunday: BTC Note, Power Carving & A Course in Magick

A Sunday Financial note:  the price of Bitcoin dropped to $17,986.50 overnight as the digital tulip wilt continues in the summer heat. Because the stock market is locked in a decline mirroring the 1929 -1933 collapse to a high level, we therefore anticipate a continuing decline before a washout in a week or several.

Problem is, this will be only a third wave bottom.  Since major impulsive moves in markets usually roll five waves, our long-term expectation is that following the Wave 3 washout and a violent summer rally, we will be in position for a collapse to levels around 20-25 percent lower than present by Thanksgiving or Christmas.

At some price point (being argued on the net) the cost of mining a new BTC will drop below present valuations.  When this occurs, miners will have no incentive to remain in the mining business.  Good – in that the horrific energy costs of the digital tulip mania will moderate.  But Bad because the public ledger could disappear.

We’re watching all of this closely and noticing that it’s not the BTC that was ever such a bad-ass problem.  It was when greed and LEVERAGE entered the picture.  Resultiong in price distortions.

With margin calls ahead, we should not be surprised as more stock and bond liquidations occur just ahead in order to fund leveraged positions in BTC, many of which are now upside down, by our reckoning.

Tulip-like delusions always fail, as we have said from the get-go.  Which is why we have never owned a “wallet” and remain, even now “pure bloods.”

When so-called Big News is a cover operation for another monetization, we sagely run the other way!

On Power Carving and Creativity

Deeper thinking seems to prevail this week, as evidenced by the Saturday Peoplenomics report on the likely progressive link between aperea, DMT release, and deep prophetic (lucid) dream states.  Today, mood-following points us back out to the shop.  But in a much more reflective and contemplative way.

You see, the “Making Arts” involve the interplay between spirit, bicameral mind (read Jaynes if you haven’t) and consciousness.  Before engaging in an artistic work, it’s useful methinks to understand a bit about how Art is brought to nominal world.

For years, I studied the “alchemical arts” with the objective not to accrue power or great wealth.  Rather it was to understand the processes by which Creation (Creator)”creates.”  Still working on it.

Process, you see, is the Grand Marshal of human advancements.  Sure, you might be the odd “one-off” advancement – like an accidental fire, perhaps.  But the BIG changes don’t come until?  Process provides for knowledge-sharing.

I’ve stumbled through life, therefore, with a kind of “process Grimoire” between the ears.  “What was the process by which [so and so] wrought into existence on this wakened plane of Reality?

It’s a marriage of the “inner mind” and the “outer world” in the magician’s mind.  Some mixture of Divine Trinity of an idea (Father, Son, and Essence in this case).  So, to “carve a bear” therefore, we need to focus on Father Bear, Son of Bear, and the very Yellowstone-ish Essence of Bear aspects.

Once the “ideal bear” forms in your head, you are ready to hit the “small projects workstation” (in my case, Ure’s Hobby Shop) and address the toughest part of Magick.

Ring-Pass Not

“Which has what to do with work in the shop?” you are no doubt puzzling.

While most men go lusting for money, or other difficult goals, I’ve enjoyed my life by constantly trying to “Grease the skids of Creation.”

Understand that, when I decided, a few weeks back to “Carve a Bear” for STS this week, I had the luxury of some time to first build the idea.  Empowering any new physical “thing” with aspects of Father, Son, and Essence of Creation, though, is not enough.  That’s just thinking about “fixing to get ready.”

In the traditions of the Theosophists any worthy “Work” begins with the faintest and most vaporous of ideas. Down at the notion or hunch level to begin.

As you focus on the Creation of a thing, the additional headwork (the inner work) focuses adding more Father, Son, and Essence in order that the desired Work is properly Condensed.

As the Work Condenses, you see, it’s like a cloud.  First, a clear fertile mind attracts (senses) Ideas.  Then, just as saturated clear air condenses into droplets, so too the Bear carving began to take place in my head. A bit foggy, however.

But the Final Step in human Creation is the threshold with the “inner vision” must cross the threshold and be birthed in the Waking World.

Most of my friends are accomplished Creators.  Ideas flow smoothly and indeed non-stop from their centered selves.  But for many people – those only recently freed to pursue their own Excellence of Creation – there is something like a mental Screen Door.

As the Theosophy Wiki explains over here:

The Ring Pass-Not, also known as the Circle Pass-Not, is an allegorical circle “within which are confined all those who still labor under the delusion of separateness”.[1] This separation is said to be set by the Lipikas. As Mme Blavatsky writes:

Those who have been called Lipikas, the Recorders of the Karmic ledger, make an impassible barrier between the personal EGO and the impersonal SELF, the Noumenon and Parent-Source of the former. Hence the allegory. They circumscribe the manifested world of matter within the RING “Pass-Not.”

Unless you have studied H.P. Blavatsky’s Treatise on Cosmic Fire, (Alice Bailey) it may not have occurred to you that humans have odd little check-valves in their spiritual constructs.  How else to prevent creative humans from thinking everything into being?  Or, going the other way, what keeps physical Reality from overwhelming each of us.  Hence, I generalize it as a kind of a spiritual I/O check-valve.

Once you learn to master the valve, then creativity goes up, and all notions of “work disappears” because we’re all starring in the same Global Documentary – and we all live happily acting “our parts…”

Sounds a bit deep, but it is Sunday, so why not?

Condensing a Bear

Other than the Major and I roughing out some pretend hydroplanes from cedar shingles, I did very little carving – or artwork – when young.

But I had seen enough people carving that the process was made clear.

  • Begin with an idea
  • Sketch the idea as saw cut lines onto wood
  • Remove lots of material by sawing on one plane.
  • (Be lazy, through in some “saw carving” with the blade.)
  • Resketch the sides you’ve just cut and power saw them off.
  • Finally, put a Kutzall Extreme router bit in place and “relief carve” what needs to go.  (Hold firmly because it’s very sharp and you don’t want it running up your arm.  Hold tools firmly – it’s like race car driving:  Totally in charge (hold on for dear life) and yet keep the hand loose so cuts can flow a bit… (or corners and drifting.)
  • When done, hopefully some of the “essence of the Bear” idea will still be around.

Step-by-Step, Then

We shall capture with a pen or pencil, that mental picture and just “pit it out there” on wood.  In this case, just a piece of 2-by-4. No point killing basswood or some choice (can you even get it anymore?) koa or other exotic wood.

Sketch the gnarly bear and off to the band saw!

No fingers missing after that, so now we consider what we have after cutting the sides down:

So now, we flip him up on edge and sketch the side view on.  Once we draw that in, back over to the band saw.  A pretty benign tool to use.

The next step is to rough out enough of the Bear so we can get a sense of what we’re looking at.

No, it’s not especially pretty yet.  But part of my difficulty being faced at this point was realizing that in my “mental rendering” I’d “condensed out” a good “front view” piece, but the sides would need a lot of work.

From here – with only subtraction of material as an option – a kind of “blocky Bear style” began to emerge.

The learning points?

  • This Bear actually has a little bit of essence to it. Not a lot.  My bad.
  • Blocky could be dispensed with in an hour or three devoted to additional burrs to really “relieve more wood” and get a much better feel visually.
  • My biggest takeaway was that when I was working “the inner rings,” I wasn’t conscious enough of the side views. Made a note to do more “side views” in dreams, as well.

I vowed (on discovering these personal pixelation issues, that I’d be more careful next time.

Still, for a 25-minute Pomodoro time block with markets open, it was a delightful distraction in Ure’s hobby shop.

As the Bear taught me, if you didn’t fully create mentally before building, just go with the flow and love the Nike positioning statement as it’s really better than average ad agency advice applicable in the shop.  Just Do It and Go With The Flow.

Sometimes it will all work out.  Because the “clouds of feeling” come across Ring Past Not, as Essence,  too.  Attached to the “crudely condensed Bear.”  Art is the holding and formulation of “idea triggers.”

For next level up, watch Jordy Johnson’s video Beginners Dremel wood carving. How to carve a woodspirit, Part 1. – YouTube.  Clever use of laying out the nose on the sharp side of the 4-by-4, huh?

Write when you get rich, (and wear a Kevlar carving glove on the hand that holds the carving!  And Stay Sharp!)