Coping: Bombing Around the Ranch

Lot’s of moving pieces around here this week.

With the reports this morning that North Korea is quickly moving toward first strike capability on Hawaii, we have been slowly moving our timetable to re-establish “nuclear survival” as one aspect of exurban survival here in the East Texas Outback.

The good news about reports of China making major purchases in Hollywood?  The way of figure it, they will keep a tight rein on North Korea in order to keep them from targeting some of their newest holdings.  But if those deals go south?

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Meantime, the “other” category is getting a work-over.

The collection of N100 dust masks has been somewhat depleted.  I found that wearing one while on the riding mower has about ended sniffles and hay fever-like symptoms from mowing.

We also have left the supplies of duct tape get dangerously low.  And the sheet plastic has been used for various non-nuclear tasks.

The main idea is that even if you life outside of the blast effects from the primary attack (should it ever come), you would still need a place in your home to set up filtered air (positive pressure ventilation) have some way to change the air, and seal up gaps and around windows with plastic and duct tape.\

We have something of an advantage with the big solar array here, but we don’t (presently) have a single 110VAC or 24VDC fan that we could trust our lives to, should it come to that.

The kind of fan that works best is likely the “squirrel cage” type.  We use those a lot in ham radio for pressurized cooling of the final amplifier tubes.  But those don’t more enough air.

And investigation of various bathroom fans is in order, but most of the models I’m familiar with all use blades, not the cage, so while they move air (good) they don’t deal with pressure well (bad).  Ideally, from what I’ve read, you want something that will produce about half a pound per square foot in your fallout room.

Next problem is that the room’s input air has to be filtered down to N100 levels, so now we’re talking about more than the average furnace filter.  Our research on this kind of detail may seem trivial now, but should things “light up” in either Syria or North Korea, then…who knows?

Food stocks are about to be updated here, too.

As long-term readers know, we moved to the Outback in 2003 expecting the world to go to hell in a handbasket.

We have not been disappointed, except that the resolution of unsustainable economics and forced-consumption marketing has taken longer than it did getting into the last Depression.

There are lots of markers, of course.  And it could be that the North Korea “problem” will indeed turn into an analog to the smaller wars of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

It is, however, unlikely that the key players of WW II (like Mussolini’s Ethiopian campaign) will reveal who the New Axis powers till include, although my consigliere seems to think not.

From 2004  to present is a fair stretch, so it’s time to update a lot of MRE’s and stored dried goods.  The rice still takes great, as does the flour and oats.  Freeze-dried meals are fine, too, but it is time to look at rotation.

My buddy Gaye over at has a much less EotW (end of the world) way of prepping.  She (and survival hubby) are disciplined canned (and other) goods rotaters.  Fresh cans to the back…

Elaine’s that way, too, but we have mostly a lack of cupboard space in the house.  This, and the fact the kitchen cupboards are mostly higher-density MDF products.

This gets me on to the question of whether putting in new (talk to the cabinet shop our by Buffalo, TX) or build my own would be the best route.

The cabinet shop pluses?  Fast, on budget, great quality, no brainer.

The minuses?  Costs more than building my own and it’s almost a 30-mile drive out to pick them up.  Probably 4 to 6 trips worth in the pickup.

The do it yourself angle has some pluses:  It is the cheapest.  I could use ALL of my power tools (like the biscuit joiner, right?) and I could buy a few more Irwin “squeeze clamps” that I dearly love.

The downside of DIY is the time involved.  And to some degree, the pain. A week of chlorzoxazone for the back has cleared up 90% of my back pain, but tossing around sheets of plywood might…er…not be so bright.

Elaine did (finally!) find some tile she wants for the counters (4″ squares, gloss black) which will be good and it pencils out to $2.80 a square foot and I enjoy using the tile wet-saw.

Thing is, if we keep on dialing in this house (as we are getting ready to put it on the market) whether we would still want to move.

We sat out in the 180 (degree view) Room as the afternoon rains were watering the garden and lawn for us and the nature of this place was amazing.

As I got up this morning at 5, Elaine whispered “Tell me again…why are we moving?”

“Something less than a 30 minute medical emergency response time and getting Chinese or pizza delivered, for a change mostly….”

But otherwise, the City (whichever it is) becomes a trade-off.  The much higher property taxes, to the tune of $200 per month more, are mostly offset by not needing a second phone line for dedicated data searches with Nostracodeus, and a high speed satellite backup system, which comes to just about the same as the property tax delta.


Next Tuesday, the real estate expert will be by and tell us what the place would likely sell for if we do move.  It the “magic number” comes in around $200K then we won’t be going anywhere.  But if it comes in at or above the County’s “ag value” for the place ($325K) and we would net around $300K, then yeah, the move it on.

Meanwhile, the rains here in the spring result in a minimum of actual garden work.  That is, if you don’t count the U-hoe for weeds and the rake.  Oilman2 suggested we should mulch the hell out of everything – a fine idea.

But the downside is time.  Big time on the front-end, or the same (or slightly more) parceled out over a good spell.

Judging by the looks of things, we’re now about 5-weeks from the first “garden fresh” of the year, which we really look forward to.

I promise not to ramble on about life in the Outback all the time, but the summer is shaping up to be a not-so-nice period and while there are risks attendant to “living apart” we trust enemy target planners will not have been so offended as to send us a flashing ‘house warming” gift down the road.

Still, even it they don’t, there is always the matter of “how good it their aim?”  Not so good as an East Texas hunter, I’m sure of it.

Safest country and city I can think of?  Vancouver, B.C. which has a huge Chinese population.

There I go…tripping…  better slug down some more coffee and focus on where we can make money till the skies light up…

Write when you get rich,

29 thoughts on “Coping: Bombing Around the Ranch”

  1. George,

    To add positive pressure to any structure what you need is a hepa negative air machine.

    These are standardly used in asbestos abatement to create negative pressure inside an asbestos containment during abatement activities. To create positive pressure you simply turn the machine around and let it vent into your structure. Create a covering with plastic sheeting and a piece of plywood in a door or window and seal the intake side of the machine to it facing outwards (like a window a/c unit). The machine pulls outside air in, through the hepa filters and into your structure. One machine will easily create all the positive pressure you’d want in a normal residential structure. The filters are easily changed and are cheap. With two machines you could keep one running while the other was down for maintenance and never lose pressure.


  2. A fine example of optimizing decisions in a country where there are no really good decisions to be made. Reminds me of the Japanese guy who fled the city of Hiroshima after the bomb dropped and went to Nagasaki.

    There is a cartoon of a man in rags leaping out of the urban rubble of a nuclear holocaust shouting, “we won, we won!” It is nowhere to be found on the Internet for some strange reason.

    As they told us in the army school for training CBR instructors, that plastic and duct tape thing really doesn’t work, but it does increase the comfort level of those prepared to do it.

    That’s how it looks from Ecuador.

  3. re: “where we can make money till the skies light up…” I can’t believe this is the same person writing about nuclear war and its aftermath. So intelligent, and yet?! Do we still have the neutron bomb, or has that been ‘outlawed’ too? (Sometimes I feel that we should nuke ourselves off this planet to give other species a chance to take over). It is just sad to me that we allow ‘nuclear war talk’ to enter our consciousness.

  4. Your Fans and filters are at the local MMJ grow store.
    Why would you Move? if no flash in a few years Drone Ambulances will be available. (along with Chinese take out) If there is an EMP or flash you are sitting pretty. Your health seems to be good and if you concentrate on labor saving devices and such I bet you can hang out there into your late 70’s or so.

  5. you need to check Grainger for industrial belt driven blowers… we use these in our ECU’s to produce a positive flow cooling system in our simulators…. they can be a bit pricy though depending on how much area you’d want to pressurize

  6. George;
    If you were in heaven I think you would be looking for a place to move that’s better. Lots of luck

  7. I lived fairly close to the Mt. St Helens eruption in 1980. Lots of ash and fine dust floating about for a summer. The engine rebuild shops put up clean rooms out of plastic and 2X4’s in their shops. Had sqquirrel cage blowers sucking thru furnace filters for air supply. Also see; for more ideas on ventilation.

  8. I was in high school during the Cuban missile crisis. My thoughts then are the same today. If nuclear war is going to happen, I want to be at ground zero with no chance of survival. Especially at my age, why would a sane person want to deal with the aftermath? Read ‘Alas, Babylon’ again and understand why.

  9. George,
    Forgive me if this is a pretty ignorant question, but couldn’t you just stack several good furnace filters together to beef up the overall effectiveness? Example: when you use three coffee filters instead of only one it can take three days to drip out a full cup of brew – if the filters don’t absorb it all! But: As good as it is, I don’t think the charcoal filtering system in my growtent would do diddly squat.

    It’s really sobering to think I may have to actually use those Potassium Iodide tabs I bought last year as a joke. Decidedly NOT so funny today! Neither is the prospect of digging out the Russian language course that’s been gathering dust for years.

    My personal new prep is to start cranking out a variety of Jerkies. Normally a [non-nuclear] winter project it just seems prudent, especially since I can get Sirloin for only $2.99/lb right now! I’ve never tried to rehydrate Jerky for use in a soup/stew but may give that a shot, too.

      • Nice idea George, but who has a spare 10-Grand to spend on one? I sure don’t, which is why I still use my old NESCO dehydrator that still works just fine after 15 years of use.

        Wise preppers learn to use what they have instead of wasting money on a new gadget, right?

        My last new toy was a stainless-still distiller; I figure that WTSHTF [and the meds run out] people will want to get high and/or drunk – and, I’ve got both commodities covered!

  10. Treat that RE person as you would a Rattlesnake. They’re famous for “locking the listing” by puffing up the “ask” price, then the 1st piece of advice they’ll offer is to “lower” the ask when it doesn’t sell in 6 months. Ask for a list of the 10 actions the agent will take to sell your property over and above putting it in the MLS (because that’s ALL most do, and in your outback a “open house” is liable to draw horseflies).
    And if you really want to sell it quick, plant a St.Joseph statue upside down in whatever passes for the “front” yard. I did it on advice of a super-duper RE agent back 20 years ago and after no action in 3 months, I had a buyer in 2 weeks post “planting”.

  11. George, every car/van/truck/etc., has a squirrel cage blower. They should be dirt cheap at your local pull-n-pay, and if you don’t want to do the work, put an ad on Craigslist for such things. They are 12v, of course, but that should be simple enough to adapt with your electronics knowledge. 24vdc MIGHT be available on larger OTR trucks or other equipment, but pricier.

  12. Ditto to MAJ-13 on the HEPA filter machine! That’s the setup we use in the hospital clean room for sterile IV preparations.
    I’d like to remind you and your readers that Doxycycline and Tetracycline (prescription antibiotics) give a temporary protective effect against radiation damage at the cellular level. The worst of the radioisotopes will burn themselves out in a week or two, SO for that time period, try to get a tetracycline antibiotic Rx, in advance. When you get it at the pharmacy, ask them to leave the dryer-pack in the bottle–prolongs shelf life. When you get it home, store it in the freezer. Best of luck to all of us! Hope we will not need to put these preps to the test…

  13. Hello, George,
    Common source of high-volume squirrel-cage type fans: household furnaces and ‘swamp coolers’. Shouldn’t be too hard to fabricate an enclosure, if needed. BTW, let’s not forget the iodine tabs.


  14. Sorry, been busy.

    Re: Doxycycline/Tetracycline – try looking for animal antibiotics online or just do a search for Fishmox and you’ll find several places that sell all kinds of antibiotics at – somewhat – affordable prices without prescription. These are produced often by the exact same companies that make human antibiotics and under the same clean conditions, in other words, no difference other than price and no “middle man” like your doc. I’d heard that some kind of legislation was supposed to go into effect January 1 of this year that cut this out but they still advertise these drugs online. Amazon even carries some of them!

    Also, for dry pills and tablets, do not for a second believe the “Use By” dates on anything other than Rx’s in some kind of wet suspension. I’ve used plain, dry penicillin tablets from old Civil Defense canisters that said they expired in 1968 or 9 when I acquired them in the 80s for sinus infections I got on a fairly regular basis. They kept me out of the doc’s office for a decade at least.

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