Coping: Whether Winter?

Our long-time reader Ray H is getting a bit concerned about the lack of “real” Fall just yet and he wonders just what the heck is going on in the upper Midwest…

First up, saw in the local paper that this weekend will mark the annual pilgrimage of nature lovers, to the Brown County (Indiana) State Park. Brown County comprises several thousand acres of old-growth deciduous trees, and proffers an explosion of concentrated natural color when the trees begin to feel the onset of winter. My experience has been that the colors come out in-force, in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, the first week of October, the southern portions of these States, plus Iowa, the northern half of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio (and points east) during the second week, and the southern parts of these, the third, hence the attraction toward Brown County, which is in Southern Indiana.

This writeup was fresh in my mind last night when I stepped-out to sniff the air, and noticed that my trees were still green and leaves had not yet begun to drop. I’m really preoccupied, trying to build a shed and rebuild two rooms before the snow flies, so I guess I just didn’t notice that which was right under (over?) my nose. Point is: This is indescribably odd! Odd enough that I’ll probably fire off E-Mails tomorrow to a couple of well-known meteorologists with whom I’m acquainted. In 50 years of weather-watching, I’ve only twice seen any quantity of leaves on a maple or oak after November 1st, and then, not very many.

Normally, the leaves here are brown, or red-or-yellow fading to brown, and about 60% off the trees, by October 20th. If anything, temps have been cooler than normal since mid-July, and nights have been in the 30s for the past week — had our first hard frost in September so, if anything, the color should have come early and the trees, be pretty much denuded by now. Ain’t happenin’ and I don’t know why.

Several of the more-notable meteorologists have commented the patterns are weird, with two saying the last time they saw these patterns was 1977. I made a lot of money shoveling snow after the blizzards of ’78 and ’79, but that was then, and I have no desire to shovel multi-foot snowfalls at my age — just sayin’…

Fall hasn’t been completely benign, with nearly 80,000 cattle frozen to death in that early storm through South Dakota two weeks ago.  But Ray may be onto something – weather has a way of averaging out, so extra cold on the back-end of winter might be the offset to a bit warmish on the front end.

The Old George’s Almanac

…has a couple of additional notes this week:  One of which is to call out the sto4ry on WMBF about how the “Mild hurricane season has many possible causes” although the front-runner around the ranch seems to be the distinct lack of sunspots, which in turn may indicate a LOT less energy coming in from the Sun.

I’m not saying that hurricanes are all heat-driven, but certainly the lack of hurricanes MIGHT correspond to bad winters, which gets us to our:

Reader Homework Assignment:  List the 20 most mild hurricane seasons, then match that up to the 20-coldest winters in the period spanned and report your analysis.  Paper’s due by tomorrow morning 5 AM Central time…

Environmental Decline

Here’s one that may impact your prepping plans, especially if you think that as a prepper there’ll be a full country with wild game just larging about the taking in the wake of the meltdown of the economic system sometime off in the sci-fi future.  Consider, says reader Randy…”Moose die-off is massive, and a mystery to scientists.”

Crappy Beef

Speaking of carnivorous items, Elaine and I have noticed a rather disgusting trend in local grocery stores.  It has become next-to-impossible to find a good steak.  While some are OK (just barely) we’ve noticed that the USDA grade stamped on packages has gone something like this:

5-years ago:  Choice was widely available

2-years ago:  Big change as “Select” grade came in

Now:  No grade at all, but judging by the taste and toughness?  Tastes like Utility grade beef to me and we’re complaining about the crap quality – not that anyone will pay attention.

Waters Rights Warm Up

From the folks who brought you corporate agriculture and locking up of third world water resources, looks like water rights are going to be a big deal in Texas politics.   Already, friends are sending me notes about Eric Opiela, who’s running for State Ag Director about the dangers to landowners of governmental grabs around water rights.

One other thing – picked up from Opiela’s blog, is that the recent rash of oil exploration is trashing the lightly paved farm-to-market roads so badly in some areas, that the state is going back to gravel…

The Movie IS the Message

As you’re noticing the mess in Fukushima, which just keeps getting worse, reports, consider this from an anonymous reader:

This movie titled Dreams from 1990 is rather spooky in how it more or less correctly portrayed Fukushima, 21 years before it happened.

Mount Fuji in Red

A large nuclear power plant near Mount Fuji has begun to melt down; its six reactors explode one by one. The breaches fill the sky with hellish red fumes and send millions of Japanese citizens fleeing in terror towards the ocean. After an unspecified amount of time, two men, a woman, and her two small children are seen alone, left behind on land in broad daylight. Behind them is the sea. The older man, who is dressed in a business suit, explains to the younger man that the rest have drowned themselves in the ocean. He then says that the several colours of the clouds billowing across the now rubbish-strewn, post-apocalyptic landscape signify different radioactive isotopes; according to him, red signifies plutonium-239, a tenth of a microgram of which is enough to cause cancer. He elaborates on how other released isotopes cause leukemia (strontium-90) and birth defects (cesium-137) before wondering at the foolish futility of colour-coding radioactive gases of such lethality.

While you’re there, go on and read about The Weeping Demon, too, suggests out movie-aware reader.

Oh, and along the same  lines, “The ocean is broken” has a nice Revelations kind of (third of the oceans bittered) ring to it.  Reader JM reminds us that the West Coast Sardine population in collapsing – so there will go the salmon which feed on them…

And one of the consequences?  Young people in Japan has stopped have sex, reports the UK Guardian over here.  Say, you don’t think it has anything to do with living in a polluted, poisoned, F/U’ed country with a fading ghost of a future, do you?

OK, How About Message in the Money, Then?

This from a reader about those new Hundred Dollar Bills – and do they have some kind of predictive value…

got a few minutes?  listen to someone who claims to have “decrypted” the new 100 bill.

and just remember, the ptb always tip their hand and leave clues to whats coming…but like a mystery, you must find them and their not easy to find.

so, not saying this means anything…not sayin’ that it doesnt either…jsut sayin’….
take a look and see for yourself.

The only prediction I can safely make about the hundreds is that they’ll soon be spent, lol.

Lunar as in Loony?

As far as we know, everyone who showed up at the Thompson Park Vortex in New York Friday survived.

Burning Fritos

After going through a cup or two of Scoops, some cheese, and a beverage on the front porch Sunday, I thought we should mention that hawk-eyed reader Jeff doesn’t think much of using Fritos (and whatever) as a fire starter…

Hey George,
Regarding the below in your blog today:
I read this with interest:
this case, each bag has at least two of these plastic bottles: one holds dryer lint soaked in paraffin (an amazing amount compressed into the bottle) and the other holds fritos (slightly broken to fill the bottle). To an outdoors person, it is probably obvious that these items are firestarters. With the addition of a few BIC lighters, and of course, a backup magnesium spark lighter, these tinder sources will enable the starting of a fire, even in a rain. The fritos have a large amount of burnable oil saturation and when mixed with the dryer lint with paraffin, and coupled with a few bits of magnesium, will respond quickly to a spark. I hope some of your readers will find this useful, so please pass along.

Keep up the good work, George…

I have some comments, Sir. First the dryer lint and parafin don’t work as well for me as a simple cotton ball either with or best, without parafin. Dryer lint unless 100% cotton can burn badly and produce toxic fumes. Use loads of cotton jeans and socks only. Cotton charcloth made from old bluejeans and a little time work even better than lighters because they catch sparks and can be used with lenses or magnifying glasses.An ideal starter which I have used a lot and passed on to lots of others with good report is cotton sash cord or similarly sized cotton rope dipped in molten parafin or leftover candles even the scented ones. A one inch piece burns for about 5 minutes and you can stuff 10’s of them in a simple bottle. The frito’s burn but unless I was carrying them for other reasons, I would stick to the above described rope starters. 
Here is the original source I used to make them:


Backwoods Home gets high marks and is a fine resource for preppers.  It’s the kind of thing that will still be around after the power goes off, too…If you what a whole anthology of past issues (CD) and a two year subscription, it’ll run you $300-bucks over here…but it will give you tons of ideas while you’re waiting for economic collapse, zombie invasions, global coastal events, or whatever sends you to dust-bunny country.

Your Car as Free Advertising

Since my son has a new car, and while he’s waiting for his ham radio plates (Washington makes them up free) here’s something to think about from reader Mike D:

Ever just sit in traffic, looking at the rear bumper of a car ahead of you.  John Doe’s Ford Dealership 1-800 xxx-xxx.  Every car has them.  Either a license plate frame or a decal on the rear panel.  Sometimes both.

About five years ago I asked myself does the dealership pay me anything for advertising for them the average 5-7 years I own my car?  Nope.

Then why does anyone allow this to happen?  Answer is – well it came with the car and surely we can’t uninstall this.  Or maybe they just accept this as part of life.

Me, I remove the license plate frame and get a new one (ARES for my truck).  The ones that are on the painted portion of the car are just vinyl stickers that come off with a finger nail and some pressure.  Until I start getting a check in the mail on an annual basis, no more free advertising.


Yep, I’m a purist about such things myself.  We don’t have only one sticker on our car, which is our AOPA sticker.  That’s it.  No advertising on license plate frames…we won’t have any of that crap.

When I checked with G2, the only stick he will have on  his car will be the “sanctioned/real” EMT sticker and maybe his US Parachute Association sticker.  Since he’s single, that makes sense.  But dealer stickers?  Hell no, they go…

Shorter Columns?

I’ve decided not to write such a “daily book” after Friday’s (longish) article.  As one reader put it…

Don’t need it every day but enjoyed this article today.  Thanks  Joe

Yeah, that was fun, but like astute reader Dennis opined:

George –

I think I’m too lazy to learn Spanish but my main concern about leaving the country is why should we trust any other gov’t more than we trust our own?

I have to think that gringos are easy targets in any foreign country.

Unfortunately, that list of foreign countries now includes the USA….

So time to snug-up the blindfold, have a cigarette, and march off to the Great Wall of Monday and listen for clicks… More tomorrow (and just kidding about the ciggie, but not about the Great Wall of Monday).

Tuesday at the WuJo tomorrow, too….got a dandy/whopper of a personal time warp report…

Write when you break even…

George    george@ure.nbet