A quiet Sunday around the ranch:  Working on the ongoing list of projects so that as we sink deeper into Economic Depression, we will be as best prepared – as much as anyone can be – for such events.  3-million cases this week, over 200,000 dead.

One of the reasons I have maintained a “bug-out” destination is a certain “knowingness” that has haunted me for a lifetime.  First, it was a gentle plan to remain married (to the long-ago and before Elaine) and simply add a large sailboat to the family.  When that plan blew-up in the late 1980’s, I moved onto the planned “bug-out platform” anyway.  Where, after 10+ years of adventuring, not only did I do a lot of self-healing, but also fell in love again.

Now, 20-years-on, bunny Elaine and I have a little savings (though never enough, right?) and no bills.  We have enough T..P. for a few more weeks, too.

But how are we fixed if “Back to Work” doesn’t play out as hyped?  What IF things get dicey and sleazy this summer, or next winter?  What if I am too spectacularly right on supply chain collapse impacts?  Trade scuffles will China can turn to full-on economic warfare, and in which case, resilience and the tools to rebuild America are going to be incredibly important.

After a Garden:  Weather Preps

This here, Urban, one of the first websites to advise people – in February – to get the gardens in because food supplies could become unstable, along with the rest of the supply chain getting wonky.  Well, guess what?

Now, we have to continue down that planning direction because what comes as a consequence of CV-19 could be EMP, attacks on the Internet, or enough illness that power could become questionable.  Trade war turing to war on the dollar…none of which would be pretty.

What happens after any of these things is predictable, yet few entertain such logic; calling people like us daft.  Cold and realistic as it is:  Four things are likely:

  • Water supplies could become more questionable.  Sure, sure…we all have water now, but what happens when the power goes off?  There are pumps, electronic valves, and elevation of great weights of water to make a municipal (or rural) water supply “work.”
  • Food supplies will wobble.  Hell, they already are!  A check of Google’s newsfeed reader shows tons of results for “food shortages.”  It’s sobering to consider.  However, as you may infer, stories that include the phrase “fact-check” in their headlines most often get it wrong.  Be solely guided by whether you can buy local meat, pork, chicken, and seafood.  A lot of “fact-checking” is BS with frosting on it…never worth the time to read as it belies an agenda.
  • Hot Weather Kills:  If there is a real hot spell that comes along this year, in addition to bawling idiots screaming “Climate Change!” as they hit you up for money (not understanding climate has changed for half a billion years), there will be the real risk of heat stroke or exhaustion.
  • Cold Weather Kills, Too:  Not too much of an issue in this part of Texas, although we got down to 14-above last year.  But in areas of the Midwest and the East, where “lake effect snow” is the weather jargon du jure, winter requires a certain amount of preps.

Fine, but what can the Average Joe, or Jane, do about it?

Obviously I can’t speak to your plans, but this weekend, I’m going through all of these items (again) and working on each in turn.

Everything Requires Work

While the ruling paradigm of UrbanSurvival has been – for more than 22-years now – the idea that Everything’s a Business Model (EBM) all business models involve at least a little bit of work.  So?  The trick is to get as much “business done” with the least amount of work possible.

As Elaine calls it:  “Leverage.

This weekend – like most – I spend some time putting some “leverage” to the likely future problem sets.  Take Saturday, for example:

  • We added to our  Water Supplies:  A coupe of additional “blue barrels” (55-gallons each) showed up 10-days back.  So that meant a “shock treatment” with strong plain bleach, and then adding another 110-gallons to the on-hand supplies.  Also appearing?  Two more food-safe water pumps for thge barrels – of which we’re up to six.  May not  seem like much water, but 330 gallons will last two people a couple of months.  In “get-down” survival mode, 2-gallons per-day, per-person works.  So long as you remember the fluid off the 3-dozen cans of green peas, or the equal amount of canned corn, can be use for a lot of the cooking fluids, in a pinch.  And that’s before we go to to our well…
  • Food Supplies:  The plants in the greenhouse are coming along fine, thanks.  The most useful paperwork this week was to research “container gardening” websites and make up a couple of laminated cards.  Shows what size containers to use for what type of veggies.  Meantime, Elaine’s new electric pottery wheel is here and the supply of  Sculpey III awaits.  If you’re not familiar, there is a “throwing clay” that’s called “hybrid” because it doesn’t fire like most ceramics (white cone and such).  Instead, it’s a clay-polymer mix that she can “throw” – allow to dry a bit – and then “cure” in the oven at 275-degrees.  Something like 15-minutes for each quarter-inch of thickness.  Point is, while  Sculpey ain’t cheap, but it will let us make locally the correct one, three, and five-gallon containers (white for less heat absorption in summer) for the greenhouse.  ‘Zat cool, or what?
  • Planning for Heat:  A 16-inch attic fan is going into the shop/office area today.  It comes with variable speed and a thermostate and wiill move the air fast-enough to keep most of the shop right in the 76-81 degree range over most of the summer’s heat.  Couple this with our “swamp cooler” – which is gettting actual luan plywood ducting this week to repair the cardboard and packing tape lash-up from last year – and we will have enough “cool space” so that even IF power were to fail, we wouldn’t be driven either underground or to what ya’ll call  civiliation.  Power box for the swamp cooler is on tap, too, so I won’t have that damn extension cord again this year…
  • Cold Weather Planning:  This one involves a glass of bubbly and the two of us clicking madly online. Buying-ahead on winter clothing.  My usual summer attire is a short-sleeve white shirt and well-worn kakhi pants.  A pair of  Sketcher tennis shoes.  Not the right gear for winter.  Jeans or Cartharts, heavier footware. assorted sweaters, more and thicker socks. Cammo may become useful.  And lots of windblock Polartec-like layers. Can’t ignore the house. so digging out the uninstalled wood stove and making plans for the “heating lean-too” – which is the back-up to the 400-gallons of propane and the ventless 15,000 BTU gas heater…

Seems to me Americans have become pretty “soft.”  They live in air conditioned homes, get in air conditioned cars, and – until recently – went to air conditioned offices.

If you click over to the World Life Expectancy Map, here, you’ll find something rather remarkable:  One of the countries with the highest average life expectancies is Canada with 82.4 years of age.  My older sister, and chief  Nostracodus programmer Grady, are life placement geniuses.

While I totally “get” why some number of our readers have moved to places like Ecuador, where the average life expectancy is 77, leaving a country like the USA (78.9-years and that’s before the “let’s make ventilators festival”) somehow just didn’t seem…well…you know….

Around the Ranch

With the clock just passing 6 AM, the sky’s already lightening.  New keyboard needs to be ordered today.  On my mechanical keyboard this morning because the trusty Logitech wireless/back-lit bit-it somewhere two books and a million words into its life.  We wonder how long the replacement will take?  Should be here in a few days. though the USPS and FedEX and UPS drivers who sustain Life these days, assure me they are as busy now as they were at Christmas.

Saw This?

Got to show off my “bargain table saw” – picked up on eBay for about $100-bucks, or so:  Mid-70s vintage Sears, aluminum table, 8″ direct-drive.  Did a little restoring along the way.

Of course, you can see there is a larger saw (10″) in the background.  So why spend $100-bucks on a “back-up” table saw, Ure wondering?

This saw’s main goal in life is to hold a 3/4-inch dado blade set-up. 

For those who have never worked in a shop geared toward through-put (it’s a mental disease), you can change saw blades on a typical project 10-12 times…and setting up the dado blades (blades that cut a 3/4″ (of 1/2″ or whatever width) and a 1/2″ deep, or more… a blade change is about 5-minutes.  Fiddle with the zero-clearance insert to get that right…

Steps cost time: Stop saw, unplug saw, remove blade guard insert, loosen arbor nut, change blades making sure the center dado blades are set right relative to each other – then reapply and tighten arbor nut and now, where’s the dado blade guard….Then you have to make adjustments for depth, and so forth.

Five minutes each and 12-blade changes is an hour of monkey-motion.  10-projects and 10-hours.  And so what’s Ure time worth?  My pressure point is $10 an hour.

Yeah, I know…shaper or router would work, too.  But now, instead of having the shaper with it’s usual 1/4″ round-over bit ready to rock, now we’re into the job of resetting the shaper bit height and it’s really best for edge-wise work, anyway.

“What about the router option?”  For you maybe.  But the set-up on a router-dado is way more complicated (which means  time and more to go wrong and waste wood).  Besides, on many woods, there’s more tear-out with router dados.  Which you can avoid by putting down a wide line of tape, but then you get gunk on the router blade and that means cleaning and that means?  Time.

What I’m after in the dream shop is a kind of “personal assembly line.”  Big (12″) compound miter saw for long stock, big table saw for large sheets of ply or board-stock.  Planer as needed for thickness and the jointer for straightness of glue-ups.

Four quick passes on the small dado table saw builds a tenon.  And then, a quick march over to the mortising machine…Now you’re talking real wood-project pleasure not to mention the bonus of something other than red-necked joinery.

Which gets us to another project today:

See the boxed area?  That’s where the attic fan will be installed – and that means ladder work, cutting sheet exterior ply, paint, caulk, and say…did I mention the wiring?  Might as well toss some cable staples on the old (original) wiring…the yellow romex I put in, you’ll notice, was properly stapled (and yes, within 6-inches of the boxes, of course!).

One other project that MAY happen today:  I picked up some old cast iron “table wings” off an old table saw on eBay.  Was like $40-bucks.  The plan is to take the shaper (small, cheap, Harbor Fright unit, 1/2″ collet) and weld-on the larger wings which will mean more stability of the work.  (Now, if the guy doing the work were more stable…)

So that’s the workplan here today.  A “1/2 hour quicky” will be getting the blown-up mower parts ordered from www.jackssmallengines.com which is a godsend to anyone with outdoor power equipment.

See all the fun you’re missing by living in one of them in-city People Coops?  Our here, the battle isn’t to impress anyone…it’s too bend nature to your liking and have fun actually doing some of those dreams in Ure head.

Lost in the occult studies is the notion that the real “work of a Magician” is to take a “thought-form” – something you want in the outer/nominal/real world – and work it past the “seven veils” that keep most people from realizing their creative thought forms.

Something to think about if you’re not into making and doing.  OR, something  not to think deeply on while on a ladder

Write when you get some projects done.  Time to re-bean and roll…