Depression Business Plans III

I don’t want you to be a victim of circumstances.  To get there, you need to learn to see the world differently. Mold it to you instead of the other way around. Cast-off the chains of group-think.  Smart School is now in session…

We have done a couple of articles on how to set up a “minimal survival” plan for yourself. 

One track might be to accumulate a small tool collection and then oen a bike shop, or even a small general fix-it shop as a Depression (or hard web down) comes along and settles in.

Today, there are several topics to consider:  Knock-down and stabilization plans, Small and self-propelled businesses, and the future of dispersed manufacturing.  Roll up your mental sleeves…

Knock-down Plans

If you’re still in a big city, you may still be able to find an “exit plan” for yourself by hitting and applying for jobs in smaller towns.  Particularly those over 100-miles, or more, from the next large town of a million.

The reason?  While you won’t get as much direct income from such a move, you will get some “intangibles” that may – as you “redenominate your life in values, not bank statements  – become tangible, at some point.

In return for a lesser home, fewer consumer choices, and definitely a more independent-minded bunch of neighbors, you might also find small towns offer:

  • Lower food costs because sometimes you can buy from farmers-direct.  Or, you can grow your own food.  Want to bet on what’s healthier?
  • Lower taxes because run-away spending on public employees (see Illinois for examples) won’t pose the threat of imminent bankruptcy.
  • A much shorter commute.
  • Less status consciousness – a 10-year old car is fashionable in the American Outback of flyover country.
  • No air pollution compared to cities
  • And a lot less “social life.”

In a virus-impacted world, a lot of these may  seem pretty damn desirable.

The real problem for most people is they are conditioned to insanely broad consumer choices. As a consequence, they have a hard time imaging “going without” because, well, they have  had to before.

Repeat after me:  Brands are mostly scams.

The lifestyle out here in the woods is different, than the Big City, no question.

We tend to buy simple foods and eat a diet of veggies, meats, and a starch of some kind.  Hardly ever will we eat a dessert.  Reason?  Sugar will kill you. The arrival of sugar is a fairly recent event in human history.  Whole Millenia went by without people eating anything but the basics.  Fruit?  Maybe in summer or as homemade jelly with parafin sealing wax on top…

In the city, people “go out to eat” and, amazingly, most folks have no idea what is in food bought away from home.  You have no idea whether something is genuinely organic, or not.  Labels are great, and honestly in today’s world is in short supply, as well.

Our only expolsure to canola is when we travel, too.  Seeing how this works?

Oh!  You won’t live in the same kind of “posh” home you’re used to:  I know people in thousand-square foot marvels of high tech.  But, considering you might actually own a small mobile home on a few good acres of land some day, it doesn’t seem an especially big sacrifice.

During the Great Depression, a lot of families, including the Ure clan, made it through “America’s Hungry Time” by having one hell of a big garden (about 60-by-80 feet) and caring for it with a huge amount of love and attention.  Things you’re putting into the disposal right now would have been treasures used make some of the finest soil amendments possible.

One member of the family, usually dad because he had skills that were in-demand, would work out of the home.  Mom was the “home maker.”

Social narrative BS breaker here: It was not an insult nor was it sexist.  It was the way stuff really was.  Sexism is a shameful financialization by dividing people, selling misconstrued notions of what life was like in Hard Times.  Partners – down at the soul-level… Why, Moms and Dads were by God teams and they treated each other with respect.  Which is why everything was shared.   (“Which one of us should spank George Alex this time?” I remember the folks discussing…That, dear reader is quintessential equality!)

Wouldn’t you know it?  As a consequence of such living as teams, lots of ‘grand parents’ were marred 50-years and longer. Yet another chapter on living in a disposable world, is it not?  The sad chapter on Disposable Humans.

Home wreckers on social media, don’t bother to mention this critical aspect of the “Home Teams” that kept America going in a Hungry Depression and a Terrible World War.  But, don’t get me started.  Just know everything is a business model.  It’s the dirtiest secrets of liberalism.  If you get something, some lazy prick will want it and take it, if you blink.

You see where cities are legalizing shoplifting now?  ISYN – no reason to have a business in one of those crooked cities. Mobs will be along shortly.  Lackadaisical cops and commies at the courthouse; though you’re not supposed to notice.  End was coming anyway.

Another Self-Propelled Business

On a little more practical (and cheerier) note: In the past we kicked around the Bike Shop idea, as well as a general Fix-It shop.  Today, I have another low-overhead idea to offer.

Starting a furniture and upholstery business.

To do this, you’ll want to read a couple of books, first.  On the woodworking side, Complete Idiot’s Guide to Woodworking is easy-enough.  For the upholstery?  This is a more serious undertaking so a good flow-oriented book like Professional Upholstering: All the Trade Secrets would be recommended.

As long as you are book-shopping, toss in Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre while you’re at it.

Why These Books

Since the invention of computers, societies around the world have been rolling more and more into the “intellectual content” model of life.  Yes, that’s right:  We have become a society full of deep thinkers but the “doing?”  Left to outfits like (name any company in China) and their U.S. importing arm.

It was long-held, even when I was a boy (early 1950’s) that it would be nice if we kids went on to college.  BUT, we were also taught that we needed to always  have a fallback plan.

In a world where consumption is level (or worse, declining) the idea of corporate  growth will disappear.  With it, stands a kind of re-organizational period for the entire planet. Could be violent – so cities will be risky places.  More on this topic of resource depletion and the rest, is in  my next book The 100-Years Toaster.  Still editing.

But, the point is, one upshot of global pandemic(s) (Ebola is still lurking, too, don’t forget) is that  people making things, locally could again become a very big deal.

The whole middle of America is ripe for this kind of rethinking.  Prices for single family homes in the rural Midwest and South provide the prospects of working your ass off for 10-years, but then settling down into a really good life.

Small towns usually have generally similar trades as bigger Cities.  If you want to perform an “opportunity sort” just take a big phone book (Seattle, or Dallas, for example) and then the local small town phone book where you’re considering relocation.

Head for the Yellow Pages part.  Now, start with the big city book and what’s the first listing?  Open the small-town book and see if there is such a business in a small town you are looking at.  If not, that’s the first “opportunity list” candidate.

When you’ve got the list done (it will be large) sort out which ones you could do (step 1) and then which one makes the most money (step 2).  There it is:  Golden opportunity with two easy sorts.

One of our long-time readers, known as the  Millennial Caller lives in about the closest thing to a perfect town I can think of:  Grand Junction, CO.  Small enough to be highly affordable and yet almost big enough to need  one of everything that can be found in Denver up over across the Rockies to the east.

Let’s say that you find such a place.  Rates are low so you buy a big lot with a cheap home.  Maybe it’s a double-wide…ours has been a ton of fun.  Hopefully, it has a 2-4 car detached garage.  There’s where your new business can live.

Toss in a high roof (*sheetrock and insulation) a stove of some kind, and a few basic woodworking tools fished on Craigslist on the cheap.  Now, apply the first book.

Begin to turn out a few basic pieces of furniture. Tune up your own home.  Spouses are great critics, lol.

Maybe put up a card, or two, and offer to do some basic home remodeling.

Better, yet:  Focus on learning the woodworking skills in the aforementioned first book and give your cards out to remodelers in the area.  They tend to be “lightweight” businesses (operating out of pickup trucks, lol).  As long as you demand and never waiver from “cash on delivery” and never fall for a sob story, you can get a little bit of work and while working your “get started” jobs, you will be skill-building for the future.

Of course, you won’t be sitting on your lard butt, either.  Because when you’re not doing the woodworking business, you will be in book #3 – figuring out how to make you whole home self-sufficient.  Say you got almost a half-acre on the outskirts of town?  Perfect!

Even so, it gets cold as hell up in Colorado in the winter, so all the wood scraps turned out by your wood shop during the year?  That all becomes firewood in that big stove.  Or, you get a “barrel stove” kit and build up one of those.  You can find the kits to put one together.

Get a couple of 55-gallon drums, get to know someone with a plasma cutter (it’s gonna cost you a six-pack of your other hobby – home-brewing – to get me to cut it) and in next to no time, you’ll have heat and a source of material.

Speaking of which, if you have a pickup-truck (tell me you did, right?), with little work you can set up a wood pallet collection business on the cheap.  This means you will spend money on some gas for the truck and some labor.  But, at the end of the day, with the exception of a few long pieces of wood (think 2-by-4’s) the rest can be knocked out of pallet wood that you’ve recovered.

Used planer on C/L, anyone?

And save the cut-offs!   Fires the wood stove.

Pretty quick, word about your side-hustles will be getting around. 

Not only that, but all of your neighbors will love you, too.  Why?  Well, you’re going to find a few Dollar store 10-20 gallon garbage cans with critter-proof lids) and you’re going to pass them out to 3 or 4 big families around you.  Here’s your pitch:

Hi – I’m so-and-so and I living 2-houses down.  I’m going to be putting in an organic garden this spring and I was wondering if I give you a plastic garbage can, would you mind saving me your vegetable  leftovers and coffee grounds in it?  I will come around and collect it whenever you call and put it in my compost pile.  And, when your kids are old enough, I’ll show them how to become expert gardeners, too…

(optional) Maybe pay them a few cents a weed piece work.  You know, teach ’em about living in harmony and all that, too…”

No, this is not scamming or child labor abuse (spare me)  It’s how real ag in done.  I got paid something like 50-cents a flat for picking strawberries.  The more I worked, the more I made.  Huge lessons in there.

You will no doubt lose a couple of garbage cans (whatever, people are scammers, right?) but then you know “who’s real” around you.  If they don’t try to make it right, those are people to steer clear of…

Let’s see:  Working 35-45 hours at something “real” –  and having a wood shop going with some projects coming in, got a few items built on display in a few stores…and the organic garden soil fertilizer is basically free except for labor….See how all this comes together?

What happens next?

Well, you come up with fabric, a nail gun and stapler, a couple of hammers, some scissors and into Book #2 where you go through a number of upholstery projects.  Then get a heavy-duty sewing machine (used).

Again, there are free furniture carcasses to be had all over the place:  Just hit Craigslist keeping an eye on “Free” and get creative.  You still have that pickup truck, right?

Now comes another creative part:  When you get good at upholstery, and you’ve got a couple of chairs and sofa carcasses ready to roll, you put an ad on C/L:


We make custom recycled highest quality, genuine solid wood frame furniture.  We’re ready with several chair and sofa models just waiting for you to pick the style, firmness, and features you’d like.  Give us a call to visit our factory/showroom…”

When your cost of the frames is an hour of pick-up and stripping off old crap and getting the frames ready (reinforcing as you need to) and the costs of new foam and fabric is reasonable, selling a sofa for $300 bucks when you’ve got $125 of parts in  it might give you something like $15-bucks an hour. Depends how good you get, focus level, and so forth.

Make it sizzle, too:  A label “Recyled Furniture by (You)” on the bottom and how about a Certificate of Authenticity, too?  People are such braggarts…it’s a hell of a marketing tool so use it!

Now, you begin to organizing your business spending the most time on the things that make you the most on a per-hour basis. 

Like me, you may end up working 12-hours a day six days a week, but if two people are working 72-hours each over a six-day workweek, even at 10-bucks aqnd hour that’s $1,440 a week with very little  in the way of expenses.  Bump that average up to $15 an hour and you’re well over a Big Hunsky ($100K) per year.

The number of young couples banging down $75K (with gobs of write offs) from their efforts in small towns is not that big.  In a few years, you ought to be able to save enough money to build your own new home as you go and doing that?  OMG now you’re into real sweat equity.

Next thing you know that $70,000 big lot with the sad mobile home will sport a new how, new – larger shop – and will be a rolling concern worth a half million or more.

So much for the books part and planning part.

The Future of Manufacturing and Consumption

Finally, the main point of this morning’s long discussion.

Forget about news stories focusing on the virus impacts on the economy, AI, robotics and all that.  Keep your eye on what people are actually doing.  Make your plan and roll with it.

To me, it looks like people don’t have enough sense and gumption to keep themselves rolling at a high level of personal productivity.

Fact is, though, anyone can step-up and roll.  It just takes a certain mindset and busting out of the “victimhood” roles that politicans and crooked HR departments serve up.

You don’t have to eat the slop served to others.  You do have a right – and path if you take it –  to an independent, healthy and business life where you can really test your personal limits.

Somewhere in the process, the Biggest secret of them All comes along.

You don’t have  any Limits.

Write when you get rich,

47 thoughts on “Depression Business Plans III”

  1. Good article old man. Reminds me of the story of Harland Sanders. Who borrowed $87 and went door to door selling his chicken for a nickel 2 years after the 1929 collapse, Saved up his money and bought an old street car station opened up his first restaurant. When Duncan Hines the good critic gave his review that’s when his empire took of… ohhh lol There is that “Catch up” —> “Hines site” :)

    A couple of good job ideas I got from when I was a kid growing up in small town Alaska. My grandpa bought a splitting maul for $1.83 (in 1980) and took me out to his wood pile and pointed at it and said. You see that boy? I said yes papa. He said you know what that is? I said an Axe Papa. He said no boy, that is a money maker. I said how so papa. So he taught me how to swing it. He said Split these 2 cords of wood, you can have the Maul and I will teach ya how to make some money. So I did. Then he said The going rate around here is $15 to split a cord of wood. You do well to charge $10. I said I can make $10 chopping wood. He said yep. Just put your maul in your wagon and go house to house and ask them if they had any wood that needs cut. So I did. I saved $285 the first winter and told my Grandpa I wanted to buy one of those Hydraulic Log splitters I saw so I could split wood faster and get more customers. He was so proud that he bought a 1963 Chevy 4X4 pick up that had hit a moose and was totaled for $85, the windows were all busted out and it had a bent frame, was stuck in low 4, but it ran, He put a plow on it and hooked the heater up so that it was on full blast all the time, He brought me over to the His welding school and pointed at it. said you see that boy. I said yes papa, money maker? He said good boy. He said you can tow your log splitter behind it. He showed me a few things like checking the fluids everytime I started it, to pump the peddle three times, turn the key then pump the peddle 3 times and hold it down when it started. He taught me how to put the chains on and take them off the tires. He said going rate is $40 for a long driveway and $30 for a short one. He said, Charge $35 and $25 and $15 a cord. $50 if ya want a cord chopped, drive way plowed and your steps shoveled off. $60 I will cut a cord, shovel the snow off your roof, do your steps and plow your driveway.

    I made $1200 my first winter. That was a lot of money in 1983. I lived inbetweenj 2 different towns of about 5-8000 people. 3 cops in each town. Once and a while they would pull me over and ask me if I had any hot to drink or how things were going. Hand me a hot coco. lol. I couldn’t really go that fast being stuck in 4 wheel low. They always shook my hand and were nice even though I was 12-13 years old and driving on the road. Told me when you get 2 or 3 cars behind ya. you pull off and let everyone pass ya here. I say yes sir. They would say good boy. Carry on.

    I think back to when I was a kid and those times… and I think.. god is there any place like that left on the planet???? I doubt it…

    hmmmmmmm……. I wonder if they are gonna RFID chip everyone on the planet when they usher in the ” Coronvirus cure.” Be a perfectly good time to tag all the cattle, right before they collapse the world economy and present the One worlds currency.. then they have tag movements on all those who haven’t got it. All they would have to do is say, “You cant work or go to the store unless you have your cure because you would run the risk of infecting people with a mutated strain.” They could restrict all movement, all purchasing anything at the store and all ability to work if you don’t have “the cure”.

    kill off a billion people and thin the herd.. then capture the rest and put them under control.. IF you get chipped uhem “Vaccinated” every store register will ping your location. you only have to be about 20 feet from the door and it will ping. Those chips they put on clothes will ding within 20 feet. I know they do. I bought a hoody and they forgot to take the tag off and when I was heading to go in Walmart their scanner dinged and went off when I got about 20 feet from the door with a different stores tag on it. lol

    if you think this is the reason the stocks are collapsing??? You are sadly mistaking this is clearly the round up of anyone who would be a dissident against a regime change and paradigm shift. lol

    that is why.. I prefer the nomadic life style. lol Live rent free and not pay for food of lodging… so far I am pretty good at it. lol

    Great article Dude! Best advice is to go meet all your neighbors within a 5 house radius on each side and tell them if ya ever need an extra hand with moving any furniture of anything heavy? or any help with anything?? Im the “house color” right over yonder and I would be happy to help. After a meet and greet.. maybe invite them over for a Toddy or a coffee sometime.. :)

    • “My grandpa bought a splitting maul for $1.83 (in 1980) and took me out to his wood pile and pointed at it and said. You see that boy? I said yes papa. He said you know what that is? ”

      what is funny Andy.. my dad was a woodsman.. he cut more trees and was probably the most skilled at laying one down of anyone I have ever seen…it was his hobby.. what is even funnier is he actually took me out showed me a pile of wood to be split and said almost the same thing.. you see that boy.. you know what it is… I said.. absolutely.. that looks like a pile of wood… LOL LOL LOL…
      of course he didn’t ask the question he wanted me to see.. like does that pile look like someone namely you split that wood.. LOL LOL…

  2. In my case, I’ve decided to have a neighborhood small appliance and light electronic repair business in my garage-workshop. I’m a ham radio operator, and I have the tools, test instruments, and skills.

    1) “Cash & Carry.” No house calls to clients. (No travel on my part.)

    2) “First Echelon, Best-Effort, No guarantees of “fixability.”
    (No charge if I can’t make it work again.)

    3) Open to barter.

    4) Unlicensed, “rogue” — no town permits. In a Bad Day situation, “they” won’t have the staff or inclnation to bust my nuts over “business-at-home” regulations and Nazi HOA Krappe. They’ll all be too busy.

    5) Here is Wisdom: Many seeming electronic faults are really electro-MECHAICAL in nature, not some weird Deep Zen of component-level diagnostics. Easy to fix, more often than not. A simple “Hands-On” inspection and partial disassembly will many times reveal the problem quickly. This is probably true about other kinds of things as well.

    6) People — neighbors — will want things fixed. “New Ones” may be Unobtanium, and other, more ligit, Repair Facilities (storefronts, or dealers) may well not be operating.

    7) Maintains a certain level of personal isolation. I’m not on subways, busses, trains, or airliners to get to work. Limited public contact.

    73 & good luck to us all

    • William of the Radio Ranch:

      I’m interested in setting up a DSTAR repeater on my property. Would you have any expertise in that area? I started on the project about 3-4 years ago, with an Elmer from my local Ham Radio Club assisting. We got most of the parts assembled and made it to the point where we were going to put in the cans and get the Frequency Manager involved. Then he (Elmer) discovered he was Stage IV Cancer, and all that came to a halt. I would like to resurrect the project and get the repeater operational, if anyone can point me towards another expert who can travel. South central New Mexico.

  3. “how to set up a “minimal survival” plan”

    An interesting weekend….

    I have had a few rough years in the past. And because of my personal experiences I became aware at how fast and easily a person’s life can change. It opened my eyes to others plights and my heart to assist where I can.
    Anyway I lend a hand to individuals that have been dealt the one two punch of fate and opened up our spare bedroom. For me to do this there are social workers that get involved and suggest different people. Well in the last few years there have been a few of the professionals that have made side comments such as.. if something happens we are coming here lol..
    Two years ago now one asked me why I did this. I said you’ve never gone without . If you’ve ever been truly hungry and scared you do. Everyone that suffered during the great depression the dirty thirties had a full pantry.

    Anyway back to the past week..
    I start getting calls all with the same thing.. how do I start.. what do I do.. how do you can.. ( good thing to my vacuum packer had an issue with a fuse I think.. still waiting for a replacement.. showing how to retort can in plastic metalized mylar bags )
    The virus and changes in the supply chain has been inspiring those that use to make fun of my obsession into preparing..

    The scariest issue is on the financial end.. taxes .. the financials.. older people hid money in mattresses etc. When it all imploded banks closed f ru om visiting with those having lived through it.. the money they had was gone. It like bitcoin was on ledger but since the bank closed it was history.
    In the Reagan recession I traded doing what I know to survive. Glass etching sign painting stain glass.. did airbrush etc. The glass etching was different enough that it was a hit. One of the old restaurants had it up until they renovated.. wife and I went to eat and it wasn’t in the entryway anymore.. I was disappointed until we went inside.. th hey had my abstract etchings framed lol..
    That will get you things but not pay the money issues. We learned that during the last time.. our church leaders suggest six months to a year you need two years worth.
    In the old west days.. and in greece Argentina etc. Personal time is what they trade in exchange..

  4. Good one today. This column reminds me of an Earl Nightingale tape I listened to, a long time ago. This one should be required reading for anyone that wants to get out of the rat race.

  5. George, what you are describing is just short of communal living…which is making a huge comeback out west. Dividing up skill sets for the greater goal of a less stressful, more fulfilling life is even showing up in larger urban centers. Communes were popular in the 60’s and 70’s and have come a long way since the hippie movements Kaliflower, a utopian living cooperative that existed in San Francisco between 1967 and 1973.

    Today, it’s more pragmatic and necessary due to high costs of living in major urban centers. The concept is still the same. Less dependence on retail expenses and more emphasis on maker/grown goods within the commune. Today’s urban communes are a hybrid. Many residences have day jobs in tech, but like most tech companies, have Flex times on when and where they work. This allows them to contribute to their daily skill set to keep the commune in working order. The result is they can take more of their high paying salaries to the bank rather than see it disappear through life’s daily needs at retail costs.

    The difference is that while they live under the same roof, it’s usually a Multi-family or high rise with separate living quarters and a communal floor for cooking, gatherings, making, and planning. most are families with kids and that has been shown to enhance their mental, physical and educational well being as well. A lot of buildings here have reinforced and re-purposed their roof tops into gardens and with our year round good weather, that can feed a commune for 70% of the year.

    In a situation like this, friendships are formed, families sharing and caring becomes ubiquitous, ones self worth is enhanced and much of the stress of daily life is controlled to a more sustainable level. I am part of a planning team that is trying to find ways to develop TIC’s into this communal concept. That would help the affordability gap here in the Bay Area and other large cities.

    • I hear you Mark – and thanks for sharing the thoughts.

      The one thing you didn’t get into is the theft-oriented nature of government. The problem with governments is that if you have something (like a self sustaining c ommune) rest assured in short order the self-important ones will declare they need a piece of the action (taxes).

      And here’s a battle I was about to fight – having to do with unelected government. We have a County Judge who is interested in and participating in the East Texas Council of Government. This is the way the European Union went down a rabbit hole. People in government (elected) begin to make up government (unelected) and they then justify their greater taking. You see how this goes?

      This is why – expecting the eventual worst when I was downsized out of a high-end sales job in 2003 (as an H1B visa ceo came in)_ I headed for as far from other people (where the was water and gun rights) as I could.

      It will be damn interesting to see how long before the self-sufficient commune is taken apart by hungry (for) authorities. Please keep us advised.

      • the real reason for the 2nd active culling of the local political class CRIMINALS….gotta get before they get you…….put them out in the pasture to nurture the ‘trees’….that is all they are ‘good for’…

      • Remember the stories of the houses in suburban communities being condemned because the owners took them off the grid or planted gardens in the front yard? No utilities and lower assessments. Get with the program — everyone has to pay their share of the fees and taxes!

      • This isn’t something new or re-discovered. In the drug world they call it a “trap-house.” lol

    • Remember the Whole Earth Catalog? (

      I was born in the early 60’s, too late to be part of the movement, and too young to understand what was going on around me during my youth. However, I discovered a Catalog on a bookmobile one summer and it changed my life. All of the “clutter” that surrounds me today can be traced back to the magic in that oversized book’s pages.

      I believe the counter-movement is coming around again. Second-hand goods are fashionable, a lot of young folks are scorning the materialistic world, and beards are hip (and maybe soon the hair?). It’s a matter of time before it all comes together.

    • What is a TIC?

      There was a time when underground and earth-sheltered houses were all the rage, with roof top gardens and water reservoirs, and Trombe walls for heating. I’m still carrying around an article from the “old” Mother Earth News about one of its projects — a low-tech “single wide” earth sheltered home built in a hill in Hendersonville, NC and made watertight with bentonite clay (a wonder at the time). A large hobbit house. One day, I’m going to Henderson to find that house and see if it is still inhabited.

      • TIC is an acronym for Tenants in Common. The whole of the building share ownership rights. It’s complicated, but makes more sense in a communal environment.

    • “communal living…which is making a huge comeback out west. “‘

      If I was younger.. I would move to one I know how to do a lot of general old world stuff that could be beneficial to a group like that…there is one I have visited with.. perfect place to settle if I was younger.. in a heart beat…. a long time ago now.. I said the ones that will survive in the event of a total collapse are the people living on the street and the amish colonies… a few years ago now we did our emergency plan for the community.. it was designed not as a one on one but as a group the community.. the old stone soup.. everyone has a specialty that no one else can match.. utilize the talents of the group .. the president of the church I belong to had that and suggested it.. god rest his soal.. unfortunately it didn’t go over very good with the church community.. where the average amount prepared is what ten or less percent.. even with that the church is way ahead of the standard..

  6. Now that was a scary trip. I went to Sam’s Club there was like full Isles that were empty of products and people were like piranhas. It was something else I’ve never last time I seen anything like that was in the early eighties at the grocery store when toilet paper was a nickel a package. It was really kind of scary no coffee on the Shelf all the coffee was gone the one whole aisle of vegetables was gone I got some beef but that’s about it that’s all they had beans and corn it was crazy the only aisle that was full of stock was the dog food aisle. I haven’t seen anything like that in a long time.

    • Bleach chlorine bleach and they had a limit of two you could get to chlorine bleach but there was maybe ten left in the whole store and no toilet paper the whole all the toilet paper was sold out the whole store . Even the dairy Department was sold out of a lot of stuff they were down two maybe three or four pallets of milk it’s like I got some cream but there was very little of that too.

    • I haven’t seen anything like that sort of food panic locally LOOB, but the national prep supply outfits are mostly sold out, and the few places which aren’t seem to be little outfits scalping on Amazon.

      As a contingency, I am gathering supplies I can use for home packaging dry storage next fall. I am going to go for two gallon buckets, ziplock metallized mylar storage bags, gamma lids and O2 absorbers, rather than 6 gallon buckets. The 6 gallon containers are economical, but are bulky and heavy.

      My thinking is that in a worst case scenario, I may be forced to buy (or barter) bulk dry food from local sources. Dropping $150 to $200 on supplies to be able to cover that contingency doesn’t seem to be out in left field, especially when some of the material is reusable.

      I suppose I should look at a freeze drying rig, but the ones I have seen are rather expensive.

      • I couldn’t believe it either.. dont get me wrong they still had a lot of crap on display but the necessary items were gone.. snack cakes god..usually there are racks of them.. nothing there the door checker said it’s been nuts in there.
        They had plenty of rice and pasta and two pallets of tomatoes and sauce a half a palette of peas and one and a half pallets of corn.. no coffee except grind it yourself beans and some k cups..
        The freezer section that was still looking good shelf wise but there were people carting around freezers and frozen goods.. I live this stuff so I don’t have any despirate needs..
        I was literally shaking when I left..
        My daughter said her boss paid four times the price for hand sanitizer . My wife will shoot me but I ordered a good essential oil still.. and I’m not to concerned about bleach.. just told everyone to save two bbn leach bottles.. a gallon of bleach isn’t anything more than two thirds c UK p of salt in water ran over a set of electrodes a couple of times..
        As for freeze drying amen.. I love mine..
        I did stop by and picked up a couple of fuses to get the vacuum packer running again.
        I’ll retort can a bunch of meat etc.

      • I bought my freeze dryer from them on layaway.. I built one but it was way more work than I wanted to devote to babysitting it.. and making poor boys super chiller to freeze everything rock hard adds up to..although you can still drink the vodka afterwards lol.
        It just made buying one worthwhile.. retort canning us easier but there again the chamber vac has to be powerful enough to seal the retort bags .. canning in cans is good but the crimper is still a chunk of change.. I built up my stuff the one can method..that took a great deal of time.
        Check out they are wonderful to work with and they have a drawing every couple of months and give one away..put one on layaway then enter..
        I did make essential oil the old ghetto method but since orange oil is a good disinfectant I’ll justify it . I will order an auto oil expelled to.. I have one but the new ones are really nice and efficient.
        Good luck n… if you have any questions on how to make something just ask… like red always said.. if they dont find you handsome then you had better be handy.

      • All good advice except the used furniture part. I once had a run in with bedbugs. Never again will I touch used furniture. I’m thinking a better route is making dining tables and coffee tables. Get an Alaskan sawmill and cut trees into slabs. Incorporate epoxy resin which is all the rage right now and people will pay big bucks for those items.

      • Consider the Bishop’s Pantry. The Mormons will sell to non-members in most areas. Bulk packaged or canned in #10 cans. They are also seeing runs to stock up.

    • I’ve also seen none of that here (except for N95 masks), but I also don’t do Wally World and haven’t been to a Sam’s or Costco in over a year.

      • the daughter needed some stuff and asked me to stop by there… it wasn’t nearly as insane today and the night crew worked their butt off facing the store.. they obviously got in a truck or two last night.. so there was coffee back on the shelf.. not a lot but enough if people don’t go nuts.. six packages of bleach and one pallet of toilet paper and two of the store brand.. six bottles of laundry detergent .. no vegitables I didn’t wander down the fruit isle.. but I did notice that the web orders were all filled.. so maybe that would be the route to go.. they did have snack food again.. I picked up what we needed nothing more.. there weren’t any dissinfectant wipes and no hand sanitizer.. the daughters boss paid several times what the regular price was for the little bit that they had.. there wasn’t any dish detergent.. but quite a bit of powdered detergent.. ( its just washing soda anyway)
        It wasn’t quite as insane but then I was there at nine am to..
        My guess is if this insanity continues that there will be a significant price gouging going on for necessity items.
        I usually only buy what we use.. since I keep a well stocked pantry.. the wife and I discussed.. maybe cutting back what we are using just in case this continues to streatch it out.. I have let those that I know that if they need bleach etc.. that they should keep the jugs.. I will make them bleach if they need it.. and essential oils.. and that they should check in on Gayes site .. gaye in my guru when it comes to essential oils.. her post on the corona virus cannot be beat.. check it out..
        great young lady.. totally check out her posts and if you have any questions.. don’t hesitate to ask her she knows her stuff…
        if you want to buy a twelve volt electrolysis system.. swim for him is a great place to get one.. they will sell you one for fifty.. the cost is then split up and they make one for you and that gives them enough to send a unit to missionaries etc.. in remote area’s..
        you can build one of course they are pretty simple in design.. or you can buy one that is used for swimming pools..
        for a gallon or two or just enough for home use.. buy the one from the swim for him site..

        to make basic laundry washing soda you can add different things to it just like the big manufacturers do…. that is easy enough to.. use food grade baking soda.. put on a pan and bake it.. the extra heat is what is needed to make the conversion..

        Laundry detergent recipe Instructions
        Turn oven on 400 degrees F.
        Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish.
        Bake it for 1 hour minimum..I use an hour and a half if I make it myself.., stirring the powder several times on the pan, or until it has changed in look and feel..It will take on a real chalky white color. …
        Let cool and store in air-tight container.

        If you truly want to make baking soda.. bicarb.. that is a lengthy process and shouldn’t be undertaken by anyone that hasn’t done it..
        If you have a solution of carbonic acid (H2CO3) you can slowly mix in sodium hydroxide (NaOH – in a solution, not a powder!) until the pH is around 10.3, then you’ll have a solution of NaHCO3. Or you could do the same thing by bubbling CO2 through a solution of NaOH.
        You’ll then need to dry or concentrate it without heating, or the NaHCO3 will break down (just like it would when baking).
        Or you could start with sodium carbonate and add hydrochloric acid, but that would give you equal parts of baking soda and table salt in water, not sure how easy they would be to separate. sodium hydroxide will dissolve any flesh that it touches, and hydrochloric acid will do the same, plus it evaporates.
        In other words.. don’t do it it is dangerous and without proper equipment.. the pioneers filtered their chemicals from wood ashes..If you can get sodium hydroxide, you can make baking soda. The stuff absorbs CO2 from the air along with water to produce NaHCO3, baking soda. I’ve had batches of commercial NaOH that were in fact up to 40% NaHCO3. The Best way to do it is to dissolve your NaOH in water, and just let it stir a few weeks. It’ll suck CO2 out of the air. When the pH gets down to 6.5 or 7, you’ll have reasonably pure baking soda. Evaporate the water and you’re done. Be aware that heating baking soda in an oven at over 200°F will give you sodium carbonate rather than baking soda, so evaporate gently.
        I have never personally made sodium hydroxide using wood ashes.. but have seen the units
        I have always just bought the sodium hydroxide when I made soap.. and taught the kids how to make soap..
        here is a great site..
        I prefer orange oil.. in cleaners.. easy to make and really a great cleaner..
        But overall.. I can do it.. but as long as I can get it.. that is how I will use it to.. no muss no fuss..

      • I take this back. Menards still has N95 masks, but only in case-size. I bought a box of 100 yesterday ($40, vs. the $18 they were a couple months ago) and some nitrile gloves because I have a furniture finishing project and didn’t want to tear into my stash… Bought chemicals too, specifically alcohol (in case I want to “roll my own” hand sanitizer) and I purchased 5 kilos of vitamin C (I usually only buy it one-kg-at-a-time) from Bulk Supplements — just in case…

  7. HUNA Philosophy
    #1 – IKE’ – The world is what you think it is
    #2 – KALA – There are no limits
    …and there’s more to the list. George… your KaHuna is showing!

    I’m like William of the Radio Ranch. Stockpile of organized electronic and radio parts and projects to keep me busy. My neighbor (a retired Seattle Firefighter, BTW) is restoring an MG and comes to me for electronic/electrical problems to solder up for the car. Barter established. They raise chickens… I like eggs… deal!

    The local ham community majority are newbies brought in by aggressive CERT training out here in the boonies. They are into (potential) emergency training and learning radio operations. Very very few have any electronics or technical knowledge. So I have also become one of the few ‘wizards’ in the club who can diagnose and fix radio/antenna/power problems.

    William is right about mechanical problems being the majority of ‘electronic’ problems. I can confirm that with 40 years of broadcast engineering experience. Mechanical relays suck!

    • LOL – the relays, the switches – and Oh God – capacitors
      I have about 20-40 new computer grade 105C 10-40 UFD at mostly 450 WVDC for just such things.
      As your retired neighbor if he knew Capt. George Ure (26’s,. 28’s and engine 37) back in his SFD days…or John Philbin, late uncle and Ast CoDpt

      • I once had a young ham friend who was in awe that I worked on 50kw broadcast transmitters. “How do you work on something with that high voltage and power?” he asked.

        “It’s easy, really.”, I said, “You listen for the HV explosion, shut down, and look for the big burn mark!”

        Thus was born the ‘smoke theory’ of electronics. Replace any components that the smoke has escaped from.

      • I love the relays and switches. I think they add character. I also have a tub of Cool-Amp so I can silver plate contacts.

  8. Thanks George, the “living in a disposable world” thing really hit home for me, for personal reasons.

  9. Just got back from a trip to the local Wallymart Stupid-store here in SoCal. I’m a half-assed empath and I can tell you, people are beginning to panic-prep. You could cut the tension with a knife. I noted the overloaded shopping carts and I’ll bet the store’s average ticket is way up. Checked the toilet paper supply the ENTIRE row of t-paper was bought up with only a couple of 4 packs left, one of which I bought.
    If your pantry isn’t loaded, it’s time to get out the plastic or checkbook and invest in your survival.

  10. HAWAII HAS SECOND CASE OF VIRUS. Elderly man who was visiting Washington state didn’t feel well, flew home to Hawaii, and went to bed for a couple days at home before calling ambulance. Now critically ill, tested positive, and in isolation ward at Kaiser Honolulu. Officials now tracking his movements and trying to find out which airline he took here.

    So far no person-to-person spread found in Hawaii… give it time.

  11. Mate if this site ain’t the best!! Great stuff George. Well minnup I’m tickin boxes but 2 beers a feed and a bed are doing me fine . Trained for 25 years on kitco before it became a sheet hole and the great George. Love yah

  12. “The real problem for most people is they are conditioned to insanely broad consumer choices. ”

    I am constantly amazed, when a ChemE develops a home product for their employer the employer will release it. If it takes off, suddenly there’ll be two, or three, or six, specifically targeted toward a segment of the market. How many “Tide” detergents or Kraft “Macaroni & Cheeses” do we need. Excedrin is 250mg aspirin, 250mg acetaminophen, and 65mg caffeine. So is “Extra Strength Excedrin,” “Excedrin Migraine,” and “Excedrin Menstrual Complete.” (Excedrin is currently on manufacturing hiatus, due to “inconsistencies…”) Same formula, same pills, different box, AND MORE SHELF SPACE DEVOTED TO THE PRODUCT, which is the real reason for four products, instead of one.

    • “amazed, when a ChemE develops a home product for their employer the employer will release it. If it takes off, suddenly there’ll be two, or three, or six, specifically targeted toward a segment of the market.”

      Lol lol I use to make cleaners and herbicides pesticides etc.. anyway we had this one cleaner.. it was strong.. better wear a mask cut through everything. When sent to the lab they said it was impossible to get that level .. anyway at o’hara airport the maintenance would wet sand the cigarette tar off the granite. They sent me there just to look for them then pull out a bottle and say gee that looks like work. Where I’m from this is how we do it and spray the spot and wipe it off.. then give them the bottle and a gallon and the business card lol. They were using fifty barrels a day clean airplanes etc. A huge group of cleaners came out of that one. Mostly diluted versions .
      We had one big franchise that the salesman was trying to get for a big carwash chain. The guy complained . Theres not enough suds he was in the breakroom butching and we said take some foaming agent..out he goes takes out a dropper puts one drop then as the guy runs around to take a look at the other end need for is in a quart foaming agent. Got the sale.. 3 months later the guy calls and says less foam lol

  13. Rough furniture is easy. The transition to “fine furniture” adds an order of difficulty, and lies mostly in learning how to mortise & tenon, and dowel, and get everything lined-up so the assembled and glued parts go together (and stay together) as they should. “Fine furniture” is not nailed or screwed, and will only be bolted where legs are attached or component pieces come together (like a “hutch” or a mirrored dresser, where the upper and lower pieces will sometimes be bolted, rather than pinned.) Special processes like inlaid veneer and hand-cut dovetails take much longer to learn and “get right” (I’m still learning them, too — not much call, so not much practice…)

  14. Upholstery can be easy, or extremely involved. I’ve done fabric and vinyl, but not leather. FurnitureCos make vinyl or leather “pretty” by a combination of wetting, heating, and cooling, to make the upholstery wrap around corners without wrinkling. I don’t do vinyl this way, because the heat causes the oil to leech out of the vinyl, which will cause it to stiffen and crack within a few years, sooner when left in the Sun (think of a vinyl dashboard.) Simple fold and tuck corners will last for many years.

    The idea is to learn how to make something which will LAST, not something which will wear out or break (so you can sell another to the same customer) because in a devolved economy, people are going to get really p!ssed, really quickly, if they have to spend labor to replace a piece of junk furniture.

    If you build a reputation for quality and honesty, you won’t need to sell John and Mary another sofa, because they’ll want you to make them a dining room table to replace the junk one they’ve had to live with. If you build a reputation for making junk, you will not long have customers, regardless of your skill or the local market.

  15. I worked my way through college. If I didn’t have money to go to school, I laid out and worked for a semester. During one such lay-out, I was not accumulating cash at the necessary rate, and it occurred to me that I should have a back-up plan, so I could make enough money to live, if employment opportunities for my majors tanked. I didn’t have the buckage to go to University, but I had enough to go through the welding program at the local tech/trade school… so I did.

    BTW, during an extended Market downturn, employment opportunities for people with niche skills (like classroom teachers, engineers, and scientists) evaporate. I knew a number of the faculty and engineering crowd during the late ’70s who ceased to have jobs, despite tenure and time-in, because when the economy goes far enough south, even 30 years on the job ain’t enough. This is where George’s “PhDs flipping burgers” quip originated. It originally wasn’t kollege kids getting degrees in “underwater basket-weaving,” but assistant and associate professors taking menial jobs during the period following the Vietnam War. The edjamakated folks had no skillz, but they still had mortgages and mouths to feed…

    Don’t be an educated idiot. Learn a skill, or a dozen, which have an actual use…

    Truly an excellent column today, George. Thank you…

    • ” I knew a number of the faculty and engineering crowd during the late ’70s who ceased to have jobs, despite tenure and time-in, because when the economy goes far enough south,”

       I sacked groceries and delivered pizzas, sided and painted houses, scooped dirt and worse with a wide variety of professionals holding PhD’s during the early eighties Reagan recession..
      The daughters best friend was exec at a top one hundred hospital. They downsized and his job was done..luckily he obtained another position within the year.. I will never forget the picnic we were sitting out having a couple of cold adult beverages we while the kids played and he said he found a new position as an exec at another hospital across the usa.. he felt insulted because th ed y only offered him half a mil a year. I bout chocked and started to laugh..they can insult me anytime they lol lol

      • ” the early eighties Reagan recession..”

        To be fair, it was also the Carter recession and the Ford recession, and ran the entirety of their terms, because it began when Nixon “brought the troops home” from Vietnam. “Wars ending” always spawns a recession. The need for the existing “wartime” workforce suddenly declines, ‘cuz a nation suddenly no longer needs to make “bombs & bullets.” At the same time, a huge influx of new workers (the returning soldiers) is injected into the labor pool. The Vietnam Recession was particularly bad because at its start, Nixon was jacking with the currency, and when it should have run its course, we had the Hunt Brothers, jacking with the PM markets, which both prolonged the misery and made it worse.

        expands greatly and the need for the existing workforce suddenly diminishes greatly.

      • “To be fair, it was also the Carter recession and the Ford recession”

        Yes it was.. and wasn’t the fault of any of them. It was the fault of congress that tossed them all under the bus at various times.
        Reagan was a super guy and trusted that everyone would do the right thing with trickle down. Unfortunately it didnt trickle down and deregulation only expanded the gap in my opinion. Tossing the secured funds to congress to bail out the banks was a mistake we are all paying for.
        The book the creature from Jekyll island puts it all in a perspective that scared me anyway..
        I think if we had followed jimmies plan we wouldn’t be facing what we are..if what Ronny had in mind had worked the way he seen it.. we wouldn’t be facing it either.. deregulation screwed the middle class with the nafta treaty and the millionaire relief act of 78 tossed everyone initially under the bus then hit with the one two punch of nafta and deregulation. Mom had to go to work and prices soared out of control. The night fuel was deregulated lol I was tired.. gas was 67.9 nothing special.. I decided to go rest was sitting in front of the tube.. agreeing with him as he explained they could charge you less.. the next morning I stopped for fuel 109.9 lol lol. Of course it’s just my opinion..

  16. Fe Fi Fo Fum, watch out below! The beanstalk roots aren’t very deep. The bond markets are starting to waver because revenue and credit lines are drying up and companies are struggling to make their coupon payments.

    (This second article is actually to a Barron’s website behind a paywall which I’m not going to pay for. Not sure why Marketwatch keeps doing this. Anyway…

    Instead of setting money aside for a future that might not happen, what if people start cutting back and instead invest it in themselves and the here and now? Not sure of the economic dynamics and velocity etc. when the money keeps moving but only at the (relatively) local level. Modern sharecropping? Maybe one way to keep the dollar’s value is to reduce the amount in circulation and unleash inflation?

    Mark’s comments also got me thinking that it might be time to relook IRS rules about what constitutes charitable giving. With equity and bond markets out of the way, the cash holders become rich and many will let some of their money go for community improvements. Why fund infrastructure projects if the people are willing to do it themselves?

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