Saturday, November 30, 2013


This is tonight's sunset here,  taken from a mountain just a little higher than the one I live on. The view is looking from that mountain, towards the mountain where I live.  There's a web cam up there and sometimes I watch the sunset or sunrise on it if I don't feel like walking up my own mountain a bit to a good vantage point. Today, I certainly don't feel like walking at all.  We went to town to have a spare set of keys made, since I somehow have lost the set I usually use.  I know the key ring is  here at the house somewhere, but my guess is that I laid the keys down on the couch instead of hanging them up.  If  I did, it won't have taken long for the ferrets to find them and drag them off.  I checked their usual stash places and while I did find some useful things, like the battery cover for my cordless phone, no keys.

While we were in town I walked around the Home Depot, to see what was on sale. If they had some decent flashlights I'd have bought some, but this year it is all little tiny pocket lights and I have enough of those. Still, walking around in the cold did wonders for my hip and I just waited in the car later when we went to a grocery store. My wife went in, but I wasn't up for the jaunt.  Getting older has it's own special ways of reminding you each day that you are not 30 anymore.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Winter is coming.

Didn't warm up much today. At least the wind has died down.

 I made the pilgrimage down the mountain to the mailbox. Got one of my mom's care packages. It had a stuffed bear in it. I am not sure what that was about but she is 85 so there is no telling. She sends me dried fruit and peanuts, which is nice. She also sends me a lot of OTC medicine, sometimes there are surprises in that. This package had a bottle of pills for "excessive gas." That's nice, I guess. I slept most of the day away.

 Didn't get up until one in the afternoon but then I didn't finally go to sleep until about three in the morning . Just wasn't sleepy. This afternoon I drove into town to buy another humidifier, but I had forgotten about the sales that start today. When I got to Walmart every single parking space was taken, people were being parked in big rows by sales associates in the field next to the store, and all the sidewalks were covered with cars. I felt lucky just to get out of the parking lot, so I didn't make any effort to go inside. Just about everybody in the county must have been there from the look of it.

 I called my wife to tell her it was a no go and she said some big sale started at five, which was just about the time I pulled off the highway. Whatever was on sale, those folks can have it. My kids are having a big Thanksgiving get together with their friends at my daughter's place. Since my daughter's boyfriend is a Chef this is a major event for him. We called them last night and they had already started cooking. I hope all goes well, because they spent a lot of money and effort getting this together. At our house, I made ham sandwiches with tater tots. We had planned to have a turkey breast in one of those little aluminum pans, but we both forgot to buy one. Ham sandwiches were fine though, we sat by the fire and watched QVC while we had our Thanksgiving sandwiches. It being Thanksgiving , there isn't much more to tell. Nothing is open except the Walmart, there's no mail (what I got today was from earlier in the week), and generally it's just some quiet down time. I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Knock Out Game spreads.

Women out jogging , biking etc are fair game with the Goblins. Would I shoot this guy if I saw this? Not more than 13 times. Unless I had another magazine. Then not more than 26 times. Unless I was carrying my Beretta 92 instead of my High Power.

2nd day of the storm.

The wind has been blowing hard all day, with really cold outside temperatures. The thermometer on the porch is reading 22 degrees just at dusk, but I have no idea what the wind chill adjusted temperature is.

We got a lot of sleet, but not a great deal of snow to speak of.  When you walk around outside, the sleet cracks and pops. It's slippery so the only things I've done outside today were essential chores that have to be done every day, regardless of the weather.

The air is so dry that even with two steam humidifiers going, I'm boiling a big pot of water on the gas range. It's still only about 48% in here, and the ferrets need 55% so tomorrow I plan on going and buying another humidifier. We've never had trouble before with keeping a comfortable humidity level, this air must be very dry even for a winter here in the mountains.

No power failures, so we are quite comfortable inside.  The rain has stopped so I don't have to worry about any of the diversion ditches, gutters, etc. Nothing to do except relax, since I'm running the propane heat and not fooling with the fireplace or wood stove this time around.

So far, this hasn't been all that bad, but I guess a tree could fall on the house in the next five minutes so until the storm is gone I'll hold off pronouncing it a nonevent.

The Hawkes are back.

Remember Man, Woman, Wild ? It featured Mykel Hawke, and his English wife, Ruth.   He is a former special forces soldier, and she was a television journalist before they married.

The series ran for two years on the Discovery Channel. The format was pretty typical for survival shows, in that the Hawkes were dumped off in some God forsaken spot and had to demonstrate survival skills. It was carefully scripted and didn't make any pretense of being "real" but it was still pretty rough going. They had a camera and support crew along, and were upfront about it. I never felt it detracted from the learning points they were teaching.  Ruth Hawke stuck right with it, and never wimped out. She got really sick a few times, but when the support crew medic intervened they used that as a learning point too.  After the end of the second season, Mykel Hawke announced that they had declined a third season because the format was too hard on his family.  I suspect he meant too hard on his wife, and probably most of the people who watched the show and liked it would have agreed. She took a real beating, but never whined or complained.

A week or so ago, someone left an anonymous comment on the blog to tell me the Hawkes had a new show on the Travel Channel.  I just got a chance to watch it, and enjoyed it very much.  It's still a survival program, but it has clearly been structured to avoid killing Ruth Hawke.  Much less physically demanding and not nearly the mental stress of the first show.  I've only seen the one and it may be an exception, but  I expect this adjusted format was done to take some of the tension out of the show and make it easier for her. I'm sure a lot of people watching the Man, Woman, Wild series sometimes felt like they were taking it too far with his wife and were uncomfortable with it.  The new program is called Lost Survivors.

It's on Tuesday night on the Travel Channel. I believe the show time is ten p.m. eastern.  If you liked the first series I think you will enjoy this one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weather Event

I have been enjoying having my wife home, and we've been getting lots of chores done that need two people. All the more so because this big storm is coming in.  The rain is already here, and it's supposed to turn to sleet by early afternoon, then snow.  In a few minutes I'll be taking one of the Jeeps down to the hard surface road to leave it. I still may not be able to travel any, because our hard surface road is not one of those the county plows. It's a dead certainty, though, that I can't get off the mountain if we get ice or deep snow.

Yesterday we reinforced the dog house with more hay, and built a smaller version on the porch for the cats. Temperatures here will be around 15 degrees by tomorrow, according to the Weather Channel, and that means the actual temperate at my place on the mountain may be considerably colder.

We also made the obligatory pilgrimage to the two grocery stores in town along with every other denizen of the country.  It's more like a county fair than anything else. In our case, we were picking up extra supplies of "nice to have" things like apple cider, fresh cinnimon, a big spiral cut ham, and other good things to eat. After all, if a person is going to be snowed in for a few days, you want to have something besides canned, frozen or dried provisions.

The big chore yesterday was getting the new propane tank set. This should have been a quick, painless evolution but it never is. The men setting the tank got a leak indication on the gauge, and they were just sure it was the step down valve. You have a "shut off" valve on the tank, but there's another valve somewhere in the line that steps the pressure down, because your appliances can't run at the pressure levels coming out of the tank into the line.  I told them there was no way that my step down valve had just suddenly started leaking with their arrival, but nothing would do except testing it. Then they tested the tank they'd just brought and the regulator on that was the problem.  Wasted half an hour with fiddling around on the step down valve and then had to spend another half hour swapping out the regulator but in the end, I had a new tank and plenty of gas. As I listen to the wind and rain outside this morning, and in the certain knowledge that a big snow storm is coming, I'm glad we got it done but the gas company cut it mighty thin time wise.

It is going to snow  where the kids are. But further north I am sure they know how to deal with snow, and have the equipment to do so.  People probably know better how to drive in snow, as well. Both of my kids have stout Jeeps, and I'm never happier that we didn't buy cheap passenger cars for them than I am when something like this is going on.

The last few days I've been off the air because we were working hard here, trying to get things done before the bad weather.  If I disappear for a bit , it will be because the power is off.  I can power my own place with my generator, but if the county loses power I'll lose the internet, and that's the one thing I don't have a back up system for.  We are considering putting in a Hughes Net satellite system, depending on the cost, to cover that vulnerability.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Clockwork Orange

When I was in college, I took a class in science fiction as a literature genre. It sounded interesting and I figured it should be an easy A and not much work.  That did not turn out to be the case, but it was a good course. I read a number of books I would never otherwise have even known existed.

One of these was A Clockwork Orange.  Basically, it was about youth gone wild. The main characters took great pleasure in attacking people at random and beating them up.

Now forward ahead in time forty years and we have the "Knock out game."  I first saw a video of this on BBC America a few weeks ago, and assumed it was just some random psychopath at work.  A young woman is walking down the street in the video, talking on a cell phone. Even before the hulking black guy came running up behind her, I was thinking that this was an example of very poor situational awareness. I had no idea what was about to happen because I'd missed the narrative leading into the video.

This huge man runs up behind this girl, and hits her on the side of the head as hard as he could. She went down in a heap, I doubt she even knew he was there. The assailant walks away grinning, and the girl just lays there on the sidewalk. Nobody tried to help and nobody tried to apprehend the attacker.

Then a few days ago there was a post on a blog I read, and I learned this is a "game" that has now spread to the U.S.  The "players" are young black men for the most part, and the victims are elderly people, women and kids at random.  One man has died from head injuries sustained when he was attacked from behind by two of these characters.

The stories about it spreading are starting to show up on the mainstream media now. Fox News had a segment tonight. The newscaster said that most of the people who are doing the attacking are minors, and they know even if they get arrested, they'll get off light.

Do you remember the old Q Ships from World War One.  The Brits would take a crappy old freighter, arm it to the teeth, and hide the guns under boxes and tarps. When  a U boat came up to sink the ship with gunfire , in order to save a torpedoe, the British would tear off the covers and open fire.

One way to put an end to this game would be to put some police on the street dressed up as the target demographic, and let them shoot these individuals as an act of self defense. I know they won't do that but I wonder how else this is going to be brought under control?

One thing is certain, people who live in cities and have to walk on the street had better stop talking on the cell phone and listening to music. The Goblins are out in force.  You have to wonder what kind of human being would do this to an innocent person, and of course the answer is, a human being wouldn't. The individuals who are playing this game are not people and don't deserve to be treated as such. Think of them more as Morelocks or Zombies, which is more appropriate.

Forted up.

Cold and clear here today but rain moving in again shortly.  I've been to town and picked up the few things we needed.  We've got a fire going and my wife is watching a John Wayne western on the Direct TV hookup.

I plan on listening to some smooth jazz on the Sirius system,  then listening to conservative talk radio for awhile.  After that I'm going to work in the shop a bit, then tonight we'll watch a pay per view.  We watched "We are the Millers" last night. It was very vulgar but it was also funny.

So begins a week of hopefully doing nothing more than has to be done.

Friday, November 22, 2013

M1 Carbine. A good weapon for the wife.

I was joking around with Kymber tonight, and the issue of a good weapon for a very petite woman came up. Here's my suggestion.

military surplus is out there, but a bit pricey these days. Gun shows are a good place to find it. Or, you can try AIM, SOG, Century, or Samco.

AIM and SOG both carry this Mexican production. It's non corrosive, boxer primed, reloadable brass case. Price is good.

This stuff will coldly spoil some miscreants day. When a sporting goods store went out of business I got two cases of it for peanuts. I have carefully hoarded it.  This is for when you need to get someone's serious attention.

The M1 shoots a pistol round.  You can buy it in full metal jacket or hollow point.  Ammo is plentiful if expensive. The 15 round magazines that I think it works the best with are available new for very little, mostly the excellent South Korean made versions.

There's no recoil to speak of.  They are reliable, easy to clean, easy to field strip and reassemble. I own two. One is a World War II Winchester produced gun.  Those are expensive these days. The other is an Israeli built commercial version with a vented metal handguard instead of the solid wood handguard. You could replace the metal handguard with wood in about ten minutes if you wanted to. The wooden handguard is easy to get from Sarco or any other gun parts supplier.

I like my two M1 carbines, and I tend to use the commercial gun, which has no collectors value as a shooter while I just "have" the other one.

So that's my vote for a good carbine with which to equip a wife or girlfriend who is not very tall or heavy.

Friday before Thanksgiving

It has been raining most of the day, but it's an odd kind of rain.  So thin and light it looks like mist.  The rain is colder than the air so maybe that's what is causing the mist.  The photo was not taken tonight but gives a good idea of what it looks like out there.

Other than the rain falling, there's no sound. It's taking me awhile to get used to these winter nights. I like them, but they are certainly different from a summer night up here.

My wife came home today, and will be home for a whole week. I asked her if she wanted to go anywhere or do anything over the break, but she said she just wants to stay home.  Tomorrow I'll build a fire in the fireplace and keep it going for her. She likes to make a little bed on the couch with her pillows and blanket and have the fire going.  The plan tomorrow is for me to go to town and buy some things to make chicken soup with, then pick up a few extra supplies we want that we don't normally buy, like some ice cream and other treats. After that I expect we will just stay up here on the mountain. It is supposed to snow here Thursday but now they are saying it might just rain. It's late enough in November for snow.

Had a good talk with my son on the phone tonight. He's supposed to play football this weekend with a bunch of his cronies. I asked him to beg off if it's tackle, because I don't need him getting busted up. He is too light and slim to be playing tackle with no gear. Not that these considerations have ever weighed heavily with him on  such issues and I have the doctor bills to prove it.

When he was a teenager he wanted a dirt bike. I got him one over his mother's howls of protest. The first time he rode it he crashed into a fence made up of steel rails and telephone poles. Armored head to toe as he was, he still got busted up. I had to call his mom from the emergency room. This is not a pleasant memory. But life is rough and young men have to get out there and take their lumps or they'll never be good heads of households.  I still hope he doesn't play tackle this weekend though, that's a kamikaze mission for a guy his build. Peer pressure will make young fellows do anything. They haven't learned yet to say "hell, no. I'm not doing that."

I haven't heard from my daughter in a day or two, but my son says she is feeling well enough to go back to work, so that's one less thing to be concerned about.

Ragnar wants to sign up. He knows the lady ferrets fancy a soldier.

Dreamer sent me this picture of a ferret who is the mascot of the Yorkshire Regiment in the British Army. There are two of them, named Quebec and Imphal (appropriately enough, both big dust off's in that regiment's history).  I'm sure Ragnar wants to join because he knows the truth of the passage in Homer's Odysseus, which says " for the fairer sex is ever to a warrior kind." 

The natty uniform doesn't hurt, either!

" A good uniform must work its way with the women, sooner or later"  Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers.

Is this happening to anyone else when they come to this blog?

Suddenly whenever I log onto my blog an advertisement pops up in the lower right hand corner and starts running a video selling something or other. Is that happening to anyone else when they read the blog?

Any ideas how to get rid of it?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Survivor Man Season

A new season of Survivor Man starts off on Wednesday, December 18th. I don't yet know the time or whether it will be on Discovery Channel , or Science Channel.  I'll update this post when I find out. There are eight new shows in the season.

Cold and Flu Medicines

I've been dragging around with some infection my wife brought back from her school.  It's like a long term bout with the flu but not bad enough to keep you in bed.

I've used several different OTC medicines but these are the three that have worked best.

 I had an old bottle of this in our supplies.  It's really good with aches and pains, congestion, sinus problems and sore throat.

The downside is,  I have't been able to find any more in either of our drug stores so it may not be on the market any longer.

Theraflu also comes in little packets like lemon powder, and you can mix it up with hot water if you would rather do that.  It's not good for people with high blood pressure (like me) but when you feel badly that tends to take a back seat to the desire to feel better.

I'd give Theraflu Flu and Sore Throat a good rating. There is a "Severe" version that would be even better if I could find it.

My next favorite would be this one. It has a good taste, and alleviates the problems associated with the flu, a bad cold, or just feeling badly because of some random infection.

This one helps with fever as well as all the other unpleasant aspects I mentioned with the Theraflu.

It's not even expensive. A bottle costs about five dollars at the drug store. There is a generic version at Walmart for a dollar less but I bought the Tylenol brand. I know this is unnecessary but I did it anyway.

This blue stuff has the added advantage of knocking you out so you can sleep.  I take it at night, because it really causes drowsiness. I consider that a big plus, since when you are sleep you don't feel sick.

I figure on buying a few bottles of all three of these (if I can find the Theraflu) and putting them down in our medicine locker.  I usually take NyQuil but I think these do a better job of  getting you out of the hurt locker  more rapidly than NyQuil does.

Since it's the cold and flu season,  I thought I'd pass these experiences on. If you don't need the medicine now, you probably will before the winter is out.

Mr. Smith won't be going to Washington anymore.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller 

Since this country was founded,  one of the important checks and balances in our government was the exercise of the filibuster in the Senate.  The intent was to prevent the party in power, the one with the most seats in the Senate, from running roughshod over the opposition.  Jefferson and Adams in particular realized that without some kind of braking mechanism,  there was no way of preventing one party from ramming through radicals via the nomination process and marginalizing the other party. The filibuster was the tool they came up with to prevent this.

All my life, the idea of changing the rules to emasculate the filibuster has come up periodically.  Whichever party is in power says it's a great idea, and the one that isn't says it's a terrible idea. But today, for the first time in American History, a political party changed the rules .  The Democrats who were celebrating the rule change in the Senate today were the exact same ones who called the idea fascist and a terrible injustice and threat when they were out and the Republicans were in.  There are 100 Senators.  It took 60 votes to shut down a filibuster.  But Harry Reid and Barak Obama have fixed it so now it takes a simple majority.

With the sixty vote rule gone,  there's a quantum shift in power and the Democrats are already exercising it. They started running through a laundry list of Obama nominations today and they will be confirming virtually all of them shortly. That's bad enough when you talk about Federal judges, etc but it will be outright apocalyptic when it applies to Supreme Court Justices.  Those appointments were excluded from todays rule, but that won't stand for long. Once the exclusion is dropped, and it will be, Obama can appoint anyone he wants to the Supreme Court.  Even as it stands now there's no way for the minority party to exercise any restraint on the majority party  nominations unless they can convince a significant number of the majority party to vote with them. That is not going to happen.

Tonight on ABC this story got about one minute of air time, while a story on buying flat screen tv's got four. That is not an accident.  The government and their lackeys in the MSM are trying to slip this one by, and the vast majority of Americans, who are "low information voters" will never even know it happened.

Hitler and the Nazi's got into power legally.  They got enough votes to get seats in the Reichstag, then they got enough votes to get some laws changed that favored them, and they got their people appointed to positions of importance in the government. They took over the German government little by little, but always in a rising tide.  Hitler didn't come to power in a coup d'état, and the terrible things that were done by his government in the name of the German people happened lawfully.  We'd be well advised to remember that.

Mr. Smith won't be going to Washington anymore.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Gas Truck Cometh. And Goeth.

Well, the gas truck driver does not want to drive up the jeep trail.  I admit, it's narrow and would be easy to go off of, plunging down into the gully. But he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.  There are times, coming down in my F250, that I get a little nervous I might hook a wheel over too far and go rolling over the side.  I'm sure driving a big gas truck up there is not fun.

However, the road was designed to be hard to get up.  I do not want a freeway leading up to my buildings, nor am I interested in having a connection to the forest service road that someone might consider indicative of there being a good target up the mountain.

The problem is that the driver is not a local.  Those local fellows can go just about anywhere, they grew up here and they are used to it.  This guy is a flat lander and he hasn't got the intestinal fortitude to take the truck up.  I have been up here for decades and I've had drivers complain about the road but I never had one flat refuse to try it before. I went to town, to the office to get this straighted out, but there were no decision makers there. So, I told them if they didn't find someone who can drive to deliver my fuel by tomorrow I'd just switch to another company.  Since the companies fix the prices to keep them high, one is no different than another in that respect.  It's irritating. You just never know what's going to come up next that you have to take care of.

The Forgotten Soldier

I've always been interested in the German Army of the 20th Century.  In the 1970's I had the opportunity to work with them during exercises in Germany,  and that experience reinforced what I'd read in books. Later, when I was stationed in Europe for more than three years, I got to know the Germans better and that only enhanced my respect for them , both as a people and in terms of their military. All the  NATO allies had characteristics that identified them.  The Germans were reliable, methodical, professional.  The British were starkly professional in the ranks and among their NCO's. British officers seemed to put on a facade of cheerful lack of concern but underneath it they knew their business.  The Italians were a strange bunch, with a professional army made up of long service people in elite units, and a much larger army comprised of conscripts who didn't want to be there and showed it.  You could set your watch by the Germans, but the Italians had a more relaxed attitude about commitments and it was an unwary person who relied too heavily on them showing up when they were supposed to, with what they were supposed to.  Unless, of course, it was the Folgore, or the Alpini, or the San Marcos who were as good as anyone.

Guy Sajer.
The Germans, though. They're a separate case.  In World War II, German units could consistently defeat much larger units , whatever nationality of the Allies they were faced with.  They were innovative, particularly in the design of weapons and the development of tactics. German small unit leaders were outstanding, and the company grade German officers had a relationship of respect and trust with their men that only elite units in our own forces ever attained on a large scale.

German aircraft and tanks were the best of the war. They developed the STG 44, the first assault rifle.  Their problem was that while they might produce one Panther or Tiger tank, the allies cranked out 100 Shermans, T-34's, or other lesser but still deadly vehicles. God is on the side of the biggest battalions, as Uncle Joe Stalin liked to quip.

It's hard to get a sense of the individual German soldier, though.  Most of the books you can get were written by German officers, and most of those were written by Generals, or by specialists like fighter pilots, U-boat commanders, or others.  That's where Guy Sajer's book is so valuable.  As a record of infantry combat in the German Army on World War II's Eastern Front, it's the best there is.  Strangely, Sajer wasn't a "real" German by the lights of his time. His mother was German, his father French.  He tried to join the Luftwaffe, washed out, and wound up as a driver in the transport corps. Later on, he volunteered for service in the elite Gross Deutschland  division and that's where the story really begins.

The book has been published in a lot of different languages, and it's an old book, but it can still be found in English, at least in Paperback. I've got a thirty nine year old copy from my time in the Marine Corps, where the book was sold in the Marine Corps Association bookstore at the officers Basic School.  For all I know, (and I hope it is) it's still sold there.

It's not concerned with strategy and as Sajer himself said, writing it many years after the war, he was not trying to write a history of the war.  What he did want to do, and what he succeeded in doing, was recording the experiences of the individual German soldier on the Eastern Front.  It's worth reading ,even if you're not a veteran.  I've just finished reading it again, and every time I do I learn something new.

If you wonder what the association is with the survivalist lifestyle, read the book. You won't wonder then.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At least it isn't raining. Yet.

 The sun is just setting and it's plenty cold outside. I would guess around 42 and going down to the low thirties tonight.

There is not a sound in the forest. I just went out to feed the dogs.  No insect noises, no animal noises. Just dead silence. In summer the forest is a regular riot of noise, sometimes there's so much racket you can hardly sleep. When winter comes though, everything goes silent.  There should be a good moon tonight so in a bit I'll go out on the porch for awhile and enjoy the moonlight in the trees.

The propane truck will be coming Thursday.  One thing I always do is make sure the tank stays near full.  Since I heat with propane, cook with it,  heat water with it, and dry my clothes with it, I don't want to run short if ice or snow makes it impossible for the truck to get up the mountain.  If I ran out of propane I could get by, since I have backups to everything, but it wouldn't be as easy or as comfortable. These days easy and comfortable matter more than they used to.

 I noticed, while reading Survival Blog,  that Lisa Bedford's book  Survival Mom is on sale for just under four bucks if you have a Kindle or other Android system device.  If you watched the first season of Doomsday Preppers she was one of the more level headed people they featured.  Her web page:

This is pretty much a woman oriented web page as you might imagine,  but it doesn't necessarily just serve women who are following, or trying to learn, the self sufficient lifestyle. I think any woman, with or without kids, could pick up some useful information here.  So I thought I'd post this as an FYI (for your information) for the ladies.

I feel lousy. I don't know if it's from bronchitis or all the medicine I am taking.

Jet and Spike. No match for Ragnar the Terrible.
  I was sitting on the couch a few minutes ago, with one of my ever present frozen burritos. I fried this one in a frying pan, to add diversity to my diet.  I heard someone climbing up the back of the couch, and sure enough Jet the Ferret appeared.  He came over and started snuffling at the burrito. I told him he could have it.  The thing was half as big as he is, but he dragged it off the plate onto the floor with much effort. Unfortunately, all the huffing and puffing drew Ragner's attention, and he took away the burrito. About that time, Spike, who is Jet's brother, showed up.  There was much squealing and rolling around on the floor but in the end Ragner  was triumphant (he's twice the size of the younger ferrets) and dragged the burrito under the china cabinet.  They will all lick on it then forget it, and I'll give it to the dogs. I was grateful for a little entertainment, and I'm damned sick of frozen burritos.   I put out some hamburgers to thaw but I'm not hungry now so maybe I'll have them tomorrow.

Monday, November 18, 2013

" I can protect myself from my enemies, but may God preserve me from my friends" Voltaire

I think some kind of mental illness is infecting gun writers. First the two lame brains at Guns and Ammo fall on their sword by pimping for more gun control.  Now I get my copy of Handloader and one of the guys who writes for that is calling people who stockpile ammo "hoarders" and "despicable."   Granted, this guy is  a "low information voter" from way back, who is completely out of touch with current realities, but still.   Handloader is the gun world refuge for octogenarians who write about arcane and pointless issues. I buy it, yes,  I confess. That's because once in a blue moon, they have an article on reloading some bizarre military chambering that I can use. But mostly it's about reloading wildcat cartridges that went out of vogue decades ago.  A "wildcat" is a chambering that somebody just made up, usually to suit some extremely esoteric and rare need,  so nobody cares about it but the guy who made it up.  The .45 Rowland is an example. In the 1980's, Johnny Rowland ran an underground patriot television show on a feed channel of the old C band satellite system. I helped him with it, doing his news letter until he got so strung out that he spent all his time attacking the NRA. All that's left of him now, as far as I know, is the load data for the .45 Rowland,  a wildcat that still shows up from time to time and which he invented and got a couple of commercial  outfits to load for about a year.

So you can  see,  Handloader does not have wide appeal.  Charles Petty wrote an article in the current edition in which he was whining about going to his gun club, and not many people were shooting. He waxed eloquent about what a bunch of idiots people were who laid back ammo, because that caused shortages for the range crowd. He also hates people who are selling ammo during the shortage for more than it was before Obama got his hooks into taking everybody's guns after repeatedly promising not to do so. (Have you noticed that Obama's word is not sacrosanct? I wouldn't buy a used car from the jerk, that's for certain.)

Well, since nobody reads Handloader, we won't have the main stream media trumpeting his article as proof that "sensible people" don't store ammo, but still, as the British say, I just don't need the "agro.":

Jumping through hoops.

It's actually one in the morning, but I am still thinking of this as Sunday night. There is a massive storm passing through and until about an hour ago I was up in the third floor study watching it . There are two large skylight windows up there, and a large plate glass window that takes up most of one wall.  The views of the mountains are great, and the rain beating on the roof can best be heard there.

Then about an hour ago, my son calle. He said he had a text message on his cell phone from my daughter saying she needed to go to the doctor and wanted him to drive. He said it was from 10:30.  I tried to call my daughter, and got her voice mail. I called her boyfriend, and got his voice mail. I called the hospital she goes to, and they said she had not checked in.

She has had a number of  experiences where she just faints and collapses on the floor. I called my son back and told him to get in his car and drive over there,  it's only a few minutes away from the apartment.

Then I called my wife and woke her up. She reminded me that my daughter had been to the clinic this morning and asked me if we had checked the time on the message. I called my son, and it was from this morning. He and I both missed the time issue because we figured she was having another one of her blood pressure drops.

Sometimes I want them both to just move back home so I can control things better.  It's hard being on the far end of a  long communications link trying to figure out what's going on.  I am a helicopter parent, always hovering over their heads, I guess.

At least it ended well. I was about to the point where I figured we had another major daughter disaster on our hands.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wet and dreary

Rain all day yesterday and last night. Today is just misty, and overcast. The water is dripping off the trees, so it sounds like it's raining in the woods when it really isn't.

My wife has been sick for awhile with bronchitis. She was staying at her mom's, since she works in that town, but she didn't go to school all week. She has a lot of sick leave saved up, and I'm glad she had sense enough not to go to school and infect all the kids, though it's hard for her to miss work.  Her sister is a doctor and has been taking care of her, but my wife wanted to come home for the weekend, sick or not.  So I drove over there yesterday, picked her up, and brought her home. Just over 100 miles round trip, and on the wrong side of the mountains, but I didn't mind. She has been sleeping for the most part since she got home, but you know how it is. When you are sick, you want to be in your own home.

I went to town to get Tussin DM, since we have used up all we had between her and me recently.  While I was there, I checked the ammo counter. Low and Behold! There was someone actually working there for a change. I bought two cans of Tula 9mm , 100 rounds per can, boxer primed and brass cases to boot. The price was good, as you can see below.  I would have bought more, since they had about 6 cans, but they are still doing the "two boxes to a customer per day" routine on ammo.

I think I will start getting more ammo the way Democrats get more votes in the cities. I'll drive around til I find a bum, then give him a carton of smokes if he will go in and buy me two cans of ammo. I remember Clinton got a lot of votes in Chicago that way.

I know Tula steel cased ammo has a reputation for being very dirty.  This stuff was produced in Bosnia, so maybe it won't have that attribute. At any rate, 9mm is still as scarce as hen's teeth here,  so I got what I could, when I could.

Looks like primo ammunition, and it's reloadable and cheap.  That's a good combination.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Homo homini lupus est.

I usually watch Doomsday Preppers, or at least tape it for later.  Tuesday I settled down to watch the show , and they surprised me. Instead of the ordinary narration about how so and so was preparing and why,  it was about some character who had formed his own band of would be marauders in Washington State. His plan was to take what he needed from other people.  I watched maybe ten minutes of it and turned it off because I was so repulsed by the whole idea. But really, I should have watched it.  The whole reason for sitting through an hour of that show is to pick up new ideas. Certainly this one should have been worthwhile in that respect.

Not that the individual on the show was very impressive.  He pranced around saying "I'm going to take your stuff and there's no way you can stop me." Now, I guess maybe that could be true in Washington State, though even that seems a stretch. Back here in the South, I doubt this individual and his little band would last a week. For one thing, he seemed to assume that his victims would all be unarmed and asleep in bed when he materialized. He also seems to have discounted the fact that most people have dogs, so it wouldn't  be easy to break into the house and kill everybody off in their beds.   Just because this guy and his band were clowns, doesn't mean everybody who thinks that way is too.

If you remember the L.A. riots, you will recall that some of the people (and I use the term loosely) who were interviewed after attacking cars, pulling people out and beating them up said they were having a great time. The video of the kid throwing a brick into the skull of the truck driver who had been beaten up, and then pointing at him and dancing around the guy laying on the ground,  is a good indication that there are people who delight in barbaric behavior.

 Guns and Ammo magazine was located in a big building down town. After the riots, Guns and Ammo ran an article about the whole event as it effected them. Several other magazines, of the haute couture variety, were located in the same building.  The people who worked for those regarded the Guns and Ammo staff as knuckle draggers and did their best to ignore them. They wouldn't even exchange greetings in the elevator. One of the things I remember from the article was that as the fire and smoke drew closer to the building, all these "beautiful people" from the glossy magazines started showing up in the Guns and Ammo offices, asking if they could stay there until things quieted down. Now why would that be, I wonder?

The point is, there really are some savages out there. Sometimes the threat of the law and being apprehended holds them in check.  If that threat is ever removed,  then these people run absolutely wild.  I come across blogs occasionally  where the authors are waiting for the collapse with baited breath, because that will be their opportunity to pay everyone back for everything about society the writer doesn't like.   Sort of a Katrina event on a larger scale.

I remember one Doomsday Preppers show  where some latter day Hippies in New England were building themselves a self sustaining group. When asked what they would do if they were confronted with violent looters, the lady who ran the thing said they would invite them to a meal and teach them to cooperate.

Good Luck with that.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Bird Flu strain infects humans for the first time.

the link above will take you to the article.

My brother makes a supply run during the last "bird flu" season.

A Tale of Tamiflu

Back just before I retired,  there was a really big Bird Flu scare in the United States.  There didn't seem to be much you could do about it, though some CDC tests indicated that the early application of Tamiflu might be beneficial.

Tamiflu was pretty cheap until that hit the airwaves. Then it was essentially gone. I got a prescription for enough to cover the four members of my immediate family, and I went looking for it.  I went to town after town, but it was all sold out.

Finally, in a town down south of here, I went into an Eckerts  Drug Store. The pharmacist was a real jerk. He went ballistic on me and gave me a big ration about how Tamiflu was ineffective against bird flu, and how doctors shouldn't even be prescribing it, and all about how people were needlessly bothering him about it. I didn't have time to listen to this worm so I walked out. But as I headed out the door, one of the cashiers took me aside. She told me this guy had bought every single Tamiflu pill for his own family, and had not even left any for the other people who worked there. She was really mad and I don't blame her. But the moral of the story is, don't assume that just because somebody is wearing a white lab coat and a pair of black rimmed glasses that they aren't greedy, selfish and lying swine.

Thursday Afternoon

The leaf season is over, and things are looking a bit bleak in the mountains. Once the leaves are gone, seems like everything is brown or grey.

It's still cold outside.  I did the necessary chores and came back inside. Since then I've been doing everything but what I need to do. There's a whole lot of paperwork I need to get through, but I've been stalling. I tried to watch one of the really terrible "made for tv" movies on the Science Fiction channel but had to give it up. The show was just too cheesy, even for me.

My next task is to fix lunch. I set out a pack of frozen burritos and that's going to be lunch. I don't feel like cleaning up pots and dishes today.

I haven't picked up the mail in two days, and I'm not going to pick it up today. Driving down the mountain and doing the gate is too big a pill, and it's too cold to walk. I thought I'd drive into town today, if only to have lunch somewhere, but I got up too late. There were coyotes last night, so my dogs kept me awake raising hell and I didn't get much sleep. That meant I slept in way too late today. I'm trying not to do that.
The next thing to come down the pike here will be snow.  If only just to get out, we'll be going to town when it snows. 

 The end result of that will be hauling stuff up the mountain on a sled. I have a big metal and wood "real sled" but this little cheap kids sled works fine if you just have a few packages from the grocery store.

If we are expecting a big snow, I park a couple of the vehicles down by the hard surface road. My trail down the mountain, and the forest service gravel road it connects to, are impassable in the snow because they are very steep. If the snow starts to melt during the day, then refreezes at night, you get ice and even four wheel drive won't hold you steady on a sloping surface covered with ice.

The first snow is usually just after Thanksgiving.  The Weather Channel says this will be a harder winter than we are used to, more like the winters we got here in the 1980's.  

If so, I'll have some better snow pictures to post than these.  This is considered a moderate snow. When we get a two or three day storm, the snow is much higher.  I suppose it's this really cold weather that has got me wondering if I have everything I need up here for this type of weather.  I should have, after all these years, but I am not infallible.

A trickle of ammunition is on the shelves, but it costs much more. So I am reloading .

I'm not sure what's happening in the rest of the country, but in the Blue Ridge Mountains the ammunition situation is improving.

At our local Walmart, you can usually find Winchester, Federal and Privi Partisan in the common cartridges for hand guns.

The cost is about 30% above what it was before all this started. That means commercial ammunition is well past the threshold where it's cheaper to load your own. The problem is finding components. I really only have one source of reloading supplies like powder and primers, about three hours away in Tennessee. I haven't been up there in awhile so I don't know what the situation is on that.  I have enough components and ancillary supplies to keep me reloading for quite awhile even without buying any more. Winter is traditionally when I do my reloading, because it's something you can do inside at a time when going outside may not be an option.

Bullets aren't a problem. They don't seem to be in short supply and you can order them from Midway, Graf or any number of other suppliers. There's no hazmat (hazardous materials) problems with bullets.  I don't pay hazmat charges, so if I need powder or primers I have to drive to get them.

In a way, that's fortunate. To make the trip cost effective, I have to buy a significant amount of reloading supplies when I make the trip. That means that for some time after I drive over there, I have a large amount of reloading components on hand.  It's just as well, because I have a pretty lengthy list of chamberings to reload for.

I keep a load book.  Essentially,  I choose a load out of a reloading manual, and make up a batch. I record all the information about it, including the bullet type, manufacturer, powder charge and type.  Then I fire that batch through different weapons of the same chambering.  What works fine in a Walther P-38 might not cycle a Luger. I record the results of the shooting for each pistol, by serial number. That's because I've found that even with the same type of pistol, results vary. What fires just fine out of a 1950's version of the Browning High Power might not function quite so well in a 1980's commercial version of the same hand gun.

When I load for rifles, I tend to choose mild charges. That's because the full powered battle rifles of the 1896- 1945 era will really beat you up with a full load. During the Irish Easter Rebellion, the British found the rebels on the street after the fighting was over, by the simple expedient of having all men take off their shirts. Anyone who had been firing a rifle was clearly marked by bruising on the right shoulder. Full power military loads are pretty tough in the recoil department. While bolt guns aren't that finicky about powder charges, semi-autos tend to be much more difficult to find the right loads for. I have a French MAS 49-56 that won't fire Privi Partisan 7.54 Mas, for instance, but fires French surplus 7.54 Mas with no problem. All that has to be taken into account when you are reloading.

Because I can't be entirely certain that circumstances will always allow me to match up a box of ammo with a serial number on a rifle, I size my entire cartridge case when I reload. That means that I should be able to use, for instance, a .303 British cartridge I reloaded in any of my Enfields. People who actually can load for a specific rifle all the time don't resize the whole cartridge case, so their brass lasts longer.

The most expensive component of a loaded round of ammunition is the case. A case can be reused many times, depending on a number of factors. Just leaving it laying on the ground is wasteful.  Being able to reload also provides ammunition for some of my more unique weapons. A lot of these old guns either have no commercial ammo available at all, or it is so expensive you can't afford to shoot it.

Being able to reload means as long as I have brass and bullets, I'll be able to put rounds together.  A good example is the Hungarian M95 carbine. It's chambered in 8X56R.  To fire the weapon, you have to have the appropriate Mannlicher clip.  You have to have the right brass, and hardest of all, you have to find the right sized bullets. Hornaday makes the loaded round, so you can buy brass from them. But the bullets are a different matter. Graf and Sons offers the bullets periodically but doesn't stock them all the time. When the flyer comes and they have that bullet, I buy a lot of them.  You can never tell when that source will dry up and then all you will have is what is in your reloading room.

Reloading isn't hard and you don't have to have a lot of money for equipment. The fewer weapons you own, the easier it is to get the gear you need. A manual press, appropriate die kits, a priming tool, a scale, and a few odds and ends will let you get going. I started with one RCB set of 9mm Luger dies, and a cheap kit from Lee that cost about sixty dollars. Now my reloading room contains considerably more than that, but I've been reloading for twenty years.

I think one day,  Obama or someone like him will issue a fuhrer diktat,  (executive order) and buying commercial ammo without signing your life away will end.  In the PDR of Kalifornia that's already the case. Then you will have what's in your storeroom. If you reload, you can probably keep yourself going for a long time because powder, bullets, cases, primers et al don't take up a lot of room.  If you don't, when the last box of cartridges has been used it's time to get out your sword.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who is James Wesley Rawles?

 James Wesley Rawles is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer who has become a leading light of the preparedness movement.  He lives with his family at an undisclosed location in the American Redoubt. Probably his greatest successs has been his blog, simply called Survival Blog.

  He has a massive following, yet still is aware of and communicates with other survivalists at the grass roots level, including people you have probably read yourself such as The Other Ryan and Commander Zero. 

Rawles is acutely aware of operational security, as he needs to be. As he himself has indicated, were he to publish his location he would have a carnival outside his gates in short order. Consequently he uses a number of practical measures to preserve his privacy. He seems to be a private person and somewhat reclusive.

Rawles is a frequent guest on television and radio, as well as podcasts.  I am not aware of any appearances at big survival seminars or expos, though I could have missed it if he attended one.  I think it would be somewhat out of character in his case.

Rawles writes both fiction and non fiction concerning the self sufficient lifestyle.  Two books that have been very big success stories are How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, and Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.
Rawles on Retreats and Relocation is one of his earliest works. It's a practical guide for people who live in locations which they know puts them at dire risk in the event of a collapse. It's a how to manual for getting out.

The book addresses the concerns you have to take into consideration if you are moving out of Dodge before the big show. There's a lot more to relocating than just looking for a nice piece of land in a rural town, and this publication will take you through the process and help you insure you don't miss anything.  Once you buy, it's too late to say " that's not going to work."  I know from my own experience that you can get bitten many years down the road by the unexpected, but there's no reason to shoot yourself in the foot right off the bat. This book will help you avoid initial mistakes in relocating.


I don't have any statistics to prove it, but I would be willing to wager How to Survive The End of The World as We Know It  is the most commonly purchased of J.W. Rawles' books.  I bought a copy for every member of my extended family, including nephews and nieces. I also sent copies to old Marine Corps buddies, and I offered a copy to the local library but of course they turned their noses up at it. I am not well loved there because I have tried to tell them they need more practical books like this and fewer bodice rippers and yellow press penny dreadfuls. At least no one would go through this book and edit out all the curse words, because there aren't any.

That's because Rawles is a strong Christian.  I don't want to say "fundamentalist" because that has come to mean something like the Taliban, but I have said, only half in jest, that he's close to being the American Taliban.  Since I'm not religious, that's just something I accept as his right.  If I find that mindset features prominently in his fiction works, I try to suppress any irritation it might cause me and get the benefit of his books. I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face.

Rawles does write fiction, and his books are wildly popular. When I read the first one, I was very impressed with how much actionable information was in it. His characters make plans, use equipment and supplies, and all of it is described in exact detail. If, for instance, you need a specific kind of equipment, Rawles will tell you the brand name, model and exact specifications of that type of equipment while describing it as part of the novel. The books are priceless resources for that feature alone.

One aspect of his books that I find fascinating is his habit of making the books take place in the same time frame, and frequently overlap. Instead of a chronologically ordered sequence following the same characters, he has different characters, all interrelated, who have distinct stories to tell.  These stories eventually intertwine and you get a mosaic of the collapse all over, not just in one location.  It takes a little getting used to that scheme but I have enjoyed it and I think it adds to the depth of the individual books.

Patriots is the first book in the series, published in 2009. The original novel has been updated and revised, so if you order it used be sure you get the latest edition.

Survivors was published in 2011.

Founders was published in 2012.

Expatriates just came out recently and is the fourth book in the series.

I'm reading Expatriates now and so far, I've liked it.  There's no question that Rawles' is producing a smoother, more flowing story line than was to be found in his first book . It's a little difficult at first to keep up with the different characters but as you read on it becomes less of an issue.  If you are not a religious person, then I'll give you the same advice I give myself. Remember, a lot of people in the Self Sufficiency Movement are deeply religious. These stories are told from that point of view.  The people in the book might not act like you would, or think like you would, but they have plenty of real life counterparts who would. Don't let the religious aspects of the books be such a distraction that they cause you to miss out on the enjoyment and opportunity to learn that this series offers.

For anyone interested in a more detailed account of the author,  I've put the link to the wiki entry. It seems to be fairly accurate and unbiased.