“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snow

 Light snow coming down.  The weather radio predicted under one half inch today, then snow again tomorrow night and Monday night. That's for elevations over 1100 feet, which includes us here.

The wind is really howling through the trees. My wife's wind chimes are sounding out on the porch, and ever so often something will fall out of one of the big oak trees around the house and thump on to the roof. When all this stops, I will have some cleaning up to do. Doubtless there will be shakes blown off and I'll need to fix that as well.


Sent by a friend




I got my package of books from Amazon.  Survivalist Gardening is a strange little book.  It was originally published as a Kindle book only.  Then it came out in paper back, but it's only about twenty pages long. Of those, most deal with general survivalist philosophy on where you should locate for security reasons, and not with gardening itself.

About the most useful thing in the book is a discussion of what vegetable to plant when. That's useful, at least to me, as I have no idea what gets planted at what time of year.
Overall, considering the book cost next to nothing, I don't regret buying it. I intend to devote more effort to gardening, starting this spring. There are two main reasons. One, it's a way to stay gainfully occupied without spending a lot of money. Two, it's the one area in the self sufficient lifestyle where I really am not in the loop. I need to improve a great deal in that particular facet of the discipline.




 I got a copy of the companion volume to James W. Rawles' book  How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.   Tools for Survival  is in the same style and format as the first book.

If you were in the Boy Scouts (or , presumably, the Girl Scouts) you will remember the handbook. It dealt with just about every situation you could expect to encounter in the woods, and with skills useful in outdoor life. These two books are essentially the same, though tailored to survivalists rather than scouting.

They are relatively small books, printed on cheap paper. I think the author had in mind that people would buy them and then buy extra copies for friends and relatives if he kept the price affordable. I certainly did that, I can't begin to estimate how many copies of the first book I sent out to friends and family. Granted, most of them undoubtedly wound up on stony soil, but some may have taken root with the recipients.

As was the case with How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It  ,  Tools for Survival is held to a basic level and oriented towards what you would want to have in bad situations from short term natural disasters to longer lasting societal breakdowns. It isn't fancy, but the book makes some good points and having read it, I found a few items I added to the purchases pending list here.



I got the new Shooters Catalog from Sportsman's Guide this week.  There are some great deals on hard to find ammunition, some good offers in areas like magazines, and other shooting accessories. I always join the Sportsman's Guide "Buyers Club" where you pay a minimal amount each year for membership, but you get good discounts on your purchases and even more important, advance notice on items coming out that might be scarce. I think it's $35.00 a year, and I save way over that. I like Sportsman's Guide because they have never cheated me, always delivered what they promised, and have good customer service.  I get their Military Surplus Catalog, Outdoor Catalog, and Shooters Catalog, plus the Buyers Club Catalog. Sometimes I order their other catalogs, because they are free, but I do that on an individual basis.

Things go well here. The ferrets are rousting around on their blanket, having mock battles. My wife is is watching the spring fashions on QVC, and I'm going to take a nap. No big worries. The snow isn't doing any harm, and maybe I'll get some nice pictures when it stops.

33 comments:

  1. Harry, funny thing...I also worry about the selling price of my hardware after I die. hopefully my sons will be smart about it, if they don't decide to hang on to them as keepsakes.

    For me, the Sportsmans Guide has been a mixed bag. Most of the stuff has been pretty good, and has lasted me a long time. I've had a few items purchased that ended up being junk; including a few AR mags. So now I try to just stick with the milsurp stuff, while avoiding "military-style" stuff. Of course, as with most things, you get what you pay for, right?--Troy

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    1. My son doesn't care much about firearms, and it will fall on him to sell whatever he decides not to keep. I should sell my own collection, but as I am still alive and enjoying it, that seems to be a less than satisfactory solution to the question. I don't know how it will work out but I am sure all gun owners who are getting on in years have to wonder how it will work out.

      Troy, if you ever get anything you don't like , for whatever reason, from Sportsmans Guide just call their customer service and they will make it right, either with other goods or with a refund. I have been a real pain in the rear to those guys sometimes, because I want everything to be exactly right, but they have never been nasty about it and I always ended up satisfied.

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  2. Saturday mid day and its snowing here in Portland, Maine also. They promise 6 to 10 inches which means we likely will get a foot and a half. I used to have a full blown 30'x40' veg garden but gave up on it about six years ago as we simply had so many diseases due to the wet climate that it was a loosing battle. I figured out it cost me 650 $ a year to buy seedlings, supplies, manure, water bill, fertilizers and poisons to plant and keeping it going and it took a lot of work. For that kind of $$ I could buy a years worth of real nice veggies down at the supermarket and work a lot less.
    Keeping my eyes peeled for a cheap vintage eastern block 32 acp pistol as a reloadable substitute to 22LR. Thinking of the CZ VZOR M70 if I can get one for the right price that's not had the snot worn out of it. Cabelas had 50 count boxes of Rem Subsonics for 8$ a piece. I figure I can reload 32s for a lot less.
    Michael

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    1. Michael, take a look at J&G Sales, they have lots of Eastern Block surplus police pistols, one of those might be what you are after.

      I have a Beretta .22LR and some "fun guns" in that chambering like a P-38 clone, a Luger clone, and some SAA revolvers. I don't shoot a whole lot of .22LR but I keep a good bit on hand. Haven't bought any since the great panic though.

      I've never been worth a damn at gardening but I think now that I am retired I could devote more time to it, and maybe enjoy it. I'd only go out there early in the morning and in the evening, when it wasn't so hot. I know the wild hogs will probably get the garden but I think I'll give it a try this Spring.

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    2. Didn't see any 32s at J&G but these remakes of the old TT33 look good and are quite reasonably priced.
      http://www.jgsales.com/handguns-c-16_1066.html
      The 7.62x25 caliber is quite fast and might be fun to play with. Real tempting.

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    3. I read where Colt is doing a rerun of the 1908 pocket hamerless in .380 acp. But in typical Colt short sighted fashion it is a limited commemorative number run of high priced examples that will likely be out of reach for most of us pedestrians. No surprise the company is nearly bankrupt.

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    4. You could probably find one on an auction on line. I don't know what they would run, though. Since it would be a collectible, maybe you could locate one that had been reblued and hence wasn't of interest to collectors.

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    5. Most of those pocket hamerless Colts are going for around 8 to 900 $ as they all have collector value. I have yet to see one for less. Usually more. If they made new ones for real use priced 3 to 400 that would be reasonable.

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    6. Didn't Colt make a new hammerless pistol in .380 called "The Pony" some years ago? Maybe there are some of them still around. I recall they didn't sell well.

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    7. Yes, but as there are few around they are quite pricey today. I do have a Bersa Thunder in .380 Its a good little shooter and more accurate than I can be due to its fixed barrel like the Walther PP. I was thinking more in terms of a an older eastern block 32 acp. Something about as close to a 22 as you can get but still a cartridge you can reload. FEG or CZ VZOR. But most now are going for over 300$ and in my opinion they are not worth it. Most are police surplus and quite worn, and the original machining was not exactly top notch either. I'll just keep my eyes open and some day the right one will turn up. The one that did catch my eye the other day was the Polish Wanad P-38 in 9x18 Mak. Not a bad price either.
      https://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=100001638&dir=700|1012|1026

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  3. Ha! Can't wait to follow the exploits of "Harry the Gardener" :) i really hope you're successful and are thus encouraged further. Just remember - your soil prep / feeding is the most important chore of all. If you have an alpaca farm near you - beg, borrow and steal a trailer load of their "beans" ;)

    If it snows enough, and collects in a hollow - throw a snowball for me - please :)

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    1. Dani, I thought there were some Alpaca's here, but the last time I was out that way I looked and I think they are Llama's, although to tell the truth both animals look the same to me. I'll have to do raised beds like Tania does though, because the soil here is red clay and flint, pretty much. The only thing I ever got to grow in it was corn. I do see gardens by the road sometimes that have beans and squash, I am assuming they fertilize the soil with either chemicals or pig pooh. Pig pooh is big here, but God help you if you drive by a field thusly fertilized after it rains.

      Oh, we'll get enough snow for snowballs, never fear. I just hope it stays a "light snow" and doesn't get deep enough to be a problem getting up and down the mountain.

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  4. Most country folks have most of the tools they need, gardening always has room for improvement.

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    1. That's true, Georges. The book includes a wide range of items under the "tools" moniker, just about everything that comes under the "beans, bullets, and band-aids" heading. As far as carpentry and gardening tools, I'm sure rural tool sheds are far better stocked than most in suburbia or urban environments.

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  5. I hope your gardening will go well! Nothing tastes better than veggies fresh from the garden. It's very economical too, compared to grocery store prices.

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    1. Well, it's pretty unwise for me to make preparation for hard times one of the focal points of my existence, then ignore something so basic to the lifestyle. I just don't much enjoy toiling in the garden, but my wife does so I should get with the program I guess.

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  6. Have you ever read any of Gene Hill's books? Your picture of "selling my guns" sort of reminds me of his stuff. He was a columnist for F&S years ago. He was a bird hunter and shotgun man. I have several of his books and they are hilarious, him needing a new shotgun for a VERY specific purpose and his long suffering wife wearing a winter coat made from a carpet.
    He also tells very good dog stories too, the kind that make your eyes water. If you're interested I could loan you mine.

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    1. I meant to add a couple titles, sorry. Outdoor Yarns and Outright Lies and A Hunters Fireside Book.

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    2. I appreciate the offer and it does sound like the kind of books I enjoy. Let me check Google and see if I can get a used copy, I hate to borrow yours least something happen to them.

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  7. The Gun poster almost made me blow my coffee through my nose, good one Harry! That's why I'm thinning my stable now. Convert the guns into cash and the cash into Crown Royal :-)

    Michael, as for growing a vegetable garden I know exactly what you're saying. I think I'd be better off growing the garden but not eating the veggies instead eating all the bugs, the poundage yield would be higher!

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    1. I got that from a friend. It's the best I've seen on a much discussed subject. I'm hanging on to what I have, but not really looking to add to my holdings, at least until our plans for after my wife retires are settled.

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  8. LOL somehow the notion of sauteed tomato horn-worm just don't sound too appealing. My main problem was all sorts of blights damaging the veggies before they ripened. We have a very humid environment here in Maine prime for mold and other nasty infections.
    Harry hope you keep a log book inventory of all your guns with purchase cost and present value as well as the place you have hidden them so your family can have a clue as to what to get for them when they sell them should you not come down for breakfast one day.
    Michael

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  9. The guns are in safes for the most part. My son is the only person besides myself who can open them. I have spreadsheets which show the original purchase price as well as the current valuation.

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  10. You are welcome to the snow. I'm taking a break from it and loving it. My lovely wife has a very good idea what my guns are worth -some she bought for me. Love that gal.

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    1. I saw where you and the wife were down there in Florida, with your boat. It sounded mighty nice, especially the island you could camp on.

      My wife never was much interested in my gun collection but there were times when I didn't go out of my way to keep her in the loop on it.

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  11. Harry,
    Getting started gardening can seem quite daunting, especially when it just doesn't really "call" to you. You could start out simply with a few containers on the deck of things you would like to eat. Once you taste the real flavor of organically grown produce, the whole process will grow on you ( pun intended). If I were to recommend just one book for a new gardener it would be Gardening When It Counts, Growing Food In Hard Times by Steve Solomon
    Thomas Jefferson was a life long gardener and he had this to say: "I am an old man, but a young gardener". We'll never know it all, but you might find it more enjoyable than you imagine.
    Cheers, Strelsi

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    1. My wife loves gardening and flowers, plants, etc. She will enjoy it and it's something we can do together without having to go off the mountain. Maybe it will be fun. Either way, it's something I want to become more familiar with.

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  12. My worry wouldn't be she sold my guns but my tools for what they are worth! My biggest vice is tools and I never buy cheap ones!
    The book on a survivalist garden sounds similar to one I was thinking of writing. I was thinking I would do one that covered all the basic skills and then told you how to "close the loop" in your garden so you don't have to buy things in and can produce your own plant food, save seeds and make compost. I think a section of completely unusual edibles would be good, that way you could have things growing and if the SHTF people wouldn't be able to steal things they didn't know was edible (Japanese raisin tree anyone?). Also I think a big section on storage and how to make things last in a book like that would be useful.
    Any help I can give you with the garden let me know - just don;t try and do too much in one go, build it up year on year.
    Kev

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    1. Kev, I'm sure there is a market for the kind of book you are considering. Lots of people who are trying to be self sufficient grew up with gardening, and many have educated themselves on the subject, but there are a lot of people like me who have let that languish. For a lot of people, gardening is not particularly entertaining and they tend to concentrate on the areas they are interested in, like bulk packed long term food storage, or weapons, or security, that kind of thing. But I have never met anyone (and I've been at this since 1986 full bore) who denied the fact that you can't store enough food to last forever. Being able to grow your own would be necessary, however tedious. I looked around for a book specifically oriented towards the survivalist/prepper community on this topic, and all I could really find was this tiny little book. I'm sure if you write a more in depth book on the topic it would sell well. Years ago, a prepper who lived in an apartment wrote a little pocket guide to the most basic issues of survivalism, and it sold very well. I kept my well thumbed copy and I am sure it is still selling.
      I am going to try to be more painstaking in this spring attempt. I threw together my last foray and it got washed out in heavy rains.

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  13. I hope you are doing OK with the snow!

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    1. Kathy, it hasn't been too bad. I haven't been going anywhere anyway so it hasn't bothered me much.

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  14. It just keeps coming down here. I don't mind shoveling, but my husband went out and did it. He said, "I've been waiting for this!" The trouble is, is he has a bad back. I do not. Now he's crashed in our bed taking a nap. I'd go out, and shovel again if it wasn't so close to lunchtime. My Dad has heart surgery this upcoming Friday. My husband offered to scoop for him, but he hasn't called yet. He's kind of a proud person, so I'm thinking we should call him.

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    1. Women shouldn't shovel snow as they don't have as much abdominal muscle tissue and it's easier for them to get hurt. Shoveling with a bad back is not good either, though. I hope the heart surgery goes well for your father. It must be stressful for you, having all that going on. Maybe things will settle down a little soon. No wonder you are having two cups of coffee in the morning now.

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