Saturday, October 31, 2015

Three hours til dawn.

Cold outside, or perhaps I'm just not used to it yet.  It will be a lot colder, soon.

Two more months left in 2015. Hasn't been all that great a year and I will not be sorry to see it go. Maybe 2016 will be less frenetic at home and less hopeless and depressing on the national and international side.

Have been burning a fire since about two this afternoon. Heats the house without using propane and a good fire burning is relaxing.

Because my wife will soon be home full time, I expect to spend more time in the living room, where she usually stays during the day. So I moved my favorite easy chair down from the study to the living room. It was hellish, as I had to carry it down the stairs myself, but it's done. I also had to turn it over and put some long deck screws in it to prevent it from reclining. I don't trust myself not to inadvertently put it in the reclining position without thinking, and thereby squash one of my ferrets. It's a dead certainly they will get up inside it.  They'll be safe now, an elephant couldn't push the reclining handle and make the frame shift.

Spent part of the day in the shop, cleaning two Swiss K-31 rifles and an Australian Enfield MK.III. They hadn't been fired so I didn't take them completely down, just gave the furniture a good going over with "Pledge", wiped the metal down with Remington wipes, and gave the slings a rub down with Neatsfoot oil.

I got this from a friend. I was struck by how true it is, although it's something you rarely if ever talk about.  You are never the same person you were before you joined up. I think you are a better person, in a lot of respects.

Incidentally, if you are into farming, and raising your own food, seeds, etc then you will enjoy this post. This young woman is the real deal, and knows farming.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A stay by the fire day.

Raining again. This weather is supposed to get worse by the weekend. As I have most of the week, I'm staying in by the fire.

 Today I'm reading Genesis 1948 about the first arab- Israeli war.  I think I've read it about 6 times now, but it's a good book and always interesting.

It's good military history.  Then too, I like Israelis and I detest arabs. There's that, too.  Except the Jordanians.

 The new American Survival Guide quarterly is out. It primarily addresses natural disasters in this issue.

I always enjoy their equipment reviews. In this issue, they didn't go with the top end gear, but highlighted affordable things that the average individual could buy. I found a couple of radios in the reviews that fill some gaps in my inventory and are within my means.

These magazines tend to be for beginners, but I regard the articles as refresher training, and sometimes I do get new ideas from them. I also enjoy the reviews because once in awhile they go over equipment I really want. It's like a Consumer Reports for survivalists.

This particular magazine costs $9.00 but I get my money's worth of enjoyment out of it.

So, unless something unforeseen happens, today will be a quiet, coffee drinking by the fire day. I am about due for a day when I don't have to work on anything and can just relax.

Here's a good short video sent to me by a friend. It pretty well sums up the fascination and allure of the old guns.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Three days of storm.

It has been raining here, with terrific wind, for three days now. I suppose it is the remnants of the big hurricane that came out of the Pacific, crossed Mexico, and then came up through Texas into the Southeast.

I haven't been out much.  The leaves are coming off the trees in vast numbers, and the trail down the mountain is steep. I might get the truck out, but I doubt I could get it back up here as the leaves are so slippery.

I've had plenty to do inside to keep me occupied , though. In implementing the new "plan" based on my wife retiring at the end of December, I have had to do a lot of adjustments and deal with the bureaucracy, both federal and state.  It has been a very trying experience.  Without going into boring details, every financial and governmental agency I've had to deal with has been utterly incompetent and the "new rules" are absurd. The VA and the Teachers Retirement System are particularly detached from any sense of reality. I am working my way through it.

I have not listened to the news or watched any on tv for the last couple of weeks. Don't listen to it on the satellite radio, either. Just listen to music, for the most part.  However, I read some tonight, so maybe things are settling down and getting back to what constitutes "normal" for me.

Guns Sales Surge in Austria as Immigrant Crisis Widens. (link)

I built a gun rack this past summer, and put carpet on the bottom of it to help hold the guns in place.  What I didn't know was that some carpet has formaldehyde in it, which mixes with the moisture in the air and creates a corrosive blend. So my Chinese Type 56 (AK-47), a Springfield M1903, and a Swedish Mauser model 1938 all got rusted butt plates. I have gotten the rust off using a drimel tool, but it has been exasperating. I am always learning lessons, even at my age, and usually the painful way.

The Model 1938 in question is a cut back 1896, dated 1898.

The M1903 that rusted is a late World War I rifle with a high enough serial number to be safe to shoot.

The Type 56 is all original. That's why I worked on the old butt plate instead of just buying a new one.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Not much to tell.

I'm still alive but not much on the Internet right now. Family matters combined with a little not serious but not feeling so hot on my part have slowed me down. My wife and I are deciding what we want to do about her early retirement and our future plans. This was not something I expected to have to address seriously for at least four more years.

We need facts to make decisions so I have ordered an appraisal of our property in case we do decide to move elsewhere. It is expensive but I want it done professionally by  licensed appraiser who has no agenda of his own.

I had to put word verification on the blog because I am getting spammed to death and that's the only way I can stop it.

That's all there is to tell for now.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


 I have not been around much this past week in terms of the internet.  There are two things occupying my time.

One is restructuring our plans for my wife's retirement. Coming unexpectedly as it did, it caught me by surprise. I had us all set for her to retire four years down the road.

While I'm glad she's retiring early, I am having to do a lot of homework to get all this right. One negative aspect of extremely detailed and interlocked planning is that when something changes, it's like knocking over the first domino in the row.

The other issue is trying to get all the pre-winter bad weather repairs and projects done. Because I don't really like carpentry and that kind of thing, I have a  tendency to let things drift from day to day. But starting last week I got going on it with a will.

So bear with me for a bit until I can get things back to normal.  I'll be going by people's blogs tonight to see what everybody has been up to.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

When you read a lot of preparedness articles, you are bound to find a few very special people out there.

"There are folks out there with state-of-the-art bunkers and three-year supply caches. They are called “preppers” because they are way more prepared than you will ever be. But don’t worry about it. Because the more you have in an apocalypse, the bigger target you have painted on your back. Do you want to be guarding your dehydrated military meals from every bloodshot-eyed survivor with a shank and nothing to lose? No. Keep it simple, stay nimble."

Jenny Gottstein " How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse and other Disasters"

Her theory is that you should keep some crackers and other supplies in a small hand carry, so you can remain "mobile." 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall weather.

Fall is here.  The storm must have brought it in, since the change has been so sudden.  The trees are turning red and gold, the air is drier and cooler.   It's good weather for working outside. I have quite a list of repairs and minor improvements I want to get finished before the real cold weather of winter sets in. I got a good start today but there's still a good bit to do.  The plan is to start work once it's light enough outside, and then when I get tired, I'll knock off. Then, in the afternoon, if I feel like starting again I'll try to get something more done.

Tomorrow I need to go into town to the depot, and get some lumber, and a few bits and pieces of hardware. I don't need  a lot but I need enough to justify the run into town with the truck.

When you live way out in the woods, and your house is made of wood, there's always something to fix. I like living in a log house, though.  Mine is cedar, and that's a wood that stands up well to the elements and is less susceptible to insect damage. Still, this is a rough environment for homes, no matter what they are built of.  Wooden homes and buildings need constant maintenance.  If you do a little every day, it isn't bad but if you get slack, it can get away from you.  Fortunately, I got the worst job done today.

My wife's plant room is a glass house attached to one side of the main house.  It has a huge stained glass window in one wall, about four feet by three feet in size.  Years ago, I put a big piece of plate glass over it, to protect it. But that broke, and I built a wooden wall across that. She wanted the stained glass window to be visible, so today  I tore all that down and removed the broken plate glass. That was a dangerous job, the glass was in big pieces and really heavy. Even with gloves I worried about the sharp edges, but it's done now. One less thing on the list. Tomorrow I will work on a retaining wall that needs some reinforcing, and then the next day try to get all the remaining boards in the porch and wrap around walk way replaced that need it.

As fall comes in and the leaves start coming off the trees, my view of the mountains will open up. I could have a pretty spectacular view all year round if I cut down the trees around the house, but I've never been able to make myself do that.  Some of them are very old and very big, especially the oaks. There are some impressive poplar and maple trees that would have to go.  I'd rather have the forest all around me, and just enjoy the view part of the year. If I want to, I can always walk up slope a bit and that gets me high enough to see over the tree tops.

I upgraded my satellite radio subscription so I could get the Patriot Network. That's a conservative talk radio station with all the people like Beck, Caine, Rush, etc that the liberals hate.

Why is it people with a good imagination can't spell?
 I heard about the Patriot Network on a shortwave program I listened to. The upgrade was only five bucks a month more, and although most of it is stuff I'll never listen to, like Nascar and sports, etc, there are some good channels on there I haven't had before.

However, as I scanned through them, I kept hearing about Hillary Clinton and her promises to do this , that , and the other thing about "gun control" when she is elected. I had to keep stabbing the change channel button because the news story would start out "Hillary Clinton became emotional today while talking about gun control." She sickens me even without that kind of theater,

That woman is like a bad nickel.  She just keeps turning up.  I have a ton of anti Hillary pictures from the last go around. This one above is one of my favorites.

The mind boggling thing to me is the fact that people will still vote for her after some of the things she's said, let alone the things she's actually done (like Benghazi).

She really said that. It's not made up.  I remember hearing it when she came out with that and I wondered what kind of idiots would buy into that. But a lot of people did, and do. Then again, a great many of the people who vote Democrat can't tell interviewers who the current President is as they are leaving the voting stations. The same intellectual giants who , when asked why they had just voted for Obama , said "he black!"

One of the radio stations I was listening to said that the last gun store in San Francisco closed today. I wonder why. The story also said that Californians bought more than 90,000 guns in 2015, despite all the bureaucratic attempts to make it so hard that no one would follow through.  The same government that can't stop druggies and can't police the borders is going to go door to door confiscating guns from people who don't want to give them up. Good luck with that.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cold and windy.

  It's not raining, but the wind is blowing and the temperature has dropped into the upper fifties. The humidity is slightly less than it was, so the air coming in with the wind must be from the North.

Lots of branches and limbs down but nothing on the trail or the gravel road out to the paved road that is major.  I looked at the bridge. I couldn't see under it, as the water has risen to much to get down the bank.  As far as I can tell, the bridge seems to be usable but I really couldn't see enough of it to tell.

I don't know how this will effect the leaf season, which should be starting shortly. There are a lot of leaves piled up by the roads in drifts, where the wind piled them.  Kind of early for that to be happening.

One of the major roads is closed by a tangle of fallen trees and power lines. I have been listening to the Sheriff's department controlling traffic, letting a few through at a time. There will be a lot of people getting back to Atlanta late tonight from their weekend in the mountains.

Having essentially been cooped up in the house for two days, I built myself a fire in one of the fire rings I have outside. I've built them over the years, here and there and they give me a place to sit out by the fire and smoke my pipe. There are lots of quartz stones here, the size of bowling balls, so it's easy to dig a shallow depression and then line it with stones.

If you have some land out away from other people, you should try doing this.  At dusk, it's a particularly nice place to sit at the end of the day and watch the night come on. Usually the sky here turns pink, then purple before it begins to get dark. A fire ring is a good place to watch it from. There's enough wood laying around for a hundred years here, especially since I have become lax about trying to keep it policed up.

When my son was home, we used to sit out by the fire and just relax.  This one is on the edge of the woods, down slope from the main house.

This months issue has a good article on the New York City blackout of 1977.  It's a kind of leap in to one of the issues main topics, which is the consequences of a full on Grid collapse.  There's a write up on how to build a perimeter defense.  If you can judge by the latest issues of survival oriented magazines, home defense has risen to the list of the topics readers are interested in.  There are some good reviews of nice to have equipment in this issue, including a nice review of alternate power sources for your electronic gear.  They included a very up scale bunker article for those who have a lot of unassigned disposable income.  I'd love to have one but the budget won't bear it.  American Survival Guide has gone monthly. The success of the magazine has apparently been all out of proportion to the expectations of the publishers, but I'm not surprised. They came on line just as the market was heating to a boil.  Barrack Hussein Obama and his amazingly inept efforts, such as they were, in world diplomacy have made the country a much more dangerous place to live. Even some of the leftards are beginning to realize they may have to lay in the bed they made.

In the 1970's, there were all kinds of men's outdoor magazines that featured covers illustrating fishermen being mauled by grizzlies, and hunters being attacked by cougars, that kind of thing. The stories inside were all "true life" adventures, if you can call them that, usually gory with unhappy endings. The advertisements in the magazines were all for hunting gear, hunting and fishing trips, and the occasional lurid add spangled with scantily clad women touting this or that.  I haven't seen any of those in many years now.

But Survivors Edge has more than a whiff of those old magazines about it.  There's the same air of bravado and the same proclivity for "real life " stories. It's not at all a bad magazine, just different from the others in the genre.

This month, there's an article on how to fireproof your house, and another on how to survive a bear attack. Sound familiar? All they need is a ravenous bruin on the front cover gobbling up a hapless camper. Just like the good old magazines from the 70's.

On a more useful note, they have taken some pains with an article on how to keep Home Invaders at bay.

  This is getting to be an ever growing curse in the United States. Once the province of black street gangs who basically did a "bash and dash" on rich peoples homes, it's now more of a Hispanic gang exercise. These guys, like MS13, have it down to a well honed drill. They break in the home of some well off person, hold his wife and kids hostage until he returns with the funds demanded, and then they usually kill everybody. They work along the "dead men tell no tales" principle. Hence the sudden interest in guard dogs, panic rooms, et al among the gated community crowd.  But no one is immune, and this edition of the magazine goes into some detail on steps you can take to shield yourself.

Of course, in reality if you fort up and lock up, they still may get inside. Then you need to be prepared, as the woman in the video clip below was prepared. Both she and her nine year old twins would have come to a bad end had she not been ready to do what needed to be done.

The home invader in this video picked the wrong house. The woman had just been taught to shoot by her husband and had a .38 special in the house.  The attacker was a felon, on parole, who had a lengthy rap sheet which included felony assault, rape, breaking and entry and a host of other recommendations of his character. Had she not been armed, he would surely have killed her and her children. Run "home invasions" on google and you will come up with some variation of this story over and over. As the old Hank Williams Jr song says "Welcome, to the U.S.A. today."  The creep died, by the way, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

CBS says Americans who oppose Islam are "haters"

link above.

In closing, CBS is attacking a planned series of demonstrations against Islam in mid October. Acting as the mouthpiece for CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations). CAIR is called a "U.S. Group" in the article but it's a renowned front for forcing Islamic culture on American society. It's the darling of of the left and of Barrack Hussein himself.

 The article deplores armed but peaceful demonstrations scheduled in approximately 20 Islamic locations throughout the states on Oct 10.  I myself would not go anywhere near an Islamic site for the purposes of protesting their growing influence unless I was carrying, but CBS does not agree. Most of the MSM has been careful to avoid any mention of these activities because they don't want people to find out about them and go, but CBS just couldn't avoid trying to flesh their tiny dagger.

Sunday. Two hours before dawn and still raining.

It's a little after 5 a.m. so the dawn should be coming up in a couple of hours. When it does, I'll put on my rain suit and walk down to the bottom of the mountain to check the bridge.

I'm not an engineer and I won't be able to see just from looking if it's safe to use, but I should be able to see if it's not.  My wife wanted to take the jeep down there yesterday, in the middle of torrential rain, and look at the bridge. I seriously doubt we could drive down the mountain. I have heard too many trees crashing in the forest over the last two days to have any expectations that the trail is not blocked.

I haven't been out and around the property, but I am fairly sure we got by largely unscathed. There are a couple of small things that need fine tuning but overall, given the extent of the wind and the rain, we were fortunate.

I opened the big number 10 can of vegetarian hot dogs this morning. They aren't bad. I don't think I would like them just plain, but as far as cutting them up and cooking them with rice and potatoes, or something of that nature, they should do nicely. There were about twenty hot dogs in the can, and a lot of good broth.

  I cleaned out the can.  I buy number 10 lids from Emergency Essentials, and a person can always use a good steel can.  All in all, I think I got my ten dollars worth. If the scratch and dint grocery store in North Carolina has more of these when I go up there next, I'll add a few more to the pantry.

If  I get hungry today I plan to scramble some eggs, put some jalapenos in with them, some garlic, and cut up a few of these fake hot dogs. I read somewhere that veggie fake meat is a good source of protein, so it should be tasty and healthy.

The latest edition of Survivalist continues the current trend among preparedness magazines in that it concentrates on fortifying homes, and self defense. Personally, I don't think a person will learn a lot from a magazine article about unarmed combat, or knife fighting, but I suppose it might at least spur some people to get real training.  I usually skip over those, but the "martial arts" articles are becoming a lot more prevalent than they used to be. So are the "best survival guns" types. I read them, because I'm interested in firearms, but the idea of  a set of "best " guns doesn't make sense to me because the weapon has to be tailored to the user. Still, generic articles are probably not a bad idea, there are a lot of novices getting into the "take care of yourself" mode these days. More every day, as the news gets worse.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Big Storm and some personal adjustments.

But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men

          Gang aft agley,

Robert Burns, To a Mouse, on Turning Up Her Nest with a Plough.

I've been off the air since Tuesday. I'll try to catch up on people's blogs and comments tonight if I can.

My wife has long had some health issues, and they took a turn for the worse this week. It is manageable, but we have decided to make some changes in our plans.  Everyone who knows me knows I am a firm believer in planning. I look at prior planning as a way to stave off most preventable quandaries. But "man proposes and God disposes."  Flexibility is frequently necessary to keep the train on the tracks.

The next few years were planned out to maximize her retirement, and our lifestyle after she retired when we would have greater flexibility in what we wanted to do. However, given the events of the last few days, we have decided that she will go ahead and retire now.

 We will be sacrificing some income, and unfortunately, our health insurance. The income loss is not particularly worrisome, we live modestly and we have enough.  But the insurance she got from her school district will be difficult to replace. In return, however, we will get to spend more time together so I think this modification is to our mutual benefit.

It has been something of a shambles this week though, which accounts for my absence. I didn't mean any rudeness or lack of attention by not responding promptly to comments or emails and will catch up shortly.

On top of all that, the major storm passing through here is really punishing my part of the mountains. For the first time ever, in all the nearly 30 years I' ve lived here, the county emergency management office called us on the phone tonight and told us not to leave the house. There are only two ways out of here, one across a bridge over my creek, the other through the national forest , fording two streams. The fellow who called said the bridge over the creek has been washed out on one side, and no one is allowed to cross it until the storm stops and the county inspector can see if it's safe. Obviously the back way, fording creeks, is not on.

The rain has been pounding down since last night and is still coming down in torrents. No damage here, everything is holding together. Trees down, but the power is still on.  I have diversion ditches I built up slope to funnel water running  down the mountain away from the compound. I cleaned them out before the storm came. I checked them this afternoon, the water was flowing over the top ditch but the backup was catching it and diverting it.

We have adequate supplies, and we have our medications ( at my age, you can't ignore those) so we are doing nicely.  I hope our friends along the path of the storm, and particularly in South Carolina, are ok. South Carolina has been badly hit.

This is just a short post to let everyone know that all is well here, and that my absence was not rudeness or lack of concern, just crisis management on a small scale.