Power and sanity

Starting June 1st, the power companies in my state are jacking up prices, my provider is going up 35.4%. This is a big change, and realistically shows the real cost of inflation across all markets. The media can say inflation rates are dropping, but when my money doesn’t stretch nearly as far as it did last week, last month or last year, there is a fundamental change in the way money is working.

This has led to some far deeper conversations on how to conserve electricity. Starting simple is that we converted everything to LED’s a few years ago, so lighting is reduced as much as it realistically can. Next, utilizing things like the sun to off set electrical usage. We are setting up clotheslines, which we really should have been using prior. We have not because our neighbors like burning all sorts of trash and tires, and our clothes don’t need to smell like that. Luckily, at least for now, that is no longer an issue as they are incarcerated.

Another aspect of utilizing the sun is increased usage of the All-American sun oven. This works in 2 aspects. Firstly, the hottest days are the best to use the sun oven because they tend to be clear days. By using the sun oven, not only are you cooking without using electricity, but you are minimizing additional heat inside your dwelling, helping to keep your house cooler.

Another thing we are doing to minimize electrical use is actually a shift instead of a withdrawal from electrical use. We have solar set up in small doses, but our biggest chunk of usable power comes from a 5 marine deep cycle power bank and 200 watts of solar input. We will not be running big and power hungry appliances off of this, but all the little devices you regularly use that are draining, like tablets, phones, hand held ham radios, etc.

We are also working on developing mini family adventures throughout the summer to minimize time in the house. Some are little fun hunts like geocaching. Geocaching is fun, and with an app on the phone and time outdoors, you can find some neat little treasures others have set out. We also need to place our geocaches out for others to find. Going to local parks is another activity that can be done. Our local park have not only trails to walk, a swimming area to keep cool and fishing areas, but camping sites and is a state park. We have activated the park with ham radio in the Parks On The Air program, known as a POTA activation. I enjoy this activity as I use minimal power and my portable radio kit.

Another in house solution is to try to keep it cool without using A/C as air conditioning uses a lot of power. Our basement is always cool, and I am currently tearing down a chimney through the center of the house. I decided to keep a section of the chimney going from the basements into the first floor. Temporarily, at least for this year, I am cutting a hole in the chimney on the first floor and one in the basement. I will run 2 box fans and pull air into the chimney in the basement and push out into the first floor, and cycle that cool air up a level in the house.

At the end of the day, needing to cut down electrical use is a good idea for everyone if possible. I look forward to this as a move toward getting my family more used to a simpler life should everything in our country continuing to go the way it appears to be going. The electrical issue is also being considered to move toward rolling blackouts, which people here are not used too. Sensitive electronics may not be ready for that either. We are also getting accustomed to unplugging things when not in use. I understand a lot of electronics use a decent amount of power just being plugged in, and that adjustment is being made as well. I hope everyone stays safe and looks forward while making decisions for today. Stay safe and stay prepared.

Whatever tomorrow brings…

So, it appears that we may be on the edge of WWIII. Russian markets are down, Russia is invading part of Ukraine. I am betting that when markets open tomorrow, they will be under $30K. I tend to pay attention but not overly worry, but these tensions have been rising for a while now. The American freedom convoy is supposed to start in 2 days, on the 23rd. What better way to distract the American people from the problems in house than involving us in problems outside. My simple prediction is a crash tomorrow in the markets, especially with everything after a holiday weekend. War is imminent and civil unrest will spike. Things may take a strange appearance in the coming days, especially with how weak our country is. Just wanted to make a quick post. Please do your shopping now, fill up your tanks, check your plans. Cyber attacks may occur to prevent or at least delay assistance. Be safe and stay prepared.

New to me computer

While prepping doesn’t seemingly include things like computers, at least full desktop computers, life still must go on. Kids have school work, I have bills to pay and regular computer related tasks. I got mad the other day when I was paying bills. My old laptop was just not loading. It was taking forever to load a bill I had just completed paying. I decided that we needed another desktop.

That being said, we used to have a desktop. The power supply died. I replaced it, and a week later, the whole thing died. We haven’t had a desktop since. The kids were issued Chromebooks from school, which I despise. We have this laptop that is not working perfectly now, a Dell Latitude E6500. The best computer we have right now is my Microsoft Surface pro 3 which works well, but especially does well with my Ham radio needs.

I decided to do a little research, and I decided on the computer I was getting. I purchased a Dell Optiplex 9020 MT with the i7-4770. It came with 16 GB of ram. I did purchase another 16GB of ram, as this computer maxes out at 32GB of ram. I also purchased a video card, the NVidia GeForce GT1030 low profile 2 GB card. This should be a decent set-up for what our needs are moving forward. Realistically, the most difficult to run program we use is minecraft, as the kids really do enjoy it. If it wasn’t for this, I would have omitted the graphics card, but that has been a limiting factor before, so I decided to get one.

This is much more affordable than buying brand new, and should be everything we need. We saved money doing this, which in turn allows more finances toward prepping. Real life exists beyond just prepping, and we would all do well to remember that as well. Please, stay safe and stay prepared.

Watch the propaganda machine in the U.S. leading up to the mid-term elections.


This is just one story I saw today pushing propaganda against Republicans as we head toward the mid-terms. There is certainly going to be a push, but what is sad is that so many people believe everything they read even when they have seen the exact opposite with their own eyes.

My predictions for this year are as follows: Russia is gonna keep poking a Ukraine, probably invade, which will start a conflict. China threatened the U.S. over Taiwan, so Biden will back down. Russia and China will attack about the same time. causing a global conflict. Timeline, I have no idea. I also believe that coming to the midterms, there will be a new strain of COVID in the summer, causing more restrictions because it will be deadlier and more transmissible and other scary words for a power grab. What else will happen is Biden will forgive student loan debt to buy votes for the mid-terms.

COVID-19 round 2

Hello everyone. I am positive for a second time with Covid-19. The first time was Nov. 4th, 2020. This one is today, Jan. 26th, 2022. So here is how this happened. 2 people I work with were sick over the weekend. I was around them both Jan. 22nd and 23rd. I was off January 24th and 25th wasting vacation days because of a family issue. The night of the 25th I could hardly sleep. I was freezing. I am always warm, and Iam sleeping with extra covers, layers and a beanie. I was up all night.

In the morning of the 26th, I start feeling a tickle in my throat. Then I realize how sore and achy I am. I originally thought that this was from my son and I working out, but now realized that the soreness spread, and is more of an ache. Crap. So right now I have chills, cough, phlegm, sore throat, achy, congested and nauseous. Yes, dizzy/foggy. I wait until the family leaves and take a home test.

I have taken several tests over the last 2 years. We have kept some BinaxNOW on hand. Well, I have wondered if they work based on being sick with no sense of smell or taste, and coming up negative. This was the first time I have gotten a positive test result on the home test. I called my workplace to inform them of my positive status and scheduled a test at CVS. I chose the lab test as it is more accurate than the rapid test. I am currently on quarantine, staying in 1 room except for using the bathroom, more or less. Part of the sore throat in a raspy voice that I expect to lose in the coming days.

I will say that quarantining was boring last time. This time I brought projects into the room. I got DMR running, made a contact with Scotland. I am still not comfortable throwing my call on DMR even though I do on HF. I got winlink set up as well. Ham radio email. I will post more as time goes on. I am trying to respoke a bike wheel, build the digital radio kit and just finish some odds and ends. Thank you all, stay safe and stay prepared.

Interesting occurrence at Aldi’s

So, as I have mentioned many times before, every time I go grocery shopping, I buy flats of vegetables. They have always been $.49/can. Today, corn was down to $.44/can. I know it isn’t much, but at this time, this seems very odd, but I can dig it. I did notice the lack of juice. Wal-mart had a shortage of pasta. These were the most obvious. I was kind of rushing as I had a dentist appointment to go to.

I should also acknowledge that, thanks to Rogue Preparedness, I have a pasta maker arriving tomorrow. A cheap sub-$30 machine to make our own pasta. Check her video out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VfR_cd3V-E&t=545s . Thank you and stay prepared and stay safe.

Adding to Emergency comms

This is a short post that will be expanded on later on. I ordered a QDX from QRP Labs and finally got the shipped email. This is a small kit that you can run digital modes on with just the QDX, an antenna, power source and the computer. I am also getting a new tablet to test out for ham radio and kid friendly apps. It is a 10 inch off brand tablet running Android 10 and some other specs. I will post here with my personal review for a sub $100 tablet if it is any good for normal use. Finally, I am getting the Malachite SDR receiver. This has potential for an amazing SHTF communication tool I will get into when I write about it in its own posting. These are some big moves in the communication aspect, and wanted to put this out there as a little teaser for what lies ahead. I suggest checking out QRP Labs and the Malachite SDR.

Taking care of yourself

I have had some dental issues throughout the last couple of months. Nothing major up front, but things come up. I had my annual cleaning, but got mandated at work. I was rescheduled. Then my son was sent home quarantined, so I had to reschedule. Then my dentist had her baby, so I was rescheduled. The day of my appointment, all was going well, then policy got in the way. Since it had been over a year from my last appointment, I had to wait until the dentist was back from maternity leave.

Ok, that will be fine. Later that day, I broke a tooth on a tums. Oh crap! Luckily I had a root canal on that tooth and there wasn’t any pain. Whew! I finally get to an appointment (about 6 months after my initial appointment) and we make a plan of attack. A couple days later that broken tooth is loose and wiggling all the way to the end of the root. This is killing my gums. It feels like broken glass poking any time the tooth is bumped. I called the dentist to see if I could get a sooner appointment. They told me if someone cancels. Thank goodness someone did. I go tomorrow.

This tooth issue is bad, but could be much worse if SHTF. I have some oragel that was helping, and I ordered clove oil to have in stock. If SHTF, I certainly would have yanked this out on my own, and it would be less painful over time that way. I tried, but didn’t want to cause any unneeded damage, and honestly kind of bitched up when it started bleeding. Keep in mind that dental issues can become serious fast as infections can move to the brain rather quickly.

The point of this post is showing how something small can become a big deal compounded with time and situations. Make sure that anything you have going on is taken care of as soon as possible. This is also why I am looking at corrective eye surgery this year. Get it done while we can. Stay safe and stay prepared.

A New year, more too come.

It has been a little while since I have posted, and the reason is rather simple. Work. Mandates around other people out sick, holidays and stuff around the house. We have had a lot of rain making a mucky mess for the goats. I know how cliche new years resolutions have gotten, but I am doing it. I am involved in a biggest loser challenge at work (winner gets $400,) I have been tobacco free for almost a year and a half, and I am ready to get into shape. Funny that my first post a few years ago was about being a fat prepper, and nothing has really changed.

At one point, in a 6 week period, I managed to lose 39 pounds, and was down to 209. I have had a hard time working overtime and keeping up with the exercise and diet (insert excuses here.) Well, I am on the start. This time of year works out great because of the lack of overtime needing to be worked, and the availability of that overtime as well. My plan is really simple, to be completely honest, and I plan on adding updates maybe weekly or so as an accountability here.

My breakfast is plain oatmeal or with a little sweetener and cinnamon. My dinner is Chicken breast and broccoli. I drink water all day with a cup or 2 of hot tea a day, usually with the meals. I am taking my multi-vitamins and omega-3s to work on my cholesterol. I finally got my good cholesterol up to a good number by following my doctors advice and drinking 1 shot a night. I hate liquor, and don’t drink, but the doc ordered it, so I followed. I have been getting on the treadmill daily, between 3.5 and 4.5 miles each day. Shower afterwards. I will be adding weight training in probably next week, once I get fully accustomed to this new schedule and routine. So far so good. Once I get into the routine of exercising daily, I can add to my diet. Reminds me of the days when I was a marine PTing everyday and eating everyday.

Now for the shameful part, my weigh in was 265 (At work with boots and uniform on.) This was on December 28th. That hurt and was an eye opener when I realized that in 2015 I was down to 209. My goodness was that a disappointment. I am 36, and surprisingly I am not getting any younger. Also, on Christmas, some on my family members acknowledged my weight. I should add that I am 6 foot tall (I was 6’2″ when I was 180#’s.) If I can get back down to my infantry weight, I would be losing 33% of my weight. Jeesh.

So, enough of that topic, and onto today’s interesting prep. I made biscuits from scratch, cut them up and they are in the freeze dryer as we speak. The other set of trays are being used for sausage gravy. That is right, biscuits and gravy will be on the apocalypse menu. I do have to say that I feel much better making this after Retired at 40 made his. I do need to order a set of his tray dividers as that would make the sausage gravy a lot easier to split up.

If you are interested in freeze drying I cannot recommend Retired at 40 enough. His channel is great, and has a lot of information about freeze drying. That and their store, freezedryingsupplies.com has amazing products that are actually made to work. While writing this, I decided to order the tray dividers. Their tray stackers are solid and work very well. There are some things I would not buy, but that is me.

Anyhow, this is me on January 5th, 2022. As we move forward in the year, we shall see how things progress. My wife and I have decided to make this year our year to start working on ourselves. I have an appointment on January 31st with my doctor who kind of gave me a pass last year on the weight because I quit using tobacco. I will not get another pass. I am hoping to be down to 240 by that appointment. That should still make her happy from last years weight. I know that looks like a lot, but 265 was with my uniform including warming layers and heavy work boots. Anyhow, I hope that things get better, but I am taking a break from concerning myself with current events affecting us personally. We are still watching what is going on, but we are more concerned with family and self. Prepping will still be on the foreground, but we are prepping our bodies now.

Also, we have also done 23andme, and I am very curious about my background. My mom was adopted, so we don’t know much about that entire half of the family, and my dad’s side was not very informative when they were still alive. I think it will be a little interesting to see where we came from. Anyway, I just want everyone to stay safe and keep on prepping.

It has been a while

I have not written in a little while. No reason other than just doing other things. I had ordered the chimney and through-wall kit for my wood stove, got new fire bricks for said stove, wire brushed the wood stove to apply polish and got 2 cords of wood. I needed to build something to protect the firewood from the elements, which will work for now. I had to stack the wood into its shelter. I have had to tear out a basement window, build a frame and run the through pipe kit. I am currently trying to find my tapcon screws so I can run the chimney the rest of the way.

I have also been working a lot of overtime, by no choice of mine, following our wonderful mandate plan. It appears that the mandate plan works on seeing if you have something planned on your days off and ruining those plans. It really is amazing how well that works. Today was also a very amazing day for 1 simple reason…

QRP labs had a batch of their QDX 4-band 5W digital transceiver. This is a kit that allows you to do digital all in one package. You just need this and the computer (obviously an antenna and power, but you get the idea.) They sold out in less than 5 minutes, but I was lucky to get 1 of the kits, so I will be looking forward to getting the kit and putting it together. Just wanted to do a quick update before trying to find these darn screws. Everything I am doing is steps toward prepping.