Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama - A Great Disappointment

Change candidate my ass.

Barack Obama had the chance to truly prove that he is the candidate of change but has failed miserably. Obama had the chance to lead the Democratic Party in the first step of restoring our civil rights, restoring the Constitution of the United States. He could have held those who have illegally spied on us accountable. But instead Barack Obama hid while the Senate moved to overwhelmingly support the FISA bill with retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies that participated in an illegal domestic spying program.

As an independent voter I fully supported Barack Obama. Not Now. If the Democratic presidential candidate will not even show up to support my civil rights I really don’t feel the need to show up on Election Day to support him.

Additionally, I am ashamed of the Democratic Representatives and Senators who blatantly stuffed their pockets with telecommunications cash in exchange for their vote. If you are going to take a bride please don’t be quite so obvious. Believe it or not we are still watching you and will put your sorry asses on the street if you don’t shape up and start doing the will of the people who put you in office.

Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party have no clue what the common American cares about. Here is some news for you…we care about our liberties…if you don’t believe this keep doing nothing and we will replace you in November. Really, what good is it to have a Democratic majority in Congress if they roll over and get ass fucked every time the Republicans demand something. Get a spine or get out.

Obama show up the next time this bill returns for a vote and the rest of you give the money back and do what is right.

McCain didn't show up either by the way but that is to be expected.

Wanted - Powerful Leaders

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have got to be the most worthless tit draining public servants this country has ever had to endure. I have never seen such cowardly and ineffective elected officials.

Newt Gingrich, I couldn't stand the prick and didn't agree with his agenda but he was a powerful leader who actually got stuff done. Right or wrong at least he did something.

The Democrats need to be choosing their leadership based on who can club the most baby seals not who can clean the most oil from their backs.

Power Company and Police Conspiracy

There appears to be a conspiracy between the local power company and city police to intimidate cash strapped citizens into paying their power bills on time or risk eviction and imprisonment.

Lately, on my evening walks, I have notice these 2x2 foot yellow notices pasted on the fronts of many houses along my route. They were announcing that the property was a public nuisance and that it was illegal to occupy the structure by order of the police department. Violators were subject to fines and possible imprisonment.

There are about a dozen check boxes under the notice stating the various reasons why the house cannot be occupied. The ones I looked at had the UTILITIES box checked and NO ELECTRICITY hand written next to the word. It appears that the police department is following around the utility company and condemning any house where the power is shut off.

"We're seeing a record number of shutoffs," says Mark Wolfe, head of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, which represents programs that subsidize energy bills. An NEADA survey this month shows 8% of four-member households earning $33,500 to $55,500 have had their power turned off for non-payment. "It's hitting people in the suburbs with two cars and two kids," Wolfe says.

In other words, people are broke and choosing between food and power bills. Your family must eat but for many power is now a luxury they can not afford.

American jobs continue their death spiral as inflation soars. Incomes levels have dropped dramatically in the past several years. The average family is trapped in the middle with no way out. According to a report from the Energy Information Administration, natural gas will cost a whopping 52% more this year than last year. This on top of 30% inflation for food items and record gas prices. The power companies know that your utility bill is fairly low on the priority list and want to guarantee their profit the expense of your freedom if necessary.

Consider this, it is summertime, your family is broke so you decide to go a few months without power. You go to bed around 9 pm when it gets dark, eat prepackaged foods that require no refrigeration and cook on the back yard grill. Honestly no power needed, the family is happier, you get to know your neighbors, the children get some exercise and maybe everyone reads a few books. Your neighbors decide to adopt the same lifestyle.

This is a worst case scenario for the power companies and their profits. What does corporate America do when faced with declining incomes…they have the government guarantee their profit margin. We have seen this used masterfully in the insurance and banking industries. The power companies will approach local and state legislative bodies and convince them that not having power is a threat to the public safety. The elected officials will take a fat handout and pass a law requiring gas and electric services for habitation. The police enforce the laws and the punishments will become harsher as more people are forced to choose between food and power.

The implications of this disturb me greatly. Will not having power equate to child endangerment? Will not having power equate to a health hazard? Will not having power equate to imprisonment?

Many counties in Colorado do not consider off-grid electric systems a stable power supply. Will these homes now be considered uninhabitable because they are not supporting the power company profits? What about home owners who install pellet stoves for home heating and disconnect from the natural gas supply. Will they be subjected to intimidation and forcibly removal from their energy independent homes?

Apparently the job of the police department is to guarantee the profits of their corporate overseers and keep the public frightened and under control. Not to protect and serve the public that actually pays their salary. This is Fascist America.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Food relief line grows long, tense

Frustration rises, officials caught off-guard as thousands turn out for flood assistance.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

The chaos that erupted outside Milwaukee County's main welfare office Monday over disaster-related food aid had more to do with a weak economy and crushing poverty in parts of this community than the devastating floods that swept through the state earlier this month, local government and food relief officials said.

About 3,000 people turned out for the assistance beginning at 3 a.m. Monday, creating a line that stretched several blocks around the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center at 1220 W. Vliet St. At least one woman said she was trampled when a crowd rushed the doors as they opened around 7:30 a.m., and dozens of Milwaukee police officers and sheriff's deputies were called to quell the scene.

"The food crisis in Milwaukee and throughout the United States is worse than many of us have realized," said Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines, who with other elected officials called on the community to support local food pantries.

"We expect long lines for free food in Third World countries," Hines said. "We don't expect a line of 2,500 people waiting for food vouchers" in Milwaukee. No one was seriously injured, and there were no arrests Monday, but those in line described the scene as chaotic. Many thought they would receive vouchers immediately, and frustration mounted when some learned that was not the case.

"They just went crazy down there, just totally crazy," said Charline Britt of Milwaukee, who said she was trampled when about 200 people surged forward as the doors opened.

"They kicked me in my back, stepped over my shoes," said Britt, who'd come to the center about 4:30 a.m. because her basement flooded in the recent rains.

"I fainted when I got through the door."

Last week, Gov. Jim Doyle announced that seven Wisconsin counties, including Milwaukee, had become eligible for disaster FoodShare benefits, a federally funded program that offers a month's worth of food stamps to residents who incur damage in a declared disaster and fall below an income threshold. For example, a family of four earning $2,295 this month could get a food voucher worth up to $542. Aid is provided within about seven days, according to the county.

Federal rules do not require applicants to provide proof of either flood damage or income, according to state Department of Health and Family Services Secretary Karen Timberlake. However, residents can be prosecuted for falsifying an application.

Timberlake announced late Monday that 15 additional counties, including Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee and Dane, have qualified for the aid.

Milwaukee County Health and Human Services Director Corey Hoze said his agency processed more than 2,000 applications between Thursday and Friday without incident but was unprepared for the crush of people Monday morning.

"I don't think anybody anticipated this kind of volume," said Hoze, who called in additional staff to try to speed the process.

"I think with last week's announcement, and Juneteenth Day, it just spread tremendously fast by word of mouth," he said. "We have just been inundated."

It didn't take long Monday for state and local officials to begin pointing fingers as they struggled to understand how the Milwaukee situation devolved.

County Supervisor Elizabeth Coggs suggested it might have gone more smoothly had Milwaukee County been given more time to prepare. But the seven-day limit on applications forced the state to work quickly, Timberlake said.

Hoze said the crowd might have been mitigated had his department stuck to its original plan to dispatch its mobile unit into affected communities to process applications. It switched gears, he said, setting up at the main food stamp application process, after the governor's office issued a fact sheet listing the Coggs Center address.

Doyle's spokesman rejected the notion that its announcement might have been a factor.

"I don't want to get to the point where we're pointing fingers and placing blame," said Hoze, noting that the state and county have both beefed up staffing to speed the process the rest of the week.

Don Walker and Alex Lundy of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

This is where we are heading, read the story here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Inflation for Dummies

The Federal government is claiming an inflationary rate of between 2 and 3 percent. This is a manipulated number whose sole purpose is to keep the stock market stable and not cause a panic in the general population. Everyday items such as food and gas are considered volatile and not included in the math even though they are by far the most impacting expenses on the average household.

Let’s propose a new way, an honest way of looking at inflation. The Survival Inflationary Index will be based on two items every family must have to survive, gasoline and food. A family can exist living in a tent in the woods but you still must eat and get to work. We will pick a handful of grocery items and track the cost from May of one year to May of the next, average it and come up with a number. Factor in gas increases and you have it. Real Simple, Real Honest.

Here are a few examples of inflation that have directly affected me.

My youngest boy Conway loves green beans so I usually pick up a few small easy open cans on the trips to WalMart. Over the past year they have gone from $.45 a can last summer to $.58 currently. This represents a jump of 28 percent in one year.

Driving that giant truck is costing me a fortune. Last summer I was taking weekly trips to the cabin, yes it was costly but affordable. This year is a different story, gas has gone from $3.02 per gallon to $3.94, a one year increase of 30 percent. Needless to say I have greatly cut back on my trips this summer.

Cream Cheese Jalapeno Taquitos at 7-11 are one of my favorite junk foods. (yes I know they are bad for me) The past year has seen the price go from $1.79 to $2.22 for two of the delicious cream filled tubes. This is a 24 percent jump.

I am no economist but it appears to me that inflation is closer to 27 percent on the items necessary for survival. My grocery bills have increased at least 27 percent over last year so I feel that this is an honest and reasonable number.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Democrats Enable Bush's Crimes

Bush broke the law on a never before seen scale. He ordered warrant-less spying on every American. All of our email communications, financial transactions and voice calls are being intercepted and stored at the big telecommunication hubs. If the forty some lawsuits against the telecommunications companies were allowed to proceed Bush would go to jail and the full extent of the spying would be revealed. Plain and simple.

All the Democrats had to do was allow the courts to review the cases and insulate the phone companies against financial recourse. If no laws were broken what would be the harm. The Democrats apparently think we need to have unlimited spying on American citizens. What do they know that we don't? Did Bush threaten them with another "terrorist attack"? Are we that close to collapse?

This has always been a trigger event for me, the end of freedom. If they know what you buy, what you think and who you speak with it makes the round up real easy.

I have never been more ashamed of our congress. SHAME ON YOU DEMOCRATS. I will actively work to remove anyone who voted for the shameless legislation from office. Basically it says corporations are above the law and laws can be changed at the whim of the executive branch...THAT IS A DICTATORSHIP.


Constitution Gone - Democrats Complicit

House votes to expand Bush wiretap powers, telecom immunity

Nick Juliano
Published: Friday June 20, 2008

Less than 24 hours after introducing a controversial measure to expand President Bush's authority to spy on Americans, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Friday voted to approve the administration- and Republican-supported bill, sending it to the Senate where it will likely be adopted.

Civil liberties and privacy advocates forcefully panned the measure, which was crafted behind closed doors in negotiations among moderate Democrats, Republicans, the White House and telecommunications lobbyists.

"It’s Christmas morning at the White House thanks to this vote," Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, said in a news release. "The House just wrapped up some expensive gifts for the administration and their buddies at the phone companies."

Friday's vote represented the beginning of the end in a legislative battle aimed at reining in the warrantless surveillance program Bush acknowledged instituting after 9/11.

"Immunity for telecom giants that secretly assisted in the NSA's warrantless surveillance undermines the rule of law and the privacy of every American," said Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Congress should let the courts do their job instead of helping the administration and the phone companies avoid accountability for a half decade of illegal domestic spying. If this legislation passes the Senate and is signed into law, the American people will have lost their last best chance to discover the true scope of the president's wiretapping program and to determine whether or not the law was broken."

EFF is representing plaintiffs in more than 40 lawsuits alleging the telecoms broke the law and violated their customers' privacy by facilitating the warrantless wiretaps.

The House had earlier proved to be a bulwark in the way of the president's attempt to retroactively legalize his conduct and excuse from legal oversight the telecommunications companies that assisted him. That wall fell Friday.

Pressure mounts on Obama to oppose

Now activists are turning their attention to the Senate, and pressure is mounting on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to step up and lead an effort to block the latest FISA bill.

"We look to leaders in the Senate who value the rule of law to stand up and strongly oppose this blanket immunity for telecom lawbreakers," Bankston said, "and in particular urge Senator Barack Obama to lead his party in rejecting this false compromise."

Obama has said nothing about the recently announced FISA compromise. Robert Gibbs, his presidential campaign's communications director, said he was unsure whether Obama would participate in debate on the FISA bill, which is expected next week in the Senate. Gibbs promised to provide more information later after he was asked about Obama and FISA by RAW STORY and other reporters during a conference call Friday.

The Democratic candidate was criticized earlier this week for endorsing Rep. John Barrow, a pro-immunity Georgia Democrat, who is in the middle of a primary campaign against a progressive State Senator.

When the Senate passed an earlier FISA bill in February, Obama supported amendments to strip immunity from it. He supported a filibuster after that amendment fail, although the Illinois senator did not vote on the final bill itself.

Pelosi, Hoyer lead effort in opposition to majority of Dems

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer shepherded through a surveillance bill opposed by the majority of their caucus.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update passed 293-129, with support from just 107 Democrats. Opposing the measure were 128 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Timothy Johnson of Illinois.

"Watching the House fall to scare tactics and political maneuvering is especially infuriating given the way it stood up to pressure from the president on this same issue just months ago," Fredrickson said. "In March we thought the House leadership had finally grown a backbone by rejecting the Senate’s FISA bill. Now we know they will not stand up for the Constitution."

Pelosi said the only choice the House had was between the FISA update it considered Friday and a worse version passed by the Senate earlier this year. A FISA update the House approved in March, that did not include immunity and earned praise from civil libertarians, was apparently no longer an option because Democrats decided it could not pass the Senate.

She said she was unsatisfied with the immunity provision, which leaves telecommunications companies "with a taint," but she said the overall bill was acceptable because it improved on the Senate version. The House compromise requires intelligence agencies' Inspectors General to review the warrantless wiretapping program, instead of the independent judicial review that would have come from the lawsuits moving forward.

Acknowledging the controversy in the bill, Pelosi didn't attempt to prevent the defection of a majority of the Democratic caucus. (This, by the way, stands in stark contrast to the way in which Republicans ran the House; they would not even bring a measure to the floor if it did not have majority GOP support.)

"I'm not asking anybody to vote for this bill," Pelosi said at the end of her floor speech. "I just wanted to let you know why I am."

Original Story

Cooking At The Cabin

I love to cook when at the cabin. Weather on the wood stove, solar oven or small propane range preparing meals is enjoyable. Unfortunately the logistics can sometimes be a burden doubling and often tripling the prep time. Cooking anything in the solar oven takes several hours and requires good sun. The wood stove needs time to heat up, cannot be easily regulated and will drive you out of the house on a warm day.

The upside is that solar cooking is free and easy. Plus there is nothing better than getting up on a cold morning, re-firing the wood stove, putting coffee on top to brew then jumping back under the covers. When the coffee has percolated you make some pancakes on the griddle and have breakfast.

My propane range is an Outback Gourmet Camp Stove. This indoor/outdoor stove has two top burners and a small oven for baking. I really like it. It sits on the kitchen counter and is connected to a twenty pound bottle of propane outside. Propane is an excellent fuel for cooking, instant heat and easily adjustable. However propane is not a renewable resource and in the future could become very expensive if not impossible to acquire.

When I move to the cabin permanently there will be enough power to use an automatic coffee maker and a small microwave on a limited basis. At first glance it would appear that using these items moves away from the simple life. But think about it. The cabin is independent from commercial power, completely off-grid. So using the electric coffee maker and microwave produce absolutely no carbon by-products, it is clean and renewable. This cannot be said about the wood or propane stoves.

This is one of the neatest things I have seen in a long time. This stove is a wood/gas hybrid. The right side is propane the left is old school wood. I have found several of these on CraigsList in my area. They run anywhere from 200 to 1300 dollars. I may try to pick one up in the next few months just cause I like it so much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Toilet Paper Alternative

Survivalism is not camping, if you forget something you cannot just tough it out until you return to civilization. For instance, a fist full of leaves may be tolerable for a week of squatting in the woods but do you really want to exist like this for the eternity. A survivalist must plan for the loss of readily available items not the temporary absence of them.

As I sat on my composting stool pondering my daily schedule I noticed that the toilet paper was getting awfully low. I made a mental note to pick some up if I ran to town, then I stopped. This was a test run for living a minimalist lifestyle, environmentally friendly and free of consumer trappings. In preparing for an off grid move it is important to remember that the devils in the details. The life critical items of food, water, power and heat had been addressed, they are obvious. It is the little everyday necessities that will trip you up during your transition to a simpler life.

Rectal cleanliness is one example of everyday necessities that people tend to overlook when planning an off grid existence. One option is to stock pile enough toilet paper for your family to last several years. Unfortunately this takes valuable storage space and still does not address what happens after the TP runs out.

The average American uses fifty four rolls of toilet paper every year. The United States consumes roughly 36.5 billion rolls annually. Apparently this is a necessary resource whose usage needs addressing. It seems logical that an alternative method of cleansing such as water cleaning, hand cleaning, organic items or alternative paper products should be explored.


A bidet seems like the ultimate solution. It is like power washing your crack. Unfortunately the composting toilet and limited water supply made this unfeasible.

Next down on the list would appear to be the squat and pour method utilized in most eastern cultures. This requires you to enter a water closet, remove your cloths, squat over a hole, deposit, pour water down your anal cleft to clean, then dry and dress. Comfort aside, this is why eastern cultures wear loose fitting clothing with sandals.

I like this method with its low water consumption and fresh feeling, but…I tried it. I simply do not possess the acrobatical prowess necessary to guarantee proper cleanliness. As a typical American I have neither the balance nor flexibility to squat naked over a hole attempting to ladle a cup of water down my crack.


No, I have a tendency to bite my nails under stress.


This would include leaves, corncobs etc. Organic by-products are readily available in most parts of the country. Additionally the organic material would compliment the composting process. In the high desert, or low desert for that matter, these substitutes are not easy to come by.

The only option might be green sage brush. It has an oily quality much like Charmin Care Plus and is abundantly available. If stored in a sealed container the sage becomes soft and moist allowing a relatively smooth wiping and the sage smell helps with the unpleasant odors. A plus is that sage is a natural insect repellent. I have not tried this but will on my next trip.

The down side is storage. The sage must be kept green and moist. In the winter sage brush will keep its color but dry out to the point of wiping unpleasantness.


Glossy is bad and newspaper isn’t much better, it leaves black smears.

I found that a large yellow pages is easy to store, has thousands of pages and properly crumpled up is relative easy on the delicate areas. The yellow paper uses a short fiber that is only recyclable into new yellow page books but it is compostable. So this is the ideal low impact toilet paper substitute.

When you sit down tear a page out of the book and start crumpling. By the time you are finished the page should be soft, pliable and absorbent. My yellow pages has roughly 1300 pages so four of five books will keep me for a number of years.

The down side is that the paper has a tendency to fall apart if vigorously used. The short fibers don’t hold together real well so care must be taken in the wipe. But other than that no complaints.

This little experiment really made me envious of my dogs. Think about how wonderful it would be if we could simply drag our butt across the lawn.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Clean Dishes/Pots Without Soap

This is very important. During my dry run at Bear Ridge I quickly realized that some important items had been forgotten. Notably dish soap and toilet paper. For now lets leave the toilet paper alone and talk about the dish soap. Even if I had remembered the soap it is a finite supply so more would need purchasing or I would have to make it myself. Neither of these options appealed to me so I did some research and came up with a way to clean dishes without soap. This works and conserves water.

How to Clean Dishes Without Soap

  1. Find some sandy gravely dirt, with no bugs or organic matter.

  2. Toss a handful into your dishes and scrub vigorously, using it as an abrasive.

  3. Wipe them thoroughly clean. If all the food matter is gone, there won't be much for bacteria to cling to. If you do have a nearby stream, rinse them and dry them thoroughly. Don't use stagnant water, it is more likely to contain parasites.

  4. Remember that the next time you cook, heat the dishes up to sterilize them either before or during the cooking.
How to Clean Greasy Pots Without Soap
  1. Remove any chunks of solid matter from the greasy pots. Leave a small amount of grease.

  2. Toss a good handful of clean wood ashes into the pots, and pour in some hot water. Stir it thoroughly and let it sit for a few minutes. While it's sitting, the hot water is dissolving Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3) from the ashes. This makes a strong alkali solution. The alkali water then reacts with the fatty acids in the grease to make soap.

  3. Scrub the pot. The ashes act as an abrasive. If you need more abrasive, add some dirt.

  4. Rinse the pot, and your hands in clean water. You don't want to leave soap or alkali water on your pots or hands.
I will need some time to recover from the trauma before I can talk about forgetting the toilet paper.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Sitting here in my cube there is a large desktop computer and a laptop both whirring away. I sit a couple of feet away from two 22 inch Trinitron monitors, XM Online is coming from the speakers. Directly behind me there is a rack of servers that hum endlessly producing a hot breeze. The fan under my desk drones on because the big air handling unit with the squeaky bearing located over my head is not sufficient to keep up with the heat generated by the equipment. There is the endless chatter of my neighbors only broken by the shrill ringing office phone. The obnoxious cell phones carried by the people endlessly burp forth a string of unharmonious tones adding to the cacophonous chaos that is daily office life.

At home the window fan endlessly hums replacing the stale indoor air with the fume laced “freshness” of outdoors. Children run and scream in the alley. The refrigerator clanks and squeals struggling to chill the beer and moldy baloney. A rolling wave of dog barks move toward the house as a police car blasts by sirens blaring. My boys jump to the window and join the fierce festival, teeth bared. Olbermann is speaking. Traffic drones, noxiously adding to the hot air. A jet flies overhead.

There is always motion, there is always noise…the body grows accustomed and weary.

The unnerving stillness surrounds me when I arrive at Bear Ridge. The sage and pines provide the only motion as they flow, moving with the wind. The only sound, the wind blowing through the treetops, approaches and moves on...doppler like. Wind chimes awaken with its arrival. As the sun leaves coyotes start their songs, rabbits dart across road, I hear a mouse scurry over the roof.

Occasionally late at night you hear the strange chopping sound of a CV-22 Osprey VTOL ferrying aliens between Dulce and the caverns under Mt Blanca. So low and slow you can see the human pilots. Sometimes the hypnotic drone of a C130 skimming the treetops awakens you. The dogs run to the window scanning for the cause of the foreign sounds, bark when they see the lights, dutifully attempting to scare off the unwanted visitors. I am woke by the humming bird searching outside my time.

It usually takes a day to fully detox from the city, then I sink into the stillness like a comfortable chair, I can finally hear myself, I am energized.

"Through return to simple living Comes control of desires. In control of desires Stillness is attained. In stillness the world is restored." Lao Tzu

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Budget Survival - Solar Oven

Solar Oven - Improved Model

The new model solar oven is simple to build, easy to move and captures a great deal of heat. An old coffee can and lid painted flat black was used as a pot. A variety of beans were prepared daily during my stay at Bear Ridge using this setup.

The solar oven I built back in December of last year was grossly over constructed and very heavy. That unit was a 2x2 foot box that tapers from 14” to 10” on the sides. It was lined with sheet metal painted black and there was a one inch gap between the metal and the wood. The front was covered with an old storm window. The temperature inside this unit was between 150 and 170 degrees.

The new solar oven was constructed using an old post office tote, a reflective emergency blanket, a piece of glass and a couple of bungee cords. Take your emergency blanket and place it over the tote. Secure the blanket around the top of the tote with the bungee cords, make sure the blanket is tight across the top of the tote.

Place you cooking can in the center of the emergency blanket and push it down until it rest on the bottom of the tote. The emergency blanket should now slope down from the totes lip to the cooking can. Cover with glass and allow the food to cook for several hours. The temperature hovered between 170 to 190 degrees. Beans were cooked through the day. It worked great...just like a crock pot.

This unit is very light weight and can be easily moved for maximum solar gain. We will need to see if this design works in the winter months. Although most winter cooking of this sort is done in a dutch over on top of the wood stove.

Total cost for this solar oven was roughly three dollars.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Simple Life – Analysis

Recently I spent a week at Bear Ridge surviving only on the supplies stored on site. After analyzing my notes I have come up with this list of items that need work.

Dried Fruit – Somehow I completely miss this. Dried fruit will not keep nearly as long as dried grains but it would be nice to have until a stable fresh supply can be established.

More Meat - Possibly those half cans of spam or bulk cans purchased from an online survival supply company. I will need to do a little more research on this. Meat is very expensive compared to dried grains. Most protein will be supplied through bean products but I like meat. This meat will eventually be provided through fishing and small game hunting.

Prescriptions – If the prescription is necessary for your comfort or life keep a supply on-hand. Prescriptions can be refilled online or at your local pharmacy during a supply run. Special trips to acquire medicines are wasteful and greatly cut into your monthly budget.

Fuel Efficient Vehicle – Traveling to work or simply to fetch supplies becomes very costly with a gas guzzling truck or SUV. Two trips and your monthly budget is shot. I will be looking for a very small fuel efficient compact vehicle to use for monthly trips for supplies and emergencies. An older model Ford Festiva or Geo Metro would work nicely. The big truck will still be necessary to haul water, gather fire wood from the local saw mills or haul lumber.

Hot Water – I need a method of warming water that does not require additional fuel. If you are utilizing dried goods for meals it is necessary to have hot water on hand. A great deal of time and fuel was spent heating water for meals and personal hygiene. In the winter a large water tank sitting on the wood stove would work. In the summer possibly a copper tube solar water heater or maybe a 30 gallon tank painted blank and mounted on the roof. Even with a propane hot water heater if would be prudent to have a free method of preheating the water thus reducing your overall fuel consumption.

Critical System Redundancy – I have a backup charge controller for my solar array. This is not a common item and must be ordered so I classified it as critical and have a backup available. On the other hand, I can pick up an inverter at Wal-Mart so this item was not viewed as critical, no spare was stockpiled. But when the store is almost forty miles away the distance creates an expensive barrier to acquiring the critical part especially if you are on a restricted budget. If the part is necessary for your survival and you can afford it, keep a backup on-hand. The extra can always be used as a trade item.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Simple Life – Dry Run

The week following the Memorial Day holiday allowed me the opportunity to test some of the systems and find any glaring omissions before my actual move to the cabin later this year. Over the ten day stay I had to exist on items stored at Bear Ridge.

What follows is a very rough day to day diary of activity. This of course does not cover all activity but gives a good understanding of what a day will look like after moving or bugging out. The cabin has an XM Radio as well as internet access and most mornings I read the news over breakfast. The cabin does not have a refrigerator or real good running water. I apologize in advance for the choppy structure it was constructed from notes.

Saturday – Loaded up my greenhouse lumber, packed 52 gallons of water and 24 gallons of gas into the truck. Drove to the cabin, inspected, unlocked and aired out the building. Grabbed my rifle and walked the land looking for out of place prints, animal or human. Unloaded and stored the drinking water under the house and hid the four 6 gallon gas cans. Checked the cistern noted that it was very low on water. Re-inspected the cabin noted a leak in the gutters and problems with east deck sagging. Rigged the power system storing the charged batteries in the power box. Made sure the dogs had plenty of food and water. Unloaded and carefully stacked the lumber and supplies for the greenhouse. Boiled some water for dinner on the propane stove, Mountain House Beef Stroganoff and instant potatoes mixed together. Put a cup of black beans in water to soak overnight. Took the dogs on a walk along the ridge, cleaned up, watched the sun set, finished reading Atlas Shrugged, then went to bed. Woke up 2:30 a.m. noticed music and a strange popping noise from the other side of the ridge. Walked up to investigate, got on top of the ridge cabin and surveyed with binoculars, saw nothing would explore in morning.

Sunday - Got up fixed pancakes and coffee on the propane stove. (first time I have not burned the pancakes) Walked the dogs. Checked, changed then used the bucket in the composting toilet. Put together the solar oven placing the beans inside to cook. Locked up, drove to town and filled up truck. Went to storage unit to fetch my cheap (very) Chinese ATV and a couple of solar panels. Driving home passed a couple of guys on dirt bikes coming from somewhere behind my place, will go look for their camp later. Unloaded everything and gassed the ATV. Cleaned up and boiled water for my Ramen noodles mixed with tuna. Inventoried food supplies and checked cabinets for rodents. Walked the land noticed fresh boot prints along the ridge. Probably just someone down for Memorial Day weekend out for a walk, followed them to the edge of my land they did not stray towards the cabin, just passing through. Walked the dogs. Packed some water, the binoculars and my .22 pistol then took off exploring on the ATV. Found several camps but nothing occupied. Made some rice to mix with the beans and had dinner. Took boys on a hike. Put a cup of lima beans in water to soak overnight. Watched the sun set, showered with hot solar water went to bed. Top of feet itching very badly, probably a psoriasis outbreak.

Monday – Woke up fixed coffee and some oatmeal for breakfast. Walked the dogs. Put the beans in the solar oven to cook through the day. Installed the solar panels to get the batteries charged back up. Fried some spam and fixed some instant mashed potatoes for lunch. Fixed the gutter on back of the house. Took off on the ATV for about an hour exploring. Spent several hours on the ridge cutting brush and thinning out the sage brush. Started marking dead trees to cut up for firewood. Mixed some spam left from lunch with the lima beans had dinner. Getting ready to walk the dogs when a dozen or so white tailed dear bolted down the road in front of the cabin. Something greatly spooked them. Put one cup of red beans in water to soak. Set up the hot tub and used some of the collected rainwater. Enjoyed a good soak under the stars and went to bed

Tuesday – Woke up at 6 am there were four white tail deer about five feet from the front window. My great watch dogs were happily asleep on their window seat right at eye level with the deer. I let them sleep but will speak harshly with them about this lax security later in the day. Fixed a breakfast of pancakes and coffee. Boiled some water and shaved head with a cheap razor, very painful. Put the beans in the solar oven to cook. Walked the dogs. Changed the front sprocket on the ATV, fewer teeth equals more climbing power. The swap was necessary if I am to pull a cart loaded with firewood. This simple thirty minute project took all day. Made some elbow pasta and mixed it with powered cheese had mac and cheese for lunch. Finished up the sprocket project tested the ATV great improvement. Went to the ridge to clear more brush. Made rice and fixed red beans and rice for dinner. Took a nice hike. Put one cup of lima beans in water. Heated the hot tub and soaked under the stars. Watched a movie then went to bed.

Wednesday – Fixed breakfast of carnation milk mixed with an instant breakfast powder, it was wretched. Coffee was good. Inverter goes out, will just use 12 volt lighting backup tonight. Walked the dogs the started beans in solar oven. Started repairs on east deck. Couldn’t get the Pointer Sister’s song “she works hard for the money” out of my head and decided to go pick up a new inverter in Alamosa to remedy the problem. Had beef ramen noodles for lunch then went down to visit the neighbor. Ran to Alamosa with the dogs for new inverter, 72 miles round trip cost roughly 36 bucks. Finished the deck repairs had a couple of beers (hot) then took a nap. Fixed dinner fried span and lima beans actually very good. Took the boys on a hike. Put more black beans in water to soak. Heated the hot tub, water getting kinda skunky, and enjoyed a great thunderstorm off to the south. Actually it sprinkled slightly but nothing usable. Read for a while and went to bed.

Thursday – Got up and fixed oatmeal and coffee for breakfast. Walked the dogs, put beans in oven. Started framing on the greenhouse. Simple “A” frame design covering an area 12x24. Finished a few of the 12x4 foot section frames. Fixed simple lunch of Mountain House Beefaroni and instant mashed potatoes. Feet hurting will need prescription filled at Walmart. Set up water filter (5 gallon bucket with holes, paper towels and sand) for hot tub took off for town again. Prescription 12 dollars gas 36. Prepped and baked a loaf of bread in propane oven. Shut down the filter, water crystal clear. Took the boys on a hike. Fixed dinner, black beans and rice with fresh bread. Went for a ride on the ATV. Put pinto beans in to soak. Heated tub, soaked and went to bed.

Friday – Woke up and fixed pancakes and coffee. Walked the dogs. Put beans in solar oven to cook. Removed covers and sleeping bags from the bed and placed them over the fence to sun wash. Also put the dogs bedding in the sun to air out. Checked the cabin for any indication of mice, none found. Boiled water to wash socks and pillow cases. Used 5 gallon bucket with a special stick to wash and rinse the laundry. Hung the laundry out to dry. Made some elbow pasta and mixed it with powered cheese for a mac and cheese lunch. Started clearing brush where the greenhouse will be. Flipped the blankets and sleeping bags brought in the laundry. Built a couple more greenhouse frames. Crawled under the cabin to fully inspect the floor joist and support beans. Noticed a sag under the woodstove will need to reinforce the beams. Brought in the laundry and blankets. Washed and cleaned up. Walked the dogs over to the neighbors house to visit. Fixed soup beans and bread for dinner. Watched a movie, went for night walk along ridge. Put red beans in to soak. Went to bed.

Saturday – Got up and made oatmeal and coffee. Walked the dogs, started the beans in the oven. Took ATV to top of ridge to clear some trails. Set up a bulls-eye and did some target practice. Moved a couple of 6”x6”x8’ post to the top of the ridge just to check the pulling power. Made some elbow pasta, mixed it with tuna and poured powdered cheese on top. Good lunch. Went for a hike with the dogs, to warm for the boys. Rode back up the ridge and started cleaning out the top cabin. Removed several large nests and a ton of mouse crap. Repaired the observation deck and tightened the rungs on the ladder. Had a few beers. Cleared more sage brush for the greenhouse. Took a long ride. Fixed some rice and mixed with the red beans for dinner. Put some lima beans in to soak. Took a nap woke up about night fall. Grabbed my binoculars, drove up the ridge and camped out on the observation deck to star gaze and watch for UFO’s…didn’t see any by the way maybe next time. Went back to cabin, cleaned up and went to bed.

Sunday – Made breakfast of pancakes and coffee. Walked the dogs, put beans in the oven. Went to work on the greenhouse frames. Noticed massive chemtrails in the clear blue sky. Over the course of the day they thickened enough to noticeably lessen the energy output from my solar panels. Fixed lunch of fried spam (love the stuff) on the rest of the bread. Went on a long hike. Bummed around and played with the dogs. Started picking up and organizing lumber and packing up alittle in the house. Fixed dinner of spam and lima beans with cheese sauce. Rode over and visited the neighbor. Heated hot tub and soaked. Took walk up on ridge then went to bed.

Monday – Walked the dogs. Loaded ATV, solar panels and other stuff and took to the storage unit. Grabbed a breakfast at the diner. Packed, locked up everything and headed out.

Over the next few days I will be looking at the problems encountered and where I need to focus my attention.