another goal zero

Know there are all kinds of opinions about alternate power sources, and I’m not going to get into that conversation other than to say have considered my capabilities and have gone with the Goal Zero.

Not too long ago bought their Yeti 1000 Lithium at Costco – where it is just $999.99 vs the $1250 Goal Zero sells it for.

Meanwhile, my old Goal Zero with the lead acid battery, the battery had died. Gave it to a friend, who only has to replace the battery, which gives him a short term power option for his very limited needs.

Keep the Yeti1000 in a cooler to help keep its temperature moderated, cause I’m not too keen about having the big lithium battery in the house.

And have been thinking of getting another and had been debating between another 400, or just going for another 1000.  Then thought about replacing the 400 with the lead acid one, as it can be chained, unlike the Lithium.  And then there is the question of disposal of Lithium batteries . . .

So, Goal Zero has “open box” items discounted.  new items but not in the original packing; like used for displays at shows, etc.   Had been looking for the Yeti400 in the open box (almost 1/2 the full retail!) but they didn’t have any.

So today, bit the bullet and bought a yeti 1250, lead acid, open box for less than $1000.  Heavy thing, comes with a roller cart.  Went with the lead acid because it is chainable, which means I can increase the total power by just adding in a battery of the appropriate strength – or two!  The max draw remains the same, the ohms and amp remain the same, but the total wattage is increased.

Sometimes it seems like a total waste to spend so much money on this stuff, but then again, if you start adding up the money you spent on water storage, food stocks, etc. it comes to a lot of money, doesn’t it?  and actually, I’m hoping to start switching over some of the household electric needs to these goal zero’s before we get to a “have to” situation!!

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concerned

was never a conspiracy theorist until 9/11/2001.  And to this day, find it inconceivable that our supposed excellent intelligence system missed that event!  and either that’s true, in which case, our country is far from being as safe as we all hope we are.  OR  they allowed it to happen so “they” could begin to clamp down on civil liberties.

and with what has been happening since, the latter is looking more and more like the reality.

Having been a stupid, know it all, liberal anti-war protestor in the 60’s, I have room in my thinking to give the kids protesting today some slack.  Like us, they find themselves in a situation that they have no control of, and which no one seems to give a damn.

What I don’t understand, is the total support of media with unfactual information.  Am not going to say Fake News, but will say highly edited presentation of stories.  Like, Columbine will be brought up as an example of an AR being used in a school shooting – but not the fact that it happened during a ban on the guns!  Nor will instances of an armed person stopping a shooting from becoming a massacre.  Or the lack of reporting on a shooting involving a basic 10-22 rifle, used by a young man to kill his mother and friend because he wanted to see what it was like to kill someone!  The NRA is criticized, even condemned, but no one deems it necessary to point out that the NRA is the one that lobbied FOR the current background check system. but that the military and local municipalities are the ones failing to report people into it!

and so I’m left with the feeling, that once again, things are being manipulated to give the government more power over us, and the people less civil rights.  In this case, to truly try to disarm the populace.

I certainly do not NEED to own a gun.  I’m not using it in my work.  I’m not using it as part of my livelihood.  I don’t live in a crime ridden area.  Its not how I put food on the table.

But I lock my doors, have a smoke detector, an alarm system, a fire extinguisher, insurance, carry a spare tire.  Not because I intend to use them, but JUST IN CASE I ever need them.  My neighborhood would be considered upper middle class with a few homes being only part time residents.  We’re private.  and we’ve had break ins.  More than a couple.  We have coyotes, bobcats, and rabies in our wild animal population.  We’ve had mountain lions move through regularly on their way to water, and we’ve had bears foraging in the back yard.  We have homeless people camping in the forest regularly.  And the police, unless we are very lucky, are at least 20 minutes away and we no longer have an animal control officer.

So, while I don’t need a gun, I carry one, JUST IN CASE.  And I don’t think its appropriate for someone who lives in the urban environment, who has never been robbed, attacked, or otherwise threatened (over my almost 70 years have been more than once), tell me what I need to be safe.  And until they can answer the question as to how my giving up my right to security and safety is going to keep someone else from breaking the law, in such a way as to demonstrate its necessity, I’m going to argue against this direction of society.

water

How much water is enough?

Unless you are right on a creek, lake, or marsh, there isn’t enough.

Right now, I have 3000 gallons of water storage – not full.  Accidently left one 350gallon tank open and thoroughly watered a couple of trees, but left nothing else for later.

We’ve had no rain for a few weeks and none of any quantity is expected until July.  That’s right, its April and I’m talking July before we get rain.  It is the beginning of a drought cycle, and if we see major rains once or twice through out the year, we’ll be lucky.

Saturday I prepared one 3.5′ x 15′ planting bed.  This bed is completely lined with pavers to hold moisture and keep the digging creatures out.  dug into the soil a lot of organic matter including some manure (store bought, no horses nearby that we know) as well as some fine coconut fibre.  Buried 4 ollas in the bed, each intended to water an area of 2 feet around the olla.  Then I planted some chard seedlings, some eggplants and some tomatoes, leaving plenty of room for more plants.  The ollas were filled, the ground watered thoroughly, the plants drenched.  That was Saturday.  Today, Monday, the Ollas were empty.  As the ground is really dry, it will take awhile for that to balance out and today filled the Ollas and drenched the ground again.  Plus did another bed with ollas, and squash, plus a planter with small ollas and pea seeds.

I use Ollas, mulch, and shade cloths.  and my 3000 gallons will water my entire garden, for 30 days with care.  That’s it.  Just 30 days, the garden only.  My food source.

This year am cutting back on the garden some due to personal time restraints.  But SHTF, I will need every calorie that garden can produce!

and that requires water whether or not it rains!

unexpected benefits

Prepping has had unexpected benefits of all kinds.  Am sure others have found the same, each of us depending on our lifestyles.

We work from home, so it would seem that I have plenty of time to do routine things. But that’s not always the case.  Of course, working from home means I’m trying to do inside things like housework, cooking, along with my office work, as well as give time to the garden, etc.  In other words, finding the balance any working woman struggles to achieve.  The big difference, I don’t lose travel time from my life – BUT – am expected to cook 3 meals a day!!!

And this is where prepping has exposed me to knew ideas.  Like cooking in advance (not new), and DEHYDRATING the results.  Butternut squash, brown rice, chilli,  even home made soups!

One of the prepper forums asked me why I would want to dehydrate cooked rice, after all, rice only takes 20 minutes, right?   But we want BROWN RICE and that’s 45 minutes minimum.  So a cooked portion just has to be thrown in water and rehydrated.  When the day is busy, and it’s suddenly 1/2 an hour before lunch, throw a steak on the grill, some rice in the water, heat up some veggies, and that long cooking lunch is ready in less time!

One day I’ll have enough cooked rice to set some aside for an experiment in rancidity.  Raw brown rice going rancid where white rice does not.   But what about cooked brown rice?

and bulk buying!!!!   Not everything, but we’ve discovered that freeze dried blueberries are a great snack food, as well as rehydrate nicely for making other things.  Husband loves dehydrated apples.  Powdered/dehydrated cheese.  You will never look at mac and cheese or cheese soups the same!  Bulk soup mixes and bullion.   I repack them into smaller quantities and vac seal them, but they do indeed get used up.  price is absolutely cheaper per/oz or serving than smaller supermarket packaging. sometimes the quality is better!

So the S may never HTF, but I’m glad I’ve been exposed to all these new things, new foods, new techniques.

getting better all the time

It has taken awhile, but am almost healed from my great Tricycle Fall.  The left arm was sprained from wrist through the elbow and the muscle badly bruised.  It is still sore, especially today as it got worked out.

While I’m not going to make this a health and fitness or diet blog, as age has become such a factor in life, its importance in being able to do all the things we may or might need to do is paramount.  Even riding the Trike, if I had been lighter and/or stronger, that accident probably wouldn’t have happened.  Being able to move large containers of soil, mulch or manure is easier.  Being able to work for extended periods of time doing manual / heavy work is easier.

So I’ve begun weight watchers new program, which really isn’t bad.

Can already conceal my revolver better, always a plus!

And am looking forward to being able to use my Trike as I had originally intended; running errands, shopping, as well as pure enjoyment.

short story as prepping tool

Have always wanted to be writer.  Specifically, wanted to be THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVELIST.

But as Mike Rowe points out, following your passion doesn’t work if you aren’t good at it, and I’m not.

Which doesn’t stop me from trying to write. At least I get out what ever frustration is rising to the surface and I write until its gone and that’s been good enough for the last 50 years.

My latest is attempt is a post apocalyptic novel.

Write what you know the experts say, so my characters are drawn from real life, the story takes place in my hometown.  This is a land of pollyannas; Reiki practitioners, Yoga instructors, Massage therapists, crystal healers.  Ex-hippies who did well in their in between lives have now retired, showing up at the Whole Foods store in town in their tie dye, birkenstocks,  and long grey hair. They buy organic foods, organic wine in great quantities and they belong to groups that seek to bring rainbow leaping unicorns into reality.

On the other hand, we have young idealists who live in campers, drive cars that say Save Mother Earth while belching out black oily smoke, and beg on the street corners or set up shop selling hemp macramé jewelry.

We also have a lot of homes that belong to rather wealthy people who are intent on saving the Earth and therefore are solar powered with giant arrays, and driving their Prius and Teslas if they really have boatloads of $$$$.  Town code prohibits Earth Ships like you see outside of Taos, sadly.

We even have a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes.

Average age of the population is 54. Lots of older retired folks in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Not actually the folks who are going to survive a great SHTF event.  Need to much medical care and on going prescription refills.

So it is within this setting that I’ve written about a woman and the loss of the national power grid on her 70th birthday.  and this is written looking back from her 75th birthday.

Amazingly, it has allowed me to go through a scenario with how well prepared am I?

There is a certain amount of Pollyanna in my story as I expect the capable in town, the solar power installers particularly, to come together to keep the water pumps going. That the local ranchers will work out a way to bring meat to the table. That the local farmers will also help supply food.  But distribution of the same is part of the story. Those who feel they deserve to have it because they are starving, but have no skills and no wish to even be a laboring body in exchange.  And those who are older and do not have the physical means to help. How do we cut out our neighbors?

But it does all fall back on what WE do at home.  We don’t live right in town, so some of the angst and chaos isn’t happening here.  We have to figure out how to heat our home (it takes place in January), how to get the garden up and running earlier,  how to cook, how to dispose of our waste – human and just plain old garbage, how to hunt and fish.  And how to do collect and bring home enough wood for all the above when it is our SOLE heating and cooking supply and we’re 70 years old!!

It turned out to be quite the eye opener and think I will do this again using different SHTF scenerios . . but first, am cooking up some beans and ham to can and dehydrate . . .

merry and happy y’all!!

having been caught up in the end of the year push, haven’t been doing much posting at all.  So while I’m wishing you all a joyous holiday season, am using this opportunity to get something off my chest.

Had  joined a Prepping group on FB to try and pick up some ideas and tips on stuff.  After a few weeks, have realized I’m better off sort of talking to myself here.

It was a nice mix of folks, from all over the world, who had in common prepping. They purported to be strictly about SHTF scenerios, not disaster, EOTWAWKI scenerios.   Unfortunately, there was too much about BOBs, Get home bags (yes, important if you have to commute to work) and Inch (I’m never coming home) bags.  Lots of discussion about what makes up a good first aid bag – read full trauma set up.

Now, from my personal POV, a bug out bag is for leaving your house in an emergency, like fire, or to move from place to place.  Most of us do not have a remote, fully set up, bug out location, right?  So unless you are just going for short term or have a place to go, that BOB is setting you up for 3 days until you suffer badly.  Of course, in a SHTF scenario, the worst of the emergency should be over in 3 days and the authorities have either moved in or you are back at home.

Most of the contents of those BOB’s also had nothing to do with things like clothing and toiletries, it was things like fire starters, water purifiers, axes and knives, paracord, tents, etc.

Yes, I have a BOB set up because we live in an area that could see disasterous fire!  So have enough packed up to gives us clothing and such for three days, including some food for the dog.  Yes, there is a small camp stove, propane bottle, water filter and dehydrated food in there in case we have to camp because hotels are full or it will take awhile to get to one.  But its about temporary needs.  If we have to leave our house, we lose our preps, so then what?

When women began talking about stuff like birth control the guys got rude and crude.  In other words, not their problem and they didn’t like the alternatives that the women were coming up with.  Sorry dudes, but do you really think the condom makers will be in business if it gets that bad?

and we weren’t really allowed to talk about self-defense or guns.

and they really put down people who bought things like solar powered battery “generators” rather than build their own.

Now while I get that a lot of people (me included) like their gizmos and gadgets, this is not a case of who has the most toys wins, right?!  Its about making personal decisions and hoping you have all the right preps to support that life style.  If you are preparing for a major EOTWAWKI event, you will be fine through a temporary SHTF scenario.  and if the worst happens, you will hopefully be adequately prepared to make the transition from comfortable lifestyle to self-sufficient living.

But what really pushed me out was when the guy who ran the forum said that there hadn’t been a SHTF situation yet and it was unlikely to happen.  WHAT!!!  I’m sure that for the people who suffered from the record forest fires in the North West and CA this year would disagree with that. As would the hurricane survivors in Texas, LA, FL and Puerto Rico!  If the thinks the only SHTF situation that counts is one that is nation wide, then we quickly move from SHTF to EOTWAWKI.  Just a little breakdown in food delivery to the cities will see those cities burn to the ground!

All in all, it HAS made me aware that as I’ve gotten older, my choices and preps have to change.  We continue, as a race of people, to dance to the edge of the abyss and, fortunately have so far, then danced back.  Sadly, see we are now dancing at the edge with some madmen who really don’t see a danger of falling off that edge.  Or maybe they think that edge is stronger than it looks.   What ever, it makes me hope that we can hold off the events for a few decades longer, cause I’m not looking forward to having to spend my senior years living like a pioneer in the western wilderness!