What’s Going On With You? Open Thread

I figure this would be a good time to see what everyone is up to, what you have been dealing with, what you have been thinking or anything else you want to talk about.

I went over to the In Laws on Friday to see about getting at least one of their vehicles through DEQ so we can get tags put on something and to replace all the guts inside their only toilet that had been giving them problems. I started out with that damn Yukon I have been messing with on and off since last September, I think.

I opened the door, stuck the key in it and turned it on, that fucking Check Engine light was on and that was the end of that. I shut the door and moved on to the little 2002 Ford Focus my Wife had given to them a few years ago.

It’s a little beater with 245,000 miles on it, a busted off drivers side mirror and now the outside drivers door handle too I see.

I had to put another battery in it a few months back because it’s been sitting for two damn years now basically. I did drive it the last time I was over there and left instructions for it to be started and let run for twenty minutes at least once every two weeks.

Amazingly enough it fired right up.

You can’t kill the damn thing.

I duct taped the mirror back on, again, as the old stuff had rotted off. Loaded up the Father In Law and headed out. You could hear the brake pads and shoes scraping the rust off when I hit the brakes the first few times. Drove it straight to a car wash and paid extra to have all the green mold washed off.

Of course that knocked the mirror right the fuck back off too.

There is a NAPA directly behind it.

Bought some Gorilla Tape, figuring it should be good shit, right?

Fuck no. It wouldn’t even stick to the plastic. Too cold. Ran back in and grabbed what I thought was regular duct tape, thought it was kinda spendy then went back out to find I had bought a roll of Aluminum tape.

Fuck it. It worked.

Drove to Gresham from Sandy, stopped and filled it up with good gas and proceeded to the DEQ shop.

Aaaaand here we go. They said because the battery had been disconnected and it hadn’t been driven that I had to take it through a “Drive Cycle”.

I told them I had just driven the fucking thing fifteen miles through two towns and then on the freeway too, just how much fucking driving do you seem to need?

Well, ya gotta Google it and then go do it before we can test it.

So I left, pulled over and Googled that shit. I remember hearing about Drive Cycles back in the day but I quit the Ford Dealer 22 years ago now.

Drive it on the highway, drive it between 15 and 35 miles an hour for at least 15 minutes, with at least three segments that last 90 seconds each and have to stop at least 5 times.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Try it in Gresham traffic some time. I dare ya.

I wound up being gone for 45 minutes and wound up clear out in the country South of town and back with people right on my ass the whole way because they want to do 45 in a 35 and I can’t go OVER 35 or it fucks the drive cycle data.

Just for fun, the Father In Law has the Old Timers and his short term memory is completely gone.

He is the nicest guy but I’m sure you all have been around drunk people at some point who tell the same story over and over again?

He’s like that because he can’t remember anything he just said. So I basically got to hear him say the the same four or five things over and over again fifteen or twenty times.

Then the skies opened up and it flat POURED rain while I was in the middle of all of this.

I finally figured I got their damn Drive Cycle in and went back to DEQ.

More fucking around but miracle of miracles, IT PASSED!


Since the tags had been expired for two years they wouldn’t give them to me, now they gotta either do it on line or mail that shit in because Oregon is gonna Double Fuck ‘Em for the whole time period.

That took a bunch of explaining to his wife after we got back finally.

Then I had to swap out all the crap in the tank of the toiler.

Finally got it all done and got to leave. Then because it’s Friday evening, it’s dark and it’s raining, I got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the way home.

Total time from start to finish when I walked back in the door was six and a half hours.

Their place is exactly 35 miles from ours. About and hour and a half normally for a round trip if traffic ain’t bad.

So four hours dealing with the car and a half an hour fixing the toilet then two hours coming and going.

Gotta love it.

But at least they can get tags put on a vehicle finally and it gives me more time to try and figure out what I am going to do with that fucking Yukon.

Since Sandy is right at the base of Mt. Hood I may start searching Google Maps for a suitable cliff to push that fucker over.

So, what do you guys got?

86 thoughts on “What’s Going On With You? Open Thread

  1. Not only are the store shelves still half empty, they are now sporting dented cans and crushed boxes. Sure looks like the final swirl of the Big Flush..


  2. Here in Hampton Roads its damn cold (for us) currently 26 degrees. But at least it stop raining. My sidewalk is now a sheet of ice. First thing this morning I built a fire and will keep it going all day. One trip out of the house today to Southern States, for bird seed, corn and peanuts for my feathered and furry friends.


  3. What’s going on,well I’ll tell ya. My wife after 30 years wants out, just suddenly she says we need to get divorced, sell our house and go seperate ways. 30 fucking years of toilet cleaning and repair, landscaping, window replacements, vehicle maintenence, helping all my neighbors with projects just so the local contractors driving 100k trucks dont rip em off.
    Assisting her through 3 bouts of breast cancer, the last one nearly killed her, her knee surgeries, shoulder and hysterectomy, not to mention the slowly disappearing sex drive.
    My liver giving me problems after so many years of drinking (quit that body killing shit). Doc cant find the problem yet, definitely a little fat on the poor abused organ.
    I’ll stop there. At least she can’t my 2 dogs, Tank and Maya, they dont even listen to her and that just pisses her off.
    Enjoy your Sunday all. Off to push a foot of snow off the roof.


    • Hi Sean,
      Woman problems- everyone has’em. Feminism has destroyed ALL of our lives.
      You need to read the manosphere, but you don’t have time.

      I wouldn’t let her take half your stuff, if she wants to go, then she will need to get a real job and support herself. Western civilization has been massively failing a woman “shit test” for 60 years. Women NEED to be submitted to their man or GOD or someone. That is their biology. Here is a short framing post to get you thinking correctly.

      Her lawyer will tell her to get you to leave the house, don’t do that.
      Tell her if she doesn’t like it here, then she needs to find a different place to live and figure out how to live her lifestyle within the money she is able to earn at her job, because you aren’t paying for nothing.

      Tell her you will spend every last penny in assets that you both have and $10 more just to make sure she gets nothing and has to live with her bad decisions.

      Also you won’t be paying anything for her lawyer or her living expenses until it is settled. Move money out of joint accounts to that owned only by you at a different bank.

      It sounds harsh, but you must re-establish her respect. And it is possible you can save the marriage, but it will require harsh measures.

      It takes years worth of studying to understand why it works, but you just need to believe.

      Godspeed Sean.


  4. South of Houston we went 40 straight hours, 57 of 62 hours, without power from Monday morning to Wednesday night. Lows were in the teens while highs were 20’s. We survived by cuddling at dark the food I had in fridge that could be stored outside went in my little cooler outside most of our other stuff we ended up tossing out, I could cook on the natural gas bbq it’s plumbed into house supply currently 8-10 people on our street have no hot water cause our tankless hot water heaters are f#%^ed up they have a freeze protection built in but need power to be effective so the challenge is to get a plumber to answer their phone cause their mailboxes are full so you can’t even leave a message to get on some kind of list it’s crazy. I ventured out to fill up car and see about fresh food and the store was 90% empty. I ended up buying eggs at Costco for the first time and could’ve gotten fresh fruit and meat but thought it’d be better to live out of our freezer for a bit I instructed wifey to not open freezer for any reason when power went out so our supply there was ok. I see getting quotes for backup generators and possibly solar power quotes in near future another crazy thing is you can’t buy any pvc pipe for repair cause everyone who didn’t have backup power probably has some kind of damaged pipes


  5. Old folks, as much as it’s annoying, try to push them for stories from their youth. Dad passed couple weeks ago. You thought you’d heard it all. Over the last couple years heard a few things I’d not heard before. Stories about Grandparents & Greats. Once they are gone it’s down to us. And they are Gone.
    In other news, they say a pineapple express is headed our way.


  6. I’d be a mongrel to gloat while all you blokes are enduring brass monkey weather, but I will anyway. It was 27C here today in tropical north Queensland, that’s about 78F in your olden times temp, but if it rains tonight and the wind picks up, I might need a sheet over me in bed. Ah well, time for an ice-cold stubby of beer to stay cool. It’ll turn to autumn next month.


  7. The super-cold is gone now from here in southern Colorado. Just the regular, easier-to-deal-with only mostly cold. Cut a woodshed full of piñon yesterday. Should be good on that for a bit. Drought and pine bark beetle have left a lot of the stuff laying around and it burns like a roman candle. Will wake the family with breakfast here in a bit and see who is well enough for church this morning. Hope to get a demo video together of my young fiddle players later today so maybe we can play a few more places this year than last. People need hope. Music helps.


  8. Not really any drama going on but staying busy. Building DIY large off grid solar panel system. It is funny, my wife read a novel last year and has gone full prepper on me! I am good with that but she came to me last October and said she wanted to get ready to survive a grid down style collapse. She gave me a some guidelines and off I go. I am a retired software engineer DIY expert and so I started studying, found some people and companies, watched lots of Youtube videos and came up with an estimate. She didn’t blink and approved the plan. I started buying the big pieces for delivery in December. There is a 26% income tax credit for solar systems last year that has been extended to this year.
    So far everything has cost about what I expected but I have gone over budget. I am building a ground based solar array with 30 310 Watt panels. I estimated $500 for the wooden pannel support, think 32×16 foot polebarn style lean-to with the array as the roof. When I went to but the wood it came to $1500. Talking to the lumber place the cost of pressure treated lumber has gone through the roof! In a year the prices have tripled.
    The other surprise was the cost of wire, about twice what I budgeted and I forgot to estimate conduit cost.
    This is a multi year project with the goal of getting the solar system up and running by march of this year and getting 1/3 to 1/2 of the house moved to it. Then over the next 3 years double the size of the solar and triple the size of the battery array. I am starting with 51.2V LiFePo4 5.12 KWH batteries. Those puppies are steep.
    The lean-to is built. Started installing the panels yesterday. With my nephews help we got the first 10 installed and after church today going to get the next 10 today.
    After panels comes trenching, putting in conduit, install new breaker panel to hold the circuits that are moving to the solar system, installing the inverter and the batteries, running wire and then flipping the switch!
    I have mage really good progress so far


    • Yeah, those LiFePO batteries are pricey. I have 12 L-16’s and odered new batteries back at the beginning of October…still not here yet. The old ones lasted ten years and are only now showing signs of seriously-reduced efficiency. When we have bought solar stuff in the past we could not get rebates because we weren’t tied to the grid and helping the power companies make their numbers. Oh, well. The system is working. Good enough.


        • I have some panels that are about 25 years old, and they are down to about 50% of their rated power. My system was built with adequate capacity such that I am just now seeing it as an imperative to replace them. I acquired the system when it was already 14 years old, so no direct experience with what it was like when first installed. I just noticed after a while that I seemed to be running a generator to supplement my panels way more often than I used to.


    • Joseph: Why not use unistrut for the array framework? I’m able to score 10′ sticks for 1-11/2 bucks per foot from guys who clean up commercial construction sites. They have the fittings[bracketing] also. Steel will last your lifetime, whereas wood will be rickety about the same time as you will. They will have emt conduit and fittings also, and likely stranded wire. Hell, Ive bought the above unistrut and conduit in 200′ increments twice for a Quonset project. Wood is for burning…. my 2 cents, sir.


  9. We did okay in the big freeze here in DFW. The day before the snow I got my stitches out after having my rotator cuff bolted back on. It’s still sore as a muthu-f-er. The day it started snowing my daughter had to go for an emergency C-section, resulting in grandkid number four being born early.

    So my wife lit out to take care of the kids so my son-in-law could take care of his wife and new baby. They wound up in an all electric house with no electricity. At the bottom of the hill covered with ice and snow. So in the meantime I had to learn how to dress and bathe myself with one arm.

    For whatever reason, and I think it has to do with being on the same part of the grid as City Hall and a fire station, we never lost power. We did lose hot water. I’m thinking something froze in the supply. But we had one bathroom working in Coldwater, and the other working only in the shower. So we had to adapt and overcome.

    At the peak of it everyone wound up here. Me, the wife, my niece, the son-in-law, three kids under four, and three big dogs all in the 1700 square-foot house. But it was warm, we had food, an inter-webs.

    One afternoon I was sitting in my office working and I heard a pop followed by water running. I figured something broke loose in the hot water was now working. But where the sound was coming from didn’t match or I would’ve expected it to be. Turns out it was a shark bite fitting that failed behind the washer. So me and my gimpy arm ran outside to kill the water.

    I have all sorts of plumbing fittings. No shark bite. And it’s all my fault. When I was up in the attic this summer running wire I realize that the house,. Which we bought three years ago – rebuilt 1962 model, had been re-plumbed with PEX. I have the tool, and maybe three fittings and it never occurred to me to stock up like I have PVC and copper. That’s not the case now I assure you.

    As I was pondering what to do about this, my son-in-law said “uuhh… I wonder full pipe busted in our house (the one without heat for days).” So we made a deal. Cart my happy ass to Home Depot to buy parts, and I’ll go with you to check on your house. So it all worked out. When I slapped a new sharkbite connector on in fired up the water, it turned out hot water was now working everywhere as well.

    The blessing from all this is now my wife understands why I stock our pantry and freezers a month at a time. Understands why it’s smart move to buy a generator, and is even starting to get the picture why it’s smart to maybe pick up property outside this hot mess.

    The other blessing is that maybe if we get a good hailstorm in the spring, with maybe some strong winds, in a blistering hot summer, the big chunk of the transplants will throw up their hands and go home.

    I tell everyone of them I meet, welcome to Texas. Every few years, more than one less than five, something’s going to come along and smash your shit. Be prepared and stock up.


    • Your story about the “pop” sound made me think I made the right decision – about 10 years ago we were putting an addition on our house, and one day after the plumbing started I saw this funny plastic stuff up in the ceiling. The designer had specified what the code now allows. I immediately put a stop to that and had everything done in copper, like the rest of the existing homestead.


  10. “Working” from home because I refuse to wear a mask, but I get back nearly an hour and a half of my day with the commute and lunch no longer in the picture. “Renovating” a 14×20 greenhouse into a workshop, 140 bags of concrete, 600′ of 1/2″ pex later, I have a radiant heat floor. Nice having a floor at 75F, and an interior temp at 65. Perfect working temp right now. $80 for 8 full boxes of blood red commercial vinyl tiles, and it’s ready to seal and wax. Total, I’m ‘in it’ for under $2K for everything from electric to concrete to insulation and sheathing/shingles. Thanks to fakebook marketplace and craigslist.
    Then it’s moving all the shit from the ‘garage’ into the new ‘shop’. Once that’s done, the ‘garage’ gets a new roll-up door back on it, and for the first time in 20yrs I’ll have a place to park a vehicle again. ALL of the above has been financed by ammo sales the past few months. Talk about a return of investment!
    There’s still 3 1911 kits from the “twee ahms” fiasco a few years back waiting to be built. I hear firearms are going at a premium, just like ammo.
    A 82′ Seca Turbo on the lift that needs so much TLC that it might be best sold as scrap. 10K miles on it, so there is some hope, even as a snowblower motor. Who knows. The 1999 50th Anniversary Wing needs a new home, and a much smaller replacement will find a place in the shop.
    Oh, and 368 days until I’m eligible for retirement. BFYTW. 35yrs is enough.


    • After one ugly night at work, driving home at 0130, I asked myself how much longer I could keep doing this. So I pencilled it out–40/wk x 52wks less the PTO all divided by the ten hr shifts came out to almost 2500 shifts to go. I started counting down, like hashmarks on a cell wall. It got to be a standing joke at work: “How many more now?” And I always had the answer, “710 shifts to go!” I actually bailed out a year earlier than I’d planned as the stress was starting to affect my health, but I did cash out almost 400 hrs of PTO that I always kept as an ace in the hole, so I postponed social security for most of that year.
      Hang in there all the rest of you workin’ stiffs; you’ll get there too!


  11. East Texas, Lake Fork area. We managed to survive the cold snap fairly well. Temp got down to -3. We experienced rolling blackouts for three days. Our primary heat source is propane so we stayed warm and had the ability to cook. I keep it filled, because in the middle of the event propane wasn’t available. We lost water for half a day when our water supplier had a pump go down. I did have some water stored but it froze up with the super cold temps.
    I have a machine shop and couldn’t do much with the unstable electricity. Also materials and supplies have been delayed over a week because UPS deliveries are stalled. It gave us a chance to see the holes in our preps. My wife is making a list to fill those holes. Nothing major just things you overlook when it happens.
    Our neighbors have solar arrays, the panels mounted on roofs(in one case on the 2nd story). They all were covered in 6 to 8 inches of snow and rendered useless and difficult to clear off. I like to learn from other peoples mistakes, so I’ll keep this in mind when I set up my solar. To me the cost of solar isn’t feasible. The benefit is in case of trouble with the grid.
    I also need to get a genset so I can run my shop in case of the grid going down. Tornados and heavy thunderstorms are the more common issues we have around here and we have ice storms some years that typically wreak havoc on our local power.
    The nice thing in our area is neighbors checked on each other and were able to help those that were having difficulty, which fortunately was nothing major.
    We are back to operating normally as we’ve had stable power for several days and roads are cleared and stores are open even though shelfs are still empty of some products.


    • I hear ya on the cost of solar. I only have it so that I can be off-grid (not trying to be “green”, just more self-reliant). I like to think of it as paying my electric bill in very large increments, like the ~$3700 for new batteries…if they ever actually get shipped. I don’t think it saves me much money, as there is also the cost of running a generator when the power from the solar panels is inadequate…and with computer-equipped, home-schooled teenagers in the house, that’s more often than I would like to admit!
      My solar panels are mounted on racks on poles, so it is possible to use a broom to sweep them off. We often get the best output from them right after a snowstorm once they’re brushed-off.


  12. We survived the winter apocalypse up in the northwest corner of the DFW area. We have our own well and we got power often enough to keep the pressure tank full and the faucets dripping. House and pipes are well insulated so no damage. Once it thawed out a little I got out in the 4WD Tacoma with oversize off road tires and made wheel ruts for the neighborhood. Food supplies are holding up well. The good news is that all of this hit just after I was cleared for normal activity due to emergency detached retina surgery. I don’t mind admitting that suddenly nearly going blind in one eye was terrifying.

    Last night the winter weather was replaced by a howling windstorm and all evidence of snow and ice is gone. That was a nearly 60 degree f. temp swing in about 48 hours. If we have even a typical summer it’s going to mean around a 115 degree f. temperature swing in a year.

    I will say that I felt a little ill yesterday after getting the second dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine Friday. I had muscle aches, fatigue, and indigestion all day but feel better now. I have some fairly serious lung issues due to asthma and a serious illness I had as a child so I’m at real risk for COVID and my Doctors recommended the vaccine. Any vaccine or medical treatment should be based on your own situation and the advice of your Doctors so anyone reading this please don’t take this as advocating the vaccination for you. This is just to let you know how it went for me.

    I am currently eligible for retirement and my leadership was hinting around at the idea of giving me another big project to lead. I don’t mind the work but the Program VP and I have history and I told my management that if they gave me that assignment I’d call the retirement desk that day and I meant it. I’ve come too far to spend time working with vindictive assholes.

    The wife and I are kicking around the idea of a fishing boat so we might be looking around and as much as I used to make fun of them back in my heavy bass fishing days we may get a ski/fish combo. We may have some grandkids to entertain in the coming years. I must be getting old but I guess it beats the hell out of the alternative.


  13. Central Texas;by the “Great Place”. Today, 2/21/21 09:54,the temp is 56.5, (using the olden times way of checking temps-Johno)
    Not much to report; our end of the block never lost power. This end was built first and I suspect was connected to the main electric by Earl (a high school graduate) and the end of the block that lost power for 4-5 days was connected by Kevin (a Texas A&M graduate).


    • Steve, Australia went metric with weights and all other measures back in ’72, so even though I’m an old fart, I think in Celcius ratios, not ‘olden times’ Fahrenheit.


      • I grew up working in construction, made a career in medical laboratory, also a pilot in the world of aviation, so although it took many years to learn, I can do metric-English conversions for most things in my head to a reasonable accuracy. No harder than coordinating Zulu time to local time, back and forth with DST-STD time conversions.


        • Working with metric has always been easy for me: 2.2 lbs = 1kg, 39.37″ = 1 meter, I memorized the waypoints for F to C conversions.
          Let’s face it, the US is eventually going to go metric. Sorry to burst everybody’s bubble.


  14. Paid no mine to whats going on. In West Texas we grew up in conditions just like this. Only one room had a Dearborn Heater- turned off at night. Rest of the house we just dressed warm and slept under lots of quilts. So life is just normal round here. It won’t last long.
    As far as that Yukon….. when we get a problem child there is only one way to get back at the misery causing bastard. Sell it to the Mexicans going south to the border. They will buy just about anything van-SUV or wagonish types like the Town and Country or any Chevy/Ford/Dodge/Ply. They will pay cash and usually give top dollar even if not running. They sneak them into Mexico to avoid Mexican import taxes. Those guys can engineer just about anything. Saw a Ford truck with a Chevy engine and running gear that I believe came from a old International Harvester pickup. It had a toggle switch he was using for brake lights. He was pulling a dead Chevy van with it. Highway patrol just lets them go south. Consider it a public service.


  15. We are lucky here in southwest Oregon, completely missed by the deep freeze most of you got this week. However, weather in my area is generally what most people would consider maddening. See, we generally get ZERO rain from June through October. Hot, dry SoCal kind of summers. In November it starts raining, and mostly doesn’t stop till April or May. Seattle kind of winters. So we really have only two seasons: Fire Season, and Mud Season.

    I’ve been busy with my hobby/affliction: fixing up salvage auction cars. Right now I’m painting body panels for our runabout car, and getting ready to fix up a Honda minivan for resale. It’s a way for me to do something other than move hay, firewood, and manure on the farm.


  16. Don, thank you for the offer, sounds good. The only time I hit Colorado was going through the Denver air-hub back in late Jan ’92. Killed a couple hours waiting for our flight by watching ground crews servicing aircraft in horrible conditions, and a truck driver unloading cartons of soft-drink cans, careful to keep his load under cover, preventing it freezing while delivering orders with his hand-truck. We sometimes get destructive weather in the tropics, but nothing excites north Queenslanders as the couple of cool mornings each year when the mercury plummets to 15C, it’s all relative.


  17. Got this in email this am. True? Would not surprise me in the least.

    Joe Biden’s Dept. of Energy Blocked Texas from Increasing Power Ahead of Killer Storm

    A week before, Texas begged for help and asked for DOE to lift federal regulations barring state’s energy.

    An Emergency Order from the Biden administration’s Department of Energy shows Texas energy grid operator ERCOT was instructed to stay within green energy standards by purchasing energy from outside the state at a higher cost, throttling power output throughout the state ahead of a catastrophic polar vortex.

    Going into effect Sunday, Feb. 14, Emergency Order 202-21-1 shows the Energy Dept. was aware of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide disaster declaration and that ERCOT was readying gas utilities in preparation for a demand surge.

    The order shows Acting Energy Secretary David Huizenga did not waive environmental restrictions to allow for maximum energy output, instead ordering ERCOT to utilize all resources in order to stay within acceptable emissions standards – including purchasing energy from outside the state.
    Moreover, the order instructed an “incremental amount of restricted capacity” to be sold to ERCOT at “a price no lower than $1,500/MWh,” an increase of over 6,000 percent over February 2020 prices of $18.20.

    On Wednesday, the Dallas Business Journal reported, “Electricity on the Texas grid has averaged about $1,137.33 per megawatt hour so far in February, up from $18.20 per megawatt hour in February 2020, according to data from the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas. That’s a jump of more than 6,000 percent.”
    Days later, the Public Utility Commission of Texas set prices at $9,000/MWh.

    The EO shows the Biden administration basically ordered ERCOT to throttle its energy output by forcing it to comply with environmental green energy standards, while knowing full well Texans could freeze to death in their homes with zero electricity as temperatures plunged into the single digits.


    • Yes true. Several headlines of the same nature. Bastards. My gut told me something was up as Okla. and Texas have been net exporters of power for over 20 years. Unfortunate for you but glad those green weenies had to suffer through it as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No irony here for mrs. hizenga’s previous job.

        associate principal deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and is the acting United States secretary of energy.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Texas asked for a 4 GW increase by firing up coal and gas powerplants, EPS (BiteMe’s henchmen) told ’em to cut back 20 GW. They wanted to keep emissions lower, don’cha know.
      The Screw You Nude Green Eel is here!
      Time for pitchforks and tar and feathers. Between the NWO crap and all the EOs and the coming Financial Crap and Illegals pouring over the borders, y’all should be prepping NOW. Although, it may be too late!
      Got Ammo??

      Liked by 2 people

  18. My kitten playfully bit me a couple of weeks ago and gave me an infection on my leg. Taking 500 mg of Kflex to kill it. This week that polar front hit Texas, leaving us in the dark for 4 days. A bit chilly and very boring at night, but we lived. That is pretty much it.


  19. Heat wave here in Western IL after 10-12 days of below freezing weather, nights zero or a bit lower, with about an inch of snow every day.

    34 yesterday, up to 40 today and rain blessed RAIN to melt all the crap off.
    Of course, that will set the Weather People to going about ‘threat of severe flooding….

    Had to get a new furnace for This Old Barn, 120k BTU High-Efficiency, even so it loses The Battle of Heat In VS Heat Out at about 6-8 below outside. Need to equip the grand-kids with cans of spray-in foam insulation and send them into the crawl spaces with orders to fill up anywhere they see light coming in.

    Went into winter with 45 colonies of bees, hope to get 30-32 of them thru the winter; and expand to near 100 this year. Have two grand-daughters ages 14 and 15, who are very good help with finding queens and that sort of thing, plus two grandsons, 17 and 16, who are good Grunt Labor for the heavier tasks like moving hives.


  20. Rolled the calendar over to 62 last week. Where did all those years go and so fast? I notice a steady string of 16~18 hours days is getting a little harder to pull off so I know I’m in the fall of life. My oldest son believes I can whip my weight in wildcats so I still have the wool pulled over his eyes at least.

    Doing my hardest to dump the last of my mental knowledge base and skills set into my kids but there is so much you have to live to know. With the way this country/world is going, it’s frightening to consider what the future holds when all us “mature” guys go sleep with the bones of our fathers and our accumulated knowledge vanishes in the blink of an eye.

    To that end, and based on the fact some folks seem to have really like some of my stories I shared over at Ken’s blog, I decided to turn that supposed writing skill into what equates to two novels. One is a non fictional/technical document concerning survival and problem solving from a problem/situation/needs/resource/skills perspective and the other is presenting the same information in story form about a group of people surviving past TEOTWAWKI presenting real world situations and solutions for their survival. So far a couple of my kids really like the fictional one as far as it has gone.

    On the weather front we skipped most of the deep freeze stuff here. Light snow cover of less than a foot, just enough to be a nuisance, and normal winter temps ranging from no lower than 0°f to high 20’s°f over the course of a day. Hopefully it’s cold enough to kill some of the garden pests that over winter.

    I have found that after a lifetime of injury and abuse my trigger finger starts giving my trouble at around 10°f and that is something I need to be working on a solution for. We’ve never been much of mag dump kind of folks but now are being even more conservative with our shooting. Just enough to develop a new load or two based on some different powders and bullets we picked up and to maintain proficiency. With the ammo/component shortages we also pick up any supplies we see when we find them. Short of a large scale war we are in pretty good shape.

    Most my preps are predicated on a short term, mid term and long term calculus. Each has a different set of protocols. To that end, after a severe ice storm/power outage that lasted for a couple weeks a few years back I switched from heating with electric heaters and an oil furnace to a pellet stove. In the event of a power loss the pellet stove can be kept operational with a small dual fuel genset for short term needs. Also in the event of a power outage I keep a full size lp gas oven/range top in the shop to stand in for the electric range in the kitchen. For short term (2 weeks or less) we can go from on grid to off grid in about twenty minutes. Mid term and long term are different discussions but I do have my eye on a wood cook stove like we had growing up. If they don’t want an arm and a leg for it I’ll add it to my collection. A background project in the area of energy is converting a larger genset to run off wood alcohol. We’ve already worked through destructive distillation process for proof of concept and now are working on a system to run wood stove exhaust through a collection/distillation system to provide structure heat on the front end and fuel a genset on the back end. It’s a project that is coming along. I’ve completely abandoned solar options due to in a total grid down situation it is not a viable long term solution for lack of replacement components.

    The local economy mirrors the national economy – dead, and running on smoke and mirrors. Paying work is almost non existent at this time, especially with all the lockdown bullshit from our imperial leader inslee. My spider sense tells me the economic hurt is just beginning. Fortunately, except for month to month expenses and taxes we are debt free. Not so much for way too many others here.

    The cost of everything is on the rise. The pain at the pump is really noticeable. The old truck has gone from a $50 fill up to over $80 as of Friday. Food prices have taken a pretty good jump in the last couple of months as well but we raise or grow and preserve most of what we need and can expand that to almost all of what we need in short order so the price increases don’t hurt us too much but some folks are really hurting. Was behind an old couple in the check out line week before last and they were setting stuff back and counting pennies to try to cover the tab. I caught the cashier’s eye and indicated I would cover everything for them. They were crying as they left the store. That kind of stuff really hits hard.

    We did do a complete seed inventory and germination tests of some old seed indicated problems in a few areas so we placed orders for additional seed from several vendors to compliment our saved seed bank. Discounting harvesting our own seed we have several years worth of seed inventory on hand. Folks, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but if you don’t have seed now for the next couple of growing seasons you better get cracking as there’s already shortages showing up and I expect this year to be worse than last year. I also expect a bad collapse in the near future of the just in time food delivery system too many folks are dependent on.

    I’ve got beef on the hoof and will be picking up some feeder pigs shortly and we have our own cold room and processing set up so there’s no worry there except for storage if the grid goes down for any length of time. The oldest son and I are building a new smoke house so we can preserve without refrigeration if need be.

    Over the last ten years we keep losing a colony or two of honey bees from fall to spring and that has happened again this winter. One colony apparently just absconded. When I popped the top there was a box and a half of full honey frames and no bees except for about a hundred dead ones in the bottom brood box. A really strong colony – aprox 80,000 – just up and vanished. I moved a weak colony to the shop with supplemental heat to take some pressure off them from the cold and hopefully keep them going and also ordered three nuc’s for April installation.

    Well this is turning into a book and probably wandering way outside of what Phil intended so I’m going to close.

    See you on the other side.



    • ” A really strong colony – aprox 80,000 – just up and vanished. ”

      Probably Varroa Mite infestation.

      You need to treat..AGGRESSIVELY…….at least two, preferably THREE times a year.

      Don’t bother with the so-called ‘tests’, just assume your colonies have them.

      I use Apistan® strips early, Formic Acid pads mid-summer (can use with honey supers on the hive), and Oxylic Acid Vapor after first frost.

      Not cheap, but beats finding an empty box…



        • Well, I learned the Hard Way to NOT be complacent regarding the mites. Treated with the Formic in late August of 2019, figured that would be good enough, lost 28 out of 40 to exactly what you saw…..empty hives with full combs of honey.

          So this year I did as I told you, plus an extra treatment of ApiGuard® thymol gel after the Formic.

          We’ll see, come warmer weather, just how effective it really was.

          I know I will have some losses, I have some swarms and splits made way too late that didn’t have time to build out combs and thus little space to store either honey or the 2:1 sugar I tried to give them……….live and learn…..this year will make splits BEFORE the main flow, not after.


    • Wes, get a hold of me on that wood cookstove thing. I have had a big one in storage for the last twenty five years I will make you a deal on. It has six round plates on top and an oven. It’s in decent condition and was still being used when I put it in storage. I believe the brand is Monarch.
      It’s at my Mom’s house about ten minutes from me.


  21. Florida: Warm and Humid… spent the weekend again with Spawn and Sapper doing the yard… f*ckin’ HOAs man… lil Nazi scum… and even lamer, the County just put out a ‘no watering’ ban on lawns, which ‘hoses’ me as we just spread 5 cy of new topsoil and seeded the crap out of it over the last two days… it needs 2x a day for 3 weeks or the whole $400 worth of ‘stuff’ will have been a waste…

    Not sure if I’ma gonna get dinged or not, but it is what it is…


  22. Can someone please explain to me why lumber cost have went through the roof? Yes, I understand the Rona has a bit of play here, but when a 2×4 that cost $2.00 a year ago is now approaching $7.00 is stupid.


    • Our local pressure treatment facility is full to the point of stacking pallets all around the outside of the fenced area that’s their compound. If there’s a flat spot, it’s stacked 6-8 high. But yeah, prices are stupid right now, and it’s only going to get worse here when everything above Florida thaws out and they start building again.


    • In the PNW, our sawdust supplier said there used to be 27 mills between WA & BC they pulled from. Today there are 7. A lot of it is going into that press wood shit they are making “structural building components” out of. Could be that not all trucks are “essential” to cross the border. You probably can’t run a crummy with 4 man crew up to the forest site because of the ‘vid. Enough of those delays will slow down the supply chain. Remember last spring there was an empty lumber train parked for over 3 months if not 4 months along with a car carrier unit train which left earlier after about 2.5 months.


  23. Here in NJ, about 15 to 20 miles due west of the Lincoln Tunnel, situation normal. Has been colder than normal lately and a big snow a week or so ago, then snow again all day Thursday into Friday night but with little accumulation. No issues with supply of just about anything, although I have noticed regular was stuck at $2.29/gallon for more than the last year at the nearby Exxon, and since Biden was sworn in the price yesterday was $2.99.

    The Texas experience has prompted me to look in to some type of wood or coal stove. I have a few acres with lots of trees so long term supply is out the back door. There is a fireplace, but it is a “contractor special” insert and probably takes more heat out of the house than it puts in when used. Besides, the ideal place for a stove would be the basement because somebody once told me that heat rises . . . .

    Thanks to all for sharing your observations and experiences. Indeed lessons on prepping to be learned from all of this.


  24. Stopped by our hardware store before this mess hit us, and got a few fittings and sticks of pvc just in case. Fabbed up an old gas heater for the walled in porch where the water comes in. Had to add a cutoff for the gas to existing pipe. Worked a treat. No frozen pipes on the porch. We didn’t lose anything, but the water was rusty for a few days, water main. Nothing but another new filter to fix that. I needed some paint thinner after the mess, and the parking lot was packed and very little pvc or galvanized was left. Where did all the Boy Scouts go?

    Saw some folks needing a hand, so I pitched in. Made some new friends I hope. The old head meds make me a bit chatty, and the head knock took most of my filter out, so what pops in pops out. They didn’t seem to mind much. Got the important stuff fixed, so hopefully they have a shower now.

    All the shipping delays killed my plans of finishing some major projects. Still waiting on a lot of things to make it. They were due on Tuesday last week, latest. What a green new deal.

    I’m looking for a hit and miss engine that I can run a belt drive off of. I’ve seen some south of here, but not sure if they are for sale. I’m about done relying on anyone other than meself for power, water, and food. ERCOT ain’t, and T Bonedoggle Pickens can suck an egg.


      • Harbor Freight?
        I haven’t checked prices lately. Ah, just went over to them, searched “small gas engines”, they have a line of ’em called the Predator line. NO idea of the quality but pretty cheap


        • Think antique single cylinder engine with two foot diameter flywheels that run flat leather belts. Google Image Search Hit and Miss engine.


  25. Just good news for me … my 8 yo daughter who lives w her mom in Queens just told her that she wants to move in w me because 1. schools are open here, 2. 2 parent household, 3, a home (not a 25 story apartment building, 4. better activities from the neighborhood swimming pool to amusement parks in sunny Florida. Ahhh, gonna pay for some lawyer’s new wing to their home ….


  26. Several years ago Oklahoma said fuckit on the auto inspection thing. It’s wonderful. But, what we had was not even close to what you have to endure.


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