Prepper Diary: A Chilly and Somber Memorial Day

Why do we say “Happy Memorial Day?” Shouldn’t it be a more somber holiday? This year the weather was cold enough that no one on the East Coast felt like celebrating the start of summer.

Depending on which digital thermometer you believe, it is either 68 degrees or 65.7 in my basement.

So much for the accuracy of digital thermometers.

The old-fashioned analog thermometer agrees with the lower temperature, and my toes are inclined to believe it. As temperatures have plummeted this weekend, with highs in the low 50s and night time temps back into the 30s, I have had to decide it I want to start a fire in the wood stove or just put on another fleece.

I am opting for the latter, but only because sun and warmer temperatures are supposed to lie in our immediate future. We also added another blanket to the bed, and our Memorial Day picnic at the neighbor’s has moved indoors.

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Time to Buy an 80-percent Receiver and Build a Ghost Gun

Gun sales are soaring. Ammo is in short supply. The Democrats want to ban your guns. The ATF wants to increase regulation. Sounds like its time to buy a gun,

I wasn’t sure if I should discuss this publicly given the radical anti-gun slant in Washington, but then I figured that since I filled out the paperwork to buy a silencer, I’m probably on their target list already. So here it goes:

I bought a Polymer 80 kit to build a pistol that is compatible with Glock parts. 

Doesn’t sound that dangerous or dastardly does it?  A shame I have to think twice before talking about it.

For any of you who are not in the know, the Polymer 80 is an 80-percent kit that I can use to make a so-called “ghost gun” in the privacy or my workshop with common hand tools.  The gun grabbers are so haunted by the idea of people building their own guns that the BATFE is looking for ways to make them illegal or to require them to be given serial numbers, thereby removing their “ghostiness.”  (As if criminals, most of who use and obtain their guns illegally, follow the laws.)

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COVID May be Over in the U.S., But Repercussions Persist

While U.S. cases of COVID-19 and the positive test continue to reach new lows, other countries are still experiencing surges and entering lockdowns.

Maybe it was too soon to eliminate our weekly COVID-19 coverage, as scientists at Moderna say the virus is rapidly mutating and new waves of COVID-19 are a danger. If a new variation that can cause infections in vaccination spreads, it could set back the reopening in some countries.

Australia’s second largest state, Victoria, is back in lockdown after a rash of cases popped up. They seem to pull the trigger pretty quickly, with only a few dozen cases this week, but they had not had a case in three months so the new cases, thought to have originated in India, obviously caused alarm. However, the current mutation they are fighting seems to cause illness in only one day instead of the four to six day wait that was the case with the original virus. Other Australian states are closing their borders and instructing anyone who visited Melbourne to self-quarantine.

Australia is not the only country experiencing a surge. In Japan, new cases are overwhelming the healthcare system. This is threatening the Olympics, which were supposed to be held last year but were delayed by COVID-19. Surveys show that the vast majority of the Japanese populace want to cancel the games, but the International Olympic Committee is still moving ahead with the games. I wonder if the broadcasts will have crowd noises like the NFL?

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Prepper Diary May 28: When is a Weed not a Weed

With the weather improving and the sun shining again, we embark on a host of gardening and other outdoor activities

Now that the last frost date is behind us, our gardening activities have stepped up a notch. For example, the tomatoes and peppers are on the deck hardening off.

While in town the other day, we bought mulch, compost, pots for the container garden, and checked out plants, from herbs to bushes, including annuals and perennials for the pollinator garden. We’re getting to know the folks at the general store, where we go for our soil amendments, garden supplies, and chicken feed, so it’s nice to see them and chat for a few minutes. 

We also ate our first post-mask mandate lunch. As soon as we walked in, we noted that the restaurant had added a chunk of its tables back to what had been a sparsely populated room just a few weeks ago. I would guess they were somewhere close to 75 percent of their “normal” tables present, a big increase. About half the wait staff were wearing masks and about half were not.

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Prep for your Feet — Good Footwear is Critical for Preppers

I like to think of footwear a shelter for my feet. My boots should keep my feet warm, dry and protected, just like my house.

We went to the town Wednesday. Because it’s close to an hour one way, we usually make a day of it and run all our errands at once. Yesterday was no exception.

The highlight of my day was buying a pair of Danner boots with Vibram soles, as pictured above. I wish the boots were waterproof, but otherwise I am very happy with them. I tried on four pairs of boots from three different brands, and these were the best fit by far. I’ll wear these walking, hiking our mountain, and about the homestead when I am doing tasks that don’t require a safety toe or a muck boot. But first, I’ll wear them around the house for a couple weeks to break them in.

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Using the Ryobi Inverter for Stop-Gap Emergency Power

It’s small. It’s not very powerful, but the price was right. This mini-inverter adds another layer in our preps.

I just took advantage of “Ryobi Days Deal” offer at Home Depot and bought two of their 18-volt rechargeable batteries for $99. As my free “tool” that came with the promotion, I ordered the Ryobi inverter, Like the entire line of their battery powered tools, is powered by a Ryobi One+ battery.

After this purchase arrives, I will have six of their batteries, four of which will be 4-amp hour batteries, and two smaller batteries that do not last as long.

The Inverter

The Ryobi inverter is a small thing with two USB ports and a single 120-volt AC outlet that can provide a maximum of 150 watts. In the inverter world, this is tiny. Don’t expect it to power your refrigerator, or even your toaster oven, but it can power a light, a radio, and charge anything with a USB charger. One of the 4-amp hour batteries will charge your average cell phone six times and run a floor lamp with an LED lightbulb for hours. It will also charge up the 18650 batteries in our rechargeable flashlights, lanterns, headlamps and weapon lights.

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We Test Aguila Minishells and OPSol Mini-clip in the Mossberg Shockwave

At our last day, we tested a trifecta: The Mossberg Shockwave, outfitted with the OPSol Mini-Clip, shooting the Aguila Minishells.

Some time back, I purchase an OPSol Mini-Clip so I could fire the Aguila mini shotgun shells in my Mossberg Shockwave without jamming. Because the dang shells were in such short supply, I never tried it, until now.

I finally laid my hands on six boxes of the 1-3/4-inch Aguila minishell buckshot, birdshot, and slugs and tested them out on six steel targets at 36 feet.

The OPSol Mini-Clip was a snap to install in the Mossberg. It pushed into place in seconds. Once installed, the minishells fed flawlessly, which was not the case before hand. After installing the OPSol Mini Clip, I fired 40 rounds without a single missfeed. This device does its job well and inexpensively. The only fault is that it worked its way partially out of the shotgun partway through our testing and had to be re-seated. This was noticeable during reloading and a firm push of the thumb solved the problem.

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Ending our Weekly COVID-19 Report with a Victory

When Charlie Sheen famously said “Winning!” it came back to bite him, but we’re still declaring victory over COVID-19. For now, at least.

Fourteen months after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak swept through the U.S., I am putting what I hope will be a definite hold on our Monday report that has ran every Monday for months. We’ll be back if COVID-19 is back, but we hope that won’t be necessary. Coverage of fallout from the virus will continue.

This blog started as a way to kill time and report on my self-imposed quarantine, but has evolved into much more. Thanks to the many people who have checked in from time to time and especially to our regular readers.

India is still adding 1.5 million cases per week and may eventually overtake the U.S. to become the worst-hit country in the world.

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Get Prepared Now for Infrastructure Failures Leading to Collapse

It’s not just our food supply that is vulnerable to disruption. Our critical infrastructure is vulnerable and could isolate cities.

The pipeline hack and resulting gas shortages in the Southeast last week should serve as an important reminder of how vulnerable our infrastructure is to disruption. We also saw recently that traffic was stopped up on the Mississippi River because of damage on the I-40 bridge in Tennessee. Not long before that, a ship stuck in the Suez Canal halted a portion of global trade. The lesson is that it doesn’t take much to upset the carefully balanced apple cart of modern society.

There are a few other natural or manmade disasters that can interrupt the flow of goods and threaten us with a breakdown.

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Problems in the Food Supply Chain Causes Shortages, Price Increases

Empty grocery store shelves are so last year… or are they? As food service at restaurants and hotels restarts, expect more food supply disruptions.

When COVID-19 started and restaurants closed down, food packaged for sale to restaurants suddenly have no destination. As sales shifted from restaurants to hones, there were food shortages because plants that put 25 pounds of chicken in a box or sold millions of pounds of French fries to fast-food chains could not repackage them for sale to consumers. Farmers poured milk down drains as school lunch programs ended, farmers plowed potatoes under, and warehouses for frozen foods were filled to their gills.

Now, the re-opening of restaurants is causing disruption again, this time in reverse. The sudden demand as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted is challenging the supply chain. Even corrugated cardboard and refrigerated truck availability are limited. According to the article “Food Supply Chains are Stretched as Americans head Back to Restaurants” in the Wall Street Journal:

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