Prepper Diary July 12: I Put my New Woodworking Skills to Good Use

I’ve spent a good many hours in the workshop working on my projects. This weekend I tackled something my wife wanted me to do.

This weekend, I built my wife a shelving unit to go into the closet in the laundry room. I have to give her credit; she has been very patient waiting for me to finish the henhouse and beehives. It was good that she waited, however, because that meant I got to use the tools and skills I polished working on those other projects.

In fact, as I was building the shelf, I could not help thinking that building it was like building a giant beehive. I had to keep the corners square, each piece had to be the correct length, and I used my recently acquired dado skills to cut rabbet joints. I even used the same wood glue I use on the beehives, Titebond III.

It turned out great! Don’t get me wrong, this is not an heirloom piece of furniture. After all, I built it in just a few hours over two days, using the bed of my pickup truck as a workbench. It’s going to be behind closed doors in a closet, filled with gallon jugs of laundry detergent, so it doesn’t have to be a work of art, but it turned out square, level and true, it is very sturdy, and it will definitely get the job done, probably for several decades.

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Just a Short Update and Prepper News Recap

Not much going on around the homestead today, so I did chores and got things prepper in case storms from Hurricane Elsa get this far.  I fed the chickens, added a super to another beehive, fed the weakest beehive, stacked firewood, paid some bills, and a friend came over to visit.  My wife went to the farmer’s market and then to Yoga, so I took a nap.

Like much of the East, we are expecting some rain associate with Elsa, but probably not a serious storm.  The heaviest weather should be to our east.  That should keep me indoors long enough to do some woodworking.

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Living in a Self-Service World: Fewer Workers Means More Automation

With 2.2 million fewer people working in the hospitality and restaurant industry, it’s no surprise restaurants are turning to automation or asking customers to serve themselves.

We recently went to a restaurant where we came in, picked up your menu and stood in a large “holding pen” while trying to decide what to eat. Once we made our selections, we walked up to the counter and placed our order. They charged my card right then, and the tablet asked for a tip–even though we did not know if the server would be any good. They handed us cups and a number and suggested we pick up our silverware and condiments. A server brought our food, but we had to clear our own plates. I might as well have stayed home.

It was like a Give Guys Burgers and Fries or another fast-food restaurant, but they didn’t yell out your number, they had a broader menu selection, and it was a nicer atmosphere.

Because all they had to do was bring out our food and wipe down an empty table, they managed somewhere around 50 to 60 tables with just two servers. The restaurant started this “hands off” service during COVID-19, supposedly to reduce infections. They kept it going because it is difficult to hire skilled employees.

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Survival Diary June 28: Propane Possibilities

Our all-electric house may be getting its first propane-powered appliance. That could be the foot in the door.

As I have mentioned before, our house is all electric, with no propane or natural gas. Apparently, the former owner, who built the house, did not “believe” in propane and didn’t want it in his house. This makes powering the house by solar power difficult, or at least prohibitively expensive, because running the stove and oven require so much electrical power.

Finding ourselves in need of a new cooktop, we are considering propane. Not because we want to make the house easier to power via sola—that’s an added bonus—but because we both like cooking on gas. We would place a tank outside the house and plumb a gas line into the garage and run it up through the floor of the kitchen under the stove.

The immediate benefit is that we could then cook on the stovetop if there was no electricity. Yes, I know gas appliances today require electricity, but that is easy to provide via battery power, solar power, or a so-called “solar generator.” While we can cook on the wood stove, the Coleman stove, our outdoor grill, or an actual open fire, the ability to cook on a traditional stove top during an extensive power outage would be awesome.

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Double Digit Inflation Causes Pain in my Wallet

Its pretty shocking when things I bought in March and April cost more just two or three months later. Inflation is here, and its far more than 4 or 5 percent.

Maybe you haven’t been keeping track, but inflation is all around us. Here are some examples or rising prices from my life:

Bee Supplies, Up 17.5 Percent

My beehives are doing well enough that I decided I should purchase a few more deep hive boxes in case I need to split the hives in late summer or early next year. I logged into my favorite supplier’s website and found that the prices were noticeably higher than when I made my last purchase in April. Here are some examples:

  • Unassembled deep hive bodies increased 17 percent.
  • Unassembled frames increased 37 percent.
  • Foundation, which is plastic and does not use wood, was up only 3 percent.
  • Telescoping lids went up 14 percent.
  • Inner lids were up 20 percent.
  • Bottom boards were up 14 percent

Average those figures together and you get an average price increase of 17.5 percent. That’s some serious inflation in just two months.

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Costco Shopping Trip Shows No Sign of Inflation, Yet

I visit two stores known for low prices and I found no signs of inflation. But its there at the gas pump.

As I mentioned yesterday, I came down from my mountain, drove hundreds of miles to visit an elder relative who needed my help, and ended up in a small city. It’s not a bad city, but the drone of the highway and other constant city sounds seemed loud after the quiet of the mountains. The trip was another reminder that about the only benefit of my occasional returns to society is access to shopping that isn’t available in the country.

In other words, I went to Costco for the first time in more than six months.

Other than the store layout in this distant town being sideways compared to what I am used to, it wasn’t much different. I bought Spam, spaghetti sauce, beans and other canned and dried goods for the pantry, bags of sugar for the bees, and paper towels for my wife. Unfortunately, this store did not have canned roast beef, which several bloggers and vloggers have reported on. Too bad; I was planning to buy at least a dozen cans, maybe two dozen.

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Another Busy Week on the Homestead

With spring giving way to summer and summer storms rolling through, we have to plan our work around the weather. There always seems to be more to be done.

We tackled multiple projects this week, some inside and some outside as we received more than 2.5 inches of rain and plenty of mountain fog over the past few days.

I built a new desktop computer for my wife, after ordering all the components online, moving her from her creaky Windows 7 box to a new Windows 10 computer. Transition was pretty seamless and all her old peripherals and her wireless network card worked just fine, which was a relief. That filled a rainy day and then it took part of the night for Windows to update repeatedly.

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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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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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