Saturday, February 21, 2015


I don't know if I make this another habit to be done on each day.  By the way, I didn't cover the news today.  It hardly seems worth it.  The news organizations work for the benefit of the news organizations.  They do not work for the public.  For the public to take the news organizations seriously is just another one of those kinds of things that is hurting this country.  What is commonly regarded as "news" is nothing more than editorial commentary of a few people, and should be thought of as such, unless good enough reason can be given as to why it is not that.

What I am referring to is fallacies.  It is a slippery slope that all too many fall into.  Maybe at some point, even the most level-headed people will fall into a trap like that.  Everybody makes mistakes sometimes.

Wishbone came over briefly today, and amongst the topics we talked about was this fallacy phenomenon.  It wasn't discussed exactly that way, though.  I'm putting my own imprimatur on it.  I'm calling it that, and as far as I'm concerned on this blog, I am emperor of the almighty verbiage henceforth applied.  I can be stubborn sometimes, lol.

He and I think similarly sometimes, and quite differently most of the time.  We may be brothers, but we aren't clones by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm trying to talk him into going out West, and by jings, he wouldn't go if the Lord Almighty told him to.  I'm exaggerating of course.  I think he would go, but he is negotiating.  I think I detected some negotiation going on.

But I am negotiating too, I suspect.  He wants me to spend money on a trailer.  If I did that, he may be persuaded to go.  I don't like a trailer, and I don't think one is necessary.

But it would help if someone did come along.  Yet to have someone else also increases other risks.  You can't win them all.  One thing that increases risks is that you will need more water, more food, more everything actually.  This isn't necessarily going to be easy to accomplish, even for just one.

But to have someone out there helps with other things.  If there's an accident, and I cannot help myself, it would be a matter of life or death if someone could be there.  There would be a huge risk of catastrophe if something really bad happened, and I am left helpless to deal with it.

I am stubborn enough to go out there alone.  That may be a big mistake born of arrogance.  It may not seem like it, but I can be arrogant.  chuckle, chuckle

Recap of last week's posts --- 2/21/15

I've not included some best of lists for awhile, so I'm going to do that this week.  The list is a bit neglected, so it could be long.  I may have to go through the best of posts and pare them down.  Those lists may be getting too long.

Here goes:

Introduction to the Off-the-grid series
I have a bitcoin wallet
Steve Miller - Space Cowboy
Is the Internet Making Us Smarter or Dumber?
A Drop of Honey is Worth More Than A Gallon of Gall
A very good reason to ignore conventional wisdom
About that 5% GDP growth rate
Stepping outside the box
Facts are stubborn things
A response to Ann Barnhardt

That's as far as I want to go today.  I haven't done an exhaustive search, so there's bound to be several more.  Not all of these involved neglect from prior searches, but a search method that was inferior.  This search method is good enough to get them all covered if I wanted to spend the time on it.

As for the rest of the post, I'm stopping that too. Usually I include a category breakdown to summarize what I wrote about.  I think I did a lot of how-to's this week.  Not so much on everything else.

Yep, an informal count yielded 28 posts of that category.  Plus a lot of seinfeld's and current events.

Using inexpensive smooth (non-ribbed) food storage bags with a vacuum sealer.

Lots of great ideas on the web.  But, I noticed this long ago.  The difference is that I can actually use this information in order to help me achieve a real goal.

I am going to link up the last several posts here and include them all in the food subseries.

How to freeze dry at home
5 Gallon Bucket Aeroponics - The easiest  This method shows how to do it fast.  Replaces seed house.

Self-Watering Container Gardening       Looks like a way to grow a lot of food in a small space
How to Plant a Strawberries in a Container

So, I've learned a lot just by walking around a Home Depot this morning looking for ideas.  Not that Home Depot had anything to do with it.  It just got me started.

Prev   Next

ASTRONAUT FOOD! (Freeze-Dried Beef Stew Space Dinner)

Capt. Kirk here.  Time to eat your veggies.  Kirk out.

How to Freeze dry at home

This is cool, no pun intended.

A little dry humor, there.

Anyway, here's how to solve that little problem.  If you need to store food, do this.

In two parts.

Part 2  here.

5 Gallon Bucket Aeroponics - The easiest aeroponics system to build - Full Class HD

Another system for growing in a 5 gallon food grade bucket.  This method employs the aeroponics system for getting water to the roots.

His system uses these food grade buckets.


The Honeyville food grade buckets can be purchased.

Where to buy buckets.

Off-Grid Self-Watering Container Gardening System: The Ultimate Container

LDSPrepper   (again)

I like this idea.  It look like you can get a lot of plants into a small area.


He was saying something about free buckets.  How do you get those?  Check this out.


The entire playlist is here.

How to Plant a Strawberries in a Container (Strawberry Jar)

Tomatoes may not be practical here, so maybe I ought to try strawberries.  Here's a video showing how to do it with a strawberry pot.  Frankly I'd rather not use this method.  It isn't practice for the method I'm trying to learn.  But it may be useful to watch a video like this anyway.

Doing chores, 2/21/15

This is a substitute for the workday entries to the blog while I'm out there working.

Did a maintenance chore for the van, now I'm back.

Before I came back, I stopped by one of the local Home Depot locations, and looked around the place for over an hour.  I asked an employee how they treat him.  He said he was from San Francisco, and the people are friendlier here, but the pay is less.  However, the cost of living is less too.

While there, I noticed a few things else, like I still have a long way to go.  I found some peat moss, but no sand.  I had trouble with sand before.  If it is the first bag I got, it will have clay in it, and that's bad.  I noticed the tools.  One was a drill press, which wasn't all that expensive.  Very interesting.  There were some potted plants ready for transplant, including tomatoes and strawberries.  I got an idea to make a tiny garden and try my luck with it right here in H-town.  Saw a washtub for 20 bucks and a drain pan for not much different.  Some doors were outrageously expensive.  All in all, I'm getting more and more familiar with the store.

Stopped by the office at home and asked about any deliveries that may have come.  Not yet, she said.  I am expecting something before too long.

About that idea to grow some strawberries and tomatoes:  the lighting here is not that good, so it may need a grow light.  Doing the calcs on sand needed, and I'm friggin' amazed that it may need 3 bags of sand. Several bags of peat moss.  Whoa.  All this for a few strawberries and tomatoes?

Joe Jackson--Steppin' Out (extended video)

This song reminds me of the early eighties.  I remember where I was and what I was doing back then.

Sometimes a song is like that for me.  It reminds of a time gone by.

Is this song just a dream or did the dream come true?

Rise and shine, 2/21/15

Woke up and feeling okay.  That's the physical part.  Okay, but not great.  Heck, it's hard to feel great when you've got aches and pains due to getting to be an old fart.

Anyway, I figured out a way to use that money I mentioned yesterday, so I will use it.  I will defer payments on "da Ranch" for the next 14 months.  Actually, it's interest payments that are being deferred.  I still have to pay down the balance of the money that's being borrowed.  This will reduce the outflow of money and it will be a help.

After that, assuming all things go well, I'll go back to putting "da Ranch" on plastic until I get "da guvmint cheese".  So much for financing the part of getting established on "da Ranch".  Every little thing can help.

Now, with respect to the little things, I figured out something that I would have already known if I wasn't a city slicker.  There's bushes and small trees all over my property.  I can use these for firewood.  I don't have to chop them down, just prune them back.  Thus, I will have plenty of firewood for keeping warm in winter and for cooking.  This will reduce my outflow of money even more, since my utility bill will likely go away for the most part.

I've already figured out how to get my food and water.  As for supplies, I'll still have to go to town for those.  Hopefully, that number can be kept reasonably small so that my living expenses on "da Ranch" can be pretty small.  Well, that's the whole idee!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Home again, 2/20/15

Got one of those kind of deals where somebody wants something just about the time that you might get to go home.  That kept me out in heavy traffic for a couple hours.

Anyway, I'm glad it's all over for another week.

Something's been on my mind today, and it wasn't about growing stuff out at da Ranch.  As always, I'm concerned about the E Pluribus Unum situation, so when I get money dangled in front of me, it's a little hard to resist.  But the money is not free money.  It's credit.  Oh, I can get credit alright.  I just don't know if I want to use a lot of credit.

But it's tempting, because they make it so easy.

I was thinking about whether or not I should take advantage of the offer.  I spent the whole day thinking about that.

Quickie before I go, 2/20/15

Audience numbers were way up yesterday, and now are down again.  Well, I cannot predict what people want because whoever these people are do not identify themselves to me.

Nobody should misunderstand this blog if they have been reading it, and understanding it.  There has been no fundamental change in this blog and there isn't going to be.

This blog is what it says it is and so am I.  There's no reason for any misunderstanding.

after a long thoughtful pause...

People do evil things in the darkness.  A lynch mob wears masks.  Example: KKK.  I have sought to show myself to others, but not everything. That "not everything" is a type of darkness.  But I excuse myself there.  There is no reason to be "out there" with everything.  Besides, the darkness is also amongst those of you who come here and do not show yourselves at all.  I do not mind your being here, but you will have no influence if you do not say anything.  Otherwise, the blog just churns away in obscurity and likely to remain so, I suspect.  The blog cannot thrive without the Light of your participation.

That last sentence may be a bit much, but I'm keeping it in there.  Because your participation matters.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World ---- Tears for Fears

I got a little curious about the song because I always wondered what the heck does it even mean?  It sounds good, but it is way, way, way too vague.  So, what makes the song work?  I think it must be because of its vagueness.  The vagueness is like a Rorschach test, as you can project whatever you want it to be onto the song.  And that is why you like it!

music video accompanying song

The video doesn't give any clues.  Nor does the analysis of the song by a number of people on the web.  I think it is a Seinfeld song, it's about NOTHING.

News roundup, 2/20/15

Right off the bat, I have found something on Drudge that supports the previous  post.  So, I'll lead with that.

  • Ron Paul predicts secession movement.  Not in the article, so far as I know, just my two cents: Been talk of secession, a convention of the states, etc.  As for the article, I haven't read it.  Short on time.
  • NBA great Charles Barkley gets it.  But thinks of voting for GOP.  GOP is on the way out, I believe.
  • Meanwhile, Obama is showing his Muslim colors.  Islam is incompatible with democracy as we have known it in the West and in the USA.  Obama is trying to undermine our system of government.  Islam has no uniform standard.  Any imam can issue any fatwa.  There may not be an authoritative version of the Koran.  etc.
  • I note a lot of stories like this that seem to be pushing homosexuality.  But the people at large do not agree with this, I am sure.  This is something being pushed on us from above.  We are not obligated to agree with some small faction that demands to be treated equally when they really want special treatment.
  • Joe Sestak wants to run for the Senate.  He is in favor of molten-salt reactor technology.  I like this, but running against Toomey may be a losing proposition, the Democrats fear.  Sestak should run for President instead.  Seriously.  He's a maverick.  He could be the nominee of the new party.

Rise and shine, 2/20/15

I've written one of these before, and since I have been organizing the blog chronologically, I'd thought I'd make this a new feature of that type.  It will be whatever I wake up with after a night of sleep.  Now, let's inventory these new features of late:  1) this one 2) news items  3) a post before I go  4) whatever I can blog while I'm working 5) a post when I arrive home from work.  That could mean 5 regular posts per day during the week.  On the weekends, I could keep the practice, but eliminate 3,4, and 5.  At the end of the day on Saturday, I will write a post about the week's writings.

If I think of anything else, I will include it in a new feature.

I was thinking of this new feature this morning, plus something else.  There appears to be a schism in the GOP, and maybe it will break wide open soon.  I know that I've been calling for a new party and there have been others who seem to be doing something similar.  Perhaps the country is waiting for a new party to arise, but what that party may develop into is anybody's guess.

Remember Ross Perot's Reform Party?  You don't hear much about it anymore.  I just now checked out Perot's entry in Wikipedia.  I wasn't a Perot supporter back then, but it does appear that he made some sense.  I figured that he was too friendly with the Democrats.  He's still alive, but he's pretty old ( 84 ), and maybe he's too feeble to be much good.

Anyway, there needs to be some people in high places that would help a third party get off the ground.  Then, you'd need a good candidate.  Maybe you could use the aura of Perot to get one started, but with some new ideas and new faces.

Here's an idea:  You've got the Tea Party, the Reform Party ( if there's any of these left ), and the Libertarians.  Amongst these three, you have some elements of a significant movement.  Find somebody who could weave these together into a coalition, then you might have something.

A name for the party?  Maybe you could call it the Whigs.  Yeah, it's an old name, but it represented something then, and it could represent something again.  The Whigs were against tyranny:
This name was chosen to echo the American Whigs of 1776, who fought for independence, and because "Whig" was then a widely recognized label of choice for people who identified as opposing tyranny--- Wikipedia

The organizing principles would be opposition against the tyranny of the left wing politicians, such as Obama and his followers, adherence to the rule of law and the Constitution, and for freedom in general.

There's not much time and people had better get organized fast.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Home again, 2/19/15

Got home late because of traffic, and I was on the wrong
side of town at the wrong time. Back home and happy to
be home, but time is short once again.

While on the way home, I got to thinking about the Ann
Coulter column I linked to this morning. She said there
isn't any reason to vote for the GOP anymore. The thought
I had was that there never really was any reason.

Why? I think we are at a place in our culture where it is
every man and woman for themselves. So, the voters think
that the politicians are there to deliver things to them
even if it is at the expense of everyone else. There is
no sense of community. There is no sense of public service.

The politicians are there to serve their own interests,
and they represent special interests. So, if anyone,
like Ann Coulter thinks that they are there for the public
good, then she is rather badly mistaken. Maybe the scales
are coming off her eyes.

The problem with so many people today is that they believe
the lies of the politicians. I don't know if it would make
any difference, but if there were enough public spirited
people out there, it would definitely make a difference.

You'll note that the rest of this post will look different.  That's because I was using a text editor for the post while this computer got its stuff together.  Anyway, there's no time, and I have to make do with what I've got when I've got it.  So, if I have to use a text editor because the computer is slow, that is what I'm dealing with.  Sorry for the mess.

To continue with the blog:  Look, this blog has always been about solutions.  But nobody is interested in them.  They want an advantage, not a solution.  People are self-seeking.  They don't want to give, but to get.  That is where our culture is, and that is why so many people like Ann Coulter are going to be unhappy with our politicians.  If people really wanted public servants, they'd be demanding that, and the politicians would have to supply that if they wanted to stay in office.  People are getting what they want, because they keep sending them back.  Ninety percent of congresscritters get reelected.  If you people out there were really unhappy, you'd stop doing this.

Results of watermelon harvest

Great results.

Growing watermelons

I am sure it meets the approval of the cnc.

Quickie before I go, 2/19/15

Well, here we are again.  Time to go back to the old salt mine where I earn my legal tender.  Yep, I'd rather be doing something else, but as of now, I still need the money.

I was thinking just now about money, and how the love of it is truly evil.  What do you hear about so much these days---Isis?  Well, we wouldn't have Isis to worry about if we had developed the molten-salt reactor technology that was proven in the lab over 40 years ago.  We wouldn't have sent billions and even trillions of dollars to a group of Wahhabi tribesmen who want to convert us all to Islam, by the sword if they can.  No, not by the sword, but by the buck.  You see, Nixon made that Faustian Bargain with the oil sheiks in the early seventies---about the same time he canceled out the molten-salt reactor project.  The Faustian Bargain for oil is what binds us to the oil sheiks and gives them this power over us.  If we had the molten-salt reactor, this wouldn't be happening.  That's what Isis and 9-11 was all about.  It was about keeping us enslaved to the money power that is now tied to oil---thanks to Tricky Dick's decision gone haywire.

The solution to all that is to get free of the oil-money-power.  That's why I'm going off-the-grid.  The other?  The molten-salt reactor is being developed.  The oil-money-power's days are numbered, one way or another.  But there may be suffering before it's all said and done.  There may be a big war.  A war can be averted, but it is not looking good right now.  Let's hope that that doesn't happen.  It may well jeopardize whatever good outcomes that may still be possible.

Some further ideas for the quonsets

Brainstorming some ideas for "da Ranch".  One possibility is to rename the Ranch.  I don't know about "da Ranch", it doesn't evoke anything.  Or not enough.  Perhaps I could call it the Big Rock Candy Mountain Ranch.  It is a joke.  The Big Rock Candy Mountain is a song about hobos.  Hobos don't work.  At "da Ranch", working your ass off is required.  The place is anything but a "rock candy mountain", but rather a heaping mountain of work that a hobo won't find hospitable at all.  The song is full of crap, so is everybody, so the song could apply to the name.  However, I may not be able to steal the song's name without inviting trouble.

There's that hill you pass on the way in here.  I can call it the Big Rock Candy Mountain as a joke.

Now that's settled...

What about the quonsets?  I need to plan out the thing further.  Keep that train moving right along.

I may use the honeycomb as a walkway.  Fill it up with dirt from under the grow box that will rise above it.  But not all the way up.  I will put something over the dirt to keep it from contaminating everything else in the quonset.  One downside is that the honeycomb stuff is expensive.  Twenty squares would be nearly $300.

One side of the grow box would be gravel or perlite, the other would be this honeycombed fill with dirt, gravel, or perlite.  The reason is that one side will be more shaded than the other.  I won't be planting grass, or growing much grass in there.  It might be worth it to try it, but I'm not expecting much.


There may be another way to do this:  Use a four x ten grow box instead of a 1.5 foot one.  Put the same amount of growing materials and so forth and use a smaller space.  Two of these inside of a 20 foot quonset will get you to two out of the three grow boxes needed.  A smaller quonset will yield the third grow box.  Let's say 12 footer for that one.  To get the space at the ends, just open the door.

News roundup, 2/19/15

Morning, ya'll.  I am reminded of Minnie Pearl's greeting---  How----Deeeeeeee!  Now, let's get down to business with a heaping load of you know what-- the news.  (groan)

Well, that's all I want for today.  I got my fill of this poop.

Octupus's Garden --- Beatles

I got an idea for a name for my garden.  It is the Octupus's Garden from the Beatles.  You know, the song.  Not exactly a literal concept, since this is going to be in the desert.  You could call it a state of mind, where you can be happy and safe.

Octupus's Garden  Beatles

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Home Again, 2/18/15: Remember these two

Before I start, these two links are of interest in my build.  I am going to link to it from a previous post, but not make it in a subseries.

Here they are:

Grass turf for walkways in the quonsets at da Ranch.

Corrugated metal for roofing can be put to use in the quonset.  I'll use it for constructing the grow boxes.  The ridges give it natural runoff capability.  It is made of steel, so it should be strong.  That hasn't been tested yet.

Update:  Add this one to the list.  A pick axe that gets good reviews

Now, for my day...

Today was the strangest day.  I went to the doctor as planned, but the doc office said that my pcp's were wrong.  It turns out that Blue Cross / Blue Shield screwed up.  The ObamaCare system required that I get another plan, so they assigned another pcp than the one I had when they did the switch over to the new plan.  I changed the pcp back to the old pcp under the new plan, which they recorded correctly, but they didn't finish the job.  So, it showed me that the switch back to the old pcp didn't occur and it shows the same to the doctor's office.  The new pcp didn't show it either.  Nobody has the info needed---I don't, the doctors don't-- but Blue Cross does, and they just didn't let anybody in on the big secret.  So, I can't access the system until they fix this, which supposedly is going to happen soon.

ObamaCare, don't you just love it???????

Elon Musk getting into home battery biz?
Soon, too.  It may be less than a year.

Quadrangle goes out

It looks like the idea of fitting together four quonsets into a squared area is going to require just too doggone much material and get too doggone big.

So, I've come up with an idea to stagger the quonsets so as to get wind blockage and still collect rainwater.  It should provide adequate protection from wind in nearly all directions.

The quonsets are now huge, over 40 feet long apiece.  That's to accomodate the grow boxes, which are 30 feet long.  They are quite small grow boxes, but they can't be doubled without making the quonset too crowded inside.  As is, the quonset will not allow as easy access as if the grow box was outdoors.  It looks like an amazing waste of space, but there's a reason for maintaining good access from all directions.

That's why they are 40 feet instead of 30.  There needs to be 5 feet on each end of the grow box, according to the system.

Since there are 3 planned, that means that with each 40 foot quonset, there's going to be 320 square feet of rainwater collection area available.  Counting the canopy, it's over a thousand.  So, for every tenth of an inch of rain, I can collect 62 gallons of water ( in theory, at least ).   Now, it looks like that isn't going to be enough water, believe it or not.  As noted earlier, these things may be thirsty, so I may now have a water problem again.

That's what planning is for: to work out the kinks in advance.  Hopefully, there won't be too many when the thing gets built.
Not enough room!  Can't double up on grow boxes, and the length goes out to 40 feet making the quadrangle 56 feet around the base.  Too big.

Replacement for the quadrangle.  Chickens are going in a chicken tractor after all.  Some new ideas on building the grow boxes here.

This will go in the construction subseries.

Prev     Next

Costs for grow boxes

It looks as though sawdust is going to be hard to find without looking around.  No time for that. 

It also appears that grow boxes that can recycle materials as an idea, will be out.  I won't be using that much water, I don't think.

In terms of cubic feet, each grow box is 1.5x30x.67 feet dimensions.  That's 30 cubic feet.

35% sand would be 10.55 cubic feet   or 30 bags   ( 3.99 )
15% perlite would be 4.52 cubic feet  or two bags  ( 16.97 )
50% peat moss would be 15 cubic feet  or 5 bags  ( 10.47 )

sand   $120
perlite $ 34
peat moss  $ 53
sawdust 20
metal    100
honeycomb 250

subtotal $577, if all are bought.  But that won't be the case.

Take out metal ,honeycomb, sawdust as those are impractical.  A little over $ 200 bucks per grow box, not counting the other materials, which should be minor.  A bit over 600 dollars, and I'll have 3 grow boxes.

It may be more convenient to work on if you were to raise the grow boxes up a few feet.  Also, to have only one grow box in a 32 foot quonset.  This is so I can collect more water.  I think these plants and this topsoil are going to be thirstier than I thought.  I could raise the grow boxes in the middle or a little to the side, and place a piece of plywood where the walkway should be.  Want to have a plastic covering over the soil in order to keep out contamination.  Well, this makes me think a bit deeper on the layout of the thing.  That's what planning is for.

News roundup, 2/18/15

In keeping with my new habit of doing this first thing each morning, here's this morning's news roundup:

All in all, a pretty depressing bunch of stories.  Great way to start the day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Home again, 2/17/15

Not feeling particularly inspired today.  Nevertheless, time marches on, and so does this blog.  Sorry, couldn't resist the turn of phrase.

Still thinking and planning my move out West.  Today was busier than usual, so I didn't have much down time today that I use for thinking.  One thing I did do, was to take my tablet with me.  I have no wireless internet away from home, so it wasn't useful for that.  I did download the pdf gardening book from the smart phone, which makes it an easier read on that bigger screen.

The book is quite easy to read.  The trouble is, you don't read it, you supposed to do it.  Since I am in no position to do anything at all, all I can do is read and observe without doing.

However, one thing I can do is the first step in the process and that is to plan.  So, what's the plan?  It turns out that gardening may be a bit more about avoiding bad things, like diseases, than anything else.  If you can control the environment in which it grows, yields can be quite good.  That's what I like, great yields and little work.

Here's a couple possibilities in terms of size and such.  If I go small, then 4 quonsets of 16 feet apiece would be built.  Going big would give 4 quonsets of 32 feet apiece.  Naturally, the bigger ones cost more.  But you could do more with them.

The 1.5 foot size looks pretty small in that dimension, but gives room for two side by side, with a 3 foot walk path down the middle of them.

One thing that's important is to not track dirty feet into the grow boxes.  Better yet, not to track dirty feet into the quonset itself.  It may be a good idea to change shoes when inside the quonset and use some of those shoe covers that are used in hospitals.  Yep, you want to keep the joint CLEAN.  Diseases can spread if you don't.  Plants get sick too.  So, controlling the environment should mean keeping the place clear of diseases and pests.  ( hopefully)

Now, if 11 grow boxes can be enough to feed 4 people, then 3 grow boxes should feed yours truly.

The bigger one would be for more than one person, if I managed to find somebody to go in with me.

Quickie Post before I go, 2/17/15

Blogging was light this morning because I am thinking and planning.

The plans involves "da quadrangle" and "da quonsets".  I'm thinking of such things a climate control, water recycling, and to a lesser extent power generation.

Also, I'm thinking of when to make the move.  It still seems to early to move in May, so maybe in December or early in 2016 could be the next target.  The reason is that there's nothing out there, I have to build from scratch, I have to learn from zero knowledge base.  There's just too much to do and to little time to do them.  Not to mention that there will be a cash burn in the beginning, and the cash burn will hurt.  I have to think ahead as best as I can.  Not much room for error.

I'm pleased with my progress.  It has been 8 months since I started this crash program of learning to adapt out there in the West.  Even though there is no tangible signs of progress, I feel that I am getting closer to that time that I can go.


Other things I'm thinking about includes long term plans.  A back out plan, in case of failure.  In case of success, I may want to expand to include a pasture for some animals.  Thinking big don't hurt anything, and it may help.

News roundup

I'm going to make this a feature of the blog.  Since I am obliged to follow the news, I'll add a link to news items of interest to me.  Maybe I make a comment, but not necessarily always.

With that, here goes:

Well, there it is.  About all I can do in the short time that I have.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Home again, 2/16/15

Another slow day.  Perhaps the Federal holiday had something to do with it.  Rush hour traffic did develop, however.

With all the down time, I was able to read the gardening book that I bought over the weekend.  A bit of info there that caught my attention.  It is how much cabbage that one acre could produce.  I don't remember the number, but what got my attention is that 80% of a plant's mass is water, so the amount of water that the plant received was much less than the amount of water that would have fallen in the form of rainfall.  Putting it another way, plants are very inefficient in the use of water.  That fact is something I may investigate further.

I've heard of dry farming, so I'll look at that when I have the time.  I want to point to this location again, as it may be useful in reclaiming water that seeps through the growing plant bed.  From the pics provided, it looks as if the water can drain on out of there once it gets to overflowing.  In my visualization of this, the water seeps through and collects in the honeycomb, overfilling it, and then proceeding through the cracks on down to the exit point at the end, where it can be reclaimed.

All in all, what I've found today is a bit encouraging.


I'd be interested in using a metal sheet to place under the honeycomb, with the top layer of materials for the grow bed.   The metal sheet will be the impermeable layer that drains the water into a collection point.  This would cost some money to do, but it may be worth it.


How to get free rainbarrels.

This one goes into the water subseries.

Prev    Next

Food grade tubing

Another option

Plastic tubing

May be able to use this.

Grow strawberries indoors

What a surprise.

Quickie for the road, 2/16/15

A lot of thoughts go whizzing by when I'm in the shower.  By the time I get out, I have forgotten them all!

Is that what it means to get old?  Well, I've been like that for all my life.  I attribute it to absent mindedness.  I recall that someone once said that this is a sign of intelligence.  I don't know about that, but I have sure done dumb things because of my absent mindedness.  I won't be recounting those, thank you very much.  See a post yesterday for what it could do to your day.

One thing I'd like to mention.  I have wondered if there's people actually reading this.  If there isn't, there's a real scary smart bot out there that acts as if it knows me.  It's an it, or it's a person, but what it is, it is damned smart as far as I can tell.

Anyway, somebody or something clicked on a post about Ann Barnhardt.  I haven't been writing much about her lately, so maybe a person or a bot picked up on that.  I get little indications like that that tell me that something is up with somebody out there who is reading this blog, whether it is a real person or not. Well, there's nothing to report.  She's not writing much these days.  She's got troubles, it appears.

Sure, I follow Ann Barnhardt, but I don't know her, and I don't know what is going on there aside from what she has shared on her blog.  That's all I've got.

You'd think it would be easy

My mood is going sour, I just know it.

Anyway, let me tell a short little story of what I did just now in order to illustrate.  I have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday.  It will have to be a new doc because ObamaCare wouldn't let me keep last year's ObamaCare doctor.  So, now I need a new ObamaCare doc.  Okay, not that big of a deal.  Not yet, at least.  I don't know this new doc yet.

Since the pcp changed, I need a new card.  But Blue Cross won't send me one.  Wishbone had this issue last year.  For whatever reason Blue Cross has decided to be a pain in the butt on this.  But you can print a temp card.  No biggie, right?

It is a biggie if you don't have a printer.  Actually, I have two.  But I seldom use either because they are both a pain in the butt.  But I need this temp Id, so I had to unplug this one, and take across the room and connect it to the printer over there.  Why?  It is an old printer, but it is reliable.  The newer one, oddly enough, isn't necessarily good at printing documents.

What a joke, right?  I'm reduced to using a 14 year old printer because a 7 year old printer won't work right.  I have a 5 year old computer that is falling apart, and I have to take across the room in order to connect it to the 14 year old printer.  The old printer needed a new cartridge.  Luckily, I had one.  After all that, I have my temp Id, but what a pain in the neck.  I shouldn't have needed to do any of this.

Okay, this little bitch session is over.  Carry on.

11 Reasons You Should Raise Guinea Fowl

I found this link in trying to get an answer to the question of whether or not a chicken will eat lady bugs.  This page said that a guinea won't eat lady bugs, but will eat just about any other kind of bug, which is a good thing, I suppose.

Raising guinea is a lot like raising chickens, so they could be considered as a possibility.

As for the lady bugs, they are beneficial insects, but they can be a pest as well.  That's the reason I thought up the question.  I'd like to use them to control pests, but what if they become a pest themselves?  The question appears to have been answered in the negative.  Chickens probably won't eat lady bugs because guinea fowl won't eat them.

This one will go into the food subseries.

Prev   Next

The situation appears serious

Well, I must admit something here.  I feel a bit overwhelmed.  Perhaps for the first time since I began this blog, I feel a wave of discouragement coming over me.

When I bought the land, things were better than now.  It seems like a hurricane of troubles seemed to hit all at once.  However, that isn't really the case.  It is my fault for not taking all of that into account in my calculations.   Funny thing though.  If I had taken it into account, I may not have bought the land.  But, as bad an option as that may be, it is the only game in town.  I have no better alternatives at this time.

So, this is why I am pressing forward.  It may seem to be too much, but it is the only game in town.  I have no options.

Homemade "Steel Can" Solar Air Heater! DIY - STEEL CAN Air Heater! (140F+) - EASY Instructions!

Prev  Next

This one goes into the off-the-grid energy subseries.

The interesting thing here is that for 5 watts of fan power, he is able to divert warm air into an area for climate control.  Now, the idea I have is to use warm water and a heat exchanger to heat the air to go into the "coffin" set up in my van.

I think a way to do that has already been covered.  It involves wrapping a copper tube around and around, and that's your heat exchanger.  You run the air across it an the water through it.

It would really be nice if chilled water can be run through it too, for climate control in the summer.

So, the new thing here is the use of the small fan.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

One for the evening

There was a time when I did an "Evening Wrap", but I don't do those anymore.  However, after a number of posts here, it may be useful to summarize a bit of what I learned this weekend.

I'd say the main thing I learned is that this isn't going to be easy.  There's going to be a long learning curve associated with this move.  Two things that I observed that make me think so:
  1. A bad harvest of potatoes on the second attempt, and
  2. Some crops are inappropriate for a greenhouse, like strawberries
I want everything in the greenhouse because I want to control pests that way.  This may not work, however.  My brother, "Worf", has a greenhouse, and it didn't stop pests in his garden.

But a greenhouse does eliminate some possibilities for some kind of pests, like animals.  Bugs may be a different story.  There's going to have to be a long study period on how to do this, and that includes controlling pests.

All of that is just one part of the learning curve.  There's weather and timing, too.

The bottom line is that I'm not ready to start growing stuff right now, and right now is about the time to start get ready for the growing season.  There has to be a facility before you can grow in that facility, and as of now, there is no facility out there.  Even if there were, I'm not ready to begin growing stuff, because I don't know jack squat about growing anything.

This all looks bad for an early move.  If events force an early move, I suppose I may have to go and give it a shot, but as long as I have the option of going or staying put, the latter option looks best right now.

Amazing Sweet Potato Harvest: 139 lbs from 3 Potatoes


The full video series is here.  I'm going to view them later.  Still got things to do this weekend.

By the way, sweet potatoes may grow in a greenhouse, we shall see.

In the Food subseries.

Prev   Next

Worm Compost Suppresses Plant Diseases

treehugger dot com

The microbes present in compost are the key to suppression. These microbes colonize the seed surface within eight hours of being planted in vermicompost. The microbes chemically modify the seed as it germinates so that signaling between the seed and the motile zoospores of P. aphanidermatum is interrupted, preventing the pathogen from accessing the plant. --- Allison Jack, researcher
Maybe it would be better to keep my worm compost and use it in the garden, no?

Quote of the day

Before the Danes get on their high horse let’s recall the many Viking atrocities.”

Closer look at growing tomatoes

That closer look at strawberries yielded a bad bit of news, so I won't be going there.

Maybe the same could be true of tomatoes?  Well, let's look closely before spending a lot more time on it.

Here's some tips on growing tomatoes.  Everybody seems to have those.

More tips below:

I didn't see any show stoppers.


The show stopper for strawberries is that they have to be grown outside because they have to be pollinated before they can bear fruit.  There doesn't seem to be any reasonable way that they can be grown inside of a greenhouse.  Unless there are some that can be, this is officially a show stopper.

This one goes into the Food subseries.

Prev   Next

Closer look at growing Strawberries

I included this video because of a tidbit of info that I didn't know before.  You mustn't bury the crown of a plant.  This video demonstrates what the crown is.  In case you haven't figured it out already, I know zilch about growing stuff.  I have to start at zero knowledge.

This will go into the food subseries.


Ooops!!!  It looks like there's a complication in growing strawberries.  They are OUT.

Prev  Next

Home again, 2/15/15

No, this wasn't a work day.  I like to write "home again", because getting back home when out there "in the world" isn't necessarily a given.  One day at work, I didn't make it home, and spent 4 days in a hospital due to a car wreck.

Just now, I got back from an errand that went awry.  The reason was entirely my fault.  But that is not what I thought at the time.  It wasn't until I went to another place and tried to do the same thing that I understood what my mistake was.  ( Slapping my forehead, "Doh!")

When I got home from the usual errand on Sunday, which wasn't the above errand, which is grocery shopping, which I hate, I had a mishap when I took the bags out of the van.  One of them broke, and spilled the contents, which proceeded to roll under the van.  Oh, Goody!   I had to go fish it out with a broomstick without the broom, which is about 30 years old.  In the meantime, I had to get down on the ground on my knees, which I hate like all get out, all the while cursing up a storm.  I can hear my Mom from the grave.  She would say on times like these:  "stop growling!"

The accident above wasn't my fault.  But I make so many mistakes that I woke up wondering if it was.  I can't remember to this day what happened in that wreck.  It was witnessed though, and I thank my lucky stars that it was.  And a cop rolled up on it.  Imagine that happening in a deserted place.  You could be there for hours and nobody would know that you were there.

Sobering thought.

How To Plant Potatoes for High Yields

Another video from LDSPrepper.

This one is included because he mentioned an important resource on Facebook, which I will link to:


- The Mittleider Gardening Course
- Natural Mineral Fertilizers
- Facebook Mittleider Gardening Group
- Garden Planting Details Sheet

Here's an alternative way of growing potatoes, besides the one that I've already written about.

Growing Potatoes in 5 Gallon Buckets

Update: and

Growing Potatoes in a Cage

Potatoes from a box ( failed harvest )

This one goes into the off-the-grid Food subseries.

Prev    Next