Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prepping for Retirement. It's for the Children Right?

I got to spend a 5 hour drive yesterday with two individuals that I think kinda sum up the two sides in the train wreck I see coming our way in the near future. Future? Hell for many it is already here with zero interest rates and inflation destroying what they had saved. Especially if they aren't one of the lucky ones with a public financed COLA adjustment each year.

One guy who spent his working years as a mechanic in the private sector, retired and then found out those 401K's were mostly a sham and Social Security has been looted of it's value by the money printers. He's a good guy really. In fact his political views are pretty much straight up the exact same as mine. Out of the group of us who work together they usually team the two of us up because I am the only one he doesn't get into an argument with on those long trips. I also don't complain about his listening to talk radio either :)

The other guy of course retired from a state job.

Now out of the crew of retired government employees who I work with, which out number the private sector co-workers about four to one I might add, this guy is about the most realistic of the bunch. Of course he retired from the prison system so not only did he get a healthy dose of reality on the job but wasn't any where near the top tier in retirement benefits either. Still the differences are staggering.

The mechanic worries about his children, grandchildren, what will happen when he can no longer keep working, what he can leave his children and will they take care of him in his final days. The other guy just stated that nothing would piss him off more than leaving anything to his kids and besides they didn't earn it anyway.

I listened to this back and forth for an hour or so until they finally brought me into the discussion. By that point I had been running scenarios through my head and could clearly see the bias in both sides of the issue.

On one hand we had someone who knew his assets were not gonna be enough and on the other we had someone who was counting on that check coming in from the government for the rest of his life that was enough.

The question I was asked was whether I planned on leaving my son anything. My answer was I damned well hope so. But why he asked? I bit back the standard "we need more money" school retort that children are our future and simply pointed out that without a government security net who would take care of you?

Before this whole retirement scam of social security, pensions, medicare whatever got rolling inheritance was about the best retirement account you had going for you. When a person relied on his own production to survive and reached the age he could not produce as well any longer than your best bet was to make sure someone you could trust took over the property you had and used it to produce for all of you. It wasn't about leaving your heirs money to play with but property that helped them become more productive. Tools, land, livestock.... for the entire family.

In essence the very things we as sustainers or preppers strive to have today. So why not count on it being a vehicle for own retirement when the time comes and the government ponzi schemes finally fail?

My bet is there would be a lot less grumpy old men out there who have alienated their own adult children if that were the case. Sitting around drinking and worried about what their kids might get that "They don't deserve".

Of course my final comment I think hit home the hardest. I simply said "Well when I get to be your age and as grumpy as you if my kid is still with me I think he would have earned everything I can give him".

Many things are going to change in the post debt society and I think a return to closer knit families will be one of them. Prep accordingly.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Waaaaay Behind

Sorry about the lack of posts the last few days. I got started on a project trying to design a contraption to help me move some bee hives and then got called into work for a fairly long haul. So I am way behind and just now trying to catch up.

I haven't had a chance to take any pictures around the place or think of anything to write about. I did have a lengthy discussion with a retired Baby-Boomer about how he doesn't want to leave his children a dime of inheritance. He actually started the conversation and I don't think he much liked my answers :)  I might have to do a post about it tomorrow.

If your going to pick a time of the week for light posting on Blogger right now Friday's is the day.

Anyway I should be caught up by tomorrow unless I get called for another run.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rev. Paul The Early Years

Got an important project I am working on today so I will catch up on comments later. Until then bask in the glory that was RP learning his trade early in life :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Splittin Wood

Since it warmed up a bit today, in fact it warmed up a  good bit all the way to 40 degrees as a matter of fact, it was time to work outside again. The wind was still pretty chill though so I kept the wood furnace going at a good pace and decided it was just cold enough to make splitting another load of wood enjoyable.

I kinda have a ritual with splitting wood. I start at the bottom end of the "Needs Splitting" wall because that is where I put all the real pain in the ass logs that are too heavy for me to either lift or maneuver around once I get em off the ground. I roll these big ones out and do the vertical split on them before I get started taking em all down to burnable chunks. I got about six really large pieces out before I got to the point that there were smaller logs on top that needed to be cleared. At that point I switch to the horizontal split and just go to town.

Whenever I bring in a new load from the woods the real PITA logs get dumped back on this end. That way if I make myself start there I won't end up with a whole bunch of huge PITA logs to split at one time. It's far too easy once I have the splitter running to just grab the easiest stuff first.

I am always amazed at just how much split wood one of these PITA logs actually splits out too. The stack you see to the left there gave me almost a good third of a bed full after I got em split down. Then I had to work on the smaller stuff from the top to free the other PITA pieces.

Another reason I do it this way is it gives me a good mix once it has all been split. Today's load contained a fair amount of Oak, Locust, some large Boxelder pieces, a bit of Elm and even some Pine that I am not exactly sure where it came from. Burning straight Oak or Locust sometimes requires too much air flow as the large pieces tend to not dry as well as they should and still retain some moisture in them after being split. I suppose if I had more time to devote to it I should really be splitting for next year but everything else works out so well doing it this way I don't mind a little extra planning to get the burn right. Also around here a split section of already dead wood can lose a lot of it's BTU's in a year when the winds are dry.

Usually I let the "Needs Splitting" pile build up all Winter and use it whenever it is too wet to get out and cut or they are predicting a snowstorm at which point I fill the truck bed up with split wood and tarp it and use it for weight to get around with. After the snow is cleared I just burn it off the back of the truck and start the process over again the next time. This year however I have been cutting up mostly dead Oak trunks and am short small pieces to burn outright so I am making a few more splitting runs than I normally do.

I can't help thinking every time I split up one of those big. knot infested PITA logs though that without my trusty woodsplitter I may not even bother with them. If I had to use a wedge, maul and hammer it would take hours to get one of them monsters busted up.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!

JuGM The Early Family Vacation Years

I hear she was proud of the hair too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cold. What Cold?

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything but so far this year the cold waves or Polar Omnibus Vortex or whatever they call em do not seem to be hitting us as hard. Of course unlike last year we know what to expect and honestly they haven't lasted as long either so far.

The wind was whipping and my outside readout here at the CWCC read 7 degrees outside and 41 in the basement when I decided to catch a bit of shut eye. I woke up every two hours to check that the blower was still going and to look at the temp in the basement and it never fell below 38. I also kinda had some time to think a bit as I tried to fall back to sleep and I may have figured out a solution for running some heat into the basement without redoing the duct work. More on that later though.

By 9AM the temp had risen outside into the lower 20's the sun was shining, the sheep were actually coming out of their respective stalls and interested in food again and the entire herd of cats and dogs ran out the door at once. The cats especially hadn't seen the outside world in days and the two females wanted away from the annoying neutered males so bad they could taste it.

I am certainly relieved that every time I get up my chair isn't immediately occupied by some damned cat that looks at me with an attitude of "Move your meat, lose your seat" when I come back. Like they are going to win that argument.

We used a good chunk of wood though. I would say my racks by the furnace are about half depleted so I will be splitting another load tomorrow if I don't get called into work. Things are starting early this year and I am ahead of last years consumption already as I started burning full time almost two weeks earlier. My split reserves are still down but my need to be split reserves are already about double so I should be in good shape as long as I can continue to get out and cut. It takes a long time to build up that much of a reserve when you are using it as you go.

Suppose to be warming up now through the weekend and getting back to normal temps so I can get the rest of the shop cleaned and straightened back up and get back to work.

I wonder if these harsher Winters are here to stay for a while now?

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Buttoned Up for the Cold

We finally got a measurable amount of snow yesterday and this morning. It barely covered the grass and weeds and is mostly blowing away today but I would say we got about 2 inches overall. Tonight the temps are suppose to drop down into the single digits and the wind has been whipping out of the Northwest all day. It's pretty friggin cold out there I will give it that. So it was time to finish the last little bit of real Winter preps.

This year not one little millimeter of the exposed foundation wall is showing. I have it covered tight with 15 square bales of hay that because of last year's batch that remained now covers from ground to siding. It has made one hell of a difference so far. All the plumbing in the basement is wrapped with foam insulation and the emergency bullet heater is fueled up and has been tested.

The basement is a special problem. It was dug out long after this old shack was built and then concrete blocks were used for the walls. It's cracked and dirty and damp down there and anything left in that environment rots or rusts before one Summer is finished. One of the main reasons I switched to all wood heat was because I was tired of repairing the propane furnace every single year. Basically the basement is useless in the Summer and just a liability come Winter time. My one big mistake with the outside wood furnace is I should have put a vent down in the basement. If we had planned on actually living in the house forever I would do something about it but the wife still swears we are going to build the new house soon.

Just not yet....

So the Winter command center is now back in business. I double wrapped that damned outside door I can never get to close right no matter how much work I do on it and all the remote thermostats are working so I can tell if anything get's close to a freeze point. If that happens I go flip on the emergency backup heaters and bring the temps up. It's showing 18 degrees outside right now and the house is a comfortable 74 with the basement settled in at 45 degrees next to the foundation wall.

So far so good.

Of course the real issues we faced with the deep cold last year was not so much when it blew in from the Northwest but when it shifted and came back at us from the Southeast. So I filled the door cavity with hay bales as well. I can easily move one to get in and out but once I put it back in place it's sealed up tight.

After tonight it's suppose to start warming up again and be in the 50's by this weekend. So it's just time to bundle up and wait this arctic blast out.

You won't freeze me this year Rev. Paul....shakes fist to the Northwest :)

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Casting BoooooLets Almost

I managed to clear a path and actually put some stuff away in the shop this afternoon. All the honey harvesting equipment is now stored and out of the way and believe it or not I discovered my reloading bench once again!!!

I still have some work to do out there. I got bored pretty quick this afternoon. There are still tools and boxes of screws scattered all over hell and gone. Seems like every thing I used all Summer long managed to make it back into the shop to be laid on whatever horizontal surface I had and not put back where it belongs. Extension cords, power tools and scrap lumber still litter the floor but I made a good dent.

It didn't help that I stopped to count how many .38 slugs I had cast and left over from last year (526 if your curious).  That means here shortly I need to pump out another 700 or so to have more than enough to load up my goal of 1200 .38 cartridges this Winter. I store them in boxes of 50 that fit almost perfectly at 12 boxes (600 total)  in one regular 50 cal ammo can. I didn't bother to count out the .38 cases as I am sure the five coffee cans I have left will more than cover the brass side of things. If I need to I can switch to .357 as I know I have about 500 cases stored up in that caliber.

So after I counted the bullets I decided to fire up my little smelter and make sure it was working. Of course after that I had to flux the metal that was left in the pot just to be sure you know. Then I put a few of the wheel weights I have collected all Summer into the pot because well it was already liquid and I might as well get it full. More fluxing.... Now what was I suppose to be doing? Oh ya.

I managed to stop myself short of actually casting anything this afternoon. There really wasn't enough open space on the work bench. One more cleaning and organizing session is in order and I think I will wait until it's a bit warmer than 27 degrees out as my little heater out there doesn't keep up when it's in the 20's.

Once I get into production I will do a step by step post with pictures of the process. I still need to lube and size the ones I have left over anyway plus the new ones I will cast. All this shooting I been hearing around the place has kinda got me excited about reloading once again.

Sounds like many a hunter has been bagging their deer this year and I have seen a few hauling down the road already.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!