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Friday, July 14, 2017

5&5 3 of 3


FIVE AND FIVE part 3

Alrighty then, let’s finish this bad boy up, completing the last of the Unaffordable Prepper List ( everything on here is affordable, sorta, if done in moderation.  I list the big project done right, making then unaffordable unless it was done years ago on a time payment.  Plus, I am semi-retired now and voluntarily embrace living in genteel poverty.  Actually, I’m really enjoying it.  Just focus on eating and not worrying about too many other bills ).  The first was a desert homestead with livestock, the second an alternate arsenal.  To finish I cover a bigger home, better storage food and cottage industry.  I don’t really consider all five items on the list interchangeable.  I could do one if not all.  So, a bigger home could mean one on the desert homestead, or just replacing the one I have on my junk land.  I’m okay with what I have, but it wouldn’t take much to make it a whole lot better, more comfortable and a better NOL destination.  She’ll live there, and like it, assuming the collapse arrives on schedule ( no, I don’t mean I can time the collapse, I just mean I’m convinced we don’t have another decade of dinking around as before ), so it isn’t like it is necessary.  But this list isn’t about Necessary, is it?

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With hand tools I could easily expand my underground hovel where it is now.  I finally found the one spot with slightly less rock-like ground and I could prop up the entrance roof and just expand.  The steps were already a good start carving out another room addition.  If I wanted to save money I could probably dig this out in a few weeks, just mega-dosing on meat and fat for fuel.  It might cost $20 a day, what with bacon and breakfast sausage and fast food and extra dinner meat, but if it took a month that would cost around $500.  If I got a backhoe in there ( to dig a whole new pit ) it would be more like two grand.  If I did pay for the machine, I’d have extra underground shelter which probably wouldn’t be a bad thing because of the NOL’s family addition to the tribe.  So, while the addition would have cost about two thousand total, digging fuel and lumber for the two story room ( this time, entry through an upstairs room ), I think on this fantasy list I’ll splurge for a whole new house dug by backhoe.  I want it bigger, a minimum of three rooms rather than one room with an unwalled half room addition I have now ( the half room is the dirt wall entryway with the toilet, food and water storage and the shower.  It sounds better than it is.  The shower is standing on a yoga mat in the middle of the space taking a sponge bath ). 

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One room in the middle of the pit with insulated roof overhanging to the sides of the pit was about a thousand in materials.  If I insulate the floor this time ( a big mistake not doing so as your feet are cold and the bed supports cause condensation under the mattress-but as you recall in the same year I paid off the land two years in advance AND bought the B-POD lumber, so everything was done on an extreme frugal budget and many sacrifices had to be made.  I never went back and expanded/improved as I was busy making up for lost time on preps and in comparison with the above ground travel trailer, warts and all the B-POD was still paradise ) call it $1200 a room.  It is four rooms, three underground with one second story.  The aboveground story wouldn’t be a full six to eight foot high but just enough above ground to duck your head and enter, starting the descent immediately.  Everything alongside the stairs would be more of a loft.  Just tall enough to sit in a recliner in front of a window for basking in the sun in the winter, escaping the dark.  So the above ground unit could have a slopping roof that was earth covered on three sides, saving on siding.  The roof doesn’t need to be metal for rain catchment as I have plenty of other structures for that, but I will include that cost here as it belongs to A Better Home.

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So, figure two grand for the digging, and five grand for lumber and foundation blocks plus top and bottom insulation.  I’m throwing in another thousand to make the place much nicer such as skylights and white paint and shelves.  Round it out to ten thousand by adding metal roofing and gutters to the other structures ( three trailers and a big ass van ) with underground plastic water tanks.  Can you see why I never did any of this?  It adds up quick.  If I had done just one rain roof and a small tank, and enclosed and expanded the half room, I would have tripled my initial investment.  But of course that $1200 was a bare bones operation, as cheap as I could make it on everything.  Hell, the front door belongs on an interior closet ( I have a good four foot roof overhang which protects the door and door blanket covering ).  I also have the continual dirt steps maintenance, digging out the dirt wall mud avalanche about two or three times a year when it rains hard ( we are getting more heavy rains and more rain period, so it is hard to complain about that in general ) so covering the steps is really a life improvement deal.

UNAFFORDABLE PREPPER LIST #3- $10k bigger and better house.

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Next I’d love to add to the food storage by adding canned animal protein.  This would mostly be dairy products, as I’m morally opposed to the freeze dried meats that are on sale, not to mention financially horrified and appalled.  I know I just wrote on home canning meat, but that was primarily off grid living, with the year or two of storage meat more of a bonus than the point of the whole exercise.  This list item is above and beyond the livestock issue.  It is a luxury, but a manageable one as you need a years worth rather than the five years your wheat is.  I’d have a years worth of daily supplementation and most likely skip every other day, stretching it out to two years.  Six months of die-off and six months to get livestock going, with a cushion for hard times ( this is ideally how the wheat would be consumed, a years use with a year in reserve for hard times to come and the other three years untouched mega-emergency supplies only.  Ideally.  One gets a vague sense that the collapse will be far from ideal, of course ). 

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My only favorite folks for conventional prepper supply shopping is Emergency Essentials.  They have retained their family business feel since I discovered them twenty years ago and they have always included shipping as a flat fee regardless of weight.  As I was screwed in the ‘80’s by a Freight On Delivery ( they took so long I had moved out by then and had nobody to pay for delivery ), to me this has always been the deal maker.  You’ll find the prices competitive, and the shipping a bonus.  Okay, I love butter.  I understand it is supposedly not an animal protein but my body craving for flesh is satisfied with the substitute of butter.  This makes me ponder that perhaps the evolved gene to assimilate dairy is more than just a way to consume calories.  Perhaps it is a substitute for animal flesh altogether.  If so, this means double hump you for Ornamentals because not only do they not get much meat, they have to eat rice, AND they don’t get to eat yummy butter or cheese.  Ya!  Sucks to be you guys.  How is that Quantity over Quality thing working out for you?

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So, my primary focus is on butter.  If you buy by the case it only costs $18 per #10 can, which yields four pounds of butter equivalent.  I’m assuming this is NOT false advertising and they really mean butter, not margarine.  $4.50 a pound for butter is really not all that steep considering the can and shelf life and the lack of refrigeration.  The best I ever get it is $2.50 and $3 is the normal price ( Wal-Mart, the supposed low price leader, is over $3 for generic.  Go to Kroger ).  One pound lasts me a week, a half stick a day, for bread and cooking.  One can a month, so a mere $216 total.  This would normally be all I could count on for dairy at half rations ( remember, skip every other day to stretch supplies ).  But I’m feeling magnanimous.  I’ll throw in a years supply, three quarters cheese sauce and a quarter milk ( for cooking and coffee, so not a huge amount is required ).  Nine cans of cheese and three of milk, for $200 and $50.  Under $500 for two years of protein ( your mileage may vary on your bodies ability to assimilate the required nutrients from dairy rather than milk ).  Now, while I’m treating myself for being so special, why not stock up on butter? 

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Freeze dried meat is gross and expensive, but since I love butter, and can live on it with my wheat, and I’m worried about both the grid collapsing and food inflation, as well as the total collapse of civilization anyway, why not stock up on butter just for day to day use.  If the economy gets a lot worse but civilization is still hanging on, I’ll have butter for my off grid B-POD living.  Far less malnutrition to worry about screwing up my health which I couldn’t treat.  At $200 a year it would be foolish not to, as long as I’m throwing money around here.  Why not get five years worth for pre-collapse, on top of the two year post-collapse?  It’s only another thousand bucks.  And since money is evidently growing on trees right now I’ll throw in another batch of milk and cheese just to round up the numbers.  Weeee!  Unbridled spending is fun.

UNAFFORDABLE PREPPER LIST #4-yummy animal protein.

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Last on the list is going to be post-apocalypse hobby stuff, cottage industry.  It shouldn’t be too hard to build a blacksmith forge and stock some charcoal ( trees are problematic here, although if the kind of wood found in sagebrush can be worked into charcoal I assume you’d just need a starter amount.  Lots of scrap metal will be around.  First you use existing buildings for keeping the stuff out of the weather, then you can start processing ), or build a pottery kiln.  Basic machines for turning out crossbow bolts and other primitive tools would be a good addition.  Nothing fancy or high tech, just stuff to rise above a Stone Age winter time around the fire construction level.  For instance, a basic machine to cut leather, rather than a small knife.  Leather will return from the dead after it was eclipsed by plastic and synthetic fabrics ( or at least petroleum grown organic ones ).  The trick is to avoid spending huge amounts to be able to keep being lazy.  Rather, you are replacing lots of calorie consumption later with some simple tools now.  Like a pottery kiln uses less fuel per item than a primitive bush level kiln.  Like a water powered grain mill used to do.  I trust you get the idea.

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And of course I have zero idea how much any of that costs, but I would imagine we could be generous and still end up equipping multiple industries.

UNAFFORDABLE PREPPER LIST #5-equipping cottage industries-$10k.

And I think that is enough of that. 

END ( end 'o the article Amazon link http://amzn.to/2sBG2ie )
 
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21 comments:

  1. Sagebrush would make suitable charcoal , especially older growth it has a lot of oils too , which will convert into carbon.
    Of course , with methane availability you could gas fire....

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    1. I know this is a stupid question, but that never stopped me before. Is methane a higher BTU than charcoal? I've seen some vids that makes methane look a lot easier than it used to.

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    2. Charcoal has about 12,000 Btu/lb, methane has about 24,000 Btu/lb. However... The biogas produced by a methane digester is only about 50-70% methane, so pound for pound, biogas and charcoal have roughly the same fuel value.

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    3. Primarily this is because of hydrogen sulfide , which can be removed by running through a filter of steel wool.
      Also it contains CO2 which also can be scrubbed.
      After which it will even run an engine with no I'll effects, just like propane.

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    4. Is the steel wool a replaceable, disposable item or can one batch go for awhile?

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    5. The steel wool slowly oxidises and will need replaced once completely fouled. Think of it as a fuel filter.

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    6. Is that the filter we all over-use until the car stops working?:)

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    7. Ha ha , I suppose you'd better change the filter once you start smelling rotten eggs....

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  2. That canned butter is pretty good quality. It's not organic or anything, but otherwise it's good stuff. The canned cheese is toxic sludge. Read the ingredient label, nothing but chemical garbage in it.
    Peace out

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    1. So, the cheese is about like what you get in a box of Mac & Cheese. Good to know. Thanks on the butter confirmation. I'm pondering dipping into my savings. Be a bad precident though.

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  3. I've said it before and I guess I'm saying it again, butter is fat, not protein. By weight, its 80-85% yummy fat and generally less than 1% protein. The rest is water.

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    1. The second time you mentioned this, I actually remembered. Which is why this time I mentioned the genetic adult lactose gene non-ornamentals may have ( not sure how the Mongols did it but not the Chinese ), and wondered if that was a substitution for animal protein. It is that, or the fact that fat can replace meat in the diet. I've wondered about that before, also. I don't have the answer, just the questions.

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  4. OK you got me. I love butter and have ordered some cans to see how good it is. I got a can of the red feather butter and it was great but could just not take the price. I hope this will taste as good as your commenter says.

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  5. I’d consider that shelter carefully Jim, and if the current shelter will work as is, I’d save your money. If there is a collapse, the NOL will be all too happy to live out there, making the requirement for a “NOL friendly” desert palace moot. That’s a lot of money for someone that’s unemployed. Especially considering that unemployed straight white dude’s in their 50’s are at the bottom rung of the hiring hierarchy (RuPaul would be hired to head up a summer boy’s camp over you) so that last job may very well have been your last official job.

    On a different note, on coast to coast am last night, the guest was discussing the fragility of the grid. Apparently we narrowly avoided a pretty bad solar flare in 2012. He also mentioned a professional attack on a electric sub-station that resulted in millions of dollars of damage, and took that plant off-line for 3 years. He went on to mention that 90% of the American population would be dead within the year, in a grid down event. The first and most obvious consideration of course would be that the taps would stop flowing. We have a well, but our well is way too deep for a hand pump; something to consider. We have a stagnant pond, so filtration will be a must. He also mentioned that in the event of a massive solar flare or EMP blast, that due to global fires, we wouldn’t see the sun for up 3 years, in which case most vegetation would die off. It was pretty scary stuff, and the worst part about it is that it’s quite a plausible scenario.

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    1. I have considered all five on the list and discounted them, for the reasons you mention. I already invested in fence posts, pipe and galvanized wire. That is the stairway handgrips to the B-POD, which the NOL needs to get up and down. On a solar flare, EMP, and cyber attack, sure, sooner or later. But I'd beware the petrodollar collapse as more of an immediate and assured threat. Think how we'd fare with 60% less oil.

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  6. Yes, that is definitely enough of that.

    Next thing you will be fantasizing about the black plastic poodle shooters.

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    1. Yes, you give in to the Siren call of the AR, oh, it's soooo much better now honest Injun, and before you know it you start rationalizing the collapse ( oh, it can't possibly get as bad as you say, we pinkie promise it will be a stairstep collapse! ). Be one with the paranoia-oooohmmm.

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  7. Nightshift here. James. An idea for the NOL. Build an 8x12 wood deck on skids. 2 12 foot walls and 2 8 foot walls and some 8 foot trusses. Stack them. Cover with a tarp with plywood etc. camouflage it. So when you have to bug to the property you can build a quick cabin. A small shack with a drop down bed would be better than a hole in a ground and it's concealed till you move out out there.

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    1. Well, it isn't a bad idea, but if we have to move she'll have bigger things to worry about and will be content with the trailers and BPOD.

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