Wednesday, April 26, 2017

lettuce be

Has anyone noticed the prices of greens this year?  $5.00 for a head of Romaine is just a little too high, in my humble opinion.  I mean, it grows in the dirt from a seed that costs like 1/1000th of a penny.  Just add water, wait, and sell it for five bucks.  Hell, I can do that myself and eliminate all those middlemen. 

Let me make this clear.  I'm not bitching about the cost of salad greens.  I'm bitching about the price of salad greens.  There is a difference.  It takes 60 days to grow a head of lettuce from seed to head.  Labor consists of planting a seed, adding water and nutrients, and waiting 45 days.  They plant thousands of these at a time and pay some kid five bucks an hour to do it.  (part time to save the cost of benefits)   That might take a half day.  40 days later they pick em, pack em, and ship em to the store who buys them for pennies and sells them for 400% profit to pay his minimum wage part timers, with a little left over for a new car.

I know the economy is better than it's ever been.  Everyone is suddenly debt free and their mortgages are paid off.  Even burger flippers are getting 20 bucks an hour.  So why should anyone complain about four heads of lettuce costing an hours worth of labor?  Think it might have something to do with the cost of a 32 GB USB flash drive costing less than a head of lettuce?

Whatever the reason, I decided to do a cost analysis and see for myself.

I went through the garage and found just about everything I needed to build a hydroponic system.  A couple pieces of 3" PVC, some 2x4s, submersible fountain pump, 5 gallon bucket with lid, some neoprene hose, and a box of nails.  A little scrounging and Amazon and next thing ya know I'm growing greens.  I figure that's $20 worth of Romain and $15 worth of mixed lettuce at three bucks a head.  Maybe I'll set up a little stand outside the grocery store to sell my surplus.

Of course, it's my first attempt and I made plenty of mistakes like drilling the holes before cementing it together.  But a little ingenuity, a couple power tools, and a propane torch later it looks almost professional.  At least it works.  As a control, I have two Romain plants in dirt to compare growing results.

This system could equally work with aquaponics as well as multi-tiered set ups to support 100 plants in the same square footage.  I'm also working on a similar system to grow asparagus and tomatoes that would produce year round in a zone 3 climate.

Now that I don't have to waste my time pulling weeds, I can work on something really important, like my pyramid amplified field generator.

Stay tuned.    


what's in the bag?

I knew there was no way I could come up with a bug out bag that would last any more than a week.  Maybe city folk think they can rough it by not taking the bus or subway but here in rural America, we travel by car, not by foot.  For me to carry everything that represents me and my culture would require a bunch of guys like in the Tarzan movies crossing darkest Africa.  Aint gonna happen by foot, unless I can't find the fuel to get me to the next gas station.  And then, I'd want to hunker down with my stuff and a good place to sleep until the shit blows over.  Doin that in a tent, out in the open, is like asking for a beatin. 

I have two cars at my disposal.  One is an Expedition with all the comforts of home with really shitty gas mileage.  The other is a 95 Caravan with a 5 speed tranny with lots of new parts.  In the event that the SHTF you'll want something inconspicuous that can fly under the radar and blend.  You also want something with good gas mileage.  The Caravan is a no-brainier.  Unless the driver is a total retard, that kind of vehicle can get through any checkpoint because of it's status as a soccermom_mobile.  Put a soccer ball icon on the back window and you're in like Flynn.

As far as bugging out, I got too much stuff for one pack.  I need a car to move all my shit.  I can't get by on minuscule provisions  from a dying economy, hoofing it to a better place hoping the zombies won't get me.  The plan is to look as normal as you can and not be eaten.

And that's the schizoid mindset of most bug out preppers.  What to put in the bag that will keep you alive for the rest of your life.  What precious 21st century possessions do you have that you can't live without?  How much of the crap you own can you set fire to?  99.9% of all the stuff that fills your living space and storage bins will be put in one pile and thirty pounds left over that will fit in a backpack.  I'll bet some of that stuff you keep will be clothes, fishing hooks and line, flashlight, a cook stove, a bic lighter, and a big bag of Raman noodles.  Maybe the most important thing to leave behind is your dependence on society.  You'll never catch a fish with hooks and string and you know it.  You'll eat your Raman noodles crunchy in the dark when your flashlight and lighter quits.  May as well lose the cook stove.

Here's what ya do.  Learn how to make a fire with sticks and rocks.  Once you got that down pat, go out in the woods with just the clothes on your back and spend a day learning how to put an edge on a rock and put a point on a stick.  Learn how to build a primitive shelter using only rocks and sticks.  Build a fire and think about finding water as you gather firewood.  Look for something edible like roots and berries.  Spend the night in your shelter and wake up cold because the fire went out.  Go home hungry and think about how you can do that two nights in a row and what you would do differently.

I don't expect anyone reading this will bother to attempt making fire, let alone spending the night in the woods, with or without a phone.  Doesn't that say something about how fragile we've become due to our dependence on society?  We can't survive without it.  It's pitiful when a single match could mean the difference between life or death from exposure.  Admittedly, I never made a fire from sticks and stones but I made them from coke bottles and my friends glasses.  I'll bet I could make fire from ice, if need be.

My point is, if you or I or anyone else were to spend one night in the wild and learn to make do with nothing but our wits, I'm sure we'd know exactly what to put in that backpack.  


Sunday, April 23, 2017

joanie loves dismemberment

Erin Moran, dead at 56.
When I think of little Joanie, I think of Galaxy of Terror.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

diversity destroys social cohesion in the west

I've been saying this for years.  

looking for coin

I was talking with a friend of mine about treasure hunting and how often you can find old coins laying on the ground as if they were just dropped.  He's always been very much into metal detectors and searching for buried treasure and most of the stuff he finds is only a few inches below the surface.  He claims, every now and then, he'll find an old coin right there on the ground ready to be picked up.

This got me thinking about all the old coins I found sitting on top of the ground after a hundred years of hiding.  One coin that comes to mind was a penny I found, sitting on the ground at the town feed mill when I was a small child.  It was dated 1864.  I remember the date because it was in 1964 when I found it.  I assume it was lost for a hundred years before I saw it sitting heads up in the feed lot where cars and trucks drive every day.

It seems this type of thing happens more often than you think.  The vast majority of old coins are found on the surface.  Logic dictates they weren't sitting there for a century without notice.  They somehow resurface and get picked up by people not even looking for them.  It's not just coins that show up out of nowhere but coins have dates on them, which gives you a time frame indicating how long they were lost.

All this was going through my head as we continued to talk and share anecdotal stories about found pennies.  It seems my friend had a similar experience with a penny he found in 2003 that was dated 1903.  Now we're getting somewhere.  Two pennies found in different places, under different circumstances, both of which were found on ground surface after missing for 100 years.

Any treasure hunter will tell you coins, by their own weight, will sink into the earth, or be covered up by earth, and logic dictates the newer coins will be closer to the surface.  I'm not so sure about that.  Rather than slow motion quicksand, where the deeper you dig the older things are, the earth is more like slow motion oatmeal in a microwave where the earth is in a constant state of cyclic motion.

You can argue that those pennies were recently dropped before they were found.  It's possible but nowhere near probable.  Check your pockets and count how many coins you have that are 100 years old.  Pennies are the most discarded coin, only because their value is next to nothing.  What are the odds that a coin someone might accidentally drop is 100 years old?

If a penny can be dropped on the ground, sink or be covered over by earth and resurface 100 years later, and the same thing happens to another penny 40 years later at a different location, it stands to reason 100 years could be a complete cycle for the size and weight of a copper penny. 

Does size and weight matter?  I don't know.  I can't find any studies done on this phenomenon and even seasoned treasure hunters will tell you the deeper you dig the older the artifact, even when they themselves have found older coins on the surface with more recently minted coins a few inches deeper in the same area.

One way to put this theory to the test is to go where people gathered a hundred years ago and look around.  In 1917 Wilson was on his second term and the US officially got involved in The Great War and men of fighting age were drafted.  Old carnival grounds, train stations, and parks that haven't been renovated might be good places to look. 

If you're still reading this and want to give it a go, don't bring a metal detector.  If my theory is correct, odds are good you'll find coins from that era on open ground.  Let me know if you find something.

Good luck