Monday, March 26, 2012

A Stitch In Time ...

Let me start out here by explaining that when someone talks about or is trying to live cheaply, that there are many ways to go about doing it, not just the way that I am following. Now that I have cleared that up, as I stated in my last post I do not rent the roof over my head. That is right I do own both the roof and the floor, oh yes and the walls too. But the land under my 30' camp trailer, now that I do rent. You see I pay for the electric that I use, also do yard work and help out around the house. When I say "rent", I'm a firm believer in labor exchange over monetary commitment.

Personally these are my reasons for not renting a building (house), or part of a building (apartment). First off would have to be money, or to better explain the lack of money. I have found out that anymore if someone wants to (or has to) rent a house or an apartment, then you have to have up front a deposit (equal to one month's rent) plus first and last month's rent. OUCH!!! Some places also want renters to have renters insurance. I am beginning to think that the first insurance company was an extension of an organized criminal organization, but don't quote me on that one. Now where was I, oh yes building owners are starting to reject renters who do not pass a background check. Wait a minute, a background check to rent a roof over my head? You gotta be kidding me. Then an equally large deposit to turn on the electric. Does anyone in your family like to watch television? Forget about an antenna outside of the building, anymore it has to be a cable company or one of the satellite companies to get any kind of good reception. Not one of them is cheap either. Also if you are a resident of a town or city, well I feel sorry for you. What with another expanse of having to pay for water coming in and sewer going out of your home. Those are just the basic costs, nothing fancy. I did not even mention how close your neighbors are. Oops, I guess that I just did.

Having been raised in the country I enjoy the taste of well water, not chemicals that are loaded into city and town water. As for sewer ... a composting toilet will aid in fertilizing any type of gardening that you may do, even if only in flower pots. Now doing the dishes, or washing the clothes, even taking a bath or a shower creates what is called "gray water", not fit for human consumption ... but your plants will love it. Here is an old idea that should help any new home builder, should your location authorities claim that you MUST install a septic system then do so. But also install a "gray water" catchment system. That can be used to flush your toilets, as well as water you garden. Speaking about the garden, put the shallow root crops in above your leach lines. Waist not want not.

Now when it comes to staying in touch with anyone and/or everyone, I have a cell phone. No land lines for me anymore. My computer connection is DSL so that means one of the satellite companies. This also allows for a skype account (Internet phone service). Because of the satellite system I could also watch TV, but I just don't feel that there is much on that is worth my time. Besides my interests are rather limited ... I don't like sports, sitcoms or game shows all are boring. However I do like to watch nature shows,  news, weather and some sifi can be fun. As to movies I like sifi, action, adventure, intrigue and some drama. So now you see why I no longer own a television. A big table top computer would be nice if I wasn't planning on being mobile, so both have been replaced with a laptop.

How do I pass the time you ask. Well I work at a part-time job 20 or so hour per week. Also where I live on either side of the propriety are what could be called gentleman horse farms that I help on on for other income streams. Now when I was younger I fixed bicycles for the local kids, as a hobby. Am currently trying to re-establish that hobby as a retirement income stream. Also am trying to develop my own cycling line up. Let's see what else, oh yes a weekly posting on this blog. That is trying to keep everyone posted, as to what I am doing and how things are going. I enjoy playing card games like hearts, spades, rummy, pinochle, canasta and yes of course poker. I also enjoy playing table top Dungeons and Dragons (a roll playing game for those of you who have not heard of it before), also like being the story teller or the DM (Dungeon Master of the game) the one who interpreters how the dice rolls play out in the game. Online roll playing games (RPG) can sometimes be fun. I also like to read real books.

Now the main reason that I have so many different projects is simple really, inspiration. When an idea starts to fade, or a type of mental block happens. The I toss it back into the cauldron of possibilities and pull out another project to work on for a while. Since Spring has now sprung this last week, time to put winter things away for another year. So yes more projects as I wash winter clothes and put them away. Then wash warm weather clothes and put them into easy reach. Ah yes the mundane to-do-list.

Now it is time to start defining what it is that I want to accomplish this year. Since time is no longer on my side after having turned 58 this past fortnight, So I need to get started getting started. The foremost project will have to be a mobile workshop. Am leaning in the direction of a dome. Kind of like the monkey bars that can be found on kid's playgrounds, only covered with tarps for shade and weather protection. I have found several styles on the Internet that I like. The reason that I want it to be mobile, is so that I can take it with me as I travel about. Not only for any repairs that may be required to my rig, but also so that I could build and/or repair other people's rigs for a little extra coin in my travels. Am planning on building several camper velomobiles of my own design. Am also planning that by my 60th Barf-day, to be as free as possible of the gas pump nipples. Except for the running of a generator for mobile electricity that is.

My main plan for my senior years, is to become a bicycle repairman. While building unique bicycles, tricycles and quadracycles. All will be a combination of Atomic Zombie designs at and my own designs, there by making the quite unique rigs. I will also aid anyone who wants a velomobile of their own. Either by helping them build their own, or by building one for them. There by being able to supplement my income in my senior years. Yes I know that my plans are grandiose, but the way that I see it is a little wiggle room for any down sizing as the need arises.

Ahhh, the American Dream ~ Working for One's self interests ...

Monday, March 19, 2012

From Whence We Came ...

Out of curiousity does anyone remember when it was supposed to be a part of the American Dream. That everyone with a drivers license must have a car, or a truck, or a motorcycle, or a recreational vehicle? Or maybe even having all of the above, all at the same time? Oh yes, now I remember when. That was back when the American Automobile Industry was in its' heyday, way back in the 1940's and the 1950's. So that was almost 75 years ago now. Now I see how it is, that got it ingrained into the American Dream, A D V E R T I S I N G. Well have I got some news for the auto advertising experts around the world of today. Anymore anyone is lucky to be able to afford one vehicle, let alone enough wheels to have a personal fleet. Personally I am lucky to be able to afford a 50cc scooter as my one and only set of wheels.

With skyrocketing costs for everything involved with vehicle ownership today, I do not see "clear sailing ahead" for the auto industry. Oh speaking about higher costs, what with gas prices hovering at between $3.80 and $4.50 per gallon, depending on where you live in the United States. I can remember buying gas at $0.25 per gallon, back in the 1960's. Of course that was before that fake oil embargo of the early 1970's. When the American oil companies showed the world how easy that it was, to strangle the American economy.

Well I'm here to say that having lived through it and other economic crisis's, that there really is a way to survive and prosper in hard economical times. We all have had to do it at some point in our lives, so it should come as no surprise to anyone. Quite basically we simply downsize and painfully tighten our belts. As to the downsizing, well that is usually the hardest part. When we start looking at what we have, and start thinking of how we can get by on less or with less. As I said, the hardest part.

I have personally given up quite a bit in my life. As I do not own or rent a house or an apartment anymore, either option is way to expensive to even consider. However I do own a 30' camp trailer, that I live in full-time. It is set up in a friends backyard, as campground fees and/or monthly rents can also strangle my finances. Now as I have already stated here and in other posts, a 50cc Honda Elite Scooter is my personal transportation 365 days of the year. No matter what the weather throws my way. However they both will soon be on the "once had list", as I am getting ready to downsize yet again. I no longer own a television or a big table top computer ~ a laptop serves me as both. Also going to a movie theater is a expense, that would be classified as luxury for me.

Am working at designing several transportation possibilities for myself, that will be mainly pedal powered. Some are tricycles with two wheels in the front and a power wheel in the back, this style is called a tadpole tricycle. Now the one wheel in front and two wheels in back is called a delta tricycle. Should anyone encase either style with a "skin" of some kind, then what you have is a velomobile. Basically a pedal powered vehicle. My reason for explaining this is because my designs are following both styles of tricycles, right down to the velomobile. Am also working on some velomobile camper designs, as well as a few bicycle camp trailer ideas. Each design could be set up in a single parking space, that would be hard pressed to hold some modern day cars and trucks. How is that for efficiency?

As I get closer to building each, I will be posting loose designs here for all to see and comment on. Also my builds will be documented here as well. So yes, this blog will become my personal apocalyptic wheels documentation location. Then as I travel around, a place to keep a travel log on. About my new found freedom hopefully, from the gas pump nipples. While also being free of tags, insurance, and licenses or fees. Then I feel that I should find not only freedom of the open road, but also a far less expensive life style.

Until that time I will continue to post queries, possibilities, probabilities, theories, ideas, personal facts, and dreams that follow my outline for this blog. Not that I will let up on my quest as I push forward towards self sufficiency ~ both in living and travel. Yes I am on a quest of sorts, looking for true freedom, while keeping my head down and  out of the sight of big and bigger government. A political quagmire that we all could live better lives with out. Oops, politics is creeping into the conversation again, sorry about that.

Yes it is hard to escape big government and its' agencies or "tendrils of the beast" as I see them. But as the powers in power get ever bigger and bigger, then slipping between the cracks seems to get a little easier. So by keeping our heads down and not drawing to much attention to ourselves, now when that happens ~ freedom. Then my friends, we can all breath a sigh of relief.

I almost forgot ... when I build my personal pedal powered transportations, I'll be adding an electrical battery back up engine to each, as a power assist unit for hills and such. The reasons that I want an electrical engine are simple really, first it is a lot quieter that a gas engine. Second, is its' battery can be recharged in several ways. Like a wind turbine, or solar panels, an electrical outlet, or maybe even from a dynamo ~ creating power off of my own wheels as I travel on down the road. Maybe a combination of all of the above.

So my friends, since we know from whence we came,
I say let us make a better showing of how to move farther on ...

Monday, March 12, 2012

What If Snakes And Vermin This Way Come?

Hi there everyone. Having just re-read my last posting and realized that it had a stark, dark and ominous feel to it. So maybe I should expand and clarify some more with this posting, I think;

Personally, I have never seen riots, raging hoards, or burning and pillaging masses first hand. Also I hope that I never do. However many people in my lifetime around the world have, and I have seen much of it on the news ~ at least what they will broadcast. So I try to prepare for contingencies that may happen, like shortages in food, goods and/or services, or maybe a power failure, or natural disasters, maybe even a possible economic meltdown, that could lead to a governmental collapse. Now I'm not saying that any of these will happen, just that anyone of them might happen. They could also combine into a combination disaster, rather like a domino effect. That is why am trying to be as prepared as I can be. So that I could be as comfortable as possible in the event of a crisis happening in "my neck-of-the-woods". No panic, just level headedness and preparing to roll with possible punches as it were. Now being of a level headed attitude, what to do and how to do it will go a long way, to surviving what ever it was that just may have disrupted common every day life. With all of that in mind and how my last post read. I felt that I should delve a little deeper into my reasons for not only this blog, but also for stockpiling food and turning to pedal powered transportation.

Let me start by saying that I am far from being ready for a crisis. But should one happen, then I think that at the start of it I might be a little better off than some. OK, where do I start? Mind set would probably be the best place to start a lesson of this magnitude.

I am reminded of a political cartoon that was posted just after Hurricane Andrew ravaged Miami and south Florida, some years ago. It showed a man and his family sitting on their front porch, with piles of guns and ammo all around them and with in easy reach. Rifles and shotguns on their laps, shoulder and hip pistols were worn along with dual ammo bandoleers on each. While sipping iced tea and eating sandwiches. Their front porch was all that was left standing of their home. A policeman was at the front gate standing outside of his patrol car and asking them what they were doing. The man's response was that they were having lunch while protecting their property  from snakes and vermin. The policeman's response was that all of the snakes and vermin were gone, all that was left were rampaging hoards of people scavenging what ever they could. The response from the porch was "Right, Snakes And Vermin". That my friends, is a level headed will to survive attitude to surviving in any situation. Now some may think it might be a little to extreme, but those who have seen mankind's animalistic dark side, I think may not.

Now my reason for switching from gas and diesel guzzlers, to pedal powered transportation is simple really, money or the lack there of it to better explain. You see that my personal economic crisis actually started in June of 2006. That's right two years and some months ahead of our national and world economic crisis official starting point. For those first few years, I kept struggling to try to return to the lifestyle that I had known before. Then slowly over the last four years stark realization has set in, and a determination to survive against the odds has taken root. My income can no longer support my former lifestyle. However it can sustain a lesser lifestyle, with quite a few changes. Some drastic according to some people who see pedal powered transportation as a sign of giving up. Instead of seeing the glass as being half full, or that pedal powered transportation is in reality a more economical form of transportation by far. Parents and siblings can be such harsh critics, especially when your path doesn't seem to follow their paths.

Now for some basics along the line of food. Here is a quote by James Talmage Stevens "Store what you eat. Eat what you store. Use it or loose it!" from his book "Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook". Now stored food has a shelf life, and if you don't eat it before it goes bad, then you are simply throwing money away. Also don't store food that you do not already like or will eat, again you will be throwing your money away. Also as you buy food for storage date it, so that your stored food can be rotated.  By that I mean that as you use your stored food ALWAYS use the oldest date first.

I have and use as a reference guide book "When Technology Fails" by Matthew Stein, published in 2008 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company On pages 55 & 56 is the place to start as a guide for calculating a year's food supply. I will paraphrase a little here to save on space, also the following numbers are in the book  For one American male consuming roughly 2,600 calories per day. Divide the following numbers by 12, for a 1-month supply or by 52, for a 1-week supply.

~ Grains-375 lbs. Store a variety like wheat, pasta, oats, corn, rice, barley and so on. I recommend a good hand cranked grinder to turn grains into flour. Of note here brown rice will go rancid in 6-12 months depending on how it is stored. Now don't forget that whole grains an also be sprouted, increasing their food value.
~Legumes-60 lbs. (dry). This includes beans, peas, lentils, seeds,and so on. Also soybean and alfalfa sprout salads make for good eating.
~Milk, Dairy Products, and Eggs-60 lbs. (dry). Nonfat dry milk keeps longer than dried whole milk. Dehydrated eggs and powdered milk greatly increase your cooking possibilities. Also a variety of cheeses can be made from powdered milk.
~Meat and Meat Substitutes-20 lbs. (dry). Dried vegetarian meat substitutes and freeze-dried meats are very light weight, and can go a long way to adding flavour to soups and stews. Now if you are hunting or trapping fresh meat, don't forget to make jerky out of the meat that can't be eaten in a few days.
~Fruits and Vegetables-10 to 30 lbs. (dry). Dehydrated fruits and vegetables are cheaper than freeze-dried, plus you can do that yourself.
~Sweeteners-65 lbs. These include sugar, honey, syrups, molasses and so on. Honey is preferred for its nutritive and antibiotic values, also honey makes a very nice wine called mead.
~Fats, oils and Shortenings-22 lbs. (2 gallons of liquid and 6 lbs of shortening). This includes butter, margarine, powdered butter, shortening, cooking oils and so on. Hydrogenated processed oils are non-nutritive, but will last for years (bacteria can't eat them, and our bodies can't do much with them either). Cold pressed oils such as olive, safflower and sunflower, provide essential fatty acids that our bodies need to metabolize foods, however they do not last as long. Storing a combination of oils offers a good blend of nutrition and longevity.
~Sprouting Seeds and Supplies-20 to 50 lbs. These provide live foods and essential vitamins and are great for variety and nutrition. For the best results, use untreated organic whole grains, beans, and seeds. I suggest alfalfa seeds, all types of whole grains, mung beans, soybeans, lentils and cabbage, radish and broccoli seeds.
~Leavenings-at least 1 lbs. of dry active yeast, 2 lbs. of baking powder and 2 lbs. of baking soda. Also don't forget about a live yeast like sour dough.
Miscellaneous foods and seasonings-1lbs. of each of your favorite spices, 10 lbs.of cocoa powder (for me coffee is also here as well but at double the volume), seasoning sauces, condiments, vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements including at least 8 lbs. of salt.
~Multivitamins (with minerals) 365 pills one a day.

Now to calculate food requirements in equal amounts for adult males:
food factors:                                                                              equivalent adult males:
multiply number of adult males x 1.0                                                                              ?
multiply number of adult females x 0.85                                                                         ?
multiply number of teenage males x 1.4                                                                         ?
multiply number of teenage females x 0.95                                                                    ?    
multiply number of male children (7-11) x 0.95                                                             ?
multiply number of female children (7-11) x 0.75                                                          ?
multiply number of children (4 to 6) x 0.6                                                                     ?
multiply number of infants (1 to 3) x 0.4                                                                       ?
                                                                                                                 Total          ?
Let me explain with an example; if your family consisted of one man (1.0), one female (0.85), one boy-7 to 11 (0.95), and one other child-4 to 6 (0.6), your family should store the amount of food needed for the equivalent of 3.4 men. So, 375 lbs. of grain x 3.4 (adult male equivalents) = 1,275 lbs. of grain to feed your family of 4 for one year. Now do the same equations in all of the above categories to find out how much food your family of 4 will require for a one years food supply. Then adjust for likes and dislikes and so on.

Now that you have seen how to go about surviving one year on your own, food wise you can start shopping more wisely. It can be a little over whelming at first I'll admit, but after a while you begin to plan to spend a little extra each week as you build your "stash-against-?". Oh, remember to buy in bulk when ever possible, and don't forget about sales.

In other postings we will explore clothing and shelter options along with transportation,
till then stay healthy and safe everyone ...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Prepperation For ... ?

What a week last week turned out to be for me, with only one day off. I am tired still, even with two days off this week of which am on the second as I type this. But that is the way of things in the restaurant business. Here in Florida our busy times run in spurts. It will start to pick up around the last part of November for Thanksgiving, Then slowly ramp up through December with Christmas and New Years. Then be in full swing busy through to Mothers' Day (the second Sunday of May). After that the business will slow down and the available hours are not there, until the holidays get started again. So yes, I am tired. As we are in the full swing of the business and am taking as many hours as I can get, while I can get them.

Enough about me. Lets' shift the focus here, to the early spring like tornado out break. That took place last week, across the eastern half of the United States, then was followed by cold temps. returning, and still more snow. Remember also that by the calender, that spring is still at least three weeks away.

My sympathies to anyone who lost loved ones in those tornadoes and their aftermath.

It is partly because of the crazy weather that some people are experiencing, and partly because of the response time from the authorities to aid the stricken that I am posting this. Now I will admit that we simply can not prepare for any and all things that may happen to us. The cost would be staggering, not to mention the strategic logistics. Or having the ways and means to protect and keep, your own survival provisions would be astronomical. Remember the old adage ~ K.I.S.S. Keep It Stupidly Simple. Also I am not talking about this on a governmental scale, but on a personal size that can be managed by one or two people for "Loose lips can sink ships".

If we start small and add a little each week, to our personal stockpile of supplies. Then it wouldn't take very long at all to amass what would be needed to survive on our own for at least one week. Yes I know that the authorities claim that 72hrs (3-days), is all that we need to worry about. But at the end of those 72hrs (3-days) IF the authorities have made it any where near to your location, how long do you think that the line in front of you might be?

Personally I will admit that I am not as ready for a disaster as I would like to be. Currently I could do those first 72hrs (3-days), but I would be happier if I could last three weeks on my own. The reason behind that time frame is simple really, trusting in others to have my best interests in their capable hands, is a gamble that I am not comfortable with. Also being a refugee in a crowd is an uncomfortable feeling, at best. Has anyone ever seen a stampede? Now when the "chips are down" the veneer of civilization can dissolve, to revele  humanities base animalistic instincts. So I continue to stockpile food and equipment that might be needed. As I continue to re-learn techniques from the past, along with technological ways of doing things. Like personal survival, farmsteading and in general ways to rebuild a socity from the ground up.

I will get into more specific details in latter postings, so as not to give away to much just now. Suffice it to say here, that I live on a deadend dirt road, to aid in surviving the rampaging masses when or if the"$hit hits the fan" (SHTF). I stay away from crowds for the most part. I hate big cities, for they are deathtraps. I will not travel on interstate highways or super highways for the same reason.

I feel that I must again appoligize to everyone here, as I am not trying to scare anyone. Just bringing to light the darker side of humanities underbellie possibilities.

Yes all of this can go along with this blogs' over all intent, as food is the fuel that keeps our bodies in motion. So lets eat our fill and pedal our way to freedom and safety. If you want to bring along some gas or deisel fuel, then it could power a generator. When the noise will not give away your location. Unless you can properly defend your location, that is.

Until next time, be safe everyone ...