Sunday, December 30, 2012

Going Over the Fiscal Cliff

According to Drudge, they've still not got a deal and we're heading into the last day before the fiscal cliff is reached.

Personally, I think it's a bunch of hooey. The fiscal cliff is simply a rollback of a series of tax cuts and spending measures which will take us back to Bill Clinton's day. The thought that it will be catastrophic to go back to government spending 2 decades ago is sobering. It means that in my adulthood, government has grown that much.

Anyway, whether it's a big deal or not, whether it's real or not, whether they reach an accord or not ... we ought to be prepared.

Tomorrow morning's checklist:

Fill up all vehicle tanks and gas cans with gasoline
Fill all three propane tanks
Pick up some diesel for the backhoe
Hit the bank and withdraw a couple of hundred dollars to have on hand

These are my short term "something might go bad" preps. For the long term I already have plenty of food and ammunition on hand. We're also fully wired up on solar so any collapse of "the grid" won't impact me.

Do I think something bad is going to happen? Probably not, but people are shortsighted, fearful, and easily led. Panic buying in my area, or bank runs, or any of the other potential problems could happen. I make sure I've got that short list covered whenever there's anything weird or out of the ordinary.

It's just good practice.

QUERY: Banning Books

An outbreak of civil violence occurs in the United States in the next couple of months. Using the violence for its own ends, the government in Washington suspends the Constitution and establishes a totalitarian dictatorship over the people "for the indefinite future".

They begin banning specific books which speak of freedom and independence.

Who would be the authors and which book titles would be most likely to be banned?

Submit your answers in comments, please.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Problems of a Gray Man

With the increasing government tyranny, one is compelled to at least consider the notion of "going gray." I'm not talking about hair color. I'm talking about the theoretical concept of getting off of the government's radar and laying low to avoid persecution, attack, or murder by the state.

There are some aspects to this which cause difficulty. I'll break them down here separately for you.


In today's internet age, it is increasingly difficult to disappear. I have internet forum posts that have been googled and catalogued from as long as 15 years ago. The internet never forgets. Neither do your credit card companies or your banks. In my technical career, I did business with many credit card companies and banks. They do not maintain just the minimum legal time for storage of records. They maintain every transaction ever because they consider it yet more data to be mined (and sold).

Even if you withdraw money and pay cash for something then there is still the record of your withdrawing cash. What happens when a tyrannical government approaches you and wants to see what you purchased with that cash? Or when they match up your withdrawal with shopkeeper records in your area? There are ways to spend cash without drawing attention, but they are becoming increasingly more difficult.

Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, etc. have also trained everyday Americans to not keep their business to themselves. When I was a user of Facebook I would see the most inane posts from time to time. For a generation used to sharing their viewpoint and activities, it is going to be increasingly difficult to shut up and go dark.


A key component of going gray is that you look and act like everyone else. If the government mandates a certain mode of life (no self-sufficiency, no religion, labor for the state, etc.) then of what value is going gray going to be if it means you must comply with their mandates? Am I really winning if I am forced to go make munitions for the ForeverWar in a state-owned factory? Can I say I am "gray" if I'm standing by silently watching my less gray counterparts being marched off to the gulag?

At what point does "going gray" simply become an excuse for our compromise with a tyrannical system?

I have a certain life which I wish to lead and I can either be violently prevented from doing so by the government, or quietly prevented from doing so by my own concession to "go gray". It might be reasonable to "go gray" for a time, such as the brief period before you flee the country, but I cannot see going gray for the indefinite future.


Above perhaps every other argument lies the fact that I am a Christian. My Lord did not call me to silent inactivity so that I might preserve my life. In fact, Christ warned me that I would likely lose my life in His service.

John 15:18-20 reminds us:

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

If going gray means that I must abandon a Christian walk, or give the appearance of doing so, then what is gained?

Even if you look at it from a religion-neutral viewpoint, does going gray actually in itself advance the cause of freedom? Or is going gray only a component of some greater plan such as active resistance to tyranny or a planned escape?


Can you name one historical figure, modern or past, who "went gray"? Look at the story of Natan Sharansky, a Jewish refusenik in Soviet Russia. His principle was a complete refusal to comply with the government until they allowed him to leave the country. If they told him to eat, he refused. If they told him to sleep, he stayed awake. On the day in which they finally released him to board a plane out of the country they told him to walk straight to the plane. He zigzagged.

When I tell other people Sharansky's story, the first thing they always ask is, "Why didn't the Soviets just kill him?" It's a reasonable question considering they'd already killed so many. I believe the reason Sharansky didn't meet a brutal end in some snow-covered courtyard in a Soviet prison is that the world knew Sharansky's name. The regime would have had to face scrutiny if Sharansky had simply disappeared. That's the government's problem: each time a bullet is put into the back of the head of a resistor, it may simplify their operations for the moment but it increases the net discontent of the populace, which will breed more resistors.

If Sharansky had simply went gray then he would either be working in a Soviet munitions factory somewhere, or would have met with that brutal end which all resistors may face. And the world would not know his name.


Our government is greasing the rails of tyranny as you read this. An impending economic collapse coupled wwith a bid for gun and property confiscations are about to intersect. Now is the time in which to consider your future actions. That time is growing short indeed.

As you can tell by this post, I've made my decision.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dealing With the Cold

We don't usually have to deal with cold temperatures here, but for the past couple of days the nights have dropped down into the teens. The original cabin is not well insulated, but the new addition is insulated at about R19. The problem is that the new addition is more window than wall so we're not getting full advantage out of that insulation.

When the temperature fell to 15 degrees outside, the inside temperature was 35 degrees. That's NOT comfortable. We were all ok under big down comforters (and the kids piled on top of me like a bunch of puppies) but sooner or later you've got to get out of bed and get some work done. It didn't warm up much that day.

We have a woodstove from U.S. Stove company (a Magnolia) that is supposed to heat up to 2,400 square feet, but it doesn't. I think part of its problem is that it's poorly located. It's on the west wall of the cabin, 32 feet away from the western wall. When it's roaring, the upstairs directly above it is HOT but the living area (at the far end of the house) is chilly. There's no walls blocking the air flow between west and east but the heat just seems to go up and out as opposed to moving across the house.

Yesterday we went into town and bought a propane heater. One of the ventless ones. It supposedly will heat up to 1,000 square feet. We parked it in the new addition and turned it up to full blast. It's really warming up the whole house. The combination of propane heater and wood stove meant that last night we enjoyed a warm and comfortable sleep for the first time since this cold spell hit. I have no idea how much propane this thing is going through yet, but propane is still cheaper than wood.

I'm not sure how the pioneers in colder climes really did through the winter. Were their woodstoves more central to their cabins and their cabins better insulated then the big plywood box I live in? Or did they just suffer the cold better?

I hope you're staying warm and comfortable. I take comfort in the fact that these days are few here in my part of Texas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Day

Tomorrow is Christmas and we have a cold front coming in. My wife and have fetched my comfy faux-leather recliner (made from faux that were humanely killed, of course) from storage and it now sits in the addition to the cabin in front of the windows. I am quite content.

Tomorrow's cold front is supposed to bring high winds, rain, and extreme cold to my area. I'm not sure what will actually happen, but I'm not quite prepared. We have days worth of food but our water supply is limited. I forgot to go to town and buy the requisite 200 gallons on Friday and now the fire department (where I pick up the water) is closed until Wednesday. So I had to buy some bottled water at the store with which to make tea (and cocoa). We'll eat off paper plates until Wednesday and the boys will be happy to get a break from washing dishes for a day or two. The paper plates just get dumped into the compost bin to break down. They break down ridiculously fast too. Faster than the sawdust and humanure. It's weird.

We have plenty of wood but I have to get ahead by a few days in cutting it to fit our stove. Our big Magnolia woodstove only has a depth of 18 inches. Unless I cut it myself, I rarely find firewood of that length. I have two cords left of really good and seasoned oak but it's at a standard of about 28 inches. 28 inches! Really! I don't know what the guy was thinking. So I built a little stand to put it on and then I chainsaw about 10 inches off of 3-5 logs at a time. By this time next year we should be bringing in our own firewood so I don't expect this to be a problem in the future.

Tomorrow is Joshua's birthday as well as Christmas, so my wife is making some sort of gluten-free chocolate cake. Those are usually really good. There's been some bread and noodle disasters with the gluten-free stuff, but never a bad chocolate cake. I'm not sure such a thing as bad chocolate cake exists.

I hope the Christmas season finds you in warmth and comfort, with a full body, getting some rest and surrounded by happy loved ones. We don't know what the future may hold, so enjoy these days when they come.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Year

On Christmas Day last year, we were building our cabin. We had bad Chinese takeout from the only place open in town. And then we got back to work.

Over the past year we've doubled the size of the cabin, learned how to live off-grid, dug a large pond, built gardens, a pig pen (and raised a hog), built a workshop, and learned a new career. We've gone out into the community and met new friends upon whom we can depend. No one has been seriously hurt or ill. It has been a very blessed year.


I am sitting in the workshop right now typing this, beside a roaring fire in the woodstove and with plywood up over the windows to keep out a cold south wind which has sprang up. We have wood, gasoline, ammo, and food stocked up for the winter still. Alas, the cabbages I had in the ground have finally succumbed. I do not think it was the cold nights that did them in, as cabbages are pretty hardy. I think it was the 50 degree temperature fluctuations between day and night. Most days it's in the 60-70 degree range with the nights plummeting down to freezing or below. That, more than the cold, has made winter gardening a hassle.


The cabin is drafty as I still haven't found the time to put up siding all the way around. When the wind is cold and from the south, it seeps in and chills us to the bone. Those are the days of blankets and cuddling and movie marathons. I would regret it somehow if, once the siding is up, we don't find time to do that.


When the wind picks up to about 30mph, we have sandstorms. Dust is ever present here, but the sandstorms are a rare thing. We've only had a couple. I put on goggles when I have to go out in them. We have learned to keep things tied down and weighted when the wind picks up. Otherwise you are picking up trash or building materials (or trashed building materials) from the neighbor's pastures.


The lack of rain continues to be a problem. I have to buy water from the city once per week if my wife intends to do laundry. I pay $6 for 200 gallons which I can haul myself. The minimum charge to be hooked up to rural water is $45 per month. Even if I have to buy every week it's only $24.


We haul our trash to the dump once per year, but I would like to do it once per month. For an entire year's load carried in a trailer it costs $5 and some of my labor to haul it to the dump.


The knife shop continues to be mostly shut down. I find myself so busy every day that I just don't get to work on it like I should. God has blessed that enterprise of mine more than some others, so I really ought to pay more attention to it. That is my endeavor for the new year.


We have gone beyond mere survival and begun to really thrive out here. It has (and continues) to change me into the person I wish to be. My skin has darkened beneath the constant sun and outdoor work and I'm always covered in scratches and cuts. I also seem to never get fully clean. I have learned how to do minor repairs on my equipment, which is something I never thought I'd be able to do. I feel far more capable these days than I ever imagined I could be.


God continues to bless us with health, wealth, and time together. My personal relationship with God has deepened. I have no fear.  

I hope the past year that the Lord has blessed you and your family. A time of coming judgment approaches, but whether I survive it or not now seems to be of little consequence. I have given up my will unto the Lord. If it be His desire that my life be taken and all that I have wrought under His guidance be given over to other Christians or to the scavengers then I am content. 

It may very well be that God is guiding you towards this life, and I hope seeing such a man as myself be humbled and then uplifted and blessed is an inspiration to you. The Lord has sent many guides to me along the way who have taught me what I needed to know. I pray that they are all blessed.

To those who fearfully rebuked me, I have softened. My prideful self was wounded by the fears and doubts that they expressed, for they reflected only the fears and doubts I had within. If any of them still read this, I hope that they are well and that their anger and resentment towards me has also softened.

The winter solstice has passed now and the days will lengthen and grow warmer. God's promise of spring is around the corner and there will be much labor to be done.  I am content.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Thoughts on the School Shooting

The situation in New Town is a tragedy wrapped in a tragedy and covered with tragedy sauce. I'm not meaning to make light of it in any way, but there's a lot of issues there to be unraveled later when emotions aren't so high.

What I want to address is the calls for increased gun control and confiscation of firearms.

We can't allow it. Period. The 2nd Amendment is the clause which guarantees an upper limit of what tyranny that we the people will accept from the government. We may let them grope us at airports, stop us and ask for ID on the street, or even tax our income heavily but there are still lines in the sand which we will not allow the government to cross. Lines that are individual in nature but also in the greater community.

I've said this before and it's a good time to mention it again. People in government are flat out evil. The only thing that keeps them from kicking in your door, killing you, and then harvesting the organs of your children is the fear that an armed population will rise up against them.

When we've surrendered the last weapon in the hands of a patriot, we will be squawking like an old rooster when the farmer comes with his axe, and be just as helpless.

Stalin killed an estimated 20 million people in his own country after he disarmed them. This happened over the course of about 20 years. About a million a year. My deepest apologies to the parents of the slain, but if 30 children a year was the price of living in a free country (it's not, but that's the liberal argument) where the government can't murder a million dissenters per year then I think it's a fair exchange.

It's the government leading the charge for citizen disarmament, so I propose a deal. We, the citizens, will consider disarming only after the government disarms. When every politician and elected official gives up his/her ARMED security detail, the standing military is abolished and disarmed, and every single law enforcement officer surrenders his/her weapon THEN the government can come to us and ask that we disarm as well.

And to all of the politicians out there:

Signing your name on any bill or legislation that bans or confiscates weapons is going to be considered an act of war against the citizens.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weird Cat

Today a kitten showed up under our porch. A Japanese bobtail, based on the internet search. I don't need a new cat, but he apparently needs a new owner. How many cats does it take before you qualify as a crazy cat person?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cold Returns

Looks like winter has finally hit us. We had 25 degrees last night and supposed to be 17 tonight. After that it warms back up to just freezing and slightly above, ending up in the 40's by the end of the week.

The new addition to the house is insulated and caulked, but we're having a bit of trouble heating up all 1024 square foot with our wood stove. Just doesn't seem to be able to push all across the whole house. Anyone sitting on the far side of the house is cold. I'm considering putting in a second wood stove, but we're going to wait and see how many cold days we get this winter. Hopefully won't be too many of them. In the house we can handle freezing and slightly below, but 17 is just too brutal. It has us all huddling under blankets.

The cabbages in the garden are touch and go. About half of them are alive still but nobody is really growing crazy big. The garlic was coming along pretty nicely but the chickens came along and ate what they could reach through the screen. I've really got to get a nice, tall fence up around that garden pretty quick. I like being able to free range the chickens as it just isn't economical to feed them constantly. But they seem to think "free range" means "free buffet in the garden".

The knife shop is progressing right along. I've got two orders completed and that leaves the order list empty, so I can get back to work on the shop knives. Haven't put any new ones up lately and the Etsy shop is still a mess. I guess that's this week's project.

Still here and kicking. Can't complain.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fiscal Cliff

I'm trying to decide whether or not I should be worried about this upcoming fiscal cliff. I have food stored up. Guns and ammo. Very little money in the bank and my income is about to drop to almost nothing anyway.

3 of my 3 sources of income depend on other people having plenty of money, but from a farm standpoint we're in pretty good shape and are about where we need to be. The only thing we're missing right now is fences to keep sheep and cows in. We have chickens and a pig as well as a freezer full of meat.

Over the past 3 weeks we've been putting an addition onto the house and now that it's finished it feels like the Taj Mahal in here. We went from 512 square foot to 1024 and it's a world of difference. Still plenty of nitnoid work to do on it but it's all just finish work. We've already moved into it with a rousing going away party for my friend Kelly last night. All the hillbilly clans came and beards were on full display. Good Christian company and good homecooked food. I was in hillbilly heaven.

So while the government ramps up the fear machine over yet another government-induced catastrophe, I just can't find any good reason to panic.  I guess if I was as dependent upon them as they want me to be then I'd be in full-blown crisis mode, but I'm not. In fact, they're dependent upon me. If their ability to harass and pilfer from the citizenry were disrupted then I can't see it as anything other than a good thing.

Bring on the cliff!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Barking Dogs

We have two dogs ... Sam and Fang. Sam is an Australian Shepherd and Fang is ... well .. I dunno. I found him as a puppy in a culvert where someone threw him to die.

As an off-grid household, we have no lights at night around our property. A few lamps inside but nothing that really illuminates very far outside.

So we (as many homesteaders do) rely on our dogs as an alarm system.

Sam barks all the time. Fang barks sometimes. For particular reasons all his own. Sam has three different barks:

1. "I think I heard/saw something and I'm just barking to let you know that there might be something out there. Just as an FYI. Don't get out of bed."

2. "Hey, master, just wanted to let you know that some dog about a mile away is barking and there might be a problem. No info as of yet, but I'm passing the message along that there might be something happening over there at the other house over a mile away."

3. "I definitely see something and it's standing right there!! Get it, master! Get it! Kill! Kill!"

Bark #1 I hear relatively all night long. Bark #2 is sporadic but usually occurs around 2am on most nights. Full moon nights are the most noisy as the dogs can see further and there's more critters moving around. Dogs have a different threat system than we do. Other animals are major threats. Deer and rabbits? BIG TIME threats that need a serious barking. Cars with muffler problems? Threats. Anything slowing down on the road? Threat! About the only place we agree on the threat is someone walking around the farm at night.

Bark #3 is the only thing that gets me out of bed at night.

Weirdly enough, Sam barks almost constantly at our farmhand Kelly. For the maybe 7 months now that Kelly has worked here (at least 2 days per week) he walks by the dog pen and Sam goes berserk. He's like "Hey, master! There's that guy again! Look out! He's right behind you! Look out!" Sam does not seem to understand that Kelly isn't a serial killer about to stab me in the back of the brain with a pitchfork.

Sam, being an Australian Shepherd, doesn't have very good eyesight either. Sometimes if I'm too far away he runs at me barking like he wants to kill me and eat my liver. Then he gets close enough to recognize me and gets all shamefaced.

I'm a dog guy. I like dogs. Especially Sam. Fang too, mostly, but some days I threaten to throw him in a culvert myself.