Saturday, September 30, 2017

What to put in a cache?

We are still working our way through the Netflix program Life Below Zero.

One of the families makes a cache at the various destinations where they hunt and fish.  Their rational is that it is inefficient to haul bulky objects on round trips.  The room in the boat or sled is reserved for food or collected resources on the return trip.

My purpose would be slightly different.  It would be either to supplement a "three day bag" or to replace one.  A secondary purpose might be as a source of materials for a cold restart.

How long?
A foundational question is "How long might you leave the cache before using it?"
There are many neglected corners of property that are suitable for caches, even in populated urban areas.  The risk is that the cache will be covered with pavement before you need it.  This is a cache location that I scouted out but never used.
In my mind, ten years is the outside limit of where I might reasonably anticipate being able to find the cache location.

Ten years makes many potential items non-starters.  Vitamin pills...not a great choice.  Most pharmaceuticals...non starter.  Batteries...guess again.

Good choices include candles, water purification filters, canned fats, poncho, foam pad, cordage, knit hat and a change of socks, chap-stick, a small backpack a knife and wooden matches.  Perhaps some maps, a compass, a small copy of the Bible, a copy of the U.S. Constitution and $20 in small bills. The poncho and candle can be combined for cold weather survival.

While leaving a firearm in a cache has a certain utility the risk and liability of losing such a pricey and litigious item is a problem.  Ammo may be less of an issue.  .22LR and 9mm don't take up much room and have much utility.  12 gauge with #6 shot has even more utility but is much bulkier.

The Genesis bomb
The Genesis bomb is the idea that you could do a cold restart, perhaps under a new identity in a location five hundred miles away.

As a person interested in gardening, it would also be a nice way to safeguard some of the seed-lines I have been a steward for.  A house fire would wipe out the lines of maize and other species I have been working with.

Common references suggest that nearly all garden seeds peter out in three-to-five years.  The outside limit for some species is ten years.

One of the assumptions buried in those guidelines is that the average gardener wants enough germination so that the seed, when planted at common seed densities, will canopy.  For instance, it is common to plant green beans four inches apart within the row and thin to every eight or twelve inches.  If 40% of the seed germinated then the row would still have the appropriate plant density.

What if you stored two hundred seeds and would be satisfied if those seeds produced five, viable plants to continue the line?  Now you are looking at 2.5% seed germination.  That might be a much, much longer time than for the 40% viability time.

The W.J. Beal experiment
In the fall of 1879, Professor William James Beal buried 20 bottles containing seeds with the intent to determine the length of time the seeds of some of our most common plants would remain dormant in the soil, yet germinate when exposed to favorable conditions.
The 15th bottle was unearthed in April 2000 by Drs. Frank W. Telewski and Jan Zeevaart, 120 years after the bottles were first buried by Professor Beal 
After 10 days the first seeds had germinated and eventually the total number of plants reached twenty-five. All of the plants were in the genus Verbascum, twenty-three were positively identified as Verbascum blattaria (Moth Mullein). Two of the plants appear to have a slightly different foliage and will be positively identified after they bloom. Although twenty different species of seed were placed in the bottles, initially only Verbascum germinated during this most recent trial. However, after the sandy mix containing the original seeds was given a cold treatment in August, a single Malva neglecta (syn. Malva rotundifolia) germinated in September, bringing the total number of seedlings to twenty-six.
 What would you put in a cache?

Added later....List of some suggestions that came in via email:
  • Bug dope
  • Sun screen
  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Magnifying glass for slivers and starting fires

God laughs when men make plans

Today did not go as expected.

When I got to work the piece of equipment the boss had me slated to use was down.  Since he was busy lining up other people for the day I filled the time by changing burned-out light bulbs, restocking material and sorting incoming material.

At 9:30 I got a call from Mrs ERJ that there were issues at home that were more than she could deal with.  I texted my boss that I needed to go home.  He released me.

About 1:00 in the afternoon I had the wheels back on the bus.  Mrs ERJ looked at the baling twine and bubblegum repair and "suggested" that it would give her comfort if I stayed home.

And that is why I have a few pictures to share.

Last weekend was Homecoming and the Pecan trees had a crop of Charmin.
The problem with the high-end stuff is that it spoils us for the inexpensive, recycled newsprint that we usually buy.
Things are dry and crispy around here.  The strange object at the bottom of the photo is my weed cutter.  I use it on Canadian Thistle.
A Blue Jay had a bad day.  He was flying across the pasture when a bolt out of the blue whacked him.

My guess is that a Cooper's Hawk got him.
The persimmons are starting to show some fall color

This is a grafted tree and you can see the variability in fall color.  The two sprouts midway up the trunk are much "hotter" looking than the top of the tree.

Close-up of the sprouts.
Swamp White Oak.  This little tree is about 1.5 inches at the base and I can see at least three acorns in this picture.
Bur oak

English oak

On the ground beneath the English oak.
I got to go to Grand Valley earlier this week.  I needed to expedite some documents from Belladonna.

Yellows are Goldenrod.  Pinks and purples are New England Aster.  Whites are some other kind of aster.

They had some high winds over the summer that knocked the snot out of some of their facilities.
One of my neighbors has some interesting Goldenrod growing in an unmowed area.  No matter how deep and crusty the snow gets, these mounds do not get flattened.  Pretty good cover for wildlife.
Seed pods.  Based on the flowering habit, this keys out as S. gigantea even though this site is not "wet".  I think I will try to grow some of these as seedlings and move them to Salamander's farm.

Steuben grapes

Cukes that I let go to seed.

More cukes.  I will harvest, ferment and dry the seeds.  I consider it a hobby and cheap entertainment.
Some of the persimmons are starting to color.  Most of this tree is a variety called Morris Buron although it has Szukis, I-115, K-6 and Lena grafted into it.  This is a one-tree seed orchard.
Milkweed with pods

Hey-ho, hey-ho, its off to work we go

Weather for this weekend will be nice and cool with warming into the work week.

I expect things will be hopping at work.  I am scheduled for a ten hour shift.  Blogging will suffer.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Working in the shipping department

Two minute video clip of a packing line.

Yesterday I was introduced to the packing and shipping line.
Each one of her arms was four feet long
I was instructed in how to do the job by a woman with more than the usual quota of arms.

This is the basic job layout.  Parts move on a conveyor from right-to-left at about one foot a second.  Parts show up at a rate of ten a minute.  My job was to reach inside the white-and-red circle for a screw, install it on the part and then put the finished goods in boxes or crates that were on the pallet behind me.

I thought I was doing pretty good.

And then...
The woman with the twenty-four, four foot long arms went to lunch.

She had been doing her job and part of mine.  She kept re-arranging the boxes on the pallet so I had a short, unobstructed "load".

I was almost keeping up except some of the boxes had flaps that I had to fight with.

I was slowly slipping downline.

What killed me was when I was working on a part that was in the position of the left most piece shown in the illustration.  I was working over the top of my  screw container and the part was partially obstructed by the rectangular beam shown in black-and-white.

I yanked that puppy off the line to load on the pallet and sent the container of screws flying.

DOWN onto the floor.  Down beneath the pallet.

Due to coating considerations these screws are not usable if they touch the floor.  They needed to be reconditioned.  There were  no more screws on the line.

The boss took it well.  I think he expected something to happen because he knows that the woman with the twenty-four arms is a rock-star.  In his shoes I would ask the rock-star if the new "klutz" was worth keeping around or should he be sent back to the minor leagues.

Fake News Friday: Part III

Mystery spokesman claims 'mad pooper' jogger who was busted defecating outside Colorado homes has a 'traumatic brain injury following gender reassignment surgery'

Jogger regularly pooping on walk of same house for two months.

Police explain why it took so long to solve this case.  "Nobody had anything to go on."

Fake News Friday: Part II

Writing Fake News is dangerous!

"Fake News" guru found dead at age 38.  Natural causes ruled out as cause-of-death.

Fake News Friday

They claim that because we're white, we are inherently racist and are born that way.

The same liberals say that transgenders, gays and lesbians are born that way and can't help it and it's not their choice or fault.

Does that mean they also think it's not the white person's fault that they were born racist? 

From RyanTX at

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fanatasy Football is a redundant term

I work a couple of part-time gigs.

The boss at my Monday gig was aghast at what the athletes in the NFL are doing.

His take is that watching football is escapism.  Football is a parallel universe that allows viewers to escape the messy, cluttered, compromised, dirty gold-fish bowl that is the world of reality.

Some people watch soap operas.  Others listen to NPR.  Many watch the NFL.  Same-same-same.

His belief is that the NFL will lose its unique marketing proposition if it lets too much "reality" leak in.  The players are actors playing a role.  They can spout off at awards ceremonies but need to stay in-character within the theater called the football stadium.

The players and coaches don't give up their Constitutionally guaranteed rights on the playing field any more than an actor gives up his rights when playing a character in a Shakespeare play. 

There is a term for actors who cannot remember their lines:


Kubota deals with an unruly passenger

Kubota got his driver's license about ten days ago.

Last night he borrowed Mrs ERJ's minivan to go hang out with some friends.

Details are sketchy.  I was not there and Kubota is not saying a lot about it.

Kubota picked up one friend and a friend-of-the-friend.

The FOTF was sitting behind Kubota and became verbally abusive.

Then the FOTF started hitting Kubota in the back of the head while Kubota was driving.

Kubota pulled off the road.

Kubota told the unruly passenger that he was no longer welcome in the minivan and had to leave.

The temperature was a balmy 65F and it was not raining.  The young man had a cell phone and was in no danger of freezing to death or being eaten by large carnivores.

The passenger refused to exit the van.

Kubota "helped" him exit the van and then proceeded on his way.

Kubota was concerned that he would be reported to the cops because he ejected the miscreant with vigor. 

I told him that as long as he did not break any of the young man's bones he was going to be OK.  Police would probably give him a metal because they would much rather deal with the fall-out from how he handled the situation rather than a two-vehicle accident with possible fatalities.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Political Correctness

Super article HERE.  Warning, a long read.

Don't read it if you value a "happy face" over flinty reality.  Political Correctness is the dogma of Secular Humanism and the author, Gail Tverberg pokes a few holes into it.

Key points
Myth One:  Diminishing supply will always "telegraph" with higher prices.
Author's response: Sagging wages and the resulting destruction in buying power can destroy demand more quickly than supply shrinks, at least in the short term.

Myth Four: Wind and solar can save us.
Author's response:  The numbers don't pencil out.  Nomadic hunter/gatherers needed 100 "Watts" in the form of food and another 200 "Watts" of firewood and of energy embodied in their artifacts per capita.  Pre-industrial agriculture required 2000 "Watts" but much of that was invested in traction animals.

Even if we could get all 7.5 billion humans to coast along at 300 Watts, the perfect allocation of all of the earth's solar and wind power would only provide about 10% of the supplemental energy needed over-and-above food.

Suppose we created some kind of "fusion" agriculture using herbicides instead of traction animals and were able to survive on 1000 Watts per capita?  In that case all of the installed wind and solar power would only provide 2% of the required supplemental energy humans need to survive.

Even if we could scale up 50 times the current installation base, there are still major issues of intermittency and distribution.

Myth Six:  Peer reviewed articles give correct findings.
Author's response:  The splintering of knowledge causes "findings" to be untethered to the macro context.  Political considerations lead to omissions or overly generous "findings" so papers will be accepted and published.

Myth Eight:  We don't need religion.  Our human leaders are all knowing and all powerful.
Author's response:  As a society we need an over-arching structure to bring us into alignment and coherence.  Think of the drum beat in a Sousa march.  Human leaders are a very slender reed upon which to thrust this task.

A few more pictures

The camera was tilted.  The land is essentially level.
The menagerie also includes a couple of Welsh Corgis, an unspecified number of cats and variable numbers of other species.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Guest post by a progressive with skin in the game

Expanding the garden back in 2009.  First, burn off the brush.
Try to not burn down the house.
This has been our 10th year with the garden. 

Bust up the clods, pull the stumps.
We had 46 families this year. 

Planting onions
Every year many local greenhouses contribute excess plants to the garden.
Planting tomatoes
Most of these folks work jobs that many Americans would never consider working; even though they were teachers, nurses, and other professionals in their home countries. Their kids work hard in school and they want to be American! They study hard for their citizenship and frequently know more about America than many who are born and raised here. They are law abiding and very patriotic. 

Fun for the whole family!
One nice thing about gardening is that you can look behind you and see progress.
These folks know what it means to have little or no freedom! Religious freedom is very important to them. They actively live their Christian faith and truly feel God has blessed each of them in there life journeys. 
It is 10:30 AM on Saturday.  Do you know where YOUR teenager is?

ERJ note:  Many of these refugees were pushed out by Boko Haram at the Moslem-Christian skirmish line and by rebels attempting to overthrow the government.
Canning lessons with the first of the tomato crop.

Lessons in making pickles.
Quality control is a very, very important job.  (Busted!)

My husband and I like helping these gardeners help themselves. It would definitely be easier and cheaper for us to just write a check to an agency that gives handouts, but our community garden allows folks to be active in their own success. It's not necessarily Lutheran teaching, but my mom always told us kids, "God helps those who help themselves!" 

Harvest party.  The younger contingent.
The mature contingent.
The can't stop moving contingent.
One's dignity is strengthened when one actively participates in creating the life one aspires to achieve.  We offer Americans born here free garden spots too, but if and when they do garden with us, they do not stick with it until harvest. Most just say they "can't" garden or don't have "time". We figure most Americans do not really know what it means to be hungry. Or, they think if they are hungry, it's someone else's responsibility to make sure they are fed. The gardeners that garden with us usually work two or three minimum wage jobs and still find time to garden!  
Main season canning.  The time for "lessons" is past.  This is about production.
From the winter garden

Most of our gardeners only receive assistance for their first 6 months after arriving in America. They are required to become self sufficient after six months plus they must pay back the price of the airfare that brought them and their family to this country over the next couple years.
My husband and I really admire their strength and fortitude in their efforts to be "good" Americans! The vetting process serves to bring over refugees likely to succeed, not cost the US more money. They are working and paying taxes shortly after arrival in the States. They also share generously what little they have with their church and community.

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