The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hand Tools for the Near Future

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

We recently had a question that for me was thought provoking. It had to deal with tools. I've included a partial quote from the email, and my response in it's entirety. It's just food for thought. There is one item I would like to add to the list, though. It may not seem like a tool to you, but anything that makes your life easier I classify as a tool. That's comfort food. So the tool I would like to add is a big box of Snickers. You know, those health bars covered with chocolate. Hope you enjoy the list. But it was a very good question.


"We have been finishing much of our "to-do" list (aka 'preps'), including purchases of lumber and fencing for the future garden beds. I did want to ask your opinion on what type of hand tools should we get to keep on hand?  We do have many garden tools, and shovels and such.  Any other recommendations?  I am talking just what you think would be absolutely bare-bones necessary. Could you do a short article on that subject?  I think it would be most welcome by everyone."


Good question.


I think your idea about doing an article on hand tools is an excellent idea. The garden tools that Fern and I use are good, solid, well-made, with long handles. We are both tall people. When I do buy extra, they are on sale and stock up for the future. Garden tools may make an excellent barter item some day.

As far as hand tools go, I buy the best tools I can afford. Not the most expensive, but the best. The last few years I've started relying heavily on battery operated tools. I rarely use a hammer to drive nails, so I buy a lot of long screws. My elbow will not take the pounding anymore. Saws are very important, all kinds of hand saws. But I use my battery operated tools as much as I can for cutting and drilling. A quality brace and bit is also necessary. Sockets and socket sets are a must. Buy lots of drill bits, especially the little ones, they break easily.

I have multiple sets of tools. One basic set in the house, a complete set in the garage, and a pretty good set in the barn.
Watch for sales at the big box stores like Lowes, and as mentioned earlier, buy the best tools you can afford. Don't forget things like files, grinders, punches, chisels, nail sets, but especially don't forget files. Heaven forbid, but you can sharpen your kitchen knives with a file. So, don't forget good knife sharpeners too, which ever type you prefer.

A shotgun is a handy tool, too. Double 00 buckshot, bird shot, a Remington 870. This tool will help you keep your other tools much longer.

A good Bible comes in handy. Axes, big ax, hand ax, mauls, splitters, sledge hammer - big one, and smaller ones. Pry bars. The list goes on. On occasion when we have a small animal to get rid of, a small sledge hammer comes in handy. A good stock of lumber, as you mentioned, is very handy, as is fencing, especially barbed wire. A couple of extra loads of gravel is a nice tool to have.

A small, full functioning tractor is extremely handy, especially the front end loader. You can haul larger animals in the front end loader for butchering processes. Yep, I'd get a good, small, solid, full functioning tractor with implements.

Might want to stock up on clothes, too. Go ahead and buy that extra canner and water bath now. Don't forget boots, socks and underwear, gloves and hats.

If I were you, I would switch all of your light bulbs out to LED bulbs. Don't forget traps. Some day those traps might feed you. Get a good supply of mouse traps while you're at it. Don't buy the cheap ones, you get what you pay for.

Don't forget trash bags, paper towels, kleenex, toilet tissue. Don't cut hygiene short either. Laundry detergent in large plastic buckets? Get a bunch. The buckets are really handy and powdered laundry detergent will meet the vast majority of your cleaning needs.

I'm tired. Hope this helps. Just food for thought. Don't forget rechargeable batteries and solar panels. Take care.



Here is another handy tool. Tools for Survival by James Wesley, Rawles

Seriously folks, don't forget the Snickers, man does not live by bread alone. It's late, it's been a real long day.

We'll talk more later, Frank

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pondering, Fishing & Pigs

We had a nice, short rain this morning, then the sun came out and warmed things up. My sinuses are healing up nicely, but I am still not doing anything very physical or anything that requires a lot of bending over. So after the morning chores, I thought I would see if I could catch a fish or two from the pond. I always start out very hopeful, and dream of fried catfish for lunch. There are lots of folks that don't care for catfish because of their life style, but if you were raised in the south, you were raised eating fried catfish. Both of my grandfathers took us fishing as children, then grandma made up some really good things to eat when we got home. They are great memories, and with them came a definite preference for fried catfish.

This time I took the feathery lure thing off the rod and traded it for a regular hook. Frank had me add three prong hooks to our shopping list since we don't have any, or we can't find them. This hook is bigger and much stronger than the one that was on there when I tried fishing last time. I thawed out some chicken gizzards to use for bait, got my bucket, a pair of needle nose pliers and a fish stringer, just in case, and off I went.

The fish pond is in the pig pasture, and they wondered why I was there in the middle of the day. The first expectation was that it was feeding time again some how. As I walked down to the pond they followed me with grunts and squeals, wondering where I was going with this extra large feed bucket.

It took a while with sniffing and tasting of the bat we use for correcting improper behavior, nudging the bucket to see what was in it and poking their muddy noses on my radio, for them to calm down and realize I had nothing for them, in fact, I was pretty boring and after a while, they all wondered off.


Soon the dog and the pigs all decided it was a good time for a swim.

About five minutes after I threw out my hook, I started getting nibbles. Then I quickly caught, well almost, a small sun perch that jumped off the hook at the bank, flopped around a couple of times, then swam off. Well, that is a good sign, there are fish in the pond, even though it has been about four years since we last stocked it.

You know, for me, fishing is incredibly boring. I know people that would fish all day every day if they could. I think I would go crazy. One good thing about carrying everything in a five gallon bucket is that it doubles for a chair. I also put the jar of gizzards under it so I wouldn't have to protect it from the pigs or the dog, Pearl. Pearl did get a piece of gizzard, though, while the pigs weren't looking.

I was glad that the dog and the pigs came wondering back around and provided me with some entertainment. Lance, our boar, decided to hang around and give me hand or take a nap, I'm not sure which.


Not long afterward, I caught a catfish! Yea! But it was very small, not enough for a meal. The good news is since we haven't stocked the pond in four years, and this guy was small, that means they are reproducing. This is very good news.


Back to sitting and hoping for a fish. While I was sitting there enjoying the peaceful beauty of the day, my thoughts turned to the events unfolding in the world. My prayers are with the fallen police officer's family and friends in Houston that was gunned down while buying gasoline. I thought of the video interview Frank and I watched yesterday with yet another prediction of dire circumstances for the economy by October. October 1st is just 32 short days away. I thought of the mounting racial tensions across our country and how the death of a black person causes outrage, riots and speeches by well known political and religious leaders. Yet at the same time, the death of a white person causes silence by well known political and religious leaders. Not to mention the inundation of people illegally coming across the borders in droves and what that is doing to many communities and cities across the nation. These growing phenomenons will be at the root of a great many coming difficulties. There is a sense of the haves and have nots, those that do and those that do not.
There are those that will prepare and those that will not. All of these things are adding to the mounting resentment and unease that is slowly starting to erupt and ooze across our land like a putrid disease. There is no good that can come of it. Our leaders are fomenting actions that will destroy our land and many good people with it. What will be left is anybody's guess. 

This is what I pondered. You know what? I also dearly prayed that none of it is so. That I could be totally wrong. But if I am wrong, then so are
thousands and thousands of others, whose numbers grow more and more everyday. No matter how hard I wish it weren't true, and don't want it to be so, it doesn't change a thing. I told Frank about this when I came back to the house. I told him I am in mourning for our country. I mourn the coming strife and devastation. I mourn for the children that will be caught up in unbelievable situations. I mourn. But at the same time, I am filled with gratitude for these days that we have been given and the motivation to prepare for what lies ahead.

After awhile, I caught another small, sun perch. Nice looking little fish, but again, not big enough to eat. So after it posed for this picture, it got to swim away for another day. That was it for fishing today. Maybe sometime I will actually catch something we can eat. While I was at it, the pigs gathered for another dip in the water and mud, then settled down for a nap. Lucky pigs.

While I fished and the pigs roamed around, I got a good picture of Liberty, our gilt. She tends to spend time alone away from the 'boys', although when I arrived at the pasture today, she and Lance came up from the pond together. Liberty is about five and a half months old now, so she will be breeding before long. We figure we will have our first piglets sometime in January or February. That will be an interesting experience. We will also be having kids around that time since three of our does are bred. If they took and don't come back in heat, they will all kid in January.

Since I didn't catch any fish, I lolly gagged on the way back to the house. We've been noticing butterflies all over the place lately and they were out in force this afternoon. Several of them were nice enough to pose for pictures, so I thought I would share them with you.

The time has come that we all need to be very aware of our surroundings. More so than ever before. All the preparations in the world will mean nothing if we aren't here to utilize them. The world is increasingly becoming a more dangerous place, where you may be attacked only because of your appearance. If you aren't familiar with the concept of the grey man, you need to look it up and start practicing being grey. It may save your life and the lives of those around you. Be careful and watch your back.

Until next time - Fern

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sinus Dilation & Other Stuff

Last Friday, five days ago, I had a sinus dilation procedure in the office of my ENT (ear, nose & throat doctor). For about six weeks prior to the procedure, I had terrible headaches almost everyday that nothing would help. Not nasal steroids, sinus washes, antibiotics, Tylenol, pain pills, nothing. You should really feel sorry for Frank. One, for having to put up with me and two, because I have just not been myself. I have never been one to have headaches, especially not ongoing, seemingly never ending, headaches. Am I healed? Not yet, but I am well on the way. Has this procedure taken care of my sinus problems? The verdict is still out since I still have some occasional pain from the procedure, but the never ending headache seems to be gone, for which I am truly thankful.

Until recently I had never heard of sinus dilation. Here is a site that explains what it is and how it is done. We have a neat doctor that let Frank stay with me and watch the whole thing. Some things hurt and some didn't. The doctor dilated both of my frontal sinuses and both maxillary or what I call cheek bone sinuses. He calls it bone cracking, and sometimes it sounded like that was the case. When he got to the left maxillary sinus he poked and prodded and poked and 
prodded and couldn't get in. He said something about a flap in the way, so he cut it out. I think he actually had to cut a hole to get in and when he did, a stream of white, creamy ick came out, which he expected. The CT scan they did prior to the procedure showed the left maxillary as solid instead of with any air in it. He cleaned everything out of there he could.

So now I am healing. It is still uncomfortable to bend over to do much so the garden is patiently sitting out there waiting for me, just doing it's thing all on it's own. I think the aphids are having a hey day. By next week, I hope to diminish their population greatly. We have made cheese a couple of times, it doesn't take much physical effort, I just had to concentrate more to make sure I didn't skip a step.

The new online program I am using for my contract work with the school district, which is statewide, is really taking a lot of time. Since it is new, there are many, many data fields that have to be populated for each student, and of course with school starting and families moving around, there are many new students to contend with as well as the ones that are returning. I have spent so much time on the computer today, at one point I had this picture of a ball and chain coming out of the laptop attached around my ankle. Silly, huh? It's not hard work, just time consuming. 

It's always good to use your mind to learn new things, but right now it would be more fun to research greenhouse plants for winter. Soon enough the school work will calm back down and I will do just that. Frank and I are already talking about the plants we want to experiment with over the winter. It will be exciting to be able to walk out there and harvest fresh food for the table in December or January.

Since I have been in recovery mode and busy with school work, we are behind on answering the comments and emails on the blog. Please bear with us, we will respond, it just may not be quite as timely as it has been. We really do enjoy hearing from you and appreciate the time you take to share with all of us.

I know you are watching the financial news, the news of yet more hatred and murder being splashed in our faces, the news of countries flexing their military muscles and the news of natural and man made devastation around the globe. Ponder long and hard what you need to be doing for the near and far future. We sure are. We think about it, talk about it, and pray about it every single day. 

Until next time - Fern

Monday, August 24, 2015

Daddy, I'm Hungry........

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

Folks this is not going to be a pleasant article. It's never pleasant when your neighbor calls and says there is a tornado coming straight at your house. It's never pleasant when your house is surrounded by forest fires. It's never pleasant when you get news of a loved one passing. And it's never pleasant when your four year old boy comes up and says, "Daddy, I'm hungry."

Okay. Let's talk for a minute. I'm going to ask you to read an article by Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse. His article today is just like one of many, but I like the way Michael writes, so I'm going to encourage you to read what he wrote today.

Back to that little four year old. If your neighbor called with imminent danger approaching your house, you would probably do something. Let's see, what are some things you could do? Now remember danger is imminent. Pick any scenario you want, tornado, forest fire, hurricane, death, economic collapse, civil unrest, rioting, pick any one you want. Now, you've got your phone call. Your neighbor is not some whacko, weirdo, you've known him for years and you trust him. There is danger coming directly toward your house and your family.

Here's what most people are doing right now. 

"Well, let's go out and have dinner. We will put it on our brand new credit card, and after dinner we can go shop for a brand new, big screen television. We need one more to go along with the five we already have. We'll put it in the back of our SUV." 

Is this what you would do? Is this the scenario you see your family doing when there is imminent danger?

Try this scenario. It's the day after the danger. You had dinner last night and you got your brand new big screen TV. You know, it's one inch bigger than the man's next door. You're sitting there on your couch, which is financed, by the way. Your little four year old boy walks up to you and says, "Daddy, I'm hungry." 

What are you going to tell your boy? Are you going to tell him, "I'm sorry son, but we don't have any food in the house, because Mommy doesn't need to cook. That's why we eat out every night."

"But Daddy, I'm hungry." 

"Well, son, I would go to the grocery store and buy some food, but I don't have any cash. The banks are closed and the ATMs don't work. You see, son, your daddy is a blind, fool. I have put all of my faith in a world that I cannot survive in, and son, neither can you. You see son, I didn't listen or pay attention to the warnings. They were there, but it just wasn't cool to prepare for the obvious. I'm sorry son, but you're going to have to pay the price because of my stupidity. I know your Uncle Henry has been warning us for years to at least have a little bit of food, water and cash set back. Remember all those times that Mommy and I laughed at dinner about how silly Uncle Henry was?"

"Daddy, can we go visit Uncle Henry?"

"No, son, the SUVs are both out of gas. I don't have any cash and all of the local stores are closed. We can't go visit Uncle Henry, he lives too far away to walk. Besides that son, that sound you hear that I told you were fire crackers, that's actually gun fire."

"Daddy are you going to protect us?"

"Well, no son. Your Mommy and I always thought it was a waste of money to buy one of those dangerous guns. Besides, I always needed a new set of golf clubs."

"Daddy, I'm hungry."

"Well son, you know that somebody from the government will bring us food real soon."

"Daddy, there is somebody banging on the door and screaming!"


Ladies and gentlemen, what are you going to tell your four year old? Look at what is happening in our financial world. There are people that actually believe that since that they do not have direct investments in the stock markets, that a financial collapse will have no effect upon them. How naive. When the financial system goes belly up, banks will close, trucks will quit rolling, store shelves will go empty and there will be utter chaos and devastation. Somebody please tell me how that will not affect us all.

We are on the verge of the greatest financial collapse of all times. Nobody knows for sure how it is going to play out. But if there is no food on the shelves, don't kid yourselves that everything is going to be peachy. That is a child's view.

"Well, the electricity will still be on," you say. How? How is it still going to be on? Are the workers going to drive to work with the imaginary gasoline that is not in their cars? In the last few weeks all of the world's major financial markets have dropped sharply. All of the major financial markets have their respective countries printing money out of thin air. Don't kid yourself that this can continue and have no effect upon us. It's like a heroin addict increasing their intake of heroin everyday. It is fatal. 

So, really, what are you going to tell your four year old? No joke. What are you going to tell your four year old when he looks at you and says, "Daddy, I'm hungry." And what are you going to tell him when there is somebody banging on your door? It's your choice. Most of the readers here are adults and you better pray to God that you don't have a teenage daughter, or otherwise the unthinkable is about to happen.

Read the article by Michael Snyder and then put it into an adult perspective. I'm sorry I write these things, but there is nothing pleasant about calling your neighbor and telling them a disaster is heading directly toward their house. A prudent person would already be prepared. Your time is very limited. Use it wisely.

We'll talk more later, Frank