Mostly wedding stuff

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

A lovely day here in heavily armed western Montana. Its sunny, occasional cloud cover, and about 45 degrees or so. In short, too nice a day to be indoors in front of a compouter. But…the apocalypse beckons and we do what we must.

I’ve pretty much finished the big shelving project for the bunker. I went with the steel wire shelving for versatility and modularity. I’ve now completely shelved the perimeter of the the available space with racks of shelving. The next step, naturally, is to organize that which is upon the shelves. But its looking good…less clutter and more organization. Once that’s done and over with I can start doing a far more comprehensive inventory than what I have been keeping.


The wedding is less than two months away and people have been making contributions to the Fifty Fund. While I appreciate all of them, I need to get working on the thank you emails and will, I hope, have it taken care of soon. In the meantime, theres still about two months to go and if you want to get happy couple the security and peace of mind afforded by owning an anti-material rifle you can do so here. If theres enough donations, and enough time to get it, before the actual wedding we’ll have it sitting on the gift table at the reception. But that’s still a good deal down the road.


Speaking of the Fifty Fund, its interesting that the donors can be broken down into three groups:

1)     People who donate and then email “Dude, that’s so cool. My girlfriend would never let me do that. Heres a donation just for having such a cool idea.”

2)     The hardcore gunnies and LMI who may have never met me or the girlfriend but know us from various parts of the internet and want to do something nice for us for the wedding.

3)     People we know IRL who know that it isn’t just a novelty act – we really want a .50


Continuing with more wedding info, the invites went out last week and the RSVPs have started to trickle in. It should be an interesting event. Attendees are encouraged to be armed (I certainly will be) and because of the preponderance of firearms there’ll not be any booze served. That reminds me…went to get fitted at the local tux store. The gal behind the counter was a bit puzzled when I asked about making sure the jacket would fit properly over a shulder holster. Standing there in the outfit with the shoulder holster on was definitely a James Bond moment. Although , as far as I know, Bond never carried a Glock and I’m not a humongous fan of the Walther.

Whiter teeth and fresh breath and sale purchasing

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

A nice score today. Namebrand toothpaste normally $1.52 per tube, on sale at $0.50. Wouldnt you have picked up a dozen at that price also? So..normally $18.24..but today, a mere $6. Its like putting twelve bucks in your pocket, dude!

I love these little opportunities. Its one more thing I can stick on the shelf and be done with buying for, you know, a year or two. Heck, before the girlfriend moved in I had about two years to go on my stash of toilet paper. Hadnt bought rice in about six years. And theres dozens of things that we have in sufficient quantity that we can go a year or two between having to purchase. The advantage? It gives me the breathing space to wait until something is on sale and then I can buy at the best price. This, naturally, amounts to saving money which is always a good idea. Hell man, the toothpaste was, essentially, three for the price of one.

Clipping coupons and reading store sales circulars is probably the least glamorous aspect of preparedness but I find it so satisfying to look at the receipt and see “Total: $6.00, You Saved $12.24″.

Signs of the times, Gamma Seals, food storage

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Signs of the times……

Customer comes into the shop the other day and asks me where the gold/silver dealer in town is. He heads over there and comes back with a sack full of pre-1964 silver coinage.

Another customer comes by and takes a dozen #10 cans of Mountain House off my hands.

Another customer comes by and wants to stock up on AR-15 magazines.

Ah, the natives are restless, my friends.

That reminds me, I put in an order for the Gamma Seal bucket lids last week and they arrived today. I need a bunch for myself but to get the good deal I needed to get a few dozen…so, I’ll have a post about it up in the next day or two and if anyone wants them at a good price, that option will be available.

Someone asked in comments about food storage. Not really sure what exactly the question is, and Im sure Ive covered this somewhere but I’ll post it again…

For me, food storage is in several layers:

Daily use – this is the stuff in the cabinets and cupboards in the kitchen. It isn’t long-term food (unless that’s the only way the particular food product is available) and is usually used up within a couple weeks. There is probably enough food there to last at least several weeks. Might get boring after a while, but you wont go hungry.

Pantry storage – this is the same as the Daily Use stuff but only items that have a longer shelf life. Its basically a bulk repository of Daily Use things. For example, I may keep three or four jars of pickles in the kitchen cabinets for day-to-day use. Pantry Storage is where the extra four cases reside. Same for things like canned soup…a dozen cans in the cupboards and a couple cases in storage. The kitchen is resupplied from this stockpile and whatever is removed is replaced when economically feasible. This way stuff gets rotated. If the supermarkets were to close tomorrow, this is where the food would be coming from.

Long term storage – this is where the MRE’s, freezedrieds and bulk things like corn, wheat and rice are stored. The MRE’s (a couple months worth) are for those wonderful times when a functioning kitchen just isn’t in the cards or for when its time to go, go, go. The freezedrieds are nice for their ‘put it away and forget it’ convenience. This is mostly food that doesn’t need to be rotated for quite a while.

Added up, the whole thing, for two people, works out to about a year. I normally don’t inventory the things in the kitchen so I cant really say how much food is there but its easily a couple weeks if you don’t mind eating from a limited menu. I do keep track of the other stuff though and know that theres about a years worth of foodstuffs, probably more if one were careful in their consumption. Those figures also do not take into account any last-minute purchases. (The kind where you see the writing on the wall and run down to the supermarket and snag as much as you can before everyone else.)

Im a huge fan of canned goods but they’re heavy and best suited for staying in one place. I keep the MRE’s and freezedrieds so we can have a portable food supply if we had to leave in a hurry. As far as canned goods go, I buy them by the case if I can and note the date of purchase on the lid of each can. It all gets stored on steel wire shelving well off the floor and away from heat sources (pipes, ductwork, etc) or cold sources (vents, windows, etc). The classic ‘store in a cool, dry, dark place’ is the goal.

The bulk stuff (corn, wheat, rice) either goes in 15-gallon blue barrels, or goes into a mylar bag and then into a 5-gallon bucket. Rarely, some foods will get vacuum sealed and then stored in the buckets. For example, the 30# of orzo I recently picked up was packaged in a cardboard box – probably the worst container for long term storage. I weighed the stuff out in 5# increments, vacuum sealed the 5# into a nice modular brick shape (do this buy putting the bag in a cardboard container like a cereal box and then draw the vacuum) and tucked it away in one of the ubiquitous 5-gallon buckets.

So, maybe that answers the question. Maybe not.




Food shopping

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I had to head over to the other side of town to pick up some clamps at Home Depot for a carpentry project. (Im building some shelving units for a friends reloading bench). Since CostCo and SuperWallyWorld are fairly close to each other I figured I’d do a walk though and do some price comparisons.

WallyWorld wins on grape juice and canned vegetables. CostCo wins on Chicken broth, canned fruit, and apple sauce. Differences were kinda niggling….seventeen cents a can on vegetables, that sort of thing. But when youre buying a case of 24 at a time, it can add up. And, with the economy looking grim, every penny helps, y’know?

I enjoy going through these warehouse food stores because I love the bulk packaging. I also appreciate the things you dont find in every store. One item I found today that Im somewhat excited about is Welch’s grape juice concentrate. I loves me grape juice. Normally, you buy frozen concentrate and leave it at that. Here, however, we have room temperateure Welch’s grape juice concentrate packed in, essentially, a pop can. Makes 48 oz. with an average cost of $0.03 per oz. Thats 25% cheaper than any other form of Welch’s. Plust the room temperature thing is nice too. Shelf life is about a year, so I’ll pick up a dozen later this week.

Speaking of shelf life, ain’t technology grand? I was in CostCo and they had the chick there doing the food samples. Product in question was hash brown potatoes from dried. Reconstitute them for a half hour in hot water and fry ‘em up. They were damn good. So I wander down the aisle and find them. Hmmm…no expiration date. Wonder what the shelf life is. Flip the package over, find the company’s toll free number and whip out the cell phone. Got my answer and made a note to buy these things on my next trip. (One year shelf life, by the way, but I expect that with proper storage it should be at least several times that.

At t his rate, my post apocalyptic breakfasts are going to be better than the breakfasts Im having now – corned beef hash, hash browns, scrambled eggs, grits, oatmeal and orange drink. Hell, I dont eat that well when there isn’t a crisis.

Also found vacuum sealed packages of Italian risotto which I may have to try. As I understand it, risotto is a laborious project in the kitchen requiring much attention but it looks like an excellent meal with a shelf life that appeals to me.

.22 ammo came down a bit. Last check at WallyWorld it was $12.50. Girlfriend picked some more up the other day and said it was about a buck below that. Still….signs of the times, man.

Economy musings

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I am very curious to see where all this economic doom-n-gloom winds up. Theres no shortage of opinion and conjecture out there. You’ve people saying that this is the slide into economic disaster of unprecedented magnitude, and you have others saying that this isn’t as bad as the media makes it out to be.

Fun thing about economies is that it seems like you dont need facts, you can have the facts make themselves. For example, a bank may be 100% solvent, but if you start a good enough rumour that it isnt then people start pulling out money and the bank collapses – self-fulfilling prophecy. I wonder how much of that is going on right now. People say the economy is tanking because of [reason], so people put thier money elsewhere and as a result the economy does, in fact, take a hit. Im sure the Bilderberger Trilateral Zionist Illuminati UN Freemason CFR Vatican conspiracy theorists believe that this is all the work of one person out to destroy the economy.

Or, it could just be the normal and fairly predicatble result of years of unsound fiscal policy and practices.

Whats it mean to me? I have almost no investments, I dont carry any debt other than a fixed rate mortgage,  and I sure dont have thousands of dollars in the bank depreciating. On the other hand, I need gasoline, food, electricity and other consumer goods just as much as the next guy. (Well, maybe not quite as much.) Fuel prices will go up, food prices will go up, purchasing power goes down, etc, etc.

These are going to be interesting times to look back on. Im curious to see how it ends, who the winners and losers will be, and what things will look like once all the dust settles. I predict larger .gov involvement in finance and economic matters as well as some sort of new .gov agency dedicated to ‘helping homeowners’. No problem so bad that a new .gov agency can’t make it worse.

Economy, food, bicycles

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Cooking dinner last night, the girlfriend pulled a can of corn out of the kitchen cabinet and remarked that it was the last one. My reply, naturally, was “No its not, theres another dozen or so stocked away. I’ll pull a half dozen bring them to the kitchen, and when it goes on sale I’ll resupply our stocks.”

See, that’s why I buy things the way I do. We use something up, replenish it from our stored supply, and when it goes on sale we restock that supply. In the meantime, theres still plenty on hand in case things go south in a hurry.

Speaking of food, the folks from HippieMart called. They did shoot me a price on dehydrated whole milk. Surprisingly, the source is local. Really local. Like six blocks from here local. So Im going to wander down there later next week and find out if I can have a sample of their product and get some information…specifically, what kinda packaging.


The big news today was that gold briefly broke the $1000 mark, the Dollar Index briefly dropped below 72, and oil hit $110 a barrel.

Whats this mean to me? It means that I expect fuel prices to continue with the attendant increases in goods because of increased shipping costs, foreign goods (like gun parts) will go up in price (American dollar price, that is), and its apparent that people are continuing to lose confidence in the economy.

The short version? Prices go up, prices of foreign goods go up, your dollar buys less, people are going to start circling the wagons soon and its gonna be a tough time to be selling luxury goods. On the other hand, if you’re situated fairly well this may be a good time snag yourself bargains on things you’ve been wanting.


Spring is in full swing here in Montana, which means that its 60 degrees one day, 35 the next, and the nights are always about 30 or less. In short, it’s the beginning of bicycle season. And, hey, at $3.10 a gallon why wouldn’t you find alternate transportation when your work is only nine blocks away. I purchased a mountain bike about five years ago for $500. At the time I thought it was an outrageous sum for anything that didn’t have a motor or a trigger. However, in retrospect, you get what you pay for and other than the occasional over-the-handlebars chain issue the bike has served me quite well. If you don’t have a quality mountain bike I urge you to acquire one.


Food inflation

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Doom n’ Gloom Patrol:

A couple articles I came across while perusing the interweb. First one is about the increase in food prices. The article says that there is no one reason, but rather that a variety of reasons happening all at once are responsible. Whats interesting is that its more than a ‘prepare to pay more’ article. It examines one of the repercussions which is that with more of a person’s income going towards food their disposable income is reduced and that could have economic repercussions as well.

According to the article, eggs are up as much as 30% and chicken by 10%. This mates nicely with the letter I got from Mountain House saying that dairy prices were pushing the prices of their freezedried foods up this year. Im glad I did the group buys last year and got a goodly amount of the stuff before the prices went up.

Reasons for the increases vary from climatic issues (A flood here, a drought there), the demand for biofuel (and I saw that one coming a mile away), etc, etc. The upshot is that its costing more to fill your belly while its costing more to fill your tank.

While I have seen some increases locally (and believe me, I keep track of this sort of thing) its not been too bad because I usually buy in bulk, buy on sale and use coupons. Plus, the deep freeze makes a big difference. I think theres about 30# of chicken tucked away right now at last years (and the year befores) prices. (In addition to the stuff in the freezer, theres also a pretty healthy quantity of freeze-dried chicken and dehydrated eggs. As Ive said before, I am NOT going through the apocalypse as a vegetarian.)

The lesson here is that a) its not just you, prices are indeed going up and b) the smart thing to do, if you can, is buy now for later use.

Next article up is about inflation, hyperinflation and the hows and whys. Again, it doesn’t really say much that you cant figure out on your own – as a currency devalues theres a rush to spend it on things that will keep their value as the money devalues – but its still an interesting read. Theres the classic stories about workers in the Weimar getting paid twice a day to keep up with the galloping inflation, wheelbarrows of money, buying anything you can before your money becomes worthless, etc. Interesting stuff.


Put another set of shelving in the bunker the other night. Its starting to get a bit more organized but its still kinda cluttered. Nonetheless, it still gives me a case of the warm fuzzies to sit amongst my gear and supplies and think “Damn, I could live a long time just offa whats in here”.

I’ve been dragging my feet on taking an inventory of things because its just such a bloody tedious project. But, with the elections looming, I need to make informed purchasing decisions and I cant do that if I don’t know what I already have and what I need. So…I’ll draft the girlfriend, give her a clipboard and have her give me a hand. Good experience for her, too….I think that while she has some idea of what we have theres a goodly amount of stuff she may not be aware of. More than once we’ve gone somewhere and I’ll produce a piece of gear and she’ll say “Where’d you get that?” and I’ll reply “From the bunker. We’ve got like ten of them.”



Stock arrival, gun show

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The spare G3 stock sets I ordered from Cheaper Than Dirt arrived the other day. A little scratched up here and there but, dammit, that’s just character showing through. Heres what I got for $9.99:

  • 1 Forend
  • 1 Forend pin
  • 1 Pistol grip
  • 1 Buttstock with recoil spring assy.
  • 1 Buttstock pin

And they slipped in a leather sling as well. So, I spent some time with the Dremel tool fitting them to the thicker barrel of the PTR and now they fit fine. Snug, but fine.

One set went to one of the LMI because, honestly, I like being able to give little gifts like that but also because he could stand to have a spare stock set in case anything happens to his OEM set. Or, if he just wants to get creative and make up a desert or winter camo set.

Gun show this weekend in Hamilton! Picked up a few goodies that I’ll recount later but for now Im just happy to have gotten a *very* good deal on  a bunch of AR mags. Damn but I love me gun shows. Theres a couple military surplus dealers there so you never know whats gonna come home and wind up on a chelf in the bunker.

New military rations unveiled

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

New rations supposedly in the field within the next few weeks.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Don Egolf remembers what Army chow looked like when he served in Germany in World War II: a tin of scrambled eggs and bacon bits that he pried open with a tiny can opener.

On Wednesday at the Pentagon the 102nd Infantry Division vet pocketed one of those irksome little openers, the P-38, as a souvenir. Then he dug into the latest in combat cuisine, a plate of blackened catfish, teriyaki chicken, little french toast squares and pumpkin cake – no opener needed.

The Army offered up samples of the food as it rolled out its newest innovation – special packets of easy-to-eat, high-nutrition, high-calorie foods designed for mobile forces. The chow, mostly bagged finger-type foods that soldiers can just tear open and eat on the run, will be available in the field next month.

That’s not the way it was in his day, Egolf noted.

Man, I remember one of the first MRE’s I ever saw. It was around 1985. I distinctly recall a brillo-pad looking object that, I am told, was a freezedried hamburger patty.

The meals have substantially improved since then.

For reference’s sake, probably the best source for info on MRE’s is, unsurprisingly, I am fascinated by the MRE’s from other countries. I would like to try the Italian and French MRE’s, and I feel sorry as hell for the Russians. The Brit MRE’s might be good but if its anything like British cooking……