Desert Cat's Paradise


Felis desertus

Felis desertus




"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.

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Homestead, Gardens, Small Farms, Frugal Living, and Survival

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Financial Apocalypse

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Make a 16 Brick Rocket Stove 

Ok, this is way simple: Arizona Preppers Network: How to Make a 16 Brick Rocket Stove

You get the benefits of a rocket stove with scratch-minimum outlay.

The only thing is those adobe bricks will disintegrate fairly quickly under the very high temperatures the stove produces. But they're practically free to make from clay and straw.

For a more permanent stove, buy firebricks and high temperature mortar to construct it (still not terribly costly).
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posted by Desert Cat @ 7:57 AM | permalink

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Morning Mood 



A hot summer night, fell like a net
I've gotta find my baby yet
I need you to soothe my head
Turn my blue heart to red

Chorus:
Doctor, doctor give me the news
I've got a bad case of lovin' you
No pill's gonna cure my ill
I've got a bad case of lovin' you

A pretty face don't make no pretty heart
I learned that buddy, from the start
You think I'm cute, a little bit shy
Momma, I ain't that kind of guy

(Chorus)

I know you like it, you like it on top
Tell me momma are you gonna stop

You had me down, 21 to zip
Smile of Judas on your lip
Shake my fist, knock on wood
I've got it bad and I've got it good

(Chorus)

Also:


You're the cutest thing that I ever did see.
I really love your peaches.
Want to shake your tree !

(I spent the last thirty years thinking this was a Jackson Browne song...)

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posted by Desert Cat @ 8:11 AM | permalink

Monday, September 26, 2011

False Flag Imminent? 

Some people seem to think so:

Government Officials Fleeing DC Link Rats Off A Sinking Ship

Tunnels to at least 13 underground bases being sealed off

Not saying anything except that "this is interesting".

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Edit: Something else "interesting" for those who follow these things, is that the time period of this exercise (Sept 26-29) happens to include Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets). Yes, I just saw two or three of you just sit up real straight to take notice.

Oh boy...

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posted by Desert Cat @ 9:29 PM | permalink

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Progress Pics 

I fabricated and installed the last framing beneath the doors of the shower enclosure...


...installed the nailing blocks between the studs, and applied a thick layer of waterproofing silicone caulk between the tub edge and the studs and nailing blocks...


...installed insulation between the studs of the exterior walls (after puncturing ventilation holes through the original insulation to prevent moisture being trapped...


...and installed a waterproofing black kraft paper layer over everything where the cement backerboard will go.


In other news, the solar thermal and wind-turbine driven evaporative cooling system continues to do a reasonable job of cooling the house now that the humidity levels have dropped. I still need to construct the automation controls as well as the 12 volt pump for the evap cell and the 12 volt booster fans for the hottest part of the summer.

I will probably be shifting gears back to my several alt-energy system projects as the weather cools down again.

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posted by Desert Cat @ 7:56 PM | permalink

Friday, September 23, 2011

MAJOR Silver Buy Opportunity 

The spot price for silver dropped a second day due to heavy paper silver selling pressure driven by a rumored (true) CME margin hike. This is bad news for paper silver traders, but an Incredible (!!) opportunity for those of us accumulating small amounts of physical silver when we can afford to.

This is a no-brainer easy 25% off sale. Buy while the buying is this good.

-------------------------

Update:

*tink-tink-tink-tink-tink*
Silver Eagles are selling on eBay today for about a 20% premium* over spot in lots of 5, which is a tad high but not too far from what I've historically seen for this coin (17% a year ago).

There are many more where these came from.

It's a darn shame I have no means to buy this week.

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*note for those unfamiliar with this market, there is always a premium for small denomination coin and bullion over the spot market price for sliver. The reason is that the spot price is set based upon large, heavy bars of silver. The premium reflects the extra value created from minting the silver into small denomination coin and bullion. Different coins carry a different premium, and it helps to know what the typical premium for a given coin is in order to calculate whether the price you're seeing is reasonable. I would try to limit the premium to 10% over spot when buying "junk" silver, that is, pre-1964 American silver coinage. You can usually see eBay auctions ending in this range. Different silver bullion products carry a different premium for various reasons. American Eagles seem to have a higher premium, but what you pay on the purchase side will usually be the same you receive back when/if you sell the coin later on eBay, so it's not a big deal.

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Oh and Karl? Lick me! Debt that cannot be paid back, will not be paid back. Money that is debt that is defaulted upon is functionally the same as money that is "printed", however far down the road the can is kicked before the default eventually happens.

This is one of your Giant Blind Spots. To the degree that some see commodities as an "investment", you are correct. They are not. They are speculative gambits. However a whole lot of other people see precious metals as a simple store of value. You yourself cannot see any good place to deploy your capital in the current economic conditions and regulatory regime. Gold and silver are just fine as capital storehouses until opportunities begin to present themselves again. They are also far superior to fiat as a savings vehicle for future procurement of basic necessities during a hyperinflationary period.

However when the dollar sees a sudden surge in value due to transient events in the stock markets and a *simultaneous* transient event in the PM markets, only a blinkered fool would scoff at the opportunity presented. Talk to me again in a few weeks when silver is back up to $40/oz, k? As they say, BTFD!

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posted by Desert Cat @ 5:14 PM | permalink

Natural Diabetes Help 

I stumbled into some new homesteading blogs via a site that Phelan of "Homesteading Neophyte" co-blogs at, and on one of them I came across this post regarding natural blood sugar control remedies:

The Back Forty: Greening My Blood Sugars

Posted here for perusal and future reference.

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posted by Desert Cat @ 1:54 PM | permalink

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Buying Opportunity Developing In Silver 

24-hour Spot Chart - Silver

Because of the weirdness of how paper silver is linked with the dollar and other currencies, there is a buying opportunity opening up for physical silver. Prices are below $36 at this hour.

I don't have spare funds until next week, so I'm chomping at the bit just a little...
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posted by Desert Cat @ 12:55 PM | permalink

The Smell Of September 2008 In The Air 

As usual, ZeroHedge has coverage no one else will touch.

I mean yeah, there have been so many creaks and rumblings as the Titanic has continued to slip beneath the waves these last two years, that it is almost background noise now. However, the Fed's announcement yesterday and subsequent events since then, have a more ominous deep crushing sound to them than I've heard in a while.

In summary, the Fed basically admitted that we're still in deep deep shit and the markets reacted accordingly. Simultaneously BAC's rating was downgraded, and events in the CDS markets indicate a deepening skepticism regarding sovereign debt across multiple nations. As one wag at ZeroHedge put it, "contagion" has been upgraded to "gangrene".

Hold onto your hats, cats! And keep prepping while the sun still shines on your personal situation.

Don't do this, whatever you do:


-----------------------------------------
Update: There is this too--Lloyds of London, without warning, withdrew all of its money from European banks. If this firm, which has for 323 years made its living by accurately calculating the odds of future disasters, suddenly backs completely out of an entire sector, that ought to be a screaming 100-foot high red neon DANGER sign.

-----------------------------------------
Update again: Here is a little number for Benny and the Helicopters

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posted by Desert Cat @ 10:05 AM | permalink

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Earworm 

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posted by Desert Cat @ 10:57 AM | permalink

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apartment Hunting 

We looked at apartments this last week.

"This one is a fixer-upper Huzz-Bin! Look, no front wall! No way."


"What a mess! When did they last repaint?

"Ah, well about 1200 AD actually..."

"Nice neighborhood, but the units are kind of small..."


"Low doorway. Who lived here? Pygmies?"


"So when it rains in my kitchen, what do I do? Wear this poncho?"


"Here comes the rain again..."


"Ooh! Look at this place! It's a big complex...

...with amenities! See the community center...

...and the ball court..."

"It's got multi-story units."

"They still have to put on a new roof before I'll even consider it"

Oh give me a home
Where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play...

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posted by Desert Cat @ 10:19 PM | permalink

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Progress Pics 

This weekend the humidity is finally low enough for evap cooling to be viable. So I opened the vent to the tower...

...turned on the water to the cooling cell pads...

...and watched the system keep the house about 15 degrees cooler than outdoors as the temps climbed toward 90 degrees.

In other words, it works!

As I noted a couple weeks ago, I was only here today, having returned from the mountains yesterday afternoon. I did get one of my garden beds turned over.

I might have done more but I spent part of the afternoon diagnosing and repairing a stuck float needle valve on the tiller's carburetor. I was tempted to grumble about this, but I reminded myself that I had no particular agenda for today except to check on the cats and give them some attention before returning to work tomorrow. This afforded me the opportunity to become more familiar with the tiller engine and the fuel system in particular. The fuel had evaporated in the float bowl and residue on the needle valve kept it stuck in the closed position. Disassembly and cleaning was all it needed. It ran fine after I reassembled it.

Meanwhile Momcat's greenhouse is progressing nicely.

She bemoans the fact that age and infirmity limit how much she is able to accomplish each day, but she gets far more done than 90% of women her age, healthy or otherwise.

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posted by Desert Cat @ 9:47 PM | permalink

Friday, September 09, 2011

Trapped 

I am supposed to be in town right now and heading out for our trip up the mountains tomorrow morning. I didn't make it past the last big wash on the road out before it crested with a flash flood coming down out of Oracle. The storm was brewing, and the nature of the storm told me there was a good chance the road would be in trouble, so I scrambled to get myself ready to go.

Ten minutes earlier, and I would have had no problem.

I saw water gushing across the road in places where I had no idea a wash existed, and the second to the last one I crossed heading out nearly swamped me (4x4 notwithstanding--there's only so much good that does when the water washes up over the hood as you hit an unexpected dip below the running water...). So when I came upon this last one, I knew there was no crossing it tonight.

I met a couple more of my neighbors as a result. There was quite a lineup of us on either side of the torrent by the time I left, watching and waiting. According to the old coot who showed up behind me first, that wash would not recede probably for many hours. He figured we were stuck there for the night, since the washes behind us were also going strong. He said we might as well have a party, asked me if I had any musical instruments, and told me he had a bottle of sake he was breaking out. I had a sip for the sake of cordiality.

You folks think you know real characters from Hollywood characters I'll bet? Nope, you'd mistake this one. This guy was right out of an old west movie set, except he was the real thing. Huge full beard, floppy hat, overalls and boots, even the voice was right. Think "old timey gold prospector" stereotype, and you have it.

And he's one of my neighbors.

I had to back up once as the waters rose.

The high water mark was up near where I stopped, and then it went back down a little ways. At first I thought the crest had passed and was going to diminish shortly. But Old Coot said that wasn't the case. What happened was that the wash finally dug itself a gully, a brand new channel across the road and was riding down in there now, so it just looked like the waters had receded.

He was right. The road was no more, and where it had been, the wash had carved a three or four foot deep gully maybe twenty feet wide, moving swiftly enough to sweep away even full size pickup trucks. A young ranch hand came up in his 4WD full size lifted truck, and even he wasn't going to try to shoot that crossing yet. From what I've seen of the aftermath of this type of flood, the banks on that new channel are nearly vertical right now. The water would have to recede before even high clearance 4WD could make their way across it. Once a few big trucks claw their way up the banks, that will make it possible for lesser vehicles to do the crossing. This being Friday evening, the chances of the County getting out here and cleaning up the mess before Monday is pretty slim.


My gut told me that the washes between here and home were going to be crossable. After waiting a while I turned around and headed home. So now I'm here for the night. Power was out for several hours also, but came on about an hour ago.

I am hoping for crossable conditions by morning, but there is still a vast swath of rain showing on the radar.

We shall see...

Update: One of the features of our weather radar is a screen that shows estimated rainfall (based on the echo density over time). There is an area stretching from Green Valley toward Patagonia that appears to have received up to five inches of rain this evening! That is a big deal for a region that averages 12 inches per year! There's got to be some massive flash flooding going on over there.
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Update final:
Here is what the wash looked like the next morning:


Where I am parked, the water would have been up to the headlights, and as you can see, the wash was still deeper by at least a couple feet at the low point.

This is the channel behind where I'm parked. It was probably four feet deep at the center.

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posted by Desert Cat @ 7:21 PM | permalink

Monday, September 05, 2011

Progress Pics 

"Desert Cat, why is it taking you all month to frame up a simple shower surround wall?"


Because there are ten thousand fiddly cuts to make in order to provide nailing surfaces on the inside *and* outside corners of an eight-sided shape, that's why! Every inside corner and outside corner requires a piece of wood on both sides of said corner to securely fasten the sheetrock (outside) or cement backer board (inside). Also the tops and bottoms of each facet, inside and out.

Take a look at this series of images and try to get a feel for how many individual pieces of wood there are, and how many of them include angled cuts, or are ripped narrower than a standard 2x4.



(hint: most of them).

I could not have done this without my table saw. Not practically.

There is definitely more wood there after this weekend's efforts.

I know where I will be going during an earthquake or storm. This thing is going to be rock solid by the time I'm done.


And I am still not yet done. Here is a layout for the section of wall that goes under the tub at the door openings.


I also have yet to provide the required nailing surfaces along the bottom of the inside facets.


I expected to be further along by the end of the weekend, cutting and attaching these cement backer boards to the inside surfaces.


I will be on a hiatus for the next two weekends. I will be here briefly, but only to check on the cats. We are going on our semi-annual trip Somewhere Else (TM), to wander about taking pictures of trees and rocks and weeds and shiat.

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posted by Desert Cat @ 10:25 PM | permalink

Sunday, September 04, 2011

RICO Case Brought Against JP Morgan/Chase 

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posted by Desert Cat @ 7:58 AM | permalink

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tax The Poor 

They are not paying their fair share, and there is no way to balance the budget solely on the backs of the so-called "rich". A 100% tax on all income over $1 million would not come close to filling the budget gap:

Appeal To Emotions When You Lose On Facts in [Market-Ticker]

You want all these Federal programs? You ready to see it taken out of YOUR paycheck to pay for it?
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posted by Desert Cat @ 9:05 PM | permalink





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