Augason Farms 48-hour emergency food supply review – the beginning

Okay, so this morning we opened the tub.

And immediately encountered our first snag. The tub bills itself as 48 hours of food for four people, and that’s the way it’s packaged. Not 192 hours of food for one person.

Tub contents are sealed packages of dried food-like substance, quantities as follows:

1 Cheese Powder
2 Elbow Macaroni
1 Creamy Potato Soup
2 Creamy Chicken Rice
1 Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal
1 Buttermilk Pancakes

The instructions on each packet aren’t conducive to my original plan. Each packet is expected to produce at most a single meal – for four people. So there are two meals of chicken rice, one meal of potato soup, one of pancakes, one of oatmeal, and one of macaroni and cheese. Three group meals a day for two days. Makes sense, unless you live alone and without refrigeration. Not convinced I’ll be able to comfortably eke this out for eight days.

Fortunately I have plastic snack bags. Let’s see what happens if I divide one of these packets into four portions. Since it’s morning, we’ll start with the oatmeal… Continue reading

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Useful/fun care packages, and also announcing a new review series.

Look what Big Brother sent me…

Two tubs of this Augason Farms emergency storage food, promising 48 hours worth of food for four people – or eight days for one person?

We Shall See. Tomorrow morning the tub gets unsealed. I will suffer for my art but I won’t collect scars for it if I don’t have to, so I don’t promise to go the whole eight days if the contents are just inedibly horrible. But if they’re not, Uncle Joel is going on an eight-day diet consisting of nothing but that stuff. Starting tomorrow, since today got off to a very weird start and the weirdness hasn’t actually slacked off much yet. I’m having chicken issues this morning.

Here’s something that will prove very useful and possibly career-saving…

Generous Reader Terrapod sent eight of these adhesive traction strips for the boardwalk below the porch, which recently dumped me on my ass when it was wet and slippery. I stuck one to a stair tread just to see if the adhesive works better than that on my usual skateboard tape…

…and – perhaps unfortunately – it really does. Now I have to get it off somehow because I really wanted it on the boardwalk. Or maybe there’s enough for both, I guess we’ll see. With the skateboard tape I usually just use roofing nails because that adhesive doesn’t work well on weathered 2X4s.

Landlady found a terrific sale on pork at Costco, already sliced into porkchop-like bricks. So we’re officially in winter prep mode!

And also in bedroom-decorating mode, it seems. Last month Ian gave me all four in his set of “Secret Weapons of WWI” posters, and this month I forked over the money for two frames.


I always enjoy Care Package Day. There’s rarely any telling what’s coming out of those boxes in the back of Landlady’s car.

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See, this is why Socialism is good.

Under socialism, no matter how bad things might get due to the machinations of the Looters and Wreckers and External Enemiestm, our beloved masters will still be okay. They’ll do great, in fact. And that’s good, right? Because they’re so selfless and we love them so very very much.

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If the Great Computer in the Sky will allow me to post this…

Yes. It was 5:30 in the blessed AM and I was baking bread.

Why, you ask? What sane person would be doing that at such a time, when all good little boys and girls should be warm in their beds? Well, it had something to do with…

this little shithead, who was apparently wide awake (at 4:30 in the blessed AM) and waiting for me to show the slightest sign of consciousness so he could climb as far onto the bed as possible given his physical abnormalities and share with me the joys of his night terrors or whatever the hell was going on in his tiny dysfunctional brain. He was frantic, whatever the reason.

In his defense, he did have to pee. But don’t we all first thing in the morning, and he doesn’t usually need to wake me at omigod:thirty to deal with the problem.

I dunno – maybe he just had a big drink of water before I closed the bedroom door for the night. We’re still getting used to each other. But this clamor first time I stir in the morning is going to get old. He’s liable to find himself exiled from the bedroom if it becomes a regular thing.

ETA: Okay, so not all bad. 7:45 and the bread’s done and the dishes are washed, and all before breakfast. Good boy, Laddie.


ETA Again: 8:05 and Dharma came to visit. Laddie likes Dharma – actually safe to say Laddie adores Dharma, quite past the point of forgetting that I or any of my wishes exist – but only on neutral ground. In HIS lair, he devotes himself to keeping her away from his stuff, which absolutely includes me.


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(tap tap) This thing on?

Yeah, okay, the host has been having big server problems for some time, obviously. I’m told they’re on it, and also to expect more outages until the issue is resolved. Kind of figured that last bit out for myself and I’m not even a computer guy. Boy, I need to record that big asterisk on this month’s pageview stats.

I actually do have a couple of posts going but they require my turning the laptop on and sitting down to do them and I’m baking bread right now. Also I will get halfway through composing the first one just as the server takes another dump, and that will be time-consuming and frustrating.

So bear with us: we’re not gone, just experiencing technical difficulties.

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Back to the cattle waterer…

…goes the game camera. Left it there for two days, and…

That’s all that happened. I guess I should be happy there were birds this time.

Boy, that place jumped last winter. Now it’s dead as disco. But I know it can’t always be that way, earlier in the week I saw fresh deer tracks. So as long as the cattle stay away or until I need it somewhere else I’m going to leave the camera there, and we’ll see who wanders by thirsty.

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Private to the person…

Who sent that maple syrup some months ago…

Yum. Just saying.

I don’t actually make pancakes very often because it’s a large hassle factor for one guy. Hassle factor is the principal reason for my usual breakfast of Spammo Classico. But sometimes, when you’re in possession of kick-ass syrup, you just gotta.


PS: Laddie (Plate Licker) The Dog also asked me to say thanks.

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That’s sexist.



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Diane Feinstein touched me inappropriately!

There, I said it.

It was sometime back when I was in grammar school, I think. Can’t quite recall. Other people saw it, though. Two people, or maybe four.

But I said it, so it must be true. When’s her trial? No, I won’t testify – you should have the FBI investigate the charge instead.

(snicker) Yeah, that’ll happen. But strangely it’s national news when one political party favored by the press does it to another political party. And those of us they purport to rule just sit back, roll our eyes, and get on with our lives.

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One more coat, I think…

I spent the whole of yesterday morning going to town and schlepping hay with D&L, so never got back to the back door. First thing this morning after chicken chores I gave it a light sanding and a third coat of urethane…

And while I was in painting mode I stirred up what’s left of the green housepaint and hit the woodshed…

…and – after one more good scrape – the solar panel rack.

I’m going to give the door a final coat this afternoon. And after that I will be done painting!

Oh, I like the sound of that. DONE PAINTING! Yeah, it sounds even better loud.

Actually since I still have some of that green paint and it probably won’t survive the winter, a really scrupulous man would give the panel rack one more good thick coat. Maybe I’ll look around and see if I can find such a man.

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The babies are doing well…

…after their first night out of the cage. Actually I suspect they may have overnighted in the cage, since there were two or three in it when I visited this morning. But mostly they’re out and about.

Like any flightless young flock birds they crowd together when they feel threatened, so I was encouraged to see them pretty much spread out when I arrived. They avoid the hens, I’m sure they’ve been pecked at if they get too close, but the hens aren’t terrorizing them.

I’m still filling their feeder with starter crumbles inside the cage, which is still propped slightly open so pullets can get in but hens would have a problem. Probably keep doing that until I’m out of the chick feed, by which time I hope to see them eating pellets out of the main feeder. If not I might have to get a sack of layer crumbles just so they get used to using that feeder. But I doubt it’ll go that long, it never has before.

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There’s another bird in the woodstove…

😀 And it’s fluttering around in there driving Laddie batshit crazy.


ETA: I opened the door, it flew out, and Laddie caught it! Wonder if that’s his first vertebrate kill?

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Free the Chickenhouse Fourteen!

Sorry, guys. The Official TUAK IT Department had a major server crash, they’ve got expensive servers lying everywhere, dramatically holding their knees and groaning and wailing about Worker’s Comp. All these trays and broken champagne flutes everywhere…it’s a mess, but we’re trying to clean it up. I really don’t understand why IT needs so many servers anyway, can’t they get off their asses and go to the fridge themselves? Also – champagne? I don’t even think the BBC does that anymore. We’re going to have such a staff meeting Friday.

The morning got off to a very poor start in more ways than that. I’m afraid I may have given Laddie PTSD flashbacks. At a few minutes past 4 ayem I was jolted awake by phantom pain, hardly the first time that has happened, but it was sudden and sharp and went on for quite a while and I’m afraid I may have vocalized a bit. Indeed I may have emitted high-pitched whimper-like sounds. In, you know, an extremely manly fashion. Normally this has no bad effect but in this case I suddenly found myself with an armful of frantic Corgi desperate for reassurance. He usually wants to be be petted first thing when I start stirring around but this was way beyond that. He flung himself at me, as well as that can be done with a Corgi’s physical shortcomings, obviously terribly unhappy.

It occurred to me at the time that his principal human died in great pain of colon cancer and may well have started more than one morning just that way – and that didn’t end well for Laddie. He wanted me to stop that right now.

Since I was up way before morning light, that settled the question of whether I should go to Landlady’s first thing and open the cage door for the new pullets. Which is just what I did. I figured I’d sneak into the chickenhouse and prop the door slightly open so the pullets could start transitioning to general population while everybody was waking up. Didn’t know for sure if that would avoid trouble but I’ve worked up quite a case of nerves since this procedure has gone very very wrong in the past.

I propped the cage door slightly ajar so the pullets could get in and out but a violent hen would have trouble following one into the cage. Turns out it apparently wasn’t necessary. I did my usual morning visit around seven, and all was going quite well.

In fact one of the pullets was taking a long and luxurious dust bath in the middle of the room, apparently without a care in the world, with a perplexed-looking hen hovering over her.

So far I guess it’s going well.

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Decided to go with varnish…

Exterior urethane, really. Couldn’t decide on a third color for the back door and finally decided I liked it the way it was, except the original varnish was pretty much gone.

So first thing this morning I sanded down the outside surface, which took the door pretty much down to bare wood. Then over the course of the day I hit it with two coats…

…but that surface veneer sucked up so much of the first coat things won’t end there. No way two coats are going to do it. I’ll leave the doorknob off overnight since I don’t need it to lock the door, then give it another two coats tomorrow.

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Could the east coast really be suffering under Hurricane Hillary?

Hey, it was supposed to be this great invincible thing, but it fizzled at the last minute – and now it just hangs around raining on everybody unbearably and seemingly forever.

If it publishes a ghost-written book or three about whose fault it is that it’s not a cat-5 hurricane, I’ll be sure.

Thanks, you’re beautiful, I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip the veal and try the waitresses.


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Ian has a new “worst gun in the world.”

Yeah, it’s tough competition. The Cobray Terminator is still pretty damned bad, and probably remains the worst shotgun.

But in Ian’s revised opinion, the overall champion Worst Gun in the World may well be the USFA Zip .22. It’s not only a piece of plastic shit that doesn’t work, it managed to bring down an otherwise reputable gunmaker.

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Oh, this one is precious.

I can’t wait to see what this noose is made of, and how far it drops. Can I put my neck in it now? Please?

From: Col. John R. Oxford, Jr.

Hello, this is John R. Oxford, Jr. of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), USAF base Afghanistan.

It will interest you to know that I have putting your name as the beneficiary to receive my consignment (two military trunk boxes) containing ($20 Million USD) which has just arrived the JFK Airport New York, from our USAF base here in Afghanistan;

My desire and purpose is to have the U.S Military Air & Surface Transportation Company in New York to deliver the funds to you (or) to any overseas address under your supervision as long as I’m assured that it will be safe in your care until I return home mid-next year.

Please e-Mail me with your Cell Phone# and delivery address; the deal is 60/40 split (60% for me, and 40% for you); I am not a greedy person and I hope you will not double cross a working brother who has sacrificed his life in serving this nation.

God bless America!

Col. John R. Oxford, Jr.; Director,
My e-Mail address is:

I keep wanting to ask, “What is the percentage of idiots who actually respond to this sort of thing?” and I guess sense replies that “the percentage can be really small, but you’ll get bites if you put enough hooks out there, and you’ll make money if you can keep them on the hook.”

I’ve never understood how this scam works, though. In terms of actually making money for the scammer.

(BTW: Private to NSA: If there’s really something called an “Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center” it’s got a colonel who says he smuggled 20 mil out of Afghanistan. And he’s giving his name and announcing his crime to randomly-chosen total strangers so he really shouldn’t be in charge of anything. Might want to look into that.)

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And this, ladies and gents, is why you need a good holster.

And a belt to hold your pants up. And a (much much) better plan for your whole life.

“Hey, mister! You dropped your gun!”

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Stupid waterer

When there are chicks I have to go to Landlady’s place at least twice a day to check on them. They go through way more than one feeder’s worth of food per day, and then there’s troubles like this…

I have a couple of these stupid cheap-ass plastic waterers from when we first started raising chickens. I keep them for chicks because they fit in the cage, but I hate them. Sometimes the threads on the bottom pull right loose and dump all the water. And sometimes, as happened last night, when they’re not on a perfectly level surface you can get a bottle-emptying siphon thing going and a whole bunch of very thirsty chicks by morning.

They’re fully feathered now but I want them to get a little bigger before I open the cage and let them transition to General Pop. Hopefully by now the hens are sufficiently used to their presence that the ritual fitting-in-to-the-pecking-order won’t get bloody.

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Laddie Update

It’s a month to the day since Laddie moved in…

…and we’re still getting used to each other. He’s not a youngster, he’s been through a lot of changes, and he’s not 100% comfortable with me. In fact – ironically, given where Ghost ended up living – he has made it very clear that if anybody cares about his opinion he’d much rather move in with that nice lady in the big house. Yes, he fell in love with Former Weekender Neighbor L. I assume that’s because she reminds him of ML, with whom he lived most of his life. Yeah, I took it a little personally.

Which is not that we’re having any serious personality clashes. He’s a sweetheart, genuinely pleasant to be around. If I have one real complaint it’s that outdoors he’s such an idiot. It’s easy to believe he spent his whole life in a house or a fenced yard, because he doesn’t know anything – even “sit” is a mystery to him. He doesn’t have the brain God gave a butterfly: Compared to him Little Bear was a paragon of focus. He will very cheerfully chase any wasp that flits past his nose, as often as not directly into that Prickly Pear he remains utterly unaware of as he miraculously escapes injury once again. I’m still waiting for our first snake encounter, hoping very much it’s a bull snake in case it happens while I don’t have my eye directly on him. He’s nowhere near coming off the leash.

His attitude toward me isn’t unfriendly, but still quite guarded. I don’t get many glimpses of that famous Corgi grin. He insists on getting his head nerfed first thing in the morning, but I think he believes that’s a life necessity and I’m just the only one around with hands. But we do seem to be making progress. Yesterday evening we had what I took to be our first really direct communication.

It was naturally enough a dialogue on the vital importance of dog biscuits. Yeah, he’s addicted to biscuits and convinced that every expedition outdoors must end with one. Late in the afternoon we went out to the wash for a pee. He came back in, got his biscuit, and then decided that it was dinnertime. He has this generic “hey, I need your attention” thing that leaves it up to me to figure out the problem. On this occasion I correctly guessed (based mostly on the time) that he wanted dinner, fed him, and then decided another walkie was probably wise given things I’ve noticed about his bowel habits. So on went the leash again and out we went to see if somebody needed a poop.

This was two walkies within fifteen minutes, and I didn’t figure two biscuits in the same period were required. Laddie disagreed so strongly that he really focused on communicating with me for the first time. I hung up the leash and sat down in the bedroom; he immediately recognized my error, dashed into the room, danced around my legs until he had my attention, then ran to the bedroom door aimed at the main room and looked back at me, gave me that big Corgi grin, tail stump wagging furiously. When I got up he ran into the main room and straight to the little tub where I keep the biscuits. Couldn’t have been clearer if he could talk. That’s the most direct conversation we’ve ever had.

So we’re getting there. I still miss LB and can’t help making with the invidious comparisons sometimes – LB was also a massive black hole of stupid but he was my idiot and we understood each other, and at least he knew the basic rules of outdoor survival. Sometimes I think it was too soon for me to be taking on another dog, especially one that’s been through three homes in three months and is not having a really easy time. But Laddie is pleasant and quiet and mostly undemanding: The frustrations all come from neither of us automatically knowing what the other expects. That will come with routine, I suppose.


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