My Blog List

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Getting Stressed Out On The Range

Last week, I had a wonderful lunch (wonderful because they're good folks, and the lunch was was on their dime!) with some friends in Reno.  Since I was up in that neck of the woods, I decided to hit one of the indoor pistol ranges.  It had been way too long since I'd done any sort of pistol training.

I brought 3 guns with me, a Glock 19, Glock 26 (my primary concealed carry gun) and a Smith & Wesson M+P Shield (my secondary concealed carry gun).

My regular routine is to run one magazine through them just to re-acquaint myself with the sights, then go into "stress mode" training.  More on this in a second.

Since it had been a while since I'd been to the range, I put two magazines through each pistol.  I did one at 7 yards and one at 10 yards.  Everything was in the bullseye or no further out than the 9-ring.

I'm all, "you a bad, bad man" thinking it had been so long since I was in the range, and I'm still tearing out the center of the target.

Well, that glow of self-congratulations didn't last long!

It's difficult - ok, impossible - to replicate the stress one would be under if you were using a weapon in self-defense.  The best you can do in an indoor range where you can't move around (because of the other shooters) is to add some timed "games" to your practice routine.

One I was using goes like this:  You set a timer on your phone for 5 seconds.  Your 2 x 3 foot target has 4 of the 6 inch "Shoot-N-C" targets - one placed in each of the 4 corners of the larger paper target.  If you're not familiar with these targets, they have a black background that shows your hits instantaneously.  As an example, here's one of their 12 inch targets I used to zero a rifle.

When the bullet tears through the target, it instantly leaves a yellow ring so you can see where you hit.

I load my magazine with 6 rounds.  I number the targets 1 through 4, starting with the upper left hand target, and going clockwise.

First time through, I've got the gun in my right hand pointed down range, I hit the "go" button on my phone with the left hand, and shoot all 4 targets in numerical order within the 5 seconds.  If I miss a target (no yellow ring), I must fire again, hitting the target before moving on to the next - and knowing in my mind I only have 2 extra shots.

Why do this - limiting myself to only two extra shots?  Getting in the habit of "spraying bullets" doesn't stop bad guys, and puts any potential bystanders at risk.  I want fast, accurate shots.

After successfully doing the shots in 5 seconds, I drop it to 4 seconds, then to 3 seconds.

I'll then mix up the order:  I'll do a "Z formation" - 1,2,4,3.  Then a reverse Z - 3,4,2,1.  Then an "X", then a reverse X - you get it.

OK, so I start off with my Glock 26, and get through the drills in fine fashion.  Yeah, baby... bad, bad man....

Next up is the Smith and Wesson.

"Humility has just entered the building!"

I take the first shot at target 1 and miss entirely.  WTF?  I take the second shot and hit low-left on the target.  I move to target 2, same thing, miss then low left.  Buzzer goes off.


I do the drill again, with virtually the same results.  It must be the gun, right?  Did I drop it, and mess with the sights?  No, no dropped gun.  Barrel must be dirty.

I bring in the target, and put on one of the 12 inch Shoot-N-C targets.  I load the magazine with 5 rounds, and shoot them all in rapid fire fashion.

All 5 are down at the 7 o'clock position - lower left side of the target.  And then it dawns on me:  I'm over-squeezing the  grips when I'm shooting under stress.

To see this for yourself, grab an empty pistol, or anything that is gun shaped, hold it out in front of you, and squeeze your grip.  You'll see the muzzle pull down and to the left.

Wait, wait, wait!  Pump them brakes there, cupcake!  How come this didn't happen with the Glock?

Hmmm, good question.

Well, it's all about the grip... and lack of practice.

First off, here are the two guns in question - Smith and Wesson on the left, Glock 26 on the right.

Size and weight wise, they're just about the same.  It's the differences that count.

The Smith uses a single stack magazine.  Each cartridge sits right on top of the one below it.  This gives you fewer rounds per vertical inch (which is a negative), but also gives you thinner grips (which is good or bad, depending on your hand size).

The Glock uses a double stack magazine.  Each cartridge is slightly offset from the one below it.  This gives you more rounds per vertical inch (good), but fatter grips (same good or bad as above).

The Smith can carry 8 rounds in the magazine (or 7 if you use the standard magazine) and the Glock holds 10.

Here's what they look like side by side - Smith on left, Glock on right -

It doesn't look like much of a difference, but in the hand, it's very noticeable.

There's a BIG difference how the grips fit in my hand.  First is the Smith -

And the Glock -

Notice that the back of the Smith grip nearly fills my entire palm, and the Glock stops at my "life line" (interesting.....).  At the front of the grips, my fingers fit well with both guns (it looks like my pinky is off of the Glock, but it is being held by the grip extension).

At this point, it seems as though the Smith should be giving me better control than the Glock, but the exact opposite is what's happening in the real world.

I think these pictures explain it.  Natural placement of my trigger finger on the trigger.  You want the center of the pad at the tip of the finger to be centered on the trigger.  First the Smith -

And the Glock -

First, compare the angle of the middle knuckle on each hand.  The Smith has a sharper angle - more distance between the inner finger surface and the side of the pistol - than the flatter angle of the Glock.

Then notice the angle of the knuckle at the end of the trigger finger.  The Smith is bent inwards, where with the Glock, the finger tip is flat.

So, aside from the better "fit and finish" of the Glock to my hand, I train like crazy with the Glock.  As this "stress test" showed, I must have NEVER done any rapid shooting with the Smith.  Just lobbing slow and easy shots down range.

This seriously pisses me off at myself.  I have been semi-regularly concealed carrying the Smith for the past few months ASSUMING I was proficient and accurate with it.  We all know about assumptions...

Accept The Challenge

Get thee to the range, and do some stressed out shooting.  The drills above are even better if you do them with a buddy where he/she randomly calls out the numbers rapidly after each shot.  You're getting both the stress of timed shooting AND competition with another person ('cause you KNOW you want to win!).

Obviously, you can do even more life-like exercises if you're at a range that allows holster draws (most indoor ranges frown on such things), or if you go out into public lands and set up IDPA-like drills.

More practice is more better!

Oh, and keep the targets small - no larger than 6 inches for pistols.  And keep the distances similar to "gun fight" distances - no more than 10 yards or so.

Lastly, if you're setting up a scenario, be sure that as you're moving from shot to shot, try and incorporate moving away from your targets, not towards them.  If you're getting closer to the bad guys, you're making yourself easier to hit.  No bueno.

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Apples, Rabbits and Cinder Blocks

We've been having some decent weather, so the outdoor jobs are making it into the queue.

First, though, my last post had to do with this illegal (in my eyes) bill that had been set forth by a socialist Nevada state senator.  She wanted to make the entire state a Sanctuary State.

I wrote the rotten piece of flotsam a letter.  Apparently, I wasn't alone.

Using all of the expected ass-covering language, her bill was withdrawn from consideration.  F**ckin' A, the good guys won one!

Just like the Terminator, though, I'm sure she'll, "be back".  Me too.

The current projects:

In mid-March (a little late) I pruned one of our two apple trees.  The previous owners of the property hadn't done squat with them for years and years (this is a recurring theme), and the trees produced shitty little apples.  I pruned a good quarter of the growth on the bigger of the two trees to open it up for sunlight, and to get bigger apples.

The smaller of the two was left as-is.  It's over-grown even worse than the other tree, but the fallen apples are like a drug to the cotton tail and jack rabbits on our property.  The little guys gotta eat, so they'll get the dropped apples from this one.

One of our many yard jack rabbits, scratching himself like a dog

I think I previously bitched about the tumble weeds when we moved here last July.  The previous owner hadn't sprayed the property, and we had over a half acre of tumble weeds to deal with!  I was not happy.  Had to rent a Bobcat to scrape those bastards up, and burn them.

The guy told me to contact the county in February, and they'd come out and spray for $300.  Money I'll gladly spend.

Well, February rolled around and we were covered with snow or it was raining most of the month.  After things dried out, I called the county, and they were all booked up!

I cursed.... just a little.

Well, I'm not going through that crap again, so I've started doing the spraying myself.  Three gallons at a time with a hand sprayer.  I knocked out 6 gallons worth today, which took care of perhaps 20% of the half acre.  I'll hit it each morning we don't have any wind for a couple of hours until it's done.

The old owner - God bless his soul - fancied himself a wood worker.  Yeah, not so much.  Not even the basic stuff.

He put up a pair of doors that enclose an 8 foot opening in the woodshop.  Well, the doors were not up to snuff.  OK, they sucked.

And now they're falling apart.

As you can see, the bottom of the door rests directly on the cement floor of the shop.  When it rains and snows, the prevailing winds blow right at these doors.  Rain/melted snow hit the bottom of the door, and wick up like a mo fo - as you can see from the staining.

Everything rotted, and the hinge side of the door 2x4 has rotted and split.

Oh, and he did't do any (decent) cross bracing to stop the latch side of the door from sagging.

Oh, and he used shitty, under-sized hinges, which are coming apart.

Each door is approximately 4 foot by 8 foot.  I've got the wood and the hinges, just need to pick up the skin for the exterior.  It will likely be pieces of weather-proof siding - not quite sure yet.

A fun project I'm working on is a desk for my office.  I'm making a trestle table/rustic farmhouse table.

I've got the glue-ups done for the two halves (3 boards each).  I'll be gluing them together later today.

I milled the rough 1x6 boards to 5 inches wide, then used biscuits to join the individual boards together.

When I'm done with the desk, I'll do a post on the whole building process.

The last project in the works is for 4 raised garden beds.  I had 4200 pounds of cinder blocks delivered today.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be laying out the beds and their exact locations, then my two sons will be up after that to help the old man build them.

They will be 4 foot by 8 foot by 16 inches high.  Bastards will last forever.

Here's an example of ,"with age come wisdom":  So, these 4 beds will take 150 cinder blocks.  My first inclination was to take my 3/4 ton truck for a 45 minute trip up to Carson City, buy the blocks and do 2 over-weight runs, or 3 proper-weight runs to get them home.

It dawns on me that this means I will have to lift every single one of those blocks four times - once off the the store floor onto the cart, once into the truck, once out of the truck, and once putting it into place.  Rinse and repeat.

I'm bitching and moaning about it, and my wife asks, "Don't they deliver"?  I check it out, and OH HELL YES they deliver.  $79!

I couldn't spend that money fast enough.  I've got an 8 foot gate into the area where the beds will reside, and the guy dropped them off 30 feet from their final destination.  He got a nice tip for saving my back and sanity.

Schwing!  See?!  There was a benefit to marrying an older woman!  (I know, I'm now a dead man...)

And before someone points it out, yes, I have already designed my, "keep the hell away from my garden, you wascally wabbits" barrier system for the beds.  I'll share some pix after it's up and running.

That's all I got.  I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off (note to self:  start redesign process for existing chicken coop....).  Updates and some political stuff in the works.....

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Made A Promise, And I'm Going To Keep It

Leaving California for Nevada was not easy.  I was born in Oakland, and lived in the general SF Bay Area my entire life - up until last July.

I made a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to stop Nevada from becoming Californicated - becoming a socialist state.  I was too busy with work and raising a family - or so I convinced myself - to get involved.

That complacence bit me hard in the ass when I opened my bullion store in 2010.  The burden of the truly Deep State is suffocating.  As a consumer, you don't see it quite as vividly, because your cost of living just goes up a bit here and there.  As a business owner, I get a butt load of bills each year for shit I can't even begin to list.  Most have a comma in them.

No more.

This means I will give money to politicians and organizations with libertarian/conservative views and track records.  I will attend local political meetings when I see agenda items that support a welfare state.  And I'll write a shit-ton of letters.

For those of you who aren't aware of it, Clark County (Las Vegas) is California-East.  It's a shit hole of liberalism.  Most of the rest of Nevada is Red State (although Reno is getting more and more Blue State).

Our state legislators are in session now.  They only get together every other year for 120 days to pass all of the laws until the next get together.  Only the governor or a vote by 75% of both state houses can call a "special session" for emergencies and the like.

Well, some soft-headed state senator from.... guess from where?... Las Vegas, has just put through a proposed bill to make Nevada a Sanctuary City.

Fuck that shit.

Here's my letter to her, and to my state senator and assemblyman:

Dear Senator Cancela,

No On SB 223
I recently moved from California to Nevada - Gardnerville to be specific (which is why I've cc'd Senator Settelmeyer and Assemblyman Wheeler). I was born and raised (and raised a family) in what I genuinely believed was the best state in the nation - both geographically and (as importantly) economically. Over the past two or 3 decades, I saw the state start to rot from the inside. It is a cancer. Your socialist bill - dressed up as humanitarian outreach - will help to further point Nevada towards the economic cliff upon which California finds itself perched.
The short-term federal money Nevada would lose is a drop in the bucket when compared to the long-term rot and decay bills like yours would cast upon our state. It's the, "death by a thousand cuts" scenario - a little here, a little there and suddenly, you're economically supporting anyone who can steam a mirror. Not surprisingly, when you offer to "look the other way", or to give "free stuff" to people, they take you up on it!
Care to disagree? I suggest you take a trip to San Francisco or Los Angeles or any major California city, to see how this socialist "Welcome Mat" burdens the state to the point of fiscal insolvency. Or perhaps take a trip through California's Central Valley - try Fresno or Stockton. The shanty towns and encampments - full of the illegal aliens you want to shield - are a disgrace.
But there's no such thing as, "free stuff". California taxes are obscene, along with the license fees, carbon-taxes, add-ons and all of the other ways the state has to figure out how to keep the cash flowing. Businesses are tripping over each other to flee the state. Many are coming to Nevada (we were just voted "the best" by surpassing Texas). For the 12th straight year, California was voted "The Least Business Friendly" state in the nation. The overwhelming reason for this is because of the cost of socialist, "humanitarian outreach" bills such as yours.
Why would you want to challenge them for that dubious title?
Lastly, you swore an oath to uphold the laws of the United States and the State of Nevada. The presence of illegal aliens here in Nevada is, in and of itself, against the law. As a reminder:
 I, ........................., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States, and the Constitution and government of the State of Nevada, against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any state notwithstanding, and that I will well and faithfully perform all the duties of the office of ................, on which I am about to enter; (if an oath) so help me God; (if an affirmation) under the pains and penalties of perjury.

If you don't like the federal laws, work to change them. Until then, don't propose state laws that would force state and local law enforcement to ignore them.
Senator, keep your word. You swore an oath you would do so. Withdraw your bill from consideration.
Thank you,
I'm not holding my breath for a response from the Commissarina, but I'll update you if I do get one...


BTW, I started the new business process in Nevada.  I had a fully registered and legal entity in ..... 45 minutes!  Serious as a heart attack.  Did it all online.  Another 30 minutes at the county clerk's office for the fictitious business name filing, and I was up and running.  I can now do business anywhere in Nevada - you don't need a separate biz license for each county like you do in Cali.

To put this in perspective, this process took well over a week's worth of time each time I did it in the past in California.


Oh, and if California does secede from the nation, I'd like to propose a trade:  Nevada will give up Clark County in exchange for the State Of Jefferson in Northern California (look it up).

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Awesome: 6 Chile Chili con Carne

Been busy as hell on the homestead.  Will have some posts on a great homemade lox recipe, and one about a farmer's table/desk I'm building out in the shop.

But this one is about my World Famous (in my mind) chili recipe.  Although today it's a balmy 70 degrees, we just went thru a big cold spell.  A cold spell dictates one of two foods for me:  homemade soup or chili.

This really is good, folks.

Oh, and don't give me any lip about what real chili, or chile, or chilli has in it.  This is mine, I call it chili.  If you don't like it, buy yourself a can of Dennison's.

It takes two days - at least - if you're using your home prepped and stored beans.  By the way, the dried pintos I used in this recipe were dated 5/17/2008.  Yeah, they were nearly 9 years old.  They had been vacuum sealed with an oxygen absorber in the pack.

I added a heaping tablespoon of baking soda (as noted in the recipe) during the overnight soak, and they came out as tender as a Harvard student's psyche.  Well, maybe not that fragile...

6 Chile Chili con Carne

This chili has a bunch of heat, but won't blow the back out of your head.  Great, deep flavor, with a heat that dissipates fairly quickly.  No tomatoes were harmed (or used) in this awesome chili.


(Lbs = pounds, C = cups, T = tablespoon, t = teaspoon)

2 lbs dry pinto beans
2 1/2 lbs raw ground pork or beef
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
4 C beef bullion
1/2 C Chile powder
1 T black pepper
1 T white pepper
1 T chipotle powder (powder, not the peppers)
2 T minced garlic
1 T cumin powder
1 T oregano
2 T kosher salt

1 t red pepper flakes
1 t cayanne pepper
1 t cinnamon powder


1.  Rinse the dry beans in cold water, and pick out any stones or other garbage.  Place the beans in a pot or bowl, and cover with at least 2 inches of water.  Let them soak over night.  If the beans are old, add a heaping tablespoon of baking soda to the water to help them rehydrate more easily. Supposed to help with farts, too.

2.  The next day, take your soaked beans, put them in a large soup pot, and cover them with 2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on medium heat until they are soft, but still intact - about 2 or 3 hours (it takes mine 3 hours since I'm at 5000 feet elevation).  Add water as necessary and stir (about every 30 mins).  Don't burn your damned beans!  After they're cooked, transfer the beans and the juice to another bowl.  Don't you DARE throw out the juice!

3.   Take your pork or beef, and over medium high heat, brown it in the large soup pot.  Do NOT drain the fat.  After slightly browned, toss in your diced onions and the minced garlic and continue cooking until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

4.  Toss in all of the rest of the ingredients - beans, bullion, spices - everything.  Bring this to a boil.  

5.  Reduce to a simmer at medium heat, and cook uncovered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until it thickens considerably.  Check it regularly and give it a stir so it's not burning in your cheap-ass pots.

6.  Now here's the hard part:  Let it cool off to as close to room temperature as you can get it.  Hell, throw it in the fridge and eat it the next day.  You'll be tempted to eat it right away, but hold off for as long as you can.  It will be worth the wait.  When ready to eat, reheat it and serve with a pile of grated cheese, some onions and a dollop or two of sour cream.  I like mine with either flour tortillas or saltine crackers... or both.

Maybe a bit more than the 1 cup serving size....

Note:  If you're going to use pre-cooked canned beans, you'll need about 2 1/2 quarts of beans and juice.  I've got no idea how many cans of what size you'll need.  Do the math yourself.

Yield:  16 servings of 1 cup

Well, if you didn't screw up these simple directions, you'll end up with about a gallon of chili, give or take a couple of cups depending on how hot your stove cooks.

Home canning:  If I were to home can this, I'd only add 2 cups of the bullion, bring it to a boil, and pressure can it.  At sea level to 1000 feet of elevation, 75 minutes at 10 lbs weight for pints.  Adjust per the instructions with your canner for higher elevations.

Since the beans are already fully cooked, you're not going to lose much of the liquid getting sucked up into the beans.  Just make sure what goes into your jars has enough fluid so that the center of the jars gets fully cooked.


I can attest that this is great over big ol' hot dogs with a healthy sampling of fresh chopped onions.

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dried Teats and Side Hustles

I was in my store a couple of days ago, and this man and woman with British accents come in.  The guy's accent was so thick, the employee I was working with couldn't understand him!

So, he wants to know if we've got any foreign currency or foreign coins for sale.  Sure do.

I give him the box of currency, and as he's going through it, we start up a conversation.  It seems that this fellow - probably in his mid 60's - has an Australian eBay account.  He and his wife travel around the world, picking up things he can sell on his site.  On this trip, they're going to be in The States for 5 weeks.

And he writes his whole trip off as a business expense.

He's been doing this his entire adult life, ("I was never cut out for a proper job").  He cobbles together a project, makes some bucks, and does it again.  A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

We talked about the importance of "buying right" - you make your money on the purchase of the goods, not when you sell them.

When we buy something we will be selling on eBay, for instance, we always buy them at at least 30% below the price we believe the item will sell.  That 30% covers our roughly 10% cost of sale between eBay fees and Paypal fees, and a 20% profit.

When we buy something to sell in the store, it will depend on how long we think it will take to sell.  Gold and silver bullion turn over quickly, so our margins are smaller.  Jewelry, graded coins or collectibles can take months to sell, so the margins are much higher.


I'm getting on my high horse again to implore folks to work on establishing Multiple Streams Of Income.  I honestly can't put my finger on it, but it seems like there's a, "disturbance in the force" and things are going to slide sideways.

Maybe it's this "protesting" crap (rioting, actually).  Is it going to turn into some serious shit, or will it pass?  Maybe it's the tenor of the conversations I have with customers that come to the store.  The majority are Trump supporters, or at least not Trump haters, and their buying decisions are about how much precious metals to buy vs ammo.

Now, I don't want to hear any whining.   But, but, but, CHIEF, I just don't have the time/money/inclination to do this!!

Well then, I hope you like living off of the dwindling government teat.  Just remember, there are a whole lot of people in front of you - the professional "lifer" teat suckers - who know how to get their squirt of milk before you.

Think like a rich guy.  You don't have to make a zillion dollars, but the lessons of the rich are awesome studies for all of us.

A great quote from the article -
You can't create the future you deserve while obsessed with the past you resent. Super wealthy people don't waste time focused on the past; they invest time, energy and effort in producing products and services that people want and need. 
They don't contribute to the problems of society. They solve problems for society.
YOU are responsible for your lot in life.  No one else.  Tag, you're it.

See Rule #2 in particular.

So as not to leave you hanging for ideas, The Art of Manliness website had a great article titled, "Be Your Own Boss:  37 Side Hustle Ideas".  I guess, "Side Hustles" is what the cool kids call Multiple Streams of Income,

The article includes a link to a two-part guide on some of the ways for getting off of your ass and doing something about it.

I'll also recommend a documentary movie on Netflix titled, "Capital C" (YouTube trailer).  It's about crowdfunding - coming up with an idea or product, and getting people to pre-pay or fund your product or service.  What a great way to do real-life market research for a product (HINT HINT).  If you don't get funding, you're only out the time and money it took to set up the crowdfunding page and video.  You will know in a relatively short period of time if there's an actual market for your product.

Just do something.  How would you cope if your primary source of income - from a job, government pension, IRA or whatever - were to go away?  Cover your bases and keep a couple of lines in the water.  You never know what you might catch.

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Banning ALL Muslims? Hmmm....

I had hoped to post an article on the trials and tribulations of our first homestead winter with frozen ground, frozen pipes, my frozen ass and other new experiences of living in 4-season land.  Instead, I'll regale you with cutting edge journalistic inquiry on the current, "All Muslims Are Banned" hyperventilation epidemic being experienced by our domestic snowflakes.

This near-impossible-to-locate data took a mind numbing tool bag of investigative techniques to unearth.

I Googled it, and it took (literally) 22 minutes to compile.  Apparently, The Old Gray Lady was taking a nap, so I jumped in to help the elderly.

So, the Snowflake meme on this is that the evil (Not My) President Trump is banning all Muslims from entering the country.   Ehhh, not so much.

Here comes that hard hitting investigative stuff, cupcake:

There are 1.703 BILLION Muslims in the world.  The seven countries involved with this TEMPORARY BAN, account for 205.3 MILLION of those Muslims (Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia).  If you'll note, the latter number is much, MUCH smaller than the former number.

In fact, it's equal to a little over 12% of all Muslims in the world.  Now, my dear cupcake, while you were in elementary school, I know your mom was doing your math homework for you so you could get your Participation Trophy, but seriously, even someone as indoctrinated in socialist ideology as you must know that twelve percent is not 100%.

For you Snowflakes that took advanced math, it's about 1/8th of the total.  That means that 7/8th aren't included.  It's A SMALL FRACTION of the total. Get it?

I didn't think so.

But wait, there's more!

The United States only has 3 countries on its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.  I know this is going to melt you down to a mushy little puddle, but all three of them are also on President Trump's list, too!  Shocking, right?!

Yeah, those wonderful, American lovin' folks from Iran, Sudan and Syria make the cut.

Hold on to your Depends for a second, 'cause I still had about 30 seconds left to find a Bad Guy list that the other 4 banned countries were on.  Damn if I didn't find it, too.

The State Department has a page that gives you lists of counties from around the world where you shouldn't go.  Unless you don't like your head attached to your body in its current configuration.

Its called the Alerts & Warnings list.  With the exception of one of the remaining 4 countries (Libya), all of these countries were already on the list BEFORE President Trump took office.

That Obama fella was such a hater, right?

Oh, and with regards to Libya (home to Benghazi and other shit holes), this was updated to reinforce to American citizens that are still there, TO GET THE HELL OUT.

Now, all of you liberals, socialists and Hollywood elites (redundant, I know...) must feel terrible that Mean Old Not My President Trump and his State Department cronies are hurting the tourist travel to these fine destinations.  Princess Cruise lines must be in a tizzy not being able to drop by Tripoli on their tour of the Mediterranean.  You know, their always-sold-out Rome to Tripoli to Benghazi loop?  Ah, the memories.....

Anyways, you can help these poor people.

Because of your principled stance on this injustice, you should use this list as a travel planning guide.  Yep, instead of going to the south of France, go to Mogadishu in southern Somalia.  Think of the good times you and the kids can have!

Look at that!  They even have a fireworks display!  Ahh, magical times for the whole family....


Hey Snowflakes, wake the hell up.  Like it or not, there are people in all of those countries that would love to chop off your head, and spit down the hole.  The only thing that would be better for them, would be if they could do it in the mall where you get your lattes.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's all the fault of the US government.  Let's say you're right.  Trump just became our president a scant 10 days ago, so he didn't have anything to do with it.

All he's trying to do is make sure your morning caffeine fix isn't interrupted and you can scoot back to mom's basement, a flag burning rally, or your DNC meeting.

Try using some of those critical thinking skills you were supposed to be developing while in college.  You know,  stop gulping the drivel served up by the complicit media, and actually run a Google search for yourself.

Question everything - positive and negative - and you may see that, as in this case, slowing down the migration of folks with a high likelihood of ruining your day, isn't such a bad idea.

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Copyright 2017 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Gold and Silver - Buy or Sell?

If you watch gold spot prices, for most of 2016 - February to October -  they were in a fairly tight band that ran between $1250 to $1350 per ounce.  Silver had a similar tight range as well.

Then in October, all hell broke loose.  Prices took a dump, then made a feeble comeback, and have now been all down.  This final quarter of the year has seen a drop in the neighborhood of $200 per ounce (it's sitting at $1151 as I push these keys).

For the year, things aren't too bad.  For other time frames, ouch!  As of today:

So, is it time to abandon gold, and jump into the hot stock market?  Maybe into some foreign exchange EFTs as there is a VERY realistic chance that interest rates are going to jump up.  Higher rates equals a stronger dollar.

Are ya in or out?  I can tell you, that business at our precious metals (PM) store has been brisk on the bullion side - both buying and selling!  Half think precious metals have peaked, and they want out.  The other half think we've hit bottom, and are squirreling away PMs like, well, squirrels.


I don't buy PMs as an investment, per se.  I buy them as a hedge against a whole bunch of things - to maintain and protect my ability to purchase things - food, energy, shelter - in the future.

This is important to understand:  The price of gold and silver is basically irrelevant to me.  I understand that if gold and silver soar to new heights, my cost of living is likely doing the same - soaring!  The converse is true as well.

I believe that in the short-term future (next couple of years at least), the price of PMs is going to decline.  I believe that the Federal Reserve Bank will indeed raise interest rates multiple times next year, making the dollar stronger.

I believe that Trump will actually do SOME of what he promised during the campaign, and we'll get more jobs created, the economy will come out of its coma, and that too, will make the dollar stronger.

Despite the dollar (Federal Reserve Notes) being a flaming piece of crap (being able to buy 6 cents worth of what it could buy when it was introduced in 1913) , when compared to most other world currencies, it has big, brass balls.  It's absolutely crushing other currencies right now.

When the dollar gets stronger, PMs get weaker.
So, despite this belief that PM prices will be declining, every single month, I buy some gold and/or silver.  I only spend money that has no short- or medium-term obligations.  My bills are all paid, I have a nice emergency cushion, and my income earning investments are funded.

Here are 5 reasons I keep buying precious metals.

1.  Maintaining Purchasing Power

I use this example when explaining this concept to new customers to our store:
When I was a kid in 1964, for some reason, I have this memory of being at a Phillips 66 gas station buying gas with my mom, and gas being $0.26 per gallon.  Let's call it a quarter a gallon.

Back then, the quarters were made of 90% silver and 10% other metals.  One silver quarter has about 0.18 of a troy ounce of pure silver in it.

Doing the math, with spot silver today at roughly $16 per ounce:  $16 x 0.18 = $2.88, OR ABOUT THE COST OF A GALLON OF GAS TODAY!  The silver maintained its purchasing power.

So, a dollar in silver quarters would get you about 4 gallons of gas.  If you had kept a paper dollar bill from 1964, today you could get about 0.4 gallons of gas. The fiat paper currency dollar has lost its purchasing power.
Ya get it?  I didn't "make money" by holding the quarter, I simply maintained my purchasing power.  Precious metals are money.  Fiat currencies and bank accounts are representations of money that can be manipulated or confiscated by governments.

2.  Government Demonetization

You heard what India did at the beginning of November, right?  Their two largest bills were "demonetized" - made worthless - over night.  Bam!, the paper money wasn't worth squat.  You had to go into a bank and swap them out for the new and improved versions.

The problem - and the plan - was, they didn't have enough of the new bills available for the swap, so you had to put the money into an account, and get your cash at a later date.

The public reason for the demonetization was the usual bullshit:  terrorism and tax evasion.  Well, the soft-heads in the government didn't patch up all of the loopholes, and the effect on terrorism and tax evasion was precisely ZERO!  

People sold their bills at a discount to money changers.  The money changers shipped massive quantities of the bills to some remote tribes or to farmers - both of which are tax exempt - and the old bills were swapped without any consequence at all, other than screwing the guy on the street for the vig he had to pay to the money changers.  The people were willing to take a hit in the form of a discount to the money changers instead of paying tax to the government.  I love it!

This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't have "all of your eggs in one basket".  You never know what will have value in the future.  I keep "money" in gold and silver, cash, other hard assets, businesses and in trade/barter goods, as well as in retirement plans, savings plans and bank accounts.  If one or more are devalued or confiscated or made illegal, I'm not flat on my ass broke.  I may be hurting for a while until I figure things out, but I won't be broke.

Along the same lines, I've also got skills, and am continually learning more.  As an example, I can turn damned near any sugar source into an alcoholic beverage that you'd enjoy consuming. 

You may be saying, "BFD, Chief!  I can head to The Walmart and get all of the hooch I want!".  Yeah, you can do that now.  But if we were in a situation like they're going through in Venezuela - where the government is so broke it can't release foreign reserve currency so that the largest brewer in the country can make beer, and the brewery closes down!  No mas cerveza, amigo mio!  How valuable would beer, wine or hooch be in that circumstance?

I'm now in the process of learning how to grow food on a larger scale.  This coming season, I'll be starting with 3 raised beds, all 8x4 foot, expanding to 6 beds the following season if things go as planned.  I'll also be putting in a small orchard with fruit trees that thrive here in northern Nevada.

3.  Insolvent Retirement Accounts

This is a biggee.  My wife and I have Social Security accounts, private retirement accounts and 401(k) accounts.  Many of you have similar account, including public pensions for government workers.

Every (and I mean every) government-run retirement system in this country is underfunded.  Many (most?) are flat broke.  Social Security, military pensions, police and fire pension programs, federal, state and local government worker pensions systems simply do not have the cash or assets to pay their retirees what they were promised.

Some of the retirees see the writing on the wall, and are trying to cash out by taking a discounted lump sum payment, and they're being rejected.  Why?  The plans don't have the cash. 

I would GLADLY take a lump sum check from Uncle Sam for the amount of money that was forcibly taken from me for SSI - no interest, just the principle - and I would forgo any and all future payments.  I think many Americans would do the same, because I don't believe I'll ever get back what I put into it, let alone the lost interest I would have accrued on my own.

In fact, I believe in my lifetime, the Social Security Administration will institute some sort of "means testing" whereby they look at my assets and other retirement/savings plans, and determine how much is "fair" for me to live on.

So I make my pile of visible assets as small as possible.  PMs are one of many ways to do this.

4.  I Don't Trust Banks

Having been in the banking industry for 31 years - going from the lowest paid clerk to Executive Vice President - I know that banks have turned into de facto agents for the state and federal governments.  Banks are no longer there to protect your money and privacy.  They are there to do as the federal government tells them.

That is not hyperbole.  There is nothing you can do with your account that can't (or isn't) reported to a government agency.  The government granted itself these powers under the assumption that everyone is a criminal or terrorist.  If the banks disclose to you that they've disclosed your (formerly) private transactions to the government, they have broken federal law... and they're not going to break federal law for little ol' you.

This should make you sick to your stomach.  You are presumed guilty of .... whatever they wish, but you do nothing about it.  Their campaign of, "Only criminals and terrorists have anything to hide from the government," propaganda program has been a success.

As equally important, they are getting very lazy with the security of your accounts.  I don't know if they just don't care, or if they've got so many resources devoted to reporting you to the various agencies, they don't have money left for security.

The SWIFT system - think of it as wire transfers between banks in different countries - has been cracked open like a papier mache piggy bank on numerous occasions in recent months.   The hackers hack a small foreign bank, and use its credentials to get into SWIFT, where the real money lies.

They are successful stealing money 20% of the time!

A US bank getting hit wouldn't directly affect you, as your accounts are covered by the FDIC.  Oh wait... Unless..... the regulators forced a failed bank to pull the "bail in" trigger, and they consider you an unsecured creditor of your bank (which is what you really are), and instead of giving you your money back, they issue you stock in the failed bank.

Try buying bacon with that.

5.  An Economic Hit or Collapse Is Coming

I seriously have no idea when.  Next month, next year, next decade.  I don't know.  I just know that you can't build government programs on borrowings forever.  Eventually, the bills (as in Treasury Bills and notes) must be paid.

The federal government will continue to pay SSI, and pensions, and welfare and all of the other bullshit by either borrowing more money or printing more of it up for as long as it can.  Eventually, they won't be able to borrow any longer, or the hyper-creation of dollars will make them worthless.

I believe that paper currency will go away, maybe within the next 5 to 10 years.  To me, THAT will be the sign that the serious shit is about to hit the fan.  Requiring every single transaction to be recorded electronically (debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, Paypal, etc.) will give government the ability to manage every aspect of your life.

Every deposit into your account will have a known source.  If it's not an approved source, they'll just take it until you can prove you paid the taxes before you received it.  You know, like asset forfeiture works right now, only without the happy face.

Every use will be monitored.  "Mr. Chief Instructor, your expenditures on food are significantly below those of your peer group in your region.  Why is that?  You're not growing your own food without reporting it, are you?  An audit will be conducted and until these allegations have been disproved, there will be a reduction in your monthly food stipend from Socialist Security.  We'll be in touch.  Have a collectivist day!"

In these cases - where the PMs would be illegal - they would be kept buried for my kids or grandkids in the future - like what happened after the 1933 gold grab.  Eventually, sanity would return, the socialist/collectivist machine dismantled, and life might return to normal.

Or they could be used as fishing weights.  Ya never know.....

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Copyright 2016 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Of Economics And Charity

Been busy.  Sorry.  A friend noted how tanned I was getting.  Told him I was an unpaid Day Laborer for a bastard of a boss!  Will do a couple of posts - shortly, I hope - on our adventures towards self-sufficiency on our new property in Nevada.

I've been giving a lot of thought to opening a business here in Northern Nevada.  My initial scratch-and-sniff market analysis shows that there could be a viable market for what I'm considering.

And no, it has nothing to do with precious metals or guns.  Shocking, right?!  No, it's a specialty (kind of) food product.  More later if something flies with this.

Anyways, as I was doing some research on others that have been successful with this type of venture, I ran across an article by Doug Casey.  He's a screaming libertarian (my kinda guy) - a self-made millionaire who absolutely HATES government interference in just about anything.

He was writing about charity, and how in most instances, private charity hurts the recipient.  I have long thought this.  Like government subsidies and programs, most private charity takes away the initiative of the recipient to better themselves.

Build a food bank that feeds the poor, and you've taken away their initiative to feed themselves.

Pay for someones college costs based upon their skin color, ethnic origins, sexual preference or anything other than achievement (such as scholastic or athletic excellence), and you've taken away their initiative to excel.

In my book, the only type of charities I even consider are those where some horrible unplanned or unforeseen event occurs.  Helping the parents of a kid born with some debilitating disease or condition, would be one example.  Things where there is no realistic ability of an individual to afford to pay for their circumstances.

Along those same lines, I give to injured veterans groups.  I'm ashamed of our government, and how it shirks its duty to take care of our vets who come back home, well, destroyed.  It's not the vets fault the government signed a contract with each and every one of them, then looked them in the eye and lied.

Being born poor in America is NOT one of those circumstance.  And that means anywhere in America under any economic circumstances  There is a path out, if you choose to take it.  If you don't make the right choice, don't expect me to pay for the world of hurt where you find yourself.

But Chief!  Think about the children!  No, YOU think about YOUR children, and about what YOU'RE going to do to feed and shelter them.

And to teach them about self-reliance and personal accomplishment to boot.

Some day, I'll tell the story of the shit-hole my wife grew up in, and what she did to turn it around.  Out of the 8 kids in her family, half made it, half didn't.  Two of the latter group are dead.  Their standing in life is one-hundred percent because of the choices each individual made while growing up in the exact same circumstances as his or her siblings.

So, getting back to the Doug Casey article, his point was that most large charitable donation are just for the egos of the givers.  Bill Gates and Warren Buffett get to do the cock-strut to show how they're helping a gajillion people live better lives.

In reality, they're taking away the incentive of those people to better themselves and build pride and self-worth through accomplishment.  They're nothing more than a beneficent, elitist socialist leader with a happy face sticker.

Instead, they should be trumpeting their success so that others will follow their example.  Their donation money should instead go towards making their business bigger, and better, so that more and more people can get jobs, learn skills and develop pride for their accomplishments,

And then it dawned on me that I could do the same, only on a smaller scale (to start!).

My initial direction in another business was to design it with no employees.  Use independent contractors to build whatever I couldn't build myself.  This has nothing to do with not liking people.  It has everything to do with government regulation.  Look at someone the wrong way, or not follow some inane regulation to the "T", and you get sued, you get to pay the "aggrieved" employee some money, and you get to pay a fine to one or more government agencies.

While this business model will still happen, the idea of a brick-and-mortar business that hires locally may give me the ability to develop another stream of income AND fulfill my desire to give folks the opportunity to develop life skills and a sense of accomplishment at the same time.

My very first job in high school was washing dishes in an Italian restaurant.  I was taught food preps during slow periods, and was a cook within 6 months, but my most important lesson was about getting an education.  I worked mostly with grown men in the kitchen.  While I'm sure they were making more money per hour than I was, even back in the late 1970's it couldn't have been much to live on.  From that first job, I knew I wanted more, and that I'd need an education to get that.

One of the men I worked with as a cook had a criminal record, but was trying to get going in the right direction.  My dad (a lieutenant in the Sheriff department) had actually gotten him the job at the restaurant.

Being able to do something along those lines holds some interest to me.  First jobs, new beginnings, career advancement as the business grows.

We'll see.  At first glance, it appears as though Nevada offers significantly fewer hurdles to getting a business up and running.  My worry is that since it has to do with food, the state and federal food police could make it economically unfeasible.  I hope I'm wrong.


One of the businesses that is in my market niche (but outside of my local market!), had a version of this posted on their website.  Amen, brutha!

* You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

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Copyright 2016 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Don't Kalifornicate Nevada - No On Nevada Question 1

When I moved to Nevada a couple of months ago, it was for two primary reasons:  Lower cost of living/taxes and their guns laws - or lack thereof.

In both respects, Nevada tends to treat its citizens as adults.  Unlike Kalifornia, where every time you want to scratch your ass you need a permit, in general, Nevada lets you go about your life with little interference.  In fact, when you do have interaction it is..... wait for it... pleasant. 

To date, whether it be our trip to the DMV, getting property tax information from the county, or figuring out the schedules for igniting our burn pile, state and local government employees have been astonishingly helpful.  They truly earn their pay.

It's been very refreshing.

Until now.

Billionaire anti-gun zealot Michael Bloomberg and his group, "Wimpering Women Against Guns", or whatever it's called, were able to get a background check initiative (pdf) on the upcoming ballot.  As usual, they're painting this as a, "common sense" law that will keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys.

Also as usual, they're full of bullshit.  It will do little or nothing to keep felons from getting the guns they want.  On the surface, the marketing campaign for Question 1 says that all it wants to do is to close the notorious, "gun show loophole" - the ability of private parties to sell guns without a mandatory background check of the buyer.

But it goes much deeper.  It has the aforementioned background check provision, and another that is getting little to no coverage:  Limitations on to whom and when you can lend one of your guns.  If you lend your next door neighbor of the past 20 years a rifle to for target practice, you have just committed a gross misdemeanor, punishable up to 1 year in jail.  Do it again, and it's a felony, and you're going away for up to 5 years.

Or maybe you lend a pistol to your girlfriend who is going on an extended backpacking trip.  Or your cousin wants to go duck hunting, and you lend him a shotgun for a weekend.  Or you lend your co-worker - who you've known for 5 years - a hunting rifle for his vacation during deer season.

This law presumes citizens have no common sense, and someone in state government needs to start making some decisions for you.  Was there a recent rash of bad guys buying guns at gun shows or from private parties, and they're shooting up the joint?  Or do bad guys STILL get 99% of their guns illegally - by robbery, from other criminals or via strawman purchases?

Like Kalifornia, BOTH PROVISIONS of this new law would turn honest, decent Nevadans into felons - forfeiting their right to own firearms. 

Here are the FACTS - not the fascist propaganda - about Question 1:

1.  "...the right to keep and bear arms shall NOT BE INFRINGED."  It doesn't mention, "except when someone doesn't like guns," or "except when someone may use a gun illegally".  The second amendment is a guarantee of a God-given right to self-defense.  That is NOT negotiable!

2.  Depending on your source, gun show "crime guns" account for around 1% of bad guy guns.  A 2002 US Department of Justice report put it at 0.7% (pdf).  A 2006 report, also by the US Department of Justice puts it at 1% (down from 2% in 1997 - pdf). 

The source of the gun is not the problem.  The gun itself is not the problem.  The criminal is the problem. 

3.  Their retort is always, "If just one life is saved, it's worth the inconvenience."  Again, bullshit.  I reject the entire premise of this statement.  We don't write laws to save a single life.  We write laws to protect all of society.  This is a law looking for a problem to solve.  Restricting access to life-saving firearms in any way is criminal and unconstitutional. 

Does anyone in their right mind think that if this law is passed, it will stop a criminal from getting the gun they want?  Of course not.  He'll just go to his normal sources where 99% of the guns are bought by criminals. 

All it does is jeopardize the freedom of good citizens.

In Nevada, of the 169 murders committed in 2014, 94 of them were done with some sort of firearm.  That means that 0.65 people are killed by gun show or private party guns (0.7% DOJ stats for gun show purchases x 94 gun murders).  And they're going to write a law for this?!?!?!

Once again, depending on your source, guns in the hands of citizens are used between 235,000 and 2,500,000 times to stop an attack, almost all without firing a shot (bad guy sees gun, pisses pants, and runs).

Think about that:  At a minimum, we have nearly a quarter of a million armed citizens who don't get raped, beaten, robbed or killed, each and every year.

4.  The "Gun Show Loophole" is a strawman argument.  There's no there there.  The argument is that millions of guns are sold by private parties at gun shows each year where background checks don't happen, and criminals could buy guns there.  As the facts attest in number 2 above, this just doesn't happen with any kind of frequency.

More importantly, it mixes apples and oranges - Federal Firearms Licensses (FFL) vs. private citizens.  An FFL is licensed by the federal government to sell guns in-state and out-of-state.  Their business is to sell guns.  Anytime and anywhere they sell a gun, they have to follow the same rules, which in this case, includes performing a background check on the buyer.

In this new law, the "Unlicensed Person" is you and me - private citizens selling our private property.  Just as we're an unlicensed person when we sell our sporting equipment at a garage sale to another unlicensed person, our right to sell our private property without government interference is at stake here.  We're not in business to sell guns or sporting equipment, we're just selling our lawful private property.

Chief, holy crap!  How can you compare sporting equipment and guns?

Don't scoff at this example.  Bats, clubs and hammers kill more Americans each year than shotguns or rifles.  Should we be required to get a background check on someone who buys our used baseball equipment or our extra roofing hammer?  Why not?  It might save one life...

This sounds ludicrous, but remember, not too long ago, you could buy a gun from the Sears mail-order catalogue.  Ludicrous can become "common sense" in a very short period time.

We are not responsible for the actions of others.  If I sell you a gun, a hammer, a bat or a car, and you go out and kill someone with it, I'm not responsible, the object isn't responsible, YOU are responsible.

And another "feel good" or "at least we're doing SOMETHING" law isn't going to change the facts nor reduce the number of bad guys getting guns.  It will simply make more good citizens into criminals.


Do you see what this type of language does to the psyche of free people?  You're "unlicensed" - you can't act without the permission of government.  This is a wholly repugnant and unacceptable concept.

This proposed law also includes an exemption for police.  What the hell?  Police officers are civilians, and those civilians work for us.  I know many people exclude police and fire fighters from the definition of civilian, but they're wrong.  The original and true definition has to do with the type of law under which you're judged - military or civilian.  Last time I check, police were judged under civilian law.

So laws like this help to reinforce at least 3 levels of citizenry:  Military, Super-Civilians (politicians, police, etc.) and us lowly proletariat citizens.  Ironically, in theory at least, the two levels above us are supposed to work for us.

I'm sick of it.

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Copyright 2016 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Playin' In The Dirt

This whole, "homesteading" gig is pretty cool.  A TON of work, but very cool.  I get up most mornings knowing I'm going to be physically working my ass off, and I love it.

Right now, I'm in major, "attack the deferred maintenance" list.  The previous home owners, to be blunt, didn't do shit to maintain this property for the past couple of years, at least.  And the way systems and "stuff" were configured, leaves me scratching my head.

For instance, we're in 4-season country.  While not as cold as much of the northern part of the US, our average temperature during the winter is below freezing, and we get into the teens overnight.  We actually have an 18" to 24" frost line, which is a new one for this former Kalifornian!

They installed a sprinkler system for the property - but didn't include a way to winterize the system by blowing out the lines to keep them from freezing over.  To add insult to injury, when the system was installed, they just tee'd it off of the supply line that goes out to the freezeless yard hydrant (these are hydrants that are designed to deliver water to horses/animals during the winter without freezing over).

So, in winter, when I turn off the water for the sprinkler system, I'll also be turning it off for the hydrant.  If I had animals - say, in our horse barn - I'd have to haul the water.

We're looking to add some animals next year, so that will need to be dug up and re-routed next spring.

Done So Far

> Added exterior surveillance system (thanks bro for running the cable)

> Added security system

> Started compost pile

> Cleared 1/4 acre of thorny SOB tumble weeds (1/4 acre to go).  Made a note on the calendar to have county spray next year (previous owners "forgot" to do it this year)



> Drilled a half-dozen 3-hole ventilation groups in eves to get air into attic - absolutely NO airflow currently into attic

> Removed pine tree limbs and unknown species limbs from rubbing on roof - really, people?!

>  Pruned 4 of our cottonwood trees of the wild growth on the trunk up to 12 feet.

Before and after

Before and after

And, as you may have guessed from the "after" pictures, I've got a yard full of cottonwood leaves - compost bound....

>  Installed 2, 24 inch risers for septic system access (had to be dug up before each time it was pumped - at a cost of $85 per hole dug)



Coming Up

>  Next week - rent a Bobcat, move a yard of gravel from one side of property to another, drag railroad ties piled on one side of property to be used as borders in backyard area, level area for planting beds, lay out first course of planting beds (will be raised beds), scrape final 1/4 acre of tumbleweeds.  Also, hire a tree trimmer to cut back and top a 35 ft cottonwood that is perilously close to back of house.  Terminate a heating duct that was not connected to anything when the previous owners installed a new heater 4 years ago (yes, they'd been warming the crawl space for 4 years).  Get chimney sweep out to clean chimney so we can use the awesome fireplace.

>  Mid-October - (or as soon as cool weather hits the Kalifornia foothills) Harvest and split oak firewood (dried deadwood) from relative's property.  Also, our well system is a bit jiggy.  We commonly get a "wet spot" right at the well head, and have gotten outright pooling one time.  Anyone with ideas, PLEASE CHIME IN. (And, no, the water isn't draining from some other surface area.)  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason when this happens.  Stumped.

>  Late October - have our first legal burn.  Mostly the aforementioned tumble weeds and some tree trimmings.

>  November (or as soon as I can't do stuff outside any more) - get workshop in order (it's just storage now), reorganize prep foods (a total CF after the move), build a Murphy Bed for guests in wife's office

>  January - Prune both apples trees.  Doubt if they've ever been pruned.

>  Early April - if ground not frozen, run sprinkler system out to garden beds.

>  Also on the list - relocate a shed from right in front of our view of the Sierras to side of property (or tear it down and rebuild - which ever is cheaper), re-roof horse barn and turn into storage and saloon (a gamey man-cave of sorts), install new flooring in home (currently 2 different types of tile and the most ugly blue carpet you've ever seen).

Lastly, I've gotten a number of private emails about how I'm doing the "business in California, live in Nevada" gig.  It's working very nicely.  We've been able to hire two new employees and re-jigger the schedule to where me an my business partner have, shall we say, very favorable in-store hours.

When I do have to go in, here's what my commute looks like...

(From my dash-cam.  Sorry for the bug guts on the windshield...)

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