Brother Harold

Unmarked Wagner #12 Skillet

This weekend was an epic weekend. I went to three estate sales and hit big on all of them. That’s very rare for me. I usually have to go to 10 crappy sales for every one like today. First up a Griswold “Deep Fat Fryer”, circa 1950s. I paid $20 for it, but it’s absolutely mint and could fetch $40 or more in ePay…if my wife let’s me sell it.  She seems to dig it. This one doesn’t even need […]

Generator Redundancy

Recently, I almost had to surrender my membership card to our little group. I experienced an epic fail in my preps when we were caught by an unexpected power outage. We weren’t just caught with our pants down – our pants were totally off, had left the building, were dirty, out in the woods somewhere, being used as a blanket by an enterprising skunk. For most of the power outages we’ve experienced there has been some warning. Sometimes days, or […]

Holistic Orchard Spray

“Fruit Trees you have? Spray, you must!” – Yoda (maybe) There’s no escaping the need to spray your fruit trees, but I prefer the biodynamic methods that Michael Phillips puts forth in his book “The Holistic Orchard”, probably *the* bible on beyond-organic orcharding. This video/post is the process I’ve been using for the past few years to put all the ingredients together for a 4 gallon backpack sprayer. I’m not going to go over all the ingredients and why they […]

DIY Hose Manifolds and Splitters

Water. It’s critical to everything. But it’s especially important to my garden and orchard. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about transporting water from a house spigot to the end of a hose. In the case of hose, you absolutely get what you pay for. To get to the bottom of my orchard I need to transport water over 300’ – I know a thing or two about hoses. Permanent underground irrigation down to the orchard is on my […]

Omni-directional Antenna

Last October, Mr. Paranoid cut his Cable TV cord. I cut my cable/satellite cord back in 2011. I’ve been through 3 major power outages with my over-the-air TV antenna and have not lost TV communications. In addition to that, the equipment I bought long ago paid for itself in the $90/month cable bill savings. In fact, I even covered the cost of a significant Home Theater PC, which acts as our DVR (I might discuss the prep aspects of this […]

Silver Certificate

I went out to lunch this afternoon with my wife and afterwards went to indulge my rare, but sinful desire for Aunt Annie’s cinnamon pretzel bites…hmmm, sugary buttery doughy goodness… So I went into my wallet to cough up the $4.17…wait, $4 for pretzel bites? WTF?! I told you it was a rare indulgence, but boy has our little New England mall gotten mighty pretentious lately. Anyway, I pulled 4 dollar bills from my wallet and as I was about […]

'Tis but a scratch!

I grew up in an old Italian neighborhood where most of the Men (and I mean capital “M”en) grew up in the Great Depression, fought in WWII, and never forgot the lessons of their parents. They were gritty Men, hard as nails (or maybe in the story below, not quite as hard). On their 1/10th-acre city lots they grew front-yard gardens, kept chickens in the backyard, canned, hunted, fished, made wine, provided for their families, and were a fixture in […]

Failed Can

I’m not one to shy away from using a canned good long past its “Best By” date, but somewhere around 6-12 months past that date, the cans start to get extra scrutiny. Today I pulled a can of Evaporated Milk that had fallen out of rotation. The “Best By” date was “12/08/2011”. Over 2 years past the Best By date. Oops! This can was going to get some serious scrutiny. I pulled off the label, evaluated all the seams, and […]


If you listen to podcasts and read blogs where preppers talk about martial arts training, it’s almost always from the perspective of someone who has been training for years. It’s usually a Black Belt who after years of study, sweat, blood, bruises, tears and possibly a few broken bones, reflects romantically on his journey and espouses the virtues. However, most experienced martial artists whom I’ve heard on this topic often sound like they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a […]