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What's Old Is New Again

Last weekend, April 18th and 19th, was spent down south of Bryan/ College Station at a shooting range.  I participated in a Project Appleseed event.

Practicing for Appleseed

Practicing for Appleseed

Project Appleseed is an apolitical rifle marksmanship training program that focuses on teaching traditional rifle marksmanship from standing, sitting/kneeling, and prone positions over a two day weekend shooting clinic for what is termed an “Appleseed”. It is one of the major activities of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that teaches and promotes traditional rifle marksmanship, while also teaching American heritage and history with the intent of encouraging people to become active civically.In addition to Project Appleseed, there is also a companion subsidiary activity conducted within the RWVA called “Liberty Seed” that is the American heritage and history portion of Project Appleseed. “Liberty Seed” has been termed a “civics class in disguise”, and features content on the “Three Strikes” that were needed to start the American Revolutionary War.

April 19th, 1775 was the date of the Battle on Lexington Green which was the first military engagement of the Revolutionary War.  Patriot’s Day is still a holiday celebrated in New England; the rest of the country not so much.  Ironic is it not that the cradle of our beginnings as a nation now have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country?

Appleseed T- I don't wear t shirts with writing on them anymore.  I imagine this one will end up with BFF Cait

Appleseed T- I don’t wear t shirts with writing on them anymore. I imagine this one will end up with BFF Cait

Attending an Appleseed Event has been on my radar for some time now.  I just couldn’t work it in tied down on an oil field gate in South Texas.  I am not going to give ya a blow by blow of what went on those two days.  My rifle of choice was a Marlin 60 22LR topped with an all steel Weaver scope made in El Paso, TX USA.   The Marlin was produced in 1974 – the same year I graduated high school. Old School —  me and the iron.

It was not an easy weekend but then again I didn’t really expect it to be. I might have been the oldest guy there… if I wasn’t I was damn close.   There were fathers and daughters, mothers and sons,  one entire family of four, BF/GFs and young men with impressive and expensive shooting machines.  We all endured the sun, humidity, mud, fire ants, cow flop and sore knees and elbows.  The Aleve figured more prominently  in my plan than some of the younger participants.  I acquitted myself well enough I am thinking.

I would recommend the Appleseed Project to anyone who wants to learn true marksmanship.

*********************

Beans, Band-Aids and Bullets

Beans, Band-Aids and Bullets

Been here at The Secret Hideout with My Bro for six weeks now.  Don’t seem like that long but the days just slip right on by.   About the time I get down toward that last nickle in my pocket, something pops up to throw enough dollars to me I can pay the bills another week.  I have had multiple opportunities to return to the Oil Patch but it doesn’t sit right somehow just now.  It has been most of a year since I have seen *any* of my family and I was well down the rabbit hole it seems.  The job was defining my life and I was too close to see it.  I have discussed this at length with my true confidant, BFF Cait.  She has reinforced my overall feeling that something more than I can understand is afoot here.   Karma?  Everything happens for a reason?  Yeah, something like that I am thinking.  My Bro is going through some things right now and is spending beaucoup time at The Secret Hideout which has never been the case in the past.  I welcome the fellowship we have been enjoying on a near daily basis. You know, he is an interesting guy.  He has been absolutely self employed for right at 40 years.  Every time he returns from wherever his business has taken him there are a few more items to be added to the shelves here at The Hideout.  We are like worker bees getting ready for a “hard winter”.   Read into that what you will.

So I pass my days here waiting for the greater purpose for my sojourn in these parts to be revealed.  BFF Cait told me last week that I need to stay the course until I am forced to fly the Baloney Flag and go back to the mines.  A reference of course to The Baloney Years;  BFF Cait will look you right in the eye and tell you with conviction The Baloney Years shaped who she is today.  I agree with her especially after what happened this week.  I woke in the wee hours of a quiet morning from a dream I could not recall just exactly and jotted these words down on a piece of scrap paper next to the bed.

“You are doing the right thing.  I will provide.”

Poor Man Solar

Poor Man Solar

WTF? Sounds near biblical don’t it? I read that scrap the next morning and couldn’t tell you if it came from the dream or no.  I do know I felt a sense of peace and absolute surety of course when I scratched those words down.  I still do when I pick up the slip of paper and re-read them now; like I did just this minute.

BFF Cait pointed out to me that I was certain my gate was going to close last Fall and yet I was still there drawing good money until February this year.   Neither that time nor the funds were ill spent.  I knew what was coming and I made sure my larder was fat and my house was in order when the inevitable day came and I blew out north to Mason County.  This is not the Pocky Lips folks nor is it TEOTWAWKI. It is my personal SHTF and I been preparing for it for some time now.

So with the bank accounts well below the $1k mark these days I just tighten the belt and move forward through another day.  I don’t have much but I have enough.  Make no mistake, I am living an abundantly rich life these past weeks.  I am nowhere near to being A Homeless and the life I am living is by choice and not have-to.    I have burned through the fuel stockpile though faster than anticipated. The residential fridge and chest freezer are necessary but they cause me to run  Little Blue
more than I am wont to do.  When I poured the last drop of four year old fuel into the generator,  I knew it was time to up the game.

I needed some solar to augment my power, pure and simple and I had the means to do so.   The NO PRINCESS Palace is not a high end RV; it is a basic, tough, get-you-by travel trailer and it serving my exact purpose as intended when I bought it two years ago.  It is paid for as well.

An aside…………  I got put on the rack a few weeks back by a female that accused me of falling down and going back to my old ways.  Let me make myself crystal here.  Little Blondie fled south 9 months ago. She ain’t been back.  She is not coming back.  I severed ties with some former GFs and my head has been clearer for that loss.  They were good women, one and all, and I wish them well.  Hell fire, I been married 4x and have had more GFs than I have fingers and toes. Christ on a Cracker!  I have never gone 9 months without a significant female in my life.  I have now. It may remain so.

Bits and Pieces

Bits and Pieces

Now where was I??  The Palace………..  When you are dealing with a basic RV, some amenities are left behind.  The Old Girl was a high end machine when she rolled out back in 1993.  Big battery bank, multiple roof vents, 2 AC units and a Fantastic Vent Fan to pull in the cool air of an evening when you were boondocking.  The Palace has a single roof vent in the bathroom and it has the single cheapie exhaust fan that does squat when you come right down to it.  I am missing that Fantastic Fan something terrible.  The humidity runs higher here in Central Texas than it did in the Pucker Brush and the afternoons are already beginning to get uncomfortable.  Nights as well when it is warm and muggy and above 70 degrees.  There is no chance of Little Blue running the roof top AC so I got to do somethin’ else.  It is what it is.

I had a pair of Interstate DCM0100l 100ah AGM batteries salvaged from the Old Girl.  I have dutifully kept them conditioned and up to snuff all these years since and even though they are gettin’ a little long in the tooth, it was time to put them to work. I also had a Xantrex 1000 watt Inverter salvaged from her and ready to work as well.

I had these other items available.
RENOGY 100w Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Morningstar 10L Charge Controller with LVD

Schumacher SpeedCharge Charger/Maintainer

20ft. Solar Cable extension with MC4 Female and Male connectors

Bits and pieces of wire and cable

Copper battery lugs with a Lug Crimping Tool

Inline fuses

All strung together and it works

All strung together and it works

Busted up pallet

1/4″ plywood cut to fit the top of the pallet

couple of cinder blocks

2 Dollar General merchandise totes from South Dallas storage with the tops busted out.

You people know I preach and preach about buying stuff with good intentions that somehow just gets put back in the corner and never used.  I had picked up all this solar stuff and never used any if it (hardly)  and now it was time to put book knowledge to real life on a very basic solar system.  I know solar is going to be a part of my life going forward and you learn by doing.  I am all in.

I set everything up as pictured.  The Dollar General totes cover the equipment and with 4″ of rain and some stiff winds the last few days, the totes do the job.  The Schumacher charger is plugged into the Palace and boosts the charge rate when Little Blue is running.  I plug a 12 ga extension cord into the inverter and run the cord into the Palace via the extra port I added in the slide last year.  I plug two power strips into the cord and the inverter powers my laptop, Wilson amp  DISH DVR, flat screen TV and small fan.  I watch TV late night and run the fan all night long when it is muggy.  it serves the purpose for what it is.

I monitor the battery condition with my indispensable Fluke Multimeter. My Bro bought a RENOGY Starter Kit last year at my urging and after seeing my simple system operate, he is anxious to set up his two panels.  I went to San Marcos yesterday and picked up the 4 RENOGY 250W 24v Monocrystalline Solar Panels along with the Tripp Lite 2000w inverter/charger that were in storage there.  I would like to utilize these items somehow but with limited funds, the mppt controller, new battery bank and monitoring equipment seems far out of reach financially right now.

I don’t really know where this scenario is headed.  Who does have an infallible crystal ball that accurately predicts the future?  I do know the both of us do not like what we see happening in this world today.  It is no bueno.  I do know that.

 

End Note: Back Porch Therapy  by Tony Joe White from The Heroines album.

 

 

 

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9 comments to What’s Old Is New Again

  • Joel

    Another fun post, Andy. You need to post more often.

    “I don’t really know where this scenario is headed. Who does have an infallible crystal ball that accurately predicts the future?”

    Nobody does, not even those folks who are predicting the apocalypse. But I am a big believer in the theory that you can make your own luck.

    On the solar panels, we ended up getting microinverters for each panel, rather than a string inverter.

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    • Andy

      You are also grid tied, right?

      A battery bank and top shelf controller is a major expense for me.

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      • Joel

        Yeah. We have a reversible meter, so we can take power when we need it and feed it back when we have excess. We rarely have a net excess for any given billing period (which is good, because they pay us peanuts for it), but probably have significant daytime periods of excess generation. With the subsidy from Ameren UE and the tax deduction, we’ll probably recoup our investment over the first ten years since installation, but not if we also had to amortize a battery bank.

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  • Tom Wallace

    Hey Partner,

    I have followed your post for years and have always been impressed with your down to earth sense. I have followed your post the last few months with a bit of concern for your welfare but I also realize that you are not one of those that sits down and lets the world run over you, and will always make the best of what the world gives you and plans for the possible downturns of the future. In my 66 years, I have found that the old saying of doors closing and doors opening is pretty much true for the folks that make the effort of taking care of things. I’ve got lots of regrets, sure, but all in all, I’m in a pretty good place as I’m sure you are/will be. Having said all that, I just wanted to tell you that I think Cait is right, and karma will out and you will be the better for it in the end. Take care my Friend.
    Tom

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  • Lynn

    Yup, I am a firm believer in doors opening and closing. In 2012 I got laid off from my job knowing full well I wouldn’t be looking for another one. Looking back now 3 years later, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I am truly much happier with my new career.

    Things really do have a way of working out but you can’t always imagine it when you are in the thick of present day.

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  • Mike

    Another long time reader enjoying your posts. You are a survivor, no matter what comes your way.

    Now I am curious as to where you found all that CCI MiniMag ammo? It is pretty much non-existent in my part of Texas. I’m pretty sure that you did not get that from your friends at Amazon! LOL

    Be safe and take care.
    Mike

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    • Andy

      Hi Mike

      I lucked up on a full case (5k rounds) at Midway for a little less than $.06 per. I used this ammo at the Appleseed Shoot.

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