A Note on Some “Traditional” Prepper Activity.

In other words, the hype and buzz that is ‘bugging out’. (If you’re not familiar with Prepping/Survivalist terminology, I have a small glossary here.)

Bugging out is, quite simply, leaving your home and going somewhere else because it seems a safer alternative than staying holed up in your own abode. Traditionally it’s taken for granted that anyone bugging out plans on living in the wilds like some Rambo-clone, up to the eyebrows in weaponry. For me, the most important question to ask, when some newbie prepper proudly says they’ve packed their BOB and can go in ten minutes, is “where are you going to?”. That, in turn, depends on another question: why are you bugging out to begin with?

The most likely reasons to need to leave your home fast? House fire, gas leak, chemical spill, collapsed ceilings. That kind of thing. You probably need to leave fast, you probably need to go all of a couple of miles to be out of danger and you’ll probably be back in a day or two.

For me, bugging out wouldn’t be in the face of most disasters. I might relocate to a local B&B if the ceilings came down in the house, or if we had a house fire. But if WW III kicks off, a hurricane blows in, we’re snowed in… why abandon a perfectly good weatherproof, warm house in a village where we have friends and neighbours to go hunker in a wood somewhere getting exposure? We’d have to leave most of our supplies behind, our security…. everything that we can’t carry with us! As long as the house is sound, it’s safer and better to stay in it.

Having said that, I do have several bug-out locations (BOLs) planned out in case of need. They’re not spots in the wilds, though. They’re houses belonging to friends and family where I know I’ll be welcome in a crisis. Places I’ve already stashed a few necessities – a change of clothes, for example, a few days’ food so I’m not a burden on my hosts. Equally, those people know that they’re welcome at my place if they’re in need of a bed for a few days. Some are close by, others at the far end of the country and one, even, the other side of the Atlantic (currently…. it’s a yacht and can move around whenever my brother fancies different scenery).

Generally speaking, those pre-positioned caches are simply a useful way to ensure that if I’m travelling around the country, I know where I can break my journey, sleep, scoff a meal, wash and get clean clothes, then move on. Checking on my BOL stashes involves visiting friends or siblings, switching out any older food stores for fresh ones while I’m there. Having a few essentials pre-positioned means I can travel lighter if I need to leave home fast; it may seem unlikely, but as this story shows, sometimes you just don’t have time to round up the pets, grab the kids, pack a suitcase and make an orderly exit.

I’ve never been a big fan of the theory that you need to bury a plastic drum with a complete camp packed into it, somewhere in the woods, either. They can get found by others, or lost because someone builds a supermarket on them. I’d rather put my emergency stashes in the hands of people I trust to stick them in a cupboard out of the way and out of the weather.

The whole concept of bugging out, of course, also brings us to that other prepper must-have, the bug-out bag. I’ve seen some dillies in my time on various prepping sites – the one that I think took the biscuit for me was the sedentary office worker who packed a 75L military bergen with tins of food, a complete cookset including the kettle, a 6-man tent, half a dozen different knives, a stonking big axe and (I had to laugh at this one) his rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition.He didn’t have a sleeping bag or waterproofs.  He’d never even picked it up and put it on his back, let alone found out how far he could hike with it!

Some people watch too many films.

Clean clothes, washkit, phone card, a week’s meds if you need meds, a spare pair of glasses if you use them, perhaps a street-legal penknife, a bottle of water, waterproofs maybe, and enough cash to book into the nearest Premier Inn or Travelodge, or buy a bus ticket to a mate’s place. I keep some pemmican in mine but a packet of boiled sweets, or other long-life food that’s easy to store without it melting (don’t pack chocolate!) and needs little or no cooking is useful. If you’re technologically minded, scan all your important documents (insurance papers, birth certificate, driving licence, that kind of thing) and put them on a thumb-drive.

While we’re on the subject of things worth saving, I recently watched a couple of big, tough he-man preppers discussing things they absolutely could not bear to leave behind in an evacuation. These heart-breaking items of value? The family photo album for one bloke and a collection of shoes spanning several years of an infant daughter’s life for the other.

Get a grip, guys! Sentiment will get you killed. If the house is on fire, delaying your escape to grab your daughter is understandable, but risking your life to rescue outgrown shoes? That’s just insane.

Keep it simple, and keep it relevant. If you’ve packed so much kit that you can’t lift it, you might as well not pack any at all. I make sure I can still sprint for a bus, as a useful rule of thumb.

For longer-term evacuations, such as might be caused by TEOTWAWKI, the traditional BOB, designed to cover you for 72 hours, isn’t suitable either. If the country is invaded, WWIII kicks off, civilisation crashes and burns, it’s not going to be over in 72 hours. The whole idea of the 72 hour bag is borrowed from US government advice for natural diasters. If you’re in California and an earthquake strikes, then having 3 days of supplies handy might be all you need. In the UK,  you’re either going to need a lot less because it’s not that serious, or you’ll need to be prepped for a lot longer. Even in the States, Hurricane Katrina proved that 72 hours is a complete misconception – it took a lot longer to rescue everyone from New Orleans than that! If you think back to spring 2014, when there was extensive flooding across southern England, it was May before some places had dried out enough to get the insurance assessors in, let alone fix the damage.

At that point, the INCH bag would be more appropriate and I’ll cover that some other time.

In other news today:- 6 more bunnies in the freezer, the garlic is looking good in the garden and I’ve just been tipped off to a ferretting opportunity that needs chasing up! Ironically, the rifle range is overrun with rabbits….

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Drought in the Amazon

I’ve been keeping an eye on a long-running story in the Amazon basin over the past several months; an intense drought which has brought water-rationing to large areas of Brasil and just a few days ago threatened to depopulate Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America and home to 20 million people.

It’s not the first time drought has hit the Amazon basin. In 2010, the Amazon was hit by a devastating drought which caused major rivers to run dry, trees to die and led to extensive fires as the dry, dead wood was set alight by lightning strikes. There were astounding pictures of the Brazilian government flying water supplies to villages normally on the banks of the world’s biggest river, because there was nothing but sand in the riverbed. There was a lot of discussion at the time about climate change in the Amazon basin and what it could mean for the rest of the planet if we allowed the Amazon rainforest to disappear.

As we can now see, the net result of all that worry was….. nothing happened. No new reservoirs, no restrictions on logging, illegal or legal, and as a consequence, here’s another drought and it’s nearly brought Brazil’s biggest city to the point of rationing water to just 2 days a week to all its 20 million residents.

2 days a week. Think about that. How would you cope if you turned the taps on and nothing came out? You’d be okay for a day, perhaps, maybe go buy some bottled water? (Except there are other people with the same idea). Every human needs 2L of clean, potable water a day to survive – more in hot climates or if you’re working hard and losing fluids through sweat. You need more to cook food, wash clothes, clean your teeth, flush the toilet…. the average UK household uses 150L of water a day.

Do you have 150L of water stored in your home? It weighs 150kg, plus packaging, so be careful where you stack those bottles! Upstairs is not a good idea. Ideally you want it in a dark, cool place (to restrict the growth of algae) and on a solid floor, not the loft. You need to rotate your water stash – about every 18 months or so – otherwise when you crack open the bottle, you’re might find a complex ecosystem flourishing in there. A couple of drops of thin unscented household bleach per litre helps prevent it all going green, but over time the chlorine wears off and you need to empty the bottles, scrub them out and refill them.

That’s a fair bit of work, though you can spread the load over time by doing a few bottles a month rather than all at once. You can lessen the load by conserving water! 50L a day to flush the loo with clean drinking water? Do you really need a long hot shower every day? And don’t even think about watering the garden or washing the car….

Back in the mid-70s, we had a severe drought in the UK – the first I was aware of.  I remember my parents taking us for a picnic at one of the reservoirs for Manchester, up in the Peak District. I remember the cracked mud that stretched for such a long way (I was only small!) from the grass at the top to the not-very-much water at the bottom. Cars had bumper stickers reading ‘Save Water – Have a Dirty Weekend’ to remind everyone only to bathe when necessary. We shared bathwater – eldest brother had first dip, then next brother used the same (cooling) water for his bath, then my sister and I shared the (tepid and somewhat grimy) water for our quick splash around. We put a brick in the toilet cistern to reduce the capacity, so less water was used in flushing the toilet (you can get the same effect with a plastic bag of water – or anything else that displaes water and don’t bung the works up). As things continued, we had a rule that you only flushed for excrement, not urine. Then we went on to saving the washing-up water in a bucket to pour down the loo so we weren’t using drinking water for flushing at all. I’ve retained the habit of having a daily wash rather than a daily shower ever since. You can get just as clean from a basin of hot water, a bar of soap and a flannel as you can from a shower or a bath, and it saves an immense amount of water and heating energy!

Most people in the UK don’t store water. You turn the taps and it falls out, no problem. But the people of Sao Paulo thought that, too, a few months ago. Now they’re facing reservoirs with only 8.9% of their water and the taps don’t work. Restaurants can’t wash plates, people can’t wash clothes, schools can’t cook dinners. People are reduced to trudging to whatever water sources they can locate and filling up every container they can carry. The Brazilian government were getting close to telling people to leave the city and flee, apparently.

It’s now started raining there, apparently, so they’re breathing sighs of relief, but what odds they don’t learn from this lesson either? In which case, in a few years, it’ll happen again, when the next drought arrives.

I wonder if anyone in Sao Paulo will think to start storing clean drinking water?

And before everyone outside Brazil starts feeling smug, remember those drought predictions for the US? Here’s a good site to start doing some research, too. Pay attention to that throwaway comment on the fifth line about the Brazilian coffee crop not happening this year! (Hint: price of coffee likely to rise so stock up now, coffee drinkers!)

IPCC AR5 indicated that the dry areas would get drier, so a good guess as to future conditions can be made by looking at current drought areas and simply enlarging them over time. If (when?) the Amazon rainforest succumbs to drought, fire and logging, we can probably expect tropical and subtropical droughts to get much more severe and prolonged – the Amazon, like other large rainforests, creates its own climate and without it, rainfall is going to drop.

Think it can’t happen here? Think again. Think hard, particularly if you live in an area already prone to droughts, like the south-east of England. London already gets less rain than Istanbul!

There’s another question here that I’m mulling over, and that’s…. how long will people cling to their homes, jobs, businesses, when they know they face not having any water? (three days without water and your body starts to die!) And why? Did anyone look at the reservoir levels and think, blow this for a game of soldiers, I’m offski? Or do humans have this irrational attachment to place, even over survival? How bad does it have to get before you give up your belongings in favour of safeguarding your life?

More importantly yet, when dire circumstances do finally get people on the move….. how desperate are they and what will they do if you’re in the way?

TANSTAFFL

This stands for There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Particularly when a politician or a political party starts offering “free” anything, remember the money has to come from somewhere. If you’re not paying for it up front, then where are they skinning the money from out of sight?

A few “free” things that get my goat.

“Free” university tuition. Here‘s a hint that not all Scotland’s universities are happy with this. I’m particularly suspicious when it comes to comments like

“opposing government policy isn’t always welcomed”

Is this a hint that free speech is being stifled?

You can’t have something for nothing. I’m not against the state shouldering tuition fees – I did my degree back in the old days when every local authority in the UK paid tuition fees, and my daughter’s away in Glasgow at the moment, fee-less. If you want a top-class education system, however, then you have to pay for it somehow. If students aren’t paying for it, then you have to fund it to the same level via public funds…. in other words, every tax payer takes a share. I’m perfectly happy, as a tax payer, knowing that I’m paying a few quid towards the education of the next generation, including Michelle. But when you see that tuition fees aren’t being paid by students and you discover that the government isn’t paying enough either…. well, then there’s only one outcome. The quality of the university education is going to suffer. As a parent, that’s not good enough.

Here’s another nice “free” offer from the Scottish Government. “Free” childcare for every child between 3 and 4 for 16 hours a week. Except it appears a lot of parents have to pay for their childcare because the council-funded places aren’t opening the right hours, or simply can’t handle that many children. Next year it’s going to include 27% of all 2 year olds, as well – at least in theory. Yet Scotland has less provision for nursery places under the “free” childcare that the Nats are bleating about, than England does without it. And where’s the money coming from? Local authorities raise their money from the Council Tax and the Scottish Government hasn’t allowed a rise in that for 8 years now. Holyrood’s providing £329 million to fund the expansion…. hang on a minute, there’s only 5.3 million people in Scotland and not all of them are taxpayers! Say we assume that it’s falling equally on all tax payers, and there’s a national average of 72.5% employment for those between 16 and 64, which is 63% of the population, then we’re looking at…. (bear with me, maths isn’t my favourite subject….) 2.43 million taxpayers, so each tax payer will be paying an extra  £135.39 for the “free” childcare that these children aren’t adequately receiving, on top of whatever we’re already paying, which I haven’t been able to track down yet.

“Free”. Yeah, right.

So, as all the politicians get revved up to offer bread-and-circus in one hand and smoke-and-mirrors in the other to fool the mugs into voting for them in May, just remember, if they’re busy saying “it’s free!”…. they’re lying.

TANSTAAFL!

In other news, no wonder the Russians are feeling their oats and flying bombers around our coasts with increasing frequency, just look at the way the EU’s busy arguing amongst itself! Brussels says Greece’s loan application is a positive move, and a couple of hours later Germany tells Greece where to go, with hints that it’s because the German finance minister has taken a huff at the Greek finance minister’s negotiation style.

Anyone would think Germany wanted Greece to turn to Russia for a bail-out. Wouldn’t that be an interesting twist? Part of the EU busy baiting the Bear over the Ukraine, part of the EU extending the begging bowl to the Bear and part of it (us) being wagged as the tail of the US dog-of-war.

Oddly enough, I actually have a high enough opinion of Putin’s nerve, guts and brinksmanship to think he’ll dance a smart line and avoid outright war (this does not imply, by the way, that I approve of him, his morals, his ethics, his methods or his ambitions…. just that I think he’s one smart, savvy, ruthless and clever son of a female dog. The West has nobody with Putin’s political skills, though plenty who can match his bad qualities.) Russia nipped the Crimea off very neatly and made the West look like a bunch of blundering buffoons on the world stage, I suspect they’ll succeed in the Ukraine as well. Particularly as the EU is busy attacking its own members.

Too bad for the Ukrainians. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania next?

Who’d a Thunk it?

Look out for formation-flying pigs! At last, the weight of the evidence and the severity of the crisis is hitting home for Big Business – and the ones with the biggest stakes in the denial game, too!

Some big companies have been active in climate change mitigation and adaptation schemes for some time – Apple, for instance, is a high-profile company which has for some time acknowledged climate change and sought ways to reduce its reliance on  fossil fuels. This week, Bloomberg reports Apple has invested $850 million in ensuring that it will be powering all its offices, machines, stores and data centres from solar sources for at least the next 25 years.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s biggest oil companies, had acknowledged the urgent necessity of dealing with climate change, reducing the world’s reliance on oil and switching to natural gas as a less polluting alternative, along with more renewables, and even called for governments to set carbon prices to discourage the use of fossil fuels.

Today, in reports from the Guardian and Telegraph, I note that British Petroleum, another massive multinational oil company, has stepped up to the plate. Increasing energy demand is not compatible with fighting climate change, its Energy Report has declared, and carbon emissions are ‘unsustainable’! BP, too, would like carbon prices, please.

Well, woo-hoo!! Finally, the emperors of carbon production are looking in the mirror and noticing a certain draftiness around their nethers! BP and Shell are two of the five biggest oil companies in the world – the others being ConocoPhillips, Chevron and ExxonMobil. When you consider the massive investment these companies have in exploiting any fossil fuel they can lay hands on, even two out of five ain’t bad (apologies to Meatloaf for misquoting!)

This is a long way from fixing any problems, but at least the big players are beginning to admit there are problems. If they withdraw their funding for climate change denial thinktanks and propagandists (and they should!)  then the artificial and false “controversy” over whether climate change exists and will be a major existential challenge for humanity should begin to die down. With their financial clout, these companies also have the ears of politicians and have for many years been stridently arguing that jobs now are more important than TEOTWAWKI for the next generation.

Maybe, just maybe, we can look forwards to getting to grips with the adaptation and mitigation measures our grandchildren need us to put in place.

Bad News for California….

…and the rest of the lower end of the US, by the looks of the graphics in yesterday’s Guardian article.

The NASA study which is the base of the article indicates that “quite soon” would be a very good time for Californians, in particular, to sell up and move northwards quite a way, before word spreads and property prices plummet. Over on Weather Underground, on the same subject of drought in the Sunshine State, it would appear we have a perfect example of the frog-boiler in progress.

I’ve probably used this metaphor before here, I quite like it and tend to use it in many places I go online. For anyone who hasn’t met it before, it’s a thought experiment (I hope…. I like amphibians!) whereby you take a frog or frogs and toss them into boiling water. They immediately leap out. Take the same frog(s) and place in cool water, then turn up the heat slowly, they adjust to the changing temperature and float peacefully around in the pan while boiling to death.

It would appear some Californians are oblivious to the bubbles in the water around them. It’s the worst drought in 1,200 years, groundwater is so low entire counties are having bottled water shipped in because the wells are all dry, snowpack is in very short supply in a state that relies on snow for 30% of its water, and people are celebrating because they can cavort about in shorts getting a tan in the middle of winter?

Not that this is a uniquely Californian outlook on dangerous situations, mind you. If you look around, you can see it in practically every aspect of life. Sheeple will sleep-walk peacefully into tyranny, war, starvation, rising sea levels, dangerous air pollution and many other things that an outside observer, seeing the more advanced state of events, immediately categorises as blatently stupid, provided you turn up the heat gently.

Frankly, I think the frogs probably have it over humanity when it comes to perception of danger.

TTIP of the Iceberg

After yesterday’s glance at Scottish politics, today I thought I’d have a look at international politics. Not the obvious stuff like the not-so-cold war that’s been running between the US and Russian in Ukraine for quite a while now, nor the current mess called the Middle East, which is only the latest manifestation of several thousand years of idiocy at work.

Closer to home. Within the EU. But not something that writing to your MEP can affect, nor will anyone get a chance to vote on it (for those who thought we lived in a democracy).

TTIP. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

It’s dressed up to look like a free trade agreement on trade tariffs between the EU and the US. Hidden away within the weasel words, however, are the clauses that will ensure that European citizens (including us in the UK, unless by some miracle the sheeple come to their senses and force the politicians to exit the EU – I’m not holding my breath) will be fed GM food, like it or not; forced to accept US levels of toxic ingredients and pollution (EU standards are much tighter) and watch US companies take over our public utilities and health services (though admittedly the Chinese currently own most of the UK water companies). TTIP will also remove the curbs on banking greed that caused the 2008 crash, in line with US legislation, and re-introduce the internet censorship that the European parliament threw out only a couple of years ago, to allow the US federal agencies free access to all the “private” data in Europe. And on top of all this, if any EU government tries to introduce legislation that might reduce the profits of US companies, TTIP gives those companies the right to sue governments to recover thoir ‘lost’ profits. There’s an article in the Independent from last October that sums up the clauses that should have every EU commissioner before a firing squad for even allowing the paperwork to sit on a table in front of them.

There is a European Citizens Initiative – a sort of petition demanding EU parliamentarians do something – though what they can do when the Commissioners are all working away in favour of it, I don’t quite know. But what the H, I’ve signed it – if we don’t bother saying anything, then TPTB have every justification to say they thought we were happy for them to go ahead.

I’m not.

This will almost certainly go through, because the big US companies want it and they can afford to buy off the politicians both sides of the Pond. When it does, I expect to see job losses (the US has much less stringent worker protection, so it’ll be cheaper to outsource work to the US), a massive handover of national sovereignty (what little we haven’t already handed to Brussels) to US multinationals and a huge step backwards in environmental protection, pollution control and food standards.

The only way to control what you eat will be to grow your own – and don’t forget that the US companies like Monsanto are the ones who tried to ban the sale of all seeds that aren’t produced by them, unable to grow except when doused in their pesticides, even in our own back gardens! I wonder how long it’ll be before that legislation is re-introduced and you get prosecuted for growing your own food? It’s been going on for years in the States, and if (when) the morons in Brussels dump TTIP on us, the door will be open for it to happen here too.

State Ownership of Scottish Children to Start before Birth!!

Another unashamed delve into the filth and social control that is Scottish Politics.

Some time ago I mentioned the Named Person policy here, whereby all children born or resident in Scotland will be under the guardianship of a State employee until they’re 18, regardless of their parents’ wishes. Today it’s come to light that the guidelines on instituting this process have taken the Big Brother even further. Now the Named Person job starts at 7 months of pregnancy!

So, if you planned on anything a bit different for your child’s birth, or had strong feelings about vaccinations, or, when you get down to it, thought that it was “your” child to begin with…. now you know. It’s not. It’s only your foetus until 7 months, then wave goodbye to freedom, some State appointed busybody can tell you what to do with yourself from then on. Presumably they’ll move in and do the cooking after the birth so you’re eating the right diet while breastfeeding, too.

For crying out loud, SNP, George Orwell was writing a satirical novel, not a  manifesto!

Some Rabbit Ruminations.

I killed four of the young NZWs today. They’re just 9 weeks, barely big enough, but all the same, those 4 bunnies put nearly 8kg of meat in the freezer, plus 4 ferret meals and some tasty tidbits to add to the dogs’ dinner.

It takes me, on average, about an hour a day all told to look after the rabbits – now at a population of 20, but earlier today 24. So, working backwards, that would mean it takes about an hour of my time every 24 days per bunny, so at 9 weeks, which is 63 days, each rabbit has cost me less than 3 hours of my time, and about £6 in food.

I don’t actually know what the price of meat is in the shops at the moment, we haven’t bought any for months, but how long do you have to work in a job, allowing for your expenses and a whack heading to the tax man, to take home enough money to buy 2kg of fresh meat?

And it’s superb meat, too – we haven’t found anything we can’t do with it yet, whether roasting, stewing, stir-frying, casseroling, sweet-and-sours, pan-frying, mince, pies, jerky, pemmican….

The slow-cooker is bubbling away nicely with tonight’s dinner. No prizes for guessing what meat is involved.

In other news, we’re down to our last stored onion and we’ve just finished the garlic, so we need to grow twice as much to last the full year! It’s always worth knowing. This year’s garlic (about twice as much as last year….heheh) is looking good in the garden and we’ll be putting in the onions and shallots soon.

UK Knife Law – Locking Blades

A petition was brought to my attention the other day and I’m going to share it here in the hopes of gathering a few more signatures.

UK law states than nobody may carry a knife in public without good cause if the blade is more than 3 inches in length, or if the blade locks open. Now, this particular quirk wasn’t written into the Act of Parliament governing offensive weapons, it stems from a judge mistakenly deciding that ‘lock’ knives were dangerous, which just shows how little some judges know about knives.

A folding knife with a lock is SAFER than a folding knife without a lock! The lock stops the blade snapping shut on your fingers while you’re working with the knife.

Anyway, as it stands, we’re all forced to avoid carrying the safest folding knives and have to make do with much less safe non-locking folders, and this petition merely asks for a review of the law with regard to carrying small locking penknives. Please, if you’re a UK citizen, consider signing the petition! We’ve only got until the end of March 2015 to put 10,000 signatures on the petition and force the Civil Service to respond – 100,000 signatures and it has to be considered by a back-bench committee. It’s hard enough trying to maintain any rights against the natural tyranny of politicians – no opportunity for exercising a democratic right should be overlooked!

How Not to Build a Compost Heap

When I pulled all my stuff off the allotment, I brought home a big compost bin that I’d bought and put there. Today we finally got round to assembling it in the garden, alongside our existing heaps, and I have to say, we definitely hadn’t thought it out properly.

First off, there’s a distinct lack of space in that corner. We had 5 compost heaps in situ, at various stages of composting, and the only available space was between two lilac bushes. All very well, but we’d already tossed a fair old heap of rubbish in that spot already!

So, the first job was to assemble the rear half of the bin – it’s one of these sectional plastic affairs – and then put it behind the rubbish heap, then move the rest of the heap into position within the bin before we could assemble the front half. Ducking and weaving around the lilics, we got the three lower and three upper rear panels of the bin in place and started forking the muck into position.

I nearly stabbed a hibernating toad in the course of this, which was a very lucky escape for Toady! I’m pretty sure it’s the same toad we’d seen around that corner of the garden last summer – quite a large, brown toad. Anyway, she just missed being impaled and I picked her up and popped her (probably her, she’s a big toad and females are bigger) into the area of the new compost bin, then reburied her carefully to continue her winter snooze. Hopefully she’ll settle back down and when spring comes, she’ll be ready to come out and scoff insect pests in the garden again.

Having succesfully avoided amphibian assassination and moved the heap into position, we then built the front half of the bin and filled in around the edges (inside) with the cleanings of the hen run from yesterday. I’ll continue filling up with rabbit cleanings.

It would have been much simpler and quicker if we’d had clear ground to build on, though!

It’s been a quiet time otherwise – too much ice and frost to do much work on the land. The bunnies continue ticking along, although Silver has (again) managed to pull a muscle in his right hind leg, the prat, and has been moved to a different cage and confined to it until he’s healed up. The two young female rexes who were in that cage are now in his old cage and their brothers, in one of my huge cages, are just beginning to moult, so should be in the freezer in a couple of weeks, as soon as they’ve finished moulting. The ten NZW youngsters will be ready about then, too.

My FAC application is now submitted and today I drilled four big holes in the wall, to bolt the cabinet securely in place. I don’t know what the walls of this house are made of but it seemed inordinately hard! I had to stop several times for the drill and drill bit to cool down. I have a socket that fits the bolts, but not the connecting doofer to attach it to the drill, so on Monday I’ll be in our local DIY place finding something to do the job and then the cabinet will be ready for inspection by the police in due course.