Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fire Got my Favorite Weapon - Double Barrel Hammerless 16 Gauge Shotgun

Wifey stumbled across this shotgun on a Facebook post earlier this year. Someone's father had passed and they were left with the task of selling his gun collection. I picked up the double barrel hammerless shotgun for $250.

I was a little apprehensive to fire it for the first time this summer. I had no idea how old it was or what kind of condition it was in. I did not know when the last time it was fired. I took it to the local gun shop but the gunsmith was not in that day. Some guys behind the counter told me it looked okay but to make sure I should have it inspected by the gunsmith.

Before I knew it, I was at the farm in Oklahoma. I found a brave family member that was willing to shoot it for the first time. After a couple of trigger squeezes,  we determined it was fine to fire.

Not only could she fire but she shot straight and true. I enjoyed the next couple of months with that shotgun and even took out a snake near the farmhouse (I can't hyperlink to previous posts like the snake encounter from my cell phone.)

I'm gonna replace this baby someday.  I saw similar ones at a gun show in Payson,  Arizona. Then I'll get Wifey the 380 she's been asking for to conceal carry. But first,  we need our own  transportation and a rental home.

Thanks to everyone who has helped so far with PayPal donations.  Blessings will befall you for your generosity and my family is eternally grateful. We have temporary housing and transportation from generous neighbors / church members. I have begun looking for a rental property today.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New PO Box & FFL Address

Jeep's gone but the canoe made it.
Blogging from my Verizon Droid cell phone isn't as easy as I would like it to be. I initiated a post yesterday to announce our new PO Box address but it looks like it is stuck in posting limbo. Hopefully I can get my hands on a second hand laptop today.

The address we are accepting mail at is:

Orange Jeep Dad
2532 N. Fourth St #230
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

The mail store was more than happy to add the moniker Orange Jeep Dad to the box so we're GTG (good to go) there. Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far. I have a neighbor with an FFL and will be posting that shortly.

Update: Friend with FFL license:

Margaret Jean Sullivan

8650 Kira Ln
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
(928) 526-3262 (Phone)
FFL License:9 - 86 - XXX - XX - XX - 01604
FFL License Type:01 - Dealer
License Expires:12/01/2013
- See more at:

Margaret Jean Sullivan

8650 Kira Ln
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
(928) 526-3262 (Phone)
FFL License:9 - 86 - XXX - XX - XX - 01604
FFL License Type:01 - Dealer
License Expires:12/01/2013
- See more at:
MJ Sullivan
8650 Kira Ln
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
(928) 526-3262 (Phone - See more at:

Margaret Jean Sullivan

8650 Kira Ln
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
(928) 526-3262 (Phone) - See more at:

Margaret Jean Sullivan

8650 Kira Ln
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
(928) 526-3262 (Phone)
FFL License:9 - 86 - XXX - XX - XX - 01604
FFL License Type:01 - Dealer
License Expires:12/01/2013
- See more at:
8650 Kira Lane
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Phone 805-630-4804 

FFL License 9-86-XXX-XX-XX-01604
FFL License Type - 01 Dealer
License Exp. 12-01-13 

They can email a copy of the license if you give an email address.

When we're asked what we need, I really can't accurately answer that just yet. We have dozens of black trash bags with donations in them and we need to sort them all out. However, one thing I am certainly looking for:

ISO (in search of) ONE ORANGE JEEP ;-)


I've had three Jeeps in my life so far: a 1983 Laredo, a 1981 CJ 8 (Scrambler) and my most recent Orange 2006 Wrangler. I loved all three and am looking for a fourth now. My dream Jeep would be another old Scrambler but funds are going to be a limiting factor.

If anyone has a Jeep in mind for me, please let me know. We are a dedicated Jeep family. If you don't understand it, "it's a Jeep thing."  Wifey said I needed to change the blog title to Orange Jeep HAT Dad. I reminded her I don't have the hat any more either :-( But the orange canoe that I picked up in Oklahoma this summer made it! Perhaps I'll be the Orange Canoe Dad now? LoL!

This is what my first Jeep looked like (not my actual but identical)


Photo from Johnny Ringo's Carefree Adventure 480-488-2466

I like CJ8s because they can hold all my kids (up to 7 people).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Next Day

I dug through the ash this morning and found Wifey's wedding ring.  She cried with joy when I presented it upon my return.  We are staying at a gracious neighbor's house for the time being.

I am meeting with our auto insurance company tomorrow.  Both vehicles are totalled.  No more Orange Jeep. I'm hoping for a quick remedy from them.  Probably shouldn't hold my breath.

Being members of a loving church makes all the difference.  The outpour of help and prayers have made it bearable.

Gotta run.  Lots to take care of.  Our PayPal account for donations is:


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our house burned down today

I don't think I'll be posting for a while.  Our house burned down today.  All family,  dog,  puppies and chicks are safe.  House,  jeep and suburban are total loss.  We have the clothes on our backs and my cell phone.  Family and friends are helping as much as they can.  I am grateful for everyone's safety.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Home Depot - Let's Talk!

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is checking the statistics pages and seeing what visitors are doing when they come to my blog. I use, who not only are free, but show things like:
  • Summary
  • Hourly
  • Entry Pages
  • Exit Pages
  • Incoming Traffic
  • Came From
  • Keyword Analysis
  • Paid Traffic New
  • Recent Came From
  • Recent Keyword Activity
  • Search Engine Wars
  • Exit Links
  • Downloads
  • Download Activity
  • Visitor Paths
  • Visit Length
  • Returning Visits
  • Recent Pageload Activity
  • Recent Visitor Activity
  • Recent Visitor Map
  • Country/State/City/ISP
  • Browsers
  • System Stats
I was VERY interested tonight to see that I have a visitor from a Home Depot IP address that has visited 27 times! In my alternate universe, that visitor is a marketing executive who is looking for a dad to sponsor for a web show. I'd love to do a Last Man Standing spin on homesteading. Wifey and my six daughters would be the driving source that keeps me in the garage.

Home Depot visits my blog! I would love you to leave a comment!

My whole house has split our sides laughing at Tim Allen and the Last Man Standing show he is performing in.  Since we dropped our cable tv over five years ago, the only method we have for watching shows now is through NetFlix via the girls' Wii game console. We've burned through the first two seasons in about two is THAT funny. Of course, with six daughters, I'll be watching the show a second time to see what I missed with all their chatter. I've been a fan of Tim Allen since his Men Are Pigs comedy tour back in 1989.

So, Home Depot person, leave a comment and tell us what you like (or don't like, I'm a realist) about the blog. I'm super curious.


P.S., and a BIG HELLO to GIG HARBOR, WASHINGTON for racking up 520 visits to my blog!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Building my Man Cave

Split my axe tonight cutting wood.
I've been working on my man cave the past week. I got two nice work benches put up and some pegboard to starting organize my tools. Feels a lot better knowing where some of my stuff is for projects. Got my vice clamp on the side of my workbench. Threw my double edge up there and was sharpening the edges with my new file. Took it out to try it out and worked like a charm. 20 minutes later I split the handle. So now I have a new project. 

Clubhouse by lantern light
I don't have enough lighting up yet and I'm enjoying this evening by Coleman lantern lights. I got one of the large bay doors open for some nice breeze. I am enjoying the heck out of this. I wish I had a full month just to work around the property. We have a gate on the fence now so no worries about Jade (our German Shepherd) running off. I added a door to the girls' clubhouse.

10 chicks + waterer & feeder = $57
Picked up ten chicks last Saturday down in the valley and hauled them up north. I have

  • Buff Orphington x 3
  • Wyandotte x 3
  • Barred Rock x4
I'm hoping that come Easter, we have a good stock of eggs to eat & decorate. I finally got to taste some free range eggs left by some friends. They were more colorful and tasteful. I'm certainly looking forward to fresh eggs.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sis sings the National Anthem SOLO at her new High School

For those of you who have been following since Oklahoma or before, you'll recall what a hard time Sis had moving away from her old high school. She really didn't want to move to Oklahoma so when she found out we were moving to northern Arizona, she was pretty happy. To her, three hours away was much better than moving 18 hours away (driving time.)

Well, I'm happy to announce that after a bumpy first week in a new high school, we are now one full month in. While we (again) are not happy with the level of education,  and we are still thinking about home schooling, I am super proud of Sis for having the courage to stand up in front of the whole school and sing the National Anthem before a volleyball game.

She wasn't nervous a bit, did a terrific job and was cheered by the whole gymnasium.

Life is good.


Mmm...Beaver Butt!

Frosty morning, smoke billowing out of our pipe.
Figured out a little bug today. Since I have a computer with Internet Explorer 8, which is outdated, that is why I have not been able to use the "compose" part of Blogger. I have had to write the last few posts in HTML mode. Luckily, I know that language.

Thinking outside the box, I decided to give Blogger a try in my trusty Firefox browser. Low and behold, it works perfectly. Go figure, almighty Google (owner of Blogger) has screwed itself with it's own browser.

But anyway...

So, something new on the blog here. Might not interest many of the usual crowd (are you three still reading?) but it is teaching me a thing or two so I thought I would include it here. It's called Eating Healthy.

I know, I know. B.O.R.I.N.G...right? But, if most of  you are preppers, survivalists, homesteaders, farmers and the like, this is important stuff. As you MAY have noticed in some of my YouTube videos, I'm a rather LARGE guy. At 6'3" I have been weighing in at 290lbs for a few years now.

Do I like being this big? Of course not. But like many others out there, I've just kind of...given up. With the constant stress of full time school, full time family and full time work (and I should add full time debt because it is a huge source of stress) I just finally felt like the excuse of not having enough time to devote to health was valid. Sprinkle in a little guilt if I spent time away from family at the gym and I just didn't want to do it at all.

Until now.

I care about my family and my future. I want to live a long, healthy life and enjoy grandchildren and great-grandchildren so I've decided to make a change. Some of this is brought on by the discomforting inability to breathe after a simple short walk. Some of it due to comments or actions by people close to me (like a guy that keeps poking me in the belly as if to say "Dude, that thing is huge!) But for the most part, the change I am making is due to two things:

1) a really great friend who is helping me learn how to eat properly


2) I am finally in an environment where I can eat healthy.

Let me explain just a little. You're all intelligent people so I won't babble too much on this but...

We all know greasy, fried food is bad. We all know high fructose corn syrup and sweets can cause diabetes. Yet, we eat it. Mostly for convenience. Working the night shift for the past 8+ years has been my excuse for eating fast food every night. Well, there's nothing open at 3am besides greasy fast food joints, right? Or Circle K. So for years, I indulged in burgers and fries, tacos and burritos, you get the picture. Oh, and Dr Pepper by the gallons.

So now, with the help of a good friend of mine 1000 miles away and my new job which has a terrific cafeteria and a plethora of options, I'm taking it one meal at a time and getting healthy. I take a picture of every breakfast and lunch and send it to my friend via text message (with a picture). I describe what I am eating and he drills down about how bad it all is. Seriously. What I thought wasn't so bad, man. He's opening my eyes to stuff I didn't even think about.

As I've begun to learn things about food, glycemic index, GMO and raw foods, I thought maybe some of you could benefit. But since it's not the usual homesteading topic, I'll simply drop a blurb on here that I posted something new and link to it on a side page of this blog. Like I did my Farm Critters topic. The first one is live, read it on the Eating Healthy page. It's good information albeit NOT from professionals and is sprinkled with humor between to buddies.

Because, after all, if we're serious about getting prepared for the trouble that certainly seems to be heading our way thanks to our government leaders, we not only need to be prepared with food, water, medicine, weapons, and the like...but we also need to be in good enough shape to handle day to day activities like chopping wood, hunting game, household chores, outdoor chores and just plain playing around with our children.

Hope it helps.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our First Country Problem: Rodents Attacked Our Food Storage

Rodent damage to our Hard White Wheat bags.
Having lived in the city for the last 21 years, we have had to deal with ants, roaches, spiders, and noisy crickets. Never once did we have to deal with a rodent problem and likewise never had to defend our plentiful food storage.

In 2010, we constantly bought as much food storage as we could afford. I was working the equivalent of two jobs and we were lucky enough to pack away a year's worth of food for our family of eight. That was no small accomplishment.

We proudly displayed it on our kitchen loft for many months until a SurvivalBlog article got me to thinking "Maybe I shouldn't make this public knowledge." Some strategically placed cutouts turned our kitchen loft into a nice hidden cache. I found work lockers to be another great place to store additional food and put up a good 30-40 cans of soup there.

Another food storage casualty.
So our food storage had been safe...until now. When we packed up our food storage to relocate to northern Arizona, I made a great score in finding a DAILY discarding of big, wide meat boxes from our local Walmart butcher. These boxes held a ton, had nice notches for handles on the sides and were very sturdy. Before I returned from my Oklahoma journey, Wifey had packed 117 boxes with the help of the girls.

The food storage we bought in #10 cans was still in it's original boxing. The rest of our food storage was packed in mylar bags with oxygen eaters courtesy of our local LDS Cannery.  We packed hundreds of these mylar bags in boxes from Walmart and lugged them north. Little did I know, field mice were on standby, waiting for our arrival...and the handy little handle holes on the side of each box meant INSTANT ACCESS for our new friends.

They got several rice bags.
I also didn't know that mice would chew right through our cardboard boxes to get to our powdered milk.  Even the mylar bags proved no barrier for their little nibblers. We discovered tragedy today when we were looking through boxes for handles to add to the little girls' clubhouse wall. There they were, plain as day...mouse turds, all over the inside of the box.

As we began moving boxes away from the wall, the horror became more clear. They had chewed through the cardboard on several boxes and contents were spilled out onto the floor. We've been here three weeks and today we pulled 21 mylar bags aside that had holes in the bags.

So we spent half of our Sunday, which was very enjoyable up to this point, taking food storage out of cardboard boxes and putting them into home depot buckets and plastic boxes with secure lids.

Our question now is: "What do we do with the damaged items?" Do we have to throw it away? Some bags have such small holes in them that it seems hardly large enough to squeeze a rice grain through it. Having worked so hard to save up the money AND bag it all ourselves, I'm hoping somebody can tell me how to save this stuff. I guess the worst case scenario would be to feed it to chickens, once we get some more.

Besides the rice, we also lost:

All these bags have tiny little holes in them ranging from the large ones I imaged at the top of this post to little bitty holes only big enough for one grain of rice to slip through. So, are any of these salvageable? Should we dump them out and sift it for rodent feces to see if the bag got contaminated? Can we make the powdered milk and boil it or something to make it safe to drink?

I hope it's not all wasted.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our First Winter in Northern Arizona

Finished Halloween decorations today.
I have been REALLY looking forward to a cold winter. For a few months, I thought it was going to be a cold Oklahoma winter. Instead, we're going to enjoy a snowy white winter in northern Arizona. I...can't...wait!

It is already getting pretty chilly in the evenings. I still sneak a few windows open before bedtime to cool the bedroom off. Of course, as soon as Wifey figures it out, she lets out a harumpf and promptly closes them.

Jade, our German Shepherd, is enjoying the new home the most. Back in the Valley, she was cooped up in a standard issue, cookie cutter neighborhood backyard.  Now, she has 2.5 acres to run crazy on.  As I right this, she is on the back acreage pouncing through the tall native grass playing with our neighbor's dog. I think he's a Basinji judging by the curly-Q tail and coat he is wearing. Did I mention he has a shock collar around his neck? Yup, it shocks him whenever he gets too close to his fence. His owner buried a hot wire just under the dirt to deter him from...doing exactly what he is doing now. I'm guessing there is a hole in the fence AND an area of no hot wire. But they are having a blast and I enjoy watching them play.

R to L: firewood & kids' clubhouse, fire pit, garage.
This property is a dream come true. It has just enough of the major projects done to give us a running start. The three car garage is fully insulated but not dry walled. Wifey has already started converting the extra room on the end of the garage into her craft room. I mean, why not, the walls were already painted pink.

There's a fire pit in place and we've used it several times already. There are log rounds ready to be split and I stacked a full rack of wood that was already split by the previous tenants. I spent a few hours last Sunday splitting some wood. I REALLY enjoyed it. I picked up an old double-edged axe from an antique store in Oklahoma during my stay out there. It needs to be sharpened for sure but it works. I actually look forward to cutting more. Something tells me I better hurry up before there's snow on the ground.

I chose to stack the wood by the kids' clubhouse (another bonus left here by the owners)  because I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that if you stack it next to the house, I would be inviting termites to the house. I need to dig through some boxes and find a sturdy tarp to cover the wood. We've received an unusually large (so I'm told) amount of rain in the past month. I'll need to get in the habit of keep the wood dry.

Coop from the outside.
To my disappointment, a previous tenant took the wood stove with them. There's an area in the livingroom that has tile on the floor and wall where the stove once stood. The stove pipe hole in the roof is covered by a flat flange cover. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford a wood stove of my own. For now, we'll be using natural gas to heat the house. We're holding out to see how long we can go without turning on the heater.

Inside the coop. Recently had six hens.
My bedroom is pretty darn chilly when I wake up in the morning. But a nice, hot shower warms up the room quickly and serves as a nice way to wake up on a chilly day. The views out my bedroom window are heavenly. Thick pine scattered about the state forest land behind me and an eagle's view of the valley south of us. It's a catch 22 really. We're used to the blackout curtains I used while working graveyard shifts for all those years. It would look like midnight in my room at noon time. This early after moving in, we haven't put curtains up yet. Wifey and I have talked about the calming effect of the blackout curtains but we're not so sure we want to give up the views for it.

I've got to find out if we can get some starter chicks this late in the year. The owners came and picked up their six hens about four days ago. I watched Jade circle that coop for two weeks and she never got in once. We weren't so lucky at our previous residence (Jade killed the last three hens). I'd like to put ten chicks in there. When Jade is chained up, we could let them free range like the owners did. But they also did just fine for 2.5 weeks holed up in the coop. Having fresh eggs is nice...or so I hear. I didn't get any of them but Wifey and the girls did.

There's so much to talk about that I could keep writing's almost dinner time! Wifey is making homemade nachos with hamburger, cheese, sour cream and jalapenoes. MMMMmmmm!

Life is good.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Moving Households = No Fun!

As of last Saturday, ALL of our belongings are officially ON our property. Have we gone through even half the boxes yet? Not even close. Our new (new to us) three car garage is 90% full of boxes and other miscellaneous items.

I have taken some videos at our new home but haven't had time to process them. There's videos of our six chickens with some nice egg collecting and a quick video of my attempting to lasso our German Shepherd who keeps getting free of her colar. I'll have to post from home as the Blogger Composer doesn't appear to be letting me access the WYIWIG editor. I am typing this in the HTML page which is a huge pain in the butt if you know html.

My apologies for the lack of posts lately. I'm adjusting to working days after years (like ten years) of working the overnight shift. Also, when folks leave me comments, it used to get forwarded to my cell phone. That appears to have stopped for some reason. A good friend (Hi Allison!) notified me that there were comments here that I was unaware of. More good news: Wifey has asked to start blogging on here too. She'll be able to add great content on all the cool stuff she does around the homestead.

Take care all. Be back soon.