Cigarettes for less than $1 per pack? YES!

Yes, it is possible to have your smokes for under $1 per pack but, you’ll be rolling your own. However, you’ll still be spending over $3 per pack if you use commercially available, precessed, rolling tobacco such as Bugler, Drum, American Spirit, or some other brand.

Other reasons to roll your own, beside plain cost, is that manufactured cigarettes contain a ton of additives used to change the flavor, turn the tobacco into pulp and then into what is basically a ‘tobacco paper’ for shredding and to change nicotine levels.

The way to get your cost down to under $1 per pack is to buy unprocessed tobacco then shred it yourself. That can be done with a sharp knife, good paper shredder, or dedicated tobacco shredder.

I’ve been shredding my own tobacco and stuffing my own cigarette tubes for about a year now and my cost is about $0.75 per pack.

To do that, I bought a tobacco blend from “Just Good Tobacco” but, I will be changing my source soon and I’ll be telling you about it in a bit.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t! Making your own cigarettes is pretty simple and shredding the tobacco is no issue at all. Using the shredder, I can shred enough tobacco for a carton of smokes in less than a minute. Using a “Powermatic I” tobacco injector to fill the tubes, I can stuff a pack of smokes in about 7 minutes while I watch television.

Manual tobacco injector by Powermatic

Manual tobacco injector by Powermatic

An electric version of it is also available but, I see no advantage over the manual version.

Cigarette tubes cost about $2 per carton and come with the filter already installed. I bought 30 cartons for $60 and will probably stay with that vendor for those.

Of course, you can buy rolling papers and hand roll your cigarettes with or without filters. There are very simple little machines out there that help you roll a nice, even, round cigarette that does not look like a joint.

What I found most interesting was that before I started rolling my own cigarettes, I was smoking 2 to 3 packs per day but, once I started rolling my own, my consumption went down to less than a pack per day. If I hand rolled, without a filter, I would only smoke about 10 cigarettes per day!

So, how much have I been saving over the time I’ve been rolling my own? If you figure manufactured cigarettes cost $4 per pack (in some states the cost is well over $9 per pack!) and I was smoking 2 packs per day, I was spending $2,920 per year! After starting to roll my own, and shred my own tobacco, my ‘per pack’ cost is about $0.75 and I smoke less than a full pack per day. We’ll just call it a full pack for simplicity sake and that brings my cost down to $273.75 per year! I’m saving $2,646.25 every year and even more since the price of cigarettes is constantly going up!

Of course, those figures only pertain to me and how I smoke. Still, if you keep smoking two packs per day, the savings will still be about $2,372.50 per year.

Now, other than the site I linked to above, “Just Good Tobacco“, there are other places to buy unprocessed tobacco. The reason I point this out is because the tobacco you get from “Just Good Tobacco” is a blend of tobacco leaf pieces…not whole leaves. That usually indicates that they are buying tobacco scraps and repackaging them. Tobacco scraps are pieces of leaf that fall to the tobacco shed floor during the process of curing and bundling.

I’ve decided I want more control over the actual blend of my tobacco too and I want better quality overall. There is a source that is going to be getting started soon called High Desert Heirloom farm. they have just announced that they will be selling whole leaf Virginia, Burley, and Turkish tobacco for about $17 per pound with free shipping.

A pound of tobacco leaf is enough to roll about 400 cigarettes (the center rib of the leaf takes out some weight so, out of a pound of whole leaf, you get about 12 ounces of usable tobacco.) once the center rib of the leaf is stripped out. That comes out to a tobacco cost of $0.85 per pack but, the quality of the tobacco will be better and I’ll have total control over the taste and strength of the cigarette by blending my own mix.

There are two other places that sell real whole leaf tobacco and both charge $16.99 per pound, or more, for their tobacco but they don’t have the blanket free shipping thing going on.

In addition to the price and free shipping, I feel that buying from High Desert Heirloom farm is an overall better thing due to the fact that they are going to be doing a lot of charitable work once the far itself is in full operation. I like what they plan on doing!

Posted in cigarettes, Northern Nevada, tobacco, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AT&T U-Verse is OK until you have to send equipment back…

Let me start off with saying that the service reps for AT&T on the phone TRY very hard to help…they really do. The problem is they CAN’T help in some isntances and this is one of those instances.

The problem started when my AT&T modem for U-Verse internet died. I called AT&T on March 28 and they troubleshot over the phone for a long while and eventually found that I would need a new modem/router. The agent went through what seemed to be the process of setting me up with a service call for the next morning.

Well, that service call never happened so, I called them back the next day and the rep I got that time said he could not find any record of a service call being scheduled. Soooo, another half hour of troubleshooting, from scratch, ensued to come to the same conclusion that I needed a new modem/router.

That time, a modem/router was sent via UPS next day air. I got it on time and the instruction included directed me to very simply take my old modem and power supply with the invoice to “any” UPS store and they would be GLAD to handle shipping the old modem to AT&T.

Guess what? Not ONE UPS store would ship that modem because the modem model number didn’t happen to show up on their SPECIFIC LIST of equipment that could be shipped back to AT&T!

So, I called AT&T up again today and they decided to simply send me a shipping label, this time for the U.S. Postal Service.

 

I told the rep that she needed to find a way to get the packaging taken care of but, hey, even though she cheerfully stated that it would be taken care of, THAT NEVER HAPPENED! The Post Office does not DO packaging!

So, if you have AT&T services, jut hope and pray that you NEVER have to send equipment back to them! EVER!

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More of why X-Plane 10 flight simulator still sucks ass!

Laminar research now has an update from version 10.31 to 10.32. I had hoped that the update would fix some serious operational flaws…. it DOESN’T!

Let me explain.

Depending on which airport you want to simulate a flight out of, the ATC may or may not EVER give you clearance to take off. If you remove ALL OTHER aircraft in your situation, you have a much better chance of ever getting clearance to take to the runway and take off. That’s problem #1.

Once you manage to take off, you just might be directed to fly UNDERGROUND! I don’t mean fly in a stealthy fashion either! Oh, no, I mean quite literally UNDER THE SURFACE OF THE GROUND! That’s right, I took off from Reno International that sits at an elevation 0f 4,015 feet and was told to descend to an elevation of 1,000 feet!

Of course, the very second you leave the ground of the runway, you are also IMMEDIATELY “off course” and the ATC will tell you that every two seconds until you manage to get PERFECTLY aligned with your planned course.

So, even though X-Plane has the best coding to run on modern hardware and has the best flight dynamics, it has NOTHING ELSE that is native to the program that’s worth much. Yes, it does have autogen scenery that is much better than the autoge scenery of either FSX or Prepar3d but that isn’t saying a whole lot.

You MUST find addons for everything from basic scenery to airports and even to towns and cities if you want anything close to an immersive experience simulating a flight.

Count on HOURS UPON HOURS of downloading additional scenery files and adding those to your custom scenery folder.

 

Forget any possibility of using the native ATC as it quite simply is worse than useless! I have found exactly ONE addon ATC program and it is 100% voice activated so and is payware.

 

Would I reccomend other people go out and buy X-Plane right now… NOT A DAMN CHANCE! Go get FSX (There is a Steam version now) or, if you want to learn more about flight, the academic license for Prepar3d! Yeah, they both depend almost totally on CPU power and won’t take much advantage of your heavy duty video graphics cards but, at least you can USE them with much less frustration and the airports actually HAVE BUILDINGS!

 

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Flight simulator X-Plane… impressions and thoughts

First things first… X-Plane is a GOOD flight simulator. In my honest opinion, for simulating flight, X-Plane by Laminar Research is huge leaps and bounds beyond any of the Microsoft simulator packages and that of Prepar3d by Lockheed Martin.

 

Now, before you get all excited and go making a purchase, there are things you need to be aware of:

  1.  X-Plane comes on 8 DVD disks and takes one hell of a long time to install. This is because of the more highly detailed terrain scenery.
  2.  You will find exactly TWO airports that have ANY buildings. Both of these are in the Seattle area and are used for the demo of X-Plane. No other airports in the world have buildings…just runways, ramps, and taxiways.
  3.  Initial setup takes time and attention to detail! You’ll find that this process can be daunting at first but, it’s worth the effort
  4.  X-Plane scenery is 100% stuck in summer. You won’t find that it changes according to time of year like Flight Simulator X or Prepar3d do.
  5.  Cities are auto-generated and DO NOT look anything like what you would expect them to…not one little bit.
  6.  The camera that provides your various views is a bit of a pain in the ass to use. There is no facility to assign a joystick button to cycle through views either so, you’re stuck with using a keyboard “hotkey” assignment.
  7.  The native ATC is almost useless. In fact, I’ll just go ahead and call it useless since it’s so difficult to use without constant errors anyway. You’ll be “off course” through most of an IFR flight which is the ONLY kind of flight that the ATC will let you use. At present, I can’t find ANY good ATC addon for X-Plane unless you want to go online and fly that way.
  8.  X-Plane does a much better job of simulating EVERY environmental and aircraft variable and the effect it has on your flight. Don’t try to taxi behind a 757 in a light aircraft!
  9.  To get X-Plane configured and modified so that you’re really happy with it will take many hours and days. I’m not fully there yet and I’ve been working on it several hours per day for the last week and I am certain I’ll be working on it more from time to time. Right now, I’m trying to get seasons to change and get PAPI lights to work at runways that have them.

Now for the good news:

The default terrain scenery that comes with X-Plane is so much better than anything Flight Simulator X or Prepar3d has to offer that it almost makes those two flight simulator programs laughable but it’s not the best yet. There is a site called X-Plane.org where you can find FREE addon scenery and aircraft. You’ll find there is a TON of it! I spent many hours downloading high resolution terrain scenery for all of North America. It’s pretty easy to install too.

There are lots of addon airport scenery that will put buildings at airports and they seem to be very well designed. The whole world isn’t covered yet but, you will be surprised at how many large, medium, and small airports are covered.

As for cities and towns, there are quite a few addon scenery packages for many of those too…not all, just some.

Bottom line is that I would NOT suggest X-Plane for anyone’s first flight simulator! However, after spending time with Flight Simulator X or Prepar3d, X-Plane is a good and very interesting upgrade. You’ll be frustrated at first with the setup…then you’ll start adding scenery and becoming more satisfied as you see the changes.

 

Oh, as for that “stuck in summer” thing, I’m trying to get another free addon to work that is supposed to switch seasons according to month and temperature…we’ll see.

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New website for authors and aspiring authors.

I’ve put The Writer’s Archive online at http://www.writersarchive.net.

This is a platform for people who like to write to publish their works. Anything that may legally be published in the United States of America is allowed but, a person has to REQUEST access to adult material and certify that they are over the age of 18 if that kind of access is desired by the user.

 

It’s still a work in progress and probably always will be but, it’s fully functional now.

 

No advertising, No products to sell, No begging for donations.

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Crowd source funding experiment.

In my last post, I described what I want to do with the 81 Acres I just acquired. “Notalottawata Farm” is hopefully to become a small research facility to find viable farming and basic living techniques to use in harsh environments.

In order to get started on a more solid financial footing, I’ve decided to attempt “Crowd Source Funding” with IndieGoGo.

The campaign is launched and can be seen here: Harsh Environment Agriculture Research. The funding goal is $20,000 to help build the basic shop facility and other basic start-up expenses.

 

I hope this works out but, if it doesn’t, I can still get it done! things will simply take longer.

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Announcing “Notalottawata farm”!

I bought the 81 acres I showed in my last post and have come up with the name for the property.

NOTALOTTAWATA Farm

A view of the landscape to the north of the property.

A view from the hill on Notalottawata Farm.

This is high desert that gets less than ten inches of precipitation, snow and rain combined, per year. The terrain is sage and cheat grass covered. No road into the property has been put in as yet.

I have the beginnings of a plan.

  • First order of business is to make sure I know exactly where the property lines are.
  • Next, start the establishment of a “road like” trail in the 30 foot easement (15 feet into each property along property lines) and onto the property.
  • Water will be needed so, I plan to drill a well myself using a temporary “cable rig”. This is the method developed by the Chinese about 4 thousand years ago and is still used today by many commercial well drillers. It can go through the toughest of soil and rock. The Chinese have “drilled” as deep as 3,000 feet with this method!
  • I’ll need to have a place to live on the property and I plan on purchasing a used travel trailer for temporary housing until I get a more “normal” house built.
  • Electricity will be provided using solar panels and small wind turbines to charge a bank of batteries that will feed 12VDC directly to some lights and appliances and also to an inverter for my 120VAC needs. For power hungry things like tools, I’ll have a generator.

With water and electricity taken care of, all I’ll need to look into is propane for heating during the winter.

After the basics of living are under control, the real work of the farm can start!

Notalottawata Farm is not going to be a place where I simply plop down and vegetate until my dying day!

There is to be a purpose to this plot of land and my use of it! I am going to experiment constantly in farming for subsistence on arid, poor, ground! There are many, many things already in the public domain on this but, perhaps those things could be made better or used more effectively.

Small water source development is an area of interest too. On this property are two places I have found that indicate water fairly near to surface. I’ll be making a video, along with copious notes, about what I see and how I go about determining if water is there and how to develop that into a viable source.

Another aspect of providing water on arid land is to make use of the natural precipitation when getting ground water is not an option. I think there are many ways to do that with limited resources. I’ll be looking into that as well and will document EVERYTHING!

This hill has a fairly steep side to the south and a more gentle slope on the northern side. The rock it is made of is volcanic. I’m determined to make use of that hill!

SW_corner_looking_N

Looking at the hill from the south property line

The expenses should be minimal. Cost of sinking the well will be tools, minor machinery such as a concrete mixer, water pump, generator, pulleys, wire or fiber rope, pipe,most of which will be used again for other things as I develop the farm, should not run more than about $1,000. To hire a commercial well driller would cost $4,000 minimum and could go as high as $10,000 with no guarantee of a good well!

The largest single expense, believe it or not, is going to be the septic system! It’s county code and I can’t avoid putting in a septic tank with good drain field. Because of the depth of excavation needed, I will probably hire this part to be done.

Every thing I do to get established on the farm, successful or failure, will be well documented! This will all be made available to the public.

What all do I plan to do?

  • Establish small (5 acre or less) plots for experimentation as simulated subsistence farms.
  • Find methods to amend soil for improved growing conditions. This should incorporate amendments that can be gathered from the local environment or that are produced by livestock.
  • Experiment with vegetable crops to determine the varieties that perform best under harsh environments.
  • Experiment with methods to preserve vegetables during winter to include canning in glass jars and drying / dehydrating.
  • Experiment with limited livestock. This could include chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, cows.
  • Experiment with the use of livestock for both food and clothing.
  • Attempt to raise crops to feed livestock on available land.
  • Save seed from the best of the vegetable crops for planting the next year. When I am convinced of the viability of each variety of vegetable, I’ll save more seed in order to be able to offer those seeds to other people.
  • Any excess crop, vegetable or animal, will be offered to charitable organizations for their own use. I only need to feed myself so, there may be quite a bit of excess!
  • Experiment with growing sources of fuel for heating and cooking as well as building and construction. I’m thinking of bamboo here and there are a couple of varieties that do well in harsh environments.
  • Experiment with various methods of irrigation and water storage! Though I will be using quite a bit of modern gear such as subsurface irrigation and plastic water storage tanks, I feel there should be other methods that someone with limited resources can use.

Well, that’s about it for now. All of the lists above will surely be expanded upon as time goes by! I’m considering trying some crowd source funding to get things underway more quickly.

Posted in Advice line, Harsh Environment Agricultural Research | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Land I looked at

I tried to post this yesterday but, had problems with the images. These are slightly reduced in size…OK, a LOT reduced… from 6,000X4,000 to 3,000X2,000.

To see the full sized image, just click on it and you’ll go to just the image where you’ll be able to see it full sized. To get back here, just use the “back” button of your browser.

 

Views from the property:

looking_northeast_001looking_south looking_west

Views of the property itself:

 

Small game trails like this are all over the property.

game_trail

Jackrabbits abound!

jackrabbit looking_from_ne_to_southwest southeast_corner

The native rock is mostly volcanic. There is also some sedimentary rock to be found on the surface.

native_rock

The land slopes from the south down northwards. The slope is pretty gentle but there are hills and gullies you won’t find on the USGS topo maps. I saw a couple of spots that would be good for a pond dam if the soil will allow for water containment.

From the appearance of the vegetation, and the surface rock, I don’t think the useable water table would be too deep to reach with an affordable well. That’s ONLY my non-expert opinion though. I could easily be wrong.

Access to the property is not terrible but, for the last mile of travel, I would suggest a high clearance vehicle with 4X4 capability until a good road surface can be managed. Up until the main road turns in to the ranch property to the east, the road is pretty good. After that, it is a seldom traveled “two-track”.

 

Here is the road:

road_in

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Starting over! Almost all was lost! Thank you Yahoo hosting!

Due to the fact that Yahoo hosting could never keep a reliable database connection, I have had to start from scratch here on my blog. I’ll try, over the course of time, to rebuild my posts but, no guarantees!

 

I did manage to rescue some of my posts but not all of the images.

 

Thank you readers!

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A “watergate” of my CB radio use today….

I am using a used Cobra 148GTL that I got off of Ebay…the radio is one of the older units and works GREAT! My antenna is an “inverted V” that I constructed out of an extension cord and have up a mast that’s made out of two painter’s extension poles and mounted on my balcony.

People I talked to were “178” in Mount Vernon Washington, “887” in British Columbia, and “Trapper 642″ in Colorado.

Have a listen!

Watergate of my radio traffic on 7-11-12

 

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