December 10, 2013
Dad came over and cut up a lot of wood for me. He brought over his chop saw and filled all the party buckets extra full and my garden cart. One of the party buckets he filled lasted a day and a half instead of just a day like mine usually last. All I had to do was drag the buckets to the front porch and grab a few of the smaller Apple wood logs. The party buckets are very easy to drag one handed with the good size rope handles. By the weekend the weather should be back to normal for this time of year with highs in the 30′s.
Overall this was a good test on using wood to heat the house in very cold weather. The apple wood helped out a lot for keeping the house warm overnight and I’m getting about a 7 hour burn time. I just used a couple of the small logs during the day and another two at night and even during the cold snap the house stayed nice and warm. I also learned how to control the heat a little bit better so I save wood thaat way. I still have more than half of the stack of wood and adding about a cord of the fruit wood with the mill ends will give me a good wood mix for a normal winter. Adding another box of worth of the apple and a metal can for the hot ashes will be on my shopping list for next week.
Finally got to some beer making today. It was easy to start because I had the stock pots filled with filtered water and the grains were ready to go. I’m going with my favorite German style wheat and I’d like to do up the black malt porter next. My neighbor’s roommate is moving back to Colorado and I would like to give her a six pack as a going away present. She is the one that worked as a barista and got me a stack of big burlap bags for my projects. Very nice gal though a bit scattered brained, of course looking back at myself in my early 20′s I would probably consider my younger self a bit of a nut too.
Not much else to report than I’m going to take it a little easy to let the shoulder heal up some more. I’m allergic to pain it hurts me and while I’m a slow learner nothing like a pain to call attention to me overdoing it! Still trying to decide what to do about the Xmas gift giving thing. I’m thinking about letting it slide and perhaps the other kids will decide to support it or we can go out and buy more gifts and have folks decide which way they prefer to do the Xmas gift thing. I still have couple of people to buy for but those are just the ones I always have to pump for info and try get an idea for a gift without giving it away I’m looking for a gift. I’m not very good at being subtle.
December 8, 2013
It can be tough for me to ration physical energy when I’m feeling good. It’s almost a race what will give out first, my project list or my body. Let’s say my body has a mind of it’s own and it won this round big time! I don’t know if many other folks with disabilities do this but the few I know do sort of the same thing of trying to get as much done on good days as they know they will have bad days in the future. I thought I took a break for recovery in time to save a bit of pain but I was wrong. I felt absolutely awful Sat. night and somehow my left shoulder decided I needed to stop using it for awhile today. I could still move the left arm some and finish up the dishes, do laundry and get some no-knead bread dough made so that worked out well. The hot muscle rub and aspirin is helping to ease some of the pain. While my example is a little extreme having some basic OTC meds and chemical hot and cold packs that are not dependent on electricity are a must have for any prepper.
I marinated a pork roast using the Char Sui marinate and it was so good! Made up some rice and added some sesame seeds and it really hit the spot. I think letting the pork marinate for 24 hours rather than over night would have made it better but I knew this would be a learning experience. The Char Sui has some sweet and you want to get that to caramelize so using a rotisserie or BBQ I think is better than a wet cooking method. I think it’s kind of cool that I can make a easy meal of pork roast and have the fixins for pork and seeds later. I missed having hot mustard in the house, another thing to add to the shopping list. I will try out the stewing method with what is left over of the roast add some frozen Asian veggies and try out the rice noodles. You got to love a roast that gives you three or four meals in addition to yummy snacks.
I might have been a little optimistic in what I can accomplish this month. I may only be able to the basics of cutting wood for right now to keep the power bill low and just handle any minor little things that come up in life. I want to get the soap making and cleaning beeswax going but it might have to wait till next year. I knew I was pushing my limits and so not accomplishing those goals this year is not so bad. I think a person should push the limits of what they are capable of and if things don’t work out you just learn to adjust.
December 6, 2013
Oh crumbs ! I lost a little bit of frozen vegetable and meat in my little fridge’s freezer. My fault completely as I did not notice the fridge and freezer had only one controller for both areas. I was making some lager and thought the fridge might do a better job at maintaining the temp. in late summer. Well the fridge idea didn’t work for the lager and I forgot to adjust the temp back to normal. Thankfully the freezer wasn’t full though I had a nice little turkey in there and losing that hurt the worst. I don’t need the turkey for holiday meals as I like to do up a couple prime ribs for my contribution for Xmas and New Year’s Eve dinners at my parents. No real damage overall except for me kicking my butt for wasting food because I didn’t pay attention.
I didn’t manage to screw anything else up and a few ideas are working out better than I had anticipated. I managed to fill the garden cart with mill ends that filled up two of the party buckets. Though using the cart moving the apple wood was not quite as easy as I had hoped carrying it to the front of the house. I’m spoiled that I have sidewalks and concrete for most of the garden carts paths that make moving loads super easy. The wind was a little unpleasnt while moving the wood around outside, but cutting wood in the shop was very comfortable. The weatherman has forcasted some snow overnight so we will see how the little cart does, at worse the party buckets should be easy to drag over snow. I would like to get a small wood rack for holding the apple wood on the front porch. I don’t need a big one and I can wait for them to go on sale. I think that it would make a good spot for the wood as well as be easy to get to and would look a bit better than just stacking it on the floor. There is a bit of a learning curve working with the wood for me since it has been so long not having a wood stove. Life is hard enough, make the things you control as easy as possible.
We are dealing with a bit of drama in the family as most families do from time to time. We have a a few homebodies and me I’m almost hermit like and then we have quite a few “people persons” that love being around others and find that energizing. When Mom and I took our little camping trip we were quite happy just chatting or reading a book and Mom doing her knitting and just sitting around listening to the quiet. Most of the other members of the family tend to want a schedule of having fun and lots of people around the fire. We do have a divide between those that are solitary and those that are more group oriented. Anyway things got a little complicated and I simply decided to ask the person what the heck is going on and got a nice straight forward answer and no drama! Now my sister is a more work as she is bi-polar and get’s a bit unsure of her value and needs an emotional pump up at times and I kind of clobbered her when she stated I didn’t like her. I doubt she really believed what she was saying she just wanted a bit of ego reinforcement and I didn’t play the game. Well she has apologized for that statement and I will take over a bit of internet research that she wants and hopefully she won’t try to play that game again for awhile.
It looks like I will have to be the responsible one again, as my parents are getting a bit older and they need to know that someone will watch after the family when they are gone. I’m not sure how much luck I will have with my brother and sisters but perhaps the next generation will take a bit of advice from time to time. I have the preps on hand now, so I guess they might as well get used to the idea I will be in charge!
December 5, 2013
I have started using the apple wood for daytime fires so I needed to get a few logs on the front porch to use. Where I’m storing the apple wood doesn’t have any lights so I got a chance to try out one of my ball cap clip-on flashlights. This light puts out a diffused sort of light which is good for getting wood and just walking around. I think for doing more detailed work you would want a higher quality headlamp that you could focus the light beam. These lights are very light weight and not even noticeable while wearing the cap. Sure beats the heck out of holding the flashlight in your teeth while you use both hands to get a job done! I picked up these lights for about $2.00 and that price included the batteries.
I got some of the mill ends loaded up in the wagon to cut on Friday. The carport has a nice motion detector flood light so it was easy to gather up the wood in the dark and load the wagon. Friday is going to windy, damp and nasty but while it might be a little cold in the shop it will be nice to cut up the wood out of the wind and rain/snow. I want to get that wood cut up so I stay ahead of the weather even though I have 3 party buckets full along with some apple already on the porch to burn.
It always surprises me just how well suited this place is for all of the things I am doing as a prepper. I have a couple of areas for storing wood that is under cover but still gets a little bit of a breeze for drying the wood. The central air intake fan is close to the wood stove so I’m able to use the fan only mode to help move heat through the rest of the house. My basement is great for fermenting beer and the yard is full of mature fruit or nut bearing trees. I never heard the word “prepper” when I bought this house and I sure didn’t think I would become disabled. But no matter if it was just dumb luck or divine intervention I am thankful I bought this little house.
I think I may have over done it a bit trying to get ready for the different types of storms coming our way. While I don’t work for a living I understand that there are just so many hours in a day and a limited amount of physical energy that each person has to expend. I don’t beat myself up to much though it can be frustrating at times. You will get tired and worn out and perhaps get a bit angry with yourself with not accomplishing all the goals you want in a certain time frame. It’s okay to take a break look at how much you have accomplished instead of focusing on what you haven’t done yet! Life is stressful enough as it is without you beating yourself up for not getting things done in a certain amount of time. I wanted do up several batches of beer and get started on the soap making this week and that did not happen, no biggie. I believe the sun will still rise and in a month or even a year I doubt that anyone will recall I failed at those little goals. No excuses, just life.
December 4, 2013
It got cold quick and I took a bit of a chill and had a heck of a time getting warmed back up. I used a bit more wood than is normal even on a cold day to break that chill. Still not to bad as I used one party bucket of mill ends for the day. I have only used the apple wood overnight but as cold as it is I will start adding some during the day. I’m darn pleased with the wood stove and the amount of wood I’m using daily is very close to what I estimated I needed on a cold day.
Weather changes have an adverse effect on the CIDP and I have been dealing with a few more twinges than is normal for me but heck that is life. I got another layer to add to my jacket and some extra gloves in the pocket so I don’t forget them. Most of the extra gloves I bought for backup/trade are cloth gloves but a local hardware store has leather gloves thatwill go on the next shopping list. The car emergency box is stocked along with the GHB is ready for winter. I added a break down snow shovel to the car this fall so I think I am ready for any minor emergency. Plenty of sand and Ice melt standing by along with a snow shovel and push broom for snow removal.
When a fast moving storm hits is when I really love being prepared because it makes life so much easier. No last minute things to get at the store or topping of any fuel tanks, saves a lot of time, effort and money. I did do a little shopping this week but nothing special just a few good buys I didn’t want to pass up. Albertsons has a great buy on sirloins for $2.99 a pound. It’s hard to find just plain hamburger at that price so I’m getting a couple of packages to freeze. Albertsons also has a good deal on 6-8 pack Sparkle paper towels and 12-24 packs Angelsoft Toilet paper for $3.99 each if you buy 2. Once a person gets out of panic mode for preparing and can start taking advantage of those loss leaders at stores it is amazing how quickly you can stock up and still save money.
I ran across a couple of new items that are hitting the Dollartree stores. A big one is those magic eraser type sponges. I got 2 sponges for a dollar and I love using these type of sponges in the bathroom. I don’t have to buy a special cleaner anymore and these sponges work great on soap scum and bathtub rings without scratching the porcelain. Anything that saves me both money and effort is a must have in my book. Dollartree also had a trail size (9 oz.) version of Dawn dish soap platinum. It works very well on greasy pans/dishes and the size is just perfect for an RV or camping setup. I’m going to try it out this week end and see how well it works for grease stains on some cotton t-shirts.
It seems the new tends to hype any storm just to create a lot of negative emotions and ratings. I’m not minimizing that any storm can be dangerous if you are caught unaware and unprepared. By being prepared you can stop a lot of fear and those negative emotions. You are ready to deal with most problems with a calm and peaceful outlook. That is very hard to put a price on.
December 3, 2013
I didn’t have a shopping list as I was looking at costs and selection at the new Asian grocery store. Gosh it was fun seeing all the new (to me) products and they are still putting in more shelves more stuff. I wasn’t complete lost because I have been reading up on Asian cooking and how they use ingredients. Just the different types of rice and different noodles is staggering. Heck they had canned beef from Australia to big chunks of fresh taro. Korean spices for kim chee and a lot of Thai specialties. The had a lot of frozen meats from Asia but I’m a little concerned about trying some of them until I have little more knowledge, besides I’d much rather make my own if possible. I did get a small package of rice noodles and a char sui powdered marinate mix.
Rice is such a huge part of most prepper’s food storage, learning how to make a lot of different ethnic meals would help avoid food fatigue. Rice is a staple of 50% of meals world wide so you have a lot of variety you can add to your meals by using different spices and techniques if you are willing to invest the time to learn. Plus many folks in the world tend to use a lot less processed food and use either fresh ingredients or foods that are canned, dried, smoked, pickled or fermented it can help a prepper move away from reliance on a freezer or fridge.
I finished up the last two party buckets of wood. It wasn’t too cold today hovered just above freezing, there was a feeling in the wind that more cold weather is coming this week. Plenty of motivation to get the wood cut and I hope to get a good stack of the mill ends in the shop for cutting up later this week. Still learning how to use the wood but I think I’m getting on top of it. If I use the mill ends for a hot fast fire to warm the house and then the apple wood for a longer overnight burn I think the wood stove will work well for my heating needs this winter. I want to get another load of the apple wood with my next check and now that Dad and I did one load it is easy to load the truck and unload it at the house.
I’ve been kicking around the idea of making an small ice house and the box the apple wood comes in would be just about perfect for holding my collapsible rain barrels and I could insulate them with the wood chips/saw dust from cutting the wood. I have no idea how long the ice could last in 100 degree heat in the summer. But I would think a couple hundred pounds of ice that is well insulated might be of some use if the grid goes down. If it melts I will have water for the lawn and garden. The boxes will also be a form of camouflage if the local PTBs get crazy about using rain rain barrels for water collection. I will be completely honest in saying I have those boxes for storage!
December 1, 2013
I did a test of the apple wood and good lord and butter the house sure did heat up fast on just the 3 little logs I tossed in. The front room was up over 85 and I almost had to open the window. I did not expect the apple wood would be so warm, so fast, I was able to open up one of the rooms I usually keep close and started the fan on the central heat to move some of the heat around the house. I sort of slept in today and there were a couple of coals left though not enough to restart the fire. There always is a bit of a learning curve with the wood stove so doing the test while it’s in the 40′s but just a little damp has been very educational. I figure I’m getting about a 6 hour burn time with the apple wood and with as tight as the house is that should be fine for the winter. I did set the central heat for 60 degrees just in case the temp. drops a lot. I got to finish cutting up wood the last couple of buckets but the storm isn’t supposed to move in till Monday night so there is time to finish up the last minute items.
As you guys know I have CIDP and my Mom has fibro but we both agree that the heat of a wood, gas or even always on small electric heater to be a lot easier on our conditions than the constant on and off of central heat/air. I notice this last summer that using the little air conditioner that was always on was easier on me than the on/off cycle the big central air conditioning provided even though the average temp. in the house was a lot higher using the smaller A/C unit. CIDP is a nerve disease and they think that fibro is nerve related so I’m wondering if the constant on/off cycle is harder on the nerves rather than a constant higher or colder temp. depending on the season? I don’t mind paying the same or higher cost if I’m comfortable, but saving money on energy bills makes it even better!
Getting all the things together for making a few batches of beer next week. One of the time consuming tasks is running all the water through my filtered water pitchers. I’m filling up my buckets with filter water so I can get ahead on the water needed for the beer. I want to do the black malt porter, a german style hefe-weizen, an oatmeal stout and an amber lager. That’s a lot of beer to make in just a week but I’d like to have a a couple of the beer batches ready for the holidays and to see if I can make that much beer for barter in a week. Of course the soap-making items should be coming in and I will have to see how well I can balance my physical energy between the two tasks. There is a high chance of failure, but I think finding out what you can’t do is just as important as finding out what you can do. Having a realistic idea of how much work it takes to accomplish a task is critical especially if you are disabled or say getting a bit more mature ;) If you can’t do things today when you have lots of resources. There is a good chance you won’t be able to do them when resources get harder to come by. Start working on ways to work around that now and you will have a better chance if the SHTF.
The biggest reason I have stocked up is I know that being disable will make me seem like prey to some people. I also know I will need help doing physical tasks needed to survive. By building a good skill set I think a person will become valuable to others survival. While few in the survival/prepping community see it this way I’m hoping to collect some good people that need some help and I can use as doing some of the physical labor for food and a safe place. Oh they will work and that will make them aware that they screwed up not getting ready ahead of time. But I can trade food for needed items, you have to think of building your tribe and village now as much as possible but I think it is foolish to think that you can send others away just because they didn’t prepare. If you can help keep the kids safe, fed and somewhat healthy. I think you may find many motivated parents help out with your survival. At least I hope so because I will need others to survive!