April 17, 2014
I thought the price on the coconut oil was to good to be true. Needless to say that oil did not get bought but I did get most of the other items on my shopping list. Yesterday I got three of the Prime Rib roasts cut and tied with the bones, one of the butt portions of Ham and two pounds of the butter. It was $93.00 at checkout, I can’t remember the last time I spent almost $100.00 in one shot at a regular grocery store. The freezer are almost full of meat but Mom and I are going can up the chicken at the end of the month so that will free up some space. Today I did Mom’s shopping at Albertsons and got her some chicken, pork chops and butter along with a couple of cans of veggies for under $20.00. I know the Prime Ribs are a little expensive but they are for “special meals”. Looking at how quickly meat prices are starting to go up I think buying now will save me money later this year.
I got the gas cans and the small axe I had a rain check for at True Value. I could only afford one can for myself and Mom wanted one so now all we have to do get them filled around the 1st of May. Hopefully the gas prices will stay stable and we won’t see a price increase before the 1st of May. Not to much we can do about the price if it goes up. I finish paying off the City for the water main leak this month. I thought about having the bill split over a couple of checks but I want at least this part done and over with completely. I don’t have quite as much money for savings but that money was for emergencies I just had to start using it a little earlier than I wanted.
If I don’t have any disasters in the next couple of weeks I should be able to make up the amount for the monthly savings plan. I will pay off the last of the Les Schwab credit account. I’ll finish up the car insurance and start on the next 6 month premium. The car insurance is cheap but having paid ahead seems to make my life a lot easier. That means two less monthly bills staring in June, Huzzah! If life can go some what according to my plans and I’m able to catch up in May, I will add the amount of those two former monthly bills to the wood stove payment. I want to get that loan paid off early. While taking care of the water main has caused me to adjust a few goals I’m sort of surprised that overall I’m getting back on my plan so quickly. If it wasn’t for the prices beef/pork going up so quickly this year I could have got back on schedule a bit quicker. Stuff happens and life can get messy fast!
Last but not least I’m brewing up a black ale. I’m playing with the recipe for the English porter but with a different hops and yeast. I think it should turn out good and it gives me a few different types of homemade beer fermenting. Got to call my aunt and let her know about the coconut oil screwup and that I have spent grains for her goats.
April 15, 2014
I made Sci-fi Chick’s 30 minute bread rolls and took closer to 45 minutes total but still very fast for yeast dinner type rolls. I made a mistake and added the egg to the liquid instead of the flour/dry ingredients. I used the bread hook about 3 minutes to knead the bread and the rolls seem to get a good rise in the 10 minute rest time prior to baking. It took 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. to get golden brown in my oven and the rolls filed the 9×13 inch pan and look great. I can see having these rolls for meals and sandwiches/ buns in a grid down situation and while there are a few more ingredients compared to the 5 minute artisan bread the eggs is about the shortest and even those can be stored for 6 plus months if coated with mineral oil or gathered daily if you have chickens. The taste is your normal white bread taste and a very soft texture. I have become used to the very chewy texture of the 5 minute artisan bread so this might be a good recipe for those that want a softer white bread. This recipe could work well as a frozen bread rolls if you froze the pan of rolls after the last ten minute rest, I bet you could wrap them up and thaw and bake them. Of course the rolls are so fast and easy to make that freezing might be a waste of time and freezer space. I’m seeing a lot of stories on the financial pages that wheat/flour prices “futures” are going up this summer. What with the drought in the Midwest and the unrest in the Ukraine could see bread prices go up quite a bit. Baking your own bread will save a lot of money right away as I figure with the cost of energy and the ingredients a one pound loaf of bread costs about 30 cents to make.
On to the shopping list for tomorrow. Albertson’s is once again having a great meat sale starting on the 16th. Prime Rib is $5.99 a pound which is one of the cheapest per pound costs I have seen this year. I want to pick up three, 3-4 pound roasts for special/holiday meals and I think this will be my last chance to get a semi-reasonable price be fore beef prices get really ugly. Been thinking about picking up a ham at 99 cents a pound on sale for Easter and freezing it considering how pork prices are starting to go up because of the “porcine virus” and add a few pork chops at $1.99 a pound. Land O’ Lakes butter is $1.88 per pound with a coupon and limit of two pounds. I can grab a couple of extra coupons and Albertson’s is only six blocks away so I can stop by several times this week. Thank goodness I started buying meats on sale earlier this year and got the freezer is very well stocked. A lot of people are starting to see the food inflation and are shocked about how much food costs have gone up. This is only the beginning and I think we are actually seeing the last of the semi-cheap stuff going on sale before the massive increase in price or downsizing of packages again. I work hard at shopping and saving money on food but I would not be surprised if the USA starts spending 20-25% of the monthly budget on food. While that is low compared to the rest of the world it’s very high in the USA and nearly double the average percentage of just a few years ago. True Value Hardware store has a five gallon gas can for only $9.99 on sale till the 29th of April. This is a great buy most of the time these cans are around $20.00 and having fuel that is stored safely for the car, generator or tools should be one of your highest priorities. Just because spring is staring to show doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about fuel supplies. Anyone that goes through a heat wave with out power for fans/air conditioning will tell you to much can kill you and at the very least make you miserable.
Got a few items that I want to get at Cash & Carry. One is the 5-6 gallon bucket of coconut oil primarily for soap making but it is a good multi-tasker oil for $31.73. That is about 35-40 pounds of oil for you preppers :) I’d like to get a dog at the pound this month as Casa de Chaos is missing the dog pack and for a bit more security as things are starting to get a bit more “exciting”.
April 15, 2014
Been a bit breezy here at Casa de Chaos, looks like some high clouds are moving in which will screw up watching the lunar eclipse tonight. Had to fire up the wood stove this morning as it was a brisk 36 degrees F. outside and about 64degrees inside. I need to move another load of wood to the porch just in case it gets cold again. I have seen in snow as late as the middle of May here in SW Idaho so I need to stop being lazy and get that done. One thing nice about the “mill ends” is a quick, hot fire that is just perfect for taking the chill off in the morning. The navy beans and ham hock turn out to be just perfect for a very “Blustery Day” though I did not get Sci-fi’s bread rolls done the Artisan bread worked just fine. I have some leftovers so I’ll try out Sci’s bread rolls Tuesday.
I have irrigation water! I was starting to get a little punchy with all the water issues and almost afraid to see if the irrigation water would work. I’m not very pleased with the plumber’s attention to detail as my backyard gate is badly out of alignment and nowhere close to being level. It was nice to be able to just run a hose and water the tater buckets after planting. Note to self, label the taters prior to drying as a all dried potatoes look a lot alike. Haven’t setup the green house yet, with all this wind I’m afraid it will act like a sail and while I doubt I’d get lifted off the ground the green house could head for the next county. I used some of the excess dirt from the water main diggings and tossed the dirt into a rolling garbage can and it all looks pretty good and not compacted. I need to get out the rototiller and breakup the soil to start building it up naturally. I got the big Strawberry buckets outside and while one of the bucket’s strawberries are looking very sad the 2 little strawberry plants I got from the neighbor look great and I can transplant them into the bucket. Mom has another raspberry or blackberry plant to give away and I can take it as I’m sure I have a bucket and enough good soil to give it a shot at survival. Not sure if the berries will produce this year but they should do great next year!
Smokey has a new collar and is no longer running around nekid. I can still smell the flea oil on her old collar and don’t want to take the chance of some sort of residual poison from the old collar. I’ll try a little alcohol and another soak in Dawn dish soap and see if it will come clean. I told the people where I bought the flea oil about it being poison and now it is up to them. Been watching the local shelter and they have some really great dogs coming in lately. Saw the pic of a black German Shepard mix female and some nice looking pit/terrier cross puppies that might be a good fit. I wouldn’t mind a pit pup or one that I know is good with other dogs and cats. Sorry to say to many of the stray pits are taught aggression or have not been taught any “social skills” . If I raised them I think they would be fine and some of the sweetest dogs I have met are pits. The local shelter has a couple of specials coming up this month so I think I could get a good bargain or perhaps even a “free dog” depending on what’s available and a good fit.
April 12, 2014
I did get quite a few things done yesterday to include cleaning the bathroom Huzzah! I’m a little sore but I did get a good night’s sleep as everyone here seemed okay. Smokey’s collar had a bit of that oil leftover on it so she’s going nekid until I get the collar clean. My aunt stopped by to pickup the used beer grains for her goats. The beer grains are a great source of protein for the goats and we think we can store the grains a bit longer by letting them drain in some of the large burlap bags I have and then seal the grains in 2 gallon zip lock bags that have most of the air removed. My aunt is such a sweet person and doesn’t want me to go to a lot of trouble but I am happy to do some work in order to use those grains as feed. The goats should eat the feed fast enough that it shouldn’t need to be stored for a long time and develop any mold and that should stretch the regular feed out.
Speaking of my aunt’s goats she had something similar happen to her like I had with Smokey the cat but she used a Prymethrin based flea killer. She got the goats washed down to get that stuff off of them and they are okay now but it really shook her. I gave her one of the small 9 oz. bottles of dawn dish soap to keep out where the animals are kept and told her about the great price of Dawn at the Family Dollar stores for refills. My aunt didn’t want to take the soap but heck it was only a dollar and if it can save an animal’s life it is well worth it. Plus she is always giving us free plants, soap and all kinds of goodies! My aunt tells me that benedryl also works on goats that have an allergic reaction.
Told a couple of neighbors about not using the flea gel on pets as well as all the good stuff DE could do against insects. Oh and one of my neighbors is starting a great paying job but will be working lots of hours so she gave me 2 little strawberry plants as she won’t have much time for gardening this summer. I’m getting a few of the buckets ready for the potatoes but being sore I’m taking it easy today. I tested out using the Burlap for covering the opening of my rain barrels and it seems it will work as a screen to protect against mosquitoes and gunk going into the barrels. One thing I really try to avoid is any stagnant water around the house that can turn into a insect breeding ground. Like many things prevention is easier than the cure.
Cash & Carry is now has Coconut oil in a 5-6 gallon metal bucket for about $32.00. Coconut oil does not go rancid very quickly, is shelf stable and is used in everything from cooking, lamps to soap making and personal care products like lotions or a carrier for essential oils. I figure one of those buckets c0ntains about 35 pounds of oil/fat for food storage if you are using the pound method to measure you food storage. That would cover a family of four fat/oil needs at least 6 months for cooking for less than $35.00 that has to be one of the best buys I have seen and the oil is also a great multi-tasker.
I am doing okay on most of the 2014 goals though paying down debt got a bit more difficult with the water main. Another month and Les Schwab will be paid off and if there are no more disasters I should be able to get ahead on the bills again though it helped a lot getting me through April. If we get through April and early May without the PTBs doing something incredibly dumb like starting a war or crashing the market, we should be fairly safe until September historically speaking.
April 11, 2014
I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I was very worried about Smokey the cat. But she seems to be eating and drinking along with moving like herself today. Smokey didn’t lose any hair and it looks like I got the oil off quick enough that it didn’t damage her skin. Things could be a lot worse and everybody survived this week more or less intact. Lately I feel like I’m the ball in the ping pong match and I’d really like this game to end.
Got started on the cleanup of the house with a little luck and no more water outages I have a good shot at cleaning the bathtub. Got the floors vacumed, Saturday I’ll lay down a little DE on the carpet, go putter in the garden and then vacume it up. I ‘ll get the pets outside and my mask on before sprinkling the DE. I’m not taking any chances wth my pets.
Bought two more packages of bacon ends and pieces along with three pounds of butter. Any foods animal related are going higher and I have seen both pork and beef go up quite a lot in the last couple of weeks. Got to look at getting some pork bellies from Cash and Carry and try making my own bacon. Found a new butcher shop in Caldwell and they are full sevice with sausage making and the prices are competitive for a full service butcher. The butcher seems to know his stuff and said there will be no Dungeness crabs from the Washington/Oregon coast as the season was canceled. What info he is getting is this is part of a normal 10 year cycle and not related to Fukishima. The butcher hadn’t heard anything about the Alaskan season yet.
Finally got the wheat beer bottled and it’s just about 3% alcohol. I got a higher reading on the Amber ale I’m brewing today. The brewing went smoothly and I managed to keep the kitchen clean as well as getting all the dishes done. While I am a little tired it felt good to get back to brewing and getting the normal clean up done. Getting my routine started again should help things feel a little more normal. I’d like to get an English porter going this weekend but the green house and garden beds are the priority on Saturday.
Stopped by Big Lots hoping they had some of Progresso meal starters I have wanted to test but no luck. I did find a dried cheese ravioli made with the basic ingrediants, real ricotta cheese and not a lot of chemicals. $2.00 per one pound package so it is a little on the high side compared to basic pasta and it was little on the bland side though adding a few dried herb during cooking should punch up the flavor a lot. I’m going to stockup on a few of these bags as something a little different and still easy to cook. I picked up one more of the folding tomato “trellis” and I think I could use these to support either plastic to make a modified green house or some of my light weight canvas tarps to protect from the heat.
The garden and cool weather plants have to get in the ground this weekend. Mama nature isn’t very impressed that I’m tired or have had a few water issues this month. It’s get those plants in the ground or pay the price.
April 11, 2014
These gels have active ingredients of peppermint oil, clove and lemon grass oil and can kill your pet. I used the Sergeant’s version but I see that Sentry also uses this formula. I tried this on Smokey the cat and she started terrible drooling and almost running into walls with in a minute of two. I covered the oil with dawn dish soap and rinse her for quite awhile in the tub. She seems to have recovered completely and has even forgiven me about the bath, but I tell you it gave me quite a scare.
I had no idea that anything like this could happen and we were lucky I got that crap off her so quickly because many people are losing both dogs and cats to these flea gels. I will use DE and get rid of these gels, and let every store know this stuff is dangerous to pets.
April 9, 2014
Went over to Mom’s place and gave her a block of instruction on moving .pdf files to her kindle. This is one of the nicest features of the kindle especially if you have a bunch of .pdf files full of information you have collected of the web. I started with the Ham radio course for testing and Dad got a nice book from the Ham radio operators he knows from McCall that signed up with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The second book from the ham guys really goes into much more detail explaining how Ham works compared to the test study guide. Any way if you have a kindle and want to move files from your PC to the kindle it is a simple drag and drop operation. Once you plug the kindle into your PC it is recognized as another hard drive. On the kindle you will see a folder called Documents and you simply open the folder on your PC that contains the .pdf file and drag and drop it in the Document folder of the kindle. I think this is a great way to store knowledge as a backup plus if you have to Bugout it is a lot easier to carry a kindle than a even a laptop or hard copy in your “survival book”.
I finally finished up the laundry I had started. I sort of forgot about the laundry as it got a little sideways here dealing with the water pipes. I topped off of the 5 gallon camp jugs I used for the water outage and got them stashed back into the closet. If you are using the larger barrels for water storage like I am, have a few 5 gallon camp jugs to move water. While the 5 gallon water jugs are not light weight they seem to be about right for most daily water needs. Running back and forth from your water supply with a gallon pitcher can get a bit tedious. In case of a disaster you don’t need that aggravation if you can avoid it. Plus I really prefer using the jugs with the spigots. When you get tired the spigots really help not splashing water all over the place. I have been considering the use of a furniture dolly for the 15 gallon barrels to make the easier to move around. These dollies cost about $20.00 and I could put at least two of the 15 gallon barrels on one dolly. I think this would make moving the water a lot easier physically as well as more efficient. Have one extra dolly for moving 2-3 camp jugs of water or the igloo jugs of hot water from the wood stove to the bathroom or kitchen would save a lot of effort. I have one of these dolly’s and a couple of 15 gallon barrels I want to fill from runoff of the wort chiller so this weekend will be a good time for a test.
I work very hard at finding ways to save physical energy. One reason is my disability and I simply don’t have the strength and more critically the stamina going without the modern convenience of electricity means to daily life. I over estimated how easy my first water test would be to accomplish and had to quit the test at day 3 of a 5 day test. I did a lot better on the second 5 day test but I was wore out by day five. I didn’t have a concept of just how much physical energy it would take to go without tap water and how doing it for many days straight would grind me down. I doubt I’m all that special in that respect though I do think a non-disabled person would last more days before they needed to rest and recover. Some people may think I’m being lazy trying to make a disaster or emergency as easy as possible and to a certain extent they are correct. Laziness does save calories and being efficient with your time and energy allows you to get more done. If you want to spend 20-30 minutes rubbing sticks together for a fire that is on you. I’d prefer to use a lighter or a match and have a good fire in less than 5 minutes and get to work on something else that will need to be done.
I store up the basics ahead of time to give me the most precious of things TIME. Time to think, plan and then move with a purpose. No panic and to minimize stress. I no longer have to worry about if I will have enough food, water, basic first aid, heat or cooling in the summer. Power goes out I have some basic solar and a plenty alternate lighting. I’m working on 2-3 months worth of getting by with some generators and a few other items as well as augmenting my food supply. If you are freaking out, worried how you will provide the basics to you and your family. You won’t be effective helping them to survive.