Back to work!!! My A/C is installed and I got some wood stacked!

June 15, 2019

I finally got a good 6-7 hours of sleep.   While I have stayed awake for several days in the  US Army.  I tend to get very unpleasant missing out on sleep.  Now with my physical limitations, not getting less than 6 hours of sleep really makes me a cranky and feel like a bit of mush.  I can do the “power nap” thing, but I’m not a happy camper and what is worse is I let everyone around me know how unhappy I feel. FYI if I get a get a bit terse with anyone, you can blame my lack of sleep and not me trying to be nasty.

I got both of my window A/C units installed and the house is a nice 75 degrees F.  I changed the setup placing the portable A/C unit out of the bedroom and to the library room so the unit has a straight path to cool the Living room.  So far that is working out great!  This sort of set up may not work for people in a high humidity climate.  In the Inter-mountain west high desert,  a small A/C window or larger BTU portable A/C unit will have lower electrical costs compared to an old “Heat pump” or Central Air system.  Usually in High Desert the night cools down quickly when the sun goes down so the fan kicks then the A/C unit becomes a window fan blowing cooler air into the house.  That won’t work in Georgia if you have 100 degrees F. and 90-100 % humidity.

I got started early stacking wood, by about 11:30 the sun was beating down hard.  I can deal with the sun early in the day with cooler temps or work in the shade after 6 pm.  I’m good with this approach for stacking the poplar. The Doug fir wood area was too narrow to bring the wagon load of wood as the wood racks make for a constricted work space.  Another lesson learned is using the garden wagon to move wood under the carport is it  saves not only time and effort but my arms don’t get bloodied and beat up carrying wood to stack.  While I don’t mind getting a bit bloody, bruised and cover in sap.  It is nice to let the wagon do the work and I stay some what clean and not so bruised stacking wood. I’m about 5′ 5″ so if I’m tossing wood over “eye level” I am probably stacking wood about 6 feet high, accounting for the average size of the split wood.

I have been a bit off on my timing this year by a little bit.  I am doing more wood stacking and have paid less attention to the garden in June.  While this has been less than optimal for growing plants.  I have really stocked up on wood for winter and created systems that will keep me warm this winter.  I’m doing better, as the wood pile needs a few more days of wood stacking.  I’m only 3 months out of phase with the seasons.

I miss watching the birds, so  I cleaned up the bird baths.  I have restocked the bird feeders and added filling the bird baths/cleaning/replacing the water to my daily schedule.  If you hate mosquitoes never have standing water for more than a day or two.   It may seem a bit silly but watching the birds and other critters  is more entertaining than Netflix and cheaper than paying a subscription.

 

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Summer Update; Air Conditioning and wood deliveries

June 9, 2019

Mom’s big A/C  (heat pump)  system was not cooling her house during the 90 F. degree days this last week.  We have backup A/C units to help keep the house cool.  I have used and set up a portable 8000 BTU in my house, so it is Jamie to the rescue.  Setting up one of these portable A/C units is simple but most of them are set up for windows that open up and down vertically rather than the windows I and my Mom have that slide side to side on a horizontal axis.  With the side to side slide type windows gravity is not your friend.

After about an hour of getting everything set up with minimal gnashing of teeth.  The little portable A/C unit started cooling down the house.  I played around with the cooling system thermostat settings and left it on to circulate air in the house.  I’m no HVAC guru, actually I’m a complete idiot about HVAC,  but I wonder if the cooling part of system needs the compressor to run in order to get the cooling pipes/or coils filled with (gasses).  Perhaps the A/C part needs a recharge and slow cooling on the first hot day of summer with FAN on but no cool air is a sign you need to have the unit serviced?

It is possible Mom’s  Digital Thermostat had some old programming that I cleared out with my futzing around resetting/ canceling all prior programming.  I would be interested in hearing form people with a heat pump/ Air Conditioner/ Central heating and cooling system that have seen similar issues and if it is maintenance/ tune up issue or the system is broke and needs a repair issue.

Mama nature gave us a cold front of cool semi damp weather and I feel like crap.  I have a few twinges but not really in pain.  It’s like my body feels as unsettled as the weather, not bad, as much as blah!  It is supposed to warm up to the 90’s F. this week so installing the A/C units will probably be needed.  I’m trying to put off using air conditioners as long as possible this summer because of electricity costs. The better I can acclimatize and use minimal A/C the better it is for my budget.  As far as installing the smaller A/C units goes it is very simple since installing the new windows.

I got the poplar wood delivery on Friday the 7th.  While there is a lot of wood to stack the alley road is clear and Mom’s wood is accessible, though I got a couple of cords of poplar delivered/dumped.  I can get the Kia out of the garage/shop and my new plant area was not harmed in the wood dump.  One thing I like about stacking wood in the carport is I have so much space to work in stacking wood.

I will have to say I “screwed the pooch” receiving so many wood deliveries in short time period.  Don’t get me wrong as I want as much firewood on hand as I can stack as early in the year for firewood heating season.  Now stacking the wood will take a bit of time.  I should be able to get this poplar firewood stacked in 1-2 weeks even working a couple hours per day. But overall I should have about 5 cords of wood stacked and drying for this winter.  Getting firewood early maybe the best thing if you take more time to stack the fire wood to dry.  I think getting your firewood early is generally a good idea.

A thing that is tough for me about dealing with the weather and a CIDP flare is I don’t feel like doing anything.  I get lazy in a way when I hurt and it can be difficult to kick myself in the butt and get back to work.  I know many people that can power through those moments and I do my best.  Sometimes you just have to stop and let your body recover.  There is also a trap I can fall into of ” Do I hurt because I hurt, or am I using my hurting as an excuse to stop moving.  Pain is a big de-motivator and when you have condition like CIDP or Fybro or something with similar symptoms, I question myself about am I lazy or do I need some time to recover?  Heck even starting a new exercise program can make you wonder if you just ache or have you damaged something?

What I do is get back to some basic jobs around the house that you know you can do in about 10-15 minutes of physical effort.  Make your bed, make your breakfast.  You don’t have to start with the big jobs, but complete those small jobs around the house like mowing part of the lawn or even weed wacking the yard. Clean the bathroom or wash your clothes, heck brush your cats/dogs.  Get some thing accomplished each and every day that gets you moving and getting something done.  Set some easy goals and then make them happen.  This weekend I set a goal to have a semi-clean house. Yeah, it took me 3 days to do the work in 10-15 minutes blocks but the house is clean.  The yard is mowed and the wood pile did not get stacked.

You can make yourself crazy if you get anal-retentive about what you did not do this week.  Millions of dollars go into Cancer research by super smart people and they work daily on the little stuff that create new treatments. They have not stopped cancer but the survival rates are expanding from all that research.  Focus on what you got done daily. While I feel like I’ve been a bit lazy, I did stack 2 cords of doug fir, got a wood delivery of about 1.5 cords of wood and separated out the “trash wood”and set up my Mom to get some good firewood.  It will take about a week to stack the delivered fire wood. You have to start on those big jobs by doing a little bit each day.

Do the work, many people will always say you are not doing enough to satisfy the “Crowd”.  Some of the crowd “unironically can’t can’t make a meal that requires boiling water or change a light bulb!  It’s okay if you get a little lazy for a few days, rest up and then get back to work.

 

 


Working on the woodpile plus other odds and ends

June 3, 2019

I made a big dent in the wood pile under the carport. Some of my work today has been moving and throwing away “trash wood” that has been treated such as Fence and even old power Poles. The wood hasn’t been all bad.  I got quite a bit of hardwoods (white maple?) along with some elm.  While I need to cut and split about half of the wood I will have plenty of hardwoods for over night fires this winter and that is a very good thing!

Speaking of splitting, the little 3.5 pound splitting maul and 3 pound sledge hammer worked great on the hardwoods!  My 6 pound splitting occasionally just bonked off a chunk of hardwood. Having a handle on the wedge to drive into the wood then use the small sledge hammer to drive the wedge through the wood was relatively easy.  I recommend that small splitting wedge and sledge hammer combo for any one that has limited upper body strength or if you have problems swinging a heavier spitting maul.  This combo of tools might work great for people (me) that look like they are trying to scare a splitting maul into the wood rather than making good contact with the splitting maul.  Using an axe, maul and other wood splitting tools is a skill that takes time to learn.  While using smaller sized tools may seem a bit like using training wheels on a bike.  I think it worthwhile for several reasons…

  1. You get to accomplish your goal splitting wood as you learn. These lighter weight tools would be great for youngsters and women to start splitting fire wood!
  2. Using a smaller splitting wedge and sledge hammer is less intimidating.
  3. Less chance of smashing your fingers and thumbs trying to drive a normal splitting wedge into a chunk of wood.
  4. If you need to split the wood just a little you don’t have to use the big heavy tools.
  5. Using the lighter weight tools lets you slowly build your strength and stamina.
  6. If you ever become handicapped for whatever reason, such as a broken wrist/arm you can still keep the wood stove going.

Overall I’m very pleased with the 3.5 pound splitting wedge and it looks like more places/stores are starting to carry this or something similar to this tool.

I mowed the backyard grass area and there is still one one semi-bare spot but I’m very happy with spring grass seeding experiment.  I doubt I’ll win awards for the best looking grass patch in the neighbor hood. The grass area looks 100% better than it did in early Spring.  This Fall I will be able to fill in those thin spots if the grass does not fill the spots this summer.  I added some soil and compost to the back alley mulch area. I’ll add the mossy rose to a small area I hope won’t get crushed under a wood delivery and I have ran a hose so I can start watering that area rather than just depend on Mother nature.  I have a plan for the alley area, until all of the wood is stacked I have to wait to plant, as well as move the gravel  and lay down cloth/cardboard to block weeds…..

I lent a sprinkler to a neighbor to water the garden I gave them starts to grow.  Every person you help is a potential ally. It could backfire but so far it has not for me.  Something as little as giving out starter plants or lending a sprinkler might make a difference in a person’s mind.

I got a good 4 hours of work today and that felt great.  Yeah I had a couple of twinges of pain but I think I have moved beyond my CIDP flare.   I have a little muscle fatigue from playing in the wood pile but I should be able to mow the front lawn and keep up appearances.

 

 

 


Douglas Fir is all stacked! More wood coming in June. Arrrgh!!

May 28, 2019

I finished stacking the last of the Douglas fir.  I’m a little sore and tired, but it sure feels good to have all of the wood under cover.  I have never had a problem with theft here and fire wood in May is not a high value item subject to theft.  It just makes me feel better, when a person can’t see wood lying around the alley.  Another advantage of having the wood stacked is I can start planting the Mossy Rose/Portaluca and sedums in the alley area I have been covering in wood mulch.  I have had some success growing sun chokes and the sedums in the mulched areas of the alley.  I have seen Sunflowers grow along the border areas of the alley and fences. So there are a few plants I can plant that hopefully will start replacing the the weeds.  This year I’m going to add some dirt and compost to those alley planting areas and I can water those areas through out the summer.  The weeds this year seem to be bad along the edges of where I laid down mulch and rock.

It might be Karma, now fire wood suppliers are calling me to take loads of wood.  I got scammed a few years ago on a fire wood delivery when I paid cash up front.  I learned and usually do a pay half now and pay off the delivery in cash when delivered. Today I got a call from my primary wood supplier to take early delivery of 2 cords of poplar.  I suspect the supplier has a lot of poplar and needs to free up some work space as many people don’t buy poplar or any kind of firewood in May or June.  Any hoo I have another 2 cords of cut and split poplar to be delivered on June 7th but I can’t pay for the wood in July. It really feels good that my wood supplier trusts me to pay after I have the wood delivered to my home.  This capitalism at it’s finest as both the customer and the business work with each other for mutual benefit.

As for the other wood delivery it was cheap wood because of the price and they were honest about the wood being delivered was not a true cord for $125.00 per “cord” nor was all of the wood cut and split to fit in a wood stove.  While I don’t think I’ll buy more fire wood from that supplier.  I will say they were very honest about the firewood quality and why it was offered at such a cheap price.  This person also called me back to take another delivery of their fire wood.  If someone asked me about getting some cheap fire wood fast I would show them the wood and let them decide if it worth $125.00 a “Face Cord” delivered.  I don’t think I got screwed on this wood delivery.   It is just a bit daunting the work I have to do to get Mom her wood and get the carport area prepared for 2 cords of poplar in about 2 weeks.

With all those caveats stated I’m sort of looking forward to splitting that wood and stacking it.  While there are a few chunks of wood that need a chainsaw to cut to length, there is a lot of hard wood that just needs to be split to make a long burning fire.  My “redneck” is coming out as I have a new splitting maul/axe in the 3.5 pound range that I want to try out splitting those hard woods using a 3 pound sledge. I tried out the 3.5 splitting wedge on a small piece of poplar and it split the wood.  The wedge will do better when sharpened.

Some times you can get screwed and all you can do as look at that situation is a learning experience and not do that thing again.  I’m a firm, believer in “what comes around goes around”.  Learn from my mistakes but don’t think all people are evil because some people do evil.  Also don’t be dumb like I was, and always hold back about 50 % payment on any job.  It does not mean you won’t get screwed but at least the cost is lower.  80% of all people you meet are great, that 10-20% of assholes are very annoying.

 


I filled the last wood rack with Doug fir!

May 26, 2019

The last rack is filled with wood and covered with tarps.  It has been very rainy in my area so getting the fire wood covered and drying this summer is critical.  I’m finishing up the last small pile of Doug fir I’m stacking on the concrete walk way between the wood racks.  This wood I’ll add to the porch fire wood rack first to burn and start cutting into kindling this summer to fill the new kindling box.  It is tempting just to chuck the last of the firewood into the open section between the wood racks but I have done that before and found the stack wood dried better plus it is easier to gather stacked fire wood when the weather gets cold and blustery.  I was a discouraged for a time moving the wood Sunday but after that pile wood was stacked the remaining pile of wood went much faster as I was only walking about 16 -24 feet with each arm load of wood.

My wood racks are 8 ft. x 4 ft. by about 18 inches deep so they only hold about a “face” cord rather than a true cord of wood.  I can stack wood between my wood racks on a concrete base over 24 feet long, I’ll stack the remaining fire wood so I know I’m getting delivered about a cord “128 sq.feet” of fire wood.  There will always be a few gaps when stacking wood, but if you come out with 128 sq. feet of wood you have a “cord”of fire wood.  If you use tarps to protect your wood I’d recommend buying tarps at least 10 ft x 12 ft. long.  With 8 foot long tarps you don’t have any overhang to cover the fire wood racks.

The wood under the carport is a jumble right now but with the wood Mom hauled away I have room to work stacking the remaining fire wood.  Most of this wood is cut to length for a wood stove but will need to be split to work in my wood stove.  Mom filled her truck with the smaller/split wood to fill her truck as well as fit her little wood stove.  I am okay with that as I have more tools to cut and split wood plus my wood stove has a larger firebox.  I’m still digging around this wood pile but it looks like we got some elm, white maple along with a mix of fruit wood, pine and some poplar.  Mow I’m no expert on fire wood but in the last couple of years I hope I have gotten a bit better at identifying wood.  I’m not a big fan of elm but I love white maple.  Fruit woods like apple and cherry burn clean, hot and long but are almost impossible to split with an axe. I’ll be doing a lot of cutting with my little chainsaws getting some of the wood into usable sizes.

I got a 3 pound splitting maul that should help split and stack the wood under the carport.  I have to sharpen all of axes and mauls, but I have all of the tools to cut and split all of my fire wood.  I think I will get another 2 cords of poplar around August or September.  I know many people poo-poo pine, fir or using poplar as firewood.  I really like poplar as a fire wood.  Poplar burns clean, is easy to start and burns about as long as Doug fir and poplar cheaper about $100.00 per cord than Doug fir, from my supplier. It seems that poplar has a straight grain though many knots/ branches in that tree.  The little 3 pound maul cut trough a small bit of poplar easily even using a dull edge maul.

Stay away from using a Star type maul unless you are using a hydraulic or powered wood splitter. If you are splitting wood using muscle power a simple wedge type maul will take less effort to split wood. I suspect I’ll be using my 3 pound splitting wedge to start on the wood and then use my 3 pound sledge to drive the maul through the chunk of wood. It will be slow,  but it is what I can handle with my physical limitations.  I bet there are a lot of people that have the stamina to swing a 3 pound sledge for several hours, that would be worn out swing an 8-12 splitting maul for an hour or 2 especially if they never split fire wood in their life.

I just want split fire wood ready to burn for winter.  If I work 20 minutes a couple time per day every other day for the next 5 months and I have my fire wood ready to burn by October.  I’m good to go this winter.  If I could do the same job in two weeks in June it would not change the fact that the wood is ready to burn in October.

I’m a little peeved I got a nasty gram from the city about weeds in my alley area when we have had almost daily rain and they demand I kill the weeds that no one in Idaho has every proven capable of killing.  It is annoying as I have added a lot of rock and mulch to add drainage and I’m trying to build the soil that won’t give weeds good growing area.  I don’t use weedkiller/Roundup because I’m trying to build up the soil to support good plants.  Building soil takes time, even years and my weeds are not that bad plus weeds can be good as the hold bad soil in place.  I hate cheat grass and goat heads but until you improve the soil and replace the bad plants, the weed problem will remain a problem.  All the city of Nampa is the weeds are not tall of unsightly.  Making good soil or growing healthy plants is far down on the list.

Sorry for the rant, I got some mossy rose/portaluca to add to my alley way garden bed.  I have a bit of good dirt and the sun chokes are doing okay coming back.  I’m a bit pissed about the edicts from the City of Nampa but I’m still trying to make the alley way garden the best it can be as a healthy garden.

 


Two loads of fire wood in two days? Idiot!

May 22, 2019

My timing has sucked,  trying out another fire wood supplier this week but I have to say I’m glad I got the fire wood on site and I can take time to stack it all.  The first delivery of wood was tossed under the carport so the wood will stay dry until I can stack it.  About 1/2 of the doug fir is exposed to the elements so getting that wood stacked and drying is my priority.  I filled 5 of my 6 wood racks of the Doug fir today.  The rest of the stacking of wood will take a bit more time.

From the new wood supplier, the wood looks like a good mix of hard and soft wood and Mom says she will take half of that fire wood to start building up her wood pile.  I’m a believer in getting fire wood delivered in early summer to give the wood more time to dry/season before winter wood heat is critical.  One nice thing about living in a high desert climate is the humidity tends to be low, so wood tends to dry quickly when stacked.

I’m physically worn out, but looking at all that fire wood gives me a good feeling about the winter heating season.  After this last winter and all the wood Mom bought from me. I think it is plausible I could store 2-3 years worth of fire wood.  I’m still playing catch up on stuff but once the firewood is stacked I don’t have to worry about that winter heating issue for a couple months.

 


It stopped raining so I moved wood around

May 20, 2019

The skies cleared and I had about 3.5 hours of dry weather this afternoon to move the wood in my wood pile.  I’m  moving the older, over sized dry wood (for my wood stove) under the carport to stack and will be cut to size, too fit my wood stove.  I moved the wood racks around to make stacking the wood for easier access and set up an area for cutting and storing kindling.  I have 2 cords of Doug fir incoming  this week so getting the wood racks prepared for incoming fire wood is important for my heating plan this winter.

I’m trying a new supplier of wood and paying as I go.  Mom says she will buy up some of the wood to mitigate my initial cost for wood.  Over all I feel okay about the wood buy, but we will see if the wood is worth the cost.

Just took delivery of the wood and the carport is darn full.  I suspect I got at least 1.5 + cords of mixed fire wood mostly cut /split and ready to burn.  Perhaps it is Karma helping me on the good side since I got screwed on wood deliveries a few years ago. I’ll need to stack the wood to see how much fire wood I have on hand.  Money is going to be a little tight getting this fire wood delivery before I planned for getting wood this year, but getting stocked up on wood this early will pay off this summer and into winter.  I’m good on money, as I can deal with taking a hit of $250.00 either good or bad easily.

Physically I’m going to be toast Tuesday, after moving the fire wood and wood racks around the yard.  I have a 2 cord wood delivery on the 22nd so I’ll be in  recovery mode the 21st.

The cole crop garden beds seem to be thriving after opening up the Agri-bon frost cloth.  It seems that this week is going to be good for cool weather crops getting a good start for growing.