Two new garden beds are complete!

April 24, 2018

The 10 foot long by 32 in wide and 6 inch tall raised beds are complete. I added 6 cu. ft. of garden soil and 3 cu. ft. of steer manure compost mix to fill the beds.  I need to run the tiller one more time to make sure all of the soil is mixed well and ready to plant.  I added in the wood mulch between the beds so I no longer have to walk in the garden to till or weed the garden.  That should make weeding easier during the season and working the garden in the off-season should be less of a chore.  I have room for one more of the new raised beds but I need to wait until the 1st of May to buy all the materials needed for that bed.

Tucker the peke tilled up the kiddie pool, so it is ready for leaf lettuce/ greens and spinach. I am gifting Mom my small (2 ft x 4 ft.) beds to start a garden at her new place.  This not a perfect solution but it is a good start for her garden area.  Heck if her herb garden does okay and she can make a small salad garden she will save money and eat good food through the summer.  Right now my garden area will be the main focus for growth and harvest.  Mom will be doing  container gardening until she figures out the Micro-climates around her new house.  It looks like I have a few volunteer plants/trees and Mom wants to plant a volunteer maple I found in my yard.  Once the holly bushes start producing seed berries we can get those plant growing to make a wind break around her land.

I’m a bit late starting plants indoors but the weather forecast is looking great so I can start plants like lettuce, carrots, radishes, cauliflower and broccoli by seed in one bed.  I want to add a root crop bed for for beets, parsnips turnips and colarabi.  The last built bed will be the hot loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, onions and such like plants.  I am still trying the 3 sisters garden in my southern exposed beds. I think what the plants need is more soil mounded up and less watering compared to last year.

I love the new little fence posts I got from D&B (local farm store).  These posts are made for an electric fence but they work great with temporary plastic garden fencing. The spike at the bottom of the post is easy to “step” into the ground a couple of zip ties attaches the fence to the post and it easy to use two posts to make a gateway/access to your garden.  Using just a few of these posts made the temp. fence faster and easier to install and has kept Tucker the peke from digging in the new garden beds.  One thing about Tucker, he loves digging in freshly turned beds!  I did leave his digging spot under the walnut trees alone.

I will start plants indoors for a second/fall planting in the beds. I still need a frame for frost protection these beds are designed to work as a cold frame in the future.  That should extend my growing season by a few weeks. Once the backyard area is cleaned up and a little luck,  I might be able to build my hard side green house this fall.

I’m still using containers for several plants like my potatoes, strawberry, raspberries and blackberries.  Some plants spread and some plants take some time to find a happy spot in the yard. Large container plantings work great for plants and if you have limited space for growing.  Comfrey is a great medicinal plant but it can take over a garden.  It really grows great in a kiddie pool with very minimal attention. Sunchokes grow great in poor soil and are great for choking out poor soil weeds.  But they can also spread.  I did not plant the grapes in my yard and it has been a lot of work to learn how to keep them cut back and under some control.  I have literally taken a small chain saw to cut back the grape vines, holly and lilac trees.  It is some work to cut them back so be aware of how much effort you are willing to keep plants cut back and healthy.  If you love those plants you can transplant them from the containers into a spot in your yard.  From my experience those plants will grow the way they want and not the way you want the plants to grow.

The making dog food thing is going well over all thought there has been a glitches.  As I have written before the green bean as vegetable matter in dog food is not a fix for an overweight dog.  I still put down a quality dry dog food kibble so the pups can get basic food basics and vitamins.  The dogs really seem to like the peas & carrot mix for the veggies.  They did eat the green beans when not offer an alternative.  I’m trying out several recipes and ingredient mixes and the dogs preferred the beef, broccoli and barley mix over the chicken, white rice and green beans.  Of course I also have empty doggie food bowls no matter the mix.  Before I had to throw out wet canned dog food that got all crusty and dried out.  While I do have canned dog food as back ups it is nice that I can simply cook up a new batch of dog food from my fridge/pantry and not buy dog food from the local mega-mart.

There is a huge difference between what I want to have and what I need to have.  As money and time allows I’m working on the need to haves first this summer.

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I’m officially tired of stacking wood and I’m only about half done.

April 19, 2018

I’ve spent 4 hours per day for two days with rest breaks, stacking all the new Douglas fir for the upcoming winter and I’m already tired of stacking wood. Gosh, moving and stacking two cords of wood has been a heck of a work out for me and I’m not finished! All of my wood racks are full up to about five and a half feet in high/tall.  I think about 1/3 + of the total wood was dumped close the the carport still needs to be stacked.  I tossed down some old wood shelves over a rock base that should help keep the carport fire wood from soaking up water and will provide some dimensions of the cords/amount of wood I have on hand for the next heating season.  A nice thing about this wood delivery is there was a lot of small wood that is perfect for kindling. Between the mill ends and these smaller pieces of wood I should not have to cut up as much kindling next winter heating season.

Once I finish stacking all this wood, I will make the decision on getting another load of wood delivered around July or August.  Last year I was scrambling to find a wood provider after getting scammed and some of cords of wood delivered were a bit short of a full cord.  The prepper in me wants to stack at least a couple years worth of firewood. As of right now I’d do almost anything not to stack firewood.  That is just my sore muscles talking at the moment.  My carport area is great spot to stack up another couple of cords of wood and it could still be used as a carport or overhead protected work space.  The carport has a motion detector spot light so I’ll get some warning if anyone wants to to liberate some of my firewood.  Overall we had a fairly mild/ not brutally cold winter this last year and I still had some firewood leftover even after giving some fire wood to Mom for her new place.   Adding the new siding and windows really made Casa de Chaos much warmer and easier to heat. It will be interesting to see how the new windows and siding affect the summer energy costs. I’m sure costs will be lower but how much lower is the question to be answered.

FYI: I’m still using tarps to cover the top of my wood pile though they get a lot of wind in the breeze ways to help dry/season the wood.  I think using a tarp over the top of your firewood to protect from rain or snow is good.  Sealing your wood with a tarp is bad as the wood needs to breathe and season.  By adding a tarp that covers the top of the wood both ends of the stacked wood will get dried via the wind yet not soaked by rain.  In the next couple of years I want to build proper overhead protection but for now the tarps and bungie cords are working for firewood protection.

Mom is stopping by the house to get some big planters to start container gardening and offered to help move fire wood.  She is grabbing some chicken wire I was going to trash to wrap around trees to protect them.  I have a few left over wood stakes that might help with that project. I  have to put up at least a temp fence/barrier to keep Tucker the peke from digging in the garden beds.  Tucker is a digging fiend and digs garden beds up great in the spring but he does not take direction well or know when to stop.


Started on the Spring jobs/projects

April 15, 2018

Since  SW Idaho had a couple of mostly dry days this weekend I started the Spring projects.  I roto-tilled the area for two of the new raised beds.  I raked up the soil areas and sort of mounded up the soil  where the new beds will be located. I need to add some more soil and compost but it looks like I will have plenty of additional soil from my last Home Depot shopping run.

One of the things I wanted with the new raised beds is mulched walk ways between the beds to make the garden easier to work. I have about 2 feet between the beds filled with wood mulch so I have a pathway wide enough for my wagon and room to work beside the garden beds.   This year’s focus will be ease of use and food production.  I have proven I can grow plants now I need garden beds that are easy to work and maximize food production in a limited space.  I will have less total garden sq. footage but I hope my production will be the same or higher.  Mom will give me a hand with the construction of the new garden beds.  We will load up some of the planters for her place so she can start growing a few veggies and herbs for her new place.

I finally got the first spring mowing of the front lawn finished up.  It is supposed to be rainy and cool so I’ll get the lawn food, fertilizer added between breaks in the rain over the next couple of days. Next weekend is looking like it will be warming up so I want to to give the lawn a good clean up with the rake then lay down some grass seed and compost to start filling in some bad spots.  It looks like I have to wait a few more days to get the front yard beds tilled and planted with early crops.

Next week will be busy. I have 2 cords of wood to be delivered. Finish up the garden beds and till the old beds.  Finish up the new compost bin.  Top off the shopping needs odds and ends.

Update on the dog food test:  I’m not sure I’m saving any money so far but the dogs and even the cat like the new home made “wet” dog food. It is early days on this test but so far I think it is going well.  The dogs seem to take a bit of time to eat the brown rice and  barley as carbs.  I’m going to try out some mixes adding green beans, white rice and some chicken thigh meat rather than chicken breasts.  I will be making more bone broth of all types.  I don’t have garden fresh veggies so I’m using Frozen veggies at this time.  Peas and carrot mix is a win, chopped broccoli seems a good veggie.  Next is trying out green beans.  From what I have been reading yams/sweet potato or even potatoes may be a good carb mix for a dog.

I’m cooking up a mix of 1/3 veggies, 1/3 carbs and 1/3 protein and about 10% fats.  That is a bit rich in protein as most recipes say about 20-25%  protein for dogs.  Overall I see the dogs eating better and not hungry.  I have less waste compare to canned dog food. This week I’m buying raw bones for bone broth and for the dogs to chew on. Bones should add some minerals to the doggy diet.  After this week I may add in a bit of salmon so the dogs get those healthy fats and Omega-3 oils.  I’m staying away from adding any onion or garlic in the next bone broth batch but the little bit of onion or garlic I added to the last bone broth did not hurt the dogs. While dogs may not complain about the diet, the more variety in a diet the better the dogs get all the nutrition that they need.

Am I ready?  I don’t know,  because I have no idea what will happen in the future.   Do I think you have time to prepare?  Yes,  how much time for prep I have no idea.  Keep on building on your preps and get those soft spots filled in.  If you have been around this website you should have at least a couple of weeks of food and water stored.  A sanitation plan, a bug out bag and tent.  You have learned to bake bread, grow a garden and stored seeds. You have a couple of rain barrels or at least a tarp and buckets to capture rain water.  You have a water filter or 2 and propane or rocket stove and your grill has fuel for cooking. Going a couple of days without water or power is easy because you are ready and have practiced.  You know how turn off the power to your home and turned off all the gas.  You aren’t freaked out by not having city utilities. You have back ups to your back ups.

Heck we saw the Donald tomahawk Syria in 2017, this is another practice run not a time to panic.  I’m putting the last touches on my survival plan.  Trying to max out my cash on hand, topping off my gas tanks and replacing a propane tank.  Plus build food garden beds. Not time to panic but a time to practice.


Bombing Damascus, now what do I do?

April 14, 2018

Think of the kind of preparations you would do if there is a big storm coming and you could lose water, power or the sewer system for at least a couple of weeks and you must stay indoors for 14 days.  Wishing for more time won’t help you today.  You must start working with what you have right now. Now this might blow over like the air strike last year in Syria, so I don’t think you should panic and go max out your credit cards doing last minute shopping or buy excavation equipment for a week end bunker build project.  Now is a good time to look at the state of your preps and make sure everything you already have on hand is ready to use.

Some things you might check:

  1. Do you have a full tank of gas in your vehicle?  Do you have a couple of gas cans full of gas with sta-bil added for storage?  How about a couple of quarts of oil for your generator if you need it for power and it works.  While nukes and/or an EMP would be very bad it sounds like Russia is trying to keep things to conventional warfare strikes.
  2. Water: Do you have all your water containers full?  I have a rainwater collection system that I will top off with City irrigation water then close the water containers to keep out any possible contamination.  How is your (safe drinking) water storage looking? While 1 gallon per day per person for 14 days is consider the standard. I would try for storing 3-5 gallons per day per person and a gallon of water per day for pets.  While the average  water filter will not screen out radioactive particles, having a water filter if your safe water supply system stops working because of supply disruption is a good idea.
  3. Speaking of pets: Do you have 2 weeks worth of food for your pets?  Do you have a way to deal with the poo and pee if your pets must stay inside for 2 weeks?  I have a cat box for the cat, plenty of kitty litter but other than puppy training pads and storing the used pads in heavy duty trash bags,  I don’t have a good solution. At least I have small dogs so one big garbage bag should hold 14 days of poo/pee pads.
  4. Cooking food safely indoors without power:  Do you have butane burner/hot plate + fuel for heating up food. If you can boil water or heat a coffee pot you have a great little cooking system. Having 3-4 cans of butane will last for 14 days worth of meals if you are just a little frugal.  Also these are great for Tailgate parties or camping.
  5. Lights:  The dark can be scary and many people have no experience with no city lights. So test out all those battery powered lamps and flashlights.  In case of an EMP you will have to rely on candles or oil/kerosene lamps.  Make sure those lamps have oil and you have matches, lighter  or another way to light those candles or lamps.  A wooden match or Bic/zippo type lighter will light in spite an EMP as there are no electronics involved for making fire.
  6. Cleanup:  I tend to do most of my household chores on the weekend when power costs are low.  This weekend is a great time to get those chores done as quickly as possible in case the power or water gets cut off.  Get those clothes washed and dried, Clean the kitchen and bathroom while you have hot tap water for ease of cleaning.  Dust every thing and vacuum all the carpets.  If using power or water makes things easy to clean, start cleaning those area now before the (Storm) hits your home.
  7. Having Duct tape and heavy duty staple gun to  secure plastic or tarps over windows, accessible might be worth while.  This might be a good time to practice for a terrorist ‘Dirty bomb’ or chemical attack and you seal your home as much as possible.  I gave Mom most of my clear plastic sheeting but I have a lot of  thick construction grade trash bags and good tarps I could place over the windows to help seal off any dust. .
  8. Entertainment and jobs for 14 days:  Some people get a bit cranky when cut off from TV/internet or social media.  Have dice, card and board games ready for a boredom buster.  I love to read books so I have many books on hand already but I’m a throwback.  That being said I really hope my kindle or laptop survives as I have about 30 books downloaded I want to read.  People that are couped up for a couple of weeks together will get cranky so you need to have some distractions and try and give people a place of sanctuary as much as possible in a limited area.  People will have short tempers and get a bit annoying to each other.  You will have to deal with it, so plan for it.
  9. No one can stay hyper-vigilant  24/7/365 each year.  Disasters, Storms wars give you the opportunity to test your preparations for different types of disasters that may not affect you directly.  See what is happening in the world and ask yourself what would I do in the next 30 minutes if I knew it would happen to me/my family?
  10. Cash on hand: I’m not so sure of the value of cash in any disaster, but I know the value of paper and many others don’t. If you can trade bits of paper for something of value, good on you!

This sucks, as I hope to have 2 cords of wood delivered next week. I would like at least 7 days notice before we start screwing around with a nuclear power!  Perhaps it will be a “nothing burger” here in the west/USA, but we are bombing a Capital city in a country that did nothing to the USA.  We are screwing around with a country allied to Russia and the have nukes and a lot of data about EMPs and stuff.  Hell if the Norks made you edgy why would you screw with Russia?

 


What to prep for WWIII ?

April 12, 2018

Mom asked if there were any additional or special  preps she needs to get done in the next couple of weeks with this Syria/N. Korea/Russia/China fiasco happening right now.  I thought it might be a good time for everyone to make sure they are ready or pick up any last minute items they might need or want to have on hand.

First off nukes create a lot of fear factor when they are not quite as scary as Hollywood have us believe.  For example: Pics of Detroit and Hiroshima as you can see the nuke did not make a 1000 year waste land.

Below is a link that you can use for a simulated nuke at any address. Using this simulator will give you an idea of the effects of a nuke exploding on a target.  Most Nuke targets will be High population areas for example NYC/LA,  Ports or major interstate junctions, military bases or Missile silos with nukes.

https://outrider.org/nuclear-weapons/interactive/bomb-blast

Now if you are at ground zero or within 10-15 miles of a nuke with no protection you will have a very bad day but outside of those targeted areas, surviving a nuke is very doable and you probably have most of what you need already on hand!

After the initial blast of fire and over pressure wind storm the next bomb danger to humans is radiation. There are 3 types of radiation Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation particles.  Alpha and Beta particles while dangerous to ingest and breathe can be blocked by some thing as thin as a piece of paper. Now the Gamma radiation is the what you need lead or a lot of dirt/sand barrier for protection.  As long as your home is not compromised it will provide adequate protection from both Alpha and Beta radiation. For Gamma radiation you will want to have a basement or a bunker for earth to protect you. But if you don’t have a “bunker” move to the interior of your home and make a mini-bunker. Close off all vents and use plastic sheeting to cover windows. Of course it is not perfect but it should give you adequate protection for the first 2 weeks when you need it the most!

The first 2-3 weeks after a blast has the highest radiation sickness danger. So you will need to have plenty of safe water for drinking and cleaning plus sealed food in cans.  Pets can’t go poo outside and every one will need to stay inside for 14 days at a minimum.  Whatever you have stored in your home is what you will have to use to survive.

The additional affects after the nuke drops will probably be more dangerous and longer lasting than the bomb explosion itself.

EMP or Electro-magnetic Pulse might take out the electric grid and most electronics like smart phones, laptops, TVs and tablets.  Many new vehicles are full of electronics and may not start without replacement parts. Generators and pumps may stop working.  Literally everything from hospitals, grocery stores, railroad yards, ocean ports, nuke reactors and power plants sewer treatment plant will stop working.

Disclaimer:  I built PCs back in the early 90’s and you never touched a PC part with out an ESD (Electric Static Discharge) strap.  Now I change out PC parts without an ESD though I make sure I don’t have a static charge and the PC is completely powered down.  No one really knows how today’s technology will handle a Massive EMP blast.  If you have a bit of warning, UNPLUG all electronics before any incoming Solar storm or nuke blast. If you have a Faraday cage get your electronic inside before the blast.

So now that you are not panicked and ready to prepare for a possible nuke strike you will need Two-three weeks:

  1.  Food, water, and sanitation supplies. That means dealing trash and poo.  Construction grade garbage bags are great for handling heavy use.
  2. Shelter in staying safe from radioactive dust.  Plastic sheeting for sealing windows,  doors and vents.  Duct tape and heavy duty staplers are handy tools for this job.
  3. Energy for cooking, and staying warm or cool. Remember the Electricity is off and you can’t open a window to cool down so you will probably need more water to keep hydrated. Butane cookers are safe to use indoors and the fuel is easy to stock up.  4-6 cans of butane fuel should last a couple of weeks if you are frugal.
  4. An out door decon station. I know I said stay indoors for 2 weeks but that may not be possible.  So if you have a covered porch or patio make a small decon station with tubs for cleaning off any dust.  Have some throw away clothing or Tyvex suits that you strip off before entering your living area. Strip, sponge off and put on a robe after getting clean of any dust.  If you must go out before the 2 weeks are up.
  5. Entertainment such as books or non electronic games as there probably won’t be an internet.  Busy work such as knitting,drawing, weaving, painting or whatever can keep a person occupied mentally.
  6. Snacks such as those little fun size candy bars or crackers, chips, popcorn even soda can be a treat. One thing I noticed on Army Field exercises (FTX) people tend to crave a sugar or fat. So  have snacks of good fat like nuts of even a little chocolate can really keep up morale.
  7. Medical supplies should be very basic 1st aid types but if you have a person with a chronic condition you should try and gather extra supplies.  Insulin or someone cut off from anti- depressants could be bad. I don’t care for what I consider the over prescription of SSRIs but it is something people will have to deal with in this situation.  Heck I’m still trying to quit smoking and if I get cut off my nicotine fix I’m sure I’ll get mildly unpleasant.  Overall  if you have about a 2 week supply on hand I would try and get another 30 day supply on hand this month.

Most of this prepping for a basic disaster though the scope of interrupted power and supply lines makes a bit more long term in planning.  If you have been prepping for awhile this is no big deal except for a few tweaks.  If you live in Manhattan or mid town LA  you are probably screwed.  But most preppers don’t live in NYC or LA.

Long term I have no idea how things would work out if the USA and Russia had a nuke exchange. I know people will find away to survive and there will be a lot of empty places to be filled in. While I don’t like the thought of using someone else’s property I know I would bury my trash and sewage on an abandon home on my block before I buried trash on my property. I’m sure I’ll have to deal with some one dumping on my property as well.  It’s not right and it’s not fair but it is reality.

 


Home made dog food test

April 7, 2018

I have been doing some research on making home made dog food and it looks very doable plus I should save money compared to buying the caned dog food in the store.  I bought some of the ‘fresh pet’ refrigerated dog food to see if my dogs would like/tolerate dog food not in a can.  This week the dogs have been eating the fresh pet food and the pups seem to like it much better than the old canned dog food.  Only one pup had an upset stomach during the change over to the new food.   So for my first batch of home made dog food I’m going to replicate the basic chicken and brown rice  recipe.  The basic ingredients to start are:

Skinless chicken breast on sale

Brown rice

Low sodium chicken broth

Frozen peas and carrots until the garden starts producing vegetables. Other dog safe veggies in 6-8% total amounts.  Green beans, broccoli, pumpkin, yams/sweet potato and berries.

Mineral supplements: until I get more bone broth made and can add some raw meaty bones to the dog’s diet.

No additional salt though I may add some dog safe herbs in the future for vitamins for the pups as I learn more about making dog food

That is the basic mix for the dog food but I will be adding a beef mix and bones as I find what works for my dogs and I learn more about dogie nutrition.  I have learned that there are a lot things you should not feed a dog.  Anything with garlic, onions or white flour is very bad for dogs.  I’m steering clear of using whole wheat for any kind of doggie food grain/carbs.  Dogs seem to have a gluten intolerance built in their DNA so easier to use other grains.  From what I have research so far on dog safe grains is White or brown rice, steel cut oat meal, whole barley and some of the other gluten free grains like quinoa or a dry feed corn.  All grains must be cooked before feeding it to your dog.  If  you have different data please let me know in the comments as I’m still a newbie at making dog food.

My goal is to feed my dogs  better than just the average canned dog food.  Make up a big batch of dog food and store it in the fridge or freezer and perhaps can the dog food for storage.  While many people say they would feed pets scraps from the table. I would have no problem eating the Dog food I’m making other than adding spices, garlic or onions.

FIY: I stayed away from adding adding salt, pepper or herbs for this recipe but even I found the new mix tasty if a little bland.  Adding a little salt and pepper after the food is done cooking should fix that bland taste.
Taste test: Brodie the big peke,  loves the chicken and rice dog food! Tucker the peke is half the size of Brodie so 1 or 2 small meals a day fills him up.  Tucker finished up the last of the “freshpet” food this morning so he might eat later.

I want to try out a beef & barley recipe, a modified beef stew and using some salmon/white rice recipes this spring.  My plan is by using several types of protein, carb and veggie mixes I will get the pups all the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy.  Plus I will eliminate all the “fillers” and chemicals I read on the ingredient labels  on ‘wet’ dog food cans.

I may grow a few pumpkins and make a better bed for Sweet potatoes as those are dog safe veggies/carbohydrates for the doggies to eat.

I know many preppers don’t  store dog/cat food as they will feed via scraps, but I never cared for that idea as many table scraps are not good for  my pekes.  With some research I have made good tasting dog food that is darn tasty people food. I used bone-less chicken breasts (on sale) it seems that most home made dog food sites recommend using dark meat chicken and using ‘organ meats’ for the protein part of the recipe.

Overall I’m not sure this is a cheaper way to feed pets but I know the food is safe and I and the dogs like the food.  I know I do not want to eat any type of canned pet food.

So get out your slow cooker/crock pot and start making your own pet food. Make some ‘bone broth’ buy cheap cuts of meat and slow cook the veggies and carbs for you and your pets.

 


Wind warning and a few updates

April 5, 2018

There was a wind alert for Mom’s area. Winds gusting up to 30-35 MPH  this week, but Mom said the tarp over the chicken run handled the wind with no problems.  In fact one of the old chickens even laid an egg.  I think that is one of the first eggs laid out at Mom’s new place so I take that as sign the chicks are feeling more comfortable at the new place.

I’m making up a new batch of the paraffin wax/sawdust fire starters.  Gosh I got spoiled using these fire starters.  I tried going back to  using paper and kindling is a major pain in the butt getting a fire started!  Good news is Mom had some paraffin wax in her boxes so I did not have to purchase any wax this month.  I will have a couple of egg crates of fire starters for Mom and get at least four crates done for myself to have for this month.  I have been going to the local park and picking up pine cones.  A 5 gallon bucket of pine cones and dried twigs that have dropped under pine trees tend to be very dry tinder and most park departments don’t clean up under pine trees.  I figure if I fill a couple of 5 gallon buckets every couple of weeks this summer I can have a couple of trash cans worth of pine cones/tinder before fall and firewood heating season begins this winter.

Update on the vermin problem of mice and cock roaches.  I have not caught any mice since mom moved the chicken house to her place.  I still have a few traps out along with putting out a little cat kibble outside for the cats to catch mice.  The neighborhood cats stop by occasionally for a snack and a little water but they don’t seem to be hunting mice.  It has been about 3 months and I have not seen a single roach in the house. I have cleaned up some of the DE on the counter but have left some DE in the cabinets for residual protection.  At this point I’d say I’m at maintenance level against vermin rather than trying to eliminate an infestation.

Overall I can’t say I was all that impressed with the exterminator.  Don’t get me wrong I think the exterminator did the job just fine. It’s just the nature of vermin to look for an easy meal and you have to be pro-active in stopping them from getting that easy meal.  One thing I never considered about cockroaches is my kitchen plumbing traps.  Pipes collect grease and food debris as well as trap water.  Those pipes are like a cockroach buffet!  Drain plugs and screens are a great way to block off that cockroach buffet.

I want to start incorporating  the use of small amounts of solar energy and lighting daily.  That means using some of those solar camp lights as night lights. Testing out battery packs and recharging stuff like the cell phone and kindle via small solar panels.  I can’t afford to go full solar power but if I can stay below 750 Kwh per month I will save a lot of money on my electric bill.  Where I am there are off peak hours electric use is the weekend and between 9:00 pm and 6 am  week days, so if the solar can’t charge during a cloudy day I can charge the battery pack during off peak hours and charge my gadget whenever it needs a boost.  I’m taking advantage of the new windows for daylight and trying to keep my light usage to just at night.  I have installed LED Light bulbs and I think you should use power when yo need it for a job, but often I would leave a light on just because and not because I needed it for doing some thing specific.  So far it seems to be making a difference in my power costs.