Week 4 of 100 degree heat, but my squash is loving it!

July 12, 2021

I’m very surprised that most of my lettuce has not bolted in the long garden beds.  It seems the beds that I used soaker hoses and direct sowed seed have done very well despite of the heat. I have squash plants that are climbing taller than my grape vines that are in the 4 foot tall range.  My Kale bolted in the heat but I used an overhead sprinkler to water that bed.  I’m a firm believer that soaker hoses are much better than overhead sprinklers if you can’t afford a drip irrigation system. 

Most of my transplant failures were my fault not hardening off plants but the excessive heat sure did not help make the garden bloom.  It’s okay I’m learning from my mistakes even though this garden season has been more of a challenge.  I live in an area that has lots of farms and farmer’s markets so buying produce to store is not a  huge problem.  I’ll just have to buy what my garden did not produce. 

I had a big front yard clean up day!  It was mostly trimming and weed wacking but I cleaned out some bad vines that were overtaking the bed in font of my big living room window.  The vine is actually pretty with lovely purple flowers, deep green leaves and small green berries, and that plant will wrap and overrun every other plant in that bed.  I pulled out by hand most of the vines and then I used the Ryobi weed wacker with the plastic beater bars to knock down the vines as close the ground as I could get the tool.  

I washed down the front side of the house using a power washer attachment to my garden hose.  Not a (real) power wash but it got rid of most of the dust and grime on the vinyl siding without forcing water under the siding or putting dents in any parts of the siding. 

I got some more real milk and figured out a better way to skim off the cream rather than trying to finagle a spoon through a half gallon jar top. I’m liking having real milk straight from the Moo.  I’m adding some pork from a local butcher that is (RED) meat pork and not the white tasteless stuff you tend to find in most stores.  Is it more expensive?  YES!  It also tastes like pork.  I liked the flavor of the bacon as it was more salty rather than sweet.  

I can’t tell people what to do. I have built up a small stash of okay quality meats buying from grocery stores and vacuumed sealed it to preserve the quality.  Now I can afford to pay more for better quality meats,  and my local stores don’t sell high quality meats.  I don’t blame stores as a store’s profits are damn slim and cutting quality or raising prices is about their only two option. 

If meat and produce costs are rising you should buy the best quality you can afford.  I think it is very important to find a local supplier for the things you want to have on hand.  The USA can’t grow the fixings for Chocolate or Coffee so you better stock up. Find a supplier, make your own or go without.  I don’t care if someone has to struggle through the day because they could not have an avocado toast.  Farmers in California are literally cutting down their own almond orchards because they can’t get enough water to the trees.  An Almond orchard takes 8-10 years before it produces a commercial level crop.  Do you think that the farmers can not water the trees for months, and then trees will start producing in a couple months when there might/might not be irrigation water.  

I get peeved that people things will stat the same. Nothing ever stays the same! J&J vaccine now is reporting that over 100 vaccine folks have got Guillume-Barre syndrome. Basically the immune system attacks the nervous system and you can die with your breathing or heart beat sort of stopped. I have the chronic version of GB called CIDP and I can say you do not want this version though unlike GB it does not shut down you breathing or heart beat.

You are much better of fighting off any Flu with the basic of fluids, bedrest and time.

Happy Birthday America and week 3 of the 100 degree + heat wave.

July 3, 2021

It is good to see that many people are celebrating the 4th.  Plus many people are pushing back against the “Powers that Be” telling us Americans what we can and can’t do with our lives.  Things are getting tougher but Tough times tend to make people stronger so I'[m a little optimistic seeing the push back and folks reclaiming their rights.

Did any of you see the what the government thinks is a Forth of July BBQ menu that is 16 cents cheaper than 2020 4th of July menu.  My Gosh there were no Buns of any sort, no fruits, no veggies, no condiments, no freaking corn on the cob.  A skillet full of crumbled hamburger, some pork chops, pork and beans and potato salad.  This is what the US government considers a Celebratory menu 4th of July BBQ for us serfs.

I know many folks can’t afford steaks but what is a BBQ without Hamburgers with buns, Hot dogs with buns, chopped onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, relish. I like pork chops but where are the ribs and brisket the BBQ chicken?  Where is the melons and I don’t consider generic vanilla ice cream a holiday desert.  There is no way I could say what the USA government calls a 4th of July meal even a good normal meal.  Certainly not a holiday meal.  This shows me just how stupid Washington DC thinks of the citizens. That we will believe food prices are lower and what they propose is a good meal for the 4th of July.

I’m not saying you have to spend a lot of money to make a nice 4th of July holiday menu.  But we all know food costs are going up and what the government considers a good menu and there is no food inflation costs is laughable.

I changed the position of my Portable A/C unit to my living room and the move went much better than I expected for cooling the front part of my house.  It helped that I cleaned out the filter that was very dirty and all of the side and rear vents.  I dropped the ball on cleaning out those vents on the portable unit and it was so dirty, it is amazing the unit cooled at all. I have had about a 6-10 degree drop in the temperature in the front part of my house since moving/cleaning up the A/C unit.

I have added some thermal reflective barrier panels to my south facing windows to block some of the afternoon sun.  While my windows are new and do a good job blocking the heat this heat wave is one of the longest  I have seen in in SW Idaho and every little bit helps.

The weather forecast is another 10 + more days of 100 degree F. of heat and it isn’t even August that tends to be the hottest/Dog days of summer.  So it looks like we will have at least a months worth of 100 degree heat with very little cooling at night.

Most of my garden beds are toast, but some of the melons, squash and strangely some of lettuce plants are going strong. I have been using soaker hoses on these beds and the plants seem to be doing better compared to the beds that I use a sprinkler to water as most of those plants have bolted or outright failed to grow in this heat.  Mom’s new garden beds that are protected by the Agribon frost cloth seem to be handling the heat, but she has a bug problem with some of the squash plants.  Gardening might be simple but that does not mean it easy because the weather is completely out of your control and that is a big thing that affects your garden.  I’m going to focus on starting and growing plants for a fall harvest as this summer garden is a bust.

There is always more to do. I let things go in my front yard and it was an Physical workout trying to clean up, weed wack and mow the front yard.  I moved a few things around for a new work area in the house. Goodness knows I need to get more painting done.  But I have got a lot of things cleaned up and moving towards getting rid of clutter.  It was much easier moving the A/C unit to the living room since I removed the oversized furniture.  One step/project at a time and I’ll get things working better.  At least for a time.

Heat wave, clean up and prepping for power outages

June 26, 2021

We have at least another 10 days of 100 degree F days in the forecast. While it is a dry heat with little humidity so does an oven. I got out early to get some cleanup done in the garden area. Mostly cutting back some of the grape vines that are next to the 3 sisters garden bed and cleaning up the raspberry plants.

The 3 sisters bed squash and pole beans are doing okay but the corn has been a failure. Most of the failures have been my fault but it sure did not help having a heat wave start building just as I was getting those beds growing. The raspberry plants are looking sad. I have trimmed back all the brown and wilted leaves and I am watering the plants more often and making sure the plants are getting water down to the roots. One of the raspberry plants that looked bad has started bouncing back since I am watering more often during the week. I don’t expect any berries this year but the more plants that make it into fall. I’ll consider the raspberry experiment a success.

We had a bad wind storm blow through last week and while I had a good size limb drop in the back yard my neighbors had a tree lay over and hit their house. It really sucks for them as they had a bunch of the unhealthy trees cut down this spring and this supposedly healthy tree just laid over in the wind storm and it looks like the tree broke at the base or the roots just let go!

I got out the little chains saw and cut up the walnut branch that fell into the lawn. Not a very big limb but I can cut the limb into small chunks firewood in the future. While I had the chainsaw out I got a couple of the overgrown Lilac “trunks” cut down and into the trashcan. I’m not cutting down all of the lilacs as I love the smell from the blossoms in spring but I’ll be cutting back trees and runners so the remaining lilacs can breathe and not compete against each other for growing space.

I got an early start on the days projects and good thing as it was over 90 degrees + by about 11:00 am and the temp just kept climbing! I am so glad I got all of the A/C units installed for Mom and myself before this heat wave really hit so hard this week. I am a little concerned we will see some brown outs/blackouts because of the electrical load with people trying to stay cool. While a heat wave isn’t a storm, a power outage can be a minor inconvenience or a health threatening disaster.

I got most of my small electronic items all charged up. I have a couple of small solar panels that should keep them going if the power goes out. I still need to double check the power level of my small battery banks but I have charged up all of my Ryobi batteries that power a couple of small fans that can pump water to misters which are very good at cooling the back patio.

I have some space in the small freezer for another block of Ice to help fill the freezer and give me more time to adjust if the power goes out. I have a couple of generators for running the Freezers and at least my bedroom air conditioner for a couple of days if the power goes out but I need to double check all my extension cords and make sure everything runs safely without over loading. I’m still working on getting all of the house cleaning done but the laundry is all caught up and I have clothing ready to last a couple of weeks. I can cook out side so I don’t heat up the house.

I recommend anyone east of the Pacific Northwest prep for this heat wave to hit you in the very near future. Weather in the USA can be be crazy but it generally moves from the west to the east. I assume this heat will hit you folks in the Midwest pretty darn soon and you all have much higher humidity compared to us west of the Rocky Mts. Get those ice blocks now and add them to your freezer. Buy gasoline, propane and oil for those generators and outdoor grills and test those items before there is a rush on those items. A small widow A/C unit or portable air conditioner can be run buy a generator. A Household Heat pump/ Air conditioner takes a lot of power that a lot of people can’t afford. A couple hundred dollars for a small A/C unit and a small generator for about $500.00 and is doable given a bit of warning/prep time. All of this prep will pay off long term as prepping for a power outage for whatever reason is pretty much the same thing every time.

A couple of good things happened to me this last week. I finally bought a replacement garage door opener for $122.00 from Lowes and it is the Dumb model to replace my old Garage door opener. I saw my first little hummingbird drink at the little bird feeding station I setup.

It seems we are going to get a long hot summer and I have no advice other than keep working your plan. I think most of my garden will fail because of some failures by me but this heat wave is really destroying my garden. Mama nature can be tough to work with for many reasons. I’m getting ready plant starts for a fall harvest and see how that works out this year. I have some volunteer squash plants that are growing out side of my garden beds that are doing outstanding! Don’t give up on getting more prepared and self reliant. All that you do just stacks the odds a bit more in your favor. If it was easy everyone would prep.

A good day a bad day then a very productive day!

June 21, 2021

I went out to Mom’s place to install her little window A/C unit. Mom’s house A/C is pretty good but her bedroom never gets cooled when it gets up into the 100 Degree F. range. Installing the A/C unit is easy but it takes time to add some thermal barrier and make sure no blood sucking bugs can come in the window that no longer has a screen.

Mom asked me to bring out a small bookcase I had stored for her as she is starting to get her books organized and while I was there we moved a few pieces of furniture to be a bit more functional and I have to say the floor space seems more open, efficient and flows s much better. Mom’s home is small and fitting furniture is a challenge.

I put together Mom’s new B&D weed wacker, that consisted of adding the protective/safety shield over the cutting head. The weed wacker looks/feels solid and has a very nice and edging wheel to clean up borders and sidewalks. I gave my old weed wacker to Mom but it is getting a little old and is developing an unpleasant whine that suggests it could stop working at any time.

I had a bit of a bad day Saturday though it started off on a positive note getting some puttering around the garden beds replacing a bad soaker hose with a much better soaker hose. A little shopping that went fast and easy. About noon I started feeling “punky” then I felt the beginnings of a headache/migraine. I seldom get headaches and I’m the biggest wimp in world as even a minor headache can shut me down. It wasn’t all bad as I gave my sore knee almost a full day of rest and it is feeling much better compared to last week.

Sunday was a much better day. No “big” projects got done but I got a lot of small projects done that I have wanted to to do but always seemed to get pushed aside because “______” has to be done right now!

I finally got my chest freezers a bit more organized and repacked the frozen meats and veggies with the oldest meats on top and newest meats at the bottom. I’m using plastic crates in the larger chest freezer as it is much easier to remove and restack a crate compared to to shifting through random packages of frozen meats and vegies tossed into the freezer. I bought four blocks of ice for my chest freezer as a backup for keeping food cold and take space in the freezer because a full freezer is a power efficient freezer. I can always remove the extra blocks of Ice if I need more space and the bags of Ice can serve as a backup and warning if I have power outage. The Ice blocks will help keep food frozen but if the Ice blocks melt due to lack of power I will know that my frozen food probably also thawed and might be unsafe to eat depending on how fast I can react to a long term power outage. A bag of Ice will no longer be cube like if it melts. So it will be easy to tell if your freezer stopped keeping food frozen.

My raspberries are not looking so good but I think my problem is not enough water for the new plants to get established. I gave the berries a really deep water to get the soil saturated to the roots and I’m adding a 1 1/2 inch deep can to one of the containers so I can make sure I give the new berry bushes at least 1 inch of water per week.

My 3 sisters garden bed has not worked as well as I had hoped. I have only one stalk of corn but the squash and pole beans are growing. The little melon bed looked sad but the some of the melon plants are starting to put out some leaves. My raised bed are not producing as I would like but I ignored weeding them while working on other projects. After weeding one bed several plants started producing so I’ll work towards the second harvest while encouraging the transplants.

Failure is a teacher as long as you don’t let failure stop you and you learn from it. This year’s garden has a had challenges. From keeping pets and pest out of the garden to watering and starting my own plants. Some of those things did not go well but some of things are getting better as I learn more. I have found learning what not to do is more valuable compared to what you “should” do.

Summer is here with 100 degree F. temps

June 15, 2021

The heat has been tough on the transplanted raspberries and the plants are a bit wilted.  I’m having to resist the urge to water the plants, as I have read that raspberries don’t like “wet feet”.  I have set up a little white canvas tarp to protect the plants from the sun during the hottest part of the day.  After just a couple of days the Heritage berries seem to be recovering the quickest but they also had a little protection from the sun.  I have reached into the soil and it was cool and slightly moist but not wet.  Mu next step is to add a bit of mulch to the containers and then just hope my plant first aid will give the raspberry plants time to recover from the transplant shock.  I soaked the roots of the berry plants for about an hour before planting them in a 50/50 mix of bagged compost to organic soil mix. 

I finally got got some work done on the front yard and sprayed the 30% vinegar on some of the weeds in the front yard.  I sprained my knee when I was moving furniture around so I have to slow down and not attack the yard work quite as exuberantly as I would like. The temps have not helped with that as I am trying to get as much done in the early part of the day but the knee is a bit of bother to work around.  Needless to say I have fallen a little bit behind in weeding some of the garden beds as kneeling and squatting with a sore knee is not much fun.

I installed the bedroom Air Conditioner as I can’t cool the house overnight in 100 degree heat during the day and it only cools down to about 70 degrees F. at night.  I know I sleep better at night in a cool room.  The window A/C units are not as efficient as most whole house units.  I just don’t have an extra $5,000-$10,000 dollars to spend on on a new/efficient A/C  installation.  I have been reading about the new mini-split systems and those might be a good choice for me as my house is only 1200 sq. ft. and a couple of mini split units would probably heat/cool my home especially since I added a new roof, a little extra insulation with siding install and all new double pained windows. 

I have a new project I can do indoors when it get to hot to work outside this summer. I’m painting the walls.  I bought up a lot of semi-gloss paint a couple of years ago to paint the walls but the only room I painted was the small bathroom.  I loved how the little bathroom looked with the new paint job and the semi-gloss withstands a washing unlike many flat latex paints.  I’m only doing a wall section per day. While not that efficient of a goal a wall a day works with my energy level.  I’m using True Value paint as I have been very pleased with the results plus they keep track of the colors I have bought/used so getting an extra can of paint in matching color is at the store. 

If you decide to paint in sections you must have tin foil to wrap your brushes and rollers so you don’t have to clean/replace them when the are full of paint.  We are talking about a few days not a couple of weeks or months.  If you don’t think you have enough time to paint a room in a day tinfoil is your friend to protect rollers and brushes from drying out.  Last but not least buy good quality brushes and rollers.  Your average cheap brushes will literally shed bristles while you paint.  Take your time and have clean up rags handy and you will get a good paint job. 

Raspberries, real milk and a new couch

June 12, 2021

I have been doing some research to find more local producers of food. I want small local farms to create a relationship to get meat, milk and plants/produce.  I don’t trust stores “organic” designated products not because I think the stores are running a scam but some producers are running a scam using the organic label.  I can drive to these local places and see the setup of what the grow and how they process products. I have processed meat, lived on a farm/cattle ranch so I can usually see just how well the the animals are kept, how clean the processing of the products is by just looking around.  While I don’t expect perfection. I know about the effort it takes to provide a “clean” food product. 

The gal I got the Raspberries from literally  dug the raspberry plants out while I was there to buy plants.  I’m growing raspberries in containers so I stuck with plants that grow only to about 4 feet tall.  I got a Heritage, a Perdue and Josephine J.  That should cover all of my raspberry needs if the plants do well. While the gal was digging up the plants she had a few plants that had broken off at the root that she gave me me for free to try and plant and see if the canes survive.  Amazingly those canes that had broken off roots perked up faster than the plants she charged me $2.00 each.  The plants are little shocked from the transplanting but I’m optimistic that I can grow these plants and Mom now says she will take a few of the container raspberries for her garden.  I doubt I will see any fruit this year but next year should be good if the plants survive.  I have read that raspberries overwinter better if they can be moved under some cover like a patio, garage or shed.  Big advantage of a container is you can move the plant to a better location around your place. 

I loved real milk as a kid.  It was wonderful to skim off the cream and make ice cream or butter. Todays store bought milk tastes like white water as the have removed so much of the rich goodness of milk and supply a “pale” substitute.  I know whole or unpasteurized milk is not for everyone but I think if you want it, you should have the choice to buy it without government busy bodies declaring it unclean!  I’ll probably make a little bit of butter as I need to rearrange  my freezer space before I commit to making Ice cream . I’m very excited to have a place to buy real milk straight from the moo!  

The gal I bought the raspberries and milk from seemed a bit surprised I came back this weekend to get the berry plants and milk.  I drove to her place and they had just gotten back from a vacation but she was willing to dig up plants while I waited.  I told her she needed to recover from the vacation and I’d be back this weekend after she had a chance to catch up on her stuff.  I think she was a bit surprised that I came back and was very thankful that I followed up with my purchase.  I think the attitude of I want it and I want it right now is not healthy.  Some things take time, patience and understanding about how thing are produced and made. 

Onto my frniture purchase.  I have been wanting to find some much smaller furniture that fits in my small living room area but I was not sure what I wanted.  It silly to throw out good furniture if you have no idea of what you want/how to replace that furniture.  I realized I wanted something that was more 1920-1940ish look and I looked at some vintage furniture websites. Yep, that was the look I was looking for my home.   Mom stops by and is picking up a bookcase and would I like to ride along and give a hand at loading the bookcase in the truck.  Well we got the store and there was an older sofa that fit what I wanted and we can use Mom’s truck to get it home and it cost $30.00! 

We got that sofa in the house with the help of 2 neighbors but I still had the oversized furniture in the house.  I got my “old” furniture moved outside and another neighbor offered to haul off the furniture but wanted the ottoman for the kids basement/ video/game room furniture.  You got to love helpful neighbors!  

It’s a little strange to see the living room space so open now, as I became accustomed to that over-sized furniture over 18 years of living with it.  I have a much better idea to make this a functional and happy living space.  I never thought of furniture as “clutter” but for me it seems that oversized furniture was clutter. 

Cool down and some fun stuff

June 6, 2021

I installed the portable A/ C unit when I could not cool the house down over night. I kept it about 75 degrees F. for most of the day and for a smallish portable unit, it did a good job keeping the front part of the house comfortable.  I have moved and adjusted my fans and I seemed to hit a “sweet spot” using the fans to blow cool air up from the basement into the back part of the house. Not a replacement for an Air Conditioner but it is amazing how much difference blowing that cool air from the basement makes in cooling the back side of the house. 

About the only problem I have is when I sleep as I prefer a much cooler temp. when I sleep, even in winter my bedroom is about 60-65 degrees F. though the woodfire has the rest of the house a toasty 75+ degrees F. I don’t like to wake up to freezing cold but 55-65 degrees is comfortable and with my wood stove that is easy to maintain overnight. 

If I can cool my house down to about 60-65 degrees F. overnight I can get by with out any air conditioning.  But even in high desert that is not always possible so the months of July and August tend to be my highest electrical cost/bills. 

I went to the local farmer’s market in Mom’s town and had a blast. It was a small market as it is small town but Mom found a new local honey supplier and we got some great food. I never tried Chahala Bread ( I hope that is the correct spelling)t Mom and I split a loaf and my gosh was that good bread!  We bought a more snacks and local crafts and it was fun. 

On the way home, I stopped at a local ranch that sells grass feed beef and bought a “sampler pack” with some hamburger, sirloin steaks and a few other cuts of meats. This is not cheap meat! But I am finding the meat I have been buying in stores the last couple of months is dropping in quality and taste.  I literally threw away about 1.5 pounds of 85/15 supposedly fresh ground hamburger because it just tasted incredibly bland.  Like all the flavor of beef had been removed.  I might as well have cooked some sort of Vegan hamburger wanna be meat meat product. 

There are tons of recipes for tasty vegetables and grains. Why are meat and dairy substitute such a big thing for you?  Humans are omnivores, meat is an efficient transfer of vitamins , amino acids and minerals.  Last question to the Vegans.  Why do you care about what other people eat?  I don’t care about what you eat even though you are killing  to eat, just like other creature on this planet.  Enough pontificating on to the fun stuff…

I’m looking for furniture to replaced the oversized living room I bought 17 years ago.  I spent a few bucks to get this furniture but I did not realize how it fit in a small room.  The room is not getting any bigger nor is the furniture getting any smaller. I found a website that has new furniture that looks like it will fit the space and have the look I want but I want to buy from second hand stores or yard sales if I can find what I want at a good price. 

I have cleared one wall from all furniture and I will paint and add some new molding I make.  It will probably bit a bit of a mess as I learn how to use a router via youtube.  Learning new stuff tends to be a little bit messy with a lot of trial and error.  Practice makes perfect but you have to know what you want to practice. 

I bought plants as some of my starters were a bust. Landscaping stuff. INFLATION

June 3, 2021

I bought some honey dew and cantaloupe to replace my less than stellar starter plants. I don’t think I treated the roots gently enough when I transplanted along with the NO hardening off of the starter plants I had a some failures in the beds.  I’m going to add the bought melons and start some Sugar Baby watermelons from seed. The Sugar babies need 95 days but I should have time to spare as the first fall frost date is  8 October. My direct sown seeds have done okay but I’m still learning the difference between theory and practice. 

The weather has been brutal for me. Going from a week of 60 degree F. highs to 100 degrees F. the next week and then a  week of mid 70 degrees F.  is tough for all critters and plants to adjust too the quick changes of heat. I got some canvas tarps to help protect the raised beds from the direct sun and it helped keep the the plants from wilting in the heat. I’m holding off planting the tomatoes and pepper starts until the weekend when the temp. starts dropping back to the 80- mid 70 degree area. 

Mom and I missed out on the Home Depot Scott’s Earth Gro mulch but it might have been a blessing in disguise.  I have used the Scott’s mulch and like the product in the past but the bags are 1.5 cu. ft. rather than 2 cu. ft. and the reviews for this years product are very negative.  From color fading to people saying they get wood dust rather than wood mulch.  I can’t say if these reviews are truthful but Scott’s Earth Gro mulch got much better reviews last year. 

I went to Lowes and bought a few bags of their brown mulch and it seems unchanged as the bags are still 2 cu. ft. and the color is the same as the stuff I bought this Spring and the stuff I put done in the alley way last year.  The price was a little higher compared to Home Depot but I would rather pay a higher price for consistent quality and quantity.  Rather than get a cheap knock off of brand name I trusted because “Marketing” a sale. 

I bought some more pea gravel from the local True value store for the bird feeding area.   I like the rock in the bird feeding area better than mulch as the birds are messy eaters and some seed will always sprout around bird feeders. I think it is easier to spray vinegar weed killer on rocks rather than on mulch as an efficient weed killer.  Plus birds need to scratch among rocks to fill their crops to help digest grains.  I have no Humming birds feeding so far this year.  I set up the feeder this Spring so it might be the Fall until the little birds find this new source of nectar. 

We are seeing higher prices due to some lag in the Supply chain trying to catch up after the Covid shut down.  You can’t just snap your fingers and have new sawmills start cutting more wood or sawyers going into the forest or trucks to haul those materials. I find it a bit odd that Russian hackers have attacked a regional gas/oil pipe line one week and then other Russian hackers attack a meat production facilities that supplies about 20% of all meat processing in the USA and Australia.  I’m not a big Conspiracy theorist but it seems a bit odd that the USA and Australia are  hit with ransom ware attacks focused on food and energy supplies.  

I have been telling people to store meats for the last six months because inflation is coming and  it is here in the USA for whatever reason it has/is happening.  Cat food seems to be limited supply as I see empty shelves in stores that didn’t have empty shelves after the initial Covid hoarder rush.  I am about getting all the sales I can,  but my freezer is full so I’m not worried about a short-term disruption in store supplies. 

Prepping is a process and it is best to identify your week areas before the supply chain breaks down or money gets tight. I suspect we will see some stores rationing purchases that happen in 2011 during the Arab Spring.  But I did not anticipate the massive devaluation of the dollar just 5 moths into the Biden administration.  

Do you trust your government to do the correct thing? 

More containers ready to plant. Vinegar spray and crazy Idaho weather

May 31, 2021

I have been buying some nice sized planters from Fred Meyers for the last month.  The planters are 28 inches long and about 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep.  This a good size for many garden plants from herbs to lettuce and even some root crops like radishes that don’t need  a lot depth for root crop production.  I have added a small fence in the middle of the pots in hope that the cats won’t have enough room to scratch/poo in these pots as well as protect the plants as they grow. The planters are placed along the sidewalk area that gets more sun since I cut down the dead cherry tree but the area is still somewhat protected from full overhead sun. If the plants don’t do well in this spot I can always move the planters to a different spot in the yard for optimal growing conditions.

I cleaned up two of the large party buckets and filled them up for a couple of Raspberry plants.  It seems the Heritage raspberries can be grown in large containers of 5 gallon size or larger.  Ever since I cut out the overgrown section of grape vines I have been looking for a plant to add to that fence line that loves the sun but can get buy with watering 2-3 times a week and does not climb or spread like crazy.  The Heritage raspberries look like a good a fit for this spot and if I’m wrong I can move the containers.

Container gardening seems to many people as not “REAL” gardening.  Like if you don’t have rows of crops in a big garden or in raised beds you are not really gardening.  Thank goodness for the square foot garden movement as that has encouraged more people to start small scale gardening that can be very productive. Using large planters is very similar to the raised bed garden concept and you can easily move the ” raised beds” if you guess wrong about the about sunlight levels or how easy it is to water the beds.  No matter how you do YOUR garden you will pay in sweat or money and most likely a little bit of both but I think the payoff is worth the effort.

I got another four gallons of 30% vinegar delivered from Home Depot.  While the stuff ain’t cheap I much prefer using this vinegar as a weed killer compared to Round up that kills the soil.  I sprayed the weeds in the alley way and I noticed my sun chokes are starting new growth and filling in again since I started using the 30% vinegar.  I still haven’t found any puncture vine/goatheads in my alley way area that is sprayed with vinegar.  Morning glory has come back but another spray with the vinegar gets that plant under control if not eliminated.

I kept one gallon of the vinegar as a cleaning agent I can dilute for cleaning water marks on my windows and lime scale deposits because of  the hard water in this area.  The results I get using this diluted vinegar is better than I have gotten using products like CLR and vinegar is safer to use and much less toxic.

The weather is warming up to 100 degree F. for the next few days and then back into the mid 70’s over the weekend.  Summer heat is here so it is time to get some protective covers ready for the planting boxes.  I did not get the Agriborn cover that I like in February and missed out so I’ll use some canvas tarps and cotton sheets to block the sun during the hottest part of the day.  I love having the PVC pipe frames that I have for the raised garden bed. Those frames make adding any sort of protective cloth over the beds super easy and you don’t put any weight on young plants covering them up.

My Japanese radishes have bolted but the pink beauties seem to have handled the weird weather.  The Rocky Mt. mixed greens are dong great in both the patio bed and the raised bed with no sign of bolting.  The Baby Bok choy is doing okay in the patio bed but less than stellar in the raised bed.  My pets disturbed the early plantings of starter plants and some of the direct sown plants with digging.  I’m adding more barriers but I’m playing catchup this Spring planting season.

The melon’s bed looks like a total bust.  I’m going to add a few greenhouse plants to the garden to fill in the places my starter plants failed. Some of the problems were my fault and some were Mama Nature getting a little freaky with hail storms, rain down pours and random short term heat waves.  That is gardening!

Mowed the back yard and finished kindling rack roof.

May 29, 2021

I had planned to let my back yard lawn are get a little over grown to encourage the grass to start filling in bare patches in the lawn. It worked a little bit but I’ll need to reseed the lawn to get it filled in with grass.  Over all I think seeding grass in the fall was a good idea. While I have a few bare patches seeding in the fall has been more effective compared to grass seeding in the spring.  Dog poo will kill grass. so you need to remove it if you want the grass to grow.  I’ve not used a poo picker upper tool.  I use a large dust pan, a small rake or kitty litter scoop.  I don’t want to spend $25.00 for a popper scooper that won’t work on a lawn. 

The weather has been wild here in SW Idaho.  We had a dry Spring and here in may it was 60 degrees highs with a hard rain for several days and next week it is forecasted to be over 95 degrees + with no rain, next week.  My melons and corn took a beating with the rain and the Japanese radishes look like a bust as the bolted already in MAY.  I got my first Pink Beauty radish out of the patio garden box and it was great!  A little bite of heat but very mild, not at all “woody” in texture and the radish did not bolt like the other radish seeds.   So far the Rocky Mountain mix of lettuces looks good and has handled the extra rain and the wonky temps of this year.  The starter melons are a bust but I did not “harden” the plants before planting in the garden beds.  I have set back a little cash to buy plants from a nursery just in case my starter plants failed.  I’m not displeased with my starter plants failing.  I’m just learning more about gardening.  

I finished up the roof over the kindling box using the Cedar fencing. While I wouldn’t use the Cedar fencing for building a home, it seems quite adequate for garden bed side walls or walls and roofing for a kindling box. If you use good lumber for the “bones” of the structure. Cedar fencing can be sand to a nice smooth finish if you are looking for a material to line a closet.

Inflation is happening and some thing you must buy to do your the things you want to get done. I bought battery power tools to help do the work I needed to get done. With my simple drill, impact drill and pin nailer and saw. I finished up a good size kindling box in under an hour. Tools are cheap, energy both physical and produced can be expensive.