I’ve burning a little fire wood.

October 13, 2018

OMG! having dry seasoned wood to burn has worked out great.  Honestly I have been bouncing on wood storage for 2 years but now it seems I have found a great wood supplier and all of the Doug fir and poplar wood is burning very clean with very little ash.  The new window installation made a bit of difference as well on the power bill.  I can hear you screaming about helping people with insulation, installing good windows….

I watch my electrical power/energy use and it is dropping like a rock after the siding and new window install. Wrangler had a kindling video that was all about cutting kindling with a hatchet.  Not exactly earthshaking info but I will concede cutting  firewood in about 1 inch widths makes good kindling!  Heck I burned Elm in the past and the ash from Doug fir is almost nothing.  Why don’t I burn hard woods?  Well Idaho does not grow hardwood trees.  Lots of Pines and Fir trees but not Hardwood trees.

Sanders are on sale  and I see few jobs that need some sanding.  Golly lets see how that works out.

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I guess I won’t be using Face book or Google

September 26, 2018

It is getting crazy with big Social media getting more intrusive/ attacking privacy.I got a facebook burner account to check up on someone and face book wants a phone number to identify me though I never posted a single word on facebook.   Now google wants a phone number just to comment on youtube videos. This really pisses me off as a youtuber wants to do a “Telethon” to support St. Jude’s cancer Hospital this weekend.  I think “Youtube for Good” charity is a great idea but I won’t give up my privacy for it.   Hell, I can’t even leave a comment on youtube without giving up my Phone number.

I don’t want social media regulated as a public utility because the government is the regulator.  I do think Google and face book should be trust busted ala Teddy Roosevelt and standard oil/ Railroads.

Separate you tube from Google.  Separate Chrome from Google.  Take Instagram away from Face book.  These companies have become information monopolies and gatekeepers of information. I don’t want government regulating the internet.  I want monopolies busted and open competition.

Banks are killing the accounts of gun makers.  Mastercard and paypal won’t support sites that engage in political wrong think.  Just imagine you are getting some ammo and hunting gear for a legal hunt in your state and your credit/debit card is refused.  Not because you maxed out your limit.  Because a twink in NYC doesn’t like guns or hunting. You have cash in your account and now Master card will decide what you can buy.   We are there already and it is starting.

People still wonder why I use cash and try to buy local.  It is just like Vaping getting regulated.  Many people said the did not mind people smoking as long as the did not deal with 2nd hand smoke.  Great, vape just discharges a bit of steam so all those smokers that vape shall be welcomed in bars, restaurants….etc.  Nope  The Children are some how getting vapes in sweet/ fruity flavors and it must be stopped.   I know of no tobacco shop selling anything nicotine related to teenagers.  So is Vaping good or bad?  Many people have stopped smoking because of vape.  Plus how is vaping worse than cigar or cigarette smoke you people decry.  Heck I may as well denounce overally perfumed women or guys that splash that aftershave a bit to liberally.

People can always be annoying.  None of us are not that special and we will have to deal with people we don’t like daily.  Smile and suck it up!   We can always whine on the internet.  People bitching on the internet will always exist.

 


Oops! Cat food?

September 23, 2018

I buy in bulk to save money and my storage plan is still a bit chaotic since Mom moved out.  (Yes, I’ll blame Mom….)

Anyhoo, I bought another 40 pound bag of cat food that was on sale and then I find 2 buckets full of cat food stored that needs to be rotated and fed to cats.  Great news Mom has a few semi-feral cats and a new kitten to feed so I can give her a bucket of cat food.  This way I can rotate the cat food and still have extra food on hand for any “Alley” Cats that need a meal or two this winter.

Added 10 cans of coffee to rebuild the stash at $4.99 a can.  Even with Mom buying a can or two from me I should have plenty of coffee for the winter.  Now that I’m not buying more wood, rock or meat to prepared for winter I can focus on getting the odds & ends that will go up in price because of the Trump Tariffs.

I’m not complaining as I think we need to have Free Trade in the world.  But it must also be equal trade.  Apple and Nike should not be allowed to destroy Asia’s environment and pay slave wages to sell $1,000.00 Iphones or Nike sell $300.00 sneakers paying 2nd /3rd world people at best the equivalent of $ 8.00 -12.00 a day working in a sweat shop.  We will pay higher costs because of tariffs and that is a price that must be paid to bring manufacturing back to the USA.

Higher wages in the west via free trade will also help the average 3rd world worker by driving up wages and protecting the environment long term.  There will also be a lot of short-term pain as the world markets reset or try and hold out against the tariffs.

Get your parts on hand now for your mechanical stuff.  Buy up what you need for food, heat and geegaws before winter hits because the cost of living will go up.  Having all your basic needs covered means you can “take the hit” on the rising cost of imported goods you buy.  Be able to sharpen that ax, have nails/screws on hand.  Oh you want to build something with wood.  Canada is getting hit with tariffs on lumber so wood prices are going up.

The point of Tariffs is to protect businesses from unfair trading practices, but it also protect workers from falling wages and unemployment.  I’m no socialist I think the min. wage should be $0.00 and everyone should negotiate the wage/benefits they want. Either you are worth the wage to the employer. You go sell yourself to another employer or you start your own business.  I know that may sound a bit like Prostitution but it all depends on the skill set you have to sell to the buyer.

For example:

I learned a lot about installing a toilet as a DYI’er.  Gosh I must have spent 3 weeks trying to fix a cracked tank, a bad hose and replacing a bad water cut off valve and installing new guts into the toilet.  A good plumber could have done the job in a couple of hours and cost about $300.00- $500.00 depending on cost of the toilet.  In that 3 weeks I learned a lot about plumbing I bought a used toilet with a 3 gallon flush tank that is compatible with the city sewer system.  Learned to replace guts of an toilet tank and seal the toilet properly over the sewer pipe.  I’m not sure about the cost benefit ratio but I sure learned a lot.  As many people have said ” You can have it properly installed, have it installed fast or have it installed cheap. ”  The generous folks say pick two options cause you ain’t getting all three!

Sorry, a bit off-topic paragraph. Buy what you want of imported items now as the import window and storage facilities are filling up now.  I think the cost increase will hit start hitting hard about mid October. Think of the little items like screws and sand paper. Razor blades and thread.  Fabric and House paint depending where it comes from.  I hope the tariffs will motivate companies to bring back jobs to the USA.  It is quite possible the oligarchs will just wait out Trump or make him ineffective.

It is what it is folks and we can only do what we can as individuals.

 

 


Sharpen up the hatchet

September 14, 2018

Actually putting an edge on the little hatchet blade happened quickly.  Oh it wasn’t the best edge for cutting wood in the short time I used the stone to sharpen the ax edge.  I did sharpen the little hatchet a lot with just a little bit of effort.  I want to use the little hatchet to cut up kindling, rather than the larger splitting ax for ease of use.  Plus Mom does not have an ax yet and will need to split up some kindling for her wood stove.  Depending on the size of the fire wood a sharp hatchet can make kindling for the wood stove.

The wood I bought and stored is split into wood stove size chunks.  I also got some kindling from the wood guys.  Cutting up kindling was a big deal during the winter.  All the big chunks of wood in your wood stove won’t burn until you start a small fire via kindling first.  So I have to sharpen up the ax and hatchet to cut up kindling for the winter heating season.  I’m sure I’ll have to cut up kindling in winter this year because I’m still learning how to get a proper mix of wood to burn.  At the very least I want at least a week or two of kindling on hand before the winter heating season starts.

The chimney sweep is scheduled for the 1st of October.  I feel as if I’m a bit late getting the chimney/wood stove cleaned but October seems to be the month when I get the  wood stove cleaned according to my records. It is hitting the 70’s F. so far this month but the rapid cool down from August to September has been very noticeable.  A 30+ degree drop in high temps in less than 2 weeks can make you feel like you need a fire in the morning. With the cut up kindling and burning a few mill ends of wood I can start a nice little fire in the AM if I need it for a little extra warmth.

It looks like I’ll catch up financially this month from my getting extra wood and gravel load to help with very localized flooding from the bad winter of 2016/17.  The electric bill in August was a bit high, so August was a bit more costly than I anticipated.  I’m caught up on all bills and both Mom and I have on hand what I think will be enough wood for winter. Having the new windows installed really helped for cooling costs.  August of 100+ temps and smoke from fires drove up my electric energy use.

I wonder what this winter will be like….Weather forecasters seem to think it will be damp and relatively warm.  I think it will be somewhat snowy early and then very cold in SW Idaho.  I hope I’m wrong as I’d love to have a half full wood pile for next year.

I suppose there are some people that want  an apocalypse/disaster to say “I told you so… I don’t want that at all.  I’d much prefer us sniping at each other over the different values of beef, chicken or pork and how to do BBQ properly!  Dry rub or vinegar/tomato based BBQ sauce,  You know the important stuff!


Cooling off, removed the Window A/C and started on the kindling. Hurricanes

September 11, 2018

It looks like Fall is coming into the valley with a very rapid drop in High temps this week.  We have gone for 95-100 degree highs down to 75-80 degree highs in less than 2 weeks.  I’m loving the cool off because I can remove the window A/C units and start saving money on that electric bill.  With the new windows and siding I had one very high cost month for electricity this summer.  August was a very hot and smokey month, so I often ran the A/C units 24/7 for cool as well as filter out some of the smokey air.  In September most of the fire smoke is gone and with it cooler I can get away with using fans during the day.

My overall assessment of the savings from the siding and new window installation, saved at least $200.00 on electrical costs over the summer months.  That is not a lot of money but the wood stove has saved a lot of money on heating costs.  With window install and having good firewood for this winter heating season I can give a solid report next spring on the total savings on energy costs since the siding and new windows were installed.

One very nice thing about the new windows is installing the window A/C unit and not have the window try and slam shut on me or the A/C unit before it was installed.  The unit was very easy to remove today and re-installing the screen was simple with no tools required to get the screen in place.  The larger ‘portable’  A/C unit did not require removing the screen and kept the front part of the house cool during weeks of 95-100+ degree heat this summer.  Overall I’m happy with using smaller/ room size A/C units to cool during the summer rater than using the old whole house system.  Of course I prefer wood heat to heat the house compared to an electric forced air system.

Cutting up kindling today and loading up the porch wood rack.  I made two trips with the garden cart and almost filled up the ‘porch’ wood rack with a mix of lodge pole pine, Doug fir and poplar. My wood piles are divided as one is mostly poplar under the carport and the Douglas fir is in the original wood storage area.  I need to burn both woods in my wood stove.  On to cutting kindling I’m focusing on the Doug Fir wood pile as I stacked mostly small and I hope easy to split fir for kindling.  My 1 1/4 pound hatchet blade needs a lot  of sharpening to cut kindling.  I should not be surprised as my ax needed a good sharpening before it could cut wood rather than split wood.  I’ll sharpen up the hatchet and get to work on the kindling.

Hurricanes:  I have to say that people are “panicking” four days out rather than 2 days before the storm hits.  That is progress I guess….?   Is tap water undrinkable for a few days in the Carolinas?  I mean fill a few water jugs, fill up the tub to flush the toilet should take care of water needs.  I figure getting a generator/solar power to charge electronic devices, lighting. Sandbags and lumber would be the items to get on hand and storing all frozen food in a garbage bag in case you lose power you could clean the freezer easily.

Can you buy Quick concrete bags to build a wall against flooding?  Sure it would be a pain to remove but if it protects you from flooding could it be a good back up?  For all of you not in the storm zone you should test your preps.

Disaster Test: This is for those outside the disaster zone.

  1. How much drinking water do you have stored?
  2. Lighting,  Solar camping lights, Solar panels, candles, flashlights or lanterns.  Have you tested those batteries?  Do you have fuel for lanterns?
  3. Cooking when the power is gone.  A little grill via charcoal or propane can at least boil water and heat canned foods.
  4. Food: That garden is probably gone if flooded do you have canned goods for at least 2 -4 weeks?
  5. Power: Do you have a generator that can power a freezer?  Do you have fuel enough to power a freezer until you can preserve what is in the freezer?  Could you preserve what is in your freezer in 2-3 days?
  6. People:  They will get a little crazy in about 2 weeks and they will need diversions. When you fire up the generator let people charge the tablets, phones and laptops if possible.  Have dice games like Yahtzee, cards and if possible low energy cost TV movies or video games.  Are YOU ready for a local disaster?
  7. What will you do with you poo if the local sewer system is compromised? What will you do with your trash if the trash guys don’t show up the next few weeks?

Most people have only 2 options.  Get out now if you are not prepared and that is a smart thing to do if you are not prepared.  Go visit family or friends inland and have a little vacation.  Photograph everything before you leave and not deal with the storm.  If you are prepped you could stick out the storm, realize you are on your own.  If you think having an ax to chop through the roof makes you prepared please evacuate now!

 

 


Wow that was easy

September 2, 2018

I tossed most of the limbs, weeds and trash from the front yard into the garbage bin.  My compost pile is small disaster at the moment and needs some additional work before I start using it again.

After trimming up everything from the front yard.  I collect all the branches in the shaded non-plant growing area on the North side of the house for a few days.  Gosh, it was so easy to wheel out the big garbage can into that area, grab my loppers and little clippers and fill that can about 2/3rd full.   I have made piles of trimmings in other places but I think I made them too big.  A small pile of yard trash that fills a big garbage can seems to work best for me.  I get a bonus as the limbs dry they drop leaf debris that is easy to rake into the soil and add some nutrients to that shaded area.

While it did not work out this week, I will be be cutting down and cleaning up the Lilacs along the North side of the property.  Honestly I dropped the ball on keeping the lilac bushes clean and neat and there are to many starter shoots that are taking nutrients from the good bushes.  I found out this spring that lilacs need to be trimmed and pruned to reach maximum health.  Same thing for my flowering quince bush that has become a green but non flowering mess of a bush.  I want both the lilacs and quince healthy as they tend to bloom very early in spring and they add lovely colors and aromas to the yard.

This was one of the best days in the last 2 months to be outside.  The air was clear of smoke and the temperature was under 80 degrees F. outside my house.  Looking at the weather forecast it won’t be long until I take out the window A/C units and use only fans at night to cool the house. August had a lot going on and the cast will bleed into September but October is coming and cash flow should improve significantly.  Not more income, but outgo costs will drop as all Winter preps are complete.   Then I’ll be able to save for all the crap I did not anticipate.

Over all I’m feeling positive about the future.  Not because the future is going to be great!  Because I think I can handle all the worst case scenarios I can imagine.  I’ll probably be wrong about the worst case scenarios but I’ve done my best and the future will be what it is and we will adapt.

Many preppers are pessimists and focus on the worst that “could” happen and there is nothing wrong with that mindset.  There is also a lot of great news happening about solar power becoming affordable for people.  Many people are going online for news and getting some different perspectives.  More people are unplugging from MSM and picking  their entertainment.  These  are good signs.

Being a prepper or Homesteader during the 2000’s was mocked.  Now getting a few acres and building a home is all over Youtube.  Heck, people pack up the family and  sell home, buy a boat and sail the world.  Why is buying a sailboat/ motor boat/RV on the coast in the $500,000 range, dumber than buying a home/shotgun shack, that costs $750,000+?

Anyhoo, back to work.

 


What a glorious cool weekend!

August 31, 2018

We had a cold front move through and got some rain that really helped on improving the air quality here in the valley.  My gosh I not only turned off the Air conditioners I got to turn off most of the fans cooling the house.  Of course rain makes all of the nature aromas more acute so it has been wonderful to turn of the  the A/C units and smell air that is not full of smoke.

I got the new dumb LED TVs installed  though I have not hooked up all the electronic goodies.  I moved the old (20 year) CRT out to the garage.   Gosh I forgot how much those old CRTs can weigh.  Good news the little garden wagon helped me move the CRT to it’s new spot in the shop.  This CRT TV is Digital but it is setup for the EU digital and won’t receive the US version of digital tv signals.  The old LG still has a great picture so I’m going to play around with it as a TV/game/you tube sort of hybrid entertainment system.

Great news I was able to purchase a retro NES gaming system and it has Star Fox!  I’ve always been a gamer starting with the coin op games and loved when you could buy a game system and  NOT spend a quarter or two to play an arcade game at home.  I play like a noob on many games but I like playing a campaign or game beating the “BOSS”.

With the new TV the new Nintendo system games are going to look awesome.  As far as being a part of the PC gamer master race I’m sorely lacking as video cards have become very expensive in this bit coin era.  Though mining bitcoins is sort of dying back.  The price of mid range video cards was reasonable at $125.00-$200.00 range.  Paying $700.00+ for a video card is insane when I can build a solid gaming PC for that same price.  It won’t be a high end gamer pc but it will play most games good.

For a FPS Unreal 99/gold-2004 looks and plays wonderful on a basic computer system.   Bonus there are are are Plenty of private servers and game mods and maps for all of the Unreal Games.  Star Trek Elite force plays well if you run on Win XP admin.  I’ll have to try out the old Star wars games from X-Wing to Jedi Academy.

Please keep buying meat while the prices are low.  Trade agreement with Mexico are announce it still needs to work it’s way through Congress.  I suspect Mexico will take all  US agricultural products and use/resale to China in the next few months.  I don’t blame them I would do the same thing but for now meat and staples ore relatively low cost.  Now is the time to stock up on meats and basics.

Money may get a little bit tight paying for wood and getting the stove cleaned in September.  I think I got all my ducks in a row but there won’t be much play in the budget in September.  Once we get into October the financials should become more positive. Wood will be paid off, chimney clean paid off and hopefully all my work will pay me, in at least less work and worry this winter.