Working in the dark (practice)

December 5, 2013

I have started using the apple wood for daytime fires so I needed to get a few logs on the front porch to use. Where I’m storing the apple wood doesn’t have any lights so I got a chance to try out one of my ball cap clip-on flashlights. This light puts out a diffused sort of light which is good for getting wood and just walking around. I think for doing more detailed work you would want a higher quality headlamp that you could focus the light beam. These lights are very light weight and not even noticeable while wearing the cap.  Sure beats the heck out of holding the flashlight in your teeth while you use both hands to get a job done!  I picked up these lights for about $2.00 and that price included the batteries.

I got some of the mill ends loaded up in the wagon to cut on Friday. The carport has a nice motion detector flood light so it was easy to gather up the wood in the dark and load the wagon. Friday is going to windy, damp and nasty but while it might be a little cold in the shop it will be nice to cut up the wood out of the wind and rain/snow. I want to get that wood cut up so I stay ahead of the weather even though I have 3 party buckets full along with some apple already on the porch to burn.

It always surprises me just how well suited this place is for all of the things I am doing as a prepper. I have a couple of areas for storing wood that is under cover but still gets a little bit of a breeze for drying the wood. The central air intake fan is close to the wood stove so I’m able to use the fan only mode to help move heat through the rest of the house. My basement is great for fermenting beer and the yard is full of mature fruit or nut bearing trees.  I never heard the word “prepper” when I bought this house and I sure didn’t think I would become disabled. But no matter if it was just dumb luck or divine intervention I am thankful I bought this little house.

I think I may have over done it a bit trying to get ready for the different types of storms coming our way. While I don’t work for a living I understand that there are just so many hours in a day and a limited amount of physical energy that each person has to expend. I don’t beat myself up to much though it can be frustrating at times.  You will get tired and worn out and perhaps get a bit angry with yourself with not accomplishing all the goals you want in a certain time frame. It’s okay to take a break look at how much you have accomplished instead of focusing on what you haven’t done yet! Life is stressful enough as it is without you beating yourself up for not getting things done in a certain amount of time. I wanted do up several batches of beer and get started on the soap making this week and that did not happen, no biggie.   I believe the sun will still rise and in a month  or even a year I doubt that anyone will recall I failed at those little goals.  No excuses, just life.


It’s about 15 degrees in SW Idaho and snow forcasted begining Friday

December 4, 2013

It got cold quick and I took a bit of a chill and had a heck of a time getting warmed back up. I used a bit more wood than is normal even on a cold day to break that chill. Still not to bad as I used one party bucket of mill ends  for the day. I have only used the apple wood overnight but as cold as it is I will start adding some during the day. I’m darn pleased with the wood stove and the amount of wood I’m using daily is very close to what I estimated I needed on a cold day.

Weather changes have an adverse effect on the CIDP and I have been dealing with a few more twinges than is normal for me but heck that is life.  I got another layer to add to my jacket and some extra gloves in the pocket so I don’t forget them. Most of the extra gloves I bought for backup/trade are cloth gloves but a local hardware store has leather gloves thatwill go on the next  shopping list.  The car emergency box is stocked along with the GHB is ready for winter.  I added a break down snow shovel to the car this fall so I think I am ready for any minor emergency. Plenty of sand and Ice melt standing by along with a snow shovel and push broom for snow removal.

When a fast moving storm hits is when I really love being prepared because it makes life so much easier.  No last minute things to get at the store or topping of any fuel tanks, saves a lot of time, effort and money. I did do a little shopping this week but nothing special just a few good buys I didn’t want to pass up. Albertsons has a great buy on sirloins for $2.99 a pound. It’s hard to find just plain hamburger at that price so I’m getting a couple of packages to freeze. Albertsons also has a good deal on 6-8 pack  Sparkle paper towels and 12-24 packs Angelsoft Toilet paper for $3.99 each if you buy 2. Once a person gets out of panic mode for preparing and can start taking advantage of those loss leaders at stores it is amazing  how quickly you can stock up and still save money.

I ran across a couple of new items that are hitting the Dollartree stores. A big one is those magic eraser type sponges. I got 2 sponges for a dollar and I love using these type of sponges in the bathroom. I don’t have to buy a special cleaner anymore and these sponges work great on soap scum and bathtub rings without scratching the porcelain. Anything that saves me both money and effort is a must have in my book.  Dollartree also had a trail size (9 oz.) version of Dawn dish soap platinum. It works very well on greasy pans/dishes and the size is just perfect for an RV or camping setup. I’m going to try it out this week end and see how well it works for grease stains on some cotton t-shirts.

It seems the new tends to hype any storm just to create a lot of negative emotions and ratings. I’m not minimizing that any storm can be dangerous if you are caught unaware and unprepared. By being prepared you can stop a lot of fear and those negative emotions. You are ready to deal with most problems with a calm and peaceful outlook.  That is very hard to put a price on.

A visit to the Asian grocery store

December 3, 2013

I didn’t have a shopping list as I was looking at costs and selection at the new Asian grocery store. Gosh it was fun seeing all the new (to me)  products and they are still putting in more shelves more stuff. I wasn’t complete lost because I have been reading up on Asian cooking and how they use ingredients.  Just the different types of rice and different noodles is staggering. Heck they had canned beef from Australia to big chunks of fresh taro. Korean spices for kim chee and a lot of Thai specialties. The had a lot of frozen meats from Asia but I’m a little concerned about trying some of them until I have little more knowledge, besides I’d much rather make my own if possible.   I did get a small package of rice noodles and a char sui powdered marinate mix.

Rice is such a huge part of most prepper’s food storage, learning how to make a lot of different ethnic meals would help avoid food fatigue. Rice is a staple of 50% of meals world wide so you have a lot of variety you can add to your meals by using different spices and techniques if you are willing to invest the time to learn. Plus many folks in the world tend to use a lot less processed food and use either fresh ingredients or foods that are canned, dried, smoked, pickled or fermented it can help a prepper move away from reliance on a freezer or fridge.

I finished up the last two party buckets of wood. It wasn’t too cold today hovered just above freezing, there was a feeling in the wind that more cold weather is coming this week.  Plenty of motivation to get the wood cut and I hope to get a good stack of the mill ends in the shop for cutting up later this week. Still learning how to use the wood but I think I’m getting on top of it. If I use the mill ends for a hot fast fire to warm the house and then the apple wood for a longer overnight burn I think the wood stove will work well for my heating needs this winter.  I want to get another load of the apple wood with my next check and now that Dad and I did one load it is easy to load the truck and unload it at the house.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of making an small ice house and the box the apple wood comes in would be just about perfect for holding my collapsible rain barrels and I could insulate them with the wood chips/saw dust from cutting the wood.  I have no idea how long the ice could last in 100 degree heat in the summer.  But I would think a couple hundred pounds of ice that is well insulated  might be of some use if the grid goes down. If it melts I will have water for the lawn and garden.  The boxes will also be a form of camouflage if the local PTBs get crazy about using rain rain barrels for water collection.  I will be completely honest in saying I have those boxes for storage!

Wow that apple wood got the stove a rocking!

December 1, 2013

I did a test of the apple wood and good lord and butter the house sure did heat up fast on just the 3 little logs I tossed in. The front room was up over 85 and I almost had to open the window.  I did not expect the apple wood would be so warm, so fast, I was able to open up one of the rooms I usually keep close and started the fan on the central heat to move some of the heat around the house. I sort of slept in today and there were a couple of coals left though not enough to restart the fire. There always is a bit of a learning curve with the wood stove so doing the test while it’s in the 40’s but just a little damp has been very educational.  I figure I’m getting about a 6 hour burn time with the apple wood and with as tight as the house is that should be fine for the winter. I did set the central heat for 60 degrees just in case the temp. drops a lot.  I got to finish cutting up wood the last couple of buckets but the storm isn’t supposed to move in till Monday night so there is time to finish up the last minute items.

As you guys know I have CIDP and my Mom has fibro but we both agree that the heat of a wood,  gas or even always on small electric heater to be a lot easier on our conditions than the constant on and off of central heat/air.   I notice this last summer that using the little air conditioner that was always on was easier on me than the on/off cycle the big central air conditioning provided even though the average temp. in the house was a lot higher using the smaller A/C unit.  CIDP is a nerve disease and they think that fibro is nerve related so I’m wondering if the constant on/off cycle is harder on the nerves rather than a constant higher or colder temp. depending on the season?  I don’t mind paying the same or higher cost if I’m comfortable, but saving money on energy bills makes it even better!

Getting all the things together for making a few batches of beer next week. One of the time consuming tasks is running all the water through my filtered water pitchers. I’m filling up my buckets with filter water so I can get ahead on the water needed for the beer.  I want to do the black malt porter, a german style hefe-weizen, an oatmeal stout and an amber lager.  That’s a lot of beer to make in just a week but I’d like to have a a couple of the beer batches ready for the holidays and to see if I can make that much beer for barter in a week.  Of course the soap-making items should be coming in and I will have to see how well I can balance my physical energy between the two tasks. There is a high chance of failure,  but I think finding out what you can’t do is just as important as finding out what you can do. Having a realistic idea of how much work it takes to accomplish a task is critical especially if you are disabled or say getting a bit more mature 😉  If you can’t do things today when you have lots of resources.  There is a good chance you won’t be able to do them when resources get harder to come by. Start working on ways to work around that now and you will have a better chance if the SHTF.

The biggest reason I have stocked up is I know that being disable will make me seem like prey to some people. I also know I will need help doing physical tasks needed to survive. By building a good skill set I think a person will become valuable to others survival.  While few in the survival/prepping community see it this way I’m hoping to collect some good people that need some help and I can use as doing some of the physical labor for food and a safe place. Oh they will work and that will make them aware that they screwed up not getting ready ahead of time. But I can trade food for needed items, you have to think of building your tribe and village now as much as possible but I think it is foolish to think that you can send others away just because they didn’t prepare.  If you can help keep the kids safe, fed and somewhat healthy. I think you may find many motivated parents help out with your survival.  At least I hope so because I will need others to survive!