April is the cruelest month

March 30, 2014

It’s going to be a little bit tight on cash flow in April.  Taxes have to be done unless you want to spend a bit of time in the “Grey bar Hotel”.  Actually sometime it doesn’t sound so bad,  three hots and a cot along with free cable/sat TV, health care and educational opportunities.

Anyway back to “casa de chaos”  I’m a little tight on money because of the last of the water bill ( via the break) and the green house I hope to purchase in April.  Overall I’m doing very good with my savings plan being nearly untouchable and the cash flow problems are all my own creation because of the items I hope to purchase in April.  The good thing is while prices may rise for basic items if we get through April we should be safe from any economic collapse until September at the earliest.  I’m not saying thing will be easy or cheap but a “massive loss of confidence in the dollar” should be a minimal risk.

I’m working on stocking up and I have well over a year’s worth of food for myself, but family or friends that might be useful and need a helping hand will deplete my pantry.  I’m not telling you to share what you have prepared, I’m disabled and will need some help to survive.  My survival plan is based on sustaining a community and not just myself or family.  This plan is what works for me and has no bearing on what works for you!  Just make an honest assessment of the people around you and prepare accordingly.  I think it was Will Rogers that said “I can’t tell you what gun to buy, as you know your neighbors better than I do”.  The same goes for food, water, shelter and basic sanitation.  Many of the sheep are in Denial but that does not make them evil.  It took a me a big personal  smack upside the head to get me to wake up!  Most people are not hurting yet because of the “Safety net”.  That “safety net” is to keep us lower classes satisfied and complacent. Not because the PTBs care about us, they simply want us docile while the get on with the “Agenda”.

I have planned on a 30% cost of living increase. Now it might be the PTBs stoking inflation or reducing the “so called entitlements” . But one way or the other my friends your paycheck just took a 30% hit at best.  Buying power is not about what you spend it’s about what you keep!  Jim Rogers is a PM guy and he figures a new currency backed buy gold would be doable if gold was $9,000.00 per oz.  Now this is based on some speculation that the IMF will create a new reserve currency called SDR’s or Special Drawing Rights based on gold or perhaps a basket of commodities.  Let’s say the US petrol-Dollar tanks and the world wants a new reserve currency that is based on some thing tangible/physical they can hold,  not based on faith and an IOU.  Now let’s suppose Jim Rogers numbers on the price of gold is plausible.  I’m guessing silver would move to the historic ratio of 15/1 or 15 oz. of silver would buy 1 oz. of gold rather than the 60/1  average.  Now figuring a historic 15/1 gold silver ratio, About 180 oz. of silver at $600.00 per oz.  would have a value around $108,000 dollars. You could buy that 180 oz. silver today for just over $4,100 dollars.

This is all hypothetical speculation on my part. All paper currencies die and all reserve currencies die eventually if  not backed by something physical and of value.  I would love to see silver under $10.00 per oz.  That means I can buy more of a metal that has intrinsic value and can store generational wealth.  You know us rednecks like shiny stuff! LOL

I don’t think PMs are a replacement for getting self-reliant. But I do think they have a place in your planning so you can keep pace with inflation or store value long term in deflation.


Catching up

March 29, 2014

It looks like this month’s big water bill payment is from when the water main was busted. My city sends out the water bill every two months so there is always some lag time between what I use and when a payment is made.  The timing sucks but these things happen when you are a home owner.  I can pay all the bills and stay “on target” buying the green house and the savings plan, though I will have to skip a few items on my stock up list for April.  One project for April is getting some chicken thighs canned up for storage.  Albertson’s has the thighs for 88 cents a pound so Mom and I will get about 15 pounds each and get it all canned for the pantry. Even with the cost of the jars and lids, it should be about $2.00 per pound of canned chicken and you can’t buy canned meat for that price.  We will do the canning at my house because Mom has a glass top stove that does not like canners.

Food costs are looking to go up a lot, so if you are less than happy with your pantry I would focus on stocking up if you are a bit weak in that area.  I’m in good shape overall but I don’t like how food prices are spiking this year.  Everything I have been reading and listening too seems to point to food prices getting even higher this summer. So getting your garden growing and buying/preserving  food while it is still low cost is a critical goal the next couple of months. It is a little early yet to plant most crops but I’m going to try a few party buckets growing potatoes in a couple of days. I have 3 types of potatoes, a purple viking, red pontiac and yukon gold to try out.

My Aunt is back from playing “snowbird” in AZ. and getting her green house going for plants. This year I get to pay her back for plants she gives us. She wants some DE and found out that used beer grains are great for her goats. I want my used beer grains to be of use and my aunt found a way to store them safely for feed. Once I get the info on using and storing the used grain for animal feed I’ll update the blog.  You got to be creative and willing to learn how to get the most use out of everything you do to to get self-reliant.  It is usually costs more in physical energy rather than money but I think it is worth it if you can do it.  Plus if I can get free or even cheap goat’s milk trading for used grains I just toss on the compost pile it will be a huge win for me!

I finally got a bit of sleep and suddenly I needed to clean and start getting stuff ready for Spring.  Did a bit rearranging of the furniture in the living room.  One thing nice about going to the Roku is my TV is no longer tethered by a cable of any sort so I can place it anywhere in the room. A bad thing is I have big furniture in a small living room, add in the Wood stove and it gets very full and the room is a bit odd with storage, doors and walkways are a challenge.  Anyway I washed down the blinds, changed from winter to summer curtains and even dusted/wiped down everything in the living room.  I am already a bit sore and the weather is damp so Sunday looks like it will have to be an easy/recovery day. Mentally I think I’m bouncing back and getting on top of things and hope to get a few little projects started or done.



I think my Dog is gluten intolerent

March 27, 2014

Diana has been eating the new dry dog food for a week and I am simply amazed in her transformation.  She is moving much better and has regained her “bounce” in both walking and running.  Her eyes seem brighter and she seems to be taking an interest in all kinds of things she just sort of blew off or ignored since she turned 10 years old about 18 months ago.  I just thought she acted this way because she is getting older and I know that aches and pains will make me move a little slower and more deliberately. I  think it was the wheat in the dry dog food and doggy treats that had a very negative impact on both of my dog’s health. When Tuffy started his seizures I did a little research and found that white flour had been removed from dog food because it could cause seizures or worse in Dogs.  I changed to a doggy treat that had beef as it’s main ingredient and it reduced though did not stop the seizures.

I had hoped the new dry dog food would help stop Tuffy’s seizures and get him back up and healthy, but he died before he had a chance to eat the new dog food.   I feel a little guilty that I did not try this new dog food sooner after seeing the transformation in Diana. As they say hindsight is 20/20 and if you have an older dog that is listless, acting all achy and  “stoved up” you might try a dog food with no wheat as an ingredient and a little higher protein content in the 20% range.  It would be a great legacy for Tuffy if other older dogs/owners can benefit from what I learned and they have more happy and healthy years together!  The dry dog food I’m using now is Diamond’s  Senior Formula, Chicken, egg and oatmeal.  I get it at D and B Supply my local farm store and the price is about the same as IAMS.  Quality food for your animals is a good investment in their overall health and will save you money on vet bills. We prep for ourselves and families and that means our critters need to have the basics just like the rest of the family!

There are a few items I think everyone should have on hand for a Doggy 1st aid kit. I have researched and used these items but if  you know I am wrong please comment and let me know why I’m wrong and a link/where to find the info so other people can make the best “kit” they can use for their pets.  The following is for a doggy 1st aid kit only! I don’t know enough about other pets to put out a list for them!

  1. Aspirin: I  buy the 81 mg tablets and crush them up in a little wet dog food or stick a tablet in a bit of soft food like a hot dog.  Dosage can be one tablet per 15 pound. Treats all inflammation, aches and pains and thins the blood. Just like us humans you don’t want to use aspirin on a dog with bleeding as the blood will resist clotting.
  2. Witch Hazel: For minor bleeding like clipping a nail to close or minor cuts. Apply a soaked Q-tip or bit of gauze should stop any minor bleeding.
  3. Benedryl or generic equivalent anti-histamine:   Yes, dogs can have allergies, rashes and this works great as a sleep aid or calming a nervous dog. The dosage I use is about a half a tablet per 20 pounds of dog.  Sometimes a dog needs is to sleep to “break the cycle” of fear and pain.
  4. Coughs: Many dogs will cough to dislodge something in mouth or throat.  So always give the mouth a good check before giving any medicine. If the cough is making the dog uncomfortable you can give a cough syrup without an “Expectorant”.
  5. Ears:  Many Dogs with floppy ears will often get yeast or bacterial infections that will make them shake their heads, scratching and be darn miserable.  Adding Yogurt to the diet often helps with yeast infections. I have had good luck using Zymox Ear Solution HC .05%.  Keeping the hair trimmed around the ears helps but if your dog’s ears have a bad odor get them to a “Vet” and have the them test for an infection.

While we can use a few “human remedies” on our pets doing basic care, you can’t beat having a good Vet that can help you care for your animals.  There is a good chance in a “disaster” that you will not be able to send a a pet to the groomer or the vet and you will be on your own to do what is best with what you have on hand.  For all the critters you have in your home or homestead you need to have the “basics” on hand for them as well as yourself.

Now I have to find someone that wants a couple of buckets worth of my old dog food as the pet shelters want all donations to be unopened food.  I can’t blame them as some people can be vile and would poison food for critters.


Spring is here Diana is shedding with a vengence

March 23, 2014

My peke Diana always gets a thick undercoat during winter and when she sheds it isn’t a few hairs but big tuffs of the undercoat. I have been getting her brushed out and so far I have combed out 2 shopping bags worth of hair. I am amazed every spring by how much hair I can comb out of such a little dog. She is doing a new thing with the dry dog food since I changed over to a new brand I mixed a little bit of the old dry dog food with the new stuff so the pups would not get a big shock or have tummy troubles with the new food.  Diana is now picking out the old dog food and setting it on the floor and just eating the new food in her bowl. I think she really likes the new dog food. It also looks like Diana is moving better since I started the new dry dog food.  It’s a senior dog formula with some glucosimine and chondrotin for inflammation and a little higher protein at just over 20% and no wheat grains!  I won’t blame Tuffy’s death on the dog food. I wish I had got this senior formula started earlier and got him off any food with wheat as an ingredient.

I am using some Zymox on Diana’s ears as she has always had a bit of a problem with her ears like a lot of floppy eared dogs . I just recently found the Zymox at my local farm store and though it is a bit expensive it is doing the job on clearing up her ears.  She would often get bad smelling ears and get very dirty looking but that is clearing up and she isn’t shaking her head as much as a few days ago. At $17.00 per small bottle it will take some time but I think it is a good addition to the animal medicine kit.

I sent out some emails on a couple of dogs available for adoption at some private shelters but I haven’t heard anything back yet. I think I’ll do another walk through of the county shelter on Monday as they had a couple of dogs that might work out.  I can get a 10% discount on adoption fees as an army vet. so that will help on the cost.

I got another high water bill though I don’t know if  the reading is part of the water usage before  I got the water main fixed or if there is a leak in the repairs. It’s only ? a couple of hundred dollars instead $600+  but I’m not happy and it really sucks to get this bill now as I’m already bummed out losing Tuffy. What’s worse is I have no control as Dad hired the plumbers and I don’t have receipt or contract for work done, Hell I don’t even know the name of the plumbers that did the work because Dad just ignored me and said he would handle it.  Never again!  I love my Dad but when it comes to money he’s about as sharp as a bag of wet mice.

I knew 2014 would be a bit of work and cost some money catching up on repairs that I had put off to get a little more prepared but this has been a bit more than I had anticipated in any of my scenarios and plans.  I can handle the cash costs with a bit of work and changing priorities, but losing Tuffy is hard.  I’m okay mentally and financially so don’t worry folks. It sucks and it means a bit more work but losing a pet to old age/genetic problems is not the worst that can happen.


So far 2014 is playing out like a crappy Country song

March 20, 2014

I can’t say I like how 2014 has been going so far.  I did have a a pretty good 2013 overall in getting things done so I suppose it is normal to have a few bad breaks come my way.  I sort of suspected it was going to be a quick slide down when Tuffy started having his siezures though I wanted to believe he could live forever. In a way he was such a happy and physical little fur ball it’s sort of bittersweet his passing, as I know he would not have been happy being slowed down a lot by disabilities.  We had 12 years together and he was my little tan shadow through some tough times for me mentally after leaving the Army and my disability. Diana my other peke has been sort of looking for Tuffy but she seems to be doing okay overall and I still have Smokey the cat  so I’m not alone but I miss him a lot.

While no dog could replace Tuffy I am looking for one to add to my litlle pack  and give Diana someone to sort of boss around. I’d also want a dog that is a bit more intimidating looking than Hostess Snowball.  Pekes can be fearless,  but they are not the most physically intimidating dogs. Saw a few rescue dogs that might be a good fit and I’m sure the right one will show up with a bit of patience. I have plenty of good food, some basic first aid as well as a fenced backyard and plenty of time for a dog as I’m gone from the house only a couple of hours a day at most.  My biggest problem is I can’t do walks with a med.-large energetic dog.  Though my adult trike might work with a bit of training for both me and the dog. LOL

It might seem a little bit strange talking of getting a new dog so soon but I’m a firm believer in maintaining the pack and while I can never replace Tuffy, that spot that misses him can be filled by a new dog whith it’s own personality and charm.  No, I don’t think of it is is disloyal nor do I need to dress in sack cloth and ashes to prove how much I loved Tuffy. He was a great dog and I hope some day to be as good a person as he seemed to think I was to him.Sunplus

Tuffy is the Blonde and Diana is the black and white peke. Good bye my little friend until we meet again!

Updates on Tuffy, the ham radio, other odds and ends Update!

March 19, 2014

He’s not 100% yet but I haven’t seen him cough so far today. His cough would sometimes start when he got a little excited before breakfast or when I came home from my walk but so far so good.  Tuffy has had a tough few days and he is a little worn out from this cold.  I think he is starting to feel a little better  but I will keep working on things that I hope will make him feel better and make life more enjoyable or at least comfortable. Tuffy is off his feed a bit, usually he inhales every bit of food he can find. I found a dry dog food that does not have any wheat in it and is for older dogs I’m hoping that it will help with his occasional seizures as well as his aches and pains.  Diana my other peke really likes the new food and Tuffy even had a bite of two of it. Diana is a CKC dog from a different breeder and she has not had nearly the health problems Tuffy has had though she is only 6 months younger than Tuffy.

Went to the Ham radio club meeting and I am starting to catch on to the jargon. The club members are taking a little extra time to explain stuff to Mom and I as we are newbies. The Club is having a software day where they work on stuff PC related and going digital and one of the guys will bring his Laptop with the Chirp software and give me a block of instruction on how to use it.  There are a couple of setting I’m not sure of but having someone walk me through the setup will be a lot of help. I got to ask a few questions and made sure it was not my radio causing any interference on the net calls.

Still no luck on the green house arriving at the local farm store. Though Mom wants to get some of the cool weather plants and split a few flats on the ones we can plant now.  I think I’m just a little impatient to get something growing in the garden.  Got a good buy on some chicken at Albertsons for 97 cents a pound. I think I have the freezer well stocked for the year on meats though I’m still hoping for a sale to get my turkeys and Rib eye roasts in a couple of months.

The cash savings plan is going very well and I’m getting some extra payments done on my debt.  Hopefully I won’t get any big surprises for the next couple of months and I can up the cash amount on the debts and keep building the emergency fund.

I don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling for this year but if things get nasty, I’m fairly confident in what I have done so far to get ready. If March and April pass without any big glitches we should have the summer off for worrying about any economic collapse stuff. I don’t know why but most crashes tend to happen in the spring and fall in the USA.  As the saying goes “Sell in May and go away”.

Update: Sad news Tuffy died during the night. He had a good life and I think he was comfortable at the end. I’m going to miss the little guy.

Playing doggie doctor and radio stuff.

March 17, 2014

Tuffy the peke is not having a good start to 2014 either. He’s 12 years old and because he is the son of a former puppy mill dog he has quite a few of the genetic problems common to Pekes and they all seem to be catching up to him now.  He developed a bit of a cough and while not that uncommon one of his litter mates also has the collapsing trachea thing common to pekes, so that could be developing. I found a cough tablet at the dollar store that seems to be helping a lot even though it’s just the first day using it. From my research it is safe to use a human cough remedy if it isn’t an expectorant.  I’ll be changing the dog food to a meat base rather than grain base like so many are today. I ran out of the meat based doggie treats and gave the old biscuit type and it effected Tuffy badly so the local pound will get the old dry dog food  and doggie biscuits once I get the new food this week.

It might sound a little heartless but I can’t afford to pay huge vet bills on 12 year old dog with genetic problems. I am keeping Tuffy comfortable and happy as well as learning to treat minor stuff on dogs.  I have high hopes that going to a meat based dry dog food will help with his occasional seizures. About the only treatment for the seizures is drugging the dog with medicines like Phenobarbital and having my dog drugged out of his mind doesn’t seem like much of a life. There is some buzz about adding yogurt/probiotics to your dog food that seems to help with inflammation in the body as well as some yeast infections of the ear in the floppy ear type dogs.  While most of us can’t become vets we can have a few medications on hand to treat our furry friends on some minor things so you need to build a good animal 1st aid kit and prepare for your animals just like you do yourself and the rest of the family.

I finally got to do a little programming of the Baofeng radios using the Chirp software. I went to the homepage of the Chirp software and covers a lot of different radios besides the Baofeng. I like the using the software to program a bunch of channels at once. I  made sort of a starting channel package that covers two VHF Coast Guard channels, a NOAA weather channel, two each of the FRS and GRMS , along with the local Ham radio club frequencies. Programing a couple of freqs in the Baofeng isn’t to difficult but it does get a bit tedious after that and the software makes it super easy to setup a basic channel package for multiple radios so everyone has the same basic starting point. I left a few “channels” free for adding things like a repeater or different frequencies to be added manually.

I updated the Chirp software as it could not “see” the Baofeng 888 series I bought and I’ll try and program that radio in the next couple of days. The Chirp software is simple to use with the Baofeng 5 series and Windows XP. My impressions so far on the using the Baofeng radios is get the3 or 5 series to start and have the option of manually programming freqs.  Buy the USB cable and download the Chirp software especially if you are getting multiple radios for family or to set up a neighborhood communications network. You can punch all the numbers in by hand but the cost of the cable is about $8.00 and after you do one radio you will want to have that cable and software to simple upload the radios in a few seconds rather than scroll through all the radio options manually.  Plus Ham radios are finally getting some love in prepping/survival sites so if you have a new  person move in with a Ham radio with the Chirp software you could program their radio in less than 30 seconds that gives them all the local stuff.

Mama Nature/God giving us a heads up to get ready?

March 15, 2014

Many of us have asked the question “What does it take to wake people up?”  I took a pretty big smack upside the head to wake up to how unprepared I was for just about anything. My 100% disability and having very little money coming in for over 9 months and no food in the house when I came home from the ECU(Extended Care Unit)  made me “wake up”.  While that was my own personal disaster, we have seen all kinds of snow storms, a market crash, droughts and a recession that is still ongoing after nearly 7 years. I don’t believe the government numbers we are in a “recovery”.  I think things are slowly getting worse and the PTBs seem to want a war to distract the people from the economy and their incompetence.

There has not been anywhere in the USA that has not been hit with a disaster of some sort. I started checking my basic preps every time I heard of a storm coming and I have never gone so long that all the batteries died in my flashlights/radios without me replacing them before they ran out of energy.  My little no tap water disaster went darn well overall as I had prepared for it based on other people’s water disaster from flooding to frozen pipes.  I’m not trying to minimize the economic damage or loss of life but if you are prepared you should have been able to mitigate some of effects.

This is why I think that Mama nature/God has been giving us these test so we can prepare ourselves and learn from others.   I have learned so much from other people’s storm stories that I have become even better prepared because of what they did that worked or did not work.  Lately most of the stories have been about staying warm, how to get through a power outage or no tapwater because of freezing pipes. With spring comes flooding and around here some pretty brisk winds that can cause power to go out via falling limbs and trees. Then Summer and trying to stay cool and hydrated in the heat along with keeping the garden watered in drought conditions, for some it’s wildfires or Hurricane season.  Fall seems to be fairly quiet for storms in this area. It’s very busy though getting everything ready for winter.  Now that’s just basic weather disaster type stuff even if you don’t believe there will be an “economic collapse” like I do there are plenty of reason to prepare based on just a normal year.  The thing is that your preparations for a normal weather disaster works great for bigger “widespread” disasters since us humans still need the basics everyday to live no matter what happens.

I’m not a parent but following Greece’s economic collapse parents gave up their children because they could no longer feed them. I can’t even imagine how that feels though it would bother me if that happened to one of my nieces or nephews and I don’t even like children! Greeks are having a hard time just buying aspirin, not some rare chemo treatment but a few tablets of aspirin and we can get 100+ tablets for a dollar. Greeks had socialized medicine and aspirin was always cheap or free so few people stocked up or valued it.  The economic disaster is just as real and causes suffering just as real as a natural disaster but it is slower and not sexy enough for charities to get attention or donations.

Perhaps it it is normalcy bias and we always tend to think the bad things will happen to someone else, but we all are someone else.  The USA is not” special” and the idea it can’t happen here is ridiculous because it has happened here!  Get the basics, the generator that keeps the lights on in winter perhaps keep a small Air conditioner and fans going in summer. Buy food when it is season in the summer and you can reduce you food bill in winter when heating costs are higher!  But if you feel that life has been particularly unfair to you please let me know and I shall take it up with  management of Life and the Universe. Please include all legal documentation and contracts that guarantee fairness to anyone or you specifically!

Back to work in the yard.

March 13, 2014

Had a couple of sunny days that dried out the yard and today was in the high 50’s so I was able to get some yard work done. Mom gave me two shopping bags full of lavender plants and a bag of mums that she thinned out from her yard. So I had a good motivator to get to work.  I think I found a good spot for the new plants by the patio. I have a rose bush that grows very well there so I trimmed back the rose bush and made a couple of new planting beds for the lavender and mums. My soil has a lot of clay but where I made the new lavender bed was a little rocky and I think that the new plants should do pretty good in that area. The mums I planted on the other side of the rose bush next to the BBQ grill. I did not know mums are a insect deterrent so I figure next to the grill and patio is a perfect spot and it is well away from my garden beds. Repelling mosquitoes is a good thing, repelling bees is bad! I added a few plants called Persian Buttercups but they look nothing like a buttercup. They sort of look like a rose in the outside petals but with a dark green center. I think they are a striking looking  plant and I hope the do well in that spot.

While I had the rototiller out for getting the plant beds done I got the raised beds turned over. I still need to rake and cleanup a little bit but it is amazing how black and rich the soil looks in the raised beds this year. I added a bit of old straw and rabbit manure last year then left a thin layer of leaves on top over the winter and I have high hopes for the garden this year.  I used the rototiller to break up the dirt that has humped up and settled from the water main.  Didn’t get out to the RV parking area but I got most of the work  done in the back yard. I never really appreciated how much clay is in the soil here until this year.  Improving the soil of the entire back yard is going to take some time but I’m tired of dumping all kinds of junk on the lawn just trying to make it look good. It will take some extra physical work but work, but in time it should payoff with nice healthy growth for all plants. I’m rethinking my compost area and building it up with scrounged pallets. I have a couple of places that will let me have them for free and it should not be to hard to build with a little bit of hardware.

I added a bunch of straw to the dirt for the tater bucket and filled a rolling 30 gallon trash can about a third full with the excess soil from the water main job. I’ll use this dirt to top off the potatoes as they grow. I have not had much luck growing potatoes in ground so it will be interesting how well the party bucket does and how much yield I get in taters.  I cleared a rain barrel area of grape vines and filled a big garbage bin full of cuttings. I still have one really bad spot to clean up on one of my Cherry trees that the grape vines are climbing like mad.  I have few canes that are so thick that I will have to use the saw on them to get them cut. My little battery power saw keeps throwing the chain so I need to read the instructions again and see if I missed a step putting it together. The corded electric chains saw is still working great and I did a little trimming with it instead.

I did much better than usual getting all my tools out and doing stuff the easy way with power. It was a tiring day and I know I’m going to pay for it, but it felt good to play in the dirt and get stuff done. The weather forecast has a some rain and perhaps a thunderstorm on Friday but I can brush out the dogs and take it somewhat easy physically before doing more work this weekend.

Playing with chainsaws and more

March 12, 2014

Springtime in Idaho can be a bit breezy at times. While nothing like the wind in the plains states, branches and limbs will fall and need to be dealt with. Now that I have the wood stove I want to use that wood once it is dry enough to burn so that means I need to cut it down to fit in the stove. If you have fruit trees they will need some pruning back to stay healthy as well. I really like Bow saws if you are using muscle power, they work quickly and they tend to be inexpensive to buy. Adding all sorts of back up blades tends to be cheap. But since I’m disabled I have added a small battery power 18 volt Black & Decker chainsaw. Tried out the new chainsaw on a green limb and it went through three cuts in a couple of minutes that would have taken about 20-30 minutes of physical work with the bow saw.  I’m still learning the technique of how to use a chainsaw but they no longer intimidate me and they save me a lot of physical energy.

I’m going to electric power for most of my tools because electric power is fairly cheap here in Idaho and I’m work on a solar generator that should help provide my own power. One of the big energy weaknesses of Idaho is expensive petroleum products. I figure that if rationing happens  industry and agriculture will get first dibs on any petroleum products. They same thing could happen with electricity but at least with the my solar panels I can generate some electricity on my own. Start off small and then add to your system as you gain more knowledge and going solar does not have to be huge expense at one time.

Mom want’s to take her Ham radio test in April rather than this weekend. While she is doing good with her studies I think she is smart to build her knowledge and confidence. While the test costs under $15.00 there is no reason to waste money unless you feel you can pass the test. I feel confident I could pass the test this weekend but I don’t mind having a little more time to get proficient using the radios even if it’s just programming and listening to others. The study guide and test is very bare bones, just to get you started with Ham radio.  To really know your stuff and be a good operator you will need to learn more. I am interested on how they use the PC and transmitting digital data via wifi and mesh networks. Of course most folks are not quite as geeky as I am so that may not interest them, but I think it would be cool to set up a wifi network that reaches for miles rather than just a 100 yards. I think that would be a great neighborhood/community communication system and nearly independent of the PTBs.  The internet protocols were designed not to be disrupted by little glitches like nuclear war so an Internet kill switch that the PTBs now want is not very easy to implement.  The PTBs might be able to kill the internet but only at the cost of cutting themselves off at the same time.  It’s thoughts like these that kept me from going to “good schools” besides them being a ripoff.