June 16, 2014
So far not many items as I’m waiting for a couple of ads that come out late Tuesday or on Wednesday. Cash & Carry has the 40 pound bag of Mesquite chunk charcoal for $11.49. I like the flavor of Mesquite and it seems easy to maintain a constant temp. with this charcoal. I have used this charcoal cooking a 10-13 pound turkey and maintaining 300-325 degrees is very doable even if it is about 30-40 degrees F. in November. If you plan on using a BBQ as your a backup cooker this is a great buy. I’d also recommend getting a “chimney starter” for $10.00-$15.00 rather than stocking up on lighter fluid. It will quickly pay for itself and you can even cook on it if you need to. Cash & Carry has a 50 pound bag of rice for $18.99 I want to add a couple of bags to to my rice barrel. I need to top off all the barrels but it’s not going to take much longer before they are all done. After this addition I only need about 50 pounds for two of the barrels and 2-3 bags for the rice barrel. That will finish up the long term storage of bulk foods.
Fred Meyers has a pack of three 16.4 oz. bottles of propane for $8.99. This a good price and if you have propane lanterns or stoves that are for camping or backups for lighting and heating build you fuel stock up now while it is still fairly cheap. You might have read stories about this last winter and propane shortages in areas of the USA and how the price skyrocketed. This is the year the EPA starts shutting down coal plants and with the “polar vortex” of last winter using the older plants just barely kept up with all the home heating needed. This winter looks like it won’t keep pace, heating prices will go up a lot or both. If you don’t have a backup heat plan I would recommend getting a Mr. Buddy type heater if you can’t afford a wood stove or wood for that matter. These are fairly safe and do a very good job putting out heat. I’d get one with the fan if you can afford the extra cost. I did a couple of tests of the Mr. Buddy heaters and I was impressed how well they could heat an area especially when used with a fan. I used a 12 volt fan with one of those power pack used to jump batteries. One of the small one pound propane bottles would last 4-6 hours depending on temp. settings and how cold it was outside. A 20 pound tank lasted about 5 days but I always turned it off at night when sleeping.
Speaking of energy and fuel if your backup gas cans need topped off this would be a good week to get that done. With all that is happening in the Middle East you might want to start just driving on the top 1/4 or 1/2 of your tank so you always have some fuel in your vehicle. If you haven’t already started filling up that way. It’s also a great time to rotate your fuel and get some fresh gasoline, Don’t forget the Sta-bil or other additive to keep it fresh. If you used a generator during the winter don’t forget to do your basic maint. so it will be ready to go and do your tests if you haven’t done one this year.
Odds & ends: Mom gave me a bunch of lawn clippings for the compost pile. Got a couple of little blossoms on the watermelon and cantaloupe plants. The celery seems to be hitting it’s growth spurt now but it seemed that it would never get past the stage of looking like pale parsley. I have some little buds on the pepper plants and the tomatoes are at the height to get cages. The Arkansas Traveler tomato Mom gave me is beginning to look like it might be the lone survivor from Mom seed starts. This tomato is in the new raised bed and I think I did a good job on getting the soil just right. The potatoes are growing like crazy in the buckets. I think where I tried to grow them before got to much sun and heat and I started them late. I did a much better job on starting them early and the buckets are under a cherry tree and don’t get a full days sun.
I got the Amber lager started and it looks really good so far. I was very anal retentive about the sanitation after the scare with the black ale! I think I’m sort of getting on top of having different brews available at all times. I have to say so far beer has made a wonderful barter item trading for both work and stuff.
June 15, 2014
I’m not posting much on what I consider the out right stupidity of the PTBs nor getting all doomy and gloomy. It really does not do a lot of good to convince the people who don’t or won’t prepare to change. I mean just look at your basic bills you have to pay to live, from food and energy to your shelter and health care all of those are going up rather dramatically. Yet the Fed and the government claim inflation is low because how the adjust “inflation”. If having to much month left at the end of your money won’t convince you, I doubt anything I can write in this little blog will help you. If you want to become prepared you must do the work and find what works best for you! It is pretty simple to start preparing and getting self-reliant but that does not make it easy. Most common disasters are not huge and are very personal. Getting sick and can’t work, a home fire and things of that sort will always come up and bite you on the butt! It’s pretty dang hard to live in perpetual fear and for myself I sort have moved away from the Doom & Gloom and moved to a more pro-active and taking positive actions in I’m doing to prepare and become self-reliant.
I did a lot of preaching on this blog in the early days and spend a few days absolutely terrified that things would go downhill fast and so many were not prepared for it. I will warn people that I think there is something specific you should focus on but explaining the Global cabal of elites and the neofuedualism is something you can look up and learn. Sometimes it is intuition and sometimes it is hard data but I tell you what I am doing and you can set your own priorities. It might sound a little odd but I’m enjoy becoming self reliant. I’m in a very happy place mentally and financially though it’s not perfect and I still have many goals to get done.
I got the chair from neighbor A and I love it! It is one of the most comfy chairs I have ever sat in. I had Smokey the cat give it a good look over in case any rodents had decided to setup housekeeping and then vacuumed it. It’s not perfect as the fabric is a bit worn is some areas but I love sitting it. Of course I had to get the living room arranged to some how fit this chair and not the easiest thing to do with my over-sized furniture plus the wood stove all sharing the space in a small living room. I should get furniture that fits better in the room but I never saw anything I liked better than the stuff I have already. With new chair I have an idea moving back to the 1930’s-1940’s look and sort of restore the house to something similar to when it was built. Of course that means antiques but I can get a piece at a time and not pay a lot up front.
I finished getting the kitchen arranged as well as ready for moving in a new dishwasher and the fridge back to the original spot. Of course it will be awhile before I can afford the new dishwasher but I like the new setup and so far it is working out. Once the fridge is back where it belongs I can add some cabinets and works space along the opposite wall without overcrowding the kitchen. It sort of hard to explain but the kitchen not only works better because of the work flow but it just feels better to be in and putter around. It might be that I can see the potential instead of it’s limitations.
I found out it was Dad that found the RV vent at a yard sale and dropped it off. He is coming over to cut down a couple of volunteer trees and some of the mill ends while it is cool. I have to say his chop saw makes very fast work of getting the mill ends down to a size for my wood stove. I moved a work table out to the mill-end pile so he doesn’t have to grab my glass bistro table to work on. I’m probably worried about nothing but all I see is the glass shattering under that sort of work. I took over 2 of the “cracked” glass globe solar lamps for Father’s Day to replace the the one that got stolen last year. He put them in the backyard so hopefully they won’t disappear this time. These lamps are made with real glass and are heavy for their size so I have high hopes they will last a long time. I know I whine sometimes about Dad but he really is the best!
June 14, 2014
One thing about not having an exhaust fan for so long, is grease settles everywhere in the kitchen. Add in pet hair and just ordinary dust and everything gets really grimy if you don’t stay on top of it. Needless to say I did not make cleaning every surface in the kitchen a priority. So while I am working on rearranging stuff I’m doing some clean up of all the places that I had been ignoring. The “magic eraser” sponges are great and work especially well on texture surfaces like my refrigerator. I use a orange spray cleaner made by First Street I get at Cash & Carry that works on both the bathroom and the kitchen. I have to say the outside of the fridge looks nearly brand new since it’s cleaning. I also scrubbed the floor and moved a breakfast bar into the kitchen and moved the other table into the “hobby room”. The breakfast bar is just a bit to tall to use when using the grain crusher and I get back a bit more floor space in the kitchen with the breakfast bar. I’m washing down the walls as I work around the kitchen so by the end of the day all surfaces should be clean.
This is kind of a crazy house and I think it had a more open floor plan originally. It’s got some crazy storage areas and seems very compartmentalized compared to the houses in the neighborhood built about the same time. So I think there was some remodeling work done that was off the books so to speak, or done with leftovers from other re-modeling jobs. I can make a few minor repairs, but I know enough to know I don’t know enough, to tackle any big jobs. I have been getting tools and trying to educate myself to know when someone is just blowing smoke or knows what they are doing. I think Dad was a little surprised that I had all the tools setup, lines marked out and ready to go to hang the microwave under the cabinet properly. I don’t mind paying pro’s to do the job if it is done right. With that said it takes longer to get some jobs done because I have to save up the money to pay cash or take out a small loan like I did with the wood stove. My goal is to fix up the house but to make sure it is done right and will work for me if my health gets worse as I get older. One thing I do love about the house is other than the basement it is all one level with only a couple of steps needed to get in the house. I’m so glad I did not buy the split level I was looking at the same time as this one! Get me one of those electric chairs and a couple of ATV ramps and I will be good to go! Heck it’s all concrete even to the wood pile.
No, I’m not hoping to become more disabled just that it is a possibility with the disease and I want to have things in place just in case it happens. I want to be as independent and self-reliant as possible whatever happens!
June 13, 2014
One of the worse things about this CIDP has been gaining weight. Between the steroids and not being able to work out due to weakness along with my age it has been tough to lose weight. Some good news is I got out the summer clothes and last year’s shorts not only fit but are a little loose. It is probably just a couple of inches but it a nice surprise. I don’t measure my weight in pounds but by how my clothes fit and with these new vitamins/minerals I can work longer and recover more quickly. I think that is what is burning off some of the fat. Plus I have add a few more garden beds, rebuilding the lawn and using the wood stove which are more physical jobs compared to the previous years. I am also eating more “real food” from the pantry made from scratch, rather than the processed “easy to cook” food. It is slow so far, but better to lose it slow and have your body adjust rather than a starvation diet, loosing weight fast and then put it right back on.
Very cool today and we have several days coming up that will be in the 70’s so it is a great time to get stuff done both in the yard as well as cooking inside. I love the new microwave and having the exhaust fan and lighting directly over the stove. I didn’t realize how much I missed going without those items until I got them back. Once I can afford the new dishwasher I’ll probably do a major happy dance. More than anything I love getting usable counter space back that I can use for cooking space and not just to hold gadgets. I’m still sort of playing with the setup to make everything work which I will probably change again once I get the dishwasher but that is a problem I don’t mind having on my to do list.
My black ale did not turn out as well as I had hoped though the German wheat turned out better than average. I’m not sure if I had a contamination issue with the black ale but good beer usually has an earthy smell and this time the black ale had a very sharp smell. I saved the beer and it tastes okay but not one of my best efforts. I have been lucky so far and have not made an undrinkable beer that I needed throw away. I think I got a little cocky and was not as careful following all the steps needed to make good beer. While it is cool I’m going to start an Amber Lager and bake some bread to freeze. I have few other jobs I want to get done or a at least started before it gets hot again. Looks like a busy 4-5 days!
June 11, 2014
I have the salve recipe up as it’s own page but I may change the title to a “natural healing or medicines you can make your self”. There is so much that an average person can do to stay healthy as well as assist the body to help cure itself that a natural healing page is needed on this blog. With Obamacare just starting to kick in and rising costs of everything, being able to treat minor or even some major issues yourself will become more important. With my CIDP the VA will prescribe some drugs that have some side effects or are narcotics that will lose effectiveness over time. By using my mineral/vitamin mix and adding in the pain relief salve I’m getting about the same amount of relief of my symptoms but without the nasty side effects. It’s not perfect but is doable plus I’m in control of what I use and what goes into my body. I should be able to afford the Counter top distiller next month and then I will be able to make my own essential oils from the plants that I grow in the garden. I’m still in the process of learning so do your own research and find what works best for you!
Dad came over today and got my microwave installed. While I like the convenience of the microwave, having an exhaust fan and some direct lighting over the stove is what I really wanted for the kitchen. Well all of that and counter space! I bought the house 10 years ago with these appliances and I think the appliances are much older maybe from to 90’s and possibly the late 80’s era. While some are still working I have had a couple of failures and I think it is better to anticipate and replace major appliances before they fail. The old semi built-in dishwasher failed but I I found a dishwasher only 18 inches wide that should be more than enough for me and I can put the fridge back and make it a true galley type kitchen and add a some counter space where the fridge is sitting now and all I need to do is remove one lower cupboard. Doing dishes is not my favorite job and I really hate cleaning beer bottles by hand so this dishwasher will be my next major purchase. Dad also helped me re-install my little window Air conditioner for the summer. The A/C unit isn’t all that heavy but it helps a lot to have an extra pair of hands when you are trying to hold open the window, screw in the holding supports as well as make sure the cracks between the window and A/C unit won’t let in bugs.
But Jamie, are you not anticipating a disaster, economic collapse, EMP/Cyber attack that will render all electrical appliances to very heavy paperweights? Well I suppose you could say I hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. I don’t need to practice at being miserable and having these gadgets does make life easier for me with my disability. I hope I am wrong and there will not be a huge disaster or economic collapse, WWIII or some other big event. Until or if those things happen I still have to live everyday and I see no reason not to make life as easy as possible. I’m not sure why people think that if you prepare you must want a collapse/disaster to happen. I don’t buy car insurance in hopes that I get in a car wreck! But I know statistically speaking that car wrecks happen to lots of people. It’s the same for preparing and becoming self-reliant because if nothing bad happens you are still ahead.
June 10, 2014
I need to weed the garden and I hate weeding so I stacked some wood in place of weeding today. While the new minerals and pain relief salve has helped me get a lot accomplished I do feel like I need to take it easy and recover a bit physically. I’m back to using the 5-15 minute rule of doing a task to get myself working on a task and though I didn’t time it, but I got a good bit of wood stacked after the hardest step of just starting! So far on the pain relief salve, it seems that the coconut oil based is absorbed into the skin a bit faster than the grape seed oil based. My Mom has Fybro but is also looking at some more work on her knee replacement and this salve has helped her pain a lot. So far this salve seems to work on general aches and pains across many age groups and types of pain. Mom gave me a large jar of coconut oil to sort of payback for the salve and the gas to go to Murphy outpost days. I hope to get some more of the beeswax from a local beekeeper and clean it up to use on some more salves as well as making some beeswax candles in July for our next skill building project. Mom wants to see me make the salve perhaps we can watch the soap making you tube and kill 2 birds with one stone. Making the salve is easy and cleaning the beeswax is easy but it does take some time and adding a bit of equipment. As Alton Brown says said “it’s easy, I didn’t say it was fast!”
I stopped by neighbor A and asked about some cabinets they had in the garage and if they were going to trash them or use them. Well they will be using the cabinets but the have a neat looking winged back chair that they said I can have for the help and beer I have given them! Someone dropped off a vent protector for the RV but no one has claimed responsibility so I can thank them. It’s amazing how generous people can be helping me out and want to help others if you show you are doing the best you can and are willing to help them. Sometimes it can be as simple as keeping an eye on the place while they are away. I think many people are willing to give but they are not so willing when someone has an entitlement mentality and some how they are owed because you have more than they do. A couple of things really piss me off is people seem to think they don’t have to help themselves because they are poor/on SS or won’t change how they spend money because they are poor and deserve not only pity but a portion of your paycheck and if you don’t give it to them then you are the hater!
I look at actions and not talk in people. My biggest question is what have you done to help yourself? I understand that many things take time and practice to learn. Heck I’m the poster child for screwing up but not giving up. But if you don’t value yourself enough to try and risk failure, why should anyone else invest time, money or energy to help you? Stop saying “I can’t” and looking for excuses when what you really mean is “I won’t…” There is nothing wrong with being poor, but it’s no great honor either!
June 9, 2014
The neighbors and I were chit chatting and they had a power washer so they recommended that I power wash my place while they had it on loan. I can’t believe it, I can see out my windows again! Much less tedious work cleaning the screens in place rather than taking them all down to wash. I need to re-paint and caulk a few places but the house does look clean. I wish I could afford to re-side the house and replace all the wood with metal or that concrete siding but that is just not in the budget this year.
Any way the neighbors have a stock tank they use as a pool but it is just a bit to cool even with the the summer temps so far. I think digging under concrete slab to make a fire pit/ Roman Hypocaust is a “neat” idea historically/theoretically speaking but probably not that practical. Then I remembered I have the propane camp shower and my little wood camp stove and they might work to heat the water a few degrees with a couple of modifications. I’m not used to taking all of the gadgets I have bought into consideration when problem solving. I would be doing something helpful plus get an idea about how much water could be heated and pumped especially with the Zodi propane camp shower. I think with the addition of metal/copper pipe the little wood camp stove could also heat and move water by convection. My “out of the box” thinking sometimes takes a bit of time to kick in when working with new gadgets.
Talked to neighbor S. about the kiddie pool and the family is still using it plus now S. wants to do a kiddie pool garden bed after seeing mine. No worries as the hops on her place are growing like mad and she offered me unlimited access to the hops plants. I suppose it is the way things can go sometimes, I’m trying to grow hops without much luck so far and S. wants to stop all the hops growth or see it put to use. Working on building the “community” has really paid off this year for me. I don’t want to be the Gladys Kravitz of the neighborhood but only want to help but it is a balancing act of respecting people’s privacy and trying to help out especially if they don’t want your help! The road to hell is paved with good “intentions”. The government in my life has helped quite enough and I often wish the PTBs would just leave me alone!
For a women without kids I do tend to be a “mother hen”. While not the same I do think it is somewhat similar to what parent’s go through with adult children and it’s tough to accept some people don’t want your “help”. I hope I’m getting better at not giving help when it is not wanted. But I’m not sure I’m succeeding at that task.
June 8, 2014
Feeling a little lazy on Saturday but I still got a few things accomplished. The compost pile got turned over but I still need to add more green to make up for a lot of brown I had from the old bin. I have an area along the south side of the house that has lots of green I need to get to work on for next years raised beds. I can kill two bird with one stone by cleaning up and laying down the new beds and fill them with some of the working compost to start building the soil. The neighbor finished up his fence so I have the corner pieces for the 2 foot x 4 foot beds. I took over some lettuce as my basil isn’t quite ready to harvest yet but I did promise to bring over the basil when it is ready. I finished up dethatching 1/2 of the front yard and added a bit more lawn food. I’m very pleased with the progress I have made on the garden and front yard so far this spring/summer.
A few things that I have started doing for the CIDP is the pain releif salve and taking some more minerals/supplements that seem to help with both pain management and recovery after very physical work (for me at least). My sister tried out the salve I made with grapeseed oil and I upped the drops of Eucalyptus and Camphor 3 drops each along with upping the beeswax to 1.5 oz. My sister has Fybro and got smashed up in a car wreck that almost crushed her hips and legs. I gave a bit of the grapseed salve to the neighbors to try out, while they don’t have any chronic issues with pain they are both young and very active. This gives me an idea about how effective the salve is for all sorts of pains and aches. Both of the neighbors tried the salve right away and enjoyed the smell, so while the smell isn’t over powering there might be a sort of subtle aromatherapy aspect to the salve I did not consider when I made it. I’m thinking about how to add more alternatives and natural remedies in my quest for self-reliance. Modern medicine is fine and there has been huge advances but I think there is a place for learning to do what you can for yourself and not assume getting a pill for every little thing will make you all better! Plus I have always had a bit of “mad scientist” thing that likes to do new things with chemistry/mama nature and understanding how and why things work and how to use it to my advantage.
Had a good time at the Murphy Outpost Days with Mom and the neighbors. Finally hooked up with the folks that do the Mountain man Rendevous and while I’m not sure I can make it this month I have the website. I love learning new/old skills plus I’m such a history buff that you get a great insight on the people of that age by how they did just normal day to day activities. It is facinating the things people did and how little things made their lives easier with some clever contraptions and work arounds.
June 6, 2014
I went ahead and used the Kiddie pool in the backyard as the start of my “medicinal garden”. I drilled a few large holes for drainage and added a car tire in the middle to take up a little space as well as isolate some lavender I got today. I think the kiddie pool looks kind of cute as a raised bed and not “white trashy” at all. The round shape seems to soften all of the square raised beds so I think I will add another kiddie pool when I find one on sale. The kiddie pool is mostly for the mints that tend to spread like crazy if not contained. I added a small chamomile plant in the pool with the mint and some seeds for Feverfew to see if that will grow. I know I said I wouldn’t add anymore beds, I Lied as I see so much I want to add to get more into herbal medicines as well as take advantage of all the benefits different type gardens have to offer. I found more Nastirtiums for the front edible beds and it looks like the red russian kale prefers the sunny bed rather than the shaded side. I have a few older seed packets to use up so I added some marigolds, zinnias, Lemon balm along with planting some radishes and carrots in the shady bed. I know it is a little late in the year to start some things from seed but I think if the seeds are good I will get at least one harvest of the root veggies.
Did some garden maintenece on the front beds while I was planting. Add a bit of strawdust around all of the plants to help add organic matter as well as retain moisture. The weeds are not too bad considering how much empty space is available for them. I’m slowly filling in the empty spaces going for one of those intensive gradens where the plants I want, sort of choke out the weeds. Early days yet on this idea but I can see the potential of how the front beds can be good producers of edibles and look colorful and inviting. I did a bit of work on the front lawn and it needs it badly. I got about 1/3rd de-thathed and added some lawn food that is pet/human safe. I need to aerate the soil and I hope that in building up the soil in the plant beds will help attract good insects to migrate to the lawn and help work the soil. It might be wishful thinking but it seems I am starting to make some real progress.
One reason I worked in the front yard is I really did not want to stack wood today. Dad says this was the last load of the elm, so next week I can get to work finishing up the stacks. Just looking at what Dad tossed into the wood area I have at least 5 cords of wood and I think I’m low-balling the estimate. Still that will be more than enough wood for this winter. Elm get sort of a bad rap for firewood becuase it has a tangled grain and is brutal to cut and split but the BTU’s it puts out is comprable to Apple or Cherry wood. Some folks say that elm tends to create a lot of ash when it is burned so I will have to see how it does this winter but lots of ash means lots of poential lye for soap making so I should be able to make this elm work for me.
There are a lot of things I have done in becoming self-reliant that are not quite perfect. Often the same item offer both good and bad but if you think out of the box and don’t rely on what “some people say..” and experiment I have found there are as many positives compared to a few negatives to most everything you do to prepare. I tend to be an optomist by nature and I think it really helps me to see potential rather than just look at the downside.
Update on the “pain releif salve” : Both Mom (Fybro) and Dad slather on the salve and Mom was very impressed how fast it worked. Dad did not say much but he did a good rub down of the salve on a few of his persistant achey areas. The salve is not a panacea, you will probably still hurt a bit but it helps a lot with acute pain.
June 5, 2014
Dad filled the truck bed and a trailer full of wood and dropped it off today. I tried to keep up with stacking it up but it was just to much and it was getting hot out so I quit the wood thing for today. Dad is bringing another load on Friday and we will need to add more top cover to protect the wood from the elements. If my math is correct I will have around 6-7 cords of the elm for this winter which should be more than enough for this year and a start on next year’s wood pile. Dad is in serious woodcutter mode so installing the microwave will need to wait a couple of days. He has a hydraulic splitter but it is still a lot of hard work. Once the elm is all split and hauled away my aunt is going to put in a goat pen for the bucks. My aunt wants to get some of the volunteer holly for a privacy hedge for my cousin. It’s very nice to hear about my cousin “putting down roots” so to speak and I love being able to help out.
I managed to get the front lawn mowed and add some green to the compost pile. My aunt said adding some of the sawdust to my front beds was a good idea and should help the plants grow better. Overall she said the soil felt good to her and just needs the normal additions for growing. I was thinking of putting the kiddie pool for mints and other herbs up front but I think it might be better in the backyard as it won’t be so visible. This should be the last bed for this year and I can start on filling in the front beds. While I need to do some weeding it does not seem quite so daunting a task this year. I think I did better on my preparing the beds and it seems to be paying off with less work on the weeding. Saturday would be a good day to set up the outdoor kitchen, brew some beer and putter in the garden.
I used some of the black ale wort in the Bootlegger bottle and even though it uses a wine yeast the beer turned out okay and it fermented very quickly. Tastes a bit more sharp compared to the ale yeast but that might be an aging/conditioning issue. But the Bootlegger bottle will work with an all grain beer recipe. I also made up some of my pain relief salve but I used 8 oz. Grape seed oil and up the beeswax to 1.5 oz. and the salve turned out just a bit stiffer at room temp. compared to the one made with coconut oil. I think you could use either recipe with your choice of oils depending on the texture you want for your salve.
It looks like I got my callsign for my Ham radio but they got my middle initial wrong and I don’t know if that is significant or not. I’ll give the local club guys a call and see if that is a problem and how to get it corrected. Been a busy month, but I love how things seem to be working out.