I figured out the BBQ turkey this year!

November 30, 2015

I like BBQ’ing a turkey as it frees up the oven for baking bread, pies and casseroles that are Thanksgiving day favorites. This year I had about 16 pound turkey and it took about 4 hours to BBQ.  On average figure about one hour for ever four pounds of turkey if you BBQ. Eight pound turkey= two hours of cook time, sixteen pound turkey= four hours ect… I use Mesquite chunk charcoal and a charcoal chimney to start the charcoal. This year I had two charcoal chimneys on hand and after laying down a few of the larger chunks of charcoal in the BBQ, lighting up both chimneys +1.  I had more than enough coals to BBQ the turkey in about 30-35 degree F. weather with minimal wind.  I place a small broiler pan directly under the turkey and mound the charcoal up against the pan. In the broiler pan I add different liquids such as home made beer, white wine or vegetable stock along with any whole carrots, onions, celery or other stored veggies from the garden.  Every 20 minutes I  turn the turkey and on every hour I flip the turkey so that it will cook evenly. I try to start and finish the turkey breast down so all the juices soak into the breast meat. Rest the turkey for at least 20 minutes breast down after BBQing and you will get some of the best tasting and moist turkey breast meat you ever had!

How is cooking a turkey on the BBQ related to prepping?  Well you are cooking a fairly large chunk of dead animal giving a bit of smoke and if you brine the bird like I do you add a bit of salt and sugars that are preservatives. While  I would not store the turkey on your counter top, BBQing a turkey is a gateway on learning how brines, salting using peppers and sugars work preserving meats. How will you  do a real cold smoke of meats unless you practice?  After you get the BBQ basics down it is all about controlling the heat/ flavors via cooking or smoking.  Plus, BBQ turkey just tastes good.

I caulk the interior of the windows and I had many bad words to say about the previous owners. Then again I did not go out and caulk  windows even after living here at Casa de Chaos for over a decade.  This weekend it got a bit cold in SW Idaho, Highs in the 20’s, lows in the teens. So today I caulked windows and used spray foam on some of the larger gaps around the windows. No wonder we feel a draft when the windows have gaps around the window sill up to a 1/2 inch! Using spray foam cans, clean the tube and can nozzle within 24  hours and you should be able to use a whole foam can over several weeks.

I started cleaning the walls of the computer room and the walls were  disgusting,  covered in tar/smoke from my smoking as well as spider webs and a fly or two that expired via old age.  I don’t want to give up smoking but, I do see the downsides to smoking and I’m trying to mitigate them as I learn more and do some cleanup at home.  While adding in several the small “Holmes” air purifiers has helped Mom dealing my smoking. I think the little purifiers have helped myself, Mom and the pets with some allergies, dealing with the inversions that happen in Idaho and the purifiers did great when I cleaned all of the grills and Oven. It was very smoky in the house, yet no smoke detector went off.

JM Bullion has a wicked sick sale on silver and a bit of gold. I use JM bullion a lot as they offer free shipping on any order over $100.00.  I’m not a trader, I’m a stacker and any time I find silver for about $15.00 per oz. I will find a way to buy and stack.  I don’t think most people will get “rich” stacking silver and or gold (if you can afford it). At best you might maintain your buying power.  I think everyone should buy gold/ silver as a hedge against deflation or inflation. Get your basic preps on hand and if you find you have about $100.00 not dedicated to anything I would recommend getting a few PMs.

It is crazy that silver  is valued 70+/1 via gold. A more natural ratio is 9/1  or 15-1 gold to silver and that is not counting all the uses of silver. Getting and holding silver is not a get rich scheme.  At best holding silver” might” maintain your purchasing power. Buy stuff you will need first then buy PMs (precious metals) last. Thirty dollars getting a rain barrel is smarter than buying a silver at any price!


I added an air purifier to Mom’s room today for air improvement.

November 22, 2015

Still early days for the “cleaning the air” test but the air seem to be to be improving for the dogs and us humans in the house. Some of the improvements I have noticed so far…

  • Mom does not seem to be snoring as much late at night and her sense of smell seems to be coming back. Mom has not had a good sniffer for years so she does not blame my smoking.  She was quite surprised that she started smelling the chlorine that is used to treat Nampa city water.  Mom stated today’s nap was the best nap she’s had in several weeks after adding the purifier to her room.
  • My sinuses seem to be draining.  While my nose is a leaky at times I find my sniffer is getting better especially about the smells of ashtrays and eliminating that odor.
  • The pekes seem to be breathing easier. Brodie the peke would do a sort of cough/hacking sort of like a cat with a hair ball.  A couple of the pekes would have something like an asthma attack though that is not a good description of the heavy snorting/breathing the pekes went through trying to catch a breath.  It was almost like a cross of irritation and over- excitement. Great news, we have not seen any sort of breathing problems or attacks since we have added the air purifiers.

Good news, Sadie the miniature schnauzer is doing much better about going potty outside though she’s still working on using the doggie door.  Sadie adores my Mom and sleeps in her room or on the couch in front of the fireplace. I think Sadie has been very good for Mom as Tucker and Brodie tend to hang out with me and Diana the peke. Sadie is becoming Mom’s most devoted companion.  I have never been married though I was in a long-term relationship and I know I was very hurt when things did not work out.  I can imagine a person could feel unloved or even unlovable. Most pets will love unconditionally and that can be a great ego boost as well as a reason that a person goes on making a life.  Having an animal that adores you and or depends on you can make a big difference in your mental attitude. I think with Mom’s divorce thing going over a year that having a devoted lil dog will will be very good for Mom and Sadie will do well with Mom taking care of her.

I got the front porch filled with wood. The wood rick is topped off and I filled 3 of the 18 gallon bucket with mill-ends. I hope Monday I can run the mower over the front yard and pick up/mulch the leaves that are dropping since it turned cold. I’ll need to move Smokey the cat out of the basement and do a little patrol while the weather is good. The weather man says don’t worry about the high clouds and the storm will hit the day before Thanksgiving.  Well, I worry as the weatherman’s timing has been a bit off this year.

So far adding the air purifiers has made life a lot better.  While we (preppers/survivalist) types tend to  plan for the worst case scenario. I see no reason why should not make our day to day living the best it can be at all times including today, or in a disaster.

More Fall work done and a couple of new toys to try out.

November 20, 2015

While I don’t care much for strong winds, the black walnut trees and lilac bush leaves finally dropped to the ground today.  I got a bit frustrated by all the leaves and sticks the pekes always drag into the house via their “fluffy butts” so I got out the leaf blower and the leaf rake to try and stop all the tracking in of leaves.  My apple tree leaves are still green but by raking up the last of the walnut and lilac leaves we won’t have the pekes, or ourselves dragging in so many leaves and twigs coated with a sticky sap that clings to everything!  I don’t consider myself some sort of “neatnik” but I’m tired of vacuuming up leaves inside the house and combing or cutting leaves and twigs out of my peke’s fur.

I loaded up the wood rick today. This damp, windy weather has myself and Mom feeling a bit “chilled” and we used up a bit more wood out of the front porch rick this week than I had anticipated.  I filled the little garden cart with wood this last weekend so it was easy to top off the porch wood pile.  With this CIDP when and how much I can do physical labor can be a bit iffy at times. I was wiped out after stacking up the last cord of wood and filling up the wood buckets, but after a couple of days of rest I could get some chores done around the house.

Everyone has limits! Those limits might consist of time, physical energy or money but they are very real to each individual. I have lots of time because I’m disabled and SSD and VA provide my income. I’m not getting rich but I live a good life and can afford to buy a few gadgets and tools because I’m mostly debt free. I got a good deal on my house and my mortgage payment is lower than  most rent payments for an 3 bd. 1 3/4 bath home.

New Toy first impressions: Mom is really having a bad reaction to my cigarette smoke since we are starting to close off all windows, leaks and drafts. I will not stop smoking in my house, even for my Mom. You can call me names, trust me it won’t be the first time.  Now I am taking steps to “mitigate” my cigarette smoke. Holmes smoke grabber ashtray $10.44 on Amazon. Upside of the ashtray is does grab smoke and run it through a small filter. Mom says my smoking area seems to lack a smoke cloud.  Downside it only grabs the smoke from a cigar or cigarette while it sits in the ashtray.  The ashtray I bought is only battery powered and has no A/C backup or recharging function.

On the Holmes smoke grabber ash tray. Many complain that the ashtray is small. The tray is a bit small but is larger than most bar ashtrays that get dumped by bartenders. The ashtray is about 4 inches  square and about an 3/4inch deep. This ash tray will not hold more 10 cigarette butts or 2-5 cigars before you have to dump the ash tray but that should not be a problem for most people. I don’t get folks complaining about the size of the tray if what they want to get rid of smoke and odors. It is not all that difficult to dump the small ashtray in the trash when full.  My wish would have Holmes/Amazon offer a battery powered smokeless ashtray that is rechargeable via both 12 volts or 110 volts AC.

The little air ionizer for a car runs  on 12 volts and has an electrical 120-240 volt adapter/converter. The specs on this little air cleaner is for only 12 square feet, or about a sedan. I have plugged the little ionizer next to my computer desk and the air feels a bit different, though I’m not sure it is working to eliminate smoke from the room. I bought a Holmes air purifier with optional Ionizer and it seems that the air is getting better/cleaner. Mom says she is starting to feel better,  even my sinuses are finally starting to drain/clear out and the air is less stuffy /feels better and the house smells cleaner.

A great thing about the Holmes HEPA type air purifier as it will accept a replacement of a true HEPA filter. On the Amazon reviews of the Holmes air purifier for $34.99, many  people complained it was loud. I have been running the air purifier on high for several hours and it’s about as loud as your basic 20 inch box fan on medium setting. The low setting on the  air purifier is very quiet, about “white noise” level. For a great bargain I would buy the discontinued Holmes HEPA type air purifier for $34.99 and install a true HEPA filter and not buy the new/ improved air purifier that is a HEPA type and costs  about $10.00 more at Amazon.

I know the “air purifier” is not equal to an over-pressure type air-exchanger but I hope to cut down on air borne type viruses, bacteria along with allergens and smoke in the house.



Snow incoming next week?

November 15, 2015

Saturday was a very nice day for getting chores done.  I got the front yard mowed and picked up most of the leaves with my mower. I dumped the mower bag in the front yard beds as plant protection plus add some “greens and browns” that I hope will break down over the winter and will add good stuff back into the soil. The white “flowering kale” is still doing great, the purple kale is doing okay but it did not put on new growth like the white kale this fall. My little front yard garlic bed has put up new shoots through the straw, so I think the garlic will be okay for next year even though I was a bit late getting the garlic in the ground this fall.

I topped off the wood rick on the front porch using the garden cart and we have plenty of mill end bucket ready to burn. I still feel a bit vulnerable about my dependence on others for wood.  I can’t change anything about my disability and I am somewhat dependent on others for my basic needs. If you are disabled or an oldster and can’t work 8-12 hours a day all you can do is stock up and try to get things correct for bugging in.  I have planned for a bug out, but I know my odds for survival will be very low.

The black walnut tree is done shedding leaves in the back yard. I put the last batch of “killer” leaf mulch down in the alley. A flat 4-6 inch layer of the black walnut “killer” mulch stays in place through 20-30 mph winds and the mulch looks okay when it spread in flat deep layer.  I don’t think the city will send me a nasty-gram about my pile of leaves. My goal this winter is to augment the soil for growing stuff in the raised beds.  Use natural methods to kill off weeds and add plants that augment the soil or thrive in poor soil of the alley way garden. I’m still working on types of crops to plant that thrive in the many micro-climates in my yard and start growing up/vertical rather than the traditional way of growing a garden.

I did a test of “Gorilla Glue” and so far it looks like a good replacement for super glue. I repaired a pepper mill and I like that Gorilla Glue does not set quite as fast as super glue, holds great and clean up is a bit easier compared to super glue.  I think super glue is great, but most tubes only give you one application and then the super glue clogs up and you have no other use for the tube of glue. The Gorilla glue sets slower and even if the small applicator clogs you can still use glue stuff by removing the “cap/applicator”tip.  I bought a small package of 4 tubes of Gorilla glue that came with applicator tips for each tube for $6.99. I’m pleased with the purchase as even if the applicator clogs the tube of glue still flows.

I am thrilled with my new payment system and building up an emergency fund. I even added a little bit more silver to my small stash this month. I have used my food storage when I got blindsided on a large vet bill to free up money to pay the bill without going into debt. Now that I have most of my basic needs covered in an emergency, I have stored some cash for a small emergency. I was a bit slow on on the storing cash idea but having emergency cash on hand is almost as important as having food and water stored. At this time, I should be able to buy and install an 18 inch dishwasher, a new ceiling fan in the kitchen and free up a lot of space for a real dining table and add extra storage space in the kitchen in December. My Xmas gift to myself and who could be more deserving LOL!

While I think some sort of economic collapse is coming to the USA, I am doing my best to try and insulate myself from any down sides. I think this Xmas season is going to be nasty economically as many average Americans are beyond broke and up their eyeballs in debt.  For example my “income” about $20,000  yet I got a credit limit on a credit card of $8,000. If I maxed out that card, there is no way I could pay more than the min. payment and the interest would keep me in perpetual debt. Now I will pay off the debt early and avoid the killer interest rate of nearly 26%. I can see how people become slaves to debt. The big Banksters get the near 0/.25% interest rate from the FED. Joe sixpack is doing well if he get can get a signature loan for 6-8% interest and a credit card under 20%. Plus it was not all that long ago a saver could get  5.25% interest return on savings. Now you are lucky to get 1-2% return and the banksters don’t bury you in fees so you actually lose money by saving money in a bank.

I think you are better off keeping cash at home rather than rely on the major banks “protecting” your cash.

Wood is done at least for a couple of months and turkey on sale

November 12, 2015

Gosh, I’m wiped out from stacking the latest bunch of wood and cutting up mill ends. While I’m tired and sore it is really nice to have all of the wood stacked and now I will see just how much wood I have on hand to burn this winter.  So far November weather seems to be about normal for temps and just a bit damp.  The “super el nino” has not made the fall weather super warm here in SW Idaho. If my memory serves SW Idaho usually had a bad winter (lots of snow and cold) if the East coast got hammered with a hard winter. Usually we got lots of cold and snow earlier than the average and then those east of the Mississippi got slammed later in the season.  I suspect SW Idaho may see a weather pattern similar to the late 70’s to the early 80’s.  I’m not a huge fan of extreme weather but Idaho was a place for folks that could not hack Alaskan type weather rather than California transplants looking for a new state to screw up with Progressive political stupidity. Perhaps if the weather gets nasty enough they will move on and annoy some one else. Though I would not wish progressives on anyone other than Wash. DC . That seems a bit appropriate.

Boise is getting very Progressive with buying up “Open Spaces” with tax payer dollars and I really don’t like that policy, as it locks up land that can’t be used for starter homes for young people and drives up rents. I love parks, bike paths and green belts but if the “city buys up land”  it will drive up housing costs, young people can’t afford to rent, buy a home or start families that will add “fresh blood” to  a city.  Plus “open spaces” cost the city up front and do not generate any tax revenue.  Guess what home owners your property will go up in value as well as taxes paid for all of those “open spaces” that do not generate any taxes. This “Open Space” policy will hinder any sort of  organic growth via young folks starting  families, buying homes or starting a small business.  We are cutting our own throats with this short term thinking.

Sorry about the Real Estate rant, but on to shopping. Albertson’s has Turkey for .69 cents per pound if you spend $25.00 shopping. Spending  $25.00 shopping  for food is dead simple.  Get all the whole turkey on hand you can afford. I was wrong about chicken prices spiking in my area via Avian flu as chicken meat prices have been good in Idaho though egg prices spiked up a bit. I think turkey is a “loss leader” at most stores and they hope to make up the cost in other items. Beef prices are starting to drop under $3.00 a pound on the round and chuck as well as hamburger. So far I have been holding down my meat costs by buying loss leaders.  I bought some turkey breast meat at Cash & Carry for $2.28 per pound but we use this meat as pet treats and a carrier for pet medications. While this may seem sort of expensive at first, if you look at the per pound cost of most pet treats versus the cost of Deli type turkey breast is very good buy if you are willing to slice it up at home.

Something to think about for your shelter/ bug in area is air quality. I doubt many of us can afford to  create an over pressure air exchange system. But most of us can afford to buy a couple of  small room humidifiers, a dehumidifier and air purifier. Now I don’t expect a lot of performance from a cheap machine but as preppers we need to control odors as well as smoke from any indoor cooking. If you are a smoker you will carry that odor in your clothes and every time you light up.

I’m not telling you to quit smoking, that is your choice. But you might want to take a few extra steps if you want to keep smoking and be somewhat safe.  Buy some “vaping/ electronic cigarette” products you can use instead of smoking and stay away from the strong flavors as I have read many non-smokers/ vapors can smell those odors. Get a few small air purifiers as the will help clean the air of cooking odors as well as smoke plus several small air purifiers will work better with any power generator compared to one “whole house” air purifier. It is a lot easier and cheaper to power only one or two air purifiers that need 100-200 watts of power than a big air purifier that needs over a thousand watts of power. Many people suffer from allergies via pet dander, pollen and dust and even a small air purifier might make a big difference in their quality of life.

Time for another test and this one will be about air quality. Mom is irritated by my cigarette smoke since we closed up the window this fall.  Air purifiers placed around the house along a few 12 volt systems that work in the car and the jumper packs that are independent of the grid, are ready to go for the test.   A good thing if the air purifiers work, I won’t have to clean my walls, windows  or dust as often. I hate to dust!

Weekend chores,a killing mulch and holiday bazaars

November 8, 2015

I cut up enough mill ends to fill/top off 6 of the 18 gallon buckets for the front porch. One wagon load of the regular wood topped off the small wood “rick” on the porch. I have to say I really like the wood I bought this year as it burns clean, without all the ash of the elm I burned last year.  I can see that we might run out of mill ends this winter from the first load I bought over two years ago.    I was not happy with the first mill end delivery that had lot’s of trash, weeds and needed to be cut to fit a wood stove .  I think the old boy selling mill ends  expected to dump his load and drive away. I will buy more mill ends next year as they are great for starting a hot and fast fire in the wood stove. But I will make sure I have the wood storage area set up for all types of wood. I don’t want have to cut the wood if I don’t have to cut it up. I will have the tools on hand to cut the wood if needed, but I don’t want to have to cut the wood in order to burn it. I have one more cord of wood to be delivered from Mom’s wood guys this week and I need to trim/prune the trees this week after the wind starts dying down.  While I can’t heat the house with what wood trimmings I get from my yard, I’m a little surprised by how much wood is available via trimming and pruning my trees.

My  walnut trees seem to lead the way in fall and I’m trying something a bit different with all those leaves. Black Walnut leaves extrude a compound that is a plant killer. It’s about the tree eliminating any competition for minerals, and water around the tree base.  I have read many gardening sites that warn about adding walnut leaves to a compost pile or using walnut tree leaves to protect plants in fall/winter.
The black walnut leaves sound like a great “killer mulch” for weedy areas like my alley garden. While the walnut leaf will inhibit growth, it will not stop strong plants nor kill off good microbes or insects. For my test of the killer walnut leaves, I have made a layer of 4-6 inches thick in front of my RV in the alley way. I hope this layer of leaves will kill off any goatheads/ puncture vine and cheat grass.

Next spring if the “killer mulch” works I will need to add plants I like to take the place of all the nasty weeds I killed out.  So far the sunchoke plants are doing great and I noticed sunflowers really grow well in the alley. I like the mossy rose as a basic ground cover and it seemed to do well in the wood mulched beds. I think some berry plants might work in the alley with a trellis and planting them in big tubs to limit spreading.  My flowering kale is still growing this fall and is getting bigger through frost warnings and other weather stuff. The kale is in the front beds of the house are somewhat protected via the house walls, and  I added some straw mulch to the front beds.

I like going to Holiday bazaars and hitting new thrift shops. I added 2 new flat sheets via Deseret industries for only $7.00. I got cookies but I think I like the Methodist cookies better than the Presbyterians cookies.

You should think about the how/ why and what you are storing for food. While I can’t quantify a fall in quality of any food item I’d like you to think about why you buy and store items you use and rotate.  We preppers know we should rotate everything but some times we drop the ball, or at least I drop the ball from time to time.

Store Coffee, Tea and soda for the Caffeine kick.  I don’t seem to suffer from caffeine withdrawal, I  saw it a lot in the Army and the “migraine” is close/ worse than to a dehydration headache. I ‘m not telling you to buy green coffee beans for storage . I want you to ask yourself how much ground coffee you have stored? and is enough for your “emergency”?   Basic coffee cans will store ground coffee for 24-36 months. I know as I have used 3 year old coffee that tasted great. So do you need to store/ buy green coffee beans? Unless you have  stock piled at least two years worth of coffee and a few small cans for barter and rotate your coffee cans. If you have 2 years worth of coffee on hand and rotate and suspect we might face a disaster in the 3-7 year time frame. I would recommend buying green coffee beans.

Priorities will change and things people will demand stuff of the government or the local central power, it will be interesting to watch. I think you should stock up now for a year + on all basic goods,  but is up to you. I would not buy green coffee beans until you have stored at least 24 months (rotating) of ground coffee and have another 3- 6 small cans on hand for barter.  Plus all green coffee needs to be roasted and the smell/aroma can be quite pungent.

Things might be simple but it does not mean anything will be easy. You will have trade offs on what you want to accomplish.

Plastic panels installed over the chicken pen, Update cutting mill ends via the circular saw.

November 6, 2015

I scavenged several plastic roof panels from a neighbor that were renovating.  The original plan was to cover the wood area but the panels were a bit old and heat cracked, plus the roof over the wood area needs to be re-built.  Mom and I decided to use the roof panels over the chicken pen and then place the tarp over the top of the panels to cover any gaps.  We hope having the roof panels under the tarp will eliminate water pooling, causing the tarp to sag and will keep the chicken pen area clear of puddles and ice this winter.  I think the pen roof looks much better for shrugging off the weather.  We had 30+ MPH winds for a couple of days few days and the “new” roof did very well in the wind. Now we are waiting to see how the roof panels hold up during the rest of the fall weather.  I was a bit surprised by how quickly Mom and I got the panels and then covered every thing with Mom’s big tarp. Overall the tarp is  taut covering the roof panels, we used zip ties on the sides and bungie cords on the front of the tarp.  Hopefully the roof will flex a bit in windy weather but have good strength shedding any rain or snow.

I used the little B&D circular saw to fill two of the wood buckets. I did a lot better physical energy wise as I’m learning how to use the saw properly. It has taken me a bit of time and practice learning the correct way to use some of my tools. A great side effect of cutting up mill ends is I am learning how to cut wood with out wasting  good lumber. Speaking for myself, I sort of thought you cut the wood you needed and never give a thought about working with the grain or against the grain cutting wood.  Yes, I was a bit slow on figuring this out.  I have a coupon from Harbor Freight for the 10 inch miter saw $88.88 and the 12 inch compound miter saw $139.99 double h recommended. Either saw should should be a good compound miter saw for cutting up my mill ends plus built in shelves to turn my front bedroom into a library.

I had a kind of strange reaction to saving a bit of cash this month. I have been preaching about paying a few critical bills ahead if you can afford it.  I have worked hard to try and get a bit of ahead on paying my basic bills ahead and this month I finally made it happen. I have the cash on hand to buy the miter saw but I don’t want to spend the money on the miter saw until I have more cash on hand.

I’m saving a bit of cash, and it is simple if not easy. I’m slowly getting ahead of the power curve, paying my bills ahead of the due date.   I can’t say I’m free, as I still have my house debt, but I have broke free of living paycheck to paycheck  and paying late fees because of timing of my checks. Now I’m working on  cash for an”emergency fund” rather than just falling back on my storage if an emergency blind sides me.

The  50 cent, $10.00 rolls of coins are a great for my little “mad money” fund work great for yard sales and the Xmas bazaars, since most folks selling don’t have cash on hand for breaking large bills.  Plus 50 cent coin roll might contain a pre 1964 90% silver coin or a 65-69 40% silver coin. I have not got lucky finding a silver coin but I’m not losing out as all coins do have a face value of 50 cents.