Weekend chores,a killing mulch and holiday bazaars

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.

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2 Responses to Weekend chores,a killing mulch and holiday bazaars

  1. stan says:

    Don’t know if you have posted about cleaning your exhaust pipe on your woodburner. Recently saw a you tube posting by bctruck about what resulted when he puled apart his exhaust . Been reading your column for some time and it’s been very educational and interesting! Thanks for your posting!

    • Jamie says:

      stan: I’m not sure what you mean by “exhaust pipe”. I have a Pacific Energy Two step wood stove (No out side air inlet) and Triple wall stovepipe/chimney that was professionally installed.

      I get my wood stove/chimney cleaned by a pro in the summer when it is less busy for the Chimney sweeps and they do a great job for only $85.00. Heck the “sweep” cleaned the left over leaves off my roof this summer for free! The chimney sweep stated this type of wood stove has very little creosote build up other than around the top cap of the chimney pipe. Plus the sweep gave me a quick class on keeping all the pipe and “baffles” of the wood stove clean.

      I tend to be very zealous about fire safety and have 2 smoke alarms over bedroom areas, a battery backed up carbon monoxide alarm, 2 standard home size ABC fire extinguishers on each side of the house and smaller can type fire extinguishers in each room plus 1 on the back patio for the BBQ and Gas grill.

      As a child I went through a chimney fire and that made a very big impression on me. So I try to make things as safe as possible and then have backups on hand just in case of fire, we can get out of the house safely.

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