Mom got out this weekend and got the alley way weeds pulled up around the sunchokes and the sedum plants. That was a huge job even though she says she did not do all that much work. I have been working on the alley way trying to improve the soil and kill out the weeds in the last year by using a killing mulch of walnut leaves and adding wood ash from the wood stove and wood mulch. We have broad leaf weeds but I have yet to find a goat head/puncture vine in the area! I was told you had to use a powerful weed killer on goatheads but just improving the soil a little bit and adding in some good ground cover plants seems to have eliminated that nasty weed in less than a year. This week I will be adding so more wood mulch for broad leaf weed control and I will add a few more sedum plants as ground cover to continue choking out all those weeds. This is not the fastest method for killing weeds but it is very effective, cheap and you don’t kill your soil or the other plants you want to keep growing.
Last winter was tough and we had an influx of mice. Having the chickens here sort of attracted the mice and with the harsh winter they came in the house. Once the mice are in your house you have to catch them or call in an Exterminator. We are going try and get rid of mice ourselves. Mom got half the kitchen cupboards cleaned up with a bleach mixture and we are laying out a lot of sticky traps in the house. More traps means you can catch more mice and cleaning up with bleach mix seems to disrupt the scent trails mice lay down. Putting all food products in heavy plastic, glass or metal containers helps eliminate food sources for the mice. Getting your prep up on shelves, organized and rotated will also help you keep the rodents under control as you will notice the problem quickly and can be proactive with your anti-vermin measures. I dropped the ball on this part of my preps. Building some good shelves in my prep area rather than just making due is a high priority this summer. My carpentry skills are still in the beginner stage but I now feel confident I can build some basic items with out screwing up to badly and wasting lumber.
Last but not least I think you should store some construction materials if possible. You should have a good set up of basic tools and practice building some basic item around the house. Battery powered tools from a basic drills, saws and more are relatively inexpensive and give you many more options for you to Do It Yourself. Youtube has tons of instructional vids. Home Depot and Lowes have classes for basic DIY classes you can take for free. I have taken a few of the classes and for a couple of hours of time investment you can get a big payoff in knowledge. The skills an knowledge you acquire can never be taken from you and no matter if you are a prepper or not, having those basic tools and the skill to use them will save you money after your initial investment.