Fall garden not happening in this weather

July 29, 2018

I shoveled some more of the gravel into place by doing a bit of work in the morning and evening.  The rock pile is slowly starting to drop in height and hopefully I can finish up most of the work by Sunday.  That will give me a couple of days to work on some jobs around the house and then rest up for the 2 cords of wood scheduled to be delivered next week.  I really like the look of the rock and I much prefer the rock for drainage compared to a concrete slab or Black top asphalt for drainage.

While I won’t say gravel is perfect as I suffered quite a bit of flooding during the bad winter of 2016/2017 most of the old historic district had less flooding compared to the new subdivisions or areas covered in blacktop or concrete.  I wish that more urban/suburban areas encouraged the use of rain catchment systems because most of the systems hold excess water and then release it slowly back into the water systems. I’m not denying any water rights holder their water. I’m just letting the water go into the local aquifer not in a flood but in a stream of water over time.  Even if several thousand people use rain barrels all of that water will go back into the water cycle. It’s just about storing in a time of plenty of water and releasing the water when the land needs water.  Gosh when was the last time you saw anyone storing water wasting it.  People like that store water because they value it enough to spend money to store it.

Moving the rock is the priority because the carport area will be the next fire wood storage area and I have to have that finished before the wood delivery. I have moved enough of the rock I should be able to drive the Kia mini-van across it and compact it a bit and reveal the spots that need more rock. Moving a couple yards of rock by hand does not seem like a huge job when you see how small the rock pile is but a yard of rock equals about a ton of weight.  Over all I don’t feel to bad that I will have moved around a ton + of rock over 7-10 days.  What I have done so far is mostly pushed the rock into place and out lined the area I want rock.  I’d like to have this gravel about 2-3 inches deep so I stop weed growth and get good drainage in the spring.

I got a bit of yard clean up done. It seems I am rushing from one project to the next to get stuff done this summer plus preparing for winter and the 100 degree heat is not making any of those jobs easy.  I feel the need to try and get everything prepared now for this fall and winter and there is just not enough of me to get all the jobs done.  The old saying about ‘if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority’ leaps to mind.

I shoveled a bit more rock around the carport area but I think I’ll sort of push the rock off to the side for the next few days so the wood delivery truck can drop the wood fairly easily in the carport area. The gravel drop area is somewhat level and easy for large vehicles to drive over so I’m finished on moving the mound of rock in the  driveway and under the carport.   The rock will need to be leveled but  it should not disable any low profile vehicles.  While the gravel is not as level or at the depth I prefer under the carport.  I can drive over the rock and the wood delivery will have no problems next week.  I have not only a better looking driveway, I should not have as much flooding in my shop.

I want to stack at least one of the cords of wood and Mom says she’ll take about cord to her place for fire wood.  That will give Mom a good mix of wood and around 2 cords of wood for place this winter.

I don’t think I’ll be able to do the fall garden other than finishing up the the garden beds hoops and start on the Tucker fence.  The 100 degree heat is tough to work in but I do seem to be acclimatizing. I think this weekend will be full of clean up and moving a bit of rock.

I made some more dogie food using the 7 bone chuck roast that only had 2 small bones.  The rice setting or multi-grain setting  does a good job on cooking meat fall off the bone  tender.   Add the grain you like and cook another 12-15 minutes under pressure.  You got dog food. The electric pressure cooker is awesome and easy to use but it is nothing a regular pressure cooker can do for cooking food with a bit of effort.

I’ll have to grind off several of the screws to rebuild the little chicken house.  The vice grip  pliers can’t turn the screw without cutting away the structure/wood.  It was a poor design for small roof of drilling a hole though the roof without making it water proof of at least rust resistant.  Once this last screw is remove I  can cut off all the rusted screws  and move the project into the shop. I don’t think a chicken house needs a lot structural integrity, but some reinforcement is required. Some sanding and a good paint job with a good semi-gloss enamel paint will make the little chicken house better than new.

I’m starting to see birds show up but the feeding station is a challenge for some critters.  Adding in the bird baths and providing fresh potable water has attracted wildlife.

This post is a bit of a mess of going back and forth on critical jobs.  Such is life!  I’m good for the firewood delivery and loading up Mom’s truck despite the gravel delivery in the carport area.

The new gravel “should” help with flooding during a wet winter.  Another 2 cords of wood should keep us warm in a cold winter.

Gosh I’m posting over 1000 word not good.  TLDR is an issue.

Synopsis: Rock is moved so I can stack fire wood under the car port.  Tucker the peke is digging up the garden beds so I need a new fence around the garden.  Last but not least I need to clean up the backyard and have place to be happy.

 

 

 

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Back yard/urban chickens are icky!

July 25, 2018

Actually only 33 cases of salmonella have traced to Urban chickens and that is a bit iffy.  Nabisco has issued a recall of possible salmonella via a whey protein ingredient.

McDonalds has sicken hundreds with salmonella via Salad/ingredients. But you people must worry about urban chicken for salmonella infection.   I know this will sound radical.  If you handle chickens or any animal wash your hands before handling raw meat.   I mean you Americans do have soap and water to wash down counter tops.  Bleach as a anti-bacterial is not all that expensive to buy.

A little baking soda and some lemon juice or vinegar will make most greens/salad safe to eat.  Not perfectly safe but mostly safe.  You want to be safe dig in the dirt and expose yourself to life.  That is your vaccine/inoculation. If you want to live life in a bubble and to be “safe” I can’t help you.  Life is dangerous, messy and never works as planed.  I sure has hell never anticipated being disable in my 40’s as I planned to retire and start a new career. Stuff happens and you adapt or get left behind.

I think it is great that people are going for tiny homes, or homesteading or getting a sailboat to sail around the world. Good on you for escaping the debt and death paradigm.

Sometimes I wonder about setting a sale price for my home.  Then again I wonder about moving.


A fall garden?….

July 25, 2018

I have to say I was a little discouraged by Tucker digging up the plants in the garden beds this summer.  I did not give up completely but my motivation took a big hit when the temporary fence failed to protect the new beds.

I got an email from the Home depot garden club about planting a fall garden with plants that can handle a light frost or actually need a frost to set the sugars before harvesting.  Broccoli, cauliflower  can be started indoors in July and with some protection from hot sun and light frosts can be harvested into October in my Zone.  Root crops like turnips need a frost before harvest to reach maximum sweetness if you can protect the crops from sun/heat.

Gosh, I can do that as I have a lot of the Agribon cloth to protect from both heat and sun going into fall. I have a the basic materials for a two foot tall cedar picket fence to stop Tucker and all or at least of materials needed to make a fall garden.  Besides not giving up on the garden and I have motivation to get the new picket garden fence and hoops in place.  The garden beds will be complete for next year’s garden.

Moving the rock into place is taking a little extra time as I’m working on adding rock to areas that need it rather than just spreading rock flat and knocking down the mass of rock.  Mom dropped off the wheel barrow I loaned her, and that has helped but I forgot how much work is involved moving rock especially in high heat conditions.  What I’m doing is about two 45 minute blocks in the morning and then another couple of blocks of work in the evening.  Along with all those other pesky jobs you need to do around the house.  I did get the front lawn mowed and weed wacked but I have some huge thistle along the sidewalk that I did not notice because of building new garden beds or paying attention to the front yard. I can be a little monomaniacal in my focus in the yard.   So Jamie grab your leather gloves and rip out the the weeds and cleanup along the sidewalk.

If tariffs kick in, you will need to stock up on stuff from overseas.  Meat prices are low and going lower so fill that freezer or can meat. Stock up now before the costs start going up.  I find it a bit Ironic that farmers complain about selling to non tariff USA markets rather than paying a tariff to sell to the EU or Asian markets.

 


Rock delivery today!

July 23, 2018

I figured it would take a few days to set up a delivery day for the rock.  So when I called for a delivery I was shocked when the company offered delivery this the same day!  It seems someone canceled at the last minute and it was about the same size load as my order.  Total cost for the 2.75 yards of rock was $97.25  largest part of the cost was the $70.00 delivery fee.  I don’t feel to bad about the delivery cost as I only have to move the rock into place rather than unloading the rock plus move it into place.

The driver did a pretty good job dumping the rock in two different spots on my drive way area.  Especially in the narrow alley way with low hanging wires to worry about catching with the dump bed.  In front of my shop door he dropped about a yard of the 3/4 minus and I was able to spread this rock out and drive over it in about 45 minutes of work with the garden rake.  The larger pile of rock will take a couple of days to spread under the carport but I have over a week to get that job finished up before the firewood delivery shows up the 1st week in August.

Mom is going to love walking on the new driveway rock since she won’t feel like she is going to twist her knee or possibly fall, like she felt with the large drain rock. As for myself I really like having a the new rock in my driveway.  I know the rock will settle in time but having 2-3 inches of the 3/4 minus on top of the drain rock should help cut down on the water getting into the shop.  I have most of my alley way frontage is level with the alley road so that should cut down on any road winter/spring runoff into the shop.

Of course I have just started spreading out the rock but I think the light color of the rock and dark brown color of the mulch looks nice.  This next spring I’ll be adding some low growing cover plants to the mulch area that will choke out the bad weeds and slowly improve the soil.  Perhaps other people will be inspired to improve the look of the alleyway rather than think of the alley as a dead space that is fit only for weeds.  I saw a small sparrow land on the rock/mulch in the alley.  So I have attracted my first bird towards my yard.

I got Mom’s safe walkway area  filled in with the new rock.  The one yard of drainage rck was more difficult to move but I only had about a yard of rock.  Moving the 3/4 rock is easier but there is of 2 yards of rock to move.  A yard of gravel is over 2000 pound or a Ton of weight depending on the rock. Moving that weight in 90 + degree weather is a challenge.

I’m being a bit whiny as I have probably move about a 1.5 yards + of the rock into critical areas with a garden rake. The other parts of the carport drive will require buckets moving the rock.  Even if I just move a couple of buckets per day the carport will be ready for wood by the 1st week in August.

Overall I a am pleased that I got most of the winter jobs done by the 1st week in August.  The garden has been a bit of a bust but I’m working on new system so that is okay to fail and learn.

 


No luck attracting birds or squirrels yet!

July 19, 2018

I know animals are very cautious when things change dramatically but I thought I’d see a few squirrels show up for the suet cake or birds use the new bird baths filled with fresh water.   I suppose the heat of summer is not the best time of the year to set up a bird feeding station.  I suspect I’ll start seeing the squirrels once the walnuts start to fall and the birds once the grapes start coming on.

I did find a tall shepard’s hook to hold the bird feeders.  I added a thick layer of mulch on the ground around the bird baths to absorb water and give the birds a nest material/drying area.  I might change the smaller birdbaths from water to sand and dirt so the birds have a choice of a dust/sand or water bath.   Many birds love a good dust bath to keep healthy.  I will be adding some DE to the mulch as the mulch seems to attract earwigs, ants and unpleasant bugs.  The bird feeders are some distance from my garden so the good bugs should not be injured by the DE.

I finally got the 10 bags of mulch from Lowes today.  This weekend I should be able to finish up the alley area in mulch.  I talked with a neighbor about sharing a load of rock but I’m not very hopeful she will commit the money to get the rock.  No problem by the end of this week, I’ll be getting two yards of 3/4 minus rock to finish up my driveway areas.  I’m tired of fighting weeds and hoping others will join in eradicating weeds in the alley.  I’m not a big fan of chemically killing weeds because my neighbor used Round up and in less than two years the weeds are back stronger and spreading from his land.  The soil that got sprayed with Roundup looks dead. There are no bugs of any sort and honestly I think Round up is awful, as it not only kills weeds it kills soil.

With Mom’s help we dug out the goat heads, minimized the “cheat grass” and after a spray of roundup all of our work has gone to waste.  The nasty weeds are back with a vengeance. Hopefully by adding mulch and rock I will have good drainage and start building the soil to support some ground cover plants that will start choking out the weeds. Enough whining about about smart people being well educated idiots.

Prepping and how the new tariffs could affect you. Anything made of plastic or cloth will probably get hit with a price hike.  Diapers or even feminine hygiene products will start costing more at the grocery store in the near future. If you buy razor blades or stock up at the dollar stores start gathering those items you will need now!  Anything with a made in Asia or made in Europe will probably see at least another 20% rise in cost because of tariffs. Athletic shoes and clothing will jump in price.  Electronics are sure to jump up in price. Now food grown in the USA should come down in price so that should mitigate rising consumer costs.

I figure you have about 4-6 weeks before the tariffs reach the consumer in the USA.  What happens in August is kids going to school.  So you might want to get your kids “school kit” fitted out now rather than wait until the end of August sales.  Get the required foot ware for school now and save money.  Gosh I forgot the school appropriate clothing.  Get it now as the USA has no real cloth making industry.   The USA is a consumer driven economy so we don’t have to make anything dontcha know!?

I’m a firm believer in free trade. But we don’t have free trade in the world.  A person in China working to make NIKES or APPLE ipads for pennies per hours is not the same as US worker making anything.   These people live in ecologic Armageddon daily.  But no one cares as the USA consumer gets his Iphone and the Chicoms get cash dollars.

Why don’t you take your “OUTRAGE MACHINE” and boycott china? Or even Africa that is putting so much plastics into the ocean via the open trash dump they have made their rivers,  Nope sorry that will never happen as it not a twitterfic virtue signal.

Twitter: I’m outrage because you are not outraged!  The subject is irrelevant.  It’s to bad as twitter did good stuff in the early days of updates about fires, floods and avoiding riots.

 

 


The grits and pork tenderloin were a big doggie food hit!

July 15, 2018

Tucker and Brodie really enjoyed the new doggie food creation.  Tonight I finished up another batch of chicken and rice  so I can switch between 3 different types of food flavors.  I love the new pressure cooker for fast cooking and it does not heat up the house!

Cooking meat to fall apart tender in my Evant pressure cooker seems to work best using the porridge setting for 25-30 minutes.  The grits cooked up okay on the rice setting and using 2 cups of water per 1 cup of grain but I think I might up the water by 1/2 of a cup as the grits seemed to be a little more chewy than my taste.  Now if you wanted to cut up sections of grits and fry it for breakfast or dinner the texture is just about perfect. This pressure cooker has become one of my favorite cooking utensils this summer.

I finally had a good wake up today!  No cramps in the legs this morning which made a nice change for the week.  I have been going outside barefoot the last few days as some people have recommended to get in touch with the earth.  I know it sounds kind of  new age Hippy-Dippy stuff  but I think there might be something to going barefoot.  I can say that my feet are no longer as tender and even after a couple of days of short walks on my wood mulch, pea gravel and lawn my feet are not as tender and I do feel physically/mentally better than before I started going barefoot.  It might be the placebo effect or just getting outside more but if it is stupid and it works it ain’t stupid!

What has surprised me the most is how fast I could go from ‘mincing’ across the mulch, too in just a few days I could walk across the wood mulch with out much of a care.  I can’t go walking across sagebrush or stickers but it is amazing to me just how quickly I went from never barefoot outside to being comfortable with doing some short little barefoot walks.

I got a little cleanup done in the backyard though it does not look all that impressive yet!  I have worked out the money to get the load of  carport/driveway rock before I get the additional two cords of wood. Money is a bit tight but it is all about the timing because having a all of these things in place before the snow flies is the focus.  I don’t want to scramble to get wood nor have to use my sump pump to drain water from the shop.  I hope to kill off the weeds with adding rock and all the wood mulch I’m adding to the alleyway area.

I may have an idea to make a 2 foot high temp./movable cedar picket fence that would work around my garden as well as fencing Mom’s house at least for a couple of years.  It should not need a permit as it is not permanently affixed to the ground.  The idea for the fence is it could be affixed easily to steel/wood posts in the future if required.

I’m working on a small area for birds that was covered by Mom’s chicken enclosure.  I put the big bird bath in place and I’m going to add a tall Shepard’s type hook set up for suet and some bird feeders. I miss watching all the birds and even the chickens as they moved through the backyard.  Those birds gave the backyard a feeling of life. From what I have read about this bird feeder hook, squirrels will go for the suet and then coat the post in suet/ fat so they can’t climb the post to get at the bird feeders. It will be interesting to see if it is true in practice. The squirrels will just have to get by eating apples and saving up walnuts from my backyard.

 


Huzzah! Mom is getting new windows!

July 11, 2018

Mom saved up for the house and had to buy some equipment and add a few things like basic maint. items, new floor,  paint etc…. for her new place.  Idaho power checked out her home and she qualifies for new insulated windows, a vapor barrier in the crawl space  along with the guys putting the insulation back where it belongs and additional insulation in the attic.  While I love my wood stove and using a couple of small AC units for cooling in summer.  Mom has a very efficient (less than 5 year old) central heating and cooling system that is darn good at heating and cooling her small home.

I’m very excited for Mom as the new windows will not only help with the cost of heating and cooling but help insulate the house against noise.  According to the guys from Idaho power all the work should be done around September perhaps into October.  Fall is a great time to get the window work done as it isn’t so buggy.

I have ordered another two cords of wood and want to help Mom a cord of wood that is a mix of Douglas fir and poplar.  I know these are fast burning woods compared to hardwoods like oak or maple.  The west just does not grow hardwoods in large forests like back east.  Back in June my wood supplier was out of Doug Fir and in July the cost of Tamarack jumped to $300.00 per cord.  If you can’t cut firewood for what ever reason and you must buy wood. Get your orders in as early as possible.  If the wood supplier needs a bit of time to get the wood make sure you are at the top of the list for deliveries.  A big bonus on getting your wood deliveries early is you get to stack and season the wood during summer and you know it is dry.  Or at least the wood is as dry a few weeks of 100 degree summer heat.

I finally got out the Ryobi mister fans and tested both via a hose hook up and using the pump bucket method. I had one of the the brass spritzer clog that I cleared via a safety pin after making sure the feed hoses were cleared.  I did a test with two units, one using a bucket and water pump and one using a hose attachment. After 3.5 hours the 5 gallon bucket of the pump test used about 3 gallons of water and the 3 amp hour battery was down to one bar of power left.  The fan mister set up of connected water hose and fan had 2 bars of power but the recharge time was almost the same.  Even with me trying to get one of the misters to work.  The mister is working!  I’m guessing you should get about 4 hours of misting per 3 amp hour battery set on high.

I know spending $80.00 for a mister/ fan is costly for many people on the lower end of the economic food chain.  Adding in the cost of 3 amp hour batteries also adds to the cost.  I know that many people don’t care for Ryobi because they are cheap tools.  But who else offers a fan and mister with a pump for under $80.00.

I’m not building a home, I’m just trying to do some basic jobs and maintenance.  I’m not suggesting you should not buy the best tools you can afford.  Right now I can afford Ryobi/rigid/ Harbor freight.