It’s damp and cold!

November 30, 2018

I know many make fun of the effect of humidity, but humidity + hot or cold temps makes a big difference.  So we had some fog and now a cold rain and it is less than pleasant.  I’d rather deal with snow rather than the cold, dark and damp.

I did get a couple of things done.  The hot glue gun did great on repairing the bird feeder.  My glue gun repair was not very pretty but it was effective.  With some more practice I should get better on controlling the flow of glue and make better looking repairs.  Thankfully the bird and squirrels seem to think having the feeder out for feeding is good enough and have not critiqued my work.  I have never fed birds through a winter with bird feeders so I hope I have bought enough bird feed to get through till the end of January 2019.  The bird bath of water and not ice seems very popular with the birds so I’m going to make adding water and clearing the ice in the bird bath to the morning chores.  The repaired bird feeder has a place for a Suet cake so with with the extra fat, non-ice/snow for water and still a few grapes on the vines for a little sugar kick the little birds should do okay over winter.

I’m making the egg carton fire starters again.  These are easy to make as all you need is some wood chip/saw dust,  a cardboard egg carton and melted paraffin wax.  Some people add a wick but I find just lighting the edge of the egg carton with a match works great.  I just start melting the wax and fill the the egg cartons with wood chips/sawdust.  Then pour the wax over the wood chips.   Some people add little pine cones or twigs of aromatic wood but for my wood stove aromas are not an issue.  Using this type of fire starter all you need is a couple of small chunks (1-2inch size) of dry seasoned wood add the fire starter and usually your fire will be off to a roaring start.

I think most of us try to use coals from last night’s fire to start the morning fire but how nice is it to have a reliable fire starter that needs minimally kindling to get going?  At this point I have more than enough wood chips drying and plenty of egg crates and wax. The slowest part of the process is melting the paraffin wax over low heat so it does not combust.

I bought 20 pounds of brown rice for the doggie food thing, but I’m excited that I can store brown rice and use it.  I prefer brown rice for it’s flavor, but until I started making homemade dog food I did not store brown rice long term as it can go rancid as it is not stable for long term storage like white rice.  The new electric pressure pots make cooking all sort of grains very easy and quick changes the prep game for me.

These electric insta-pots have made my life easier since they are plug and program.  Much easier to use than a a regular pressure cooker/canner.

Welp! I’m all over the place tonight so I’ll finish up and see you all this weekend.


Caught up? Not yet…..

November 28, 2018

Mom is squared away for a basic stuff. The straw bale is in place and I filled up the barrel with the bag of chicken layer pellets.  It was so cute to watch her feed a bit of tuna to one of the kittens.  Kittens are always cute and these little guys seem to be doing very well in the shed.  Of course Mom is doing everything to give the Mama cat and kittens good food and a warm draft free place out of the weather.   Mom got her kitten fixed so at least he won’t be adding to the feral cat population.  I gave Mom a couple of buckets of wood.  One bucket was a very heavy 18 gallon bucket of  Mill ends and a lighter weight bucket of kindling.  I have not used the mill ends that much this year.  I really like using the Doug fir as kindling and I’m trying to get on a more regular kindling cutting schedule and getting a more kindling cut before it get all cold and snowy this winter.  I did pretty good today getting my kindling box over full in about 45 minutes of total cutting time.

My axe and hatchet seem to be getting a bit dull so I’ll need to sharpen them up.  Great news I bought a small bench grinder for sharpening the edged yard tools.  I don’t think I’ll affect the temper of the steel of the axes but I’ll need to check out how to use a grinder to make a good axe sharp and then finish edge with a stone.  I don’t expect the grinder to make an axe sharp.  I just hope it makes the axe to be sharp enough to finish sharpening with a stone.  Even a good quality hunting or fishing knife is only given a semi-sharp cutting edge.  Axes need to be sharpen regularly.  No,  I don’t believe a dull axe is better than a sharp axe. Just a couple of firewood size chunks of straight grained wood cut into kindling will fill my kindling box that will last for at least a week.

I added a small orbital sander and a hot glue gun to my Tool kit.  I have not had much luck using a square sander as the sand paper always seems to disintegrate and the edges of the sander always seem to bite into the material I want to sand.  I hope I’ll be less aggressive using an orbital sander.   Now the Hot glue gun I never really considered as a tool but adhesives have become much better at holding materials and glue guns can hold many different types of materials from glass to wood to fabrics.  Also I hate that a bottle of some sort of glue and after I open the bottle for one job I can’t use the glue in 30 days as the spout is clogged or the glue just won’t flow.  Hopefully the new glue gun will at least heat the glue stick and the glue will flow.  I don’t expect miracles but I’m getting a bit tired of of buying a 4 oz.  bottle of glue and if I’m lucky I get .05 oz of usable glue.

Rainy perhaps snowy week coming up so it’ll hit or miss on the yard cleanup.  I don’t mind snow, but a cold rain is just miserable to work in.

Hope you all had a great Turkey Day! Mine went well!

November 25, 2018

Thursday turned into a warm day in the 50’s F. so my timing was a little off for cooking the bird.   My little 11.6 bird cooked in about 3 rather than 4 hours. But it worked out as the bird got a good rest in some tinfoil and was very tasty.   I did sweet potato fries rather than the traditional yam or Sweet potato casserole. Pie is enough sweets for me at Thanksgiving!  About the only bad notes is Mom had a fall a few days ago and is moving slow and I’m still building up my stamina, so we didn’t linger after the meal.  Great thing is Mom took home a care package of food so she didn’t have to cook for several days.  As for myself my stamina is building.  I’m not always sure if I’m working “smarter” or I’m getting stronger but I am getting jobs around the house done with out feeling wiped out.

Today (Nov.25) I got all of last year’s wood moved out to burn or to the top of the porch rack.  I tossed a big chunk of the elm into the stove and it burned very hot for over 6 hours.  I had to open a window and occasionally leave a door open to help mitigate the heat. This year, I’m having a problem keeping the heat steady through the day.  With the new windows and siding the house holds heat much better and using dry seasoned wood is throwing off my previous wood burning skills.   So far the front of the house is holding about 70-72 degrees overnight and the back of the house is a bit cooler at 65 degrees.  Ironically I think I will get better at maintaining a stable temp. in the house as we get colder and move into more consistent winter time temps.

Mom hurt her lower back in a fall and is coming into town Monday to get checked out by the doctor.  If you have ever hurt your low back and/or butt muscles you know everything you do will hurt, including doing nothing. So Mom will do her grocery shopping, see the Doc and then the both of us will do a farm store shopping trip to get the animal feed and stuff for the next couple of weeks.  I’ll use the Kia van to get all big stuff that won’t fit in Mom’s Explorer and take it to her house, put it away so she doesn’t have to lift and move any feed bags or do any heavy lifting.

Mom has a wood stove and of course the kindling is running out at the same time she can’t cut up kindling.  I have a few buckets of mill ends and  small chunks of very dry Poplar that will make great fire starter for Mom’s wood stove.  I really want to cut/split a good amount of Doug Fir into kindling so we both have a week or two worth of the stuff.   I can hear when the Doug fir kindling takes hold making a crackling and snapping fire and a small box of that kindling goes a long way.  I’m not a big fan of Wranglestar of Youtube fame, but I have to admit his large kindling box lasting 2 weeks after 15-20 minutes of chopping is doable even for us physically challenge people.

For me the 2 biggest things is start with a sharp axe/hatchet and pick straight grain chunks of wood!  Start with a 3.5 pound wood axe to cut the wood into smaller chunks and then use the hatchet to make kindling.  Always protect your hands with heavy duty gloves and hold the wood at least mid way down it’s length when using the hatchet.  It’s doubtful the hatchet will split the wood first swing and this method helps prevent mashed/cut fingers.

Last but not least, pick up all the kindling, after you cut a good amount.  Filling your box/bucket as you cut is not very efficient. After you cut the wood (Physically tougher) picking up the kindling is usually physically easy.  So you get a little break/rest cycle.

I have to remind myself not to get overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.  While I don’t recommend procrastinating, sometimes the job will have to be finished later. One job I’m adding is filling up the bird bath this winter. I added a couple of bird feeders late summer and no birds came back after Mom moving out the chickens.  Now the feeder is full of birds and the bird bath is a favorite spot in the late afternoon.  I find watching the little sparrows splash around in the bird bath fun to watch.  Especially when there are about 20+ birds waiting to get in the bath.

The doing a bunch of little jobs is working out great for my physical recovery.

November 17, 2018

I was a little surprised that the small 11.4 turkey was mostly thawed in 2 days in my fridge.  Now that turkey is in the brine and will get a full 5 days of soaking before it gets on the BBQ.  I’m going to try using the apple juice as the steam/liquid rather than beer to see how it flavors the meat.  Adding liquid basting, or adding little steam to a large chunk of meat helps cook the meat all the way though.

I hope I can find another little turkey at the store to freezer for BBQ next summer.  I think many people don’t realize that Turkey makes a great summer BBQ meat if you use a small 12 pound bird and brine the bird for a few days. I love a well cook turkey year round and I think it is a travesty that turkey is only cooked during the late fall.

Gosh yow would think I had no idea how to use a wood stove to heat a home!   In my defense I bought a lot of poor quality box wood for my first wood pile.  Then I got a lot of elm and then it was buy anything that would burn other than terrible trash wood.  Now I have wood that was dry when when I bought it and it has seasoned for at least 6 months and I have to learn how to burn it.  When you are used to burning green or not seasoned wood for a year, having good dry/season wood sort of screws with your wood plan.   Gosh my dry and seasoned wood is burning much more efficiently than I anticipated.

I did cut a little bit of kindling today and I picked out the straight grained chunks of wood.  Not dealing with twisted grains around knots/branches made cutting kindling less of a chore.  I’ll give Wranglestar credit about his kindling video about picking out wood that is straight grain and free of knots that is wood for kindling.

It is not all bad. While the living room with the wood stove is warm the back rooms are holding around 70 degree F. temps which is pleasant.

Got an 11 pound turkey for the BBQ!

November 15, 2018

I’m very excited to buy a small 11.4 pound turkey for $5.62 to BBQ this Thanksgiving.  A 12 pound turkey seems to work the best on my BBQ for cooking. I rotate the turkey every 15-20 minutes and for a 12 pound turkey that is about 4 hours of cook time if you maintain 300-350 degrees F.

I like using a brine of about a pound of dark brown sugar, a pound of pickling salt and Apple juice as the liquid in a 3 gallon food grade bucket in my garage fridge to safely thaw/brine the turkey.  Use a gallon sized ziploc bag filled with the same brine to keep the turkey submerged, if the bag breaks it won’t screw up your brine ratio.  Spices are up to you, but I like adding plenty of pepper corns, red pepper flake and oregano to counter the sweetness of the mesquite charcoal flavor.  Rest your turkey, breast down at least 20-30 minutes after cooking.  This helps to keep the breast meat from drying out.

I know that Frying a turkey is a thing. But it is kind or dangerous and I don’t think people know the advantages of BBQing a turkey. 1. Using the BBQ for turkey frees the oven up to do all those casseroles and baking duties.  2. Men love BBQ and love watching BBQ smoke and meat cooking.  So having a turkey cooking that needs to be attended to every 15-20 minutes makes men very useful and they are out of the kitchen!  It is a win/win, the guys can gossip outdoors and the ladies can gossip in the kitchen.  Another couple of advantages is you will have great meat leftovers (maybe) for some of the best turkey tacos and sandwiches. Plus a roasted carcass of bones to make soup stocks.  If you need to have a large turkey to feed your family/crew I’d recommend buying 2 smaller turkeys in the 12 pound range rather than buying a big 24 pound turkey.  Cooking a turkey for over 8 hours takes a bite out of the relaxation/fun of enjoying the holiday.

I’m not a big fan of canned yams but I’m thinking I may add some sweet potato fries to the menu. The food is traditional just a different way of cooking the sweet taters.  I make a mac and cheese that is so dense that it can only be taken in small bites.  But it is so good!

It is strange that so many mental midgets focus on “cultural appropriation”. When that is the USA melting pot in action. If I take what I like /love in your culture and make it my own.  Is that now a bad thing?   Not going to play that game with the morons like Antifa idiots nor the more “educated elites” . Nope you elites are not that impressive and I’ll keep faith with the people of Idaho and all the others in flyover country.  You know the people that make the food and extract the oil and gas.

Leaves and outdoor clean up

November 14, 2018

This new recovery system is working out better than I originally anticipated.  A huge bonus for me has been getting more stuff cleaned up in the house during my “rest periods” from the outside jobs.  Sometimes it is getting my shopping list and coupons ready to go for the week.  Doing a little dusting or getting the dishes soaking to wash on my next break before going out and doing more physical work outside.

Toady I was a little surprised by how many little jobs I managed to get done today by using the 15 minute mix of outdoor job, rest, indoor job, rest,  routine.  I got the porch wood rack full of a mix of woods. The kitchen got a good wipe down and all the dishes are clean. All the leaves or clear of most of the major path/walkways.

Getting these jobs done today really made me feel productive and I’m setting more little jobs for mowing up leaves in the front yard over the next few days.  My back yard job will be raking up leaves and cutting kindling to break up the hard jobs and easy jobs.  Oh and shopping for the turkey and Thanksgiving meal goodies.  What is great is I have these jobs planned to be worked on for the next 5 days so if it takes a little longer than 15-20 minutes to do a job I can can come back to it another day.

I’m still in the build up stamina mode but in some ways at the end of the day I feel I have been more productive getting all those little jobs done rather than focusing on some of big jobs started but not completed,  or I’m down for several days and all those little jobs pile up again to become big jobs.  I can’t be the only person that loves waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen, the laundry is done or knowing you can have a cup of coffee relax and plan what you want to get done, rather than what you HAVE to get done today.

Anyhoo, Mom dropped off the electric pressure I bought her as it just isn’t some thing she is using to cook right now.  I don’t mind because now I can double up my recipes and even make human food using the insta pots.  Mom also borrowed my Toro leaf mulcher /vacuum for her yard.  The mulcher will help Mom start adding more organic material to her garden area and help keep leaves from being bagged for trash.  I trashing the killer walnut leaves and moving the saver leaves to nulch into the garden beds.  Right now every thing in the gardens is a bit of a mess as I’m still getting the new beds finished up.

There is still a lot on my to do list to get done before spring.  I love my new pole saw and see many uses for it.  I also don’t want to concuss myself playing with the damn tool.  Once the cherry trees are down I’ll have spot for the green house to be built in the spring.  I have a plan I’ll just have to pace myself.

Huzzah!I got the house cleaned up (mostly)

November 11, 2018

One thing about this flare has been bothering about the flare is I was doing just the minimal housework to keep things going.  Using my limited energy levels for wood cutting and hauling sort of was the priority with temps dropping into the 20’s at night.

Needless to say the basic cleanliness of the house dropped of rather significantly overall and having furry doggies dragging in leaves and stuff from the yard made my floors/carpets a disaster!   But in the last few days I have been able to catch up on most of the household stuff.

I went a little bit crazy and got a lot of the homemade dog food made up and stored in the freezer. My fridge is finally emptied of all the meats I got on sale. I finally got it packed/wrapped and stored in the freezer.  The floors are swept or vacuumed and I even got a little bit of dusting done in the living room and kitchen.

I ignored the wood pile and focused on just getting the the house back to clean livability levels.  This has helped me feel better mentally because a dirty house just is not a happy place to live!

The plan for next week is to keep working on the kindling buckets, cutting some of the bigger chunks of wood to fire wood size.  I will mix in raking leaves and yard cleanup as I can mix up those tasks when I get tired of doing one thing I can use a different muscle group on different tasks.  It’s getting a bit cool overnight but it is dry and the wind is supposed to be calm this next week, so yard work should be easier to accomplish.

Next week schedule will probably look like … 15-20 minutes work on raking leaves, watch a you tube video.  15-20 minutes stacking wood on the porch play some easy video games or read some news. 15-20 minutes of mowing the lawn/sucking up leaves, have lunch and take a nap.   Then repeat for about 5 days as I slowly build up stamina.

Actually I’ve done this sort of schedule when I came home after becoming disabled.  What is great now is I have better tools to get stuff done in that 15-20 minutes worth of work.   While cutting kindling still takes an axe I have a hatchet, axe, spitting maul and different weight sledge hammers to get the job done.  I have a couple of light weight chainsaws I’m comfortable using to cut wood.  Now I have a little battery power leaf blower to blow stuff into small piles and then I use the leaf rake to finish collecting the leaves.

While it has been a bit humbling to myself to have to rebuild my stamina.  It has also been a bit of a boost to know that I have the tools to do the work even if it is in 20 minute blocks after a rest/recovery period.  I prepped good to build all those tools up just in case I had a flare and could not work very hard because of a lack of stamina.

I was a little bummed out because I did not bounce back physically but finally I did back to that Idea of do just 5 minutes of work.  Heck, in just five minutes I could fill my little wagon with wood or add 2 arm loads of wood to the porch wood rack.  Sure I had to sit and rest for a bit but I could get those jobs done.  A few 5 minutes a couple of times a day of moving wood filled the porch wood rack.  A few 5-15 minutes of cutting kindling will fill that kindling box.

I know there were many jobs I don’t start because I think it my take hours of work to accomplish.   But if you break the job down into smaller sections it become very doable.   Okay concrete is a time critical job but there are many small jobs that have to be done first before you bring in concrete.  Most big jobs are actually made up of a bunch of small jobs.

I guess that is about it on my little rant.  Overall things are a difficult, but I’m getting on top of the jobs. I’m building up my stamina, I can still keep my self warm and fed until I recover some what physically.  Overall life is good if not perfect.


Bad flare of the CIDP, Sorry that’s life.

November 7, 2018

Ugh, this flare has been really bad this time.  I’m slowly recovering and today I got the porch wood pile re-stacked about to 50% + full.  So I’m increasing my working levels from about 5 minutes and a rest to 15 minutes and a rest.

I took a class for using the new pressure cooker  and you must saute your brown rice in butter or olive oil for about 30 seconds and then cook it for about 22-24 minutes per  2 cups of rice. Of course adding 2 cups of liquid per cup of rice.  No  pre-rinse of the rice is needed using this method and the rice has a little bite bite and does not get mushy.

I cooked up a bunch of  chicken quarters (about 6 pounds) that was a big batch of chicken considering I added 6 cups of water I was pushing the POT’s limits.  I cooked the meat for 30 minutes and it was falling off the bone and then some.  I think about 22-25 minutes would have worked for shredding the chicken for meals.  Now I’m using the meat for pet food now, but there is no reason you could not buy cheap meats available and cook it up in the pressure cooker and bag it up and place in a freezer.

It was a bit slow but I had a good day moving wood to the porch wood wood rack. Last weekend  I tried to cut some kindling and I could not maintain my grip on my hatchet.  Now I did a little better using the axe and hatchet cutting wood.  A couple weeks back I cut a dead cherry tree limb before I had a flare.  Today I finished cutting up the limbs and it felt good.  I’m still a little slow but I’m building up my stamina.

Sorry this is a short post but I want you all to know I’m okay and still working on my goals.  I just got knocked down physically and it will take some time to rebuild my stamina.