Very strange weather in SW Idaho this year.

January 27, 2019

I will admit, I was wrong on the SW Idaho winter weather.  I expected a dry and very cold winter and we have Spring like temps in January.  In the first week of Feb. we will have daytime highs in the 50 degree F. range according to the weather forecasts. I don’t mind as the warm ‘winter” has helped me on the fire wood usage, as well as stock both myself and Mom with kindling and fire starters.  Ironically I’m using more fire starters and kindling for fires 2 times a day but I’m using less wood overall. I think I’ve used just a bit over a cord of wood so far this winter.  That is very good, as I have been sharing some of my wood with Mom to help her build her wood pile.

I really want to have at least 2+ years worth of seasoned wood on hand and with the warm winter that should be doable this year. I suspect that many people bought wood in fall 2018 won’t buy more wood in 2019 because the winter was so mild.  That is great for me as I’ll start stacking more wood in April to get a start my 2 years worth goal and buy early. While others think there won’t be another cold/snowy winter. I got both of my kindling boxes filled plus an18 gallon bucket full of kindling today.  If the winter weather stays mild I should be good too go through March!

I’m not stopping work on getting the kindling cut or making fire starters. But I need to focus more on getting everything ready for spring planting and getting the Greenhouse installed while we have this warm weather for at least the next 10 days. I’m looking at buying a lot of lumber, foundation stuff and leveling the soil for the Green house.  I have to cut down some smaller dead trees and clean up/ trim the healthy trees.  While I doubt I can grow enough food to be fully independent. I hope to grow enough fresh veggies not to be fully dependent on the grocery stores and 3 day supply cycle.

I have some irises in a protected corner of my front yard and there is about 2-3 inches of new growth in freaking January!  The greenhouse getting built is a priority to take advantage of this mild winter. I got some cleanup done on the backyard and garden beds.  I need Mom’s input on some of her plants/pots in my garden area.  I have a plan on how I will do the “cutting down a tree” work but I want a spotter before I try to limb a tree and cut it down.  Even if it is someone to call 911 if I screw up and get bonked on the head.

Update on the drainage rock so far there has been no flooding into the shop.  We have not had a lot of snow but we have had rain and so far the shop floor is staying dry.  Even the wood I stored in the Carport area has stayed dry.  So I hope that little water drainage problem is mostly fixed. The little bird feeders have a huge success, especially the bird baths.  While I have not attracted many of the rare or colorful birds. The sparrows and doves are fun to watch feeding and bathing.

Don’t get complacent or lazy.  I suppose I did this last year, as I did not keep my focus on all forms of prepping and let some things slide a little bit.  Sure, I had reasons why I slacked off but those reasons won’t matter if a disaster hits.  A great thing about spending so many years prepping is I have the basics in food, water, tools etc. I just need to top off a few basics and build on what I already have on hand.

I’m one of those people that has been almost 10 years and I started a bit before the 2008 melt down and even I’m still preparing today. Of course I’m worried I’m not prepared if things go sideways.  All you can do is the best you can do and hopefully not make many bad mistakes.



A lot has been happening

January 20, 2019

I added a nice second hand elliptical machine to my house.  I don’t want to get crazy working on the exercise machine right a way and am slowly trying to build up my stamina along with all the other jobs I’m getting done around the house.  Spending 30 minutes cutting kindling is not the same as doing Aerobic exercise on an Elliptical. Yes I know if you want to burn fat you need to go slow for at least 20-60 minutes, but I also don’t want to have a heart attack trying to get healthy.  I’m slowly working up my time on the elliptical several times a day.  What I love is the elliptical machine does not hurt my knees and it feels like I’m taking a natural stride compared to many cheap elliptical  machines.

I really like this machine and I feel the load on the 2-3 minute sections to start off, but the motion is good and does not hurt my knees.   I didn’t get fat overnight so I sure as hell won’t get skinny over night.  I got really knocked down over a project this Fall and suffered a “flare” . While my strength is okay, I really want to build my stamina and lose weight.  Eventually I’ll be able to do 30-60 minutes of cardio/ fat burning.  It will just take a bit of slow going to get to that first 5 minute and then on to that 10 minute threshold.

Back when I was in the Army doing Physical training if I could reach about 10 minutes of cardio, keeping it up for 30-45 minutes was easier.  So I’m working slowly up to that 10 minutes of Cardio.  For gosh sake, I’m  not try to be physically fit in a few days.  While I don’t think you need a Doctor’s permission to exercise.  I’m going to add cardio via the elliptical machine in daily but slowly, working up to a solid fat burning and cardio 30 minute work out.  Yes I’m doing a few 2-3 minutes on the elliptical several times daily.  I’ll start moving up the time to 5 and 10 minutes in as I gain strength and stamina.  The thing I really like about the elliptical machines is it does not hurt my knees.  Yet I’m mostly supporting my own weight while exercising.

Being disable adds a few more challenges to life.  I can’t not see that I’m disabled, but I can make make the most of my of my abilities .  Goodness knows that being overweight and unhealthy is not good for anyone or myself.

Excuses are like are like assholes.  Everyone has one and they all smell.  I’m doing something about me being fat and unhealthy.  Just a start, but you have to start somewhere.


Xmas lights removed and I fix my porch light.

January 6, 2019

Taking down the Christmas lights was easy as almost all lights were at ground level or only required a step stool to put in place.  I fell in love with the LED light nets for decorating my chain link fence.  Who would have thought there was a simple and relatively cheap way to make a chain link fence look festive.  I will be adding more of the light nets to my Christmas decoration for XMAS 2019!

I moved my mail box onto the left side of the porch railings.  Now Smokey the cat has much easier access to getting in the front porch. Smokey is getting a little older and jumping five feet is getting a bit more difficult so adding a platform so she only has to jump about 2.5 feet should be much easier for her this year.  Smokey also has a small cut on one of her front paws between her poly-dactyl toes. I guess she got it caught while roaming outside.  I’m bathing the foot in Band-aid Anti-Bacterial, antiseptic, anesthetic  wash and watching how it is healing.  I don’t think stitches are doable in that small area,  so I’ll try and keep the cat box super clean, keep her from jumping around and give her paw, some time to heal the next few days.  Smokey was a little displeased about getting squirted with the Band-aid liquid but after a minute or so she was putting more weight on the injured paw.

My front porch light is fixed and all it took was a new bulb.  My front porch light has been wonky in the past and I was a bit afraid I would have to rewire it to fix the flashing affect it had developed.  It was just the LED bulb base was  becoming separated from the bulb so the contacts were iffy.  I added a new bulb and made sure I got the cover on tight so no rain or snow could get to the light bulb.  The wiring still looked brand new so that won’t need to be replaced.

Some great news Mom will give me one of her old windows to start my cold frame experiment on one of my raised beds.  That will save me some money and we can trade wood for the window as Mom likes using the mill ends for starting a fire.  It will be interesting to see how much difference adding a bit of glass to a raised bed will raise the soil temp. in the nominal winter months, spring and how it holds heat in the late fall.

It is getting harder to trust the food supply in the USA.  I also think many of the food borne illnesses are happening because many people don’t know how to wash veggies and fruits or understand cross-contamination and basic food safety.  Many High schools eliminated Home Economics and Shop classes back in the late 80’s early 90’s to focus on English and Math core studies and then the PTBs dumb down that Math and English classes to make a quota of graduates.

I’d tell every kid today is learn skills you can use today or in the next week. Yes, work for no wages if you find a successful  person that can teach that skill.  Are you getting paid to learn in college?  I’m learning about what I can and can not do. I can’t slam dunk a basketball but I’m darn good at making kindling and fire starters.  I can’t tell you your priorities in life but staying warm is darn important to me.

How do you start?  Well you just start and you fail, learn and go on with the same cycle.  Failure is apart of learning.  You learn what you can do and what you can’t do.  Hell, I never thought I could replace a leaky toilet or replace some “dodgy’ electrical outlets.  I don’t mind paying the pro’s when I know I don’t know enough.

Last but not least don’t buy Cottenelle tissue.  It is at best adequate but every time I load the paper roller it sheds paper dust.  It is a low quality product at any price. Don’t buy it ever.  Even generics are more honest at a the same price point.

I cut kindling for Mom and myself.

January 5, 2019

I’m working on making kindling cutting easier for me and I’m getting a bit more efficient cutting kindling.  Trust me, starting a fire just using a match is nothing to be sneered at.  It really does not take many Doug fir logs to make kindling.  I am getting better about using using the hatchet to easily to split small chunks of wood into kindling.  I think with the big 18 gallon bushel bucket of kindling and another couple of egg cartons worth of fire starters, Mom should be “good to go” for starting wood fires through the month of January.  Now both of my wood boxes are full and I have a large box of kindling from my wood supplier as backup along with all the wood trimmings I collect from my trees. For me being able to start a fire quick and easy, ranks right up there with the new windows/siding for making this winter more comfortable.  Also if you pair a poplar chunk of wood in your stove with some Douglas fir prepare for a very hot fire box!  Overall if you live in the Pacific NW Doug fir is probably the most cost effective wood you will find for heating your home. You can also find black walnut, elm, lots of fruit woods and even some maple.  But most of those hardwoods also have a Premium price.  I think poplar is an good wood choice when paired with another wood and I have been very happy with my Doug fir/poplar wood mix this winter.

Personally I’d like to have at least 4 cords of wood on hand. It looks like a mild winter for heating for me so far. I have probably burned about 3/4 of a cord of wood through the fall, perhaps a full cord. I also gave/sold  Mom some of my Doug fir and she has received a little doug fir via kindling so I’m not sure about how much wood I have used so far this winter.  I could say I have emptied at least one of my wood racks that are 4 ft x 8ft x 18 inches, I think that is called a “face cord”.  Now I have also used quite a bit of my poplar wood. About another “face cord” of that wood.  I guesstimating, but I have used about 1 cord of wood so far this winter.  This has been a relatively warm winter so far as the coldest temps. in SW Idaho have been in the mid teen F. range.  So far I have not seen any 0 degrees F. at all this winter.  Next is learning my new windows and insulation. My house now holds in heat much better than I ever expected. I don’t concern myself about the wood stove burning over night.  Will the house hold the heat till morning from the wood stove heat is the thing I want as a result.

My stamina and physical strength still need some work.  I’ll never be as strong as was before I got disabled, but I can build up and be stronger and have more endurance overall. What I want to do, still has not caught up with what I can physically do.   That dichotomy can be a bit difficult to process when making plans for the future. My physical abilities is what it is but I think I can improve that base line in 2019.

I’m changing up the doggie food diet and adding a little greek yogurt and a little cheese to give the pups a little more calcium.  The pups actually seem to like a bit of variety and don’t mind a different menu as long as it isn’t to drastic of a change making wet food for the dogs. One of my dogs devoured the new wet food, one seems to need a bit more coxing.  I can’t say it a raw meat diet because I don’t trust  serving raw meat from a grocery store to my dogs. Not feeding my dogs canned dog food does cost a bit more but overall the dogs seem to be doing better and I know what food they are eating.