November 27, 2019
It is confirmed I got 2 male kitties and both have been fixed a got the rabies shot and another shot for most the basic cat stuff, though there is another recommended shot for cats. I got the kittens fixed at a local pet rescue called “Pet Haven” and they focus on cat rescues. So for $90.00 I had two male kittens neutered and given rabies and another “cat” vaccine. The kittens did not seem overly stressed and no problems ( infections/ sutures) have come up five days after surgery. The kittens have been climbing trees and are still in (kitten mode) of exploring the world via my backyard portion of it. Of course Ash the kitten decided to jump into the wood stove when I was cleaning out the wood ash.
I’m trying to fill up my “kindling box”. I should have made a smaller box to fill. I split up enough kindling to fill the box about 5-6 inches deep. Mom picked up a big box of kindling that should last her a week or two and I filled up my indoor kindling box so the time to get to work again! I’m staying ahead of out kindling wood needs and I have had time to sharpen the axe and hatchet between cutting sessions. Plus I love my new wood cutting “stumps”. Splitting chunks of wood is much easier, if your cutting stump is about 18-24 inches tall depending on your height. Cutting kindling works best for me around 24-30 inches stump. I was amazed how much better my axe splits firewood with that extra six inch of travel time/gravity assist. I would suggest that you split wood with an axe at level between your hips and knees, or around 18-24 inches for most people. Cutting kindling seems to work best for me at a height of 24-30 inches. I’m 5 ft. 6 and this is wood kindling cutting height is just below kitchen counter top height.
The BIG!!! winter storm that hit was a little over hyped, at least for what hit around my place in Nampa. I did get a lot of wind but not much more than just damp ground from all the SNOW!! I’m glad the storm was a “bust” as I could get more yard cleanup done in the backyard. Hopefully this weekend I can finish up all the leaves in the backyard and get some cleanup done on the grape vines, roses and trees done around the house. Once that cleanup is done I can start adding Xmas lights to the front yard. I love using the Xmas light nets on my chain link fence! The net lights are easy to put up and look great with very little effort. I haven’t installed Xmas lights on the exterior of the house since I got vinyl siding. I don’t want to drill into the siding and most “clips” don’t seem to fit into my siding. I’d like to add a couple of those projector type lights but that will depend on the budget.
For Thanksgiving I’m setting up BBQing the Turkey over Mesquite lump charcoal. I’m brining the turkey in kosher salt, brown sugar in apple cider and a few fresh herbs and spices. If you can maintain a BBQ temp of 325-350 for 2-4 hours. Cooking a Turkey on the grill is simple if not easy because you have to rotate the bird about every 20 minutes to cook evenly. I’m cooking the Lodge Southern cookbook Mac and Cheese. At 2.5 pounds of cheese, plus butter, milk and half & half. The density of dairy goods is epic! Sausage stuffing, mash potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted green beans with garlic and fresh baked bread will be on the menu. Of course we have not forgotten the pie. Lemon Meringue for me and Pumpkin pie for Mom.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! It has been a “strange” year of trying new stuff, getting ahead and then falling behind projects. I’m so thankful that the pantry and freezer is full, the house is warm and the bills are paid.
November 19, 2019
I finally got some work done this week! I got motivated to get some of the “little tasks”completed around my house and got to help out Mom with her house and some tree cutting cleanup.
Mom’s tree cutter did a less than optimal job lifting a tree and leaving debris all over the yard and hanging on the fence. It’s a bit like claiming I’m barber/hairdresser and then cut only bangs badly! Well the situation sucked but Mom got a lot of cleanup work done last weekend. So Mom and I jumped in with our little chainsaws and cleared most of the larger branches hanging or laying against the fence. I know that my B&D 20 volt chainsaw can cut about 3-4 inch diameter log that is wet. The B&D went through 2-3 inch dry wood branches like butter. I did change out 20 volt/1.5 amp battery about 20 minutes into the work. I think the first battery was partially discharged as I add a fully charged battery and it easily cut the 3-4 inch diameter log into 5 or 6 firewood size chunks of wood.
I got a couple of tree stumps from the job helping Mom for about 45-60 minutes of labor. The Plum wood stumps are perfect for wood cutting other than not having a level surface. Having a cutting stump about knee high seems about perfect for splitting wood. Cutting kindling requires a stump of about 18-24 inches high for me as I’m 5 foot 6 and female. I had a tall cutting stump that is great for cutting kindling but a shorter stump makes splitting logs easier as you get a gravity assist . As a 5′ 6” female I know I can generate more cutting energy directed at a stump 24 inches tall rather than 30 inches tall. OMG that plum wood is hard and dense. I’m still learning how to sharpen an axe and My axe bounced off the Plum stump. This axe cuts through Doug fir, white maple with no problem.
Speaking of wood. I got a call from a wood supplier that asked for cash upfront for a wood delivery because his truck needed an engine rebuild and I never got the wood nor any info. Well this weekend I got a call from this person and said they owed me a load of wood. My thoughts were less than charitable at first. He was correct he did owe me a load of firewood. Perhaps he felt bad and was trying to fix the wrong he had done to me and possibly other people. I started thinking about the offer of wood that I had pre-paid for wood to help him get cash to rebuild a truck engine. Perhaps he lied/overstated the issue but he seems to want make thing right. I’ll call him back and take delivery of the wood or the $250.00 I paid him. What more could this guy offer to make things right?
I have screwed up with people in my life and have apologized, tried to correct a problem and be met with silence. As nothing I could do could mitigate the “TRANSGRESSION”. It really sucks for me to treat another person the same way. I have room for a cord of good wood and I can always top off Mom’s wood pile. So at this point it looks like a win/win for everyone. I/Mom get some fire wood and this person fixes/ makes thing right in his business dealings. Happy ending for all!
I got the lawnmower out to clean up the leaves and the day was perfect for work. I filled two 65 gallon trashcans full of yard debris. The front lawn is cleared of most leaves so no lawn/leaf mold should develop. I filled up the porch wood rack and added a box for firewood that is smaller split firewood size but larger than kindling. I should be better at maintaining a fire. Sadly I am not, so I’ll have to open a window of to cool the house and practice my fire building. I have a wood stove rated for a well insulated 2000 sq. ft. home when I bought it I had a poorly insulated 1200 sq. foot home. Now the house has new windows, additional insulation and vinyl siding. After 2 years I’m still not good with maintaining a temp. in the house. It goes against the grain to open a window to vent heat from the wood stove.
November 8, 2019
I’m on my way to become a “crazy cat lady” though I have not bought or invested in a stock pile of boxed wine. I bought a cat “tree/kitty condo” from Amazon. I was surprised that by the low cost and what seems to be a great quality cat condo. I did a lot compare a lot of different cat condos based on price, dimensions and customer ratings and went with the Go Petclub condo for about $48.00. The cat condo fits well in corner but was stable sitting in the middle of the room without wall support. The platforms and boxes are 3/8-1/2 inch thick particle board and the support pillars are probably thick cardboard tubes with fairly thick plastic end caps to accept the screws to build the condo. The total height is a little over 4 foot tall. You get the basic type Ikea sort of pictograph building instructions. I made a couple of mistakes with using the wrong screw in a couple of spots. Over all it was a simple 30 minute job to build the cat condo.
The “condo” is covered with a plush “fabric” rather than a thick carpet, but I priced all of the pet/farm stores and to get the about the same size cat condo locally would have cost around $90.00-130.00. I will admit that some of the more expensive local products used a plush carpet on the platforms rather than a plush fabric. But none of more expensive condos used quality plywood rather than OSB or particle board for the boxes/platforms or solid wood for the pillars under those platforms. When the fabric gets worn in a few years I can replace the fabric with carpet if I choose or I can just add more plush fabric. One thing I have to say is all of the posts and the ladder of this cat tower has sisal rope for cat scratching and that will help save my furniture. Not a big deal as the kittens don’t really scratch up my furniture. Always good to give kittens another safe outlet.
I’m new to using a lot of kitty litter and cleaning a litter box more often as my Smokey cat tended to go poo outside most of the time. The kittens use the litter box a lot and clumping kitty litter is easy to scoop and clean daily. Non-clumping kitty litter is hard to scoop daily, smells worse and it seems as equal too or no more dusty compared to clumping kitty litter. Get a covered kitty litter box and scoop out the clumps at least every 1-2 days and the aroma of having a kitty litter box is very minimal.
I have been trying to gauge my fire wood usage in comparison to previous year’s wood heating and I got nothing! That is not exactly true as I think I need about 4 cords of soft woods to heat all winter. Winter in SW Idaho can be all over the place. Will this winter be like the snowpocolypse of 2016/2017? or will it be a throwback of 1982/1983 of six weeks of -20 degree F. in late January-February. I think we will get a cold winter but not a wet winter. I think it will be a “deep freeze” of -10 or -20 degrees as the high temp of the day with little snow. I do think the winter temps night time temps will be cold. I still suck at banking a fire.
If you like eating pork get stocked up now! Bacon freezes well and you can use a pressure canner to preserve bacon. Though my canned bacon has been flavorless. This is a global porcine black plague. This pork flu spreading through China is like a pork Ebola. There is no vaccine, no treatment. Other than the animals must be culled. That means all animals killed if they discover this disease anywhere! China is recommending to eat dogs again to get through this pork shortage. I don’t blame the Chinese people doing what they have to survive. That is socialism!
Kroger/Fred Meyer has 3 pounds of bacon on sale for less than $9.00. Your choice to buy ahead.
November 2, 2019
The wind storm wasn’t that bad and it the winds died down quickly after the early morning blow. I had a couple of large branches come down but nothing was damaged around the house. It did get into the low teens some where around 10-14 degrees F, a couple of nights this week. It was a nice little cold snap that got me motivated to fill up the porch wood rack and get both Mom’s and my own kindling boxes filled up for the week of cold weather. I had one night of a successful “banking” of the fire and one night that I smothered the fire in ash with very few coals alive in the morning. I know the theory of how to “bank” a fire overnight. The practice of banking the fire, needs more practice by me. It is early in the fire wood season so I have plenty of time to perfect my “banking” the fire overnight technique. Plus every fire I can start from coals means I use one less fire starter.
Mom bought a load of poplar wood from me. We loaded up the Chevy one ton dually in about an hour with Mom stacking in the truck bed and me using the garden wagon to move the wood from stack to truck. We stacked a little more than a 1/2 cord of wood up to the top of the bed and all the way to the end of the truck bed. This is a guesstimate based on the dimensions of the truck bed, we probably loaded about 70 sq.ft. of split fire wood, or about .55 of a cord of wood.
Mom and split the cost on a load of fire wood in June. I never felt confident that Mom got her moneys worth from that load because the wood was dumped rather than stacked in my carport. So I tried to pick out smaller chunks/rounds of that wood pile so Mom would not have to split that wood in order to burn it. Now I feel confident that Mom has in the two loads of wood she has bought from me, she got a true 128 square foot cord of fire wood from me. A bonus for me is I’m getting much better at seeing how much wood is a true cord of fire wood. Over all I think I’ve broke about even of being “played” and a few giving a cheap price for a “cord” of fire wood. If you are in the Treasure Valley of SW Idaho Tuckers Timbers has always given me a full cord of fire wood at the price agreed. Heck the first year I bought wood from Tucker’s in late Oct.-Nov. the told me the was still green and asked if I wanted to buy a load of wood. This summer Tucker’s Timbers asked if I’d take a load of fire wood early as they needed to get more room for new wood. Well I paid for half of the load of firewood and paid off the rest the next month. That is the best example of how customers and businesses work in a symbiotic relationship.
The Kittens have figured out how to use the doggie door to the back yard. The kittens are exploring around the yard but they seem to prefer staying indoors during cold weather. Tege, the dark striped kitten loves climbing the fruit trees and the more adventurous kitten. Ash tend to stay close to Tucker the peke or myself in loose sort of definition of close. This month the kittens will be getting “fixed” and start getting the shots they need. It’s a little iffy that the kittens will get the rabies shot as they need to be over 6 pounds to receive the rabies shot. The kittens are eating more of the dry cat food, more of Tucker’s wet food and less of the wet cat food. FYI: non clumping cat litter is not the thing for a cat litter box. I’m not sure how a company can claim that clumping cat litter has more “dust” than non-clumping cat litter. Trust me it is much easier to scoop clumping cat litter daily into a trash bag than the non-clumping litter. Plus I tend to dump the all the non-clumping cat litter in the trash bin. With the clumping cat litter I only dump the poo and urine clumps in the trash. Is this a Marketing ploy? Hell I have sandbags, I could use that sand as cat litter and it is not dusty.
The local Pet Haven will be doing my kitty’s shots and fixing. I dropped off 2/ 20 pound bags of kitty litter and about 16 cans of wet cat food. My cats don’t like the pate and prefer a more meat like looking product. It is tough as an animal lover not to help animals in the day to day lives. I think that Nampa has good plan of trapping feral cats by the community and then spay/neuter those cat and inoculate the cats and then let the community release the cats as barn/outdoor cats. Of course it is not perfect, but it will help stop feral cats over breeding and vaccinate the feral cat population against the worst spreading of disease. It is not a perfect solution but it is a good solution.
I don’t have a good answer to so many feral cats and dogs. I wish many of the Humane Societies did not treat puppies as a commodity and make them more expensive to adopt. I could see paying up to $100.00 per pup for shots, Spay/neuter but if you are charging $300.00 + for adoption of a puppy you are looking for profit, not giving a puppy a home.