I saw Toilet Paper in Fred Meyer today and rain in the valley!

April 22, 2020

There was some Quilted Northern TP in Fred Meyers today.  About 10- 20 of box cases of the 4 packs but it is the first time in a few weeks I saw toilet paper on the shelves.  The facial tissue area was better stocked and there was even an “end cap” full of the facial tissue boxes.  Perhaps the run on Tissue paper is starting to slow down or at least people have enough TP already on hand they no longer feel the need to buy/store more Tissue paper at home.  Bottled water shelves also seem to be returning to pre-Wuflu levels and that is all to the good!  People need to return to buying stuff they need, rather than following the “herd” and buying items based on panic and fear.    I’m seeing food prices start to go up and it will probably get worse over the summer. It is a double whammy to people out of work that right at the time they have very little money on hand the food and products they need to live are in the store but have start going up in price. Me telling some one they can save money baking bread at home does not help if they can’t buy yeast because all the stores are sold out of yeast.  I don’t have a sourdough starter to share but I was able to give Mom a small 4 oz jar of some yeast I have stored in the freezer.  Baking bread takes a little bit of practice and add in trying to make a sourdough starter for a new baker really increases the learning curve.

I am seeing more people wearing masks, scarf and bandannas here in SW Idaho.  I’m guessing about 40-50% range.  Not everyone but it is much better than I saw on a shopping trip a couple of weeks ago!  Wearing a mask is irritating to me even though I advocate it being the easy/simplest method to help stop the spread of the virus.  I now have a weird feeling of something coating my face and when I get home I have to wash my face along with my hands.  I’m packing my own groceries in the new reusable plastic coated bags I sanitize before I shop and again before the bags get loaded in the mini-van.  I understand stores not trusting customer’s reusable bags.  I don’t trust store’s plastic bags because those bags are probably made in China.  For now I can use a Lysol type spray, but I may have to move to a diluted bleach spray bottle to disinfect my bags before the come into the house.  Yep, I’m being a little OCD but I’d rather get a small dose of any virus and give my body more time to build a good immuno-response to this virus rather than deal with a huge viral load.  I shop at stores where I have a good relationship with the cashiers, butchers and deli and I don’t want them to get sick and hopefully me wearing a mask will reduce their stress level about catching the virus.

Some of the starting plants are growing and I had to take off the cover as the plants are getting to tall.  The starter plants are still a bit too delicate to transplant but the stuff that is growing is growing great. The tomitillos I bought are growing like crazy and I still need to add fences around my garden beds to try and stop the cats doing the cat things to my garden beds.  Mom is now fully cleared to lift more than 15 pounds from her surgery recovery limitation.  She is ready to do some raised beds and I suggested she get the local big box store cut the lumber to size for her raised beds.  I prefer raised beds to be 3 foot or under in width but Mom want’s to go with 4 feet of width.  It should not make that much difference if you can reach all of the bed from both sides. Speaking only for myself I think a raised bed garden should be 3 foot or less wide.

I don’t know if you feel it but I feel planting a home garden of any sort is critical this year. My long term food storage is pretty good but having those fresh herbs, greens and crops that add not only calories, vitamins and variety of vegetables/herbs can’t buy in stores for any price. Buy the things the USA can not grow such as coffee, chocolate and the things you want to have for yourself.

 


More yard work getting done

April 21, 2020

The front yard lawn and flower beds got the first application of weed and Spring feed and I’m almost back on schedule for those applications of lawn food. It might be psychological or the plants really needed a good soaking of water, it seems the grass and flowers are looking a little greener today!

I have been holding off mowing the back yard lawn are to give the grass seed plenty of time to germinate. This time when I spread the grass seed I scratched rows in the dirt with a sharply tined rake, then added layer of steer manure compost.  That layer of compost “spread via shovel” seem to have help getting the grass seeds growing and is greening up the clumps of grass I managed to get started in the lawn bed.   The taller clumps of grass in the backyard area got cut down little using the weed wacker.  I’m going to mow with the mower on the tallest setting to see how well all of the grass seed is starting to fill in the lawn grass bed.  It’s hard for me to see how well the new grass seed is filling when grass height varies so much from very tall to very short.  I’m going to keep adding the compost because it is greening up the existing grass and helping to make that lawn more level by filling in some low spots.

I know I’m doing things a little backwards as Fall is the best time to seed grass but with last years early snow and frost getting the seeds growing did not work out.  It is possible some of the new grass coming up is some of the seeds I tried to plant last fall.  If that is correct perhaps with the extra compost water and another seeding this Fall the little backyard lawn will be ready for prime time Spring 2021!

I made some more pain cream/salve today. This cream really helps ease general aches and is outstanding helping to ease the muscle cramps I experience with my CIDP.   I have started using the pain cream to help with drying skin on my hands from all the hand washing and it seems to better for me than the essential oil skin cream.  I seem to get a bonus of healing dry skin when I use the pain cream to stop my crazy hand cramps.

Essential oils seem to be a little bit random in effectiveness from person to person and recipes often need to be tweaked to find the right combination for each person.  I can say that the pain cream works fantastic for easing my muscle cramps and dry skin.  Yet the pain cream does not seem to help my Mom though her Fybro and my CIDP have some similar symptoms. Using Essential oils won’t work for everyone but for people like me it can seem like a miracle drug .

Doing a little shopping with Mom to get her one of those weed/bush wacker on wheels to start reclaiming that field of weeds on her property.  Mom does not want to use her riding mower to mow the weeds in the field until she knows any hidden garbage is exposed and cleaned up.  We have tried using regular weed eaters and got about 1/4 of the field of weeds knock down for a short time.  Mom has a couple of Rain bird sprinklers and is buying a water pump to start adding water to grow some good ground cover plants that will hopefully out compete the weeds and augment the soil.  It will take years to knock out the weeds and find good cover crops to improve the soil.  The first step is to knock down the weeds and keep them knock down while you plant something that thrives with just a little more water and a little better soil.

Mom bought one of the small Mantis tillers  and I’m very excited to see how that tool works digging in and working her garden beds.  I like my little electric tiller but the Mantis tillers have so many different attachments for de-thatching lawns and aerating soil I’m interested to see if the tiller lives up to the hype.

I have more tomato plants sprouting in the new seed starter bed that is indoors.  I bought a few starter plants for low cost at Fred Meyers, the Tomitillo plants are growing like crazy and is over 12 inches tall.  The other plants are healthy but none have put on growth like the Tomitilloes.  I will start planting the better growing plants and do some direct sowing in the raised beds.  The weather looks frost free for the next 7-10 days and that gets us into May for frost free gardening.

All I have to do is figure out anti-cat/dog/squirrel fences!

 


Front lawn/yard cleanup

April 18, 2020

I can’t believe I got most of the front yard clean up done in one day, though I did take a nap about half way through the work day.

The big tree hasn’t been cut down yet.  The company I use for my firewood is extremely busy and that is great! The owner gave me a call to explain why they did not get to my tree as they cut done one tree, then neighbors asked if they would trim or cut down trees while they were in the neighborhood.  I don’t blame the company for trying to get as much work and cash as possible cutting and trimming trees.  This company has been great letting me make payments as well as being honest and forthright with the quality of firewood.  I get full cords of fire wood and even a little box bonus of kindling every time they deliver fire wood.  It can be brutal for small local companies to keep working so if they get paying jobs that keep them in business this spring that means they will be around to sell me good firewood in the future.

Any hoo, I held off cleaning up the front yard because I anticipated a lot of twigs and  branch clean up from the big tree getting cut down.  The tree might not be cut down for a couple of weeks and my front yard needs some work!  I used the weed eater to knock down most of the weeds.  I was surprised it took 2, 20 volt batteries to get that clean up done. I mowed the grass to a low height and and then raked the lawn.

I don’t like using using pesticides on the lawn but I have a bad grub and bug problem in the front yard.  I spread a bit of granular pesticide to see if it will take care of the nasty lawn eating bugs.  I watered the bug  killing stuff today and Sunday it should be safe for the pets and to water the entire front lawn and give the plants/lawn a good soak.  The back yard lawn area grass is still spotty but I think most of the grass seed added this spring is growing.

I’m using a Fescue mix of drought tolerant grass seeds in soil that needs a lot of improvement in a high desert climate.  So the lawn is taking some time to fill in. I hope in a 2-3 weeks the lawn will have enough growth/germination to stand up to a mowing.

The seed starting beds for the garden are starting to poke up little bits of greenery.  Even the old seed starting beds have a few seeds starting to grow.  The older seed bed was slower than I had anticipated for germination but the new seed starter box has some tomato plants growing. I prefer cooler temps in this part of the house.  Germinating plants need a higher and more consistent temp.  It looks like I need to get a plant warming mat for the starter plant boxes.

I’m working on a small “raised” garden bed that is on wheels and about the same working height of most kitchen counters of 30-36 inches tall but with a 12-18 inch depth of soil for planting a small two foot by four foot kitchen/herb garden that is easy to move around from full sun or to shade on a small patio/deck or balcony.  I want it to be low cost and easy for people to make with small investment of under $50.00 in lumber.  The overall height of the bed should make it easy for all  people to use as this taller raised bed should make gardening easier compared to kneeling on the ground for most raised beds.  Speaking only for myself, I have moved pots, garden beds and tweaked what I plant in my yard all the time.  It would be nice to move even a small garden bed of plants into the shade or into the sun because of the weather or season.

I am sure there are plans already out on the internet for this Raised garden/patio cart idea.  Until I build it my self it is all “theory” not reality for me. Perhaps I make a better raised bed, then again it might be worse, but I will have a real product to test against theory.

I noticed many more people masked up when I was shopping at Fred Meyers last Thursday.  It was Military discount day and Shoppers tend to be older and I hope the Vets are more self aware about a pandemic virus.  If you want to open the the USA economy wear a  mask and limit the spread.  I know wearing a mask properly is annoying.  Don’t go shopping unless you want to wear a mask properly.  Wear a mask, practice social distance of 6-12 feet voluntarily or the government at all levels will shut you down because you are incapable of being smart enough to protect yourself and others around you.

 


Cleaning/organizing the shop

April 14, 2020

The shop has needed a major cleanup and organizing for the last couple of months so I can get all those projects done I have been putting off until I had time to get them done. I have time now so I got started moving and cleaning some of the dirt and getting my shelves and work benches empty of scattered boxes of Mom’s onto her storage pallet.  The job was easier than I expected and I had room on Mom’s pallet for several boxes of books, a box of mom’s knickknacks and a couple of older solar panels that were taking up space on part of the work table. I was surprised by the weight Mom’s older solar panels.  These panels are about 10 years old and they weigh a lot more and are more bulky than panels I have bought in the last 3-5 years.

I think the alternative energy folks are over zealous and unrealistic about replacing fossil fuels for consistent industrial levels energy production.  To give credit where credit is due new solar panels are lighter and give more electric wattage in a smaller package that is good for people that want off-grid electricity.  I think the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources is great. Solar/wind energy might be a good choice for residential home owners and off grid cabins, RVs and boats but it is not ready to be a consistent power source for industry.

Back the shop clean up I can see why the shelf failed under the weight of a couple of small boxes of books.  The former owner seemed to love re purposing old hollow core doors for shelves. While the shelves seemed to have the bulk to support some weight those hollow core doors never made to be shelves and hold 20-60 pounds of books. Even cheap bookshelves have a solid core of MDF/particle board and the will bow under the weight of hardcover books over time.  I have some 2×4’s to add some strength to the existing work table. I won’t replace the shelf as my little snow blower and tiller have a nice little spot to be stored.

One of the positives of this pandemic is many people have the time to get to many of those hobbies they wanted to try/work at getting more proficient. At least if you don’t have a psycho governor like Vermont or Michigan and arbitrarily declare buying home improvement materials for a garden are non-essential. You would think keeping small businesses and stores selling stuff and generating sale taxes would be important to city,counties and state politicians.  Watch your local politicians and how quick they want to open up the economy and how quick they want to go all “Stazi” encouraging citizen informants to make their enforcement policies easy for the government.

I was disappointed that only 10% of the customers in Fred Meyer were masked and the “Social distancing” seemed to be lacking. These are not evil people they just are denial or this virus is not REAL to them.  Much like crime always happens to someone else, until it happens to them or someone close to them this flu is not real to them.  If this is happening in your neighborhood don’t report “safe space offenders” but notice who goes out masked up and tries to be safe as possible keeping extra social distance, wearing masks, gloves, buying garden seeds and plants.  Those are the people you want to cultivate and be a neighbor you want to help.

It is okay to feel the world is getting a bit crazy.  The world is getting a bit nuts at this time and you see what is happening in real time so feeling anxiety or panicked is a normal response.  Reach out your arms and spin around, that is all you can control. You won’t get any politician recalled or voted out of office for many months.  What are you going to do for yourself and your family/community?  I mean you being pro-active and not whining on facebook and twitter.  I have read some people are setting up a barter system via Nextdoor.com.  this might be a thing as some folks will trade several pound of flour for some yeast.  Sugar is also an item on the site.  Coffee is still in stores for a descent price. I suspect the supply chain could break and coffee and tea could get expensive or unavailable. As for yeast buy in bulk and yeast can be stored up to 5 years in a freezer.  Yeast also helps makes an easy sourdough starter.

Life will change, how much it will change I have no idea. No change is all perfectly good or bad.  It will just be different.  I’m not that special about being prepared.  I just asked what if….? then added items I thought I might need if things went sideways.  What I did today was water my little back yard lawn and cleaned my shop to make a new work area.  Nothing special at all and most anyone with a home, shop yard could do the same and probably as good or better than myself.

I can pay all my bills right now. I’m on SSD and a little VA benefit so I have some income that I’m used to living on but I suspect inflation is coming by this fall at best and Spring 2021inflation probably . My mortgage payment is locked by contract. SSD/VA payments might lag behind inflation but as long as I can make my house payment I should be okay with my preps for food and energy.  I’m concerned how this new economy will affect people that did not prepare.  There is not much I can do other than control my reactions.

Don’t worry about the national debt. We had a point in 2008-2010 when USA citizen were wiling to take a hit and get US government to reduce the debt.  That time has passed and more inflation will hit people.  It’s just history of people making bad choices. Your money may become worthless.  Any plant out of your garden will become priceless.


Got some plant starts, seeds and shopping

April 12, 2020

I cant start all of the plants I want to have from seed as many of my seeds are a lot older than I thought and are not germinating. If you have gone to many seed suppliers you know they have sold out of many of the seeds or the shipping time is so long you will miss the “Prime Time” of planting or starting seeds. Two or three weeks in Spring time planting season can be critical to starting your garden.

I got Sun gold cherry tomato and early red tomato.  Most of my pepper seeds seemed to be old so I got a yellow and red bell pepper along with two tomitillo plants.  If you want tomitillos you must have at least 2 plants for cross pollination.  I have bought new seeds and have started them but those seeds are still waiting to germinate so I’m adding more store bought plants just in case my starters are a bust.

I was a little disappointed in people I saw shopping in Fred Meyer’s today.  I’m guessing about 10% of the people I saw had on masks of any sort and very few were wearing any kind of protective eye wear. Many people seemed to be browsing the store rather than having a list of items to get and get out as quickly as possible.  The parking lot seemed about average for a Saturday and while people were not panic shopping they did seem complacent about the Wu-Flu.  There was no tissue paper or paper towels but plenty of hand sanitizer in small 2-4 oz bottles.  Pet supply shelves were hit hard but it looked like most people were buying mostly mid quality/cost pet foods.  There was plenty of the very cheap and more expensive wet and dry pet food on the selves.  I bought the last bag of 12 pound store brand of dry cat food that is 38% protein. My cats are doing great with cat food and I mix it with a 31% protein mix I get from the local farm store.  My cats also get a half a can of wet cat food every night.

A new thing at my local Fred Meyer is cashiers not handling reusable bags.  I love reusable shopping bags when I use my walker shopping but I know those cloth bags could hold bacteria and viruses so I shifted over to the more rigid plastic coated bags because I could spray (Lysol) sanitize the bag. This bag is coming into my home so I’ll do everything I can to keep the virus outside my home.

I asked the cashier if she could handle the bag and the store policy was no.  Okay can you let me bag my stuff after you ring it up?  YES!  Great, the cashier follows store policy and I can use my easy to sanitize bag for groceries.  I don’t know where the plastic bags most stores use are made but it is probably China or a place whit with WU-Flu so this is a win-win for stopping extra contamination.  Cashiers should not need to be the experts about the virus or be attacked by customers that feel a mild inconvenience is an assault on their rights as a consumer. 

I know wearing a mask properly is annoying it feels like breathing into a very sauna at best. You have to adjust your googles or glasses from fogging up. Putting on gloves and using hand sanitizer is not fun and all that hand washing can dry and crack your skin.  Don’t go out shopping unless you want to put up with masking up, wearing gloves and sanitizing everything when you get home.  I’m not telling you not to go shopping but the cashiers and workers in stores deserve customers that are willing to mask up in the stores. Even if wearing a mask is annoying to you.

Get over what other people do, you can be the little hero the wears a mask out shopping! Be nice to the cashier and people keeping stores open and relatively safe with extra cleaning. It is those cashiers, truckers, janitors along with doctors nurses, CNA and cleaning staff that are heroes.  Farmers, gardeners and handyman of all sorts are the heroes keeping this economy going.

The elites hate that they are behind the power curve and are not all that important to peoples daily lives and the people are starting to realize it. I like to think that people given good info will do the right thing.  But most people don’t get good info and don’t do much research on there own.  I’m not an expert, just a former Army Field Sanitation NCO that learned a bit about the spread of disease. The answers are simple for a pandemic.  They just are not easy for people.

Really it should be a simple if not easy process:

  1. Isolate all countries and stop travel and shipping.  This is brutal to trade but a 1-2 week level of stoppage should be enough to mitigate the virus.
  2. Stop all flights for 1-2 weeks. All nations take the hit equally and then slowly open flights to those countries that get control of the amount of people using hospital’s care.
  3. Give a USA open for business order but allow states and cities to modify that order locally.
  4. This is crazy but give people good info and let them decide the level of risk they will accept.  I know this idea will drive the state and local governments crazy to let people decide risk/reward.
  5. I think most people are ignorant about this virus. The Government at all levels has failed to educate the people.  Getting a cold or the normal flu does not make you a bad person. Most likely you will get the Wuflu and have flu like symptoms.  The pneumonia  part of the Wu flu is when stuff gets scary.

Bend the curve stop the spread of the flu and that is easy:

  1. Wear a mask and glasses to stop the spread.
  2. Social distancing will help
  3. Add a few vitamins and mineral to your diet. Vitamin C and Zinc, D3 seem to help fighting all flu viruses.
  4. Stay on your property and work on that garden. I’m sorry for folks that live in High- Density areas and are dependent on mass transit. This should show you the government won’t save you and you are on your own.
  5. You better hope those farmers have a good harvest and plenty of farm animals are grown for meat and the truckers are allowed into cities to feed you.
  6. Nine meals from anarchy…

 


Seeds !

April 8, 2020

I started a bunch of old seeds in a Jiffy Starter box about 3 weeks ago and I’m not seeing any sprouts. I knew I was using old seeds but I was hoping for a few seeds to germinate but it looks like that box of starter plants is a bust.  Since those old seeds are not sprouting I figured I should clean out my seed box of all of the older seed packets.  OMG! I had seeds that dated back to 2007,  many of the seeds dated back to 2012 and  2016. I kept any seed  packet  dated 2017 and newer and toss any packets of older seeds.  I know the germination rates of seeds drop a lot after a couple of years but I figure seeds up to  three years old are worth planting this year.  After cleaning out the old seed packets I found many packets that were dated for 2019.  Those are the seeds I’ll be planting/starting in the first  starter box or in the raised bed if they are cool weather crops.

I bought some seeds in April and got many started in my second Jiffy box.  Lots of warm weather stuff like melons, tomatoes, peppers and that type of plant.  As I went though my seed box I found many Greens like lettuces, swiss chard,  bok choy, and broccoli I can plant now during the cool Spring.  Getting the raised beds ready for the seeds took a little bit of work.  I’m rotating the crops in my raised beds and last years “tomato” bed soil was not good.  The soil had compacted and had a lot of weed growth.  I had to take the tiller to the soil and then augment it with compost. The soil looks better, but I may need to add more manure/compost to get the plants good growth in May.

I’m going to direct sow the greens on cool weather crops in the raised beds.  I have added “Frost” cloth over the PVC frames I made last year.  While the frost cloth protects the plants from weather it also seems effective in protecting the beds from my little digger dog and my kittens messing with my garden beds.  I have other digging areas and places  in the back yard for the cats to do what cats do/poo.  I was surprised that putting up the frost cloth stopped the cats getting into the raised bed (so far).  The little green plastic barrier fence has stopped the cats from digging and leaving “deposits” in the deep raised bed.  I understand peoples frustration with cats in their yard and garden but I think it mostly FERAL cats that do the most damage and not pet cats.  I have cats and they will do unspeakable things in my garden beds. How can I stop that from happening?  It seems a little bit of temp. green plastic fencing and frost cloth will stop most pets digging.  Now stopping squirrels is the next order of protection.  Probably impossible!

I’m sure folks that deal with wild life i.e. geese,ducks, bears,elk, deer, moles, gophers and other assorted critters eating their gardens and crops will mock us city folk that are so worried about cats popping in garden dirt!

Growing a garden takes some time everyday.  I still don’t know if it is  a weed or a plant without using a marker in my garden rows.  FYI Toothpicks by your planted seeds helps with weeding in my garden. For me it is tough to “thin out plants” I know it has to be done in a garden, but those little plants are so inspiring  it’s tough for me to thin out the rows of excessive growth.

Jamie, you will never eat or preserve over 20 plants of bok choy no matter how much effort you put into growing the plant!  Of course I must grow bok choy first before I can preserve it. 

I cleaned up my black berry pots, One pot did not look good and I cut it back last fall.  The other plant had a lot of growth and I cut it back this spring.  I added some compost, cleaned out the old straw mulch and added some compost to the pots.  My goodness the plants are adding many new leaves and growth.  I added a burlap bag to keep the cats out of the pots and a thick layer of compost. I think I may get a few black berries this year!

The back yard lawn are is looking better. I added seed but I had some new grass growth. I hope the new grass seed/ additional compost and soil will start to fill in the lawn area.

You are on your own, $1200.00 is not going to save you. I’m not referring just to the Wu-Flu. The Economy is going to tank into recession levels if we are lucky.  If you are new to prepping and late to getting prepared I have a few suggestions

  1. Buy seeds and have a way to grow some fresh food from a garden or even a pot full of herbs.
  2. Buy flour, whole wheat grains, whole or steel cut oats and learn to bake your own bread.  I have a simple bread on “recipe page” that takes only flour,salt, water and yeast and it is great bread.
  3. You will probably make a few bread bricks learning to make bread.  That is part of the learning process. Don’t give up if your bread loaves end up exceptionally dense.  Heck I screwed up my own recipe and added an extra table spoon of salt.  The bread is a bit salty but I think adding a “Heaping tablespoon” of salt to the recipe would make the bread loafs less bland.
  4. Get a pressure cooker of some sort.  The Insta-pot brand cooker is poplar but most electric pressure cooker will be great for cooking beans and rice quickly.  You bought all those dried beans and did not realize it takes about 12- 24 hours to cook those beans in a crock pot or on a stove.  A pressure cooker can cook the same beans in about 2 hours.

I have rambled on far to long on this “stream of  ideas”.  You will do you and hopefully you will be safe and grow food for yourself.  That is optimistic on my part but all I can do is give out info I think is solid and report what I am doing.  I might be wrong but I’m growing a garden and not trusting the government.


A good day working on the yard and raised beds

April 7, 2020

The irrigation water is slowly starting to run to my house, so I added some grass seed and compost/soil mix to the ” grass lawn” section of my back yard.  I know Spring time is not the best time for growing a lawn but I want to start filling in that lawn area and I have the seed and cheap irrigation water available now to keep adding lawn seed with compost/soil that should help the grass seed take root and grow!  I want a section of healthy lawn around my home as it seems to keep the back yard much cooler in the summer.  A bonus on a grass lawn is my pets love laying down and even eating grass on occasion and I know the grass is grown without nasty chemicals. Just a little bit of manure/compost, a little garden soil and a whole lot of water!  The pressure from the irrigation water is minimal. I’m watering about a three foot square  for now, but the irrigation water will get more pressure in a few days.

I got my deep raised bed cleaned out.  Gosh that bed had a bunch of nasty roots that needed the garden fork to bring up to the surface.  Overall I’m pleased as the soil is almost black and rich in nutrients.  I think this deep raised bed will be my root crop garden of parsnips, turnips, and carrots this year.  I added some of the green plastic fence to cover most of the bed, because my cats and Tucker the peke love to dig and or poo in the freshly dug garden beds. I have neighborhood full of cats and my own cats, that will leave some unwelcome deposits in my yard and garden and the local squirrels don’t seem to pay much attention to my instructions on good neighbor behavior.  Critters will do what they do based on nature.  The critters are not evil they just do what they do by instinct.

I filled a large trash bin with grape vines to clean up a couple of beds and  I’m not going to finish cleaning up the Grape vines this Spring.  I have to clear out the grape vines from my other raise beds for plants in May and then keep cleaning the older growth of vines.  Ironically cleaning out those old grape vines/ canes  will make the grape vines go crazy with new growth.  I know I’m making progress cleaning up the grape vines but today it did not look like I cleaned up, despite the fact I filled a 65 gallon trash bin of old grape vines/canes.

Good news I can get the old/sick Elm tree cut down next week thanks to the Trump bux.  This will help my local wood supplier keep working, they get fire wood and I get rid of an old diseased tree.  That BOOM from the earthquake made me think the old tree landed on my neighbors home or dropped a large limb on my roof.  Best to take care of the tree now rather than deal with it if  comes down in a storm.

I lost track of time getting the berry plants cleaned up, another raised bed ready for planting and planting some grass seed in the backyard.  It felt good to get more of the raised beds ready for planting, adding grass seed to my backyard and cleaning up the old grape vines.  Working outside getting some jobs done feels good to me and makes me happy!

If you are like me living in the city on a small plot of land you probably can’t grow enough food to feed yourself year round. You can grow enough food via a garden to grow some fresh food to your diet. Every little thing you can do will help even if it is growing herbs in a kitchen window.  That is one less thing you buy in the store!   It is so easy to buy bread in a store compared to making it at home.  I bought store bread though I have all the ingredients for my home made bread.  Making my bread at home is now easier than masking up to go shopping in the public.

I don’t think the shut down can last much longer as people are getting a bit stir crazy and small business must get back to work.  It might be unpleasant but people like me must isolate/self quarantine as much as possible and wear protective gear to be safe from other people.  I’m immune-compromised , I have had pneumonia and some lung damage. That is my problem to deal with this Wu-Flu that kills people like me.  I don’t demand the rest of the country make things safe for me. I’m handing out masks to my neighbors and telling them how to sanitize them for re-use. That makes me safer in my neighborhood.

Life is dangerous and it can kill you at any time!  There is no reason I have to do stupid stuff to tempt the reaper.

 


It is starting to warm up in SW Idaho

April 5, 2020

The weather is getting warmer!  Forecast are for a week of 65-70 degree F. days and the night time temps dropping only to the low 40 degree F. range.  Today was cloudy with some rain but it was warm enough for me to open a couple of windows and get some fresh air in the house.  Nothing like a warm spring rain to bring out all the plant growing aromas and wash the dust, dirt and  smoke out of the atmosphere.

I got most of my basic cleaning done of the bathrooms, vacuum the carpets and change and wash bedding and wash towels.  I got a little “burned out” trying to keep everything clean and slacked off on some of the daily/weekly cleaning chores. I have read about the cleaning chores of people in the 1800’s doing laundry by hand, sweeping floors and beating rugs. Rather than dumping clothes in a washing machine or dryer.  Having a vacuum to clean carpets or a quick mop to clean floors.  Plus I have hot water on tap at my sink to help with my cleaning!  It is not the end of the world if you don’t dust but you want to make your home a virus-free safe zone. Being human you may slack off a bit on cleaning. I know I did after 3 weeks. That is okay as long as you get back to work keeping your home a “Safe Zone”

Get those gardens and pots planting started!  My garden seeds seemed to have failed to germinate.  These were old seeds and if anything had germinated I would be ahead of the game.  Unlike some people think that think starting a garden only requires a bit of digging dirt, dropping a seed and some water.  A productive garden needs a little more effort, experience and knowledge.  Baking bread for the first time may result in flour bricks suitable for use as a door stop.  It is okay to screw up while you are learning stuff!  If you want to bake Whole Wheat flour bread for the first time after eating store bought bread.  Please mix white flour 1/2 with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour can mess up your guts for several days if your guts are not ready for all that additional fiber.  It may seem counter-intuitive but moving to a non-processed food diet “might” mess with your digestive track until it learns to deal with your new diet.

I’m getting a local business to cut down my less than healthy elm tree.  This will be my use of the Trump bux coming in a month or two.  I’m going to ask my local hair dresser if she has a gift card option for hair cuts in the future? Paying a few dollars now for a “gift card/gift certificate might keep her business going during the “lock down”.  Small businesses need cash flow now!  Not two months from now, if/when the government decides to cancel it’s “shelter-in-place order”.  I’m not a fan of the “Lock Downs” though I understand the orders because many people are idiots.  The government can’t protect you from idiots.  You must protect yourself from idiots.

Wear a mask of some sort, protect your eyes from the coofers of all sorts. Make your home a Sanctuary/Safe place from the virus.  Stay at home and mask up when shopping isn’t hard it’s just inconvenient.

I’m having a great time playing Fortnite video game though I suck at it.  Play a video game, read a book, paint a room, learn sewing, plant a garden.  My gosh there is so much you can do if you think “outside the box”.

What Can You Do?   What can’t you do?


Earthquake, snow and new seeds to start

April 1, 2020

It has been wild the last couple of days here at Casa de Chaos!  A 6.5 earthquake hit about 120 miles from my place the other day and I had no idea what had happened.  All I heard was a very loud bang/boom noise and my flat screen TV was wobbling a little bit.  I though for a moment that the big elm tree in my yard had hit my neighbor’s house or a large branch had hit my roof.  I did not know that some earthquakes have a booming sound that accompanies the quake.

The tree is fine for the moment but I called up Tucker’s Timbers my local wood supplier to have them come and cut down that old elm.  It’s been a good tree but she is dying and splitting through the trunk.  The tree roots are starting to come through the lawn and not holding the tree strong with a deep root system.  I want to keep the stump and make a flower planting area in the middle of the stump and leave a border area of wood for something like a patio table/bar for sitting around this summer.  Perhaps add a large shade umbrella to help with the loss of that big shade tree.

It is Spring time in Idaho and we got some of that pellet/”corn” snow today.  It is over 43 degrees F. so the snow can’t stick but it adds to my feeling of a long winter if not a cold winter for SW Idaho.  We have had snowfall every month this 2019/2020 winter going back to Sept. of 2019!  Thank goodness it was not a cold winter.

I have trying to start plants indoors using some older seeds and it does not seem to be working out well. I’m new at doing this and my spot could use a heat mat to maintain a consistent warm temperature.  I bought a lot of new seeds to try in another starting box this week.  I have time as the frost date here is about May 10th.  That will give the older starts more time to grow and the new plant startsshould be ready to plant in about 6 weeks.

I have some root crops to plant next week in two of the raised beds.  One bed will get covered with frost cloth and the other bed in clear poly sheeting like a mini-green house. That should give me a good idea what bed works best for early cool weather crops.

Last but not least I took a couple of n95 masks over to a few neighbors that were at home.  I explained how to sanitize them in a low heat oven of at least 167 degrees F. for 30 minutes.  Now that I can safely and easily sanitize my masks for the Wu-Flu/Covid 19 virus. I can safely share out a few masks with my neighbors.

I’m don’t have enough masks to give away to first responders.  I do have a few masks to share with my local network of people that may have missed getting masks in January.  I think everyone must start wearing masks of some sort even a bandana and sunglasses will protect you and the people around you better than nothing.  Canyon county now has community spread infections and this flu spreads even if you don’t feel sick.  So that means you assume everyone is infected including yourself.  Allergy season is starting and you can have both allergies and the flu. Without a mask you are potentially spreading  those tiny flu virus particles with every sniffle, sneeze and cough!

I gave myself a rule:  If I go out in public, I have to wear my mask and glasses/goggles. Wearing a N95 mask is annoying and bit unpleasant, so it is very easy for me to find a reason not to go out in the public or shopping unless I  must get something I need like seeds for the garden.  Goodness knows I have plenty of jobs that need to get done inside and outside of my house that I don’t need to wear a mask!