The wood is all stacked! HUZZAH

August 22, 2020

It took me about 3 weeks to get all of the wood stacked in 95 degree+ heat this year.  I do not recommend getting a wood delivery in August but I have a full six cords of wood stacked on my property.  This year I took my time stacking the wood and knocking off any “punky” wood and getting rid of most of the bark on the wood chunks.  My hope is I won’t deal with as many insects and all of the wood will dry/season better in the long run.  I have good hardwood stumps in both wood areas for splitting wood into smaller chunks or into kindling.  Starting off the wood heating season with a few weeks of good kindling and some of the split hardwoods chunks of wood feels good!

By taking my time to stack the wood I should not have to re-stack wood like I did in previous years.  Mom jokes that my re-stacking wood is some sort of strange FALL/WINTER  exercise program I do each year.  I had a good size tarp I used on the wood pile that extended past the carport overhead cover and I think the wood will stay dry and season. This year my wood deliverer did not give me box of “kindling”  but I have gathered a couple of good size boxes of “kindling” that should give me about 4-6 weeks worth of kindling to start off the firewood heating season.  In September I’ll start making the paraffin wax/ sawdust fire starters for myself and Mom. While my wax melter does not add a lot of heat. I want to keep all heat sources in the house at a minimum when it is over 90 degrees F. outside.

I used a pressure “wand” to clean of the patio and two sides of the house. In my area the spiders seem to be working overtime setting up webs everywhere.  I don’t mind spiders generally as they generally eat flies and mosquitoes, but the webs have become a bit annoying when walking onto the patio.  I used a broom to clean the screens and it worked great!  no need to remove a window screen, just brush it down outside with a broom!  Fabulously easy job done with little effort.  I’m still working on the glass cleaning with the 20% vinegar as the water rinse I use is full of ” hard water” but the window glass is getting cleaner using 20% vinegar.

Overall stacking the wood was the priority but I’m now free of that job. I got the job done. The wood is stacked and seasoning and that is what matters.  I hit my goal of 6 cords of split ready to burn fire wood.  How long it took me to get to the goal is irrelevant.  Even if having 6 cords of firewood might be considered excessive by some people. It does not matter as I set a goal of 6 cords of firewood and I made it happen!  Set your goals and make them happen.  It’s okay to learn as you make goals happen.  I’m a big believer on  “learning” mile posts rather than time lines.  If I am ignorant on subject? How can I set a time line for learning how to do any project?

For any project it is what works for you. You may have all sorts of limits of physical energy, lack of tools, and perhaps you just need more time to improve your skills and/or buy products or find a good contractor to do the job.  There is nothing wrong with buying all the product you need for a job first and then save up money for a contractor to do the job.

Okay back to my reality.  I got all of the wood stacked and mowed my lawn.  I ordered  a couple of gallons 30% vinegar to kill out the weeds.  I’ll attack the Morning glory. Wish me luck… !


Working on the wood pile and controlling what I can

August 17, 2020

Stacking up the firewood is taking longer than I had planned, but the wood pile is getting small enough that each wheel barrow load of wood I get stacked shows a measurable dent in the dumped firewood.  I stacked most of the new Doug fir first as it was heavy and still wet.  Now I’ve started stacking some of the White fir on top of the Doug fir because it is dry and very light weight in comparison to the Doug fir. I think I could easily burn the white fir now as it seems dry/seasoned well already.  The new Doug fir will need more time to season.  I have plenty of Doug fir left over from last year that has almost 18 months of seasoning in my “kennel” wood racks.   I don’t expect a problem with trying to heat with “wet” wood this year!  While my ability to work has been a little hit and miss the last few weeks.  I have caught up on most of the basic yard work.

I got a tarp on the firewood pile that extends past the edge of the carport canopy. I think the slope of the woodpile is steep enough so the water should drain quickly and that part of the wood pile will stay mostly dry this fall and winter. I’m running out of space under the carport for the delivered wood , so a little bit of cleanup and re-stacking of the “kennel” wood racks will give me enough room to stack the last bit of this years’ wood delivery. I’m stacking the Doug fir of this delivery on top and in the “kennel” wood racks since it seems dry and light weight compared to the new Doug fir.  I have started stacking fire wood on the front porch wood rack and will have three large boxes of kindling ready to use by the end of August. Last but not least I got out the axes and splitting mauls to split some of the old wood I got last year to see how well it would split.  The 6 pound maul did a great job splitting most of the wood stove lengths.   The wood I split today is I think white maple, so I am adding in more ready to burn  hardwoods along with the fir firewood.

This might sound odd but getting the wood delivered later this year has made me more proactive on getting my boxes of kindling filled.  I’m spitting some wood now in 100 degree heat,  This is dumb but last year when I got a May delivery of wood I did not split wood nor did I have a stockpile of kindling. It is strange that this year I’m doing a little bit of everything to get ready for winter wood burning season rather than getting the wood stacked and ignoring the splitting wood/making kindling until October like I did last year. I’m not just trying to stack wood as quickly as possible. I’m cutting out and throwing away any punky wood, filling my kindling boxes, the porch box and trying to stack my firewood only one time rather than re-stacking wood many times like I did last year. I sharpened up the hatchet as it was getting a little dull.  The axe needs a little attention but the mauls seem okay for now.  I also sharpened up 3 pocket knives while I had the whetstones out and ready to go,.

The stress of all the stuff happening this year is affecting me, though I was prepared.  For two or three months I was mentally prepared.  I did not expect 2- 8 weeks to flatten the “curve” to turn into over six months of stupidity and counting. I don’t think if you wear a mask you are a “sheeple”. If you are in a high risk category you should protect your self.  If you chose not to wear a mask I don’t care despite the fact I’m in High risk group.  I now wear a face shield instead of a mask but it is my responsibility to protect me!  No one is obliged to do anything to make me feel safe.   I hate seeing both extremes of wearing a mask and not wearing mask types and seeing it as a political statement.  I wore mask early in March because I’m Immuno-comprised.  I did not want  the possibility other people giving me the “COOF”.  It did not matter if people were infected because I took precautions to protect myself.  I don’t care if other people wear a mask (and most people don’t wear a mask correctly) it is all theater and virtue signalling ass-pats via twitter and youtube.  If you are so afraid of the WU-FLU ,stay home!  Wear a mask when you go out and stop expecting other people to make you feel safe!

Inflation is starting to creep up on us.  I had a great shopping day got some nice steaks, pork chops and some chicken.  I found a great use for shopping bags. The bags work great for chest freezers, bags of food easily accessible and easy to find.  My big chest freezer is full of old meats/ veggies and most are freezer burnt.  Time to start cleaning out the old stuff and do a better job rotatinging frozen goods.  This is what I mean about controlling what I can in life. I know I have freezer burnt and old meats in my big freezer and I have ignored it.  I’m pretty forgiving but If I won’t eat this food there is no reason to store that food.  You may choose differently and good for you.  I screwed up not using all the food I bought in a timely manner and I wasted food.  That is on me because no one wants the food I throw away because I screwed up. I’m not going to berate myself for making a mistake.  I’m just going to correct my mistake and do better at using a freezer to preserve food.

It’s that simple, make a mistake and fix it.  Control what you can and be flexible on the things you can’t control.

 


A small flare and easing back into work

August 7, 2020

It seems the cumulative stress got me in a small flare last week.   I’d like to say I was smart and took a day or two to slow down into putter mode.. Nope I doubled down and made my self sick enough to be completely miserable for a couple of days of feeling awful physically and emotionally.  My body basically said “I quit” and all my my plans became nothing more than words on my note pad.  I do a good job working around my physical limitations most of the time but combining stacking a wood pile in 100+ F. heat was not in my plan and I did not adjust my expectations/ goals optimally.  Living in what is basically “Crisis Mode” all the time is not good for people.  Much like a soldier, kept on “FULL ALERT” 24/7.  Anyone’s performance will degrade after a couple of weeks and now it has been over 130 days/ 4 months of masking up and constant updates and daily contradictions on dealing with the Wu-Flu. I’m disabled military so I don’t have to worry about paying my mortgage and I don’t have kids in school.  My stressors are lower compared to many people, but my body just shut down and stopped for a few days.

What seem to help me bounce back was to stop everything for a day and eat very light bland meals of soup, scrambled eggs and toast, plus drink lots of water.  I started feeling better and started just getting some of the basic house keeping chore caught up like laundry and cleaning the big bathroom.  Today, I move and stacked 4 wheel barrows worth of wood. It might sound like a lot but it is not a lot of stacked firewood.  I take comfort in that I don’t have to stack that little bit of wood in the future.  I guesstimate I have stacked more than half of the total firewood delivery. It’s going to be close if I can stack all of this wood under the carport or if I’ll have to stack the firewood in the “kennel area” wood racks.  I will have to fix the ” kennel” wood rack area but all of that wood has seasoned for over 18 months and is mostly Doug fir or hardwoods like cherry and apple. I don’t want to bury those wood racks in “green” fire wood of any sort.

I got the first coat of enamel paint to protect the wood of my garden cart/raised bed mini garden.  I drilled the drainage holes and I think adding a little bit of landscape cloth to hold the dirt but allow water drainage would the right move for the cart.  This little (mobile raised garden) is a prototype.  I’m not a carpenter, I’m just slapping materials together to see if the project can work, at relatively low cost and can be practical for me.  The enamel paint is to protect the wood (frame) from water damage. The landscape cloth is to protect the plants from any out gassing of the paint as well as hold soil in the bed while allowing for water drainage. I will be using enamel paint to protect the 2×4 frame but what will hold the sides of soil is Cedar Fence wood. Cedar has great water and insect resistant properties. While I can’t stop all insects I can pick woods that are rot resistant.

I’m becoming a big fan of using 30% vinegar as a safe weed killer.  Now I have a more soil that is alkali, so adding some acid based products is not going to kill the soil like Round up. In my weed killing experience for tough weeds you need to use the 30% vinegar for weeds like morning glory, and it seems “cheat” grass.  This vinegar seems to work on most broad leaf weeds like dandelions,  some thistle plants and some plants like cheat grass.  If you are spraying weeds you need to use 30% strength.  I tried using 20% strength vinegar on the weeds and it did not kill most  weeds While I was not impressed with the 20% vinegar as a weed killer. I used it to clean some windows that were covered in hard water stains. These are crappy quality aluminum frame windows that have not been cleaned in at least 10 years and sprayed with “irrigation water” for over 15 years.  I won’t say the windows are perfectly clear but the first vinegar wash made the old windows much clearer.

My steps to clean off window hard water stains:

  1. Spray 20% vinegar on the glass and see if it clears up the glass.
  2. Use paper towels to clean the glass.  DID NOT WORK.
  3. Spray again with vinegar and use a squeegee and cotton cloth to clean glass.  Results were better but I need a mild abrasive to clean the glass
  4.  Use a type of “Magic eraser” sponge with the vinegar spray and water to wipe it clean.

Windows are not perfectly clear but I can see though the glass of the cleaned windows and now I see how badly the porch windows have a bad hard mineral build up. I don’t expect the old windows to be perfectly clear.  I just want to see through them and now I can effectively clean those windows. Not big deal cleaning a few porch windows but I’m making things better my home.


Wood delivery and stacking in 100+ F.

August 1, 2020

This is FUN!!! 😉

Based on my firewood delivery experience, the first thing is you must have space for the wood delivery to be “dumped” or a place for the wood to land if it is thrown off the truck.  I’m lucky with my home. My shop has a good 6- 8 foot set back of ground available that fire wood can sit without impeding any traffic or parking in the alley. I know tend to get a little peeved if someone blocks my car’s access to being parked in my shop.  I assume other people might be peeved if their access is blocked to their parking/access.  This sort of thing does happen to everyone but if everyone limits the interruptions to access most people are okay with a minor inconvenience.  If you have a small amount of space for a wood delivery try and make sure all access ways are cleared for your neighbors in 4-8 hours.  I think that is reasonable especially if you give them a “heads up” on the delivery time.

Any hoo ,I got 2 cords of Doug fir  and 1 cord of white fir delivered and my delivery person told me the Doug fir had been split that morning.  The new Doug fir needs more time to dry and season! The white fir seems to be dry though a little more time to season it would probably make for a more efficient firewood. I’m sure some people will hate on white fir as a firewood as it has a lower BTU rating to most hardwoods.  I burned poplar last year and it had a BTU rating of 12-14 per cord and white fir is 18-22 in the firewood BTU rating per cord. I did not mind using poplar for firewood! It was the cheapest by the cord and it made a great fast burning fire and mixed with doug fir it kept my house warm in the winter.  Adding a cord of White fir will probably make the wood stove heat better compared to using the poplar I used last year. If any one is willing to deliver oak, maple or other hardwoods cut and split to my house in Idaho for under $300.00 per cord. I’d be happy to place an order with you.

I have become fond of my wheelbarrow since Mom got it fixed  with brackets and a new wheel. I’ll admit I bought the wheal barrow on the cheap, but now it is awesome tool to move fire wood and getting the wood stacked.

The weather in SW Idaho has been mild at least as far as Summer and winter temp. are concerned. But the late July temps. spiking into 100+ range is a throw back to similar weather in the early 1980’s of hot dry summers and very cold -20 F. degree cold for a month  or two that happened in the late 70’s early 80’s.  I’m not saying this winter will be extra cold, but based on my life experience I’m prepping for a very cold but dry winter.  A cord of wood is 128 sq.ft.  Now the fire wood stacks are usually 4 ft wide x 4 ft. by 8 ft. long.   You can stack wood however you like , be it 6 ft. wide, 5 ft. tall and 12-8 feet long.  As long as you pay and get a full cord of 128 square feet Over/Under  within a margin of error of stacked wood. You have a cord of wood if it equals 128 square feet, proved via calculator.  I am stacking a wood pile that is Approx. 5 feet tall 6 feet wide and 18 feet long. The math is easy multiply 5 ft. x 6 ft.x 18 ft. and divide the sum by 128s q. ft. =  your cords of stack of fire wood.  It’s a little over 4 cords of fire wood. I’m guessing the fire wood will fill up the space I have measured out. If some one is selling a cord of fire wood make sure you are getting a full cord of 128 sq. ft. of fire wood. If you buy a “face” cord of 4 ft. x 8 ft. and 16-18 inches deep don’t pay full price for a fire wood.

I learned the hard way about buying firewood and while I was willing to buy a  Cord of fire wood at the stated price I did not always get a cord of fire wood.  I have not tried this but if a firewood supplier does not deliver close to 128 sq. feet/ cord of fire wood. You could take them to small claims court.  That is a less than optimal choice. Find a good business  locally that delivers what they say, and boost the good suppliers. The majority of people are not assholes. They are just trying to make a living and live a good moral life.  Some times folks get a bit lazy/greedy and you can demand they deliver what the promise.  That is not a bad thing holding people to what the promise to deliver.  Holding people accountable takes some effort.

Over all I’m pleased with my wood delivery. Stacking wood in 100+ F.  is not fun dealing with disability . I figure  I’ll get the wood stacked in a week.  I’ll have at least 2 years worth of fire wood on hand for a “normal winter”.