Doing my Election prep

October 23, 2020

While I don’t expect much violence in my area, there could be some supply issues that might happen considering how much stuff comes from the West Coast. It is also moving into winter with snow in the mountains and dropping temps. So prepping for storms is on my ToDo list.

I had a problem with freezer burnt food and tossed out a lot of old/out of date frozen food. I got lucky and bought a the small 8 inch wide Foodsaver for $65.00 along with a few bags to practice sealing up frozen foods. I packaged up two family sized packages of Sirloin steaks $2.77 per pound, one family size package of chicken thighs .77 per pound and large package of pork chops .99 per pound. I used up all the quart size bags and about half of the roll of make your own sized bags that came with the Foodsaver. The packages are a good size for 1-2 people but if you have a family of 3 or more I’d recommend getting the full size 11 inch wide Foodsaver.

I ordered 2, 8 inch x 50 foot rolls of the bags from Amazon for $18.00 because Fred Meyers wanted $45.00 for 2, 25 foot rolls. You will want to shop around for the lower cost bags/rolls. Fred Meyer had a good sale on chicken, some chuck roast/steaks, and I got 10 pounds of 80/20 hamburger from Cash & Carry. I have more meat to seal and add to my freezer. I bought 4 bags of block ice to put on the floor of my big chest freezer. The Blocks of ice, make it easier for me to reach items in my freezer, helps fill up the freezer so the freezer works more efficiently keeping temperature and if the power goes out I have ice in the freezer to keep food frozen/cold for a couple of days.

Fuel: Staying warm and cooking food if I need to be off-grid. I have a wood stove and several cords of wood to stay warm this winter. My wood stove can heat water but it is not good for cooking/baking. I have a couple of different campstoves that run on butane, propane or a mix fuel. I have a good Weber grill with a couple of propane tanks and charcoal BBQ along with 100 pounds of chunk charcoal, hardwoods for cooking/baking. I have cookware that can take direct flames/heat. Cast iron is great and a “dutch oven” and a 10-12 inch frying pan with lid will handle most cooking chores. A copper or aluminum pot to boil water and you can cook pasta, ramen or heat up a can of soup. Making coffee is easy if you have a French press and tea is easy with a tea bulb/bags and hot water.

If you don’t have back up heat source I’d recommend the Mr. Buddy type heaters. I have done tests on those heaters and they will warm up a small house (1200 sq.ft.) from 45 to 65 degrees F. in about 45 minutes when it is 10-20 degrees F. overnight. Propane is a relativity safe fuel to store and the Mr. Buddy heaters have built in sensor for low Oxygen and a tip over sensor. For cooking I’d recommend the butane burners that caterers and restaurants use as they are safe indoors and you can use normal cook ware to cook your meals. If you choose to heat with propane always turn off the heater while you sleep. It will be cool when you wake up but that little heater will heat up a room very quickly. Plus you will save on fuel usage.

Cars and generators fuel: I topped off of my mini van this weekend, added some oil and windshield washer fluid along with checking all the other fluids. I’ll filled the 3 gas cans with ethanol free gas and added Stablil. I have never had to use my generators and yes I have 2 just in case I need backup electrical power. I have 6 quarts of oil so I can keep the generators running a couple of days or a week if needed. The electric grid here is solid. The longest my power has been out in my 17 years of living here was 3-6 hours and I have not needed a generator to keep appliances running. That could change, so with 2 generators on hand, extension cords and fuel/oil just in case things go sideways. I should be okay. One nice thing about winter is it easier to to keep foods cool or frozen outside.

I know some people are recommending some hard core “disaster prep” for the “election season”. I always think it is a good idea to have water and long term food storage. Few preppers mention it, I think 2- 5 gallon Igloo type jugs are great for filling up at the last minute because Igloos keep cool water cool and hot water hot or at least warm for 24-48 hours. You can fill them ahead of time with either cool or hot water when you get a disaster/emergency warning and you can use that water for everything from cooking, to washing dishes or washing up. I don’t know about you but I much prefer washing up with warm water compared to using cold water.

Pet food : I have a good dry cat food mix for my 3 cats but they get some canned wet food every evening. While my cats could do okay with just the dry food, they get little wet food snack is part of their routine. When stocking up on prescriptions don’t forget you pet’s prescription and medications. Make sure your pets are up to date on their shots for the year.

Clean your house and get those fall maintenance jobs done.
Having hot water and electricity makes cleaning a home much easier! Anything that requires power like vacuuming a carpet to doing a load of laundry is much easier if you have power! Most of my yard tools are either battery or electrical. I will be charging up all those batteries for the tools and the small power packs so I can keep my cell phone and kindle charged up just in case there is a power outage.

I would not freak out about the election, just do your winter preps in general and perhaps be ready for winter by Nov. 3rd! If you are not ready just keep working on it. We did not all die this summer from the great toilet paper shortage of 2020!


Still puttering along…

October 14, 2020

I had a great birthday with my Mom and Aunt. We had Chinese take out and got to chat for several hours rather than someone having to get back home to get chores done. Ironically I gave out some gifts of a couple of light weight jackets that I bought this last spring that fit my Aunt and Mom. Plus I gave my Aunt a light weight Face shield so she won’t have to wear a mask while shopping.

At this point it seems confirmed that the mask “mandate” is nothing more than political theater to make the politicians “Look/seem” like the are doing something. I have an auto-immune disease and getting a flu vaccine is contra-indicated for me. I was one of the first persons I know to mask (N-95) up in late March because I did not know how bad Covid-19 could be. Now I don’t wear a mask around my neighbors outdoors, nor do my neighbors wear a mask around me. I’m always at risk during “FLU” season because my doctors say the vaccine is a greater risk to me than getting the yearly flu.

I have not had the flu since I stopped getting the flu vaccine, but I don’t work a job since becoming 100% disabled and I’m not around kids so I’m not exposed daily to a lot of people that might have colds/flu.

I’m against shaming people if they wear a mask or don’t wear a mask is their choice. If you are afraid of catching the covid-19 wear a mask/face shield or stay home. Your an adult and you can make your own risk assessment for you and your family. Don’t get pissy if someone else disagrees with your risk-assessment. You will (probably) be safe staying home, wearing a mask for at least a while. But the Covid-19 flu is out there and it is not going away anytime soon.

I topped off my porch wood rack with some of last year’s Doug fir. I started a fire in the wood stove but I was testing the cherry wood and some of the “cheap” wood that I got last summer that needed time to dry and had a mix of some creosote soaked wood along with some hard wood. I got rid of the creosote wood and split some the hardwood that might be white maple?

The cherry wood tree has been dead for at least 2 years so it burned great and made lots of long lasting coals. I’ve never burned White fir before in my wood stove so I’m not sure how well it will heat but White fir is supposed to have a higher BTU rating per cord compared to Poplar. I don’t hate poplar for firewood. If you want a hot fast fire poplar is great! I get to experiment with woods for the wood stove. Fruit woods are the most available hardwood in my area but most of the firewood most people can cut will be a pine or fir in Idaho.

I cleaned out the big freezer and found some stuff that dated back to 2015. I did a very bad job on rotation for the freezer foods. The next shopping trip will be a lot of meat and veggies but I’m going to add a new vacuum sealer. My big vacuum sealer works great for canning jars but not so great for sealing plastic bags. I’m also adding Blocks of ice to take up room + make the freezer more efficient.

I have double wrapped meats but vacuum sealing is better against “freezer burn” in the long run. I did lose some meat and veggies but that was my fault for not rotate/use the food in my freezer.

My solution is adding some blocks of ice to elevate the foods in the freezer. I should be eating/rotating and the blocks of ice will help preserve the foods if the power goes out. I know some folks in hurricane country use construction grade bags for freezers just in case the power goes out the can throw out any melted/thawed product before it rots and smells up a fridge/freezer.

Throwing away what was good food makes me a bit of an idiot. But I’m correcting that problem and making myself more resilient. Being a prepper does not mean you don’t make mistakes. You just fix the mistakes you made and do better. I’m not counting on an Government back up to save me. I must save myself. The banks, corporations/ Stock market types get plenty of government funding. When the shit hits the fan the government tax property owners because they can’t just sell off and leave.

I think property taxes are vile. I think a sales tax would be better for supporting schools than a property tax. I also think most schools are terrible at educating children. So I always vote against any bonds or levys to support public schools.

Happy birthday to me and puttering around.

October 12, 2020

The dog test period did not work out with the new dog. Over all she was a great dog but I could not keep her in the fenced yard. While it is disappointing the dog didn’t work out I made some some quick improvements to the fence for a new dog that hopefully can’t/won’t just jump the fence. I have a basic 4 foot tall chain link fence but I added some 6 foot tall cedar fence boards to a gate and though it was a quick and dirty job. I like the look of the wood fence. I could use the existing chain link fence posts attach 2x4s with brackets to the post then add in the 6 foot tall cedar fence boards around some of the backyard fence make the yard area look more natural and less industrial/practical.

I finished up the “garden cart” by adding screws to the cedar wood sides. Those screws made the cart much more rigid. While I don’t have the wheels attached yet I moved the cart to a sunny spot on the patio and filled it about 2/3 full of of a mix of garden soil and compost. I used some landscape fabric to hold the soil in the cart so the soil does fall through the drainage holes. Te cart is not what I would call great “carpentry”, the basic build seems solid at holding in the about 2 cubic feet of dirt. I used gloss enamel paint on the 2x4s and plywood base to prevent water damage.

I’d like to add some 18-24 inch wood or metal cart wheels along with a small attached work table for holding seeds, pots, garden tools or starting plants. I could add a glass window and make a small cold frame or mini green house to the cart. The cart only needs about a half sheet of ply wood, Two 8 foot lengths of 2x4s and some cedar fence planks either 3.25-5.25 inches wide and/or nail screws. I did not sand or paint the cedar sides as cedar is naturally rot resistant. So far this box seems to be cat resistant to a cat digging this garden bed and leaving “deposits” digging/ laying/sleeping on your plants.

I am using ground level garden beds but after filling the “garden cart” 2/3 full of soil without having to bend over or squat. I can see this garden bed will become my favorite for a least a small kitchen or herb garden because it is so easy to work. It would be easy to change the height to make this bed a little more wheel chair accessible or easy for anyone with limited mobility to grow a garden. This is a small enough garden bed that an apartment dweller could add this small garden box next to a BBQ grill.

That is all fine and good but what did you do on your birthday? I started cleaning up my shop. My shop has become a bit of a catch all for stuff. Getting the “garden cart project out the shop helped out a lot. I have a soil temp gauge that will be handy for planting in the cart.

Mom and my aunt will get some Chinese take out and celebrate my birthday. What would I want for a gift? A basic table saw. The basic battery pin small battery powered nailer has been my best purchase for a tool.

This birthday has been a mix of some good, some bad and a lot of making the best of what is handed to you in life.

I’m still here!

October 5, 2020

It’s been busy here at Casa de Chaos the last couple of months. I’m getting on top of the Covid funk but My Tucker dog had some health issues and Saturday the 3rd of October he was put to sleep. I was with Tucker all the way to the end and I think I did much better compared to just leaving Brodie alone with the Vet. to do the job because I was a bit of a coward. It was peaceful and Tucker got out of pain quickly as I did not hold out or try and keep him alive for my sake.

My neighbors have been fostering a dog and pups and we are going to try out the Momma dog this weekend. So far the dog is good with cats, stays within the 4 foot high fence and she looks like a good fit as patrolling/guarding type dog. She won’t replace Tucker or Brodie but I think she will make a great new doggo here at Casa de Chaos.

The new doggo is a mix breed and looks like Kees hound and Kelpie mix, perhaps some Shepard and is 2-3 years old . I have watched and interacted with the dog as my neighbor fostered her and her puppies. We will start a 2 week trial period this weekend after she is spayed the 6th of October. I can’t replace Tucker with a another dog but she will be her own doggo for me if everything works out, and I’m feeling positive she will be a good fit.

God may close a door, then another opens and feels like serendipity that this doggo is available and has so much potential not only for me but she could have play dates with her two of her pups that my neighbors are adopting.

The dead cherry tree is down! I’m getting a little better using the pole saw, but Mom backed me up and held the rope we used to drop the tree. I’m still cutting up the limbs and trunk of the tree but everything is on the ground and the tree just needs cut into fireplace/ BBQ smoker box lengths. I bought a small fire pit (33-35 inches in diameter) from True Value and the 22 inch Weber grill fit perfectly for wood fire grilling for this little fire pit.

I touched up the weed control using 30% vinegar around the house. Overall the 30% vinegar does a great job but you need to follow up on any growth of new weeds. It seems to me that spraying the 30% vinegar works best in full sunlight and over 80 degrees F. for temp.

As far as Covid goes I’m reducing my standards on masking up and being fearful. I like using the face shields rather than masks. I interact with my neighbors without masks and I wear a mask shield when shopping because the stores require it but even the stores are getting a bit lax about enforcing mandatory masks in Idaho.

You should make a risk assessment for yourself and family. I wear a face shield. Perhaps you prefer a mask or both. If you are terrified of the Covid STAY HOME. If you are wearing a mask and/or a face shield you are mostly well protected. Why would any of the people be terrified of Covid ? I won’t trust other people to protect them. I wear a face shield because I don’t trust other people and I’m in a high risk group.

I’m a big history buff and this is the first time in Modern History Government Quarantined Healthy people rather than sick people.