Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!

November 25, 2020

My Thanksdiving will be just myself and Mom though we did not make it small because of the “coof” but because family members are busy. Or pissed them off years ago! LOL

I’m very excited about cooking the small 10 pound turkey on the BBQ this year. I think I did much better on getting the Lump charcoal prepared to burn. I don’t know why it never crossed my mind to use my hatchet to cut/chop the lump mesquite charcoal into smaller chunks. The large charcoal lumps break apart easily so you could use a claw hammer to get the “lump” charcoal down to a BBQ friendly size.

I have a small fire pit I have all prepped with cherry wood kindling that will hold my Charcoal chimneys of mesquite while I get the charcoal started. In the BBQ I have laid a good bed of charcoal and some more of the cherry wood kindling and some limbs of cherry wood to get a good batch of coals going for cooking the turkey.

I’m starting the charcoal much earlier this year compared to my other Turkey BBQs. The coals from mesquite charcoal take more time to develop compared to using a charcoal briquet. While I had heat to cook the Turkey the coals were not a stable temp. so I often added more charcoal to maintain 325-350 degrees F. to cook the turkey. About an hour after cooking the turkey the coals would be a more stable temp. and much easier to maintain. If you want to BBQ a turkey get that lump charcoal lit at least 90 minutes before you place the bird on the BBQ. For cooking time for a turkey I plan on about 20 minutes per pound if you maintain 325-350 degrees F. with your grill. I rotate and flip the turkey every 15-20 minutes and baste via small pan of liquid in the BBQ that provides steam that helps cook the bird. Always use a meat thermometer to test if the turkey is done!

As I rotate and flip BBQ my turkey I make sure that I finish up the Turkey Breast down. That helps the juices flow into the breast meat. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes breast down off the grill. That 15 minutes rest time will give you time to make gravy or finish up any last minute dishes.

This is not a smoked turkey technique it is BBQ at a higher temp. of 325-350 degrees F, rather than a low and slow temp of 225-250 degrees F. By adding moisture and rotating the bird I find the turkey breast is always moist compared to cooking the turkey in an electric oven or roaster. I use a brine of Canning salt, brown sugar and about 1/3 Orange juice and 2/3 apple juice with some spices for about 4-5 days. I get the turkey out of the brine, give a little rinse and then pat dry the bird and give it a spice rub. You won’t spread any diseases if you clean as you go with good cleaner or a mild solution of bleach.

I think that cooking any Holiday meal can be stressful. It is difficult getting the timing correct and you are always running out of cooking/baking space. By moving cooking the Turkey outdoors that frees up 3-6 hours of time cooking/baking in the oven. Add in a good sized Toaster/convection oven and you get more cooking options and it makes timing and all the parts cooking the meal easier. If someone likes sweet potato/yams or green bean casserole baked off, they can bring it themselves. You will have the oven space to bake any casseroles or dessert for others because you have planned ahead for cooking space. If it does not work, you can always change it next year.


Day 3 of shopping before Thanksgiving.

November 19, 2020

I was never going to have a big Thanksgiving dinner regardless of of the beer virus. Last year it was myself my aunt and my mom. Cooking a BBQ turkey for Thanksgiving and Prime rib for Christmas is a couple of special Holiday meals I like cooking for others and myself. I lucked out on finding a small 10 pound turkey at Fred Meyers and only 47 cents per pound if you spend $50.00 plus another 10% discount for Veteran Thursdays. I got a a bunch of great deals.

I picked up four of the decorative LED lanterns for $4.99. I was surprised as the lanterns are about 12 inches tall. I was expecting the lanterns to be about 6 inches tall because of the low price. The lanterns require 3 AAA batteries and only give off a little bit of light but I think they look nice. The lamp colors I got were a couple of bronze and a distressed white and red colored lamps. I wanted to get two of the lamps but they looked so cool I had to add a couple more lamps to my shopping list.

I’m not doing the big Mac & Cheese bake this year. While it is tasty it is so dense and heavy it is almost a meal by itself. I will be doing some sweet potato fries rather than a sweet baked dish and Mom is bringing some corn on the cob. With the Cranberry sauce stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy I think all of the basic side dishes are covered.

For desert I’ll make up a batch of fudge and Mom is bringing the pumpkin pie. That should satisfy every ones sweet tooth. I use the Carnation Kit that has all the ingredients (except butter) to make fudge. It takes about 10 minutes to melt all the ingredients together and then all you do is leave it in the fridge to set up for at least an hour. This is one of those deserts you can make 1-2 days ahead of time and have space for cooking and baking other stuff thanksgiving day!

I have done some shopping at Bi-Mart and overall it has been a good experience except for the clothing sizing. I have bought the same brand the same size and one will be loose fitting or one won’t fit at all being to tight. Bi-mart does have a good return policy with receipt it is easy to return clothes. But the cheap clothing sizes is very hit or miss compared to other clothing from most other stores.

I’m a big fan of layering clothing in the winter. I am one of those warm blooded people that prefers layers I can strip off rather than a big bulky down coat that is the only outdoor gear you wear. I know many people hate cotton for outdoor wear but I like layers of cotton along with wool or Goretx or other waterproof/resistant clothing. I’m not Mountain climbing or trans versing the arctic. I’m working in my yard and can get warm by my wood stove. If you are sweating you are wearing to many cloths and need to remove a layer. That can be difficult if you only have one outer layer to remove. So i have bought a couple of poofy coats and vests that I can layer with my hoodies, sweatshirts and other clothing. Does the coat repel wind and water? Am I warm after being outside working? If it passes that test I’m good with the winter clothing. For the record I did not like the Army’s Goretex system of the early 2000s at all. I did like the poly pro thermals and long sleeved t-shirts. I have bought some Goretex lined gloves that have a fleece interior and they seem very warm, almost like mittens warm.

Find what works best for you! Perhaps dropping a lot of money on special winter gear works good for you. I’m not you nor do I live in your environment. I found a place to buy unlined winter gloves that felt wonderful for summer jobs but I did not want to spend $25.00 for those gloves going into winter. I like finding good leather gloves that have both a goretex and fluff type lining. Those seem to the best type of glove for me.

For all you folks with pets and use sticky traps to catch mice. Goo gone will neutralize the glue of the sticky traps. Washing off the Goo gone makes kitty cats upset. Teg the kitten that stepped in the mouse glue trap seems to have forgiven me for washing off the paw in goo gone then soapy water. Just an FYI how to neutralize a sticky mouse trap if a pet steps on a glue trap.


Shopping!

November 17, 2020

I don’t like Idaho’s current governor as he has locked down Idaho again. I’m not sure a Democrat governor would do anything different than our current Governor. I did not vote for the guy I wanted Raul Labrador, but life is what it is.

I had a great day doing a little shopping via the internet and hitting a few stores just to see how well shelves are stocked. Family Dollar shelves were decimated on tissue paper and cleaning supplies. It looked liked the store had stock on hand but people just cleaned out the shelves so fast the stockers could not keep up. I got the lysol toilet cleaner I like, 9 lives wet catfood and a mop bucket I have needed for awhile.

I don’t think any one should freak out and grab everything off the shelve just in case they “might” need it in the future. Just be aware this “hoarding” behavior is starting at low cost stores and might spread to other stores.

I don’t think of this as true “hoarding” behavior as most people are scared and as they see shelves empty, they get a little crazed about missing out on some product. While I like the the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner. Ajax, Comet and other cleaners are available at low cost.

It looks like the second wave of covid is hitting the USA fallowing the pattern of all new flus/colds. The best protection against any flu/cold is a healthy immune system! If you have a compromised immune system, like myself. Protect yourself and limit contact if you get ill. Healthy people should not have to change their life to make others feel safe. If masks and shutting down the economy worked we would not have this second wave! This virus is following the same path of every other virus that hits humanity. Government mandated shut downs have not stop the the second wave.

I have great faith in the American people and the won’t go to any parties, Thanksgiving family meal if they are sick. Yes some people can spread the covid but at this point almost everyone must get the covid and move on with their lives. The government has no idea how it spreads and contact tracing is a joke at this point of time.

If the Government wanted to stop covid the time was back in February and a hard travel lock down throughout the country. We did not do that so covid is in all the population and no lock down or curfew will stop covid spreading in the USA. Thankfully 99% of the people that get covid survive.

American people are not that dense that they will infect their own family if they feel sick. Have Thanksgiving/ Christmas and defy the elite class of big brain thinkers. This not the Black plague, polio or TB outbreak. It’s a new strain of flu and that is all. Also touching your mask to eat or drink water destroys the mask effectiveness.

Remember to tell any government busy body come back with a Warrant. Don’t open your door and don’t be helpful to these people. They are not your friends.


Harbor Freight cart and fire starters

November 14, 2020

I am finally putting together some of the stuff/tools that will help me make stuff around the house. Today I built a small two shelf metal cart I got from Harbor Freight for about $30.00 a couple of years ago. I knew I wanted a small cart to make jobs around the shop and garden easier by having a mobile work platform for tools and stuff, but I never took the time to put together the cart.

I have to say putting the cart was a challenge because the metal shelves are not square or welded at the corners. The metal has a properly bent crease but it takes some muscle power to get the metal shelf walls close enough to get the bolts through and attached. What I thought would be an easy job of bolting together a cart became a multi-hour job of getting the metal shelves to fit the legs of the cart.

I can say that all of the holes were correctly positioned once I got the the legs in place and tightened down the the bolts and it is a nice small cart that can work as extra work space for moving tools, plants for the garden or even a patio cart for moving food around when you BBQ. The cart was worth buying but just so you know it takes a bit of muscle to put the cart together.

I’m making more fire starters with the paraffin wax and wood chips in cupcake muffin papers. I am getting better about stocking up on kindling and splinting my fire wood into smaller and easier to burn firewood. While I still use a bit of paper around the fire starter and add about five sticks of kindling. I know the “fire starters” always work with just one match I’ll start a fire every time.

If you want to make your own fire starters it is easy but you have to heat the paraffin wax slowly at low temps because that wax is very flammable. I use a small crock pot set on low heat or a Homedicis wax bath for wax heat coats for arthritic joint therapy. Wax for canning is paraffin and you can find it in most canning sections of stores. I bought my last batch of wax from Amazon because I got a better price per pound price. Fill the muffin cup 1/3-1/2 full of wood chips then add about 1/4 of a cup of wax and that is all you need to make your own fire starters. I use mostly wood chips but I have used paper egg crates instead of muffin tin papers, sawdust or small pine cones and decorative ribbons to give fire starters out as Holiday gifts.

Don’t be afraid to open a window or door if your fireplace/wood stove makes your house a bit warm. I know I felt like I was wasting heat if I opened a window or door if the room that my wood stove got warm. This year I’m opening up the door to let out some heat but also let in some fresh air.

I tried to hold all heat in in the winter and I forget that the house needs to breathe. While you can call me bad names but I have a hard time keeping my wood stove from heating the front part of the house in the 80 degree F. range. It’s not my fault because I have an efficient wood stove, dry wood and good insulation. Now that I’m opening the front door for some fresh air the back part of my house gets a couple of degrees warmer.

Every home and every body is different. All I can say is my experience by opening up my front door to get fresh air, seems to move warmer air into the back part of my house the farthest away from the wood stove and the open door. Obviously it is some sort of convection air movement. While I don’t understand why it works. I am happy that the back part of my house is staying warm.


Cleaning up the junk room and draining some water barrels

November 12, 2020

I have a small home though at 1200 square feet it is large enough for me. I have had a a few relatives move in and out and there seems to be leftover stuff after they leave. I also have “stuff” I put in the bedroom that I don’t need daily but I want to have handy. Though some stuff has not been in the last few months. I have some cheap wood flooring I’d like to install this winter. To get the flooring I had to clean the closet and to get to the closet I had to clean out some of the junk stored in the bedroom.

Good news on draining the 15 gallon water safe barrels. The water tasted a bit flat, but I had no problem with algae, mold or the water tasting bad. These barrels were stored in a semi- sunny room and indoor temps of 80 degrees F. down to 60 degrees F. depending on the season.

I have great confidence in my back up water supply stored in a cool, dark area and I used city chlorinated water in my water barrel storage. If you use a well to fill your water barrels you might have to add some sort of water additive or boil/sanitize any water you use from your water barrels. I don’t think you need to change out the water in your barrels every 6 months or even after a couple years if you know how to store and use water safely. If you are not sure about your water supply boil the water for at least 10 minutes or keep the water at 170 degrees F. for at least 30 minutes.

You might disagree with me about water storage and you can change out your water supply every 6 months. What you feel comfortable with for your supplies is your thing. What is important is you have confidence in your preps. Testing your preps is important. I have full confidence in my water supply and can afford to dump some of my water preps in order to clean up the “junk/catch all room. Trust me, I still have several 55 gallon water barrels in a dark, more temp. controlled space.

One reason for cleaning out the closet is to get out some wood floating floor to practice laying out/ covering some old floor linoleum installed not well for the house. I have learned a lot and I have most of the tools required to the job so now I have to lay the work out and do the job. This practice for me.

This to shall pass. Don’t get crazy, just keep working what you are doing on your preps. If anyone wants to play Fortnite and get Wolverine. I’m HudsonCallisto on Fortnite. I’ll be happy to help you get your challenges done in any way. I’m level level 140 and I can’t find Wolverine to kill him before he regenerates. It might seem a bit silly for a 54 year old woman to like the free video games but here I am.


It looks like winter is here!

November 8, 2020

The first real snow of the season happened at Casa de Chaos today. It was a mix of big fluffy flakes and some of the more sleet, rain/snow mix but the temps stayed around 30-35 degrees F. and the snow did not stick to the ground. The cats stayed mostly indoors while the snow was falling but they are getting out and about this evening, getting used to the colder weather.

It got a little breezy as this little storm front moved in but I was amazed that most of the leaves landed on my sidewalk rather than the new grass/lawn growing area. I’m feeling optimistic that the new grass area has the potential to come up next spring after getting plenty of water via snow and any leaf clutter won’t create a mold problem for the new lawn.

While I did not get my firewood in the April/May time frame like I had hoped this year. I am very pleased with how the wood is burning and the big wood delivery of wood seems to be dry, though it probably could use another 6-12 months to season. So far the wood is burning well and I have not had to clean out the ash because the wood is burning completely. I usually make the mistake of making a smoldering fire by turning down the damper to early and the fire can’t breathe/ get enough air to burn efficiently! Ironically a hot fire is safer than a smoldering fire that soots up your chimney. That is not saying you can’t bank the coals of the fire overnight but that is not a fire but coals and they don’t get smokey by an incomplete burn in your stove or fireplace.

Based on my results so far If your ash build up needs to be cleaned once a week your wood needs more time to dry/season. I know you may not have a choice about the wood you burn in a given year. I had few years of hit or miss on dry/season wood. But this standard should give you an idea about how to make dry/seasoned wood. I think you should have at least 2 years of wood on hand. I know that is not easy when you have a low income budget. What ever wood you can afford to buy and the earlier in the year, you get it stacked and seasoning earlier will pay off in better fires in the winter.

Don’t freak out about the election, it has not even been a week of counting the votes. The electoral college does not meet until December 14th and most swing states will be challenged in court by Trump and at least some Republicans. Al gore demanded recounts for 37 days for only Florida. It has not even been a week of looking at votes for the swing states.

Worse case scenario Biden wins. There is going to be a “CAT FIGHT” between Jill Biden, Kamala Harris and the squad led by AOC and a fight about what/who is the Democrat party. I think Trump won the vote but let’s play devil’s advocate about what the “deplorables” will do? I’m guessing if Biden is given the win we will see Congress try a “pay off” to the people. While the coastal elite make the money. The interior makes the food, fuel. mining of all the stuff urban cities need everyday to survive.

I don’t know what will happen in the USA but I don’t think it is time to give up or get complacent. You don’t have to declare yourself as a rebel. Just keep building your preps and your self reliance.


Snow/winter preps

November 6, 2020

The Treasure Valley had a week of beautiful weather including a couple of 70 degree F. days. Now we have a forecast of snow starting this Saturday evening.

The last couple of days I have been working to get the yard ready for winter. One of the bigger jobs is expanding the area of grass I have in the backyard. I probably added about 6 foot wide by 20 foot larger area of lawn. I used my pickax to dig in the decorative border bricks and I was pleased that I had enough of the bricks on hand, plus some of the curved shaped border bricks to make some future plant beds.

The dirt for the lawn area is looking good and not compacted. After several years of wood mulch the dirt was very easy to dig in and I had enough loose soil to cover up the grass seed. This is the first time I’m planting the grass seed in late fall. Hopefully the grass seed will be ready to grow next spring! If not I’ll reseed and use my “normal” method for growing the lawn.

The front lawn got mowed. I use a bagging lawn mower, so most of the leaves in the front yard leaves got cleaned up. Since cutting the old elm tree down there are few leaves to clean up in the front yard.

Cutting wood for the wood stove. I’m sort of focused on filling my kindling box. I don’t like to cut kindling in bad weather if I can fill up on on kindling in good weather. The kindling box is about 12 inches deep and 22 inches wide and 3.5 feet tall full of kindling. I don’t like cutting kindling in bad weather. The more kindling I stock up. The better I feel about going into winter.

Cutting up the Cherry tree is going okay. I have made a simple block cutting platform so I can cut up the cherry tree and it is working okay. I tested the Black walnut branches in the wood stove and it is burning clean and made good coals for overnight.

Build a hot fast fire to get that chimney drawing the heat then add slower burning woods later. A hot fire keeps your chimney cleaner compared to a smokey/smudge low heat fire. I made that mistake using a wood stove. If your wood stove glass is getting sooty. you are not letting your wood stove get hot enough to burn out soot. I know it seems counter intuitive but a hot fire is actually safer than a smokey low heat fire.

That does not mean you can’t “bank” a hot fire under coals. Just build a good fire first and then bank the coals over night.


More “stay at home” November preps done

November 1, 2020

I got another 2 family sized packages of sirloin steaks for $2.99 per pound at Albertson’s this week. I’m still learning the quirks of the little Foodsaver but I’m very pleased to see the big chest freezer filling up. Since I added the 4 blocks of ice to the freezer it is easier to reach in and grab what I want without trying to grab something from the bottom of the freezer. I have a plastic crate that I can fill with the “October foods” and start a adding in newer frozen foods easily. By adding foods in this way it will be easy to rotate the foods and keep food from getting buried and lost in the freezer. I need to get another couple of those crates in the future so I have an easy way to keep rotating the frozen foods by the month the food is frozen.

I’m adding some more fuel prep for gasoline. I bought 4 bottles of HEET (gas line- antifreeze/water remover). HEET does not not remove water from gas but will help break down any water in the fuel so it will burn off/evaporate the water via combustion. I have not used HEET before but it has many positive reviews. I figure at best, it will help this winter and at worse it makes no difference whatsoever. One bottle of HEET will treat 20 gallons of gas so I’ll use one bottle while the temps are warm because HEET is suppose to clean out other fuel system gunk. This should give the Kia time to get rid of some of the gunk with this tank of gas without being overwhelmed by water freezing as the temps drop next week.

Splitting and cutting up wood for this winter. The wood I get for my stove is cut and split. If you have every started a fire you need to start with kindling, add some larger pieces of wood and then once the fire is going you add the split fire wood. One of biggest issues with using a wood stove is stocking up on kindling and chunks of wood that is the size between kindling and split firewood. Cutting wood in the fall is pleasant chore for me. Cutting wood when it snowing or below 0 degrees F. in January is not pleasant! I have a small kindling box by the stove that is 12 in.x 12 in. x 18 inches long and depending on the weather that lasts me 1-2 weeks of making fires. I have a big kindling box by my wood racks that is 3 ft.x 2 ft. x 4 feet tall. I figure if I fill that kindling box I’d probably be good for the winter heating season. That box is not full but I added more kindling that I cut from the White fir I got this summer. The fir seems to be dry and it is very easy to split. I don’t know if I’ll fill the outdoors kindling box this fall but I have stacked up 3 large boxes of kindling on my front porch. We have a week of warm weather so I have more time to split wood.

I’d like to build a Saw Buck to make cutting some of the larger chunks of wood such as my cherry tree or the larger 3 inch plus diameter walnut tree branches easier using the chain saw. Alas Lumber is kind of expensive right now and I want to save my lumber for other projects. I scrounged my wood pile and some of the leftover short pieces of lumber and made a “cradle” that the small logs could rest in. While not as easy cutting on a saw buck I can use the chainsaw to cut these chunks of wood without the wood moving around nor placing my foot on the log to hold it steady while I cut. A bonus is the chain saw chain stays clear of the dirt that could dull it. The little electric chainsaw cut through the walnut. That is after cutting through a lot 4 inch diameter cherry wood. I have a bit more of the cherry tree to cut/clean up but it is mostly small branches that can be cut via a lopper.

Mom picked up her box of cherry wood and for as dry as the wood was that box of wood was heavy.

I charged up my Battery banks that are for jumping a vehicle battery or charging a phone/laptop. A little bit of power can be critical and or a blessing for getting a message to love ones. If you have not purchased a small battery back up or larger battery that can jump start your car. Look into adding these items to your preps. If you have these sort of battery backups charge them up! Texting via cellphone requires low bandwidth and many cell phones have a “push to talk” feature much like a walkie talkie. The internet can stay up even if electricity is down. Or vice versa, you need back ups that don’t cost a lot of money.

I’m expecting some unrest in November no matter what the election outcome is the first week of November. Doing anything in cold wet weather sucks. I don’t expect any long term protests like we saw this last summer. If the protest don’t happen don’t think you have wasted your time as winter is coming if not already in your area. The same basic things you do to prep for unrest or winter storms is very similar.

I voted early on the 30th of October. I doubt many people can do that now but you can fill out your ballot and drop it off so you spend less time in lines. I don’t like mail in voting as you tend to get little feed back if your ballot was received and counted. I prefer in person voting with a purple ink thumb spray rather than massive mail in voting/absentee ballots that politicians can play shenanigans.

This is the system we have so vote like you want to prevent the bastards from canceling out your vote. Make your candidate win by such a large margin that any cheating of the vote is irrelevant.