I got the new plant starting boxes early!

January 31, 2021

I bought these plant boxes and heating pads from Home depot and got free delivery. I was a little afraid that the boxes might be flimsy but so far I ‘m very impressed by the strength and rigidity of the boxes and dome covers. The boxes are strong enough to carry out to your garden for planting and the domes are substantial enough to place over plants out side to make a mini hot box/green house that should stand up to a small hail storm.

These staring boxes are not cheap! I spent about $135.00 for the 3 boxes and heating pads along some plant cells for the double box set up. Compared to the Jiffy seed starting plant boxes the difference is night and day. I can get a 2-3 years use of the Jiffy boxes at best before the cheap plastic starts breaking down. I’m not bashing the Jiffy boxes at $8-14 dollars they are a good buy especially for a starting gardener. These new boxes have a lot more height built into the domes compared to the Jiffy garden plant starting boxes. I’m still learning about when to start plants and last year most of my plants grew so tall in the Jiffy domes actually contained/stopped my plants from growing taller and stronger. My hope is I can start/grow plants that can grow to about the same as the plants I buy at the local plant stores.

I notice that the soil around my house is warming up and can be worked or at least is ready to be cleaned up and start prepping for Spring. I need to add some PVC framing around one of the long raised beds but with this mild winter it is nice to get an early start on prepping the beds for planting this year. Don’t get me wrong early planting in my area is starting most cole crops indoor with heat pads/lamps in March. This is a good time to clean out the garden, add soil/compost and get those seeds ordered you want to plant.

I have to clean up my mess of grape vines in order to have room for my greenhouse. It is my fault for letting the grape vines get out of control. If you have grape vines that are out of control the best time to cleanup/thin old grape vines is before they start putting on leaves. I can’t (kill) the grape vines as the more they are trimmed back the more they put on good healthy growth. Honestly cleaning out the old grape canes in winter and early spring produces more grapes in the fall. My grape vines are so thick they are a physical barrier to setting up the greenhouse. I have one more large Garbage bine to fill up with vines that should get most of the space cleared for the green house. Not a big problem but it is an issue and I needed to clean up the grape vines anyway.

I have a 4ft. x 4ft. raised bed to move to make room for the green house. I have some bark around that I’m going to place at the bottom of this raised bed when I move it to the new location. Sort of a modified Hügelkultur raised garden bed.

On the Gamestop/Reddit raid I’m totally for screwing the hedge fund/cooperate raiders that rape and run after destroying a business. Will I play they game? NOPE! I want something tangible and as they say possession is 9/10 of the law and the other side arguing you are wrong. I like buying/storing physical silver. It’s relatively cheap and costs nothing to own. It only costs you if you sell. I bought silver at all prices from $8.00 per ounce and as high as $35.00 per oz. I’m not buying silver to make money. I’m buying silver as an hedge against inflation. I would not mind taking a little bit off profit or paying off my mortgage if silver spikes up, but I’m not counting on that happening soon.

Get your basics on hand first. Food, water and heat. A/C might be a priority in your area but people can adjust to heat/humidity. Cold kills! You might love canning, I like drying food and freezing and that is all good for me as long as I have power. I don’t think that makes me wrong. I have just chosen a different focus for preserving food. The thing is some one will correct in all these areas of preservation and you can trade with others. Don’t get pissy about a certain way to prep. Embrace folks that do prep stuff that is different than you so you will have more options for trade. If some one can smoke fish/pork and you can dehydrate/can/pickle veggies. Why would you get upset about someone that did not follow what you did for preserving food?

Please all people concerned about the Covid please wear the mask, face shield or just stay home if you think the masses of unmasked people will infect you. If you wear a mask/face shield you are protected from those that don’t wear a mask. If you are so afraid of other people not wearing a mask I recommend you stay home. Your feelings are not my problem. Will I wear my face shield in stores and in a public gather place. Yep because I have a compromised immune system. Will I demand other people wear a mask because I have a compromised immune system. No, because I don’t trust other people to keep me safe. I have tools to keep me safe.

It boggles my mind that so many people attack other people for not wearing a mask. But if you are wearing a mask assure you are “safe” from the transmission of the Covid. If you are not safe what is the point of wearing a mask? Why should you care about other people that won’t wear a mask? I can’t imagine non-masking people are roaming nursing homes or stores in order to spread the covid. I’m not a big proponent of masks, But I like the face shields because the offer a physical barrier but you can still see people faces/ reactions. I have not caught the Covid but that might be just luck or it might just be I protected myself based on a rational assessment of my risk.

You can’t control what other people do, all you can control is what you do!


Table storage… and starter plants

January 24, 2021

I got the table from Bi-mart and it was from Viet Nam and not China so I’m Okay with the purchase. What is cool is the storage shelves have different heights. So I tested out a 1/2 gallon Mason jar on the top shelf and it fit! Huzzah Huzzah!

I have always liked the look of using glass containers for storage. I really like the 1/2 gallon jars with the wide mouth lids because I could seal the jars with the Food Saver attachment for lids. It’s a “country” look/display in the kitchen but I am very “country” in what appeals to me. With this table I was able to remove a less than attractive bit of rolling shelf storage and free up a bit more floor space. While the table still dominates the kitchen, getting rid of that small rolling cart does help make the kitchen feel a little bit more open.

Mom left a few tall Bar chairs and they fit well with the new table. The old bar like table was not built for using bar height chair and you always had to adjust the taller chairs to try and make yourself fit the table. For now I have set aside one of the “chairs that came with the table and I’m going with one of Mom’s bar chairs for use at the table. The chair seems to be working better for me so far since I have a bit more room to place my knees and get a more comfortable sitting position.

SW Idaho has had a mild winter and is teasing me about getting plants started early indoors. SW Idaho can fool gardeners into planting outside early in the year. May 8-12 is average last frost date but I have seen it snow as late as 18 May in the last 30 years so protect your plants outside just in case!

I have ordered a starter box that comes with a good size heating mat and 2 seed starting boxes with domed lids for the front bedroom that has a lot of natural light. I ordered a 15 inch wide heating mat for starting plants in my computer room that tends to be cool and I have a UV growing lamp to augment the sunlight I get from one window. I think growing and preserving as much of your own food will be critical in the in the next couple of years. If I’m wrong, then at the very least you have good veggies to eat.

I’m laying out the basics to put up the greenhouse on a good foundation but I’ll need to move a couple of raised beds and cut back more grape vines to prepare for the greenhouse foundation. I was leaning toward a mulch bed “floor” originally. While it it will be more expensive to build, I’m thinking I’d like a wood floor inside the greenhouse for enjoying cooler days in relative comfort. I’m making a big investment of money and time. I’d like to get the maximum use out of the green house.

This might sound a bit crazy but Joe Biden is pissing off a lot of the Unions with his EOs going after keystone pipeline and anti-fracking states that voted for him in the west as well as Pennsylvania, south Texas and other states. I wonder if slow Joe is being set up for the pariah of going full Green New Deal just so Kamala can reverse “some” of Biden’s EO’s in March and April after having Biden removed via the 25th amendment? I don’t like Joe Biden but it is not like the Democrats to piss off union workers or states that went hard democrat in the election. I’m sure the Democrats would screw the Union workers in a heart beat but they usually try not be so blatant.

How about those NG Troopers and how they were treated. You brought in 20,000 troop/ 2 divisions and no one thought abought having a cot to sleep on or setting up tents for first aid or how to feed the troops at least one hot meal per day? While marble floors are pretty and even concrete floors can be okay. I did not see one trooper with a sleeping pad or a sleeping bag, never mind the non-existent cots! Yes I’m a bit peeved. What NCO/officer forgot to tell the troops to bring a sleeping bag and pad at a minimum? Where are the warming tents? Hot KP tents issuing at least one or 2 meals per day?

I know being a soldier is not meant to be easy. For gosh sake these troopers deployed to DC in the USA and they don’t have a cot to sleep on? I’d be happy if the troopers set up tents with heaters all around DC with KP setups feeding them food. I’d like troopers to have at least a sleeping pad an sleeping bag in DC. What are you doing NG when you don’t give your troopers a packing list that includes a sleeping bag and pad?

This should go without saying but all people need to eat, drink water, sleep and poop and if you can’t do that safely for your troops you are a failure as a leader! Don’t blame the upper ranks. Stand up for your troopers. You states that sent the NG to DC and see how they are treated… Bring the NG home and don’t help the Federal government that treats any state citizen so badly.

Good job Biden administration: You have shown exactly what you think of the US military, The National Guard and every family or friend that can talk to a member of the National guard deployed to DC.

Personally I think Biden will go all EO and Double down on the liberal/socialist agenda. Then Joe Biden will be removed via 25th Amendment and Kamala will revoke the EO’s that don’t poll well with Americans and she will be proclaimed the “savior of democracy”. Never mind the USA is a Republic.

Update on the tea kettle cleanup

January 17, 2021

I can’t believe how good looking the tea kettle is now! The kettle looked very rusty coming out of the vinegar bath. I rinsed and let it dry naturally and on one section I rubbed the kettle with a little bit of lard. I wanted to see if adding lard would help clean up some of the rust before starting more aggressive methods of removing rust. That spot seemed some what promising so I used paper towels to rub down the exterior of the kettle and then placed the kettle upside down in theoven set at 550 degrees F. for 45 minutes to do the standard cast iron cure/bake.

The exterior of the kettle looks good. It has blackened up and no rust is visible nor is there any flaking of the new finish. There is still some sort of “goo” inside the kettle. I have seen this “goo” on some old cast iron pans. It is like the worst combination of grease, wax, dirt combined and very difficult to clean up. I tried boiling water for about an hour, changing the water once but the “goo” is still in the kettle. It is not a big deal as the kettle looks great and can sit on my wood stove as an humidifier. I really want to get the kettle clean out to use as a tea kettle. Plus I’m learning how to recondition old cast iron.

I have a couple more options to try out for the kettle. I need to clean my stove and the grills from my BBQs. I have a self cleaning oven that heats up well above 700 degrees F. and literally turns all burnt on stuff to ash. Perhaps that high heat will remove the “goo” and the worst thing that happens is my oven and all my BBQ grills will be clean.

If you use this method of a “curing” cast iron there will be some smoke and some hint of vinegar aroma coming from your oven. I used a high acid content vinegar of 20% for the first bath of the kettle and used a mixture of 20% , 5% and hot water for the second bath of the kettle. The high acid vinegar is very pungent and can make your eyes water and nose drip if you get a good whiff of it. Masks might be needed when working with it. Open windows, use the oven vent fan and there will be a little bit of smoke and vinegar aroma in the house. I won’t say the smoke and aroma was bad just that it was noticeable.

I recommend moving away from Amazon for shopping. While some small businesses are on Amazon exclusively many have there own websites ready for shopping. Many people say boycotts/buy cots don’t work in the long term. What does it hurt to try and find alternate methods to pay people directly if it only takes a couple of clicks on the internet. Many people set up an Amazon sales account for ease of use, but they also have an internet store front in addition to the Amazon store front. I’m good with doing business with anyone that subscribes to the “Don’t be an asshole or bitch” and don’t cheat me. A simple and easy way for any business to operate.

The National Guard in DC. This seems very strange that 2-3 divisions of the Army and some air National guard have been deployed to Washington DC. Without regard to feeding or even providing cots and a place to sleep. Weapons are laid against the walls of congress and there seems to be very few people guarding or securing weapons. I was in the NG and Active Army as an NCO. But we planned Field training exercises about two years in advance. I served as an Unit Armorer and we had all weapons stored in a Steel shipping crate in the middle of a National Military training area and not out in the open in a major metropolitan area!

I already see terrible weapon security in the halls of congress. Weapons leaned up against the wall and troopers/soldiers asleep and as far as I can see no guards. I have heard that the troops have weapons ready to shoot to kill and that no ammo has been issued because the Politicians don’t want an incident.

I don’t know, I was involve with deploying folks to Ruby Ridge, LA riots in the National guard. We got little info other that The Government said we THIS THAT AND THE OTHER THING and WE NEED IT RIGHT NOW!

These aren’t bad people in the National Guard. Most probably signed up for some college money and help their community in a disaster. They don’t get a choice where they are deployed. Here in Idaho 300 NG have deployed to Washington DC for what? You have 2-3 divisions worth of NG in DC. In Boise the Schools are closing campuses and going into lock down. The US postal services is removing Blue collection boxes for some reason.

None of this Government reaction makes sense. It is way over the top of reactions. Stay home, have a BBQ. Get stocked up on your favorite beverage, snacks and ignore the inauguration. I think the best reaction is to have no reaction at all and simply go on with your lives as normally as you can daily. I have a little plant starter kit that looks like a good buy. I’m going to work on the foundation of my green house. Clean up my garden. I have plenty of jobs and recreation to keep me busy.

Kindling, cleaning some or garden beds and cleaning a tea pot

January 15, 2021

We have had a couple of nice days to get some work done. I got all of the Xmas lights down and put away in the basement. I like using the clear plastic totes for storing items because it easy to see what is in the storage box. Plus those boxes fit on most storage shelves. I don’t have a great prepper “porn” set up in the basement. The area is much cleaner and I have more room to store/find stuff more easily.

Mom picked up a couple of good size boxes of kindling the other day. I think she has been over working and she started feeling the same. Nothing critical but Mom needs to reduce her physical work load a little bit and take some time to heal up. I’m very happy I was able to give Mom a couple of large boxes of kindling to help her out. Mom found a box of kindling in her shed that she had forgotten about, so with the mild weather we have had this winter that should get Mom about 4-6 weeks of her kindling needs this winter and I got to clear out two big boxes that were on the front porch. There is a lot of space on my front porch to use. I’m not sure what I want to use it for besides just a place for my freezer and my fire wood rack.

Back to the stored kindling idea. Perhaps I’m a bit slow and everyone that heats with firewood already cuts a lot of kindling before the wood heating season. I’ve never read anyone talk about splitting up a lot of kindling before winter firewood heating season. Cutting and splitting wood, but nothing about having a bunch of kindling ready to go before the wood heating season starts. Having boxes worth of kindling already cut and ready to go has been a huge blessing for myself and my Mom. While cutting kindling is not hard work it can be tedious. It makes more sense to cut a bit of kindling ahead of time in good weather rather than cut kindling when you need it. When you need to cut kindling tends to happen during unpleasant weather.

I use an 18 in. x 12 in. x 12in. box of kindling about every 1-2 weeks depending on the weather. I use less kindling in very cold weather as I keep the fire burning as long as possible. In warmer weather I use more kindling because I let the wood fire go out and have to restart it at night. I think there is a restriction on a lot of people that don’t want to take kindling from some one that does not have a lot of on hand kindling. Even though the person says they can cut up more kindling! I love my kindling box and it still has kindling wood that should last me at least a couple of weeks this winter. How many times have I cut kindling this winter? ZERO even with helping Mom with a couple of boxes. Even if you guess wrong about the amount of kindling you use in winter. You can always cut more kindling when you need it. Preferably in good weather.

I cleaned out the big raised garden beds. The plant cages are cleaned up and most of the leftover plants were pulled up. It has been an oddly warm winter in the treasure valley. I looks like some of my onions are starting to grow in the raised beds in January. There has been freezing weather but the plants are still coming up. I’ll need to move one 4 ft. x 4 ft. raised bed to make room for the green house. I also need to clean up the grape vine canes that are out of control. I’ll be setting up the greenhouse out side the back door with a southern exposure. This is the area that gets maximum sunlight in my backyard. A good thing I did not set up the green house on my first chosen spot.

I doubt most people can grow all the food they need on a small city lot if they own the lot. If you are a renter you are stuck with container plants. Remember ever bit of food you grow, eat or preserve is less food you have to buy in a store. Every plant you grow is a victory for three reasons 1. You learn you can grow a plant. 2. You learn you can eat that plant and 3. You can preserve the food of the plant or the seeds and the knowledge confirmed “you can garden/raise food” you can eat! When you see a plant grow that you planted it is thrilling to me to know I made that life happen.

I’ve been working on cleaning up an old cast iron tea kettle. I have it a soak in vinegar and while the inside is full of gunk the outside is looking very rusted. In a way I think the vinegar did clean the surface area though it left it looking a bit rusty. I’m not worried about a bit of surface rust. I just want to make it the tea pot clean of goo inside and out. I can cure a cast iron pan so the tea kettle should be simple over time.

If you are not allowed to win why would you play the game? I recommend anyone displeased about the Biden presidency to stay home and not acknowledge the inauguration in any form what so ever. Play Yahtzee or Fortnite or watch a dvd like Blazing Saddles and ignore the incoming administration. Biden might be the President but I don’t have support his administration. Don’t get riled up, just stay home and not play the game,

More clean up odds and ends including not supporting Anti American Businesses

January 10, 2021

I got all of the beer making supplies cleaned up and put up on shelves. I have a couple of food grade buckets still drying out. Those buckets will hold my malted barley grains for beer making. I still have a few things to move like the grain crusher and the scale for measurements but so far the cleanup and organizing is looking good!

Now that I have added some shelves I can store all my pressure cookers and caners where they are easy to access for cooking and canning. I have a few shelving spots free so I’ll bring the dehydrators upstairs so I can start getting things like frozen veggie dehydrated for making soups and stews. I used my little vacuum sealer to vacuum pack 12 pounds of bacon into the big freezer. I’m amazed how quickly the big freezer is filling up after I had to throw out a lot of old/freezer burnt food. It looks like I’ll have to move the ice blocks around in order to use a couple of plastic crates to hold frozen items by date. My plan is I can organize the crates by month so I rotate the food out of the chest first in first out. I love the power efficiency of a chest freezer but rotating food on a first in first out is more of a challenge compared to an upright freezer.

There are a lot of business stories about food inflation starting to go up especially in the2nd/ 3rd world markets. The last time that happened we saw a run on dry goods like rice, beans, corn meal, grains, sugar and cooking oils. There is some good news most of the coffee market has recovered and you can get stocked up again for a good price. Sugar does not seem be a product going up in cost but dairy items seem to be hit or miss finding them on sale. I’m seeing full shelves in stores of paper products and pet food seems to have stabilized as far as product availability.

My hope is that most people are prepared and don’t need to panic buy products. My fear is many people just don’t have the money to buy anything beyond their basic needs every week. I guess we will see in a another week or two how people spend the $600.00 hush money in the stores. Are we going to see a run on Video game consoles and TVs or a run on toilet paper, garden seeds and food?

I can no longer support any company that is supporting critical Race theory, Social Justice or is anti-free speech. I was never on twitter or Facebook so that I can’t even quit those platforms to make a point. I don’t use google as a search engine I use Duck Duck Go. I removed my credit card from my Amazon Account but I can’t see a way to cancel my Amazon account. I have my old kindle but I use sites that offer free downloads of copyright free content. I have used Baen.com to get kindle books that do not use Amazon.com. Both Coca-Cola and Bank of America have gone all SJW. I don’t use those products now so not a sacrifice. I have not used anything from Gillette for a couple of years but I probably use some product from the parent company. I’m moving away from using anything made in China but that has been a challenge. I haven’t paid or watched cable TV in years. I do have a ROKU and a lot of old DVDs but I don’t support Hollywood films or TV shows. The last film I saw in a movie theater was Star Trek into Darkness in 2013 over 8 years ago. Again I’m not working all that hard to disconnect from the SJW’s.

Though I have been working on disengaging the Mega-corps and go local. It takes a lot of effort not to buy the lowest price item regardless where it comes from in the world. Buy stuff second hand, be it from yard sales, pawn shops and from your neighbors. The mega corp. got it’s money on the first sale. Any local second hand sale the money goes into the hands of your neighbors. Look at the country of origin when buying a product. I know the PTBs play shenanigans’ routing products through “acceptable” countries but at least you are working through a middle man and the bad countries don’t get all the profit. Shop local and learn to make more of the stuff you need. It might be growing a garden and preserving food or learning how to make shelves or knit. You don’t have to be perfect, just do as much as you can to starve the Beast!

It takes a lot of rain drops to erode granite. Every single raindrop is important to eroding that chunk of granite.

Working on Odds & Ends Today

January 7, 2021

It has been a crazy start to 2021 in the USA. I won’t say my brain “broke” but it sure got bent out of shape trying to understand some people’s pretzel logic. Since I can’t control or change anything I decided to try and finish up a few jobs I have around the house.

Last month I started cleaning and rearranging my front bedroom to be a warm project work space. I added a few tall shelves and got started on filling the the shelves with some of the items I want close to hand and use quickly enough that those items don’t need to go into long-term (the basement) storage area. The shelves are not a perfect fit but they are functional. I have cleared almost of the floor space of buckets and other odds and ends so I can walk through the room and do projects.

One project I got done is making more fire starters for the wood stove. It was nice to have a place to slowly warm the wax overnight and then just fill up the paper egg cartons or muffin papers with wood chip/sawdust then add the wax. I think the best part of the job is I had a place to put all of the fire starter stuff up on a shelf out of the way until I need to make more for myself or Mom. Having the ability to move one project out of the way on a shelf so that the work table is clear for a different project is heavenly to me.

I have a good size work table set up in the room that gets a lot of light from the two windows in the room. My idea is with the table and the shelves I’ll have enough space to set one or even two small projects on the table without having to clean up, set up and put away projects any time I want to do a project or I could leave a project setup on the table for a couple of days. I don’t know about you but half the time I don’t start a project simply because it takes so much time to create space to start a project and I have to clean up the project because space is limited to another work space that needs to be use daily.

I have to say the the Red Harbor freight cart has been very useful moving stuff around the bedroom as I have been cleaning and organizing. Having a place that can be easily moved, to set my beer making supplies until I get them all cleaned up and stored on the “new” shelves is nice. Now that I have a shelve to store the beer making supplies rather than them just take up my work table space, I’m going to push the cart into the kitchen and wash everything, put it all back on the cart and place all the beer making equipment on a shelves rather than the work table. I want to start making beer again now that I’m making the workspace available for the job. Plus anything I don’t have to pay taxes to the feds is a good thing in an of itself!

It seems My Smokey cat is going blind though she still can see light and dark spaces. I’m not sure how old Smokey is as she was a rescue/shelter cat. But she is somewhere between 13-20 years old if the shelter was correct in saying she was 5 year old when I got her. I think the shelter was wrong on her age but I can’t prove it. Smokey does not have the hops she used to but she is eating well and seems to be able to see light, dark and some shadows. While I did not intend for my landscaping to assist a blind cat. Smokey seems to know where she is by how the ground feels to her paws and at night I turn on the back porch light while she is out and she always finds her way in via the cat door. Much like a human in the dark will put out a hand to feel for a wall she will put her nose and feel for the bed and she knows just how high she has to jump to land on the bed.

What I notice the most about Smokey the cat is she sniffs more but also she depends on the texture of the surface she walks on and the little bits of landscaping borders I have put in the backyard. Smokey’s whiskers feel the border and the soil texture under feet and she always finds the pet door. She won’t go far outside if she hears a dog bark but she will make a be line to the cat door or the open back door if she hears a dog bark.

While animals live in the moment they also remember very well. If you have a a blind pet keep most of the landscaping the same that your pet has learned over the years. If you change the landscaping add in borders that define the changes you are making to the yard. I love to rearrange furniture but keep the basic walkways the same as much as possible for your pet. Your pet won’t have some sort of angst about becoming blind like a human would in the same situation. Having a blind pet is not bad as dogs and cats have other good senses. You just have find ways to keep the pet safe while allowing them maximum freedom of movement.

Really that describes life itself. I hate the mask mandates because they are worse than not using a mask. I was one of the first to wear a mask back in March 2020 because I erred on the side of caution when the government said don’t buy/wear masks. I spent about $300.00 getting myself and Mom prepped for the Covid in February. I had no good info and that corona flu looked darn scary in March 2020. Now I have a little better info. Go back and read my blog in Feb. through April 2020 I was hardcore on PPE.

I am changing my stance a bit but that is another blog post.

Happy New Year!

January 5, 2021

I have to say that 2020 has felt like the longest year I have ever experienced. So much has happened this year that it feels like things that happened in 2018-2019 happened like 5-10 years ago. I have had my down moments but I have been incredibly blessed this year having my military and disability every month. I can’t imagine the stress that so many people have had this year of not only being laid off, losing businesses but literally not being allowed to work while large global corporations profit and the stock market hit all time highs.

It is so strange that Americans are being told they are terrible for wanting to earn a living or wanting their children educated after paying taxes to support schools that don’t educate. I don’t know about you but my property taxes haven’t dropped a single penny this year though children have not been in school since March in my town. Idaho has a lot of Homeschoolers compared to other states and many parents love it because the kids learn more in less time each day compared to public schools. The internet isn’t just TIKTOK and cat videos. There are great educational opportunities from non-credit classes from Universities like MIT to history, theology to learning how to build a book case, repair an engine or build a computer. Most teacher are not allowed to teach basic biology without some Political correctness. Don’t get me started on my beloved History being bent out of shape because the humans that made history were not perfect angels.

One of the best Youtube lessons I have learned about making stuff from Wood. People that are good at it not only measure twice, they test fit and make templates and then measure again. You would not believe the difference in quality between my kindling box and the garden box I made 6 months later. The main difference is I slowed down and test fitted everything first on the Garden box rather than build the Kindling box without fixing my mistakes. It helps to have good tools for the job rather than trying to do work arounds.

I don’t think power tools get a lot of love in the prepping community. While getting muscle powered tools is encouraged, I need some power tools to maximize my energy levels because of my disability. I love battery powered tools because most people have electrical appliances and generators. So plugging in a generator to keep a freezer running won’t stop you from plugging in a battery charger while you keep your freezer cold via generator power. Sometimes a hand tool is the correct choice for the job. I had forgotten how well a “bow saw” could cut 1-2 inch thick tree limbs. Using a chainsaw is a little bit overpowered and hard to work with for this small job.

I want to get a table saw to make more consistent cuts on my wood projects. While I’m getting a little bit better at using a circular saw and I am bad at making long straight cuts. My future wood projects would benefit from using a saw that has guide rails and does not depend on my physical strength and abilities to cut on a straight line. Of course getting one tool always leads to getting another tool to get the job done. But I want to fix my back entry way with insulation, paneling and a new floating wood floor. It’s a small area dealing with mostly square cuts and it should make the back part of the house much warmer in winter and cooler in summer. I have a green house kit I want to build and having the correct tools will make it easier if not easy.

Speaking of the back door area, I finally got the doggie/cat door installed properly and it is closing more consistently. I had two major issues: 1) the door flap was installed incorrectly when I opened up the original box. 2) I had metal framing inside the wall opening that caught and kept the door flap from closing correctly. I figured out how to cut out the metal that was hanging up the door after much cussing and figuring out how to install a metal cutting wheel I was “told” would not work on my Ryobi angle grinder. There was a little bit of a metal rough edge but a little pounding with a hammer knocked that edge back against the wood frame. On point number 1) I made the mistake of assuming the door was properly put together at the factory and did not look at the instructions until I saw the door was not closing properly. On occasion the pet door won’t completely close but I go back and check the door after the cats go in or out. Plus putting the locking panel on the door at night keeps the heat in and the cats have adjusted to the door being closed at night.

I got a huge bonus upgrading to the new metal doggie/cat door and moving around a few fans. The back part of the house is the warmest it has ever been since I started heating with a wood stove! I can’t bank a fire overnight yet, since I did the work on the pet door the house is 5-10 degrees warmer when I wake up in the morning. Honestly if it is 65-68 degrees F. in the back part of the house and 70-73 degrees F. in the front part when I wake up. There is no reason for me to “bank” the fire over night.

I had a bit of fun staying home on New years Eve. I can’t believe I won 2 Victory Royals back to back. It probably helped I was playing after Midnight and I was facing either bots or older players that had imbibed or goofing off playing with friends. I spent most of the games gathering materials and hiding until the end game. I have 20 vic roys and I think buying one Battle pass is a good investment because you can earn enough V-bucks to buy the next season battle pass if all you do is grind challenges through out the season. Would I spend $60.00 on a free to play game that I find fun? Yes, but so far I have not had to pay that much money on the game I play on and off for a year. I think I have found a couple of creative maps that help me with my aim and a couple of maps that are great for editing and building. My goal for this year in Fortnite is getting 5 kill games more consistently. Work on my building skills of adding walls, ramps and floors. I’m not ready to add building 90s yet and just building in Creative mode is boring to me. Now learning how building protects you, finding angles for a shot. That is hard but is also fun and the only way to learn that is to play the game against real players. There is something almost magical going against a sweat in Solo pubs when they crank 90’s tunnel and do all that sweating building and you just stay low, use their builds against them or shoot out all those builds and watch them die to fall damage. Sometimes the best thing to do is do nothing but wait and always work on your marksmanship.