A little more shopping and some woodstove/firewood stuff

October 31, 2021

I have been shopping more often and getting very specific items the last couple of months. Normally I treat shopping more like a hunt.  I scout the stores ads first before I started my shopping list.  I would get the items on my list but also look for things on sale but not in the shopping flyers. That process worked very well for me because when you are prepping you need so many different things getting the best price was more important than having a very specific shopping list. 

Now I am making very specific shopping lists about what I need to buy each shopping trip.  I still try and get the best price possible but I’m more willing to pay more for quality or to have certain items on hand. At the same time I’m very focused on keeping some cash on hand. While that might sound contradictory, I’m doing more shopping trips that cost $20.00-30.00 rather than my normal bi-monthly shopping trips that cost $60.00-$100.00. One reason I can make those specific item shopping list was a the big investment in buying 1/8 of a beef and a a lot of pork but I’m not sure I got the equivalent of an 1/8 of a pig.

  It has been a challenge to break out of my former shopping habits because I was in a rut about the items I shopped for preps.  I needed to get out of that rut of buying things for prepping. I already had that Item on hand and buying more was a waste of money no matter how good the sale because I would not be able to use that item before it went bad.  I over bought some items because I got so obsessed about having stuff on hand, that I did not have a good plan how to use everything I had on hand.  

I have to say using a Food saver to vacuum pack my meats works much better than my old method of using saran wrap then using a Ziplock type freezer bag.  I have had frozen meats a year old in the Food saver bags that taste great and freezer burn is not an issue even with a 12 month old meats.  I have the Food saver jar attachment that is great for storing dry goods that seems to keep things like crackers, cookies and items that can get a “stale/old” taste in a month or two fresh tasting for at least 3-4 months that I have tested.  

On to the wood stove and firewood and how that is going this year.  It usually takes a couple of weeks at the start of the wood fire heating season for me to re-learn how to build a good fire. Oh I could start a fire easily enough but building a clean and efficient fire always to a bit of trial and error at the beginning of each wood burning season.  That has not happen this year and I think a few changes I have made are making a big difference this year. 

Having new windows and siding with an additional thin layer of insulation has made the house less drafty.  Even when I put plastic over the windows there were noticeable “cold spots” in the house. When I got my “energy assistance” from the local power company they insulated my attic and my basement but not the wall of my house.  I don’t blame them as insulating walls usually is a demolition project or injected that can cost a lot of money. Building up layers of insulation and a rigid barrier against wind can make walls less drafty.  I’m not to concerned about moisture getting trapped between the walls as there are air pockets so the walls can breathe. I think the best investment any one can do for their home is to add insulation especially when you have do major maintenance like replacing a roof, siding or a heating system.  

Sorry I digressed so back to using a wood stove and how I seem to be burning better and cleaner fires. I am burning last years wood that has more time to dry.  My Mom is burning some wood that was delivered this year and she has noticed that her wood stove is staying cleaner and leaving less ash compared to last year.  Both Mom and I are using kindling I cut this year and that kindling has dried over this hot summer. I suspect having dry seasoned kindling helps make make a hotter fire in the fire box.  

I’m burning hotter fires and then letting the fire go out naturally without trying to damp down or make the fire last over night.  I see very little ash and if there is any leftovers of partially burned wood or charcoal the next fire uses up those leftovers. I have embraced the idea that a hot fire with little smoke is a safer than a cold fire that is smoky and does not want to go up the chimney but simply roils in the fire box waiting to ignited.  Instead it coats the stove and chimney with creosote.   Now Mom did not have a lot of leftover firewood. So her wood delivery was not as seasoned.  I have to say we have a great wood delivery person and they have let me know when  the fire wood was wet and needed some time to dry out.  Even Mom has noticed that her wood stove is burning cleaner even with less than seasoned wood. 

I think a hot fire that looks good with a good flame and at higher temps is the best for keeping your wood stove free of creosote.  If your glass fire place door is sooting up you are not burning a hot and safe fire.  If you are cleaning out ash weekly but you are you burn seasoned wood you might not be burning a hot fire that limits creosote build up in your wood stove.  I know it may seem counter-intuitive but a hot clean burning fire creates less soot and creosote than a cool or smoky fire. 

You don’t want your chimney pipes red hot but build a good hot fire and warm up your house. Little things can make a big difference.  I never thought cutting up and storing kindling early in the year would make such a difference in how easy it is to  start a fire. How using egg cartons vs. cupcake cups making fire starters cuts my paraffin wax needs in half.  

Theory is a good idea but proving that stuff out can be very different than your expectations. 


Thanksgiving meal shopping is done!

October 28, 2021

I got pies!  I have a store called Grocery Outlet and it is exactly what it sounds like an outlet store for groceries.  In my local stores I see a lot of foods that seem to be of the trendy types. Gluten-free, KETO, almond/avocado oil mayo.  Sort of health nut stuff but the stores also have discount prices on regular items.  Now getting what you want is a little hit or miss as the items in stock can be random from week to week.  That being said you can usually find at least a few items at great prices.  

I picked up two Sara lee pies, Dutch apple and pumpkin but there were other flavors available. I paid $4.45 for each pie.  I went to Albertson’s and got a lemon merengue pie for $8.29.  The same Sara Lee pies I got the Grocery Outlet were $8.29 at Albertsons.  That shows the potential savings if you can shop/browse a Grocery Outlet store. I don’t shop regularly at the Grocery Outlet but I think it is worth your time to take a look at the weekly ads as there are bargains to be had from time to time. 

I have been focusing on getting my baking supplies re-built because I let some items go bad by not rotating some staples in a timely manner. I know I beat myself up when I let food go to waste but I can’t afford to beat myself up if I screw up.  Now is the time to make sure all of your preps are good to go and not worry about past mistakes. Now is the time to fix any problems and be completely confident in your preps. I know there are some that will think that if the SHTF they will eat anything. While that statement is probably true, why not make sure your preps are of the best quality before things go sideways and you still have time to correct any issues before things get really bad.  

I bought some pasture mix grass seed for Mom’s place. Mom looks at her home not only for her but as a something to pass on to me. I’m shifting my mindset to look at the future potential of that land not just helping Mom but asking myself what would I do with the land.  I have helped Mom plant a few trees, build a garden bed but If we could start growing some pasture quality grass to start eliminating some of the weeds that would be a huge win for both of us .I know that spreading out grass seeds in the fall works much better than trying to plant grass in spring.  It would be helpful if inflation was not sky rocketing cost of the items that would help us get items needed to work the property. There seems  to be a rule when you got the money you don’t have the time and when you got the time you don’t have the money to get projects done. 

Last but not least I finally found Pool noodles at the Dollar store in October. Mom has a chicken run that is basically a dog kennel and she puts a tarp over the kennel/chicken run to add shade in summer and some wet weather protection in winter.  The tarps always tear at the corners because the wind always blows in her area.  My idea is we use the pool noodles to cover the metal corners of the kennel and then the tarps won’t rub against the metal in the winds that hit regularly in Mom’s area.  If this idea works it is a cheap fix. If it doesn’t work I’m out $4.00. 


UGH Food prices and some more things I’m doing re- stocking.

October 26, 2021

I have been replacing some older white flour that is starting to smell a little old and my bread loaves were not rising like they should.  Some that white flour was 5 + years old so it was my fault not using those a couple of hidden buckets of flour before it started going bad. I can say that once the Artisan bread was baked I could not taste any difference but my loaves were a bit denser compared to using newer/fresher flour. 

White flour prices for 5-10 pound bags of flour you get in the local mega-mart are on sale right now and still low priced.  I looked at the price at the local restaurant supply store and all types of flour have doubled in price for 25-50 pound bags. In addition many brands of flour like Gold Medal have disclaimer’s that it is a special order or call the store to see if they have that flour in stock.  If flour in bulk is going up in price or is hard to stock then getting flour in smaller bags at the local grocery store will probably start going up in price very soon!  It is cheaper per pound (.25 compared to .50 cents) for me to buy 5 pound bags of flour from Albertson’s than to buy a 50 pound bag from a  restaurant supply store. I live in an agricultural state so it won’t be long for those prices to start hitting non-wheat producing states.  Store bought bread will probably jump another dollar in price per loaf in the near future. 

This is a great time to stock up on baking supplies and spices as many stores have those ingredients on sale. I am also stocking up on yeast and baking powder as those items were hard to find last year during the shopping rush at the start of the lock downs. Don’t buy those little yeast packets! buy the largest container of yeast in the store or the 1-2 pound bags of yeast.  You can freeze the yeast up to 5 years so you won’t waste your money. Conversion for bulk yeast in a recipe compared to using a packet of yeast called for in a recipe. I use about 1 tablespoon of yeast for every 3 cups of flour in my bread recipes. That generally works out that 1 tablespoon of yeast equals 1 packet of yeast.  This is just a rule of thumb and your results might vary depending on the recipe. 

One more advantage of baking is your oven will add heat to your home while you bake so you are getting bonus heat while you are making food that will save you money because you made it at home rather than buy something ready made from a store. 

Coffee supplies are looking awful for the USA because of the supply SNAFU and bad weather/poor harvests in most coffee regions. I have read some “rumors” that Starbucks is having problems getting in coffee beans in the USA. Now I always keep a good stockpile of coffee on hand but I keep restocking every month as most of my local stores have coffee on sale every week.  

I think the stores are getting rid of older stock or are looking to downsize packaging again. I don’t normally see bagged coffee like Dunkin Donuts cost $5.99 a bag even on sale. I think there will be coffee for sale in the USA but I think the price will go much higher. I think this years rising prices are giving us a hint about how much faster cost can go up. 

This is not the time to live off your preps unless you have no choice.  Now is the time to perfect your storage/preps.  I know I have found foods that went out of date because some stuff got bought and stored and I did not use it as fast as I thought I would use it.  Or some items just got lost in learning how to prep.  Goodness knows I trashed a lot of food to Rotation of FIFO, freezer burn and improper storage.  I won’t say all preppers make that mistake but I sure as heck screwed up on that part of prepping.  Now is a great time to double check, do an inventory and replace those items that might seem a little iffy in your preps. You may also find some pleasant surprises that you had prepared but did not have to use and they can’t spoil. 

 


Stocking up for future shortages.

October 22, 2021

I have changed my mind set about how I shop now that we are starting to see shelves that are not getting restocked.  I don’t think “panic buying or hoarding” is causing empty shelves.  I think it is a supply and transportation SNAFU’s  that are the biggest problem in my area right now. I suspect that many of the items I am buying are on sale is to clear the shelves of the “normal” size packages to make way for another downsize of cans, bottles and bags of products. This is not new as the last few years I have seen a coffee can shrink from  three pounds to just a little over two pounds.  Products that were once sold by the gallon are now 3 quarts. Now we are adding in more inflation with rising prices with the packages getting smaller..  Or production has fallen off so much that some items are not available at any price. 

One of things that I’m seeing more shortages and rising costs is pet food. Especially good quality dry dog and cat food. I’m not talking the high end pet food but the above average grain free/no by-products types of pet food.  The bags are getting smaller and the price has jumped at least $2.00 for 14-28 pound bags and that is the sale price!  Getting quality pet food a descent price is becoming a challenge. 

My solution is to keep replacing/restocking those sale items I use that are on sale before the jump in price or the packages get any smaller.  It is not like buying up staples/basics in bulk to meet a prepping goal of 3 weeks,3 months or a year of food. It is more about keeping yourself stocked up on the week to week shopping trip of replacing what you use and adding more backups when stuff goes on sale. There is another I have noticed in stores the cheapest items are going up the fastest in cost. Staples are going up in price, Fresh meat, veggies and processed foods like ketchup, frosted flakes, crackers and frozen meals/snacks seem to be going up the fastest or have the most empty shelves. 

What I have done shopping is focus on getting as much good pet food before the price goes higher or the packaging gets smaller.  I bought a 14 pound turkey at $1.69 per pound just to make sure to have a turkey for Thanksgiving.  From what I understand there is not a Turkey shortage but You may not get that 69-99 cent per pound price or find a smaller 10-13 pound turkey. If  turkey goes on sale or I find a smaller turkey great!  I’ll just buy another turkey and keep it in the freezer.  This works out for me as I have what I want  on hand though I paid a bit more cost now. If the price drops in the future I can always buy more and my cost over time stays low. 

I have not seen a lot of talk about buying clothing.  The world wide cotton crop harvest was not good this year. Many man-made fabrics will also be going up in cost as they are oil based and the USA does not have a good textile industry. Almost all clothing is based in Asia and with the shipping SNAFU getting clothing might be a challenge. I’m focusing on building up things like undies, bras, socks, quality shoes and then simple T-shirts, shorts and sweats.  I change out my undies every day and don’t wear the 2 days in a row. Even if you can’t bathe daily you should always change out your undies as it helps keep you healthy and vermin-free.  Clean clothes tend to be warm clothes as sweat and dirty clothes trap sweat and are uncomfortable.  Undies, socks, t-shirts are easier to wash and dry without using a washing machine and dry quicker than most clothing.   Back in the day (Carter era) I had school clothes and play clothes and my Mom tried her best to make me change into my play clothes after school.  Did not work work all that well as I was a child attracted to dirt, grease and grass stains.  I don’t get as many grass stains now but I have more than made up for it in grease stains from tools and paint. 

I would recommend you top off your fuel backups and if you use oil or propane for heat you get your tanks filled  ASAP as the price will probably only go up the closer we get to winter. Sorry I don’t have any money saving advice for folks that get caught in rising heating costs in winter that use gas or electric to heat their homes.  I had a money hit it this summer dealing with the heat and using Window A/C units and a low water year that drove up electrical costs.  I can say that getting my wood stove was one of the best purchases I every made because I control my heat.  Every time I read about energy costs hitting folks I bless having that wood pile. 

Speaking of the I got the fire starters made. Paper egg crates are the best material as for holding the sawdust/chips and paraffin wax.  Cupcake papers are okay but I use a lot less wax filling up egg cartons compared to paper cupcake filled with the same saw dust/chips. I used about 5 pounds of paraffin wax to make 276 fire starters compared to using 10 pounds of wax using cupcake papers last year for about the same amount of fire starters. If you use only one of the fire starter per day you have over 9 months of fire starters.  All you need is some sawdust, some egg cartons, cupcake papers and melted paraffin wax.. You have to use low heat as paraffin wax is flammable at high heat.  You want just enough heat to melt the wax not ignite the wax. Mom has access to more free paper than I so she has leftover fire starters I gave her last year.  

Mom’s chimney has been cleaned up.  Mom used My shop vac with a Dry wall dust collection bag to clean up the last of the soot I could not clean out.  The bags are a little pricy at $18.00 for 3 bags but they do suck up the soot and keep you house clean.  It is just a paper bag so make sure there is no heat or coals that could ignite the bag before using a shop- vac to clean out soot from your chimney. I did not see any Dry wall level dust bags for any Shop-vacs under 5 gallons.

I think most preppers need to change how they shop and get into a different mindset about making themselves more sustainable. I know I’m not only focusing on food or heat and cooking but getting tools that I can use or neighbors can use to get projects done.  It is amazing the amount of work you can get done on your place if you loan out tools so a neighbor can get a project done but the don’t have a tool readily available

I don’t have every tool needed for a job, but I have added a small router and a table saw and every tool I add adds to my education to learning how to make stuff.  I screw up a lot but that is just tuition or the price I’m paying to learn new skills. If you are not willing to fail, make a mistake trying some thing new. You won’t learn anything.  

 


Removing peel & tiles from a bathroom floor.

October 15, 2021

I added the cheap floor tiles many years ago so I can’t blame the last home owner.  This was my mess up doing a home improvement without a clue, tools or knowledge needed to do the job. Removing those tiles are doable but take a little bit of effort.  

First thing you need is a heat gun.  Not to worry this is a multi-tasker for shrink wrap labels or for assisting to clean off some paints as well as glue.  I bought a cheap heat gun from Harbor freight  for under $10.00.  The tiles I removed were a bit old and poorly installed by someone who had know idea haw to install floor tile of any type. 

It was easy to remove the tile using a painter’s tool or putty knife to get under the edge and then use the heat gun to work the tile loose.  Now the worse part is I laid the tile directly on linoleum and had a sticky residue of glue and some sticky dirt that worked it’s way in between tiles.  What worked best for me was some spray on goo-gone, add a bit of heat via the heat gun and using my hand rub that Goo-gone into the glue.  Using the heat gun seems to assist the Goo-gone penetrate the old glue.  

The Clean up: if you have used Goo-gone in any form you get a very slick and oily feeling residue.  Goo-Gone recommends Hot-soapy water to clean the oil reside.  I found Acetone and Rubbing alcohol worked better to clean off that oily residue.  Trust me I tried Dawn dish soap and other Spray cleaners to ajax type powders and Acetone worked best and 70% rubbing alcohol second.  After adding an Acetone/flammable cleaner. I washed the floor with my favorite Lysol Multi-purpose cleaner.  

Cleaning this floor up took time. I often waited 10-20 minutes between stages to see if a product work.  I also added a bit of time as my knees don’t do all that good cleaning floors.  It turned into a 2 day job for me, but I had a bit of experimentation of how to remove the tiles and how to clean up the glue goo after the tiles were removed.  This job was a test case as I want to remove some of the peel and stick tile in my back door entrance way and add a “floating wood floor” setting on  top of old linoleum. with added  underlayment.   

I’m glad I tried new stuff with my home.  I really hated that I was so ignorant before I started new stuff in my home.  I have another are to clean up.  But it n entrance way and I have a “floating” wood floor that could look good if I install it correctly.  I have couple more tools I want on hand and I want a bit more wood on hand because I’ll probably screw up.  But that is the tuition/price you pay when you are learning new things.  All the tutorials and youtube videos don’t really matter until you make something for yourself or others.  

Talking a good game, and playing a good game, requires producing results that you or others can see and evaluate those 2 things are very different .  Most preppers are not Pacifists and many are not religious. So I don’t think playing “Billy Bad ass” to attack preppers that have spent years gathering not only food, but ammo is a good idea! 

Life goes on and I have tried to get my shopping as local as possible and I think that most folks should do the same.  If you are hoping for anything from overseas I’d recommend you get it now, find an alternative or learn to without.  No I can’t write a sentence that is marginable believable the Joe Biden will save Christmas. I dobt he could save Thanksgiving.  You are on your own folks so act like it! 

 


Heating and cooking. You got to stay warm and if the electricity goes out the Microwave is just a box.

October 11, 2021

I did a lot of tests about heating my small home (3 Bedroom/1 3/4 bath 1240 sq.ft.) with alternatives to a older electric furnace and then test how I could heat my home if the electricity stopped.  That meant cooking and heating in a fairly well insulated house that had very bad double pane and some single pane windows but good insulation.  It was cold but not freezing as the average night time temp was 15-20 degrees F. at night and about 35-40 degrees F. for the days high.  I used a mid range Mr. Buddy heater using the 1 pound propane bottles to quantify how much fuel was required to heat the house to about 65-68 degrees F.

I did not run the heaters over night because Accidental carbon monoxide poisoning tends to happen when people sleep.  It did not freezing inside the house when I turned off the electric heat.  The house cooled down to about 50 degrees F. That is a bit brisk to wake up to but you probably won’t get Hypothermia starting up the Mr. Buddy heater. 

My result were the room with the heater got warm within about 10-15 minutes but I had to add a small battery powered fan to move the heat through the house.  After adding the fan, the rest of the house reached 65 degrees in 45 minutes and I did nothing more than adjust the fan or the heater placement other than point it at a doorway to the rest of my house. I don’t have an open floor plan in my house.  So  your heat and fuel usage may vary but my basic trial should give you a basic idea about what you need to heat your home in winter.  I tested using the Mr. Buddy Heater the same way but using a common BBQ grill tank and got about 6 days worth of heat with about 5 gallons/pounds from the larger propane tank.  I have no idea how well the Mr. Big Buddy heater will work I used a cheap O2 battery camping fan powered by 2 D cell batteries to push heat from my mid range Mr. Buddy heater. I’m not sure of the post but the test is on this site.  I don’t delete publish posts of this site unless the post is wrong and very badly written.  You have seen the bad spelling and grammatical mistakes. So you know I don’t delete posts unless they are completely awful. 

Butane stoves are the bomb if you have an electric stove and need a back up cooking source.  Probably the best back up source for cooking if you can’t afford a $4,000 + wood stove from the Amish and the cords of wood to burn and learn how to burn wood in that stove to bake and cook. Well while learn the bake you can keep your house warm.  

You need a simple, effective way to cook and boil water that won’t kill you via carbon monoxide poisoning.  It has to be easy to use and safe to store fuel in a small apartment or home and it must be a Multi-tasker good for several type of environments.  Okay I add that last part…. 

Butane stoves is great for cooking! Caterers have been using the little burners for years and they are very simple to use and the fuel is relatively low cost to buy. There are people that use less than a can of butane to cook a Months worth of food.  That could be possible though I can’t do it.  But I know you could cook at least a week’s worth of meals if you plan ahead and are frugal with the fuel.  A butane Stove costs about $20.00-50.00 depending on the store. Camping stores and Foodservice stores tend to have the best prices for the butane fuel cans.  A case of Butane fuel costs about $12.00-$24.00 as of last summer.  I’m not sure of current butane costs this month as I have already stocked up. I still think adding a Butane stove at double the cost of buying the stove and fuel would still be a bargain to have an alterative/ backup cooking method rather than be a slave to electric and gas prices. You can control what you buy and not the PTB’s or the Public Utilities offer you as take it or get evicted min. standards of many local governments. 

I think I have done some great work getting prepped.  The first was getting a very efficient wood stove.  Buying and stacking good dry wood for that stove.  I much prefer a neighbor stopping by and saying the love the smell of the wood smoke rather than someone getting pissed off that soot, ash and unpleasant smells are pissing of my neighbors. 

Don’t let wanting perfection stop you from prepping.  The Mr. Buddy heater was me just trying to stay warm if the electricity stopped.  I now have a wood stove and don’t need that Mr. Buddy heater in my Hone but it can work great for camping or setting up a warm up area in winter.  I did not waste any effort and I could help some one with that heater and fuel to keep them warm in winter.   You build your preps in steps starting from the base line.  As you improve your steps you free up more resources to help friends and family to build up their resources.  

Preppers seldom are selfish.  I can’t speak for all preppers but we want more more people to get prepared.  We don’t offer a handout but we offer a hand up, on how to prep effectively on small budget.  We know prepping can be hard.  We have been there and done that. 

I’ll be adding the Challa bread to my recipe page. It seemed a tad sweet to me so I think I’ll go with a bit of salt on top rather than sesame seeds.  Ironically the braiding of the bread worked out better than I had anticipated.  I have to say the challah bread made some of the best French toast ever! 

 


Just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean you should do nothing.

October 9, 2021

I used to be envious of people that started prepping or becoming self-reliant in the 2008 when I started prepping and adding in some self reliance stuff. Now I’m one of those type of people that have prepped over the years a little or a lot as money was available.  I think the greatest thing to have in prepping is time.  That does not mean you need a lot of time or money to get started prepping, but you must start with that first step and anything you do can make a difference in the future.  Even if no disasters happen you can take a break from shopping, save up money, buy tools that can be use for a new hobby.  I have not found a downside to being prepared for the future.  

Flour for baking bread. As a bit of an armature historian I know bread tends to be a basic staple of life.  Every culture has a bread, muffin, flat tortilla/pita type product. I’m into baking bread and it can be very simple if not always easy to make bread but I have found that a small 1 pound loaf of bread will last me a weeks worth of toast for breakfast and a couple of sandwiches.  So I need to store at least 50 pounds of flour along with some yeast, salt and some other odds and ends to make 1 year’s worth of bread.  

You don’t have to buy 50 ponds of flour to start making bread. Ten pounds is easy to handle and you can start learning to bake bread.  Making bread is simple that does not mean it is easy as it takes some experience to learn how the dough feels when you make a good loaf.  Don’t feel bad if you make a loaf of bread with the density similar to a brick.  I can’t speak for all bread makers but I have baked a flour bricks. 

Beans and rice are always recommended for dry good storage food. If you know how to cook them as dried beans need a soak and long time to cook.  A nice ting about beans, rice, oats and many other whole grains is they expand in cooking.  A pound of dry beans can become 6-8 serving by just adding some water and heat. Rice , corn grits whole grain barley all become more with some water and heat.  So grains don’t need a lot of storage area.   

But Jamie I don’t like that food.  That is okay buy and store what you want to eat. I have bought cases of ramen and some of the Kung pao sauce I like along with crushed peanuts to make a meal.    It has taken me about 10 years to find a way to pay more to buy local at an acceptable price point.  Most people don’t have a Freezer so buying/freezing food is not an option.  The don’t have the space to garden or storage for canned foods.  I do think given the size of most American closets you can store at least 15 gallon water per closet and not damage a floor as that is only 120 pounds of water storage. 

I love Igloo 5 gallon jugs as you can store hot water for 24-48 hours.  I’m not sure how long cold water is stored. If given time before a disaster strikes I would fill every insulated water jug with hot water and then the tub, sinks and even pitchers with cold water. Just to have water on hand also to have warm water on hand for at least a couple of days. 

Butane stoves if you need an alternative cooking source to electric stoves. Butane stoves don’t generate the CO2 that can kill you like many alternate fuels. Grills, BBQs and propane grills out doors are good cooking items to have on hand. Don’t get dead because you tried to heat your home with a grill. Add extra blankets instead. It would be dumb to prepare and die to carbon monoxide be cause you got lazy or were an idiot.

You can choose to get ready and be an active agent in your survival. Or you can choose to do nothing and depend on others be it the government or charity. I can’t say prepping will guarantee your surviving but I can say doing nothing will almost guarantee you will die. Sad to say many people would rather die than struggle to make a better if not perfect life. That is sad.


I’m looking at getting smaller jobs done by contractors.

October 6, 2021

I hate going into debt and it hit me hard that getting a mini-split system would cost about 10 years to finance at a low monthly payment.  I seldom use credit and when I douse credit I stay around $1-2 grand, so knowing I’d get a bill each month for 10 years for a heat and cooling system.  I know that it is not unreasonable cost for a new heating/air conditioning system.  In fact it was about dead on for my expected cost.  I just don’t want to have a monthly bill for  a loan for 10 years. 

I don’t need this system right now.  It would be more efficient and add some comfort level but it is not a need to have it is a want to have for me. 

I do have a couple of smaller projects I’d like to get done and I won’t have to go into debt.  My gutters are not perfect though they did stop most of the seepage of water into the basement when I had no gutters.  But I got rain chains rather than down spouts and the rain chains don’t work well in areas that freeze or have snow and rainy seasons/months.  I have a patio awning and a carport I want cleaned off before any snow starts adding weight.  2017 Snowmeggedon had many of those carports and patio awnings collapse and I don’t want that to happen to me. 

I think I will pay a bit extra getting everything cleaned up this fall but I should save money in the future. Honestly I have sort of ignored this issue because it was not an Emergency.  Now I want to get ahead of a few issues before they become an “Emergency”. 

I think it is important to prep up to the level of what you consider an acceptable life. Then find ways to meet that minimum of an acceptable life.  That does not mean you are eating cat food cold huddled in a corner of some skyscraper. How do you want to live and how much effort are you willing to put in to live at that standard.  Plenty of people will exist with handouts of the government and charity. They will never change .Give them SNAP /food stamps. Give them rental assistance. Energy/power assistance and all they want is more.  Hard to blame them when the government always gives them more without any effort on their part.   

I don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings about how things will break but I know the better you are prepared the more time you will have to adapt to the new paradigm. 


Yard cleanup and the garden plants are trying to put out fruit.

October 4, 2021

I got some work down cleaning up all the apples that are dropping off the trees this summer.  I have not used the fruit from the tree as I have had other issues that took priority at the time so some of the fruit dropped and got very mushy before I got them cleaned up.   I’m doing a little better getting the Black walnuts picked up and drying out the husks around the nuts.  I have set up a frame to hold the walnut to dry until the outer husk is ready to fall off so I should get a little bit of harvest off my walnut trees.  At the price of walnuts even a couple of pounds will pay me for my effort. 

We had a brutally hot summer here and most of my garden just baked in the heat. What is happening now is I have volunteer tomatoes and pepper putting out fruit in October about week before the normal frost date. I did plant starts early and all of them got destroyed by heat this summer. A bunch of volunteer plants are doing better going into fall and I should get at least a few tomatoes and peppers from the garden beds I gave up on this summer.

I cleaned out one garden bed that went mostly to weeds. I want to try covering the bed in black plastic to kill the weeds and see how the bed handles winter and an early spring planting. I have plenty of frost cloth and I learned a lot about starting plants indoors this year. I have added shade cloth so I can protect my garden beds during the summer. I’m adding a better irrigation system to the garden beds. I think one of my biggest issues is getting more consistent about working the garden daily rather than getting overwhelmed and trying to fix problems when they become to big to ignore. I’m awful at doing 15-30 minutes work daily to take care of issues early and tend to work a few hours once or twice a week and try and catch up and/ or fix problems.

Good news I got my chimney cleaned and I started a fire on a cooler evening. OMG it was wonderful! There is something about a wood fire that seems to warm you down to the bone. It just isn’t the same feeling you get with an electric or gas furnace. I asked for a quote for a Mini-split system with a heat pump to circulate the air as my old furnace is non-functional but I’d like to have a more efficient Air conditioning and circulation of the heat from the wood stove to the back part of the house.

So far I got one bid and not a bad quote but there was a bit of a hard sell rather than I can do it for this price take it of leave it. I trust a take or leave it bid price from a contractor a bit more than some one acting more like a used car salesman that acts like all they want to work a deal. I’m also a bit afraid about going into debt to get a mini-split system on credit. I think debt is terrible to have in a good economy and absolutely devastating in a bad economy. Good news is my research was about dead on about a mini split system cost. I’m not against contractors making money that is a good thing. But I’m not going to buy anything just because the price per month looks good today.

I’m confident about most of my supplies for this year. I’m not so confident about what will happen with prices in 2022. It might not be the best time to go several thousand dollars into debt to get at best a $30-$50 payback per monthly electric bill.

I added storage of dry cat food that is pretty good quality and a new dog food from a local company. I’m not sure how the supply chain will work out but I’m going local as much as possible.

I’m sure many corporations know they could build local suppliers at huge cost and need at least 2-3 years to build a factory before they get any product. In a year or two the supply chain might be fixed… Then again the supply chain might break for other reasons than Covid.

Europe is hoping for a mild winter as the green energy is not providing the energy they need. The Canary islands has a volcano going off adding ash to the atmosphere that might reduce sunlight to solar panels and solar light to plants. I don’t think the EU will get a mild winter this year.

I think we will see a hard winter in SW Idaho. I think it will be more cold rather than snow. But a shift in the jet stream winds could bring a lot of snow. Everything depends on how the whether breaks across the Rockies. If it stays on the west face we will get Snowmeggeddon. If it goes down the east face of the Rockies the snow and cold will hit the plain states.


My shopping for preps feels a little weird….

October 1, 2021

This fall I started buying meat from local suppliers.  1/8th of a beef or a 1/8 of pork mix of meats to put in the freezer. It’s weird  to me because I don’t have to shop for meat at the local mega-mart for sales.  My freezers are mostly full and about all I want to get is a Turkey and Rib eye roast for the holidays and my shopping is mostly done. 

Buying local seems a bit odd compared to my normal shopping pattern which was also odd compared to how most people shop that I did not realize what a “rut” I was in how I shopped. I think I created “mental block” for myself that only a certain class of people or political viewpoint or people bought food and stuff from the socially approved sources rather than evaluate how to get the most bang for my dollars.  

What I have noticed most is buying local has become more competitive in price and quality compared to most mega-marts. Value per dollars spent is the biggest change for me. While getting the beef and pork bundles were not cheap.  I don’t have to shop the mega marts for meat because I already have full freezers of vacuumed packed meat. 

Onto the white flour I stored: The flour smells a bit odd after a few years of storage. I have read that white flour can be less than optimal after 4-5 years of storage and I think some of my Flour storage has reached that point.  While I hate throwing away any sort of food product.  It is better to rebuild your supply rather than use a poor quality product if your life depends on that food storage.  Good news is Flour is on sale building up to the holidays.  So replacing White flour is not a problem.  

Adding more quality pet food:   I don’t think good quality pet food should be expensive but supply chains are breaking down so I need a to have a good quality pet food locally available and stored on hand.  But if you look at the rising cost of store brand pet food.  Locally made pet food is becoming competitive on price. A big thing I’m worried about is good quality pet foods will not be available at any price. 

I remember the 70’s inflation and the USA still made stuff in the USA.  With everything outsourced with a fragile supply chain it gets a bit scary that things are not only expensive but are not available at any price. 

Keep on stocking up but try using more local suppliers for your basics. Learning to make/have ingredients for a basic dog food is not glamorous but it can keep your pets alive and healthy.  If you stock up food for your pets you should stock up food for your family.