Trucking vaccine mandates hit Canada, USA and the Mexican border.

January 24, 2022

In the last week all of North America have mandated vaccines for truckers crossing borders.  Canada started last week and the USA followed this weekend.  In less than a week Calgary Canada is getting hit hard with lack of food stuffs.  The USA has plenty of empty store shelves.  I have no report how Mexico’s markets are doing at this time.  I suspect that Mexico might have empty shelves later this year when Bulk staples like wheat flour or corn meal can’t be trucked from the USA into Mexico.  There is no way to celebrate this problem.  Canada is the major producer of lumber, and other petroleum based items not just maple syrup!  Mexico does not export only garden veggies but they also import grains from the USA and Canada.  Canada grows a lot of grain for both human and animals eat.  Don’t celebrate this as more stuff will be available locally because that is not how international trade works.

You can mitigate the impact by getting prepared, growing a garden and sourcing as much of the things you need to survive locally.  But what about the local farmer you buy that beef or fresh veggies from in the summer/fall.  Where does he get his fertilizer/weed killer and how much more is it costing the farmer this year? I think we should get another month or two to stock up locally.  Then I suspect prices will jump a lot due to inflation and other people simply buying more locally because that is what is available.

How much is enough to stockpile for the supply chain fiasco?  I have no idea for sure.  I have read the great economic brains say 4-6 weeks.  I think you should go for storing  3-6 months and start your garden and find as many local suppliers as possible.  I would be happy to be proven wrong and the supply chains are fixed by the end of February.  I don’t think that will happen with China shutting down ports and the USA shutting down truckers and other parts of the supply chain.

I ordered my Baker creek seeds.  I’m hoping I won’t see a shipping glitch that causes a later than March delivery.  I’m being a bit pessimistic but I’m learning how early gardeners start planning gardens starting from a frost date in May.  I live in SW Idaho and in region 6a or some what similar to Missouri.  I have a frost date of May 8-10 and a last frost date around the 10th of October.  Once you start planning a garden and starting seeds indoors or plants that need cold/cool weather for planting on a calendar stuff needs to start happening in February.  Valentine’s day is 12 weeks before my last frost date and I should be starting warm weather plants like tomatoes indoors.  I bought a radish seed that should be planted at the end of winter or in early spring  and do another planting in summer for a late fall harvest and storage.

I never considered my area as a place for get two crops in year.  Lots of folks in southern states get 2-3 crops in a year but in Idaho it seemed like crazy talk.  It is possible at least in theory.  Even if you can’t get a couple of harvests from your garden in a summer.  You can try growing indoors a table garden of greens, perhaps a  small tomato or pepper plant along with herbs.   It is amazing how well  plants will grow on a heat mat and some LED lighting.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to start growing some plants.  I think I spent about $80.00 to get a couple of mats and some plant starter boxes.  Perhaps more expensive this year with inflation.  So $ 100.00 for some cheap led lights, heat mats and some plastic pots.  If even a few plants survive into harvest you will make that money back in savings from not buying vegies/herbs in a grocery store especially when inflation is making food more expensive. That is before even moving that garden outdoors.

Some people think they can buy anything and money is no object.  But what if there is nothing available to buy?  Or people won’t sell what you want to you at any price?  I see it in wet cat food.  The price is on the shelf is okay but there is no wet cat food to buy.  Ironically I stocked up on dry cat food and my cats seem to like the dry dog food better than their dry cat food.


Gardening in January in Idaho?

January 19, 2022

I am starting some of the prep work of going through the seed catalogs and putting together so mini-greenhouse type boxes to start growing some vegetables that can be grown indoors year round. Baker Creek has a small tomato bush that can be grown in pots as small as 4-6 inches. It is called Orange Hat Mirco tomato and I think with the mini bell peppers and add in some Baby bok choy, lettuce/micro greens, chives and some herbs I can start a small year round table top garden in one of my spare bedrooms. I have plenty of pots, heat pads and lighting for the plants so other that cross-pollinating the tomatoes I know I can grow pretty good starting plants for the garden. I don’t want to get to deep into tinfoil hat land but I think growing some of your veggies indoors could be wise as it could be a back up to a visible backyard garden that could be seen by hungry people. Plus fresh veggies in winter is always a bonus!

Several of the local stores are selling seeds this month. While I can’t say for sure but it always seemed to be at February before we started seeing seed displays and those small seed starting kits in the stores. I think there are a couple of reasons stores are setting up gardening items:

  1. Garden supplies are bulky and fill up empty shelves/empty spaces.
  2. Many more people got into gardening during the lockdowns and garden products sell!

I would recommend a few things to do starting this month to get started early on your garden:

  1. Get soil/compost/fertilizer starting as soon as possible. Chemical fertilizer and weed killer costs are skyrocketing and there are a lot of shortages for many reasons but the “Green Agenda” seems to be one of the biggest drivers of cost. That means building your own compost pile and I buy 30% Vinegar as my weed killer as I don’t like using the chemical weed killers.
  2. Plastics are going up in cost because of rising petroleum cost. If you want to add Plastic containers for a patio or deck container get those pots now if they are available.
  3. Rising prices and knock on effects on getting the stuff you need for your garden. People will search for alternatives if the first choice is not available. We have all seen the cost of lumber jump in price, so people move to plastics or metal for raised beds and those jump in price because of the cost of oil or with metal the price of coal to make steel/aluminum.
  4. While I don’t expect commercial Agriculture will turn to vinegar as a weed killer many gardeners might, if they can’t get the chemical weed killers.
  5. Get creative about your garden and pay attention to micro-climates around your place. I have a city lot that is about 1/16 of an acre but I have at least 3 very different growing conditions on this small lot.
  6. Buy Agfabric to protect your plants and shade cloths you can set up before the heat waves happen. Mama nature can destroy a garden and having options to mitigate the heat and cold are a must have for a garden.

I don’t think anyone can make everything they would need to exist but the fewer steps you have in your specific supply chain the fewer places things can get really screwed up. Almost every area in the USA grows something from animals to grains to vegetables. With the crazy way inflation is hitting the price is comparable of buying grass fed beef, pork and poultry to your local Mega-mart. Usually the quality is better or at least the product is fresher as it has not travel several days in shipping.

I made up a batch or Artisan bread dough to bake off a few loaves. It boggles my mind that people are paying $4.00-$6.00 for a loaf of bread and bread is so easy to make at home. I am lucky that I can buy yeast in 1-2 pound packages and I have stocked on flour and wheat grains as part of my prep. Even if flour doubles in price my one pound loaf of bread will still cost less than a dollar per loaf including electricity for my oven.

The bread recipe is simple just flour, yeast and a bit of salt. But it ain’t White Wonder bread that is mostly air. This bread is substantial and chewy. Heck you don’t have to knead the bread just mix it up and leave it over night in the fridge and it can be ready to bake the next day. A big plus is home made bread is not filled with all the chemicals to keep store bought bread “soft” and preserve it from not getting moldy. The great thing about this Artisan bread is it freezes wonderfully for several months and even putting it in in the fridge for a week it is still not moldy.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself about getting and being prepared. I have great peace of mind that I have plenty of staples on hand that I can eat well though the meals might get a bit repetitive. I am blessed finding local suppliers of raw milk full of great stuff for the body. A couple of butchers and local farmers that provide good meat at a price I can afford andI live in an Ag region that could supply me locally. Of course farmers and ranchers will almost always chase higher profits. But that is capitalism. I’m not blind to the hypocrisy that people deride profit seeking if they are not the ones to profit.

There seems some bias creeping in about people not getting back to work. Perhaps it is just me reading some bias that might not exist but these are my reasons. It seems a lot of people are peeved that people are not getting back to work and supplying consumer needs. On the right they tend to declare the younger generations as entitized and lazy. On the left it seems they are offended that the lower classes are not leaping to fulfill their wants and desires. I’m 55 years old and I tend to Identify with hard work never hurt any one lower/middle class mentality.

Why should these kids work hard for 10-15 $ per hour? The average cost of a home is $350.000-$400.000 in Idaho. Even with low interest rates there is no way a young family can afford to buy a home on a $30-$50 grand income. Remember the standards was to buy a house that was 2-3 times your yearly income. How many houses are on the market that cost $90,000-$150,000? None those house now cost at best $250,000-$450.000 today. You can’t save up even 10 % down for a house as no bank pays interest on savings account of 1% and inflation eats all that savings.

Why would any kid with everything stacked against him economically work for a pittance with no benefits? Why would any sensible work for a corporation work when loyalty is expected from the bottom up and not the top down. People are called low skilled workers in the service industry but the good ones are not low skilled. Business owners if you want good workers you will have to pay more money. That is reality and yes you will have to raise prices because of labor cost.

You price young people of the housing market by eliminating low cost starter homes. You raise prices on the basics needed to survive and then you get but hurt because kids these days won’t dance to your tune.

I’m okay with business shutting down on the weekend because they can’t get enough workers. I’m okay that some stores are not open 24/7. I will survive. I think it is great that people are starting to realize the value of their labor and that the elites are getting all butt hurt that people are not going back to work in the the traditional way of the last 40 years.

I love how the media is trying to scare these kids working a gig economy that they won’t have SS when SS is scheduled to run out of funds in the next 18 years.

I worry about the kids these days. Not because I don’t think they are dumb. I think they are less prepared for day to day life. Nothing big just how to make meals. Make a budget, garden, use tools and know how to make improvement for their lives. The kids that get it are great and on the way to success. The ones that don’t get it will face a tougher time.

Most of life is getting lucky and the harder you work the luckier you will get.

Big freezer re-organized, Meat frozen and chopping wood.

January 17, 2022

I  have been eating out of my largest chest freezer as it had the oldest meats that I bought from grocery store sales.  This method has worked out great cleaning out the older frozen meats and has left my other small freezers well stocked with meats that I bought last summer/fall.  I have not lost anmy food to freezer burn since I started using the Foodsaver vacuum pak bags though a couple of packages dated back to 2019.

Chest freezers are more efficient than Upright freezers but rotating your food is more difficult in a chest freezer since the oldest products can get buried in the bottom of the freezer.  I find using plastic storage crates work pretty good for storing items in the chest freezer but are easy to pull out of the freezer and  re-organize for a first in first out (FIFO) system.  I also find it easier to grab stuff if it is not buried in the bottom of the freezer.

I still have 2 blocks of ice and a frozen turkey on the bottom of the freezer.  I probably won’t cook this turkey until November of this year and the blocks of ice fill up the freezer until I can afford to buy the stuff to fill the freezer.  A full freezer is an energy efficient freezer. A bonus of having blocks of ice in the freezer is it will help keep everything frozen longer if the power goes out.  If your freezer already has ice in it and the power goes out you know you will have a bit more time to either buy more ice or get your generator setup to keep your food cold/frozen.  Another advantage of using crates is you can quickly dump all your frozen food in a heavy duty garbage bag if you have to bug out.  The food might spoil depending on time but your freezer won’t absorb the rotting food smells.  That will make cleanup easier and much cheaper compared to buying another freezer!

If you had not guessed I love using the Foodsaver bags for freezing foods.  I had to toss a lot of food last year even though I wrapped it foodservice plastic wrap and used freezer grade Ziplock bags.  If you ever freeze any thing for 3 months or more you really need to invest in a Food saver!  I like the full size versions of the food saver that you can use with Jar seal attachment for Wade mouth jars.  That attachment costs about $7.00 and is great for sealing jars of dry goods.  Crackers, cookies and chips will tastes as fresh as the day you seal them up.

Wood cutting:  I finished cutting up the wood cut for kindling.  I cut up the bigger chunks of split wood into smaller chunks and then split those chunks into kindling.  I like using this method because if my energy level drops I can always come back later and finish cutting up more kindling rather that starting from scratch.  While I buy split fire wood some of those chunks of firewood are larger than the size of wood I like to use in my stove.  Some of the Doug fir can have knots and some wavy grain.  It might not be the best wood for kindling it is perfect for starting fires between size of a split log and kindling.  There is no reason to try and make kindling out of a chunk of wood that has knots or crazy grain when you have other chunks of wood that are nice straight grain and no knots.

I started a new system for moving wood from the wood pile to the front porch rack.  I’m using my garden cart but I’m only moving wood to the backyard patio in the wagon.  I bought a cloth/canvas firewood bag and it is the greatest firewood moving tool I have ever used!  I have stacked my arms full of wood and can’t see were I’m going, my clothing or arms get covered in sap, wood remnants and dirt  with every load of wood.  Now I just fill this bag and I walk  a load of wood one handed to the front porch wood rack.  It actually takes less time to fill the porch wood rack using the bag rather than grabbing an arm load of wood. My local Fred Meyer has these bags in the BBQ section for about $15.00 and my local farm store sells them for about $20.00.  If you heat with a wood stove and have to carry wood any distance get on of these bags you will love it!

I’m starting to get deeper in the woodpile of some of the older wood.  I’m using the maul to split some of the wood and I think some of it is white maple as it splits fairly easily.  Some of the wood is poplar with twisted grain.  But every bit of the older wood that I split and use frees up space for this years new addition to the wood pile.

It might not be good news but if you want to install a wood stove I would budget at least five thousand dollars for the stove and the chimney.  You are installing a new heating system and installing new heaters in any home is not cheap about 5 grand for an average cost.  I’d plan on at least your wood costing about a $1000.00 to start building a good stack of fire wood.  Not all wood is created equal.  Pallet wood/mill ends will burn but it is dirty and soots up your chimney quicker than well seasoned firewood.  A wood stove requires some effort.  Now I’m disabled but I have all day to cut fire wood but some times I just can’t cut wood because of physical energy limitations.  If you work a job that takes 8-12 hours of your time every day.  You probably won’t want to cut wood/kindling to feed a stove.  I’m not saying you should not get a wood stove but it is not always the most cost effective energy source depending on your area.   What I love about my wood stove is I control my heat in my home.  I can stack wood for future heating needs.  No government or public utility can control how warm I choose to keep my home in winter.

If you can’t afford a wood stove I’d get Mr. buddy heaters and the propane adapters for 15-20 pound propane tanks.  In 0 degree F. a Mr. buddy heater with a battery powered fan will heat a 1200 Sq. ft. home to about 68 degrees in about 45 minutes. Propane is fairly safe to store and you have tanks for your BBQ/grill.

I don’t know your situation and what you are dealing with everyday.  All I can tell you is the things I have dealt with and hope some of it is applicable/useful to you.  You know your situation better than anyone in the world.

You don’t have to prep for the end of the world.  All you have to do is start.  How many think about stocking up on laundry detergent or thought it was a major target for shoplifting?  So I bought a couple o of jugs of detergent or a couple of extra bottle of Dawn dish soap.  You know know casualties were recorded.  LOL

Last but not least I don’t think you should buy everything just because you can.  Leave some stuff for other people/preppers that may not be as well prepared as you are. I don’t want folks to get desperate as that leads to bad outcomes. Don’t be nasty and let others go before you if you have prepped.  I suspect the world will get crazy enough with out antagonizing people even if you want (I told you so) validation.

All people are children of God. though some them don’t act like it.  I will admit I’m a bit less charitable towards people that call me bad names.  Jesus reminds me it’s not about what other people do.  It’s about what I do in life.

A great couple of days of shopping done!

January 14, 2022

I finally got some chicken thighs on sale for .65 cents per pound.  I hit two different stores and bought 25-30 pounds to get my my big freezer restocked with some chicken.  Mom wants to buy about 8-10 ponds of the chicken from me so I will add a some more next week if chicken is in the stores.  I love cooking with chicken thighs as they are so flexible for making meals in my one person household.  From fried chicken to making stocks, soups or a quick chicken Parmesan.  I bought a few sirloin steaks at $3.99 per pound at Albertsons because I wanted some steak and did not defrost any beef.

Last summer I read about a shortage of potatoes and I did not think there could be a potato shortage here in Idaho.  The shortage and higher prices is real for some fresh potatoes in stores, but it seems the frozen potato market is the hardest hit.  I have been buying dehydrated potatoes, packages of dried hash browns seem to me to be the best for recipes since they are just shredded potatoes.  You can buy dried mash potatoes but I don’t find those mashed potatoes as useful for regular potato recipes.  I buy a box of Idahoan hash browns and get about 60 individual serving for $9.00-$12.00 per box.  More expensive than buying fresh but much easier to store and use.

Stocked up on dry pet food and added a few cans of wet cat food.  The pet food market is insane with rising costs for dry food and some wet pet food not available at any price.  The grain free dry dog food I bought is higher cost from a local company but my dog and 2 of my cats love it.   In fact I think my cats are  eating more of the dry dog food than their dry cat food. I’m still buying a “fresh” wet dog food for my dog as it is convenient and since it seems more expensive to shopper it is still in stock.  But I can make home made “wet” dog food that is healthy.  I don’t know a recipe to make a good homemade cat food.  I know the protein levels are higher for cats but I’m up on the do’s and don’ts  for homemade cat food.  There is terrible information out on the internet and it is hard to find reliable sources for making good cat food at home.  I used an essential oil on my cat and in seconds that cat was frothing at the mouth and I think she could have died if I had not washed that oil of this dish soap.  All that was said is some cats might have a mild reaction to some essential oils.  Almost all Essential oils are terrible for cats as skin contact seems to transfer quickly.  I’m very skeptical about any cat health info from the internet or stores selling new products.  If anyone has a good home made cat food recipe I’d love to try it out.

Bought some lumber and some Luxury vinyl planking (LVP) from the Restore.  I was a little off on the cost per box on the LVP but not on my measurements for square footage.  The gal that loaded up the LVP gave me a a little class on some tips and tricks to installing the planking.  I got ten 2×8 by 13 ft.  boards that make some raised bed gardens and the layout foundation of the Greenhouse. There are a few 1 inch notches in the lumber and some of it has a bit of wain and warp but that won’t matter much for the garden boxes.  Building taller garden boxes this year is my goal.  I have never read any one wish they built shorter garden boxes. So building double stacked 8 inch tall garden boxes is in my future.  I have a lot of old chunks of wood that can fill up the garden bed and break down so filling the garden bed should not be a problem.

It seems the closer you can buy items produced closest to you the less the supply chain fiasco affects you.  That does not mean you get low prices it just means that you can buy the stuff you need.  What you can grow in a garden is a zero step in the supply chain.  That does not mean you can pull carrots out of the ground in January based on the growing season in most of the USA.  I planted a great garden early seedlings I started indoors early and the heat killed almost everything.  I did whine about Mother nature and the weather and I bought a lot of shade clothe to protect my plants.  Gardening is all about lessons learned mostly the hard way.

Mayor Bloomberg thought that growing a crop of corn was add corn seed to dirt, water it and you will have corn.  Never take farming/gardening advice from a Wall Street idiot/politician.

I have the pots and I’m going to try and grow some tomatoes, peppers, celery and some herbs to harvest this spring.  Yes I know I have to manually cross pollinate some of the plants. It probably won’t work and all I will have lost is the time brushing tomato plant with a pipe cleaner.

I’m not a doomer!  I do think the elites are idiots and they don’t know that people have taken steps to not be a part of the New world order or the “Global Reset” . I’m somewhat optimistic that the worse things get the more people wake up.  It’s a bit hit and miss. But all you need to do to defy the Powers That Be  (PTB)  is don’t play there game.  Just say no to the fear mongering and othering of your neighbors.  Some folks are fearful.  I know last year I handed out a few masks and told people how to sanitize the masks for reuse.  Bernie Sanders wants to send 3 masks via UPS  to everyone in the USA and not tell them how to sanitize them for reuse.  This is a waste of money If you wear a mask you already have them on hand.  If you don’t believe in masks for virus protection you will throw in the shop for the next time you sand fiberglass.

I don’t know what to tell folks that is any different than prepare.  It boggled my mind that folks in the south did not  not have generator on hand for a Hurricane Season or tailgating or camping or running an AC unit during brownouts in the summer. I don’t get the resistance to being prepared to be some what comfortable in any weather event is some how bad.

Prioritizing and staying flexible

January 10, 2022

I am well stocked on the basic long term food grains.  My biggest concern is fresh foods like meat and veggies.  I am expanding my garden and buying local meat and dairy.  I’d like to buy 1/2 beef and split it with my Mom but she does not have the funds available for a march purchase.  I may have to buy a 1/4 beef and the smaller 45 pound bulk pork packages to fill the meat wants for the future.

Chicken is getting harder to find at a low price and the local markets have had 0 chicken products for 3 days running. I have been reading there might be an over supply of turkey working it’s way through grocery market supply chains.  Figures, after the Holidays Turkeys go on sale.  Watching for sales on turkey or replacing chicken with turkey for a cheap protein in your freezer might become cost effective.  If cooking a whole turkey is a problem look up how to “Spatchcock” a bird.  You basically are splitting the bird in half so it cooks faster but there is no reason you can’t cook a turkey for several smaller meals rather than just one big meal.

I sorted divided up my freezers for different items.  I bought a small pork bundle and placed it in the freezer section of the the “beer fridge”.  This was a test of how much I would like the pork.  I love the bacon, the sausage is okay and the other items are good quality.  I’m not knocking the sausage for quality I just don’t love the spices used.  I love the bacon so overall I am pleased with the purchase.

My small chest freezer is holding a quarter of beef and that freezer is full. I was given a choice between more hamburger or stew meat and I chose more hamburger. Next order I will get more stew meat!

The big chest freezer is getting low on items as I have been eating out of that freezer to free up space for new purchases of local meat. I’m not low on food I used a few Ice blocks to fill space to to keep the freezer “full” so it cost less energy to keep the freezer cold.  Now is the time to look at organizing and restocking the freezer.

I have been going through my dry goods and tossing out some older canned foods that look a bit iffy with cans that seemed to have bulged or sticky exteriors for no reason.  Coffee stocks are okay.  I tested out one of those small Italian coffee/expresso makers on my wood stove.  Yes I can make coffee on the wood stove though it is a bit slow.  I still think the French press is the best off grid coffee maker!  I loaded up on Carnation Fudge making kits. All you need to add is 2 table spoons of butter and this kit has everything to make 1.5 pounds of fudge with about 10 minutes of cooking. Chocolate and Coffee may not available with the supply chain crisis and most areas that grow the beans have been hit with natural disasters that affected the crop out put.  Biden’s Covid Policy looks to hit the Trucker supply chain from Canada and I suspect the same thing will happen at the border with Mexico.  Look at the items you want on hand and see where those items come from in the world.

I just bought some undies for twice as much as I paid just 2 years ago.  I bought 2 packages of socks a year ago for about a dollar per pair and now it is twice the cost or more.  Boys and girls it’s not just food you need to stock up on!

Don’t go crazy and max out your credit cards or get a loan to prep.  Just be aware things have changed in the US economy and you will have to be flexible to take advantage of sales or getting the items you need based on what you have available to spend each month.

Last but not least you need to focus on producing some of your own food.  Every dollar you don’t spend for fresh veggies or herbs is a dollar in your pocket. If all you have is a balcony and some pots focus on herbs as they are the most costly thing to buy in the store and with a $60.00 dehydrator you can make your own herb and spice mixes.

My garden was a disaster because of a massive heat wave that lasted for weeks.  But my squash did well even though I gave up on the garden.  I got discouraged but I have added several shade covers and plant covers to mitigate a hot summer.  You live and learn.  2017 we had 18 inches of snow/ice and no trash pickup but once a month.  I had a burn barrel and I’m sure the enviro-mental whakko’s would have problem with me burning trash as opposed to government approved facilities burning trash.

Don’t fight the “Beast” because you are not allowed to win.  Ignore the beast, move around the beast. Simply say no to the beast and don’t play the game.  Never play a game when you know you are not allowed to win.

Gosh it been awhile… Time to catch up!

January 6, 2022

The last couple of weeks of December I felt awful.  I didn’t get the Covid or Omicron variant so no natural immunity darnit!  I think I had a CIDP flare and the weather changes did not help make my joints and old broken bones feel good.  For the cherry on top of suck I had a few days of lack of sleep and crazy sleep cycles.  That seems to be in the past as my sleep cycle is getting closer to normal and while the joints still ache during weather changes the aches and pains are back into my normal range.

I had a good Xmas eve lunch/dinner of prime rib with my aunt and Mom. We traded some gift cards and small presents that were made at home or food so we are not very good American cooperate consumers.  Huzzah!  It became a white Christmas and we have had snow on and off through the new year.  Though now it is getting just warm enough to turn the snow into a slushy mess.  We had a little cold snap that dropped the temps down around 0 degrees F. for a few days but not a disaster of freezing pipes or of power outages.  Some days it is hard to get motivated about cutting wood, kindling and filling up the “porch” wood rack.  Nothing feels better than wood heat on a cold winter day especially when you hear about rolling blackouts, down power lines and countries that have oil, coal and Nat gas shortages that they inflicted on their own citizens because “global warming”.

I doing some cleanup on the wood pile. I’m splitting some of the older hardwoods, using more of the knotty chunks full of burls that I through on top of the pile as that type of wood does not stack well.  I found a new way to stack wood on the porch a little bit at a time rather than all at once when I get low.  The key piece of equipment is the garden cart and a covered patio. I split and cut wood to fill the cart and roll the cart from the wood pile to patio.  Then I more the wood to the porch firewood rack later or over the next day.  Moving the wood in stages really helped me when I was feeling so punky in December because I knew wood was close at hand in my  garden cart.

I have one more reason to clean up my wood pile.  I want to pay the wood cutter to stack the wood pile after delivery.  I have stacked 3 cords of wood and it usually takes me a couple of weeks at best.  Mom had the wood guys stack her wood and it was done in less than 2 hours for the cost of $25.00.  My cost might be more for 3 cords but if they can stack the wood the same day as delivery that will save me so much time and effort. People forget bad stuff very quickly so I suspect once winter is over wood and and wood stoves might become available at lower prices.  I think the best time to buy wood is in April/May time frame as no one is thinking about winter.  This is a good time to get that chimney swept and wood stove cleaned as the sweeps need work during this time frame.

Great news, Smokey my 15 year old cat not only survived 2021 she is much better!  Smokey was not doing so well at the start of 2021.  She was not using the cat box and piddling on the bed.  She slept a lot and had little interaction with the world.  That all changed when I moved her to a different room (so I could clean up her peeing on a bed mattress.)  Smokey’s new bed was a smaller and shorter German day bed.  I covered the mattress with a water resistant barrier. I add some piddle/potty training pads to catch any accidents.  My younger cats got fed in this room so I just added a new dish on the floor for Smokey.

The change in Smokey has been amazing!  She is using the cat box again and is not the piddle pads.  She is eating more and I think she is putting on a little weight.  She is looking better, like she is grooming her self. Smokey seems to want to come out of the bedroom and into the rest of the house except for that Boomer dog. Smokey has never liked dogs and Boomer has been very sweet not reacting to Smokey’s Hissing.  I thought I would lose Smokey this year but she is coming back strong.  I supported this cat when she weak because she deserved it.  I love how she is coming back and I’m glad I did not take her to vet just because we had a small piddle problem.   Of course that mattress was old and is probably destroyed so nothing of value was lost.

Good news Mom and I are off Verizon Cell phone service as of Dec. 27 and are using Consumer Cellular.  I bought a couple of the cheap flip phones and now we should save $50..00-60.00 per month compared to Verizon and so far I am getting better service with Consumer cellular.  I had to wait on hold with Verizon for 1 hour and 30 minutes just to confirm my phone lines were canceled.  Verizon’s website is awful to navigate and whenever I tried to cancel some service I always got a failed/ error webpage.  Plus Verizon supports CRT and I won’t support any corporation that inflicts that sort of group think on it’s employees.

Getting local and building up your network of suppliers.  There was no chicken thighs, quarters or breast to buy at Albertsons for 3 days.  Now some items were on sale but people literally cleaned out 2 stores in Nampa of chicken.  Not Beef or pork just chicken thighs for 3 plus days.   I’m not blaming people If I can  get cheap meat prices I’ll buy.  Now I just 5 pounds of bacon at $5.89 at a local butcher shop.  The price for butcher block bacon at Albertsons is $6.99 per pound.  2 slices of bacon from the local butcher shop satisfies me better than 4 slices of Cooperate bacon because of fat shrinkage.  You ain’t saving money if it takes twice as much to to equal the the same amount.

I was a poor kid in the 1970’s.  I was also a weird kid that noticed inflation and Price fixing and all the government fixes that made thing worse.  I think Jimmy Carter was an idiot but there were plenty of idiots to go around at that time.  Ronald Reagan and Paul Volker raised the interest rates to 18-20% for all secured loans. Can you imagine trying to buy a home mortgage at 12-18 % interest? Folks did that in the early 80’s.

I recommend you pay off all credit card debt.  Let’s face it you are not getting a 1-3% interest rate on your debt. So paying off that debt a quickly as possible makes good financial sense. Cut out expense’s.  Get local.

This should be a no brainer to most people but it is not because people are creatures of habit.  I have read about people that won’t leave some TBTF banks because it too much effort to set up new direct deposits and  bill paying online via a computer.  It’s your money, why don’t you care about it?

Same old same old,  We got snow so that should help the drought situation.  I’m very interested on how the pastures seed  at Mom’s place does this spring with all this snow.