OMG! it got freaking cold fast!

February 26, 2022

It only got into the low teens but the north wind made it feel a lot colder.  I restocked the porch wood pile using the older section of the  wood pile. I had forgotten that Poplar makes a very fast hot fire.  I think poplar and pine are about the same as far as BTU’s but poplar is a very twisted grain wood and hard to split and also leaves a lot of ash after it is burnt.  But it you want a cheap fast burning wood and don’t have to split it Poplar is not a bad choice.  If you need to split wood for kindling and are using an Axe.  I would choose pine over poplar.

I have split almost enough of the older wood to start restacking it for a new wood delivery.  My goal is to have better access to the older wood and  not block it off by any new wood delivery.  Letting any wood season for 1-2 year improves how hot and clean the wood burns in your wood stove.  Much like everything else in your preps you have to rotate your wood and use the first in first out method.

I think I will use about 2.5-3 cords of wood this winter.  It is difficult to be more precise as I’m using some firewood that is several years old and some wood that is from trees that were cut up last summer and Mom borrowed some wood last year and all of my wood piles are spaced out in different areas.  I have a small home that is 1240 sq.ft. .  I have installed a new roof, new windows and new siding with an addition of a little more wall insulation within the last 5 years.  With all of that said, I think you can heat exclusively with fire wood with about 2- 3 cords per average winter.  Bad thing about SW Idaho is that average winters don’t  happen all that often.  So I would recommend anyone heating with a wood stove have at least 2 seasons worth of firewood for an “average” winter.

Tools to have if you decide to heat with a wood stove.

  1. An axe.  It does not have to be fancy or costly. 3/4-1 pound axe should split most soft/semi-hardwoods for starting fires from any wood that is delivered that is “stove length”.
  2. A hatchet for cutting kindling.  I prefer using a hatchet for cutting kindling as it is lightweight and I think much safer to use cutting smaller chunks of wood as you can literally bonk the wood and hatchet together against a wood stump rather than swinging an axe to cut smaller chunks of wood.
  3. A splitting wedge.  I don’t like those star type wedges as they take more effort and they don’t split wood into sections.  A simple wedge will split big chunks of wood and it usually does not get buried in the wood.   I use a splitting wedge that has a handle.  I can stabilize the chunk of wood as I bonk it driving the wedge through the wood.
  4. A 3-4 pound sledge hammer.  This is is to bonk the wedge through the wood.  I have a heavier splitting maul and I almost never use it as it is to heavy to be accurate hitting the splitting wedge.  It is very easy to use a smaller sledge hammer to bonk a splitting wedge through a chunk of fire wood.  Especially if you are disabled a woman or anyone with limited strength or endurance.  If you are strong enough to use a heavy maul and wedge good for you.  But almost anyone that can lift a 4 pound sledge hammer can split wood that can mean kids, women and oldsters.   You can heat with firewood even if you are not a lumberjack .
  5. A battery powered and electric powered chainsaw:  I have nothing against gas powered chainsaws if you need to cut a lot of wood they are a great tool.  If you are just trimming up some oversized chunks of fire wood the are a overpowered for most people that don’t use chainsaws. Don’t  poo poo cutting and trimming trees and limbs for kindling.  Chain saws are great for yardwork or trimming back fallen limbs that fall in storms.

I’m sure there are plenty of people that will say bad things about the wood I burn.  I live in Idaho and oak trees don’t grow here even maple trees are considered an invasive species.  Doug, red fir and pine are about the best firewood we can get in bulk.  We do have fruit woods from the orchards but getting them is a bit hit or miss.  Of course any one that extols the wonders of hardwood as a firewood and the price that it sells for back east and is willing to sell me 3 cords and transport it to Idaho and sell it for the same price paid back east I am willing to listen.

I had a sick kitty last week and I think he is over his digestive upset.  I think he had a peeing issue.  Well he peed all over my firewood starting paper and that seem to fix his on/off issues of being uncomfortable but not really in pain.  I added a little bit of lard to help keep some calories in the cat and help any hairballs pass through the digestive track.  I remember cats can get crystals in the urine if the diet is a bit wonky.  I’m taking the cat in to the vet next week for a basic checkup and shots and perhaps a test or two that might explain the “illness” .

I am almost blanking out 2020 and 2021 as the stupidity is to much to deal with looking back those feel like lost years in my opinion. I’m feeling pretty positive that my position is getting stronger despite the fact the us economy is going all Higgedly-Piggedly.  I admire the the folks doing the truckers convoy but I think it is the wrong answer to the problem.

I think the answer is to just say no and stop playing the game. Buy local and pay the cost. Stop using Amazon, Netfix Cable/satellite TV. I think is called “Irish Democracy”  when you decide not to follow the local rules and laws that are just idiotic.  Stop being afraid of the “Karens” of all sorts and live your life as you see fit.  I don’t think you are evil and if I think you are wrong I’ll tell you.  If you think I’m you will tell me.  I only delete spam in my comment section of the website.  A few people that get repetitive about ” if you don’t do this we all die”  Other than that the comment section is open.


The snow and cold finally hit the area!

February 23, 2022

It wasn’t that bad of a little snow storm.  Got a couple of inches of light weight fluffy snow that was easy to shovel off the sidewalks.  The worst part of the storm has been the cold wind that makes things feel so much colder.  Going through this winter I am very impressed with the $16.00 winter coat I got at Bi-Mart. The coat looks like a down coat but it is light weight and made of man made materials.  It is one of the best coats I have worn that blocks the wind and is very warm down into the single digits without being a heavy weight coat.  I don’t like wearing heavy weight coats or jackets.

Update on using the older firewood.  This wood burns a little bit dirty and leaves more ash in the wood stove but it also burns longer and I have had several morning of starting my wood fire with coals rather than using my firestarters.  Having the coals also means the house does not cool down as much on cold nights and waking up to a warm house is always nice.

The forecast is for about a week of cold and a bit of snowy weather and then in March we will highs in the 50 degree F. range for the high day time temperature. I don’t like the fluctuations between cold and warm but we really need the moisture to make up for last years hot dry summer and for this years crops. This cold weather pattern of adding snow pack in the mountains really helps irrigation in the summer for the farmers and Power production for all the dams Idaho uses for electricity.  Cooler weather slows the snow melt and if we get a wet spring that will really help refill the aquifers for farming and the dams for power production and irrigation.

I want to add a couple of small stock tanks to the yard for water collection and I want to add a solar fountain to each stock tank.  A fountain will stop any insects like mosquitoes from hatching as those bugs need stagnant/still water to hatch larvae. I will place the tanks under windows that could provide a cooling effect when used with window fans in the summer.  The tanks will add more water storage and I’d like to raise catfish as a renewable protein source.  I would need to learn more about raising catfish in tanks as a future project.  So the water tanks would add at least 3 good things to the home stead.

  1. Water collection/storage
  2. Possible summer off grid cooling
  3. Potential for raising fish as food in the future.

We have seen Canada go all totalitarian over the truckers convoy and I did not expect to see the unbanking of people that donated to the Freedom Convoy.  I think Canada’s politicians  are  being idiots but that does not change the fact that Western governments see this unbanking as a way to silence protests.  How do you earn a living if employer uses direct deposit and your bank account is closed/confiscated? In the USA almost all pay checks,  Social Security and Veteran pay/benefits are direct deposit. You could file a legal suit that takes 2-5 years at best to work it’s way through the courts and in the mean time you lose everything because you can not make the payments because you can not access your money in a bank.  When the banking sector puked back in 2008 the US government declared all depositors to a TBTF bank as creditors.  That money you deposit those banks is the bank’s money not yours and you will be paid out last if that bank fails! Stockholders, bond holders, Loan creditors will get their piece of that failed bank before you and the bank can use your deposits to pay off those stock and bond holder first and you may not get any of your money back except the government deposit guarantee of $250,000 dollars via the FDIC that dose not have enough money to pay off that guarantee if a TBTF bank fails.

I’m not telling you to pull all of your money out of your bank account unless you still bank with a TBTF bank then pull all your money and  put it a local bank or credit union.  Have cash on hand to pay at least 1 months worth of bills for your house hold.  You can use cash to buy money orders to pay bills if they won’t take cash. Six months would be better but that can unrealistic for those of us at the bottom of the economic food chain.

Even having 1 month of bills worth of cash on hand will buy you the most valuable commodity.  TIME  Despite what the government thinks, banks prefer you to pay debts as that is their profits.  The more debt you pay off the less banks profits.  Banks thrive on debt.  So don’t go into debt and you starve the banks.

You don’t have to do big things or make grand gestures.  A lot of little things bring down empires. Stop supporting corporations that hate you. Stop using banks that get government bailouts and special treatment. Pay the price to support local suppliers as the don’t have the buying power of an Amazon or Walmart.  You don’t have to do it all the time.  Learn new skills like growing a garden.  Every bit of food you grow is a dart in Whole foods and all of those pretend organic growers.

You have the power to say no!  Don’t be one of those people that excuse what they do because other people do bad things.  Do the right thing as you see it and spit in the eye of those that try and change you.

Make life work for you and not the government.   Every government needs some consent of the people be it active or passive.  Go about your lives being good people.  If the government has a problem with that well things might change.

Fire wood work day!

February 19, 2022

Supposedly SW Idaho was getting another blast of winter this weekend but the storm front seems to be moving east faster than anticipated by the weather guys.  I got to work on the firewood prep before the storm started moving east.  That is okay as there is a lot of work to get done before I get in next year’s load of firewood.  While my firewood set is not bad.  I have a couple of places to put firewood to season but my firewood area is not stacked properly to use the oldest season wood first and I want to fix that area before I get wood delivered.  That means I have to split older hardwoods and restack it now rather than stack “green” wood in front of that seasoned wood.  I think I’ll have to restack the older wood in new sections that are shifted 90 degrees from the original wood stack. Rather than having a couple of very long runs of firewood stacked under the canopy that get covered by new wood. I need to make several more short runs of the older dry wood and add the unseasoned wood in stacks that does not block access to seasoned wood.  I did not think about having enough firewood on hand to think about stacking the firewood over a 2-3 or more seasons.  If you are thinking about heating with wood think how you will store a lot of firewood over a couple of years. Especially how you will access the oldest seasoned firewood first!

I got into my Doug fir firewood area to cut up some kindling and split some firewood to makes starting a fire easier just incase the snow storm might hit the area. I start off picking chunks of wood that look easy to split into smaller chunks.  I try to avoid any knots, burls or twisted grain wood for kindling. As I dig through the wood pile any of those twisted grain or Knotty chunks of wood go into my wagon for my porch regular firewood stack. I start spitting wood into smaller chunks that I can use a hatchet to cut into kindling.  If the wood does not split easily it goes into the regular firewood stack for the porch via the wagon or is the in between chunks of wood that start the fire.  Using this method I don’t waste time trying to cut kindling in knotty wood that is tough to split but makes great base wood for starting a fire.  I don’t waste time searching for the perfect wood to split since I toss all of my split wood not good for kindling in the wagon that will go on the porch wood rack.  This way I not only cut some kindling, I fill my wagon/wood rack with wood that is not good for kindling but is the perfect size for the wood stove.

I think I will cut down the Cherry tree as it is almost dead and it will open up a better space for the greenhouse. I’ll have better access to power if needed and more area for garden beds.  I’ll have “spotter” for cutting down this small tree.  Mom insists upon that! LOL

Honestly based on the movement of the sun this area is as good or better than the area I was looking at as the neighbors home blocks sun in summer.  I miss out out on some early morning sun as my shop blocks it.  I get a lot more space to build the green house. I have access to power via the shop which is the same as the house so that is a wash.

Rain barrel update: 1 rain barrel is about 2/3rds full.  Front yard rain barrels about 1/3 to 1/2 full.  I think we got about 1/2 inch of rain and using chains to drain into a rain barrel is less than optimal.  I don’t think I did to bad trying to store some rain long term.  Before any one screams about water rights. All of my rain barrel water is spread about my yard in timed intervals. Your water rights are not affected. The city or county water rights are affected as I store water but all water goes into the ground like natural rain water.  By using 55 gallon barrels to store water. I mitigate storm water runoff in rain storms by storing rain water that comes off my roof.  No home owner will ever capture enough water to affect the water cycle.  Because they will use the water to garden, drink, flush poo and all those things us humans do daily.

People with rain barrels only concentrate water collection for use. They are not stealing the rain from anyone and only storing rain water to be released for things they want. usually for plants. Thea water cycle does not change. Water will be released for something.

Last but not least I would recommend you get local and stop playing the game if you are able.  Just say no to the oligarchs. Don’t support the Walmarts, Amazons and folks that profited from the destruction of Main street. Grow a garden get local don’t play the globalist game.  You can say no to the powers that be.

Moving stuff around the yard for Spring

February 14, 2022

There are some people that seem to find the perfect placement for things and seldom need to move those items.  I am not one of those people!  Trying to maximize the use of a city lot for all of my projects it seem to necessary to adjust some items as things change.

I want to add a green house to the backyard this year.  I started marking out the layout for the foundation/base and I need to clean out more grape vines for a bit more space.  The greenhouse I bought is about 8 feet by 8 feet but I’d like to add a small 2 foot deck/porch to the front door area as a small out door work area. So I need to clean out grape vines to move the greenhouse area closer to the fence.  Cleaning out the old grape vines has become one of my big spring time jobs because I let the vines get very over grown and now I need that space for gardening projects.  One nice thing about grape vines is the more you clean them out the better fruit they grow.  Plus grape vines are very forgiving of pruning back.

Another move I made is getting the rain barrels up on some blocks and set up for catching the rain of the roof. I raised the barrels off the ground a bit so I can fit a watering can or bucket under the spigot or get some gravity assist to help water some plant beds via a hose. My gutters are not set up as a proper rain flow into the barrels as I still have chains rather than down spouts but the water will run down the chains into the water barrels.  My area had a very dry January so we are looking at possible drought conditions if we don’t have a wet spring.  There is about an inch of rain and snow  in the forecast on the 14th and I hope to fill the 50 gallon barrels 1/2-3/4ths full with run off from the roof.

I know that is not enough water to grow a garden.  I’m adding in more water conservation items with soaker hoses in the garden beds and shade canopies that can be added over the garden beds if we have another very hot summer.  I have bought frost cloth to protect the smaller raised garden beds with the hope of getting a couple weeks longer of the growing season.  These things may not work.  All I can do is try and stack the odds in my favor as much as possible.

I moved my Blackberry plants to a new spot. I think one died but the other plant still has green in the stems.  I think it was the lack of sun that got the dead blackberry and there was less than 6 feet between the two plants.  It shows how just a few feet can make the difference of a plant thriving or dying.  A big advantage of using pots in a small growing area is you can move them based on how well they do in a spot in the yard or patio.

Cutting and splitting the older wood in my wood stack and moving it around.  I still have plenty of Doug fir in my other wood stacks but I’m working hard to cleanup and use the wood I stacked under the car canopy.  Almost all of the Doug fir is is gone from that area and I’m having to split hardwoods, use the poplar I bought about 3 years ago and cut up oversize chunks with my chainsaw of the older cherry and apple woods. Not a terrible problem to have but with my limited physical energy it becomes a long term process.

I would recommend that any one that buys firewood to get that wood in the next couple of months. Wood stove sold out in the fall of 2021 but many folks will get those woodstoves installed when they become available and there will be more competition for buying firewood.  Even if you can’t get a wood stove I recommend you buy a cord of or 2 of fire wood so you have it on hand for the future.  The wood will have time to season and you will have a place set up for your firewood storage. A full cord of wood is 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. or 128 sq. feet. That is not a large amount of space but most cut firewood should “season” for a year depending on your climate.

Also how often in your climate would you use your wood stove as your primary heat source?  Do you have an axe and hatchet to cut kindling as split would comes in 18 inch chunks and you will need kindling to start the fire.  Safety equipment for the wood stove to clean out ashes.  There is plenty of things you can buy ahead of getting for a wood stove before you buy a wood stove.  Don’t think a wood stove will save you money over the heating season.  I would estimate the cost of installing a wood stove would cost around 6-10 grand depending on your house sq. ft. and if you buy wood for the stove.  If you DIY it will be cheaper but will it be safe?

If you prep, you will move stuff as circumstance will change but the best thing to do is study folks that prep as they have done all the heavy work for you.  If you need to move things around that is normal and you are not failing, you are just adjusting things to work for you.

Lovely day, some wood cut and garden prep done.

February 10, 2022

I’m doing some more clean up of the wood pile.  I tend to move wood around as my space is limited.  I have been cutting up and using most of the 2-3 year old wood but the wood is not cut to “woodstove”  size.  So I have set up a Saw buck and using the chainsaw to get some of the older chunks of wood cut down to fit in the wood stove.  I’m also using the splitting maul to split  some of the older wood “rounds” down to a size to fit in my wood stove. I have plenty of Doug fir left and it would be easy to burn the wood I bought last year as it has seasoned.  I want to clear a space for 3 cords of wood delivery that is not stacked in front of older seasoned wood.  While the winter heating season has been relatively mild the last couple of years. That does not mean it will stay that way in the future.  I want to control how warm I keep my home and not the local public utilities or the government.

I laid out some black plastic on some of my raised garden beds to stop some weed growth and hopefully start raising the soil temps for some early planting of “cole” crops. I ordered my seeds from Baker Creek back in January and now Baker Creek is having a bit of a seed shortage.  I like Baker Creek seeds as I get to try out new and unusual plants.  You can find plenty of great seeds for plants at many stores for many garden vegetables. Trying out new veggies is fun for me but I think a lot of people want seeds for vegetables that are familiar and they could find at a local grocery store or farmer’s market.  I never thought to grow green beans though I love green beans.  I can buy green beans at a local fruit/vegetable stand.  You don’t have to grow everything you just have to start growing something and find local alternatives to the local mega-marts.

I know some people have no choice about some cost as they have gotten locked into contracts.  One reason I always recommend you pay month to month even if a 2 year contract seems cheaper up front.  My new cell phone service is billed at $40.00 per month for 2 lines but I got a discount of $3.00 per month because of a sale. If I had a contract I could not of got a better plan.  My Mom and I are Weird se just want a phone that lets us talk on a phone to people. Though Mom likes sending text messages more than I do.  On our phones we don’t play games, go on social media or watch vids/download data.  A simple phone plan with text is a low cost solution.  Perhaps you need a hi data plan that is okay.  I just don’t think most people don’t need a high data plan. It is just easier to buy “unlimited” plans rather than buy just wat you need.  Mush like people that buy Cable TV or Sat TV providers it is easier to keep paying the bill for a few items you like rather than cancel and find alternatives.

I find it astounding that people still use the TBTF banks like JP Morgan/Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo etc. even after these banks have defrauded their customers. Most local Credit Unions will be happy to assist you transferring assets into that credit union and away from the Banksters.  Go local for your money, your food and your energy.

Even if you fail growing a garden you can buy locally or at the local mega-mart.  Back up plans Boys and Girls and  trust what you see and not the propaganda.