Its not looking good boys and girls.

May 29, 2022

Sundance at Conservative Treehouse has been spot on about food inflations so far and he thinks we might see another doubling of cost of the average grocery bill this fall.  I suspect he will be correct again.  While food costs are an issue I think energy costs will start becoming critical this fall.  Even the Biden administration is trying to get shut down refineries to start up again because of rising energy costs.  I saw lots of stories in the MSM about more people traveling this Holiday Day compared to lockdown for  Coof  the last two years but I think that is wishful thinking at best. At best some folks might travel this holiday but they won’t be going on summer day trips or excursion this summer as the cost of fuel is to high along with the cost of of food and other items needed to sustain life for a vacation trip.

I was a kid of the inflationary 70’s and saw a Hershey’s candy bar cost a nickel to a dime to a quarter and the candy bar got smaller each time it jumped in cost. I would collect bottles and cans to buy candy and other stuff but the price of recycled pop bottle never kept pace with the rising cost of the candy bar.  Then it was adults collecting pop bottles and cans on the roadway and selling those cans and bottles.  I am convinced the 1970s trash cleanup owes more to inflation and folks cleaning up the trash on the side of the road to survive than any government ad campaign.  I have spent most of my life at the bottom of the economic food chain and while never thought myself as poor I was aware I never had a lot of money to spend on anything.

Almost every electrical provider is warning of rolling black/brownouts this summer because of alack of reliable fuel for electric generators.  That will suck this summer that we may not have air conditioning.  The lack of energy issue won’t be better this winter for heat.  I have an efficient and clean burning wood stove.  Do you think folks trying not to freeze in winter will worry about how energy efficient or safety about burning wood? No they are worrying about not being cold.  Every year and every disaster we see people die because they don’t use generators with proper ventilation or use charcoal and gas grills as a heat/cooking source inside a home.

For summer time I recommend getting used to being in a warm in your home. I live in high desert and usually that means cool nights.  Last year’s heat wave in my area put a lie to that but most people can acclimatize to warm/hot weather. Try not to use AC and use fans to circulate air. If you have to use AC try to Isolate the A/C to one or two rooms for sleeping, a cool off area or a place for folks vulnerable too over heating.

I love the Ryobyi spritzer fans that can pump water from a bucket or use a hose. Great for cooling down a patio.   There is a reason that hot desert areas of the world use fountains to cool the air because it works.   I have no idea to recommend cooling in areas with high temps and high humidity other than A/C.  I lived in Augusta GA many times in the Army for training and the weather was just brutal to me dealing with the humidity in both summer and winter.  Hat’s off to you folks that live with it and thrive.  I still think cold will kill more people than heat.

It might not be cheap but I think having a well insulated home and quality windows is the best home improvement/investment you can do and get a payback of lower energy cost year round.  I would control some of my heat and cooling not dependent on the grid.  It might be generators, wood heat, even solar and wind energy that you control.  I’m not against solar or wind energy.  I think both have potential on a small scale residential application. Perhaps using the old Co-op of sharing in a small neighborhood. But trying to make it an industrial power source is silly with the available technology. You need quality coal to make steel, you need an uninterruptable supply of energy to manufacture stuff 24/7. Re-starting power plants of any sort is not as easy as flipping a switch.

Right now the Biden administration is trying to get oil/gas refineries to restart production without any future protections against being shut down after they are useful politically. I know it is hard but I say shut it all down until the government backs off with its crazy diktats. Our own government demand more corn for ethanol  and people will be starving because of the rising inflation costs of food.

All of the government must be malevolent or stupid because you cant fuck up this badly unless you are trying to fuck up.

Grazing animals feed on land that don’t support  grain crops. If a farmer could grow crops or cows on that land he would grow crops.  Trust me cattle don’t pay better than crops considering the work invested in cattle compare to growing a crop.  Crops are a lot less work than any  animal crop. I have worked on a ranch that ran cattle, pigs and wheat on the Paulose fields of Eastern Washington. I was there when they got 80 bushels per acre after St. helens ash settled and the price of grain the next year rekt several small farms.  You prima donnas elites think you can shut down things with a flip of a switch and everything will restart with another flip of a switch when your choices are seen as bad.  Michael Bloomberg is not the best guy to teach about farming to middle America. Anyone that planted a garden anywhere in the world knew Bloomberg was an idiot.

Why would any one give the WEF the time of day.  The participants are rich okay I have the right to live my life as I fit as any idiot at davos.  WEF and Davos is nothing more than the elites trying to put down the uppity serfs.  The slogan of the WEF is you will  own nothing and be happy.  But what they mean is we will own everything and you(serf) will pay us.  I like being a home owner though I have a mortgage to the bank.  I can renovate stuff in my home pound a nail in the wall if I choose, grow a garden in my yard and preserve the products of my efforts.

I don’t agree to your conditions at the WEF and I am not bound to you global goals.


Berries and mini plants in the tall “kitchen” bed

May 28, 2022

I used some older “party buckets” that held raspberry plants last year that burned up in the heat wave.  I added some peat moss for water retention and to break up the soil a little bit as one of the bucket’ soil  was compacted and need something to “fluff” up the soil.  The buckets got moved to a new location so I can keep a closer eye on the berry plants.  The berry buckets and kiddy pool now have 12 strawberry plants and a raspberry plant with multiple canes. My hope is the plants will fill the buckets and next year I can split some of the plants to new buckets/kiddy pools. I’d like to add one more blackberry plant now that I have found a happy place for the surviving blackberry plant but it is getting late in the year to buy plants.

The kitchen garden box got filled with the mini plants I started earlier this year. One of the biggest issues with the kitchen garden box was the cats using it as a litter box. The wire fencing provided the solution as I used some of the wire to cover the top of the box and the space between the wire keeps cats out but the plants have enough room to grow between the wire.  I planted the Idaho gold cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, mini egg plants and a couple of mystery plants that I lost the plant tag from the pot.

The heirloom pepper variety pack I planted in some long but deep planting boxes I got from Fred Meyer earlier this spring because I ran out of room in the raised beds.  These boxes are over 12 inches deep and long enough to plant the pepper plants 12+ inches apart so I think the pepper plants will have enough room to grow.  One of my reoccurring mistakes with my raised beds has been planting to many plants in my raised beds and later in the season they become a mass of plant rather than each plant having enough room to grow and thrive.  This is why I feel like I have less garden space because I left each plant with plenty of room to grow.  I’m terrible about thinning plants since a plant growing from seed seems like a minor miracle of life that I don’t want to remove a growing plant from the garden.

I still have to plant the root crops and 3 sisters beds and yeas I’m very late but I should have enough growing season left to get some sort of harvest.  With everything happening here at Casa de Chaos  getting the live plants out of the starter pots and into the ground took priority.  Using mounds of dirt rather than traditional rows looks like the best answer for the 3 sisters garden area.  I’m still playing with irrigation ideas of using a flat hose or a couple of the spike water sprinkler.  The spike water sprinkler will shoot water very high into the air unless you limit the water pressure.  With irrigation in the garden you want the water hitting the soil as much as possible that is what makes drip irrigation such a poplar choice for watering a garden.  Every thing I have bought for irrigating my garden has been to put the water closer to the soil and plants and minimize the loss of water to the air.  Of course since I have got all of these water saving items in the garden this year we are having a wet late spring so I don’t have to water the garden and yard with city water.

My iris flowers are going nuts and most of them have bloomed.  I have to dig up and thin these flowers rhizomes as they are badly overgrown.  Mom wants some of the plants and I want to start planting the irises in new places in the front yard flower beds.  I don’t know the names of the varieties but I have many flower colors. I think the dark purple and pure white flower irises are the most striking but the flowers that are a purple gold mix color and a few irises that are a very pale yellow are also lovely.  I’m going to tie a bit of plant tape to the white and yellow Irises so I know what are the contrasting flower color.  Everything that I have read about irises is you can dig up and separate them after the flowers are gone into summer.  You can plant the rhizome after separating them or store them into the fall for planting later in the year.  I will see how many plants I have for me and Mom and then will offer the plants to neighbors and family the leftovers.

Update on the critters:  All of the cats seem to be over the urinary issues of blockages and perhaps stones.  I am feeding the Purina pro+ one UTI dry cat food and all of the cats are eating it. I have not started the raw food diet yet for the pets but all of the cats are getting some wet cat food and drinking water from the new circulating water dish.  The cats really like having the extra kitty litter box but seem to prefer the fragrance free litter box. I prefer the clumping kitty litter as it makes cleaning the box easier daily.  I would also recommend buying the biggest kitty litter box you can afford for your cats.  Most small litter boxes are not big enough for any cat but  small kittens. Add lots of water dishes especially dishes that have moving water of some sort.  Don’t let your cat eat dog food as the food make up of vitamins and minerals is not made for cats.  I feed a high quality dog food but I think my cats eating this dog food had a part in this urinary tract problem. Since I have removed the always accessible dog food the cats are eating cat food and my dog that was getting a bit overweight is eating less food daily. I won’t say my dog is losing weight but I know he is eating less food daily and does not act  like he is starving or deprived of food.

I would also recommend you look at the ingredients of your pet foods.  I suspect though I can’t prove that some pet food companies could be using less quality ingredients to maintain the profit margin or price point  because they can’t get certain ingredients because of the supply chain fiasco we are dealing with in the USA.  The temptation must be very high to use ingredients that are cheap and not ask to many questions since it is only pet food we are not talking about humans.  I know it is a thing and us humans will find a way to rationalize the bad things we do because we are flawed creatures. It is also annoying!

You know the weeds are bad when you need the pick axe!

May 27, 2022

Started work of the 3 sisters garden bed and it went much slower and required more time and effort than I had anticipated.

I had 4 small raised beds in this area but I had to move the deep bed for the future green house and the other beds were old, rotting and not doing that much as a raised bed.  Weeds had grown between the beds that were not Morning glory that I have almost cleaned out.  This is a different weed that spreads with a very deep tap root.  Plus the ground in between the garden beds has not been work for a few years and is very hard to dig.

The garden fork was useless as the single tap root defied the tines.  Using the shovel was a no go as the ground was not conducive to digging because of the soil hardness.  That left the pick axe to get done to the root of the weed and break up the hard soil in between the old raised beds.  Most of the morning was spent digging out the weeds and breading up the soil with the pick axe.  I filled the big garbage bin with the weeds.  That surprised me as I did not think there were that many weeds in that area.

The little electric tiller got though the soil and I made 2 rows 20 feet long and 18 inch apart but I think I use several 3 foot mounds rather than rows in the hope of limiting cross pollination of the corn crops.  It is getting late to start corn as the seed should have been sown at the end of April but with the weather so wonky and getting the other garden beds moved and prepped I just ran out of time.  It might not be all bad as we had a frost May 10th and today was the first 90 degree F. day of the summer.  That shows the weather has been all over the place this spring.

How did the crops do on the first 90 degree day?  Super, in fact all of my leaf crops seem to have grown several inches taller and are starting to fill in the beds nicely.  I did a heavy day of watering on the 25th with the newly set up flat hoses and spike sprinklers. The leafy vegetables loved the water and the newly planted cole crop starts did not wilt and seemed very perky in the beds.  The strawberry plants looked great and I even got a blossom on one of the plants. I may lose one celery plant and one strawberry plant out of what I planted but those plants were looking sad before I planted them in the raised beds so over all I am thrilled with garden.  The tomato and pepper plants handled the heat great and while the top of the dirt looked a little dry I used a moisture meter on the tomato/pepper beds and the soil around the roots had plenty of moisture.  I was a little surprised that moving my sweet pea boxes seem to do so well on this hot day.  These boxes do have a little shade cover and are not getting the hot after noon sun but it is good to know this might be a good growing spot for peas.

I have bought a lot of protective cloth for frost and or sun after last years heat wave.  It seems that if I stock up on something be it hot or cold weather those issues don’t happen.  Perhaps since I am ready for those issues I don’t care as much about them happening to me as I can mitigate the problem.  I think the more I prepare for a “potential” problem the less likely that problem happens to me. I set up my rain barrels and included topping the water barrels with insect screens.  SW Idaho has a wet spring after having a dry March and some of April.  We had a Snomeggedon in 2017 and I buy a snow blower, shovels, a propane torch to melt ice, 150 pounds of Ice melt and the winters are mild for the next 5 years.

I stack and cut wood for a cold winter and the temps are very mild for winter in SW Idaho in January which is usually the coldest month and we have 60 degree days.  I think some of this is you notice things because those things affect your daily life.  I would not care about 18 inches of snow in my yard if my streets are plowed and I can get to work/grocery store or my shop has 6 inches of standing water that I have to move.  Or there is so much wet heavy snow on my roof patio cover or hay barn it might collapse.

We see it now with baby formula.  I never had a baby but I can see how a parent could be frantic to buy formula. I don’t want this to be seen as I told you to stock up because I’m having to restock my cat food because of health issues of my cats. Not the same thing as babies are more important than cats but similar issues of lack of supply and rising costs.  My cats are important to me and as pets I take responsibility to take care of those critters.  I would assume most parents would feel much more commitment of taking care of their babies. I would agree on a hierarchy of needs babies are more important than cats.  But you can’t get Vets to give you a good quality homemade pet food recipe and you can’t get a good breast milk replacement recipe to feed your baby.

It seems to be a bit of a pattern. Gosh it hard enough to get good human nutrition info in the USA.  We have had at least 30 years of Carbo/grain heavy diet is good and meat is bad and yet we have more diabetes and obesity than every before in the USA.  Vegatable oils are good and lard and butter are bad via the government.  Yet Keto diets that are heavy on fats and proteins can reverse diabetes.

All health authorities say you should not use butter, lard, bacon fat for cooking but recommend the use chemically heat and processed vegetable of some sort though  pressed Olive oil seems a healthy choice.   I don’t think cooking with products that have been used for thousands of years is unhealthy.  If it was unhealthy the human race would be dead.

I talk about Keto but I make bread, pasta and even pies that is just chock full of gluten and other products we are taught to abhor.   I think a gluten intolerance is real for some people.  Some people are lactose intolerant.  But my Mom can eat the highest price/high quality bread bought from a mega-mart and have issues with her IBS.  She can eat my bread made with unbleached shite flour, salt, yeast and water and have no issues with her IBS.  I make a Challa bread or a white sandwich bread and she still has no issues with her IBS.  Bread is not the issue cooperate bakeries is the issue and buying whole wheat/grain breads  won’t save you.

I know I’m preaching to the chrior but the first thing I would recommend is buy in bulk is yeast  ( a couple of 1-2 pound packages) store in the freezer. Store unbleached White flour and not wheat flour.  Wheat flour will get bad in about 2 years because of the oils in the wheat germ.  Now if you use your wheat flour in less than 2 years store away.  I don’t use whole what flour that much tough I have stored plenty of wheat.  If you don’t make whole wheat bread or a mix of whole wheat products you need to mix whole Wheat with some white flour or you will learn a new meaning about fiber.

Many of the power companies are talking about possible “Rolling blackouts”  that might last from 2-24 hours. So how would you handle an electrical blackout of a few hours up to a week? How would you wash clothes? Hot water for hand washing dishes? Will you take cold bathes and showers? What if irrigation water is cut off do you have water stored or a usable well or alternative water source?  Water is heavy, how many buckets will you carry to water your garden.  If you think the choices are bad now just thing about this winter when you can’t get electrical heat because using gas, coal, and nuclear energy is evil and solar that only works when the sun shines or wind mills that only work when there is wind.

If I were you I’d get control of your energy needs.  If you want to be warm you better order some wood and have a way to burn it safely. Buy that heating oil now and beat the rush that will happen in the fall.

If you think prices are high now you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Ironically the costs are so high now we might see a small price drop.  It is your family and the choices are yours. I’d get stock up for rolling blackout the government anticipates this summer.

Plants in the ground!

May 24, 2022

I got most of the plants into the beds today. I added some peat moss to the Strawberry/Kiddy pool bed before planting the strawberries to loosen up the soil and add something to improve water retention.  I will be watch for the kiddy pools to go on sale later this summer/fall so I can add in some more strawberry beds as the berries plants put out runners. I have room to add another couple of the kiddy pools to the fenced garden area.

In a way I feel like I have less garden beds because of the big empty spot I have left for the future green house build. Silly I know because I have reused all of the beds I moved to make space for the greenhouse.  I’ve been thinking that adding a few small and tall 2×4 foot raised beds around the garden area would give me a place for some more plants that could fit around the green house build. I have been adding more large pots of plants like my snow/sugar snap peas, bunching onions and raspberries.  I finally found a happy place for my blackberry plant next to the compost pile where the plant is “protected” but gets about 8 hours of diffused sun.  The spinach, chard lettuce and bok choy plants are loving the irrigation water.

I did a test of the new irrigation system for the garden today using the flat hoses for the long beds and a small post sprinkler for the kiddy pool/strawberry bed and overall I’m pleased with the results.  The flat hoses worked great once I dialed down the water pressure so the water waters the soil as much as the plants. The little post sprinkler still needs some adjustment so the water stays closer to the soil rather than spraying high into the air but I think these small sprinklers and short 15 foot hoses can be dialed in so the provide water without wasting water in the garden.

While it is a bit late for direct sowing some crops I am still going to add the 3 sisters beds and root veggies like parsnips, turnips and similar crops.  The weather this year is so wonky you might as well experiment with your garden as those hard and fast rules of gardening are not so hard or fast.  We have a forecast of a 90 degree day on Thursday the 26th and then back down to the high 60’s/low 70s for the week afterward.  So if you are in SW Idaho have some shade cloth handy just like frost cloth for late or early frosts.

Mom stopped by and got some more plants I had on hand.  A couple of the starter plants I bought that were a small 4 pack of heirloom tomatoes of different types and a 4 pack of heirloom peppers of different types. I think these are a brilliant idea as you can try different types of plants and see what does best growing and what plants you prefer for eating and preserving.  Saving seeds from pepper and tomato plants is easy so we get to see what plants that grow well and we get to taste test them to see what we like best.

Cat health update: Tege the cat is doing great as he is starting to stalk squirrels again though he lost some weight via his health issues.  Ash is still having some issues with pain peeing though it seems to be less painful over the last 48 hours.  I have removed the dog food that the cats were munching on and giving only 2 cups a day for my Doggo to eat while I keep the cats from eating the dogfood.  Just looking at how much dog food I was leaving out my guess is the cats were eating a lot more of the dog food than I had thought was just a nibble from time to time. Boomer the dog is doing okay with not having dry dog food all the time in fact he is eating less of the dry dog food daily since it is not available all the time.  That is a good thing as he is getting “thick” and not in a good way.

I’m going to start adding raw chicken wings when I can watch how the critters deal with the raw bones and monitor them for problems.  I will freeze all the chicken I bought until I can buy the last supplement of Taurine to make the raw cat food and I will keep looking for a grinder that can handle bones for a long term pet food solution.   The cats are all eating the Purina plus one UTI dry cat food and drinking more water via the pet water fountain and more water dishes.  None of my cats want to eat the prescription grade Science Diet UTI food, even Boomer the dog did not like the smell of that food and he is a bit of a garbage gut that eats everything.

Why is making homemade pet food such an anathema among Vets? We have all sorts of fresh foods available in stores, gardens, farmers markets and even the local mega-marts. You can make meals for you family including your children but you are to ignorant to make food for your dog or cat?  That does not make sense. I’m not against the convivence of buying commercial pet food but saying a person can’t make a good quality pet food at home using fresh ingredients and some knowledge about pet nutrition is insane.  What people need is good info to make a safe and high quality pet food at home.  What you should not add to pet food like garlic or onions as Rachel Ray did with her pet food until it was banned and the recipe changed.

We saw American companies import bad pet food from China that not only contained bad food ingredients but plastics/chemicals and other fillers that killed pets.  I just want to feed my pets good food and you Vets and folks that care about animals should be encouraging pet owners to feed good food to their pets. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

I made a mistake leaving out dog food that my cat’s ate but no veterinarian keyed into me telling them my Cats were eating dry dog food and I should stop the cats from eating that dog food.  Tege is doing great eating some better dry food and having more access to water and another litter box.  Ash still has a few issues but I was never told by a vet add a litter box, add more water dishes to encourage the cats to drink.  I told the vet about the cats eating dry dog food and no one told me that was a bad thing.  I’ll give them the benefit of doubt as I did not realize how much dog food my cats ate. But I did tell the vet the cats were eating dog food and “nothing”.  I stopped the cats eating dog food and Tege is doing great, Ash still seems to have issues but is getting better.  Don’t let your cat eat dog food seems like a simple message.  If your cat is eating dog food that you can see, they are eating more you don’t see.

Everything in life is Simple.  It’s just that the Simple things are hard.

Shopping for pet food ingredients and more garden work.

May 22, 2022

I got a great buy on chicken thigh meat with a coupon and a veterans discount of 10% at Albertsons this week end.  I went a little bit nuts buying chicken for the home made pet food project. I added some beef heart and about a pound of chicken livers to make both home made wet cat and dog food as the base products are similar but cats and dogs need different ratios and supplements.  I’ll give updates on the pet food projects over time.

Dog food recipes seem easier to source at the local grocery store.  Home made cat food needs some unusual products like Phyllum powder or taurine Amino acid supplement.  But I can buy all of the products at the local grocery store or a nutrition store as a supplement. The up front costs are a little high to add all the supplements, vitamins and minerals to make home made pet food.  I think long term the total cost of making pet food will drop compared to store bought and I will know what my pets are eating.  P.S. I think my cats were eating more of the dog food than I thought and given the time line of the UTI issues in my cats. I think the dog food might be part of the issues my cats are having.  Dry dog food is removed most of the time and the doggo gets his 2 cups of food for the day.  Cats are not allowed to eat the dry dog food.  Probably good for the doggo as he has been getting a little chunky having food available 24/7.

Garden/ yard work done today as I’m feeling better.  I got out early to weed wack the alley way weeds and use the vinegar as it was a sunny day and that seems to make the vinegar spray more effective.  I would say a cool but sunny day is a better day to spray weeds with vinegar compared to a hot but cloudy day. Also with taller weeds like cheat grass or foxtails I would weed wack first then rake as much of the seed heads to toss in the trash bin then spray with vinegar.  Clearing weeds this way is slow and not a one and done application of a chemical like Round up. Building the soil adding plants that you like and thrive in poor soil conditions is the best way to eliminate weeds long term.

My gosh I did some weeding!  I filled a large garbage bin with weeds around some of my raised beds.  With the prep I did this spring I did not have many weeds in my raised beds.  A big deal for me is I finally can see the difference between weeds and plants I want to grow. Don’t judge me all small plant sprouts look similar.  LOL!

I got a small kiddy pool cleaned up and added some peat moss to break up the soil as it bot a little crusty and full of weeds by not being used yearly.  This pool will be a new Strawberry bed that can be some what contained from spreading. I got some new strawberry plants to try in the pool planter and mounded up the soil a bit added a sprinkler so it gets good irrigation this summer and I’m hopping for a plethora of Strawberry plants this summer.

I cleaned out most of the weeds around a couple of my raised beds.  The greens beds with chard, spinach and lettuce that were direct sown with seed are doing well.  I have a bit of space to add succession plants via sown seed and that is all to the good. My starts back in February were a bit hit and miss but I learned more about starting plants early.  I don’t think there is any thing wrong buying plants for your garden nor sowing seed to get a second crop if possible in your growing area.

I have no idea how this garden season will go.  It is late to be planting seed crops but my early planting of seeds last year got wreaked in the heat.  My Mom’s June planting did much better for harvest.  I know if you don’t plant your garden will fail.

Bad week, Sick Kitty and a stress induced flare for me! Feeling better today…

May 16, 2022

This week was a challenge with my Tege cat getting sick with urinary tract obstruction.  He spent the a couple of days at the vet having surgery and recovery time.  Needless to say I was a little stressed out worrying about the little guy and the cost of the vet bill. I think I may have had a stress flare reaction to all that worry.  Overall the vet bill was about what I expected but Tege hates the prescription cat food and won’t eat it after going over 24 hours of trying to get him to eat the prescription cat food.   Tege is eating/licking up the gravy of Friskies and 9 Lives cat food so he is getting some food in his tummy.  I bought some Purina pro + UTI cat food and all of the cats are eating this dry cat food and avoiding the other dry cat food.  The cats are not eating as much as the wet cat food since I added the new Purina Pro  + dry cat food.  A better quality food seems to less food consumption with my pets so the cost difference may be a wash.

I have added another kitty litter box and a lot more water dishes including a water dish that has a circulating pump and filter for fresh tasting water for the cats.  I never knew about having large and  clean litter boxes could have such an impact on a cat’s health.  I have added more water bowls to encourage the cats to drink water but I am going to look at more grain free high quality dry/wet cat food rather than depend on the prescription cat food that my cats won’t eat.  I’m trying out a new kitty litter called Lovesome that clumps for easy cleaning and uses Activated charcoal rather than fragrance for keeping down odors.  Not a bad price of $7.00 for 20 pounds for this litter at Fred Meyer/Kroger.

I did not sleep well this week worrying about the cat and the weather is still wonky going from frost one night to 85 degrees F. for a high in the same week.  Those extreme weather changes can kick me in the butt.   I started hardening off the starts but the 85 degree day was hard on the plants.  I did the same today for the plants but kept the plants under the patio cover to avoid any direct sun as they harden.  I think I may have lost my melon starts but I will buy any plants at the local garden store that I need to fill up my garden.  I love that even though I have had a few failures with starting plants I can still grow a garden and some of my direct sown leafy vegetables are doing great.

I got out and weed wacked some of my alley way that is filling up with cheat grass again.  I can see the plants killed off by the vinegar but many new weeds started because I did not rake up the seed pods.  This time I raked and use the blower to cleanup as many of the seed pods I could gather.  I still have not seen any Goatheads/puncture vine growing so the vinegar treatment is eliminating that weed.

I mowed my back yard lawn area and the grass was very tall and thick. I want that, though there are still a few bald patches, I am very pleased with how sowing grass seed in the fall is playing out this spring.  I can add more grass seed this month and do another reseed this fall to fill in the bare patches.  While not perfect this is the best the grass has looked in the backyard in years.

I added screens to the tops of the rain barrels to keep insects from breeding.  I’m  not sure how often you use your rain barrel water as water movement mitigates insects from breeding but any stagnant/standing water can become a breeding area for mosquitoes.  If you are using the water in rain barrels a few times a week that keeps the water moving and mitigates any insects laying eggs in the stagnant water.  If your are not using your rain barrel water add some insect screen to stop insects from breeding.  It is your yard but bugs are not welcomed to any BBQ, patio or witting out in a lawn chair enjoying your yard.

It looks like the chicken coop and run has been move back to the fall because of the vet bill.  I’m still figuring out the Foundation of the green house because of the costs of lumber.  I think lumber prices will start coming down as more folks make lumber and fewer folks will buy high cost lumber.

Making and preserving your own food and buying locally from food producers will be the big thing this summer in order to get through fall with the rising cost of energy.  I’m not against using solar energy and I think it can work great within it’s limitations.  I bought 3 cords of wood to heat my home at almost $1000. 00 just so I am not dependent on the power companies or the government telling how warm I am allowed to keep my home in winter.  Trust me I am fuel efficient as every chunk of wood I cut.  Every time I cut kindling I feel it in my body.  It is not like flipping a switch and wood magically appears ready to be burned.  Do you trust the local government/ public utility companies to provide power when you need it?  Do you have basics on hand without relying on outside economic forces?   Baby formula is a big thing now.  Can you make bread at home, make a salad, grow corn or buy it at a local farmers market?

I think we may see shortages in food and fuel in the USA as the politicians are propping up the EU and the war in the Ukraine/Russia.  The more you grow the better off you will be this year.

Uhg! Weeds and rain

May 10, 2022

I am not going to complain much about the rain as it is helping out the drought situation in SW Idaho but it has been a little bit depressing and made it hard to get my corn, squash and bean beds started.  We have had snow and a bit of light frost, the leafy veggies seem to be okay with no visible damage.  I haven’t planted any of the hot weather plants and have started to harden them off this week for planting this weekend.  I hope to get Mom and the neighbors a few of the plant starts for their garden this week. 

Finally had a day to get at some of the weeds in the front yard that have gone insane with growth.  I almost filled the big 65 gallon trash container with weeds just to show how bad the weed growth had become just in front of my fence. Doing the job of cleaning out the weeds went faster than I expected using the garden fork to dig up the weeds too tough to pull out of the ground.  The garden fork is becoming one of my favorite garden tools.  This year I’m trying to dig out most of the weeds rather than just weed-wack then spray with vinegar to keep the weeds manageable.  More work up front but hopefully less work long term. 

Still using the wood stove this week just once a day to take the chill out of the house. I remember a couple of May snows as late as May 18th that happened back in the 1980’s but snow in May is unusual. Thankfully we are not getting the heat like you folks are getting in the midwest.  Be it cold or hot this years’ planting is looking to be screwed up.  I have a few cole crop starts that might make it into my garden but I am going to buy some starts from the local farm store to fill the bed. Since it is too late to direct sow cole crops.  For me it is better to keep trying to learn how to plant cole crops even if I have to cheat a little bit buying plants.  I’m planning on starting cole crops late summer for a fall planting. If it works I could get two plantings in a year and that would up my garden production. 

I got a new sprinkler for my 4 ft. 4 ft. box. It is a small sprinkler head with multiple settings. This box does not fit in well using a soaker hose irrigation but if it I can set the water flow correctly it might work in other areas of the garden/yard. I have not tried out water the bed yet as we have had so much rain and moisture but I’m excited to see how well it works. If it works for this small bed it will be prefect for my front yard beds that I want to become decorative and food producing beds.

I can’t afford the money or time to put in a complete drip irrigation system so I have to make do with what I can afford. Never let perfect stand in the way of good especially now when almost any food production you get could make a difference in your food costs. Doing something even if it just learning is much better than doing nothing especially waiting until everything is “perfect” before you start planting.

Perfect never happens in gardening. You will have weeds, bugs, weather happen all the time and at most inconvenient moment. My frost date falls this week and we have had hail and snow along with frost. That is Mama nature, don’t give up on your garden as I learned last year I had melons, bok choy, squash and other veggies that grew after I gave up and the heat wave broke. The weather people thought there would be plenty of snowfall in December for water. Then we had very little snow fall and rain trough March and now it looks like we may have irrigation water through the summer. Remember “Normal Weather” is nothing more than a statistical average. It seldom takes in when a week or too hot, cold or wet. Plants don’t care about statistics. Plants need what they need when they need it.

Mom’s raised bed built on Friday and some weeds pulled in the garden.

May 8, 2022

Mom had been working on the yard all day. mowing and weed whacking so she was a little bit tired.  We got in and cleared about half of the tall weeds and started a compost mound of the weeds and mixing in browns from the leaves Mom saved from the fall.  Sad to say the raised beds were not square as the wood I used was reclaimed and warped.  But all the new raised bed has to do is hold soil for a garden and even warped wood can make garden beds.  We added dirt, compost and amendments to the older beds and double dug them to fluff up the old soil.  I think the older beds are ready to plant the new bed needs more soil before it gets plants. Laid out a new compost pile for the weeds and cleaned out chicken coop materials.  It won’t be a fast breakdown compost pile but it should work for Mom as for yearly compost to add to the garden.

I got the new gate set up for my garden area.  It was not hard except trying to make the gate level and the self tapping screws needed a little drilling to help the self-tapping screws screw into the posts.  I used T posts and wire to keep my pets out of my garden but I see using a no dig fence that is a decorative fence around a garden rather than a fence of wire.  I will say galvanized wire and t-post allow you to put up a quick garden fence but I think using some fence panels of a more decorative fence will make me happier in the long run.  My garden does not care about what kind of fence I have to keep out critters.  I find I prefer a nice looking fence if given a choice.

While installing the new gate I gashed the heck out of a finger.  Not stitches bad, but needing some pressure and restrict using that finger for a while bad.  Thankfully  the finger is on my left hand and I have an assortment of bandages for the injury. Perhaps I could go and get a stitch or two for the injury but given time it will heal.

The weather is a bit wonky as we are looking at almost freezing temps and snow in May. Lots of rain in April helped before irrigation water started and added moisture before the snow melt.

Farming is a bit like a flow chart but if things required in that flow chart don’t happen the crop yield will be affected. If you want to grow corn you must plant seeds for them germinate. Dry land crops need rain at the proper time.  A flood of rain or a drought will destroy crops at any time and if the rain does not fall at the right time all of the crop will be affected.

I’m late on planting my corn for my 3 stisters bed.  That means planting the beans are later as well as the squash. I have a small little garden and I don’t feel all that positive about yield of vegetables.  Can you imagine how farmers feel?

Don’t tell Mom I got the stuff ready for her next garden bed for her Mothers day gift! Some garden puttering….

May 4, 2022

Going to Mom’s place Thursday for an  Outdoor work day. Mom has a couple of big projects to get done this month and has not been able to get much done on them with the craziness she had with auto repairs taxes and having a bad tooth.  So I’m going to give her a hand with some of the bigger projects.

I precut all of the wood for a new raised garden bed for Mom.  This is her Mother’s day gift this year. Mom likes a tall 16+ inch raised bed as well as a 4 foot x 6 foot bed for her garden space. I left some space on the corner posts of the beds so Mom could add another 4 inch board to give her a 20 inch deep bed.

I have to say the tall beds makes every gardening easier but the garden bed prep is more difficult and it takes a lot of organic material to fill the beds.  No matter what type of garden bed you want there are always trade offs.

Mom wants to fork and till more of her garden area for more traditional row planting of corn, squash and other plants to go along with her raised beds.  If we have any energy left after those jobs we might move around Mom’s wood pile area for her wood delivery/stacking job coming this month.  Mom has been a bit overwhelmed with Life so she needs a little help getting help on a few jobs around her little homestead.

At my place my direct sow of broccoli and cauliflower has been a complete bust.  I think there were a lot of factors from weather, animals in the garden beds digging around, timing on water/irrigation all combined to make my cole crop bed a bust.  I’m not giving up as I have some sprouting plants and I might add a few store bought plants to the garden bed to practice growing these types of crops.  I want to try growing cole crops into the fall during cooler weather.  So this is not a failure but learning  more about gardening.

My bed of leafy plants and stuff is sprouting up.  I think part of my problem with the cole crops was the frost cloth blocked to much Spring sunlight.  So I have removed the cloth and laid out my flat garden hose to give the plants consistent watering and the new fence is keeping the pets and other critters out of the garden beds.  I think the squirrels were stealing my garden seeds or eating the sprouts as they germinated. Given time the critters will go over or through the fence but I have made a start on protecting the garden in the future.

It looks like I missed out on buying the chicken coop from Bi-mart though they gave me a rain check if the the coop comes back into the store.  I have been thinking about building my own chicken coop using the price of $249.00 for the store bought price as a guide to buying the lumber and stuff for my coop.  Most store bought coops are made with flimsy materials and while you get instructions you still have to build the coop.  I want a coop for 6-8 chickens and one I can walk into so it is easy to clean with out stooping.  That means I need to build a coop at least 6 foot tall with a real door.  I’m no carpenter but I’m getting better at building boxes of different sizes and have the tools on hand to do the job.

One thing I have learned watching youtube videos is craftsman use templates, build a thing and adjust several times and not only measure twice bet many times as well as adjust again if the job is not correct.  I always assumed craftsman simply looked at a job and did everything perfect via measurements, having the perfect tools…   Nope craftsman take the time to make sure it works via templates, measuring multiple times and if it is wrong the fix it before they every call the job done.

I did it today though the wood was a bit wrapped and my saw blade was a bit scuffed and old.  How do you learn except by doing.  I cut wood for raise garden beds,  I’m not laying the foundation for a house.   Every little job you do you learn that warped wood does not work great for building a house.  Though it might be okay for a raised be garden.  I have changed out the old saw blade on the circular saw.

Building knowledge and skills will be critical. You don’t have to be fancy in storing the basics but you can store all the four and wheat in the world but if you can’t bake a loaf of bread what good is it?  You can make a lovely looking garden but if you don’t know how to cook and preserve food you are still at the beholden to the corporations and big box/mega-marts.

I buy wood to heat my home not because it is cheaper than electricity.  I buy wood because  I control my heat in the winter time.  It is no different than controlling your food supply.  Buy local if you can but you can’t buy local coffee or chocolate in the USA.  That means you have to store it. You can’t pump gas or diesel out of the ground so all you can do is store it.

I know I’m “Preaching to the Choir” but I get annoyed when people proclaim helplessness and never tried to help themselves in most accessible ways of learning to cook, bake, get tools, learn to make repairs…

Sorry for the rant.  I did have a positive thing happen at Bi-mart despite not getting the chicken coop.  My number came up as a winner of the 2nd tier prizes.  The choice were a food processor.  Got that.  A Mr. Buddy mid range heater.  Got two of those . An Air fryer and it also dehydrates vegies.  I don’t have that.  winning something unexpected is always fun.

New Garden fence installed! Weed and feed done on the front lawn and crazy weather!

May 1, 2022

I have had it with setting up Temporary fencing around my garden.  So I took the plunge on setting up a semi-permeant fence made of galvanized wire and T-posts.

I used 50 feet of 3 foot tall wire and ten 4 foot tall tee post to block off the garden area. I did not have a large area to block off because my house and chain link fence are my boundaries I could tie in the new fence. I have set up a couple of temporary “gates” until I can build the wood and wire gates to access the garden and the future greenhouse.

Over all the job went well.  The T-posts are easy to pound 12 inches into the soil using a 4 pound sledge hammer but you can pull the posts out and adjust placement if you need too move the post. I did not get the fence as tight as I wanted so I will be making a few adjustments in the future as I get my gates installed. I need to get some of those wire clips in the future but zip ties are a quick short term fix.

I like the look of the short fence much better than trying to make plastic fencing and step in posts or wooden stakes.  As a bonus I had enough of the fencing to lay across the top of my patio garden box.  No more will the kitties use it as a litter box!

I finally got the weed and feed on the front lawn.  It should have been laid down on the lawn about mid-April but the weather has been nuts this spring.  This coming week we have more rain wind and possibly even some snow in the valley. The moisture has been a blessing but the constantly change weather is tough on the Arthritis and CIDP.  I’m looking forward to the weather settling down into some thing like consistency.

This coming week I will be buying a small chicken coop and some more fencing for a small chicken run that will give the birds access to the compost pile. I have a few more items to get so the birds and I will have every thing that is needed for happy chickens.  The bird purchase is in the future months.  Yes I know about the Avian flu. That is one reason I’m taking time to set up a good solid chicken area before I bring in any birds. You got to remember 6 million birds have been culled the USA raises over 22 billion birds so there will be eggs and poultry meat it is just going to get more expensive.

Things seem a little scary and it is okay to feel a little fear about trying new things that might fail even though having your own little poultry farm can be a huge bonus for being self-reliant. I’m big into buying local.  You can’t get much more local than your backyard!  There is no reason you can’t work on prepping and being self-reliant at the same time.  My hope this will be a good quality chicken house that will help my yard and garden be more self sustaining with the compost heap and chicken for fertilizing as well as doing the scrating up the garden after harvest season is over.  Get your basics covered and then start the next phase getting more self reliant.  Don’t just make plans get out there and get your hands dirty!