Feels like the heat wave is starting to break a little early

July 31, 2022

It is still bloody hot but I can feel a difference in the weather. I got a late start moving the wood today and worked under direct sun for a couple of loads and while hot, I could feel a change in the air. I’m seeing a little haze in the air from the forest fires but nothing like the smoke we got last year that was so thick you could almost chew it.  As for the would pile stack another couple hours of work and it should be finished. It was tough not to try and power through and get the last of the wood pile stacked despite the weather. I’m just starting to feel like my normal self again and the last thing I want to do is knock myself down again by overworking.

Backyard lawn area is looking better after just a couple of days of TLC. No grass seed sprouting yet but that sphagnum peat moss does a great job of retaining water/moisture on the grass seed. I would recommend adding that peat moss if you live in a dry area and sprinkle some on the grass lawn to reduce water usage. Sphagnum peat moss won’t change your soils PH but it will help retain water while it is on the soil and as it moves into the soil it will help loosen the soil so it is not as dense.  I added this peat moss to my raised bed garden soil this summer and it was much more fluffy and less hard when planting.  I bought one large cube of the peat moss and I’m just starting to run out after using it in all of my garden and on a small portion of my lawn. I hope to buy another couple of the cubes this fall for my front lawn and for next years garden.

Now is the time to get those soil amendments as things start going on sale to clean out the inventories of summer stuff. It has been strange seeing what people bought in stores this summer. Early on people were buying starting plants like crazy but I did not see mulch, soil and things like that sell out like last year. Now I’m seeing people buying hardware like fencing, decorative/landscaping plants. Perhaps people are not just growing gardens but want to make yards a more pleasant living space.  Of course fencing can be huge for making a garden space more productive.

One couple was getting fencing and was looking at the plastic step in poles for electric fencing. I told them go for the steel t-post as I had used both and the wife exclaimed the t-posts were cheaper than the plastic posts. The husband said he wanted to protect an area from his pets and I explained I had tried using the plastic posts and unless he was going to buy an electric fence t-post and a metal fence fabric or welded fence would work much better.  I am biased, I hate chicken wire. I understand it is cheap and effective for fencing off areas but I hate it with a passion. I’d rather spend more money to not deal with chicken wire.

All of the critters are doing great and my old cat Smokey is exploring more of the house again.  The Purina UTI dry cat food has been working out great. It is also getting expensive. August cash flow is looking rough with paying off the credit card for the vet bill, getting the chimney cleaned and getting veggies to preserve at the local fruit strand.

I think now is the time to invest your money in what I call sure bets. You know you will need to eat in the future so buy and store food while it is relatively cheap. You know you will need heat and energy this winter so store fuel and a way to make heat/energy. This is about what works best for you. A winter in SW Idaho is a lot different in many other states or regions. Any temp below 60 degrees F. you have the potential of developing hypothermia if you don’t have proper clothing or your clothing gets wet or you can’t get warmed.  Cold kills more people in the world than heat.

I know it sucks buying stuff at a higher cost because of government stupidity, it is your butt that will get frozen and not some DC politician if the electricity goes away.  This a great time to start pricing a Buddy heater and other hunting and camping gear. Get a battery powered fan and rechargeable batteries.  I could heat a 1200 sq.ft. house with a Mr. Buddy heater and a fan for about a week with a standard 20 pound propane tank when the High temp was 18-20 degree F. Now any rolling blackout is just that and you should have some power at times but in the worse case scenario you can store four 20 pound propane tanks and heat your home up to a month of power outages for about $200.00 todays cost for a refilled propane tank.

I know most people in the USA don’t have a fire place or wood stove. Even if they have a stove the chimney has not been cleaned and they don’t have wood to burn. If you want to get a wood stove  for heat/cooking I recommend you buy wood first and all the tools needed for a wood stove.  If you buy split wood you will need kindling and smaller sized to start a fire. That means axes, hatchets and  small chainsaws at best.  I have a great woo supplier now with very consistent sized chunks of wood but I’m still dealing with wood that would not fit in my woodstove from less reputable wood suppliers.

A cord of wood seems to have a lot of definitions but a true cord of wood is stacked wood that is 128 sq.ft. The math does not change from the traditional stack of 4 ft. x 4ft. by 8 ft. or if the stack is 12 ft. x1.5 ft by 6 ft.  it is still about 128 sq.ft to make a cord of wood. A face cord is 4 ft. x 8ft. by 1.5 ft. That is not a problem if you don’t pay for a full cord of wood and get a discount.  Not hard all you need is a tape measure and a calculator for the 3 dimensions. I doubt you can call out someone before you stack the wood unless they are very blatant shorting you. But you can let people know not to use them as a firewood supplier.


Moving wood with the garden cart and 100+ degree heat

July 28, 2022

Using the garden cart to move the firewood was 2-3 times more effective than carrying the wood by hand. While the wood I am picking up and stacking is in the sun, Once I start stacking wood I’m working in the shade.  I work in the morning stacking the wood while taking breaks in the house to drink water and cool down.  About 11:00 am the sun is just to hot to keep working moving the firewood even with the cart and stacking wood in the shade.  I got another bag full of the starter wood stacked on the porch. I’m almost as excited about having that size wood stacked on the porch as I am about getting the firewood stack finished.  A few more days and I’ll have all of the wood stacked ready for winter.

Things I like about the new garden cart:

  1. Smaller size makes it easier to maneuver compared to the old cart.
  2. The rounded carry bin portion of the cart does not catch on gate openings like the old metal cart.
  3. This cart does not try and run up on my ankles nor have as many metal pieces that try and scratch me up compared to the old cart.

Downsides of the new cart:

  1. Less capacity though I don’t know as that is a downside for me as smaller loads are easier for me to move.
  2. Plastic bin holds all debris while the old cart had holes for dirt to fall to the ground. The dump feature makes it easy to dump debris but that my be an issue for some people.

Started fixing up the backyard lawn area. This was the area I tried growing sod that did not work so I improved the soil and got a local fescue mix grass seed and planted it last fall and the grass grew well during the wet spring/early summer.  I sort of neglected the area when I had my flare and the high heat did not help this grass area. Overall the grass area did okay despite the neglect on my part but it was time to give the area a bit of TLC.

I cleaned up the area with a good raking with a garden rake so I scratch up the dirt for the grass seed and then added the grass seed adding extra in the bare patches in the lawn.  I wet down the grass seed in the lawn and added some of the Sphagnum Peat moss on top of the seed to hold in moisture and protect the seed.  Last but not least gave the lawn a good watering to help settle the grass seed into the dirt.

Adding the good watering perked up the grass area so that soil was a bit thirsty. This also a bit of test of how to start recovery of my front lawn from this heat wave that has made it a bit of a disaster.  I think the lawn needs some amendments, bug killer and overseeding with the grass seed I use in the backyard that handles a heat wave better than the grass currently in the front yard.

Took a day off the 25th but back to work

July 26, 2022

Three days of moving wood by hand kicked my butt so I took a day off moving wood and did the basic cleaning around the house.  Things like cleaning bathrooms, laundry that sort of thing. Taking a day off or changing up my routine is helping me to bounce back to my normal level of work even in the 100 degree plus heat we have this week.  Good news it looks like the heat wave will break next Monday the first of August and the temps will start dropping into the 90 degree range for daytime highs.

Stacked some more wood and got the second row complete and started on the third row. It is nice to see the progress of moving that pile of dumped wood become neat stacks of firewood. I found a lot more of the smaller start your fire wood sticks and added them to the porch stack of wood.  I’ very confident I will have enough of this size wood to start fires all winter long. I’m using a canvas fire wood bag to haul this wood to the front porch. If you have a wood stove and need to move wood get one of these bags.  I bought my bag at the local Fred Meyer/Kroger for $15.00 and it is worth the price. I noticed that several stores are starting to put woodstove items up on the shelves so keep an eye out for bargains on any items on your firewood wish list. If you can schedule your chimney sweep in August or September at the latest. You want your fireplace safe and ready to go before you need it this winter.

After the sun got high enough to be uncomfortable I went into the shop and put together the new garden cart. This is one of those small Gorilla Carts with the dump feature and a 600 pound weight limit.  The instructions were less than clear at a couple of points but it did have nice pictures that helped me figure out a couple of my screw ups. Overall the cart was very easy to put together with a couple of socket wrenches, a Philips screw driver and and a rubber mallet.

First impressions of the wagon:  It is much lighter than my other wagon that was all metal. The wagon is shorter and easier to maneuver and it seems that the overall manufacturing is of a higher quality compared to the last wagon. Sometimes smaller is better for some tools and I think this wagon will work better for me in the long run compared to the old large garden cart.  I have a city lot under 6990 sq. ft. or about .17 of an acre with a 1200 sq. ft. home. I have a small space to work in and use smaller tools to get the job done. A riding lawn mower for me would be impractical even with my disability because my yard is so small.  Storage of the wagon in the shop is already easier compared to the old wagon so for me that is a plus.

I have not tested the cart for moving heavy loads but I still have firewood to move and I’m looking at building a rock garden that should challenge the cart’s weight load and moving ability. If you can’t move your cart under load then how much weight it can hold is irrelevant. My imprecision so far is this is a  homeowner with less than a quarter acre doing mostly basic landscaping and gardening tasks moving a few bags of dirt, rock or mulch.  If you have a 1/2 acre or more, use a riding mower for your lawn or a tractor of some sort I don’t think this is the wagon for you based on it’s size.

Next will be the hauling test of a couple of landscaping projects and finishing up the firewood stack.

Stolen wagon, stacking wood and more yard cleanup

July 24, 2022

Yep my wagon got stolen and that was a bit of a bummer.  I had the wagon under the carport where I’m stacking my wood and I guess someone decided they had to have that wagon.  I think I bought that wagon 8-10 years ago for about $60.00 and the only cost I put into the wagon was a couple of new tires, so I did get my money’s worth of use. I hope whoever stole my wagon gets four flat tires and other broken parts that make using that wagon a pain.

I bought a new wagon at the local bi-mart and it was on sale for $89.00! This new cart hauls about the same amount of stuff and it has a dump feature that should be a big help when moving around dirt, mulch and rock for landscaping.  I’m not happy about losing my old cart but having a new cart with this dump feature should work better for jobs around the house.

Since I had lost my wagon I have been stacking the wood carried by hand the last couple of days.  The wood stacking is going better than I had anticipated. I have just about finished another row of wood that  is about a cord, and started on the third row that should finish up the three cords of wood I ordered for the year.  I’m really pleased with how this years wood stack is coming along.  I have access to all of the older seasoned wood and a place to cut and split the bigger chunks into wood stove size.  All of this years fire wood is accessible and I can cover the wood not under the carport with a tarp this fall once the wet weather begins again.  Having the firewood sit in the alley during the summer was not my choice but it seems to have made a big difference in how much this year’s fire wood has dried in the hot sun.

This year I made a special effort to save out all of the smaller chunks of wood that are of smaller sizes and stacking them on the front porch rather than stacking them in the woodpile.  I think it is possible that I may have enough of this sized wood to last the entire heating season.  If not I will have enough after I start cutting kindling once the weather cools enough to start cutting kindling for the kindling boxes. My goal is to have all of my firewood ready to go for the entire fire season from kindling to regular sized firewood chunks without having to split wood in the winter.  I don’t know if I’ll make that goal but every thing I get done this fall will help me this winter.

Its not really yard cleanup except in the broadest sense of adding in better landscaping but I splurge on a small 20 gallon tank to make a small water feature with one of the solar fountains. I got a few bags of rock and I want to build a small rock garden in the back yard. It is hard to get the jobs done now as the garden and stacking the wood are the priorities but I want to make more use of all of my yard but not add any day to day costs to my bills.  Plus I like the idea of many different spaces in the yard for different plants. With inflation hitting hard having a space at home that is a sanctuary is important. While doing garden work and stacking wood is important creating a space for beauty for no other reason than it is beautiful is important too.

Lawn is looking better and some garden cleanup.

July 20, 2022

The front lawn is starting to green up a little but it still needs some extra TLC.  I’m going to do another bug treatment and rake the areas where the old grass has basically died and start adding the grass seed mix I used in the backyard lawn.  That grass mix has done much better in the heat compared to the front yard lawn.  I will start adding some new soil, amendments  and extra compost as I can afford the stuff and really get proactive adding improvements in Aug/Sept. to start replacing the old grass with new grass seed that handles the hot weather.

I have the other half of flower beds in the front yard to get cleaned up and under control but I still need to take things slow building up my stamina and try and get some work done in the backyard lawn and garden.

I trimmed back some of the runaway grape vines in the back yard.  My squash plants are growing like crazy and no squash bugs seen so far.  I wonder if my grape vines growing close to my squash is what keeps the squash bugs away.  Almost everyone I talk to in the valley has a terrible time with squash bugs, but I never see bug. I am one of the few people that have a lot of grape vines that grow along side my squash.  Maybe the grape vines are a positive companion plant for squash?  I have not done anything special growing my squash compared to other people other than planting them close to the grapes that grow on my fence.

My local Grocery Outlet store had more of the large reusable Ice paks for $1.49 each so I picked up another six to add to the freezers. I have used these paks in a Styrofoam cooler I get my milk deliveries and after 12 hours the paks are still frozen solid. Though the overnight temps are cooler 72 degree average temp rather than 90 degree +.  I think I’ll pull my Ice blocks from the freezers to free up more space for frozen veggies and use the ice paks as backup.  I love green beans a corn on the cob and I much prefer freezing those items rather than canning them so having some freezer space for those veggies is a must for me.

Hopefully you have been doing your prepping and have nearly full freezers and gardens and shelves full of food.  Now is the time to start thinking about ways to preserve your harvest or add more ways to store foods.

I have a basement that stays about 62-68 degrees F. year round. That is not cool enough for a root cellar but I used a Big Styrofoam cooler with an extra layer of thermal barrier and some straw and stored my squash that stayed good until Apr/May. This year I want to add a few more of these styrofoam containers for storing root crops and maybe some fruits like apples.

Think about drying fruits, veggies and herbs.  You can store onions by hanging them in panty hose just tie a knot between each onion and hang up the panty hose in a cool dry space. Buy cheap pantyhose at the local dollar store.  My Air fryer has a section in “cookbook” for dehydrating veggies meats and fruits. Most foodsavers have an attachment for sucking the air out of wide mouth canning jars so you can preserve dried foods longer in jars by removing the air. This attachment is about $7.00-10.00. This attachment works great for keeping crackers fresh and not tasting old and stale.

How are your canning supplies looking for the harvest season. Ascorbic acid, pickling spice, vinegar, paraffin wax, lids jars, seals on pressure canners. Does your pressure canner need a test to make sure the pressure gauge is reading correctly?  Most county ag dept. have a place to have your canner tested.

Don’t wait to the last minute to get those supplies you need to preserve your food.

Last but not least drink mixes:  During and at the end of Covid Gatorade and some powder drink mixes was almost impossible to find in stores.  Perhaps because folks use the drinks during colds or thought they needed it for the coof but for whatever reason those drink mixes were impossible to find.  I’m finding those drink mixes are back on the shelves and some are very cheap right now.

I can buy bags of the original Gatorade powder mix bags that make 5 gallons for $1.99 per bag at the local Grocery Outlet stores. Country Time lemonade, Tang and Koolaid drink mixes that just need water have been on sale at the local Albertsons and Fred Meyer Stores.  I’m now seeing different flavors of gatorade drink mix flavors back in stores but the price is about $4.50 for a package that makes 2 gallons. That seems a little high until you compare the the price to buying a pack of gatorade bottles that contains about 96 oz. or less than a gallon that cost about $5.00. I’m sure you have stored up water for an emergency but there is no reason you have to drink just plain water if you can afford to add some flavor and electrolytes for hot summer weather or dealing with a cold/flu.  Plus the powder versions of these drinks take up much less space than the bottles/cases.

Weed cleanup in the front yard and some shopping

July 15, 2022

I got started on the weeds in the front yard. The section in front of the big window was really bad looking.  This area is in the shade in the morning so it was not to bad pilling and cutting out the weeds.  I’m building up my stamina so I did a couple of 20 minute blocks of pulling and cutting out the weeds with a break in between.  I honestly thought it would take more time to clean the weeds out of this area.

The front yard flower bed did not go as easy cutting out the weeds.  I was hoping to dig out the mass of weeds but that was a no go so I weed wacked what I could, pulled what I could and cut down a couple of volunteer trees growing along the fence.  I got all of the weeds from the other day and this stuff into the big trash bin that is about 3/4’s full but I have not smushed down the weeds so I still have some space for more of the front yard weeds. The grape vines are putting out runners that I trimmed back. I don’t think I have ever seen the grape vines put on such thick bunches of grapes since I moved into the house almost 20 years ago.  Trimming back the grape vines a lot this last spring has really let the grapes put on a lot of fruit.  Don’t be afraid to cut those vines back a lot after the fruit in fall or in early spring before you start getting leaves on the vines. You will get more growth of vines but you get much better fruit production after you clean out the old dead stuff.

I got my check and started my monthly shopping and bill paying.  Not many good sale items this week and I don’t need to buy anything as I’m stocked up on most everything food related.  I’m trying to rebuild my cash reserve and pay off the credit card I used to pay the vet bill so spending money is contra- indicated but I did find a couple of items to buy.

I found a small solar fountain that I have been wanting to try out for water projects around the house.  I did not expect much from this fountain as I just wanted some thing that would move water in the bird bath or a small pond that would keep the water from getting stagnant.  I was impressed by the little fountain shooting water about a foot high in full sunlight.  In partial shade the fountain pulses a low level of water and in full shade the fountain does nothing.   For my bird bath this is okay because the moving the water everyday should keep it from getting stagnant and an insect breeding area.  No additional power costs for the small fountain.  I think the rankings for this fountain are based on expectations about what solar energy can do on a small scale. If you want a big fountain/water feature you need power to the pump.  If you want a small water feature that moves water enough not to become stagnant and some times have a fountain effect that does not require additional electricity costs you would be happy with this purchase.

I think in a low humidity environment these little solar fountains could help cool critters along with the use of fans or wind and a 5 gallon bucket full of water.  Just because these fountains are marketed for ponds and pools does not mean you can’t put one of the fountains in a 5 gallon bucket.  Depending on your budget $20.00 might be a little or a lot of money but it is a one time purchase and at worse you have to replace the batteries in a year or two.

I would love to have a solar powered house but I can’t afford the upfront costs.  I have embraced doing small solar projects around the house.  All exterior lighting is solar powered.  Is it perfect?  Nope, but it is better than nothing and usually preforms better than I expect. I think solar and wind energy have potential at a household/domestic energy level.  It is is a terrible energy source at an industrial scale at this time.  The electric grid can’t support solar or wind energy that is dependent on the weather.  The electric grid can’t support everyone driving electric cars. It really can’t support heavy load vehicles like trucks, semis or trains and ships.  Wishful thinking won’t change the law of thermodynamics.  Steel can’t be made without coal as an ingredient.

I think the old model of the Agricultural Coop but for solar energy for city neighbor hoods could have some potential for energy use and help prevent brown outs as people would use energy at low cost times but it is all voluntary.  I doubt anything like that would be allowed and Corporations nor the government would have the power to stop/regulate it.

Weed wacked the front side walk area. Rearranging the outdoor kitchen and a Humming bird!

July 13, 2022

The weather is hot getting into the 100’s or something that used to be known as summertime in SW Idaho. I remember back in the 1980’s playing softball in May with 95-100 degree days. Now it was unusual but it was not proof of some sort of Climate change.  It was just considered an early start to Summer. So it’s hot in July and I think it is somewhat normal for a summer in high desert.  That does not mean it is fun to work in those temps!

My front yard looks terrible the weeds are thick and the lawn is brown.  My roses need dead headed but the Grape vines look great after the spring pruning so it is not all bad news.  I started on the front yard cleanup of the weeds first this morning while I had some shade and it was only in the 70’s and it was a section I could work while I’m recovering my stamina without trying to fix everything in a day.  It went well as I got rid  many weeds pulled and weed wacked the other weeds. I did not get all the weeds in the trash bin I do have a pile ready to go in the bin as I keep working on the weeds and cutting down some volunteer trees that are out of control.  I’m hoping I can work early in the day on the front yard cleanup and get the weeds, flowers and trees under control.

The grass in my lawn is in awful shape.  Filled with weeds, brown spots and I think my not keeping up with the lawn is the biggest factor about how bad it looks. Now my backyard lawn area was neglected but with the grass I had planted and rebuilding the soil last year, that grassy area is bouncing back quickly.  I need to redo the front lawn and flower beds with better soil, grass and plant that do better handling the hot summer weather.  I’m not digging up the front yard grass but I will salvage what I can, build healthier soil for the grass and garden beds and work on a better watering plan that is easier for me to use rather than dragging around a hose using a sprinkler.  Much like the backyard lawn the biggest problem is thin depleted soil,  grass that was not built to handle the local environment and my own neglect when I have a flare or I am focused on other projects.  When you are disabled and take on all these projects it is tough enough but if you have downtime because of your disability a few days of not working can make catching up on the projects daunting.   I have to say I have learned a lot when these things happen.  I just try and repair the damage as I can and do the heavier work fixing my errors in the Fall and Spring.

I can’t recommend buying and laying grass sod.  I know it works for some areas but by the time you improve your soil for laying sod you might as well add grass seed in the fall, keep it wet and reseed any bare patches in the spring before adding weed killer. Takes longer and you don’t get instant gratification but I think it is better long term for having a resilient that can handle some hot or cold weather or weeds and bugs.

I call the area around my patio area my backyard kitchen, but it really is not a kitchen as much as BBQ/cooking area with a few cooking tools.  I have a dual burner propane stove, a Weber grill I got at a yardsale for $15.00 that would cost over $500.00 to replace if I bought a new one.  A cheap barrel BBQ that does a good job cooking my Thanksgiving turkey and a Smoker I have not used because it does not have a place to heat up and smoke for hours.  I started moving stuff around and I have a lot more room than I thought for these items for outdoor cooking.  Outdoor cooking space is a must if you are a prepper and know that the power will go out or some fuels may get very expensive or become unavailable.  Preserving food is critical and having an outdoor space to preserve food via smoking or canning will help keep your house cool in summer into fall.  I like the idea of having a cooking space outdoors that is somewhat protected from the elements. How many times have we read or heard stories about people in a disaster use a grill indoors to cook or stay warm and die of carbon monoxide poising in their sleep. Use the outdoor kitchen for big stuff and keep indoor cooking to a butane stove or heating to approved indoor heating products.

So far I got the propane burners and the Weber grill moved onto patio tiles and mostly level.  I can’t share a propane tank between them but I could add that later. I left a spot for a prep table and this looks like a workable setup for cooking outdoors with propane.  The BBQ/smoker area now has a lot of space but I’m still deciding how to make the area work better for ease of cooking/smoking.  I don’t think most preppers think about storing charcoal for cooking food long term. But lump or chunk charcoal is not full of oil/additives of charcoal briquets and stores easily without being as flammable as fuels like propane or other gasses for stoves. Theoretically a couple hundred pounds of chunk charcoal should last a couple of years  of cooking meals.  Let’s cut that in half just to be prudent but that is still not a bad way to store a cooking fuel.  Cooking with charcoal is slow but if the SHTF what else will you have to do with your time 😉

I finally saw a Humming bird in my yard just as I was cleaning out the feeders.  It was like dude come back I’m working on it.  I moved the hummingbird feeder post again as I did not see any birds feeding but I added some pots of flowers to add a bit of color to the patio and try and entice some hummingbirds to stop by and feed.

I think many people will face an issue when they can’t work on the yard/garden.  It might be mandatory overtime.  Other projects like kids schooling or sports or other minor disasters that eat up your time.  These things will happen to everyone and I’m not special in any way.  I don’t have a job because I’m disabled.  But if you have a job at least 5 days a week you are working for some one and not working on a yard or garden. That does not even count if you get sick and can’t work for your job or yourself.  When you get knocked down get back up and keep trying to bullet-proof your position against those little disasters of life.  There are a lot of bigger disasters that are lurking for you if you are not ready.

Coming out of the CIDP flare.

July 11, 2022

I have not had this bad of a flare in a long time.  I don’t have a lot of stamina but I got about 6 garden wagon loads of wood stacked this morning while it was cool.  I cleaned up a few puncture vines/goat heads and pulled some of the cheat grass up by the roots in the alley way.  I caught up on the house hold chores of dusting, vacuuming and general clean up of the front half of the house.  Even with the breaks to recover I am getting the cleaning done in the house and replaced the winter bedding with the summer bedding. It’s slow going but it feels great to get over this flare and start getting some jobs done around the house.

Getting the wood stacked is one of my priorities.  Having a pile of wood located so close to the alley and not stacked and covered might be tempting to folks that are having tough times.  While I can’t lock up my fire wood I can remove the temptation of theft by stacking and covering the wood.  Most folks are honest especially without temptation staring them in the face.  I will admit if I saw a pile of firewood in an alley with easy access I would be tempted to grab some wood for my stove especially when just starting to use a wood stove.  Best to remove that temptation as early in summer as possible.  It’s possible that some one could steal some fire wood after it is stacked but I have security lights in that area and I should notice if some one starts taking a large amount of wood.

My garden has suffered during this downtime for my flare.  I kept up with most of the irrigation and fell behind on the weeding.  I was so proud of myself being proactive with weeding this year! Some times reality interrupts your plans.  It won’t be perfect but I’ll catchup and make the best of things.

Overall I am still doing great.  My freezers are full and I can still get some harvest from the garden.  I have a plan for paying off the unexpected vet bill in a couple of months and my cats are doing better than ever after learning they need better catfood for the UTI problem. There has been a positive out come with feeding/care of the cats as fixing the problem that caused the cat visiting the vet.

Times are getting tough and it won’t be easy for us at the bottom of the “economic food chain”.  The best advice is the same in good times and bad times…. Get out of debt, build skills and a tool box for those skills. Have an emergency fund for pets, kids or an appliance dies. Get as self reliant as possible and if you can’t grow a garden find a farmers market or farmer and preserve all you can for the future.

I think baking bread at home is a fast way to save money compared to buying bread in a super market.  Start gathering ingredient now.  Practice making bread, pastries now!  Don’t wait until the price becomes to much to pay.

Life is going to get a bit more difficult but just giving up and not doing anything to help yourself is not a plan.  The WEF, UN and the elites want you to give up and not fight to better your self and your families situation. My garden is work in progress, but you got love the Dutch farmers literally spraying manure on government building in protest of taking over 1/3 of farming to remove the ability to make food.

There is a forecasted global famine event and Canada and the EU are trying to stop the most productive farmers from making food.  Russia is bad for  not exporting grains because of the the war in the Ukraine but Canada wants to restrict fertilizer for grain crops?

There is a war against the people by the elites targeting food and energy!  You need to prepare yourselves accordingly.

Weak as a kitten and trying to rebuild some stamina.

July 1, 2022

I have not had this bad of a flare of CIDP in a long time.  A couple of bad days here and there but nothing as bad as this loss of stamina I have had the last couple of weeks.  I’m not sore or tired but my muscles just seem to turn into water when I do the smallest of jobs but when I take a small break and sit down for a few minutes I feel fine.  I’m okay for doing jobs around the house like normal cleaning jobs though I need more rest breaks.  I can still make my food coffee and take a  bath and dress myself but it is disconcerting to get so fatigued so quickly that is similar to how I felt coming out of ECU and being so weak when I got home.

I can’t  call what I am doing “puttering” as that overstates how much I can work right now.  I’m being very methodical in my work and while I have no stamina I do seem to recover quickly after sitting for about 2-5 minutes after doing a job.  I got couple of very light weight barbells and will use the glider for a few minutes at a time per day to start building up my stamina.  I don’t know that it will work as CIDP is a rare and flaky condition that can progress in strange ways that is different for anyone that has it.

I added a new water manifold/splitter to the garden area and the irrigation is getting the garden wet but it needs a few more tweaks. Corn is coming up and have a few volunteer plants in the squash/melon varieties. Tomatoes and peppers are doing great but I have lots of bolting crops in the heat. Cabbages are okay but the broccoli has bolted though the cauliflower seems okay if only small heads. Time to start planning for a fall “cole crop”.   The local farmers will be opening up their fruit and veggies stands for buying local produce.  If you can’t grow much of a garden you can get fresh local produce to preserve via canning, drying, pickling and other storage methods.  These markets are great for finding local suppliers of food that are outside of of the normal supply chains.

You don’t have to worry if the store has bread,  if you have the ingredients to make your own bread. You don’t have to worry about meat products if you have a local rancher and butcher of meat.  While Idaho can’t grow citrus on a large scale it grows orchards of fruit like apples, apricots, peaches berries and other crops like hops, corn and wheat.  Every place that was settled in the USA managed to grow enough different food to live on or trade enough food to survive.

I think we will see some food shortages and not just because of rising costs.  I think some things we take as normal in the store will not be available to buy at any price.  That is not the end of the world stuff as there will be other things that we can buy locally that will work as a replacement.

Buy and learn how to cook food you want to eat.  I love bread in all forms from brioche to tortillas.  My tortillas still suck though I’m getting better at different types of bread loves.  Grow a garden but don’t depend on your garden.  Go out to farmers and orchards and get those fruits and veggies and learn how preserve them.   Cook out doors on grills, BBQs and gas burners.  Less heat from cooking indoors is always helpful to keeping your house cooler in the summer heat.

I think solar energy has great potential at small scale residential energy Co/op project. Rather than an large scale industrial energy project.  I think it would make more sense to encourage people to make/buy small scale solar products that can run electrical appliances in each home rather than than acres of solar panels with no energy storage facilities.  Saving money would encourage people to go solar even if it is bit inconvenient. That leaves large scale power producers to power industries rather than worry that individual customers have a black/brown out.  I think giving every American household an 1800 watt solar power bank and a couple of 100 watt solar panels would do more for the USA being energy independent than trying to convince OPEC to give us oil.  I don’t recommend this as we have seen all the green energy scams but it is something to think about why the the government hands out subsidies to ” Green energy” corporations  and not to the people.

Air Conditioners installed on the hottest day of course.

July 1, 2022

I helped Mom get her A/C unit installed on the 27th early in the day because 100 degree temps are starting for the summer.  We installed a small window unit in Mom’s bedroom because it is one place in the her house that does not get good cooling from her normal A/C unit.  Other than the bedroom I am impressed with Mom’s A/C unit for cost and how well it keeps her house cool.

Today I got my A/C units installed after suffering a miserable night because I could not cool the house down. I use a portable A/C in the front room of my house and it went in super easy as I have the window intake insulated and set up to fit the window gap. A bonus this year is with the smaller couch I am able to place the A/C unit in a better spot for cooling the rooms.

I have a small window unit in my bedroom to keep the room cool enough to sleep.  One of the toughest things about window units is they have gaps between the unit and the window frame that take a bit of work to block. This year I am testing out a pool noodle at the bottom of the window unit to block all the gaps.  So far it looks like the small pool noodle is blocking all the gaps.  I use thin thermal barrier and tape to block any gaps around the tops and sides of the A/C unit.

It seems if the night time temp drops into the 60 degree and below range at night I can cool down the house without using A/C so I can turn the A/C off on some days this summer. Hopefully this won’t be like last summer with weeks of 100 degree temps and lost of smoke from fires.  I had to run the A/C units just about 24/7 last year and my electric bill showed it. Only a couple of months to go this summer and we will be into the fall cool down and with the wood to heat my house my electric bill stays very low in the winter.

It has been a coup[le of days of using the A/C  and I am NOT using it as much as last year’s hot and smoky summer.  The night time temps are dropping into the low 60’s/high 50’s and using fans in the windows cools the house overnight.  I can turn off the bedroom unit during the day and use it to keep the bedroom cool enough to sleep.  The summer time sun seems less burning compared to last year despite the fact we have had 100 degree + days. Perhaps it is the sunspot cycle or the atmospheric changes but the sun does not seem to beating me down with heat like last year.  I’m using less energy cooling the house and having the A/C set at a higher temp for cooling is very comfortable. I don’t think I have adapted to the heat better than last year but that could be what has happened as these reactions are very subjective.