Starting on the “BAD” flower bed and finished up the 1st flower bed.

August 31, 2022

Of course SW Idaho got a heat advisory for 100+ F. heat today but I got out early to finish up the last of the first flower bed. I added some landscape cloth and more mulch so that should help with water retention and weed control. The bad flower bed is even worse than I thought as I’m not only cleaning and dead heading rose bushes, cleaning up weeds and vines but there are trees (I did not plant) trying to grow in the flower bed.  I got most of the vegetation hanging over the sidewalk and my lawn cleaned out before it got to hot to work in the direct sun.  Thank goodness Mom stopped by and gave me a good excuse to stop work on the beds.  🙂

My idea for the front yard garden beds is to have tulips and irises bloom in Spring, Roses through Summer and then the mums will bloom in Fall for year round growth and color.  Adding the landscape cloth and mulch will hopefully cut down on weeds and help the front yard retain water during the summer.

Mom could not stay long as she was shopping and had Ice cream to get home.  I gave her some of the “Soil Buster” mix for her front lawn and a “Compost activator” that has a mix of stuff to get a compost pile started and super charged to break down organic matter.  This product helped get my compost pile going but I think the best thing I did this year is add a lot more water to my compost pile as it is breaking down at least 4 times faster than any compost heap I have done in the past.  I’m doing a better job of mixing/turning my compost pile this year compared to what I did in the past. I’m finding a few real good turning of the compost pile works better than just turning over thinner layers more often.  Right now I have a 2 bin set up and I move materials from one bin to another so the old compost gets moved on top of the new compost and then I add grass clippings and straw on top after moving. No bad smells or aromas and after adding water the compost shrinks as it breaks down.

I talked to the neighbor again as we were both working flower beds and it seems that it gets easier for people to stop and chat a bit while taking a little break from weeding and yard work. I won’t say shared misery because improving your yard is great even if it is sweaty, dusty work.  It’s a common bond as we are both getting sweaty, covered in dust together while we do our individual yard work.  I think folks outside of urban areas of the USA are freindly and will say hello/Wave at neighbors the also respect people’s privacy and don’t want to intrude on people. So sharing working on flower beds, giving away plants or sharing some cookies without intruding seems to work best for me. If some one does not want cookies it might be they are diabetic and don’t want the temptation around themselves.  Don’t take it it the wrong way. Of course they may also be paranoid assholes that see any open hand as a someone wanting to slap them. Always best to what your neighbors are like before the SHTF but give folks the benefit of the doubt as everyone has bad days or they might see an offer of help as them being criticized from last place they lived.  We have all dealt with that passive/aggressive person that always offers ways you could better yourself.  Rather than the neighbor that has some extra plants or cutting for free if you want them.  I’m not saying you need more flowers in your yard. I’m just saying if you want to add this flower to your yard I will give them to you for free.  Some people will assume there is some sort of “hook/catch” because the plants are free.  The catch is if you don’t want the plants they are going in the trash as I have to many of the plants.  No power plays!

I had a neighbor that felt bad about taking some Irises when if I did not give away irises they would go in the trash.  I said they could help me a bit of physical labor I can’t do and she was good with that idea.  I’m not going to pound on their door and demand they help me with a project!  Hey I need a little help with…. can you help me at this time?  If they can great if not then I move on. If they can’t ever help me then I have learned something critical about them for the effort of some irises I was already going to dig up.  It is a win/win!  Most people are generous with their time and efforts if they feel appreciated and get some payback from their giving.  I’ll share tools for a job that many people don’t have if they help me use those tools my jobs around the house.  Perhaps I will loose a tool like I had my wagon stolen, but isn’t better to learn the character of your neighbors now rather than when things really go bad?  I hope any one that has stolen from their neighbors feels bad and all your rationalizations won’t make what you did a “good thing”.  I have a better wagon now for my garden so I win. I can’t imagine stealing stuff from a disabled vet is a good thing in anyone’s book.  You win I guess though I don’t know what you have won other than a 15 year old wagon bought at Big lots that I was already thinking about replacing.  Before you get all high and mighty claiming theft is okay because I was thinking of getting a new wagon You took away my choice of donating the wagon to someone that needed it. You took away my choice of choosing when to buy a new wagon.  You are not the good guy here. You stole from a disabled vet and I really hope it bothers you. Even if I was rich, theft is wrong and there is no excuse to make it right.

I suppose that always gets me is a person with the newest Apple laptop $2500+ and Iphone ($500-$1500) claims the are a oppressed by Patriarchy or White people that work at jobs and voted for Trump Paying going to colleges that cost $30-80 grand per year and now every American taxpayer must pay for your college debt!  You are not gonna get a lot of sympathy from the folks that went to work out of high school or went to tech school and now face higher taxes for some idiot that can’t pay of a gender studies degree. I would declare a moratorium on all new student loans via the government. I’d declare a moratorium on all interest that is accrued on all student loan debt. The US government is out of the Student loan business but they can still give out PELL grants and GI/Veteran loans.  The Colleges and Universities must put up 50% of all endowments as collateral for student loans. All student loans will be done via US charter/TBTF US banks and fully dischargeable via Bankruptcy 5-7 years after leaving University.  Colleges and Universities are the first to be hit for paying of the losses of the bad loan.  Students next in line for the bad loan , the bank that offer the loan and the US/taxpayer last government last.

I’m old 55 years and I had a 135 IQ test when in the 3rd grade. I had another IQ test done when in 10th grade and it was down to 116 and the teachers said that was normal! If you lose IQ points the longer you stay in the education system. What that tell you as a parent.  I did gain some those ” IQ” points back after joining the US Army in my 20’s.  I don’t think I’m the smartest person. I read about many that are much smarter than me on the Internet and many people IRL are smarter than me on some subjects.  But I’m not a dum-dum and do theory and real life stuff all the time.

There is a story in the media going around that Idaho Power will make a battery bank faciality that could power 13,000 for 4 hours and it is a good thing.  Oh the battery banks can recharge in 4 hours.  Not until the sun rises.  You might not have noticed most of Idaho is at the 45th parallel and does not get any where close to full sun for 10 hours at best in the state in winter. California is  destroying dams in the north pat of the state to save fish and to hell with farmers or even average homeowners.  I’m a conservationist and I think having big fish runs is a good thing.  I also like having power and irrigation for farmers that grow food. Rather than destroying dams could we focus on ways to help the fish migrate?  Most scientists say destroying the dams might increase fish populations.

California is under a Heat wave advisory and they want to take out 3 dams in Northern CA.  They are telling people not to plug in EV cars at home do  power restriction.  California has not built a dam or power plant of any sort since the 1970’s yet the population has tripled in that time.  California always bought power from outlying states but they are dealing with the heat and drought and have no energy to sell.  I’m a conservationist not an Environmentalist!  I thinks solar energy could work on a small scale/co-op sort of situation.  It will never work at an industrial scale.  You literally need high quality coal to make steel as well as High heat, high energy foundries to make steel. That requires burning coal, LNG or oil products.

I think solar energy has potential at a residential level of folks making an energy co-op at the local level.  All agree to get lot energy appliances, all agree to limit electric use after the sun goes down and the pay off is low power bills.  I’m for that sort of thing.  There was a town that was hit hard by a tornado in the Midwest called Greenburg that got a lot of celebrities and US gov. focus for going green.  I have not heard anything in the last year or two how things are going.  I’d love for these people to a success going green and getting off the government and utility teat.  Since I have not heard anything I’m guessing thing are going less than well.

The Powers That Be (PTB) don’t want you independent. They want you to eat the approved food, take the approved medicine, go to the approved school ,and watch the approved media.  What if you just did not do what the PTBs said and live your life as you want?  It’s a crazy Idea and perhaps dangerous but it is your life to live and no one else.


Started work on the fence flower beds

August 28, 2022

Cool weekend weather of mid 80s rather than high 90s-100 degrees F. It was nice to open up the windows in the AM and get the house cooled down and aired out. Temps are going up again this week but the break from the heat was most welcomed!

I started the clean up of the fence flower beds. I started with the smaller and not as badly overgrown bed first and it was an all day job. I trimmed back the rose bushes a little bit to give myself room to work as well as clear the branches away from the front sidewalk. Then I used the weed wacker to cut down the weeds and grasses as close to ground level as possible. I cleaned up most of the weeds that were going in the sidewalk cracks along with cutting out some tree starts.

I have a section of irises in this bed and they were badly overgrown that I dug out.  There weren’t many plants that I dug out that seemed healthy so most went into the trash. The Iris rhizomes were literally trying to grow under my sidewalk because of lack or space.  One of the neighbors stopped by and thank me for giving her some irises for her daughter so that was nice.  The cleanup ended up filling 4 large construction grade bags so you know the beds were a mess.

I laid out the landscaping fabric in the bed doing my best to work around the existing flowers. Laying out fabric around rose bushes sucks!  I almost finished but I still have one more small section of landscape cloth and mulch.  I got two of the new mums planted and mulched about 2/3 of this flower bed today. I have a section with two rose bushes and the former iris bed that needs some landscape cloth and mulch but just the work down on the bed makes it it look 100% better than it did this morning.

I put a gypsum/fertilizer mix on the front lawn that helps make the soil less hard but I’m afraid I just fertilized the weeds though the lawn looks a bit greener.  I’m afraid I need to rebuild the soil of the front yard much like I did with the backyard grass area and the front lawn is a lot bigger than my backyard patch of grass. I’m going to de thatch and start adding a grass seed, peat moss and some new soil to start rebuilding the front yard soil and hope for the best next spring.  My compost bins are doing great breaking down organic matter this summer so I should save a little money not buying compost. I like having a nice looking lawn and even if I went full on garden in the front yard I’d still have to rebuild the soil or go all raised beds and both of those projects cost a lot money.

I’m slowly starting to catchup on stuff around the place though it is not perfect. As they say “Man plans and God laughs”.  Overall I’m pleased with the soil improvement in my raised beds and the backyard grass area.  I know I can build good soil now I have to figure out a work schedule so things don’t get ignored because of my disability or a lack of funds.

I’m reminded of an Outdoor writer Patrick McManus who talked about PANIC.  Of course he refers to getting lost in the woods but you are a person who panics or doesn’t.  Being told not to panic does not make you not panic!  He had a thing called the Modified Stationary Panic.  You can panic all you want but you must remain still and not go ping-ponging trying to fix the thing you are panicked about. It is the same with prepping as you can’t let the news panic you.  Yes thing are bad and they will probably get worse but panicking and not having a plan to deal with reality won’t help you.  I find writing stuff down or typing it out helps me focus on priorities because I sure can’t afford to buy everything I want for prepping. So you focus on needs first. Growing a garden might not something you can do so go to farmers markets and buy fresh produce. A new pressure canner costs about $120.00 people spend that for a cell phone with data plan or TV cable/subscriptions every month. You might not have a wood stove or the ability to install one because you are a renter but you could buy a propane heater and a few tanks of propane to keep yourself warm. A Mr. buddy heater is about $120.00 and filled propane tank without an an exchange is about $50.00 in my area. That is at least a weeks worth of heat for an investment under $200.00. After you buy the stove all you have to buy is fuel.  Think outside of the box and don’t think about what you can’t do and think about what you can do to take some control of your life.

I have some great news on the rose I transplanted in the backyard is putting out new leaves and is looking much healthier in it’s new place.

A reality check and working on the yard and garden.

August 26, 2022

I got hit hard with the reality of fast rising prices this week and I got a bit depressed to see the inflation pricing take off.  I shop sales and don’t generally notice when prices spike unless it is an item I’m shopping for or want for the house hold.  A can of Yuban coffee I bought a week ago for $6.00 now costs $10.00 at the local Grocery Outlet. Not a big box grocery store but a budget outlet store!

I shop the ads and have a very specific shopping list and I don’t tend to pay attention to rising food costs unless it relates to my shopping list. This last week I got hit with the reality of rising costs that can’t be mitigated by shopping the latest ads. Prices are going up and we will pay more for less.

Welp! There are still things on sale and whining about how food prices are going up won’t change the fact that some prices are coming down or stable. My local Home Depot has Mum on sale 5 plants for $10.00 and the are a great plant for fall color and are very hardy in my area. I have bought some landscape cloth and mulch to improve the front yard flower beds.  Now I have to finish getting the beds cleaned up.

The clean up of the cat bedroom went well and most of the smells/aromas seem to be eliminated. I did an insecticide spray down of my bedroom as I have bug bites and I don’t think it is mosquitos.  I was a bit surprised when people complained about bedbugs yet they changed the bed sheets twice a year rather than cleaning sheets every week.  There is your problem!

Met one of the new neighbors and gave her some Irises and the business cards for a firewood supplier and chimney sweep.  They are pro prepping and seem like good people.  The gal felt a little bad that she had nothing to give to me at the moment and I don’t need repayment but I’m disabled and if the have time for a little physical labor would be payment enough.  Most people are good and are willing to trade value for value. You have to build your survival network with what you have around around you.  Learning who is a positive member or negative and those that are best neutral.  Sitting at home and hoping your neighbors are good is not a good position.  Perhaps your neighbors are assholes. Wouldn’t be a good idea to find that out before the SHTF?

Bedroom cleanup

August 20, 2022

This room was Smokey the cat’s room the last six months and she did not always use the litter box.  I put down piddle pads and the worked in the place I put them down but a lot of times she never used the box or piddle pads and the rug and floor suffered a lot of cat piddles and poo that was not cleaned right away.

I got the rug out of the room and while I hate tossing it I have had it about 20 years and I certainly got my money’s worth out of the rug.  Cleaning the rug would have cost more than the rug is worth as it was basically a large rag rug and of no particular value. Just getting that rug out of the room seemed to make a noticeable difference in reducing the odor. Next I did a little clean up and then spread some baking soda on the bed and the wooden floor to help absorb odors from any piddles. I covered the bed with a liquid resistant cover and piddle pads but I could not say those items protected the mattress 100%.  The wood floors need to be stripped and refinished and the last owner did not protect the wood floors and covered all floors in carpet. I need to Zip strip all of the old paint/sheetrock over spray and refinish the wood floors but for now I want to get everything cleaned up and remove the bad odors.  I swept and vacuumed up the baking soda and hit the wood floors with Murphy’s oil soap. I know I got stuff clean now I need a few hours outside the house to reset my nose to see how much I have removed the bad odors.

I moved some shelves and made a better working space for plants. One plastic shelf was disgusting and got a cleanup in the backyard.  I want to try making a small winter table garden of summer plants that grow in pots/ box greenhouses. I’d love to build the greenhouse but right now I don’t have the time or money to build the foundation. The most critical thing is the foundation and if you screw that up you have to twice the work to make it right if you are lucky.  I think growing plants indoors is a good thing.  You might not have a huge garden space but if you have a table, some pots and light you can grow plants. If you can grow house plants why not grow plants that grow food?

I don’t think of my gardens as failures.  I look at all I have learned from those failures.  Start earlier than you think as starter plants in February go in the ground in the first week in March and they need frost cover. If you want a fall garden start seeds in July.   My raised beds did not do well because I neglected them pulling weeds.  The soil was good, the irrigation system was good and the soil in the raised beds was good.  I need to work on the preserving part of having a garden.

It is okay to make mistakes and do not treat it as the end of the world.  Your crop did not did as well as expected go to the local fruit/vegetable stand and preserve that crop.

I don’t think you need to freak out and try and buy all the things you might need for the next 30 years.  It won’t work as you need to work on sustainability. I’m not going to poo poo people that buy starter plants and stuff for growing any sort of garden.  Good on you and keep working to make things better in the garden beds.

We are seeing governments literally trying to restrict the food supply. Governments that are restricting the energy supply and the same for the water supply and they tell the plebes/proles that they must sacrifice for climate change that the elites push/propagandize.

I don’t know how things are going in the EU but I know last year in the States all wood stoves of any sort sold out.  I live in Idaho and people are trying to order pellets for wood stoves and there is a backlog going in to November.

I believe you must control your energy however you choose to do it. I know a mid size Mr. buddy heater will heat a 1200 sq. ft. home to 68 degrees F. in 45 minutes if the outside temp is 15-20 degrees F.  I have tested it and if you have insulation the home might drop into the 50 F. degree range but no freezing pipes and you can restart the heater and it requires no electricity but a battery.

When the government tells you don’t worry . You should worry and find backups.

Garden cleanup, a few more sales items picked up

August 18, 2022

Mom stopped by to give me a hand with some garden cleanup. The 2 of us worked about 90 minutes before the it started getting into the low 90’s with no breeze.  We got about half of the garden cleaned up and I noticed a couple of areas were not getting enough water so I added another sprinkler to cover those plant beds. We pulled out a lot of weeds and some crops that had gone to seed and I’m impressed the the soil in most of the beds is loose, a rich black color even after all the heat we have had the last six weeks. I gave Mom a few grape vines to use around her squash to see if that will help with the squash bug.  Mom also grabbed a few irises and tulips to add to her yard.

Next I have to get after the tomato and pepper beds and the three sister mounds.  I have a good stock pile of mulch along with landscape cloth and plastic sheeting to lay over the weeds.  So the plan of attack is to work my way through to the three sisters mound clearing out weeds and laying out cloth and mulch as I go.  I have been buying four bags of wood mulch the few paychecks and now I have enough on hand to put down a thick layer of mulch in the garden.

My compost pile is breaking down though it needs to be turned over but I know that it can make good compost/soil if I keep working it.  It wood be really nice next spring to use my own compost and not have to buy any from the local stores.

I picked up some pork chops from Albertsons for .99 per pound. My freezers are just about maxed out with meat I bought on sale or from local suppliers.  The next project is adding in frozen veggies either from the garden or local food stands. I had coupons for both Fred Meyer and Albertsons for the Lysol Multi-Surface cleaner that also sanitizes.  I really like this cleaner as you can buy a big bottle and it still sanitizes when diluted. when multiple stores put the same item on sale with coupons that often means they are getting rid of the larger sized product inventory so the can sell smaller bottles at the same or higher prices or they are discontinuing the product.  If yo like a multi-tasking cleaning product to refill your spray bottles I’d recommend stocking up at a low price.

I tried out a spray bottle Lysol bathroom cleaner. It foamed and it did a worse job cleaning the tub than the regular multi-surface cleaner from Lysol.  Don’t waste your money on this product.

I finished up the chocolate shopping and I should have plenty of fun size candy bars for myself and the trick or treaters for at least a couple of years. Again I noticed that many stores have chocolate on sale at the same time but not at holiday time.  I’m seeing packages shrink and prices going up/ then the item goes on sale.  Perhaps I’m wrong and we will see great sales on candy in October and if that happens I say good and you can buy and store more chocolate.  I’m not telling anyone to pay full price or clean out the candy section of a store.  If you see  a good sale take advantage of it and stock up now so you have it on hand.  If the price drops in the future you can always buy more.

I bought four more cans of coffee that was on sale.  Though the sale prices are going up.  I’m seeing coffee prices going up in several stores and the sales prices are not as good as they were even 3-6 months ago.  Coffee like chocolate can’t be grown on an industrial scale in the USA so basic ingredient must be imported and lots of costs are added to importation. I don’t drink tea but I assume that tea drinkers are seeing the same rise in cost in stores.

Be aware of rising costs but don’t freak out and panic.  Six-12 months ago you could not buy Gatorade in a store. The cost is higher for Gatorade bottles but I bought a lot of Gatorade powder for under $2.00 that makes 5 gallons. I got a good price on a store brand tissue paper and stocked up even though I always stock up.  You won’t get the price on sales that happen back in 2017. You have to dollar cost average your shopping cart and buy some things at higher prices even though you have stored item that cost less in the past because nothing last forever when you use it.  Buy now at the best price you can get and if the price goes down you buy more, if the price goes up you don’t buy because you have your backups.

I think it is possible we will see a stock market crash this fall or perhaps next spring.  It does not matter to me as I’m not in the market but many people are and they will get hurt in crash.  How not to get hurt in the market is don’t be in the market.  I’m not a financial guru all I can say is are your potential gains greater than your potential losses?  I’m biased I see the stock market entwined with the TBTF banks, the Federal reserve and DC government and I don’t trust any of them.

Humming bird! and a little more shopping done

August 17, 2022

The first? hummingbird stopped by and got a drink at the new feeding station by the patio. That little guy stopping by for a drink made all of the work worthwhile.  Hummingbirds are such amazing creatures. They are so small and delicate looking yet they travel thousands of miles migrating twice a year. I think Idaho has a couple of species of hummingbirds that overwinter if the have a good food supply so I’m hoping I can attract some of those this year.

The large birdfeeder is in the rock garden and soon the birds will stop by when they find the feeders are full again.  Water is huge for wild critters and I hope the new fountains will help attract some wildlife now that the solar fountains keep the water moving and don’t create a mosquito breeding ground of stagnant water. I have window screen cloth over the tops of my rain barrels so that keeps the bugs from breeding.

Got a little more shopping for items to stock up on before stuff is gone. I got two more of the large 3 cubic foot bags of garden soil for topping off beds next spring. I got these bags from Bi-Mart this spring for the raised beds and the soil seems to work about the same as the Kellogs soil I bought at Home depot before Home Depot started selling smaller bags at higher prices.  If your local stores still have garden stuff in stock you might find some good sales as stores clear out the summer inventory items for fall/holidays sales.

I got a good buy on some sirloin steaks at Albertsons for $3.47 per pound so I got a couple of 3.5 pound packages. Beef prices are relatively low right now as herds are going to market early because of high feed costs and dry conditions are drying out pastures.  I have see prices for a chuck roast go over $7.00 a pound when not on sale. Next spring and summer we will see a price rise on beef products.

I have a new vice of buying tater tots and curly fries since I got the new air fryer.  I can make fries from potatoes but I hve not found a good way to make tater tots at home.  I like using the air fryer as I don’t have a lot of oil sitting in a fryer getting old for only a few uses.  I bought a few spray cans of Coconut oil for adding a little more crispy to the air fried tots. I’m not hearing a lot of local people freaking out about a potato shortage in Idaho.  I think this might be more about Commercial food operations and not about the basic spud sold in stores.  This was in the news early January of this year so it is an ongoing problem not just a new thing.  If you are like me and want a special potato item like tater tots you might want to store a few bags before the price goes up.

Hershey’s has stated they don’t know if they can supply candy bars for Halloween.  I think that is a big deal as I’m sure Hershey’s has all kinds of deals with cocoa suppliers around the world.  So if they can’t get cocoa there is probably a shortage for other companies getting cocoa. I have noticed the Dollar Stores are selling the candy bar paks are getting smaller from 8 “funsize” down to 5 bars and now all dollar store prices are now $1.25. I’m seeing grocery stores having sales on candy bars before Halloween. Is it to get rid of the older stock and replace it with smaller packaging?

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I don’t get many trick or treaters but I like having a few candy bars around if I want to have a bit of chocolate.  I’m seeing a lot of fun size bags in grocery stores and even full size candy bars going on sale so it might be wise to stock up now and not wait for the traditional sale time for Halloween.

Coffee is going up in price and you need to take advantage of sales to stock up. I know ground coffee has about a 2 year shelf life but if you use a can of coffee per month you could store over 24 cans and rotate and not drink old coffee. I’m adding more coffee to my storage as I remember coffee hitting $12.00 a can around 2011/2012 and my storage helped reduce the cost over all.  Inflation is bad enough but anything that must be ship from overseas will cost more.

Inflation is culmative and always build upon itself exponentially. Inflation in June was 9.1% according to the US government and 8.5% in July.  That 8.5% growth of inflation was on top of the 9.1% that happen in June so your pay check that stayed stead lost almost 20% buying power over just 2 months. Just because the inflation rate did not beat the prior months rise in cost does not mean inflation dropped to 0%.

Lets say you have a savings account tied directly to the inflation rate. In June you got 9.1% interest on that savings account. In July you only got 8.5% interest on that savings account. No one would say you earn 0%  interest in July.  Sorry, nobody but a politician. 401 k’s lose and the stock brokers and TBTF banks win. A few folks get wins as you need a few winners to keep the grift going in any scam.  Don’t invest in the stock market invest in your self!

Rock garden installed, solar fountain started and Smokey the cat passed over the rainbow bridge.

August 14, 2022

Busy week here at Casa de Chaos. Smokey the cat passed away peacefully this week. While I’m sad this was no surprise. I’m glad she had extra time as I thought I would lose her several times in the last 12 months. She really perked up after starting the new cat food. Wandering around the house and getting underfoot as cats love to do to their humans.  She is out at the new Rock garden with the bird feeder and bird bath so plenty of critters to watch in the backyard.

The rock garden basics are finished up. I put down a layer of landscape cloth then added some light colored river rock for the base of the garden. I’m keeping the bird feeders and bird bath in this garden as it is fun to watch the birds and squirrels from the patio. Hopefully the landscape clothe will prevent the birdseed from sprouting as both the birds and squirrels are messy eaters. I added a few large chunks of petrified tree rocks to the rock garden along with some smaller rocks I collected because I like the look of the rock.  Nothing fancy just some small chunks of quartz and dark colored river rocks.  Southern Idaho has lots of agate and pyrites so I’d like to find some of types of rocks to the garden.

I moved the hummingbird feeder closer to the patio and have a good view out my bedroom window if the little birds stop by for a drink on the way south for winter.  I’m having a heck of a time finding a place for the humming bird feeders in my backyard that the little guys want to use. Hopefully with the winter migration the hummingbirds will come in for an energy drink to power them on their way.

I set up a small tub and the solar fountain on the old elm stump in the front yard. This is a smaller tub that holds 15 gallons of water but I’m adding a bit of rock trying to get the solar fountain to work optimally as a decoration. This is also the most sunny spot I have for the solar fountain which works great in full sun but if a shadow falls on it, forget about it. I’m adding a few river rocks to keep the floating fountain from moving around the tub and keep it centered so it does not splash all of the water outside of the tub. I guess anyone making a water feature has to do a lot of tweaking to get it “just right” for themselves.  I still have the larger 24 gallon tub I’d like to use for another water feature but I have not figured out the where or the how yet.

I gave a few irises to a neighbor whose daughter wanted some irises.  It is so nice to share plants with others that they get for free and I was cleaning up so it was a win/win for everyone. Mom says she wants a few irises so I’ll get to give at least 2 people flowers that will bloom in the spring.  Well not exactly free for Mom as she has set up a day this week to help me get my garden back under some control.  We are going to try adding some grape leaf mulch to her squash beds to test if the grape leaves suppress squash bugs, since all of my squash seem to stay bug free since I have grown them next to my grape vines.  I have not read that squash and grapes can be companion plants but it might be that no one ever considered testing them out together.

I finally got my large chest freezer defrosted and reorganized and it went much faster than I had anticipated. I had a couple of coolers on stand by for the frozen food, a bucket of hat water and plastic pastry cutter/scrapper to chip off any stuck on ice/frost. Last but not least the wet/dry vac to suck up any water from the melt/defrost process. The process took about 60-90 minutes including rotating frozen food in the plastic milk crates I used in the freezer for easy access.  I removed the blocks of ice for backup protection as I’m now using reusable camping Ice blocks for camp coolers so that freed up some space.

Chest freezer are more power efficient but it is harder to rotate items if they get buried in the bottom of the freezer. Now my big freezer is about 5 cubic ft. so it is about medium size compared to most freezers. I would recommend you get baskets or plastic crates to hold your food in a chest freezer as they are easy to remove and you can separate/rotate foods easily so what you are looking for is easy to find.

I know it is tough right now.  I try my best and I always seem to be behind on something, though I’m getting ahead on other things.  I suppose it is human nature to focus on the things that go wrong rather than the things that go right as back in the day things that go wrong could get you dead. That is why it is important to focus on the positives and the things that go right and fix the things that go wrong without beating yourself up. It is a learning process and the tuition cost is things screwing up and you doing better next time.

Measure your performance against yourself.  That does not mean you don’t learn from others it means you measure what you have done against yourself and not what other people do. Reality is some people have more resources and some people have less and it seldom comes down to money.  But if you are making big bucks in NYC and have only a picture window or balcony apartment you are not going grow a lot of food or have generator, gas cans or store a lot of food.  I make less than 20 grand a year and I know I have stored more food, fuel and have more than these folks will ever on hand despite the fact they make 5-6 times the amount of income.  Some people will have more or less of almost everything and it does not work to be envious of others.  You make the best of what you got and it is that simple. That does not mean you can’t learn from other people.

Four large paper bags of Irises and a small bag of tulip bulbs

August 7, 2022

The two big beds of Irises are all cleaned out and ready for planting.  One of the beds was so overgrown I had to use the pick axe to dig out some of the iris rhizomes.  Once I filled the last bag with cleaned up irises I tossed the big chunks away since none of my neighbors wanted any Irises.  There are two small beds of irises by the fence that are left to clean out. I am going to replant these purple irises in the house beds and add a few of the white and yellow irises as a contrasting color.  I’m sure there will be a few volunteer iris plants that I missed in the house beds but next years flowers should be happy and healthier now that they have more room to grow.

I left some of the tulip bulbs in the ground though it is to early now (October) to plant the bulbs. Some of the bulbs were damaged or I just missed some of them hiding in the dirt. The bulbs I did leave in the beds I pulled toward the front so I know where to transplant the other irises.  The left over bulbs I saved I will share with Mom when she picks up the irises she wants for her yard.

Just to give an idea of how much clean up was needed o0n these two beds… I filled two large garbage bins and a 42 gallon construction grade garbage bag.  Lesson learned:  Don’t be afraid to get out the pick axe to get beds cleaned up when a shovel or garden fork is a struggle to use.  You save both time and energy!

Now is the time to get your lawn prepped for next year with getting down some weed and weed and reseeding grass and getting those beds ready for bulbs even those garlic bulbs that need to be planted in the fall. For my area 6b I think October is the time to plant for spring bulbs.  Your Zone might be different but sooner or later it will be that time of year for your yard and garden.

We are still getting some hot days but it is much different than what it was back in July.  While I complained about the weather this summer it was much better than last year with the early Summer heat and a lot more smoke from wildfires.  I wish it was better for other folks around the USA.

It has not been all bad here in Idaho as we got a lot of rain in May /June and that helped with the drought. SE Idaho is catching the edges of the Monsoon out of the SW USA and that is helping fill the Snake river and the reservoirs we use for irrigation. A wet fall and winter would probably kill the drought.  So on average we are doing better than expected for the year.

Huzzah! Firewood is stacked. Cleaning up the irises and front lawn.

August 4, 2022

Firewood is all stacked under the carport and covered with a tarp in the areas exposed to rain/snow. While I did not like having the firewood sit in a pile so long before getting stacked, the firewood did a lot of drying/seasoning in the summer heat.  The new garden cart did a great job even though it holds less volume of wood. Its small size, lighter weight and greater mobility seemed to work better for me than the large metal garden cart. I raked up the alley area where the wood pile was and sprayed the morning glory with some vinegar to kill the growth back. So the alley garden is a bit brown but at least most of the weeds are under control.  Bad thing in the alley way is some really bad patches of thistle and puncture vine are growing on my neighbors land and I don’t want to call city code enforcement about the weeds.  But I have worked so hard to stop the weeds in my area I don’t want them to spread.  I’m trying to convince the neighbors that talk to me to go with 30 % vinegar rather than a Roundup type of weed killer that kills the soil as well as the weeds.  It is taking some time to convince them. 

This is the time to clean up those Iris flower beds and I have to say it has been many years since I cleaned/thinned those beds out and they are a lot more work than I anticipated. So far I have dug up one Iris bed that was not that big and have two paper grocery bags full of cleaned and trimmed iris rhizomes at least 30 + tulip bulbs that have been waiting for a chance to grow in that mass of irises and another 3 beds of irises to clean up.  I’m not just cleaning up the iris beds. I’m also cleaning out some weeds and a vine that while pretty is also not good as it wraps around other plants and drags them down.  Some good news is I am finding a lot of tulip bulbs that seem to have been dormant and not growing because the irises grew so thick.  I have another section of irises to clean out that is about the same size and I’m guessing I’ll find more tulip bulbs in that bed like the other bed. I’m pilling out all of the Irises from these beds to clean out all weeds, get tulip bulbs and clean up up the iris rhizomes for new healthy growth for next spring and summer. Mom wants some of the irises for her yard and is very interested in adding more tulips if I have any bulbs leftover from my bed cleanup.  There is just something about seeing those tulips in early spring that lets you know Spring is happening now or at least in a few weeks. 

I got the front yard kiddie pool planter cleaned out and it was a mass of weeds and volunteer trees and other less than optimal plants. I’m not sure if I want to do a raised bed or build the soil back up and reuse the kiddie pool as a planter.  I got half of the lawn mowed and tried to start raking up the damaged areas of the lawn but the heat got to me and I had to give up for the day.  I got everything mowed and weed wacked on that half of the yard and I think if I remove the dead thatch and get some bug killer in the bad areas I can start adding soil, compost and grass seed better suited for this climate I can repair the lawn without digging it all up.  All of the things that you do to the soil to for adding sod is almost the same thing you should do before you plant grass seed, results may very depending on the time frame. 

It is all to easy to focus on one area and forget other areas of life.  If one thing does not work think of backups.  My green beans did nothing and I’m not sure my corn will do much better.  That is okay the local garden stand has great green beans and corn on the cob for a great price and I can freeze some as soon as I clean out my freezer space. If you have been prepping for awhile I suspect your food needs are in good shape for a few weeks or few months. 

How will you stay warm, cooking that food as eating anything cold out of a can sounds unpleasant. Igloo jugs will store hot water for 24 hours and warm water up to 48 hours. If your water heater loses power you could heat water every time you want it or you could buy a couple of igloo and store heated/hot water for up to 48 hours. 

Here in SW Idaho we have about 4 weeks of of hot weather and then Fall hits in September.  Winter is coming and staying warm will be critical.