Planning for next year… and odds/ends

December 29, 2022

The more I look at using swamp coolers rather than Air conditioner units the more impressed I am about the cost benefit ratio. The energy savings of a swamp cooler looks to be about 1/3rd the cost or less compared to using window/ portable  Air Conditioners for cooling. I have been doing some research and it seems a swamp cooler needs a bit of fresh air to work best. Rather than an Air conditioner that works best with very little outside airflow in a well insulated home. I think the total cost of my plan adding swamp coolers will cost about $500.00 but that is adding window fans, insulation strips and hoses for feeding the swamp cooler with water over night if needed. Can you add a pump and a 5 gallon bucket to get an 8 hour run time to a portable swamp cooler?

I don’t expect a perfect solution to cooling in summer with a swamp cooler. I know swamp coolers use less energy compared to a small Air Conditioner.  So I could run a swamp cooler via a generator or even a solar setup that would be almost impossible running a couple of  Air Conditioners. I think with using the swamp cooler during part of the summer I will pay off the investment in 3 months due to electric energy cost, and I live in a cheap electricity state. Home depot has a lot of swamp coolers and window fans for a great price now and they are not on sale, because winter. Free shipping on the window box fans that cost about $33.00. Home depot usually does not give free shipping until you spend at least $50.00.  I’m not saying you have to buy now but if a swamp cooler could save money next summer you might look into it while prices are low.

I can’t install a whole home heat pump.  Tax breaks don’t work for me as I don’t pay income taxes because my income is so low. If I installed an approved green energy “whatever item” approved for tax breaks.  It would mean nothing as I don’t pay income tax. People living below the Poverty line/ don’t pay income tax don’t get any benefit from tax breaks. I make enough not to get all the government goodies like food stamps or energy subsidies but nothing for electrical efficiency and using less power.

Net zero/Green energy is a scam via the government. Local energy co-ops could work at a town block level might work for Homes.  A top down wanna-be industrial scale Solar/wind energy system is doomed to fail at this time. Idaho power is building a battery farm that might power about 14,000 homes for 4 hours.  No business, not a metro area, or a small town will accept an energy black out 4 hours after the sun goes down. I think solar has a lot of potential but it is no where close to ready to power any industrial nation.

On to the energy I can control. I cut up the last of the split wood for kindling. Depending on the wood box for kindling for an average it lasts 1-2 weeks based on temp. outdoors and if I have leftover coals overnight.  We have wet, cold rainy weather incoming. I don’t mind snow but working in a cold rain sucks! I prefer to avoid that if possible.  I have filled up 3 kindling boxes and had Mom grab one when she was a bit short. Overall the kindling box idea has been a winner!

Oh I did buy buy some bacon I like on sale for $2.88 per pound. I like the taste but there is no way I’m shopping until the second of January.

I picked up the yard Xmas lights and they are a bit of mess right now but I’ll store them away for next year. I think it was last year that having Xmas lights was white supremacy because not every person had Xmas lights.  I walk my dog around the neighborhood and never thought Xmas lights was “White Supremacy” . Heck I don’t know or care about the race of a person that put’s up Xmas lights. I just like the xmas lights. It must be fatiguing for those folks to find reasons to be out raged daily and no one cares about their outrage. Dude it is just Xmas lights.  As Freud said some time a cigar is just a cigar.


Cold night but warming up in a couple of days

December 23, 2022

It got down to 9 degrees F. and while cold it often gets below 0 degrees in January and 9 degrees might be the high temp for the day.  I spent yesterday after noon filling up the porch wood rack and my garden cart is on the back patio full of wood. It was a bit of overkill because the temps are warming up in a couple of days but I was worried about freezing rain during the warm up. The backside of the house got a little cool at around 60 degrees and I did not want to use the electric space heater.  I got out the Mr. Buddy propane heater and fired it up on high and it did not take long before the backside of the house was pleasant 68 degrees F. With the propane heat feeling much warmer than the electric heat. I wish I had bought the Big Buddy heater with the built in fan but I have several battery powered fans to move the heat around so the Mr. Buddy heater a the loser price or a deal breaker.

The wood pile is doing great so far this year. I have just about cleaned out 2 of the kennel wood racks and have 2 more wood racks that I’ll probably clean out in January. I have pulled a little bit of wood from the “overflow” wood stack but I just wanted some larger chunks of wood to burn overnight. I doubt I will need to use any of the delivered wood I got in the spring of this year. I’d like to make the old kennel area a storage area for equipment/yard tools, lumber? As well as safer fuel storage.

I saw a new product that Mr. Buddy has added to the propane heat line up. It is a heater with a gas burner cooktop that hooks up to the 20 pound tank. It was $219.00 but it would be perfect back up heat and cooking tool. Great for camping/hunting or tail gaiting in the fall. It would save some space for those that have limited storage for preps.

While I was running around getting the wood prepped I raked up some of the leaves and cleaned off the back patio. I left the leaves in a pile next to the garbage bin just in case a critter needed a place to snuggle in during the cold. I did not cleanup the leaves or apples that have fallen in part of the garden area because the squirrels have been eating on the apples. Today I had about 40-50 robins along with a few other types of birds descend on those backyard apples. I have never seen robins flock or hang around the area this late in the year. I guess it isn’t that rare as robins will flock in the winter and change their diet to fruit and nuts in the winter. It felt good that my being a little bit lazy helped some of God’s wild critters through the cold spell. I refilled the bird feeder up front so the doves, sparrows and other little birds could feed during the cold snap.

I baked up a couple of loaves of the Artisan bread. One to eat right away, one in the freezer and one to be baked for the Christmas eave dinner. On the 23rd I’ll bake the cake and fudge so all of the deserts and sweets will be done. I did screw up on running low on lard but I have enough oils to finish up the year and will get 10 pounds of lard bottled up for preps after the first of the year.

I know many people are facing brutal energy costs this winter. I’m okay because I heat with wood winter electrical cost for me are low. While it sucked getting rid of the old fridge will probably save me some money on the electric bill.  My biggest cost in electricity is in the summer and using the portable Air conditioners. So I looked at Swamp coolers that should work well in this high desert environment. I found a couple of highly rated portable swamp coolers that are rated for the area to cover my house and the total cost to buy is about $450.00 for both units. I still have the Air conditioners I could use if the swamp cooler could not handle the heat but if I could use a swamp cooler even part of the summer it would save me a lot on my electric bill and my generators could power a swamp cooler much more easily than an Air conditioner. The swamp cooler could pay for themselves in 1-2 years if my numbers are correct.

My long term plan is a mini-split system with a heat pump but I think these swamp coolers are a good compromise on cost and how quickly I could use them. The min-split system will cost $6000-$8000 depending on the installation cost and I don’t want to go back into debt. I want to save up at least 1/2 the cost of the mini-split system before I even start getting bids for installation.  Swamp coolers work best in low humidity so they are not an option for everyone.  I will say I was surprised to find there were so options for swamp coolers made for indoor/outdoors, portables and non window installed units. The variety of different types of units is amazing.

The cost of living should stabilize at this new normal but most of the things you need to live, won’t be going down in price anytime soon. Some prices are coming down like lumber but it is going to be hit and miss next year. Think 6-12 months ahead and if you guess wrong just fix it/ forget getting it wrong and move on. Don’t let a perfect solution blind you to a good solution that works today. I can’t believe I’m saying this but paying out $450.00 on a couple of swamp coolers is almost nothing when you think about people that spend $100.00 + on cable/sat TV and phone service+ smart phones.  I will pay the same price over a couple months to get swamp cooler that people pay for a mid range smart phone and that is nothing on the cost of a new iPhone. It is like the PlayStation 5 that is finally getting into stores and costs about $700.00.  For that I can build a good computer with much better graphics, sound and plays more games and can act as a home server and I can upgrade the hard drive and memory if not the graphics card in the future and not pay another $700.00 + for a new gaming console.

Sorry I think I pushed one of my buttons!  ;/

Think ahead folks some things are going down in price it just not food or energy but if you have a little cash on hand there are bargains out there. Deflation is coming! We can already see it in Used car prices, home prices, land prices and other real tangible assets. Plywood that was $75-100.00 per sheet is now back under $50.00 -$30.00 per sheet. The property tax assessors and schools are going to hate the falling home values.  Most people are not dumb enough to buy a more expensive home and pay a higher interest rate unless they have to for a job relocation.  I have a 3.5 interest rate and I owe less than 90 grand on my home. Why would I buy a more expensive home and pay a higher interest rate. Offer me about 500,000 for my home and I might consider the offer.  But Jamie your home isn’t worth $500,000.  Oh but it is worth it to me!  A house is only worth what some one is willing to pay for it. I saw houses sold on my block for $40-$60 grand around 2009-2011 and they are the same house going for $250 grand and up. That is man made created inflation.  We in the USA are living in man made disasters and most of them are created by the D.C government and corporations.

I got the Rib Eye roast, now is the time to get the other items prepped.

December 20, 2022

I woke up at 6:00 am to get to Fred Meyer for the Rib roasts and the delivery truck showed up at 11:00 AM. I got an 8 pound Rib roast since I was only allowed to purchase one but the store did not restrict the pounds purchased. I can cook  a 2-3 pound roast and have left overs. The rest of the roast goes into the freezer for the next Holiday. I bought a NY roast in case the Rib eye was not available. I think a NY roast is best cut into steaks rather than a roast.  I cook the Rib eye in a rotisserie oven rather than BBQ.  I like how it cooks and is a very easy way to cook a tasty roast. The pies are in the fridge thawing and I’m only baking one cake this time as we had a dessert/sugar overload from Thanksgiving. 

I know the Rib eye roast was a loss leader and I bought the biggest chunk of meat I could afford.  The NY Roast cost $5.99 per pound and that is not a bad price to pay even if you cut the roast into steaks. I stopped by the butcher store I like and bought more bacon and a pound of bacon for my aunt to try out. While you might get some sales at mega-marts/ stores you need to find local providers of meats and other local products.  

I filled a kindling box and it was a race against time with the sun.  I might be able to cut some kindling but the weather forecast is not looking good for that as freezing rain might be coming in.  I don’t mind splitting wood with snow coming down but I hate working in freezing rain. I tested out a Beanie cap with a head lamp and it worked better than I expected. The broad beam helps when doing chores.  Many head lamps focus the light beams and that might good for some projects. I like a beam that shows a good walking path. I love that this lamp is rechargeable. Nothing wrong with using batteries but paying for them forever is annoying. 

I am guilty of not using my preps when I should. Product needs to be used. Or you need to learn how to use your preps. Or you have not tested your preps using them daily. Could you survive an electric power outage? No fridge/freezer, oven/stove to  cook meals. No heat unless you have a generator that can power a heater.  No city water for a week.  I tested this before My water lined failed and I was not worried about water on hand but heating and moving water was a lot of work.  What do you do with your trash if it is not picked up. In 2017 Snowmeggedon  the trash was not picked up in 4 weeks.  I’m saying these things will happen but they have happen in the past. You might want to give them a THINK!

Visited my aunt’s new Homestead this weekend

December 19, 2022

Mom and I took a little drive to see my Aunt’s 10 acre homestead and it was great. There is so much potential with this spot. She has a spring, possible geo-thermal a year round creek, lots of trees and good soil that does not need a lot of amendments. My aunt is thrilled with the place. There is plenty of work that needs to be done but this is the kind of work my aunt loves to do. She has her goats, chickens, dogs and is thinking of adding a cow or two. No rush on the cow as she has a neighbor she can buy beef from and a little co-op that is very interest in her goats milk.  

After chatting with my aunt I got her Xmas git in two 15 gallon water barrels that she can use her own great tasting water when she transports her goats in a trailer or when she gets them bred/shows them to customers.  I knew those 15 gallon food grade barrels would come in handy eventually.  My Aunt is finding all kinds of edible or medicinal plants already growing on the property but she wants some of my Irises for her place. Because I saved those irises I dug up this summer I can give her some Iris Rhizomes for her new place.  

It is getting a bit cold here in the valley, into the single digits overnight.  That would not be so bad but it is also damp and the cold just soaks into you. I feel for you folks in the south with the cold weather you are getting hit with right now. Your homes are not set up for freezing weather and that damp cold is just brutal.  Perhaps it is my area but this fall and winter has been a little weird. I usually have all of my leaves picked up by Thanksgiving. This year the trees are still not done dropping leaves and I’m trying to rake yup leaves when there is snow on the ground. My neighbor has a big maple tree and it still has a lot of leaves on the tree in this freezing weather. We had a very warm October/Indian summer but this seems very strange to me. Are you seeing strange things this winter from plants, animals and weather this year in your area? 

Other than that I got some cleanup done around the house. I vacuumed the carpet which needed it badly as I had skipped it for awhile. I cleaned up my back door entry way and reset the thermal barrier I lay over the linoleum and cleaned up the rug I put over the thermal barrier. I think I raised the temp. in the room by 1-2 degrees F. just getting that area cleaned up. I think when the prior owners put in the entry way they just about laid the linoleum on top of the concrete pad and that concrete gets very cold in the winter. If you have cold floor and can get away with it. Put down a layer of thermal barrier (basically bubble wrap with reflective material on both sides) then cover it with a rug it can make a huge difference in cutting the feeling of cold. 

I got out and started cutting wood for kindling to refill my boxes. I still can’t believe how well the wood crates I use for my indoor kindling fit into my big kindling box out by the wood pile, pure serendipity because I did not build it with that in mind. We have a couple of days with no snow  in the forecast so I can start splitting the wood into hatchet friendly chunks. I don’t know why but it seems splitting the wood first and letting it sit for a day or two makes it easier to cut the wood into kindling.  Perhaps it is because I’m fresh cutting the kindling the second day without the splitting but I think the wood changes/dries or something overnight that makes cutting kindling easier the day after the first splitting of the wood.  I’m cutting Doug fir so that might make a difference compared to cutting and splitting a hardwood but White maple also seemed easier to cut into kindling if the split wood sat overnight. The season of hot or cold does not seem to make a difference. 

Update on the pet food saga.  I ordered The UTI cat food from and it should be here this week.  While I stopped at the Grocery outlet they had 11 pounds of Milk bone dog biscuits for $10.00. That is a great buy for doggie treats for less than a dollar per pound. I’m going to buy another box to put into my preps for the doggo. That is the hardest part of prepping now. Can you afford to buy a thing on sale now?  Can you afford not to buy a thing on sale now when you know the price will probably go up in the future?  It seems food prices are stabilizing. They are not going up but they won’t be coming down any time in the near future. I’m keeping a little bit of “mad money” in the wallet ($20.00) to take advantage of those sales.  I know the prices we see now are probably going to be the new normal for food prices. 

I knew there would be a time when I would lose about 1/3 of my buying power because of inflation. It’s startling to see how correct my little thought experiment turned out. Don’t panic just try and keep replacing your preps because based on dollar cost averaging you are still ahead. Take a couple of weeks to live off your preps if you need to pay off your energy bills. Use your preps if cash is tight. Don’t get behind in paying your bills.  This is why you prepped!  

Speaking for myself , it always seemed to take 3-6 months to recover from a financial screw up like a you forgot a bill or had a bounced check or you used a credit card to cover an unexpected emergency. I would beat myself up mentally, rather than just look at the problem logically and make a plan to fix the problem in the future. Have cash on hand for an Emergency would have fixed that problem. I worked for at least a couple of years trying to build up a little bit of cash on hand and failed.  It is tough not to touch that emergency money and after 3 years I finally succeeded in a small way.  If it was easy everyone would do it!  Don’t give up if you fail a few times. Keep working on it. There is one idea of saving cash every week of the year, but you double the cash you stash in an envelope every week. This did not work for me but I found a bi-monthly that worked for me. 

Any way the weekly system is you store one dollar the first week in January. The second week you store 2 dollars, the third week you store $4 dollars and the forth week you store $8.00 or you store the amount of dollar that corresponds with the week.. Week one=$1.00 week 2=$2.00 week 3 =$3.00 etc. It might seem a bit silly to some but if you use the doubling method you can have well  over $1000.00 in cash by the end of the year. I have worked the math on the week corresponding with dollars directly. You would have $1378.00 in one year. The most you would ever put in that envelope is $52.00 in December

Over 30% of  Americans say they could not handle an unexpected bill of $600.00. But if you simply start saving with a dollar amount that corresponds with the week in the year. You will have saved up $600.00 by summer. Perhaps you can’t do that, save what you can. It’s a bit like gardening. You need to start planting and if fails you plant some more as you learn. The hardest thing for most people to do is to start or the start to big. Can you save a dollar the first week in January?  Can you save $2.00 dollars the second week in January?  This is how you start building your Emergency fund. 

But Jamie they say I need 3-6 months right now. Yep that would be optimal but I can’t afford that right now so I will do what I can now and improve it as I can in the future.  Many people say they can’t afford a $600.00 it’s because they have no savings.  Just start with an envelope and put a dollar in it and keep it adding to it.  If you miss a week or two that is okay you will still far ahead of most Americans for cash on hand. Remember this is an Emergency fund if you have to use it that is okay!

Shopping today and paying off the last credit card!

December 16, 2022

I have paid off all the credit cards and building up the cash fund this payday. I have spent the first 7 months of this year putting cash in envelopes and taking money out of envelopes screwing up my savings plans because of that little inflation thing that has been given to us citizens via the US government and Federal Reserve.  We can complain about it all we want but at the end of the day these higher prices are the new normal. You have to deal with what is happening now and move on.  Things are not looking good for 2023. 

Coffee prices are jumping up even at the outlet stores and for generic brand coffee. I got a 37 oz. can of Yuban for $7.99.  Store brands that sell 25 oz. cans of coffee have jumped into the $8.00-9.00 range. Even if you are not a coffee snob you will be paying higher prices. When Grocery Outlet stores raise prices that means there isn’t cheap stock to buy. Big grocery store can cheat for awhile with loss leaders but eventually they have to charge a price that covers costs and have a bit of profit.  We are at “EVENTUALLY” happening on the price of coffee.  It’s not the end of the world as coffee spiked in price in 2011/2012  to $12.00-$14.00 for a can of coffee. You might want to stock up on coffee at a higher price as these higher cost won’t end soon though they may level off for a few months. 

I ordered the UTI cat food from  I prefer supporting local stores but if they don’t have the product I need I have to shop online. Even with the $5.00 shipping charge the cat food I ordered was cheaper than I could buy at a local store.  If you own a store of any kind your advantage is having things in stock and great customer service.  I don’t want to buy from but if my local stores don’t provide  UTI Cat food for months. What choice do I have? I’m buying a Purina cat food and not some obscure brand! 

Are cooperate stores trying to put themselves out of business?  I can buy bacon at a local Butcher shop of better quality, locally made and for about the same price for bacon in the local Grocery store. Cooperate grocery stores can’t survive without Big AG. If people start buying locally, growing a garden. that could hurt not only Big AG but these grocery stores that only buy from corporations. Big ag eggs cost $3.50-4.50 per dozen. Local eggs cost about $4.00-$5.00 per dozen. Do you think people will choose Big AG eggs if they can get local eggs. Raised sustainably for the same price?  I buy heirloom seeds every year but I don’t save seeds from all the plants every year. So could you say I grow sustainably?  I thing=k that is a Buzzword the makes some people feel good.  

I have great respect for the people that grow plants and animals for food.  I don’t respect AG corporations that play “WOKE” and supply contaminated food and them claim local farmers are dangerous to the food supply.  Are people stupid about food safety?  YES! A little rinse in lemon juice would make most salad greens safe to eat.  Most people that don’t grow salad greend will never wash salad greens. 

I know some folks can’t grow a garden. I can’t grow a pig or have a cow/goat for milk because of my local zoning laws. You can visit farms and educate yourself about how small farms work and how the respect the land and animals. 

All the training in the world will not change a pet cat or dog into a Vegan. Dog require about 20-25% proteins in their diet  My dog likes wild bird food that is corn heavy.  But I’m not feeding my dog bird food!  Cat’s require a very heavy protein diet to be healthy. I paid a $600.00 + vet bill for a cat not getting the propper diet.  Cats are not vegans and is dangerous to the cat to feed them that sort of diet. 

I would assume in the future deliveries won’t happen because of lack of supplies or you get blacklisted for wrong think. Get stocked up now as the prices will only go up in the future. 

It is on right now what we have prepped for.  Keep buying stuff you can afford, and don’t freak out. You can buy heirloom seeds, plant a garden and things.  The PTBs don’t understand anyone can grow a garden. Be it in a pot, raised beds, hydroponics.

Don’t get discouraged . See how weak the US. gov and many State govs are.  I can’t say we are winning but every time we kick the “elites” in the ass I consider a good thing. 

More odds and ends done for winter and it looks like we’ll have a White Christmas. Counter-Party Risks.

December 14, 2022

Some one shoveled my front side walk and I have no idea who to thank. I was a little sore after working on the shop and was late getting to the sidewalk. It was a very happy surprise and made my day!  There are great people in the world and it is sometimes easy to forget that when the bad ones have such a huge affect in spite of their lower numbers.  Winter is settling in the valley as we will drop into the single digits at night this week. I added a fan and moved one to see if I could get better heat circulation moving the heat towards the backside of the house. It seems to be working as the front room with the wood stove is slightly cooler and the back rooms are slightly warmer, about 4 degrees F. in each direction for the rooms. I added a thick Burlap sack about 12 inches in front of the doggie door to block the wind and create an air space for the pet entrance. I can already feel a difference as the room is less drafty. 

It looks like it may be a white Christmas according to forecast models. While I may hate driving around with the local morons that have no concept how to drive in snow the moisture has been great for the valley. If January and February snow falls are as steady we may get out of the drought conditions. Last year started off with a wet December and then almost no snow in Jan. and Feb. and that would be bad for us. 

The last of the seasoned dry wood from the carport is now on the porch rack and this years wood restacked into that area. I’m burning the older seasoned wood and I think I will get though this years heating season without using any of the wood I purchased this year. Of course it all depends on how cold the winter gets but over all I am pleased with the wood usage so far. I’m using the wood from the kennel area first as I want to use this area for another purpose. I have a lot of older mix of wood stored under the carport but it needs to be cut and or split to fit the stove and a small stack of wood that was sort of a overflow spot for last years wood stack. When I think about the folks getting hammered by high heating costs in the USA and the EU I bless having my wood stove and wood pile. I’m sure some poeple will say “Jamie, you paid almost a thousand dollars for your wood!” That is correct but that will provide all my heat from October 2022-April of 2023 or five months and it is better/warmer feeling heat to me than anything electric can provide. Big bonus I control my heat not the government or the power company. 

What can you control and what is the Counter party risk. We in the west and I assume in most 1st/2nd tier economies require a lot of trust. Third will economies have very little trust because it does not work. In high trust economies we assume the PTBs will follow laws, contracts and so on. If they don’t follow the laws the legal system is available to force them to follow the laws. But if that trust is lost and it seems there is a two tiered legal system, One for the elite and another for everyone else? Then you have a third world system that is based in no trust.  I would say to you that the USA and most of the western world is falling into a 2nd/3rd world economy because of the lack of trust in institutions and the law makes recourse either slow or impossible for the average person to get some justice as they just don’t have the ability to use the law.  I know there are legal defense funds and pro bono lawyers and bless them, but they are not enough  for most people with no money.

What I want people to consider first is what is the counter party risk.  For example: I heat with wood but I can’t harvest wood and I depend on a company to provide me with cut and split wood for a fair price.  What happens if this company is not allowed to cut wood on National Forrest lands? With the crazy Environmentalist that could happen. Not that it will happen but it is a Counterparty risk. How do you avoid the risk?  You buy for what you need in the future and you get it delivered to you.  Anne Barnhardt said” If you can’t stand over it with an AR-15 then you don’t own it. While that may seem a bit extreme there is another saying in the USA possession is 9/10th of the law.

If you prep you have the things on site. That does not mean people won’t try and take it from you, but that you will have a say one way or the other if it easy or nasty!  One reason I hate Bitcoin is I have no control and must trust people that I’m not sure are trustworthy. I like the idea of bitcoin but there is no intrinsic value to Bitcoin. Without electricity and the internet Bitcoins don’t work. Every Currency in the world is a FIAT currency backed by nothing tangible.  Bitcoin is a Digital FIAT currency backed by nothing tangible. Perhaps it is not government controlled but it does not change the fact it is backed by nothing. I have no problem with folks that use Bit coin to buy tangible assets. You can buy precious metals, homes/land even some cars but that does not make it a real tangible asset. It only has value because people think it has value.  Read about John Law and the Tulip bulbs in the 1600s.  If you have Bitcoins or some of the other digital coins I would buy anything of tangible value as quickly as you can and get out of Bitcoins before the all the Governments make there own digital currency and basically shut down Bitcoin.  Governments hate competition.  I think this FTX fiasco will give governments permission to shut down most digital currencies. 

Economically speaking the two biggest motivators of people are FEAR and GREED.  It is interesting to watch what they do to pretend those emotions don’t motivate them. Economists are often more wrong then the local weatherman and it is scary how many people listen to them.  You don’t want to get burned in the stock market, simple get out of the Stock market. When things start growing again, jump back in. What many Stock broker focus on overall gains from the crash of 1929. It took over 20 years before the stock market recovered after the crash and that was with inflation and a wartime economy. The trick about winning in the stock market is to get out before the crash and buy up after the crash. Don’t go chasing after stock gains blind you to how week the economy is today.  

No growth, no gains and with interest rates it has become too expensive to buy back stocks to increase the price.  Cheap and easy money is at an end at least for the short term. 



No snow so far but rain om/off. I decided to start cleaning up the shop.

December 11, 2022

It was warm about 40 degrees F. but a little bit of rain fell through out the day. A perfect day to get out in the shop and do a little bit of clean up and organizing.  One of the biggest things I have wanted to organize is my fuel storage area and get an upto date inventory of what I have on hand rather than what I think I have on hand. 

The first thing was to clean off all the stuff stacked on the fuel tanks and that went faster than I thought as I bought a few of the plastic garage shelves at $25.00-30.00 and that was a huge help getting things cleaned up and stored.  Next was getting the fuel cans checked out test the gas/fuel filter I bought for cleaning fuel and separating the good and bad fuel.

From what I have read most gasoline is good if it has not become discolored. Now I had some known good ethanol free gas on hand so I poured a little into a clean white container and it was almost the color of water with a hint of yellow color. Great that is the baseline for the color of gas. Some people say the smell of the gas can tell you if it is good or bad but I don’t really know the difference.  Okay first gas can was had a slightly darker yellow tinge, so I ran that through the gas filter and it looked about the same as the known good gas. I put one 5 gallon jug of known good gas in the mini-van, a bottle of HEAT and 5 gallons of the filtered gas into the mini-van. I don’t drive a lot of miles but I will let you know if there are any problems with this fuel mix. 

I had 2 older gas cans that I was almost sure the gas had gone bad. First off the cans seemed to have lost volume to evaporation or out gassing. I poured this gas into the white container and the gas was a tan /light brown color. I ran a little gas through the filter and the color stayed the same and there was a lot of liquid in the filter.  Not sure if it was water or something else but I figured the gas was bad.  Overall not bad results. Every gas can I had filled with real gas and Stabil additive seemed good even over 6 months + time in storage. The two very old gas cans treated with Stabil and probably had Ethanol gas was not usable. Not all bad news for the bad gas. Many fire departments will take bad gas and use it for firefighting training. So if you have bad gas and don’t know how to dispose of it. Call your local firefighters and see if they want it. 

My propane tank situation is better than I had remembered as I have a total of five 15 gallon tanks and four of the tanks feel full. I did not do a test other than feeling the weight of the tank. I know the tank attached to my grill is getting low so I’ll take that tank and one other tank I’m not sure if it is full and get them topped off.  I still want to get a couple of larger propane tanks because a lot of my backup cooking equipment needs propane but over all I’m pleased with what I have on hand. 

Some the odds and ends I found is the Kerosene I stored for lamps and on kerosene stove for the shop. 12 + gallons of kerosene. I have two 40 pound bags of lump charcoal and another 30 pounds or so in the can I use for filling the BBQ. 

There are tradeoffs for whatever cooking fuel you choose in a grid down situation. BBQ is probably the most exposed. Propane is probably less exposed and cooking indoors with a little Butane hot plate is the least exposed. If you have different fuels and cooking equipment you have choices. If the power goes out and everyone around you is using a BBQ to cook you are probably safe using charcoal to cook. 

I dug out the little generator while I dug out the fuel and this week I will get it up and running to test it out. Yes, I have oil and gas but I have not tested my own generators for emergency use though I tell everyone to test their generator before the storm. I have added a couple more extension cords but I need to add a couple more cord of thicker gauge wire.  

I got all my 15 gallon water barrels in one spot. I did not know I had 5 of those 15 gallon food safe water barrels. These barrels when filled will weigh about 120 pounds. That is heave but with a hand cart or furniture dolly they are relatively easy to move. If you can’t afford the weight/space of a 50 gallon water barrel these smaller barrels are a good choice.  The foot print of these barrels is about 18 inches square and they will fit easily in most closets. 

Last but not least Battery powered pumps. New EPA Gasoline cans are almost impossible to pour gasoline out of without spillage. It is not only annoying but an expensive waste of fuel. By a small fuel transfer pumps that you can get at Harbor freight for about $10.00.  A 5 gallon gas can weighs about 40 pounds and lifting it to fill a gas tank is not easy for anyone.  Get one of these little pumps and with the push of a button you can fill a tank. If you have the little Anti-siphon device on you tank then you need a hard plastic long neck funnel. I used the battery powered pump with the gas filter and it worked great. Buy one for your water barrels as I have done. It won’t reach to the bottom of the barrel but if the barrel is half empty I can tip it on my own. 

I know  I am often “Preaching to the “Choir” as many people that read this blog already know they need to prep and are looking for ways to prep.  There are always a few newbies that stop by and see what is happening and if anything interests them. 

One of these weeks I’m going to go through my old posts about foods sales/cost and compare them over time.  It won’t be scientific just my own observations that I noted in the blog that happened over the last decade.  


Puttering around getting ready for a Snow storm

December 8, 2022

Not sure how much of a storm we will get here in the Valley. Depending on what weather report you read it will be a couple of inches of snow falling for 3 nights each this weekend. Or 3-5 inches of snow falling tonight and not much this weekend. Snow is probably going to fall at least over night so time to get some odds and ends finished up before the snow flies. 

I doubt we will have any problems with power staying on so I’m not stressing about cleaning the house ahead of time. Friday the 9th I’ll start the weekly cleaning a little early just in case we get more snow this weekend. I’ll stack some more wood on the front porch wood rack but it is almost full so it won’t take long to top it off. I added ice melt to the front sidewalks to help keep them clear if it is a light snow and make shoveling easier if it is a heavier snow fall. 

I bought a big(40) bag of dog food for Boomer the other day and filled up two 5 gallon buckets I moved into the house. He like this dog food but I’m blessed that Boomer is not a picky eater. I need to buy more of the dry UTI cat food . I’m getting low on the cat food I got on sale and golly the price of the UTI cat food has almost doubled in price this fall/winter. I hate paying the extra cost for the dry cat food but I hate paying $600.00+ for a vet visit more. I paid off that credit card that I used for the vet bill this month and I pay off the another credit card bill this month. My only debt going into 2023 is my home mortgage. I’m having a little bit of success at building a small emergency fund/monthly bill cash fund. This has been one of the hardest things for me, because when you are at the bottom of the economic food chain you always seem to (NEED) money for something.  I  would put some money in an envelope every month and for eight months I  pulled that money out for things each month. About October I finally filled up a couple of envelopes and did not pull the money out. It has been tough for me to not pull the money but I have built up four envelopes with that bit of emergency cash and I really don’t want to spend it. For me it took some practice and time to value the savings more than any purchase of an item I would like to have on hand. In a way I had to learn how to tell myself no “You don’t need to buy that thing right now!” You don’t need that freezer right now. Wait for a sale. No you don’t need a fridge delivered you have a backup, you just need to do the work to move it. 

It can be tough to resist the consumer programming that has been programmed into us. In a way my consumer programming shifted from buy the next big thing to  buy prepping stuff. Sure I was bit more selective but the pattern of behavior was the same. The only reason I took my time was because I was on a fixed income and I screwed up my credit that I could not be a proper USA consumer. I want to tell you it is okay to make mistakes, revert to programming and fight your way out of that mindset.  Buying stuff is not bad. No one can make everything they need to survive and thrive. A two pound bag of yeast and the ability to bake bread might be the greatest trade item or a bit of silver or tools for wood/ metalworking or splitting wood. I doubt anyone knows what is the (THING).  But you do know you will need food, heat, clean water and energy in some form to survive/thrive. It is that basic and simple but sure as heck not easy.

Boomer and I got in a walk today even got to see some blue sky for a change and not fog. Yesterday was a miserable foggy, damp and cold day and neither one of us wanted to take a walk. I prefer a snow fall to the damp, cold foggy weather we have had this last week. I don’t mind working when it snowing out side as it seems a lot warmer compared to the damp fog. 

I tried out the new gloves recommended by the guy in the lumber store and  they are not as good as the glove I’m trying to replace. Not to knock the guy but most men have warmer hands than most women plus he works with building materials so he generates more heat while working. I won’t say it is a bad glove and as good as most mittens. I really want the 100 gram Thinsulate glove in leather though in a tough fabric would be an acceptable compromise. If I could get a stronger leather rather than a light weight suede leather for the glove. That would make me very happy.  

Perhaps it is because I’m female but I see so many people work without gloves handling wood, bricks and materials I get a bit crazy. I know there are time you don’t want to use gloves around some tools but moving wood? Working with an axe or hatchet? I’m not a safety sally but on average having a good quality work glove is needed. I think cutting wood needs a good quality glove. I have bonked my hand with a hatchet on occasion and a good leather glove has saved me from a nasty cut/gash. With power tools it is a different threat as the glove could catch in the power tool.  

There is a thing men collect scars to prove they lived dangerously and women think men’s scars prove they lived stupidly! 😉

Finished up the Xmas lights, planning for next year.

December 6, 2022

I ran the lights around the front yard using some small spikes that hold Xmas lights and little border fences to keep all the plug connections out of the snow. Overall I think it looks good for just ground level strings of lights and not using a ladder or drilling holes into my house. Yes, I know they make clips for siding but I can’t make them work easily so it’s not worth the effort.

One bad thing about using the light strings in the front yard. It makes using the wagon to move wood to the front porch more difficult.  Remembering to step over the lights is annoying at times.  It is only for a couple of weeks and I can use my wood carry bag to fill the wood rack for that long.  Speaking of wood I had to do some restacking of my wood pile. When I cleaned up my wood pile this summer I stacked the wood in a North/South direction and all of the new wood got stacked in an East west direction. Well, the old wood worked as a brace wall for the new wood and when I removed that brace wall I got some of the old wood falling down. Not a huge problem about 20 minutes of restacking the new wood in a new row fixed the problem but a small chunk of wood hitting your foot is painful if all you are wearing is sneakers and are not ready for it.  Once I get the last of the seasoned Doug fir moved to the front porch I can move that new wood into that space as the new bracing wall.

I’ve been reading some terrifying stuff coming out of the plans of the Western “elites” for us serfs.  RNA added vaccine proteins to commercial vegetable products. Dropping meat consumption to 16 Kg (35 lbs.) per year by 2030.  That is about 12 oz. of meat per week per person for us in the USA.  Sorry serf, your kid can’t have chicken soup for a cold because you exceeded your ration by having 2 strips of bacon twice this week and a 6 oz. steak. Your(2) kids had a Whopper and some Taco bell for lunch this week and you have no more meat rations. Very little dairy is allowed in the new diet from fresh milk to eggs.  Makes you wonder is this Avian flu a way to destroy the poultry farms in the Western world. It is strange that the Avian flu is only hitting Western nations. I would think it would hit all of the Americas and not just Canada and the USA but not Mexico, Central or South America. Avian Flu seem to effect western Europe but not Russia, the Middle east, Africa or China. Now China did get hit with poultry and pork diseases but it did not really cause global shortages of those products.  Something to think about…

I was talking to my aunt and she has tons of skills as a Homesteader though she does not consider herself that type of person. She got a great property and I think it was Providence taking a hand as she keeps finding things that make this property better than she had imagined. She has artesian wells, possible geothermal heat/water, great tasting and safe drinking water all in the middle of a desert. She raises goats for milk and cheese and I think she can grow anything given enough time and little help via mama nature.

She wants a green house and if she can find that Geo-thermal spot on the property. I bet she will be growing tropical fruits. Is she lucky? I don’t know, but I do know the harder she worked the luckier she got.  I want to visit her place and get some of that water out of her well for myself and Mom as the city water we use is chock full of chemical flavors.  Don’t get me wrong most cities have to add those chemicals to make safe drinking water.  That does not mean the water tastes good. I like good tasting water and if you brew beer water is the main ingredient  if the water tastes bad, the beer will taste bad.

This has been a been a bit disjointed verbal ramble but I think things are moving towards the Book of Revelations sort of bad . You need to be testing yourself and your preps. I’m in my 50’s Gen Xer and the worst gift for a kid wans socks, underwear/ most clothing items. Clothing items is critical for prepping. You don’t have to give these items as a gift.  It is great time to stock up on them.  Could you go 2 weeks without doing a load of laundry? What would it take for you to go 2 weeks without doing a load of laundry? I’m not saying you should, just could you?  I was amazed that people think changing bedsheets twice a year is good and then wonder why they deal with bedbugs.

“It’s natural not to take a bath or shower or wash clothes and they have bed bugs, fleas and the Bubonic plague(Black death )that killed 1/4 -1/2  of Europe was totally natural you bigot!  :/

You can see I don’t have warm and fuzzy feeling for our so-called elites. I wonder what you need to do to become a Russian Citizen? I don’t think I’d like China’s rules. Russia looks like a better choice.

Porch Xmas light are done and a break between wet weather.

December 2, 2022

It was damp and rainy today but the temps were in the high 30’s F. so I got the porch Xmas lights put up.  I don’t do anything fancy just a few strings of icicle lights on the windows and set up the outdoor power cords for the yard lights I want to put up. This weekend is looking good for putting up the yard lighting as it is supposed to be somewhat dry for the next couple of days here in the valley. I have to say one nice thing about the previous owner about his electric light switch choices. I can put almost indoor and out door lights on two outlets that are controlled by one light switch. I don’t know if this was his plan but I love flipping one switch and most of the Xmas light can be turned on or off.  I got the fake tree set up and lit and wonder of wonders my cats did not attack the tree! 

With the next couple of days being drier I should be able to clean up the rose bushes and grape vine to add some of the lighting nets to the chain link fence to add another bit of lighting on a different level. I’m not climbing on the roof or drilling holes into my siding just to hang some Xmas lights.  If I find one of those laser light projectors cheap I might add that to the yard decorations. I’m not spending hundreds of dollars for inflatables or lit up reindeer for the lawn. Though I am impressed with those folks that go all out with the lights and sound systems but I can’t afford to buy those things or pay the electrical costs involved. 

Some updates on stuff: I am loving how the fridge is working as a replacement. I forgot how quickly a good fridge could cool and freeze stuff. I am leaning more towards adding a small 7-8 cubic foot freezer in the garage rather than buying a new fridge.  Using the portion cups for fire starters works better than I anticipated. With the egg cartons you have to tear off each filled section and some of the wood chips drop on the floor/rug. Not a problem with the portion cup, just place it on the starting paper and light the paper. I think these cups use wax to be moisture resistant so that is a bonus for starting fires. These cup take less paraffin wax to fill compared to cupcake papers and use about the same amount of wax as the egg cartons.  I think I’ll buy some of those cookie/candy tins and fill them up with the portion cup fire starters for the people I know that use wood for heat. 

Boomer and I were out for our walk today and  I talk to a fellow about a solar panel array he had on his house. Great in summer until the Air Conditioning kicks on. Not great in winter but he use nat. gas for heat so not a big deal. His statement was it was about 50/50 cost vs savings. I told him I was the opposite with wood heat in winter giving me cheap electric bills but high in summer with Air Conditioning.  He gave me the card of a friend that does heating and cooling installations. Always good to find a recommended local contractor for jobs.  I think a min-split system with a heat pump would be the most efficient system for my small home. I got to save up money so I can make a big down payment and pay off the system in a year or less.  It makes no sense to pay more in interest that you save in electrical  energy costs. 

The dog walks are doing me some good as I’m feeling better about walking to do some shopping as so many great local stores exist close to my home.  I have a walker I use when I shop and I can get quite a lot of product on the walker when I shop.  I won’t give up my mini-van but every shopping trip I don’t use gas is money in my pocket. I also have a Trike that I could use once I replace the tires and learn how to ride it.  I know it sounds silly but I have a hard time riding the trike as I keep trying to lean to move the trike like a bike and it does not work. It should be easy to ride/drive the trike but it is not easy for me.  Also the the trike has a coaster break and I have not used a single sprocket coaster chain brake in 40 years. Years of using handbrake levers have left me looking like an idiot riding a trike that literally won’t fall over like a two wheeled bike. 

I suspect the PTBs will realize that fossil fuels and energy is critical to them as much as it critical to the proles/serfs they seek to control. Diesel prices and shortages are becoming a concern to the PTBs and not just the serfs. The USDA this last summer/fall wanted know about peoples gardens and yields. Oh we are collecting data…. I bet you are Mr.  FDA as many people are growing food you can’t control. 

Remember Gretchen Whitmer Gov. of MI I believe stopped buying seeds in the Spring because no one should need seeds during the Covid lockdown. Ever though almost every gardener in the north starts seeds indoors Feb and March. This is the Status quo for politicians for most of the USA. 

No one is coming to save you. You have to save yourself! It is simple if not easy. I will go into the simple steps needed to be more self-reliant.  Don’t get me wrong you can follow all the how to’s and end up dead tomorrow. You could do nothing and survive.  All I can tell you about is stacking the odds in your favor. I’m disabled and the PTBs would name as a useless eater if they could get away with it. But I do have a few skills the least of which is baking bread and the materials on hand to bake bread. I can make beer and have the materials on hand. 

It’s not about bragging about skills almost any one can learn skills when motivated. It is what you have on hand and what you can produce in the future. I’m not worried about any Federal Mandated digital currency as people will pay bills in the digital script and barter/trade what they want to sell/buy with something of value. A few western states say they will accept silver/gold for tax payments.  I have not heard of any person paying in silver or gold. Why would any one pay taxes in silver/gold when the government allows payment in paper not backed by anything? This is about the same as declaring V-bucks a currency or any digital game economy a currency. I like Fortnite but as a digital economy for paying electric bills I don’t want anything like that. 

 I don’t think digital FED bucks or, Fed. reserve bit coins will  not go very far as many folks don’t trust the US/EU governments.  Bitcoins caught on because they were outside of any government control.  At best people will pay the approved bills via digital tokens and everything else will go to black and grey markets. That is one thing Totalitarian top down markets never get. People will find a way to buy and sell outside of the controls. Government would be better to place a 1 % on top tax and no other tax of every sale rather than restrict selling dollars. yes dollars are for sale.