Still cutting up wood for the wood stove and more yard/garden clean up

March 31, 2023

This has been a long firewood heating season for my area. By March we start warming up into the 60’s during the day but not this year. So I was out cutting some wood for kindling and the in-between starting wood for the wood stove. I thought I would be done with firewood for heat by March.  Because this was such a long winter I will be adding two cords of wood to my wood pile rather than trying to get by with my current stack of wood. I have to make more firestarters because of the long winter. I have used up most of my wood chips and have to add buying a bagged wood chips and a lot more of the little paper cups to make the fire starters. It might be possible to sell, barter or trade fire starters so building up a stockpile is on my todo list.  Mom took a tumble and bonked her ribs and is very sore so I cut up a box of kindling for her and some small chunks of wood for her woodstove.  Mom has some local help moving the heavy stuff around so she doesn’t have to try and move feed bags for the critters herself.  Hopefully this will be the last blast of winter this weekend and Spring will finally start here in Idaho. The 10 day weather forecast has days moving up into the mid-high 60s around Easter.

It looks like using the holidays of Easter and Mother’s day work well for planting the garden. Easter for Cole crops and Mother’s Day for the summer crops like peppers, tomatoes.etc. I have had some issues with my starter plants and I think I might have water to much early, then I did not water enough and the soil dried out. I’m not worried as I started early enough I can add more seeds to the pots that did not germinate the first time. When I first tried starting seeds and they failed I would just give up until the next year. Now I just add more seeds as I learn how to start seeds  The plants still  have plenty of time before Mother’s day garden planting. I can buy plants at the store and I can do succession planting. So if your seed starts don’t do well keep working at it and learning .If you have extra plants you can always set out the extras, give the plants away to family and neighbors or sell them at the local farmer’s market. Having extra plants is not a bad thing.

I don’t think the USA banking crisis has been solved. At best the problem has been “papered over” and the fundamental problem of to much debt and not enough liquidity still exists. The advice for protecting your self is still the same financial common sense.

  1. Buy what you need to survive: That might be getting a stash of a couple weeks supply of food, water, a way to stay warm and cook your food to start with but you need to build up a supply of your basic needs to have on hand. Besides this winter has shown everyone needs to have a couple of weeks of food water and heat in a disaster. This does not have to be expensive freeze dried food. 10 pounds of Flour ($5.00)  a pound of yeast ($6.00) and a pound of salt ($2.00) and you can make 10 one pound loaves of bread at home. Sure beats the heck out of paying $2.00-$5.00 + for a loaf of bread in the local mega-mart.
  2. Get out of debt: Especially pay off high interest credit card debt. Debt is getting expensive again. People with good credit ratings are seeing 20% interest rates with credit cards.
  3. Cash on hand to live for at least a month. In a perfect world you could build up an emergency cash fund of 3-6 months. We don’t live in a perfect world!  This is just cash on hand for the basics you must have, Food, Utilities and probably gas/transportation funds for work. After you have that basic amount of cash on hand you can add rent/Mortgage payment as you can slide a month or two on housing. I don’t recommend ignoring those housing payments but you have to eat everyday and rent/mortgage is once a month.
  4. Don’t buy silver or gold before getting your basics in food,water,heat.or cash on hand. I see gold/silver as insurance/barter good and not as an investment. I would trade a real silver dime for a loaf of home made bread. I probably would not sell a bread loaf for $3.00. Value always depends on the buyer. I could dig holes in the ground on my property all day and no one would pay me a dime for my work because my work has no value. All the sweat and sore muscles don’t matter because no one values the work. This is where Marxism goes wrong. Not all work is of value to all people. That is not to knock folks that dig ditches. In the right place and the right time the work is valuable. Me digging random holes in my backyard is not valuable and could be a bad thing. I don’t know of a real-estate listing touting the owner dug random hole in the yard being a selling point.
  5. Think small and doing little things first! Much like eating an elephant you need to do these things one bite at a time. Fill your freezer section of your fridge with good first before you think about buying another freezer. Your garden can start as a container garden of herbs. Your shopping can start at a local farmer’s market. You don’t have go big buying a freezer and a side of beef. In my area beef and pork sampler packs at local ranches/farms can be bought for around $100.00. That might seem expensive but compared to most grocery bills it is not.

Almost everything is simple, that does not mean it is easy. It is doable by anyone if they want to put forth the effort. You can’t sit at home and expect some wonderful creature will land on your door step and make all wishes come true.

I know most incels want women in 8/10 range and above yet they are not the type men women want. You want women, boys learn to dance. I mean take classes on dance. Play a musical instrument and or learn to sing. I don’t know why young women like this stuff but they do. Become economically secure so you can an attractive partner. Some of the most unattractive men attract women because they are economically secure.

Your K/D ratio in COD is not  attractive to most women. Most women want security, financial, home and a man that stands up for protection of home and family. It isn’t about fair or what people say. The reality is most women want a male protector and still go out and earn a living.  I’m just saying to the boys if you want women, you have to go where women are and show then something of value. Ironically most guys would be impressed by my K?D ratio because I’m female. It’s a game and not real life. Play the game and have fun but the silly crap associated with games is silly.


Dirt Therapy, Cleared more vines and bed and pot prep for potatoes/root crops

March 29, 2023

I was feeling a bit sore and punky after my big work day last week. The blustery weather did not help with my attitude or aches and pains. I went over my seed starts and added more seeds to some of the little pots that had not germinated. I also added some small individual pots for some of the tomatoes as my Napadeno peppers have done outstanding in those little pots. I finally have some of the mini-bell peppers coming up. I’m not sure it is me, my set up or if the mini-bells have a low germination rate but I’m excited to see to little plants starting to grow. Overall I think doing the follow up on the seed starts and seeing more plants come up really helped my attitude. Plus the Christmas cactus is loving it’s new pot so much it is trying to put on some flowers!

Another fence section of grape vines, rose canes and other volunteer plants has been cleaned up. I have to take my time based on how much physical energy I have and how full I can fill my trash bins. When you have almost 2 foot thick sections of old grape vines to cleanup you will fill a big trash container quickly. My town has a “Spring Cleanup” week at the end of April. The Trash guys will pick up bundles/bags of yard debris if you keep it relatively light(60 pounds) and less than 4 feet in length. Construction grade trash bags make hitting this bundle size easy and the trash guys don’t have to deal with stickers and thorns attacking them when they pick up the trash.

I’m not planting the seed potatoes until second week in April as we have had a wet and cold spring. Now the rain/snow has been great for the drought but the cold weather sucks for planting stuff. I’m still ahead on my planting so I’m not worried about being late for planting cold weather crops. We in the USA and the EU should try and match Russia in growing 50% food on small garden plots rather than Big Agri-corps control our food supply in the west. The USA and the EU claim to want small sustainable farms yet they give tax breaks, contracts to big agri-corps for school lunches full of of processed food. You noticed junk food like soda pop, chips have not been excluded from the food stamp program in the USA. Even though there is an obesity crisis in the west.

A city less than 7 miles from me had a boil order for water because of a glitch in the water supply. Philadelphia PA had a do not drink the water because of a chemical spill and then restricted people to only 3 bottles of water.  I think the idea of storing 1 gallon of water per day per person is flawed. You really need to store 3-5 gallons per day per person to keep your household going with cooking, cleaning and drinking water. Now not all of that water has to be safe to drink. You can wash clothes or take a bath in water that is not safe to drink. I think rain barrels are great but a tarp and 5 gallon bucket is workable in a pinch. I amazed that city governments that ban rain barrels as if people won’t water grass or gardens from the barrel. All a rain barrel does is store some water from the wet season and put it on a garden or yard during the dry season. All of the water still goes into the ground in time.

Actually rain barrels can help with soil erosion and drought by saving water short -term and watering plants long term. If your City bans rain barrels they are idiots and should be replaced ASAP.

Re-potting garden plants, Spring time yard work and moving the green house again…?

March 25, 2023

I was told not to plant my seed potatoes after April 1st The first week in April seems to be the earliest time to plant most of the cold crops in my area that is Zone 7b. My raised bed soil is about 50 degrees F. and easy to work but since I’m actually on time or a little ahead this year for Spring planting. Waiting till the first week in April makes a lot of sense so the Spring weather can settle down and there is still a lot of clean up work to be down around the place and getting the lawn some TLC after last year’s hot summer.  I bought a pony pack of Quinault Strawberries to add another berry bucket/big planter of strawberries to the garden. I had to get the berries into bigger pots so I got a chance to try out the new skinny garden trowel to move plants. I’d say this tool worked  okay for my first time using it. I think there is a method to using it and I need more practice using the tool. I can see the benefits of using the tool for small spaces or moving plants so overall I’m pleased with the tool.  I moved the Christmas Cactus mom gave me to a larger pot as it is doing surprising well considering I usually kill most house plants!

I dumped the old soil from my potato “party tubs” to add new soil to grow potatoes. I did not know that using the same soil even if it is amended for potatoes could cause some nasty diseases in your potatoes. So starting with new soil is the thing for this years potato crop. Besides the big potato tubs I am trying the cage method of growing potatoes. You build a wire cage and use a mix of dirt and straw to keep building dirt around the potato plants as they grow. At harvest time you knock over the cage and pick out the potatoes. At least that is how it is supposed to work.  I’m hopeful as this would be a great way to grow a lot of potatoes with a small foot print in my garden.

Cutting back the grape vines even more compared to what I did last year has been a big job this spring. Last year my grape vines I cut back put on at least double the fruit if not more compared to the years I did not cut back the canes in the spring. Cutting back to the main plant stalk and opening up the mess of grape cane snarl really improved the fruit production. If you have an ungly snarl of grape vines get in there and prune those canes back in late fall and early spring and I bet you will see better fruit production!

I don’t want to get rid of all my grape vines as they seem to help my squash plants not have a squash bug problem. I don’t know why but I grow my squash plants close to my grapes and I don’t have a squash bug problem. Everyone in the neighborhood has squash bugs except me. I don’t have a problem of my grape leaves being eating by bugs so I don’t know why it works but grapes and squash plants seem to love each other and bugs hate the combo.

I have not placed my greenhouse as I am trying to find a good place for it. The greenhouse dimensions are smaller than I prepped for, 6.5 feet by 8 ft.. I want to maximize solar but have the option of adding some lights/heat.  I really like this new spot as it full of sun and leaves most of the garden free of the greenhouse blocking sun. This is the place I wanted to place the green house and now it looks doable.

You don’t have to do anything but die. The government can require many things but the only thing humans will do after being born is die.  Pick tour poison and your line but if you are born you will die.  How you lived becomes important.

Seed potatoes bought, soil temps 50 degrees and more garden planning.

March 21, 2023

I bought some red pontiac, yukon and russet seed potatoes for the garden. S few days are needed to cut and let the seed potatoes dry a bit before planting.  My ground soil is over 50 degrees F. and most hard frosts should be gone after this weekend. Average March temps. should be hitting at least 60 degrees F. during the day. We are hitting mid 50’s at best. The rain/snow moisture is great but it’s getting close to planting season and farmers need some dry weather to plow. Even with Idaho’s irrigation method of farming the farmers need dry fields to plant. 

I checked the soil temp of my planters and raised beds and the temp. is 50 degrees F. That is good enough for planting potatoes but I need to cut the seed potatoes before planting. This weekend is forecasted to get cold so no planting outside is recommended. My grape vines are a mess but I’m slowly cutting back the canes for more are for garden plants. 

I don’t know why I thought my green house was 8 ft. x 8 ft. when it it is 6.5 ft. x 8 ft. . This is great news as the smaller size gives me more options. The foundation material cost will be less and that is all to the good. 

Don’t freak out , panic or try and time the market. You can’t time the market as the house always wins. The house is the FED and the treasury of the USA. Do you think they ( the PTBs)  will announce the market is a sham and you are on your own? 

What can you do? 

  1. Get independent of the cooperate food system. Grow a garden even if it is an herb garden to start.
  2. Get local with food suppliers and energy suppliers. Don’t rely on your gas or electric system from the local utilities. 
  3. Vote no all bonds and tax levies from the PTBS unless you get a good out come as an individual.  Don’t buy into the propaganda that most bond levies are for the greater good. 
  4. Find a local food supplier that is not the local Mega mart. 

You have to choose how you prep. I can tell you what worked for me. You have to decide how to spend your money and what you choose to to do. You should never let anyone tell you how to live your life. I might disagree with your outlook but it is your life too live as you wish. 

It may come as a bit of a shock to most liberals, progressive, Marxists, Alphabet people. Most conservatives really don’t care how you live your life.  Just don’t mess with our kids! 

Not stressing about the USA economy.

March 18, 2023

When I became disabled I got knocked down about as low as you can and not declare bankruptcy. I had things repo’d and if it wasn’t for my parents helping me out I would have lost everything. I was the “good” consumer. I had credit cards, carried some debt, and as long as I could make the payments I was living the DREAM. If you become disabled and can’t work for 8-12 months and you don’t have disability insurance you are screwed as Social security won’t start for at least 6 months if you get a 1st time approval and most people don’t get a first time approval and 6 months is tacked on unless you get back paid. That be nice a year or 18 months from now but you need to eat and pay bills TODAY!

This is big reason you need to have 3-6 months of cash on hand to pay your bills if you lose your job get disabled or what ever reason. That cash on hand buys you time to do what you have to do without the stress of not paying your bills biting you on the ass.

Have 3-6 months food you want to eat on hand. Not having to buy food for several months can bail you out if hard times hit. I had an unexpected vet bill of $700.00 for my dog a few months after I started prepping and that food plus a vet that was willing to work with me timing treatments with my checks made everything possible by paying cash. Plus in a disaster having all you need on hand saves you fighting crowds, price gouging. You can sit at home and watch the idiots that did not prep on youtube. The reason you work is to buy the stuff you need to live. If you have the stuff you need to live you can put that money you worked for toward other stuff.

None of what I am saying is new or groundbreaking. Many non-mainstream money people say the same thing. Live on less than you make. It is simple but that does not make it easy. Not all debt is bad and having credit card does not make you a bad person. It is just how you use debt/credit that can be bad. I  took out a small signature loan to buy my wood stove. I refi’d my house to get siding and new windows installed. But those are debts are saving me money long term as the wood stove keeps me warm and the windows and siding have reduced my electric bill. I took on some small debt buying a washing machine, a generator, and other odds an ends and it so easy until the bills came due. Sure I knew I had to pay the debt but those monthly credit card bills can wear you down especially if you only make the minimum payment. Go a couple of months without a credit card bill and you may find it liberating.

Persistence when you fail. I have failed many times with building an emergency fund. The envelope method via Dave Ramsey and my own twist of trying to make these systems work and I think it just takes trying and failing a few times before you succeed. At least that is how it worked for me. I think for me it was paying off the credit cards, but I started my envelope method of saving money before that after many years of trying a failing. I think failing was part of my process as I don’t see failure as a bad thing. I put the money in the envelope for a few years and took it out to spend it and suddenly I found I did not need to spend it. I know it might sound silly but is how it happened to me. Perhaps I became confident in my plans. Perhaps I broke the programming of using credit cards and debt. Perhaps I redefined what makes a person successful. I have no idea except saving some cash in an envelope suddenly became easy after years of trying.

I am not sitting on a stash of cash but I could cover my bills for 3 months if things go sideways. But I’m proud of myself getting to this point of covering 3 months of bills. When you read how many people could not cover an unexpected bill of $500.00 or people behind in power payments or rent a year after Covid and now people that got the bonus snap payments are ending and they can’t afford the inflated food costs it make’s it tough to say you screwed up and trusted the government.  But it is true.

Seeds are already sprouting and a little bit of garden cleanup.

March 18, 2023

Several of the seeds are sprouting and it has only been 4 days since I did the big planting! It is always a thrill to see those little green plants grow and know I helped make that happen. Speaking from using heating mats for 2 years. It seems the mats really help the growth of the seed starts even if you have a warm house the heat mats keep a constant heat under the plants. The lights are big help especially if you don’t have a place for your plants to get 6 + hours of sunlight.

For starting seeds I’m using a couple of tall but light weight seed starting kits. I think I spent under $10.00 a few years ago for the kits. I bought a couple of heavy duty and tall seed starting boxes that were more expensive but my seeds are sprouting in both the cheap and more expensive boxes. I would recommend you get a seed starting kit with a dome at least 6 inches tall to give your plants plenty of room to grow and develop before you put them in the garden. A huge bonus for me starting plants indoors is I can tell the difference between and the plants I want to grow.

I got one of those small pressure pump sprayers to water the seed trays and it looks like it will leak if you leave it under pressure. If you use one of these sprayers make sure you can catch any water leaks or open the cap so the water is no longer under pressure. I use one of those large plastic boot trays for dirty boots for extra pots and water jugs so the tray caught the water.

I started on some garden clean up and getting the grape vines cut back. I need to move a raised garden bed and some of my berry plants that are in large pots, to make a spot for the 9 ft.x 9 ft. green house. I want to try some more traditional garden mounds and rows in on section of my garden.  That is also the area with the overgrown grape vines. So getting the grape vines cut back and under control is a big project in the garden this year.

Besides having a very wet Spring it has also been cool. Normally we would be having at least a few 60 degree days and it is staying in the 50’s to high 40’s. The weather has been more annoying rather than cold or miserable. That is mother nature and you deal with what she gives you. I need to open up my water barrels to capture some of this rain. At the rate of rain we have been getting I figure the barrels will be filled in less than a week.

I got the swamp coolers and window fans for the summer experiment of reducing my electrical cooling costs. It seems that air flow through the house is critical to getting the most out of your swamp cooler.  The 2 window box fans that can be used to bring in outside air or exhaust air will make a difference on how well the swamp coolers work. I don’t expect the swamp coolers to work as good as an A/C unit but if it can keep the house comfortable for even part of the summer it will save me a lot of money on my electrical bill. At worse these units work outdoors so I can cool the patio or the chickens once I get the chicken run built. So the money won’t be wasted.

You can’t be afraid to try a new thing because it might fail. My summer electric bill is brutal so anything that might help is worth trying out. If there are summer brown outs/blackouts I can power a swamp cooler via my generator for a lot longer that an A/C unit and that maybe the difference in being comfortable. Never let perfect stop you from trying something that might be “Good Enough”.

Got the Steer manure/compost and onion sets on sale.

March 16, 2023

I really like the bagged steer manure Compost mix I get from D&B farm store.  It is local to Idaho and mixed with garden soil it makes a good raised bed garden soil. I like to add some Sphagnum peat moss just to help break up chunky soil and to retain water in the garden beds.

I have started onion seeds indoors but I added a couple of  white and purple onion  sets/bulbs as a back up to my onion plantings. Around the first week in April I can direct sow the onion bulbs in the garden as weather permits. I added the Napadeno peppers to my seed starting table as I missed planting these pepper seeds.  Napadeno peppers supposedly have the flavor of Jalapeno peppers without as much heat. I have to say since I have been buying  a local pico de gallo my tolerance to spicy heat has gone up.  But I Don’t want to grow a pepper just because it is hot.  I want flavor first and a little heat is okay. I can always add a jalapeno pepper starter plant to the garden from the local big box store if I want to add some heat to my cooking or canning.

D&B farm store had a big canning display which is unusual this early in the year as there is no products to can this time of year. Idaho has a big prepping community but most jars and canners don’t usually get displayed before July. D&B Supply now is selling a home Freeze dryer and the bags/tools for freeze drying food. I think freeze drying food is a great Idea but I can’t afford 3 grand to start freeze drying foods.  If you can afford that sort of investment for food preservation. Good on you! As the more people that adopt this method, the price should start to drop. I might be able to swing paying a grand but 3 grand + is out of my budget especially when  pressure canners and Foodsavers are available and do a good job preserving food for less than $500.00 if you splurge.

I’d love to say don’t panic or get crazy because things are going sideways. But things have been going “sideways’ for years even decades. I know people that prepped for year 2000 and all computers would crash, planes fall out of the sky and a Christian Rapture would arrive. 2012 The Aztec calendar forecasted Doom and Gloom and while unpleasant the housing crash did not destroy nations. Now it is Climate change that will destroy everyone! except only the West’s 1 billion care about climate change and the other 7 billion people on earth are working on having clean water to drink and enough electricity to run a fridge 24/7 consistently.

In Russia the literally grow 53% of all vegetables they need in home gardens. England is rationing produce in stores and Russian stores are full of produce this winter. The price is higher in Russia because it is winter/early spring but Russian stores have plenty of fresh produce. But the Russians have fresh produce and England has rationing. Thank God for the USA and EU sanctions that is hurting Russia so bad and not having any affect on the EU! LOL

The USA should be able to match Russia in home/local gardens providing food for people.  The FDA is asking people to dox their gardens. Only for the most benevolent reasons and the US government would never try anything underhanded to confiscate your food.

Who do you Trust? well you trust those that are worthy of trust. It may be family, neighbors, businesses that you work with regularly. I have no idea why any one trusts Wells Fargo bank or B of A that were literally fined because they screwed over customers with timed overdraft fees or late payment fees for loans being posted late. If you are using a TBTF bank after 2008 and today you are an idiot. It is not hard to move your money and bill paying to a local bank or credit union. You might be mildly inconvenienced setting up your bill pay.  But pretending that no one could see this happening is flying in the face of reality.

If you work a job you trade your time talent and physical effort doing the job. I think many people overestimate the value of their work and many underestimate the value of their work. The value of your work is worth exactly worth what some will pay for that work. Be you an uber eats driver or an artists making paintings. If you make youtube vids and you get millions of subscribers and make (bank) you are working a job. Is the job easy or hard is irrelevant. People pay for what they want.

It’s a lot of work/time to make vids on youtube. I don’t get the hate that some people show You tubers. If making money on a blog or doing vids on youtube is so easy why don’t the haters make money on youtube?  I think it always comes back to envy.  I will say I like seeing my sub account go up. That means people find value in my posts. That is good enough for me. It’s not a job just a hobby of what I do to prep. But certainly don’t dog a person that wants to make money.  You the consumer has the final vote if anyone has good content or not.

I have been blogging since 2010. Mind blowing that I still have something to say and some people read the blog.

Seed started indoors today

March 14, 2023

Rainy day so it was a good day to get the summer garden seeds into the seed trays. I filled up three 72 cell  starting pots and feel like I have a good selection of plants. I went with the Utah tall and Utah tall improved celery as those seeds and plants do great in my garden in SW Idaho. I have a lot of variety in my peppers but most of them are sweet peppers as I’m not a huge fan of super hot peppers. I have a couple of small tomato varieties and then the a Cherokee purple, Brandywine, roma and Beef steak. I’m trying Bunching onions and Walla Walla sweets from seed but, The local farm store has onion sets on sale so I will direct sow those for this year as a backup. I have high hopes this year the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage will do better this year and not get burnt in the heat.

The little table garden also got started today. I don’t know if I can grow a year round salad garden. This is my first attempt to see if it is possible. April is when I’ll start buying lumber for the Greenhouse foundation and the new chicken coop. So the table garden might move out to the greenhouse once it is built. Having year round or nearly year round veggies from the garden is my goal.

I bought up crackers for snacks for my pantry. I’m a person that likes salty snacks, but I always buy up candy bars during Halloween for a sugary taste treat. Popcorn is a great snack item to store as it is cheap and with an air popper supper easy to make. If you have sugar on hand you can make caramel corn or with spices and Parmesan cheese you can adjust the flavors of popcorn to help food fatigue.

I don’t think most people understand “food fatigue’. Some of it is eating the same thing over and over again. I know I got food fatigue eating beef then pork for 3-4 months each when I lived on a ranch. I literally killed pigeons just to have something different to eat. When I lived off my preps for a couple of months.  I really missed salty snacks like crackers, chips and even some sweet treats like a bit of chocolate or some ice cream.  It does not take a lot of that missing item to fix that food fatigue. A few salty crackers, nuts, cheese or a funsize candybar  can stop those cravings. You can make some items but I have no idea how to replicate a Butter finger bar if that is what you crave. When I was in the field in the Army the items that were the most craved was food loaded with sugar, salt and fatty oils. We fed a diet high in calories and carbs but most soldiers wanted snacks on top of this “healthy”  Army food diet. Buy spices and a cook book.  Basic food taste can be changed radically depending on the spices you use and the way you cook the food.

I bought a dozen eggs for $2.59 and Albertsons has Chicken thighs on sale for $.99 per pound.  I have not seen these prices for several months so perhaps the USA chicken flocks are starting to recover. I’m paying double the price for eggs compared to a year ago and it is a WIN.

The goal is to be self reliant and not depend on the local mega-mart for your food. While I like prices dropping on eggs and chicken meat. It does not change the fact that inflation is still a problem. Some things are getting better and some things are getting worse. I still believe if you don’t hold something in your hand you are at risk. Of course being self-reliant also is a risk as people could steal what you have. All you can do is your best an hope it works. There are no guarantees. I know that doing nothing will be a failure.

Peas planted and no snow today!

March 13, 2023

I got the peas planted in the front yard beds today. Huzzah!  The bed on the north side of the house had loose soil but the bed on the south side needed a garden fork turning and I added some more soil since it was a little compacted.  I’ll buy some steer manure/compost to amend the soil this week. I’m trying 3 different types of pea.

  1. Sugar snap pea: I have not had a lot of luck growing this pea but I think I started the seeds to late and the poor little plant just shriveled in the heat.
  2. Oregon Sugar pod: My hope the plant will do well in SW Idaho climate and not be for coastal Oregon.
  3. Alaska pea: This is a new pea to me and it grows on a bush rather than needing a trellis.

Planting the peas in the front yard should give me an idea of the best place for the plants.  Both sides get sun but the north side get early am sun and the southside gets more sun mostly afternoon.  The front yard beds also seem to warm up the fastest in spring and are more protected from wind compared to the backyard. A big advantage of using pots for plants is you can move them around your property until your plant finds a happy place. I moved my blackberry plants at least 3 times before I found a place where the plant thrived.

I really like the Ed Hume’s Garden Almanac as it gives me reminders of things that you should do around the yard, the garden and even your house plants. Now it has a general timeline for garden plants but there is a big difference on what you do in March in South Texas compared to SW Idaho but I think it gives you a place to start your plant stuff indoors and out. I’m going to get some Highlight pens and mark the dates for my zone in the book. That way I can mark next years book with things that worked or did not work with the books timeline. The Ed Hume Garden Almanac is usually in the seed section racks of the store and costs $1.99 so it probably won’t break your budget.

Last but not least I have bought more of the plant label stakes and got the garden calendar updated. I have been awful with keeping a garden journal and having enough stakes to label all my seed starts or labeling plants in my garden. Yes it can be tedious and it took me over an hour just to write out the labels just to give each seed starting pod group a label but it showed me I did not have any regular sized egg plant seeds and I could grab a seed packet at the store.  It’s like the old saying “If you pay attention to the small things. You take care of a lot of the big things”.

I found my mini Romaine and little green lettuce heads seeds so I have all the seeds to start my year round salad garden. I got my bucket of dirt and potting soil ready to get all of seeds started and the mini garden started indoors. I have some small brushes to help the pollination and a small fan to move the plants around to mimic being outside.

Big success with the grass seed starts this winter and fall. Topping off the grass seed with the peat moss looks less than stellar at first but after the grass starts growing you don’t see the peat moss. The most important thing about making a great looking lawn is to build up the soil. I was amazed about how shallow the soil was in my lawn. Sure add enough chemicals and water it is green but the soil isn’t healthy. Weeds are Nature’s paramedics for the soil. If you have a lot of weeds then your soil is probably unhealthy and your first move should be to improve the soil and the green grass will come after that improvement. Don’t get me wrong bad bugs and some weeds are awful in a lawn, but the long term solution is building up a thick layer of healthy soil not a green looking lawn. Plus healthy grass puts down deeper roots and handles droughts better and saves watering the lawn.

Using more kindling as it is getting warm enough to let the fire die during the day and restart it at night. I made a mistake and thought I was going to split a chunk of poplar. The maul is stuck in that chunk of wood until I get back to it or knock it out and give up on splitting it. Parents, If you want to punish a child make them split poplar rounds.  😉

Modern day bank runs but they are done online!  Banksters always seem surprised when some people try and save and get a better rate of return than what some of the big banks deem they are allowed. If a bank is offering .05% interest and another bank offers 4.5% interest. People that pay attention will move their money from bank to bank and do it all from a phone or PC. SBV bank got hit with people withdrawing money at a rate of one million dollars per minute via online banking.  It’s not just regional banks that are exposed the issue of holding bonds that paid .05% and with the rising interest rate other bonds pay 5.0% and people are chasing a better interest rate.  All of the TBTF banks are exposed to the same of people moving money to get higher interest on savings. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase are all exposed to this “situation”

I have know idea any average American would use Wells Fargo or B of A as they have literally ripped off their customers by stacking overdraft fees, not recording payments properly in order to generate late fees. This has been reported via right wing media and Wells Fargo and B of A have been fined for the practices. Find a local credit union and move your money now! Yes it will be inconvenient to change your direct deposits and bill paying that you do monthly. How inconvenient would it be all of your funds frozen and you can’t pay any bill? You can’t withdrawal cash and all of your plastic cards stop working?  I’m not sure that will happen anytime in the near future.  But anything that can’t go on won’t. It’s simple mathematics and compounding interest/inflation.

Things are very FUBAR and you might wonder what you can do?  Next post will cover when I got caught in debt and working my way out.

Swamp coolers ordered, buying more seeds and a negative electric bill?

March 10, 2023

I am very excited to add swamp coolers to my summer cooling plan. It looks like the swamp coolers should work well for most of the summer cooling though I might need to use the the window A/C on very hot summer nights. Everything I have read the swamp cooler should do great in SW Idaho summers. I also order a couple of window fans to help with air circulation. I usually do a good job using fans at night to cool the house and then close the window curtains/windows in the heat of the day. It will take some time to figure out the best use of the swamp coolers but it has the potential to drop my summer time electric bills and be a cooling system I can power with my generators if the power goes out. 

I had a strange electric bill that is in the negative for a payment. I figured my bill would go down a little bit since I got rid of the old fridge but I did that a couple of months ago. I checked things out online and the reason for the neg. bill was that I used less energy than projected. The problem is I have one of those wireless meters that are supposed to charge/bill in REAL TIME so why is my energy bill being “projected”?  It seems like there might be some shenanigans afoot and possibly some CYA going on at the power company. I don’t think there is anything I can do but monitor the situation. One of my want to do projects is getting my electric power cost down. any money savings from lower electric cost will go into a solar generator or two. I have solar panels on hand so that cost is already paid. 

I got all of my seed starting planned out and started making labels for the little seed cups and I noticed I had no regular sized egg plant seeds. I thought I did a good job getting all the seeds I wanted for the garden but writing out all those little plant markers/tags for the plants showed I had missed regular egg plants. Labeling all the seeds starts I want before hand has been a huge help to get the planting more organized this spring.  I’m still waiting to plant my peas if I get a day without snow. I know peas can handle cold weather but planting in the snow seems ridiculous to me. 

I added 3 more boxes of the dehydrated hash browns to the pantry. These boxes have 60 servings and can be used for any recipe that calls for shredded potatoes like potato soup. At the local Bi-Mart I picked up a pair of NB sneakers for about $30.00 so I have 2 new pair of sneakers as backups this year. Having backups of basic clothing items is one of the thing many people forget to prep. With so much of our Clothing industry off shored getting some items might become difficult or very expensive. 

I’m seeing news stories about the rising cost of beef  because USA herds have been reduced because of costs to ranchers. I have been telling folks to buy beef and look for a local supplier because this price jump was coming and now it is here. I have seen a  story from last year on yahoo/ that things like bread, vegetable oils, corn (dry dent /animal feed) and wet canned pet food will be in short supply. It’s inflation of the Dollar that is driving most of the rising costs.  The same can that holds pet food can also hold canned soup and veggies but we are not hearing about shortages/rising prices for those items. Don’t freak out you can still buy those items but I would recommend for baking bread you buy a 1-2 pound package of yeast rather than those little paper packets that are very expensive per ounce. Over the last couple of months I have bought over 120 pounds of flour in 10 pound bags ($4.69) that is about the same per pound price of 50 pound bag.  With yeast, salt, flour and water you can make a simple good tasting loaf of bread. I think what people should focus on is things you can’t get locally. Coffee can’t be grown in the USA without shipping from HA. If it has to be shipped you need to stockpile it. Something as simple as a disposable razor is made in Asia and is shipped to the USA.  If you can’t get something locally that is something you need to stockpile. 

Good news I am going to hit my savings goal 3 months early. It is amazing after all the failures I’m going to make it. I think paying off the credit card debt had a big impact on my attitude and ability to save. Credit is way to tempting/easy in the USA and it makes it harder to save. It is possible but may take many tries, or at least it did for me.