Saw buck finished and works for cutting wood!

August 4, 2021

I have a lot of wood that needs to be cut because it is a just a few inches to big fit in my wood stove.  I really hate cutting wood on the ground because the bending over is hard on my back and having your chainsaw dig into the dirt dulls the chain.  I have built a sawbuck but I had some problems getting all the cross braising attached correctly to the X -frames that hold the wood.  The saw buck is a little bulky, does not fold flat but it is functional.  Cutting wood at waist height rather than at ankle height really saves strain on my back muscles.  There are lots of plans on the internet to make a simple saw buck.  Don’t do like I did making a saw buck and not consider the 4  inches the X part of the frame adds to the 16 inch cross braces for cutting a 16-18 inch chunk of wood.  I can make it work, but I should pull it apart and make the cross braces 4 incher shorter to make cutting the wood stove length simple. 

Cut down a lot of weeds and Moring Glory around the garden beds.  I then sprayed the area with 30% vinegar.  It seems that this method works better than the spray first then weed-wack the area.  I have found 4 goat heads plants in my alley way this summer.  That is amazing as several of my neighbors are overrun with goat heads.  One neighbor has some goathead weeds close to the property line and I sprayed the weeds with the 30% vinegar.  The ” goathead runners” did turn brown and seem to die back.  

I think using the 30% vinegar works great as a weed killer over time, but it is not the fastest acting weed killer.  Over time you can replace those weeds with plants that you prefer to weeds.  I live in an area with clay/alkaline soil so adding 30% vinegar to acidic soil might not be the best weed killing solution for you.  I like having a weed killer solution that does not kill the soil like Round Up or the the knock off brands.  Plus anything that kills off Morning Glory plants is a great thing in my opinion.  

Inflation is happening but there is still time to get products before the “Shrink-flation” hits your pocket book/budget even harder.  Stores have been selling off full-size products at a lower cost to clear the shelves of the larger products.  I have been watching this shrink-flation happen for at least 4 or 5 years. What was a 3 pound, 48 oz. can of of coffee is now a 26-30 oz. can of coffee.  A cheap brand of toilet paper that had 350 sheets per roll is now called a MEGA/Double roll at 240 sheets of Toilet paper.  It is happening in chips, crackers and soup cans.  

I talked about this in the past on this blog.  Assume the dollar will lose at least 30% of it’s buying power because inflation always rises faster than wages and the Government COLA increase for SS or VA payments.  

I won’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I am doing. I’m going to buy some more socks that are on sale at Bi-Mart. As some of my socks are getting holes in them.  I want to buy a couple more good bras on sale.  I’m buying garden products and working on building my soil.  I have bought some Shade cloth to try out as it got bloody hot here at Casa de chaos! 

Last but not least I messed up on my milk purchases. I’m ready now to save the milk in the freezer in between my milk purchase travels. I’m starting to figure out a loop driving to get produce milk and the meat I want to buy.  Nothing is ever easy, but if you can break it down things can get simple. 


Fire wood is stacked. Huzzah!

May 8, 2021

It sure feels good to have all of this years firewood stacked!  I need to buy a few more tarps to cover some of the stacks but it won’t hurt this unseasoned wood to be exposed to the hot/dry summer of SW Idaho for the next few months.  I never thought about the space required  for firewood when I bought this house but I knew I wanted enough ground to put in a garden, a nice little lawn and having trees to keep the backyard cool in the summer was a huge bonus.  Well I have stacked this years wood in a few unused areas to make sure I have access to well seasoned wood.  That is not an easy task for people that have small lots with limited storage space.  It is easy to tell a person to store 2-3 years worth of wood and it is cheaper to buy multiple cords of wood in bulk.  If your wood storage space is limited to a couple of small wood racks. That is what that person must deal with despite all the wishes and  a person might want to have for heating.

I use firewood as my primary heat source in cold weather.  There are other options that have lower start up costs and can be at least as safe as using a firewood stove.  I like the Mr. Buddy heaters and most propane/natural  gas stoves/fireplaces.  Yes, there are safety issues storing fuel or gas lines getting cut during some disasters but I think this fuel has some upsides as far as the storage space required compared to several cords of wood.

I’m not a big fan of kerosene heaters as the fuel puts out some very dangerous gasses that are in an enclosed space.  Since most homes tend to be insulated. Those gasses will get trapped indoors without proper air flow.  In cold weather the last thing you want to do is open a window or door to let the gasses as well as heat escape.

Every type of alternative heating will have positives and negatives for short term and long term heating needs.  I recommend you only heat using propane or kerosene while you are awake and active.  Yes it can suck to wake up to a cold house.  Not dying in your sleep to carbon monoxide poisoning would NOT be considered a positive move for survival!

I have started making a new anti- pet fence for the 3 sisters garden using a PVC pipe frame and the left over plastic fencing material.  I think this pvc framed fencing might work to keep most of the critters out of the 3 sister garden beds but still be easy to access to do weeding, watering and other garden chores.  I doubt I can stop all critters. Hopefully I can at least keep any damage to a minimum.  In the elevated raised bed the radishes are doing great, the lettuce was was spread by the kitties (don’t ask) and I have 3 mini Bok choy plants coming up

Lesson learned staring plants:  Use larger pots to hold plants started early or they get root bound.  I’m sure more experienced gardeners are thinking to themselves “well duh”. Speaking for myself all those little cells of dirt are so tempting to plant at least a seed in in Feb/March and by the time May arrives the poor plant is root bound and not prone to grow.  The reason you start plants early indoors is to have a healthy and vigorous plant ready to grow after any frost danger passes.  I’d say you should use pots equivalent to the average “pony pack” that most garden stores/nurseries use for starter plants. I really love the heat pads, the new grow lights and staring boxes.  I just thing the 72 cell starter tray would be better for me as 36 size starter tray as the plants might need more time to grow and have strong growth for a May 10th planting, is along time from starting seeds in March.

Embrace “failure” as learning, don’t use it as excuse nor to to try or make yourself a victim. Be honest with yourself about what you do.  Is it I can’t or I won’t put in the effort?  Any answer is valid but you have live with the results.   Do what works for you. I have read many prepper blogs and I went in a different direction for many of my preps.  If it seems dumb but it works it isn’t dumb.


Playing with fire… and water?

December 15, 2020

Perhaps I’m a bit slow learning about using a wood stove, but I have seen many people (homesteader/off-grid types on youtube fill a wood stove to the max with wood. Now I generally start a fire and then add one or two larger chunks as needed to keep the fire going through out the day. As an experiment I filled up the fire box with smaller pieces of firewood but we had warmer overnight temps. The temp. of the house seemed to be about the same in the front part of the house with the woodstove. The backside of the house felt warmer and was measurably warmer compared to just adding a few chunks of wood to keep the fire burning.

The biggest difference was I generated a lot more long lasting coals when I filled up the wood stove compared to just adding a new log when the fire started dying down. The house felt warmer in the morning despite the fact the fire was out in the wood stove. Is building a lot of hot coals the goal, rather than build a good hot fire and just keep feeding the fire?

I’m interested in your opinion though I’m going to keep testing the build a hot fire fast and then let the coals slowly heat the house over time. As many years as I have had a wood stove you would think I’d know how to use the bloody thing!

My Mom talked to my Aunt about a backup water supply that was mentioned to her by my aunt’s daughter. Yes, it is a bit convoluted but my Aunt is now thinking about how reliable her water supply is and how she might need to have some water backups for at least a few days if not longer in a disaster. I doubt that my Aunt would ever think about her needs in a disaster, but she would always put her animals first to get water and food first, if a disaster hit. This is great for me as I just emptied my 15 gallon food grade water barrels to cleanup my front bedroom. I’m not very good at convincing people as I tend to be a bit vociferous and “pounding the table” rather than hanging back and approaching those that are open minded.

Water is heavy at about 7+pounds per gallon. That makes a 5 gallon jug weigh 35-40 pounds depending on the weight of the jug. Now a 15 gallon barrel of water weighs about 120-130 pounds but even I can move a 15 gallon barrel over short distances with a little dolly. Now moving a 55 gallon barrel of water you would have to move over 440 pounds. I can’t move that sort of weight with a dolly. A full 15 gallon water barrel could be lifted by a couple of strong people into a truck.

Speaking only for myself and my experience of not having water at my faucet for a week. I can say you need at least 3-5 gallons per day to keep your home plumbing working if the sewer system works. You can survive on a gallon or two per day your home can’t survive without some water to flush the sewage system.

Igloo jugs are the best for storing a lot of warm or cool water. I like the 5 gallon jugs for holding a lot of water but the smaller 2-2.5 gallon jugs work great on the counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom for washing up dirty hands or dishes.

I don’t like what I think is coming in the near future. The left wants us destroyed, dead, shamed from society. It does not bode well for us folks that the left hates.


The wood is all stacked! HUZZAH

August 22, 2020

It took me about 3 weeks to get all of the wood stacked in 95 degree+ heat this year.  I do not recommend getting a wood delivery in August but I have a full six cords of wood stacked on my property.  This year I took my time stacking the wood and knocking off any “punky” wood and getting rid of most of the bark on the wood chunks.  My hope is I won’t deal with as many insects and all of the wood will dry/season better in the long run.  I have good hardwood stumps in both wood areas for splitting wood into smaller chunks or into kindling.  Starting off the wood heating season with a few weeks of good kindling and some of the split hardwoods chunks of wood feels good!

By taking my time to stack the wood I should not have to re-stack wood like I did in previous years.  Mom jokes that my re-stacking wood is some sort of strange FALL/WINTER  exercise program I do each year.  I had a good size tarp I used on the wood pile that extended past the carport overhead cover and I think the wood will stay dry and season. This year my wood deliverer did not give me box of “kindling”  but I have gathered a couple of good size boxes of “kindling” that should give me about 4-6 weeks worth of kindling to start off the firewood heating season.  In September I’ll start making the paraffin wax/ sawdust fire starters for myself and Mom. While my wax melter does not add a lot of heat. I want to keep all heat sources in the house at a minimum when it is over 90 degrees F. outside.

I used a pressure “wand” to clean of the patio and two sides of the house. In my area the spiders seem to be working overtime setting up webs everywhere.  I don’t mind spiders generally as they generally eat flies and mosquitoes, but the webs have become a bit annoying when walking onto the patio.  I used a broom to clean the screens and it worked great!  no need to remove a window screen, just brush it down outside with a broom!  Fabulously easy job done with little effort.  I’m still working on the glass cleaning with the 20% vinegar as the water rinse I use is full of ” hard water” but the window glass is getting cleaner using 20% vinegar.

Overall stacking the wood was the priority but I’m now free of that job. I got the job done. The wood is stacked and seasoning and that is what matters.  I hit my goal of 6 cords of split ready to burn fire wood.  How long it took me to get to the goal is irrelevant.  Even if having 6 cords of firewood might be considered excessive by some people. It does not matter as I set a goal of 6 cords of firewood and I made it happen!  Set your goals and make them happen.  It’s okay to learn as you make goals happen.  I’m a big believer on  “learning” mile posts rather than time lines.  If I am ignorant on subject? How can I set a time line for learning how to do any project?

For any project it is what works for you. You may have all sorts of limits of physical energy, lack of tools, and perhaps you just need more time to improve your skills and/or buy products or find a good contractor to do the job.  There is nothing wrong with buying all the product you need for a job first and then save up money for a contractor to do the job.

Okay back to my reality.  I got all of the wood stacked and mowed my lawn.  I ordered  a couple of gallons 30% vinegar to kill out the weeds.  I’ll attack the Morning glory. Wish me luck… !


Working on the wood pile and controlling what I can

August 17, 2020

Stacking up the firewood is taking longer than I had planned, but the wood pile is getting small enough that each wheel barrow load of wood I get stacked shows a measurable dent in the dumped firewood.  I stacked most of the new Doug fir first as it was heavy and still wet.  Now I’ve started stacking some of the White fir on top of the Doug fir because it is dry and very light weight in comparison to the Doug fir. I think I could easily burn the white fir now as it seems dry/seasoned well already.  The new Doug fir will need more time to season.  I have plenty of Doug fir left over from last year that has almost 18 months of seasoning in my “kennel” wood racks.   I don’t expect a problem with trying to heat with “wet” wood this year!  While my ability to work has been a little hit and miss the last few weeks.  I have caught up on most of the basic yard work.

I got a tarp on the firewood pile that extends past the edge of the carport canopy. I think the slope of the woodpile is steep enough so the water should drain quickly and that part of the wood pile will stay mostly dry this fall and winter. I’m running out of space under the carport for the delivered wood , so a little bit of cleanup and re-stacking of the “kennel” wood racks will give me enough room to stack the last bit of this years’ wood delivery. I’m stacking the Doug fir of this delivery on top and in the “kennel” wood racks since it seems dry and light weight compared to the new Doug fir.  I have started stacking fire wood on the front porch wood rack and will have three large boxes of kindling ready to use by the end of August. Last but not least I got out the axes and splitting mauls to split some of the old wood I got last year to see how well it would split.  The 6 pound maul did a great job splitting most of the wood stove lengths.   The wood I split today is I think white maple, so I am adding in more ready to burn  hardwoods along with the fir firewood.

This might sound odd but getting the wood delivered later this year has made me more proactive on getting my boxes of kindling filled.  I’m spitting some wood now in 100 degree heat,  This is dumb but last year when I got a May delivery of wood I did not split wood nor did I have a stockpile of kindling. It is strange that this year I’m doing a little bit of everything to get ready for winter wood burning season rather than getting the wood stacked and ignoring the splitting wood/making kindling until October like I did last year. I’m not just trying to stack wood as quickly as possible. I’m cutting out and throwing away any punky wood, filling my kindling boxes, the porch box and trying to stack my firewood only one time rather than re-stacking wood many times like I did last year. I sharpened up the hatchet as it was getting a little dull.  The axe needs a little attention but the mauls seem okay for now.  I also sharpened up 3 pocket knives while I had the whetstones out and ready to go,.

The stress of all the stuff happening this year is affecting me, though I was prepared.  For two or three months I was mentally prepared.  I did not expect 2- 8 weeks to flatten the “curve” to turn into over six months of stupidity and counting. I don’t think if you wear a mask you are a “sheeple”. If you are in a high risk category you should protect your self.  If you chose not to wear a mask I don’t care despite the fact I’m in High risk group.  I now wear a face shield instead of a mask but it is my responsibility to protect me!  No one is obliged to do anything to make me feel safe.   I hate seeing both extremes of wearing a mask and not wearing mask types and seeing it as a political statement.  I wore mask early in March because I’m Immuno-comprised.  I did not want  the possibility other people giving me the “COOF”.  It did not matter if people were infected because I took precautions to protect myself.  I don’t care if other people wear a mask (and most people don’t wear a mask correctly) it is all theater and virtue signalling ass-pats via twitter and youtube.  If you are so afraid of the WU-FLU ,stay home!  Wear a mask when you go out and stop expecting other people to make you feel safe!

Inflation is starting to creep up on us.  I had a great shopping day got some nice steaks, pork chops and some chicken.  I found a great use for shopping bags. The bags work great for chest freezers, bags of food easily accessible and easy to find.  My big chest freezer is full of old meats/ veggies and most are freezer burnt.  Time to start cleaning out the old stuff and do a better job rotatinging frozen goods.  This is what I mean about controlling what I can in life. I know I have freezer burnt and old meats in my big freezer and I have ignored it.  I’m pretty forgiving but If I won’t eat this food there is no reason to store that food.  You may choose differently and good for you.  I screwed up not using all the food I bought in a timely manner and I wasted food.  That is on me because no one wants the food I throw away because I screwed up. I’m not going to berate myself for making a mistake.  I’m just going to correct my mistake and do better at using a freezer to preserve food.

It’s that simple, make a mistake and fix it.  Control what you can and be flexible on the things you can’t control.

 


Wood delivery and stacking in 100+ F.

August 1, 2020

This is FUN!!! 😉

Based on my firewood delivery experience, the first thing is you must have space for the wood delivery to be “dumped” or a place for the wood to land if it is thrown off the truck.  I’m lucky with my home. My shop has a good 6- 8 foot set back of ground available that fire wood can sit without impeding any traffic or parking in the alley. I know tend to get a little peeved if someone blocks my car’s access to being parked in my shop.  I assume other people might be peeved if their access is blocked to their parking/access.  This sort of thing does happen to everyone but if everyone limits the interruptions to access most people are okay with a minor inconvenience.  If you have a small amount of space for a wood delivery try and make sure all access ways are cleared for your neighbors in 4-8 hours.  I think that is reasonable especially if you give them a “heads up” on the delivery time.

Any hoo ,I got 2 cords of Doug fir  and 1 cord of white fir delivered and my delivery person told me the Doug fir had been split that morning.  The new Doug fir needs more time to dry and season! The white fir seems to be dry though a little more time to season it would probably make for a more efficient firewood. I’m sure some people will hate on white fir as a firewood as it has a lower BTU rating to most hardwoods.  I burned poplar last year and it had a BTU rating of 12-14 per cord and white fir is 18-22 in the firewood BTU rating per cord. I did not mind using poplar for firewood! It was the cheapest by the cord and it made a great fast burning fire and mixed with doug fir it kept my house warm in the winter.  Adding a cord of White fir will probably make the wood stove heat better compared to using the poplar I used last year. If any one is willing to deliver oak, maple or other hardwoods cut and split to my house in Idaho for under $300.00 per cord. I’d be happy to place an order with you.

I have become fond of my wheelbarrow since Mom got it fixed  with brackets and a new wheel. I’ll admit I bought the wheal barrow on the cheap, but now it is awesome tool to move fire wood and getting the wood stacked.

The weather in SW Idaho has been mild at least as far as Summer and winter temp. are concerned. But the late July temps. spiking into 100+ range is a throw back to similar weather in the early 1980’s of hot dry summers and very cold -20 F. degree cold for a month  or two that happened in the late 70’s early 80’s.  I’m not saying this winter will be extra cold, but based on my life experience I’m prepping for a very cold but dry winter.  A cord of wood is 128 sq.ft.  Now the fire wood stacks are usually 4 ft wide x 4 ft. by 8 ft. long.   You can stack wood however you like , be it 6 ft. wide, 5 ft. tall and 12-8 feet long.  As long as you pay and get a full cord of 128 square feet Over/Under  within a margin of error of stacked wood. You have a cord of wood if it equals 128 square feet, proved via calculator.  I am stacking a wood pile that is Approx. 5 feet tall 6 feet wide and 18 feet long. The math is easy multiply 5 ft. x 6 ft.x 18 ft. and divide the sum by 128s q. ft. =  your cords of stack of fire wood.  It’s a little over 4 cords of fire wood. I’m guessing the fire wood will fill up the space I have measured out. If some one is selling a cord of fire wood make sure you are getting a full cord of 128 sq. ft. of fire wood. If you buy a “face” cord of 4 ft. x 8 ft. and 16-18 inches deep don’t pay full price for a fire wood.

I learned the hard way about buying firewood and while I was willing to buy a  Cord of fire wood at the stated price I did not always get a cord of fire wood.  I have not tried this but if a firewood supplier does not deliver close to 128 sq. feet/ cord of fire wood. You could take them to small claims court.  That is a less than optimal choice. Find a good business  locally that delivers what they say, and boost the good suppliers. The majority of people are not assholes. They are just trying to make a living and live a good moral life.  Some times folks get a bit lazy/greedy and you can demand they deliver what the promise.  That is not a bad thing holding people to what the promise to deliver.  Holding people accountable takes some effort.

Over all I’m pleased with my wood delivery. Stacking wood in 100+ F.  is not fun dealing with disability . I figure  I’ll get the wood stacked in a week.  I’ll have at least 2 years worth of fire wood on hand for a “normal winter”.


I seem to be adapting to summer heat better this year

July 18, 2020

This year’s spring/summer transition was very mild and lasted over a couple of months (May June) to what I consider the normal/abrupt transition from spring to the heat starting in May.  Sure got some hot 95-100 F. days but it cooled down to around 85 F and the nights cooled off to 60-65 degrees F.  Now SW Idaho is getting back up to several days in a row of 95-100 degrees F. weather like most summers in a desert.

Most of you know I cut down a huge but dying shade producing tree in May. While the tree did keep the front yard cooler, I don’t think it helped keep the house cooler. Adding the new siding and windows seems to be what is keeping the house cooler the last couple of years not shade trees.  I got the window blinds hung better and they do make a difference on how fast the hose warms up.  So I have been proactive on closing the blinds and curtains when the sun hit the windows in the heat of the day.  Also the vinyl siding I had installed does not seem to absorb heat like the old wood siding, but I there is a thin layer of reflective insulation and another air pocket between the old siding and new siding that seems to insulate the house in both hot and cold weather.

Perhaps I got used to having a warmer house in winter using a wood stove that could get very warm or I slowly got used to having a warmer house this summer.  Last summer I’d  have to install the Air Conditioner if the temp. was over 75-78 degrees F. especially if it was during sleeping time.  I have not install any Air conditioners this summer though I do have them on standby if I need them to sleep.  I did not acclimatize so much to temperature outdoors as I acclimatized to the temperature indoors without using Air Conditioning. I have a basement and I use fans to spread that cool air around part of the house. I use a lot of window fans to not only blow in cool air but try and suck out hot air in the house. I have 3 ceiling fans to circulate air and I live in a low humidity desert so I know 90 degrees in Georgia with 90-100% humidity is nothing like 100 degrees F. in Idaho with 30% humidity. I was stationed by the Army in Augusta GA during a heat wave and that was a sneak peak into Hell if Cervantes was correct. 😉

Speaking for myself I did not install the Air Conditioning units to save money on my electric bill. My “central air unit” is old and costly.  Installing a couple of small window Air conditioners was cheaper than repairing/replacing an old AC unit.  What I have found is I did not need to acclimatize my self to the out doors.  I needed to find my own comfort zone indoors.  It becomes relative standing on rock at 100 degrees F. is hot and walking into your home that is 75-78 degrees F. is very cool in comparison.

Speaking for myself, I have learned I don’t need a a cold room that is 68 degrees F. to get a good nights sleep.  I can use fans to circulate air and be comfortable and save a ton of money on my electric bill.  By not using my little A/C units in my house I’ve become more acclimatized to hot weather outside my house. Because my home is my sanctuary. Do you find yourself setting the temp. in your home based on that the government tells you what is appropriate?  You pay your bills for what you use and the government should have no say about the comfort level you are allowed.

Last but not least I made some of the artisan bread and using the vent fan  over the oven and the house did not get all hot. Gosh I have been buying store bought bread and I forgot how good home made bread tastes.

I’m now using the face shield rather than the N95 masks and at least it is working good for me as I have a physical barrier and I’m not getting accosted for not wearing a mask.  I masked up in March because I was in a vulnerable group.  I hate masks because it feels like living in a sauna in July.  But I have to protect me and no one else is responsible for my life but me. I was pro flatten the curve, protect the vulnerable and yes the covid positive rate would increase, but you would think people are dying in the streets via MSM media! Most people are not even getting that sick, let a lone dying in the streets.

Use common sense in protecting yourself.  Most Covid Official responses are politicized. If you are in a vulnerable group wear a mask or at least a face shield if you can’t handle a social group of people, stay home. If you are at risk no one is forcing you to go to a bar!  If you are depending on other people to protect you from this virus. You are an idiot!  I’m at risk person and I have worn a mask since March. I asked no one to not spread the virus to me.  I have move to a transparent face shield rather than a mask. Because I hate the N95 mask and I think the shield is a good compromise.  Is it perfect? NO! Stop snitching on people. Educate and be a good role model.  I say a “good” role model and not a perfect role model.

 

If you don’t cover your nose with a mask you don’t understand the purpose of the mask. If you remove the mask to speak you don’t understand the purpose of the mask. No one is obliged to make you feel safe.


What a strange summer! 2020 has been LIT so far

July 4, 2020

Sorry for not posting for awhile. My body seems to be going through a bit of a CIDP flare and honestly I have not been getting a lot of projects done.  I’m trying to get back into the “habit” of work again but I think I developed something like a “Bunker Mentality”while my CIDP was flaring up. Taking it easy physically during the bad weather or flare is okay but for me I escalated into laziness and procrastination and did not force myself to do even 15 minutes of work to break me out of that mental hunkered down mode.  I will say I have had a few good days of getting yard work done during the BUNKER period and have some new stuff to report to all of you .

I waited on finishing the garden cart bed until I could buy the wide 5 5/8 in cedar fence boards.  The wider boards just look better to me for the raised bed wall compared to skinnier cedar boards.  If you prefer using more of the less wide fence boards go for it!  That is the nice thing about building something yourself.  You get to make what you want rather than buying something from the store and making it work for you.  I have built a few items out wood like my kindling wood box and my firewood racks and while those projects are functional they are not pretty/ something I’d be proud to show off.  I want this raised bed/garden cart to be something I want to show off a bit but mostly something beautiful I see everyday and know I built that and I did a darn good job.  I’m also adding some extra 2x4s under the plywood base for strength to hold the weigh of the dirt, water and plants.  It might be some over engineering on my part but holding in a lot dirt and water exposed to air is not the best environment for wood structures.

Of course I had to go to the local home improvement store to get lumber and Home depot had a huge display of 1 gallon 30% acidity vinegar for $20.00.  I had bought 32 oz. of high acid vinegar for my local farm store for the same price.  I filled up my sprayer and attacked the weeds in the alley way. Now it was a hot day in the 90 degree F. range but the area was in the shade when I sprayed. After about 30-60 minutes broad leaf thistle plants withered.  I will give an update on the effects on Morning glory, cheat grass and all other weeds I can Identify.  I won’t use Round up or weed killers like that because that sterilizes the soil.  While a 30% acid  vinegar base may seem extreme I have very alkali soil. At worst I’m adding some ph balance to the poor soil in my alley way.   Weeds are Mama Natures Paramedics to help even poor soil stay in place. You can’t be mad a weeds because they grow where ever they are allowed to grow.  I have stored up a lot of less than positive colorful for the people that plant Morning glory and some seem to be nice people besides being gardening lunatics!  I hope the high acid will start killing back the weeds but especially the Morning Glory.

I got all of the soaker hoses laid out in the 10 foot long raised beds.  If you are using standard 5/8th hose fittings you will need to use 1 1/4 inch holes saw or spade bit to feed  hoses through the wood of a 2 inch thick raised bed board. At least I won’t be watering all the weeds outside my raised bed gardens.  I gathered up another ball of morning glory and tossed it the trash bin.  My hope is that the very acidic 30% vinegar will kill off at least the morning glory.  If it kills off other weeds, that is all the better.

Time to start getting your firewood heating taken care of. Hiring a good chimney sweep in July is easy,  You might even be given a discount because you are ahead of the masses that want a chimney sweep just as the weather turns cold in the Fall.  Most folks that burn fire wood suggest that wood dry/season for a over year.  That might not be possible for everyone but getting firewood in summer and have it dry through summer is possible for most people.  You really want a stack that lasts 3 years at min. because dry wood burns cleaner and heats your home more efficiently. I’m also in control of my heat and no one else. Not the electric company, or the government nor any mobs.

It would be difficult use to me as disabled Vet as a victim.  Because I’m not a victim at all.  I may disagree with stuff but overall my life is darn good.  I’ve hit rock bottom and managed to climb out of my screw ups. They were my screw ups believing the government and advertisements and hype.  I don’t do that so much any more.

Last but not least stop supporting companies that despise you!  Amazon, Walmart google, twitter… You get the idea. I may buy from from Amazon but the won’t be my first choice for shopping.  OMG I may have to wait 5-7 day to get a product.

 

Over all not a bad bit of work if not all I wanted to get done.

 


Cleaning/organizing the shop

April 14, 2020

The shop has needed a major cleanup and organizing for the last couple of months so I can get all those projects done I have been putting off until I had time to get them done. I have time now so I got started moving and cleaning some of the dirt and getting my shelves and work benches empty of scattered boxes of Mom’s onto her storage pallet.  The job was easier than I expected and I had room on Mom’s pallet for several boxes of books, a box of mom’s knickknacks and a couple of older solar panels that were taking up space on part of the work table. I was surprised by the weight Mom’s older solar panels.  These panels are about 10 years old and they weigh a lot more and are more bulky than panels I have bought in the last 3-5 years.

I think the alternative energy folks are over zealous and unrealistic about replacing fossil fuels for consistent industrial levels energy production.  To give credit where credit is due new solar panels are lighter and give more electric wattage in a smaller package that is good for people that want off-grid electricity.  I think the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources is great. Solar/wind energy might be a good choice for residential home owners and off grid cabins, RVs and boats but it is not ready to be a consistent power source for industry.

Back the shop clean up I can see why the shelf failed under the weight of a couple of small boxes of books.  The former owner seemed to love re purposing old hollow core doors for shelves. While the shelves seemed to have the bulk to support some weight those hollow core doors never made to be shelves and hold 20-60 pounds of books. Even cheap bookshelves have a solid core of MDF/particle board and the will bow under the weight of hardcover books over time.  I have some 2×4’s to add some strength to the existing work table. I won’t replace the shelf as my little snow blower and tiller have a nice little spot to be stored.

One of the positives of this pandemic is many people have the time to get to many of those hobbies they wanted to try/work at getting more proficient. At least if you don’t have a psycho governor like Vermont or Michigan and arbitrarily declare buying home improvement materials for a garden are non-essential. You would think keeping small businesses and stores selling stuff and generating sale taxes would be important to city,counties and state politicians.  Watch your local politicians and how quick they want to open up the economy and how quick they want to go all “Stazi” encouraging citizen informants to make their enforcement policies easy for the government.

I was disappointed that only 10% of the customers in Fred Meyer were masked and the “Social distancing” seemed to be lacking. These are not evil people they just are denial or this virus is not REAL to them.  Much like crime always happens to someone else, until it happens to them or someone close to them this flu is not real to them.  If this is happening in your neighborhood don’t report “safe space offenders” but notice who goes out masked up and tries to be safe as possible keeping extra social distance, wearing masks, gloves, buying garden seeds and plants.  Those are the people you want to cultivate and be a neighbor you want to help.

It is okay to feel the world is getting a bit crazy.  The world is getting a bit nuts at this time and you see what is happening in real time so feeling anxiety or panicked is a normal response.  Reach out your arms and spin around, that is all you can control. You won’t get any politician recalled or voted out of office for many months.  What are you going to do for yourself and your family/community?  I mean you being pro-active and not whining on facebook and twitter.  I have read some people are setting up a barter system via Nextdoor.com.  this might be a thing as some folks will trade several pound of flour for some yeast.  Sugar is also an item on the site.  Coffee is still in stores for a descent price. I suspect the supply chain could break and coffee and tea could get expensive or unavailable. As for yeast buy in bulk and yeast can be stored up to 5 years in a freezer.  Yeast also helps makes an easy sourdough starter.

Life will change, how much it will change I have no idea. No change is all perfectly good or bad.  It will just be different.  I’m not that special about being prepared.  I just asked what if….? then added items I thought I might need if things went sideways.  What I did today was water my little back yard lawn and cleaned my shop to make a new work area.  Nothing special at all and most anyone with a home, shop yard could do the same and probably as good or better than myself.

I can pay all my bills right now. I’m on SSD and a little VA benefit so I have some income that I’m used to living on but I suspect inflation is coming by this fall at best and Spring 2021inflation probably . My mortgage payment is locked by contract. SSD/VA payments might lag behind inflation but as long as I can make my house payment I should be okay with my preps for food and energy.  I’m concerned how this new economy will affect people that did not prepare.  There is not much I can do other than control my reactions.

Don’t worry about the national debt. We had a point in 2008-2010 when USA citizen were wiling to take a hit and get US government to reduce the debt.  That time has passed and more inflation will hit people.  It’s just history of people making bad choices. Your money may become worthless.  Any plant out of your garden will become priceless.


It is starting to warm up in SW Idaho

April 5, 2020

The weather is getting warmer!  Forecast are for a week of 65-70 degree F. days and the night time temps dropping only to the low 40 degree F. range.  Today was cloudy with some rain but it was warm enough for me to open a couple of windows and get some fresh air in the house.  Nothing like a warm spring rain to bring out all the plant growing aromas and wash the dust, dirt and  smoke out of the atmosphere.

I got most of my basic cleaning done of the bathrooms, vacuum the carpets and change and wash bedding and wash towels.  I got a little “burned out” trying to keep everything clean and slacked off on some of the daily/weekly cleaning chores. I have read about the cleaning chores of people in the 1800’s doing laundry by hand, sweeping floors and beating rugs. Rather than dumping clothes in a washing machine or dryer.  Having a vacuum to clean carpets or a quick mop to clean floors.  Plus I have hot water on tap at my sink to help with my cleaning!  It is not the end of the world if you don’t dust but you want to make your home a virus-free safe zone. Being human you may slack off a bit on cleaning. I know I did after 3 weeks. That is okay as long as you get back to work keeping your home a “Safe Zone”

Get those gardens and pots planting started!  My garden seeds seemed to have failed to germinate.  These were old seeds and if anything had germinated I would be ahead of the game.  Unlike some people think that think starting a garden only requires a bit of digging dirt, dropping a seed and some water.  A productive garden needs a little more effort, experience and knowledge.  Baking bread for the first time may result in flour bricks suitable for use as a door stop.  It is okay to screw up while you are learning stuff!  If you want to bake Whole Wheat flour bread for the first time after eating store bought bread.  Please mix white flour 1/2 with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour can mess up your guts for several days if your guts are not ready for all that additional fiber.  It may seem counter-intuitive but moving to a non-processed food diet “might” mess with your digestive track until it learns to deal with your new diet.

I’m getting a local business to cut down my less than healthy elm tree.  This will be my use of the Trump bux coming in a month or two.  I’m going to ask my local hair dresser if she has a gift card option for hair cuts in the future? Paying a few dollars now for a “gift card/gift certificate might keep her business going during the “lock down”.  Small businesses need cash flow now!  Not two months from now, if/when the government decides to cancel it’s “shelter-in-place order”.  I’m not a fan of the “Lock Downs” though I understand the orders because many people are idiots.  The government can’t protect you from idiots.  You must protect yourself from idiots.

Wear a mask of some sort, protect your eyes from the coofers of all sorts. Make your home a Sanctuary/Safe place from the virus.  Stay at home and mask up when shopping isn’t hard it’s just inconvenient.

I’m having a great time playing Fortnite video game though I suck at it.  Play a video game, read a book, paint a room, learn sewing, plant a garden.  My gosh there is so much you can do if you think “outside the box”.

What Can You Do?   What can’t you do?