Excellent shopping day

June 21, 2017

I got a great tool bargain at Home depot.  Rather than buying the drill and getting a free tool instead I bought the 18 volt drill + impact driver set for $99.00 and got the 10% vet discount! So the price was only $89.10 for both tools.  I got a 5/8 in. sheet of plywood cut into 2×8 ft.sections for $25.00 and add in eight, 1×3 inch boards to start the basement shelf building project.  At this time I’m working to re-enforce and add new shelves to an existing frame work hence the smaller dimensional lumber.

One thing I noticed today is the cashier at Home depot was sort of defensive or tried to explained that the 10% discount did not apply to all items.  I’m a disabled vet and I love how some companies give a vet discount but no company is required to give a discount to vets.  No cashier needs to be attacked if a vet discount is not applied.  If you don’t like the policy, write a letter to corporate or rant on the internet but, leave the cashier alone.

Most or the replacement garden veggies were available for the replacement plants that did not do great from my starts.  I bought some sweet corn, celery and sweet potatoes that Mom wants to try growing.  No luck so far with finding tomitillo plants but I know from last year those plant start off slow and then explode with growth so I have not given up hope yet!  The worst thing that can happen is that raised bed lies fallow and I build up the soil so it is not a bad situation.

This may sound a bit strange but I am more interested in learning how to grow a garden rather than what food a garden can produce.  Many people that never had a garden think growing a good garden is easy.  It is not easy at all and requires a lot of effort.  For me any veggies I get is a bonus, my focus is on building up a sustainable garden out of my own resources.  Learning to work with my land and then improve it as much as possible before the need to grow a garden is upon us.

It is very easy for a government to mandate everyone must grow a garden,  (ala Venezuela) for food but we all know that just tossing out a few seeds and hope for the best is a terrible way to grow a  good garden.

Thursday and Mom does not have a master gardeners BS class to go to so the plan of attack is trim up and perhaps cut down the dead cherry tree and finish up building the stuff needed for the properly built compost pile.  My carpentry skills/knowledge are mediocre at best but I have built a few simple things and now I can build “larger” simple projects.  I can’t say you can succeed on trying new project.  I can guarantee if you never try doing anything new you will fail.

 


Roof is done

April 30, 2016

I could not believe how quickly the roofers got the job done.  From the time the the truck delivered the shingle to when the roofers left about 8.5 to 9 hours. The clean up was good and I only had a couple of plants sort of bent over in the front yard beds.  I don’t know a lot about roofs but what little I picked up everything looks good. The roofers added a couple more vents so this summer things should be cooler in the house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another nice touch is all my gutters got cleaned out so the roof area is pretty much ready for fall. That was the biggest job and all that is left is getting the Kitchen ceiling taped and textured.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The light is good right now and I expect once the ceiling is finished it will get better overall.

Here are a couple of better pictures of the Back yard work so far. After I add the sod next week I will post up a few more pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can see the tree ring I did with a bit of small pebbles around the apple tree. The grass sod will be on the left hand side of the border so the pups will have a nice grassy area in the back yard. The back yard is starting to come together for this summer.

 

 


Shopping today and snow!

December 17, 2015

Woohoo!  shopping at Harbor freight today and I had coupons for several good deals on stuff for the house.

With the first good snow coming in I added a 24 pack of AA batteries and a 6 pack of D batteries for all the flashlights and the Ds work in my shower water pump and the smokeless ashtrays.  I really like the new LED type flashlights,  even most of the cheaper ones have a great battery life. The big hand held spot light is great as it has it’s own battery and can be charge via house current of via 12 volt cigarette lighter.  I filled up two of the railroad type safety lanterns and both of them leaked oil, not good! So the lanterns are empty and in the shop to have the wicks and glass globes parted out. I have two large hurricane lamp, several windup and battery powered lanterns along with mirrors to help augment the light. Once you add in Mom’s candle gardens, I can say the lighting is still in good shape after losing the use of those two lanterns.

I got a couple of the small ammo boxes at Harbor Freight. These boxes are a good size for grabbing a couple to go to the range or plinking. You could use these boxes for storing ammo in several locations/cashes. I have not tested the boxes for water proofing but they do seem to have a good lid to box fit and the box has a spot for a padlock.  The real nice buy I got was on a 4 tool boxes for just $20.00. The largest box is huge at 22 inches long by 11 inches wide and deep. The next box is 20 inches by 8 inches wide and 9 inches deep. I want to make one of the larger size tool boxes, a shooting range box for my pistols. It would be nice to have all my range stuff in on easy to handle box rather than have to make several trips or try and juggle my shooting supplies. With the three leftover boxes I can finally get all of my small hand tools organized so I can find them without a lot of searching.

I got a couple of the solar yard light string/tubes to test out for the front yard.  I want to add these lights along the handrails of the front porch and if the are long enough to add a light border to some of the sidewalk.  I want lighting for security as well as some that adds a little curb appeal to the house. I don’t want to add to my electric bill so all outdoor lighting must be solar powered!  Actually any additional items that need electrical power I am going solar or some other renewable/off-grid power source.

Shopping at the local True Value store I got a small wireless weather station for only $20.00. It has a very nice setup for tracking temperatures and  humidity though it is lacking a barometer for measuring pressure.  I like it, as I can sit at the computer desk and get both indoor and outdoor temps and humidity levels.  My analog type thermometers tend to vary a lot because one is in shade and one is out in the south facing sun.  I don’t have a wind gauge but I have a couple of pinwheels in the yard and they give me a good idea on the wind and direction.  I picked up a small utility knife that uses plain safety razor blades and is lockable at several angles.  After several box cutter type blades this utility blade is a joy to add to my tool box.  Plus safety razor blades tend to be a lot less expensive to buy compared to most box cutter blades.

Snowed most of the day but it looks like we will only get a few inches.  I put salt on the front side walk last night and it did a good job of melting the snow until the afternoon. I like putting down a layer of salt before any winter snow as it makes shoveling the snow off the sidewalks much easier.  We tried out the “pet safe” salt on the backyard sidewalk. The pet safe salt did not do as well as the regular sno-melt salt but I think overall it was a good trade off between safety for the animals and a safe walkway.  Both Mom and I cleared the sidewalks but her metal shovel seem to skim off the snow leaving a layer behind and my plastic shovel did a better job clearing the sidewalks. Mom thinks it might have been the loose nut operating the metal shovel, but I think it might be the difference of how metal and plastic conduct cold. It might be best to have a couple of different types of snow shovels.  A lightweight plastic shovel for moisture heavy, but warm snowfalls and a solid metal snow shovel that can stand up to dry snow fall and chip away at any ice build up.  This is the first year I have used a plastic snow shovel but the difference in results seem significant to me.

I have a bit more food shopping left to do as Albertsons has a good sale on chicken thighs and legs for $.88 per pound and Fred Meyers has a New York roast for $4.99 per pound that I’d like to add one roast to the freezer. This a great time to stock up on those loss-leaders in the mega-marts especially if you can hold back a little cash to take advantage of sales.


Finished up insulating the chicken shed.

December 11, 2015

I noticed some very significant drafts while installing the radiant insulating barrier.  One draft was along the bottom wall and close to the laying boxes and the other drafts were high, along where the roof/walls meet. It seems that the shed was water proof but not wind proof.  The shed seems a lot less damp feeling and drafty since we installed the radiant barrier.  My hope is the birds will be more comfortable and will lay more eggs as they are no longer fighting drafts and the shed is a snug place for the birds.  We left the high vent exposed as well as the chicken door open during daylight hours so the shed can breathe and not build up moisture.  It has been warm with lots of rain but next week it will get cold and we will have a good test on how well the radiant barrier works on keeping the chicken house warm this winter. Yes, we are that anal-retentive enough to put a thermometer and test our theories, even if we are talking about a chicken shed.

Lessons learned: It hurts a lot when you shoot a 5/16ths staple into the palm of your hand.  I encouraged bleeding , washed with soap & water for a minute and then rinsed the hand in antiseptic. I did not bandage the puncture wounds  but placed a medic type glove on so I could work and the glove would contain most excess bleeding.  I need to get a tetanus shot from the VA.  The pain relief salve did great relieving pain as well as most of the swelling from the staple. Being smart on how to treat small wounds should be a big deal for most preppers and survivalist types.  I was a bit surprised that after stapling in the middle of my palm, my middle finger from the 1st to 2nd knuckle got swollen and very sore, though not the palm.  I must have caught a nerve or tendon with the staple.  I’m fine now and finger is working good enough to cut up 5 buckets of mill ends and the last of the panels for the chicken house.

Having a good working staple gun makes installing any roll or bat insulation very quick.  Mom and I worked about 7-8 hours over 2 days on installing the radiant insulation and putting up underlayment  board.  Insulating a shed over a weekend should be doable for most people. Total cost around $200.00 we have left over radiant barrier and two new staple guns purchased, that can be used for other project.

I have learned a lot about adding insulation/ foam and caulk by just doing these jobs. The chicken house is the first time I did insulating and adding panels from start to finish.   The chickens haven’t complained about the the “house” walls having a bit of a rough finish, but I have learned the value of using molding and caulk to give a nice clean finish. I can’t say we are close to the professional type contractors but overall I think we are doing a good on most simple jobs.

Albertson’s is having a great sale on snacks. 16 oz. Planters peanuts $1.49.  I know that peanut butter is one of the prepper shelf stable proteins.  I don’t care for the taste commercial peanut butter. I love salted peanuts as a quick snack or to add flavor to meals and deserts.  This a great time to add snack cracker, popcorn, chocolate, hard candies and nuts to your stock pile. I know I really missed having those snacks when I lived off my pantry foods.  I like to store snacks in metal popcorn tins with just a dusting of DE in the bottom to keep the snacks fresh.

I think for December all we have left is putting up/replacing the tape and plastic on the house windows. I want to add a few Xmas lights to the house to feel a bit festive.

Oh my gosh!  We found a house for Mom!  Just under a .25 of an acre on the edge of Nampa and shelves that would make any prepper drool. It has a city hook up for water and sewer, plus a  working well and septic tank.  It would need a wood stove but otherwise it is a prepper’s dream home.  Darn it, Mom has another divorce court date  in March of next year and she can’t do anything until the Divorce is settled. The house is $104 grand and she must have at least 20% down, to have equity and not pay mortgage insurance.  I would love for Mom to have this home and I can’t help make it happen!  Just a bit frustrated, I have gained so much by having Mom around. While at times things seem a touch difficult, mostly it is a good thing for me.  I think Mom deserves a home of her own and I will admit I’m biased.  I want Mom to have her own place, not because I want to kick her out, but because I want her happy in a home that she can do her own thing that makes her happy.  It is not easy for Mom being in one bedroom for “her” stuff and sharing other parts of my house that we can fit in. Please excuse the whine as we are fortunate in life. Just needed to work it out of my system.

 

 

 


Cold weather insulation and an update on the air purifiers.

December 2, 2015

Mom wants to start insulating the chicken house.While Mom was looking at some of the foam insulating panel at first. We are going to try out some reflective sort of insulation to start with on the chicken shed.  We want a bit of insulation, but what we are more interested in is eliminating any drafts. We bought a few rolls of a “radiant barrier” type product via Home depot.  The product is basically 2 layers of bubble wrap encased in a reflective cover and has about an R-6 rating on exposed walls.  We don’t expect the shed to become warm but we hope that the insulation will reflect out heat in summer and retain heat inside the shed in winter.  All of the reviews seem to think this insulated roll is great as a moisture barrier as well as a good insulator for summer and winter.  This is a small test project for on insulation, we can always add more insulation once  the basic barrier is up on the walls.

I added a new doggie door and caulked around the seams indoors and out. There is just a bit of cool air coming through if it is breezy but over all things are much better. I just bought a 4×6 throw rug with a rubberized type backing  on the back porch entry way, and I can’t believe how much difference that rug made cutting down the cold from the entry area.  I always thought it was the doggie door that caused the cold (draft) feeling, but it seems the tile floor laid almost directly on concrete acts like a huge stone radiating out the cold in winter. I don’t think the previous owners of the house spent a lot of money on insulation and making sure all those air gaps are filled or using caulk to finish up the add- on to the house.  Mom and I got the plastic up on windows but the dollar store plastic window tape sucks. I bought a roll of the Frost King tape $2.68 at Home Depot and we are going to re tape the windows. Now the dollar store window plastic seems to work very well and holds up to the heat of the hair dryer when the tape holds the plastic in place. My back up plan is to buy extras of the Frost King tape and the dollar store plastic for next year.  I really like the idea of  building interior storm windows, but that will take a bit of time as well as some trial and error, as my carpentry skills are rudimentary at best.

On how the Holmes  air purifiers and smokeless ashtrays are working out.  One of the three air purifiers seems to have a bit of rattle/noise. It is not bad I just move one of the quiet purifiers to Mom’s room and set the “noisy” air purifier in the computer room.  I don’t think even the  noisy air purifier is all that loud.  While I’m a smoker I have to say I think even my sniffer is coming back and my sinuses are starting to clear up.  A few small room air purifiers can make such a big difference in such a short time in my home that has a smoker.  Those little air purifiers seem to make a great difference  in “quality of life” for those that suffer from smoke, smog, asthma or allergies. I want to add a true HEPA filter around February or March of next year to see how well the air purifiers handle spring time allergens.

Firewood indoors: I have noticed the new firewood (fir) leaks sap when stacked close to the fireplace. The apple and elm did not leak out sap so I was not prepared for this bit about the new wood.  I bought a small log bin $19.95  from True Value that holds the logs and all sap and pitch will leak on the “bin” rather than stove’s  expensive stone pad.  I ran all of the out door grills through an oven cleaning cycle and it got a bit smokier than I anticipated.  Great news the air purifiers and the vent did a good job clearing out the smoke in the house , plus the oven and grills are all clean.

 


Snow incoming next week?

November 15, 2015

Saturday was a very nice day for getting chores done.  I got the front yard mowed and picked up most of the leaves with my mower. I dumped the mower bag in the front yard beds as plant protection plus add some “greens and browns” that I hope will break down over the winter and will add good stuff back into the soil. The white “flowering kale” is still doing great, the purple kale is doing okay but it did not put on new growth like the white kale this fall. My little front yard garlic bed has put up new shoots through the straw, so I think the garlic will be okay for next year even though I was a bit late getting the garlic in the ground this fall.

I topped off the wood rick on the front porch using the garden cart and we have plenty of mill end bucket ready to burn. I still feel a bit vulnerable about my dependence on others for wood.  I can’t change anything about my disability and I am somewhat dependent on others for my basic needs. If you are disabled or an oldster and can’t work 8-12 hours a day all you can do is stock up and try to get things correct for bugging in.  I have planned for a bug out, but I know my odds for survival will be very low.

The black walnut tree is done shedding leaves in the back yard. I put the last batch of “killer” leaf mulch down in the alley. A flat 4-6 inch layer of the black walnut “killer” mulch stays in place through 20-30 mph winds and the mulch looks okay when it spread in flat deep layer.  I don’t think the city will send me a nasty-gram about my pile of leaves. My goal this winter is to augment the soil for growing stuff in the raised beds.  Use natural methods to kill off weeds and add plants that augment the soil or thrive in poor soil of the alley way garden. I’m still working on types of crops to plant that thrive in the many micro-climates in my yard and start growing up/vertical rather than the traditional way of growing a garden.

I did a test of “Gorilla Glue” and so far it looks like a good replacement for super glue. I repaired a pepper mill and I like that Gorilla Glue does not set quite as fast as super glue, holds great and clean up is a bit easier compared to super glue.  I think super glue is great, but most tubes only give you one application and then the super glue clogs up and you have no other use for the tube of glue. The Gorilla glue sets slower and even if the small applicator clogs you can still use glue stuff by removing the “cap/applicator”tip.  I bought a small package of 4 tubes of Gorilla glue that came with applicator tips for each tube for $6.99. I’m pleased with the purchase as even if the applicator clogs the tube of glue still flows.

I am thrilled with my new payment system and building up an emergency fund. I even added a little bit more silver to my small stash this month. I have used my food storage when I got blindsided on a large vet bill to free up money to pay the bill without going into debt. Now that I have most of my basic needs covered in an emergency, I have stored some cash for a small emergency. I was a bit slow on on the storing cash idea but having emergency cash on hand is almost as important as having food and water stored. At this time, I should be able to buy and install an 18 inch dishwasher, a new ceiling fan in the kitchen and free up a lot of space for a real dining table and add extra storage space in the kitchen in December. My Xmas gift to myself and who could be more deserving LOL!

While I think some sort of economic collapse is coming to the USA, I am doing my best to try and insulate myself from any down sides. I think this Xmas season is going to be nasty economically as many average Americans are beyond broke and up their eyeballs in debt.  For example my “income” about $20,000  yet I got a credit limit on a credit card of $8,000. If I maxed out that card, there is no way I could pay more than the min. payment and the interest would keep me in perpetual debt. Now I will pay off the debt early and avoid the killer interest rate of nearly 26%. I can see how people become slaves to debt. The big Banksters get the near 0/.25% interest rate from the FED. Joe sixpack is doing well if he get can get a signature loan for 6-8% interest and a credit card under 20%. Plus it was not all that long ago a saver could get  5.25% interest return on savings. Now you are lucky to get 1-2% return and the banksters don’t bury you in fees so you actually lose money by saving money in a bank.

I think you are better off keeping cash at home rather than rely on the major banks “protecting” your cash.


Wood is done at least for a couple of months and turkey on sale

November 12, 2015

Gosh, I’m wiped out from stacking the latest bunch of wood and cutting up mill ends. While I’m tired and sore it is really nice to have all of the wood stacked and now I will see just how much wood I have on hand to burn this winter.  So far November weather seems to be about normal for temps and just a bit damp.  The “super el nino” has not made the fall weather super warm here in SW Idaho. If my memory serves SW Idaho usually had a bad winter (lots of snow and cold) if the East coast got hammered with a hard winter. Usually we got lots of cold and snow earlier than the average and then those east of the Mississippi got slammed later in the season.  I suspect SW Idaho may see a weather pattern similar to the late 70’s to the early 80’s.  I’m not a huge fan of extreme weather but Idaho was a place for folks that could not hack Alaskan type weather rather than California transplants looking for a new state to screw up with Progressive political stupidity. Perhaps if the weather gets nasty enough they will move on and annoy some one else. Though I would not wish progressives on anyone other than Wash. DC . That seems a bit appropriate.

Boise is getting very Progressive with buying up “Open Spaces” with tax payer dollars and I really don’t like that policy, as it locks up land that can’t be used for starter homes for young people and drives up rents. I love parks, bike paths and green belts but if the “city buys up land”  it will drive up housing costs, young people can’t afford to rent, buy a home or start families that will add “fresh blood” to  a city.  Plus “open spaces” cost the city up front and do not generate any tax revenue.  Guess what home owners your property will go up in value as well as taxes paid for all of those “open spaces” that do not generate any taxes. This “Open Space” policy will hinder any sort of  organic growth via young folks starting  families, buying homes or starting a small business.  We are cutting our own throats with this short term thinking.

Sorry about the Real Estate rant, but on to shopping. Albertson’s has Turkey for .69 cents per pound if you spend $25.00 shopping. Spending  $25.00 shopping  for food is dead simple.  Get all the whole turkey on hand you can afford. I was wrong about chicken prices spiking in my area via Avian flu as chicken meat prices have been good in Idaho though egg prices spiked up a bit. I think turkey is a “loss leader” at most stores and they hope to make up the cost in other items. Beef prices are starting to drop under $3.00 a pound on the round and chuck as well as hamburger. So far I have been holding down my meat costs by buying loss leaders.  I bought some turkey breast meat at Cash & Carry for $2.28 per pound but we use this meat as pet treats and a carrier for pet medications. While this may seem sort of expensive at first, if you look at the per pound cost of most pet treats versus the cost of Deli type turkey breast is very good buy if you are willing to slice it up at home.

Something to think about for your shelter/ bug in area is air quality. I doubt many of us can afford to  create an over pressure air exchange system. But most of us can afford to buy a couple of  small room humidifiers, a dehumidifier and air purifier. Now I don’t expect a lot of performance from a cheap machine but as preppers we need to control odors as well as smoke from any indoor cooking. If you are a smoker you will carry that odor in your clothes and every time you light up.

I’m not telling you to quit smoking, that is your choice. But you might want to take a few extra steps if you want to keep smoking and be somewhat safe.  Buy some “vaping/ electronic cigarette” products you can use instead of smoking and stay away from the strong flavors as I have read many non-smokers/ vapors can smell those odors. Get a few small air purifiers as the will help clean the air of cooking odors as well as smoke plus several small air purifiers will work better with any power generator compared to one “whole house” air purifier. It is a lot easier and cheaper to power only one or two air purifiers that need 100-200 watts of power than a big air purifier that needs over a thousand watts of power. Many people suffer from allergies via pet dander, pollen and dust and even a small air purifier might make a big difference in their quality of life.

Time for another test and this one will be about air quality. Mom is irritated by my cigarette smoke since we closed up the window this fall.  Air purifiers placed around the house along a few 12 volt systems that work in the car and the jumper packs that are independent of the grid, are ready to go for the test.   A good thing if the air purifiers work, I won’t have to clean my walls, windows  or dust as often. I hate to dust!