Week 4 of 100 degree heat, but my squash is loving it!

July 12, 2021

I’m very surprised that most of my lettuce has not bolted in the long garden beds.  It seems the beds that I used soaker hoses and direct sowed seed have done very well despite of the heat. I have squash plants that are climbing taller than my grape vines that are in the 4 foot tall range.  My Kale bolted in the heat but I used an overhead sprinkler to water that bed.  I’m a firm believer that soaker hoses are much better than overhead sprinklers if you can’t afford a drip irrigation system. 

Most of my transplant failures were my fault not hardening off plants but the excessive heat sure did not help make the garden bloom.  It’s okay I’m learning from my mistakes even though this garden season has been more of a challenge.  I live in an area that has lots of farms and farmer’s markets so buying produce to store is not a  huge problem.  I’ll just have to buy what my garden did not produce. 

I had a big front yard clean up day!  It was mostly trimming and weed wacking but I cleaned out some bad vines that were overtaking the bed in font of my big living room window.  The vine is actually pretty with lovely purple flowers, deep green leaves and small green berries, and that plant will wrap and overrun every other plant in that bed.  I pulled out by hand most of the vines and then I used the Ryobi weed wacker with the plastic beater bars to knock down the vines as close the ground as I could get the tool.  

I washed down the front side of the house using a power washer attachment to my garden hose.  Not a (real) power wash but it got rid of most of the dust and grime on the vinyl siding without forcing water under the siding or putting dents in any parts of the siding. 

I got some more real milk and figured out a better way to skim off the cream rather than trying to finagle a spoon through a half gallon jar top. I’m liking having real milk straight from the Moo.  I’m adding some pork from a local butcher that is (RED) meat pork and not the white tasteless stuff you tend to find in most stores.  Is it more expensive?  YES!  It also tastes like pork.  I liked the flavor of the bacon as it was more salty rather than sweet.  

I can’t tell people what to do. I have built up a small stash of okay quality meats buying from grocery stores and vacuumed sealed it to preserve the quality.  Now I can afford to pay more for better quality meats,  and my local stores don’t sell high quality meats.  I don’t blame stores as a store’s profits are damn slim and cutting quality or raising prices is about their only two option. 

If meat and produce costs are rising you should buy the best quality you can afford.  I think it is very important to find a local supplier for the things you want to have on hand.  The USA can’t grow the fixings for Chocolate or Coffee so you better stock up. Find a supplier, make your own or go without.  I don’t care if someone has to struggle through the day because they could not have an avocado toast.  Farmers in California are literally cutting down their own almond orchards because they can’t get enough water to the trees.  An Almond orchard takes 8-10 years before it produces a commercial level crop.  Do you think that the farmers can not water the trees for months, and then trees will start producing in a couple months when there might/might not be irrigation water.  

I get peeved that people things will stat the same. Nothing ever stays the same! J&J vaccine now is reporting that over 100 vaccine folks have got Guillume-Barre syndrome. Basically the immune system attacks the nervous system and you can die with your breathing or heart beat sort of stopped. I have the chronic version of GB called CIDP and I can say you do not want this version though unlike GB it does not shut down you breathing or heart beat.

You are much better of fighting off any Flu with the basic of fluids, bedrest and time.


More containers ready to plant. Vinegar spray and crazy Idaho weather

May 31, 2021

I have been buying some nice sized planters from Fred Meyers for the last month.  The planters are 28 inches long and about 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep.  This a good size for many garden plants from herbs to lettuce and even some root crops like radishes that don’t need  a lot depth for root crop production.  I have added a small fence in the middle of the pots in hope that the cats won’t have enough room to scratch/poo in these pots as well as protect the plants as they grow. The planters are placed along the sidewalk area that gets more sun since I cut down the dead cherry tree but the area is still somewhat protected from full overhead sun. If the plants don’t do well in this spot I can always move the planters to a different spot in the yard for optimal growing conditions.

I cleaned up two of the large party buckets and filled them up for a couple of Raspberry plants.  It seems the Heritage raspberries can be grown in large containers of 5 gallon size or larger.  Ever since I cut out the overgrown section of grape vines I have been looking for a plant to add to that fence line that loves the sun but can get buy with watering 2-3 times a week and does not climb or spread like crazy.  The Heritage raspberries look like a good a fit for this spot and if I’m wrong I can move the containers.

Container gardening seems to many people as not “REAL” gardening.  Like if you don’t have rows of crops in a big garden or in raised beds you are not really gardening.  Thank goodness for the square foot garden movement as that has encouraged more people to start small scale gardening that can be very productive. Using large planters is very similar to the raised bed garden concept and you can easily move the ” raised beds” if you guess wrong about the about sunlight levels or how easy it is to water the beds.  No matter how you do YOUR garden you will pay in sweat or money and most likely a little bit of both but I think the payoff is worth the effort.

I got another four gallons of 30% vinegar delivered from Home Depot.  While the stuff ain’t cheap I much prefer using this vinegar as a weed killer compared to Round up that kills the soil.  I sprayed the weeds in the alley way and I noticed my sun chokes are starting new growth and filling in again since I started using the 30% vinegar.  I still haven’t found any puncture vine/goatheads in my alley way area that is sprayed with vinegar.  Morning glory has come back but another spray with the vinegar gets that plant under control if not eliminated.

I kept one gallon of the vinegar as a cleaning agent I can dilute for cleaning water marks on my windows and lime scale deposits because of  the hard water in this area.  The results I get using this diluted vinegar is better than I have gotten using products like CLR and vinegar is safer to use and much less toxic.

The weather is warming up to 100 degree F. for the next few days and then back into the mid 70’s over the weekend.  Summer heat is here so it is time to get some protective covers ready for the planting boxes.  I did not get the Agriborn cover that I like in February and missed out so I’ll use some canvas tarps and cotton sheets to block the sun during the hottest part of the day.  I love having the PVC pipe frames that I have for the raised garden bed. Those frames make adding any sort of protective cloth over the beds super easy and you don’t put any weight on young plants covering them up.

My Japanese radishes have bolted but the pink beauties seem to have handled the weird weather.  The Rocky Mt. mixed greens are dong great in both the patio bed and the raised bed with no sign of bolting.  The Baby Bok choy is doing okay in the patio bed but less than stellar in the raised bed.  My pets disturbed the early plantings of starter plants and some of the direct sown plants with digging.  I’m adding more barriers but I’m playing catchup this Spring planting season.

The melon’s bed looks like a total bust.  I’m going to add a few greenhouse plants to the garden to fill in the places my starter plants failed. Some of the problems were my fault and some were Mama Nature getting a little freaky with hail storms, rain down pours and random short term heat waves.  That is gardening!


Shopping opportunities in sales and I’m getting a little tired of the BS in the USA

June 5, 2020

Both my local Fred Meyer and Albertsons have a Buy 5 items get a lower price. I’m not sure it is all stores but in my area you can mix and match all items that are on buy a mix of any five items and get the lower price.  I have been restocking my coffee but it is on that 5 for a good sale price along with peanuts, cheese, butter, milk, marinades etc.  As you can imagine you can easily shop those items mix and match some thing like a can of coffee, peanuts, marinades, cheese, a pound of butter and not spend a lot of money.  You can get one or more of these items and you can make a more flavorful meal, have a snack bowl of nuts and that is me just doing a quick look at the local ad on the internet.  If your stockpile is a little low on an item you can buy  a couple of those items and still buy other items that get you the discount.

For example: I bought coffee just to get stocked up but I didn’t buy the coffee I preferred. Now I can add a couple of cans of coffee I like as long as I buy some item on the FAB 5 sale.

  • I love snacking on peanuts and I’m trying to build up my “snacking preps” stockpile. I can add 2 jars of peanuts.
  • My butter reserves in the freezer got used and needs to be resupplied.  So add 2-3 pounds of butter.
  • June is “Dairy month” and all sorts of cheeses are on sale.  I don’t care what any one says a grilled cheese sandwich, tuna melt or Quesadillas is an awesome quick snack or part of a good meal.
  • Marinades and salad dressings be flavor multi-taskers.  Almost every cheap cut of meat can benefit from marinade. You can make a good meal/different meal giving chicken an Italian dressing marinade or a London Broil cut of beef a marinade in French dressing and I don’t like French dressing on a salad!  Lots of people seem to like bleu cheese with beef. You could make a a meatloaf but rather than adding ketchup or tomato sauce add bleu cheese salad dressing.  It is up to you and don’t be afraid to experiment.
  • You must have the ingredients on hand before you experiment.  If some of your meals fail and that will probably happen to you. Now is the time to learn when food is plentiful and supply chains are working.  Experimenting on marinades on a dollar a pound chicken or even a 2 dollar pound pork chop is different to experimenting on a 7-10 dollar a pound rib eye steak.

Onto the Whuflu. I still believe good masking up and sanitation protocols should be every ones default in a pandemic situation.  I don’t think I over reacted for myself, but I never claimed shutting down small businesses was a good response. I started wearing a mask around the 2nd week of March because I have an immuno disease and had pneumonia in the past. I was protecting myself and had no affect on other people.  Today I walked into a bank and they asked me not to use a mask in the lobby.  I was surprised to say the least and all of the banks focus was about security.  It is their business and the can set the rules for what is acceptable risk for themselves.

I was an early adopter of wearing a mask about mid March and I was looked at as crazy. I don’t wear mask for status points. I wear a mask because I’m immune compromised.  You all should be able to get back to work, back to making money on your businesses. I wear a mask because I’m protecting myself! I didn’t mind shutting down the school system because I think schools are indoctrination stations.  Wear a mask, don’t wear mask I don’t care. I wear a mask because I think it will protect myself.  You wearing a mask is irrelevant to me.  No, I’m not going to shame you if you don’t wear a mask.  You do you and you are the one taking the risk not me. That is freedom and it is messy sometimes.  If I’m wrong the Wuflu simply becomes another flu/common cold strain and I’m good with that out come.I have not taken a vaccine of any sort  since I have had CIDP and I had one very unpleasant cold/flu that put me in bed for about 2-3 days.  It might just have been a nasty cold or the flu.  Drink liquids, control the fever and wait it out.  Most people can give better in home care than most hospitals.  If you can’t consume fluids or you get a massive spike in temp go see an emergency room.

Antifa are terrible medics as a small cut on the leg was treated like some one bleeding out,  It is bizarre to to see a strap tourniquet to wound that needed only a little direct pressure to stop the bleeding.  A little saline solution to clean and a bit of gauze would be all the wound needed.  The idiot kid thought he might lose his leg.   That sort of thinking is cruel to that person.  While I can understand that mocking that person. They truly think that little booboo is equivalent to losing a leg in combat.  Nope I bleed more doing garden work around my house.  I was a combat medic in the US army and I’d handed you a gauze pad and told you to hold it place until the bleeding stopped and then report back to your company.

I’ve gone off on a tangent. So I will end it here.

 


Things are getting crazier!!!

June 1, 2020

It has been almost two weeks since I posted and I apologize for slacking off.  While it may sound strange I’ve been examining myself about my reactions to the WuFLU, how the government reactions have played out and now we have riots in many cities all over the USA.

Some impressions about how the front yard is doing since the big tree has been gone:

  1. Every plant is putting on a lot of growth with the additional sunlight, that includes the weeds!  My strawberry garlic and flowers have benefited from more sunlight.
  2. SW Idaho had a couple of 95+ degree days the new windows, fans and blinds kept the house around 75 degrees.  Overall I don’t think losing the big tree will affect my homes’s internal temp. but it will have a huge affect on the plants in the front yard.
  3. I’m still brainstorming ideas of how to use the area/section of yard but I have not committed to any particular idea other than adding a sitting area of some sort around the the tree stump.

Mom and I had the first steaks grilled on the patio over Memorial day weekend.  I wanted to clean up and rearrange the patio area as it was looking a bit shabby.  I used one of the pressure water wands  on the vinyl siding to clean off a years worth of dust, dirt and cobwebs.  The siding still needs a little scrubbing to get it clean, but just using the pressure wand on the garden hose really made that part of the siding look much better and was much less work than dealing with the wood siding!

I have a “vision” of my patio to be an outdoor kitchen as well as sanctuary to sit and just enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a beer/glass of wine in the summer evenings.  I  did a lot of clean up of weeds around the back yard walkways.  I mowed the lawn and the grass is doing very well except directly under the apple tree.  I trimmed a few branches to let more sunlight hit the problem areas.  I know that Spring time is not the optimal time to plant grass seed but using the compost/steer manure mix to augment the soil and cover the grass seed has not only helped the grass fill in the lawn but it seems to keep many weeds from taking root.  I cleaned up many thistle, weeds and dandelions in my backyard but in the lawn area there is only one dandelion plant.

I had one lawn spot that got infested with a mint.  While I knew mint could invade a spot I did not anticipate how woody the stems got close the the ground or how tough it was to dig up the roots.  I doubt I got all the mint roots in this area but I laid down some small pebble/sand mix to give my cats a place to dig/scratch and do all those cat things in a place that is away from my garden beds. While it is early days into this test the cats seem to love having this area to scratch, lounge, play and so far no pooping.  I set out an old cat litter box beside the patio to encourage the kitties to practice better sanitation.  Results are positive so far, so I will make more little digging areas  around the yard that are pet friendly.  I am using materials that make it easy to scoop up the poo and it might help keep mice out of the house if they smell predator poo around the house perimeter.  I don’t think you can stop animals from following their instincts but you can make places that are easier or more difficult to follow those instincts.  Laziness is a survival tool because the animal expends less calories by being lazy.  I’m not sure why cutting down that mint seem to open up that section of the patio but the kittens love it and it is a “hoot” to watch the kittens pounce, lounge and generally enjoy this new area of the backyard.

Onto the riots:

  1. I think these riots/protest are being organised to take advantage of the USA. I don’t think it is a conspiracy per se, but tapping into people’s frustration and anger as an opportunity to create chaos.
  2. We recently had an SJW mayor elected in Boise and she got slammed about some of her “Studies/suggestions”.  A local person was contacted by Black Lives Matter about organizing a protest and then BLM dropped coming to Boise.  There was a small multi-racial protest about police brutality on the state house steps. Idaho is a Constitutional carry state! That means if you can legally purchase a gun you can carry it openly or concealed legally any where in public.  I doubt BLM wood want a bunch of private citizens legally stopping riots and looting simply by protecting themselves and property.
  3. Red/conservative states are opening up economically and the Blue/progressive states want to maintain the lockdowns for some reason.  It’s not like any governments care about people dying unless it looks bad to the politicians.  Let conservatives/libertarians/republicans get back to work!  If the virus is so bad those people will get sick/die first!

I don’t know about this virus and if it safe to go back to normal interactions.  I think it is probably safe but I can’t say for certain.  I’m in a “vulnerable group” of having a immune disorder so I wear a mask because I’m at risk.  I wore a mask when the WHO/CDC called me bad names and locals looked at me as a “weirdo” back in March. I wear a mask shopping then and now because I think it is the best thing for me and my health.  Wearing a mask was never a political statement or to be trendy and if I think wearing a mask is dumb or unhealthy,  I’ll stop wearing a mask.

I was a shut down International travel, close the borders, protect the seniors and wear a mask for 2-4 weeks and perhaps close schools over Spring break up to a month.  I was never a shut down all small businesses or hospitals/clinics/dentists type of person.

I hope people will learn after seeing stuff either first hand or on the internet/tv media will learn the the lessons of self reliance and the government won’t protect them. Perhaps kids that want to learn will thrive intellectually being home schooled.


Plants in the garden beds

May 16, 2020

I started seeds indoors but many of the seeds were old and the sprouting took longer than I thought this spring.  I added in a plant light but I need to add a warming pad to help accelerate the seeds sprouting.  Now the room I started the plants was cool and it took longer for the seeds to sprout than I anticipated but when they started sprouting it was very thrilling.   I bought a few plants locally just in case my plant starts were a “bust”. Welp,  my plant starts are still small but the bought plants are in the raised bed right now and I can start a “succession” planting of the raised beds.   While I have planted the store bought plants in the raised beds. I have also sown seeds for some plants and I have my small starter plants.. I hope to keep planting either plant starts and seeds through out this summer to maximize garden production.  There is something that is so satisfying about growing a plant and seeing that plant grow.

I know Spring is not the best time to grow lawn grass but my back yard lawn patch is doing very good this spring. After scratching up the soil, adding the grass seed and covering the grass seed/lawn in a thin layer of compost plus adding in daily watering. The grass is growing and the older grass is starting to spread out and fill in the lawn area.  This area will never be golf course quality but my pets love the area and the lawn helps cool the the backyard.  Once the grass is established it will be drought resistant.  Early days yet for backyard lawn/garden but overall things are going better than I expected.

I have been asking folks to prepare for hard times.  I faced losing my house because I became disabled and had no income for several months and not being able to pay your bills is terrifying. Especially if you were not the one that screwed up!  The government faces a simple choice. Either pay people a monthly stipend for the basics of living or get people back to work.  Why are people heading to parks, beaches and not bars and cafes?  The people have been out of work for 2 months and spending their savings/credit cards keeping food on the table and paying only the bills they need  to survive!

I have been a big fan of buying up food you want to eat on sale and finding a way to store it for a year or two at a minimum.  So I have been focusing on buying meats, beef,pork and chicken because I don’t have enough land to grow my own meat and the city has code restrictions about agricultural animals in the city.  While it great that some people can raise their own meat animals.  Most city dwellers are dependent on what the local grocery stores offer for sale.  There are few tips for buying meat I will offer.

  1. Buy meat you want to eat and know how to cook: I despise the taste of liver but I like the taste of heart or gizzards. It does not matter to me that liver is chock full of vitamins. The smell of it cooking just to much for me.  Buy and store foods you want to eat and don’t waste your money on any food storage that is cheap, you think you will eat if “you are hungry enough”.  That can be said of cannibalism.
  2. You can’t keep city animals out of your garden.  You have put up barriers to protect your garden. Whining about critters in your garden does not help grow a garden.  Plus if you think anyone other than a wizard can control cats. You are deluding yourself.  My cats stay close to my home and they dig in my garden beds. I have neighbor cats that cross my backyard and probably dig in my garden beds.  Those cats also catch mice, rats and other garden destroying rodents.  Welcome to gardening with always imperfect solutions to mama nature.
  3. Keep starting plants indoors and in your garden to create a continual harvest.  Some plants like tomatoes and peppers need a long grow time but lettuce, radishes need a much shorter growth period of 2-4 weeks till harvest. I’m using some of the green plastic snow/garden fencing with the cheap plastic fence posts made for electric mesh fences and it works for a temporary fence.  I’ll add some cheap low garden fence to stop the critters from pushing underneath the plastic fence.  I’m going to make a cheap little gate and add some 1×2 inch boards that will stop most of the critters digging in my garden beds.
  4. I’ve been a little late getting three of my small beds growing the 3 sisters garden.  I planted a new sweet corn called “Bantam Early” that produces ears in 60-90 days so I should get some corn production from the small 3 sister beds.
  5. Get planting in small plastic kiddie pools as planter beds.  I have grown herbs, lettuce/greens and small watermelons in these small pools of dirt.  You don’t need to buy lumber for raised beds.  These are not good for most root crops but even small radish plants can grow in a small kiddie pool planter.  Plus the cost is cheap for a kiddie pool of $7.00-10.00 compared to the cost of lumber for a raised bed or the cost of most flower/plant pots.
  6. I know I can’t grow all the food I will need in a year in my small garden.  But I can grow some, perhaps a majority of fresh veggies I need and get my food costs a bit lower on the monthly budget.  Just because I can’t grow all of my food does not mean I should not try and grow some of my food.

I’m immuno- comprised and I have only two choices.  Stay at home or wear a mask and get the things I need to survive.  I see many idiots wearing masks wrong or not wearing masks at all.  My life is in my hands and what other people do is not my problem, because I can’t change what other people do.  All I can control is what I do daily.  If you are worried about Corona virus stay home or mask up when going out in the public shopping or whatever task you need to get done.  Don’t snitch on people that don’t follow some government mandated or your own KAREN  protocol.  Your life is in your hands and you must make that risk assessment for yourself! No one should be required to change their life so you can pretend to be safe.  Are many people idiots?  Yep! that does not mean you have to behave idiotically.  Your safety depends only upon you and not anyone else!

This post is getting a bit long, but no one is obligated to make you feel safe.  You are responsible for yourself, that is what we call being an adult.  Make yourself as resilient as possible and don’t ask the government to save you because that price can be very high!

 


I saw Toilet Paper in Fred Meyer today and rain in the valley!

April 22, 2020

There was some Quilted Northern TP in Fred Meyers today.  About 10- 20 of box cases of the 4 packs but it is the first time in a few weeks I saw toilet paper on the shelves.  The facial tissue area was better stocked and there was even an “end cap” full of the facial tissue boxes.  Perhaps the run on Tissue paper is starting to slow down or at least people have enough TP already on hand they no longer feel the need to buy/store more Tissue paper at home.  Bottled water shelves also seem to be returning to pre-Wuflu levels and that is all to the good!  People need to return to buying stuff they need, rather than following the “herd” and buying items based on panic and fear.    I’m seeing food prices start to go up and it will probably get worse over the summer. It is a double whammy to people out of work that right at the time they have very little money on hand the food and products they need to live are in the store but have start going up in price. Me telling some one they can save money baking bread at home does not help if they can’t buy yeast because all the stores are sold out of yeast.  I don’t have a sourdough starter to share but I was able to give Mom a small 4 oz jar of some yeast I have stored in the freezer.  Baking bread takes a little bit of practice and add in trying to make a sourdough starter for a new baker really increases the learning curve.

I am seeing more people wearing masks, scarf and bandannas here in SW Idaho.  I’m guessing about 40-50% range.  Not everyone but it is much better than I saw on a shopping trip a couple of weeks ago!  Wearing a mask is irritating to me even though I advocate it being the easy/simplest method to help stop the spread of the virus.  I now have a weird feeling of something coating my face and when I get home I have to wash my face along with my hands.  I’m packing my own groceries in the new reusable plastic coated bags I sanitize before I shop and again before the bags get loaded in the mini-van.  I understand stores not trusting customer’s reusable bags.  I don’t trust store’s plastic bags because those bags are probably made in China.  For now I can use a Lysol type spray, but I may have to move to a diluted bleach spray bottle to disinfect my bags before the come into the house.  Yep, I’m being a little OCD but I’d rather get a small dose of any virus and give my body more time to build a good immuno-response to this virus rather than deal with a huge viral load.  I shop at stores where I have a good relationship with the cashiers, butchers and deli and I don’t want them to get sick and hopefully me wearing a mask will reduce their stress level about catching the virus.

Some of the starting plants are growing and I had to take off the cover as the plants are getting to tall.  The starter plants are still a bit too delicate to transplant but the stuff that is growing is growing great. The tomitillos I bought are growing like crazy and I still need to add fences around my garden beds to try and stop the cats doing the cat things to my garden beds.  Mom is now fully cleared to lift more than 15 pounds from her surgery recovery limitation.  She is ready to do some raised beds and I suggested she get the local big box store cut the lumber to size for her raised beds.  I prefer raised beds to be 3 foot or under in width but Mom want’s to go with 4 feet of width.  It should not make that much difference if you can reach all of the bed from both sides. Speaking only for myself I think a raised bed garden should be 3 foot or less wide.

I don’t know if you feel it but I feel planting a home garden of any sort is critical this year. My long term food storage is pretty good but having those fresh herbs, greens and crops that add not only calories, vitamins and variety of vegetables/herbs can’t buy in stores for any price. Buy the things the USA can not grow such as coffee, chocolate and the things you want to have for yourself.

 


Got some plant starts, seeds and shopping

April 12, 2020

I cant start all of the plants I want to have from seed as many of my seeds are a lot older than I thought and are not germinating. If you have gone to many seed suppliers you know they have sold out of many of the seeds or the shipping time is so long you will miss the “Prime Time” of planting or starting seeds. Two or three weeks in Spring time planting season can be critical to starting your garden.

I got Sun gold cherry tomato and early red tomato.  Most of my pepper seeds seemed to be old so I got a yellow and red bell pepper along with two tomitillo plants.  If you want tomitillos you must have at least 2 plants for cross pollination.  I have bought new seeds and have started them but those seeds are still waiting to germinate so I’m adding more store bought plants just in case my starters are a bust.

I was a little disappointed in people I saw shopping in Fred Meyer’s today.  I’m guessing about 10% of the people I saw had on masks of any sort and very few were wearing any kind of protective eye wear. Many people seemed to be browsing the store rather than having a list of items to get and get out as quickly as possible.  The parking lot seemed about average for a Saturday and while people were not panic shopping they did seem complacent about the Wu-Flu.  There was no tissue paper or paper towels but plenty of hand sanitizer in small 2-4 oz bottles.  Pet supply shelves were hit hard but it looked like most people were buying mostly mid quality/cost pet foods.  There was plenty of the very cheap and more expensive wet and dry pet food on the selves.  I bought the last bag of 12 pound store brand of dry cat food that is 38% protein. My cats are doing great with cat food and I mix it with a 31% protein mix I get from the local farm store.  My cats also get a half a can of wet cat food every night.

A new thing at my local Fred Meyer is cashiers not handling reusable bags.  I love reusable shopping bags when I use my walker shopping but I know those cloth bags could hold bacteria and viruses so I shifted over to the more rigid plastic coated bags because I could spray (Lysol) sanitize the bag. This bag is coming into my home so I’ll do everything I can to keep the virus outside my home.

I asked the cashier if she could handle the bag and the store policy was no.  Okay can you let me bag my stuff after you ring it up?  YES!  Great, the cashier follows store policy and I can use my easy to sanitize bag for groceries.  I don’t know where the plastic bags most stores use are made but it is probably China or a place whit with WU-Flu so this is a win-win for stopping extra contamination.  Cashiers should not need to be the experts about the virus or be attacked by customers that feel a mild inconvenience is an assault on their rights as a consumer. 

I know wearing a mask properly is annoying it feels like breathing into a very sauna at best. You have to adjust your googles or glasses from fogging up. Putting on gloves and using hand sanitizer is not fun and all that hand washing can dry and crack your skin.  Don’t go out shopping unless you want to put up with masking up, wearing gloves and sanitizing everything when you get home.  I’m not telling you not to go shopping but the cashiers and workers in stores deserve customers that are willing to mask up in the stores. Even if wearing a mask is annoying to you.

Get over what other people do, you can be the little hero the wears a mask out shopping! Be nice to the cashier and people keeping stores open and relatively safe with extra cleaning. It is those cashiers, truckers, janitors along with doctors nurses, CNA and cleaning staff that are heroes.  Farmers, gardeners and handyman of all sorts are the heroes keeping this economy going.

The elites hate that they are behind the power curve and are not all that important to peoples daily lives and the people are starting to realize it. I like to think that people given good info will do the right thing.  But most people don’t get good info and don’t do much research on there own.  I’m not an expert, just a former Army Field Sanitation NCO that learned a bit about the spread of disease. The answers are simple for a pandemic.  They just are not easy for people.

Really it should be a simple if not easy process:

  1. Isolate all countries and stop travel and shipping.  This is brutal to trade but a 1-2 week level of stoppage should be enough to mitigate the virus.
  2. Stop all flights for 1-2 weeks. All nations take the hit equally and then slowly open flights to those countries that get control of the amount of people using hospital’s care.
  3. Give a USA open for business order but allow states and cities to modify that order locally.
  4. This is crazy but give people good info and let them decide the level of risk they will accept.  I know this idea will drive the state and local governments crazy to let people decide risk/reward.
  5. I think most people are ignorant about this virus. The Government at all levels has failed to educate the people.  Getting a cold or the normal flu does not make you a bad person. Most likely you will get the Wuflu and have flu like symptoms.  The pneumonia  part of the Wu flu is when stuff gets scary.

Bend the curve stop the spread of the flu and that is easy:

  1. Wear a mask and glasses to stop the spread.
  2. Social distancing will help
  3. Add a few vitamins and mineral to your diet. Vitamin C and Zinc, D3 seem to help fighting all flu viruses.
  4. Stay on your property and work on that garden. I’m sorry for folks that live in High- Density areas and are dependent on mass transit. This should show you the government won’t save you and you are on your own.
  5. You better hope those farmers have a good harvest and plenty of farm animals are grown for meat and the truckers are allowed into cities to feed you.
  6. Nine meals from anarchy…

 


Seeds !

April 8, 2020

I started a bunch of old seeds in a Jiffy Starter box about 3 weeks ago and I’m not seeing any sprouts. I knew I was using old seeds but I was hoping for a few seeds to germinate but it looks like that box of starter plants is a bust.  Since those old seeds are not sprouting I figured I should clean out my seed box of all of the older seed packets.  OMG! I had seeds that dated back to 2007,  many of the seeds dated back to 2012 and  2016. I kept any seed  packet  dated 2017 and newer and toss any packets of older seeds.  I know the germination rates of seeds drop a lot after a couple of years but I figure seeds up to  three years old are worth planting this year.  After cleaning out the old seed packets I found many packets that were dated for 2019.  Those are the seeds I’ll be planting/starting in the first  starter box or in the raised bed if they are cool weather crops.

I bought some seeds in April and got many started in my second Jiffy box.  Lots of warm weather stuff like melons, tomatoes, peppers and that type of plant.  As I went though my seed box I found many Greens like lettuces, swiss chard,  bok choy, and broccoli I can plant now during the cool Spring.  Getting the raised beds ready for the seeds took a little bit of work.  I’m rotating the crops in my raised beds and last years “tomato” bed soil was not good.  The soil had compacted and had a lot of weed growth.  I had to take the tiller to the soil and then augment it with compost. The soil looks better, but I may need to add more manure/compost to get the plants good growth in May.

I’m going to direct sow the greens on cool weather crops in the raised beds.  I have added “Frost” cloth over the PVC frames I made last year.  While the frost cloth protects the plants from weather it also seems effective in protecting the beds from my little digger dog and my kittens messing with my garden beds.  I have other digging areas and places  in the back yard for the cats to do what cats do/poo.  I was surprised that putting up the frost cloth stopped the cats getting into the raised bed (so far).  The little green plastic barrier fence has stopped the cats from digging and leaving “deposits” in the deep raised bed.  I understand peoples frustration with cats in their yard and garden but I think it mostly FERAL cats that do the most damage and not pet cats.  I have cats and they will do unspeakable things in my garden beds. How can I stop that from happening?  It seems a little bit of temp. green plastic fencing and frost cloth will stop most pets digging.  Now stopping squirrels is the next order of protection.  Probably impossible!

I’m sure folks that deal with wild life i.e. geese,ducks, bears,elk, deer, moles, gophers and other assorted critters eating their gardens and crops will mock us city folk that are so worried about cats popping in garden dirt!

Growing a garden takes some time everyday.  I still don’t know if it is  a weed or a plant without using a marker in my garden rows.  FYI Toothpicks by your planted seeds helps with weeding in my garden. For me it is tough to “thin out plants” I know it has to be done in a garden, but those little plants are so inspiring  it’s tough for me to thin out the rows of excessive growth.

Jamie, you will never eat or preserve over 20 plants of bok choy no matter how much effort you put into growing the plant!  Of course I must grow bok choy first before I can preserve it. 

I cleaned up my black berry pots, One pot did not look good and I cut it back last fall.  The other plant had a lot of growth and I cut it back this spring.  I added some compost, cleaned out the old straw mulch and added some compost to the pots.  My goodness the plants are adding many new leaves and growth.  I added a burlap bag to keep the cats out of the pots and a thick layer of compost. I think I may get a few black berries this year!

The back yard lawn are is looking better. I added seed but I had some new grass growth. I hope the new grass seed/ additional compost and soil will start to fill in the lawn area.

You are on your own, $1200.00 is not going to save you. I’m not referring just to the Wu-Flu. The Economy is going to tank into recession levels if we are lucky.  If you are new to prepping and late to getting prepared I have a few suggestions

  1. Buy seeds and have a way to grow some fresh food from a garden or even a pot full of herbs.
  2. Buy flour, whole wheat grains, whole or steel cut oats and learn to bake your own bread.  I have a simple bread on “recipe page” that takes only flour,salt, water and yeast and it is great bread.
  3. You will probably make a few bread bricks learning to make bread.  That is part of the learning process. Don’t give up if your bread loaves end up exceptionally dense.  Heck I screwed up my own recipe and added an extra table spoon of salt.  The bread is a bit salty but I think adding a “Heaping tablespoon” of salt to the recipe would make the bread loafs less bland.
  4. Get a pressure cooker of some sort.  The Insta-pot brand cooker is poplar but most electric pressure cooker will be great for cooking beans and rice quickly.  You bought all those dried beans and did not realize it takes about 12- 24 hours to cook those beans in a crock pot or on a stove.  A pressure cooker can cook the same beans in about 2 hours.

I have rambled on far to long on this “stream of  ideas”.  You will do you and hopefully you will be safe and grow food for yourself.  That is optimistic on my part but all I can do is give out info I think is solid and report what I am doing.  I might be wrong but I’m growing a garden and not trusting the government.


A good day working on the yard and raised beds

April 7, 2020

The irrigation water is slowly starting to run to my house, so I added some grass seed and compost/soil mix to the ” grass lawn” section of my back yard.  I know Spring time is not the best time for growing a lawn but I want to start filling in that lawn area and I have the seed and cheap irrigation water available now to keep adding lawn seed with compost/soil that should help the grass seed take root and grow!  I want a section of healthy lawn around my home as it seems to keep the back yard much cooler in the summer.  A bonus on a grass lawn is my pets love laying down and even eating grass on occasion and I know the grass is grown without nasty chemicals. Just a little bit of manure/compost, a little garden soil and a whole lot of water!  The pressure from the irrigation water is minimal. I’m watering about a three foot square  for now, but the irrigation water will get more pressure in a few days.

I got my deep raised bed cleaned out.  Gosh that bed had a bunch of nasty roots that needed the garden fork to bring up to the surface.  Overall I’m pleased as the soil is almost black and rich in nutrients.  I think this deep raised bed will be my root crop garden of parsnips, turnips, and carrots this year.  I added some of the green plastic fence to cover most of the bed, because my cats and Tucker the peke love to dig and or poo in the freshly dug garden beds. I have neighborhood full of cats and my own cats, that will leave some unwelcome deposits in my yard and garden and the local squirrels don’t seem to pay much attention to my instructions on good neighbor behavior.  Critters will do what they do based on nature.  The critters are not evil they just do what they do by instinct.

I filled a large trash bin with grape vines to clean up a couple of beds and  I’m not going to finish cleaning up the Grape vines this Spring.  I have to clear out the grape vines from my other raise beds for plants in May and then keep cleaning the older growth of vines.  Ironically cleaning out those old grape vines/ canes  will make the grape vines go crazy with new growth.  I know I’m making progress cleaning up the grape vines but today it did not look like I cleaned up, despite the fact I filled a 65 gallon trash bin of old grape vines/canes.

Good news I can get the old/sick Elm tree cut down next week thanks to the Trump bux.  This will help my local wood supplier keep working, they get fire wood and I get rid of an old diseased tree.  That BOOM from the earthquake made me think the old tree landed on my neighbors home or dropped a large limb on my roof.  Best to take care of the tree now rather than deal with it if  comes down in a storm.

I lost track of time getting the berry plants cleaned up, another raised bed ready for planting and planting some grass seed in the backyard.  It felt good to get more of the raised beds ready for planting, adding grass seed to my backyard and cleaning up the old grape vines.  Working outside getting some jobs done feels good to me and makes me happy!

If you are like me living in the city on a small plot of land you probably can’t grow enough food to feed yourself year round. You can grow enough food via a garden to grow some fresh food to your diet. Every little thing you can do will help even if it is growing herbs in a kitchen window.  That is one less thing you buy in the store!   It is so easy to buy bread in a store compared to making it at home.  I bought store bread though I have all the ingredients for my home made bread.  Making my bread at home is now easier than masking up to go shopping in the public.

I don’t think the shut down can last much longer as people are getting a bit stir crazy and small business must get back to work.  It might be unpleasant but people like me must isolate/self quarantine as much as possible and wear protective gear to be safe from other people.  I’m immune-compromised , I have had pneumonia and some lung damage. That is my problem to deal with this Wu-Flu that kills people like me.  I don’t demand the rest of the country make things safe for me. I’m handing out masks to my neighbors and telling them how to sanitize them for re-use. That makes me safer in my neighborhood.

Life is dangerous and it can kill you at any time!  There is no reason I have to do stupid stuff to tempt the reaper.

 


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?