November 11, 2017
I have been blown away by how well the house holds heat since the windows and siding are complete. My computer room now gets into the mid-70’s F. and retains the heat even after the wood stove burns out. Of course it has not turned to cold in the valley since all the work was done but with the old windows heat would just leak out if we did not have plastic on the windows. Mom and I are using a lot of the mill ends and smaller limbs for small fires and just to keep the firebox going through the day. The only problem with that sort of fire is I’ll need to buy more of the mill ends for the rest of winter (for kindling) and too use next spring. I have the materials for another wood rack and one more load of wood ordered for delivery this month. That last load should fill up the main wood storage area and I’m storing the mill ends in a separate area that is easy access for adding more wood if needed this winter of spring.
I started painting the front door a grey semi-gloss that matches the color of the gables and frame work around the windows. It is going to take a couple of coats of paint to cover up the old red door. The worst part is the old door hardware looks kind of terrible against the new paint. I have been looking at new locks and door levers rather than just the standard knobs. Eventually I’d like to change all the doors to the lever type handles as they look great and are much easier for me to operate with my CIDP. One thing I have become aware of since getting disabled is how much easier life can be if you retro fit faucets, door handles and other (ADA approved) hardware. What is great is most of the hardware has a retro-look that fits with me going back to the original look of a 1910-20’s Craftsman House.
Update on the stitches: Every thing is looking good according to the doc in a box. In a week I’ll get the stitches removed though it may take up to 6 weeks the cut to fully heal and give me another interesting scar. The Doc in a box even asked where I got the bandage I was using to cover the cut. The Walgreen’s brand of 3 inch x 4 inch knee/elbow bandage works great for covering a large cut and is very easy to apply. I’m not sure if this is correlation or causation but when I started using Curad’s Anti-microbial silver solution I noticed a significant reduction of pain around the injury site compared to using the little packets of anti- Bacterial cream I got from Doc in a box. I believe but can not prove that the silver solution gel made a huge difference on how quickly this cut started healing.
Not to much more to add other than I got some tree limbs to cut up, more leaves to clean up and I have to install all of my solar motion lights.
August 30, 2017
My mortgage guy stopped by today and checked my paint job and recommended a couple of touch ups to the paint. Over all he thought my job would probably work out okay with the VA Appraiser and the loan should get done after the re-appraisal. The first coat Kill-Z is added to the bad spots and I’ll add another coat along with the touch ups for the appraiser who should show up around the first week in September.
FYI: if you are a veteran and want a cash out you will need a new appraisal. If you are doing a straight re-fi for a lower payments, chances are you won’t need an appraisal. Also the appraiser can not move stuff around, so it might be possible to “hide” some suspected problem areas with boards or things laid against the sides of the house.
In a way everything is sort of working out as my “contractor” suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital over the weekend. I got a call from him apologizing for not keeping in touch on the “potential” job. I added a little extra cash to my loan just in case some thing goes wrong and needs some fixing. I’m hoping not to use that money on the siding project and it will go straight into the “Emergency fund” for other projects/emergencies.
Carpets got cleaned, finally! This was a tough job as the living room carpet was difficult. The cleaning solution set on top of the deep pile carpet and never penetrated the fibers before the carpet cleaner pulled up the cleaning solution. It took a little finagling but I got the soap solution on the carpet, and vacuumed up on the first try then the next day the carpet cleaner did a great job scrubbing the living room carpet. Now on my low pile carpet the carpet cleaner did a pretty good job on the first try. I’m glad I went to the extra effort on the carpet carpet cleaner as Mom was so peeved she wanted to chuck the machine into the trash after fighting with it on the first day. FYI: Bissel carpet cleaner’s vacuum and spray pumps are connected and work in tandem. When pet hair gets up into the internal machine belts “slip” and can keep the machine from working. It is a bit of a pain but always clean all hair from the beater brushes and around the spray nozzles. Trust me it makes using a cheap carpet cleaner much easier to use the next time.
Did some shopping and have been adding to my hard liquor stock pile. This will last a long time for me as I prefer beer for drinking but it is always nice to have the option for a Margarita night. I focused on whiskeys and vodka to begin with and now I want to stock up gin, rum and tequila mid-range of quality. I figure get the booze for a “basic bar” at a reasonable price and then add in any Premium stuff as money allows. Idaho has state liquor stores so there is no competition on price. I don’t know what your priorities are for stocking up but hard liquor for any sort of barter should probably be bought is small quantities and for personal use in the bigger bottles. Do not discount getting schnapps or flavored liquors as many people like a sweet flavor, especially women. I’m not a big fan of sweet flavor alcohol but a bottle of Kahlua or peach/mint schnapps might make a good barter item. If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody is happy! You might also try out some cooking wines and sherries to cook with as they add lots of flavor to meals and marinades but are not so good to drink. That will save your stockpile for barter.
I have bitched and moaned enough and have done a few things to make my life better for the future. I need to add a few more 18 inch plywood boards and some additional Ideas but over all Mom and I are doing good though a bit stressed. With a little luck we will clean up the garden and start on building the boardwalk.
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.
May 4, 2017
Cedar Boards for the raised 3 sisters garden.
I am working on raised beds for the 3 Sisters Garden of Corn, Beans and Squash. Last year I put the sisters in my large garden bed and they did not do very well as I think they received to much water when I was watering the other plants. This year the sister’s beds are going to be completely separate and have three different 3 ft. x 3 ft raised beds on the south side of the house. My hope is the corn will cast a bit of shade as some the stalks can grow 12 feet tall and the plants will get only the water they need and not get over watered. I should have realized different plants need different amounts of water!
If you are curious this is the new garden …backyard layout
I have added two 2 ft. x 4 ft. beds for broccoli and cauliflower with a couple of bunches of celery in each bed. Celery is one of those plants that seems to be a good companion to almost every plant. Plus, home grown celery is to store bought celery that home grown tomatoes is to a store bought tomato. Celery in the garden is easy to use as you just cut off what you need and at the end of the season you cut off all the stalks, give them a quick blanch and then dehydrate them for all those dishes in the fall.
I put all of the brussel sprouts, cabbages and most of the leaf lettuce in the front yard edible beds. I planted a lot of lettuce this year as the prices have really gone up a lot and I like having lots of green salads and sandwiches for quick and light lunches in the summer. Going with earlier plantings of lettuce in several different beds I hope to avoid the lettuce “bolting” in hot weather.
Newly mulched beds
In the front yard we added a lot of flowers and cleaned up the front yard garden beds. I got some of the old dead roses dug out and added some new roses. The biggest of my problems with my Rose beds was I had no idea what I was doing when I moved into the house and the roses were too close and became overgrown because of neglect. As you can see in the top pic I have cut back the old roses that are still somewhat healthy, dug out the dead roses and while it is bit tough to see I added new roses with plenty of space between them to grow. It does not look all that impressive so far but the new roses are starting to put on new growth and the mulch is has made a big dent stopping the weed growth. Mom was also a huge help on cutting back the grape vines that got very over grown when not cut back each year.
Last but not least the Alley way beds now seem to be cleared of puncture vines though I still have some broad leaf weeds and a bit of “cheatgrass” to eliminate. Using the black walnut leaves as a killer much has worked out great and adding the wood ash from the fire place, seems? to be helping the poor clay/alkali soil in the alley. My little sedum plant from last year have come back and look darn good once you find them in the taller weeds. The sunchokes are filling and while it may not look all that impressive I’m darn pleased with the progress made on those beds. Adding more mulch, soil amendments and good plants like the sedum and sunchokes should start choking out the unwanted weeds.
May 2, 2017
It has been a bit difficult the last 12 months but I am trying. Lots of stuff to catch up with all of you. I am not dead nor have I given up I just got lazy and my juggling skills were just a bit lacking for life and posting. Sorry, I really dropped the ball and I don’t think ignoring my Blog was the best answer! If we are lucky, we live and learn. Just some quick updates . Mom is still living with me as housing prices are a tad high and she is waiting for “DAD” to get her off the Mortgage contract. Yeah it’s a long story but this is a quick update so “No Drama” is allowed.
The garden is looking awesome and I managed to start plants this year. Celery seeds are small rascals and you should be careful how you start them. Mom says we will need tweezers just to separate the plants. Never let a person with poor tactile skills start your pots for celery or any other small seeds! Over all Mom and I are doing darn good. Mom is enrolled in a Master gardeners class and I added a few more raised beds. I started a 3 sisters garden last year and it failed. This year I have new beds in the making for the 3 sisters garden. I’m also trying out a new drip irrigation system. Early days on trying a new system but the theory looks sound. We got a new dog and he is young and a terrier. He has been great as he makes Mom giggle with his antics.
I added 2 new raised beds in the backyard and went hardcore adding edible beds in the front yard beds. Early days for the “Cole” crops but so far so good! Pics of the dog and pics of the garden.
Mom calls him Jackson and he is devoted to her. He is a very sweet little terrier and not yappy.
Jackson the terrier.
I’m building new firewood racks and loading up on fire wood. This last winter was brutal. So I’m looking at buying a couple of garbage cans and filling the with sand and salt for next winter. I thought I was prepared for winter I was wrong!
Sort of a short post to say I am back but I should have more3 pics and plans for what I am trying to do in the future.
June 20, 2016
The garden is doing great though we were a bit late starting some of the plants. Actually I’m a bit amazed by how well the plants are doing via a the mix of sown seeds and some early starter plants. Today the pole beans are starting to sprout up through the ground of the 3 sisters garden experiment. I wish I could have started the plants in May, but I think the garden will be okay. FYI for those that want to use straw as mulch. While straw is a great mulch it does not break down quickly and if you use a small electric rototiller the straw binds up in the tines. Because of that we are going to try out the Scott’s earth grow as a mulch for the garden beds as a weed blocker and for retaining water. For my soil and the tools I have to work with using a bark mulch is the best solution for me and my garden. But if straw works for your garden, go for it. Every garden is special and it takes a few tweaks to make your garden grow.
Next job is eliminating Morning glory plants. While Morning glory is a pretty plant it climbs/spreads and strangles other plants I like around the homestead. Eliminated a weed or bad plant is good but you have to put in a new plant that chokes out the bad weed. I’m going to try out some Mossy rose/Portulaca for my front yard beds as it is low growing and only a perennial (reseeds it self) for ground cover. If it works great if not it should not be to hard to replace next year. Plus mossy rose is drought tolerant.
Some good new from the US senate on gun control laws and voting. It seems there was a bit of a backlash and the senators feared the American people might vote them out. I put a little 9mm carbine on layaway and I think I can get it off of layaway next week, rather than waiting on the Senate voting to take rights away from US citizens.
Things are getting “sporty” my friends and you need to be aware and prepared TODAY, just in case things go south. If you are thinking of burying all your guns you need to dig them up. Though I don’t have a problem if you bury “extra guns” as backup.
For this summer Home depot has a battery powered Ryobi fan for sale for under $40. 00 with an 18 volt lithium battery. These little Ryobi fans are great for cooling both people and animals. I like the water misters and pump on the $80. 00 dollar model, but I recommend you get this fan or something similar to move both hot an cool air that is NOT dependent on the electric grid.
May 22, 2016
We got hail this week but most of the plants seemed to do all right despite the pounding. Most of my plants are somewhat protected in containers, so damage was minimal. We are sort of behind the power curve on planting the garden but so far that is not a bad thing as the weather has been a bit wonky this year. So far the plants seem to be doing well and my focus has been adding in grass, making my pathways and a backyard that works for me and Mom. Mom and I are doing a lot of basic yard maint. and cleaning up the grape vines has been a challenge this year since I let them get over grown along with the lilacs and a couple of or bushes. We got a lot of of the overgrown stuff cut back but we still have a lot of work to do on cutting back the grape vines. I’m a little behind on putting the garden and it is rainy so rototilling the soil is just not on until the soil dries a bit. I’m adding a new bed to the front yard for edible flowers and annuls that just add a bit of color. The flower bed will be done in red landscape timbers to sort of fit the “craftsman home” effect.
True Value hardware is having a great sale for most of the things I need. I’m buying up Semi-gloss paint for the house as that makes the walls easy to clean and they have tarps on sale that will finish up protecting the wood pile from rain yet the tarps can be folded up to let the wood pile dry. The wood overhead cover is rotting and boards that support the roof are warping big time. Two more tarps will cover the firewood and I can start cutting out the the bad roof over the wood pile. I will be able to afford enough paint to cover most of the house with colors that work with a Craftsman type house.
I just bought a 10 gallon air compressor/oil type from Harbor Freight and a basic tool set up. This air compressor should be a large enough for most basic jobs around the house. I bought a small paint spray gun for paint but until I test it, I’m not sure about trusting it despite the reviews.
Mom always see what has not been done. I see how much we have got done. Actually Mom gets down on herself for not doing more around the place. I think she is outstanding in her work cleaning up the grape vines and helping me trim up trees and bushes. I suppose it goes back to her being a recovering Catholic. It’s guilt imposed via childhood. I see the glass always full, It just might be full of air which is not helpful at times. I think we are doing great! The little “Casa de Chaos” got a new roof, a lot of work on the yard. Hell we can run my washer without running a garden hose to the shower. We have grass for the dogs and great paths that are a pleasure to walk rather than uneven dirt that could twist an ankle of knee. I think we are doing pretty well over all.