A small flare and easing back into work

August 7, 2020

It seems the cumulative stress got me in a small flare last week.   I’d like to say I was smart and took a day or two to slow down into putter mode.. Nope I doubled down and made my self sick enough to be completely miserable for a couple of days of feeling awful physically and emotionally.  My body basically said “I quit” and all my my plans became nothing more than words on my note pad.  I do a good job working around my physical limitations most of the time but combining stacking a wood pile in 100+ F. heat was not in my plan and I did not adjust my expectations/ goals optimally.  Living in what is basically “Crisis Mode” all the time is not good for people.  Much like a soldier, kept on “FULL ALERT” 24/7.  Anyone’s performance will degrade after a couple of weeks and now it has been over 130 days/ 4 months of masking up and constant updates and daily contradictions on dealing with the Wu-Flu. I’m disabled military so I don’t have to worry about paying my mortgage and I don’t have kids in school.  My stressors are lower compared to many people, but my body just shut down and stopped for a few days.

What seem to help me bounce back was to stop everything for a day and eat very light bland meals of soup, scrambled eggs and toast, plus drink lots of water.  I started feeling better and started just getting some of the basic house keeping chore caught up like laundry and cleaning the big bathroom.  Today, I move and stacked 4 wheel barrows worth of wood. It might sound like a lot but it is not a lot of stacked firewood.  I take comfort in that I don’t have to stack that little bit of wood in the future.  I guesstimate I have stacked more than half of the total firewood delivery. It’s going to be close if I can stack all of this wood under the carport or if I’ll have to stack the firewood in the “kennel area” wood racks.  I will have to fix the ” kennel” wood rack area but all of that wood has seasoned for over 18 months and is mostly Doug fir or hardwoods like cherry and apple. I don’t want to bury those wood racks in “green” fire wood of any sort.

I got the first coat of enamel paint to protect the wood of my garden cart/raised bed mini garden.  I drilled the drainage holes and I think adding a little bit of landscape cloth to hold the dirt but allow water drainage would the right move for the cart.  This little (mobile raised garden) is a prototype.  I’m not a carpenter, I’m just slapping materials together to see if the project can work, at relatively low cost and can be practical for me.  The enamel paint is to protect the wood (frame) from water damage. The landscape cloth is to protect the plants from any out gassing of the paint as well as hold soil in the bed while allowing for water drainage. I will be using enamel paint to protect the 2×4 frame but what will hold the sides of soil is Cedar Fence wood. Cedar has great water and insect resistant properties. While I can’t stop all insects I can pick woods that are rot resistant.

I’m becoming a big fan of using 30% vinegar as a safe weed killer.  Now I have a more soil that is alkali, so adding some acid based products is not going to kill the soil like Round up. In my weed killing experience for tough weeds you need to use the 30% vinegar for weeds like morning glory, and it seems “cheat” grass.  This vinegar seems to work on most broad leaf weeds like dandelions,  some thistle plants and some plants like cheat grass.  If you are spraying weeds you need to use 30% strength.  I tried using 20% strength vinegar on the weeds and it did not kill most  weeds While I was not impressed with the 20% vinegar as a weed killer. I used it to clean some windows that were covered in hard water stains. These are crappy quality aluminum frame windows that have not been cleaned in at least 10 years and sprayed with “irrigation water” for over 15 years.  I won’t say the windows are perfectly clear but the first vinegar wash made the old windows much clearer.

My steps to clean off window hard water stains:

  1. Spray 20% vinegar on the glass and see if it clears up the glass.
  2. Use paper towels to clean the glass.  DID NOT WORK.
  3. Spray again with vinegar and use a squeegee and cotton cloth to clean glass.  Results were better but I need a mild abrasive to clean the glass
  4.  Use a type of “Magic eraser” sponge with the vinegar spray and water to wipe it clean.

Windows are not perfectly clear but I can see though the glass of the cleaned windows and now I see how badly the porch windows have a bad hard mineral build up. I don’t expect the old windows to be perfectly clear.  I just want to see through them and now I can effectively clean those windows. Not big deal cleaning a few porch windows but I’m making things better my home.


Vinegar weed killer is working and shifting to a face shield rather than a mask

July 11, 2020

The 30% vinegar is killing some of the weeds.  I was not very methodical spraying/soaking down the weeds but most weeds (green/leafy types) are turning brown and dying back.  It looks like some of the cheat grass is also turning brown and dying back where I focused on spraying the vinegar.  The morning glory die back seems a little hit and miss, but I did not methodically  spray those plants during the first test spray.  I bought another gallon of the 30% vinegar and  will spray down the weeds in full sun but during cooler morning temps to see if that makes the vinegar more or less effective.  I found a small “puncture vine/goat head weed, so I can test the vinegar on on that weed.  I won’t be cutting down the weeds for a couple of days because I want to see if the leaves pull the vinegar down the plant and help kill the root system.  I can see the vinegar whither leaves, but it is possible that adding that much acid to the alley way gravel/soil is changing the ph balance enough that weeds can no longer thrive in the soil.  Early days for this experiment but the results are looking promising!

UPDATE:  Spraying the weeds in full sun does make the vinegar spray more effective!  The vinegar spray did not have any noticeable affect on puncture vines/goatheads.  So far the 30% vinegar seems to kill back Morning glory, cheat grass and most weeds with green leafy parts even small leaves.

I’m very tired of wearing a mask!  I wear a mask because I’m responsible for my safety as an immuno-comprised person.  I’m  not making a political statement!  I’m in in the at risk population so it is on me to mitigate my risk.  I have no right to demand other people other people do something to make me feel safe.  Masks only help reduce the risk of spreading or catching the covid virus it is not a get out being sick card.  Covid can also spread via the eyes but few people outside of medical personnel wear basic safety glasses.  I’m shifting to using a transparent face shield rather than mask.  I figure I should be about as safe as using a mask and the face shield will be much more comfortable to wear during the summer months.  There might be a social distrust that people feel at an instinctive level about mistrusting masks covering parts of the face.

We humans are social animals and facial expressions are a part of our communication and if half of your face is covered up you miss facial cues in that communication.  A face shield protects everyone from most droplets but you can also see a persons facial expression and they don’t look like a bandit or a doctor. Both creatures that can leave your bank account depleted.  😉

I picked up a couple of these facial shields from Lowes for $9.98 and it is cheap china crap that should cost about $2.00 but I can’t make the product I want so I have to buy what is available locally.  I have an industrial strength Face shield I bought awhile back for dealing with lye for soap making that was a “little over the top” for safety but it still works as a protective barrier.  We might need masks if a new flu/pandemic happens again and what you have today, might be all you have for that disaster.  An easily sanitized plastic face shield will conserve those expensive masks for the next pandemic and you have a face shield or two.

Be flexible and adapt. Just because you can’t get one item does not mean there are not a bunch of items you can buy or build to make your life better every day.  Can’t buy masks buy a propane tank and BBQ/learn to cook outdoors.  Look for alternatives to buying from the big mega corporations. I’ll admit I have used the big box stores and Amazon.  I’m trying to use the local stores as much as possible.   I use True Value Hardware stores and online ordering as much as possible as the owner of the store is local.

Take a look outside of pop culture and read classical books. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a book I had heard about and “Uncle Tom” was used as a pejorative.  Yet Tom was faithful unto being whipped to death and did not give up a slave escaping the south/slavery.  What else could be asked of this man, this character in the book?  Read the book, Uncle Tom was no boot licker.  He was almost Christ like in his willingness to be whipped/scourged  by Simon Legree.  I have no problem critiquing Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a book. Tom would never bend the knee to any man despite being a slave and refused until death.  I’m not black but I’d be proud to be called an Uncle Tom by the mob.  I’m not as noble or self sacrificing as Tom.  Read the book and don’t let other people tell you what the book means.  Everyone should read Uncle Tom’s cabin because it it is a study of humanity. Good people do good in the face evil and don’t change because they see themselves as doing  good.

Is the Declaration of Independence a good document?  The flawed human authors is irrelevant.  Is the Declaration of independence good or bad?  Is the US Constitution a flawed document. Good or bad, regardless of the type/character of people that wrote the document? Socialism is bad because it forces people into being slaves to a collective good ,that changes based on cost/benefit that is a capitalistic business prospective.  Communism is bad based simply on the death count over the last 200+ years.

Many that want to kill/destroy the US constitution are working to put themselves out of work.  If you destroy the US Constitution there is no reason for a Representatives in the House nor Senators in DC.  Abolish the Us Constitution and you, Ilhan Omar are nothing in your state.  If you abolish the Constitution what will prevent states going there own way?  Do you think Idaho will contribute tax dollars to pay your wage if you dissolve the constitution?  All states will break apart and find new trade deals and the States will trade as regional powers.  The 4 corner states will hold up Cali for water rights and electricity. Without Federalism in the USA every state will try and protect it’s people and the state economy. Just a couple of breaks in any supply chain will destroy a city.  Truckers are saying they won’t go into cities without cops.  Good luck to you cities that want goods delivered locally.

You have to deliver!  Well no, if I don’t if I feel safe.  People have agency they can make choices and what you want is irrelevant to their choices. Cops don’t have to be cops in NYC or wherever… They can quit and go be cops in place that support cops. Doctors can leave hospitals, professors can become tutors. Landlords can refuse to rent and barkeeps can refuse to sell you booze.

The only thing you have to do in this life is die. Everything else is a choice! 


What a strange summer! 2020 has been LIT so far

July 4, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 


The Garden cart is started and some chores got done

June 25, 2020

Finally the front yard got mowed and goodness the grass was tall.  I emptied the grass clippings bag four times for a lawn that is not that big.  I have one of those big 65 gallon trash bins and I estimate I filled it about 2/3’s full with just grass clippings.  I did not anticipate how much faster the grass and other weeds/plants in the front yard would grow after the big tree was cut down.  I cleaned up an cut back most of the growth but now I have much more new growth of my pine shrub, a volunteer tree and many weeds.  While I anticipated cutting down the tree would change the front yard eco-system/climate. I did not anticipate the how fast I’d see the growth on many plants/weeds.  I’m trying to catch up to the massive changes happening on the front yard and plant beds.

I have tested out the “blade cutters” with the Ryobi weed wacker on the weeds in the alley and the grape vines.  You don’t want to use the blades around a tree, stone surface or fence but the blades do a good job cutting vines, thistle and “cheat” grass. The blades will send gravel flying and some woody stems might sting/cut you if you are in shorts. I think if you are wearing jeans or heavy cloth pants you would not suffer any minor injuries or notice what materials the blades “kick” up.  For a $15.00 purchase I think the cost is okay for the Ryobi weed wacker.

I have started building the Garden Cart and so far so good.  I’m not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination but I have learned is dry fit every  bit of wood before you screw and glue.  It is also okay to make a mistake, that is how you learn. My “concept” is a small but deep soil bed planter that looks good and will fit on a balcony, on a patio next to BBQ or for a person with limited mobility to have a small “garden bed/planter box” of herbs, flowers or vegetables.  Total dimensions  of the box are 2 ft wide by 4 feet long and approx. 3 feet tall. The dirt will fill the box will be approx.12-18 inches deep. I’m using  basic/cheap 2x4s for the legs, 1/2 inch plywood. My idea for this garden cart is it will be easy to move to a new location and for easy access/easy to work planter beds.

I’m going to paint the plywood with enamel paint to seal it against rot. I’m using cedar fence wood as the side panels and I think finding a window or chunk of glass to add on top of the little garden cart is possible in the future.  Once I get the box finished I’ll post pics and you can start your own little garden box.  Actually I’m sure many people have made the same sort of garden box,  I just have not seen it explained/laid out.

At the end of the day you must do or do not, it is your choice.  I can find all sorts of reasons not to do something, but I still have to cut the grass and weed the garden.  Golly Jamie you don’t realize how oppressed you are by living in a state that grows food, meat and building products.

I’m trying not to install my small A/C units. I can live with it being up to 80 degrees F. indoors if I can use my window fans to drop the temp. at night.  Adding vinyl siding and insulation the house holds heat/cold add more fans to save on electric costs.

You must save you/your family.  You are on your own for survival. Get to thinking outside the box…

 


First garden bed soaker hose is done

June 11, 2020

I got the first garden bed set up with a soaker hose. I’m moving away from using a sprinkler to more water goes into the garden bed and not watering the weeds outside the garden bed. Overall I’m pleased with the results though it is not a true “drip irrigation system” . The first big bonus is 25 foot soaker hoses are relatively cheap and will water my 10 foot long raised garden beds without watering a lot of the ground outside of the garden beds.

Lessons learned : Drilling through 2×4 with the hole drill tool is tough. What I did was start drilling the hole on one side of the 2×4 use a drill bit to mark the center of the hole and then finish drilling out the hole from the other side of the board. I’m sure there are people that will say “any idiot knows…” I am that idiot and I did not know, though it seems apparent after trying to drill a large hole through one side of a 2×4. It can’t work, but if you use a a drill bit to set the same hole from the other side of the 2×4 you can make a hole for the hose.

If I can afford to to put in a drip irrigation system in the future most of the work is done so using the soaker hoses is a “test” or proof of concept of a drip irrigation system done on the cheap!

How are are the garden plants doing? The lettuce, swiss chard and spinach is growing very well. The Bok choy looks like a bust again. My sweet and dent corn seem to be growing but the Squash and pole beans seem to be a bust. The tomitillos and herbs are doing great but the tomatoes and peppers are lagging. I need to get on top of the weeding and make the watering more focused on the plants because the weather is “wonky” with a couple of days of 90 F. degree heat for a couple of days and then dropping into 60 F. degree heat + rain. This is hard for farmers and gardeners because the expected/normal weather is not happening.

I’m going to finish adding the soaker hoses to all my garden beds and get some more winter squash plant starts to fill in my garden beds. Mama nature is fickle you can do everything correct according to the books and get nothing out of your garden. You can do almost everything wrong and get food from your garden. Doing the real work of making soil, weeding and know when and what to plant will matter over a few growing seasons. Any work you do for a garden seems to pay off at least 6-12 months later! Failure is only an opportunity to try new stuff and you will fail, that is how you learn!


OMG! so much rain! I thought I lived in a desert?

May 19, 2020

I don’t think we have NORMAL seasons in Idaho.  Just statistical averages, stuff  happens within most months, with the data spread over a hundred years that pretends to be normal weather.  Needless to say getting work done on the garden beds is on hold along with mowing the lawn.  There is some good news along with the bad, as the extra rain has saved me from dragging a hose around to water the lawn. The “lawn feed” and compost/fertilizer have had plenty of time to move naturally into the soil so the new grass in the back yard is filling in nicely.  The long raised garden bed plants are loving this rain.  Even the little celery plants are starting to put on some growth and come back from looking so “sad” after transplanting in the garden bed.

I’m still working the garden fence to make it an effective barrier. Having all of this rain has kept most of the cats and squirrels at home and not digging in my garden.  I’ll have few days this week to finish up my gate and add some bottom stakes the the bottom of the fence to limit the critters from crawling under the fence. The rain has made me think and layout how I want  to build the 2 ft. by 4 ft. garden cart.  One of my biggest faults in building stuff has been slapping stuff together and not taking the time to “dry fit” the parts.  I want these elevated garden bed carts to be functional but also to looks decorative.

On too the money and shopping stuff. Prioritize your spending!

  1. That means food and utilities come first.  Whatever monies are leftover then go for your debts and rent.
  2. Call the companies you owe money too and work on a payment plan even if it is only $5.00 a week or $20.00 a month.  Do this on the phone and  get a written record via email about what you are paying and receipts of payments made. This will help prove you made a “good faith effort” to pay the debt.
  3. Don’t agree to a Bubble (3-6 month of payments due in full) for payment of your mortgage or any debt after a 3 month grace period. With a mortgage, ask the bank or company to add the payment be deferred to the end of contract.  If you can’t pay your mortgage because you haven’t worked during the LOCK DOWN.  You can’t make a bubble payment of your mortgage after 3 months of lock down.
  4. If you still have an income be it SS, pension, work from home or hustling side jobs start saving cash and keep a some of that cash at home. Keep enough in the bank to pay your monthly bills and work toward that 6 months worth of saving.  Also keep some cash at home.  Let’s call it recreation money for a pizza, a good sale you find. Perhaps it is just a couple of twenty dollar bills stuffed in your wallet to pay the gas station for gas when the internet or power goes down.
  5. Buy the thing you want/need to make your life better. It is okay to have a Netflix subscription.  Not my thing,  I like video games and computers.  Heck I just spent almost $90.00 on a new desk chair because my old chair was toast.  Sitting in this chair is a joy.  It is all about what is valuable to you.

That is the thing about freedom, I may think your priorities are idiotic and you may think the same about my priorities.  You do you and I’ll do me and sharing what works and doesn’t work makes everyone’s life potentially better.  My gosh if you think making a mistake is bad, you need to practice more at screwing up.  The only people that don’t make mistakes are people who do nothing and that in itself is a mistake!


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!

 


Happy Mothers Day !!

May 10, 2020

It was a very Idaho sort of Mothers Day here.  I bought a small rose bush in a very cute Copper “looking” plant watering can. Then I put together Mom’s new Mantis tiller.  The instructions for the tiller’s Quick Start page was great and covered how to add oil and fuel in a very easy to follow format. Mantis even included enough oil to run the little Honda engine, so the tiller is almost fill with gas and get to work. The Mantis tiller is very light weight and that can be a good and bad thing because Mom needs a light weight tiller for her raised beds but having a heavy weight tiller can make digging into hard alkali/clay soil can make putting in a garden less physical work to start.

For my 3 Sisters garden beds I used a garden fork to turn over the soil and then used my little electric tiller to break up the clods of dirt before mixing in more compost into the soil.  While the soil I have in my beds seems to be mineral dense, the soil also compacts without compost and other amendments to the soil.  I suppose some plant other than weeds, might do well in hard compacted soil but I have not found that plant.  So far my plants are doing okay in the raise garden bed except for the new celery I planted that seems to be less sun tolerant. It looks like the Utah tall celery is the best type to grow in my area.

This is a short post but I’m adding to the garden beds.  But I wanted to say to all you Moms that have let us kids fail with our scraped knees, washed all those grass stained clothes and taught us kids how to make grilled cheese and tomato soup was the best meal ever!  Thank you Mom!


The big front yard tree is down

May 4, 2020

It took the guys from Tucker’s Timber about 10 hours to cut that big old elm down and they worked hard for all of those 10 hours. I think they did a great job with cleanup but they did have a limb bonk my neighbor’s fence and broke a section of that fence.  I liked how they pointed out this broken section of fence and tried to fix the fence right away rather than try and hide breaking the fence. The tree guys are coming back to my house to repair the neighbors broken fence and do some tree limb clean up on some of my backyard trees.  Based on seeing how full the truck beds are at the end of the day. I think the got about a cord of hard wood from the tree.  I’m getting a discount on the tree cutting service because Tucker’s will have around a cord of hard wood fire wood cut from this one tree.  The guys let me add a couple of my cut  limbs to the Wood chipper pile and gave me a new wood cutting stump that has both a flat cutting surface and a flat bottom for my wood chopping needs.  We had a big thunderstorm and rain about two days after the tree was cut down and I felt much better about cutting down the old tree after seeing the winds blowing through some of the big trees in my neighborhood.

Cutting down the big tree has already affected the “Front yard” ecology dramatically by adding a lot more sunlight.  The kiddy pool strawberry planter has exploded with flowers and the lawn is putting on more green growth in just 2 days.  I treated the lawn for bugs and added some spring feed to the lawn and now the grass is growing like crazy.  It is amazing how one change in your yard can have so many additional changes that can be both positive and negative for your plans.  I’m thinking about adding a couple of dwarf fruit trees  for a little shade or perhaps a shaded seating area with a pergola or patio umbrella/canopy that will make up for the lost shade from the tree.  I am taking this summer to see how much impact the lost of that shade tree will affect the home cooling costs and how it will affect the front yard flower/garden beds.

I attacked the overgrown grape vines so I could get three more raised beds ready for a “Three Sisters” beds of corn, beans and squash.  Cutting out the old grape canes went better than I anticipated.   While I did cut out some new runners and growth, most of the stuff I cut was old dried out canes that was messy and not productive vine growth. The three beds have been fallow for a year and I need to fork it, add some compost/manure but I think the beds will be ready for planting one bed of sweet corn and the other beds of dent corn.  After a couple of weeks  I can add the pole beans and week later the winter squash if I can find seeds for direct sowing. SW Idaho has a fairly long growing season for a northern state.  While we can’t grow citrus fruits on a large scale we have many orchards full of apples, apricots, pears and grow some of the best grapes. Idaho farms also grow a lot of onions, garlic, wheat, oats and corn. So I think I’ll do okay with fresh greens and growing some stuff in my garden beds as I live in a agricultural state. Our weakest link in Idaho is gasoline/ diesel/ fuel and carbon-based fertilizer and chemical pesticides.  While I may not like using chemical based poisons to eliminate insect in a large scale farming operation.  I can’t say the pesticide is ineffective.  I just think the cost/benefit ratio might be problematic.

Anyhoo,  if you are like me on Social Security and file taxes but don’t get a refund or have to pay taxes. The IRS web site now is “Updated” and I got an update on when the check was mailed rather than a webpage of the IRS doesn’t respond with a page of the IRS does not know!   I make under $20 grand a year and supposedly the IRS mailed out the check May 1st.  I don’t know if it is true but at least it is better than the “We don’t know” page.   If you got the IRS “We don’t know” page in the last month you might want to check back and see if the status has changed.  I hate this pittance giver to USA tax payers and the big banks get to hand out government backed grants in the billions of dollars.  Gold/money always runs up hill.  Give the poorest person a  $100-$1000 dollars and they will spend it right away!  I’m doubtful all would spend it wisely, but before a week is out that money will end up in a TBTF bank.  I think giving people “Free Money” is a bad thing but if the government is hell bent on giving away “free money”. They should make that money circulate as effectively as possible.  That means giving that free money to the people of the middle class and poor because they will spend the money to pay rent,mortgages,credit card payments, utilities, groceries, fuel/energy.  An Uber rich person might buy another Picasso.  Hell I love good art but how does that art create demand/growth of the economy?  Honestly how many pairs of pants can Bill Gates buy/own?


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.