Moving to the country will happen, how quickly is up for debate

January 7, 2016

First things first, Casa de Chaos will need a new roof and some minor electrical and plumbing work. If I sell the house or Mom and I need to stay here longer we will need a good solid roof over our heads.  Luckily Nampa City has a 0-3% loan/grant program for those type of repairs and the loan might be deferred until the home is sold. I talked to the city today and it looks good for me as a candidate for a loan. I seem a bit unusual in that I have a good credit rating even though I don’t have a lot of income. Thank goodness I did not over mortgage myself when I bought this house and when I refi-ed the house I just wanted a lower payment and interest rate.  If I get approved for the loan the little house should be in great shape to live in or sell in the next year or two.

I will buy a rigid panel, 6×8 greenhouse at Harbor Freight. The greenhouse can be moved to the new place but it will useful here at Casa de Chaos extending the growing season. The last couple of years I have been a bit late on getting the garden plants started so I end up playing catch up and then getting overwhelmed at harvest time.  For a house in the city, this place does have a good set up of fruit and nut trees, grape vines and several different micro-climate garden beds that do a good job supplementing the food budget/pantry.

I have seen a few Owyhee county small acreages in the $70,000-$100,000 range that might work out for mom and I. Both of us need a place around $80,000 so we can put a 20% down payment to avoid paying mortgage insurance. We also will need to have some cash on hand to buy a couple of used ATVs and pickup trucks for work/farm vehicles.  I have a good set of tools for working the soil here in town but I remember digging post holes for a small horse corral via a post hole digger because the hardpan broke most augers.  I was a lot younger and physically healthy at the time. I sure can’t do that sort of physical work now!   I have aged a bit and I like to think I have learned to work smarter rather than harder, plus I cheat a lot to save my physical energy.

So far what I have come up with as a plan of attack is:

  1. Get a low interest loan or grant via the city of Nampa and fix up my house for the future and or selling it for enough money to pay off the mortgage and have money for a 20% down payment plus a buffer of few grand for any emergencies that will arise.
  2. Buy a used ATV and small pickup for working any future farmland/homestead.
  3. Start checking out properties in Owyhee County and touch base with some of the people we know that remember Mom and are willing to give us a head’s up on any good deals.
  4. Buy a Cistern we can use at my place or move to the new homestead that will hold rain water as a backup to the city water system or well.
  5. If possible start inviting like-minded preppers/starting homesteaders along with working with the local FFA and 4-H groups or trading/renting a bit of land for the physical work we can’t do daily.  It can be terrifying to strike out and become a homesteader and it is not the thing for everyone. Perhaps renting a bit of land with someone you trust might be a good way to get your feet wet on homesteading. Without completely pulling up stakes and moving before you are ready to make that sort of commitment.

The plans are still very preliminary but when I set a goal I tend to make it happen eventually. I only dread draining my water barrels if I have move.


I feel like I am getting caught up on stuff for2015!

January 1, 2016

Don’t get me wrong a prepper’s work is never done, at least for me I see preparing as a way of life. For all of 2015 I felt I was about 2-4 weeks behind schedule all year and most of the year seemed to be an exercise in “Crisis Management”.  I did not anticipate Mom’s divorce or her spending a year living with me. Plus I did not set good goals for 2015. For me having realistic goals set for the year is critical to my mental outlook as well as giving me a feeling of accomplishment. Having Mom around has been great, but I have to say that I did not have a firm grasp on my goals for 2015 so with Mom’s help I did manage to get some other things accomplished.  For other people it might be an adult child moving back home or taking on a grandchild, niece or nephew from parents that need to make sure the child is cared for while they get work/relocate.  I suspect I am not alone getting blind-sided by taking in a relative in today’s economy.

While “Crisis Management” is one thing that is very stressful. Learning to be flexible enough to adapt and go with the flow is a prepping and survival skill you need and practice. I can’t speak for others but I have had a lot of practice on adapting to new situations in 2015.  I don’t mind adjusting my goals when new stuff happens, but I really despise the idea of crisis management.  One of the reasons I think I felt I was always behind in 2015 is that I did not write down goals and check them off when achieved or simply crossed goals when I saw no way to make them happen.  For me, scratching a goal off the list is better than trying to play catch up. Since I did not have a list of goals for 2015 there was nothing to scratch off the “todo” list

I am blessed that Mom and I work and live together very well. I do most of the cooking and Mom does the dishes. I like doing outside work and Mom likes cleaning the house.  There is some overlap on jobs but overall we work well together.  Mom wants to get a place out in the country in Owyhee County. I would like a place out in the country like that,  but have been afraid to try and sell my house and worse actually move all my stuff.  I would not be moving to some third world nation and I generally only shop at the local “mega-marts” twice a month so gas prices should not be a huge problem.  Here in the city I can not get close to any sort of self-sufficiency as I do not have a enough land for critters and large garden.  I’m not sure if I’m physically capable of growing most of my own food in the country, but I know I will never grow enough food on my city lot with all of the zoning restriction.

Nampa Idaho is not a big city, but the whole “Treasure Valley” Corridor from Mountain Home (AFB) to Ontario Oregon is becoming an “Urban Megaplex” along I-84.  Boise Idaho according to the last census has a larger population than Salt Lake City Utah.  While I like the area, I don’t like some of the “big city politics” I am starting to see out of Boise.  Just this fall we had Boise city government bragging about buying (via a bond levy) open spaces and then shut down a local “tent city” because there was not enough money to “police the tent city or provide sanitation”.  I love “greenbelts, parks and bike paths” as well as the next person but if a city is buying up land with taxpayer’s dollars, all they end up doing is drive up housing costs and create more income inequality. The PTBs actually make the urban housing problem worse via zoning regulations and declaring green zones, no development zones. I suppose this works out great for people that have already got their homes, but it really sucks for young people/ families and those folks that live on the fringe.

 


I added an air purifier to Mom’s room today for air improvement.

November 22, 2015

Still early days for the “cleaning the air” test but the air seem to be to be improving for the dogs and us humans in the house. Some of the improvements I have noticed so far…

  • Mom does not seem to be snoring as much late at night and her sense of smell seems to be coming back. Mom has not had a good sniffer for years so she does not blame my smoking.  She was quite surprised that she started smelling the chlorine that is used to treat Nampa city water.  Mom stated today’s nap was the best nap she’s had in several weeks after adding the purifier to her room.
  • My sinuses seem to be draining.  While my nose is a leaky at times I find my sniffer is getting better especially about the smells of ashtrays and eliminating that odor.
  • The pekes seem to be breathing easier. Brodie the peke would do a sort of cough/hacking sort of like a cat with a hair ball.  A couple of the pekes would have something like an asthma attack though that is not a good description of the heavy snorting/breathing the pekes went through trying to catch a breath.  It was almost like a cross of irritation and over- excitement. Great news, we have not seen any sort of breathing problems or attacks since we have added the air purifiers.

Good news, Sadie the miniature schnauzer is doing much better about going potty outside though she’s still working on using the doggie door.  Sadie adores my Mom and sleeps in her room or on the couch in front of the fireplace. I think Sadie has been very good for Mom as Tucker and Brodie tend to hang out with me and Diana the peke. Sadie is becoming Mom’s most devoted companion.  I have never been married though I was in a long-term relationship and I know I was very hurt when things did not work out.  I can imagine a person could feel unloved or even unlovable. Most pets will love unconditionally and that can be a great ego boost as well as a reason that a person goes on making a life.  Having an animal that adores you and or depends on you can make a big difference in your mental attitude. I think with Mom’s divorce thing going over a year that having a devoted lil dog will will be very good for Mom and Sadie will do well with Mom taking care of her.

I got the front porch filled with wood. The wood rick is topped off and I filled 3 of the 18 gallon bucket with mill-ends. I hope Monday I can run the mower over the front yard and pick up/mulch the leaves that are dropping since it turned cold. I’ll need to move Smokey the cat out of the basement and do a little patrol while the weather is good. The weather man says don’t worry about the high clouds and the storm will hit the day before Thanksgiving.  Well, I worry as the weatherman’s timing has been a bit off this year.

So far adding the air purifiers has made life a lot better.  While we (preppers/survivalist) types tend to  plan for the worst case scenario. I see no reason why should not make our day to day living the best it can be at all times including today, or in a disaster.


Watching the “Market” today was interesting! In a Train Wreck sort of way

August 25, 2015

I think this is the “normal, pre-crash volatility” that signals a crash is coming, but I think there is still some time left before the crash.  How much time? I have no idea.  I don’t think it is time to max your credit cards for the Apocalypse just yet. Though if you have some particular weak point I would get it fix now rather than putting it off or waiting for a sale.  My thing is getting my wood pile stocked for winter. I have a already ordered one cord from an unknown and after I see the quality I might get a few more cords from them.  Wood around here goes on sale around September. So it is very difficult to get it delivered earlier in the year. Mid September is my drop dead date for getting wood at a sensible price.  I still have wood leftover from last year and I’m going to check out some free hard wood for the taking at the local Sears store parking lot just to add a bit to the wood pile. My neighbor trimmed the heck out of his fruit trees this spring and I still have that to cut up and stack.

I paid off the wood stove this month.  Huzzah! The only debt I have now is my house. With a little bit of luck I can put that money into savings and not into some other little emergency that always seems to crop up when you are at the bottom of the economic food chain.  Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do something will always need to repaired, replaced or remodeled if you own stuff! Lumber is very cheap right now. I got eight very nice 2×4 studs to fix up the overhead cover of my wood pile for under $18.00 at lowes. I think having a small stockpile of “building grade lumber” is a must for anyone into prepping and self-reliance.  While at lowes I noticed they had some deeply discounted lumber and other building supplies that looked like it was mis-cut to a shorter length or was pre- ordered and then abandoned.  I saw some treated wood(deck?) that would make great raised beds for a wicked low price.

Onto the sales: I splurged shopping at my local Tru-Value, via the coupon book/ad this month. I added another ABC Fire Extinguisher for $15.00 for home safety.  That gives me 2 multi-purpose extinguisher on each side of the house and a small handheld in each room. I figure we can handle a small fire or at least douse the flame to escape the house.  The small  ABC extinguishers can be moved to vehicles or added to camp gear.  I often have to buy low end so I have a least something on hand that will be effective. That does not mean you should stay low end and consider it good enough.  As you get better prepared you will find you have many items that could be gifts to friends/family or can be added to the barter box.

Yard sale bargains: I finally got my non-electric smoker box for $25.00 at a local yard sale. If things go “sideways” and electric power gets iffy you only have a few ways to preserve meat.  Old fashioned “potted meat cooked and buried in a layer of lard. Canned meat via a pressure cooker, or a some way of salted, dried or smoke. For me canning seems safest and I have canned meat.  But I really want to try some of the smoke and “potted meat” just for a bit of variety.

My recommendation at this time is get ready for winter. Focus on food, water and energy + your backups. While I may not have all the wood I want on hand I have been stocking up on propane tanks and I have 30 days worth even at below zero temps. Get tight with your cash and have at least 1-3 months on hand for utilities.  Don’t plan savings for your mortgage or rent if things get tight. Pay ahead any bills you can and keep some cash on hand even if it is just $20.00.

I don’t things will get “sporty” at this time, but I have been wrong before, so you must weigh your risks.


Nice to have the plumbing fixed, planning for fall/winter

July 8, 2015

It was so nice to wassh clothes and dishes without running a hose to drain the washer, have all the drains working properly in the kitchen as well as working bathroom faucet.  I have become very appreciative of modern plumbing and all the ways it makes daily life cleaner and requires much less work.   Because I have gone a week without tap water and had to use work a rounds for sinks, toilets and drains. I have gained a lot of respect for basic plumbing that brings in safe water to drink along with getting rid of waste that can cause disease.  I suppose my biggest fear in any disaster or collapse is lack of clean drinking water and sewage treatment.  After the storm Sandy hit NY people crapped in non-working toilets and then in the hallways/common areas because they could not get rid of human waste. Sewage treatment plants backed up and all of the waste flowed into rivers and low ground surrounding the city. Waste going untreated is all to common following most disasters and creates a breeding ground for diseases,  so it is critical that you have your own waste disposal plan and a way to create more safe drinking water in addition to what you have stored.

Speaking for myself, I underestimated the physical energy required to move water using muscle power during my no tap water/ no water heater tests. A great test is do all your basic chores but use only your stored water rather than your tap water for a day.  Are you planning to use a “water bob” in the bathtub for your emergency water supply? Then use only that water for everything that requires water for a day. Washing dishes/ clothes, drinking/cooking, clean up,  watering your garden, pets and plants.  In winter heating water on a wood or gas stove inside is easy, in the summer you will also heat up the house. Having a way to heat water and cook outdoors will keep the house cooler and more comfortable.  Do you have big pots capable of heating 2-5  gallons of water at a time and are you strong enough to move that much water where you need it?  I recommend getting several of the big 5 gallon Igloo drink jugs for your hot water storage.  These jugs are great multi-taskers that can store cold water and keep it cold or hot water and keep it hot. Also these igloo coolers can store ice and food “in a pinch”.  Almost any insulated cooler with a spigot will work for store hot or cold water but I like the 5 gallon/20 quart type as 40 pounds is about my limit on lifting water.

Dealing with waste I’m planning on using my compost pile and burning “trash” via a “burn barrel”. I am buying “compostable” paper plates and cups to help deal with the waste issue.  I have plans for a small septic tank/field and outhouse for a long term “emergency” but they can’t be done now under city code. If the SHTF and it is a long term “emergency  I will implement stage 2 of my sanitation plan.

It is July and for me it is time to start thinking about getting ready for winter. Things like getting the wood stove cleaned and inspected and start saving up cash to pay for fire wood.  I have some scavenged materials on hand that need to be installed to make my wood storage area a bit drier.  This is a great time to start on your Xmas shopping and getting all the fixings you want for your holiday dinners.  I don’t know about you but I have never cared for the “Holiday rush” nor the full- contact shopping that seems to be a thing these days in the USA.  If you are wondering about a gift for a person you might try a a cool idea of telling that person you got them the perfect gift and have them guess what it is. That way you will have a couple of months to get them a gift they really want, rather than what you think they should want.  If they go a bit to expensive you can always shake your head, say I wish I could give you that gift and say you have a budget  of $…for the “perfect gift”.   Budget for Xmas gifts now in July and you will have lots of time to get the gift and the holiday season will be much less stressful.

Just so I can undo all the good I just mentioned about planning ahead, I want to remind you all about also living in the moment!  This is something I have to work on as I am often mentally somewhere 3-6 months in the future and I forget to enjoy life  in the “here and now”.  Planning ahead and setting goals is important but enjoying what you have and being grateful for the everyday things is also important!


My Gosh, what a not so good week!

April 30, 2015

It’s been an emotional exhausting week for Mom and I.  It started on with the Mom getting every “button” pushed by Dad’s Lawyer. I have to say she was madder than a wet hen when she got home and really got motivated to finish up some paperwork and tracking down records. I suppose some people get angry, do nothing and just sort of chew on that anger. Mom and I tend to re-direct that anger into proving the person wrong about what they have said about us. Questioning our honesty, integrity or honor is a great way to get both of us “fired up”! We don’t have much so that personal integrity think is very important to both of us and we will fight to protect it.

I got very emotional about Diana the peke getting hurt by Samson the pit bull as well as having to return the pit to the pound. There is some good new though as the pit bull is available for adoption again and Diana the peke seems to be feeling better but is still a little gimpy. I tried a small amount of the “essential oil” pain relief salve on her sore spots and it seems to help and she did not have any negative reaction.  I did a lot of research and you can use some essential oils on dogs safely. My hope is after testing a little bit of the pain salve on Diana the peke and it works we can use the salve on the other dogs.  Cat’s don’t handle essential oils at all as it acts like a liver poison. I tried a commercial “natural flea killer” made with essential oil on my cat and she had a very bad reaction almost instantly, so I would never use any essential oils on my cat. When my cat had the reaction to the oils I washed her down with Dawn Dish soap to get rid of the oil and the Dawn worked great!  I would recommend if you are using essential oils that you keep a small bottle of Dawn dish soap handy just in case you need to wash off the oil because of a negative reaction!

Of course not everything was bad this week! I had a good day shopping at the local dollar store and stocked up on several of the magic eraser type sponges, got several cans of wet dog food and three bags of those heat-shrink plastic window insulation kits for next winter.  I was amazed by how well those plastic window kits did on eliminating drafts and retaining heat this last winter.  Replacing your windows is sort of expensive and stocking up on these kits is a good idea. I like this plastic as it is clear and lets in sunlight and you can see out your windows. Plus these kits can help seal your windows in case of a NBC/Nuclear, Biological or Chemical accidents or attacks, dust storms, volcanic ash depending on your location and threat level.  I got hit with Tear gas several times in the Army as a part of my training and you do not want that stuff coming into your home.  I will do a post about protecting against riot control agents this weekend!

It has been tad difficult this week but we are still standing.  Actually I learned quite a lot though I did not care for the emotional roller coaster. If the SHTF we will look back at weeks like these fondly. While things are tough they really are not that tough yet.

 


Get ‘er done!

March 26, 2015

The wood mulch I wanted to buy went up in cost so I am going to wait and see if it will go on sale again. It sort of worked out as I found an Aerating hand tool for only $20.00 that is made of steel that is easy to use and should help getting the soil healthy plus make it easier for the lawn absorb the weed & feed, compost and new grass seed.  I want to do the perma-culture /food forest idea, but my first step is building a healthy soil and I need the grass to keep erosion under control while I work on the soil. I cut back some of the grape vines, tilled the soil and added some grass seed in a small area as a test.  I want to have a few sections of lawn to define the food forest and edible garden areas.  What I want for the front yard is something resembling an “English” country garden and the backyard sort of a modified “food forrest but using edible plants and herbs incorporating sand, rocks, fountains , small ponds with lots of arcs and round geometry shapes to soften the square shape of my house and fenced lot, incorperating some Japaneese garden elemants to make the backyard a restful spot.

I bought the big potato tower and seed potatos. I’m going with a russet and red pontiac potatoes for the first tower to see how it works out. I’m sorry I did not save the link for this idea but from what I remember about 4 pounds of seed potatoes resulted in a harvest of 65 pounds of taters. I have visited a few websites that recommend using these tall towers for growing tomatoes vertically but I think this consept might work for strawberrys as well as those other plants. Anyone with limited yard/garden space should look at growing crops vertically. I don’t think I can grow all the food I need but every bit of fresh veggies and fruit is a bonus and will make my bulk goods strech a bit longer.

I tilled the front beds and planted snow peas and I’m looking to add some carrots, radishes, spinach, and other fast growing leaf lettuce types.  We have had an early spring and there could be a late frost or two in the area. I’m plantin seed in a somewhat protected and at worse I may lose a few plants. My herbs survived the winter better than I expected using leaf mulch and straw, so I’m feeling optomistic starting cold weather plants a little early.  Mulch materials do have good and bad sides. Straw should be uesd in spring to protect plants, Wood mulch 3 inch deep seems to work well for killing weeds and gives a garden bed a clean look. Fall leaf mulch breaks down  over winter yet still will protect plants add nutrients to the soil and retain moisture.

I got a new “flapper” for the replacement toilet and added a bit of food dye to test for leaks and it is good to go. I don’t see any water leaks and even the condensation problem was solved by topping the tank rather than leaving it open.  I don’t know why adding a lid to the tank fixed the condensation problem but I’m not complaining. I got some silicone caulk to add a small bead to finish the toilet installation to make it look good rather than caulking the heck out of it to prevent leaks because of a bad installation.  I want to install a new dryer vent after my “experience” of the installed vent by the previous owner. The thing is For about $8.00 you can install a nice vent with about 12 -18 inches of pipe that can be screwed into studs going outside your home and extend to your dryer vent hose with no problems.

There was no need to do a jacked up washer drain pipe simply to avoid the dryer vent that was dead simple and cheap to replace. Heck the idiot spent more on pipe fittings, caulk and elbows than the replacement cost of hose for a new dryer vent. I swear sometimes the previous owner was the “Albert Einstien” of screwing up or at least the epitome of stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. I know there are times a person will do repairs “just to get by until they get materials/money to make things right. I have done those things myself, but just half-assing stuff rather than doing thing correctly really gets on my nerve and when a person spends more money and tries to hide the ass-hattery. I get very peeved, I’m not a fan of getting by. If I pay cash money I want things fixed right and hopefully the first time!

I have the pipe and trap on hand to start dry fitting the washer drain pipe. To be within code I need at least a 4 inch pipe run tie into the stack and at least an 18 inch long drop before the trap. I bought trap with a clean out so things should go more smoothly. I will work on this pipe installation this weekend, Mom is not sure how she will react to having a washing machine draining properly and a dryer that is working all at the same time. There is usually a reason for city/zone codes. While I may not agree with some Federal codes and mandates, I will try to to make my home current with most building codes because they make sense!

A few  prepping items are on hold while I get my eyesight corrected. I will see how things shake out cost wise after the first of April.  While I don’t think it will be cheap,  I’m hoping for a cash discount and get the perscription for a backup set of glasses via the VA.  Ifthat happens great , if not I’ll  pay cash and get my eyesight corrected.