Back to work!!! My A/C is installed and I got some wood stacked!

June 15, 2019

I finally got a good 6-7 hours of sleep.   While I have stayed awake for several days in the  US Army.  I tend to get very unpleasant missing out on sleep.  Now with my physical limitations, not getting less than 6 hours of sleep really makes me a cranky and feel like a bit of mush.  I can do the “power nap” thing, but I’m not a happy camper and what is worse is I let everyone around me know how unhappy I feel. FYI if I get a get a bit terse with anyone, you can blame my lack of sleep and not me trying to be nasty.

I got both of my window A/C units installed and the house is a nice 75 degrees F.  I changed the setup placing the portable A/C unit out of the bedroom and to the library room so the unit has a straight path to cool the Living room.  So far that is working out great!  This sort of set up may not work for people in a high humidity climate.  In the Inter-mountain west high desert,  a small A/C window or larger BTU portable A/C unit will have lower electrical costs compared to an old “Heat pump” or Central Air system.  Usually in High Desert the night cools down quickly when the sun goes down so the fan kicks then the A/C unit becomes a window fan blowing cooler air into the house.  That won’t work in Georgia if you have 100 degrees F. and 90-100 % humidity.

I got started early stacking wood, by about 11:30 the sun was beating down hard.  I can deal with the sun early in the day with cooler temps or work in the shade after 6 pm.  I’m good with this approach for stacking the poplar. The Doug fir wood area was too narrow to bring the wagon load of wood as the wood racks make for a constricted work space.  Another lesson learned is using the garden wagon to move wood under the carport is it  saves not only time and effort but my arms don’t get bloodied and beat up carrying wood to stack.  While I don’t mind getting a bit bloody, bruised and cover in sap.  It is nice to let the wagon do the work and I stay some what clean and not so bruised stacking wood. I’m about 5′ 5″ so if I’m tossing wood over “eye level” I am probably stacking wood about 6 feet high, accounting for the average size of the split wood.

I have been a bit off on my timing this year by a little bit.  I am doing more wood stacking and have paid less attention to the garden in June.  While this has been less than optimal for growing plants.  I have really stocked up on wood for winter and created systems that will keep me warm this winter.  I’m doing better, as the wood pile needs a few more days of wood stacking.  I’m only 3 months out of phase with the seasons.

I miss watching the birds, so  I cleaned up the bird baths.  I have restocked the bird feeders and added filling the bird baths/cleaning/replacing the water to my daily schedule.  If you hate mosquitoes never have standing water for more than a day or two.   It may seem a bit silly but watching the birds and other critters  is more entertaining than Netflix and cheaper than paying a subscription.

 

Advertisements

Plants are going into beds. Huzzah!

May 18, 2019

I think I suffered a bit of a CIDP flare this last week and did not get much done as I felt less than chipper, during the good outside working days last week.  I was able to run my errands and get a bit of shopping done but until today I was down, and in recovery mode.

I did get a lot of great buys via Fred Meyer’s Founder’s sale this week as  Pet-it Sirloin steaks are $2.69 per pound and 70/30 Hamburger is only $1.79 per pound.  With all the flooding in the midwest and the crazy trade war talk, Stocking up on beef/meats  is one of my missions this spring.  Getting the freezer full is high on my to do list this spring.

We got snow in the mountains around the Treasure Valley and the weather went from 85 degrees F. for a high to 55 degrees for a high in less than 24 hours.  Saturday the 18th was about the only dry day to get much work done in the garden or on the yard.  I finished mowing the front lawn about 9:15 pm while my solar lights were on.  Thankfully my electric mower is somewhat quiet and I did not disturb anyone partying on a Saturday night.  I normally would not mow so late but this is the last dry day for the next 7-10 days.  May tends to be a “wonky” weather month around here,  as I have seen 100 degree days as well as snow in the valley as late as May 18th.

I did get one of my garden beds full.  I added two types of romaine lettuce and Napa Cabbage starter plants to my “Cole crop” raised bed.  The broccoli and cauliflower plants that have been under the Agri-born frost cloth are growing very slowly and may need a little more sun though the onions seem to be to be doing well  for “scallion” type growth.  The Agri- born cloth seems to inhibit sunlight a bit more than I anticipated so I have cut the cloth in the middle to allow more mid-day sunlight to hit the crops in the raised beds.  One of my biggest problems with my past gardens is crops bolting, if the Agri-born cloth helps mitigate that issue I will be extremely happy.

I finally figured out what to grow in the former tomitillo raised bed.  I’m going with melons and flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums.  I want to play around with natural bug control and edible flowers/landscape plants.  Plus I’m growing a very  different plant/rotating the crops so that should help mitigate any bug or soil problems.  While I want to go vertical via trellis with the small melons,  this bed has the most area for plants that tend to spread out.

Great news my blue potato buckets have a few plants are starting to come up and put on some greenery.  I was about to give up on those plants but that is the best thing about using big planter buckets/pots as you can try new stuff and give the plants time to grow or fail, without affecting your main garden.  City gardeners like myself that use raised beds or containers always seem to find others that want to know how plant experiments work out.  It’s not snark when some people have great success or another person has a less successful growing of a plant.  It is about finding what worked, and did not work for each individual garden.

Last but not least I had some quail wander through my backyard and it was wonderful watching those little birds check out the backyard.  I’d love to expand my backyard into an urban wildlife habitat. Yeah, some critters are annoying, but there are many bonuses to having wild critters around to eat insects and such.  Never discount a potential protein source in your preps.


Quiet/lazy weekend

April 14, 2019

Very rainy day so I did a few basic chores in the house. I sliced up the turkey for the doggies and the bits the slicer could not slice got put in the doggie dishes.  As of Sunday night both dogs are in a Turkey “coma”. I buy Deli Turkey breast (about 10 pounds) slice and use that meat as dog treats.  I pay anywhere from $1.80- 2.30 per pound and  slice the turkey thin at home, then freeze the meat in quart size bags.  I think the deli turkey is better quality than most doggie treats you can and when you compare the per pound price to good quality dog treats, you are saving money.  Plus I can eat this turkey, I’m not quite ready to eat most doggie treats.

Quite a few of the older seeds are starting to sprout up.  I have at least one of the Sun Globe? yellow cherry tomato coming up. A Winter Melon from a seed packet dated 2011 is sprouting and the Bok Choy sprouts are going a bit crazy.  About April 17th I can move the sprouting box into a sunny window/ under a small grow lamp. That will give all the seeds a chance of 10 days to sprout in warm, damp and dark conditions.  Amazon has a small grow lamp for about $18.00 that will keep the light levels up to 8-10 hours needed for the new plants to grow.

This is the first year I have done a good job of starting seeds indoors. I have kept the plant area somewhat warm, in the dark and most importantly damp without over watering.  I have to say the Jiffy staring beds are pretty good for the price of $8.00 if a little “floppy” because of the thin materials used for the kit.  For a cheap $8.00 you get a tray, cover and 72 cells to start seeds indoors.  I hope to get at least two maybe three years of use from the Jiffy seed starting kit. For the investment of money and learning about starting plant indoors for the first time.  I think $8.00 is a cheap price for what I have learned so far.  Plus it has been a big thrill to see those plants sprout from seeds, especially the plants from seed packets that are old or the seeds Mom saved.

This a tray/kit is a good place for any one that wants to start growing garden plants indoors to see if you will care for the sprouting seeds. If this starter kit works for you then you can invest in higher quality starter kits for next garden season. Remember this is only the beginning of the spring garden season.  There is also succession gardening and planting garden veggies for a fall crop of veggies that need a bit of cold weather/frost to bring out the sweetness in some veggies.  I stated I did not care for straw as a mulch in the the garden but I now think straw will be a good mulch in my berry planters.  One of the reasons Straw berries are so named is because people used straw to mulch/protect the plants in cold weather from frosts.  Mom is going to give me some of her straw to add to the berry planters as mulch.

For the city critters I’m going to cut back on the food in the feeders but focus on keeping the water in the birdbaths full of clean drinking water.  There should be plenty of foraging for the critters and clean safe water to drink should keep the wild life healthy.  In the fall I’ll start feeding again. Keep your homestead clear of stagnant water that is a mosquito breeding ground.  You can’t control other people but you can mitigate yourself adding to a problem.


Feeling good today

December 11, 2018

I had a very good day today!  I got an 18 gallon bucket full of kindling today. I feel it was via improving stamina and working more efficiently.  I’m getting a lot better at picking straight grain chunks of wood for my kindling.  The axe is great for splitting wood into smaller chunks and then using the hatchet to make the actual kindling.  I’m trying to be conservative in my estimate on how much kindling I need to stock up on but I’m feeling very positive about how much kindling I have cut and how long it will last this winter.

Mom says she has plenty of kindling and fire starters. I have found that using a page of news print under the egg carton fire starter as the 1st layer of fire starter and then add kindling, I can start a fire in less than two minutes.  Overall I’m very happy that I could help out Mom with giving her a little kindling and fire starters.  I’m not sure how long the wood in my racks will last during winter and I want to buy  more wood because I want to over prepare for heating over winter.

I still think a Depression/inflation is coming and we have been given a long time to prepare.  That long time to prepare was what I wished for myself.  Trust me I thought the crash would come in 2011 but the power of mass delusion kept the stock market /globalism working.

I can do few jobs around the house but I can’t go and cut wood in the forest.  Hell I’m doing good if I can cut kindling for 30-45 minutes in a day.  How much can people do to prep when they work 40 + per week and try growing a garden or stacking wood just to stay warm or preserve food?  No, I don’t want US government help. I just want everyone to have the option of growing a garden or putting up a greenhouse if they want to grow a few veggies.


Leaves and outdoor clean up

November 14, 2018

This new recovery system is working out better than I originally anticipated.  A huge bonus for me has been getting more stuff cleaned up in the house during my “rest periods” from the outside jobs.  Sometimes it is getting my shopping list and coupons ready to go for the week.  Doing a little dusting or getting the dishes soaking to wash on my next break before going out and doing more physical work outside.

Toady I was a little surprised by how many little jobs I managed to get done today by using the 15 minute mix of outdoor job, rest, indoor job, rest,  routine.  I got the porch wood rack full of a mix of woods. The kitchen got a good wipe down and all the dishes are clean. All the leaves or clear of most of the major path/walkways.

Getting these jobs done today really made me feel productive and I’m setting more little jobs for mowing up leaves in the front yard over the next few days.  My back yard job will be raking up leaves and cutting kindling to break up the hard jobs and easy jobs.  Oh and shopping for the turkey and Thanksgiving meal goodies.  What is great is I have these jobs planned to be worked on for the next 5 days so if it takes a little longer than 15-20 minutes to do a job I can can come back to it another day.

I’m still in the build up stamina mode but in some ways at the end of the day I feel I have been more productive getting all those little jobs done rather than focusing on some of big jobs started but not completed,  or I’m down for several days and all those little jobs pile up again to become big jobs.  I can’t be the only person that loves waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen, the laundry is done or knowing you can have a cup of coffee relax and plan what you want to get done, rather than what you HAVE to get done today.

Anyhoo, Mom dropped off the electric pressure I bought her as it just isn’t some thing she is using to cook right now.  I don’t mind because now I can double up my recipes and even make human food using the insta pots.  Mom also borrowed my Toro leaf mulcher /vacuum for her yard.  The mulcher will help Mom start adding more organic material to her garden area and help keep leaves from being bagged for trash.  I trashing the killer walnut leaves and moving the saver leaves to nulch into the garden beds.  Right now every thing in the gardens is a bit of a mess as I’m still getting the new beds finished up.

There is still a lot on my to do list to get done before spring.  I love my new pole saw and see many uses for it.  I also don’t want to concuss myself playing with the damn tool.  Once the cherry trees are down I’ll have spot for the green house to be built in the spring.  I have a plan I’ll just have to pace myself.


Huzzah!I got the house cleaned up (mostly)

November 11, 2018

One thing about this flare has been bothering about the flare is I was doing just the minimal housework to keep things going.  Using my limited energy levels for wood cutting and hauling sort of was the priority with temps dropping into the 20’s at night.

Needless to say the basic cleanliness of the house dropped of rather significantly overall and having furry doggies dragging in leaves and stuff from the yard made my floors/carpets a disaster!   But in the last few days I have been able to catch up on most of the household stuff.

I went a little bit crazy and got a lot of the homemade dog food made up and stored in the freezer. My fridge is finally emptied of all the meats I got on sale. I finally got it packed/wrapped and stored in the freezer.  The floors are swept or vacuumed and I even got a little bit of dusting done in the living room and kitchen.

I ignored the wood pile and focused on just getting the the house back to clean livability levels.  This has helped me feel better mentally because a dirty house just is not a happy place to live!

The plan for next week is to keep working on the kindling buckets, cutting some of the bigger chunks of wood to fire wood size.  I will mix in raking leaves and yard cleanup as I can mix up those tasks when I get tired of doing one thing I can use a different muscle group on different tasks.  It’s getting a bit cool overnight but it is dry and the wind is supposed to be calm this next week, so yard work should be easier to accomplish.

Next week schedule will probably look like … 15-20 minutes work on raking leaves, watch a you tube video.  15-20 minutes stacking wood on the porch play some easy video games or read some news. 15-20 minutes of mowing the lawn/sucking up leaves, have lunch and take a nap.   Then repeat for about 5 days as I slowly build up stamina.

Actually I’ve done this sort of schedule when I came home after becoming disabled.  What is great now is I have better tools to get stuff done in that 15-20 minutes worth of work.   While cutting kindling still takes an axe I have a hatchet, axe, spitting maul and different weight sledge hammers to get the job done.  I have a couple of light weight chainsaws I’m comfortable using to cut wood.  Now I have a little battery power leaf blower to blow stuff into small piles and then I use the leaf rake to finish collecting the leaves.

While it has been a bit humbling to myself to have to rebuild my stamina.  It has also been a bit of a boost to know that I have the tools to do the work even if it is in 20 minute blocks after a rest/recovery period.  I prepped good to build all those tools up just in case I had a flare and could not work very hard because of a lack of stamina.

I was a little bummed out because I did not bounce back physically but finally I did back to that Idea of do just 5 minutes of work.  Heck, in just five minutes I could fill my little wagon with wood or add 2 arm loads of wood to the porch wood rack.  Sure I had to sit and rest for a bit but I could get those jobs done.  A few 5 minutes a couple of times a day of moving wood filled the porch wood rack.  A few 5-15 minutes of cutting kindling will fill that kindling box.

I know there were many jobs I don’t start because I think it my take hours of work to accomplish.   But if you break the job down into smaller sections it become very doable.   Okay concrete is a time critical job but there are many small jobs that have to be done first before you bring in concrete.  Most big jobs are actually made up of a bunch of small jobs.

I guess that is about it on my little rant.  Overall things are a difficult, but I’m getting on top of the jobs. I’m building up my stamina, I can still keep my self warm and fed until I recover some what physically.  Overall life is good if not perfect.

 


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.