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

May 31, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fire wood is stacked. Huzzah!

May 8, 2021

It sure feels good to have all of this years firewood stacked!  I need to buy a few more tarps to cover some of the stacks but it won’t hurt this unseasoned wood to be exposed to the hot/dry summer of SW Idaho for the next few months.  I never thought about the space required  for firewood when I bought this house but I knew I wanted enough ground to put in a garden, a nice little lawn and having trees to keep the backyard cool in the summer was a huge bonus.  Well I have stacked this years wood in a few unused areas to make sure I have access to well seasoned wood.  That is not an easy task for people that have small lots with limited storage space.  It is easy to tell a person to store 2-3 years worth of wood and it is cheaper to buy multiple cords of wood in bulk.  If your wood storage space is limited to a couple of small wood racks. That is what that person must deal with despite all the wishes and  a person might want to have for heating.

I use firewood as my primary heat source in cold weather.  There are other options that have lower start up costs and can be at least as safe as using a firewood stove.  I like the Mr. Buddy heaters and most propane/natural  gas stoves/fireplaces.  Yes, there are safety issues storing fuel or gas lines getting cut during some disasters but I think this fuel has some upsides as far as the storage space required compared to several cords of wood.

I’m not a big fan of kerosene heaters as the fuel puts out some very dangerous gasses that are in an enclosed space.  Since most homes tend to be insulated. Those gasses will get trapped indoors without proper air flow.  In cold weather the last thing you want to do is open a window or door to let the gasses as well as heat escape.

Every type of alternative heating will have positives and negatives for short term and long term heating needs.  I recommend you only heat using propane or kerosene while you are awake and active.  Yes it can suck to wake up to a cold house.  Not dying in your sleep to carbon monoxide poisoning would NOT be considered a positive move for survival!

I have started making a new anti- pet fence for the 3 sisters garden using a PVC pipe frame and the left over plastic fencing material.  I think this pvc framed fencing might work to keep most of the critters out of the 3 sister garden beds but still be easy to access to do weeding, watering and other garden chores.  I doubt I can stop all critters. Hopefully I can at least keep any damage to a minimum.  In the elevated raised bed the radishes are doing great, the lettuce was was spread by the kitties (don’t ask) and I have 3 mini Bok choy plants coming up

Lesson learned staring plants:  Use larger pots to hold plants started early or they get root bound.  I’m sure more experienced gardeners are thinking to themselves “well duh”. Speaking for myself all those little cells of dirt are so tempting to plant at least a seed in in Feb/March and by the time May arrives the poor plant is root bound and not prone to grow.  The reason you start plants early indoors is to have a healthy and vigorous plant ready to grow after any frost danger passes.  I’d say you should use pots equivalent to the average “pony pack” that most garden stores/nurseries use for starter plants. I really love the heat pads, the new grow lights and staring boxes.  I just thing the 72 cell starter tray would be better for me as 36 size starter tray as the plants might need more time to grow and have strong growth for a May 10th planting, is along time from starting seeds in March.

Embrace “failure” as learning, don’t use it as excuse nor to to try or make yourself a victim. Be honest with yourself about what you do.  Is it I can’t or I won’t put in the effort?  Any answer is valid but you have live with the results.   Do what works for you. I have read many prepper blogs and I went in a different direction for many of my preps.  If it seems dumb but it works it isn’t dumb.


The wood is all stacked! HUZZAH

August 22, 2020

It took me about 3 weeks to get all of the wood stacked in 95 degree+ heat this year.  I do not recommend getting a wood delivery in August but I have a full six cords of wood stacked on my property.  This year I took my time stacking the wood and knocking off any “punky” wood and getting rid of most of the bark on the wood chunks.  My hope is I won’t deal with as many insects and all of the wood will dry/season better in the long run.  I have good hardwood stumps in both wood areas for splitting wood into smaller chunks or into kindling.  Starting off the wood heating season with a few weeks of good kindling and some of the split hardwoods chunks of wood feels good!

By taking my time to stack the wood I should not have to re-stack wood like I did in previous years.  Mom jokes that my re-stacking wood is some sort of strange FALL/WINTER  exercise program I do each year.  I had a good size tarp I used on the wood pile that extended past the carport overhead cover and I think the wood will stay dry and season. This year my wood deliverer did not give me box of “kindling”  but I have gathered a couple of good size boxes of “kindling” that should give me about 4-6 weeks worth of kindling to start off the firewood heating season.  In September I’ll start making the paraffin wax/ sawdust fire starters for myself and Mom. While my wax melter does not add a lot of heat. I want to keep all heat sources in the house at a minimum when it is over 90 degrees F. outside.

I used a pressure “wand” to clean of the patio and two sides of the house. In my area the spiders seem to be working overtime setting up webs everywhere.  I don’t mind spiders generally as they generally eat flies and mosquitoes, but the webs have become a bit annoying when walking onto the patio.  I used a broom to clean the screens and it worked great!  no need to remove a window screen, just brush it down outside with a broom!  Fabulously easy job done with little effort.  I’m still working on the glass cleaning with the 20% vinegar as the water rinse I use is full of ” hard water” but the window glass is getting cleaner using 20% vinegar.

Overall stacking the wood was the priority but I’m now free of that job. I got the job done. The wood is stacked and seasoning and that is what matters.  I hit my goal of 6 cords of split ready to burn fire wood.  How long it took me to get to the goal is irrelevant.  Even if having 6 cords of firewood might be considered excessive by some people. It does not matter as I set a goal of 6 cords of firewood and I made it happen!  Set your goals and make them happen.  It’s okay to learn as you make goals happen.  I’m a big believer on  “learning” mile posts rather than time lines.  If I am ignorant on subject? How can I set a time line for learning how to do any project?

For any project it is what works for you. You may have all sorts of limits of physical energy, lack of tools, and perhaps you just need more time to improve your skills and/or buy products or find a good contractor to do the job.  There is nothing wrong with buying all the product you need for a job first and then save up money for a contractor to do the job.

Okay back to my reality.  I got all of the wood stacked and mowed my lawn.  I ordered  a couple of gallons 30% vinegar to kill out the weeds.  I’ll attack the Morning glory. Wish me luck… !


Working on the wood pile and controlling what I can

August 17, 2020

Stacking up the firewood is taking longer than I had planned, but the wood pile is getting small enough that each wheel barrow load of wood I get stacked shows a measurable dent in the dumped firewood.  I stacked most of the new Doug fir first as it was heavy and still wet.  Now I’ve started stacking some of the White fir on top of the Doug fir because it is dry and very light weight in comparison to the Doug fir. I think I could easily burn the white fir now as it seems dry/seasoned well already.  The new Doug fir will need more time to season.  I have plenty of Doug fir left over from last year that has almost 18 months of seasoning in my “kennel” wood racks.   I don’t expect a problem with trying to heat with “wet” wood this year!  While my ability to work has been a little hit and miss the last few weeks.  I have caught up on most of the basic yard work.

I got a tarp on the firewood pile that extends past the edge of the carport canopy. I think the slope of the woodpile is steep enough so the water should drain quickly and that part of the wood pile will stay mostly dry this fall and winter. I’m running out of space under the carport for the delivered wood , so a little bit of cleanup and re-stacking of the “kennel” wood racks will give me enough room to stack the last bit of this years’ wood delivery. I’m stacking the Doug fir of this delivery on top and in the “kennel” wood racks since it seems dry and light weight compared to the new Doug fir.  I have started stacking fire wood on the front porch wood rack and will have three large boxes of kindling ready to use by the end of August. Last but not least I got out the axes and splitting mauls to split some of the old wood I got last year to see how well it would split.  The 6 pound maul did a great job splitting most of the wood stove lengths.   The wood I split today is I think white maple, so I am adding in more ready to burn  hardwoods along with the fir firewood.

This might sound odd but getting the wood delivered later this year has made me more proactive on getting my boxes of kindling filled.  I’m spitting some wood now in 100 degree heat,  This is dumb but last year when I got a May delivery of wood I did not split wood nor did I have a stockpile of kindling. It is strange that this year I’m doing a little bit of everything to get ready for winter wood burning season rather than getting the wood stacked and ignoring the splitting wood/making kindling until October like I did last year. I’m not just trying to stack wood as quickly as possible. I’m cutting out and throwing away any punky wood, filling my kindling boxes, the porch box and trying to stack my firewood only one time rather than re-stacking wood many times like I did last year. I sharpened up the hatchet as it was getting a little dull.  The axe needs a little attention but the mauls seem okay for now.  I also sharpened up 3 pocket knives while I had the whetstones out and ready to go,.

The stress of all the stuff happening this year is affecting me, though I was prepared.  For two or three months I was mentally prepared.  I did not expect 2- 8 weeks to flatten the “curve” to turn into over six months of stupidity and counting. I don’t think if you wear a mask you are a “sheeple”. If you are in a high risk category you should protect your self.  If you chose not to wear a mask I don’t care despite the fact I’m in High risk group.  I now wear a face shield instead of a mask but it is my responsibility to protect me!  No one is obliged to do anything to make me feel safe.   I hate seeing both extremes of wearing a mask and not wearing mask types and seeing it as a political statement.  I wore mask early in March because I’m Immuno-comprised.  I did not want  the possibility other people giving me the “COOF”.  It did not matter if people were infected because I took precautions to protect myself.  I don’t care if other people wear a mask (and most people don’t wear a mask correctly) it is all theater and virtue signalling ass-pats via twitter and youtube.  If you are so afraid of the WU-FLU ,stay home!  Wear a mask when you go out and stop expecting other people to make you feel safe!

Inflation is starting to creep up on us.  I had a great shopping day got some nice steaks, pork chops and some chicken.  I found a great use for shopping bags. The bags work great for chest freezers, bags of food easily accessible and easy to find.  My big chest freezer is full of old meats/ veggies and most are freezer burnt.  Time to start cleaning out the old stuff and do a better job rotatinging frozen goods.  This is what I mean about controlling what I can in life. I know I have freezer burnt and old meats in my big freezer and I have ignored it.  I’m pretty forgiving but If I won’t eat this food there is no reason to store that food.  You may choose differently and good for you.  I screwed up not using all the food I bought in a timely manner and I wasted food.  That is on me because no one wants the food I throw away because I screwed up. I’m not going to berate myself for making a mistake.  I’m just going to correct my mistake and do better at using a freezer to preserve food.

It’s that simple, make a mistake and fix it.  Control what you can and be flexible on the things you can’t control.

 


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.


Bathroom painted and added one A/C unit

July 20, 2020

I wimped out and the 95-100 degree F. heat in the last week and foretasted for at least another 10-14 days made me install the portable/window A/C units.  If it cooled at night to the low 60’s I could probably get by but at night it is in the 70’s and my fans can’t cool the house enough with over night at that temperature to keep the house comfortable during the day.  last year I built a little wooden frame to help the portable A/C unit air intake fit the window opening.  I added a bit of thermal barrier that looks like bubble wrap encased in something like Mylar.   This an easy to use thermal barrier for insulating for odd shaped spaces.

If any of you have used one of the  “portable” A/C units the hose is a beast to deal with and the little plastic bracing that comes with is mediocre at best. I made a little wood frame that fit my window and had thermal barrier that covered all of the window opening.  An A/C unit in a window is not effective if the open window lets in hot air. I used many “colorful metaphors” getting that bit of wood frame work correct last year. This year it took me less than 5 minutes to install the window outside air intake for the A/C unit.  I literally took me longer to roll the unit in place, plug it in,that it took me to install the little thermal barrier wood frame for the window.  Perhaps it is just me but I tend to be caught off guard when something I to work/build to make life easier, actually makes a job quicker or  works much easier than I anticipated. I tend to get a bit anxious as it should not be this easy…

I painted the small bathroom without taping off the edges and overall, it went well.  I have been wanting to paint a semi-gloss paint in the bathroom to make it easier to clean the walls. I do have few spots to touch up but doing the “cut out” /trim work first seemed to work good for me. The blue paint dried darker than I anticipated, but I’m very happy with the results of the paint job.  Now the paint looks good and I’m noticing the rest of the bathroom does not look so good.  I spend some time pondering why a person would work so hard to not make something lasting or simply go cheap. Well  I have been there and done that ,so I should not be all high and mighty about peoples choices because I don’ know why the made the choices they make. That is okay   just because I don’t understand peoples choices  does not make them bad/evil people.  Just different and different can be a good choice,


I seem to be adapting to summer heat better this year

July 18, 2020

This year’s spring/summer transition was very mild and lasted over a couple of months (May June) to what I consider the normal/abrupt transition from spring to the heat starting in May.  Sure got some hot 95-100 F. days but it cooled down to around 85 F and the nights cooled off to 60-65 degrees F.  Now SW Idaho is getting back up to several days in a row of 95-100 degrees F. weather like most summers in a desert.

Most of you know I cut down a huge but dying shade producing tree in May. While the tree did keep the front yard cooler, I don’t think it helped keep the house cooler. Adding the new siding and windows seems to be what is keeping the house cooler the last couple of years not shade trees.  I got the window blinds hung better and they do make a difference on how fast the hose warms up.  So I have been proactive on closing the blinds and curtains when the sun hit the windows in the heat of the day.  Also the vinyl siding I had installed does not seem to absorb heat like the old wood siding, but I there is a thin layer of reflective insulation and another air pocket between the old siding and new siding that seems to insulate the house in both hot and cold weather.

Perhaps I got used to having a warmer house in winter using a wood stove that could get very warm or I slowly got used to having a warmer house this summer.  Last summer I’d  have to install the Air Conditioner if the temp. was over 75-78 degrees F. especially if it was during sleeping time.  I have not install any Air conditioners this summer though I do have them on standby if I need them to sleep.  I did not acclimatize so much to temperature outdoors as I acclimatized to the temperature indoors without using Air Conditioning. I have a basement and I use fans to spread that cool air around part of the house. I use a lot of window fans to not only blow in cool air but try and suck out hot air in the house. I have 3 ceiling fans to circulate air and I live in a low humidity desert so I know 90 degrees in Georgia with 90-100% humidity is nothing like 100 degrees F. in Idaho with 30% humidity. I was stationed by the Army in Augusta GA during a heat wave and that was a sneak peak into Hell if Cervantes was correct. 😉

Speaking for myself I did not install the Air Conditioning units to save money on my electric bill. My “central air unit” is old and costly.  Installing a couple of small window Air conditioners was cheaper than repairing/replacing an old AC unit.  What I have found is I did not need to acclimatize my self to the out doors.  I needed to find my own comfort zone indoors.  It becomes relative standing on rock at 100 degrees F. is hot and walking into your home that is 75-78 degrees F. is very cool in comparison.

Speaking for myself, I have learned I don’t need a a cold room that is 68 degrees F. to get a good nights sleep.  I can use fans to circulate air and be comfortable and save a ton of money on my electric bill.  By not using my little A/C units in my house I’ve become more acclimatized to hot weather outside my house. Because my home is my sanctuary. Do you find yourself setting the temp. in your home based on that the government tells you what is appropriate?  You pay your bills for what you use and the government should have no say about the comfort level you are allowed.

Last but not least I made some of the artisan bread and using the vent fan  over the oven and the house did not get all hot. Gosh I have been buying store bought bread and I forgot how good home made bread tastes.

I’m now using the face shield rather than the N95 masks and at least it is working good for me as I have a physical barrier and I’m not getting accosted for not wearing a mask.  I masked up in March because I was in a vulnerable group.  I hate masks because it feels like living in a sauna in July.  But I have to protect me and no one else is responsible for my life but me. I was pro flatten the curve, protect the vulnerable and yes the covid positive rate would increase, but you would think people are dying in the streets via MSM media! Most people are not even getting that sick, let a lone dying in the streets.

Use common sense in protecting yourself.  Most Covid Official responses are politicized. If you are in a vulnerable group wear a mask or at least a face shield if you can’t handle a social group of people, stay home. If you are at risk no one is forcing you to go to a bar!  If you are depending on other people to protect you from this virus. You are an idiot!  I’m at risk person and I have worn a mask since March. I asked no one to not spread the virus to me.  I have move to a transparent face shield rather than a mask. Because I hate the N95 mask and I think the shield is a good compromise.  Is it perfect? NO! Stop snitching on people. Educate and be a good role model.  I say a “good” role model and not a perfect role model.

 

If you don’t cover your nose with a mask you don’t understand the purpose of the mask. If you remove the mask to speak you don’t understand the purpose of the mask. No one is obliged to make you feel safe.


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! 


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!


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

June 5, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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