This is going to take some time…..

August 8, 2018

 

The delivery.

Stacking the wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2 cords of wood has been delivered and I am still sore from the rock delivery.  I have to say the wood delivery people are great!  This delivery was easier for them as they only had to dump the wood in one spot (sort of) under the carport and with the rock being mostly in place stacking the wood is much easier for me.   I got caught out last year on late wood delivery and having to scramble for wood going into firewood season and the people at Tuckers timbers came through for me.

I have no understanding of people waiting till the last minute to get basic items need for survival.  I suppose it is a bit of human nature/lazy and this new world order of I can order on line and have it shipped via Amazon. What if there is none of what you want in stock?  All the money in the world won’t make what you want magically appear!  My fire wood lady said they had people ask for firewood delivery in December and could not understand the company was out of fire wood.

I want to give a shout out to Buzy Bee’s rock delivery and I was able to get at least most of the gravel spread in time before the wood delivery.  Getting the materials for fall/winter projects in place does save time  and usually some money.  There are a lot of scammers/bad contractors out there so when you get prompt service at the agreed price especially from a local company,  I think you should boost up these great businesses whenever you get a chance. Buzy Bee’s delivery of 2.75 yards of rock was less expensive per yard than getting rock from the local farm store and I didn’t have to unload the rock.

Mom stopped by the house and got the wheel barrow back after picking up a load of wood from Tucker’s timbers/ my fire wood supplier.  It is my wheel barrow but I loan it to her because I can’t loan her my little garden wagon.  I love my garden wagon and that is one of my NO LOAN tools.  I’ll share the wheel barrow but loaning the wagon is a NO/GO!   LOL

For the next couple of weeks I will be working on finishing up the garden beds and making a proper Tucker ‘the peke’ proof picket fence around the garden.  Cash is a little bit tight right now what with stocking up on low cost meat,  getting the chimney sweep and the rock delivery.  That is more of a matter of timing, rather than not being able to pay my bills.

Hopefully this up coming winter won’t involve scrambling for everything and nothing is available. I have my drainage rock in place, new gravel and mulch that covers most of my alleyway frontage.  Next spring I can start adding plants that will choke out the weeds.  The wood was bought early (Doug fir in April) and will be dried and stacked for easy winter use.  I can’t express how nice it is to see that pile of wood even if I have to stack it as I know my little Casa de Chaos will have dry firewood for heat this winter.  Mom wants to stack a mix of Doug fir and the poplar for her heat this winter.  With her small house and new windows and insulation she should be good to go this winter with a couple of cords of wood.

Knowledge coming at you (disclaimer).

A full cord of wood is at least 128 square feet of stacked firewood.  Generally considered a 4 foot tall 4 foot wide and 8 foot long stack of wood.  Most firewood is cut to 16-18 inch lengths, so a cord of wood stacked could be 12 feet long 5 feet tall and 2 rows of 18 inch cut/split firewood also equals a cord of wood.  There is a little bit of ‘fudge’ factor in that 128 square feet to equal a cord.   Remember it is the cubic volume of the cord of wood must equal at least 128 cubic feet when stacked.  I am now getting a close to full cords of firewood from the new supplier rather than “face” cords via the old supplier.  Oh there is a bit of wiggle room depending on how tight you stack firewood.  Overall I’m getting a much better deal of full cords of  cut and split firewood. Between the early delivery of Douglas fir, the mill ends and two cords of poplar I think  the wood heating is good for this year with a good level of back up wood on hand.  There is nothing wrong with buying a “face” cord or a “rick” of wood.  But you must know what a cord of wood  costs and what it is worth.  If you buy a cord of wood you should get at least 128 sq. feet of  stacked wood.

Gosh I’m getting a bit more wood stacked than I thought in this 100 degree heat. One cord is stacked and now I’m starting on the second cord.  I think there was a bit more than 2 cords delivered to me. Once I stack and measure all the wood. Well sometimes “KARMA” works for you.  I found a great wood supplier and that is making up for the bad wood suppliers I dealt with for wood.  That lost $250.00 I tried to help a person is now paying back to me.

It is amazing the efficiency of the new wood stoves.  While I don’t agree with outlawing old wood stoves. Survival takes precedence over the law in my book.  The new efficient burning wood stove are cleaner burning and safer compared to 70’s/80 era type fire wood stoves.  One of greatest things about the new stoves is they hold heat and the fire longer. This is awesome for a someone with a physical disability to have a firebox stay hot for at least 6 hours and not need feeding  wood every 2-4 hours so you or your pipes don’t freeze. Don’t forget to check your smoke alarms, Carbon Monoxide alarms and your fire extinguishers. I don’t know that you could fight a fire but having a fire extinguishers might help getting out of a fire.

Overall Mom and I have enough firewood to be snug and warm this winter. I’m not sure Mom will buy a cord of my wood as she seems to be making her own stack of fire wood.  That is all to the good as the wood will keep drying if we don’t use it. If we have an easy winter for cold and damp. the firewood only gets another year to dry.  I suspect SW Idaho may have a very cold and mostly dry winter in 2018.  Trust me I’m prepping for snow, but I don’t think it will happen this winter.

My new garden beds have been a bit of bust but that was my fault, not the garden beds.  We are in good shape for going into winter and it is only August.

Socially we are seeing the political pendulum swing back to the right and trying to find it’s center point. We have to hold the line about the difference between legal and illegal immigrants.  Re-building the USA manufacturing sector and imports via tariffs.  Nationalism and globalism and the wjat is good and what is bad about those choices.

I tend to be a Nationalist of USA first,  but international relations are a thing.  The USA can’t stick it’s head in the sand and ignore the world.  You people have “common sense”  what would you do now to make the world if not a better place at least a safer place.   Also you will have to show your work.  No saying everyone should be nice on twitter and some such nonsense.

 

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Home made dog food test

April 7, 2018

I have been doing some research on making home made dog food and it looks very doable plus I should save money compared to buying the caned dog food in the store.  I bought some of the ‘fresh pet’ refrigerated dog food to see if my dogs would like/tolerate dog food not in a can.  This week the dogs have been eating the fresh pet food and the pups seem to like it much better than the old canned dog food.  Only one pup had an upset stomach during the change over to the new food.   So for my first batch of home made dog food I’m going to replicate the basic chicken and brown rice  recipe.  The basic ingredients to start are:

Skinless chicken breast on sale

Brown rice

Low sodium chicken broth

Frozen peas and carrots until the garden starts producing vegetables. Other dog safe veggies in 6-8% total amounts.  Green beans, broccoli, pumpkin, yams/sweet potato and berries.

Mineral supplements: until I get more bone broth made and can add some raw meaty bones to the dog’s diet.

No additional salt though I may add some dog safe herbs in the future for vitamins for the pups as I learn more about making dog food

That is the basic mix for the dog food but I will be adding a beef mix and bones as I find what works for my dogs and I learn more about dogie nutrition.  I have learned that there are a lot things you should not feed a dog.  Anything with garlic, onions or white flour is very bad for dogs.  I’m steering clear of using whole wheat for any kind of doggie food grain/carbs.  Dogs seem to have a gluten intolerance built in their DNA so easier to use other grains.  From what I have research so far on dog safe grains is White or brown rice, steel cut oat meal, whole barley and some of the other gluten free grains like quinoa or a dry feed corn.  All grains must be cooked before feeding it to your dog.  If  you have different data please let me know in the comments as I’m still a newbie at making dog food.

My goal is to feed my dogs  better than just the average canned dog food.  Make up a big batch of dog food and store it in the fridge or freezer and perhaps can the dog food for storage.  While many people say they would feed pets scraps from the table. I would have no problem eating the Dog food I’m making other than adding spices, garlic or onions.

FIY: I stayed away from adding adding salt, pepper or herbs for this recipe but even I found the new mix tasty if a little bland.  Adding a little salt and pepper after the food is done cooking should fix that bland taste.
Taste test: Brodie the big peke,  loves the chicken and rice dog food! Tucker the peke is half the size of Brodie so 1 or 2 small meals a day fills him up.  Tucker finished up the last of the “freshpet” food this morning so he might eat later.

I want to try out a beef & barley recipe, a modified beef stew and using some salmon/white rice recipes this spring.  My plan is by using several types of protein, carb and veggie mixes I will get the pups all the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy.  Plus I will eliminate all the “fillers” and chemicals I read on the ingredient labels  on ‘wet’ dog food cans.

I may grow a few pumpkins and make a better bed for Sweet potatoes as those are dog safe veggies/carbohydrates for the doggies to eat.

I know many preppers don’t  store dog/cat food as they will feed via scraps, but I never cared for that idea as many table scraps are not good for  my pekes.  With some research I have made good tasting dog food that is darn tasty people food. I used bone-less chicken breasts (on sale) it seems that most home made dog food sites recommend using dark meat chicken and using ‘organ meats’ for the protein part of the recipe.

Overall I’m not sure this is a cheaper way to feed pets but I know the food is safe and I and the dogs like the food.  I know I do not want to eat any type of canned pet food.

So get out your slow cooker/crock pot and start making your own pet food. Make some ‘bone broth’ buy cheap cuts of meat and slow cook the veggies and carbs for you and your pets.

 


Chickens are moved and Kennel chicken run built.

February 19, 2018

Mom has been living in her new house this weekend.  We tore down the kennel that Mom uses for her chicken run and move it out to her new home.  We both knew it would bee a tough job and having an weather change with an ICY wind really made the job suck!  One of the kennel walls has a 4 x 8 foot chunk of OSB that made a bitch to move, but that OSB wall cuts the wind blowing into the little chicken door to the chicken house.  It was about 45 minutes prior to sunset when Mom opened the chicken door to the kennel and the birds had a blast scratching around in the protected ” Chicken Run”.

We still need to add a some top fencing to the kennel to keep out predators but we are looking at using green plastic garden/snow type fencing rather than adding chicken wire.  Mom likes to add a tarp to the top of the kennel to protect the birds from the weather and the plastic fencing won’t tear up the tarp like the metal chicken wire.  I’m still working on adding a light weight wood frame to support the kennel “roof” that will angled so snow will slide off rather than way down the fencing on the top of the kennel.

The weather has shifted, so instead of all the cold weather running down the east side of the Rockies and freezing you all back east it is our turn for cold weather with coming down the western slope of the Rockies.  Looks like Mom was right that FEB. and March being our cold months locally.  Heck you folks back east need some warmer weather and I hope flooding won’t be a problem.  I am doing very good on wood as all my pine seems to be burning well after having a couple of months to season naturally.  I prefer burning fruit wood or even Douglas fir rather than pine but after my mad scramble to find wood to burn last fall I have several full wood racks and even better a good plan to get a mix of fast & hot burning wood.  Plus the Dually pickup to get long burning fruit wood from the local Orchards.

I did have a have some bad news on my Dogs.  Diana the Peke passed away in her sleep after a great 15 years of life.  Tucker the peke got into a fight and pop out an eyeball and the eye could not be saved.  So the vet removed the eye and sewed the lid shut.  Tucker is doing darn good around the place thought he looks a bit like Popeye with his sewed lid.  Another $700.00 for Tucker’s surgery killed my newly created “emergency fund”.  Well it was an Emergency, so I guess it all worked out.  Going to take a few months being tight with funds to start building a new Emergency fund and get the new garden beds installed.  At the very worst I’ll have to use last years garden beds, which is not so bad in the grand scheme of things.

 


Burning pine in the wood stove

December 18, 2017

Getting wood this year has been a challenge.  I thought I had a good supplier and I even paid upfront for a wood delivery to help him get his pickup engine re-built so he could deliver wood.  I have not heard a word from that guy since February.

About August I’m starting to get nervous as I have not found a new wood supplier so I get put on a waiting list for pine to be delivered later….. Maybe!

Huzzah! I get get a new wood supplier from a friend recommendation and the wood looks pretty good as it is mostly hardwoods in the first cord that is just a little small but the price is great!  Oops! turns out the guy may be facing felony theft charges and the cops have a warrant for his arrest. I’m running out of options to restock my wood racks for this winter heating season so I call up the folks about the pine delivery.  Huzzah they will deliver a full cord of pine that fills my wood racks.  The people that delivered the pine were great very honest and open about pine not being the best firewood for wood heat rather than just a “decorative” fire in a fire place or wood stove.

Mom and I have learned a lot about burning pine and it has not been fun.  It seems with the Ponderosa pine we got is we get to types of fire.

  1. A “smudge” type fire that just sort of smolders and smokes without putting out a lot of heat.
  2. A “bonfire” with lots of flame that burns out quick with the damper wide open.

I’m not some sort of wood burning purist as I can usually find the positives along with the negatives of burning different types of wood but I’m not finding a lot of positive thing to say about burning pine for heat.

I did have a some very positive wood buying experiences.  The guy that delivered the mill ends was great!  Yeah it was just a ranger pickup load of mill ends but he stacked the wood in the bed rather than just dumped it in the box.  So I got a lot more wood than I anticipated.  The people that delivered the pine say they will have Douglas/ Red fir starting in in May next year so I can get an early start on my wood pile for next winter.

Last but not least I still have quite a bit of leftover wood from last year that is finally dried out from last spring.  The problem is almost all of that wood is under all the pine wood I stacked on the wood racks.  Now Mom and I are re-stacking the pine to get at the older dried wood. There is a lot more leftover wood from last year than I thought originally.  Now that I have enough wood racks next year I can fill/rotate the older dried wood and fill up the new wood racks rather than just stack the new fire wood on top of the older fire wood.

I don’t know if this is a thing with kiln dried wood but the pine that was kiln dried seems to suck in moisture like a sponge.  In SW Idaho we have had inversions and a very humid (for us)  winter.   My thinking is the kiln drying may open up the wood cells to dry might make those wood cells open to moisture once the wood is out of the kiln.  I’m not going to throw the pine in the trash but I’m going to use last year’s woods and give the pine time to dry naturally.

UPDATE:  Putting the thermal barrier down on the back entry way floor has made a huge difference in the feeling of warmth in the back part of the house.  I can’t say the area was drafty but it was a cold sink that was noticeable, and the temp in the back part of the house is averaging about 2+ degrees F. warmer compare to before adding the thermal barrier.  That may not sound like much but, that 2 degree difference can create a drafty feeling.


House pictures!

December 16, 2017
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Front Entry

That pic gives a good idea of all the all the work done via the siding to the right as you are looking at the pic you see part of the new window installed. I did not have the porch windows replaced because of the additional cost.  The porch is protected but not insulated so it seemed a bit silly to invest in new windows for that area.

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This is the before pic after the roof was added

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North side of the house from the front yard. 

As you can see I need to paint the foundation area next spring or summer but I very please with the look of the siding.  Adding a stone fascia would be optimal but paint is a lot cheaper and faster.  My local True Value store has matched both the red and grey colors on the house so I will probably get a red paint for the foundation that matches the red accents.  I’ll be adding the new door lever and dead bolt to the front door once I get paid next week.  I’m going with an aged bronze finish like I installed on the back door.

Other happenings:

My neighbor is buying the large rounds of wood that I got but wasn’t split.  The neighbor is a burly guy and I’ve seen him split wood so this give me more space for wood and the neighbor get some great wood late in the season for a great price.  With this wood and buying fruit (apple and cherry) from the local orchards staying warm via wood heat won’t be a problem.

Speaking of burning wood both Mom and I are learning how to burn split pine.  I have wood racks on a concrete base and when there is an inversion dry soft woods suck in moisture like a sponge. All wood is now up off the concrete and is covered on top by a tarp.  All of the wood ends are exposed to the wind for drying.  Here in the west we don’t have a lot of hardwood for burning.  I recommend stocking up on Douglass/red fir and hit the orchards for apple/cherry wood. Elm and locust can grow here but it a bitch to split.

Speaking of splinting wood I found a youtube vid of using a sledge hammer with an axe or splinting maul to split large rounds of wood.  It is not fast but it it should be doable for me if it works.  I have a few rounds I’d like to make smaller and if it works I can go out and pound on the logs without trying to muscle through the splitting the logs.

Last but not least I laid down thermal barrier on the floor of my backdoor entry way.   I think when it was originally installed it was a glass patio door and then enclosed.  The floor area sits on concrete and has very little insulation.   I added a rubber backed carpet and that helped some on the cold and heat from the concrete radiating hot in summer and cold in winter. I laid down Thermal barrier on the floor and cover with the rubber back carpet and we gained another 2 degrees of heat in the back room.  The carpet is not sliding around and the back part of the house is getting warmer as I type.

I don’t think the addition to my house was very well insulated so I have to insulate as money become available.  I’m not going to screw around ripping off the siding so that means I have to insulate from the inside out.  I’m not going to tear out drywall because  I feel a bit cool and semi uncomfortable.  I’ll make this as comfortable as possible then gather cash to make things more comfortable.

It is not like we are freezing to death.  Heck at worst the temp reading was 62 degrees F.  Hardly a precursor to the Apocalypse!  Add socks and put on a sweater is not exactly a sign of the end of civilization.

 


New door knob and dead bolt installed

December 9, 2017

I have never changed a door knob or dead bolt before today.  Installing the new lever type door knob and dead bolt lock on the back door was a simple replacement job.  Changing from a standard twist knob to a lever type is easy just make sure you buy a handle that can be switched from left to right so you don’t get bound up by the door jamb/frame.  The door should be more secure as I replaced the 1/2 inch long strike plate screws with much longer screws that are screwed into the actual wood studs that frame the door and not just into finish wood around the door.

I did not lock the dead bolt at night on this door as the old lock was a key open system on both sides of the lock.  With the new dead bolt we have a simple knob we can turn on the inside of the door.  This dead bolt knob makes it much easier to get out the door in case of a house fire.

I know operating a door knob is not a big deal for most people.  Now I can grab that lever and give it a 90 degree twist/push to open the door.  The simple mechanics of a lever compared to gripping and twisting a standard round door knob is incredibly easier for me to use multiple times a day.  Plus the the new door hardware looks great on the newly painted doors and fits the new exterior very nicely.

One thing I noticed with hardware that is retro looking, such as the door levers rather that twist knobs or sink hardware levers/star type faucet fixtures is that hardware is more “Handicap Compliant/ ADA approved” compared to the average hardware around in many homes.  It is so much easier to push a lever open or close with an elbow or a hand that can’t grip as good as you age or get disabled.  Big plus is the hardware looks great in any type “look” you want in your home.  I know  now replacing a door knob is not a big deal.  Trust me getting your door open to get inside where it is warm and not fighting to get a grip on a round door knob can really cut down on the cussing!

Had an inversion in the valley this week and while it hasn’t been very cold, 30’s during the day and high teens at night the moisture of the fog  gives us chilly feeling.  The inversion has had an impact on how well the wood stoves burn and Mom and I are still trying to figure out how to use the wood stove since the house is better insulated and we have added more ceiling fans to move the air around.  I thought it would be simple this winter.  Nope, just different.

I need some help/info from you all if you make your own soft/wet dog food.  Mom and I want to make wet dog food and move the doggies off canned dog food.  I have a general idea of the grain to protein mix but I’m unsure of the vegetable matter that needs to be added and in what proportions.  Rice will be our primary grain and we will not use any sort of wheat products as our dogs do terrible on that grain.  We would be open to corn meal as a grain if you have used it for your dogs.  I also want to add fats like lard or beef tallow as I don’t have a warm a fuzzy feeling about most vegetable oils.

 


Demo and clean up of the woodpile area. Garden harvest and clean up done by Mom.

September 5, 2017

I got started taking down the rotted roof  that is over my woodpile.  I’m about 50% complete on the job as I  demo’ed the worst of rotted and warp boards first and now I’m moving my wood/ wood racks out of the way to finish up the demo of the last parts of the roof. My new wood racks made of pressure treated lumber seem to work great for getting the wood about 5-6 inches off the concrete slab and I’m going to use tarps to cover the wood this winter.  So far, I prefer the wood racks I made with pressure treated lumber compared the racks I made with the $20.00 metal brackets and regular 2 x 4s. Using the  4 x 4 pressure treated lumber as a base and then 2 x 4 on top of them gets the wood higher off the concrete compared with using the metal brackets plus the pressured treated wood racks are cheaper over all compared to metal bracket wood racks even with using more expensive pressure treated wood.  My wood racks are 18 inch x 4 ft. by 8 ft. and I believe that is what is called a “Face” cord of wood and not a “true” cord of wood which is 4 ft. wide x 4 ft. high and  8 ft. long.  I really like having a hard/soft wood mix for my wood stove and out here in the west usually means a mix of pine/fir and fruit woods like apple and cherry.   I got a my wood guy delivering a cord or so of some pine/ fir mix next week so now I can make some kindling for the stove.  I’m finishing up the last of the elm and while elm burns great it is difficult to split as the grain twists which makes it terrible for ax cut kindling.  For our kindling this year Mom and I want to get a load of actual “mill ends” and not “box wood” that I got to start this firewood adventure.  I got a small 6 pound splitting maul for those tougher chunks of wood, but I’ll have to re-learn how to use that tool.  So far the light weight ax has done a great job for making kindling.

I finally got to use the Ryobi impact hammer drill and my gosh I love it!  Okay it is a battery powered drill so I did not expect a lot but it did a great job on removing screws my basic drill could not remove and it was great on driving in screws that defeated my basic 18 volt drill could not handle.  I don’t think it would be great for concrete but for working on any wood job I think this little Ryobi drill would handle working with Hardwoods fairly easily.  Also this drill extracted screws that defeated my basic drill.

Mom got busy and cleaned up the garden and did some harvesting.  Big thing Mom wanted was the “rubber mallet” to re position stakes in the garden.  Well I had the ” mallet” in the basement breaking apart shelves and the trying to pound in garden stakes with a 6 pound maul was less than successful.  We found the mallet eventually but I learned that bigger is not always better.  I’m  going to get a small 2 pound maul hammer and a good 1 pound claw hammer.  You have to make things work for the job given and  some times you need brute force and sometimes you have to go small.  Good news we did have success with cantaloupes this year.