Broken PC and The Wuhan Flu/ global epidemic?

January 26, 2020

My PC has been down but I’m still alive!

I’m building a new PC and things are not working out the way I had anticipated.  I’m sorry to say I went OS 10 to get my PC hardware working.  Some good news is Office 2003 still works for Windows 10. I used a demo version of Windows 10 downloaded from Microsoft website.  FYI  don’t pick the N version of MS10.  If you do down load the Media center update.  You will need that software to get your AMD video drivers to work.

If you have upgraded to an AMD Ryzen capable mother board.  Windows 7 will not work, as all mother board USB ports won’t work.  AMD and Win 7 have not done any thing about backward compatibility.  I’m upgrading to about 2015 tech and Win 7 does not support my new mother board.  Windows 10 GUI is awful to use.  No program drop down via the start menu.  Evey thing is treated as an APP rather than a program.  I’m a geek and I don’t like windows 10.  If you prefer a PC that seems to act like a tablet or a smart phone, this could be the OS for you!

I’m a little concerned about this “FLU” coming out of the Wuhan province, but I’m not panicked, despite the symptoms seem to settle down into bronchitis/pneumonia in a couple of weeks. The Chinese government seems to be downplaying the illness, yet the government is being very heavy handed with “Quarantine Zones”.

What I suspect is a “Flu virus” escaped the level 4 bio-contain facility and mutated.  This might seem a bit contradictory to that theory as the pork prices have skyrocketed due to the “pig flu” going on in China.  People can’t afford pork, so they buy bats,rats and less costly protein.  You have a population struggling to buy safe/good protein that is no longer available  and a level 4 bio-containment lab working and living in this city.

I don’t think any of this is the result of a pre-planned idea.  Just a muddle that blows up with us humans that think we are super smart!

What should you do?  If you have been following this blog for awhile, not much!  I did a lot or prepping for any sort of Ebola outbreak coming to the USA a few years ago.  I have plenty of bunnysuits, masks, face masks, goggles and face shields  to protect from spewing blood rather than a cough or a sneeze. Keep clean, stop touching your face and treat this as flu/cold until the person has bronchitis/pneumonia.  Perhaps then take the person to the hospital.  I don’t have much confidence in hospitals treating people with diseases with simple support they could get at home.  Sure they have IV’s but hospitals don’t make a good Bone broth or Chicken soup!   What I’m talking about is supporting a patient, treating the symptoms at home. Be it a basic cold or the new WU FLU.  The medical community has not been a shining light.  The latest Flu vaccine is less than 40% effective combating this years flu in the USA.  The vaccine makers do their best, but it it is not a get out of being sick shot.

If you are wondering what you need to have on hand?  The list is very simple. I’d say you should focus on getting items for any very bad flu season.

  1. Bleach and other anti-viral cleaning agents
  2. Protective gear like masks but don’t forget protective goggles as this virus can infect via the eyes as well as nose and mouth.
  3. It might be to late to get protective respirators or masks unless you buy high end $75.00+ full face respirator masks.
  4. I have not check out protective “Bunny Suits” like Tyvek/Tychem but I expect those are in as low supply as protective masks.
  5. Treat the symptoms and support the patient with good foods, liquids, OTC medicines and good care.
  6. If things get out of hand with the WU Flu. Have the ability to stay at home for 2-3 weeks.

The odds are that you won’t see or treat the corona virus in the USA.  Use this as a test about the supplies you have on hand.  One thing I never anticipated is family members buying up medical supplies  in the USA and shipping those products to China.  People doing this makes a lot sense, though I’m not sure how the supplies will get delivered in cities that are quarantined.

I know Information is lacking but we need to watch how this works out.  Declaring a quarantine in a city of 11 million people in China is easy but how can that city function without food and energy deliveries?  Who is picking up the trash, maintaining the water and sewage systems?  Unless the population is prepared for an emergency, a couple of breaks in the “supply chain” could be catastrophic.

New York City has a population of 8.5 million.  Can you imagine the US government trying to close down all deliveries of food, fuel and people moving in and out of that city?  China is trying to do that for several cities with a total population of 56 million.  The corona virus will spread because the Chinese lost control and the ability to hide the spread.  How bad the spread and death count is yet to be seen.

Don’t panic!  Just use this time to fix any areas of preparations you are lacking.  Remember when Fukishima Melted down and Iodine tablets sold out and no one really needed to take Iodine tablets because the radiation level dropped quickly a couple of hundred miles outside of the Fukishima zone?  I think concern is warranted, panic seems unwarranted at this time. You don’t have to build a Biological containment lab, just take a few simple precautions.


A warm, wet winter?

December 7, 2019

It has been a “warm” and wet winter so far in the Treasure valley.  7 Dec 2019 and the high temp. was 55 degrees F.  The rain was an on/off again sprinkle and the winds were light to non-existent.  The storm last week was breezy but the temp. was about 30-35 degrees F.  That is warm for a “Winter Storm  Warning”.  I have no clue how winter will go into January but so far the forecasts suggest a mild and damp winter.  That forecast can change quick if the cold arctic air shifts to the west side of the Rockies or the Sierras/Blue mountains of Washington and Oregon.  I suppose it is human nature to forecast the “worst” potential weather.  That can come back and bite the forecaster on the butt for raising the alarm and “crying wolf”.  I feel for those people because if they down play a storm and a blizzard happens, they are destroyed on twitter.  But if they hype a storm and nothing happens, they are destroyed on twitter!

I know I’m “preaching to the choir” but prepare for the worse and hope for the best.  I was prepared for a normal winter in 2016/2017 when snowmeggedon happened in SW Idaho.  I bought many tools from a propane “Dragon Torch” to melt ice, a snow blower, 100+ pounds of ice melt and sand.  My 6 gallon Shop vac got quite the work out sucking up melting snow in my shop. I added mulch drainage rock and gravel to my driveway around my shop.  While it is still early into the test I have not seen any water or dampness on my shop floor.  IIRC, the shop almost always had a a bit of dampness or water on parts of the shop floor before I added the mulch and gravel.  Often you are trying to keep things safe, dry or holding back the flood waters.  You are building stuff to be more resilient, as you deal with any little minor disasters that come your way.

Perhaps I’m an outlier but why do so few Youtubers use leather gloves?  I’m no “Safety Sally” to tell others they are being unsafe working with tools.  But cutting/splitting wood with a good leather glove seems to be a no-brainier if just because of avoidable splinters.   People go on and on about Chainsaw chaps, helmets, safety googles and hearing protection and no one mentions using a good pair of leather gloves.   Well I’m going to say a good pair of leather gloves is required for working on a homestead!  I have had my some what sharp hatchet/axe hit my leather gloved hand and no bruise, no cut and no splinters. Mink oil is great for keeping the gloves water-resistant, soft and flexible.

I made the first test batch of making fire starters in “muffin papers”.   The volume of the muffin paper fire starters is about 2 x the volume of the egg carton fire starters and the muffin paper cups don’t have the dense cardboard that holds the egg carton type fire starters.   I don’t see this being a problem as I use one sheet of news paper wrapped around the fire starter and placed under the kindling.  I think cardboard egg cartons make a great base for making fire starters but if you have chickens or get your eggs from people that want those egg cartons returned.  Burning those egg carton in a fire could be a bad thing.   Muffin papers can be bought for about one dollar for 100 cups/papers.  Much cheaper than buying egg cartons to make fire starters.

Update: So far the muffin tin works for making fire starters in muffin papers.  I’m going to add some “white paraffin”  dollar store candles for a test of the wax melting pot and if they are good fire starter fuel.  Old fragrance and colored candles don’t seem work very well as fire starters wax.  I found a bunch of strike anywhere wooden matches.  Starting a fire with one match has been a thing I grew up with,  you can do all the prep on the fire you can but you need to start the fire with just one match! Sure I have bic and butane lighters that can start a fire, but for me starting a fire with just one wooden match always seems special.  I have paper, chopped kindling, dry/split fire wood.  The only thing that compares is restarting a fire from last night’s coals.

It is a simple thing but being happy about simple things should be good.


Cleaned out the small chest freezer

December 6, 2019

Cleaning out the little chest freezer went quicker than I had expected.  I feel bad that I wasted some food but now I can use that freezer as storage while I clean out old stuff from the other freezers.  There will be more tossed old “food” but I’ll get freezer that can store food to use by the “use by date”/ before freezer burn or age can ruin the food.  I was disappointed with my Thanksgiving turkey having an old taste to the skin though the meat tasted fine.   Now I can move the newly frozen goods from the big freezer to the small freezer and clean out any food that is over a year old.  I have read that a pressure cooker can mitigate “freezer burn” taste.  But for me I’m going to clean out the old stuff and try to be better at rotating food in and out of the freezers rather than try and keep them full of sales items.

I’m looking to buy new vacuum sealer to my old one that does not seal well/easily.  What is nice is vacuum food sealers tend to go on sale at Xmas time so that should be an easy buy next payday.  Yes, vacuum sealed products last much longer in the freezer, compared to double wrapped products. I had to learn this lesson the hard way.  Of course not cooking meat/vegatables before they have aged 2-3 years in a freezer would have helped a bit!

I’m buying a few computer items and getting my geek on. I just upgraded my video card to a newish 570 AMD from a 370 AMD.  The upgrade in frame rates is very impressive for a $120.00 card.  I have an older Mother board with DDR 3 memory and an older AM3  socket for the CPU so the next upgrade will have to include a new mother board, CPU and memory chips at a cost of at least $500.00.  This will be a “gaming PC build”  that should be up gradable or solid for most of the task I want for about five years.

I like how AMD CPU chips are powerful and reasonably priced for a home builder.  The Bitcoin miners really drove up the price of memory chips, multi-thread CPUs and Graphics cards but now the price is starting to drop for the mid-range CPU and mid cost range Graphic cards.  I got Borderlands 3 as a free game via my buying the AMD 570 video card.  I suck at playing the game, but I am having fun with the game.  I like how I can play the game offline and learn the game.  How can anyone “get gud” at a game when they get Crushed anytime they try to play the game online?  Playing against bots is easier than against people online but bots do give noobies a place to start playing the game.  If a noob can beat the bots they should be better player than anyone that didn’t play/beat the bots.  I do understand gamers that expect a level of competence playing any PC game.  I recommend for any new gamers learn to move side to side and minimize the bunny hop.

I did spurge this month and get a few small upgrades for my PC.  The AMD 570 video card really made a difference on getting a good frame rate out of video games.  The good thing is this VC will work with the upgraded Mother board.  I got a new thin bezel Acer LCD monitor and it looks so good I bought another to have a dual monitor set up.   This a sort of mile stone for me getting good dual monitors for gaming.  I’ll still suck at game play but I’ll have fun playing the game!  I’m 50 year old + woman with nerve damage that can get crushed playing video games.  Good for you gamer you beat me!

Any hoo, there are a lot of great games out there to play and if you have fun and enjoy your playtime then you win!

 


Kitties “fixed” and vaccinated, adding more kindling, yard cleanup and Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2019

It is confirmed I got 2 male kitties and both have been fixed a got the rabies shot and another shot for most the basic cat stuff, though there is another recommended shot for cats.  I got the kittens fixed at a local pet rescue called “Pet Haven” and they focus on cat rescues.  So for $90.00 I had two male kittens neutered and given rabies and another “cat” vaccine.  The kittens did not seem overly stressed and no problems ( infections/ sutures) have come up five days after surgery.  The kittens have been climbing trees and are still in (kitten mode) of exploring the world via my backyard portion of it. Of course Ash the kitten decided to jump into the wood stove when I was cleaning out the wood ash.

I’m trying to fill up my “kindling box”.  I should  have made a smaller box to fill. I split up enough kindling to fill the box about 5-6 inches deep.  Mom picked up a big box of kindling that should last her a week or two and I filled up my indoor kindling box so the time to get to work again!  I’m staying ahead of out kindling wood needs and I have had time to sharpen the axe and hatchet between cutting sessions. Plus I love my new wood cutting “stumps”. Splitting chunks of wood is much easier, if your cutting stump is about 18-24 inches tall depending on your height.  Cutting kindling works best for me around 24-30 inches stump.   I was amazed how much better my axe splits firewood with that extra six inch of travel time/gravity assist.  I would suggest that you split wood with an axe at level between your hips and knees, or around 18-24 inches for most people.  Cutting kindling seems to work best for me at a height of 24-30 inches.  I’m 5 ft. 6 and this is wood kindling cutting height is just below kitchen counter top height.

The BIG!!! winter storm that hit was a little over hyped,  at least for what hit around my place in Nampa.  I did get a lot of wind but not much more than just damp ground from all the SNOW!!  I’m glad the storm was a “bust” as I could get more yard cleanup done in the backyard.  Hopefully this weekend I can finish up all the leaves in the backyard and get some cleanup done on the grape vines, roses and trees done around the house.  Once that cleanup is done I can start adding Xmas lights to the front yard. I love using the Xmas light nets on my chain link fence! The net lights are easy to put up and look great with very little effort.  I haven’t installed Xmas lights on the exterior of the house since I got vinyl siding. I don’t want to drill into the siding and most “clips” don’t seem to fit into my siding. I’d like to add a couple of those projector type lights but that will depend on the budget.

For Thanksgiving I’m setting up BBQing the Turkey over Mesquite lump charcoal.  I’m  brining the turkey in kosher salt, brown sugar in apple cider and a few fresh herbs and spices. If you can maintain a BBQ temp of 325-350 for 2-4  hours.  Cooking a Turkey on the grill is simple if not easy because you have to rotate the bird about every 20 minutes to cook evenly.  I’m cooking the Lodge Southern cookbook  Mac and Cheese. At 2.5 pounds of cheese, plus butter, milk and half & half.  The density of dairy goods is epic! Sausage stuffing, mash potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted green beans with garlic and fresh baked bread will be on the menu.  Of course we have not forgotten the pie.  Lemon Meringue for me and Pumpkin pie for Mom.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  It has been a “strange” year of trying new stuff, getting ahead and then falling behind projects.  I’m so thankful that the pantry and freezer is full, the house is warm and the bills are paid.

 


Yard cleanup, fire starters and kindling OH MY

August 26, 2019

I’m getting leaves on the ground along with apples and walnuts.  Keeping the apples and walnuts cleaned up is critical for me as I always find those gifts and either a twist my ankle or end up with Apple goo on my shoes.  Neither outcome is what I consider positive.  The B&D air sweeper/ blower worked well blowing the leaf materiel into a pile, without blowing away the mulch. After that quick blow of the air sweeper it was easy to rake up the heavier stuff and toss it in the garbage.   Speaking of tools Mom and I are trading my B&D 20 volt weed eater for her 18 volt Ryobi. Mom doesn’t feel comfortable using the Ryobi,  based on the tools larger size and over all bulk. I’ll let Mom tryout my smaller/lighter B&D and see if that tool is more comfortable for her.  I think Mom is going to fall in love with the smaller size of the B&D weed eater.

On to making more fire starters. I had a little bit of leftover wax from last year so I bought four pounds of wax for this years batch of fire starters. I used about 1.5-2 pounds to make 120 individual fire starters.  I use 1 fire starter a day in my wood stove. Theoretically 120 fire starters should last about 4 months or from about mid October to February of next year.  Of course things seldom work out as perfectly as the theory says it should and I’m making the fire starters for mom and myself this year.  Mom is bringing some of her extra egg cartons to make more fire starters so that the both of us have at least a couple of months worth on hand this heating season.  Honestly I see my fire starters as a thing to get a fire started fast to warm up the house as quick as possible, rather than a “It would be nice to have a fire tonight” sort of thing.  For that sort of fire I’ll be using newspaper to start that type of fire.

The kindling box or should I say that “Freaking Huge Kindling” box?  I did about 30 minutes of chopping and I managed to fill the bottom of the box about one layer thick of kindling.  That was a little discouraging but I’m glad I gave my self a time limit as I have not chopped wood for almost 2 months and my muscles are out of practice.  I had a little muscle tremor when I was finished with that job.  While my muscles were challenged  by cutting kindling. The Dremel tool and stone sharpening of the axe and hatchet worked great.  If you buy a cheap axe/hatchet like I did the Dremel tools does a great job of putting a better edge on a tool without heating up the steel that might change it’s “temper”.  Yes, I still needed to use the stone to clean up the edge but the Dremel made getting that basic “cutting edge” faster and easier for me.  I have a lopper that crushes rather than cuts. I think the Dremel might put a good edge on that tool.  I want to learn how to maintain those yard cutting tools and make them better at the job.  I don’t remember who said it but there is a quote about someone given a job to cut down a large tree in 6 hours and the first 4 hours he spent sharpening the axe/saw.


Sorry about not posting….

August 20, 2019

I seem to have pulled a muscle in my back and gosh it hurt!  If your back is hurt everything you do becomes a challenge. Heck, just finding a comfortable potion to sleep is a challenge.  I spent some time in bed laying on the heating pad, putting on a lot of the essential oil pain cream and using the TENS device “electric muscle stimulation” to help clean out the “waste” that causes muscle ache as well as keeping the muscle moving despite me resting in bed.  Movement is critical to healing the back/muscles as not moving makes your body weaker and it hurts a lot.

I did not get a lot done for about 48 hours.  I vacuumed my carpet, washed dishes and mowed my lawn. There were a lot of other projects that did not get done because my pain level was to high for me to do the work.  One of the things I learned about becoming disabled is:  Some times you can’t do the work because your body can’t do the work.  This is not about using an injury or handicap to excuse you not working.  I know the difference between being lazy and being hurt.

Anyhoo, I got some jobs done by working up to each job and taking rest breaks to see how the injury reacted.  There were some major twinges but I did get a couple of easy jobs done.  It is okay to take time to heal and test out that healing in stages.  Trying to do much to quickly often bites me in the butt, so I have to remember remember slow and steady wins the race.  Learning what does not work for you is just as important as learning what works for you.  Failure is just a way to learn about what does not work.   I’m still in recovery mode with the pulled/sprained muscle but the pain cream is doing great but it’s tough to rub cream on your back yourself.

Mom got the rope and PVC tube secured under the tarp to help prevent the tarp from being lifted by the wind.   One thing I have learned about working with chicken wire is I hate it!  Yes, I know it is cheap, but that is the only positive attribute to using chicken wire fence rolls.   Chicken wire shred protective tarps and leave anyone working with it battered and bloody.

I have more shopping to finish up and overall I’m feeling a lot better. I have a few yard jobs waiting like cutting back the grape vines and weeds.  I need to start filling up my kindling wood box.  Filling the box is a challenge but I would not be surprised that filling that box full would give me 6-8 weeks worth of kindling this winter. I’m buying paraffin wax for the “fire starters” and last but not least looking for a Chimney sweep to clean the wood stove by the middle of September.  My goal is to have all of the jobs for heating with wood this winter will be complete by the end of September.

 


Working with tarps, helping with Mom’s wood pile. Clean up and some fall prep

August 13, 2019

Yesterday I got out to Mom’s place to replace the tarp over the chicken run. This one of those jobs that seems almost impossible to by yourself but is easy with two people.  Because of Mom’s location she gets a lot of wind blowing daily and often at a brisk 20-30 mph so if a tarp last a year in that type of breeze it is a good tarp.  We have noticed that the cheap “blue tarps” shred in a matter of months.  We suspect that the blue tarps are not UV protected.  We both have used the low cost brown and green tarps with UV protection and those tarps handle high winds/ beating solar rays.  Getting 9-12 months of use out of those type tarps very is doable.  Trying a new way of keeping the tarp on top of the chicken run in high winds.  I ran some rope through some PVC pipe and will place that pipe in the fold of the tarp and see if that keeps the wind from getting under the tarp and moving it around on the chicken run.

Mom stopped by today and got the rest of the mill ends, 2 old pallets for the base of her wood pile.  Mom’s wood storage area is a “Work in progress” but she is getting the the stuff needed to get the wood off the ground and the tarps to cover the top of the wood pile.  I was able to give Mom a couple of smaller tarps that I replaced with one larger tarp over my Doug fir wood racks.  I had a large tarp covering the mill end wood storage area that was a little worn around some of the edges, but is in good enough shape to keep rain and snow off the wood pile.

I got my Doug fir wood pile covered by tarps.  The wood pile is in old dog kennel and is a long but narrow space so a 10 x 12 foot tarp covers most of the wood.  A few of smaller tarps will cover the wood racks so the wood can dry/season but is also protected from rain and snow.  The carport  has over head cover and the shop and RV provide some protection from the weather.  One of the trickiest things about heating with firewood is exposing  fire wood to the weather/wind so it can dry/season but also protecting it from absorbing moisture while it is drying.  I’m hoping that I won’t use a lot of wood to heat this winter and I can build up a multi-year wood pile of dry and seasoned wood.

Lessons I have learned:

  1. I hate chicken wire!  I understand it works and is cheap but if I want a good fencing that lasts and is easy to work with I’d go with some sort of hardware cloth for retaining small critters of a larger panel square for larger critters.
  2. Even a cheap Dremal tool can sharpen tools and it is less intimidating than a grinder.  A Dremel is not a replacement for a grinder it is just a tool for stuff.
  3. Always try to repair things right the first time.  If you think the job is beyond you call in a pro.  I can replace a toilet.  I can’t replace a plumbing valve that is frozen that uses copper/ plastic/steel pipes that have galvanic corrosion.  I know enough to know I don’t know enough for that sort of repair.
  4. I’m learning a little bit about some electrical work.  I hate getting Zapped by electricity especially if that zap could stop my heart.  If I cut power all of my outlets installed seem to work without  electrical arcs.

I’ve rambled on a bit but replacing an electric plug really isn’t a big deal unless it is your first time and it works.  You need to smart and research how a repair job is done properly.  There is a “Fear Factor” of doing new stuff.  Unless you do new stuff you will not grow as a person or add new skills.  I was terrified of using a chainsaw. Now I respect the power of the chainsaw, I don’t fear using a chainsaw.