April 22, 2019
I’m learning when you get “pony pak” vegetable need to go in the garden beds or transplanted into larger pots within a day or two of purchase because the plants get root bound quickly in those small pots. It was amazing to see how much the Sun Globe cherry tomatoes perk up after moving them into 3 inch pots. I’m going to have to invest in getting some of those small 3-4 inch small pots for succession and starting plants for a fall crop. I did not consider how I would plant crops in the Future green house. I’m going to need a lot intermediate size pots and many large pots to grow plants nearly year round. Yard sale season is starting so I’ll keep my eyes open to getting pots for the green house plants.
I’m holding off planting any Brussels sprouts as we are already seeing 70 degrees F. this week and I’m afraid I’ll grow a huge plant that will have no actual sprouts to harvest. The broccoli and cauliflower plants seem to be suffering from transplant shock but I hope they will recover as the frost cloth provides a little protection from the sun and the plants are getting watered in the garden beds. I’ve never used a Frost Cloth cover before so this is a learning experience for me. My hope is the white cloth will reflect some of the heat away from those cole crops and help keep the plants from bolting in the garden bed. I bought more seeds so I’ll do starts of those cole crops in late summer indoors and try for a fall harvest this year.
I started de-thatching and adding grass seed plus compost to the front yard grass area. I got about of 1/4th of the front grass area done as de thatching by muscle power is a challenge for me. I reseeded grass with a drought tolerant fescue grass seed mix then added compost and water. The compost areas sort of stand out in the formally bare patches of grass but whether is the dark color compost or adding water that area of the yard is looking a bit better/greener already. The backyard grass area has some new grass sprouting up and I’m hoping the grass will fill in that area. I have not had to fight many weeds in the back yard area so I know good soil does help stop bad weeds.
I was darn happy to see one of the strawberry plants in the front yard kiddie pool bed has a couple of little flowers after the massive weed clean out and adding new soil I did last week. If I remember correctly this Strawberry plant is an Ozark and while all the plants are greening up I was surprised to see flowers so quickly after the plants being manhandled so recently. I have some critters digging into this bed (squirrels) but I have a home made hot pepper spray mix I’ll spray on the straw mulch in the bed. I used a Tabasco pepper spray mix a few years ago to discourage squirrels a few years ago that was effective keeping those critters from chewing on my wood eaves and setting up nests in my attic. The hanging bird feeder hooks have worked great. The birds are messy eaters and squirrels have been happy to feed on the seed that falls to the ground. Unlike many people I like watching squirrels even though they can be a little annoying at times. A little spray bottle of home made pepper spray tends to make the squirrels go to the area I prefer in my yard. Especially if the squirrel can find an easy meal there. It is funny to watch a squirrel reach for a suet cake that is at least 3-4 feet beyond his reach.
I’m often surprised by what people consider “good animals” and repelling the “bad animals”. I think the brown little sparrows and larks are great bird watching. Oh, the birds don’t have showy plumage but they are a study in and of themselves as “survivalists”. Squirrels are much the same as being survivalists. I don’t mind animals that are opportunistic for a free/good meal. I do the same thing when trying to survive winter! I’d shoot coyotes around the ranch that killed a calf. I did not blame the coyote for trying to eat the calf but the cow calf was needed for me to eat in the future. We were fellow Apex predators competing for food. Even if you are a vegan you compete for food with other Herbivores like birds, deer and squirrels. Trust me a deer, few rabbits, gophers, moles and voles can reek havoc on a garden.
I like wild life in the city and in my yard. That is why I use a little pepper spray to encourage some critters to go elsewhere to feed. But I would have no problem shooting an animal feeding on my garden nor a predator hunting my dogs and cat. Thankfully this not a problem I need to deal with very often.
May 12, 2018
I thought I stopped in time but I seemed to pulled a muscle along my neck and shoulder. I took this rainy day off to rest that area and while it is not 100% it does feel 100% better than it did yesterday so it should heal up with a couple of easy days to get it loosened up.
Speaking for myself I find that doing little things to keep the pulled muscle area moving a little bit with light weight work helps with the healing process. So I have just been doing some puttering around the house rather than any heavy lifting jobs. I finished getting the lawns watered and then a light rain came through to help finish up the job. I made up a big batch of dog food this time using chicken quarters, green beans and brown rice.
No rain today (Saturday), the pulled muscle is stiff and twinges occasionally but overall it seems to be healing up quickly. I started the day with pulling the weeds out of the front rose beds. With the mulch that covers these beds the weeds are very easy to pull out. Then a split the rest of the day getting the house vacuumed, clothes washed and finish building the last garden bed. Having the shop cleaned up made the bed go together quicker than the first two beds. Putting the supporting 2x4s end pieces of wood first made adding the 10 foot long 2x6s much easier, plus having the work space to clamp the boards together, drilling the screw holes saved much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I did not add the soil or till the new garden bed as moving the big bags of soil are a bit to much for my shoulder muscle until it gets healed up.
One of the best things for me building these garden boxes is I have learned how to follow simple building plans, use all of my tools and that trial and error is not a bad way to learn. One of the worst aspects I have is doing ALL of the work and not getting inpatient doing all the measuring, fitting and drilling out the screw holes, because I wanted the project done quickly rather than taking the time to make sure everything is done correctly. Even a stacked concrete brick wall can be strong using re-bar and sand as a filler in the cavities of the block wall. I don’t think I’d use it as a house foundation but for a base for fence I think it would be good enough.
Good fences make good neighbors or unless you protect your property rights no one else will protect them, via precedent or squatters rights. We need to get up some fencing and post more signs around Mom’s property. Mom can be as nice or nasty as she chooses but her property lines must be respected. Even a temporary fence is better than nothing as it proves you are protecting your property. I fought a long hard legal battle about property rights. Not good, so it is best nip these thing in the bud. Even a temp. fence declares your right to your own property. No one will ever care about your property than you. Do all you can to protect that property!
December 16, 2017
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.
This is the before pic after the roof was added
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.
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.
November 11, 2017
I have been blown away by how well the house holds heat since the windows and siding are complete. My computer room now gets into the mid-70’s F. and retains the heat even after the wood stove burns out. Of course it has not turned to cold in the valley since all the work was done but with the old windows heat would just leak out if we did not have plastic on the windows. Mom and I are using a lot of the mill ends and smaller limbs for small fires and just to keep the firebox going through the day. The only problem with that sort of fire is I’ll need to buy more of the mill ends for the rest of winter (for kindling) and too use next spring. I have the materials for another wood rack and one more load of wood ordered for delivery this month. That last load should fill up the main wood storage area and I’m storing the mill ends in a separate area that is easy access for adding more wood if needed this winter of spring.
I started painting the front door a grey semi-gloss that matches the color of the gables and frame work around the windows. It is going to take a couple of coats of paint to cover up the old red door. The worst part is the old door hardware looks kind of terrible against the new paint. I have been looking at new locks and door levers rather than just the standard knobs. Eventually I’d like to change all the doors to the lever type handles as they look great and are much easier for me to operate with my CIDP. One thing I have become aware of since getting disabled is how much easier life can be if you retro fit faucets, door handles and other (ADA approved) hardware. What is great is most of the hardware has a retro-look that fits with me going back to the original look of a 1910-20’s Craftsman House.
Update on the stitches: Every thing is looking good according to the doc in a box. In a week I’ll get the stitches removed though it may take up to 6 weeks the cut to fully heal and give me another interesting scar. The Doc in a box even asked where I got the bandage I was using to cover the cut. The Walgreen’s brand of 3 inch x 4 inch knee/elbow bandage works great for covering a large cut and is very easy to apply. I’m not sure if this is correlation or causation but when I started using Curad’s Anti-microbial silver solution I noticed a significant reduction of pain around the injury site compared to using the little packets of anti- Bacterial cream I got from Doc in a box. I believe but can not prove that the silver solution gel made a huge difference on how quickly this cut started healing.
Not to much more to add other than I got some tree limbs to cut up, more leaves to clean up and I have to install all of my solar motion lights.
August 30, 2017
My mortgage guy stopped by today and checked my paint job and recommended a couple of touch ups to the paint. Over all he thought my job would probably work out okay with the VA Appraiser and the loan should get done after the re-appraisal. The first coat Kill-Z is added to the bad spots and I’ll add another coat along with the touch ups for the appraiser who should show up around the first week in September.
FYI: if you are a veteran and want a cash out you will need a new appraisal. If you are doing a straight re-fi for a lower payments, chances are you won’t need an appraisal. Also the appraiser can not move stuff around, so it might be possible to “hide” some suspected problem areas with boards or things laid against the sides of the house.
In a way everything is sort of working out as my “contractor” suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital over the weekend. I got a call from him apologizing for not keeping in touch on the “potential” job. I added a little extra cash to my loan just in case some thing goes wrong and needs some fixing. I’m hoping not to use that money on the siding project and it will go straight into the “Emergency fund” for other projects/emergencies.
Carpets got cleaned, finally! This was a tough job as the living room carpet was difficult. The cleaning solution set on top of the deep pile carpet and never penetrated the fibers before the carpet cleaner pulled up the cleaning solution. It took a little finagling but I got the soap solution on the carpet, and vacuumed up on the first try then the next day the carpet cleaner did a great job scrubbing the living room carpet. Now on my low pile carpet the carpet cleaner did a pretty good job on the first try. I’m glad I went to the extra effort on the carpet carpet cleaner as Mom was so peeved she wanted to chuck the machine into the trash after fighting with it on the first day. FYI: Bissel carpet cleaner’s vacuum and spray pumps are connected and work in tandem. When pet hair gets up into the internal machine belts “slip” and can keep the machine from working. It is a bit of a pain but always clean all hair from the beater brushes and around the spray nozzles. Trust me it makes using a cheap carpet cleaner much easier to use the next time.
Did some shopping and have been adding to my hard liquor stock pile. This will last a long time for me as I prefer beer for drinking but it is always nice to have the option for a Margarita night. I focused on whiskeys and vodka to begin with and now I want to stock up gin, rum and tequila mid-range of quality. I figure get the booze for a “basic bar” at a reasonable price and then add in any Premium stuff as money allows. Idaho has state liquor stores so there is no competition on price. I don’t know what your priorities are for stocking up but hard liquor for any sort of barter should probably be bought is small quantities and for personal use in the bigger bottles. Do not discount getting schnapps or flavored liquors as many people like a sweet flavor, especially women. I’m not a big fan of sweet flavor alcohol but a bottle of Kahlua or peach/mint schnapps might make a good barter item. If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody is happy! You might also try out some cooking wines and sherries to cook with as they add lots of flavor to meals and marinades but are not so good to drink. That will save your stockpile for barter.
I have bitched and moaned enough and have done a few things to make my life better for the future. I need to add a few more 18 inch plywood boards and some additional Ideas but over all Mom and I are doing good though a bit stressed. With a little luck we will clean up the garden and start on building the boardwalk.
June 21, 2017
I got a great tool bargain at Home depot. Rather than buying the drill and getting a free tool instead I bought the 18 volt drill + impact driver set for $99.00 and got the 10% vet discount! So the price was only $89.10 for both tools. I got a 5/8 in. sheet of plywood cut into 2×8 ft.sections for $25.00 and add in eight, 1×3 inch boards to start the basement shelf building project. At this time I’m working to re-enforce and add new shelves to an existing frame work hence the smaller dimensional lumber.
One thing I noticed today is the cashier at Home depot was sort of defensive or tried to explained that the 10% discount did not apply to all items. I’m a disabled vet and I love how some companies give a vet discount but no company is required to give a discount to vets. No cashier needs to be attacked if a vet discount is not applied. If you don’t like the policy, write a letter to corporate or rant on the internet but, leave the cashier alone.
Most or the replacement garden veggies were available for the replacement plants that did not do great from my starts. I bought some sweet corn, celery and sweet potatoes that Mom wants to try growing. No luck so far with finding tomitillo plants but I know from last year those plant start off slow and then explode with growth so I have not given up hope yet! The worst thing that can happen is that raised bed lies fallow and I build up the soil so it is not a bad situation.
This may sound a bit strange but I am more interested in learning how to grow a garden rather than what food a garden can produce. Many people that never had a garden think growing a good garden is easy. It is not easy at all and requires a lot of effort. For me any veggies I get is a bonus, my focus is on building up a sustainable garden out of my own resources. Learning to work with my land and then improve it as much as possible before the need to grow a garden is upon us.
It is very easy for a government to mandate everyone must grow a garden, (ala Venezuela) for food but we all know that just tossing out a few seeds and hope for the best is a terrible way to grow a good garden.
Thursday and Mom does not have a master gardeners BS class to go to so the plan of attack is trim up and perhaps cut down the dead cherry tree and finish up building the stuff needed for the properly built compost pile. My carpentry skills/knowledge are mediocre at best but I have built a few simple things and now I can build “larger” simple projects. I can’t say you can succeed on trying new project. I can guarantee if you never try doing anything new you will fail.
May 5, 2016
This is the before and after on the sod project. The rest of the grassy areas will be done with grass seed. One mistake I made with the grass seed was not keeping the ground wet. I’m now watering the grass seed areas daily and it has helped get the new grass areas started growing. I will be using landscape timbers as a border on the right and at the rock entry area at the back gate. The last job will be adding in more mulch on the right and that should keep down the weeds and break down to add organic material to the dirt.
Mom did a great job on cleaning up the grape vines and the alley way. Now I can add the sedums, plant the sunflowers and add more mulch to keep down the weeds and hopefully the new plants will start choking out the weeds. Just killing or pulling weeds is not enough if you want to have good soil and growing spaces. You got to help mama nature by replacing the weeds with good plants.
Now that we have the backyard mostly finish mom and I can concentrate on the garden area.