Mowing the weeds at Mom’s place

May 4, 2019

We had a big work day at Mom’s place cutting down weeds in the garden area.  The green works electric mower did okay cutting down the semi-damp/2 foot tall weeds.  I wanted to use my bagging lawnmower hoping I could bag some of the weed seed.  I’m not sure I bagged the weed seed, but we did get Mom’s garden area cleaned up enough so she can start her raised bed gardens with new soil and compost.

Mom was a little concerned about using my lawnmower on her weeds but the little Greenworks mower did good, even though the weeds were very damp. I think I showed Mom she can take her riding lawnmower into the field and keep the weeds cut back even if we can’t eliminate them this year.   Cutting down 2 foot tall weeds is a challenge for any mower but I have proved the Green works electric mower can handle the job if not quite as well as a powerful gas mower.

A friend suggested using old carpet as a weed barrier.  This friend is a garden goddess that built a greenhouse from cast off window frames.  So she knows about going cheap but also spends money when and where it is needed.  Our friend just happen to know someone getting rid of some old carpet and Mom got it for free.  After mowing/weed wacking. Mom laid down the carpet “JUTE” side up and will add mulch on top carpet so the carpet makes a weed barrier and Mom can walk around her beds without the weeds trying to trip her up!  Mom will need more mulch.  I don’t know about anyone else’s garden but I always need more mulch.  It might be that as I learn more about gardening and landscaping I see more areas that mulch would be a great addition from building soil to water retention

The Kellog’s soil,  I love using this soil in my raised beds and when (the soil) went on sale a couple of months ago and I was correct in guessing the cost per cu. ft. was going up by about 33- 50 %.  I was able to give Mom four of the 3 cubic ft. bags as well as top off all my garden projects.  I did not plan for that soil to go up in cost but I’m composting and the steer manure/compost is a low cost augment to my garden beds.  Now I have added enough good soil in my beds that I hopefully no longer need to add soil.

Great news my onions are coming up in the garden bed!  The grass seed is sprouting up and my potato buckets are starting to grow.  The pepper spray on the straw mulch in the berry buckets seems to have dissuaded the squirrels from digging in the berry planters.  My hoses reach to all parts of the garden and I soaked all the planters I have not watered the last few days.  I’m still working on the garden irrigation plan but now I know I have plenty of hoses ready to water all of the garden beds.

Last but not least I splurged on some Jiffy starter packs.  I want to have a fall garden as well as succession plantings in my raised beds. These are cheap starter beds, but if they last 2-3 years the cost of $4-6.00 is an acceptable cost for starting plants.

 

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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.

 


Warning !! Food stamps may not get paid Oct. 1st if the government shutsdown

September 24, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government shutdown Oct. 1 could immediately suspend or delay food stamp payments to some of the 46 million Americans who receive the food aid.

The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that it will stop providing benefits at the beginning of October if Congress does not pass legislation to keep government agencies open.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONGRESS_BUDGET_FOOD_STAMPS?SITE=DMN&SECTION=HOME

We had a trial run of this October of 2013 What did you do during the great ebt blackout . People were very upset and a lot of food got wasted as shopping carts full of food were abandoned and people just left the stores.

I will be finishing up my shopping and getting my gas in the next couple of days. But I’m not taking any other special precautions at this time. If the government shuts down I’ll probably just stay home and see how things work out.

 


Buying tools, cleanup, organizing and getting ready for fall/winter

August 31, 2015

I have been buying up a lot of basic wood working tools and home maintenance items. Yet at times I find my mindset stuck in the past when I did not have tools/knowledge to do basic repair jobs. It’s not enough for a person to have tools on hand, you have to learn how to use those tools, that can be a scary at times. You can lop off parts of your body or worse cut some lumber wrong and have to buy more lumber to fix your screw up.  Desperation might be a good motivator in the collapse but knowing you have a Emergency Room available if you”screw the pooch” on your DIY projects is better right now. Learn how to use your tools safely on DIY projects so you respect tools and not fear them.

I have a been a bit slow on creating more shelving for storage. Or as I call it being an acid minded moron. While I tend to like 55 gallon drums for storing “long term basics” like grains, beans and rice long term.  I have really dropped the ball on short term (2-5 year) food storage. Since most of my food storage is in my basement the shelves don’t have to be pretty, just solid.  My hope is that as I build the shelves I will become more proficient working with wood as I learn some basic carpentry skills. Worse thing that can happen is I  screw up a cut and have more kindling for the wood stove.

I called up L about some wood but it did not work out. Good fire wood but it need cut and split to fit my stove. While the price was great, neither Mom or I are physically capable of cutting/splitting wood this winter. While I’m not rich I can afford to buy a few cords of wood that is cut and split to fit my stove. Many people can’t afford split wood so getting free firewood of any sort will be helpful to them. I’m sure some folks will think I’m foolish passing up “free” fire wood of any sort. I figure God wants me to do my best and be honest with my need. Do I need fire wood? yes, I can also pay for it and other people can not pay cash.  If they are willing to sweat cutting and splitting wood, good for them!

I finally got a hold of the guys Mom suggested for firewood and have a delivery of 2 cords scheduled about the 16th of September. I have seen the wood they delivered to Mom and Dad for years and feel confident I am get a good bang for my buck. I have sort of bad feeling about the folks I called earlier as one cord of wood delivered for $100.00 is very low priced for this area. I think they might mean a “face” cord rather than a full cord of wood.  I hope I’m wrong as I would like to stock up on firewood and $100.00 a cord delivered is a bargain!

I will get another 3 bags of mulch for the alley way garden. My sunchokes and mossy rose put on a lot of new growth after adding a thick layer of wood mulch around the plants. Plus it seems that the weeds are not growing back as quickly. It seems that using the wood ash, a thick layer of wood mulch and adding in more layers of rock is helping to kill out the weeds naturally.  While not as fast as using a weed killer, I have been a bit surprised that many of the weeds I dug out in mid July have not made a come back going into fall. I added a 2 light weight garden hoses and a new oscillating sprinkler that were on sale. I need to call the water dept. for a leaky irrigation valve to find out who is responsible for it and how it should be replaced. I recommend every prepper with a yard/garden have a couple of backup hoses and a few hose repair kits on hand.  Moving water by hand is a lot of physical work.

I don’t think you need to panic unless you are still in the “Market” or a TBTF (To Big To Fail) bank. If you have not moved your cash accounts into a local bank or credit union that should be a priority. Start saving about one month’s of bills as cash on hand and pre pay any reoccurring bills you can afford to pay, such as insurance, electricity and what ever utility that will allow you to pre-pay. You might be like me and suck at saving cash but don’t mind being cash poor if all the bills are paid. So pre-pay utilities now and your utilities are covered somewhat this winter.

I think an Economic collapse of the USA is the greatest disaster we may face. That does not mean it will happen, just that it could happen. If you are ready for an economic collapse you are ready for most local and regional disasters.

  • Food for 3-12 months
  • Water on hand for at least 2 weeks and filter plus water source for additional water needs
  • Shelter and energy that is not grid dependent for at least a month
  • Security via lighting or alarms along with security measures to protect you, your family and others
  • First aid and sanitation

Prepping and self reliance is not a zero-sum gain. While you might have start off slow depending on your budget. The effort you put in is good for all kinds of local disasters up to so big disasters like an economic collapse. I did not add fire extinguisher to my home because of an economic collapse. I added them because of how often house fires happen!

This prepping and self reliance stuff is usually simple. That does not mean it is easy!

 

 

 


Puttering around the house, trike maintenance and dealing with Riot control agents

May 3, 2015

I finally got started cleaning up and organizing the basement. The basement is sort of a catch all for all the items that need to be in a temprature controlled enviroment and can not be stored in my shop. I got the paint and cleaning supplies awawy from the food supplies and stacked on shelves just for those sort of items. In general you want to store cleaning/home improvement (paint, caulk etc.) supplies away from your food supplies. Any how I got a few items organized, so I could walk easily  and swept the small carpet and the concrete floor to clean up dust and trash.  While my basement isn’t “all that” I  think of it as my little bunker. Keeping it clean and organized is a challenge.  I’m not one of those people that does “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.  Quite often I get stuff I think I might need/want on hand, find a place to put it and then figure out how to organize it later…  Not such a good plan if you are just starting to prep as you can miss getting items you need and get overly redundant on some items.  I thought I had plenty of both C and AAA type batteries. Nope! I have lots of AA and D batteries. Don’t stress out just fix it as soon as you can afford to stockup again.  I try to think positive on all I do to prep. While I may miss a few small items, in genearal I am well prepeared to handle a minor disaster.  When I screw up I don’t beat myself up, I simply adjust my shopping list and top off those missing items.

I got my adult trike out and cleaned it up, aired up the tires and added a headlight and break light along with a little bell. Bikes and adult trikes don’t get much love or notice in the prepping community and I think a bike or trike is something all preppers should have on hand and practice everything from bugging out to daily shopping.  If you are semi-healthy and walk a couple of mile per day,  a bike/trike would get you about 6 miles away from ground zero. Let’s say you are physically capable of walking 5 miles per day. A bike/trike would probably triple that mileage and weight you could carry more stuff means give you better chance at survival.  Practice using a bike/ trike and have a plan for bugging out. It might be using a backpack and a basket or using a child trailer but get your bike setup ready and practice shopping, riding around and setting up your  bug out routes now!

I have been Teared gassed and while very unpleasant, there is a lot you can do to adapt to being gassed. # 1. Don’t freak out or panic. Getting gassed is very unpleasant but it is not the “end of the world”! #2.  Do not rub your eyes or mouth or your skin.  As quickly as possible rinse your skin  and face with cool water for at least 5-10 minutes and strip off all contamimated clothing.  Have a basic mask, bandana and safety goggles at all times when entering a potential riot area.  For tear gas “sip your air” through your mouth.  Getting tear gassed is very unpleasant your first time. You ever wonder why anarchists go into the fog of tear gas. They have a bit of protection and have leared to deal with gas. Tear gas is pretty unpleasent at first, but with a bit of practice it isn’t that bad to deal with if you are prepared.  I would recommend any one going into a possible riot zone wear a long sleaves and be ready to strip to shorts and a t-shirt.  Thinking in layers is just not for winter.  While a gas mask on hand is great, it will be easier to stash a couple of masks and goggles in your jockey box and add a bandana to your every day carry gear.

While I give you some ideas. Be aware and prepare, so you don’t have to go through riot areas. That means you must keep your vehicle topped off.  You need to plan your routes to avoid any “potential riots or bad areas”.   Be polite and respectful to all and have a plan to kill all around you.  I did not choose this option I’m simply taking measures to protect myself.


Got the “emergency backup dog” today and stored the snacks Updated!!

April 28, 2015

Today Mom and  I stopped at the pound to look at a few dogs we saw online. Mom looked at a peke and I checked out a small pit bull.  I have a new dog though Mom is still thinking about the peke.  Samson the pitbull is small, about 16-18 inches tall at his shoulder and weighs 36 pounds though he is a little on the thin side though he does not act like he is starving and I have started him on a high quality dog food.  So far so good, he is intrugue by Smokey the cat and got swatted by Smokey a couple of times but Samson did not get crazy, just backed off and mostly ignores the cat. Samson the pit was intrigued by the chickens and has some chase instinct, but overall I was very happy how well he behaved his first day around the birds while they foraged in the backyard.  Diana the Peke tried to assert herself at Samson’s dog dish and there was a small altercation but no one was hurt but Diana’s pride and she got slobbered on. It is interesting that Samson the pit has shown zero interest in Diana the peke’s food dish and he does not seem overly protective of his food.  Smokey just tagged Samson on the nose but that is more Smokey the cat not caring for dogs rather than Samson not liking cats. Mom’s pekes are very accepting of other dogs and so far Samson has just has sniffed around them and then ignored them.  It’s only been a few hours but once all the critter’s settle down I think Samson will find his place in the “Casa de Chaos” Pack.

Update: The pitbull did not work out. Diana got aggressive toward food and Samson the pit snapped back at her and had her down. Diana has a sore leg but otherwise okay. I took Samson back to the pound.

I have had several dogs but never a pitbull. Samson is very sweet and much more accepting of people and critters in general than I had anticipated.  While I have been looking for a dog that is slightly more intimidating than my peke. I don’t want a dog that is viscious day to day.  Pekes tend to have have a heart of lion and are about as intimidating as a Hostess “Sno ball”.  While I’m not sure Samson the pit will make a good guard dog. I know I would think twice about entering a pit bull’s “space” of any sort, while a peke is not much of a threat besides barking an “alarm”.

I have been looking at rescued dogs for several months and I think a person should take time to evaluate what you want in a dog, understand the breed and see if you and the dog resonates with you. In my mind a pet is not a way to check a block or accesorize. It is a living creature who needs must come before your own.  If you are not willing to prep for your animals or share the last drops of your stored water or your food. Don’t have animals! While I’m a Christian and believe in the Bible.  I really hope one day I can be as good a person as my dogs seem to think I am.

I ran out of “popcorn tins” storing my snacks. I moved on to a 3.5 gallon bakery bucket for the saltine crackers, bagged pretzels and corn chips.  I doubt most preppers have live on their storage for a month or two. I have and I like salty snacks  and had none during my little adventure.  For some people it might be sugary snacks or chocolate.  It is your preps and while there is plenty on the Internet  about prepping. Make your own stock pile work for you and your family.

I like storeing bulk goods beans and rice to bulk grains. A few cases of canned fruits and veggies will work until you get a garden planted but sometimes you just need a quick snack and ramen oris pasta is great for a quick meal.


Picked up the last items for the clothesline

February 17, 2015

Lowes had the clothes line pulley I wanted, the wheels are a hard plastic but it has an aluminum frame.  I went with two heavy duty tie-down hooks to attach the pulleys to the house under the patio awning. My hope is the hooks will allow the pulleys to move with the wind rather than bend/ break if I installed a more rigid attachment.  Overall the cost so far is two pulley at $3.49 each, two of the tie down hooks $1.99 each and 50 feet of “clothes” line for $9.00. I think I got a good deal as most drying racks are over $20.00 and  the Umbrella type clothes lines/dryers are over $50.00 new. Plus I don’t have to dig any holes or set poles in concrete to make the clothes line stable and sturdy!

True Value had the shelf brackets with hook to hang behind the wood stove for another drying area. I have a rod I can use with clothes hangers for drying plus I get additional shelf space. We hung a four-foot long mirror then added the shelf brackets below the mirror and I think it looks pretty good. The shelf is on standby until I get my check this week, perhaps a couple of small hanging plants and then everything will be complete.

Mom and I wash about two loads of laundry each week on average so we are not a good example of drying needs compared to a family with kids. Between the drying racks and the  pulley clothes line system we have a fairly inexpensive way to dry clothes both inside and outside the house.  FYI: the little mini-green house works as a drying rack after you remove the cover and the shelves.

I love the cordless/battery-powered Bissel spotbot! This was the low-end model without the hands free or the carpet beater bar you see in the more expensive systems but it still has a small scrub brush built-in and will work on both carpets and hard surface type floors. While I still have to do cleanup with the older dogs tinkling on the carpet. The cleanup for potty spots are down to about one a day and the dogs no longer pooping in the house. The cordless spotbot is easy to use and makes clean up a breeze.  One of the hardest thing about “house training” dogs is eliminating the smell of where they piddle as the dogs tend to back to their potty spots. All of our dogs are getting older and have some health problems so I’m not sure we can keep the dogs from piddling in the house.  If they do piddle the little spot bot will help clean up after the pups.  If you have carpets, pets or small children the Bissel spot bot is a good buy at $50.00 or less. To keep your hour home’s rugs clean and as sanitary as possible. Plus the little cordless spot bot is so quick and easy to use compared to sponges, paper towels, scrub brushes and spray cleaner. The procedure that seems to work best with the spot bot is suck up what liquid first, spray a bit of carpet cleaner on the spot and then scrub/suck up all liquids making sure you work the carpet’s nap and against the nap.

I will be getting another Linksys 54 gl type router to try out the mesh network protocol that Matt suggested. The walkie-talkie cell phone app has some potential as an off-grid idea.  I’m a little less than impressed by the NSA has read every email or listen to every cell phone intell agency. I have no doubt the NSA has collected the data but they simply don’t have the analysts that can make sense of the data or unable to sell it to the PTBs.  The NSA infected all hard drives yet they seem incapable of understanding Putin!  Remeber don’t get intimdated, you are a needle in a haystack of other needles! Don’t get cocky either and be smart about your security and communications.

Great price alert: Amazon has a great deal on the Sawyer mini water filters that are good for several thousand gallons of water. A four pack of water filter systems for under $70.00 and the filters are different color so each person can have their own filter!  Best price I have seen in years and these systems don’t take up much space in a BOB or a GHB. These filters will handle most of the most of the germs from open water sources though are not great about chemicals or hazardous waste.  Personally I think the Sawyer system beats “Life Straw” because of the amount of water it will filter in its lifetime. I think each homeowner should have a big gravity fed water filter and each family member should have an adequate water filter in their BOB/GHB. While you will not need it in most disasters, planned redundancy is a good thing for all preppers.