Cooling off, removed the Window A/C and started on the kindling. Hurricanes

September 11, 2018

It looks like Fall is coming into the valley with a very rapid drop in High temps this week.  We have gone for 95-100 degree highs down to 75-80 degree highs in less than 2 weeks.  I’m loving the cool off because I can remove the window A/C units and start saving money on that electric bill.  With the new windows and siding I had one very high cost month for electricity this summer.  August was a very hot and smokey month, so I often ran the A/C units 24/7 for cool as well as filter out some of the smokey air.  In September most of the fire smoke is gone and with it cooler I can get away with using fans during the day.

My overall assessment of the savings from the siding and new window installation, saved at least $200.00 on electrical costs over the summer months.  That is not a lot of money but the wood stove has saved a lot of money on heating costs.  With window install and having good firewood for this winter heating season I can give a solid report next spring on the total savings on energy costs since the siding and new windows were installed.

One very nice thing about the new windows is installing the window A/C unit and not have the window try and slam shut on me or the A/C unit before it was installed.  The unit was very easy to remove today and re-installing the screen was simple with no tools required to get the screen in place.  The larger ‘portable’  A/C unit did not require removing the screen and kept the front part of the house cool during weeks of 95-100+ degree heat this summer.  Overall I’m happy with using smaller/ room size A/C units to cool during the summer rater than using the old whole house system.  Of course I prefer wood heat to heat the house compared to an electric forced air system.

Cutting up kindling today and loading up the porch wood rack.  I made two trips with the garden cart and almost filled up the ‘porch’ wood rack with a mix of lodge pole pine, Doug fir and poplar. My wood piles are divided as one is mostly poplar under the carport and the Douglas fir is in the original wood storage area.  I need to burn both woods in my wood stove.  On to cutting kindling I’m focusing on the Doug Fir wood pile as I stacked mostly small and I hope easy to split fir for kindling.  My 1 1/4 pound hatchet blade needs a lot  of sharpening to cut kindling.  I should not be surprised as my ax needed a good sharpening before it could cut wood rather than split wood.  I’ll sharpen up the hatchet and get to work on the kindling.

Hurricanes:  I have to say that people are “panicking” four days out rather than 2 days before the storm hits.  That is progress I guess….?   Is tap water undrinkable for a few days in the Carolinas?  I mean fill a few water jugs, fill up the tub to flush the toilet should take care of water needs.  I figure getting a generator/solar power to charge electronic devices, lighting. Sandbags and lumber would be the items to get on hand and storing all frozen food in a garbage bag in case you lose power you could clean the freezer easily.

Can you buy Quick concrete bags to build a wall against flooding?  Sure it would be a pain to remove but if it protects you from flooding could it be a good back up?  For all of you not in the storm zone you should test your preps.

Disaster Test: This is for those outside the disaster zone.

  1. How much drinking water do you have stored?
  2. Lighting,  Solar camping lights, Solar panels, candles, flashlights or lanterns.  Have you tested those batteries?  Do you have fuel for lanterns?
  3. Cooking when the power is gone.  A little grill via charcoal or propane can at least boil water and heat canned foods.
  4. Food: That garden is probably gone if flooded do you have canned goods for at least 2 -4 weeks?
  5. Power: Do you have a generator that can power a freezer?  Do you have fuel enough to power a freezer until you can preserve what is in the freezer?  Could you preserve what is in your freezer in 2-3 days?
  6. People:  They will get a little crazy in about 2 weeks and they will need diversions. When you fire up the generator let people charge the tablets, phones and laptops if possible.  Have dice games like Yahtzee, cards and if possible low energy cost TV movies or video games.  Are YOU ready for a local disaster?
  7. What will you do with you poo if the local sewer system is compromised? What will you do with your trash if the trash guys don’t show up the next few weeks?

Most people have only 2 options.  Get out now if you are not prepared and that is a smart thing to do if you are not prepared.  Go visit family or friends inland and have a little vacation.  Photograph everything before you leave and not deal with the storm.  If you are prepped you could stick out the storm, realize you are on your own.  If you think having an ax to chop through the roof makes you prepared please evacuate now!

 

 

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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.

 


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.

 


New slippers and a sled

December 29, 2017

One thing nice about the end of the year is almost everything goes on sale.  I have been stocking up on small fans that are battery rechargeable via a USB port as that is a power port on my 15 watt solar panel.   The fans I have been getting are cheap but several of the fans move a lot of air for the power and size.  These little fans will be great to add to my Mr. Buddy Heater to move the heat around camping or in the RV.  I think using a small rechargeable power packs that can be recharged via solar is better than buying lots of small batteries.   A great thing about these fans having a USB port for charging is that I can use an small power bank and recharge via solar  or use a USB plug into an electrical socket or generator socket.  I picked a couple more solar powered blow up lights for $3.00 each.  The lights don’t have a red blinking  light the $10.00 models have but over all I think they will work out well for camping and storm prep. Now I can add the small solar light to my vehicle preps that is much safer than using candles.

I love a good pair of slippers as much as I love a good pair of gloves.  If you have sweaty feet  like I do you will need at least two pairs of slippers so one pair dries while you wear the other pair.  I was never one to go “bare foot” even in warm weather and dealing with CIDP I need my feet to stay warm so I feel warm.  On my snow-blowing adventure that I started in sneakers I found having warm water proof boots out side is a plus and having warm and dry slippers was even more important to warming up.  I have found if you can can keep your feet and hands warm you will feel warm.  While I have not put in place a switch winter boots to house slipper or “indoor” shoes I think it could help not tracking in dirt and stuff from the out doors.  That would save clean up time!

I got a small sled to haul wood to the front porch and not use the garden wagon in the snow. I bought 10 feet of line and added a piece of hose for grip so the rope won’t dig into your palm while hauling wood.

Mom looked at purchasing a wood stove and getting it installed and it is not cheap.  For a good efficient wood stove that will give yo at least a 6 hour burn time is energy efficient and safe you are looking at a cost of 4 grand if installing a wood stove from nothing.   Oh sure you can go with a cheap stove to start. But it pays long term to get the best stove you can buy even if the upfront costs seem a little steep. There are bonuses investing in a higher cost stove.

  • These are efficient stoves.
  • Most of the stoves have cool to touch sides.
  • These stoves don’t need to be stoked every 4 hours

While the back part of my house gets cold over night.  Cold means about 60  degrees F.  Pipes are not freezing and the dogs get snuggled  into pet beds.   Mom did not feel good today so she worked hard to makes sure her chicks were comfy.  I’m not going to complain as the chicks are keeping her in eggs.  I I need to look at a few dead heaters and see if they are fixable via attaching a wire along with a good clean out via air compressor.

Such is life, most things are simple.  That does not mean they are easy.

 

 


Hoop jumping and more finishing up STUFF

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.

 


Got the mister fans in time for the heat wave

July 8, 2017

I’m tweaking the set up for the chicken’s mist and fan set up as there has been some puddling in the chicken pen. This weekend I want to try some different setups with the fans and mist stands to find the “sweet spot”.  If you get misting for cooling I would recommend getting a larger size mist nozzle if you are using a misting stands rather than a set up that relies on gravity.  My new Articcove has a 1.3 gallon flow and works much better for cooling compared to the older model with less than 1 gallon flow.

The exterminators will be in on Monday!  We are getting both the mouse and bug barrier package deal.  The company I selected are about mid-range in cost but does not require a contract.  I hate yearly contracts and this company had great ratings plus  good customer service over the phone.  Ironically with all the clean up done in the basement we drove the mice up stairs. Hopefully the exterminators will finish off the mice and bugs and Mom and I will have a vermin free home going into winter.

I bought the HDX shelving from Home depot on sale. The shelving units were is to put together and works great in the basement in places with limited height.  I liked the shelves so much I bought 3 more for the basement after the first purchase.  So that should tell you some thing about the product.  I have one more section to clean and work on making my preps easy to access, make rotation more user friendly and more rodent proof.  While it does not seem I’ll use as much lumber for new shelving, I think I will have more space that will be easy to use and much easier to clean.  Mom did an outstanding job cleaning up the kitchen and laid down some DE to take out the bugs.  Another treatment that is not fast but darn effective if you maintain it.

Last but not least I’m getting some siding estimates for the house.  While I hate the idea of taking out a loan,  the house’s siding is awful and must be replaced. I’m looking at the a system that adds insulation, insect and vermin resistant, so this is not a cheap job. Vinyl siding is cheap but it is also as flammable as wood so I’m looking at a cement board that is at least fire resistant if not fire proof.  We will see the quotes this week.  Thank goodness I have a small 1200 sq. foot house and not a McMansion.  Another thing, while I like a good looking home I want a home that is good for retaining heating and cooling.  Vinyl siding sucks on  insulation, wood siding is great but as a disabled person “painting a home” every few years  is just not happening. So we will see about the costs and how my wish list will get scaled back to affordability.

In summation: the pets/critters and us humans are staying cool.  The exterminators are coming on Monday and I’m getting bids for the siding that will not only add insulation value and fire resistance,  but stop the mice/insects chewing their way into my home.  Hopefully we will get back to maintenance rather than dealing with “Emergency” management.


Stopped the dogs pissing contest?

June 10, 2017

I got out the carpet cleaner and cleaned the living room rug and used the upholstery attachments to scrub the lower part of the furniture.  I used Clorox brand urine remover for stains and odors to pre-treat the furniture and rug areas that were involved in the “pissing contest” and then used the Bissell pet odor control type carpet shampoo.

Over all I like the Clorox cleaner as it does not try to cover up the pet smells with fragrance.  The Clorox cleaner also seems quite effective eliminating the mouse urine and poo smell in the basement cleanup.  I also like the fact that the Clorox Urine Remover seems to be equally effective on both hard and fabric surfaces. My rugs nor my furniture had any problem with bleaching or the running of colors using this product.  I also rearranged the furniture and that seems to have stopped the primary pissing spot for the dogs despite the fact I need to do another rug and furniture cleaning to get rid of the odors that my human nose can pick up.   I need to follow-up with the rug and furniture cleaning to stop odors but I think I have made a darn good start of the living room being used as the dogs pissing contest arena.

Onto the laundry area cleanup and it seems to have worked out great!  While I have a bit of extra space to move both the washer and dryer, cleaning under those appliances presents a bit of a challenge.  I used the small shop vac to clean up the mouse poo and then the Clorox urine stain remover on the linoleum to clean up the mousy mess.  Last but not least I used a disinfecting spray on the walls.  OMG it worked out great for killing all the bad odors in about 12 hours!  I’m not sure why the lag time happened on getting rid of odors but I’m glad my clean up worked!  I think a disinfecting spray (Lysol or generic equal) is a good addition to your preps.  I laid out a whole bunch of sticky traps in the laundry area to try to eliminate more mice.

While early days I don’t think there is no one solution to a vermin problem be it bugs or mice.  Good storage procedures is probably the best 1st step but you will still have random vermin problems and that’s where reusable traps are huge help dealing with vermin.  A mild sanitizing solution of bleach used on hard surfaces seems to disrupt both insect and mouse trails.  As per Lee Anne’s worry no buckets, bins or barrels have been breached.  I did have one busted water jug but that looks like human clumsiness/error not mice.

Mom cleaned out her closet and it seems the mice did find some nesting areas but I think Mom’s cleaning efforts let the mice know that nesting area is now shut down.  In a way we are shutting down food sources, water sources and nesting sources in the house that will no longer give mice a place to live in the house, chicken coop or the shop.  The mice are welcome to live in the great outdoors.

Tom, I will check out the Tomcat traps.  around here I have only seen the Tomcat plastic traps but I may not have noticed the metal traps.  Mom and I bought several metal traps that sound similar to the traps you describe.  Today I got 4 adult mice in the basement trap set for 24 hours.  I moved a dog food feeding area and some how lots of  dog kibble got transported close to the wall.   That is now cleaned up and we moved the doggie feeding area!  So far the best answer seems to be is eliminate food sources, set out traps and keeps stuff as clean as possible.  I do think Peppermint oil or Balsam sachet might help for preventing a mouse infestation but once you have mice you just have to clean and set out a lot of traps.

It’s not all bad, I have a lot of motivation to build all those storage shelves now!

My 3 sister garden has been over run by grape vines so seems to be a no go in the current area.  Note to self never start a garden close to grape vines.  In a way it is wonderful as the grape vines are putting out healthy growth.  A little less than conducive to my 3 sisters beds.

OMG the Cabbages and lettuce cole crop front beds look wonderful! It has not been all that hot and the arugula bed bolted already.  Well we can harvest seeds at worst.  I need to weed the cabbage beds that  look lovely and are growing great.

Gosh I understand how easy it is to get distracted as everything can become an emergency.  Mostley it is not an emergency!  Though some issues are critical. Cleaning my food storage area is a priority,  it is not an emergency!

Looking at the big picture can make a person freeze or lockup.  It’s simple,  pick a job and complete the job.  It’s simple it is just not easy.

Gosh I have rambled on a bit.  Mom and I going to build a garden tool bucket and blg about it.