Plants are going into beds. Huzzah!

May 18, 2019

I think I suffered a bit of a CIDP flare this last week and did not get much done as I felt less than chipper, during the good outside working days last week.  I was able to run my errands and get a bit of shopping done but until today I was down, and in recovery mode.

I did get a lot of great buys via Fred Meyer’s Founder’s sale this week as  Pet-it Sirloin steaks are $2.69 per pound and 70/30 Hamburger is only $1.79 per pound.  With all the flooding in the midwest and the crazy trade war talk, Stocking up on beef/meats  is one of my missions this spring.  Getting the freezer full is high on my to do list this spring.

We got snow in the mountains around the Treasure Valley and the weather went from 85 degrees F. for a high to 55 degrees for a high in less than 24 hours.  Saturday the 18th was about the only dry day to get much work done in the garden or on the yard.  I finished mowing the front lawn about 9:15 pm while my solar lights were on.  Thankfully my electric mower is somewhat quiet and I did not disturb anyone partying on a Saturday night.  I normally would not mow so late but this is the last dry day for the next 7-10 days.  May tends to be a “wonky” weather month around here,  as I have seen 100 degree days as well as snow in the valley as late as May 18th.

I did get one of my garden beds full.  I added two types of romaine lettuce and Napa Cabbage starter plants to my “Cole crop” raised bed.  The broccoli and cauliflower plants that have been under the Agri-born frost cloth are growing very slowly and may need a little more sun though the onions seem to be to be doing well  for “scallion” type growth.  The Agri- born cloth seems to inhibit sunlight a bit more than I anticipated so I have cut the cloth in the middle to allow more mid-day sunlight to hit the crops in the raised beds.  One of my biggest problems with my past gardens is crops bolting, if the Agri-born cloth helps mitigate that issue I will be extremely happy.

I finally figured out what to grow in the former tomitillo raised bed.  I’m going with melons and flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums.  I want to play around with natural bug control and edible flowers/landscape plants.  Plus I’m growing a very  different plant/rotating the crops so that should help mitigate any bug or soil problems.  While I want to go vertical via trellis with the small melons,  this bed has the most area for plants that tend to spread out.

Great news my blue potato buckets have a few plants are starting to come up and put on some greenery.  I was about to give up on those plants but that is the best thing about using big planter buckets/pots as you can try new stuff and give the plants time to grow or fail, without affecting your main garden.  City gardeners like myself that use raised beds or containers always seem to find others that want to know how plant experiments work out.  It’s not snark when some people have great success or another person has a less successful growing of a plant.  It is about finding what worked, and did not work for each individual garden.

Last but not least I had some quail wander through my backyard and it was wonderful watching those little birds check out the backyard.  I’d love to expand my backyard into an urban wildlife habitat. Yeah, some critters are annoying, but there are many bonuses to having wild critters around to eat insects and such.  Never discount a potential protein source in your preps.


Mom got her tomato plants

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.

Feeling good today

December 11, 2018

I had a very good day today!  I got an 18 gallon bucket full of kindling today. I feel it was via improving stamina and working more efficiently.  I’m getting a lot better at picking straight grain chunks of wood for my kindling.  The axe is great for splitting wood into smaller chunks and then using the hatchet to make the actual kindling.  I’m trying to be conservative in my estimate on how much kindling I need to stock up on but I’m feeling very positive about how much kindling I have cut and how long it will last this winter.

Mom says she has plenty of kindling and fire starters. I have found that using a page of news print under the egg carton fire starter as the 1st layer of fire starter and then add kindling, I can start a fire in less than two minutes.  Overall I’m very happy that I could help out Mom with giving her a little kindling and fire starters.  I’m not sure how long the wood in my racks will last during winter and I want to buy  more wood because I want to over prepare for heating over winter.

I still think a Depression/inflation is coming and we have been given a long time to prepare.  That long time to prepare was what I wished for myself.  Trust me I thought the crash would come in 2011 but the power of mass delusion kept the stock market /globalism working.

I can do few jobs around the house but I can’t go and cut wood in the forest.  Hell I’m doing good if I can cut kindling for 30-45 minutes in a day.  How much can people do to prep when they work 40 + per week and try growing a garden or stacking wood just to stay warm or preserve food?  No, I don’t want US government help. I just want everyone to have the option of growing a garden or putting up a greenhouse if they want to grow a few veggies.

More chopping wood and snow in the forecast.

December 9, 2018

The last couple of days went great cutting up kindling.  I spent the first day using the 3.5 pound axe to split wood into smaller chunks.  Then I filled up my box of kindling using the hatchet.  Today I still had many of the smaller chunks of wood, so I cut it into kindling for Mom.  I didn’t fill the big 18 gallon bucket with kindling but I got the bucket about 1/2 full.  Mom is going to stop by Tuesday this week so I have at least a day to get the rest of the big bucket filled with kindling.  My hope is that my kindling box will hold enough kindling to last about a week and the big bucket of kindling will last Mom about two weeks.  With the fire starters and  a couple of weeks of kindling Mom should have time to heal up before she needs to worry about how she will start a fire.

Great news for making my fire starters.  Mom has a bunch of old candles she found in her stuff and will donate to the fire starter wax fund. I have a few more egg crates and plenty of wood chips so paraffin wax is what I need to make fire starters.  I figure about 10 egg cartons worth of fire starters will start a fire everyday for 4 months should cover most of the wood heating season from mid November to mid March.  Of course your wood heating season may start earlier or last longer but there is using paper or other fire starters when you want just a small fire to take the chill off the house in the late fall or spring.

Snow is in the forecast and I don’t really mind driving in the snow. I know to slow down, leave a lot of room for braking and sliding on slick roads.  I try and find a safe place and brake hard to make my mini-van slide to test my traction level.  (Empty parking lots are a great place to test your traction, braking and learning to recover from a slide!) My problem is all the other idiots that don’t know how to drive in snow or ice and assume either 4WD, AWD or anti-locks brakes make skidding or sliding impossible.

Any hoo the best place to be when the first couple of snow falls hit, is at home and let the idiots get all the stupid/ignorant driving out of their system.  I stopped by the the grocery store and picked up some tissue paper on sale as I need to replace my stockpile.  I topped off the gas tank in the mini-van with Ethanol free gas.  Great news it is finally under $3.00 a gallon in SW Idaho.  Honestly it should be closer to $2.25-2.50 per gallon given the per barrel cost of oil but the price is the price and I won’t by ethanol fuel if I can avoid it.

The porch wood rack and kindling box is full. I found one of my “kennel” wood rack is full of last year’s maple and cherry wood logs all dry, seasoned and ready to burn over night.  I may give Mom some of the Poplar and see how she likes it compared to the lodgepole pine she bought for her wood pile.  Don’t get me wrong I think Doug fir is one of the best fire woods you can get here in the west.  I also think it would be best to have a hardwood like fruit woods that grow great here in the west. Oak, maple and hickory don’t grow well in the local climate.

I’m starting to get how to use the wood stove since the installations of new windows and siding and losing Mom as the early morning fire starter/wood stoker.  The house really holds heat much better compared to before the new window and siding installation.  I knew my old windows leaked air badly in spite of my caulk/silicon fixes.  Depending on the type of wood I burn the fire will last about 6 hours with the pine.  I wake up to the main part of the house in the low 70’s and the back part of the house in the mid 60’s.  These temps are very comfortable to me though I don’t get a long overnight burn in the wood stove.  With the kindling and fire starters I can get a new fire in the wood stove easily.  If you want to save energy costs and be warm in winter and cool in summer.  You own an older home like I do. I think you should insulate, get energy efficient windows  before you consider any sort of Green Energy solutions.  It is not a sexy solution you will see everyday but you will see it every month in your energy cost.


Got an 11 pound turkey for the BBQ!

November 15, 2018

I’m very excited to buy a small 11.4 pound turkey for $5.62 to BBQ this Thanksgiving.  A 12 pound turkey seems to work the best on my BBQ for cooking. I rotate the turkey every 15-20 minutes and for a 12 pound turkey that is about 4 hours of cook time if you maintain 300-350 degrees F.

I like using a brine of about a pound of dark brown sugar, a pound of pickling salt and Apple juice as the liquid in a 3 gallon food grade bucket in my garage fridge to safely thaw/brine the turkey.  Use a gallon sized ziploc bag filled with the same brine to keep the turkey submerged, if the bag breaks it won’t screw up your brine ratio.  Spices are up to you, but I like adding plenty of pepper corns, red pepper flake and oregano to counter the sweetness of the mesquite charcoal flavor.  Rest your turkey, breast down at least 20-30 minutes after cooking.  This helps to keep the breast meat from drying out.

I know that Frying a turkey is a thing. But it is kind or dangerous and I don’t think people know the advantages of BBQing a turkey. 1. Using the BBQ for turkey frees the oven up to do all those casseroles and baking duties.  2. Men love BBQ and love watching BBQ smoke and meat cooking.  So having a turkey cooking that needs to be attended to every 15-20 minutes makes men very useful and they are out of the kitchen!  It is a win/win, the guys can gossip outdoors and the ladies can gossip in the kitchen.  Another couple of advantages is you will have great meat leftovers (maybe) for some of the best turkey tacos and sandwiches. Plus a roasted carcass of bones to make soup stocks.  If you need to have a large turkey to feed your family/crew I’d recommend buying 2 smaller turkeys in the 12 pound range rather than buying a big 24 pound turkey.  Cooking a turkey for over 8 hours takes a bite out of the relaxation/fun of enjoying the holiday.

I’m not a big fan of canned yams but I’m thinking I may add some sweet potato fries to the menu. The food is traditional just a different way of cooking the sweet taters.  I make a mac and cheese that is so dense that it can only be taken in small bites.  But it is so good!

It is strange that so many mental midgets focus on “cultural appropriation”. When that is the USA melting pot in action. If I take what I like /love in your culture and make it my own.  Is that now a bad thing?   Not going to play that game with the morons like Antifa idiots nor the more “educated elites” . Nope you elites are not that impressive and I’ll keep faith with the people of Idaho and all the others in flyover country.  You know the people that make the food and extract the oil and gas.

Leaves and outdoor clean up

November 14, 2018

This new recovery system is working out better than I originally anticipated.  A huge bonus for me has been getting more stuff cleaned up in the house during my “rest periods” from the outside jobs.  Sometimes it is getting my shopping list and coupons ready to go for the week.  Doing a little dusting or getting the dishes soaking to wash on my next break before going out and doing more physical work outside.

Toady I was a little surprised by how many little jobs I managed to get done today by using the 15 minute mix of outdoor job, rest, indoor job, rest,  routine.  I got the porch wood rack full of a mix of woods. The kitchen got a good wipe down and all the dishes are clean. All the leaves or clear of most of the major path/walkways.

Getting these jobs done today really made me feel productive and I’m setting more little jobs for mowing up leaves in the front yard over the next few days.  My back yard job will be raking up leaves and cutting kindling to break up the hard jobs and easy jobs.  Oh and shopping for the turkey and Thanksgiving meal goodies.  What is great is I have these jobs planned to be worked on for the next 5 days so if it takes a little longer than 15-20 minutes to do a job I can can come back to it another day.

I’m still in the build up stamina mode but in some ways at the end of the day I feel I have been more productive getting all those little jobs done rather than focusing on some of big jobs started but not completed,  or I’m down for several days and all those little jobs pile up again to become big jobs.  I can’t be the only person that loves waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen, the laundry is done or knowing you can have a cup of coffee relax and plan what you want to get done, rather than what you HAVE to get done today.

Anyhoo, Mom dropped off the electric pressure I bought her as it just isn’t some thing she is using to cook right now.  I don’t mind because now I can double up my recipes and even make human food using the insta pots.  Mom also borrowed my Toro leaf mulcher /vacuum for her yard.  The mulcher will help Mom start adding more organic material to her garden area and help keep leaves from being bagged for trash.  I trashing the killer walnut leaves and moving the saver leaves to nulch into the garden beds.  Right now every thing in the gardens is a bit of a mess as I’m still getting the new beds finished up.

There is still a lot on my to do list to get done before spring.  I love my new pole saw and see many uses for it.  I also don’t want to concuss myself playing with the damn tool.  Once the cherry trees are down I’ll have spot for the green house to be built in the spring.  I have a plan I’ll just have to pace myself.

Installed solar lights, shopping and Tucker is getting though the garden fence

June 2, 2018

I added a couple of small motion activated solar lights around my back door.  It seems that I got the position just about perfect for the lights to activate as a person walks up but the lights don’t go off when my pekes go outside.  It took me a long time to install these lights because you should not drill into vinyl siding as it might deform plus you provide water and insects access to the under lying wood. One of the biggest reasons I added new siding was to protect the ‘bones’ of my house and make the upkeep easier for me to manage. If I start making holes in that siding I’m defeating the original purpose of  installing the siding.

Since I have been watching so many boat refits and sailing videos I have become more knowledgeable about keeping water from getting to wood.  If I can seal against water, the house frame should be safe from insects.  I have the solar lights ‘wedged’ along the roof line cap and the metal part of the siding just to make sure I got the placement correct and the lights charge plus light up the back door entrance.  After a couple of weeks of testing that the lights are placed correctly.  I’ll screw the lights in place and add a sealant to keep out water.

I stocked up a lot last paycheck because there were a lot of great buys on meat and gardening/landscaping items I wanted.  I got a pretty great deal on mulch but I could not afford all the mulch I wanted for filling in the garden and the front yard beds.  The main garden area is mostly done around the raised beds but there is one section I want to build my green house that is bare ground and morning glory that needs to be dealt with this year.  My idea is to layout the greenhouse foundation with concrete piers and build up a layer of small stone for good drainage.  For food shopping I got a lot of meat stocked up and frozen.  Now that I have the new pressure cooker I want to try out a quick ‘bone broth’ recipe. one of the nice things this cooker can be use as a slow cooker for that recipe.

Arrgh! Tucker the peke is getting under my little garden fence.  Actually I may pull down the fence because he is digging into the mulch and not the garden beds.  He is a smart little dog and thrives on praise.  I have scolded him on digging in the garden beds, but let him go on digging in the mulch. Once I finish the install of the ‘frost cloth’ Tucker should have all his digging areas marked out.  Hopefully it won’t be in the garden beds!   Tucker is a great little digger. I need to find a a way for him to dig and turn the compost pile!