Back to work

June 30, 2014

I was very surprised by how many hit I got on the not to late to prepare post. I have a small blog and  I get 100-200 hits a day on average so getting over 800 hits is a big deal.  My hope is there are some people who are wanting to get prepared and will take at least a few steps towards basic preparedness. Every person that prepares is one less “Zombie” to deal with and actually is a huge help in a disaster of any sort.

Any way back to work or at least back to class!  Mom and I made some of the pain relief salve.  I paid attention to how long it took to melt the beeswax, about an hour in my small crackpot set on Low. We used the 8 oz. of Coconut oil and 1 oz. of beeswax version and what is nice using the crock pot is you don’t need to babysit it while it melts.  I think you could also use a solar oven to melt the oil and beeswax but I have not tried that method yet.

While the beeswax and coconut oils were melting we watched a youtube video on making goats milk soap. I believe the gal that does these videos is named Amy and if you Google Essential Soap you should find her video classes.  We watched the goat’s milk video class on the Roku box in the living room.  This made it much easier than staring at a small PC monitor and is one of the best features offered by Roku.  Since my desktop PC died I am using the laptop and it is running on the slow side and video is very laggy overall.  I think the video would have been nearly unwatchable on the laptop.  I also got to show Mom how to use the search function for youtube vids on the Roku so I managed to add that as a quick class.

Speaking of the laptop and Desk top I downloaded the latest versions of  Comodo Internet suite and Malwarebytes to check out the laptop for any viruses. As far as the Desktop goes I’m ordering a new video card from newegg.com on the first and hope that it will get me by for a couple of weeks until I can order the rest of the parts for the PC upgrade. I’m considering using Windows 7 as the Operating system since XP is no longer supported. So far the reviews for 7 look pretty good so I hope to report that it is a good upgrade.

Small shopping list to get Tuesday, straw for the modified drip water system for the front beds and some odd & ends. 100 degree temps by Thursday as summer really heats up. Looks like it is time to fire up the A/C unit for the rest of summer.

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Going to the dogs

April 9, 2014

I stopped by the shelter today and checked out a few dogs for “Casa de Chaos”.  They have some very nice looking dogs including a Shepard/Akita mix with a smooth coat almost like a boxer a couple of Shepard mixes the Chow border collie mix and one that is one of the herding dogs but looks like a miniature German Shepard.  I think I’ll take Diana down and maybe do a meet and greet with some of the animals and see how well they get along.  I really like the dog that looks like a mini shepard but the former owner said the dog was aggressive with other dogs, though I did not see that when the dog saw other dogs at the pound.  Then again I got Smokey the cat from the same shelter and she had been returned three times and I think she is the perfect cat. She doesn’t claw the furniture, but she isn’t a super affectionate type of cat. A leg to rub against and some ear and chin scratches and she is happy.  She patrols the house and yard hunting and will come when called though it took a bit of time to train her to her name.

It might be the person wasn’t very good with dogs or establishing themselves as the pack leader. I think I’m pretty good with dogs and have dealt with all types of breeds but I don’t want to be cocky and assume I can fix/train any dog.  I want a dog that fits in with the animals I already have and not introduce a lot of stress for myself or my pets.  I want a larger dog that is protective but not so large I can’t physically control him, so it’s a bit of a balancing act.  I think a male dog will do better with Diana rather than another female dog but it’s not a deal breaker if a female dog is a good fit.  Some good news though I dropped off a few cans of cat food, Doggie biscuits and the shelter will take the dog food I stored in buckets. Times are tough and the shelter hands out this pet food as sort of a food pantry for pets. People can stop by and get some pet food and that keeps pets with their families and out of the pound.

I got the cheap green house at Big Lot’s rather than hope the semi-rigid wall green house might show up at D & B. It’s not perfect but I can get some of the plants started that I want to grow. Dad stopped by and filled in some of the trench from the water issue along with dropping off the wood from the deck that is already cut to 4 foot for more raised beds. He cleaned up some of the grapes and trimmed a cherry tree so I have a bunch of kindling for next season.  It’s starting to warm up so the wood stove isn’t being used much now, but I want to get things ready for next winter to make using the wood stove a bit easier for me physically. I learned a lot this year on using the wood stove and while I planned ahead some things you just have learn and tweak by doing.

I have enough pallets on hand that I can setup a 3 zone compost bin and for the new raised beds I’m going to dig down a bit via the rototiller  and get rid of the grass and use some of the dirt from the yard as well as augment the soil with a bit of straw and sand  so I don’t have to buy so much dirt/bags of soil from the store.  I’m thinking that buying one of those planting augers that fit in a drill might make turning over the compost a bit easier and work with the new raised beds.  I don’t think I have enough land to raise all my own food but planting a garden will add a lot of fresh food as well as critical vitamins to extend my my long term storage foods.  Who knows?  Maybe going vertical and adding some more raised beds might do better than I think for a harvest.

I need to get the RV solar and my home’s  little solar generator setup to see if I can run a few electric items and the RV is my ultimate backup going for 12 volt energy. Set up the green house, plant the cool weather crops, add more raised beds, get the Ham radio test done, brew some beer. Wow April just got really busy!


So far so good UPDATE

March 4, 2014

The manual programming of the Baofeng worked out nicely. I was  impressed with how good the little radio sounded. The voices were nice and crisp and there wasn’t any distortion.  My next radio task will be using the CHIRP software to program my radios and then Mom’s radio and a spare Baofeng. If I know Dad he will probably want to go big with SW and maybe install a base station. I don’t know to much about the Radio he uses for his CG Aux. Radio facility. It’s possible it has the capability to do more on the SW freq. and once he has his Tech License he can use that radio.  The next test for the tech license is on Sat. the 15th of March and I’m feeling more confident about the test especially since setting up the radio. Of course I could not transmit but I seem to have moved from theory to practice. When I got the first radio I was intimidated and felt I knew just enough to really screw up.  I have a couple of SW receivers that I will test out for getting local and emergency broadcasts. I’ll add a little cheat sheet of the local freq. so it should be easy to tune in to local information.  I started this project as a practical means of backup communication but it is turning out to be a lot of fun learning and doing this Ham radio stuff.

Dad stopped by the house and repaired the toilet.  He ended up replacing the old rigid supply line with the new flexible line I bought as well as the shut off valve. Everything looks good but the flapper isn’t sealing perfectly so I will need to get a new one to install. That repair looks simple so by Wed. that toilet should be good to go with nearly all new internal parts. I’m guessing that the toilets are at least 20 + years old so doing some repair work isn’t all that unexpected. I might as well stop fighting it as it seems this is the year to get as many repairs and updates done as possible and the budget allows.  While not exactly what I had in mind when I planned  my 2014 goals it should work out okay.  I’m in fairly good financial shape so I can afford to do thing the right way instead of just getting by the cheapest way possible on most things.

The last of the soap making supplies and solar parts should arrive this week. Next week is supposed to be fairly sunny so it will be a good time to set up the solar generator and see how much power I can generate.  Last but not least it’s time to get some maint. work done on the mini-van instead of ignoring it to get other stuff done. Perhaps if I get a little more proactive I won’t get blindsided by repair bills. If/when the SHTF it might be just a tad difficult to get repair parts or repairs done and I don’t expect the basics to get cheaper this year so I need to get those repairs done as quickly as possible.

Update:  Took the Kia to Les Schwab to have the brakes checked out and all that was needed is the rear breaks adjusted. He said the front brakes look nearly brand new and the rear breaks are in great shape.  Best of all they waved the $20.oo fee for adjusting the brakes. I know some people think Les Schwab is kind of expensive but they are one place that still does great customer service.


Finished up the soap order

November 21, 2013

Not exactly the most efficient way of ordering supplies but with Mom and I just starting out,  it is a good way for us to double check each other.  Once we get a few batches done and have a better idea of just how much we need and how quickly it will need to be restocked I think the process will get much smoother and efficient.  Considering we just came up with idea of soap making as a home business at the start of November.  I think it is moving along at a brisk pace and we will meet the deadline of the first batches made by the end of the month.

Mom brought over a few of the big red fir chunks o’ wood from her woodpile. I think she is a little worried about the house staying warm over night with it getting into the lower teens. I’m doing a test of one of the smaller pieces to see how many hours it will burn. Of course that one “small” chunk of wood fills over half of the fire box all by itself.  I really like how the wood I got is so easy to start and how fast it can warm up the house.  So a combination of both types of wood is what I’d like to have on hand. Mom took a look at my strawberry planters from that bunch we dug up for free in the fall. She says the look just like they are supposed to at this time of year. I don’t know that the raspberries will produce next year but adding strawberries to the harvest would sure be nice.

I finally got the bread baked and the ceramic stone is large enough to do about 3 artisan loaves at one time.  I don’t have the problem of the bread sometimes sticking to the ceramic stone like it did with the terra cotta. The new stone has been worth the $15.00 cost if for no other reason than baking multiple loaves at a time.

All of the basic needs are covered and all the bills are paid so I will kind of sort of plan another day of recovery for Friday. I think I’ll run over to the animal shelter and take a closer look at a three of the dogs I saw on the website that have some potential as the emergency backup dog, and then drop off my sister’s birthday present. That should be enough plans for another easy recovery day.  I have couple of small projects to finish this weekend and I hope to be all set  up to focus on the soap making and cleaning the beeswax next week.