Cooler weather helps when working out side. Finish a job, start a new job around the house!

August 11, 2019

Having this cold front move through the area has felt so good!  We got some rain and my little Tucker dog no longer has an “Anxiety Attack” from the sound of thunder.  After several 100 degree days that rain and cooler temps this weekend helped my attitude.  I got more of the dropped apples and black walnuts picked up.  I filled up a 33 gallon trash container and the bag was so heavy lifting it was out of the question.  Those nuts and apples are a twisted ankle bomb just waiting to be stepped on.  I have to many other jobs to get done other than saving apples and nuts.  But I have to keep the yard clean so I can walk about safely and not let fruit rot on the ground that attracts vermin.  So into the trash for these tree byproducts.

I attack the grape vines again  to clear the way to chop wood.  I’m always playing catch up with the grape vines.  I have not found a way to make the vines drape artfully around my home.  I’m always doing cleanup or getting the grape vines out of the way for work.  The grape vines take no notice of all my work and keep on growing.  Good news I have cleaned out my wood chopping area so now I can start filling my  wood Kindling box.  I used my Dremel tool to sharpen up my cheap axes and wood cutting tools.  The hatchet is sharp, perhaps a bit too sharp for cutting kindling long term.  I cleaned up the hatchet edge using a stone, using a Dremel tool to start an edge on a tool does work better than a grinder for me.  Actually I think both tools have a place in sharpening tools.

I’m playing with the new washer settings. I have to give 5 stars to Samsung on trouble shooting the washer and Mr Appliance of SW Idaho getting the washer working.  Samsung stood by their warranty despite the washer being a 2 year old model, that I bought new to me.   Mr. Appliance of SW Idaho was great,  Richard was very personable, brought little rugs/carpets to place the tool bags upon.  Mr. Appliance showed up early after calling if it would be okay to show up early for the work.  That tends to be a very rare thing working with repairmen or contractors.  I understand that Good contractors/ repairmen are very busy.  As a customer I’d prefer a date for a non-critical repair and if the repair person gets an opening, a call to fix the issue.  I know it is never that easy as “Emergency” repair request happen all the time.

I spent about $6.00 at a laundromat over 2 weeks waiting for the new washer.  Drying clothes at a Laundromat  cost the quarters.  No big deal!

I cleaned up the wiring  of the light fixture in the Laundry room.  I added a couple of guides made of rubber to isolate the electrical cable.  Along with buying a big plug of rubber to make the light work.  The light is safe,  but I’m not happy as light should have been tied into the electrical of the add on of the house.  I’m trying to repair terrible half ass “solutions” and it always costs more to fix.

I cleaned caulk around the bath tub and the fiber board shredded.  Was that bathroom install to code?  Nope! I will save a couple of months to fix that problem. I’ll have to get green board sheet rock to make a good base for the new tub surround.




Good shopping today

April 16, 2019

I have been a little sore with the spring weather but I got all the shopping done!  I’m  stocking up on as much beef at good prices before the midwest flood loses start to affect the price of beef.  Plus with the Easter holiday things like Prime Rib/Rib eye steaks are  a good price under $5.00 per pound.  My guess is this is a “loss leader” at most grocery stores at this price.  I’m seeing the beef costs starting to spike at Cash and Carry Food service store so I think rising beef costs will start hitting the grocery stores around mid May or Memorial day weekend. While I have focused on beef, it looks like pork might also see a rise in price.  Though there is a quicker turn around in raising a pig compared to raising a steer, stocking up on low cost pork might be a good idea this Spring/early Summer.  Albertson’s was out of the chicken thighs at $.77 per pound but I got a rain check to get some family paks later this week.

Mom and I used her Senior discount at the local farm store to add a few more bags of the steer manure/compost mix for the raised beds. I added a few starter plant to get in the ground this week.  I got a 4 pak of broccoli and cauliflower to plant this week along with some Sweet globe cherry tomatoes that did not sprout as well from out saved seeds.

My hope is the broccoli and cauliflower starts will put out a good early crop this spring and not bolt right away as it is still cool this spring.  I know that planting those crops  in late May or early June cause the them to bolt fast in the heat of a SW Idaho summer.

Update on my starts:  Overall I’m pleased with the progress of most of the seeds.  I did have some of the older seeds not produce but I sort of expected that to happen.  I have moved the starter pak to the south facing window and we will see if any of the non-sprouting seeds decide to sprout.  The new starts will get a bit of sun and hopefully put on new growth.  My little Kitchen herbs have done darn good and I only have a couple of the little “jiffy” pods that have no sprouts.  Overall, for my first serious try at starter plants I have about a 60-80% sprout rate which is good considering some of the seeds I used are 4-7 years old and were not stored in optimal conditions.  FYI: one of the best tools I found for starting seeds is a wooden Kebab skewer.  The skewer works great for poking the potting soil to place the seed and the rounded end is great to push the soil over the seeds.  While I have bought some plant stakes for my raised beds I think I’ll mark the skewers for the correct seed depth and then place the skewers to mark were my plants are in my raised beds to better differentiate between garden plants and any new weeds.

Weeding the garden has been one of my weak points as I don’t know what my garden plants look like in the early stages of growth.  Hopefully with the skewers and perhaps a toothpick besides each starting plant/seed I can do a better job weeding out weeds and not my garden plants.

I’m going to try using straw as a mulch again but only in my berry planter pots.  When I first tried straw as a mulch I did not consider how little of it broke down over the winter and tried to Roto-till it into the garden soil.  What I’m doing this year is adding straw in bunches but removing it to weed and using it as protective cover.  Most of the straw will be removed from the pots before the soil is worked.  My little electric rototiller does not cut straw and tilling straw just become a big wad of straw around the dirt cutting wheels/tines.  It was great today that Mom brought over a bag of straw to fill up the berry planter pots/beds.  Good news the berry plant pots are looking much better with the addition of new soil/compost and a bit of water.

The shop now looks like Home depot vomited garden products in it!  I want to get one more 10 bag load of mulch while the prices are so low.  It is a little problematic as having all the garden materials in the shop make it darn difficult to move the old box springs and mattress to removed to the trash area pick up point.  Some way I’ll make it happen because getting rid of these things will give me more room to work in the shop.

The old Chinese curse of “May you live in interesting times”. Seems to be in full affect.  We are not the first to see things change and we won’t be the last.  It is not all bad. We can buy little 15-60 watt fold able solar panels for under $50.00-$100.00.  While social networks usually sucks they can be great for getting out info early in a disaster.

Don’t get downhearted because life does not work out as you think it should work.  Life just is…and you can take that as positive or negative. Idaho seems to be going all California retard politically. But you have power about how you live and vote.  Will it make a difference?  I have no idea, but I know doing nothing is a surrender to the “Powers That Be”.


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.



I got very lucky shopping this week and that always tends to make me a bit nervous.

September 6, 2015

I added three of two packs of LED light bulbs to my stash via lowes sale of a package of 2 pack LED bulbs for $3.98.  I love the LED type light bulbs as they have a lower energy cost compared to CFL bulbs and they last longer, don’t flicker or need to “warm” up and if LEDs break, no risk of mercury poisoning or calling a Hazmat team.  If you want save money on electric costs you need to go to LED bulbs ASAP. Everyone needs to get their energy costs as low as possible now, as I expect electric power cost to rise quickly in the near future.  I went shopping for a sale at Home Depot and got two new  Kitchen light fixtures for about $20.00 much better than the flyer sale price for different light fixture. Plus the style and color matches my ceiling fan, now I just need to save some money for installation.  If things don’t break down my hope is I will have all of the major kitchen work done by mid-October. After that, it is just detail work(patches and paint) to finish up the kitchen.

I got a nice sliding three shelf unit that fit an open area under my kitchen counter but it was a return without screws, yet I had screws that fit and now I have use of a dead space area in my kitchen.  So was I lucky finding a shelf the right size? Or unlucky not having screws or lucky having screws on hand the correct size? I’m going with lucky, as the more prepared I get, the luckier I seem to be with little projects.

I got Neighbor M’s lawn mowed, weed whacked and tried the vinegar/salt and dish soap weed killer a try on her goat heads/puncture vine. I used a gallon of white vinegar, 8-10 oz. of salt and a couple of squeezes of Dawn dish soap in my pump sprayer in the heat of the day. The plants took on a bit of gray color so perhaps the concoction is working. If you try this mixture assume you will be killing all plants so keep this mix away from any plants you want to grow!

Don’t get in a panic about the Doom and Gloomers talking about the “Shemitah” of the Jewish calendar. I look at the “collapse” as a good thing. Oh it will suck for most of us especially for us at the lower end of the Economic scale, but a major collapse will wipe out a quite few of .o1 of the 1%. I do not see that as a bad thing.

Getting out of the “rat race” learning practical skills you need daily, adding silver and or gold to build generational wealth and for barter is a good thing.  Getting off the consumer driven economy will make your life simple, if not easy. Deflation is happening now especially in Lumber, many home improvement items like tools. Silver is super cheap for a store of wealth.  Solar energy is relatively cheap and you could add a couple of 100 watt panels and an AGM 100+ amp hour battery and 1000 watt+ power inverter for under $500.00. You won’t run you home on that energy level of solar/battery power but you can run a couple of  lights,  perhaps a LCD TV and a laptop/tablet.  Plus you will have a great camping/tailgating setup that is portable.

You should start moving away from dependence the grid and status quo/monetary system with a quickness, as those systems will collapse first in any emergency/disaster. Stop listening to Main stream Media and the (PTB) Powers that Be,  and listen to that tiny voice that says thing are not good and you need to get ready for the GREAT RESET of life.  While I would not want to see anyone get crushed in a stock market crash. What is coming will be epic, close to the Renaissance and rise of the Mercantile class of the 1400-1500’s or the shift of the Industrial age  from the agrarian age of the 1800’s.

While prefer the study of history with a bit more “temporal”  displacement. We are all living in historic times! What we do and how we react, will effect generations that follow us.


Odds and ends…

July 21, 2015

I did a bit of work on the bugout bag (BOB) and reduced the weight another 3 pounds emptied an exterior pocket for some supplies that might need quicker access rather than buried in the main cargo area. I’m sort of torn about using a 1 quart military canteen and the metal drink bottles as each have limitations.  Using multi-tasker and keeping the BOB as lightweight as possible is a bit of a balancing act that I have not managed yet!

I did a couple of tests on striking a spark on bars of flint and what I found works best is not a knife blade but the file “blade” on my “Leatherman” multi-tool.  I have no problem if a person wants a big fixed blade knife but I have always carried small pocket knives or muti-tools like Letherman/gerber or Swiss army knife and using a blade as the “steel” part of steel and flint always bothered me because that can ruin your knife’s edge and sharpness. I can sharpen a knife’s blade but why do that when the “file blade” creates more sparks on flint/sparker stick?

In the alley way beds the moss rose that got the latest wood mulch has really taken off adding growth and blooms. The sunchokes are also looking much better since I added the wood mulch.  As far as cleaning up the nasty weeds like goatheads/puncture vine, I’m digging them out using a shovel and I filled a 30 gallon trash can full of mostly goatheads.  I know I could kill the weeds at anytime but most of those products kill the soil as well as the weeds.  I’m trying to build some good soil and add plants that will crowd out the weeds not kill the soil.  The wood mulch has really done a great job choking out many weeds and giving the new plants a good growing medium. Most of the nasty weeds are happening along the borders and between property lines.  Mama nature does not recognize property lines and if I can dig up a few weeds with the help of a neighbor I will do it.  One neighbor killed the weeds and killed the soil so there is nothing to hold the dirt in place.  One thing I have learned about the alley way beds is you must block new weed growth and you must have new plants that work with Mama nature to start replacing those weeds.  I really think that weeds are mama nature’s paramedics for poor and neglected soil. make the soil healthier and you will stop having weeds you don’t like having around your yard.  It is a slow process and a lot of work building up your soil, but I prove it is doable with a bit of effort and adding just a bit of natural products as you can afford it.

I totally scored today as some on put a grill in the alley along with the trash.  I did not need a grill but I got another propane tank I can use. Perhaps many people think nothing of the cost of an empty propane tank in the store ($25.00-$35.00) or buying a tank from the local mega-mart ($46.00-$50.00) or empty tank replacement ($17.00-$20.00) I do think about those costs. I’m cooking nearly every meal this summer over a gas grill/outdoor kitchen and that takes propane or charcoal.  Even if the propane tank is old style, many places will replace it with a new “safety/government approved” type tank.

Some sad news Mom is having Bear the peke put down. He lasted a bit longer than the vet forecast last year but the guy is starting to go downhill fast and it is time. Mom will hold him until Bear’s final goodnight and he will be pain free. Mom is very strong that way.  The new pekes will help with minimizing the hurt and will build a new pack dynamic and both Brodie and Tucker are a hoot.  Those pekes have let me know they must go for a ride, so when I get gas this week they will get their ride into the country!

Life goes on, we live and we die, we win or we lose. Sometimes we get caught up in the ‘game” and a new dog who sees a backyard as a new playground can ignite in us what life is about. You are not your car, your house, or your stock portfolio. You are a human made by the grace of God and flawed by the choices you make via freewill. I don’t worry anymore about Presidents or politicians, Bankster or corporations. Oh I tried to change the system but I can’t do it so why try the impossible when I can do more good locally via my garden than an Congress critter pontificating in the media?  You can play the “game” and bang your head against the wall.  Or you can remove yourself from the game of wall, save yourself headache and stop annoying the wall.

Been busy around Casa de Chaos

June 6, 2015

Mom’s divorce thingy has been moved out to mid-July which sort of sucks. Though it seems that the settelment is getting a little closer to locking in.  It looks like both parties will end up pissed off, but I suppose that is very common in a divorce.  It makes it tough on Mom as she wants to get her own place and have her own stuff around her. She can’t do that as all my extra space is filled up and all we can do is add some smaller items she will need here and there.

Neighbor N and L got started cleaning their front yard to sort of help Don & Sarah sell the home. I walked over a set of very good “loppers” and we filled their little truck with branches from their maple tree.  I got my front lawn mowed and most of the weeds pulled in the front yard rose beds. I trimmed my big elm tree a bit and swept in the front sidewalk and curb in front of my house so my place is looking better overall.  I still need to add the plastic border around the mulched rose beds and my holly bushes but overall the front yard looks good. My golden raspberry and black berry bush are doing very good this year. In fact I think the golden raspberry bush has added nearly four inches of new growth since Mom hit it with a little Miracle-gro and I moved the plant to the front yard.  The blackberry is growing a little slower but it is green and vibrant and seems to be bushing out horizontally rather than going vertical.  I was able to add two of the cracked glass globe solar lights to my front yard.  I think they look great and I will add a more when they go on sale again.  While I can’t say it is a conspiracy, most on the block working to make yards look good this summer and if it helps Don & Sarah sell their home so much the better. I hope I’m not going into “Gladys Kravitz” mode, I was stunned by how many people stopped by Don and Sara’s home last weekend.  About 30 people  stopped and checked out the house, and I think the crazy green and yellow paint job really makes the house stand out. I would not be surprised if they get a few offers at their asking price soon.

In my back yard I added six of the cracked glass globe solar lights. These lights have the option of a white light or a changing color light and I like the changing color mode the best.  I got the backyard raked, cleaning up dog and chicken poo along with some leaves and little green apples.  The chickens seem to be doing a good job of working the back yard and keeping the grass sort of trimmed up.   While I never thought of chickens as a natural lawn mower. They do seem to keep down grass growth without taking the grass to bare ground. At this time Mom lets the bird free range for 1-2 hours per day but the neighborhood has a couple of other homes with chicken that seem to free range longer and their lawns look great and they can keep the lawn looking great with just a weed wacker or a small lawn mower.

Speaking of Chickens the bird flu has a mutation and has shown up in Idaho along with a few other states in the west. I don’t think average homesteaders or urban chicken farmers needs to panic. I do think if you eat chicken or want a turkey for Holiday meals you should stock up now while the prices are low.  I know that paying $1.59-$1.89 per pound for turkey sounds crazy but I expect that may seem cheap in a few months.  I bought a small 14 pound turkey for $1.59 per pound and stashed in the freezer. Gosh I hope I am wrong about poultry prices and this avian flu thing. Perhaps the cost will drop in the future and your “dollar cost averaging” will make up the difference. Pork and beef prices are dropping now so getting a Ham or Prime rib is a more affordable now. I can only tell you what I think may happen and what I’m doing to mitigate the cost hit.  On Monday I will go an buy a 10 pound deli style turkey for $1.88 per pound and I consider it a good deal.  If I find chicken for a dollar a pound or turkey under $1.60 per pound I will consider it a steal!

Last but not least Diana the peke was really a hurting unit.  I got her to the vet and we tried another steroid course of treatment.  The results are almost instantaneous of how she recovered.  Even her limp in front paw is almost gone and we did not have to give her pain killers!  I’m going to ask the vet. for a backup course of steroids just in case Diana has another episode. Hopefully steroid tablets for dogs is not a drug that gets a lot of scrutiny by the government.  She is a dog with a limited life span so if she gets another 2-5 years relatively pain free I will be very very pleased. I can’t afford to put a few thousand dollars for surgery into a 12+ year old dog.  But if I can afford to buy a few drugs that make her mostly pain-free and she has a good quality of life… I’ll try and get them!  If I can’t do that I’ll have her put down.

For all you idiots that try to equivocate putting an animal down is the same as assisted suicide. Humans have reason and can think, animals are a bit more basic. Perhaps I’m a tad more sensitive to the argument as I got smashed to rock bottom but I always thought my life had value.  I would not want some bureaucratic pinhead in charge of valuing my life via some profit and loss statement.

Much happier post about the garden and shopping for Mom

July 29, 2014

Starting to get some tomatoes, patty pan squash and lemon cukes on the vines and they are just about ready to harvest. I have some purple cabbage, celery and more romaine to harvest. My purple cabbage did much better than the green cabbage, I guess the color confuses the local bugs. I can pull the broccoli as the bees seem to have done all they could with the flowers and I’ll move my pepper plants to that bed as the tomatoes have kind of choked those pepper plants out with more growth than I anticipated.

I tried the solar oven with a 16 bean recipe but it was a bust as we have a storm rolling in and it got shady. I’ll just put the pot in the fridge and finish them up on Wednesday in the solar over or on the stove.  Hopefully we get a rain shower so I won’t have to water on Wednesday. So far the valley is doing good on water but just west of us in Oregon, water is in short supply.  Conserving water is one of my “things” since I have gone without tap water for several days, I don’t take water for granted.

I did some shopping for Mom at Albertson’s since it is close to my house and she can save a little gas. She does the same for me if there is a sale on her side of town where she shops. Any way this shopping list would be scourge of congress critters playing poor as she spent about $26.00 and got a 10 pound bag of chicken quarters, 2 whole chickens, 6 cans of veggies, 6 packs of ramen and 4 soup cups of ramen, 4 cans of soup and 2 bags of corn muffin mix. I’m a big believer in cooking from scratch but I don’t see anything wrong with having some quick and easy stuff to cook if you get a good price.  If you have a garden and some rice , pasta and grains you could easily make a couple of weeks of dinner and lunches with all this stuff.  Sad to say the Progresso recipe starters for 50 cents a can sold out. I checked out the normal price of the recipe starter and it is over $2.50 a can so I assume these cans on sale are just getting close to the best used by date of Oct. 2014 is why they went on sale.  I have used these recipe starters  if you get them on sale they will make a great addition to your panty.

I told Mom about my little dream and she remarked just how bad it shook me and I had to agree.  I have had some very bad scares in my life about being paralyzed when I crushed 3 vertebrae in my back or this CIDP would make me an invalid unable to care for myself but that dream terrified me in some ways I can’t even express verbally or in writing. I don’t think it was all that bad because the dream forced me to deal with some issues I had been avoiding about how bad things are starting to get in the USA.  Let me just say I have a less than a lively respect for what passes as the “Rule of Law” as is defined here in America. Protect yourself and your family first and at all times and don’t place yourself in situations where the law forbids you to do that.  I might get blindsided but I will never put myself in a place where I have no options to defend myself.

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!

Playing with chainsaws and more

March 12, 2014

Springtime in Idaho can be a bit breezy at times. While nothing like the wind in the plains states, branches and limbs will fall and need to be dealt with. Now that I have the wood stove I want to use that wood once it is dry enough to burn so that means I need to cut it down to fit in the stove. If you have fruit trees they will need some pruning back to stay healthy as well. I really like Bow saws if you are using muscle power, they work quickly and they tend to be inexpensive to buy. Adding all sorts of back up blades tends to be cheap. But since I’m disabled I have added a small battery power 18 volt Black & Decker chainsaw. Tried out the new chainsaw on a green limb and it went through three cuts in a couple of minutes that would have taken about 20-30 minutes of physical work with the bow saw.  I’m still learning the technique of how to use a chainsaw but they no longer intimidate me and they save me a lot of physical energy.

I’m going to electric power for most of my tools because electric power is fairly cheap here in Idaho and I’m work on a solar generator that should help provide my own power. One of the big energy weaknesses of Idaho is expensive petroleum products. I figure that if rationing happens  industry and agriculture will get first dibs on any petroleum products. They same thing could happen with electricity but at least with the my solar panels I can generate some electricity on my own. Start off small and then add to your system as you gain more knowledge and going solar does not have to be huge expense at one time.

Mom want’s to take her Ham radio test in April rather than this weekend. While she is doing good with her studies I think she is smart to build her knowledge and confidence. While the test costs under $15.00 there is no reason to waste money unless you feel you can pass the test. I feel confident I could pass the test this weekend but I don’t mind having a little more time to get proficient using the radios even if it’s just programming and listening to others. The study guide and test is very bare bones, just to get you started with Ham radio.  To really know your stuff and be a good operator you will need to learn more. I am interested on how they use the PC and transmitting digital data via wifi and mesh networks. Of course most folks are not quite as geeky as I am so that may not interest them, but I think it would be cool to set up a wifi network that reaches for miles rather than just a 100 yards. I think that would be a great neighborhood/community communication system and nearly independent of the PTBs.  The internet protocols were designed not to be disrupted by little glitches like nuclear war so an Internet kill switch that the PTBs now want is not very easy to implement.  The PTBs might be able to kill the internet but only at the cost of cutting themselves off at the same time.  It’s thoughts like these that kept me from going to “good schools” besides them being a ripoff.



The solar hub and battery powered chainsaw arrived today

March 6, 2014

Two packages arrived today it’s almost like Amazon is the adult version of Santa Claus this month. Oh sure I have to pay for the stuff I order but it’s kinda fun getting in new stuff for the house or RV. The chainsaw is a reconditioned Black and Decker 18 volt battery powered that cost less than $60.00. With the cultivator I bought I now have two chargers and three 18 volt batteries for some lightweight power tools.  I won’t be plowing any feilds or cutting down a forest with these tools but  the little cultivater did a good job on my raised bed garden. My hope is the chainsaw will be good for small jobs that works well with the solar generator and  I can add to the RV toolbox. I think the little chainsaw could be very handy if I needed to bugout or after a storm cutting up limbs and small logs and I could save my gasoline for the big stuff.

The solar hub came in and I think it would work better for Mom’s solar setup rather than what I have in mind for my solar generator. I did not notice the specs limitations and I have a slightly different idea of how I want to go solar and doing the wiring.  Mom’s solar panels have a lower total amperage compared to mine and I think since she has those panels mounted on the roof that the hub will work better for her start on solar power.  Dad has done most of the setup for Mom’s solar power system but he seems to have major issues with solar energy. Perhaps it is a prejudice from when solar energy got it’s start back in the 70’s and was not very good. Dad worked for Idaho power for over 40 years as a lineman so I think he does not realize just how much solar has improved since then.  Then again Dad is not on board with the whole prepping /self-reliance thing so there is a bit of denial/anger going on because life is changing rather dramatically and it’s getting harder to ignore.

I know most of my family thinks I’m nuts by preparing and getting self-reliant. But other than the water main fix that Dad just had to “help” me with I have managed to pay off almost all of my debt. Refi my house to get a good interest rate, put in a very wood stove and is managing life pretty well.  Like many families these days this is a mixed family via divorce and sometimes it hurts Dad that I make “his kids” look sort of financially incompetent. Plus he has told me that he feels  guilty about not helping me as much as the other kids!  While I need help from time to time to make things a bit easier, I’m proud of the fact that I’m the kid he doesn’t need to worry about making it! My parents are in their late 60’s/early 70’s and us kids are in our 40’s-50’s and we are still “kids” and they are still “parents”.  I don’t think this is a new thing about us humans but instead of spraying a bit of Bactine and giving a kiss and a hug for a “boo boo”. Parents try to cushion the slings and arrows of real life.

I was so lucky as a child that my Mom would allow me to go out and discover the world and get a bit smashed up by it to learn there are some sharp corners in life and  gravity and inertia can hurt.  I don’t have kids but watching my nieces and nephews can just about give e a heart attack or stroke when I see them play. I don’t have the strength my Mom had to be a parent and let a child discover life and learn for themselves.