What a strange summer! 2020 has been LIT so far

July 4, 2020

Sorry for not posting for awhile. My body seems to be going through a bit of a CIDP flare and honestly I have not been getting a lot of projects done.  I’m trying to get back into the “habit” of work again but I think I developed something like a “Bunker Mentality”while my CIDP was flaring up. Taking it easy physically during the bad weather or flare is okay but for me I escalated into laziness and procrastination and did not force myself to do even 15 minutes of work to break me out of that mental hunkered down mode.  I will say I have had a few good days of getting yard work done during the BUNKER period and have some new stuff to report to all of you .

I waited on finishing the garden cart bed until I could buy the wide 5 5/8 in cedar fence boards.  The wider boards just look better to me for the raised bed wall compared to skinnier cedar boards.  If you prefer using more of the less wide fence boards go for it!  That is the nice thing about building something yourself.  You get to make what you want rather than buying something from the store and making it work for you.  I have built a few items out wood like my kindling wood box and my firewood racks and while those projects are functional they are not pretty/ something I’d be proud to show off.  I want this raised bed/garden cart to be something I want to show off a bit but mostly something beautiful I see everyday and know I built that and I did a darn good job.  I’m also adding some extra 2x4s under the plywood base for strength to hold the weigh of the dirt, water and plants.  It might be some over engineering on my part but holding in a lot dirt and water exposed to air is not the best environment for wood structures.

Of course I had to go to the local home improvement store to get lumber and Home depot had a huge display of 1 gallon 30% acidity vinegar for $20.00.  I had bought 32 oz. of high acid vinegar for my local farm store for the same price.  I filled up my sprayer and attacked the weeds in the alley way. Now it was a hot day in the 90 degree F. range but the area was in the shade when I sprayed. After about 30-60 minutes broad leaf thistle plants withered.  I will give an update on the effects on Morning glory, cheat grass and all other weeds I can Identify.  I won’t use Round up or weed killers like that because that sterilizes the soil.  While a 30% acid  vinegar base may seem extreme I have very alkali soil. At worst I’m adding some ph balance to the poor soil in my alley way.   Weeds are Mama Natures Paramedics to help even poor soil stay in place. You can’t be mad a weeds because they grow where ever they are allowed to grow.  I have stored up a lot of less than positive colorful for the people that plant Morning glory and some seem to be nice people besides being gardening lunatics!  I hope the high acid will start killing back the weeds but especially the Morning Glory.

I got all of the soaker hoses laid out in the 10 foot long raised beds.  If you are using standard 5/8th hose fittings you will need to use 1 1/4 inch holes saw or spade bit to feed  hoses through the wood of a 2 inch thick raised bed board. At least I won’t be watering all the weeds outside my raised bed gardens.  I gathered up another ball of morning glory and tossed it the trash bin.  My hope is that the very acidic 30% vinegar will kill off at least the morning glory.  If it kills off other weeds, that is all the better.

Time to start getting your firewood heating taken care of. Hiring a good chimney sweep in July is easy,  You might even be given a discount because you are ahead of the masses that want a chimney sweep just as the weather turns cold in the Fall.  Most folks that burn fire wood suggest that wood dry/season for a over year.  That might not be possible for everyone but getting firewood in summer and have it dry through summer is possible for most people.  You really want a stack that lasts 3 years at min. because dry wood burns cleaner and heats your home more efficiently. I’m also in control of my heat and no one else. Not the electric company, or the government nor any mobs.

It would be difficult use to me as disabled Vet as a victim.  Because I’m not a victim at all.  I may disagree with stuff but overall my life is darn good.  I’ve hit rock bottom and managed to climb out of my screw ups. They were my screw ups believing the government and advertisements and hype.  I don’t do that so much any more.

Last but not least stop supporting companies that despise you!  Amazon, Walmart google, twitter… You get the idea. I may buy from from Amazon but the won’t be my first choice for shopping.  OMG I may have to wait 5-7 day to get a product.

 

Over all not a bad bit of work if not all I wanted to get done.

 


Starting the garden plants. Buy stuff now in case of the supply chain collapse!

March 2, 2020

I’m gathering all my Seeds, grow lamp and starter pots for this year’s garden.  Last year I started to early (mid Feb.) and many of my plants died because it was to early to plant before the frost date.  Last year was also a little crazy with a very damp and cool May and June so the tomatoes and peppers did not grow very well.  This year I’m starting a couple of weeks later and I’m adding a lot of small planters just in case I need to transfer my seedlings before the raised beds are ready for planting due to weather.

This last winter has been long but it did not get cold and the ground never had a hard freeze.  So while I’m still cutting kindling for the wood stove. I can get started on clean up of the raised beds, turn the soil over and prep the beds for planting.  I want to try an experiment with one raised bed draping the PVC frames in clear heavy duty plastic to make a mini green house for planting early cole crops like broccoli.  Depending on the soil temp and air temp of the mini green house I could start some greens for early spring salads.  I think having a garden full off fresh veggies is going to darned important this year!  We will see the supply chain in the USA have some hiccups.

You may have seen some the panic buying on the west coast on the internet.  It seems bottled water, beans and rice are the new disaster supply rather that the milk, bread and eggs “Disaster Prep”!  I don’t think water will stop coming out of the tap or the power going out anytime soon.  So buying a lot of bottled water is silly and a waste of money right now.  If you filter your tap water like I do, a couple of extra water filters would be money well spent.  I don’t thing the electrical grid will go down anytime soon. So you can probably skip buying a generator or a bunch of gasoline or fuel to cook your food.  Your internet and phone probably won’t suddenly stop working.   You want to have your utility bills paid so they keep running so have money on hand to keep those bills up to date.  Manufacturing jobs will probably have some lay offs or furloughs.  Start hoarding your money/cash, so you can keep basic bills paid if the school closes down and some one has to be at home with kids.

While everyone is going crazy about the Stock market and Wall street, I think the BIG STORY in the next 4-6 weeks will be the Supply chain breaking down.  We know that most stores are full of cheap china crap, but your coffee comes either from Africa or south/central America.  Tea, Chocolate are also food products that are not grown here in the USA.  I’m not just talking about these products becoming expensive.  Some of the products may not be available for any price!  I suspect the produce section of the local grocery stores will get more limited on selection and out of season produce prices will probably go up.  If you have not tried growing a garden this is great time to get a few seeds or plant starts and try out that container/herb garden or raised bed garden or a perma-culture set up in your yard.  What ever idea you have thought about trying to garden. You now have a great motivation to get started.  Another bonus of a garden is it will help keep you busy if you or your family get quarantined for 2-4 weeks.  Having to stay home during a quarantine does not mean you have to stay always indoors.

Take time to think and not just panic/stampede with the herd.

  1. If people are crowding around a store, go to a different store.  Sure Costco/Sam’s club might have great prices but if the shelves are empty all you did is expose your self to a crowd and did not get what you wanted to buy. If you are standing in a long line you are preparing wrong.  Leave, try a different store or try shopping at a different time.
  2. Make a list of what you need/want and if something on the list is not available, get the next item.
  3. Think outside of the box!  I got my P100 masks in the little home improvement/tools section of my local Fred Meyers at the end of January when Home Depot/Lowes were completely sold out of masks of any sort.  Fred Meyers still had masks.  If you missed out on buying masks wait until the panic buyers and profiteers find out the market is saturated. Then the price will drop and then you can get those items like masks.  Panic buying seldom lasts more than a couple of weeks as people just can’t afford the high prices or refuse to pay the profiteers.
  4. Get stuff for treating the flu symptoms!  Vitamins, cough syrup, decongestants.  Herbal teas, honey, lemon juice, Essential oils. Aspirin non-aspirin fever/pain relievers, juices, gatorade ginger ale or sprite.  What ever you want to have on hand for a cold/flu.
  5. Bleach and spray bottles for disinfection.  A couple dollars for a quart or 1/2 gallon of bleach, diluted with a couple cups  water poured into a spray bottle will disinfect every thing in your house for a couple of months.  I like the Lysol Multi purpose cleaner in lemon scent and Mountain fresh scent.  I have no idea how much a bottle costs today as I got a couple of bottles in Nov./Dec of last year at $1.49 for a 32 oz. spray bottle on sale at Family dollar store.

This little Pandemic/new flu is going to take at least another 6-18 months to work out the new NORMAL.  So far it looks like the 80% of people get FLU symptoms, 10% get very sick and about 5-10%  put a respirator level of sick.  The Corona virus is out in the world and we will have deal with it.  I can lay blame on China or the CDC and politicians, but blame is irrelevant at this point.  Corona virus/ Covid-19 is here in the USA and everyone has to deal with it.

 


News hyperventilating over an 1-3 inches of snow in Idaho in January!

January 12, 2020

This a bit embarrassing about how a this massive snow storm was going to hit SW Idaho and the news blew it all out of proportion again!  It snowed most of the morning in the Treasure valley and did not even stick to the sidewalks or roads because it got so warm (40 F.+) by 3:00 pm.   The mountains got a lot of snow which is normal and needed for the spring and summer irrigation season.  This is kind of the norms for winter snowfalls in the Treasure valley.

The over the top hype that any sort of weather event makes it very difficult to make plans to prepare.  I’m sure you see the same sort of “Cry Wolf” type of hype in your area be it rain, hail, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.  The weather service is naming snow storms,  rather than how we named the winter of 1977 or that cold winter back in 1983.  Heck even the Snowmegeddon of 2016 gives a good idea that we had a tough winter.  I have no problem with informing people of bad weather and to be prepared and careful.  This sort of hyperbolic scare tactics via the media just serves no purpose other than to scare and stress people.  Then again perhaps that is the purpose of those “Headlines/Warnings”.

I have to say I like my little weather station with barometer.  I won’t say it forecasts the weather, but between that station, my arthritis and my nose smelling rain or snow I’m probably making as accurate guess as the local news weatherman up to 48 hours out. Heck I can download the same radar/satellite cloud cover that the weathermen get daily.   Oh I want to give some love to the Old Farmer’s Almanac folks as they have correct about the general weather for this winter across the entire USA.  It’s amazing how 150-200 years of written observations might have some insight about forecasting the weather long term.  You think the “Climate Change” folks would want to look at that data set.

I did prepare for this “storm” in making sure my front porch wood rack was full.  That is about it as there was no forecast of several days of below 20 degree temps. I did not salt my front sidewalks.  The wind is blowing in the 30-40 mph range and that could cause a power outage with downed lines so I’m getting laundry and vacuuming done. I have a fridge and 2 freezers out on the porch or in an non insulated shop so all food that should be cold should stay cold with little input needed from me.  Heck I have been preparing for almost a decade, so a normal snow storm in winter should a non-event.

How many of you have noticed the Weather service, local news weatherman hyping any sort of “Weather” like it is the end times and not like the weather you saw as kids or from parents/grandparents?  The Dust bowl of the 1930’s was brutal and it was not all caused by farmers.  I remember back in the 1980 that the Mt. Ste. Hellen’s volcanic explosion would kill farming in the PNW and all that ash killed the bugs and Eastern Washington had a great wheat harvest.  I wonder how many people benefit from adverce weather in a couple years after the EVENT. I understand the early Freeze was bad.  I understand Midwest rivers flooding was bad.  Is there a good side to the flooding? Is the adding silt from the river banks over flowing a good thing in the long run?  I’m just asking because I don’t know that type of farming.  I know flooding is generally bad in the short term of 1-3 years.  (For every for a small farmer in debt) Is the land coming back and starting to produce?

Sorry this post is getting into the TLDR area.  Start getting your seeds and planning your garden.  Depending on your general frost date,you need to be starting those seed to start those “Cole Crop seeds” indoors in February/March.

I have sharpened my axe but I can’t seem to put a good edge on my hatchet.  I think my sharpen angle is wrong for the hatchet.  I have a ordered a new stone that has a guide to use for creating/maintaining a 15-20 degree angle.  Not perfect but that new stone should help me in making a good edge on both knives and axes.


A warm, wet winter?

December 7, 2019

It has been a “warm” and wet winter so far in the Treasure valley.  7 Dec 2019 and the high temp. was 55 degrees F.  The rain was an on/off again sprinkle and the winds were light to non-existent.  The storm last week was breezy but the temp. was about 30-35 degrees F.  That is warm for a “Winter Storm  Warning”.  I have no clue how winter will go into January but so far the forecasts suggest a mild and damp winter.  That forecast can change quick if the cold arctic air shifts to the west side of the Rockies or the Sierras/Blue mountains of Washington and Oregon.  I suppose it is human nature to forecast the “worst” potential weather.  That can come back and bite the forecaster on the butt for raising the alarm and “crying wolf”.  I feel for those people because if they down play a storm and a blizzard happens, they are destroyed on twitter.  But if they hype a storm and nothing happens, they are destroyed on twitter!

I know I’m “preaching to the choir” but prepare for the worse and hope for the best.  I was prepared for a normal winter in 2016/2017 when snowmeggedon happened in SW Idaho.  I bought many tools from a propane “Dragon Torch” to melt ice, a snow blower, 100+ pounds of ice melt and sand.  My 6 gallon Shop vac got quite the work out sucking up melting snow in my shop. I added mulch drainage rock and gravel to my driveway around my shop.  While it is still early into the test I have not seen any water or dampness on my shop floor.  IIRC, the shop almost always had a a bit of dampness or water on parts of the shop floor before I added the mulch and gravel.  Often you are trying to keep things safe, dry or holding back the flood waters.  You are building stuff to be more resilient, as you deal with any little minor disasters that come your way.

Perhaps I’m an outlier but why do so few Youtubers use leather gloves?  I’m no “Safety Sally” to tell others they are being unsafe working with tools.  But cutting/splitting wood with a good leather glove seems to be a no-brainier if just because of avoidable splinters.   People go on and on about Chainsaw chaps, helmets, safety googles and hearing protection and no one mentions using a good pair of leather gloves.   Well I’m going to say a good pair of leather gloves is required for working on a homestead!  I have had my some what sharp hatchet/axe hit my leather gloved hand and no bruise, no cut and no splinters. Mink oil is great for keeping the gloves water-resistant, soft and flexible.

I made the first test batch of making fire starters in “muffin papers”.   The volume of the muffin paper fire starters is about 2 x the volume of the egg carton fire starters and the muffin paper cups don’t have the dense cardboard that holds the egg carton type fire starters.   I don’t see this being a problem as I use one sheet of news paper wrapped around the fire starter and placed under the kindling.  I think cardboard egg cartons make a great base for making fire starters but if you have chickens or get your eggs from people that want those egg cartons returned.  Burning those egg carton in a fire could be a bad thing.   Muffin papers can be bought for about one dollar for 100 cups/papers.  Much cheaper than buying egg cartons to make fire starters.

Update: So far the muffin tin works for making fire starters in muffin papers.  I’m going to add some “white paraffin”  dollar store candles for a test of the wax melting pot and if they are good fire starter fuel.  Old fragrance and colored candles don’t seem work very well as fire starters wax.  I found a bunch of strike anywhere wooden matches.  Starting a fire with one match has been a thing I grew up with,  you can do all the prep on the fire you can but you need to start the fire with just one match! Sure I have bic and butane lighters that can start a fire, but for me starting a fire with just one wooden match always seems special.  I have paper, chopped kindling, dry/split fire wood.  The only thing that compares is restarting a fire from last night’s coals.

It is a simple thing but being happy about simple things should be good.


The “storm” added a bit of snow and got a little breezy!

December 4, 2019

Had a one, two punch on the “storm” here at Casa de Chaos.  I might have had a total of 2 inches of snow on the ground and had to push that little bit of snow off the sidewalk.  I added some ice melt to the front side walks as it looked like it might get a little slick from the water freezing.  I guess I win again since it warmed up to the 40’s F. and all the snow melted away.

About the worst thing from the storm is the tarps over the one of wood piles got lifted and exposed some of the fire wood to rain/snow.  I went out and got the big tarp adjusted to cover all the wood.  FYI don’t use a rake handle to bonk all the leaves off a tarp unless you are sure all of the water has been drained off first!  While getting splashed with just above freezing dirty leaf water is invigorating.  I would not recommend it.

While freezing some of the Thanksgiving food items I noticed I need to clean out my chest freezer of old items.  I’m going to toss anything over a year old.  Yes I have a lot of stuff in the freezer that is over a year old!  When I started prepping I thought I’d be helping out neighbors, family but due to people moving away and some hard feelings because of Mom’s divorce. The food preparations have been downgraded rather significantly from up to 15+ people down to less than 5, maybe… Life is messy and you have to be flexible to make stuff work.  A great thing now that it is cold I can clean out all of my freezers and organize them to work for me.  Rather than just trying to cover any disaster that “might” happen to an extended family that won’t even talk to me.  It is sad, but it is how life is right now.  There is always hope that things could change.  Though I’m not optimistic.

I got a start on cleaning up the vines and rose bush tendrils on my chain link fence.  I have Xmas light nets to put on the fence to make the front yard a little more festive!  I don’t want to drill holes into my siding and the clips I have bought don’t work with my siding.  No worries,  just add lighting working at ground level out side and indoors around the windows.  Christmas is not just a “kid” holiday.  It is also for us adults to celebrate that light that was brought into the world.  What is great is the new LED lights make it cheap (electrically) to add your own little sparkle to the night.

Embrace this season of giving!  perhaps you are adding a few lights around your home.  Many people travel to see Xmas light shows.  You don’t have to go big but make an effort to get into the holiday spirit.  GIVE! Make the effort and enjoy your work even if no one else enjoys it.  Life is simple, that does not mean it is easy.


Kitties “fixed” and vaccinated, adding more kindling, yard cleanup and Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2019

It is confirmed I got 2 male kitties and both have been fixed a got the rabies shot and another shot for most the basic cat stuff, though there is another recommended shot for cats.  I got the kittens fixed at a local pet rescue called “Pet Haven” and they focus on cat rescues.  So for $90.00 I had two male kittens neutered and given rabies and another “cat” vaccine.  The kittens did not seem overly stressed and no problems ( infections/ sutures) have come up five days after surgery.  The kittens have been climbing trees and are still in (kitten mode) of exploring the world via my backyard portion of it. Of course Ash the kitten decided to jump into the wood stove when I was cleaning out the wood ash.

I’m trying to fill up my “kindling box”.  I should  have made a smaller box to fill. I split up enough kindling to fill the box about 5-6 inches deep.  Mom picked up a big box of kindling that should last her a week or two and I filled up my indoor kindling box so the time to get to work again!  I’m staying ahead of out kindling wood needs and I have had time to sharpen the axe and hatchet between cutting sessions. Plus I love my new wood cutting “stumps”. Splitting chunks of wood is much easier, if your cutting stump is about 18-24 inches tall depending on your height.  Cutting kindling works best for me around 24-30 inches stump.   I was amazed how much better my axe splits firewood with that extra six inch of travel time/gravity assist.  I would suggest that you split wood with an axe at level between your hips and knees, or around 18-24 inches for most people.  Cutting kindling seems to work best for me at a height of 24-30 inches.  I’m 5 ft. 6 and this is wood kindling cutting height is just below kitchen counter top height.

The BIG!!! winter storm that hit was a little over hyped,  at least for what hit around my place in Nampa.  I did get a lot of wind but not much more than just damp ground from all the SNOW!!  I’m glad the storm was a “bust” as I could get more yard cleanup done in the backyard.  Hopefully this weekend I can finish up all the leaves in the backyard and get some cleanup done on the grape vines, roses and trees done around the house.  Once that cleanup is done I can start adding Xmas lights to the front yard. I love using the Xmas light nets on my chain link fence! The net lights are easy to put up and look great with very little effort.  I haven’t installed Xmas lights on the exterior of the house since I got vinyl siding. I don’t want to drill into the siding and most “clips” don’t seem to fit into my siding. I’d like to add a couple of those projector type lights but that will depend on the budget.

For Thanksgiving I’m setting up BBQing the Turkey over Mesquite lump charcoal.  I’m  brining the turkey in kosher salt, brown sugar in apple cider and a few fresh herbs and spices. If you can maintain a BBQ temp of 325-350 for 2-4  hours.  Cooking a Turkey on the grill is simple if not easy because you have to rotate the bird about every 20 minutes to cook evenly.  I’m cooking the Lodge Southern cookbook  Mac and Cheese. At 2.5 pounds of cheese, plus butter, milk and half & half.  The density of dairy goods is epic! Sausage stuffing, mash potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted green beans with garlic and fresh baked bread will be on the menu.  Of course we have not forgotten the pie.  Lemon Meringue for me and Pumpkin pie for Mom.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  It has been a “strange” year of trying new stuff, getting ahead and then falling behind projects.  I’m so thankful that the pantry and freezer is full, the house is warm and the bills are paid.

 


Not to Breezy but it did get cold! Mom bought a load of wood from me. Kittens!

November 2, 2019

The wind storm wasn’t that bad and it the winds died down quickly after the early morning blow.  I had a couple of large branches come down but nothing was damaged around the house.  It did get into the low teens some where around 10-14 degrees F, a couple of nights this week.  It was a nice little cold snap that got me motivated to fill up the porch wood rack and get both Mom’s and my own kindling boxes filled up for the week of cold weather.  I had one night of a successful “banking” of the fire and one night that I smothered the fire in ash with very few coals alive in the morning.  I know the theory of how to “bank” a fire overnight.  The practice of banking the fire, needs more practice by me.  It is early in the fire wood season so I have plenty of time to perfect my “banking” the fire overnight technique.  Plus every fire I can start from coals means I use one less fire starter.

Mom bought a load of poplar wood from me.  We loaded up the Chevy one ton dually in about an hour with Mom stacking in the truck bed and me using the garden wagon to move the wood from stack to truck.  We stacked a little more than a 1/2 cord of wood up to the top of the bed and all the way to the end of the truck bed.  This is a guesstimate based on the dimensions of the truck bed, we probably loaded about 70 sq.ft. of split fire wood, or about .55 of a cord of wood.

Mom and split the cost on a load of fire wood in June. I never felt confident that Mom got her moneys worth from that load because the wood was dumped rather than stacked in my carport.  So I tried to pick out smaller chunks/rounds of that wood  pile so Mom would not have to split that wood in order to burn it.  Now I feel confident that Mom has in the two loads of wood she has bought from me, she got a true 128 square foot cord of fire wood from me.  A bonus for me is I’m getting much better at seeing how much wood is a true cord of fire wood.  Over all I think I’ve broke about even of being “played” and a few giving a cheap price for a “cord” of fire wood.  If you are in the Treasure Valley of SW Idaho Tuckers Timbers has always given me a full cord of fire wood at the price agreed.  Heck the first year I bought wood from Tucker’s in late Oct.-Nov. the told me the was still green and asked if I wanted to buy a load of wood.  This summer Tucker’s Timbers asked if I’d take a load of fire wood early as they needed to get more room for new wood.  Well I paid for half of the load of firewood and paid off the rest the next month.  That is the best example of how customers and businesses work in a symbiotic relationship.

The Kittens have figured out how to use the doggie door to the back yard.  The kittens are exploring around the yard but they seem to prefer staying indoors during cold weather.  Tege, the dark striped kitten loves climbing the fruit trees and the more adventurous kitten.  Ash tend to stay close to Tucker the peke or myself in loose sort of definition of close.  This month the kittens will be getting “fixed” and start getting the shots they need.  It’s a little iffy that the kittens will get the rabies shot as they need to be over 6 pounds to receive the rabies shot.  The kittens are eating more of the dry cat food, more of Tucker’s wet food and less of the wet cat food.  FYI: non clumping cat litter is not the thing for a cat litter box.  I’m not sure how a company can claim that clumping cat litter has more “dust” than non-clumping cat litter.  Trust me it is much easier to scoop clumping cat litter daily into a trash bag than the non-clumping litter.  Plus I tend to dump the all the non-clumping cat litter in the trash bin.  With the clumping cat litter I only dump the poo and urine clumps in the trash.  Is this a Marketing ploy?  Hell I have sandbags, I could use that sand as cat litter and it is not dusty.

The local Pet Haven will be doing my kitty’s shots and fixing.  I dropped off 2/ 20 pound bags of kitty litter and about 16 cans of wet cat food.  My cats don’t like the pate and prefer a more meat like looking product.  It is tough as an animal lover not to help animals in the day to day lives. I think that Nampa has good plan of trapping feral cats by the community and then spay/neuter those cat and inoculate the cats and then let the community release the cats as barn/outdoor cats.   Of course it is not perfect, but it will help stop feral cats over breeding and vaccinate the feral cat population against the worst spreading of disease.  It is not a perfect solution but it is a good solution.

I don’t have a good answer to so many feral cats and dogs.  I wish many of the Humane Societies did not treat puppies as a commodity and make them more expensive to adopt.  I could see paying up to $100.00 per pup for shots, Spay/neuter but if you are charging $300.00 + for adoption of a puppy you are looking for profit,  not giving a puppy a home.


It’s gonna get cold and breezy!

October 28, 2019

Winter is coming to Casa de Chaos! I was just puttering around getting wood on the porch fire wood rack.  I raked up some leaves and saw this weather warning.

IDZ012-014>016-029-030-290530- /O.NEW.KBOI.WI.Y.0013.191029T1000Z-191029T1800Z/ Lower Treasure Valley ID-Upper Treasure Valley- Southwest Highlands-Western Magic Valley-Owyhee Mountains- Southern Twin Falls County- 209 PM MDT Mon Oct 28 2019 …WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON MDT TUESDAY… * WHAT…Northwest winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph. * WHERE…Portions of south central and southwest Idaho. * WHEN…From 4 AM to noon MDT Tuesday. * IMPACTS…Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Small tree limbs could be blown down. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Wind chill will be near zero Tuesday morning. Light snow is also expected with local blowing and drifting snow, slick roads, and reduced visibility. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

SW Idaho tends to get unpredictable weather being a convergence zone of three different wind patterns.  Warm weather coming up from SW/ California.  A Pacific wind/moisture pattern from the west that is absorbed by the Blue Mountain range in Oregon and Washington. We can get cold weather that comes out of the Arctic and travels down the West side of the Rocky Mountains. It all depends on pressure fronts and how the high Jet stream winds are blowing.  This is the biggest reason it is so hard to predict local weather in Idaho.

Normally I don’t worry to much about wind storms, as my home is well protected by the homes and trees in my neighborhood.  The last little wind storm that blew through last week had a minor affect on my home, so I got all the wood tarps tied and weighted down.  I filled up the wood rack and got some of the raked up leaves into the garbage bin rather than wait to see how the storm would blow the collected leaves around the yard. There is a feeling in the air with a storm is coming and you need to stocked up and get a little bit better prepared for a few days.  Not because the storm is all that dangerous, I just don’t want to have to get fire wood when there is 0 degree F. wind chill.  I don’t expect any problems as the wind will end early in the day and most of the snow will melt off this week.  It is always nice to have a little storm to test your basic winter preps.

It seems I have under estimated the amount of fire starters needed by myself and Mom this fall.  Both of us tend to start a fire as  needed as the days cool down, rather than keeping the fire going all day in the Fall.  Not a huge problem this early into the fire wood season.  Mom has over 45 fire starters and I have about 60 on hand so I have at least 30 days to make more fire starters.  Worse comes to worst,  we can start fires with a bit of news paper like we did before I made the fire starters.


I love/hate the seasons of Spring/Fall

October 21, 2019

I love Spring because of the days getting longer. Actually about January I notice the days getting longer but by about March I have days that I feel, like I can get some outdoor jobs done.   Given my stamina levels I work about the same couple of hour blocks.  But I feel like I can get more work during daylight hours. Now in Fall the hours are shorter but the temperature is dropping and it is a relief from those hot summer days.  So it is easier to work during the “heat” of the day.

One of the biggest reason I hate Spring and Fall is the Weather systems and pressure changes that come from all those weather changes.  I have had quite a few broken bones growing up and smashed my body more when I was in the Army. So needless to say I feel those changes in the weather and my CIDP seems to make me even more sensitive to the pressure change, but not the so much the when “storm” is happening.  It’s the change in weather not the weather itself that cause me a bit of physical discomfort.

By golly we did have a heck of a storm blow through a couple of days ago.  I seldom get a lot of noticeable wind at my house even during high wind watch advisories for my area.  I had a lot of wind despite the fact that my county was not under a weather watch. I think every single Walnut was blown out of my two walnut trees and hit my roof, patio and yard like a bucket of hard ping pong balls.  My apple tree got emptied a bit but there are still a few apple still hanging on the tree.  I had a couple of tree branches fall but they were light weight and I could cut up the branches with a limb lopper so no damage occurred around my place.

These two kittens are wearing me out.  Overall they are not bad but they get in play mode or snuggle mode when I need sleep.  I have set up the front bedroom for the kittens and they will be shut in that room so myself, Tucker the peke and even Smokey the cat will have a kitten-free night.  I have not been sleeping well due the the weather changes and the kittens have made the not sleeping at night or getting my nap almost impossible.  The kittens do love the heat of the wood stove and tend to play around in front part of the house when the wood stove is burning.

The next couple of months will probably be the worst of “kitten mode” and keeping them contained at night in a bedroom with food, water and litter box should work better than just shoving them into a pet crate or pen.  I have a cat/doggie door to the backyard and once the kittens figure that out they will work off some energy.  I want the kittens to discover the doggie door themselves and have the ability to push the door open to give themselves access to the backyard and come inside the house without any input from me.

On to the things that are working out good. While getting a lot wood in May sort of screwed up my concentrating on my garden. I think having the wood stack will be very helpful to myself and Mom this winter.  Mom wants to buy some of my poplar this week and I’m good with that idea.  I’m interested about how much wood in my stack is needed to fill the bed of Mom’s  Dually one ton.  I have stacked my poplar wood in 12 feet long  and 5 feet tall stacks.  Given an 18 inch or 1.5 ft. row of stacked wood that is about 90 cubic feet of fire wood. Or about 3/4ths of a cord of wood.

I can do that for Mom.  I worked very hard this year to get firewood and don’t mind selling Mom a bit of fire wood she can pickup and saves her a  gallon of two of gas for the one ton dually.

If your home does not have an open floor plan and you are using a wood or gas stove for heat and want a fan to push the warm air.  I recommend The Hot point 12 inch and 16 inch oscillating floor fans. I have a few ceiling fans to circulate air and have used 30 inch tilting fans, 20 inch box fans and none of them have worked as well as a small 12 inch oscillating fan behind the wood stove and a 18 inch fan blowing the warm air to the back part of the house.  Last year I used all types of fans to blow warm air into the backside of the house and nothing did a very good job.

I have one 12 inch oscillating fan just behind the wood stove about level with top plate of the wood stove blowing air into the living room.  I have another 18 inch oscillating fan blowing that warm air into the kitchen and  towards the back rooms of the house. This has been much more effective on moving heat through the house than using 30 inch fans or even 20 inch box fans.

TL:DR

Spring and fall sucks if have arthritis of other medical issues.

Kittens will disrupt your life and your sleep cycle.

Buying good fans and working out the placement of fans is a good thing. The placement of fans takes some adjustment.


Got some yard work done and a prayer request

July 22, 2019

The front yard has been been mowed!  I got a bit lazy as I did not want to pick up all the sticks from the high winds that blew thru last week. Today I got all the sticks picked up mowed and gave the front yard a “good watering” of several hours.  It felt good to get some outdoor work done after helping Mom with her surgery recovery and getting enough shopping done to top off the big freezer.

While I was mowing my neighbor was working on getting a mid size fridge in to his house up the front steps that have at least 6 steps and about 5 feet to the porch front door landing.  The neighbor had a dolly and did most of the heavy lifting but I helped keep the fridge on the dolly and assist with guiding , or adding a little extra ooomph to get the fridge in the house can make that job a bit easier.  The neighbor said he will help out with moving the old washing machine out or getting the new machine in my house. Should be be easier to move my washer as I only have a couple of steps to deal with getting the washer in the house.  Once the new washer is indoors and close to the Laundry area I can “walk” the washer into place.

I got the old washer out of the laundry area and strapped to the big dolly Mom loaned me.  Mom has offered to assist moving the old washer to the alley, but I want to test out how much effort she will need to help move the washer.  Mom was not given any weight restrictions for her recovery and she has kept up cleaning her house and taking care of critters.  I don’t want her to re-injure her back by helping me.  Getting the washer on the dolly, strapped down, I’ll do most of the weight bearing work and Mom will guide and any weight lifting should be minimal.

Onto the prayer request: My Mom’s new church has been hit with several small disasters. From flooding of the church basement to shingle/parts of the roof being torn off in a wind storm.  The pastor was diagnosed with prostate cancer that may recurring and perhaps the cancer has moved to his bones.  The church congregation is older and many are on Social Security and disabled so the can’t physically do much work around the church or donate to get needed work done.  The church needs to an Asphalt parking lot to replace the gravel parking lot they currently have in place.  The new parking lot will help those people that use walkers, wheel chairs and “scooters” get into the church.  I don’t want to add more info as I don’t want to ‘dox” the church.  Your prayers for the pastor and the church would be appreciated.

I use a walker when I’m shopping or going long distances walking(1/4-1/2 mile).  Trust me if you use a walker a gravel parking lot is some thing to be dreaded/ avoided. If you use a wheel chair thick gravel is impossible to navigate without help.  Heck, when I was in a wheel chair I avoided deep pile carpet,  gravel parking lots, forget about it!