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!

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It stopped raining so I moved wood around

May 20, 2019

The skies cleared and I had about 3.5 hours of dry weather this afternoon to move the wood in my wood pile.  I’m  moving the older, over sized dry wood (for my wood stove) under the carport to stack and will be cut to size, too fit my wood stove.  I moved the wood racks around to make stacking the wood for easier access and set up an area for cutting and storing kindling.  I have 2 cords of Doug fir incoming  this week so getting the wood racks prepared for incoming fire wood is important for my heating plan this winter.

I’m trying a new supplier of wood and paying as I go.  Mom says she will buy up some of the wood to mitigate my initial cost for wood.  Over all I feel okay about the wood buy, but we will see if the wood is worth the cost.

Just took delivery of the wood and the carport is darn full.  I suspect I got at least 1.5 + cords of mixed fire wood mostly cut /split and ready to burn.  Perhaps it is Karma helping me on the good side since I got screwed on wood deliveries a few years ago. I’ll need to stack the wood to see how much fire wood I have on hand.  Money is going to be a little tight getting this fire wood delivery before I planned for getting wood this year, but getting stocked up on wood this early will pay off this summer and into winter.  I’m good on money, as I can deal with taking a hit of $250.00 either good or bad easily.

Physically I’m going to be toast Tuesday, after moving the fire wood and wood racks around the yard.  I have a 2 cord wood delivery on the 22nd so I’ll be in  recovery mode the 21st.

The cole crop garden beds seem to be thriving after opening up the Agri-bon frost cloth.  It seems that this week is going to be good for cool weather crops getting a good start for growing.


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

September 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


New pressure cooker and more mulch!

May 31, 2018

I bought an electric pressure cooker from newegg.com last week and today I tried it out.  The pressure cooker is an Ewant Model BD-QJ . 7 in 1 programmable for everything from yogurt and a slow cooker to a pressure cooker for beans,  rice even sauteing in the stainless steel pot/liner.  There are 3 reasons I bought this  new pressure cooker: #1 I needed a new pressure cooker for my kitchen. #2 It was on sale for $45.00 at newegg.com, which isn’t a bad price for a large 12 cup pressure cooker. #3  I have been cooking a lot of grains (brown rice/barley) for the homemade doggy food and wanted something that cooked grains  faster and meats ‘fall apart’ tender.  I made my first batch of brown rice, chicken thighs with peas and carrots doggy food and it worked out great!

Recipe: Brown rice, chicken thighs with peas and carrots, doggy food.

3 cups of water

2 cups brown rice

4-5 chicken thighs

8 oz. frozen peas and carrots

Optional 2 tablespoons of Coconut oil

Add the 3 cups of water, 2 cups of brown rice and the coconut oil, place the small steamer grate on top of the rice and add the chicken thighs. Select Multi-grain or the Brown rice setting for 20 minutes and walk away… At the end of the 20 minutes release the pressure. While the rice and meat are still hot,  add the frozen veggies then stir so the residual heat thaws the veggies. This also helps stop the cooking process and cools the pot of dog food quickly.

The rice has a creamier consistency and the chicken thigh meat almost fell off the bone. This recipe makes cooking up a batch of dog food easier and much faster compared to cooking the brown rice on the stove top and then baking and cutting up the chicken thigh meat.

I also tried out a new white long grain rice recipe that is awesome!

White rice recipe:

2 cups of white rice

3 cups of water

1 table spoon of coconut oil (Replaces butter)

Rinse off the rice until the water runs clear. Place the water, rice and coconut oil in a large 6 quart pan and bring it to a boil.  As soon as it boils place a tight lid or tinfoil over the pot and turn the heat down to a low simmer then walk away for 12-15 minutes. When the is no standing water in the pot, set the rice off the heat, leave covered for 10 minutes and walk away again. Fluff the rice with a fork or wooden spoon and you will have great white rice.

I made good white rice before adding the coconut oil but that oil really makes a huge difference with the rice’s look and mouth feel.  The individual bits are soft and chewy without any gluey/starch affect.  I did not add any salt or stocks as these test were for doggy food but I taste test these recipes.  They are a little bland, but you could easily add herbs and spices and make a good human meal from these basic recipes.

Things I have learned so far making homemade dog food:

  • The internet is a great resource and it is also full of bad info for making dog food so check with your Vet. and always start with what you know is safe and introduce the food over time.  Also dogs have likes and dislikes so one dog may love white rice, some like beef or like chicken. Peas and carrots seem like the most popular veggie for my dogs but broccoli or green beans will do in a pinch.
  • Adding herbs for flavor,  Many herbs are safe and very beneficial to dogs such as oregano or mint.  Garlic, onions and chives are not doggy friendly flavoring so keep those away from your dog food.  White flour is very bad for dogs and wheat flour is not much better but many dog foods use wheat grains.  Think of your dog being somewhat ‘Gluten-Intolerant’ when you make the dog food.  Corn, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, steel cut oats can make would be a better carb. than any wheat product. Barley and I have read that corn meal are safe to feed dogs but I have not confirmed using corn meal.
  • Using coconut oil in place of butter for cooking rice is something I never considered but there is some preliminary research that coconut oil ‘might” reduce the bad bacteria that causes tooth decay/gum disease in dogs.  Since coconut oil is safe for dogs I have added it into the rice for dogs but it made the white rice so much better I have added coconut oil instead of butter to my white rice recipe as a safe fat to add to doggy food.

More mulch needs to be added to get a deep layer to kill out weeds. I went out the other day to prep the Three sisters beds and I used the D-shaped hoe to get a few weeds in the beds and around then and that tool worked very well weeding the mulch pathways.  I’m not so sure about the garden beds.  I’m not sure I’ll see more production for this year’s garden as I’m trying so many new beds and money and timing has been a bit problematic.  I think I’ll be okay if I get everything in by the weekend of June 2-3 and the latest with starts by the 9-10th of June.  That still gives me 120-150 days till harvest planting from seed.

 


Shopping today and snow!

December 17, 2015

Woohoo!  shopping at Harbor freight today and I had coupons for several good deals on stuff for the house.

With the first good snow coming in I added a 24 pack of AA batteries and a 6 pack of D batteries for all the flashlights and the Ds work in my shower water pump and the smokeless ashtrays.  I really like the new LED type flashlights,  even most of the cheaper ones have a great battery life. The big hand held spot light is great as it has it’s own battery and can be charge via house current of via 12 volt cigarette lighter.  I filled up two of the railroad type safety lanterns and both of them leaked oil, not good! So the lanterns are empty and in the shop to have the wicks and glass globes parted out. I have two large hurricane lamp, several windup and battery powered lanterns along with mirrors to help augment the light. Once you add in Mom’s candle gardens, I can say the lighting is still in good shape after losing the use of those two lanterns.

I got a couple of the small ammo boxes at Harbor Freight. These boxes are a good size for grabbing a couple to go to the range or plinking. You could use these boxes for storing ammo in several locations/cashes. I have not tested the boxes for water proofing but they do seem to have a good lid to box fit and the box has a spot for a padlock.  The real nice buy I got was on a 4 tool boxes for just $20.00. The largest box is huge at 22 inches long by 11 inches wide and deep. The next box is 20 inches by 8 inches wide and 9 inches deep. I want to make one of the larger size tool boxes, a shooting range box for my pistols. It would be nice to have all my range stuff in on easy to handle box rather than have to make several trips or try and juggle my shooting supplies. With the three leftover boxes I can finally get all of my small hand tools organized so I can find them without a lot of searching.

I got a couple of the solar yard light string/tubes to test out for the front yard.  I want to add these lights along the handrails of the front porch and if the are long enough to add a light border to some of the sidewalk.  I want lighting for security as well as some that adds a little curb appeal to the house. I don’t want to add to my electric bill so all outdoor lighting must be solar powered!  Actually any additional items that need electrical power I am going solar or some other renewable/off-grid power source.

Shopping at the local True Value store I got a small wireless weather station for only $20.00. It has a very nice setup for tracking temperatures and  humidity though it is lacking a barometer for measuring pressure.  I like it, as I can sit at the computer desk and get both indoor and outdoor temps and humidity levels.  My analog type thermometers tend to vary a lot because one is in shade and one is out in the south facing sun.  I don’t have a wind gauge but I have a couple of pinwheels in the yard and they give me a good idea on the wind and direction.  I picked up a small utility knife that uses plain safety razor blades and is lockable at several angles.  After several box cutter type blades this utility blade is a joy to add to my tool box.  Plus safety razor blades tend to be a lot less expensive to buy compared to most box cutter blades.

Snowed most of the day but it looks like we will only get a few inches.  I put salt on the front side walk last night and it did a good job of melting the snow until the afternoon. I like putting down a layer of salt before any winter snow as it makes shoveling the snow off the sidewalks much easier.  We tried out the “pet safe” salt on the backyard sidewalk. The pet safe salt did not do as well as the regular sno-melt salt but I think overall it was a good trade off between safety for the animals and a safe walkway.  Both Mom and I cleared the sidewalks but her metal shovel seem to skim off the snow leaving a layer behind and my plastic shovel did a better job clearing the sidewalks. Mom thinks it might have been the loose nut operating the metal shovel, but I think it might be the difference of how metal and plastic conduct cold. It might be best to have a couple of different types of snow shovels.  A lightweight plastic shovel for moisture heavy, but warm snowfalls and a solid metal snow shovel that can stand up to dry snow fall and chip away at any ice build up.  This is the first year I have used a plastic snow shovel but the difference in results seem significant to me.

I have a bit more food shopping left to do as Albertsons has a good sale on chicken thighs and legs for $.88 per pound and Fred Meyers has a New York roast for $4.99 per pound that I’d like to add one roast to the freezer. This a great time to stock up on those loss-leaders in the mega-marts especially if you can hold back a little cash to take advantage of sales.


Snow incoming next week?

November 15, 2015

Saturday was a very nice day for getting chores done.  I got the front yard mowed and picked up most of the leaves with my mower. I dumped the mower bag in the front yard beds as plant protection plus add some “greens and browns” that I hope will break down over the winter and will add good stuff back into the soil. The white “flowering kale” is still doing great, the purple kale is doing okay but it did not put on new growth like the white kale this fall. My little front yard garlic bed has put up new shoots through the straw, so I think the garlic will be okay for next year even though I was a bit late getting the garlic in the ground this fall.

I topped off the wood rick on the front porch using the garden cart and we have plenty of mill end bucket ready to burn. I still feel a bit vulnerable about my dependence on others for wood.  I can’t change anything about my disability and I am somewhat dependent on others for my basic needs. If you are disabled or an oldster and can’t work 8-12 hours a day all you can do is stock up and try to get things correct for bugging in.  I have planned for a bug out, but I know my odds for survival will be very low.

The black walnut tree is done shedding leaves in the back yard. I put the last batch of “killer” leaf mulch down in the alley. A flat 4-6 inch layer of the black walnut “killer” mulch stays in place through 20-30 mph winds and the mulch looks okay when it spread in flat deep layer.  I don’t think the city will send me a nasty-gram about my pile of leaves. My goal this winter is to augment the soil for growing stuff in the raised beds.  Use natural methods to kill off weeds and add plants that augment the soil or thrive in poor soil of the alley way garden. I’m still working on types of crops to plant that thrive in the many micro-climates in my yard and start growing up/vertical rather than the traditional way of growing a garden.

I did a test of “Gorilla Glue” and so far it looks like a good replacement for super glue. I repaired a pepper mill and I like that Gorilla Glue does not set quite as fast as super glue, holds great and clean up is a bit easier compared to super glue.  I think super glue is great, but most tubes only give you one application and then the super glue clogs up and you have no other use for the tube of glue. The Gorilla glue sets slower and even if the small applicator clogs you can still use glue stuff by removing the “cap/applicator”tip.  I bought a small package of 4 tubes of Gorilla glue that came with applicator tips for each tube for $6.99. I’m pleased with the purchase as even if the applicator clogs the tube of glue still flows.

I am thrilled with my new payment system and building up an emergency fund. I even added a little bit more silver to my small stash this month. I have used my food storage when I got blindsided on a large vet bill to free up money to pay the bill without going into debt. Now that I have most of my basic needs covered in an emergency, I have stored some cash for a small emergency. I was a bit slow on on the storing cash idea but having emergency cash on hand is almost as important as having food and water stored. At this time, I should be able to buy and install an 18 inch dishwasher, a new ceiling fan in the kitchen and free up a lot of space for a real dining table and add extra storage space in the kitchen in December. My Xmas gift to myself and who could be more deserving LOL!

While I think some sort of economic collapse is coming to the USA, I am doing my best to try and insulate myself from any down sides. I think this Xmas season is going to be nasty economically as many average Americans are beyond broke and up their eyeballs in debt.  For example my “income” about $20,000  yet I got a credit limit on a credit card of $8,000. If I maxed out that card, there is no way I could pay more than the min. payment and the interest would keep me in perpetual debt. Now I will pay off the debt early and avoid the killer interest rate of nearly 26%. I can see how people become slaves to debt. The big Banksters get the near 0/.25% interest rate from the FED. Joe sixpack is doing well if he get can get a signature loan for 6-8% interest and a credit card under 20%. Plus it was not all that long ago a saver could get  5.25% interest return on savings. Now you are lucky to get 1-2% return and the banksters don’t bury you in fees so you actually lose money by saving money in a bank.

I think you are better off keeping cash at home rather than rely on the major banks “protecting” your cash.


Caulking the windows for winter and drying veggies.

October 19, 2015

My gosh, some of my windows had some big gaps and it is no wonder the house felt a bit drafty.  While caulking the windows of an older home takes some time and physical energy, I think it worth the effort.  Caulk is cheap and works great for all kinds of water/weather proofing jobs. Based on what windows Mom and I got caulked, you should be able to caulk the average size window exterior (30 in. x 36) with about a 1/3 of a large tube of caulk.  DAP brand caulk  was much easier and faster to use and get a clean “bead”, compared to the generic version caulk from Home Depot.  I recommend you spend the extra quarter per tube for DAP caulk rather than get the cheap generic caulk.   I used a cheap $2.00 caulking gun and Mom used a contractor grade gun and there did not seem to be a lot of difference in the quality of our work.

For me I got a bit better at caulking in practice and then my body got tired and I just wanted to finish the job no matter how it looked.  Cualking your windows should not be a huge job for some one that is physically capable and somewhat fit.  If you are disabled, caulking can be a bit of a challenge. Now we are looking for the correct paint color to touch up around the caulk.

True value has a great deal on some of that expanding foam $2.99 a can this week. I picked up 3 cans though I only used about half of one can filling in the bigger cracks around the house. One thing bad about the cans is they tend to clog up, I found using a bit of acetone to clean the nozzle worked very well. My hope is the can foam won’t go to waste.

A tool every prepper  needs is a good ladder you feel safe using!  While my multi-function ladder is a bit heavy compared to most ladders. I have used it cleaning out rain gutters to replacing light bulbs in my shop and I’m very pleased about the ladder’s functionality doing jobs around the house.

Dehydrating veggies: Mom got the roma tomatoes drying and I got all of the celery cleaned up and most of the leaves dying.  Home grown celery, knocks the socks off (flavor-wise) compared to any store bought celery I have used.  I dry most of the leaves and cut the celery stalks as needed through the summer. The new/old Magic Chef dehydrator is working great since we have learned it’s little bugaboos.

I know many people are afraid to try different methods of preserving food because they fear wasting food. I have screwed up on preserving many items and I have had a few little victories.  Now is the time to try new ways of preserving foods as you have the local mega-mart as backup. If you screw up and thing work less than well. Simply chock it up to learning and move ahead to the next thing.

I started out with food for two weeks goal at first, and keep slowly expanding my preps and skills. Now I spend more on tools and supplies to get repairs and maintenance jobs done around the house. Lumber is a low cost item to prep right now. Fiber/MDF panels are under $10.00 per 4 x 8 foot sheet and 8 foot 2 x4s about $2.50 each. My plan is to add a few full size panels plus have the big box store cut a couple panels same size as my windows just in case I need to do a quick window repair.

Last but not least, I’m trying to coax my cat back indoors and mouse the house.  Tucker, the peke is hell bent on chasing the cat. So far Smokey is starting to feel more comfortable and moving around the house at night, now that Tucker is restrained by the baby gate blocking off part of the house.  Between closing up holes in the exterior walls and getting Smokey the Cat patrolling the house, we can get rid of the the mice we have seen around the house.  I did catch one mouse using the sticky mouse trap.