Saw buck finished and works for cutting wood!

August 4, 2021

I have a lot of wood that needs to be cut because it is a just a few inches to big fit in my wood stove.  I really hate cutting wood on the ground because the bending over is hard on my back and having your chainsaw dig into the dirt dulls the chain.  I have built a sawbuck but I had some problems getting all the cross braising attached correctly to the X -frames that hold the wood.  The saw buck is a little bulky, does not fold flat but it is functional.  Cutting wood at waist height rather than at ankle height really saves strain on my back muscles.  There are lots of plans on the internet to make a simple saw buck.  Don’t do like I did making a saw buck and not consider the 4  inches the X part of the frame adds to the 16 inch cross braces for cutting a 16-18 inch chunk of wood.  I can make it work, but I should pull it apart and make the cross braces 4 incher shorter to make cutting the wood stove length simple. 

Cut down a lot of weeds and Moring Glory around the garden beds.  I then sprayed the area with 30% vinegar.  It seems that this method works better than the spray first then weed-wack the area.  I have found 4 goat heads plants in my alley way this summer.  That is amazing as several of my neighbors are overrun with goat heads.  One neighbor has some goathead weeds close to the property line and I sprayed the weeds with the 30% vinegar.  The ” goathead runners” did turn brown and seem to die back.  

I think using the 30% vinegar works great as a weed killer over time, but it is not the fastest acting weed killer.  Over time you can replace those weeds with plants that you prefer to weeds.  I live in an area with clay/alkaline soil so adding 30% vinegar to acidic soil might not be the best weed killing solution for you.  I like having a weed killer solution that does not kill the soil like Round Up or the the knock off brands.  Plus anything that kills off Morning Glory plants is a great thing in my opinion.  

Inflation is happening but there is still time to get products before the “Shrink-flation” hits your pocket book/budget even harder.  Stores have been selling off full-size products at a lower cost to clear the shelves of the larger products.  I have been watching this shrink-flation happen for at least 4 or 5 years. What was a 3 pound, 48 oz. can of of coffee is now a 26-30 oz. can of coffee.  A cheap brand of toilet paper that had 350 sheets per roll is now called a MEGA/Double roll at 240 sheets of Toilet paper.  It is happening in chips, crackers and soup cans.  

I talked about this in the past on this blog.  Assume the dollar will lose at least 30% of it’s buying power because inflation always rises faster than wages and the Government COLA increase for SS or VA payments.  

I won’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I am doing. I’m going to buy some more socks that are on sale at Bi-Mart. As some of my socks are getting holes in them.  I want to buy a couple more good bras on sale.  I’m buying garden products and working on building my soil.  I have bought some Shade cloth to try out as it got bloody hot here at Casa de chaos! 

Last but not least I messed up on my milk purchases. I’m ready now to save the milk in the freezer in between my milk purchase travels. I’m starting to figure out a loop driving to get produce milk and the meat I want to buy.  Nothing is ever easy, but if you can break it down things can get simple. 


Week 4 of 100 degree heat, but my squash is loving it!

July 12, 2021

I’m very surprised that most of my lettuce has not bolted in the long garden beds.  It seems the beds that I used soaker hoses and direct sowed seed have done very well despite of the heat. I have squash plants that are climbing taller than my grape vines that are in the 4 foot tall range.  My Kale bolted in the heat but I used an overhead sprinkler to water that bed.  I’m a firm believer that soaker hoses are much better than overhead sprinklers if you can’t afford a drip irrigation system. 

Most of my transplant failures were my fault not hardening off plants but the excessive heat sure did not help make the garden bloom.  It’s okay I’m learning from my mistakes even though this garden season has been more of a challenge.  I live in an area that has lots of farms and farmer’s markets so buying produce to store is not a  huge problem.  I’ll just have to buy what my garden did not produce. 

I had a big front yard clean up day!  It was mostly trimming and weed wacking but I cleaned out some bad vines that were overtaking the bed in font of my big living room window.  The vine is actually pretty with lovely purple flowers, deep green leaves and small green berries, and that plant will wrap and overrun every other plant in that bed.  I pulled out by hand most of the vines and then I used the Ryobi weed wacker with the plastic beater bars to knock down the vines as close the ground as I could get the tool.  

I washed down the front side of the house using a power washer attachment to my garden hose.  Not a (real) power wash but it got rid of most of the dust and grime on the vinyl siding without forcing water under the siding or putting dents in any parts of the siding. 

I got some more real milk and figured out a better way to skim off the cream rather than trying to finagle a spoon through a half gallon jar top. I’m liking having real milk straight from the Moo.  I’m adding some pork from a local butcher that is (RED) meat pork and not the white tasteless stuff you tend to find in most stores.  Is it more expensive?  YES!  It also tastes like pork.  I liked the flavor of the bacon as it was more salty rather than sweet.  

I can’t tell people what to do. I have built up a small stash of okay quality meats buying from grocery stores and vacuumed sealed it to preserve the quality.  Now I can afford to pay more for better quality meats,  and my local stores don’t sell high quality meats.  I don’t blame stores as a store’s profits are damn slim and cutting quality or raising prices is about their only two option. 

If meat and produce costs are rising you should buy the best quality you can afford.  I think it is very important to find a local supplier for the things you want to have on hand.  The USA can’t grow the fixings for Chocolate or Coffee so you better stock up. Find a supplier, make your own or go without.  I don’t care if someone has to struggle through the day because they could not have an avocado toast.  Farmers in California are literally cutting down their own almond orchards because they can’t get enough water to the trees.  An Almond orchard takes 8-10 years before it produces a commercial level crop.  Do you think that the farmers can not water the trees for months, and then trees will start producing in a couple months when there might/might not be irrigation water.  

I get peeved that people things will stat the same. Nothing ever stays the same! J&J vaccine now is reporting that over 100 vaccine folks have got Guillume-Barre syndrome. Basically the immune system attacks the nervous system and you can die with your breathing or heart beat sort of stopped. I have the chronic version of GB called CIDP and I can say you do not want this version though unlike GB it does not shut down you breathing or heart beat.

You are much better of fighting off any Flu with the basic of fluids, bedrest and time.


Working on the wood pile and controlling what I can

August 17, 2020

Stacking up the firewood is taking longer than I had planned, but the wood pile is getting small enough that each wheel barrow load of wood I get stacked shows a measurable dent in the dumped firewood.  I stacked most of the new Doug fir first as it was heavy and still wet.  Now I’ve started stacking some of the White fir on top of the Doug fir because it is dry and very light weight in comparison to the Doug fir. I think I could easily burn the white fir now as it seems dry/seasoned well already.  The new Doug fir will need more time to season.  I have plenty of Doug fir left over from last year that has almost 18 months of seasoning in my “kennel” wood racks.   I don’t expect a problem with trying to heat with “wet” wood this year!  While my ability to work has been a little hit and miss the last few weeks.  I have caught up on most of the basic yard work.

I got a tarp on the firewood pile that extends past the edge of the carport canopy. I think the slope of the woodpile is steep enough so the water should drain quickly and that part of the wood pile will stay mostly dry this fall and winter. I’m running out of space under the carport for the delivered wood , so a little bit of cleanup and re-stacking of the “kennel” wood racks will give me enough room to stack the last bit of this years’ wood delivery. I’m stacking the Doug fir of this delivery on top and in the “kennel” wood racks since it seems dry and light weight compared to the new Doug fir.  I have started stacking fire wood on the front porch wood rack and will have three large boxes of kindling ready to use by the end of August. Last but not least I got out the axes and splitting mauls to split some of the old wood I got last year to see how well it would split.  The 6 pound maul did a great job splitting most of the wood stove lengths.   The wood I split today is I think white maple, so I am adding in more ready to burn  hardwoods along with the fir firewood.

This might sound odd but getting the wood delivered later this year has made me more proactive on getting my boxes of kindling filled.  I’m spitting some wood now in 100 degree heat,  This is dumb but last year when I got a May delivery of wood I did not split wood nor did I have a stockpile of kindling. It is strange that this year I’m doing a little bit of everything to get ready for winter wood burning season rather than getting the wood stacked and ignoring the splitting wood/making kindling until October like I did last year. I’m not just trying to stack wood as quickly as possible. I’m cutting out and throwing away any punky wood, filling my kindling boxes, the porch box and trying to stack my firewood only one time rather than re-stacking wood many times like I did last year. I sharpened up the hatchet as it was getting a little dull.  The axe needs a little attention but the mauls seem okay for now.  I also sharpened up 3 pocket knives while I had the whetstones out and ready to go,.

The stress of all the stuff happening this year is affecting me, though I was prepared.  For two or three months I was mentally prepared.  I did not expect 2- 8 weeks to flatten the “curve” to turn into over six months of stupidity and counting. I don’t think if you wear a mask you are a “sheeple”. If you are in a high risk category you should protect your self.  If you chose not to wear a mask I don’t care despite the fact I’m in High risk group.  I now wear a face shield instead of a mask but it is my responsibility to protect me!  No one is obliged to do anything to make me feel safe.   I hate seeing both extremes of wearing a mask and not wearing mask types and seeing it as a political statement.  I wore mask early in March because I’m Immuno-comprised.  I did not want  the possibility other people giving me the “COOF”.  It did not matter if people were infected because I took precautions to protect myself.  I don’t care if other people wear a mask (and most people don’t wear a mask correctly) it is all theater and virtue signalling ass-pats via twitter and youtube.  If you are so afraid of the WU-FLU ,stay home!  Wear a mask when you go out and stop expecting other people to make you feel safe!

Inflation is starting to creep up on us.  I had a great shopping day got some nice steaks, pork chops and some chicken.  I found a great use for shopping bags. The bags work great for chest freezers, bags of food easily accessible and easy to find.  My big chest freezer is full of old meats/ veggies and most are freezer burnt.  Time to start cleaning out the old stuff and do a better job rotatinging frozen goods.  This is what I mean about controlling what I can in life. I know I have freezer burnt and old meats in my big freezer and I have ignored it.  I’m pretty forgiving but If I won’t eat this food there is no reason to store that food.  You may choose differently and good for you.  I screwed up not using all the food I bought in a timely manner and I wasted food.  That is on me because no one wants the food I throw away because I screwed up. I’m not going to berate myself for making a mistake.  I’m just going to correct my mistake and do better at using a freezer to preserve food.

It’s that simple, make a mistake and fix it.  Control what you can and be flexible on the things you can’t control.

 


The Garden cart is started and some chores got done

June 25, 2020

Finally the front yard got mowed and goodness the grass was tall.  I emptied the grass clippings bag four times for a lawn that is not that big.  I have one of those big 65 gallon trash bins and I estimate I filled it about 2/3’s full with just grass clippings.  I did not anticipate how much faster the grass and other weeds/plants in the front yard would grow after the big tree was cut down.  I cleaned up an cut back most of the growth but now I have much more new growth of my pine shrub, a volunteer tree and many weeds.  While I anticipated cutting down the tree would change the front yard eco-system/climate. I did not anticipate the how fast I’d see the growth on many plants/weeds.  I’m trying to catch up to the massive changes happening on the front yard and plant beds.

I have tested out the “blade cutters” with the Ryobi weed wacker on the weeds in the alley and the grape vines.  You don’t want to use the blades around a tree, stone surface or fence but the blades do a good job cutting vines, thistle and “cheat” grass. The blades will send gravel flying and some woody stems might sting/cut you if you are in shorts. I think if you are wearing jeans or heavy cloth pants you would not suffer any minor injuries or notice what materials the blades “kick” up.  For a $15.00 purchase I think the cost is okay for the Ryobi weed wacker.

I have started building the Garden Cart and so far so good.  I’m not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination but I have learned is dry fit every  bit of wood before you screw and glue.  It is also okay to make a mistake, that is how you learn. My “concept” is a small but deep soil bed planter that looks good and will fit on a balcony, on a patio next to BBQ or for a person with limited mobility to have a small “garden bed/planter box” of herbs, flowers or vegetables.  Total dimensions  of the box are 2 ft wide by 4 feet long and approx. 3 feet tall. The dirt will fill the box will be approx.12-18 inches deep. I’m using  basic/cheap 2x4s for the legs, 1/2 inch plywood. My idea for this garden cart is it will be easy to move to a new location and for easy access/easy to work planter beds.

I’m going to paint the plywood with enamel paint to seal it against rot. I’m using cedar fence wood as the side panels and I think finding a window or chunk of glass to add on top of the little garden cart is possible in the future.  Once I get the box finished I’ll post pics and you can start your own little garden box.  Actually I’m sure many people have made the same sort of garden box,  I just have not seen it explained/laid out.

At the end of the day you must do or do not, it is your choice.  I can find all sorts of reasons not to do something, but I still have to cut the grass and weed the garden.  Golly Jamie you don’t realize how oppressed you are by living in a state that grows food, meat and building products.

I’m trying not to install my small A/C units. I can live with it being up to 80 degrees F. indoors if I can use my window fans to drop the temp. at night.  Adding vinyl siding and insulation the house holds heat/cold add more fans to save on electric costs.

You must save you/your family.  You are on your own for survival. Get to thinking outside the box…

 


Happy Mothers Day !!

May 10, 2020

It was a very Idaho sort of Mothers Day here.  I bought a small rose bush in a very cute Copper “looking” plant watering can. Then I put together Mom’s new Mantis tiller.  The instructions for the tiller’s Quick Start page was great and covered how to add oil and fuel in a very easy to follow format. Mantis even included enough oil to run the little Honda engine, so the tiller is almost fill with gas and get to work. The Mantis tiller is very light weight and that can be a good and bad thing because Mom needs a light weight tiller for her raised beds but having a heavy weight tiller can make digging into hard alkali/clay soil can make putting in a garden less physical work to start.

For my 3 Sisters garden beds I used a garden fork to turn over the soil and then used my little electric tiller to break up the clods of dirt before mixing in more compost into the soil.  While the soil I have in my beds seems to be mineral dense, the soil also compacts without compost and other amendments to the soil.  I suppose some plant other than weeds, might do well in hard compacted soil but I have not found that plant.  So far my plants are doing okay in the raise garden bed except for the new celery I planted that seems to be less sun tolerant. It looks like the Utah tall celery is the best type to grow in my area.

This is a short post but I’m adding to the garden beds.  But I wanted to say to all you Moms that have let us kids fail with our scraped knees, washed all those grass stained clothes and taught us kids how to make grilled cheese and tomato soup was the best meal ever!  Thank you Mom!


Cleaning/organizing the shop

April 14, 2020

The shop has needed a major cleanup and organizing for the last couple of months so I can get all those projects done I have been putting off until I had time to get them done. I have time now so I got started moving and cleaning some of the dirt and getting my shelves and work benches empty of scattered boxes of Mom’s onto her storage pallet.  The job was easier than I expected and I had room on Mom’s pallet for several boxes of books, a box of mom’s knickknacks and a couple of older solar panels that were taking up space on part of the work table. I was surprised by the weight Mom’s older solar panels.  These panels are about 10 years old and they weigh a lot more and are more bulky than panels I have bought in the last 3-5 years.

I think the alternative energy folks are over zealous and unrealistic about replacing fossil fuels for consistent industrial levels energy production.  To give credit where credit is due new solar panels are lighter and give more electric wattage in a smaller package that is good for people that want off-grid electricity.  I think the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources is great. Solar/wind energy might be a good choice for residential home owners and off grid cabins, RVs and boats but it is not ready to be a consistent power source for industry.

Back the shop clean up I can see why the shelf failed under the weight of a couple of small boxes of books.  The former owner seemed to love re purposing old hollow core doors for shelves. While the shelves seemed to have the bulk to support some weight those hollow core doors never made to be shelves and hold 20-60 pounds of books. Even cheap bookshelves have a solid core of MDF/particle board and the will bow under the weight of hardcover books over time.  I have some 2×4’s to add some strength to the existing work table. I won’t replace the shelf as my little snow blower and tiller have a nice little spot to be stored.

One of the positives of this pandemic is many people have the time to get to many of those hobbies they wanted to try/work at getting more proficient. At least if you don’t have a psycho governor like Vermont or Michigan and arbitrarily declare buying home improvement materials for a garden are non-essential. You would think keeping small businesses and stores selling stuff and generating sale taxes would be important to city,counties and state politicians.  Watch your local politicians and how quick they want to open up the economy and how quick they want to go all “Stazi” encouraging citizen informants to make their enforcement policies easy for the government.

I was disappointed that only 10% of the customers in Fred Meyer were masked and the “Social distancing” seemed to be lacking. These are not evil people they just are denial or this virus is not REAL to them.  Much like crime always happens to someone else, until it happens to them or someone close to them this flu is not real to them.  If this is happening in your neighborhood don’t report “safe space offenders” but notice who goes out masked up and tries to be safe as possible keeping extra social distance, wearing masks, gloves, buying garden seeds and plants.  Those are the people you want to cultivate and be a neighbor you want to help.

It is okay to feel the world is getting a bit crazy.  The world is getting a bit nuts at this time and you see what is happening in real time so feeling anxiety or panicked is a normal response.  Reach out your arms and spin around, that is all you can control. You won’t get any politician recalled or voted out of office for many months.  What are you going to do for yourself and your family/community?  I mean you being pro-active and not whining on facebook and twitter.  I have read some people are setting up a barter system via Nextdoor.com.  this might be a thing as some folks will trade several pound of flour for some yeast.  Sugar is also an item on the site.  Coffee is still in stores for a descent price. I suspect the supply chain could break and coffee and tea could get expensive or unavailable. As for yeast buy in bulk and yeast can be stored up to 5 years in a freezer.  Yeast also helps makes an easy sourdough starter.

Life will change, how much it will change I have no idea. No change is all perfectly good or bad.  It will just be different.  I’m not that special about being prepared.  I just asked what if….? then added items I thought I might need if things went sideways.  What I did today was water my little back yard lawn and cleaned my shop to make a new work area.  Nothing special at all and most anyone with a home, shop yard could do the same and probably as good or better than myself.

I can pay all my bills right now. I’m on SSD and a little VA benefit so I have some income that I’m used to living on but I suspect inflation is coming by this fall at best and Spring 2021inflation probably . My mortgage payment is locked by contract. SSD/VA payments might lag behind inflation but as long as I can make my house payment I should be okay with my preps for food and energy.  I’m concerned how this new economy will affect people that did not prepare.  There is not much I can do other than control my reactions.

Don’t worry about the national debt. We had a point in 2008-2010 when USA citizen were wiling to take a hit and get US government to reduce the debt.  That time has passed and more inflation will hit people.  It’s just history of people making bad choices. Your money may become worthless.  Any plant out of your garden will become priceless.


Fire wood area cleanup is done and chopping kindling

December 13, 2019

The Doug fir area cleanup went much faster than I had anticipated. Some firewood  is still in the walk way, but it is less than 4 feet high and two layers deep.  I suspect most of that firewood will be on my porch wood rack or cut into kindling in the near future.  I got rid of the oversized tarp that was great at capturing leaves and water. Somewhat less effective on keeping the firewood dry.  While large tarps can be attractive to cover stuff to keep dry. The tarps are also good funneling that water onto firewood or other things you want to keep dry.  In my experience using smaller tarps covering firewood is  better compared to large tarps that are difficult to work with, can be caught by the wind and can hold a lot of water/debris.  So far the carport/ awning area has been the best area for storing and seasoning wood.

I got some more kindling cut for the kindling box.  Now most of my  cut kindling sized wood is around a 1/2 inch thick or less in diameter.  I’ll be adding a few thicker chunks of wood in the 1-2 inch in diameter range. For that sort of in-between stage from kindling to larger chunks of split firewood.  This is a much easier task with the hard wood stump Mom gave me and I finally got the axe sharpened properly to cut wood.  Now I can split that fire wood in a stroke or two of the axe. It has taken a bit of effort to sharpen the axe.  I’m not quite there, with a sharp hatchet.

It might seem a waste of time sharpening a tool first,  rather than get to cutting right away.  Even 10 minutes of “proper/correct”  sharpening an axe, hatchet or chainsaw will make you much more productive by the end of the day. My hatchet is no longer sharp.  It is sort of bonking off wood rather than splitting wood because it is a wedge, rather than a “cutting” tool.

While cutting kindling is not one of my favorite things to do.  I sort of like splitting fire wood into smaller, more easily burnable chunks of wood.  It might be I like splitting wood because my sharpened axe is good at cutting wood. also I can split more wood quickly compared to cutting kindling!

They kittens were busy climbing trees, getting on the shop roof and figuring a way to get off the shop roof. Ashe the kitten relaxing in front of the wood stove.

Ashe warms the tummy

tired kitten

Ashe still warming the tummy

Tege the kitten  has a bit darker coloring and more spots along with the Tiger stripes.   Tege the kitten is a bit more proper in following cat protocol.

Tege sits on the warm Computer box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m trying to get better pics of the kittens but I’m terrible at photography. There might be a a bit Bengal genes thought the Mama cat was a solid gray color.  All of the kittens I have seen from this mother cat tend to have higher shoulders that slope down the spine to the lower hips.  It gives the kittens a very panther/jaguar, wild cat sort of look in profile. While ocelots have a tan/tawny coat  along with stripes and spots.  Both of my kitten are a mixture of shades of black and grey, with a bit of Tan belly with crazy spots on the belly mixed with stripes.   I’m very pleased with the kittens though I have been a bit bloodied by the kittens climbing me.  A little spray bottle of water as a deterrent seems very effective for correcting.   unacceptable behavior.

 


Gosh the fire feels good….

December 9, 2019

The Treasure Valley has about 3 days of dry weather and cool nights happening this week.  I am getting to work  fixing the Doug Fir wood pile as my tarps got blown off the wood pile and is not keeping all the wood dry. It seems the a couple of tarps are funneling rain water down on to part of the wood stack.  I pulled off the big tarp that did a great job catching leaves and water.  Not such a great job keeping the fire wood dry.   I’m going to clear the firewood from the walk way between my wood racks, then cover the wood with smaller but more closely fitting tarps across the top of the  wood stacks.  My hope is that having the walkway area clear of wood will create a breezeway so the wind keep the firewood drying to help “season” the fire wood long term.

Mom picked up another box of the Doug fir kindling.  She wants to pay me for the wood and the effort I make cutting kindling but I have no idea what to charge or how to cost it out.  She is my Mom and I want her to be warm and have fairly easy way to start a wood fire.  Now the basic box of kindling  should last about 7-10 days worth of starting a daily wood fire.  It takes cutting about 4 chunks of the split Doug fir to fill the kindling box.  Plus about 30-45 minutes of splitting the wood into kindling size pieces.  Perhaps about $10.00-$20.00 per month to keep the kindling box full?  I  don’t charge Mom for the fire starters as she assisted with the wax for making the fire starters.

I used my little battery powered chainsaw to try and “level” my wood stump.  It sort of worked, but my hands gave out after a few minutes of the vibrating chainsaw skimming along the top of the stump.  It is a first trial but I think a few more passes with the chain saw will get into the good solid wood of the stump.  This a tall and somewhat old stump I’m using the chainsaw to try and make the top of the stump a bit more flat to cut kindling.  The wood cutting stump Mom gave me is working great with just a couple of 3/4 inch shims of lumber.  With the shorter cutting stump and the sharpened axe I’m cutting through wet and knotty Doug fir in one or two strike of the axe.  The wood I cut is not always the best for kindling but in about 45 minutes worth of work I can split the firewood into pieces then use the hatchet to cut kindling for 7-10 days.  If I ever fill that kindling box. I’ll have at least a one year’s worth of firewood stove kindling for both Mom and myself.

A report on the new muffin paper cup fire starters:  The muffin cups are a bit larger/fuller of the sawdust and wax, but don’t have the cardboard egg carton paper to assist with starting a fire.  Overall I consider the standard size muffin papers fire wood starters a success.  I’ve tried using old candles, “white wax” candles from the local dollar stores making these fire starters.  What seems to work best is paraffin wax from the canning section.  Will old candles work?  Yes, but not very well even with mixing with clear paraffin wax. I recommend buy the “canning wax” for making your own  fire starters.

Back to the title of this post the warmth of the wood stove feels better to me after doing work on the wood pile.  The satisfaction of cutting your kindling, making “firestarters” , stacking fire wood and bringing wood into the house to burn is so satisfying.  I buy split fire wood and have it delivered but I stack and often re-stack that wood to get the best output of heat.  Now I am getting better at controlling that heat and now my whole house is warm.  It is a great feeling!  The fire feels so much warmer because of all the effort.

I can’t say enough good things about the Hotpoint rotating fans of 12′ behind the wood stove and the larger 16′ fan pushing the heat through my house through door ways and around walls. Just 2 fans now push the heat to the backside of my house.  Great fans get them on sale if you can afford it!  I’m excited to see how well the fans work moving air next summer.

 


Overall a good week of getting stuff done

November 19, 2019

I finally got some work done this week!  I got motivated to get some of the “little tasks”completed around my house and got to help out Mom with her house and some tree cutting cleanup.

Mom’s tree cutter did a less than optimal job lifting a tree and leaving debris all over the yard and hanging on the fence.  It’s a bit like claiming I’m barber/hairdresser and then cut only bangs badly!  Well the situation sucked but Mom got a lot of cleanup work done last weekend. So Mom and I jumped in with our little chainsaws and cleared most of the larger branches hanging or laying against the fence.  I know that my B&D 20 volt chainsaw can cut about 3-4 inch diameter log that is wet.  The B&D went through 2-3 inch dry wood branches like butter.  I did change out 20 volt/1.5 amp battery about 20 minutes into the work.  I think the first battery was partially discharged as I add a fully charged battery and it easily cut the 3-4 inch diameter log into 5 or 6 firewood size chunks of wood.

I got a couple of tree stumps  from the job helping Mom for about 45-60 minutes of labor.  The Plum wood stumps are perfect for wood cutting other than not having a level surface.  Having a cutting stump about knee high seems about perfect for splitting wood.  Cutting kindling requires a stump of about 18-24 inches high for me as I’m 5 foot 6 and female.  I had a tall cutting stump that is great for cutting kindling but a shorter stump makes splitting logs easier as you get a gravity assist .  As a 5′ 6” female I know I can generate more cutting energy directed at a stump 24 inches tall rather than 30 inches tall.  OMG that plum wood is hard and dense. I’m still learning how to sharpen an axe and My axe bounced off the Plum stump.  This axe cuts through Doug fir, white maple with no problem.

Speaking of wood. I got a call from a wood supplier that asked for cash upfront for a wood delivery  because his truck needed an engine rebuild and I never got the wood nor any info.  Well this weekend I got a call from this person and said they owed me a load of wood.  My thoughts were less than charitable at first.  He was correct he did owe me a load of firewood.  Perhaps he felt bad and was trying to fix the wrong he had done to me and possibly other people.  I started thinking about the offer of wood that I had pre-paid for wood to help him get cash to rebuild a truck engine.  Perhaps he lied/overstated the issue but he seems to want make thing right.  I’ll call him back and take delivery of the wood or the $250.00 I paid him.  What more could this guy offer to make things right?

I have screwed up with people in my life and have apologized, tried to correct a problem and be met with silence.  As nothing I could do could mitigate the “TRANSGRESSION”.  It really sucks for me to treat another person the same way.   I have room for a cord of good wood and I can always top off Mom’s wood pile.  So at this point it looks like a win/win for everyone.  I/Mom get some fire wood and this person fixes/ makes thing right in his business dealings.  Happy ending for all!

I got the lawnmower out to clean up the leaves and the day was perfect for work.  I filled two 65 gallon trashcans full of yard debris.  The front lawn is cleared of most leaves so no lawn/leaf mold should develop. I filled up the porch wood rack and added a box for firewood that is smaller split firewood size but larger than kindling.  I should be better at maintaining a fire.  Sadly I am not, so I’ll have to open a window of to cool the house and practice my fire building. I have a wood stove rated for a well insulated 2000 sq. ft. home when I bought it I had a poorly insulated 1200 sq. foot home. Now the house has new windows, additional insulation and vinyl siding.  After 2 years  I’m still  not good with maintaining a temp. in the house.  It goes against the grain to open a window to vent heat from the wood stove.

 


Kitten update, wood stacking and bacon

November 8, 2019

I’m on my way to become a “crazy cat lady”  though I have not bought or invested in a stock pile of boxed wine.  I bought a cat “tree/kitty condo” from Amazon.  I was surprised that by the low cost and what seems to be a great quality cat condo.  I did a lot compare a lot of different cat condos based on price, dimensions and customer ratings and went with the Go Petclub condo for about $48.00.  The cat condo fits well in corner but was stable sitting in the middle of the room without wall support.  The platforms and boxes are 3/8-1/2 inch thick particle board and the support pillars are probably thick cardboard tubes with fairly thick plastic end caps to accept the screws to build the condo. The total height is a little over 4 foot tall.  You get the basic type Ikea sort of pictograph building instructions.  I made a couple of mistakes with using the wrong screw in a couple of spots.  Over all it was a simple 30 minute job to build the cat condo.

The “condo” is covered with a plush “fabric” rather than a thick carpet, but I priced all of the pet/farm stores and to get the about the same size cat condo locally would have cost around $90.00-130.00.  I will admit that some of the more expensive local products used a plush carpet on the platforms rather than a plush fabric.  But none of more expensive condos used quality plywood rather than OSB or particle board for the boxes/platforms or solid wood for the pillars under those platforms. When the fabric gets worn in a few years I can replace the fabric with carpet if I choose or I can just add more plush fabric.  One thing I have to say is all of the posts and the ladder of this cat tower has sisal rope for cat scratching and that will help save my furniture.  Not a big deal as the kittens don’t really scratch up my furniture. Always good to give kittens another safe outlet.

I’m new to using a lot of kitty litter and cleaning a litter box more often as my Smokey cat tended to go poo outside most of the time.  The kittens use the litter box a lot and clumping kitty litter is easy to scoop and clean daily.  Non-clumping kitty litter is hard to scoop daily, smells worse and it seems as equal too or no more dusty compared to clumping kitty litter.  Get a covered kitty litter box and scoop out the clumps at least every 1-2  days and the aroma of having a kitty litter box is very minimal.

I have been trying to gauge my fire wood usage in comparison to previous year’s wood heating and I got nothing!  That is not exactly true as I think I need about 4 cords of soft woods to heat all winter.  Winter in SW Idaho can be all over the place.  Will this winter be like the snowpocolypse of 2016/2017?  or will it be a throwback of 1982/1983 of six weeks of -20 degree F. in late January-February.  I think we will get a cold winter but not a wet winter.  I  think it will be a “deep freeze” of -10 or -20 degrees as the high temp of the day with little snow.  I do think the winter temps night time temps will be cold.  I still suck at banking a fire.

If you like eating pork get stocked up now!  Bacon freezes well and you can use a pressure canner to preserve bacon.  Though my canned bacon has been flavorless.  This is a global porcine black plague. This pork flu spreading through China is like a pork Ebola.  There is no vaccine, no treatment.  Other than the animals must be culled.  That means all animals killed if they discover this disease anywhere!  China is recommending to eat dogs again to get through this pork shortage.   I don’t blame the Chinese people doing what they have to survive. That is socialism!

Kroger/Fred Meyer has 3 pounds of bacon on sale for less than $9.00.   Your choice to buy ahead.