September 24, 2017
I cleared the wood off the first wood racks I built and now I see why the my wood stayed wet. The rack system I used did not elevate the wood off the concrete and the untreated boards acted like a sponge soaking up water into the racks bottom layer of wood. To fix the issue I have been splitting those chunks of now dry wood as I have physical energy and moving the rest of the wood to the new pressure treated wood racks that have a solid 4″x 4″ worth of clearance above the concrete slab. Making the new wood racks from pressure treated lumber is much cheaper compared to using the metal brackets and untreated 2 x 4’s and the racks seem to keep the wood out of the water and helps with drying the wood out. One critical thing I need to do is build more wood racks and get a multi-year/season wood storage system figured out. Dealing with wet wood because of poor wood rack construction or I did not stock up on enough wood could be very problematic.
I’m splitting the last year’s wood and most of it was stuff that was knotty or had very twisted grains like elm that was too tough to split and use last year. Perhaps I have learned how to split wood better or even twisty grained wood is easier to split when dry but I added another 18 gallon bucket of kindling to the front porch. One thing I can say for sure is dry kindling and dry wood takes a lot less effort than the wet stuff! Last but not least my Chimney sweep will clean the chimney on Oct. 9th and with a little luck she will add another section of pipe to the top of stack so the wood stove draws better and runs cleaner during wood heating season. My chimney is to city code but that does not mean the wood stove burns at it’s best potential. Another 2-3 foot pipe addition is an easy and fairly low cost fix to make the wood stove to run clean and efficient.
That is not all I have been doing I have been shopping and stocking up. Today I went to Fred Meyer/ Kroger and stocked up on a few odds and ends. I have my “Shoppers card” set up for digital coupons with no personal data but my email. I know I can be tracked via that address but the PTBs will at least have to go through a couple of steps to track me. My gosh Tissue paper has become very expensive and the rolls are getting smaller all the time. So Mom and I are stocking up on that stuff whenever we can afford to get some extra TP. Coffee is is getting very expensive and the cans are getting smaller all the time in the stores. Albetrsons is having a sale and I need to add at least 5 cans of mid quality coffee to get the sale price. Getting 3 pounds/48 oz of name brand ground coffee for $5.00- $6.00 is long gone. Oh, you can still buy coffee for $5.00-$6.00 a can but it has only 24 oz. or a pound and and half can of coffee. Well such is life and I expected it but I really hate being right about this sort of thing.
Okay this is not about prepping but I want to buy a 40 inch LED non smart TV and the new/old Nintendo game system for $80.00 at the end of September. Sort of a Birthday present to me for me October. While I hate to get rid of my German bought digital CRT TV that is over 15 years old with a great picture. The lower power costs of an LED is too enticing. Plus I want to play Star Fox 2!
September 20, 2017
My contractor is stopping by to get the work order all finished up and scheduled. Needless to say I’m very excited to get the job started. October is usually a good month to get outsides jobs done as it is cool and not damp for the construction guys. Plus I want the old windows pulled and new windows installed when it is temperate rather than when it is cold.
Speaking of cold/damp weather. Mom fired up the wood stove for the first time this season. The kindling I cut up was dry and burned very clean. One thing I noticed is dry wood seems to be much more controllable on temps compared to damp wood. You need a big fire when you burn damp wood or you get very little heat from the stove and the wood is difficult to burn. A small amount of dry wood burns clean, hot and is much easier to control compared to burning wet/damp wood. So stocking up on wood and give it time to dry makes using wood heat much easier in the long run as you use less wood for the same amount of heat.
I am going to replace the 2×4 wood racks made with the $20.00 metal brackets with my simple pressure treated wood racks. More work moving the wood on to new racks but all those racks will have dry wood. All of the wood I get now will have a chance to dry and not be on concrete or soak up any water. I got new chainsaw chains for both my small B&D 8 inch (Oregon 34) and the electric McCullough (Oregon 49) chains via True Value hardware store. While I have not used either saw yet cutting wood, they both seem to sound better when running them. I want to add another chain each and the proper sharpening files for each so I can practice sharpening each saw’s chain. Sharp cutting tools tend to be safer to use compared to dull cutting tools. I have to say that my splitting ax is doing a much better job since I sharpened it and seems less prone to burying into wood rather than cutting through it. I’m still learning how to sharpen an ax but I think I’m getting the hang of how to do the job. The 6 pound maul needs a stone but it will take a different method of moving the sharpening stone rather than moving the blade.
I’m still prepping as coffee went on sale at Albertsons this week. I’m good with the basic MJB, Yuban or even a good store brand of ground roast coffee. I use coffee faster than the time needed for it to go bad. I want to get some green coffee beans and roast my own eventually but at this time that is not something I have to do as long as I can store and use store bought coffee within 12-24 months. Remember if you are prepping for a year and stuff last for a year and you rotate you are good stocking up stuff for a year!
All of us in the northern section of the USA know winter is coming and now is the time to stock up! Overall I think I’m in good shape but I need another propane tank and a powerful burner to melt ice and snow. I think we will have another hard winter in SW Idaho. I’m planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
September 16, 2017
I might have been less than charitable to the VA inspector. For the second inspection he was great! Much more interactive and personable over the phone when we set up the re-inspection. I suspect he was happy I did the work to pass rather than, me getting all “Butt hurt” that I failed the first inspection. Anyone that has been in the military knows that inspections are not about doing the right thing but “checking the block” to look good on paper for the PTBs.
My contractor has a roof job scheduled for this week but will get me scheduled for the end of this month or the first part of October! Gosh, new windows for the house will be great for saving money on heating and cooling in the future. I’m very excited to get the job started and I’m keeping about 10-15% cash on hand for the job in case some thing goes wrong. I won’t say something will go wrong but with an older home it is possible that things will need replaced that a good contractor did not for see on the job. I want the job completed before the end of October so I’ll have some cash on hand to ensure the job can be done on time.
Mom and I stopped by one of the local LDS churches had a “prepper fair” with an awesome Geodesic dome tent set up. Very impressive tent set up with all the structural bars color coded and with a set up of a small wood stove. The big 24 foot tent was very spacious and freaking hot with the small wood camp stove running and open vet panel and 2 “doors” open . While I don’t think it is my thing, I could see this tent as a good place to live while you built a homestead. Supposedly the tent will go up within 2 hours with just two guys working. I should have asked if they guys set up the dome in 25-30 mph winds that happened on Friday the 15th? I missed asking that question.
Had some great conversations with people about small Battery banks and solar energy chargers. One presenter admitted she was not up to date on small solar panels and small battery banks though she had heard about them on the Internet. So I brought in my small Ravpower battery bank that can jump a V-8 and jumps a Kia mini-van with no worries at all. My gosh I never have been so popular!
I have a problem that I think all people think as I do and they don’t. I get a small fold-able 15 watt solar panel for under $50.00 or a small battery and think it is no big deal. It is a big deal for people who want backups for even a little power.
A couple of years ago a fold able 15 watt solar panel was unthinkable and now you can buy one for about $50 bucks. The future is about battery power and how you can power your batteries. You won’t power everything but you can power enough to be semi-comfortable.
Oh, we discussed water storage and I have shared the Igloo storage system of hot/cold water. I think a Water Bob is a great water storage system for disaster. But if each family member could fill a 5 gallon igloo with either hot or cold water before the disaster hit and then fill the Water Bob in the tub. You would have a lot more potable water to start of your disaster preps. Trust me using an Igloo cooler in the kitchen or bath is much easier than pumping water out of a water bob. Fill all the food safe container first and then worry about getting “bottled water”.
Focus on what you need and remember need does not mean the “basics”. The basics may mean basic survival or some comfort is doable. All you need to do is get inventive and decide what you can do without. Trust me there will be times you will go without.
September 14, 2017
Muscle soreness is most of it but the weather has taken a turn towards fall and is getting cooler. In fact the weather guys are claiming snow will fall in the hills around the Treasure valley. I like the weather around here as we usually have a long hot summer but I remember the place I grew up in northen Idaho with only 3 seasons. July, August and winter! I suspect the weather has cycled back to the late 70’s/early 80’s again and we need to prep for both colder and more snowy winters. So September and October will be months to get prepared for winter. My hope is to get the contractor to work in 50-60 degree F. weather and not much rain to deal with during the job.
I have another load of wood coming this week but I want to split and cut up the leftover wood. Replacing the chain on the little Black & Decker chainsaw made a heck of a difference on cutting up the small chunks of wood. So I’m excited to see how much difference the electric chainsaw replacement will make on cutting wood. I have seen YouTube vids about using a dull axe is a good thing. I disagree as I cut wood and with a sharp axe I “bury” axe in my cutting stump rather suffer a glancing blow to my legs. Now there a lot of ways to cut effectively and most depend on using sharp tools. If you like using a dull axe or sharp chain saws well you be you because I don’t care. I think sharp tools are safer be it a knife in the kitchen or an axe cutting chunks of wood.
I have a plan to cut up the over sized wood that should be fairly safe. I’ll just set up a couple of 2x4s to brace the wood I’m cutting and have a spotter just in case I screw up. Life is risky and all you can do is mitigate that risk. If you want to play it safe you will never do anything for your self.
Humans have lived in Texas and Florida for 1000 + years and they thought the risks were worth the rewards. We aren’t all that different from our ancestors. Here locally a culvert flooded a subdivision and the local government tried to pass the buck of responsibility. Those 22 homes are still flooded and trashed. Those people are still living tents and camp trailers. They will get no disaster relief but is their pain any less real?
I’m not trying to virtue signal or play the victim for these people. Life is messy and you should try to go local to support your community. Also I’d rather walk on my lips than say anything good about a democrat but I think the Houston Mayor made a great decision on keeping all “Mandatory Evacuations” to a minimum.
That is my little rant If you have a different perspective please comment.
September 11, 2017
I have a good feeling about the reinspection as the VA guy took only basic photos to show paint work that was done and did not go all “anal retentive” about looking for paint chips or doing a close inspection of the “problem areas” paint job. Hopefully I will get back a good inspection report in a week or two and then the loan will be approved soon after that report. I want to get started on all the work by the end of September first part of October during so the contrator has good weather to do the work.
Finished up a new pressure treated wood rack. Now I have wood racks that will hold about a cord and half of wood above the concrete. Those racks should help keep my firewood dry, especially if we don’t get 18 + inches of standing snow and runoff melt. My wood guy will be delivering a load of wood this next week and it will be great to have racks all filled up and have a system in place for the wood to dry. I have some leftover fire wood from last year that is very dry, so I’m restacking the wood, cutting some of the big chunks to stove length and trying to get ahead on the needed “kindling” for winter. My splitting axe is sharpened up but the new 6 pound splitting maul needs a little sharpening as it bounced off a couple of knotty logs. I know that some people will disagree with me but I think all cutting tools should be as sharp as possible, not just good enough to get the job done. I’d rather bury my axe in my cutting stump, rather than have the axe glance off and hit my leg.
I’m still learnining to use the Splitting maul but it works great on those job when you need a bigger hammer! I know 6 pounds does not seem like much but that is about as much as I can do to swing that maul to get the job done.
I bouught a snow blower in order to deal with a heavy snow. With any luck, getting the snow blower will mean I will not need to use a snow blower this year. I’m adding more sand, salt and a propane torch (melt ice) to get ready for a hard winter like last year. Much better to have stuff ready and not need it rather than need stuff and not have it on hand. I think we are facing another snowy and cold winter here in SW Idaho. My planning is based for the worst winter this year compared to last year.
FYI: Don’t buy cheap LED bulbs. I have had 3 “cheap “bulbs fail in less than a year. What scares me is the LED bulbs cracked at the base and might pose a fire hazard. Spend the extra money and buy LED bulbs from a solid company.
I think that is about all I have for this week. With a bit Of luck in a couple of weeks I’lll have new pics of the siding and replacing windows project.
September 7, 2017
The Bissel cleaner has been placed on the patio and I’m done using it! I don’t think it is a terrible carpet cleaner for low pile carpet with minimal shedding pets. I have a deep pile carpet and a bunch of shedding pets. So I got a Hoover carpet cleaner on sale at Home depot for $98.00 and tried it out on the carpets I cleaned with the Bissel.
The first thing is the Hoover cleaner is much lighter without feeling flimsy. With my disability, lighter is better as long as the equipment gets the job done. Also the cleaner was very easy to assemble out of the box with only 2 screws needed to attach the handle. The plug for the clean water tank also has a measuring cap for the carpet cleaner soap which is nice feature compared to saving the Bissel soap measure cap. Separate clean and dirty water tanks makes this carpet cleaner nicer to use. The Hoover seems to use more water to clean the carpet but the rug is not saturated and dries within 1-2 hours. So the dry time is about the same and I might give the Hoover cleaner a bit of edge on drying time.
Cleanup of the Hoover: OMG there is no comparison of the ease of cleanup for the Hoover compared to the Bissel. I love the little rotating brushes compared the the “beater bar” of the Bissel. The rotating brushes just “ball” up pet hair while the beater brush simply spins the hair around the bar that needs to be cut via scissors. Everything on the Hoover makes clean up simple. One tank for clean water. One tank for dirty water and no nooks or crevices to try and get clean. Just dump the dirty water give the tank a rince and you are good to go! Did I mention you can easily pull the rotating brushes and clean/rinse the brushes in the sink? Like the Bissel, the Hoover has a similar suck up section. A pipe cleaner will dislodge pet hair from the little plastic protrutions both machines have on that part of the machines.
I cleaned my carpets about a week ago using the Bissel clearer and it was a major effort from getting the machine working on a med. pile carpet to a bit of low pile carpet. Using the Hoover I got actual sludge in the bottom of the dirty water tank and I got rid of the urine odor in the living room today and the dirty water tank looked very black so the bissel did not do a very good job on the carpets. It is not perfect, yet I have to say walking in bare feet across the carpets now feels wonderful. Both of my carpets have reverted to a different color as being brighter and more vibrant than when the carpets were dirty and I’m getting rid of the urine odor. The pets seemed a bit confused by the clean carpet and are now going outside, rather than peeing in their “living room” tinkle spots. Its early days but I think this Hoover is a better choice than than the more complicated Bissel.
I found replacement chainsaw chains. The Oregon T34 I beleive it is called will work on the 18 volt B&D 8 inch chainsaw as a replacement. My goodness having a semi-sharp chainsaw chain makes cutting wood a lot easier! Who’d a thunk it? I need to get a files to sharpen the chainsaw chains and learn to sharpen axes for cutting fire wood. I think a dull axe is about as useful as a dull knife.