Ugh, got very sick over the weekend

June 28, 2016

I don’t know if it was food poisoning or a very bad allergic reaction to some peppers in a TV dinner but I was very ill for about four days and I’m still recovering. It was all in my guts and very unpleasant so I won’t go into details, but I did learn a few lessons.

As long as you can stay hydrated and keep liquids down you will probably do better staying home resting rather than going to the ER or hospital. Stay with mild foods, saltine crackers, broths, boiled or scrambled eggs and toast as your tummy can handle it. My stomach actually handled things like “Otter Pops” or the cheap sort generic pop-sicles for taste and hydration. I got some brand Popsicle on sale and they seem to have an off flavor and texture that did not set well with my tummy.

Another thing I like about Otter pops is you can store them in the box and freeze a few at a time or as needed. While I will be  50 years old in October, some how those Popsicle seem to be the thing for me when I get sick. I believe they will be a great thing for all kids when sick to help keep them hydrated and help reduce fevers. Of course you could make your own little posicles ahead of time with some juice, saran wrap, toothpicks and Ice cube trays if you plan on getting sick. I seldom plan on getting sick so I never have those little things done ahead of time.  Keep a few bottles of Ginger ale on hand/in the pantry for Nausea and tummy upsets. Both Mom and I agree on Shasta ginger ale seems to be the best for us. Mom’s tummy trouble is stress and her IBS acting up. Mine was I was just sick, but I like the flavor of the Shasta ginger ale better than Canada Dry. I want to make a bit of ginger beer(almost no alcohol) for my pantry home remedies but I doubt I will get to it until this fall.

Some good news, I am feeling better and I got all of the misters and fans set up for the 100+ degree heat will have for the next several days.  Most of the garden is handling the heat well but we are still tweaking stuff for watering and protecting the plants.  I spent good money on a thick soaker hose and the hose has already blown out in less than 2 weeks. I have a good oscillating sprinkler I bought last year and Mom loves it for watering the garden.  I’m now working on adding quick disconnect to all hoses as I hate the idea of hoses across walkways that could trip us up and cause us to fall.

The little 12 volt fan and B&D power supply are starting to show their age and getting a bit worn out. Both are at least 10 + years old and cost under $25.00 when I bought them used.  Remember 12 volt batteries will go bad even if you baby them along. Fans will fail if you use them a lot and I use fans year round to circulate warm air in winter and cool air in summer. So, I need to start adding backup fans and new power packs that are simple to use and charge.

That is all there is to preparing or survival. Try stuff out when you can afford to fail because everything still works at this time. Now is the time to test your summer preps/survival strategies even if it setting up a tent for the first time in the backyard.  Have you set up a camp cot? I can’t speak for everyone but adding that bar at the end of the cot to make it tight needs a lever and a bit of strength.  Are you using air mattresses to sleep on?  Have you aired them up physically and slept on them?  Have you used that “dutch oven” to cook over a fire or know how to position your solar panel for max energy or your solar oven for max heat?  Now is the time to test those things out.

Even if the test is a failure. I bet you will learn something even if it is something does not work.  Learning what does not work is a great lesson and critical to survival.


Added marigolds and lettuce greens

June 22, 2016

The leaf lettuce is not doing great so I got some of the last lettuce plants at the home improvement and planted them in a large 18 gallon plastic “party bucket” that I have under a bit of shade on the cool side of the house. The plants were very root bound. In fact I had to break off and cut a lot of roots that matted up via the pot’s drainage holes.  Sorry to say I paid full price for these less than stellar starter plants, but beggars can’t be choosers. I got a few plants a a great price so it all sort of balances out in the long run.

I found a great little 6 pack of marigolds for $2.98 that finishes up planting those flowers that may help some of the bugs attacking my squash and melons.  Mom’s Lima bush beans were hit hard by insects and we are not sure if those beans will make it. It’s early days yet but it looks like the 3 sisters garden is doing well, though we are adding a little bit of soil to the mounds and some wood mulch once the pole beans get a bit more growth.

I have all kinds of plans for the front yard beds, but that is a lot of work and just keeping things weeded and trimmed back takes a lot of my energy. I planted 6 plants of mossy rose/ Potaluca as a replacement to the morning glory and weeds I’m trying to eliminate in my rose beds. I weeded but I’m pretty sure I will need to weed again as I did not get at the root of the problem.  It is a start and planting the mossy rose is a start on controlling the weeds. Rome was not built in a day and no gardener eschewed chemicals for a more natural approach to gardening saw results fast. It is slower but I want to build good soil and make a “perma-culture”/ food forest. Container gardening and raised beds do sort of work with that concept.  It ain’t easy or cheap but is doable if you have a bit of land and time.

If you are like me and planted your garden sort of late and you feel like you cheated buying plants.  Now is the time to start your succession plantings from seed. Start thinking about planting root crops that can last into late fall or need a bit of a nip of frost to set the sugars and sweetness of root crops.  What is the worst that can happen?  The plants don’t grow for some reason.  Keep trying to grow stuff and learn what works and what does not work for you.

You and I know that gardening is simple that does not mean that gardening is easy. Any moron that thinks they can throw out a few seeds on bare ground / dirt and get veggies or fruit is in for a rude awakening.

 


My budget survived the Senate gun bills

June 21, 2016

I’m glad that the Senate gun control/no fly secret lists bill did not pass.  Now I can go back to my original layaway payment plan and get the little carbine paid off about mid July. I held back a bit of cash just in case the bills started moving forward so I will stock up a little on ammo instead.  This is a great example why you need to have a bit of savings or as I call it “Mad Money” stashed away for these sort of things that can happen in an instant and are completely out of your control. Start with saving a $5.00-$20.00 bill in your wallet or purse.

I have worked very hard to reduce my cost of living each month. Paying off debt, not getting a newer vehicle or credit card simply because I could “make the monthly payment”. In many ways I have hit the income sweet spot as I don’t pay income taxes and I am eligible for some government programs. I don’t qualify for EBT, Energy assistance or an Obama phone. Not paying income taxes is a huge help to my budget. Though I still have to pay all of the other taxes and fees imposed by government.

Garden Update:  The garden is doing much better than I expected even with the late start this year. I added some of the Scott’s Earth-gro wood mulch to the 4ft. x4 ft. bed and that took about 2/3rds of a two cubic foot bag. I also added a few marigolds to both garden beds though I need to add a few more to try and stop some of the bugs.  I will do a direct seed of some nasturtiums around the garden borders that might keep some of the bugs out of the garden.  Plus the nasturtiums flowers are edible and have sort of a black pepper flavor. This year I have not tried to plant something of every bit of space so the squash and cukes can spread out and I’m going vertical with climbing plants. The garden this year is a lot easier to work for me and Mom.Now Mom and I were behind the power curve getting plants in the garden but I am going to try succession planting with seeds. I want to add in a few root vegetables like turnips and they can be planted in late summer.  So even if you cheated buying nursery plants you still can try and grow from seed with succession planting.

Albertsons is going to have a great sale on meat this week. $1.88 for hamburger  though it is 70/30 so there is a bit of fat. That isn’t all bad as fat equals flavor.  So get out your meat loaf and meat ball recipes or simply brown some hamburger and can or dry it.

I don’t think we will see an economic crash this summer. I do think it is possible this fall in the Sept-Oct. time frame. There is not a darn thing I can do about it except prepare.  Turkey can be had for 99 cent per pound and silver is still under $20.00 per oz.  Prepping at least for me is always a work in progress.  While I may be wrong on timelines I tend to be vary right about saving money.

 


Sorry I have been a little lax in posting

June 9, 2016

The heat wave broke today and 85 degrees feels like heaven. The house has been cool and I think the new roof and added vents were a big part contributor to keeping the house cool. The new kitchen ceiling fan has also made a huge difference moving the cool air though the house.

We were a bit late getting the garden started again this year what with all the home improvements and getting stuff painted.  Of course just for fun, I had to change the garden layout and try some new ways of planting stuff since life can be too simple for me. /sarcasm

We did buy plants and then had to spread out tarps to protect the plants when it got hot in the afternoon. Over all I think we may only lose two squash and one cucumber to the heat wave and I had to replace a watermelon plant but I think it was me that screwed up planting it and not the heat wave burning the plant.  The squash plant was a bit wimpy to begin with and the heat wave finished it off.

This year I have invested in heavy duty Tomato cages and so far the cages will hold a tarp with a couple of clothes pin to protect the plant from the sun.  I know it costs more money up front but I think investing in a higher quality tomato cage is worthwhile in the long run.  Plus the new cages have a protective coat and in different colors so you can use the cages for different types tomato plants that you will recognize at a glance.

While I am searching for excuses on why I am late for planting a garden. I am looking at how hard last year’s harvest was on myself and Mom as everything had to be processed at the same time. Now I have planted a sweet corn that seems to be doing well and should be ready to harvest about the middle of August. I have a pop corn and dent/flour corn that should be harvested around September and the corn can be left to dry on the stalk. My pole beans can be left to dry on the vine and winter squash can be harvested, stored in a cool dry area and then you can take a bit of time to process them. I did not start my garden with harvest times in mind but I think that timing and different plants will work better for me in the long run.

I’m excusing myself on my garden but it may just work out when august and September rolls around and I have limited physical energy to work processing the harvest.

More good news My golden raspberry is producing fruit this year. The Quinalt strawberries are growing great but they put out one of the smallest berries I have ever seen, though it it is a nice sort of nice tart tasting strawberry. My Black berry is growing great in its new spot. I have blossoms but I doubt I’ll get fruit this year.

I know this may sound like I’m getting excited about plants. That is because I am excited. I spent several years trying to grow strawberries, raspberries and blackberry plants and I watched them all die. I doubt, I will get a more hand-full of berries this year but it is a success in my books.

One thing that annoys me is people who claim to prep, have a few packets of seeds and think they will start a garden after the SHTF by just throwing a few seed in or on the ground and it will provide food for them.  Gardening, maintenance and harvesting a garden takes a lot of effort.  Please start a small garden of a few herbs, tomatoes and some peppers, those are simple to grow for a new gardener. Now my sweet corn is looking good so far in spite of the heat.  This is my first year growing corn so I expect I won’t have a great harvest.  The garden only augments my food supply it does not replace my stored food.  Yet…..

It doesn’t matter if you start with an acreage or a small herb garden in a container, you must start growing some of the food you eat if you want to be prepared and some what self-sufficient.

 

 

 


Painting is work but the Kill-Z is done in the kitchen

May 24, 2016

Wow,  what a difference adding some paint to the drywall in the kitchen has made on how it looks.  Mom and I worked about three hours painting Kill-Z to the ceiling and walls. I had taped off most every thing prior to staring the primer paint job so it went quickly adding the paint.  FYI working with Kill-Z paint is it is thick as it is designed to cover up stains so it took a couple of passes with the roller to get down into the drywall texture. I was a surprised that the Kill-Z paint did not have a strong odor, though it is noticeable if you don’t have good ventilation and air flow.  The Kill-Z paint dried within a couple of hours. So a person could primer with it in morning and then add more paint/topcoat in the afternoon.  While I’m not a huge fan of a sterile white color I’m amazed just how good the kitchen looks just using the Kill-Z white paint.  The kitchen looks clean now and the lights look brighter compared to no paint and smoky walls. I don’t have a huge kitchen but I was a bit surprised we got the ceiling and walls all primed with just over a gallon of Kill-Z.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Before

As you can see the difference is pretty striking on how clean things look after adding texture and paint. I’m leaving most of the painter’s tape in place as I will be adding a semi-gloss off white to all of the walls and ceiling. Semi-gloss makes cleaning the walls a lot easier in a kitchen.  You can see that Mom and I took down the last metal remnant of the dropped ceiling and that also made a big difference in how clean the walls and ceiling look now. Last but not least, the kitchen feels more open and inviting.

I would recommend buying Kill-Z paint to use as a primer especially in a kitchen with all the grease and dirt that gets on walls. If you are a smoker, the Kill-Z will  cover the smoke/tar stains along with protecting your dry wall. I think buying the Kill-Z and using it as the primer will cost less in the long run compared to applying double coats of an expensive paint. At worse the I will get better paint coverage at the same price.

The kitchen still needs another coat of semi-gloss on the walls and ceiling but Mom and I are going to take at least a day off before we tackle that project. This works as Wednesday is shopping day and we are stocking up on meats and paper goods. I will add a few more gallons of semi-gloss paint and a couple more tarps for the wood piled on sale at True value. After the tarps are in place over the firewood I will start removing the roof that is basically rotting/warping wood over the wood pile area.

I can’t afford to restore Casa de Chaos to full Craftsman type home.  I think I can incoperate some 1930-1950’s decorating design ideas I like to make the house a happy, warm and inviting place to be.

 


The back yard is finished?

May 17, 2016

Well the back yard is finished as far as adding the last wood mulch path/section. I can’t do much in the area that contains Mom’s chickens, but I have to say the birds are doing an outstanding job on working the compost pile and the egg count is holding steady despite the fact the chickens are getting a bit old.  Setting up the 4 foot high temporary fence that funnels the bird to the compost pile is working out much better than installing a temporary fence to keep the chicken out of the garden area.

The sod is doing okay but I have noticed some drying out of the grass at the seams and where I sort of cut and patched in sod in odd geometric areas.  Also a couple of my sprinklers did not do a great job of watering the sod.  If you add sod or grass seed you will need lots of water daily to get the grass established.

Now the first area I put down new grass seed is getting a nice green look. A few things I recommend.  Buy seed that is good for your zone. while some grass seeds produce a soft lawn like a carpet. I went with a fescue blend or garden seed and the sod was a mix of Bluegrass and fescue grasses  Also take in consideration if you have full sun or shady areas. Water daily or perhaps twice a day. Improve/Augment  your soil before you add grass seed.

I don’t avoid walking on the sod as it  has been in placed fairly well, but you don’t want to walk on any new grass seed areas. Most of the area I’m growing grass needed some soil augmentation. Adding in soil and compost may cost a few dollars and is a pain in the butt.  The better you make your soil, the better results you will see in the long term. Once some grass has grown and then I gently rake in new grass seed.  Over seeding a couple of times  has worked very well for me.

I’m getting rid of three of the raised bed gardens as I think the garden section of the yard has fairly good soil after the break down of the mulch for 2 years and all the stuff I have added via compost and manure.  Don’t get me wrong Raised beds and container garden worked great for me when I had terrible soil. Now my soil is better so I get to try out a new system for the garden area.

Will my new concept of the garden area work?  I haven’t a clue, but if it does work taking care of the garden should be simple and less work in the long term.

 


The last of the contractors are gone and all jobs are done.

May 12, 2016

Demon Murphy showed up on the last job with the drywall but things are still working out very well. I give most of the contractors an A+ on the job and a B grade goes to the contractor that broke the drain hose/ PVC connection while pulling out the washer to get at the drywall job.  There was also a little over spray but Mom got it all cleaned up while it was damp.

We need to paint and I’m going with Kill-Z as my primer/sealer. Now that the contractors are done with their work, I need to paint. Once basic paint work is done I will post some pics. Overall I have had good luck picking contractors and the city of Nampa has a few more good solid contractors for the city. I got at least 3 bids for every job, several contractors I did not pick got into the city system for future jobs.  It may sound a bit silly but all contractors were doggie tested and approved.  I think animals pick up on body language and the pets don’t get faked out by those that talk a “good game”.  Even the city of Nampa person was amazed about how great the people/contractors worked out. Well if my dog doesn’t like you. I’m going to give you some extra scrutiny. If my dog likes you, only normal levels of scrutiny.

While I don’t think I’m all that special. I think the city of Nampa folks likes me since I continue to make my yard great. It was a bit funny as a guy from the office asked where I got my cistern, mulch, soil and sod for the back yard project. I’m not alone on working towards some self-reliance. Every person that gets prepared or works towards self-reliance is one less target and one more potential ally.

Laying mulch pathways is not easy or cheap. It is a great way to add organic material to bad dirt and star building a topsoil as well as conserving water on lawns & gardens. Mulch is great for leveling dirt paths and provides a soft cushion if you fall.  Hell just not worrying about twisting an ankle is worth all of the paths I have set done.

I’m at the lower end of the economic food chain and I got all this work done with some help of the city government and I’m sure some federal money was involve. These things can work and we should not throw the “baby out with the bath water”.  These sort of jobs need to be focused on people that will improve them selves and not just looking for another handout.

I probably added a few grand of value just by cleaning up the stuff that was out of code. But I have seen this house valued as low as $55 grand  and as high $135 grand.  It’s just my little house I will make the best I can so it works for me. I ain’t looking to sell or take out a heloc.