A nioce little storm blew in tonight

June 6, 2023

I know the standard is to freak out about any storm like it is Armageddon. We had a nice little summer storm blow through and I did not get any hail but dust blew around a bit and few wind gust I guess in the 30 mph range. No damage, flooding just a light show and some thunder. All pets are fine and went through the storm with very little issues.

I like a good storm that does not cause damage. Of course it helps if you set yourself up so all storm damage is minimal. I don’t like how news/weather services overhype storms. While people should know about flash flooding or hail that could cause damage. This storm was not that sort of storm. A few gusty winds and lightning with some flooding in some areas but that is a drainage issue as this storm did not have a lot of rain.  I don’t know about most cities but Nampa Idaho sucks for street water drainage. I have looked and if you see a storm drain it is about one storm drain for 4 blocks of city streets. People wonder why they have local flooding and that does not count the drains that are blocked by debris.

I know water drainage and water systems will never be as sexy/popular as trains/trolley systems to politicians or the elites who want to plan communities. But water drainage, storm runoff and the cleaning that water is critical for a healthy city.

I have lived in Nampa for 20 years and supposedly I paid my water bill that included upkeep and future expansion. Nope now my water rate is doubled the last couple of years because the water system is out of date and must be expanded because of all the new people living in Nampa. I like having clean water on demand and I like a functioning sewer system. But what have you folks in in city government been doing for the last 20 years? Planning trains and trolley systems that no one will use?  I think my city hall might have Autists that want trains and trolleys for green/net zero reasons or they want a planned city based on utopian ideals. Overall most of the ideas suck and are unworkable.

If people or businesses think a trolley or a train is profitable. They will build a trolley or a train. If it is unprofitable the Government will step in and make a mess of the train/trolley idea.

Government is not the solution Government is the problem.

I have a solution to most traffic fines and government over regulation.

One law is al that is needed,  Reckless driving or negligent driving.  Easy someone driving drunk or stoned.  Reckless or negligent driving covers that. Someone going to fast for conditions, Covered by the law. Some one going too slow and hinder traffic, covered by the law.  WE don’t need more laws.  We need to use more common sense.

I think that is my rant for the day. I have to weed again and finish laying out landscape cloth and weed the garden beds. I will get it done in time.


Weed wacking in the garden and more planting in the corn furrows. Blackouts?

June 6, 2023

The B&D weed trimmer is done until I can replace the broken spool cap. I am using the bulkier Ryobi trimmer. I have to say with the larger 3 Amp hour batter it has a lot more power than the B&D trimmer and is making fast work on the deep weeds in the garden area. Size and weight are the biggest downside for using the Ryobi trimmer but it is much better than pulling out all those weeds by hand!

I cleaned out the area around the berry containers and laid down landscape cloth under the containers to reduce the weed growth.  Getting that one area cleaned up provided the motivation to keep going on the weeds.  The next area is around the black plastic I laid down that defines where the green house will be built. I “found” a hose and sprayer buried under the weeds in this area. I like having extra hoses on hand as they are so useful in the yard and garden.

I’m hand weeding the corn row area as the plants are to close together to use the weed trimmer.  I have added some straw and landscaping cloth to help stop the weeds and the straw did a good job keeping down the weeds around the mounds for the melon patch. I got all of the melon seeds planted and trying out a Sugar baby watermelon bush type this year along with a Tiger melon and a personal sized Persian melon.  This is the area I cleaned out all the grape vines so the melons won’t get buried underneath all of the grape leaves this summer.

As I’m weeding the corn I’m adding in the squash and Bush bean plants. I’m planting everything in mounds and not directly among the corn stalks. I know the squash plants will spread and provide ground cover and I hope keep down the weeds. I’m also trimming any grape vines that are running into the corn area to keep the corn plants free from the grape vines trying to climb up the stalks.  I’ll be cleaning out the grape vine area more this fall so by next year the plants all have their spots and don’t compete with each other.

I have another 15 feet to go to finish up the weeding and adding landscape cloth in the corn area. Once payday hits next week I’ll get a couple more bales of straw to finish the areas between the corn furrows and have the straw on hand to add around the squash and bean once they put on some growth.  I still have 110-120 days in the growing season so I’m not worried yet about the harvest.

Update on the potato towers: There is a lot of green growth and flowers on the towers. So far I am pleased with the growth.

Idaho power is raising electric rates this summer. They say it will be about $20.00 per month on average but it is usually 1/3 higher in the real world of electric bills.  Many electric companies are already forecasting rolling black outs/brown outs this summer.  I have been training myself to sleep in a warmer bedroom overnight and getting out in the hotter weather to get used to the heat this summer.  I have been able to use my window fans at night to cool the house down and on the really hot days (90+ degrees F.) I have used the swamp coolers in the evenings to cool things down. All ceiling fans have been set to counter clockwise/spin to the left for summer time air circulation.  Having a generator to power things like a fridge, freezer, fans a few hours a day could be critical this summer.  You don’t have to run a generator 24/7 to keep a freezer or fridge cold. I believe most people run a generator about 6-8 hours a day to keep those appliances cold. FYI most rolling blackouts tend to happen during the day during peak usage but the power comes back at night. Have a lamp you keep on so you know when the power comes on and you might not need to use your generator as much if you have power during the night.

I set up my Ryobi battery powered Spritzer fan on the patio to cool that area.  These little fans can be pricey but they do a great job cooling a small outdoor area. I’m seeing the misting stands in stores for around $12.00-$15.00 and they can cool people and animals well if you add a fan to push the mist around the area.  Set up an outdoor cooking area/kitchen will help keep your home cooler during the day. Grills and fuel to cook your food outdoors taste great and you can practice your outdoor cooking skills!

Walnut squash and Bush bean garden planted

June 4, 2023

The squash and bush beans are not going to get as mush sunlight as the plants prefer in this tree shaded area. There are not a lot of veggies/plants that can handle walnut trees plant killing compound so if I get any kind of harvest it will make this part of the yard productive!

The weeds along the front sidewalk and street got knocked down with the weed whacker this weekend. Only problem is the little cap that holds the spool in place broke! Bring in the hot glue gun to “fix” the cap and finish the weed wacking!  I know the glue is a temporary fix until I can replace the cap at the local big box store for about $7.00.  Hey if the fix lasts until payday I will be happy. I’m hoarding cash and being cheap about buying stuff so I can finish up my envelope savings plan for cash that will be finish this month. After many years of trying to save some cash I’m so close to my goal I won’t let anything stop me from filling those last two envelopes and I don’t care what sales you tempt me with until pay day!

I’ll be weed wacking the areas between the raised garden beds as I can’t do another couple of weeks of hand pulling weeds outside of the garden beds. Around the corn furrows/squash/bean area I’ll pull weeds. Otherwise I will knock down the weeds around the garden beds.

The new kindle fire 8 reader showed up and it is dumber than my old paperwhite and kindle fire7 that is replacing. I get classic books from online libraries and download them to my PC. All of my old Kindles knew if I hooked up the kindle via USB I might want to transfer files and not charge the battery via the USB. Not this new kindle, you have to tell this newer kindle that you want to transfer files rather than charge the battery of the kindle.  I literally had to go to McDonalds for free wi-fi just to register the new kindle. Needless to say my troubleshooting was hampered by not cursing Amazon in the Mcdonald’s filled with families on a Sunday morning!  I had the dollar menu items as it seemed fair to buy some thing for getting the wi-fi but my gosh the breakfast menu of egg mcmuffins at $6.50 was startling to see. I got a sausage biscuit and small coffee for $3.16 total cost. Eating out really shows the rising food costs and I sort of feel for folks that eat out because they don’t know how to cook and think they are idiots for not learning how to cook at home.

While I was fussing with the kindle at home I gave up on my old wireless router as nothing would connect despite the fact that in the past my stuff did connect via the router though it was always a bit wonky/hit or miss on maintaining an internet connection. I dug out an old switch that is dumb and it worked great with all cat 5 cable connections to my PC’s.  I updated my PC’s did downloads and the switch handled everything without a glitch and routed traffic better than the old router. I think there is something to be said for building a local “mesh” network in your neighborhood using wireless routers.  I know that I had all power go out but with a battery backup I had internet through a power outage. Not everyone will go for HAM radio operator but a lot of people have wireless routers and modems for internet.  Something to think about for your communications plan.

Ugh! More weeding…

May 31, 2023

I moved the the second kiddy pool planter under the walnut trees for the squash/beans garden. I need to add more garden soil to these beds and clean some roots from the reused dirt but the planters should be ready to plant by the weekend. I finished up the border around the walnut tree garden and added a lot more wood mulch to the walkway.  I need to add another 10 or so bags of new wood mulch to the walkway path but I’m hoping the mulch I like will go on sale in June. The border and walkway area look a lot better and I added the garden hose reel from the yard sale to water the backyard. I was using one of those hose containers that look like a planter for the hose but it was a pain to coil the hose into that container.  Hose reels are the way to go if you use hoses to water a lawn or garden.

It feels like I have been weeding for the last 2 weeks and like most sane people I hate weeding!  Oh, sure the area looks great for a day or two and then the weeds  start coming back and it can get a little discouraging at times. The trick to weeding is to plan for a block of time each day or 2-3 times a week to weed before things get out of control and it takes hours of work to catch up.  I will let you know if I ever get caught up enough on weeding to weed just a couple times a week.   😉

I started on weeding the big garden and then I found tomato plants outside the garden beds among the weeds. This area is close to the raised bed I moved a couple of times this spring and held my tomato plants last year. So far I have found about 8 tomato plants outside the raised bed and just growing in the tilled dirt that I did not augment. This is after I started growing tomato seeds indoors twice this spring using potting soil, grow lights and heat pads and these little self started tomatoes among the weeds look better than my starter tomato plants.  I have no idea what sort of tomato these are other than heirlooms that I grew in the planter bed I moved around and some seeds must have got worked in when I roto tilled for the new corn row garden. I transplanted a couple of the volunteer tomatoes to containers but I’ll probably have to transplant the rest of the volunteers into the old tomato bed.

For the next week or two I’m going to focus on sowing seeds and weeding is going to be a secondary task. I’ll weed as I plant the beans and squash in the corn row garden but weeding won’t be my focus. I have time to plant stuff again if some plants don’t work out for Spring planting. The corn is looking pretty good for my first time planting corn in blocks rather than 3 sisters and I also planted some old corn seed so some of that growing is a minor miracle!

Don’t get discouraged if your garden does not work out the way you planned. Plants fail but often the seeds volunteer and you have to adapt. You learn what works, like I had a celery volunteer that is now going to seed and I will collect that seed as that plant is about 3 feet tall and growing gang busters!

Last summer was very hot and I sort of gave up on the garden but in the fall under all those weeds and garden plants that did not handle the heat I found melons, bok choy, celery, some of the tomatoes put on fruit in September. I know some people don’t live in areas with as long growing season as I. I don’t live in an area with a year round growing like in the south. Even folks in the south have gardens that die off or grow in wonky ways. You have to keep working at growing your own garden and learning from it each year.

Update on Boomer the dog:  Boomer is almost back to normal on eating. He has been eating his soft food for a couple and tonight he ate some of his kibble.  A couple of days ago I gave him a scrambled egg and added a bit of lard to his soft food.  It seems a pet can get out of the habit of eating if they feel bad.  A little bit of lard added to cat or dog food helps stimulate the appetite and adds extra fats/calories for an animal that is not eating regularly. I only add teaspoon or so of lard for small dog, half a teaspoon for a cat as it can be to rich for animal off it’s feed.

Two more weed areas cleaned up!

May 29, 2023

Finished pulling up the weeds in the alley way area. There were a few areas where it was impossible to pull the weeds so I used the weed eater to take those weeds down to bare rock. I will spray these areas with vinegar. That  will keep down some of the weed growth this summer.

This is the first time I am trying to pull the weeds by hand. I usually use a combo of spraying vinegar and weed wacking to keep the weeds under control but that does not stop the weeds from coming back. Keeping the weeds from returning is my goal for the alley way garden.

I have buried  some comfrey leaves to the areas that have wood mulch. I added some of the blossoms in hopes they have some seed to start more comfrey. It is the wrong time of year to get starts from the comfrey but I’ll be adding some comfrey roots and crowns this fall. Comfrey will make a good plant to start choking out the weeds and in this area it is okay if the comfrey spreads as I plan on cutting back regularly and it will occasionally get driven on so that should keep the comfrey under control.

The second area that I finished hand weeding was under the walnut trees. I’m not sure what plant I’m weeding but it gets all viney as it spreads and can cause a trip hazard so getting rid of tis weed is making the walkway areas safer. I’m adjusting some of the borders made of 24 inch scalloped topped concrete. The border used to zig zag and now it has more of a gentle arc, so it looks a little cleaner rather than just sort of ragged. With the new border in place, weeds pulled  I can add new wood mulch to the walkway.

I have been getting my yard solar lights checked out and replacing some of the batteries. I got a 4 pack of  AA solar batteries for about $8.00 at Fred Meyers. Replacing the batteries is a lot cheaper than replacing a solar yard light. The solar lights I replaced the batteries are the “Cracked Glass” globe solar yard lights saved some money compared to buying new lights. Finished up some odds and ends like rehanging the US Flag with a light so it can stay up over night and re-positioned a security solar light.

A neighbor made a fire pit and had some leftover sand he gave me to finish up my little fire pit. This will save me $10.00-$15.00 buying bags of sand. The fire pit is complete with the additional sand. I really like how it turned out.

Feeling better, beautiful weather and getting stuff done

May 24, 2023

I’m doing much better on my recovery. I still feel weak at times but it seems getting out and moving is helping me get past the occasional bouts of weakness.  Now it is just a matter of rebuilding my stamina and hopefully less crazy stress outs besides the general craziness that is happening in the world.

Lovely weather this week! Cool in the 50’s in the morning and warming up into the mid 70’s for the high. Perfect spring weather for getting work done outside. It is going to be raining on and off this weekend. That is normal for Idaho. I have live in Idaho most of my life and the Memorial Day weekend is always rainy. This weekend it is going to be rainy on/off so I can get some yard work down when it is dry and clean the house when it gets rainy/damp outside. Working outside during the spring the indoor cleaning stuff tends to get neglected. I’m hoping during the rainy parts of the day I can get some bread baked and stored in the freezer.

Lots of out door work done today. I got another section of the alley way area weeds cleaned up. Most of the weeds I pulled was cheat grass though some thistle was also pulled.  I sprayed the weeds earlier this spring and the cheat grass died back but It made pulling the leftover dead weeds harder to pullout compared to green growing weeds.  This area has a a layer of wood mulch and that makes pulling weeds much easier compared to pulling the weeds out of the gravel. In the wood mulch areas I have grown sun chokes but they died due to neglect but I’m going to add some comfrey and if I find Sun chokes I’ll add them to the area as plants to choke out the weeds.  I cleaned the area around my city water main as the water work guys are paint marking the alley for some sort of work….I have had good luck working with the city code folks in Nampa so if I can make their job a little easier I’ll make the effort.

I have one more area of weeds in the alley to cleanup and it is all rock/gravel.  That makes pulling the weeds almost impossible. I put down some of the killer walnut tree mulch last fall and in the areas where I  made a thick layer there are almost no weeds. So using walnut leaves as an anti-weed mulch works but you need about a 4 inch thick layer of mulch. For the gravel area it will be mostly 30% vinegar and weed wacking the weeds to keep them under control.

I have a kiddy pool in the front yard that I used for growing strawberries but the harvest was not great. I just did not keep up with the plants and the birds and squirrels took most of the berries. I moved the strawberries into the backyard garden area and most of the plants are doing much better in deep containers. I am moving the kiddy pools under the walnut trees for growing squash and beans to expand the backyard growing area. Where the kiddy pool was in the front yard was bare ground so I move my little fire pit in that bare patch after adding a border filled with sand some pavers to support the little fire pit. I need to add a couple more bags of sand to fill in and lock everything into place but I think the little fire pit looks great.  I’m using a metal fire pit that cost about $35.00 back in 2019. The same sort of metal fire pit now cost around $100.00.

For the squash kiddy pool garden I’m going to mound the dirt in the pool as the walnut tree roots will make it impossible to dig into the dirt around the trees. There are plenty of weeds to be pulled around the trees but I have 2 pools for the squash mounds and adding bush beans to see how they grow. I figure I’ll get these (beds) done this weekend or at the latest June 1st. That will still give me 120 days of growing through September well before the October 10th frost date.

I cleaned up one of the water features I had in the bird feeding areas as it was getting stagnant, dirty and disgusting. I cleaned the “pool” and  added some larger rocks for birds to perch on as most  small birds prefer splashing in water that is about 2 inches deep. I added my solar water fountain that is kept in place by the large rock and does not spray water out of the pool. I saw a neat youtube vid that showed how all sorts of critters visited the pool but the large rocks created a perch for birds and different depths of water for critters. It’s no fish or duck pond but I think it will work better for critters looking for a drink of water and better for birds than the little birdbath I had placed in the Tub. I moved the bird bath into the back yard rock garden though I need to add a stake to stabilize the bath against critters that will knock it over getting a drink. You don’t want stagnant, standing water around your home weather it is a rain barrel or pool/water feature or pond. I use screen materials on my water barrels to keep out the bugs and screen material is cheap to buy.  Solar water pumps are a thing and you don’t have to move a lot of water to keep it from getting stagnant and a bad bug breeding area.

Sometimes a lot of little fixes go a long way preventing the need for a big costly fix.

90 degrees + this weekend, walked the dog and a flea market

May 21, 2023

A hot weekend here in the valley with 90 degree + temps. I placed my fans for moving air around the house. I use a a large fan in my basement to move cooler air up into the house. It stays a pretty consistent 65 degrees F. in the basement so the cooler air helps keep the back side of the house cooler. I used the swamp cooler this evening to cool and while they did okay they are much better for spot cooling a person rather than cooling a room. With that said one swamp cooler dropped the temp of a room about 5 degrees so not to bad for the energy used. Walking in front of the swamp cooler you can feel the cooling so we will see how well the swamp coolers do in the hottest part of summer.  I use a lot of window fans at night to cool the house and as long as the night time temps drop in the high 50’s/low 60’s the house will stay cool through most of the day.

Boomer the Dog and I got in a little walk for the first time in months. It was only about 4 blocks and we both tired after the walk but I think starting the walks up again was good for both of us. It was strange that Boomer the dog was feeling a little punky last week. Off his feed and this doggo loves eating. He did not act sick but like he just act less like his normal vibrant self. Of course Tege the cat was not feeling great after his vet check and vaccinations. This afternoon we were just a puddle of nappers but it seemed like after the nap we all started feeling much better and not so punky.

Lots of stuff happened to day in Nampa with a patriot parade, a flea market and the farmers market is going on Saturdays. I stopped by the flea market and bought a cute little lamp and a yard sale had one of those garden hose reels I bought for $2.00 which is a great buy as those reels go for $50.00 + new. I did some regular shopping and got some sirloin steaks for $3.77 per pound at Fred Meyer/kroger and other odds and ends. Albertsons had Chicken on sale for 99 cents per pound and I’m seeing chicken and egg  prices go down a little bit in my area. The prices are better if not back to what I consider normal.

I shopped Family Dollar and picked up a little Black&Decker hose for hand watering some of the pots/ beds in my garden area. I use a  lot of 15 foot hoses in my garden area to feed soaker hoses I have in my raised beds. I needed a hose to water some pots but did not need to drag a 50 foot hose around and a 25 foot hose was to short. Plus the hose comes with a little reel for the hose and a spray nozzle for watering the plants. Not a bad but for $17.00.  I found a new water glass for just a couple of dollars. I can get a little OCD about my coffee mugs and having a large water drinking glass. I broke my favorite drinking glass last year and have been looking for a replacement. No I did not want a water bottle which are everywhere and can be expensive. A simple plastic water glass that holds at least 24 oz. of water and a lid would be nice but not a deal breaker. I found that glass and it cost all of $2.00. This glass seems to be double walled construction so it helps keep the water cool. Yes I am one of those people that is thrilled about finding the right drinking glass.  Have you seen the prices of a simple drinking glass/water bottle. Insulated, Buttons to press to drink or press to close and straws made from bamboo sourced from an organic farm in Laos….

I just wanted a simple glass that held 24-36 oz. of water keep it cool for a while and does not break if dropped. More complexity does not mean a better product. I feel the KISS system is the best.  Keep it Simple Stupid. Also if it stupid and it works it is not stupid. In the USA the average price for a new car is $48,000.00 The average car payment is over $750.00 per month not counting insurance.

These cars have entertainment systems, GPS all standard and you can’t buy a simple dumb vehicle to drive. Tell a Car dealership you don’t want GPS, the entrainment system, the back up cameras and they will say that is standard and you can’t buy the vehicle without it. Back in the before time You could buy a car without a radio/stereo because most standard car audio was crap. All you needed for a good car audio set up was a a couple hundred bucks, a couple of audio purists/car guys and case of beer and your car would have a great sound system.

Things are not good but more people are waking up to how things are not good. Nothing like hitting people in the pocket book for them to wake up. Henry Ford paid above Union wages to his workers and made his cars affordable to his workers. Ultraism might have played a part but Ford also sold a lot of cars and got rich. Look at Detroit now and compare it to any decade before 1960. Detroit had the largest per capita income in the USA. Now Detroit is a third world shit hole in middle America.  That is not racist that is reality. You had it all industry, music, arts building and a glorious future and “Equity” brought down Detroit. Most of you are equally poor and have no hope for a better way. You think the politicians will help you they made this shit hole happen.

This is a warning for everyone not by into the equity agenda and don’t be a shithole like Detroit, Chicago, NYC  or any other of the democrat run urban areas of filth. Assisting junkies to shoot up drugs is a bad thing. Helping drug user to get clean is a good thing. If your city is helping junkies to shoot up via free needles give aways  rather than offering help to kick the addiction you city government is evil and should be voted out.

What can you do?  Just say no to the regime. You know they are wrong  so why play the game. You don’t have to man the barricades. Just grow your garden build networks and not play the game. It’s simple if not easy. Just say no to the corporatists and globalist. The PR is not working on a lot of people.

I think the globalist got a bit overextended and the truth is seeping out. Don’t discount them but I think people are becoming better aware of the agenda.

Feeling better, got the rose beds weeded and the backyard mowed

May 18, 2023

I’m starting to come out of my flare, not 100% yet but feeling 100% better!  I’m still a little weak but the worst part is recovering my stamina. It will just take time for the stamina to come back but now I can get some work done.

I finished up the big weds in the rose beds today. I cheated a little bit and started on the weeds that were easier to pull/dig out compared the grass mat of weeds that I started digging out via the pick axe. It went better than I thought, probably because I loosened the grass/weed sod mat with the pick axe before I gave up for the day. New weeds are starting in the bed but I should be able to keep up and I’m adding a thick layer of wood mulch to help the soil/plants with water retention. The weed fabric cloth made weeding the bed more difficult so I’m skipping  the cloth for this bed and going straight mulch.

The back yard grass area is looking great. I had a couple of weeds and the grass needs to fill in some places but over all I am pleased with how it looks after mowing. The grass got tall before mowing and some of the soil got a little dried out but I think regular watering and adding some compost through the summer will finish up the backyard grass area.

I’m starting to see a few weeds start to pop up in the corn garden area. Not bad so far but I was hoping I got most of those weeds dug out. I need to direct sow the squash and beans next and once those plants get some growth I can use straw to mulch the beds. That should help block most of the weeds and retain water in the beds this summer.

The potato towers are putting out green leaves at the top and through some of the straw sides. The towers still have some space at the top I can add a little more dirt and straw to mound around the leaves. At least I know the towers do work growing potatoes.  Almost all of the onions have put on growth. Though one of my onion planters was dug up and bulbs were scattered. I suspect my cats decided that was her planter box and not mine. Overall loosing one box out of six is not to bad for the garden. Once I water more regularly and add straw mulch that should take care of some of the critter problem.

Mom got here raised garden beds planted though I have some starter plants for her to plant around the end of the month. Mom asked about planting root crops like parsnips, beets and turnups and I think it is to late for a summer harvest but she has plenty of time for a fall harvest. planting the seed in July. Now she can plant quick growing stuff like radishes, lettuce and other fast growing crops in that space. We missed some prime time planting because of life and we are not unique that life can make all your plans go to crap for a multitude of reasons. You can adapt and still have a garden even if life or Mama Nature throws you a curve ball.

I am excited to start the squash and bean plants under the walnut tree area. If you don’t know walnut trees put out “something” that keeps many plants from growing but beans, squash and melons are not affected by this “something”. I don’t think melons will do good in this area as it is on the NE side of the yard and somewhat shaded. But I have a grape vine that grows along the fence so some sun is getting through the trees. I want to try squashes and beans in this area to add to my garden space. The area is a bit of a weed filled disaster right now but I’m starting to pull weeds and then I’ll add some new soil. to this area and make a garden bed around the walnut trees. If you live in an area and want to create a food forest type garden. Growing squash as a ground cover and adding beans for a nitrogen fixer would be great for your food production.  If my idea works I will add the equivalent of two raised beds to my backyard garden for food production.

The strawberry buckets have been a little crazy as I have 2 buckets that are growing like crazy putting on leaves the size of my palm along with flowers and two buckets that small little plants not growing much, but are a healthy looking green. All strawberries are Quinalt plants and all buckets are next to each other. All of the raspberries and black berries and putting on good green “bushy” growth. I don’t know a lot about growing berries other than it takes a year or two for new bushes to produce berries and learning the happy place in the garden/yard for the berry plants to grow. So far the berry plants are putting on nice green growth so I’m happy with my berry progress.

I saw a little humming bird at the backyard feeder and I’m so excited to see the little bird. I think it was a female as it had drab feathers but that is all to the good as that means a long term feeder as males tend to arrive early in my area and get territorial. If a female is feeding I may get more birds coming in this spring/summer. I’m getting a few birds at my feeders this spring but not like in winter.  Mom was a little disappointed the birds did not flock to her new bird bath but it takes time before birds feels safe drinking and bathing at a new bird bath. Mom’s bird bath is in a great spot as the birds have plenty of trees to escape to and or observe before taking a drink.

Solar Energy: I order solar cable adapters for the new Anker 757 power pack.  The price for the cables was $10.99 for each solar panel. Not a bad price but annoying not to have a solar panel standard MC4 cable connector. I’m sure Anker wants to sell more of their solar panels and other power packs do the same but it is still annoying. How about a company ask the customer what type of cables they want after the pay a grand buying your battery generator. Just as a customer service.

The 757 Anker seems to be around the mid range price of $1000.00 and provides enough power for an RV/camping or a house backup for some electricity. This is not a home solar energy system! It is at best a backup electric supply during blackouts/brownouts for a reasonable investment.

It looks like the Anker 676 + battery pack might cover a home as a battery backup depending on your energy use. I don’t know because I can’t say what is (average energy use) for most folks. I’m going to try out a few scenarios running my swamp cooler, running my A/C and running my fridge and freezers off the 757 Anker and 300 watts of solar panels. I think at a minimum I need to add another 757 power pack and hook up another 300 watts of solar panels to do what I want but this is a start to reduce my dependence on the grid.

It is just a step at a time that you take to become more independent.  But you must take that step!

Solar energy

May 14, 2023

I’m not against solar energy or any type of energy if used well. I have a very efficient wood stove and I burn dry wood and I don’t think I’m evil for controlling my own heat in winter. All of the electricity I don’t is available to others to use. Electricity can’t be stored in batteries long term but it can be stored short term and replaced daily if you have the means to store it.

I’m not against solar energy I think it has huge potential in a residential set up. Solar does not scale up for industrial/commercial power in a cost effective manner. It is just physics and the conservation of energy. Politicians and other idiots can declare all they want about NetZero but what they want is literally physically impossible.

Now does that mean you should not embrace or have some solar power? I think having solar in the summer should rank up with having wood heat in the winter. Solar energy is getting a lot better. A huge 15 watt solar panel  5-10 years ago was huge. Now you can buy a foldable 15 watt solar panel that hangs on back pack while you hike. I bought a couple of solar lamps that now last overnight. Solar is getting better at the small scale.

I bought an Anker 757 power supply. I have solar panels to charge it but I plugged it in to an outlet and it charged to full energy in less than an hour so it it is a descent back up power supply short term. I just want to power my freezers to keep them cool. I figure about 2-4 hours per day should keep every thing frozen if I suffer a blackout. Now the Anker says it will get to 80 % power via 300 watts of solar energy I should be good. I also want to run my swamp coolers this summer incase of a blackout. 85 watts to run a swamp cooler is a lot lower in electrical cost compared to an air conditioner.

I understand that many people want to poke the PTB’s. It makes sense to have an electric/solar back up that you control. You don’t always  need a lot of power. You just need some power for critical needs. Don’t let perfect stand in the way of doing the best you can do.

Mother’s day plan for Mom.

May 13, 2023

It has been a tough week for Mom and myself with a family issue but we got most of the big stuff taken care of for now. Mom has been sort of hard on herself not getting more of the yardwork and gardening stuff done. Even though she has changed to new credit union had a fybro flare a very tough family issue. Stress does not make a Fybro flare or my CIDP flares any more fun to deal with along with fluctuating spring weather making joints ache. I can tell you getting old ain’t for sissies!

I love my little garden cart for working around my yard. While I don’t have the stiff knee Mom has I have bad knees  and bending over to weed when you can’t squat is painful on the lower back. I decided the Mothers day gift for Mom was a garden cart.

Honestly I think most gardeners should have a little cart for holding tools, sitting and weeding, planting and other yard and garden chore that would be easier if you didn’t have to squat/bend at the hips putting stress on your knees and or back. Speaking for myself a big reason I hate weeding is because it can be very painful on the lower back. Now I’m using my little garden cart to roll along the beds to pull weeds. Of course it helps I’m getting better at knowing the difference between weeds and plants I want to grow.

I added the new tool that is like a mini trowel that is great for starting plant but also does a great job weeding and getting most weed roots. Mom has wanted to have a little bird bath for the local critters around her house so I’m adding a small bird bath to her Mother’s day gift. Mom loves most  the critters that come and feed and get a drink. The little bird bath will be a good addition to Mom’s bird watching.

I added a small pump sprayer to Mom’s gift. We have all used spraying bottles for watering plants or adding nutrients. This is a Pressurized spray bottle that sprays with out having to trigger it every time. Just pump up the pressure and then spray your plants. I think this little pressure sprayer will work great for Mom as she has a table garden set up as well as her raised beds. Mom’s biggest issue is getting water in the right place at the right time and not be being to physically taxing. So making stuff as easy as possible is my goal.

I’m going to Mom’s house and I hope I can do a little bit of work helping her prep her beds though I’m a bit weak from my CIDP flare. At worst I’ll give her a few tools that will make her gardening a little bit less of a physical challenge.