Trucking vaccine mandates hit Canada, USA and the Mexican border.

January 24, 2022

In the last week all of North America have mandated vaccines for truckers crossing borders.  Canada started last week and the USA followed this weekend.  In less than a week Calgary Canada is getting hit hard with lack of food stuffs.  The USA has plenty of empty store shelves.  I have no report how Mexico’s markets are doing at this time.  I suspect that Mexico might have empty shelves later this year when Bulk staples like wheat flour or corn meal can’t be trucked from the USA into Mexico.  There is no way to celebrate this problem.  Canada is the major producer of lumber, and other petroleum based items not just maple syrup!  Mexico does not export only garden veggies but they also import grains from the USA and Canada.  Canada grows a lot of grain for both human and animals eat.  Don’t celebrate this as more stuff will be available locally because that is not how international trade works.

You can mitigate the impact by getting prepared, growing a garden and sourcing as much of the things you need to survive locally.  But what about the local farmer you buy that beef or fresh veggies from in the summer/fall.  Where does he get his fertilizer/weed killer and how much more is it costing the farmer this year? I think we should get another month or two to stock up locally.  Then I suspect prices will jump a lot due to inflation and other people simply buying more locally because that is what is available.

How much is enough to stockpile for the supply chain fiasco?  I have no idea for sure.  I have read the great economic brains say 4-6 weeks.  I think you should go for storing  3-6 months and start your garden and find as many local suppliers as possible.  I would be happy to be proven wrong and the supply chains are fixed by the end of February.  I don’t think that will happen with China shutting down ports and the USA shutting down truckers and other parts of the supply chain.

I ordered my Baker creek seeds.  I’m hoping I won’t see a shipping glitch that causes a later than March delivery.  I’m being a bit pessimistic but I’m learning how early gardeners start planning gardens starting from a frost date in May.  I live in SW Idaho and in region 6a or some what similar to Missouri.  I have a frost date of May 8-10 and a last frost date around the 10th of October.  Once you start planning a garden and starting seeds indoors or plants that need cold/cool weather for planting on a calendar stuff needs to start happening in February.  Valentine’s day is 12 weeks before my last frost date and I should be starting warm weather plants like tomatoes indoors.  I bought a radish seed that should be planted at the end of winter or in early spring  and do another planting in summer for a late fall harvest and storage.

I never considered my area as a place for get two crops in year.  Lots of folks in southern states get 2-3 crops in a year but in Idaho it seemed like crazy talk.  It is possible at least in theory.  Even if you can’t get a couple of harvests from your garden in a summer.  You can try growing indoors a table garden of greens, perhaps a  small tomato or pepper plant along with herbs.   It is amazing how well  plants will grow on a heat mat and some LED lighting.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to start growing some plants.  I think I spent about $80.00 to get a couple of mats and some plant starter boxes.  Perhaps more expensive this year with inflation.  So $ 100.00 for some cheap led lights, heat mats and some plastic pots.  If even a few plants survive into harvest you will make that money back in savings from not buying vegies/herbs in a grocery store especially when inflation is making food more expensive. That is before even moving that garden outdoors.

Some people think they can buy anything and money is no object.  But what if there is nothing available to buy?  Or people won’t sell what you want to you at any price?  I see it in wet cat food.  The price is on the shelf is okay but there is no wet cat food to buy.  Ironically I stocked up on dry cat food and my cats seem to like the dry dog food better than their dry cat food.

Gardening in January in Idaho?

January 19, 2022

I am starting some of the prep work of going through the seed catalogs and putting together so mini-greenhouse type boxes to start growing some vegetables that can be grown indoors year round. Baker Creek has a small tomato bush that can be grown in pots as small as 4-6 inches. It is called Orange Hat Mirco tomato and I think with the mini bell peppers and add in some Baby bok choy, lettuce/micro greens, chives and some herbs I can start a small year round table top garden in one of my spare bedrooms. I have plenty of pots, heat pads and lighting for the plants so other that cross-pollinating the tomatoes I know I can grow pretty good starting plants for the garden. I don’t want to get to deep into tinfoil hat land but I think growing some of your veggies indoors could be wise as it could be a back up to a visible backyard garden that could be seen by hungry people. Plus fresh veggies in winter is always a bonus!

Several of the local stores are selling seeds this month. While I can’t say for sure but it always seemed to be at February before we started seeing seed displays and those small seed starting kits in the stores. I think there are a couple of reasons stores are setting up gardening items:

  1. Garden supplies are bulky and fill up empty shelves/empty spaces.
  2. Many more people got into gardening during the lockdowns and garden products sell!

I would recommend a few things to do starting this month to get started early on your garden:

  1. Get soil/compost/fertilizer starting as soon as possible. Chemical fertilizer and weed killer costs are skyrocketing and there are a lot of shortages for many reasons but the “Green Agenda” seems to be one of the biggest drivers of cost. That means building your own compost pile and I buy 30% Vinegar as my weed killer as I don’t like using the chemical weed killers.
  2. Plastics are going up in cost because of rising petroleum cost. If you want to add Plastic containers for a patio or deck container get those pots now if they are available.
  3. Rising prices and knock on effects on getting the stuff you need for your garden. People will search for alternatives if the first choice is not available. We have all seen the cost of lumber jump in price, so people move to plastics or metal for raised beds and those jump in price because of the cost of oil or with metal the price of coal to make steel/aluminum.
  4. While I don’t expect commercial Agriculture will turn to vinegar as a weed killer many gardeners might, if they can’t get the chemical weed killers.
  5. Get creative about your garden and pay attention to micro-climates around your place. I have a city lot that is about 1/16 of an acre but I have at least 3 very different growing conditions on this small lot.
  6. Buy Agfabric to protect your plants and shade cloths you can set up before the heat waves happen. Mama nature can destroy a garden and having options to mitigate the heat and cold are a must have for a garden.

I don’t think anyone can make everything they would need to exist but the fewer steps you have in your specific supply chain the fewer places things can get really screwed up. Almost every area in the USA grows something from animals to grains to vegetables. With the crazy way inflation is hitting the price is comparable of buying grass fed beef, pork and poultry to your local Mega-mart. Usually the quality is better or at least the product is fresher as it has not travel several days in shipping.

I made up a batch or Artisan bread dough to bake off a few loaves. It boggles my mind that people are paying $4.00-$6.00 for a loaf of bread and bread is so easy to make at home. I am lucky that I can buy yeast in 1-2 pound packages and I have stocked on flour and wheat grains as part of my prep. Even if flour doubles in price my one pound loaf of bread will still cost less than a dollar per loaf including electricity for my oven.

The bread recipe is simple just flour, yeast and a bit of salt. But it ain’t White Wonder bread that is mostly air. This bread is substantial and chewy. Heck you don’t have to knead the bread just mix it up and leave it over night in the fridge and it can be ready to bake the next day. A big plus is home made bread is not filled with all the chemicals to keep store bought bread “soft” and preserve it from not getting moldy. The great thing about this Artisan bread is it freezes wonderfully for several months and even putting it in in the fridge for a week it is still not moldy.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself about getting and being prepared. I have great peace of mind that I have plenty of staples on hand that I can eat well though the meals might get a bit repetitive. I am blessed finding local suppliers of raw milk full of great stuff for the body. A couple of butchers and local farmers that provide good meat at a price I can afford andI live in an Ag region that could supply me locally. Of course farmers and ranchers will almost always chase higher profits. But that is capitalism. I’m not blind to the hypocrisy that people deride profit seeking if they are not the ones to profit.

There seems some bias creeping in about people not getting back to work. Perhaps it is just me reading some bias that might not exist but these are my reasons. It seems a lot of people are peeved that people are not getting back to work and supplying consumer needs. On the right they tend to declare the younger generations as entitized and lazy. On the left it seems they are offended that the lower classes are not leaping to fulfill their wants and desires. I’m 55 years old and I tend to Identify with hard work never hurt any one lower/middle class mentality.

Why should these kids work hard for 10-15 $ per hour? The average cost of a home is $350.000-$400.000 in Idaho. Even with low interest rates there is no way a young family can afford to buy a home on a $30-$50 grand income. Remember the standards was to buy a house that was 2-3 times your yearly income. How many houses are on the market that cost $90,000-$150,000? None those house now cost at best $250,000-$450.000 today. You can’t save up even 10 % down for a house as no bank pays interest on savings account of 1% and inflation eats all that savings.

Why would any kid with everything stacked against him economically work for a pittance with no benefits? Why would any sensible work for a corporation work when loyalty is expected from the bottom up and not the top down. People are called low skilled workers in the service industry but the good ones are not low skilled. Business owners if you want good workers you will have to pay more money. That is reality and yes you will have to raise prices because of labor cost.

You price young people of the housing market by eliminating low cost starter homes. You raise prices on the basics needed to survive and then you get but hurt because kids these days won’t dance to your tune.

I’m okay with business shutting down on the weekend because they can’t get enough workers. I’m okay that some stores are not open 24/7. I will survive. I think it is great that people are starting to realize the value of their labor and that the elites are getting all butt hurt that people are not going back to work in the the traditional way of the last 40 years.

I love how the media is trying to scare these kids working a gig economy that they won’t have SS when SS is scheduled to run out of funds in the next 18 years.

I worry about the kids these days. Not because I don’t think they are dumb. I think they are less prepared for day to day life. Nothing big just how to make meals. Make a budget, garden, use tools and know how to make improvement for their lives. The kids that get it are great and on the way to success. The ones that don’t get it will face a tougher time.

Most of life is getting lucky and the harder you work the luckier you will get.

Big freezer re-organized, Meat frozen and chopping wood.

January 17, 2022

I  have been eating out of my largest chest freezer as it had the oldest meats that I bought from grocery store sales.  This method has worked out great cleaning out the older frozen meats and has left my other small freezers well stocked with meats that I bought last summer/fall.  I have not lost anmy food to freezer burn since I started using the Foodsaver vacuum pak bags though a couple of packages dated back to 2019.

Chest freezers are more efficient than Upright freezers but rotating your food is more difficult in a chest freezer since the oldest products can get buried in the bottom of the freezer.  I find using plastic storage crates work pretty good for storing items in the chest freezer but are easy to pull out of the freezer and  re-organize for a first in first out (FIFO) system.  I also find it easier to grab stuff if it is not buried in the bottom of the freezer.

I still have 2 blocks of ice and a frozen turkey on the bottom of the freezer.  I probably won’t cook this turkey until November of this year and the blocks of ice fill up the freezer until I can afford to buy the stuff to fill the freezer.  A full freezer is an energy efficient freezer. A bonus of having blocks of ice in the freezer is it will help keep everything frozen longer if the power goes out.  If your freezer already has ice in it and the power goes out you know you will have a bit more time to either buy more ice or get your generator setup to keep your food cold/frozen.  Another advantage of using crates is you can quickly dump all your frozen food in a heavy duty garbage bag if you have to bug out.  The food might spoil depending on time but your freezer won’t absorb the rotting food smells.  That will make cleanup easier and much cheaper compared to buying another freezer!

If you had not guessed I love using the Foodsaver bags for freezing foods.  I had to toss a lot of food last year even though I wrapped it foodservice plastic wrap and used freezer grade Ziplock bags.  If you ever freeze any thing for 3 months or more you really need to invest in a Food saver!  I like the full size versions of the food saver that you can use with Jar seal attachment for Wade mouth jars.  That attachment costs about $7.00 and is great for sealing jars of dry goods.  Crackers, cookies and chips will tastes as fresh as the day you seal them up.

Wood cutting:  I finished cutting up the wood cut for kindling.  I cut up the bigger chunks of split wood into smaller chunks and then split those chunks into kindling.  I like using this method because if my energy level drops I can always come back later and finish cutting up more kindling rather that starting from scratch.  While I buy split fire wood some of those chunks of firewood are larger than the size of wood I like to use in my stove.  Some of the Doug fir can have knots and some wavy grain.  It might not be the best wood for kindling it is perfect for starting fires between size of a split log and kindling.  There is no reason to try and make kindling out of a chunk of wood that has knots or crazy grain when you have other chunks of wood that are nice straight grain and no knots.

I started a new system for moving wood from the wood pile to the front porch rack.  I’m using my garden cart but I’m only moving wood to the backyard patio in the wagon.  I bought a cloth/canvas firewood bag and it is the greatest firewood moving tool I have ever used!  I have stacked my arms full of wood and can’t see were I’m going, my clothing or arms get covered in sap, wood remnants and dirt  with every load of wood.  Now I just fill this bag and I walk  a load of wood one handed to the front porch wood rack.  It actually takes less time to fill the porch wood rack using the bag rather than grabbing an arm load of wood. My local Fred Meyer has these bags in the BBQ section for about $15.00 and my local farm store sells them for about $20.00.  If you heat with a wood stove and have to carry wood any distance get on of these bags you will love it!

I’m starting to get deeper in the woodpile of some of the older wood.  I’m using the maul to split some of the wood and I think some of it is white maple as it splits fairly easily.  Some of the wood is poplar with twisted grain.  But every bit of the older wood that I split and use frees up space for this years new addition to the wood pile.

It might not be good news but if you want to install a wood stove I would budget at least five thousand dollars for the stove and the chimney.  You are installing a new heating system and installing new heaters in any home is not cheap about 5 grand for an average cost.  I’d plan on at least your wood costing about a $1000.00 to start building a good stack of fire wood.  Not all wood is created equal.  Pallet wood/mill ends will burn but it is dirty and soots up your chimney quicker than well seasoned firewood.  A wood stove requires some effort.  Now I’m disabled but I have all day to cut fire wood but some times I just can’t cut wood because of physical energy limitations.  If you work a job that takes 8-12 hours of your time every day.  You probably won’t want to cut wood/kindling to feed a stove.  I’m not saying you should not get a wood stove but it is not always the most cost effective energy source depending on your area.   What I love about my wood stove is I control my heat in my home.  I can stack wood for future heating needs.  No government or public utility can control how warm I choose to keep my home in winter.

If you can’t afford a wood stove I’d get Mr. buddy heaters and the propane adapters for 15-20 pound propane tanks.  In 0 degree F. a Mr. buddy heater with a battery powered fan will heat a 1200 Sq. ft. home to about 68 degrees in about 45 minutes. Propane is fairly safe to store and you have tanks for your BBQ/grill.

I don’t know your situation and what you are dealing with everyday.  All I can tell you is the things I have dealt with and hope some of it is applicable/useful to you.  You know your situation better than anyone in the world.

You don’t have to prep for the end of the world.  All you have to do is start.  How many think about stocking up on laundry detergent or thought it was a major target for shoplifting?  So I bought a couple o of jugs of detergent or a couple of extra bottle of Dawn dish soap.  You know know casualties were recorded.  LOL

Last but not least I don’t think you should buy everything just because you can.  Leave some stuff for other people/preppers that may not be as well prepared as you are. I don’t want folks to get desperate as that leads to bad outcomes. Don’t be nasty and let others go before you if you have prepped.  I suspect the world will get crazy enough with out antagonizing people even if you want (I told you so) validation.

All people are children of God. though some them don’t act like it.  I will admit I’m a bit less charitable towards people that call me bad names.  Jesus reminds me it’s not about what other people do.  It’s about what I do in life.

A great couple of days of shopping done!

January 14, 2022

I finally got some chicken thighs on sale for .65 cents per pound.  I hit two different stores and bought 25-30 pounds to get my my big freezer restocked with some chicken.  Mom wants to buy about 8-10 ponds of the chicken from me so I will add a some more next week if chicken is in the stores.  I love cooking with chicken thighs as they are so flexible for making meals in my one person household.  From fried chicken to making stocks, soups or a quick chicken Parmesan.  I bought a few sirloin steaks at $3.99 per pound at Albertsons because I wanted some steak and did not defrost any beef.

Last summer I read about a shortage of potatoes and I did not think there could be a potato shortage here in Idaho.  The shortage and higher prices is real for some fresh potatoes in stores, but it seems the frozen potato market is the hardest hit.  I have been buying dehydrated potatoes, packages of dried hash browns seem to me to be the best for recipes since they are just shredded potatoes.  You can buy dried mash potatoes but I don’t find those mashed potatoes as useful for regular potato recipes.  I buy a box of Idahoan hash browns and get about 60 individual serving for $9.00-$12.00 per box.  More expensive than buying fresh but much easier to store and use.

Stocked up on dry pet food and added a few cans of wet cat food.  The pet food market is insane with rising costs for dry food and some wet pet food not available at any price.  The grain free dry dog food I bought is higher cost from a local company but my dog and 2 of my cats love it.   In fact I think my cats are  eating more of the dry dog food than their dry cat food. I’m still buying a “fresh” wet dog food for my dog as it is convenient and since it seems more expensive to shopper it is still in stock.  But I can make home made “wet” dog food that is healthy.  I don’t know a recipe to make a good homemade cat food.  I know the protein levels are higher for cats but I’m up on the do’s and don’ts  for homemade cat food.  There is terrible information out on the internet and it is hard to find reliable sources for making good cat food at home.  I used an essential oil on my cat and in seconds that cat was frothing at the mouth and I think she could have died if I had not washed that oil of this dish soap.  All that was said is some cats might have a mild reaction to some essential oils.  Almost all Essential oils are terrible for cats as skin contact seems to transfer quickly.  I’m very skeptical about any cat health info from the internet or stores selling new products.  If anyone has a good home made cat food recipe I’d love to try it out.

Bought some lumber and some Luxury vinyl planking (LVP) from the Restore.  I was a little off on the cost per box on the LVP but not on my measurements for square footage.  The gal that loaded up the LVP gave me a a little class on some tips and tricks to installing the planking.  I got ten 2×8 by 13 ft.  boards that make some raised bed gardens and the layout foundation of the Greenhouse. There are a few 1 inch notches in the lumber and some of it has a bit of wain and warp but that won’t matter much for the garden boxes.  Building taller garden boxes this year is my goal.  I have never read any one wish they built shorter garden boxes. So building double stacked 8 inch tall garden boxes is in my future.  I have a lot of old chunks of wood that can fill up the garden bed and break down so filling the garden bed should not be a problem.

It seems the closer you can buy items produced closest to you the less the supply chain fiasco affects you.  That does not mean you get low prices it just means that you can buy the stuff you need.  What you can grow in a garden is a zero step in the supply chain.  That does not mean you can pull carrots out of the ground in January based on the growing season in most of the USA.  I planted a great garden early seedlings I started indoors early and the heat killed almost everything.  I did whine about Mother nature and the weather and I bought a lot of shade clothe to protect my plants.  Gardening is all about lessons learned mostly the hard way.

Mayor Bloomberg thought that growing a crop of corn was add corn seed to dirt, water it and you will have corn.  Never take farming/gardening advice from a Wall Street idiot/politician.

I have the pots and I’m going to try and grow some tomatoes, peppers, celery and some herbs to harvest this spring.  Yes I know I have to manually cross pollinate some of the plants. It probably won’t work and all I will have lost is the time brushing tomato plant with a pipe cleaner.

I’m not a doomer!  I do think the elites are idiots and they don’t know that people have taken steps to not be a part of the New world order or the “Global Reset” . I’m somewhat optimistic that the worse things get the more people wake up.  It’s a bit hit and miss. But all you need to do to defy the Powers That Be  (PTB)  is don’t play there game.  Just say no to the fear mongering and othering of your neighbors.  Some folks are fearful.  I know last year I handed out a few masks and told people how to sanitize the masks for reuse.  Bernie Sanders wants to send 3 masks via UPS  to everyone in the USA and not tell them how to sanitize them for reuse.  This is a waste of money If you wear a mask you already have them on hand.  If you don’t believe in masks for virus protection you will throw in the shop for the next time you sand fiberglass.

I don’t know what to tell folks that is any different than prepare.  It boggled my mind that folks in the south did not  not have generator on hand for a Hurricane Season or tailgating or camping or running an AC unit during brownouts in the summer. I don’t get the resistance to being prepared to be some what comfortable in any weather event is some how bad.

Prioritizing and staying flexible

January 10, 2022

I am well stocked on the basic long term food grains.  My biggest concern is fresh foods like meat and veggies.  I am expanding my garden and buying local meat and dairy.  I’d like to buy 1/2 beef and split it with my Mom but she does not have the funds available for a march purchase.  I may have to buy a 1/4 beef and the smaller 45 pound bulk pork packages to fill the meat wants for the future.

Chicken is getting harder to find at a low price and the local markets have had 0 chicken products for 3 days running. I have been reading there might be an over supply of turkey working it’s way through grocery market supply chains.  Figures, after the Holidays Turkeys go on sale.  Watching for sales on turkey or replacing chicken with turkey for a cheap protein in your freezer might become cost effective.  If cooking a whole turkey is a problem look up how to “Spatchcock” a bird.  You basically are splitting the bird in half so it cooks faster but there is no reason you can’t cook a turkey for several smaller meals rather than just one big meal.

I sorted divided up my freezers for different items.  I bought a small pork bundle and placed it in the freezer section of the the “beer fridge”.  This was a test of how much I would like the pork.  I love the bacon, the sausage is okay and the other items are good quality.  I’m not knocking the sausage for quality I just don’t love the spices used.  I love the bacon so overall I am pleased with the purchase.

My small chest freezer is holding a quarter of beef and that freezer is full. I was given a choice between more hamburger or stew meat and I chose more hamburger. Next order I will get more stew meat!

The big chest freezer is getting low on items as I have been eating out of that freezer to free up space for new purchases of local meat. I’m not low on food I used a few Ice blocks to fill space to to keep the freezer “full” so it cost less energy to keep the freezer cold.  Now is the time to look at organizing and restocking the freezer.

I have been going through my dry goods and tossing out some older canned foods that look a bit iffy with cans that seemed to have bulged or sticky exteriors for no reason.  Coffee stocks are okay.  I tested out one of those small Italian coffee/expresso makers on my wood stove.  Yes I can make coffee on the wood stove though it is a bit slow.  I still think the French press is the best off grid coffee maker!  I loaded up on Carnation Fudge making kits. All you need to add is 2 table spoons of butter and this kit has everything to make 1.5 pounds of fudge with about 10 minutes of cooking. Chocolate and Coffee may not available with the supply chain crisis and most areas that grow the beans have been hit with natural disasters that affected the crop out put.  Biden’s Covid Policy looks to hit the Trucker supply chain from Canada and I suspect the same thing will happen at the border with Mexico.  Look at the items you want on hand and see where those items come from in the world.

I just bought some undies for twice as much as I paid just 2 years ago.  I bought 2 packages of socks a year ago for about a dollar per pair and now it is twice the cost or more.  Boys and girls it’s not just food you need to stock up on!

Don’t go crazy and max out your credit cards or get a loan to prep.  Just be aware things have changed in the US economy and you will have to be flexible to take advantage of sales or getting the items you need based on what you have available to spend each month.

Last but not least you need to focus on producing some of your own food.  Every dollar you don’t spend for fresh veggies or herbs is a dollar in your pocket. If all you have is a balcony and some pots focus on herbs as they are the most costly thing to buy in the store and with a $60.00 dehydrator you can make your own herb and spice mixes.

My garden was a disaster because of a massive heat wave that lasted for weeks.  But my squash did well even though I gave up on the garden.  I got discouraged but I have added several shade covers and plant covers to mitigate a hot summer.  You live and learn.  2017 we had 18 inches of snow/ice and no trash pickup but once a month.  I had a burn barrel and I’m sure the enviro-mental whakko’s would have problem with me burning trash as opposed to government approved facilities burning trash.

Don’t fight the “Beast” because you are not allowed to win.  Ignore the beast, move around the beast. Simply say no to the beast and don’t play the game.  Never play a game when you know you are not allowed to win.

Gosh it been awhile… Time to catch up!

January 6, 2022

The last couple of weeks of December I felt awful.  I didn’t get the Covid or Omicron variant so no natural immunity darnit!  I think I had a CIDP flare and the weather changes did not help make my joints and old broken bones feel good.  For the cherry on top of suck I had a few days of lack of sleep and crazy sleep cycles.  That seems to be in the past as my sleep cycle is getting closer to normal and while the joints still ache during weather changes the aches and pains are back into my normal range.

I had a good Xmas eve lunch/dinner of prime rib with my aunt and Mom. We traded some gift cards and small presents that were made at home or food so we are not very good American cooperate consumers.  Huzzah!  It became a white Christmas and we have had snow on and off through the new year.  Though now it is getting just warm enough to turn the snow into a slushy mess.  We had a little cold snap that dropped the temps down around 0 degrees F. for a few days but not a disaster of freezing pipes or of power outages.  Some days it is hard to get motivated about cutting wood, kindling and filling up the “porch” wood rack.  Nothing feels better than wood heat on a cold winter day especially when you hear about rolling blackouts, down power lines and countries that have oil, coal and Nat gas shortages that they inflicted on their own citizens because “global warming”.

I doing some cleanup on the wood pile. I’m splitting some of the older hardwoods, using more of the knotty chunks full of burls that I through on top of the pile as that type of wood does not stack well.  I found a new way to stack wood on the porch a little bit at a time rather than all at once when I get low.  The key piece of equipment is the garden cart and a covered patio. I split and cut wood to fill the cart and roll the cart from the wood pile to patio.  Then I more the wood to the porch firewood rack later or over the next day.  Moving the wood in stages really helped me when I was feeling so punky in December because I knew wood was close at hand in my  garden cart.

I have one more reason to clean up my wood pile.  I want to pay the wood cutter to stack the wood pile after delivery.  I have stacked 3 cords of wood and it usually takes me a couple of weeks at best.  Mom had the wood guys stack her wood and it was done in less than 2 hours for the cost of $25.00.  My cost might be more for 3 cords but if they can stack the wood the same day as delivery that will save me so much time and effort. People forget bad stuff very quickly so I suspect once winter is over wood and and wood stoves might become available at lower prices.  I think the best time to buy wood is in April/May time frame as no one is thinking about winter.  This is a good time to get that chimney swept and wood stove cleaned as the sweeps need work during this time frame.

Great news, Smokey my 15 year old cat not only survived 2021 she is much better!  Smokey was not doing so well at the start of 2021.  She was not using the cat box and piddling on the bed.  She slept a lot and had little interaction with the world.  That all changed when I moved her to a different room (so I could clean up her peeing on a bed mattress.)  Smokey’s new bed was a smaller and shorter German day bed.  I covered the mattress with a water resistant barrier. I add some piddle/potty training pads to catch any accidents.  My younger cats got fed in this room so I just added a new dish on the floor for Smokey.

The change in Smokey has been amazing!  She is using the cat box again and is not the piddle pads.  She is eating more and I think she is putting on a little weight.  She is looking better, like she is grooming her self. Smokey seems to want to come out of the bedroom and into the rest of the house except for that Boomer dog. Smokey has never liked dogs and Boomer has been very sweet not reacting to Smokey’s Hissing.  I thought I would lose Smokey this year but she is coming back strong.  I supported this cat when she weak because she deserved it.  I love how she is coming back and I’m glad I did not take her to vet just because we had a small piddle problem.   Of course that mattress was old and is probably destroyed so nothing of value was lost.

Good news Mom and I are off Verizon Cell phone service as of Dec. 27 and are using Consumer Cellular.  I bought a couple of the cheap flip phones and now we should save $50..00-60.00 per month compared to Verizon and so far I am getting better service with Consumer cellular.  I had to wait on hold with Verizon for 1 hour and 30 minutes just to confirm my phone lines were canceled.  Verizon’s website is awful to navigate and whenever I tried to cancel some service I always got a failed/ error webpage.  Plus Verizon supports CRT and I won’t support any corporation that inflicts that sort of group think on it’s employees.

Getting local and building up your network of suppliers.  There was no chicken thighs, quarters or breast to buy at Albertsons for 3 days.  Now some items were on sale but people literally cleaned out 2 stores in Nampa of chicken.  Not Beef or pork just chicken thighs for 3 plus days.   I’m not blaming people If I can  get cheap meat prices I’ll buy.  Now I just 5 pounds of bacon at $5.89 at a local butcher shop.  The price for butcher block bacon at Albertsons is $6.99 per pound.  2 slices of bacon from the local butcher shop satisfies me better than 4 slices of Cooperate bacon because of fat shrinkage.  You ain’t saving money if it takes twice as much to to equal the the same amount.

I was a poor kid in the 1970’s.  I was also a weird kid that noticed inflation and Price fixing and all the government fixes that made thing worse.  I think Jimmy Carter was an idiot but there were plenty of idiots to go around at that time.  Ronald Reagan and Paul Volker raised the interest rates to 18-20% for all secured loans. Can you imagine trying to buy a home mortgage at 12-18 % interest? Folks did that in the early 80’s.

I recommend you pay off all credit card debt.  Let’s face it you are not getting a 1-3% interest rate on your debt. So paying off that debt a quickly as possible makes good financial sense. Cut out expense’s.  Get local.

This should be a no brainer to most people but it is not because people are creatures of habit.  I have read about people that won’t leave some TBTF banks because it too much effort to set up new direct deposits and  bill paying online via a computer.  It’s your money, why don’t you care about it?

Same old same old,  We got snow so that should help the drought situation.  I’m very interested on how the pastures seed  at Mom’s place does this spring with all this snow.

Some shopping, some Xmas lights are up and shopping for Xmas dinner is done.

December 17, 2021

I know it can be hard to feel festive for the holidays.  Things are getting more expensive and just making a living is getting a lot tougher. But, it is not all bad as the tougher things get, the more people wake up.  Simply because the day to day reality of living does not match up with what is spewed via the media and politicians.  You are not alone in questioning the propaganda. Many people are growing food, shopping local and becoming more self-reliant.  I see 3 pounds of bacon in my local mega-mart is (on sale?)  for $16.00 for 3 pounds or I can visit a local butcher and buy 3 pounds of locally produced bacon for about $16.00 for 3 pounds.  Buying locally is getting close to the same price of what is offered in most mega-marts and you usually get better quality.

I had a bad week feeling a bit punky. I wasn’t sick.  My body just was not willing to get stuff done for a few days.  I think I might be having a CIDP flare or it might be stress and dealing with the changing weather going into winter.  Perhaps I got the “Coof”.  Nope, when I start catching a cold my immune system sort of revs up and I feel good a few days before the cold smacks me down.

I finally got the Xmas tree and some Xmas lights up today.  I’m not going all “Griswold” with Xmas lights that can be seen from space.  I still like putting up a tree and a few lights in the windows and around the yard.  I think about years ago some news outlet said it was “insensitive” to put up Xmas lights because some people are poor or some people don’t celebrate Xmas.  Putting up Xmas decorations makes me happy and any one that does not like it can get bent.  Your issues are not my problem.

Everything is simple that does not make it easy. You don’t want trangenders competing in female sports do a DNA test.  I don’t know why females in sport even give a male transgender the time of day in the sport. Refuse to compete with males, and they are males.  Let this idiot male compete alone and then he hits the finish line then you girls compete.

I played Little league baseball, flag football  in Idaho back in the 1970’s and I did not ask for any special treatment because I was female. The Coach loved me because I worked harder than many males and I was good enough that many of the boys liked me.  I did not whine about stuff being unfair.  I simply did leg presses of of 800+ pounds.  I had the leaping ability of a safe and was slow as a stone toad in any sort of sprint.

I never worried about strength or weakness as an NCO in the Army because I saw women be the most nasty creatures protecting their positions and the boys.  I saw all to many women use men because they were to physically weak to do a job.

Any time you go to a range you are given several magazine full of ammo and you create a lot of havoc if you were so incline.  Heck the US army assigned M60’s and belts of ammo to females and no woman turned that M60 or M249 against their squad leaders.

I’ve seen the same for gamers. If you are good and win male or female is irrelevant.  Good for you!  Why would any person give trolls any power that hope to bring you down to their level.

It’s called a block button and all of social media sites have it.  All of social media is not reality any more than TV or cable new is reality.  Get local folks and theat any and all Social media with a big grain of salt.

Repaired and re-installed old shop door

December 15, 2021

The recycled door did not work out because the hinge area wood was so stripped out from the screws that the weight of the door pulled the hinges out of the door and the frame.  I tried using some wood putty to fill in the old screw holes but there was not enough wood left for the screws to hold the heavier door. 

 I repaired the old door by adding new door skin pieces I had on hand.  I added a metal kick plate so my doggo won’t have an easy time trying to chew or dig his way through the door. Last but not least I added some longer screws to secure the framing wood of the door to make the door a little more rigid.  Hopefully this should keep the doggo out of the shop until I can buy a better door. 

I learned a lot trying to hang a door. I bought one of those hinge templates for doors that come with a router bit. I got to use my new little router cutting the hinge area and suffered no casualties. I repaired the old door and got it in place using materials I had on hand.  While the (new) door did not work out for the shop, I’m glad I got to practice using new tools on a $30.00 used door rather than a new door that can cost $150.00 and up.  I think I may find a use for this door at Mom’s place. 

Mom has a couple of places she needs a door with a window.  One is a shop door that had busted glass window and we covered the window opening with a metal sheet to keep out most of the weather and larger critters. She also has a root cellar that could use a door that has a window to let in a little bit of light but not direct sunlight. So the recycle door may find a new home in the future. 

Mom returned a little cat tree I loaned for her kitties and I added it to Smokey the cat’s room and she is using the little cat tree.  Smokey the cat is old and has been a great cat.  Her using the cat box has been a bit hit or miss and she piddles on piddle pads.  But she is a great cat and just because she is a bit inconvenient and needs a bit more work/effort does not mean she isn’t valued. I added a little cat tower to Smokey’s room and she is using the tower.  We know cats can be a bit hit or miss adding toys.  In the couple of days I noticed that Smokey is moving around a lot more.  I had a day of her not pooing outside the cat litter box though she is still peeing on the bed.  Not a problem as I added a water proof mattress cover and with the pet piddle pads the piddle is much easier to clean up. 

A bit sad Smokey is not good about using the litter box and peed on some of the blankets.  I think I’m getting on top of the kitty  piddle and poo problem. Plus all the blankets and sheets got cleaned up this weekend so permanent damage has been done. 

I don’t think pets should be accessories or a way to flex. My doggo ate or scratch through a door to get to me in his small little brain.  I had to to repair the door and that is okay.  Pets are random creatures. Not good nor bad just something to deal with and train.  I have left the house since installing the repaired door.  I see a few wet nose marks on the new door skin but no scratches or teeth marks trying to get through the door.  I think Boomer the dog has a separation anxiety issue and because of that he was not properly socialized.  I think he might have been neglected because of him being a little destructive when left alone.  While I’m not condoning isolating a dog because they are destructive I can understand why it could happen.  I’m on disability and sort of a home body so Boomer almost always has his person around and is not destructive while I’m around.  We are working on his socialization but it will take some time to overcome his early learning/reaction of his former home. 

I have an old cat that is losing some of her training and a young dog that never got some basic training.  Over all I can handle both issues.  Boomer is smart as he learned to go potty outside in a couple of weeks.  Smokey the cat probably won’t get better at some things but she is pooing in the cat box and using the new cat tree and moving around more eating food and getting a bit more physical movement and mental stimulation eating with the new cats. 

I checked out the new Habitat Restore and they have some 2×10, 2 x8 and 2×12 in 8-12 foot lengths.  Some boards have some small 1-2 inch notches cut out but these boards will make great garden beds. I picked up a couple of small items and talked to the gal about some LVP or Luxury Vinyl Planking that is at the store and she says she has a warehouse full of the planking but it is in darker colors.  I want to replace/cover up the linoleum in my  5×7  foot small bathroom and at $2.79 a square foot I could replace the floor for about $100.00 in materials.  While I’m no expert this looks like a good quality product that would cost about $4.00 per sq.ft. new.  I also saw some folding and accordion door/ closet doors I’d like to replace at a lower cost than the big box stores. 

With the inflation we are seeing very few items will be cheap.  I will admit I tried to prepare buying the cheapest item that was functional.  Now I can afford to buy better products or by more of some used products because I’m not desperate to buy what I don’t have on hand. 

When you feel you have nothing on hand and feel desperate that you are exposed to hunger,  freezing in winter or overheating in summer.  That feeling is terrifying especially if it your kids and family that could suffer. It’s okay to feel afraid that is normal. I can still find Store coffee for about $4.00 for a small can. I got a turkey for about $.70 cent per pound and found a small turkey.  Prime rib is about $ 6.00 per pound in stores and a 3-4 pound prime rib will feed 6-8 people.  It is a special meal so if it costs a few dollars more you pay it.  Or you find a different meal plan. 

Speaking for myself you need to change your mindset. From Consumer to how you buy products. Make your garden a lifestyle you want for yourself.  If I had kids I would never send then to public schools as I think public schools are evil. But I don’t have kids so my opinion does not carry  much weight as parents deal a lot of issues that I don’t deal with about the school system. 

Does your local government make your life better or worse is a question we should ask our selves. We have no control of the federal government but we might push local government. 


My Dog ate my Shop door and replacing the door

December 9, 2021

The previous owners of my house often made some odd and very cheap choices for the projects they did around the house.  They installed a cheap interior hollow core door for the shop door.  My new doggo (a very stout terrier) shredded the door and the light weight skin of that door when he decided he could not find me when I went shopping.

New doors cost at least $150.00 and go up in price very quickly and finding doors in stock is hit or miss no matter the price.  Just to add a little more challenge the door measures a non-standard 32 inches wide rather than the standard 36 inch wide exterior door. 

I found a door at the local “Restore outlet” that carries new and used construction supplies that contractors and DIY homeowners donate. The door was only $30.00 has a  frosted glass window but is a little short to fit the door frame.  Add a couple of 2x4s at the top and bottom and the door will fit the existing door frame fairly close.  A little trim and some new thick weather stripping and the door should work better than the old door.  I’m going to add a metal “kickplate” to the door so my doggo won’t have an easy job of tearing up the door when I leave him to go shopping. 

My shop is not insulated so it won’t make a difference if the door is not air tight. I figure the door will cost about $50.00 after adding in the new metal kick plate.  The 2x4s I already had on hand.  The proper way to fix that door would be reframe the door and install a 36 inch exterior door but that would cost me a lot more money.  I have plans for making the shop better for year round use.  Adding insulation, adding a few walls to make better work areas.  Right now it is a storage area with a few work spaces. 

I was surprised the little store I went to had so much stuff for sale. Sure some of the stuff ere things removed for renovations but most items are physically sound and simply are not considered of the current decorating style. What you like and what I like for decorating styles/eras is probably very different.  I really like the Craftsman type house and more of a 1920’s/30s look of camel back sofas and tall wing back chairs. You might like a mix of Art Deco and the 1980’s look of black furniture with a mix of greys and white with splashes of colors as contrast.  What you like is what you like.  I sort of knew the look I wanted for my furniture but until I found THE chair I loved at a yard sale I could not find the style for the rest of the furniture I wanted to have in my house.  

This might seem a little bit off-topic for a self reliant/prepping web blog.  Your home is your castle/sanctuary, a school and a workspace.  Not many houses are set up to meet all those needs in a pandemic controlled USA.  Most new homes have glass top stoves that you can’t use a canner or stock pot because you will crack the glass top of the stove. Oh the stoves look pretty and they are easy to clean but those stoves are not made for cooking, they are made for looking pretty!  Granite/marble/ stone counter tops are the “trend” and you still have to add wood or plastic butcher blocks or cutting boards to cook a simple meal of real food and not a micro-wave meal. I will admit those kitchens look pretty.  I just don’t think they are very functional as a cooking/baking kitchen.  Stainless steel counters are more functional and I hate the look of stainless steel counter tops!  Good news Butcher block counter tops are starting to come back into the Big Block stores.  

Make your space work for you.  I don’t have kids to educate but I think adding a cork board frame for art work or good report cards or homeschooling achievements would be great for any kid.  A wall painted with Chalkboard paint and a bunch of colors of chalk a kid could draw on but learn there are some boundaries about where they can use chalk would be great.   Side walks and patios could be free range for a child’s artistic endeavors.  Don’t like it get a hose to wash it away or the water just creates a new canvas for the child’s artistic endeavors.  Save the sidewalk child’s art with a digital pic before you wash it away and post it on the fridge or the art chalk board.  Think outside the box people!  I don’t even have kids and I can think of ways to use a simple game of Hopscotch using simple multiplication tables one dice and the kid has to figure what square the have to jump to win.  You tube has School House Rock that taught all sort of easy lessons of multiplication tables, the preamble of the Constitution and basic English grammar and it is all free to download. 

There are tons of Educational resources online that span all of politics. MIT and Hilldale college both offer Free college level courses for free. While you won’t get a Diploma you can educate yourself and offer a good start for home schooling course.

Want to learn to build something? There is a youtube video for that. Build a birdhouse if you have the tools and teach your kids how to use tools. Don’t have the tools or wood. Go to Joanne’s Home depot Lowes or another local

craft store and buy premade bird houses that kids can paint and observe. Add a few bird feeders and kids start learning about preferences. What some birds prefer for feeders and squirrels are really the commandos of the urban back yard. I know many people hate squirrels. I’m impressed with how quickly they adapt. I saved some of my Black walnuts in a bucket to let the husk dry and drop off. The squirrels cleaned out the bucket. I’m not mad it is fascinating how nature finds a way to survive by putting in minimal work.

I know it will astound some people how we learned to bake bread. I tried and fail a lot before succeeded and I tried making other breads by persistence of wanting to learn to make good bread. I have a mix of success. The more I try making different bread types the better I get at making all types of bread.

Failure is learning and that is a good thing! Embrace failure as learning and paying for baking supplies or a few building supplies is your tuition. It is still cheap compared to a college education.

Ivy league colleges cost a lot of money. $40,000-80,000 per year. Let’s low ball the estimate of a four year Ivy league education at a cost $150,000 per year per degree if you get a degree in 2-4 years that most people don’t meet that standard. That is not counting the interest of most student loans that is about 6.75% or higher. It would be cheaper to finance a home loan and send your kid to a tech school for electrician, plumbing, Hvac Tech, welding or a trucker after putting a down payment for a home and pay for technical schooling for a job that can never be out sourced or sent over seas. Even if your kid does not get a job in the new economy he/she will have skill to make his parts of his own home.

There are companies that are paying a premium wage for people that know how to read a tape measure and can add/substract fractions. Cut metal, cut wood with precision.

This country does not need any more gender study idiots. Nor Diversity Inclusion and Equity officials bureaucrats. California has broken the supply chain in the ports and by denying independent truckers with older trucks no licenses in the stated. The Federal government could nullify California’s laws for 180 days to clear the ports under the Interstate Commerce Act. Why won’t DC exert Federal supremacy clause against California ports unless the feds want a supply chain crisis?

You can make yourself crazy following the actions of the Federal government. I recommend you find ways not work with the Feds or major corporations and get local. You pay more now or you pay more later. It cost more money to add ethanol to gas. But adding ethanol to gas is tax payer subsidized and buying ethanol free gas is more costly than “normal” gas.

Snow incoming next week

December 3, 2021

This area tends to have a lot of fog when the weather shifts from warm to cold or warm to hot.  I live in a valley so air can get trapped and get stagnant when the weather shifts.  While I may hate the fog it does mean the weather pattern is changing and all the fog/stagnant air will get blown away with the “storm front” moving into the valley. 

I much prefer snow to a cold or Icy rain but I stocked up the front porch rack with wood for the wood stove.  My kindling box is getting low after stocking up Mom and my own indoor kindling box.  I’m cutting Doug fir into kindling from the Spring delivery.  The wood is dry if not seasoned but after the wood is cut into small kindling size and dries another week or two those little chunks of wood make fine kindling. 

My process for cutting kindling is fine chunks of wood without knots and split that into smaller chunks.  It seems it is easier to split those smaller chunks into kindling after the split wood rests for a couple of days.  There are a few knots that can be hidden in the split wood so I just toss those chunks to the side and add them to the porch wood pile rather than put in the effort to split knotty wood. Almost all of Doug fir I get delivered will fit in my wood stove so it is a bit silly to try and split a knotty chunk of wood for kindling if you can grab another chunk of wood that is easy to split and use the knotty chunk of wood as a normal chunk of fire wood. 

Cutting kindling should be an easy job. If you are working hard to make kindling you should find ways to make the job easier because all you are making is a fire starter.  I have seen some youtube vids that have a different way of starting a fire. I have seen people use no kindling and use a propane torch to start a fire.  One gal uses sawdust/wood chips that are wetted down with diesel and kept in a bucket that she adds a some to start a fire in a small stove in a tiny house she has heated for 7+ years.  While I may not use these methods for starting a fire they could be options if you know what you are doing.  

I would recommend a fire extinguisher in every area that you have a fire alarm. You might not be able to save the house in a fire but having a fire extinguisher to knock down flames so you can escape a fire seems like a good thing to have on hand.  Also if the “Riot Mobs” get a frisky with arson a good ABC quality Fire extinguisher will probably work better than water for putting out a Molotov cocktail compared to water.  

It is sad but very predictable.  The elites don’t care that your local pharmacy or store are burned and looted.  If the stores of the upper middle class like Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom’s and other more expensive/exclusive stores are looted in a smash and grab.  Now it is a problem that needs attention.   

This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue.  It is an elitist against the poor and middle class issue.  I’m no socialist and think communism is evil.  But if cooperate types want people to work for you.  You have to offer better benefits and pay.  That is the Free Market of supply and demand!  

I think the covid-19 and  economic inflation is the silver lining of the cloud that the elites have hung over western Civilization pushed by the elites. People can’t ignore inflation now.  Even though many of us preppers have complained for years about the shrinkage of every thing from Ice cream buckets to soup cans getting smaller. Inflation has been getting worse for at least 5 years and the Covid pandemic madness only made it worse. 

I have cheap tissue paper I bought in year 2010-12 range and it is better quality than most high cost tissue paper sold today.  Inflation has been happening for almost a decade it has just been slow enough you did not notice the value of money evaporating. 

What can you do?  No politician will save you.  You will have to save your self and your family. You already survived the Pandemic panic of 2020 and did not die.  Good for you now you just have to deal with the idiots and inflation.  While not easy, it is doable.  Turn all your money into basic needs first.  I don’t know your prep level but get the basics first of simple to store dry goods like beans and rice, flour for bread and find away to cook off grid that is not dependent on public utilities. 

If I was still working  I would look at what it costs to work your job.  You might love your job but how much time is your commute? I might be odd but I never found rush hour calming and less than stress full despite the fact you are moving at low speed and stop and go all the time. 

Why do you work? Unlike the elites I think most people work enough to buy a house have food. Own a descent car and have few other hobbies they enjoy. Are you working for yourself? Or are you working for the elite?