I plan, God laughs! Things are getting done.

July 21, 2017

One major thing I noticed with having the house sprayed for insects inside and outside is the flys are not so abbundant.  I have not sat outside much and tested id mosquitoes are less abbundant.  Getting rid of most of the flies was a big bonus all by itself!  Bad news is we do have roaches but Mom cleaned all the shelves and we have spread DE everywhere and have added boric acid in areas safe for pets and ourselves.  Early days, but I don’t see nearly as many roaches and the bugs I do see are young critters.  So I think we are doing pretty good so far with the DE and adding in the boric acid in pet safe areas to get at those buggies in the nest seems to be working.  This is a long term project of several weeks/months in order to kill out all the roaches.  Already I can see that we have screwed up the roaches feeding and water access and the DE and boric acid is starting to eliminate many of the bugs.

Honestly I think Mom and were starting to get on top of the mouse problem before we called in the exterminator.  Our method was not fast but it was persistent.  Of course washing/bleaching  all your cabinets and basement is not easy but it does make rodent infestations less likely and is a lot of work.  Another bonus of clean up/organizing yor preps is you now get to save what you want and get rid of all that stuff you stored “Just in case you might need it”.  I saved everything when I started prepping and there is a lot of crap I had on hand that was stuff I never used but I did not eliminate.  Don’t store something just to have it.  Be ruthless and store what you need/use because storage space for everyone is limited.   I have cleaned out a lot of items that I stored that no longer are needed in my preps.  Now I have more room for the Items I want to have on hand.

Mom is in a foot boot with a suspected Achilles tendon problem with one foot and plantar faciaitis problem with her heel.   So Mom is gimpy at the moment,  but I did learn a lot about some foot problems and some corrective measures.  If the corrective measures work I will share them with you.  The first day but Mom really likes the new Cadence foot insert after a long day along with shopping.  Buying one $50.00 insert that works is much cheaper than buying multiple “cheaper inserts” that don’t relieve the foot pain.  I get to play cheuffer for at least the next week. I don’t mind but driving around tends to wear me out.  I’m stronger than Mom on many jobs but I have no stamia. I’m good for about twohours then I need a break.  Mom and I make it work.

Good news it looks like the loan/refi is a done deal and all that is needed is an inspection.  I’m not going over board on the loan, just enough to get the job done and keep the same interest rate.  Keeping my house payment low is critical to me.  While I want the work done on my house, I don’t want to become a prisoner of my house.  I think the setup should get the work done, save a bit of money on utilities and make this a home I can live in for the nest few decades.

 


Moving stuff to new shelves is tedious

July 16, 2017

Another old shelf cleaned off and removed!  The people who owned the house before me used nails for every thing except for this shelving so rather than busting apart the shelves I need to unscrew those big freaking deck screws that they used on the shelving.   Honestly, it will be easier now that I know it screws holding the shelf together. Low light levels and assumptions have made some of my demolition a bit more difficult.  Heck,  it was only one board, so I guess I should not complain too much!

Good news is Home depot has the shelves I like on sale till the 19th and I can add a couple of more without breaking the budget. I really like these HDX shelves as they are super easy to put together and the 44 inch height works great in my basement.  Since I have added more shelving and organized my preps I am gaining a lot more space to work with and can add more preps.  I think my basic food preps are solid, now I can add more of the health, tools as well as use the space more productively.  One thing I can say is it will be much easier to get things stored properly and keep the area clean in the future.

The focus for the next week will be clean up of all sorts. I have branch piles, wood pallets and even a quilt that needs cleaned via an industrial size washer and dryer.  The plan of attack is to work on yard cleanup during the cooler part of the day and then shift to the basement when it gets to hot to work outside.

Last but not least Mom picked up our solar eclipse glasses.  We will get totality for a minute or two,  though not quite as long as folks a few miles north of us.  Since this eclipse is happening in summer we should have clear skies in the morning to view it happen.  The last solar eclipse that happened in Idaho it was a cloudy winter/spring day in Lewiston and it got dark and quiet for a couple of minutes.  The Mt. St. Helen’s volcano eruption was more intriguing from 300 miles away.

Anyhoo to wrap this all up the basement is getting cleaned and organized.  The bug killing apocalypse continues on and we are still working on cleaning up stuff.  Once all the paper work is done I’ll post up some before and after pic on the house.


Ugh! Siding is going to be expensive

July 14, 2017

I got the estimate for siding and replacing all of windows and the cost will be around 20 grand.  Not a total surprise but a bit more expensive than I had hoped to pay.   I can’t say I’m surprised as the house is 100 years old so it needs some heavy duty maint. to get her everything working properly for the future. There are several bonuses on getting the siding and windows done that will pay off each month.

  1. The outside of the house will close all mouse and buggy holes.   Trust me eliminating those access areas is a very critical thing for me.
  2. Additional insulation:  This will really help in summer/winter costs and I will no longer have to put up plasic on my crappy windows.
  3. No more painting.  All I’ll need to do is spray down the house twice a year to keep it looking good.

Downside is I am adding debt but the house will gain value “supposedly”.  Well I don’t want to move so I suppose that is a bit of a wash overall.  This is my home and not some sort of investment.  But if I can get a low priced loan and improve the the home for me  I think it is a good trade off.  If it all works then the house exterior will be solid.

Basement cleanup is moving along though I may need to replace some of the  fiberglass insulation.  I have done all the cleanup, I can do and we still have bad aromas.  I like the IDEA of installing thermal barrier but it would be cheaper to replace the bad/mousy fiberglass insulation in the basement.

Overall I don’t recommend going deeper in debt but you have to adapt to your situation.  I’m disabled and having a low maint. home is almost required for me.  Heck if you are young, strong and getting skills building or retrofitting a home, my choices could be a bad choice for you.

One size fits all solution, seldom fit anyone in real life.


Getting rid of bad odors and adding a DE via a duster

July 12, 2017

I set out a couple of cups of “activated charcoal” to absorb odors in the basement.  The cost of activated charcoal is a bit costly but golly it works great for absorbing nasty odors and aromas!  Activated charcoal is offered as a filtration method for fish tanks and it is a great item for a prepper to have on hand for water filtration, odor removal and other applications us preppers might want on hand.

Welp, I have cockroaches and now I have to get rid of them.  So far Mom and I have added a lot of DE to the main areas we have seen the bugs in the kitchen and we are adding some to the big bathroom. Roaches can live weeks without food so this will not be a quick process.  It will take at least 2-3 months if not longer of being pro-active to eliminate the roaches.  Nice thing about DE is the roaches will track it back to their nests and it will help kill off the bug colony.  Also DE is much more pet and child friendly compared to Boric acid based bug killer.

My plan of attack is to go very heavy on DE and using bug spray when I see the roaches for a few weeks.  Then I’ll shift to the gel baits and traps for a couple of weeks and then back to DE as the primary bug killer.  I’m also working on removing all food and water sources for those little buggies.  Dirty dishes or dog food bowls are a freaking buffet for roaches and a basic kitchen garbage can feed them easily.

I found a great tool for laying down DE, a rose duster for powders.  For under $20.00 you can safely squirt DE powder into all those nooks and crannies around your house.  I think this a good item to have in your prep arsenal for insect control.

I’m the last person to past judgement on anyone for cleanliness as I have obviously failed in my preps and keeping the house vermin free.   That said I’m working on it and I have learned a lot about what not to do as a prepper.  Everything I have store properly is safe. My problem is I got lazy on some storage and now I’m dealing with the consequences of those choises.

Yep I screwed up!  Please don’t make the same mistakes I made.

 


Basement clean up and the exterminator.

July 10, 2017

OMG, I started cleaning on the last section of basement storage and it was semi-tough.  The big Shop vac has been outstanding for getting rid of the mouse poo but getting rid of urine smell and general nastiness takes a bit more effort.  Overall Mom was correct, cleaning up, storing  any food sources in hard bins and trapping.  Washing the walls down with a bleach cleaner really help killed the bad odors and interrupted the mouse travel paths.  Not perfect yet but with the new shelving  and moving the food around and cleaning off the exterior packaging we are making good progress on eliminating the mice and odors.

I have a roach problem but like mice the solution is simple if not easy.  I have spread around some DE and I’m removing all potential food or water sources.  I’ll check out the local suppliers for “Roach killers”  I want to try and correct the problem myself first and then call the exterminators if I fail.

I’m very peeved about the state of my siding and it must be replaced.  I know all about a home needing maintenance but this was a screw up from start.  Such is life and it is not fair at all.   So suck it up buttercup and make thing correct.  I love this house with all it’s assorted problems.  You pay now or you pay later.  I’m not good with that “paying later idea” as it gets expensive.

Good things happening!  The plants seemed to have adapted to the hot weather.  The new arctive cove mister fan is working great for cooling the chickens without “puddling”  and many small birds love  getting a little water spritz in the “chicken pen”.  The plants in the garden seem to have toughened up to 100 degree F. temps and no longer require the canvas tarps to shade the plants.

At this point it all about maintaining and killing the vermin safely.  I screwed up and got complacent about food storage.  Learn fom my mistakes and do it right the first time.  If you don’t you can always be like me playing catch up. I don’t recommend that mindset.


Progress?

July 1, 2017

I added a few more of the Balsam wood sachets to the crawl space area and we are no longer hearing the chewing sounds in the walls.  It seems to be working but it is still early days in this test.  Our trapped mouse count is way down, so at least we have caught most of young and dumb mice. Another section of the basement has been cleaned up and got rid of some of the cloth nesting areas removed.  I’m not sure if we are getting rid of  all mice but we have removed all of  easy access food sources, nesting materials and cleaned up with bleach to stop the mice runs and the poo the mice tend to leave everywhere they go.  As I am building/buying proper shelves and additional storage containers we are eliminating any mouse habitats and I have to say any food in buckets, totes and stored in the barrels have not been breached by mice.  Overall I think the balsam oil sachets are a good preventive measure and can help if you have a mouse infestation.  These sachets are a bit pricy but they do seem to be effective.   Using bleach solution/cleaner is also effective in disruppting the mouse runs along the walls and the mice don’t seem to like the bleach smell.  I like the Clorox brand urine odor remover that is good on all surfaces from fabic to wood to concrete.  This product has almost no odor and seems very effective eliminating urine odors.

Summer heat is comming on with a vengence this week so we need to protect some of the crops in the garden.  Light weight canvas painter clothes seem to a great job of protecting the plants.  Burlap also seems to do quite well protecting the crops.  Twenty dollar investment in cloth and stakes can prevent your crops getting burnt by the summer sun.   Remember you don’t want to block all sun just the high temp sun beating down in the afternoon.

In the Alley way garden I bought a few more Sedum plant called “hen &chicks”  that are spreaders.  My plan is the sedums will fix the soil and help choke out weeds.  I think the sunchokes and sedums are good plants to start with plantings.  The mulch is keeping most “nasty weeds” controlable and in time I can share out this solution to all my alleyway neighbors.  An alley way of sedum and sunchokes is much better than an alley way filled with “cheat” grass or goatheads/puncture vine.   All it takes is a bit of mulch and digging up the bad weeds.  Gosh I can  pull up thistle easily as the wood mulch makes weeds much easier to pull  and get roots.  If this planting works I will use the sedum to help choke out the morning glory in the front yard rose beds.  Gosh I hate Morning glory plants!

Plan of attack for next week: work the garden and yard in the cool AM and then attack the basement and indoor jobs when it gets very hot outdoors.  I have to say the little portable AC unit is doing an outstanding job keeping the front part of the house cool.

The dog anti-anxety  medicine seems effective though we have not had a lot of fire works shot off so far.  Tuicker the peke seems to be okay as long as the fireworks are intermittent and not so loud.   I agree with him and never served in a combat zone either.

 


We got one job finished! Calling in the exterminators.

June 27, 2017

I can officially state that the compost pile is complete and all off the materials have been moved into place and got a lot of water to get it building up some heat so it can break down the materials correctly.  I need to add in some more “browns” and will move a straw bale closer to the compost area to add to the pile easily.  Adding a straw layer should keep all unpleasant odors and bad bugs to a minimum.  I have to say I have not had a problem with odors even with the old Pallet compost pile.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Using a leaf blower on your compost heap. Air or at least oxygen makes the compost heap work better. While it might be a pain/ require effort adding air to your heap is a good thing and almost as critical as adding water, browns or greens.  When you turn over a pile you are adding air. There is no reason you can’t use a leaf blower to add a bit of air to the heap.  I think it is a lot easier to use a blower to turn the compost heap rather than turning it by a fork, if you can be effective.

Mom got to use the weed wacker today along with a block of instruction. She knocked down the alley way weeds and I’m getting a lot of mulch on sale.  That thick layer of mulch should help keep the weeds under control as some puncture vine/goat heads are trying to creep into the beds.  The Sunchokes and sedums have done a good job as “good plants” that choke out the weeds but  I need to spread them along with more mulch out in the alley beds.  So far both plants have not spread but have just got thicker and bunched up.   The best way I think to explain how the sunchokes spread is like Iris flowers.  Like Irises they need to be thinned and replanted.  I would recommend using sunchokes if you have a hot/sunny area with poor soil and limited water as a great plant to help choke out weeds plus the plant roots/rhizomes are edible.  My sedums have done okay in the alley way garden but now they are getting expensive to buy as they are very popular with zeroscape/ drought tolerant landscapes.

Mice and bug problem is beyond us and we are getting some info on having in some exterminators.  I’ve added more tincat metal traps and sprayed down the outside of the house and much of the inside with bug barrier and we are still losing ground in this battle.  I’m still gathering info and quotes for the job to get done in July but so far it looks like the cost will be about $200.00.  I think if we get the critters stopped from breeding more critters for a couple of months, Mom and I can maintain getting rid of the critters!

Sometimes you just get overwhelmed and must call in the specialists for a problem.  I don’t there is anything wrong in spending money for pros if you have done your best and failed to correct the the problem.  I have really learned how important it is to store everything in good containers.  None of my food barrels, buckets or bins have been breached so I did that part of food storage correctly.  I failed when I put something in the basement and did not store it properly right away.   Add in a tough winter and you get an explosion of problems.  I’m not saying you should not have traps, pesticides and other ways of preventing any infestation.  Right now you can call in the pros to help get your home vermin free. Maintenance is a lot cheaper than trying to get rid of an infestation.