A lot of little projects done this week.

September 25, 2022

The weather has been glorious. Highs in the 80’s but cooling down into the 50’s and mid 40 degrees F. is perfect weather for me. Sure it is warm during the day but with a couple of fans in open windows at night the house stays cool through out the day.

I got the house sprayed down and cleaned up a little bit. The vinyl siding gets a little dirty but since most of the house is is a dusky blue color it does not really show the dirt.  I use the standard garden hose with attachments that up the pressure and can telescope to reach the tall gables of the house. I might have a couple more days of irrigation water for the house.  After this it will be using the rain barrels to water plants and Mama nature’s rain.

It is a little funny how the front gate closes itself now that I cleaned out so much of the overgrown vines and holly plants.  The holly plants look a little ruff after my pruning/cutting back of their growth, but they will fill in quickly as I have cut the plants much more radically and in the spring they bounce back and grow like gang busters.  I can’t believe it is time to replant the irises in the cleaned out beds.  It seems like it was just a couple of days ago I was digging out the Iris beds.

The garden bed plants are just about done though I might get a few more tomatoes since the high temps are done but it is still warm.  The 3 sisters garden mound did produce a lot of greenery and the squash plants went nuts growing but I need to add some trellises and start growing vertically to make the most out of this growing area. This fall I’m going to add more landscape cloth, more compost and dirt to the mounds. Cut back the grape vines more so the 3 sisters garden can grow without getting over run by grape vines.  I cut back the grape vines a lot this spring and they went berserk with growth.  I have the largest amount of grape clusters I have ever seen of living here for almost 20 years. I want to try making some wine and making raisins though I don’t have a clue of what kind of grapes I have grown other than some are green and some are purple.

I bought some beef this week.  A big 20 pound chunk of Top round from Cash& Carry for $2.96 per pound. It’s is hard to find Hamburger for $3.00 per pound so I figure this was a good buy. I forgot how much time it can take to cut up such a large chunk of meat.  I’m no butcher but you can cut off the fat and follow the muscle groups in a large chunk of meat and use that as a guideline  of were to cut off larger roast or steaks.  With a top round there will be some meat that won’t be steaks or roasts so you make stew meat or thin strips good for stir fry or fajitas.  At worse you could grind the meat for burger for under $3.00 per pound.  Not a bad deal.  I cut off a lot of fat and I will check out the internet of how to render beef suet/fat. I think natural fats are better for you rather than high heat/chemically processed fats.

Despite what the WEF says about eating meat is bad. on average eating 1-2 pound of meat be it chicken pork or beef is a very healthy diet.  I get a little peeved at people that declare that meat animals are bad and crops are good.  Most meat animals are raised on land that won’t grow crops.  I live in an area that a grazing cow is allotted 10 acres of BLM land for grazing. This is land with no irrigation or farming because farming the land is impossible.  Farming and animals for meat take very different types of land and most farmers/ranchers use unfarmable land for meat production.  Raising meat animals is hard compared to farming.  Don’t you think everyone would plant grains everywhere and not deal with animals that have vet bills and other issues if the farmer could just plant grains?

The ignorance and hypocrisy of the so called elites boggles my mind.  I can  have a private jet, multiple homes and lecture the plebes/serfs about their carbon levels and how green the elites are.

I grow a garden, I compost, I’m poor without a mansion, private jet or a yacht. I don’t  own homes on several continents. But me using Air condition is a problem. I can’t be the only that sees the bullshit.


Moving fire wood and puttering around the garden

September 23, 2022

One of these years I will be able to make a schedule for the big jobs and get them done in a timely manner. This is not one of those years.

I had an old dog kennel area that I stored firewood since it had a cement base and I built a few simple wood racks to hold the wood. This is the spot where I cut up kindling and the kindling box. I did not stack wood in this area this year since I have committed to stacking new fire wood under the carport, but I still had wood that needed to be restacked and cleanup the area so I can cut kindling.  The cleanup went great I filled up the wood racks and have plenty of wood available to cut as kindling.  I covered the wood in tarps to keep off the weather. I had to throw away a few tarps that shredded but I had plenty of other tarps on hand to cover the wood. After restacking the wood in the kennel area I figure I have about 1-1.5 of seasoned cords of wood stored in this area.

I think a person should store fire wood for two heating seasons. I use about 2-3 cords of seasoned Doug fir/pine per heating season. It tends to get cold in the -10- 0 degree F. range for at least a couple of weeks in my area. The heating season is fairly long starting around October and going till March/April. I guess Dec.-Feb are the biggest use months of using the wood stove 24/7 rather than starting a wood fire just to warm up the house then l let the fire die out during the day. I use wood heat only, so you might have different results if firewood is a backup heat source.  The USA is such a huge country with different eco systems that if you live back east Hardwoods like oak are common fire wood. In the west we have mostly softwoods for firewood. I got an appt. with the Chimney sweep for the 26th if he shows up.  Great sweep but getting an appt. for work is a challenge.

I dug up a small volunteer Apple tree in the backyard.  The root was growing under the concrete sidewalk so I’m not sure the tree will survive but I think it worth the effort of trying to transplant it it a new location. I laid out plastic sheeting in the area I want to set up the Green house.  Welp! no greenhouse yet but I killed off some weeds and dumped a lot of fallen apples in the garbage bin. Heavy duty black plastic does a great job killing weeds.  I went around all of the garden beds pilling fallen apples and some  of the garden bed weeds.  I never thought about going vertical with my garden plants. By accident I see many of those plants will grow vertically if given a place to grow. This a great thing for people with limited space but you have to things in place and train the plants early in the growing season or you end up with a mess of climbing greenery and no plants.

We will have a warm weekend in the 80’s and it is the last weekend for irrigation water so I’m going to spray down the vinyl siding to get rid of some of the dirt. I have read that using a pressure washer on some vinyl siding is a bad thing since it is laid on top of older siding and water can get trapped between the layers if a pressure washer is used to clean siding. My little hose attachment wand does a good job cleaning off most of the dirt on my vinyl siding. You do not want force/trap water under your siding as that could lead to the wood rotting.


Clean up and a few more items bought.

September 21, 2022

I got the patio cleaned up. My gosh I have never seen so many cobwebs, leaves in cobwebs, dirt and apples that fall from the tree then bounce onto the patio. I have a “pressure” wand I can add at the end of a garden hose that does a good job washing down the patio cover, vinyl siding and concrete. I have about a week to use my irrigation water to spray down the house so getting the first area done feels good.

Inside the house I swept the ceilings for cobwebs and gave the ceiling/floor fans a quick brush brush down. It is amazing how much dust and goo can build up on fan blades during the summer. I’m really noticing how quiet the house gets after shutting down all the fans and A/C units. I’ll start up some of the fans when I fire up the wood stove. Many ceiling fans can rotate clockwise or counter clock wise depending on the season. If you want to set your fans according to the seasons read the manual or watch a youtube vid.  My ceiling fan rotation switch is set UP for Summer and DOWN for winter. I cleaned up and put away a couple of floor fans that I use in the summer.

I refilled the Candy bucket. It was about 1/3 full of candy I had bought and got old and stale tasting. That shows that I don’t have a sweet tooth as chocolate can go stale before I can eat it even if I hand out chocolate on Halloween.

I’m reducing the cats to 1 can of wet food per day because they are not eating 2 cans of wet cat food per day.  Boomer the dog will be disappointed since he is the clean up crew for any leftover cat food. I bought two cases of wet cat food at the local Fred Meyers and was surprised to see the pet food aisles were stacked with pet food this evening.  I’m not sure why people have stopped panic buying up on pet food. It might be the rising price or people see the shelves are filled and are not as worried about availability of pet food. Perhaps the supply chains been have figured out by stores and manufacturers.

I’m seeing the Big Buddy heater on sale at Bi-Mart in the Hunting section of the store for $132.00.  That is a great buy as those heaters often cost $180.00.  Big Buddy heaters have a built in fan and use two 1 pound propane tanks but you can buy an adapter for about $15.00 to use a standard propane tank.  You need D-Cell batteries to run the fan but I think this is a bargain to keep your home warm in winter.

I splurged and bought a new mouse for my PC. I really like the Logitec 300S series mouse for gaming and for general usage. Most mice tend to be very large or tiny. Most gaming mice are large as most gamers are male.  As a female with smaller hands finding a comfortable mouse is difficult. This mouse hits the sweet spot for me. I think this mouse maybe discontinued soon by Logitec and my mouse was starting to act a bit wonky so I bought another 300S at Office Depot for $25.00, $12.00 cheaper than what was offer at Newegg.com. The old mouse goes into the box as a back up and I use the new mouse. I know many folks don’t think a PC mouse is a thing you need to have backups/prep.  I do because I’m a geek/nerd and when I find something that works for me I buy extra if I can afford it. I have experimented with many products that did not work for me.  I prefer using a product I like using. The old mouse goes into the back up box because I don’t know why the mouse got wonky though I suspect it has something to do with the cable connections.

I downgraded to a dumb/flip phone and the texting is awful, but I seldom text. I take notes with a pen and paper.  I guess I’m old but texting can be done with a cheap flip phone if you are willing to to do it slowly.  I get smart phones are super easy to use but they ain’t cheap to buy or use.  Did I get frustrated send a text of my address?  YEP! did it make me want to buy a smart phone?  Nope!  When did we stop using emails?  I mean emails still work, fast and you have a copy on your PC you can refer back too.

I think there will be a lot of people that will move from the big internet systems like facebook, twitter and other things that could be done via email, forums and other internet places that are not covered by the Cooperate Gate keeper.  I know wordpress is a gatekeeper but it is not as bad as Blogger under Google.  So far I’m small enough the PTBs don’t care about me.

I believe in enforcing section 230 that protects the big tech companies.  Declare you are a publisher and you moderate only legal content. Or declare you are a publisher and your are subject to civil suits like every other publisher like News papers and publishing houses.  You don’t get it both ways!


Shopping day!

September 20, 2022

This was my day to do “surgical strike” shopping, getting those items that are low price, needed in the future and try and get stocked up on items that you don’t normally buy in fall but you know you will need in the future. 

I picked up two more bags of the soil I like from Bi-Mart and I want to get one more bag next month if the soil is still in stock at my local store. Currently I have 5, three cubic foot bags/bricks of this soil for next spring of topping off the garden beds, pots and some new ways of growing potatoes in cages.  I don’t know if all city plots have thin or bad soil for gardens but I suspect it is a common issue for people growing a garden, lawn or even flower beds. Having good soil on hand before I need it in the spring makes life much easier when planting the garden beds. Plus garden soil needs to be replenished with nutrients that the plants take out of the soil. So if you get your soil in the fall you are ready to fill your beds with new soil, you get a lower price considering how inflation is going up and you don’t have to worry about the soil not being in stores when everyone is buying dirt. I have high hopes for my compost pile but I want to add a few bags of a steer manure/compost as a backup to keep improving the soil around Casa de Chaos. 

I picked up another 2 gallon jugs of the 30% vinegar for weed killing. I could not afford to buy the case for $80.00 this month but a couple of gallons should finish up the last of the weeds in my alley area.  It is so frustrating to clean up/prevent weeds and have neighbors that do nothing about the weeds on their side of the alley. Weeds don’t respect property lines!  I picked up another 2 rolls of landscaping cloth I will use as I start cleaning out the 3 sisters garden as I did not have a good weed reduction plan for that part of the garden (and there was a lack of money issue at the time).  

I bought the big 20 pound chunk of Top round at Cash & Carry for $2.96 per pound.  That should complete my beef needs for the next 12 months.  I’ll have to cut the chunk o meat into steaks and roasts and vacuum seal but you can’t buy quality hamburger for under $3.00 per pound. Think about how much meat/protein you need to store to be healthy. I’m one person and a year has 52 weeks then think about how much meat you eat per day.  I doubt you are eating 16 oz. Porter house steaks every day.   😉

About 2 pounds per week per person is what you need to stay healthy and that is a high estimate. 20 pounds of meat will cover10 weeks or 2 1/2 months if you only eat beef. I have hamburger, chicken, pork in the freezers. You can see how storing meat can really help your preps and add variety to your diet. But Jamie what if the power goes out and you can’t freeze the meat.  You have a pressure canner right? Jars, lids, a dehydrator? If you have meat at your home you can store it as you like with the equipment you have on hand.  If you have a freezer full of meat, a generator for blackouts and ways to smoke dry and can meat you can save the meat without a freezer and start doing it at any time you have electricity on hand.  I will admit preserving the meat in my freezers long term via canning and drying would take a few days, but it is very doable. You can paralyze your self with (What If) scenarios. Get what you need on site first then figure out ways to handle black outs. I did not do it this way, I bought a pressure canner, dehydrator and smoker for preserving meats.  Make sure your freezer is defrosted, clean and any freezer burnt or old meat is rotated out. 

I did a bit of shopping for the pets but no luck on pet cones of the right size.  I got a spray for animal injuries from the farm store but Boomer’s foot injury is looking better so now I’m restocking.  I bought some new doggie treats at the local farm store.  Not grain free but it is oat grains and not wheat that is hard on some doggos.  Of course Boomer is not picky about his snacks and eats almost everything he is offered. All pet items have jumped in price so finding a dog treat for $2.18 per pound is a good buy. 

Don’t assume people will eat anything if they get hungry enough and don’t assume people will appreciate food if it is not what they want. I know when I was in the military and got meals that were scientifically tested to provide everything a body needed to preform very physical tasks. Every one wanted sugar, chocolate, salty snacks and foods that were loaded with fat. These were healthy physically fit people but the US governments idea of proper diet would put a Puritans to shame. Add healthy fatty foods to your preps like nuts, store chips, crackers and sweet snacks. Store soda, I recommend a good Ginger Ale that can help with stomach up set. Buy popcorn, have the fixings for smores on hand.

I have never understood that many in the prepping community seem to want to suffer and not buy comfort food items. Not me I’m allergic to pain as it hurts me. Call me a bad prepper but I bought the ingredients for S’mores and I don’t think I am evil or some other pejorative that some people use.

I’m blogging about my journey and no one else is involve in what I have done. Perhaps your journey is different and I loved to read about it. I don’t call shenanigans unless it is very bad like a person declaring 10 pounds of flour would last 6 months for a family of 4 is his prepping scenario. What is terrifying is some people believe that sort of nonsense and think the are prepared.

I’m worried about folks heat this winter as oil and gas sales are a global market and the EU will pay top dollar for any fuel to heat this winter. Electrical costs will go up this winter and I suspect the NE USA will get hit hard with rising heating costs. I don’t think most of the USA understands how high heating costs are rising in the EU. One business energy bill was normally about 5000.00 per month. It is a business so they use a lot of energy compared to a home. That business now has a bill for energy of 32000.00 and it is not even winter. It boggles the mind. The USA could help out the EU and it’s own citizens by opening up federal energy permits. But no we (USA) won’t do that.

OIL, LNG and petroleum is a global market and unless you produce your own fuel you will pay global rates. Get stocked up and/or get backups.


More front yard work…Pet 1st aid.

September 17, 2022

I started to cut back what I call the holly but I don’t think it is a true holly. It grows very tall if you don’t keep up with it. This “holly” will spread but it is a slow process. It is very pretty with year round glossy green leaves and berries that start green and purple up as they ripen. The leaves have some spines on the end and it makes a very dense hedge row that offers privacy and a very good wind break. Little birds love the hedge in spring time as they are very protected by the hedge. I think this plant is what is called an Oregon grape. 

I started cutting back some of the hedge that overhangs part of the front lawn and interferes with using a gate with it’s point leaves. There are a lot of dead leaves under the hedge that also need to be cleaned out.  I think this hedge is shading and absorbing all the soil nutrients/water and that is causing the grass to die in this one area. I used the long handle loppers and a battery powered chainsaw to cut back some of the trunks that were 12-16 feet tall and cleaned out all the old dead leaves i could reach with my rakes.

In this area of the lawn I dethatched, scratched up the soil and added some grass seed along with a tin layer of soil  on top of the grass seed.  The soil mix I used was Earthgro top soil and compost and I would NOT recommend buying these item as both are filled with chunks of wood and very little of it looks like soil or ordinary dirt.  I added some dirt from the area around my compost pile and that dirt looked 100% better than the Earthgro.  I also used this dirt mix to start filling some holes/low areas in my lawn. I have twisted my ankles a few times on these little holes that appear in lawn over time.  As I work on the lawn I’m keeping a bucket’s worth of dirt to fill these little holes you can’t see but are just enough to cause a twisted ankle.  Last step of planting grass seed is keeping the area very wet so the see sprouts. I find a fall planting of grass seed works about 50% better than planting in the spring. I also have 2 weeks of irrigation water left and that is enough time to get the grass seed started.

Boomer the dog had a small foot injury.  I’m guessing he caught a toe or a nail and got a split/cut between the toes. It did not look to bad and the doggo did not limp or show any pain but it seemed to take a long time to heal and I did not have much animal 1st aid items on hand for this injury.  I have let my animal 1st aid items fall to a low level of preparedness. I need to buy a couple of those cones that fit the doggo and the cats. It does no good to bandage an injury if the pet will chew the bandage loose in a couple of minutes. Vetricyn has very good products for treating/cleaning eyes and ears. Zymox ear cleaner and ear solution works great for dogs that have floppy ears and are prone to ear infections.  This is a Humane 1st aid product Band-Aid’s Anti-viral/bacterial with “no-hurt” bottles works great for humans and pets. I have had good luck using colloidal silver as general anti-bacterial/antiviral with animals by adding it to pet food.

This shopping list is not going to make you a Veterinarian but I think if you have animals you should have pet specific 1st aid items to treat small injuries. Adding other animal based penicillin drugs is on you. I just found I was not as prepared for a minor pet injury as I thought.  Heck I still paying off a pet bill for a cat that had a urinary tract infection.  I don’t think I can buy the supplies or the knowledge to handle that sort of health issue.  I can buy a UTI dry cat food and add litter boxes and water dishes.

I’m probably a good prepper considering my income but I also have been prepping for many years, literally a decade and I still make mistakes about not replacing items or doing first in/first out or thinking something is good to go so I don’t have to think about that thing again.  Then you go to your preps and that thing is not there and you did not replace it.  It happens bought some salami on sale and the vacuum bag seal broke open and freezer burnt.  Mistakes will happen and learn from them and don’t beat yourself up about making mistakes.  Making mistakes is your tuition fee. Some of those classes cost a lot, but if you learn from it it is not wasted money or product.

I think the the worse thing I see is people that start to prep and then give up because they make mistakes or they don’t think they can do certain things because of time, money or other factors. Making mistakes is good.  Don’t go a screw up on purpose but any one that has grown a garden knows they are beholden to the weather. You can do every thing right and one hail/windstorm or early/late frost can destroy your crop. Growing a garden is not easy or simple it takes a lot of effort and even if you do everything “right” the garden can fail in bad weather. Buy from the local farmers market and try to mitigate what ever made the garden fail.  It does no good to beat yourself up as a failure because the weather was wonky. There is always the next year’s garden to try again.

My garden was a bit of a bust due to weather and neglect on my part of not working in it because of my health issues. But I have built great soil in my beds. I’m moving beds around and started growing root crops. It does not mater if the crop failed I am learning.  My compost pile is doing great this year and I may not have to buy compost. Claim those victories and them build on them don’t focus on what didn’t work.  Focus on what did work this year!


Some Good News…

September 14, 2022

Still having some twinges but it is the normal 😉 twinges for me.  Fall seems to be rushing in to give a break from the summer heat.  There is rain forecasted this week as the leftovers of Hurricane Kay heads north. By the end of the week we should see the remnants of a monsoonal rain coming out of Arizona. Hopefully the rain just fills up the rivers and reservoirs and does not cause more flash flooding.

It is cool enough to remove the Air Conditioning units from the windows and use fans to blow in cool night time air. I finally built up the courage to take a look at my power bill after all of the 100 degree days and it was much lower than I had anticipated.  It seems moving the large portable AC unit into a new spot helped lower costs as it cooled the house better in the new spot and that helped keep the costs a little bit lower compared to last year.  I have found having a lot of fans and adjusting things around the house for best heating and cooling works for me even though it takes some time before you see if the changes make a difference overall.

I got the front lawn mowed and most of the grass and weeds are greener after adding the soil buster/ gypsum mix to the front yard lawn. I’m not sure about adding a solar powered fountain that seems to empty the water of a small pool/tub. I’m still playing around with the solar fountain and the tub/pool that holds the fountain.  The backyard lawn patch got mowed and the soil was very dry, so it got a good soak with the sprinklers. It is sort of amazing that we still have irrigation water considering the forecast for water was very pessimistic. The wet May and June helped keep the reservoirs full and pumping out water and cheap electricity for SW Idaho.

Beef is on sale! This is sort of a good news/bad news thing as it is great for us trying to stock up on food but it is terrible for the ranchers as they are selling because they don’t have water and or feed for their herds going into winter. Price of everything is going up and what we are seeing now is just the beginning.

Sundance at the Conservative Treehouse  has been 90-100% accurate about what will happen with rising food costs for the last year and now he is forecasting hamburger at $10.00-15.00 per pound in the spring of 2023.  Perhaps he will be wrong this time but I’m not willing to bet against him.  Last fall he said buy long term food preps, grow a garden, buy a freezer, canner and ways to preserve food.   Sundance says buy as much beef as you can afford and a freezer for preserving it.

I think I’m good at seeing what is coming in the near future and buying stuff before the prices start going up a lot.  I have never been close to what will happen in the next 6-12 months as Sundance at CTH. I know beef prices would be going up after a period of low prices this fall but I never imagined hamburger going up to $10.00 per pound!

The chocolate shortage I talked about does NOT seem to be happening for Halloween. I’m seeing way to much candy on sale though the price per oz. is higher there is no shortage at this time.  I still think stocking up on candy and snacks is a good idea as they are great barter/gift items. Salty and sweet snacks will fight food fatigue if you have live off your preps. I would add real popcorn to your snack barrel and a air popper or stove pan popper to your preps and avoid add to much Microwave popcorn.

I harp on the snack thing because when I lived off my preps (not by choice) for a couple of months I missed snacks like crackers, nuts, chips. Popcorn is a snack multi tasker as it can be salty, cheesy or spicy or you can make some caramel corn with a bit of sugar, heat and a recipe. As a prepper I love a multi tasker food.

There is some dichotomy for me seeing how things are starting to play out. There is a part of me that wants to gloat and say “I was right” and another part of me goes oh shit I was right and what is happening is real and not just theory about what might happen.

I feel confident it my preps but I have to say I am scared for people that did not prep. I am fearful of a government that thinks everything that is happening now is either okay or part of some plan the elites have concocted to “save humanity from the people”.

That statement sounds weird and dumb but I can’t think of a better way to express what seems to be happening.


A sea change..?

September 9, 2022

Perhaps it is just me but it feels like everything has changed in the last few days.  The weather has gone from 100 degrees F. for a high to 70-75 degrees for a high.  That is a very dramatic change in a couple of days.  I pulled the the portable AC unit window access and turned it off.  Using a fan to add cool night air into the house. I’ll keep the bedroom AC unit in place just in case things heat up again, though I don’t expect the temps to so brutally hot in September.

I don’t remember such an extreme transition from Summer to Fall in the past. I may not have paid as close attention to the weather last year but it seemed like we had a extended cool down compared to this year.  I should go through last years blog post and compared what I posted last year to this year.

My Arthritis and former smash up bones hit me hard with aches and pains today. Usually I can work through them as moving helps make those joints work better but I wimped out. I got the front yard weed wacked and some overgrown vines cleaned up, but I just was not up to mowing the yard as my knee was killing me, plus some pain my hands made using the looper and clippers painful.  I don’t stop work work most of the time as I will hurt sitting at the desk or working in the yard but the change of the weather hit me hard this week.  Every person has a point they can’t work beyond.  Some people’s point are high and some are low.  I know I hit my point today. For me it is okay cause I can mow the grass this weekend and in the long term a day of not mowing grass is not really a big deal. I doubt anyone would condemn a person for not mowing grass on a certain day.  Now if you did not mow your grass for several months that would be different.

I know this month’s electric bill is going to be brutal but next month’s bill should drop very low as I can use fans to cool the house and if it gest cold the fireplace needs no electricity but a few fans to circulate heat.  This month I need to start filling the kindling box and make my fire starters. Along with all of my other projects.

It is a cliché to say don’t panic, if you have building your preps. Practicing your gardening, have water stored you should be good for a few months.  You will have time to adjust about what you need to focus on for the future. Things are seldom as bad as we can imagine nor as good as we hope.


Wonderful day!

September 7, 2022

The weather report says this is the last 100 degree day for at least 10 days.  All of the future temps are are in the 80s for a high so it looks like we are moving into Fall in SW Idaho. Night time temps will be in the 50s so that means I can use my fans at night to cool down the house rather than the AC units.  That will help reduce electrical costs on the next bill.

Mom stopped by today and we had a nice little BBQ of Ribeye Steaks some lobster tails and corn on the cob.  All part of buying up on loss leader/sales last week.  While I bought most of these items for the upcoming Holidays it was nice to just sit and talk with Mom, have a couple of adult beverages and enjoy the food. Not to brag but I grill up a good steak. This was a very good thing for me as I tend to get a little Doomy sometimes and forget to just sit, relax and live in the moment rather than always plan for the future and what might/could happen… I have plenty on hand of steaks for the Holidays, a Turkey and other than desserts The menu items are set.

I’m going to keep shopping the sales for special meals but sometimes you need to take a break and have a special day if only because you declare it for yourself!  Mom said she was having a bad day until the BBQ and now it was a great day for her so that feels good!

The outdoor cooking area is just about finished. All that is left is moving the cabinet smoker to it’s new spot and a small charcoal grill needs a new home. I think I’ll get a large food service pan that fits on top of my propane burner for the little BBQ and make a workspace/top that can be added or removed depending on what I’m cooking. I have enough space to add a propane tank by the burners that is close enough to hook to the gas grill so one tank can do double duty. This moves all of the items that heat up with fire/flames several feet away from my house walls covered in vinyl siding.  I keep a small Fire extinguisher on the patio just in case so the outdoor cooking area is ready for this Fall!

I like the idea of an outdoor cooking space that is setup ready to go. With winter coming and for many people not prepared for high heating costs/blackouts I think it is less tempting to wheel a grill indoors to heat and cook if you have a safe cooking space outdoors. I know there will always be idiots that will bring outdoor grills indoors and possibly die due to Carbon Monoxide but I think every thing you can make your life easier if things go sideways is worth the effort.

I noticed that the replaceable propane tanks have jumped in cost at most stores but Mr. Buddy heaters are around $70.00 so your total cost for an indoor heater that you can control and is not as dependent on the utility companies has about the same start up cost. Many Sporting goods stores are having sales related to hunting gear like sleeping bags, heaters and other items for staying warm in cold weather. It always seems that the more I am prepared for winter weather the less severe winter weather I have to deal with or it is easier on me.

I’m not seeing a big chocolate shortage in the stores.  In fact I’m seeing a lot of sales on candy items earlier than the norm. I’m also seeing shrinkage in packaging on those sales items. The Dollar Stores funsize candy Has gone up to $1.25 and the packages have shrunk from 8 bars per package to 5-6 bars per package. It is looking like shrinkage and higher cost will be a thing rather than no candy bars on hand for Halloween and the Holidays. Chocolate tends to be a good barter item so it is always a good thing for a prepper to have on hand.

Update on the Front yard and the flower beds:  The Simplot “soil buster” has helped green up the front lawn and there are fewer brown spots but the bad news it greened up the weeds.  The flower bed is looking great over all and only one Mum looks a bit sad so I’ll add a little good compost around that plant.  My compost pile is  breaking down nicely and when the irrigation water is shut off I’ll use the rain barrel water to keep the pile wet as I finally have buckets that are easy to fill at the barrels.

Clouds are coming in with the new weather pattern and perhaps we will get a little rain thunderstorm to mark the end of the 100 degree days. Talk to you later friends!


Outdoor kitchen… and stocking up

September 4, 2022

I have been working on and off of an outdoor kitchen though it has been mostly buying cooking equipment and not making counter tops an cabinets. I cleaned up and leveled the area for the big Charcoal grill that I use for BBQ turkey in the fall.  It was sort of a cheap BBQ but it has a smoke box and does a decent job cooking with charcoal over many hours even if it is not perfect it is good enough.

I had a bit of extra sand on hand to set the pavers for the BBQ but I’m out of sand and money for a new  kitchen set up that works better for me.  Most of the cooking items I set up as I bought them and I did not set them up in the most productive way./  So I’m trying to make the outdoor kitchen more efficient without spending a lot of money and using stuff I have on hand.  I have a small box smoker I want to put out in the outdoor kitchen Appliance area but it takes some time to set things up. I have more space but I’m also adding more items for cooking so there is a lot of measuring and seeing how stuff fits in and works for the outdoor kitchen.

I never thought about testing or Dry-fitting stuff until I started watching Youtube videos of ship building and how often they they dry fit everything in building a ship.  I always assumed craftsman were so good that they never had to dry fit anything because the measured everything.  I was wrong craftsman not only measure every thing twice they test and fit items several times before they call it good.

Even pros adjust things as they are building stuff!  It’s okay to build and adjust as needed as the pros do it.   Though the pros are a bit better at fixing stuff than us armatures.

I will stay alert to sales at the local mega marts for things you need. High end cuts of beef on on sale.  If you grill or like a steak/roast for the Holidays I would buy now and be ready if holiday food costs go up. It’s not that prices will go up but some items won’t be available at any price.  I went to the local liquor store as Idaho has state sales for hard liquor.  I was looking for a small bottle of Irish whiskey but the only bottle available was a much larger bottle and the clerks said no small bottles are available. Liquor is a luxury item as you don’t need it to survive but scarcity and rising costs always hit luxury items first.  Even if it is a small $13.00 bottle of whiskey.

Update on the front lawn it is greener though I think it is mostly weeds after adding the soil buster treatment. I need to repair the soil of this lawn and I don’t have the compost now to fix the lawn.   I’ll do my best and keep working on building up the soil and plantings that force out the weeds.  Nothing new but a bit overwhelming this year as I sort of kept up until this year.  It is simple if you neglect your yard for a bit. It will take more work to make it right.


Bad flower bed is done and Steak is on sale!

September 2, 2022

Got an early start on the flower bed so I was able to work in the shade for a little bit of the morning.  I dug out a small iris bed and finished the cleanup of the weeds and junk that was left in the bed from the other day. I still filled another two garbage bags worth of weeds and  old rose roots and tree starts.

I laid out the landscape cloth I bought from the Grocery outlet and I was not expecting it to be of high quality but this cloth is much thicker and stronger than the cloth I got at Lowes and it was $5.00 cheaper!  I added mulch but I need to make the mulch layer thicker to be effective on blocking weeds. For now the mulch is thick enough to help with water retention and keep the landscape cloth in place.  I planted the Mums and added some steer/compost from Home depot brand name EarthGro and it is not good compost. It has chunks of wood and It feels like sand is the main ingredient.  I will never buy this compost again as it is terrible. D&B compost is much better and costs about the same. With some work I will have my own compost to add to my plants in the future. You never know about a product until you use it and many products have fallen in quality in the last couple of years. If you need these products it is best to stock up on the High quality stuff and don’t assume an off brand or discount store does not offer a good product.

It is Labor Day weekend and many stores have a sale for BBQing so Rib Eye Steaks are on sale. A couple of stores offer offer another 10% discount if you are over 55 so I’m stocking up on steaks.  Right now higher end beef cuts are relatively cheap because ranchers are selling because of rising feed costs and the drought in Beef raising states. Beef will get much more expensive in 2023/2024 as it take almost 2 years to raise beef. So if you want to eat beef next year you need to stock up and find a local supplier.  With inflation many local supplier prices in my area are comparable to the local Mega-marts for meat and veggies. My local Bi-Mart has a 7 cubic ft. chest freezer on sale for $199.00 because so many people are buying only the basics costs are coming down on many big ticket item you could not find to buy six months ago.

I recommend you don’t buy anything you don’t need just because the price is low, especially on credit with the rising interest rates. If you always wanted a big screen TV and can pay cash go for it.  There is nothing wrong with a bit of entertainment.  I’m sure some people will say you could spend that money on …. but it is your money and you know yourself better than anyone else. If you get value from the purchase and you are good with the decision, I say get the toy if your prep is solid. Only you can make that choice.

I’m sure there are people that don’t think my cleaning up my flower beds and adding Mums rather than Kale or some other edible plant is not the best choice. All I can say it’s my flower bed and my choice about what to plant. In your flower bed you can choose what you want to plant.  I welcome comments as many have given great ideas that work for them growing plants.  I don’t think I recommend stuff unless I try them out myself first.  Though occasionally I see a cool Idea that could work for people that follow the blog.

One thing I have found out is life is messy and seldom works out to any plan.  Stay flexible and fluid as life can change in a heartbeat.