A little more prep done and it looks like we will get a couple of cold nights and then back into the 40’s F. next week.

January 28, 2023

The “cold snap/Arctic air blast” looks to last a couple of days and only single digit temps at night and not below 0 as hyped earlier this week. Now if you are east of the Rockies you might get more of the cold compared to my area in SW Idaho. Overall I think you should prepare in accordance with the the weather hype. Not because they are correct but it is a good test of your prep skills for storms. I brought in a bit more kindling I had cut up on Friday and spread a little Ice Melt on the front sidewalk just in case of a hard freeze. So far there has been a light snow falling for about 6 hours on and off and the roads and grass have a nice coating of snow but the cold won’t hit till Sunday night so everything should be okay for travel by Monday and melt quickly through the week.

I got a notice that Idaho power will be tree trimming around my house. I called the number given and got a person at my house in less than 5 minutes to discuss what needed trimmed and what they could do according to their guidelines. While Idaho power is not perfect. They seem much above average Electrical Company for customer service and keeping power online. It is all to easy to fall into an adversarial attitude when dealing with companies but, I recommend trying to meet the people that work for/with these companies with a bit of give and take. Remember these people have work within company rules and they know the rules are sometimes dumb but they don’t make the rules. I know there are people that rage at cashiers because of grocery prices or waiter/waitresses because of price going up. These people are not setting prices and don’t deserve the abuse they often take from people with no clue how things work. It is a bit of cliche but thank those folks that do the work and keep a smile on the face despite the abuse they take for things out of their control. I think it works out for me as memorable to people because I’m not complaining about the cost but thank the cashiers, and foodservice workers and small store owners for trying to help or keep costs down as long as possible.

Boomer the dog and I are up to 1.25 miles for our walks.  Boomer had his collar taken in a bit as he is either losing weight/fat and building more muscle. I’m getting a bit more definition in my calves and losing the canckle look. I think I’m losing some weight as the size t-shirts are going back down a size and some t-shirts are hanging on me that did not last year. I added another 20 pounds of flour for the storage buckets. That is 60 pounds so far for flour and only 60 to to go for my 120 pounds of flour goal. If you are just starting to prep this shows you how simply you can start. 10 pounds of flour, some bulk yeast (don’t buy those little yeast packets they are a scam). Some sugar, salt and an oil/fat and you can not only make bread but all kinds of bread.  For the cost of one Artisan bread loaf you could buy 10 pounds of flour to make 5-10 of the same loaves at home. It takes some effort and some failure as my bagels sere not the best but I learned from that failure.  My English muffins turned out very good  on the second baking. Even if you failed making bread 6 times and made 4 good loaves of bread with that 10 pounds of flour you would still be ahead on a cost benefit ratio. While I can’t speak for other people I usually have a massive disaster the first time I try a recipe.  Then I try again and while not perfect I can see progress and by the 3rd time making a recipe i make it okay and will tweak it to work for me.

A thing I have noticed is some people are so terrified of failure that they will never try any thing new/different. Failure is okay and a part of learning new things. Or people will wait until they have the money for a perfect (thing) and never do anything because they will never have the money/time/skill to do this prefect thing perfectly! My recommendation is you start doing some thing. You don’t need to be dumb about it but do a little research and begin.  That is it!  Will it work? I don’t know try it out!

I don’t know about you all but when some tells me I can’t do something I get very motivated to prove them wrong.  Okay I still can’t slam dunk a basketball.  Overall that has not had an affect on my life. That is an example for the Nay Sayers in your life. Unless you can slam dunk a basketball and that makes that argument moot.

I don’t understand most people getting upset with my life choices as it has no affect on them. Saving rainwater is depriving children/ families of water.  All saved rainwater goes into the ground for gardens, ponds and other stuff.  But the rain water isn’t being saved to create a drought.  It is simple capturing rain water in winter and spring and releasing in summer and fall.  The water will still go into the ground just a bit controlled. No aquifers could be damaged by a few people with rain barrels as all the water will go in the ground over gardening season.

People are silly and the Elites are the silliest people ever. They are Morons. Keep working your plan and you should be okay.

Advertisement

Felt like Spring today but cold weather is coming.

January 26, 2023

Lots of blue sky, no wind and just a very nice day in the mid 40’s F. today. Of course got some cold air moving in this weekend to let us know that winter is still a thing and cold temps can come back with a vengeance. It doesn’t look like it will be to bad here a couple of days this weekend it will hit the single digits at night. It looks like east of the Rockies will get hit with most of the cold air. Things can change so I’m getting the cold weather preps topped off and in place.

I’m stacking up the porch wood rack and then some for the colder weather. During the last little cold snap I got out the Mr. Buddy heater to help warm up the back part of the house in the morning. Boomer the dog loves that little heater and lays in front of it while it is running.  This heater does a great job warming up this area when it gets cold and no increase to the electric bill. I need to get out my second Mr. buddy heater to make sure it is in working condition and bring up a couple of the 1 pound propane tanks for the heaters. So far a pound propane tank lasts long enough to heat the back rooms from about 60 F. to 68 F after running it about 30 minutes about 3-5 days. I’m not heating my whole house just warming up a couple of backrooms until the wood stove get going good. I don’t care what anybody says heat with a flame feels warmer than electric heat.

I’m feeling the need to get started for spring planting. I think I could start sprouting my onion seeds on paper towels and get them growing this year. The Hollar homestead ytube channel said they had great luck starting onions this way. My onions from seed did terrible last year so I would like to have a good crop this year. I want to start my mini plants for an indoor garden. Just some small pepper, tomatoes and green leaf lettuce plants for some salads until the garden gets started later this year. A good job for a cold weekend outside.


A glorious Sunset and cutting more kindling!

January 24, 2023

I just finished walking the dog and the sunset was glorious. I stood in the yard and watched the clouds rush by while taking on the pinks and orange of the sunset. Never forget nature/God is the best artist. though we don’t always appreciate the work.

Winter is not over and it seems many people in the USA and EU seem to think that it won’t get cold in February or March. I’m no Climatologist but I figure my area is about half way through winter and there are plenty of cold and snow days in the forecast. I am using more wood in the house is the last week and it is still in the teens F. overnight and we have not hit single digits or below zero cold. I finished moving the extra wood from my mini-wood pile to my porch.  I had a couple chunks of wood that got wet but over all the overflow wood pile did it’s job.

I have filled all four small boxes with kindling and about half of the box I have by the wood stove.  I should have at least a months worth of kindling though it is probably about 2 months worth the way I start a fire. While I cut kindling I get all that split wood that isn’t easy to cut for kindling but makes starting larger chunks of wood super easy. If you can’t cut a chunk of wood into kindling because of knots or twisting grains. Stop and toss that chunk of wood on the start other larger chunks of wood pile and only use easy to cut wood for kindling.  I think a lot of people work to hard making kindling. Perhaps we get stubborn and convince ourselves that only hard work is good work.  I have to work smarter and not harder because my physical energy is limited.  It makes no sense for me to split kindling from knotty or twisted grain wood when I can simply grab a different chunk of wood.

A bit of colder weather is coming and I need to top off the wood rack and the garden wagon has worked well this year as the snow fall has not been very deep and melted off in the valley.  I really like the canvas wood carry bag I got for about $15.00.  Much better than stacking up wood in your arms to load up the wood rack.

I got hit with price inflation that took my breath away. I buy some frozen fries for a treat and about a week ago the price was $2.29 for a gag of fries.  The same bag of fries now costs $5.69! No change in weight just double the cost  and then some.  While I have planned for this happening for many years getting smacked in that price jump is a bit staggering to see it happen.  I bought a few store bought eggs as Mom’s chicks laying is a bit iffy in winter.  I’m not complaining about Mom’s chicks they are good layers but winter is tough on chickens for laying. I’ll use my store bought eggs first but I have mineral oiled Mom’s chicken eggs and will store them in the basement for the future. I want to get about 4 chickens for my place and I have an Idea for a small coop and run but I need to “noodle” out the details. I can’t see paying a pre-fab chicken house is a better deal now. Compared to buying the lumber to build a coop with the recent price drops.

Winter is not over but Spring will be here before you know it!


Snow, a big baking day and adding more pet food.

January 19, 2023

Got a good 3-4 inches of snow overnight and into the morning. It was very easy to shovel so I got that done and added some Ice melt to the front yard sidewalks because the temp. is supposed to drop into the teens at night this week. We might get a little more snow this week but that is looking “iffy”. The cold weather is a good thing as that keeps the snow pack from melting in the mountains. Helps for irrigation and retards flooding which is a good thing. 

I have buying unbleached white flour at the local Fred Meyer as I can get the same price per pound (.50 cents) as a large 50 pound bag at the local Cash and Carry Store. I sort of figure 1, one pound loaf per week per person is a good base line for your bread needs. So you need to store at least 50 pounds of flour/whole wheat berries to have a year’s worth of bread and that is pretty easy using buckets and a little DE to keep any little bugs growing in the flour. Another thing I have wanted to do is expand my bread making skills to making other types of bread products. Today I made some bagels for the first time. English muffins a second time and some Challah bread I have made a few times.

Making a new product is a little bit scary as failure is super easy while you are learning.  You can always split a recipe if you are afraid of making a big batch your first time. My bagels turned out okay but I found out don’t use parchment paper in the oven if you want your bagels to brown up. Don’t use a Pizza stone to bake off your bagels as the bagel dough is a little sticky after boiling. A lightly oil sheet pan is the way to go. 

I tried a new recipe with the English muffins but I think the biggest difference was the heat applied on my stovetop and cast iron pans. I have an older electric stove with coils and the first english muffins browned before cooking all the way through and I finished them in the oven. This recipe I started with lower heat and increased it to give the muffins a good browning but cook the muffin all the way through without using the oven.  I’d say use the same temp. you would use for a slow simmer  between low and medium heat and use a lid to hold in the heat to cook your English muffins. 

I made some more of the Challah bread that I have made before so I was not to concerned about if I could bake the bread. I like adding sesame seeds or kosher, pretzel salt on top of the challah bread.  While these are all yeast bread products they can be made and baked off in a couple of hours or les counting the rise/proofing time. While I’m worn out I made all of these breads in less than four hours from start to finish. The price of all breads are rising and specialty breads at the local mega mart is leading the way for cost to buy. All of the ingredients for these products are the same and relatively cheap to buy. You can make almost any store bought bread product for 1/3rd of the cost in a store or bakery.  It does take time and you will have to decide how much your time is worth. 

I got a $20.00 of coupon for using Chewey.com to order some pet food.  If you have buying pet food lately you know that buying in bulk and getting $20.00 off is huge.  Especially if you get pet food that is not available in the store or the price has gone up so much you can’t afford it. I order some of the Purina one UTI dry cat food and a couple of 24 can cases of 9 lives wet cat food. My cats seem to be doing good on that diet. The package was a couple days late but California has had a couple of weather issues in the last couple of weeks.  The cardboard shipping box was shredded but all of the cat food ordered was in the box and in good shape. The cat’s dry cat food bin is full to the top. I added a little more of the premium dogfood to the buckets, and topped off 3 five gallon buckets.  Overall the critters have a good bit of food stored this year. 

I am seeing something that has me a bit concerned about accessing peoples checking accounts directly and bypassing even using a debit card.  One gas station will charges 10 cents less per gallon if you allow them access to your checking account.  I have seen this cropping up in other stores. You get a pretty good discount if you allow access to your checking account.  I don’t have a good feeling about this sort of thing. Perhaps if you could set up an independent account that only handle these charges it might be okay. While I do hate credit card companies,  I will say they have good fraud protection compared to debit cards.  I always default to the thing if the deal seems to good to be true. It probably isn’t true. 


Liberating yourself and taking control of your life.

January 15, 2023

I read a study from many years ago that one of the biggest causes of stress was the feeling you had no control of a situation.  I know that I really hate the feeling that I had no control of my life and sort of check the blocks rather than do things outside of the check boxes. I think getting sick/disabled was one of the best things that has happened to me long term.  Sure it sucked while it was happening but it really made me think about what was important to me.  It does not say much about me as it took something so dramatic to evaluate/change my life but some of us need to get smacked hard by reality before we wake up and start moving out of the rat race. 

I truly believe the best action you can take politically is to become as self-reliant as possible. This is not a leftwing/right wing issue at a personal level. Our food system is crap, proven by the obesity epidemic, rising diabetes levels and the rise of immune- compromised diseases. We have sick care rather than health care in the USA. Energy is expensive and destroying peoples budgets and it is a mostly man-made disaster by the politicians. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, if you are low to middle class these are issues you deal with daily and the politicians won’t do anything but jawbone the issues.  You probably can’t get completely independent but you can reduce your reliance on the system. 

I think small scale independent solar energy is a great idea. Perhaps a small neighborhood co-op might be workable but neither solar or wind energy can work on an industrial scale. That is the reality full stop!  You can’t make steel without coal as it is and ingredient of steel. I’d love if the new small Thorium salt  nuke reactors work out but we are not there yet. I think a wood stove is probably the best bet for having heat and an energy source you can control that is not tied to the grid. Buying and installing is not cheap and my area of the country buying wood is not cheap.  You could pay more but you have control of your heat. I have been looking at the portable lithium battery packs/generators and the look like a solution to electricity that bypasses the PTBS and that you can control.  Again the up front costs are not cheap but that is the price you pay to control your life. 

Look at the paybacks. My wood stove is now paying me back compared to using electricity to heat. It is slow but I decide how warm I want my house in winter and not the government or the utility companies. I’m trying out some swamp coolers this summer and I think they might reduce my electrical costs but I won’t know until I test it out. I want to add some of the solar energy power packs to the preps. If I can run a fridge and freezer overnight and a swamp cooler during the day in summer I would be happy.  Will it work I don’t know but I think it worth a try. 

I’m very excited about how well the envelope system is working out for “emergency fund”  and other little projects I have planned. I want another small freezer that has been on sale for around $200.00 in the past and I think I’ll see that price again this spring so I have saved up the cash for that project. For me saving up for a project via envelopes and stashing cash in them works for me so far.  I’m sure some issue will come up and blow up all my plans as life seems to be that way but now I have cash on hand to deal with the blow ups and don’t need to use a credit card. 

Start getting the ingredients and learn to bake your breads. I made a batch of English muffins and while they tasted good the correct texture was missing. I’m going to try a different recipe and see if it works better. Yes I’m buying flour and you should as well if you get it for under 50 cents per pound.  Revolutions have started because people did not have food and while bread might seem blasé it it the staff of life.  Lard can be substituted for vegetable oils on a 1 for 1 basis. I don’t like most chemically processed vegetable oils. I use lard and some olive oils. 

Refusing to play the game dictated by the elites is something anyone can do every day.  

 


Down a couple of days but now I’m catching back up.

January 11, 2023

These repeating storms hitting the west have really been painful to my joints and have just beat me up for getting stuff done. I’m feeling a lot better today. Boomer and I got in a good walk and I filled up the porch wood rack that got down to almost empty. It felt great getting the wood rack topped off and I grabbed one of the full kindling boxes so all of the wood needs are topped off for a few days.  Weather is staying warm for January but next week it should cool down into the 30’s and not have as many rain/snow storms moving through the valley. While it is warm and I’m feeling better I need to refill two kindling boxes to be ready for the next couple of months.  Overall the firewood season has been great. It has been relatively warm and I am still using older seasoned wood and not touched the wood I bought last spring. I guesstimate I have used less than a cord of wood so far this season.

At this point I’m debating about how much wood to purchase this spring. I think two cords of wood will replace what I have burned this year and with the wood I already have stacked I will have a good 6 cords of wood on hand that will be seasoned and ready to use during next winter. I know it is difficult to build up a multi-year stack of firewood. You are better off burning wood after it seasoned/dried for at least a year. The wood burns cleaner and hotter and means the chimney stays cleaner and you stay warmer for the amount of wood burned.

An update on how Mom and my own woodstoves are doing after we did our own cleaning.  So far we have had no problems with the woodstoves not burning clean. If your chimney is dirty it can be hard to start a fire or you might get a little back blast puff when you open the woodstove door. I have a glass door on my woodstove and if you burn the wood correctly that glass door should stay fairly clean. If you have to clean the glass door of your wood stove a lot you are probably not letting the fire get hot enough to keep the stove clean.  I think there is a temptation to keep a fire slow and small to save on wood.  But that creates a “dirty fire” that deposits creosote in the chimney and makes the glass dirty. Plus you want to heat up the stove with a hot fire and let the heat radiate away from the firebox. Almost always a hot fire is a safe fire.

January has become my “Thinking/Planning month.  I got my wish list of seeds all set up for Baker Creek and Mom is stopping by so she can see what I have ordered and if she wants to share some of those seeds or add an order for next month. I would recommend you order your seeds by the end of February.  Seeds sales might last longer into March and April but I would not count on it. Start looking at seed starting kits now before the rush. In my area the rush seems to hit in April and May though that is a bit late for starting seeds indoors. Invest in a plant heat pad for your seed starts.  The heat pad really helped my starts not get “leggy”.

Starting seeds indoors will be here soon. May 10th is our frost date so if you count back 8-12 weeks or 2-3 months many cool weather plants need to be started in mid February.  These are plants than can handle a frost or need some protection against a hard frost. Invest now in frost protective cloths.  Do not trust mama nature as she can be a bit schizo in the Spring time. Now is the time to buy the things you need for summer before everyone else tries and buy things at the last minute.

I like https://www.gardenport.com/ for plant stuff and shade covers for the good prices and service. Don’t wait until it is cold or hot before you stock up.  I’m looking at buying swamp cooler now rather than waiting until May/June is I’m the only one shopping now rather than a lot of people shopping this summer. Will the swamp cooler work?  I don’t know, all I can do is read reviews and make a guess, then see how they work.  At best they work great and I don’t have to use my Air conditioners.  At worse they don’t work great and I have to use my Air Conditioners.  Mid range success.  Swamp cooler work good for part of the summer and can be used  outside cooling critters or rednecks.  I love the reviewers of products that really try and make the product work. Rather than those that say the product sucks and don’t buy.

I’d love to have a mini split ductless system with a heat pump. I think that would be perfect for my home. That will cost several grand and the swamp coolers cost only $500.00 and if they don’t work well I’ll use them for other cooling. I’m not expecting perfection. I just want a low electrical cost system of cooling for part of the summer. Never let perfect be the enemy of the good!

I’m sure we could create a (Wish List) for everything we want if given an unlimited budget. I’d like one of those walk in tubs with jacuzzi bubbles that cost several thousand dollars. But I just got of debt and a like being out of debt more that having a bath with bubbles. That being said I think it is a good to create a wish list for small jobs lets say around a thousand dollars or less that you want to make happen this year and share with others. It could be adding a small shed. planter boxes, investing in tools or silver. Or buying some larger projects without credit and how you mad it happen for yourself.

Last but not least Chicken is on sale and it has been at least a few months since I have seen that in the ads. Perhaps the USA is turning the corner on the Avian Flu thing?  I don’t know.  I don’t like the culling of millions of animals because one animal tests positive for a disease. Can the birds be treated with antibiotics/antivirals?  Don’t know, because the government culled any flock with the bird flu. Culling might be the correct thing to do, but I’m finding I don’t have a lot of trust in the government reactions. It would be terrible that some birds built an immunity to this “bird flu” and they were culled because of a government over reaction.


Warm January? not much flooding here though it is damp. Solar energy this summer? Mental prep for inflation.

January 7, 2023

The weather is still wonky as we are catching the warmth from Cali’s weather but not as much rain/snow. The good news is all this moisture is making a huge dent in the on going drought situation. While all this snow and rain can suck right now it will probably help during the growing season this spring and summer. Plus help refill many river and reservoirs that are low. I have to say this is the strangest fall/winter cycle i have seen with the leaves falling so late and birds like Robins hanging around this winter.  As long as we get rain in February, March and it stays cool in the Mountains we should be good for irrigation this summer.

I bought a lot of solar panels to set up an off grid energy system but it is the batteries that are the big cost.  If I don’t need to add to the wood pile this spring. I could use some of that money to invest in a small solar energy system using AGM Batteries for storage.  Yes I know Lithium batteries are better but the are very expensive. If I could run a few items via solar to begin with and then build up the system later I think it will pay off in the long run. Getting my Summer energy cost lower is a huge goal for me this year.

I know many people are getting hit hard with inflation. The government inflation rate that excludes food and energy hides the very things that people need to live. It does not matter if TV’s are cheap if the cost of eggs, milk, meat, gas and home energy cost have gone up 20%-40%. You don’t buy a TV every month you buy food every week and energy at least monthly.  Also a TV is not a survival item food and heat are survival items. I have been sort of mentally preparing for years to lose 30% of my buying power to what ever financial shenanigan the PTBs plan/execute. It could have been a cut to my VA/ disability benefits or inflation but I suspected my buying power would be cut by 30%. I had a few wake up calls that I was losing buying power but overall I was mentally prepared for inflation to happen. Because of that mental prep along with other preps I was ready for inflation to hit and overall I don’t think it has hit me as hard as it could have without that mental prep. In some ways I am more financially secure than I have ever been in the past.

I don’t have extra money but I got the credit cards paid off.  I have the stuff I need to survive on hand. Things like long term food storage, tools, building up some skills and making plans to make my life better in the future. It was a lot of work but it was simple if not easy. Paying off debt is hard especially if you are at the bottom of the economic food chain.  Dave Ramsey is great but some of the incomes people make and pay off debt are not like me. I might break 20 grand next year on my disability. A lot of those folks make $50-$100 thousand + a year.  Perhaps I should have a class on how to live good on less than $20,000 a year.  It always comes down to percentages of income. Poor people without subsidized energy or food via the government pay a higher percent of income for necessities. If you make $4,000-$8,000 per month an extra $10.00 or even $50.00 is not much of a hit. If you are living on $1200.00-$1600.00 Social Security per month that extra cost of  $10.00-$50.00 per month is a huge hit.  I’m not looking for sympathy or pity but can you imagine how I or other Social Security people  feel when every property tax increase is frame as it is just an extra $5.00, $10.00 $20.00 per month. Last year in Idaho Home values jumped up so much that many cash poor home owners were almost kicked out of their home because of rising property taxes. I have live in the same home for almost 20 years and I have seen the value of this home as low as $40,000 to $250,000 and I don’t think my adding a roof, wood stove and new windows should add that much value. Do you know the difference in taxes between a $40.000 home a $250.000?.  I hate property taxes but I don’t think a Home’s property taxes should change unless it is sold.

Sorry I think I pushed one of my buttons.  Things are not awful and you can keep prepping but you might have to adjust your focus. We are living in historic times.  I would prefer my history with a bit more time displacement., but here are.

I suggest you make some New year’s resolution of saying NO!  You don’t have to be impolite but NO is a perfect answer to these busybodies that try and shame you. Like Nancy Reagan said Just say no!  Lumber and home improvement items are coming down in cost. That is great for DIYers. I’m not how gardening will shake out. We had a lot of noobies start gardening with lots of enthusiasm. I’m ordering my seeds this month just incase but we will see if the gardening starts to die off because it is work.  Funny enough you can’t just plant a seed and things grow according to Mike Bloomberg.  There is a bit more to gardening and farming than just planting a seed.

On politics just sit back and watch the show. We know the  PTBs are criminal if not out right evil . Watch them get exposed and the dance they try and play. We can’t vote harder so I say walk away and only support your locals and do not send money to the Republicans or Democrats.


Wish lists, budget and bacon

January 4, 2023

One thing I like about shopping online is you can set up wish lists. I know some folks share those lists but I like to use the lists to plan out future shopping that is one or two months out. Especially for items that are seasonal such Garden seeds and the swamp coolers I want to get this spring and summer.

I set up a wish list at Baker creek for seeds I want to buy in February. It seems sort of crazy to people that don’t garden but there are a lot of plants that need to be started indoors in another month. This year I’m starting my cool weather plants starting in mid Feb. and March. Last year I started my plants in April and that is to late for the cool loving cole crops like broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower and so forth.  A lot of the summer loving plants can be started 8-12 weeks prior to the frost date. For my area that is May 10th. I can start many of the tomatoes, peppers and other plants as early as mid March. That is not that far into the future. Plus seeing those plants sprout and grow always boosts my spirits as winter starts to end and spring starts. I got the sprouting table set up and just need to add the pots and potting soil and everything will be ready to go for the seeds. This year I want to add more vertical growing to my  garden beds.

I have two more wish lists set up. One  list is for the foundation of the greenhouse and the other wish list is for the swamp coolers for the summer. I am going with three 500 square foot swamp cooler and a couple of new window fans with a total cost around $500.00. My house is only 1240 sq.ft. so that is more than enough to cover my house and if the swamp coolers don’t do the job I can use the units in my shop or on my patio for some spot cooling this summer. One way or another I will get my money’s worth out of the swamp coolers.

I set up a new budget and it was so exciting for me because this is my first month with no credit card bill!  It feels like I have so much more money available with out those credit card bills. I know it is not a lot of money but it feels that way. I have had more luck using a modified Dave Ramsey envelope method so I’m setting up envelopes for things like vet bills, car maint. and firewood rather than relying on the credit card or Emergency fund. I’ll add a monthly amount each month and hopefully I won’t have an emergency bill and if I do I’ll have some money on hand to pay it off or at least make the bill a lot smaller out of pocket cost. I’m not sure if I will buy firewood this spring if we continue to have mild temps my wood pile is still enough for at least 2 hard winters. I’ll fill the envelope because things can always change with the weather here in Idaho.

Fred Meyer had the bacon I like for 2.88 per pound so I bought up several 3 pound packages and picked up a package for Mom. You can’t beat that price and I’ll keep adding to the bacon on hand with the Butcher store bacon, a little more expensive I like the taste and it is local. I noticed that Fred Meyers had some turkeys for 99 cent per pound but not an advertised price. I want to add a turkey for the holidays this year. Hopefully that price will last until I get my check this month. You might want to check your stores for a similar price for turkeys since the holidays are over the price might be low. Beef and pork prices are low right now but I doubt that will last long this year since many ranchers sent animals to be butchered early rather than pay high feed prices. I suspect in 3-6 months the prices will start going up quickly. Now is the time to buy up and store those meats while the costs are low.

It is very easy to get worked up about rising prices. That is why you have to keep $20.00-$50.00 to buy a lot of those things that go on sale and you can store long term. Vegetables prices have really jumped up. That means you need to grow veggies and learn methods to preserve them long term. I saw a news article that bread might be hard to find in the local grocery store. I’m not sure about that but I know bread and baked products have jumped in price because of poor grain harvests. Buy the basic ingredients and learn to bake bread now! You will probably make a few bricks, but think of that as tuition costs of learning. A few loaves of bread and then you will be making bagels, Challah, Ciabatta and all your bread needs after a bit of practice.  You can make bread at home for 1/3 of the cost of buying bread in the store.  I want to learn to bake bagels and English muffins this year. Yes I know I will make mistakes but that is how I learn.

Make a wish list for whatever you would like to do this year. It can be anything from buying tools to making a kitchen garden or building something like a deck or table or a little kitchen garden. Perhaps you want to learn something like knitting sewing or anything else you think it might be interesting/fun to do. Perhaps it is a new woodstove or solar energy setup. Don’t be afraid to dream both big and small. Most big projects are really a bunch of small projects so you can dream big but start small.

For example a wood stove you will need wood to burn. Where will you store the wood, how much wood will you need? Without even looking at the cost of a woodstove you could have a wood pile on hand to use when the stove is installed. What kind of woodstove do you need? I bought a wood stove larger than I needed because I did not want to get up at night and feed the stove every 2-4 hours. Yes many small stoves need that sort of stoking. You could easily spend 10-30 grand on a wood stove depending on the stove, installation costs and the cost of wood. Break it down into smaller chunks and that goal becomes much easier to afford. But that is a big thing you can start off with much smaller things and them build on top of them.

An outdoor kitchen is a doable task that does not have to cost a lot of money.  It will be a money saver in the long run as cooking outside in summer saves cooling costs.

So make your wish lists and do your research and break those jobs/cost down into smaller chunks so you don’t waste money but you have something you can use right away.  Think Multi-taskers that grill, burner, igloo jug and ice chest that you use for camping or tail gaiting can be used as an outdoor kitchen in summer or a way to cook when the power goes out.


Planning for next year… and odds/ends

December 29, 2022

The more I look at using swamp coolers rather than Air conditioner units the more impressed I am about the cost benefit ratio. The energy savings of a swamp cooler looks to be about 1/3rd the cost or less compared to using window/ portable  Air Conditioners for cooling. I have been doing some research and it seems a swamp cooler needs a bit of fresh air to work best. Rather than an Air conditioner that works best with very little outside airflow in a well insulated home. I think the total cost of my plan adding swamp coolers will cost about $500.00 but that is adding window fans, insulation strips and hoses for feeding the swamp cooler with water over night if needed. Can you add a pump and a 5 gallon bucket to get an 8 hour run time to a portable swamp cooler?

I don’t expect a perfect solution to cooling in summer with a swamp cooler. I know swamp coolers use less energy compared to a small Air Conditioner.  So I could run a swamp cooler via a generator or even a solar setup that would be almost impossible running a couple of  Air Conditioners. I think with using the swamp cooler during part of the summer I will pay off the investment in 3 months due to electric energy cost, and I live in a cheap electricity state. Home depot has a lot of swamp coolers and window fans for a great price now and they are not on sale, because winter. Free shipping on the window box fans that cost about $33.00. Home depot usually does not give free shipping until you spend at least $50.00.  I’m not saying you have to buy now but if a swamp cooler could save money next summer you might look into it while prices are low.

I can’t install a whole home heat pump.  Tax breaks don’t work for me as I don’t pay income taxes because my income is so low. If I installed an approved green energy “whatever item” approved for tax breaks.  It would mean nothing as I don’t pay income tax. People living below the Poverty line/ don’t pay income tax don’t get any benefit from tax breaks. I make enough not to get all the government goodies like food stamps or energy subsidies but nothing for electrical efficiency and using less power.

Net zero/Green energy is a scam via the government. Local energy co-ops could work at a town block level might work for Homes.  A top down wanna-be industrial scale Solar/wind energy system is doomed to fail at this time. Idaho power is building a battery farm that might power about 14,000 homes for 4 hours.  No business, not a metro area, or a small town will accept an energy black out 4 hours after the sun goes down. I think solar has a lot of potential but it is no where close to ready to power any industrial nation.

On to the energy I can control. I cut up the last of the split wood for kindling. Depending on the wood box for kindling for an average it lasts 1-2 weeks based on temp. outdoors and if I have leftover coals overnight.  We have wet, cold rainy weather incoming. I don’t mind snow but working in a cold rain sucks! I prefer to avoid that if possible.  I have filled up 3 kindling boxes and had Mom grab one when she was a bit short. Overall the kindling box idea has been a winner!

Oh I did buy buy some bacon I like on sale for $2.88 per pound. I like the taste but there is no way I’m shopping until the second of January.

I picked up the yard Xmas lights and they are a bit of mess right now but I’ll store them away for next year. I think it was last year that having Xmas lights was white supremacy because not every person had Xmas lights.  I walk my dog around the neighborhood and never thought Xmas lights was “White Supremacy” . Heck I don’t know or care about the race of a person that put’s up Xmas lights. I just like the xmas lights. It must be fatiguing for those folks to find reasons to be out raged daily and no one cares about their outrage. Dude it is just Xmas lights.  As Freud said some time a cigar is just a cigar.


Cold night but warming up in a couple of days

December 23, 2022

It got down to 9 degrees F. and while cold it often gets below 0 degrees in January and 9 degrees might be the high temp for the day.  I spent yesterday after noon filling up the porch wood rack and my garden cart is on the back patio full of wood. It was a bit of overkill because the temps are warming up in a couple of days but I was worried about freezing rain during the warm up. The backside of the house got a little cool at around 60 degrees and I did not want to use the electric space heater.  I got out the Mr. Buddy propane heater and fired it up on high and it did not take long before the backside of the house was pleasant 68 degrees F. With the propane heat feeling much warmer than the electric heat. I wish I had bought the Big Buddy heater with the built in fan but I have several battery powered fans to move the heat around so the Mr. Buddy heater a the loser price or a deal breaker.

The wood pile is doing great so far this year. I have just about cleaned out 2 of the kennel wood racks and have 2 more wood racks that I’ll probably clean out in January. I have pulled a little bit of wood from the “overflow” wood stack but I just wanted some larger chunks of wood to burn overnight. I doubt I will need to use any of the delivered wood I got in the spring of this year. I’d like to make the old kennel area a storage area for equipment/yard tools, lumber? As well as safer fuel storage.

I saw a new product that Mr. Buddy has added to the propane heat line up. It is a heater with a gas burner cooktop that hooks up to the 20 pound tank. It was $219.00 but it would be perfect back up heat and cooking tool. Great for camping/hunting or tail gaiting in the fall. It would save some space for those that have limited storage for preps.

While I was running around getting the wood prepped I raked up some of the leaves and cleaned off the back patio. I left the leaves in a pile next to the garbage bin just in case a critter needed a place to snuggle in during the cold. I did not cleanup the leaves or apples that have fallen in part of the garden area because the squirrels have been eating on the apples. Today I had about 40-50 robins along with a few other types of birds descend on those backyard apples. I have never seen robins flock or hang around the area this late in the year. I guess it isn’t that rare as robins will flock in the winter and change their diet to fruit and nuts in the winter. It felt good that my being a little bit lazy helped some of God’s wild critters through the cold spell. I refilled the bird feeder up front so the doves, sparrows and other little birds could feed during the cold snap.

I baked up a couple of loaves of the Artisan bread. One to eat right away, one in the freezer and one to be baked for the Christmas eave dinner. On the 23rd I’ll bake the cake and fudge so all of the deserts and sweets will be done. I did screw up on running low on lard but I have enough oils to finish up the year and will get 10 pounds of lard bottled up for preps after the first of the year.

I know many people are facing brutal energy costs this winter. I’m okay because I heat with wood winter electrical cost for me are low. While it sucked getting rid of the old fridge will probably save me some money on the electric bill.  My biggest cost in electricity is in the summer and using the portable Air conditioners. So I looked at Swamp coolers that should work well in this high desert environment. I found a couple of highly rated portable swamp coolers that are rated for the area to cover my house and the total cost to buy is about $450.00 for both units. I still have the Air conditioners I could use if the swamp cooler could not handle the heat but if I could use a swamp cooler even part of the summer it would save me a lot on my electric bill and my generators could power a swamp cooler much more easily than an Air conditioner. The swamp cooler could pay for themselves in 1-2 years if my numbers are correct.

My long term plan is a mini-split system with a heat pump but I think these swamp coolers are a good compromise on cost and how quickly I could use them. The min-split system will cost $6000-$8000 depending on the installation cost and I don’t want to go back into debt. I want to save up at least 1/2 the cost of the mini-split system before I even start getting bids for installation.  Swamp coolers work best in low humidity so they are not an option for everyone.  I will say I was surprised to find there were so options for swamp coolers made for indoor/outdoors, portables and non window installed units. The variety of different types of units is amazing.

The cost of living should stabilize at this new normal but most of the things you need to live, won’t be going down in price anytime soon. Some prices are coming down like lumber but it is going to be hit and miss next year. Think 6-12 months ahead and if you guess wrong just fix it/ forget getting it wrong and move on. Don’t let a perfect solution blind you to a good solution that works today. I can’t believe I’m saying this but paying out $450.00 on a couple of swamp coolers is almost nothing when you think about people that spend $100.00 + on cable/sat TV and phone service+ smart phones.  I will pay the same price over a couple months to get swamp cooler that people pay for a mid range smart phone and that is nothing on the cost of a new iPhone. It is like the PlayStation 5 that is finally getting into stores and costs about $700.00.  For that I can build a good computer with much better graphics, sound and plays more games and can act as a home server and I can upgrade the hard drive and memory if not the graphics card in the future and not pay another $700.00 + for a new gaming console.

Sorry I think I pushed one of my buttons!  ;/

Think ahead folks some things are going down in price it just not food or energy but if you have a little cash on hand there are bargains out there. Deflation is coming! We can already see it in Used car prices, home prices, land prices and other real tangible assets. Plywood that was $75-100.00 per sheet is now back under $50.00 -$30.00 per sheet. The property tax assessors and schools are going to hate the falling home values.  Most people are not dumb enough to buy a more expensive home and pay a higher interest rate unless they have to for a job relocation.  I have a 3.5 interest rate and I owe less than 90 grand on my home. Why would I buy a more expensive home and pay a higher interest rate. Offer me about 500,000 for my home and I might consider the offer.  But Jamie your home isn’t worth $500,000.  Oh but it is worth it to me!  A house is only worth what some one is willing to pay for it. I saw houses sold on my block for $40-$60 grand around 2009-2011 and they are the same house going for $250 grand and up. That is man made created inflation.  We in the USA are living in man made disasters and most of them are created by the D.C government and corporations.