Playing with fire… and water?

December 15, 2020

Perhaps I’m a bit slow learning about using a wood stove, but I have seen many people (homesteader/off-grid types on youtube fill a wood stove to the max with wood. Now I generally start a fire and then add one or two larger chunks as needed to keep the fire going through out the day. As an experiment I filled up the fire box with smaller pieces of firewood but we had warmer overnight temps. The temp. of the house seemed to be about the same in the front part of the house with the woodstove. The backside of the house felt warmer and was measurably warmer compared to just adding a few chunks of wood to keep the fire burning.

The biggest difference was I generated a lot more long lasting coals when I filled up the wood stove compared to just adding a new log when the fire started dying down. The house felt warmer in the morning despite the fact the fire was out in the wood stove. Is building a lot of hot coals the goal, rather than build a good hot fire and just keep feeding the fire?

I’m interested in your opinion though I’m going to keep testing the build a hot fire fast and then let the coals slowly heat the house over time. As many years as I have had a wood stove you would think I’d know how to use the bloody thing!

My Mom talked to my Aunt about a backup water supply that was mentioned to her by my aunt’s daughter. Yes, it is a bit convoluted but my Aunt is now thinking about how reliable her water supply is and how she might need to have some water backups for at least a few days if not longer in a disaster. I doubt that my Aunt would ever think about her needs in a disaster, but she would always put her animals first to get water and food first, if a disaster hit. This is great for me as I just emptied my 15 gallon food grade water barrels to cleanup my front bedroom. I’m not very good at convincing people as I tend to be a bit vociferous and “pounding the table” rather than hanging back and approaching those that are open minded.

Water is heavy at about 7+pounds per gallon. That makes a 5 gallon jug weigh 35-40 pounds depending on the weight of the jug. Now a 15 gallon barrel of water weighs about 120-130 pounds but even I can move a 15 gallon barrel over short distances with a little dolly. Now moving a 55 gallon barrel of water you would have to move over 440 pounds. I can’t move that sort of weight with a dolly. A full 15 gallon water barrel could be lifted by a couple of strong people into a truck.

Speaking only for myself and my experience of not having water at my faucet for a week. I can say you need at least 3-5 gallons per day to keep your home plumbing working if the sewer system works. You can survive on a gallon or two per day your home can’t survive without some water to flush the sewage system.

Igloo jugs are the best for storing a lot of warm or cool water. I like the 5 gallon jugs for holding a lot of water but the smaller 2-2.5 gallon jugs work great on the counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom for washing up dirty hands or dishes.

I don’t like what I think is coming in the near future. The left wants us destroyed, dead, shamed from society. It does not bode well for us folks that the left hates.


First garden bed soaker hose is done

June 11, 2020

I got the first garden bed set up with a soaker hose. I’m moving away from using a sprinkler to more water goes into the garden bed and not watering the weeds outside the garden bed. Overall I’m pleased with the results though it is not a true “drip irrigation system” . The first big bonus is 25 foot soaker hoses are relatively cheap and will water my 10 foot long raised garden beds without watering a lot of the ground outside of the garden beds.

Lessons learned : Drilling through 2×4 with the hole drill tool is tough. What I did was start drilling the hole on one side of the 2×4 use a drill bit to mark the center of the hole and then finish drilling out the hole from the other side of the board. I’m sure there are people that will say “any idiot knows…” I am that idiot and I did not know, though it seems apparent after trying to drill a large hole through one side of a 2×4. It can’t work, but if you use a a drill bit to set the same hole from the other side of the 2×4 you can make a hole for the hose.

If I can afford to to put in a drip irrigation system in the future most of the work is done so using the soaker hoses is a “test” or proof of concept of a drip irrigation system done on the cheap!

How are are the garden plants doing? The lettuce, swiss chard and spinach is growing very well. The Bok choy looks like a bust again. My sweet and dent corn seem to be growing but the Squash and pole beans seem to be a bust. The tomitillos and herbs are doing great but the tomatoes and peppers are lagging. I need to get on top of the weeding and make the watering more focused on the plants because the weather is “wonky” with a couple of days of 90 F. degree heat for a couple of days and then dropping into 60 F. degree heat + rain. This is hard for farmers and gardeners because the expected/normal weather is not happening.

I’m going to finish adding the soaker hoses to all my garden beds and get some more winter squash plant starts to fill in my garden beds. Mama nature is fickle you can do everything correct according to the books and get nothing out of your garden. You can do almost everything wrong and get food from your garden. Doing the real work of making soil, weeding and know when and what to plant will matter over a few growing seasons. Any work you do for a garden seems to pay off at least 6-12 months later! Failure is only an opportunity to try new stuff and you will fail, that is how you learn!


OMG! so much rain! I thought I lived in a desert?

May 19, 2020

I don’t think we have NORMAL seasons in Idaho.  Just statistical averages, stuff  happens within most months, with the data spread over a hundred years that pretends to be normal weather.  Needless to say getting work done on the garden beds is on hold along with mowing the lawn.  There is some good news along with the bad, as the extra rain has saved me from dragging a hose around to water the lawn. The “lawn feed” and compost/fertilizer have had plenty of time to move naturally into the soil so the new grass in the back yard is filling in nicely.  The long raised garden bed plants are loving this rain.  Even the little celery plants are starting to put on some growth and come back from looking so “sad” after transplanting in the garden bed.

I’m still working the garden fence to make it an effective barrier. Having all of this rain has kept most of the cats and squirrels at home and not digging in my garden.  I’ll have few days this week to finish up my gate and add some bottom stakes the the bottom of the fence to limit the critters from crawling under the fence. The rain has made me think and layout how I want  to build the 2 ft. by 4 ft. garden cart.  One of my biggest faults in building stuff has been slapping stuff together and not taking the time to “dry fit” the parts.  I want these elevated garden bed carts to be functional but also to looks decorative.

On too the money and shopping stuff. Prioritize your spending!

  1. That means food and utilities come first.  Whatever monies are leftover then go for your debts and rent.
  2. Call the companies you owe money too and work on a payment plan even if it is only $5.00 a week or $20.00 a month.  Do this on the phone and  get a written record via email about what you are paying and receipts of payments made. This will help prove you made a “good faith effort” to pay the debt.
  3. Don’t agree to a Bubble (3-6 month of payments due in full) for payment of your mortgage or any debt after a 3 month grace period. With a mortgage, ask the bank or company to add the payment be deferred to the end of contract.  If you can’t pay your mortgage because you haven’t worked during the LOCK DOWN.  You can’t make a bubble payment of your mortgage after 3 months of lock down.
  4. If you still have an income be it SS, pension, work from home or hustling side jobs start saving cash and keep a some of that cash at home. Keep enough in the bank to pay your monthly bills and work toward that 6 months worth of saving.  Also keep some cash at home.  Let’s call it recreation money for a pizza, a good sale you find. Perhaps it is just a couple of twenty dollar bills stuffed in your wallet to pay the gas station for gas when the internet or power goes down.
  5. Buy the thing you want/need to make your life better. It is okay to have a Netflix subscription.  Not my thing,  I like video games and computers.  Heck I just spent almost $90.00 on a new desk chair because my old chair was toast.  Sitting in this chair is a joy.  It is all about what is valuable to you.

That is the thing about freedom, I may think your priorities are idiotic and you may think the same about my priorities.  You do you and I’ll do me and sharing what works and doesn’t work makes everyone’s life potentially better.  My gosh if you think making a mistake is bad, you need to practice more at screwing up.  The only people that don’t make mistakes are people who do nothing and that in itself is a mistake!


It’s gonna get cold and breezy!

October 28, 2019

Winter is coming to Casa de Chaos! I was just puttering around getting wood on the porch fire wood rack.  I raked up some leaves and saw this weather warning.

IDZ012-014>016-029-030-290530- /O.NEW.KBOI.WI.Y.0013.191029T1000Z-191029T1800Z/ Lower Treasure Valley ID-Upper Treasure Valley- Southwest Highlands-Western Magic Valley-Owyhee Mountains- Southern Twin Falls County- 209 PM MDT Mon Oct 28 2019 …WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO NOON MDT TUESDAY… * WHAT…Northwest winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph. * WHERE…Portions of south central and southwest Idaho. * WHEN…From 4 AM to noon MDT Tuesday. * IMPACTS…Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Small tree limbs could be blown down. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Wind chill will be near zero Tuesday morning. Light snow is also expected with local blowing and drifting snow, slick roads, and reduced visibility. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects.

SW Idaho tends to get unpredictable weather being a convergence zone of three different wind patterns.  Warm weather coming up from SW/ California.  A Pacific wind/moisture pattern from the west that is absorbed by the Blue Mountain range in Oregon and Washington. We can get cold weather that comes out of the Arctic and travels down the West side of the Rocky Mountains. It all depends on pressure fronts and how the high Jet stream winds are blowing.  This is the biggest reason it is so hard to predict local weather in Idaho.

Normally I don’t worry to much about wind storms, as my home is well protected by the homes and trees in my neighborhood.  The last little wind storm that blew through last week had a minor affect on my home, so I got all the wood tarps tied and weighted down.  I filled up the wood rack and got some of the raked up leaves into the garbage bin rather than wait to see how the storm would blow the collected leaves around the yard. There is a feeling in the air with a storm is coming and you need to stocked up and get a little bit better prepared for a few days.  Not because the storm is all that dangerous, I just don’t want to have to get fire wood when there is 0 degree F. wind chill.  I don’t expect any problems as the wind will end early in the day and most of the snow will melt off this week.  It is always nice to have a little storm to test your basic winter preps.

It seems I have under estimated the amount of fire starters needed by myself and Mom this fall.  Both of us tend to start a fire as  needed as the days cool down, rather than keeping the fire going all day in the Fall.  Not a huge problem this early into the fire wood season.  Mom has over 45 fire starters and I have about 60 on hand so I have at least 30 days to make more fire starters.  Worse comes to worst,  we can start fires with a bit of news paper like we did before I made the fire starters.


New Kitchen Faucet installed and a kitten update

September 21, 2019

I stopped by True value to get some stuff for unclogging my kitchen sink and the store had a nice looking high-rice faucet /with sprayer for a kitchen sink that cost $65.00.  I have been looking for this type of faucet for the kitchen the last couple of months and so I bought it and installed it this weekend.

To say that the plumbing in this house is “problematic” is excessively kind.  Most of the plumbing is a hodge-podge of different materials that seems to have been done cheap and quick rather than done correctly.  Now I’m no plumbing expert but mixing materials like copper, steel, aluminum and plastic pipes along with what looks like “copper brazing” attaching steel pipes to a simple metal shut off valve has made those valve completely ineffective as a shut of valve.  Because those valve are not working I had to shut off all water to the house to replace the Kitchen faucet.

I learned a lot about my house plumbing on this job and the house water valve needs a little extra push to stop all water coming into the house.  3.5 and 5 gallon buckets are your friends for containing water from water pipes that have water in them and not completely depressurized of water and add towels to sop up the water.  I have been replacing water valves under toilets and sinks as I go but the kitchen sink faucet metal base was starting to disintegrate/leak and needed replacement as soon as possible.

I’m not sure when the old faucet was mad but it was basically 3 copper pipes soldered together with an aluminum cover.  I’m guessing the age of the faucet in the 1980’s age range.  The metal in the old faucet disintegrated and I had to sweep up all the metal chunks that fell away as I removed the old faucet.

After dealing with all of the water issues  and the crazy install of the old faucet, I installed a Homepoint High rise faucet that has the ADA compliant and easy to use lever type handles.  The sprayer works great and overall the faucet looks good.  I had a bit of good luck getting all the water fittings tight before I turned on the water main and I had no leaks.  That ability/time to run down to the basement to turn on and off the water and check for leaks made this job a bit more stressful.

I love how high rise faucets make filling up large stock pots to my Mom using the high rise faucet in the bathroom to wash her hair and put a perm.  I’m putting new faucets that have levers rather than the push/pull/twist sort of faucets.  My strength can get a bit “iffy” with my CIDP, but I can certainly push/pull a lever without fine muscular control. My outside door all use levers rather than door knobs.  Evan I on my worst day can use and elbow to push a lever.  Turning a knob is more difficult.

Onto the kitten assimilation at Casa de Chaos.  Well Tucker has allowed the kittens on my bed. Of course the kittens are a bit of pain to me but they seem to be slowly learning not to get in my face.  Tucker seems to be doing more “admonishments”  rather than going after the kittens from instinct.

I still have a slow drain in the kitchen.  I have run the drain snake as far as I can work it trough the kitchen pipes.  I’ll try the “Drain King” pressurize water “blow out” of the clog.  I don’t hate plumbers! Most of them could have installed the kitchen faucet in about 30 minutes or less.  It took me over 2 hours to install a kitchen faucet. That time is money/time/value.


Catching up this weekend

August 24, 2019

I catching up on my weekly household clean up schedule that went to crap when I hurt my back.  I still have to get the kitchen mopped and cupboards wiped done Sunday.  Overall it feels like I’m back on my house cleaning schedule.

Using the new washer is strange because I’m washing relatively small loads in a huge tub.  I doubt I have washed a load of laundry that fills the new washer tub more than 1/3 full.  That feels odd because I was taught to do full loads of laundry so you did not waste water.  Now I cant even set the water level on the new washer!  I know there can be a lot of hate for new appliances.  Gosh I was one of haters or at least darn dubious about most of the new technology but after using the washer the last couple of weeks I do have a few good things to say about this washer.

  1. My clothes are cleaner:  I had a few color t-shirts that had grease stains that did not get pre-treated and got “set” via the dryer.  Most of those stains have disappeared.
  2. The fabrics feel softer:  I don’t use a fabric softener or dryer sheets. Using the new washer my clothing feels softer to the touch.
  3. My old dryer drys fabrics faster:  With my old washer the spin cycle was okay but was getting less efficient.  It took the dryer about 60-70 minutes to dry a full load of laundry.  With the new washer my old dryer drys the load in about 50 minutes and I’m going to a test setting the dryer at 40 minutes to see if a load of laundry is dry.

So far I’m getting a little pay back with the new washer.  Clear/ stain free clothes. I think I’m using less water but I need a couple of bills to see if the water use has changed.  Big energy impact is less drying time.  An Electric dryer is one of, if not the biggest “energy hogs” in your home.  If you cut your dryers use by 10-20 minutes each week.  That could have a significant impact  on your monthly electric costs.

I’m not sure this was the best choice going in debt for a washer. I could have used a laundry mat for a couple of months and bought an older refurb washer  for about $300.00 installed debt free.  So far I think I made the correct choice for me. I have already started paying off the debt but I’m sure I’m going to hates seeing the debt bill in the mail. I can pay off the debt in about 6 months so by next year the debt will be gone from the budget.

Debt/credit in and of itself is not evil.  If you use it wisely.  I knew my appliances were getting old and I should have set aside an emergency fund for replacing appliances.  I’m doing that now as some appliances have failed. Do you pay off the debt as quickly as possible or start saving for the “Emergency Fund”?  I don’t have the answers for that question.  All I can provide is what is working for me.

Honestly replacing a large appliance is a bit annoying and takes bit of shuffling money around but it is no hardship for me.  I bought the washer from newegg.com on credit  because I found a sale and I don’t like going to a Laundromat to wash clothes.  So far I’m liking this washer!


Mom got firewood, gutters cleaned.

July 12, 2019

We cheated a little bit with loading Mom’s firewood.  We loaded some of the smaller hardwood stuff and then filled in the rest of the truck with the cut and split poplar I bought in June. I got a bit more wood out of the bargain but, I have to do the work of cutting and splitting that wood.  Mom gets the cut and split firewood that is ready to burn in her wood stove. I figure I have about 4.5-5 cords of cut and split fire wood and about 1.5 cords of mostly hardwood that needs to be cut or split stored for this winter. So giving Mom some easy to burn firewood for her woodpile was an easy choice, that works for both of us.  Mom has been dealing with a back injury for about 9 months and has a day surgery scheduled next week.  So cutting and splitting wood is NOT a job she needs to be doing for a few weeks. I can putter around my wood pile and split the hardwoods and make kindling this summer that will help us both this winter.  I did not expect to hit my 6+ cords of wood goal this summer so if I have to help Mom out I have plenty of wood on hand.

The gutters are clean out though I did not do the work.  It cost $70.00 to have the gutters cleaned and that seemed like a good price in comparison to me going up and down the ladder 140 times cleaning out the goop in the gutters for a couple of days.  I have bought some gutter screens and a debris downspout catcher that I want to install this summer.  If you install gutter don’t rely on chain down spouts if you have a lot of leaf debris or winter snows. Chain downspouts are okay as a decorative element but to move water effectively install good downspouts.  It should be easier/cheaper to add a chain down spout to a gutter system with down spouts rather than adding good down spouts to a chain system.

Summer has finally got hot here in the Treasure Valley.  90-100 degrees F. for the next 5-7days which isn’t that bad for mid- July in High desert. I can handle working a few couple of hours outside as long as I stay in the shade.  I am not ready to work in full sun but there are plenty of jobs to be done in the shady part of the yard or in the A/C cooled house.

One of the jobs I’m starting is painting. I have been watching youtube vids on how to do some basic Sheet rock repairs and taking time to get all of the prep work down prior to painting. I did some very minor/sheet rock repairs using spackle and an expired credit card to spread the spackle.  Wow! using that card made a huge difference in how the repair blended into the existing drywall.  Taking more time to let the repair cure and then sanding is making the repair almost unnoticeable other that the wall needs to be all one color. I have quite a few of my first attempts at repairing drywall jobs that look terrible in comparison. I’ll be sanding those “repairs” back to the Drywall and getting them cleaned up a prepped for paint.

I’m starting with my 3/4 bathroom that needs not only new paint but some new flooring as the linoleum is cracking and has split.  I’d like to install a new sink faucet and shower hardware but that will have to wait as I save money for those projects.  While this job “updating” the small bathroom are cosmetic.  I’m turning what I have learned in theory, into practice on a small project.  I have most of the tools I need to do the project correctly and not just slap a coat of paint and hope no one notices all the mistakes.

 


Happy Mothers Day all.

May 12, 2019

Mom has had a Fybro flare and is recovering so she did not feel like going out or doing the standard Mom’s day stuff.  She would like me to scrub her bedroom carpet this week for her Mother’s day gift. Gosh that is a simple thing to do and I might bring out the tiller and see how easy/hard it is to dig in the raised beds.

For myself I puttered inside the house and got some cleaning done.  I gave both bathrooms a good cleaning washed all the bath rugs. Washed and wiped down all the kitchen cupboards.  I’ve been ignoring the interior of the house and it needed a good wash down if not a full on Spring cleaning.  I really like using the Lysol all-purpose cleaner for wiping down the cupboards and general cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom.

I got more the starts trans-planted into larger cups/pots. Using the wood tongue depressors have worked great for popping plants out of the small 6 starter paks without destroying the paks!  I transplanted the start into Styrofoam cups and gave my neighbor some beef steak and Cherokee purple tomatoes, celery and a couple types of sweet peppers.  I kept back some of the transplants for myself and Mom, but giving away starts feels great and is the best sort of charity.  It isn’t just giving away garden vegetables, it is giving away the start of a vegetable garden.  Plus, I get to learn how to start plants from seed and transplant, not only into my garden but help others with plants in their gardens.  I think transplanting is a skill I will need once I get the greenhouse built.

Update:  The red potatoes are growing and I added another layer of dirt to those planters.  It seems the Blue potatoes are a bit of a bust for growing in tubs.  That is okay because I think next year I will plant Yukon golds rather than a blue potato. I’m still playing around with the frost cloth as a sun barrier/frost barrier and the anti-tucker dog digging in my raised garden beds.

One size fits all means that one size fits no one well.  I live in high desert so my garden plan probably is not good for someone in Alabama as we have very different climates, rainfall, humidity and temperature.  I think Kansas, Nebraska are “muggy/humid” states.  Well they are compared to SW Idaho.  But no mater where you live/garden building good soil is first and them growing plants that thrive in your area is next for building a good garden.  To give the other states some love…  There is an old joke that some one said their is no humidity in SW Idaho and another person said there is very little humidity in an oven.


Started the garden beds new irrigation system

April 26, 2019

The local Bi-Mart had 25 foot soaker hoses on sale for $8.00 each. The 25 foot hose works just about perfect for a loop inside the 10 foot garden bed so all the plants get watered and the hose has little instruction guide about how long to water based on how deep you want the water to get into the soil.   I did the first test on the first garden bed this afternoon watering the bed for about 75 minutes.  All of the garden bed is watered without any puddling.  The Frost cloth did a great job containing any excessive spray so all the water stayed in the bed. This weekend I’ll check to see how deep the water penetrated the soil to make sure I’m watering long enough for the water to get deep into the soil.

I picked up a couple of 6 foot hose “faucet extensions” that will let me daisy chain all of the garden bed’s soaker hoses. This little hose come with a valve on plastic spike so I can water beds individually and add another hose to water the cherry tree and potato buckets with out dragging a hoses all over the yard.  I like using hoses for watering the yard but I want to have all the hoses pre-positioned in the areas I need to water.  I still have a couple of garden areas to get hoses in place.  The 3 sisters garden beds and the future greenhouse/compost bins water system are still in the planning stage but I’m excited to work on those since watering systems are a lot cheaper, creative and it is easier to build watering systems with off the shelf parts.  For about $40.00 I got all of the stuff needed to water the garden beds as well as make the system expandable in the future.

I can’t recommend using Preen for stopping weeds.  The water I added to activate the the Preen weed killer seems to have made the weeds grow faster in the alley.  I’m going to keep the weeds cut back and go back to using the black walnut leaf mulch and wood ash this fall and winter for weed control in the alley. The wood mulch area looks mostly weed free and I will plant add good soil and plant some sedums and Mossy rose, to start replacing the bad weeds with plants I like for the alley.  Perhaps a few sunflowers and sunchokes to add a bit of taller elements to the alley garden.

I’m growing grass in the backyard!  Not MJ but a real grass cover crop.  I have sort of that green haze as the grass seed starts to come up and most of the grass seed is about an inch tall.  My tufts of back yard grass are also putting on growth. I will cut down the tall tufts of grass via weed wacker and wait on mowing  to let the new seedling grass put down deep roots.  It is early days reseeding the yard but it is looking very good for my basic plan

I started my first garden bed by just tilling up the local soil and then adding soil amendments.  This was a bit backwards, as making good soil makes plants grow better and cuts down most of the weeding.  My back yard grass space is surrounded by all sorts of weeds.  Yet the good soil has seemed to keep the weeds out of the area.

I’m not a scientist, I’m just a gardener looking to build a sustainable yard and garden.  I do a lot of trial and error stuff and error seems to be a big part of that learning.  My grass seed is growing in the backyard and seems weed free after 2 years of work building soil.

I did a bit of a dummy as I set my cast iron pans to clean on the stove and then got distracted.  Good news my fire alarms work great. Bad news is I destroyed the seasoning of my favorite cast iron pan.  I’m a bit peeved at myself for getting distracted so the pans could set off my fire alarms.  Now that pan has not burned off all it seasoning but the pan is rusting/oxidizing in spite of the lard I’m adding to season the pan.  I screwed the pooch by getting distracted. I might be able to fix the pan but it is better not to screw up in the first place.


Fall cleanup is happening this week!

October 6, 2015

I got things organized in the shop and found the wood base of my work bench. I got the garden tool organizer( Lowes $13.00) built, filled with my garden tools and I love it.  I doubt I’m the only person that stacked garden tools in a handy corner of the garage or shop. Speaking for myself, I often get pummeled by tools trying to get the tool  I want, plus the “wanted tool” is always at the back of the pile.  While I can only speak for myself,  searching for tools or fighting them when the tools go into “avalanche mode”  is  a mild pain in the butt.  I think it is critical to reduce all stressors now before any disaster hits. During this cleanup I found my small garden shears, but Mom’s trowel is still MIA.

I hauled four loads of the free rock/gravel to my driveway area, donated to me by one of the neighbors. First lesson learned, is I love my new square, long handle shovel for loading up rock. I noticed when Mom and I were loading up the rock that I moved more rock with my small shovel compared to mom’s big scoop type shovel.  Second lesson learned, make sure the tires of your wheel barrow or garden wagon are aired up before you start hauling rock or any heavy load! Mom and I want to add a real air compressor to our tools but you can get a small electric compressor for about $20.00 used and they are great for keeping all tires aired up.  That saves gas on your automobiles and physical effort using your garden haulers like wheel barrows or wagon.  I don’t want to be greedy but the neighbors will let me haul off  more of their excess rock so I can fill in in front of my little RV or add the rock to the alleyway garden to kill out the weeds.

I took Pam’s advice and added a few concrete pavers on top of the tarp/roof over the wood shed and added a few rocks and pavers at the bottom of the tarp to keep the wind from getting under the tarp and trying to carry it away. With one more cord of wood delivered this week I’m feeling confident about my winter heat plan.  I would recommend getting the Igloo insulated drink  5  gallon jugs on sale  this time of year and you add them to your water storage plan. These jugs will hold hot water for 18-24 hours can be filled at the last minute with hot water via the tub/shower for any minor/local disasters and they are a real physical energy saver if your water is cutoff for any reason.

I got my patio cleaned and organized. That is not a big deal for most people that do not cook a summer’s worth of dinners on the grill.  Or just added a new smoker. I used the leaf blower  and made quick work cleaning off all leaves, spider webs and dirt  and lots of dust on the patio.  I used two 15 gallon propane tanks should last via cooking one meal per day for about 65-75 meals this summer.  Now this a meal planning number and not set in stone. I mostly grilled over propane and did not use a lot of charcoal this summer.  If you plan to cook on a grill or propane gas cook stove as a backup cooking system I would plan to use at least one 15 pound propane for cooking one meal a day per 30 days in good weather. If you want to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner on your propane gas grill the 15 pound fuel tank will last about 10 days,  depending on your choice of meals.  I feel using grill cooking dinners this summer cooking  was a good test. Hopefully you will get some idea about how much propane you will need on hand  for 30 days worth of meals. Remember how I prep is not the same as how you prep. You might be concerned about food smells if you cook outdoors and a small Butane hot plate you use indoors might be your “cooking “solution.

I cooked my first meal in the Romertopf and it turned out pretty good. Mom had seconds on the chicken and saved the sauce for Chicken and dumplings later this week. I used Progresso recipe starter Garlic sauce, and I tossed in a can of mixed veggies and mushrooms. I thought it turned out okay and Mom really liked it. The romertopf chicken recipe recommend adding few bacon strips for flavor and I think that would have made the meal  pop!