Fire wood is stacked. Huzzah!

May 8, 2021

It sure feels good to have all of this years firewood stacked!  I need to buy a few more tarps to cover some of the stacks but it won’t hurt this unseasoned wood to be exposed to the hot/dry summer of SW Idaho for the next few months.  I never thought about the space required  for firewood when I bought this house but I knew I wanted enough ground to put in a garden, a nice little lawn and having trees to keep the backyard cool in the summer was a huge bonus.  Well I have stacked this years wood in a few unused areas to make sure I have access to well seasoned wood.  That is not an easy task for people that have small lots with limited storage space.  It is easy to tell a person to store 2-3 years worth of wood and it is cheaper to buy multiple cords of wood in bulk.  If your wood storage space is limited to a couple of small wood racks. That is what that person must deal with despite all the wishes and  a person might want to have for heating.

I use firewood as my primary heat source in cold weather.  There are other options that have lower start up costs and can be at least as safe as using a firewood stove.  I like the Mr. Buddy heaters and most propane/natural  gas stoves/fireplaces.  Yes, there are safety issues storing fuel or gas lines getting cut during some disasters but I think this fuel has some upsides as far as the storage space required compared to several cords of wood.

I’m not a big fan of kerosene heaters as the fuel puts out some very dangerous gasses that are in an enclosed space.  Since most homes tend to be insulated. Those gasses will get trapped indoors without proper air flow.  In cold weather the last thing you want to do is open a window or door to let the gasses as well as heat escape.

Every type of alternative heating will have positives and negatives for short term and long term heating needs.  I recommend you only heat using propane or kerosene while you are awake and active.  Yes it can suck to wake up to a cold house.  Not dying in your sleep to carbon monoxide poisoning would NOT be considered a positive move for survival!

I have started making a new anti- pet fence for the 3 sisters garden using a PVC pipe frame and the left over plastic fencing material.  I think this pvc framed fencing might work to keep most of the critters out of the 3 sister garden beds but still be easy to access to do weeding, watering and other garden chores.  I doubt I can stop all critters. Hopefully I can at least keep any damage to a minimum.  In the elevated raised bed the radishes are doing great, the lettuce was was spread by the kitties (don’t ask) and I have 3 mini Bok choy plants coming up

Lesson learned staring plants:  Use larger pots to hold plants started early or they get root bound.  I’m sure more experienced gardeners are thinking to themselves “well duh”. Speaking for myself all those little cells of dirt are so tempting to plant at least a seed in in Feb/March and by the time May arrives the poor plant is root bound and not prone to grow.  The reason you start plants early indoors is to have a healthy and vigorous plant ready to grow after any frost danger passes.  I’d say you should use pots equivalent to the average “pony pack” that most garden stores/nurseries use for starter plants. I really love the heat pads, the new grow lights and staring boxes.  I just thing the 72 cell starter tray would be better for me as 36 size starter tray as the plants might need more time to grow and have strong growth for a May 10th planting, is along time from starting seeds in March.

Embrace “failure” as learning, don’t use it as excuse nor to to try or make yourself a victim. Be honest with yourself about what you do.  Is it I can’t or I won’t put in the effort?  Any answer is valid but you have live with the results.   Do what works for you. I have read many prepper blogs and I went in a different direction for many of my preps.  If it seems dumb but it works it isn’t dumb.

Busy Days

May 6, 2021

Boomer the Dog has not had a “potty” accident indoor in over a week.  I think the two things that made a difference is Boomer feeling safe and that this is his place, #2 (no pun intended) was teaching him the difference between going indoors and out doors. Once the little guy figured that out, the potty training was easy.  We did have a few issues about what was appropriate chew items in the house such doggie bones are okay to chew but shoes gloves and knobs of cabinets are not chew toys.  I’m beginning to think Boomer could have been a destructive dog in a home by himself. Especially if the previous owner did not know how to deal with a high energy terrier that needs to go out and do terrier stuff.  It’s fun to see Boomer become an out going, high energy,  friendly dog. Compared to the the timid and fearful pup that I picked up at the pound about a month ago. 

I worked very hard getting plants started indoors and spent a few bucks getting some good plant starting boxes, heat mats and led lights and I did much better compared to other attempts but I don’t have for the small plant cell/pots for starting my plants as the plants got root bound before they were strong enough to go into the garden beds. I was able to transfer some of the plants to larger pots and give Mom some starter plants but I’m going to use larger pots in my starting boxes because getting 72 very small root bound plants does not work for me. I’d rather have plants in larger pots and get more growth before I transfer them into the garden.  It is getting to late in the year to try and transfer my Broccoli, Cauliflower into the garden as we are getting occasional 80 degree F. + days and the temp will just keep going up into summer. I’m going to direct sow the lettuce, chard. and spinaches along with root crops that should be okay even though the temperatures are getting warmer. 

Protecting the garden from critters. I have my cats as well as neighborhood cats that roam through my yard along with a small terrier that absolutely love fresh dirt to leave deposits in and that does not even consider the squirrels that love eating young plants as well as planting nuts in your garden beds.  I used some plastic mesh fencing to lay directly over the garden bed I have planted and used a few screws in the wood of the raised bed  to hook the fencing but I can still weed or thin the garden bed. The plants are small and have not reached the fencing yet, but the cats and the dog mostly ignore that bed for digging so far. Of course they have other beds that they dig in but I think the garden fencing mesh is a cost effective start if you need to protect a raised bed from critters but still need easy access to the beds. 

I moved the one of my squared big raised beds to make room for the green house and I need to block off the new bed area from the critters but I’m using a 3 sisters mounded bed and laying the fence material won’t work for this area.  I have some PVC pipe so I think I’ll use the the PVC pipe and the plastic fencing to make a temp. gate and block off the the small 19 ft.  section to the 3 sisters garden.  Lumber has become so expensive it is hard to justify making any sort of lumber fence if all you are trying to stop is a small dog and a few cats. 

I’m going to try starting indoors Cole crops like Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and some cabbages in July for an August planting for a fall harvest.  This is new to me so results will probably be less than optimal but I’m doing new stuff and learning from both results.  There is nothing wrong with getting your plants from a nursery/big box store if that is how you garden. Goodness know I would buy those plants if my “project” to start my own plants fails.   If you make a garden and only rely on planting young plants you buy for $1.99-$4.99 you will still save a ton of money compared to paying $1.00-$2.00 per pound for veggies in a store and the price of most fresh herbs in a store costs a lot more than a dollar per pound! 

You do what you can with what you have to work with as far as time, physical energy and the space you have for your garden.  Raised bed gardens are nothing more than a big container garden.  If the only space you have is for few pots then maximize the plants grown in those pots.  Start growing something! It will be both harder and easier than you think, but as you learn you will get better at it.  Trust me, I though I was the definition of a “black thumb” and if you could package my gardening prowess in a bottle.  I’d put Round up to shame as a plant killer!  Last year I had a hard time just keeping up with all the garden produced. 

Onto the stacking of the wood. I filled up the “Kennel firewood” walk way area with some of the new fire wood. I can reach the Dry/seasoned wood in the first two accessible wood racks.  A little inconvenient but workable to burn the older seasoned wood. I remembered a spot I stacked “mill ends” and just cleaned up a plant debris and laid down a couple of less than building quality boards to elevate the wood to dry.  It’s probably 4-8 hours of work so for me 2-3 days at my worst.  But I figure I’ll have all the wood stacked by this weekend.  It is amazing to me  how much easier it is to stack 2 cords of wood compared to 3 cords of wood as that big pile of wood is a lot more intimidating. 

I was surprised I was not physically worn out. I slathered on the essential oil pain cream before going to bed and I slept great and woke up with nothing more than very minor muscle soreness from physical work.  My hope is I’m rebuilding some muscular endurance.  I don’t expect a 100% recovery or no pain but it is nice to be able to get to work and not spend 1-2 days in recovery.  Overall I did not work very hard, just enough to warm up the muscles and joints.  But compared to me thinking I’d be down for 1-2 days the work I got done was a surprise and a good feeling. 



Stacking wood and firewood prep in spring

April 29, 2021

I know that it can be difficult to make a multi-year fire wood pile on a fixed income or tight budget. Just finding a good supplier of wood can take time and effort. Getting “cheap” firewood can end up costing more long term because the wood does not burn well and you need to use more wood or clean your chimney more often as just a couple of examples. Don’t pass up wood that may not seem like traditional firewood if you can cut/split it. In my area of SW Idaho there are huge commercial orchards full of cherry, apple, pear and other fruit trees and the trees are pruned in fall or spring for fruit production. Fruit woods make great firewood but you will get smaller limbs that often need cut to fit into a traditional wood stove. Also these are live trees the limbs are cut so the wood is very green/wet and needs a full year or more to season. The good news is most of the limbs are small in diameter. A small chain saw or bow saw can cut the limbs into woodstove lengths. Fruit woods take a little more effort compared to your average cut and split firewood but it can often be bought in smaller batches and hauled in a small pickup truck. You won’t get the bulk price of having several cords of firewood delivered but it is an option if you want to add a hardwood to your wood pile a little bit as money is available in your budget.

Stacking and seasoning your firewood: This is sort of a new issue for me as last year was the first time I had built up a multi-year stack of firewood. The issue is that once I stack up the firewood, my most dry and seasoned wood is buried in the deepest in the wood pile and the greenest/wettest wood is the wood is the first and easiest wood to reach in my woodpile. I have a lot of space for woodpiles but once you get 4-6 + cords of stacked wood on hand and get a delivery of another 2 cords of green/wet firewood storage and rotating your firewood becomes an issue. I have a solution to this problem by stacking this new two cords of wood in my original firewood spot before I started using the carport area to stack my firewood.

Stacking fire wood only needs 3 things; 1. Airflow to help dry the firewood. 2. Keep the wood mostly dry and protected from rain/snow wetting the fire wood. 3. Time to season for at least a year or two. I know that time to season firewood was the toughest item for me until I started using my carport area for firewood storage.

I use tarps to cover my woodpiles other than the carport area that provides cover against rain and snow. You want your wood pile to breathe/dry so don’t try and seal your wood pile against nature but allow it time to slowly season for a year or two. I have found Cedar fence materials do a great job as a roof over my kindling box and is still relatively cheap to buy at most big box stores it you want a more traditional looking and effective firewood storage area.

The last thing about firewood is the wood you can get is regional here in the USA. Here in Idaho the main fire wood is fir and pine as that is what grows locally. It does not matter that hardwoods burn better or have better BTUs as that wood does not grow locally. If you live an area that has hardwoods like maple , oak, ash or what ever hardwood for firewood good for you. But it is silly to say you need to burn such and such wood if it can’t grow or be harvest in a region. Would I like to pay $200.00 or less for a cord of hardwood absolutely. That happening in Idaho is miniscule. I bet you folks back east would like cheap cedar but that usually doesn’t happen either.

Update on Boomer the dog he had his first not pee or poo in the house day. At best the previous owner kept him as an outdoor dog or only walked him to go poo/pee outdoors. I’m leaning towards the first explanation. I caught him pooping indoors and move him outside just a couple days ago but that seemed to make the connection of what I wanted him to do for house training. I still need to work at giving Boomer a consistent schedule, that is my fault not the dog. Boomer got about 5 hours of time with my Mom’s terrier and while there a few mild doggie dominance issues. I was blown away how Boomer greeted Mom and was not fearful at all this second meeting. In less than 3 weeks Boomer has made progress is socializing with other animals and humans. He has developed a warning bark about people. I wanted a bark at strangers dog, but also a dog that accepted people that I indicate are safe. While it’s only been about 3 weeks Boomer seems to fit what I want in a small dog.

Boomer still needs to learn about interacting with cats as he goes into doggie play mode and Ash and Smokey don’t like doggie play mode. Tege the cat, just smacks Boomer’s nose when he gets in Doggie against Cat play mode. It is hard to blame Boomer for being a terrier and going after the cats when chasing small fury creatures is what terriers were bred to do as a job. I think the 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months integration of a new pet has merit. It’s been almost 3 weeks and Boomer has moved from a terrified creature to roaming my backyard, socializing with new people, dogs, cats becoming house trained and barking to protect his space. It has not been perfect with Boomer integrating with the household. I knew it would not be perfect. It has been beyond good enough for the new doggo.

Wood delivery and it is raining of course.

April 26, 2021

I got just 2 cords of red fir for this delivery to replace what I burned during last year’s mild winter.  The gal that delivers the wood remarked about how little wood I used last winter.  While it may not be as “sexy” as installing a solar power system or wood stove the best thing you can do to become energy efficient is install the proper insulation and energy efficient windows.  Wood constructed homes need to breath and  get rid of excess humidity but even I can tell the difference of replacing old windows and adding  wall insulation cuts down on on drafts that can chill you despite being in a warm home. 

I have been building up my stack of firewood for a couple of years and the 2 cords of wood I got seems mall compared to the previous dumps of firewood.  Not bad, just not what I am used to seeing dumped for my firewood delivery.  A good thing is it took only a couple a few  of the garden cart loads to clear my drive way for the KIA to get out of the shop/garage. I spent some time getting the gate outside the kennel on the gate hinges and cleaning out rock/dirt so the gate moves freely.  Boomer the terrier twice let me know he is good at getting through temp. gates I set up. Thankfully Boomer likes me and comes to me rather than tries to explore the neighborhood  by himself. 

I figure I have about 3 years worth of firewood  for mild winters or 2 years worth if there is a cold winter. Though the house may stay warmer with wood heat than I expect or I may have guessed  wrong.  I know on average I’ll need about 2 cords of wood to heat my home in winter for an average winter.  Mother Nature does not care about my average use of fire wood for winter.  If you think lumber is expensive think about how the cost of firewood could go up if folks stop cutting firewood and start cutting dimensional lumber! Supply and demand that can be good and bad for the individual.  

Inflation is happing in food prices similar to what happened in 2008 and 2011. Not terrible, but not good for shoppers. While paper products have jumped in price I don’t expect that jump to last that long. I expect something similar to the Arab spring, jump in prices for basic grains and meats costing and shortages more like 2011. I expect meat prices to go higher especially pork products, then beef and poultry. I can’t say what you should do. I can grow a little garden. I can, vegetables., dehydrate, freeze or can meat I found on sale. I have the basics to bake bread but I’m at the end of the supply chain and can’t grow all the food I need. in a year to survive. That is my reality. I need other people around me to survive and nothing will change that reality for me.

There is nothing wrong with storing food now at a lower cost for hard times. There is nothing wrong with growing a small garden and working up to larger garden. There is nothing wrong with becoming energy or government utility independent. I can’t do that but I’ll cheer on anyone that can break away to any sort of self reliance freedom.

The US Government won’t save you. You are on your own to survive. Oh take those Trump bucks and Biden bucks and turn it that into something of value you need in the future.

Most of the tree clean up is done and a doggo update!

April 22, 2021

I think the trees that I have been cleaning up are elm trees. I have to say these trees are messy as the drop limbs, twigs and get all tangled up not growing “properly” like some tree in a painting. 😉  Anyhoo my neighbors came over and cleaned up some limbs and help get most of them in to trash containers to be hauled away by the trash guys.  I traded a little bit of computer work ( software for a home office) for having the my tree limbs cut/cleaned up so we both came out ahead on each of our projects. 

I cleaned up the last of the small limbs from the trees cut around one of my firewood storage areas. While I still have to cut and move some trunk sections all of the little limbs are in the trash bins ready for garbage day.  It is amazing how good it feels to have most of the trees cleaned up and all of the pile of limbs out of the backyard.  I have one large tree trunk to cut into a manageable size for for the saw buck that will be out of my firewood stacking area and then everything will be ready for the fire wood delivery on the 26th of April.  I’m only getting 2 cords of Doug fir this year as I have hit that “sweet spot” of having more fire wood with 1-2 years of seasoning so I can start start rotating dry firewood.  Rather than hope any wood I buy in April will dry enough to use in November. On average I use about 2-3 cords of wood to heat my house using only wood.  But SW Idaho hasn’t had a very cold (2-4 weeks of -10 F.) since I have started heating with wood only.  I expect to have a cold winters in the future so having a couple of heating seasons worth of wood on hand is the absolute minimum for me as I can’t go and cut firewood myself. With this months delivery I’ll have about 7 cords of wood on hand, but some of the wood won’t be seasoned or the wood is oversized and does not fit my wood stove. Those issues can be fixed with some time and work cutting wood. 

Cleaned up some more of the overgrown grape vines. While I think grapes are a great plant they need constant pruning and cleanup not only to keep the grapes vines healthy but given a chance the vines will grow over everything and can literally block other plants from getting any sun. I’m not sure it is possible to kill established grape vines but it is possible to prune them back and cleanup the basic canes without damaging the output of grapes.  Clearing out old growth and canes results in more healthy growth. Which can be a pain in the ass when cleaning up old grape vines. I’m trying to clean up the old grape canes and make room for not only my greenhouse but more healthy growth for the grape vines and sometimes hacking away the bad stuff is a good thing. 

Using 30% vinegar as a weed killer. So far I can say I have killed Morning Glory, cheat grass, dandelions, thistle and a couple of broad leaf weeds I have not identified.  It seems that puncture vine/ goat heads don’t like a more acidic soil after a spray of 30% vinegar but it is early in the spring after spraying vinegar last year. I’m not saying 30% vinegar is the quickest weed killer but it safe and easy to use.  It does not kill your soil like Roundup and if you can prove to me that using Round Up is safer and you can plant anything within 1 month of spraying with Round Up I might have a different opinion.  I have seen neighbors use Round Up or the weed killing equivalent and every year they have to spray more Round up on basically bare dirt as all that can grow is weeds as the soil is dead. 

I spray a little bit of vinegar and I kill cheat grass but I change the acidity of the soil that eliminates goatheads/puncture vine and makes the soil better for plants I want to grow.  This is not a perfect solution  to weed control I just think it is better than killing everything using Round up.  Encouraging plants to grow in marginal conditions is the best way to to eliminate weeds.  Weeds are not bad as the are nature’s paramedics for retaining soil.  You just have to work with nature and find a way for replacing those weeds with plants that can thrive in the same conditions or with a little bit of help. . 

Boomer the dog went for his first walk around the neighborhood.  We only did a couple of blocks but he needs to get out and build some confidence.  The house training is still a little hit and miss but I don’t think he was in a house a lot so he doesn’t understand about going outside on by himself.  Boomer is doing good going outside in the morning as long as I’m with him. I’m his security/safe place so he is not very independent about going outside if I’m not with him.  

It has only been 12 days and he did much better with my Mom coming over this week at being less timid. He has learned his name and comes when called, walks on leash well and isn’t bothering the cats much.  When I’m out in the backyard he explores and considers the yard his place. I’m sure when Boomer feels secure more of the Terrier attitude/personality will come out. 

One of the harder things getting a shelter dog is you have no idea how the animal was treated/trained. I know Boomer was neglected as his nails had got so long they grew into his pads.  I suspect he was an outdoor dog that was neglected but not physically abused so it will be a process for him to learn to go outside to go poo and not go poo in the house.  Overall I’m very pleased with his progress in just a couple of weeks.  Goodness knows that I need to go for walks as much as Boomer if not for the same reasons. 

Lots of stuff happening and new doggo at Casa de Chaos!

April 19, 2021

I found a year old terrier, not very tall and weighs about 25 pounds at the local shelter on the 10th of April.  The doggo was very timid but he is slowly starting to come out of shell and show his personality.  He still tries to chase a couple of my cats but “Tege the cat” doesn’t run and gives him a little paw smack when the doggo goes into “chase the cat” mode.  I named the doggo Boomer and he is coming when his name is called.  We are still working on the house training but in only a week he is using the doggie door and going poo outside if I am outside with him,  but he had  a couple of accidents in the house. I suspect he was a neglected outdoors only dog before I got him from the pound. I’m introducing Boomer to My Mom’s dog Jackson also a terrier about the same size as well as my neighbors that Foster dogs and know how to treat a timid under socialized doggos. 

In the past I was less than pleased with West Valley Humane Society but I have to say they have vastly improved about placing dogs.  I like how you can return an adopted dog within 14 days at no cost  if the animal does not fit with a family/home.  The also offer a 14 day medical care “rider”  if some physical malady is missed at the shelter.  I got denied a few dog adoptions because the Shelter did not think the dog would be a good fit but overall I think West Valley Humane Society has really improved how they place animals compared to a few years ago.  The cost for adopting animals can be a little higher but I don’t mind a little higher cost if it helps placing a pet in a good home. 

I got one fire wood storage area almost cleaned up. I had a neighbor cut back/cut down some trees and there was a lot of debris that needed cleaning up. I’m not complaining as he saved me a lot of money trimming down those trees. Honestly the man cut most of the wood into manageable chunks but I do have a couple of good sized logs I have to cut down to smaller sizes. I cleaned up most of the limbs and cut down a lot of the larger chunks of tree with my little battery powered chain saw. Now I have to cut some of the bigger diameter stuff with the electric corded chainsaw that has a longer bar. While these logs are not huge they are incredibly wet and heavy for me to move around. I have a problem with stacking wood as any new fire wood I stack will be in front of my older seasoned wood from last year.

I will be moving a lot of wood around in order to use more seasoned wood first rather than just keeping stacking new fire wood on top of older more seasoned firewood. I’m trying to adjust but I recommend you think about how you stack your wood pile to use the older more seasoned wood first and not have that fire wood buried by green/newly cut fire wood. Start cutting your kindling now before you need it. I get my cut and split to wood stove length. I have to cut kindling and small size chunks of wood to start a fire. It is much better to cut wood into kindling over the summer rather than cut kindling when you are in a cold house and it is sleeting down icy rain when you want/need to start a fire. You never know if you might get hurt or sick and cutting kindling might be almost impossible for you to make happen.

I don’t think you have to practice being miserable. I think life is tough enough without that practice, but if you want to cut kindling in the middle of a snow storm or in the heat of summer that is on you.

Long raised beds are cleaned up and ready to plant

April 4, 2021

My plan for today was to clean up 1 of the long raised bed to get the “cole” crops like broccoli , cabbages and cauliflower starts in a raised garden bed. Then I got an email from Baker creek to remind me it is now time to start  the seeds for carrots ,radishes, lettuce, kale, chard and spinach planted in the garden beds.  So I cleaned up another raised bed.  Well the last bed that will be for tomatoes, peppers and other hot weather plants looked awful and a bit forlorn not being cleaned up and prepared, I had to prep that bed for future plantings. 

I prepared the beds by; 

  1. Cleaning out most of of the weeds and any old plants.  I got rid of the old onions from last year but I found a couple of multi-colored swiss chard that reseeded itself. 
  2. I used a garden fork to dig/turn over the soil and pull up any deep roots I missed with the initially weed removal.  I think forking the soil helps bring up mineral rich soil along with making the little tiller more effective tilling the soil.
  3. I use a small electric tiller to dig into the garden bed soil and break it up. While my area in the city does not have the best soil for growing plants. The soil is rich in minerals and tilling the garden beds helps make those minerals available to the plants. 
  4. Add in compost and manure: I want to use the tried and true methods of compost and manure. I bought a local mix of compost and cow manure to top off the raised beds.  My hope this hear is I have got the raised beds deep enough so I get good sized root crops. I have about 16-18 inch depth for root crops in the raised beds so my root crop expectations are high. 

I have never had the raised beds this full of good soil nor started correctly timed seedling plants early enough to be ready to plant in the raised beds and I overextended myself  physically getting the beds prepped for plants. I added the last of the pole supports  so I can protect the plants from cold or excessive heat that we get here in the valley.  I added another light to the plant starting table.  I’m excited about starting plants for a spring/ summer/fall garden and have plants on hand that I can plant spring/summer/fall the garden season to maximize production. 

I sprayed down the weeds in the ally beds with 30% Vinegar and it seems to be working killing weeds.  This is the second year I have sprayed and while I did not see the vinegar kill of puncture vines/goatheads last year. It seems that goat heads don’t grow well in acidic soil as I have not found a goathead plant growing in my alley “garden”.  Early days for testing the 30% vinegar as a weed killer but over all I am pleased with the results.  I’d much prefer using Vinegar as a weed killer rather than Round up that sterilizes the soil and then creates more weeds long term. 

I’m still looking for a new doggo but I still have some work to do on the fence to make it more secure as well as some cleanup of tree branches in the yard. It’s puppy season perhaps there will be fewer people looking for the type of dog I want to adopt.  I have to say I’m great at getting dogs adopted by other people as every single doggo I liked has been adopted within hours or days of me taking a look at the dog. While I’m not having the best luck adopting a dog. It has been all good luck for the dogs that get adopted. 

New gates installed and some clean up done.

April 1, 2021

I found out that 48 inch x 48 inch gates are not square and actually are 43 inch by 46 inch for the gate latch and hinge hardware ,to fit a a “48” inch opening for a gate. I tired squaring the back gate but I need to buy a come along/ratchet strap to get that last bit 1/2 inch out of square to consider the the gates “hung” correctly. The gates swing fully 180 degrees and are fully functional as gates that control pet access between the front and back yard. I’m glad I did not have to deal with a new dog while I was repairing the gates.

While I wanted a more intimidating/personal protection dog. I can’t handle/control a 80-120 pound untrained dog because of my disability. I can train a dog but if a strong dog literally drags me via leash, the dog wins on training me. I think I have picked a better set of what I want in a doggo. While I don’t think I’ll find a doggo quickly. I think I’ll find a doggo that fits with what want in a doggo and not any doggo will be wanted in this household. Not met with an attitude of any dog is good enough until I find some thing better. Pets need an owner that is engage with the pet of all sorts.

So I have my criteria for a the new doggo. Probably about 1-3 years of age, medium height of 18-24 inches tall and under 60 pounds as I have to clean/groom the critter and I doubt I could handle any critter that needs a bath if they 80 + pounds and don’t want a bath.

I did a bit of clean up around the yard and both garbage cans are full. I have to clean up the last 3 sister garden bed but I have a couple of months before those beds are needed for planting. The plant starts are growing like gang busters and the cole crops are getting a bit leggy. I have tomatoes and peppers seeds starting to put up green shoots. I have some neighbors that want plant starts so I’ll start hardening off the peas a start more tomato and peppers along with some celery plant starts.

I have not given up on the greenhouse but making the base with lumber has raised up the cost to the point I can’t afford at this time. I have a lot more prep work to do for the greenhouse so not getting built is annoying but not anything new dealing with how stuff works. Do what you can sometimes prices drop on other products when other stuff gets expensive. Roll with the costs because bitching about it will get you nowhere. Just because you can’t afford to do a job today does not mean you can’t afford that job in the future.

Life just is and it does not care about your feelings and often it does not care about Human ” facts” as the earth keeps doing Earth stuff regardless of what the politicians declare.

Repair jobs and my Baker Creek seeds arrived early!

March 27, 2021

A couple of weeks ago my neighbor cut down several of my trees and limbs using my Ryobi pole saw and the pole saw quit working.  I guessed it was because the saw ran out of oil.  Not mad at my neighbor as Ryobi pole saws tend to leak oil and I did not supply any oil while he was cutting the limbs.  I went on Youtube and found the repair for the pole saw was probably a blown fuse that protects the motor if the oil gets low.  Only problem is the fuse is deep in the “pole” wiring of the saw. I found a website that had a replacement pole for the saw and it only cost about $10.00.  I finally got to work on fixing the part but there were a couple of issues,  #1 The wires were Blue and Brown rather than Black and red like the original pole wiring. I put the blue wire on the Red terminal and the brown wire on black then did a power test and I guessed correctly and the motor ran great.  #2 problem was lining the new pole to the old base and that took a couple of tries and the pole does not fit perfectly but the pole saw runs and all it cost was $10.00 and a couple of hours of effort/learning because I have never repaired a pole saw. 

I would recommend checking out if you have power tools you want to repair or if you buy used/trashed power tools.  You might find the replacement parts are low cost and save a lot of money compared to paying full price for a new tool.  Tearing apart a tool might seem a little daunting to some people but if the tool is already broken and unable to function.  You don’t have anything to lose and you might learn something about how the tool works before you just chuck it in the trash and pay full price for a new tool. 

I repaired a lamp Mom bought at a local thrift store that would flicker intermittently when turned on.  I bought a new switch/lightbulb holder and replaced the old flickering light base.  Very easy fix and all it cost for the new base was $6.70 to replace the old base and about 20-30 minutes of hooking the wires up and screwing the lamp back together. I bought a new topper to secure the lampshade to the lamp “harp” that is what the wire support for the lamp shade is named in the hardware store.  It is very rewarding to me to repair something especially at a low cost and you get the item you want working.  Mom has about $20.00 total cost into a lamp that she really likes and fits the décor of the room. 

I think there are opportunities to learn to repair some of your broken stuff.  For example I build PC’s and while I may not be up to soldering in capacitors. I can pluck and chuck memory sticks, hard drives and assorted cards and CPUs as well as replace fans, power supplies with some competence. Building a PC is simple but that does not mean it easy or you won’t make mistakes.  You will make mistakes, goodness knows I have made plenty, but that is how you learn.  You can’t let the fear of failure stop you or you will never try to do anything because trying something new and failure go hand in hand with learning. 

The seeds from Baker Creek arrived early and I have to set up another seed starter box. I got the mini-bell peppers, some different varieties of Bok Choy substitute as I have not had much luck growing any type of Bok Choy.  I think it gets to hot to fast for seeding Bok Choy plants.  Now that I think about it I should start any Bok Choy indoors at the same time as I start my cabbages.  I have some different corn to plant this year.  I have had good luck planting a early sweet corn, I’m trying a corn that supposed to be a sweet corn early and a dent/popcorn later in the season.  While I can’t grow enough corn for flour I’d like to grow enough dent corn to grind for flour and use some of the corn as bird feed. 

Inflation is happening in the USA but there also seems some scare-mongering that some how because the Suez canal is blocked The Americas can’t make tissue paper.  The USA does not import much Tissue paper and what little we import comes from Canada.  I’d like lower timber prices and it would be possible if the USA and Canada opened up logging on federal lands.  Now if you drink Coffee or tea I would stock up at today’s relatively low prices.  The Suez canal blockage will hit Europe hard at first but we in the Americas will feel it in rising prices for what we consider basic goods.  No the Suez canal won’t be shut down for months.  I’m guessing about another 2-3 weeks at the worse as corporations and government will  move heaven and earth to keep ships moving. 

I’m not freaking out about stockpiling random products the Powers That Be are freaking out about stockpiling.  I’m more concerned about having coffee on hand rather than toilet paper.  Three months ago coffee was cheap and had trouble finding a buyer.  Now coffee is black gold, but it isn’t in the USA because S. America grows coffee and the Suez canal does not affect that shipping.   I won’t say I’m expert at Geography how does the Suez Canal shutting down affect the Americas other than oil the Joe Biden wants to import from the Middle East, rather than support energy production in the USA. 

I believe this shall pass,  but I will stock up on TP and coffee not because I think their is a shortage of products.  Because I think other people will think there will be shortage.  There is no shortage of gasoline it cost another $1.00 per gallon to buy.  More expensive does not always mean there is a shortage of product to buy. 
















Biden wants to import from the Middle East

Started the broccoli, tomatoes, peppers and celery seeds

March 24, 2021

Wow the whole gardening thing has become REAL in my mind with starting the tomatoes and peppers and not just the cole crops of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages. I’m waiting seeds shipping from Baker Creek that will arrive around the end of March. This late start is my fault as I ordered the seeds in mid March and I should have ordered earlier in February or even January. I don’t think it will be to late to start those Baker Creek seeds as most are summer growing plants as long as the starter plants are ready to plant in May the garden is good to grow!

I have started what seeds I have on hand along with starting the broccoli seeds I have started the Sun globe cherry tomato, a heirloom beef steak tomato along with the meaty Roma tomato that is a sauce and canning favorite. I thought I had some Bell pepper seeds on hand but all I had on hand was a “Spanish Variety” of sweet pepper. I have the mini-bell peppers and a Japan Heirloom pepper that has the flavor of a jalapeño without any heat coming from Baker Creek. I have to go shopping so I’ll pick up a sweet pepper seed packet

I started some of the Utah tall celery seeds and I have had good luck using “Victoria” celery from nursery starting plants. In fact the Victoria celery seems to handle cold/frosty temps of October/early November better than the Utah tall celery. But remember it was a mild winter last year in this area. Over all I would say the Utah tall celery grows better in hot summer heat (95-100 F.) and the Victoria grows better in cooler temps and can handle mild frost and come back from 28-32 degrees F. and keep growing. The difference between home grown celery to store bought celery is comparable to the difference of store bought tomatoes and home grown tomatoes.

My Peas have grown faster and stronger than I had ever expected and all of those plants have all been moved to larger pots. I thought about planting the peas early but we had a small hail storm a couple of days ago and I doubt those plants would have survived even in the somewhat protected area I have planned for their garden bed. I’m not sure if my cabbage starts are getting “leggy” as I have never started cabbage seeds indoors. The stems are green and about 2-3 inches long and I have no idea how cabbage seeds grow when you start seeds indoors. My Cauliflower seeds have not done as well for germination and I’m using seed packets that are supposed to be for 2021. A couple of pots planted but the germination rate was not good. I have added a few more seeds to the failed pots in hopes I just had a few bad seeds.

I have read that one of the big mistakes that gardeners make is not labeling starting plants properly of keeping a log/diary of what plants do well and those plants that don’t do well. I am guilty of that as well and not keeping good records about what works and does not work year to year for my garden/yard.

Last fall I prepped a section of my yard and planted grass seed. I have grass coming up this spring but it is a little patchy in spots. My biggest problem with planting grass seed is I don’t have irrigation water in the in October when the grass needs moisture and Mama Nature does not respond to my request for rain. I recommend you plant your grass seed in the fall and fill in the bare patches during the spring before you have to put down and weed preventer. I would not add any Lawn Greening chemical until you repair your lawn from bugs and fill those bares spots. The great thing about good compost as you can add it at any time and water it in and it feeds the roots of the grass and not just the top of the plants.

Deep roots is the thing you want for all your landscaping. Trees with deep roots don’t get bent or uprooted via the wind. Building soil not only in your garden but in your yard, will help those trees, plants and shrubs put down more deep roots the better off you will be in the long run.

I think Inflation and self- rationing will be coming to the USA for grains like Rice, beans, cooking oils and grains like happened around 2011-2012. It’s not shortage in the USA, but in places like China, Africa and even Australia and more people are bidding on the same commodities on the global markets. Every business that wants the highest profit will sell to the highest bidder. I don’t blame anyone for selling to the highest bidder. While we can’t be the highest bidder we plebes can be first buying the products we need daily. While Covid struck the supply chain hard you can stockup on the basics and find sales.

It is bizarre, as I consider myself as a bit of armature historian. Yet the 1970’s stagflation, 1980’s 20% interest rates set by Federal reserve are treat as ancient history. I lived being at the bottom of the Reagan economic recovery. While I am a Trump supporter I really don’t understand Biden/democrat supporters. Colleges and Universities are bringing back segregation. Enacting racial hiring policies that exclude some races and the elites are good with this practice?

I don’t have to support any racist corporation like Amazon that blacklist authors. I have no kids in school but my taxes support teachers that don’t teach kids in person or in a classroom in my city. What can’t go on won’t. People here go into store without a mask and no one says BOO to them. I’m good with that as I’m in “Vulnerable” category to Covid as I have I have a compromised immune system. I protected myself regardless of the Government edicts of safety for people.

Private companies have right to set a policy about who enters the store. I’m okay with that policy. I think it is stupid and not well enforced at the local level but they can set any policy they want for the store. You can choose to use the store or go elsewhere base on what you will tolerate.