My Gosh, what a not so good week!

April 30, 2015

It’s been an emotional exhausting week for Mom and I.  It started on with the Mom getting every “button” pushed by Dad’s Lawyer. I have to say she was madder than a wet hen when she got home and really got motivated to finish up some paperwork and tracking down records. I suppose some people get angry, do nothing and just sort of chew on that anger. Mom and I tend to re-direct that anger into proving the person wrong about what they have said about us. Questioning our honesty, integrity or honor is a great way to get both of us “fired up”! We don’t have much so that personal integrity think is very important to both of us and we will fight to protect it.

I got very emotional about Diana the peke getting hurt by Samson the pit bull as well as having to return the pit to the pound. There is some good new though as the pit bull is available for adoption again and Diana the peke seems to be feeling better but is still a little gimpy. I tried a small amount of the “essential oil” pain relief salve on her sore spots and it seems to help and she did not have any negative reaction.  I did a lot of research and you can use some essential oils on dogs safely. My hope is after testing a little bit of the pain salve on Diana the peke and it works we can use the salve on the other dogs.  Cat’s don’t handle essential oils at all as it acts like a liver poison. I tried a commercial “natural flea killer” made with essential oil on my cat and she had a very bad reaction almost instantly, so I would never use any essential oils on my cat. When my cat had the reaction to the oils I washed her down with Dawn Dish soap to get rid of the oil and the Dawn worked great!  I would recommend if you are using essential oils that you keep a small bottle of Dawn dish soap handy just in case you need to wash off the oil because of a negative reaction!

Of course not everything was bad this week! I had a good day shopping at the local dollar store and stocked up on several of the magic eraser type sponges, got several cans of wet dog food and three bags of those heat-shrink plastic window insulation kits for next winter.  I was amazed by how well those plastic window kits did on eliminating drafts and retaining heat this last winter.  Replacing your windows is sort of expensive and stocking up on these kits is a good idea. I like this plastic as it is clear and lets in sunlight and you can see out your windows. Plus these kits can help seal your windows in case of a NBC/Nuclear, Biological or Chemical accidents or attacks, dust storms, volcanic ash depending on your location and threat level.  I got hit with Tear gas several times in the Army as a part of my training and you do not want that stuff coming into your home.  I will do a post about protecting against riot control agents this weekend!

It has been tad difficult this week but we are still standing.  Actually I learned quite a lot though I did not care for the emotional roller coaster. If the SHTF we will look back at weeks like these fondly. While things are tough they really are not that tough yet.


Ornamental lettuce for the front beds, Straw and repairs

July 1, 2014

Bought seeds for an ornamental lettuce called Prizehead at the farm store.  Gosh it’s pretty with colors of green, red and bronze it looks like it might do as edging/defining the borders of the front beds. This lettuce grows fast 45-50 days so it should give me a nice bunch of new lettuce in August if it doesn’t burn up in the heat.  I have been pleasantly surprised how well the front beds have worked with the cooler weather plants and keeping them from bolting with slower growth.  It looks like I will have some lettuces/greens at the same time tomatoes come on, just by using different beds all around the house.  I never considered that there would be different micro- climates in my own yard, based on sun/shade levels and how the beds are protected by walls, fences and other plants.  I know that a lot of gardeners adjust growing times by starting some plants early inside the house or in a greenhouse, but I have been learning how to make the outdoors work for me via the micro-climates and it has been a fascinating education. That might be the difference between a green thumb and a black thumb for plants. Green thumbs notice those things that make a happy growth environment and us Black thumbs are all theory and don’t take the time to notice what makes a plant thrive even if the growth is a bit slower.  Speaking for myself , I was always about fast growing and production rather than working with the plants and soil. Fast growth is not always equal good growth.

I added a couple new varieties of lavender to the kiddie pool garden. I have four different types of lavender and I think one or two should make a good ground cover for the alley.  By growing some of my own lavender I hope to have a renewable plant source for ground cover and making lavender oils. I’m new to using essential oils but so far lavender seems to be an all- around multi-tasker oil that makes other oils more effective.  I planted some parsley that I had mistaken for cilantro. I’m getting little better about recognizing plants by sight but this is the second time this year I got a surprise. I like parsley so it is no loss, but I want to add more cilantro to my beds as it shows promise as a filter of heavy metals in water. If you got a late start on your garden this is a great time to hit the stores for cheap plants. I got 40% off on the herbs today and they are well grown and should handle getting harvested a bit after the transplant shock is over.   I’m seeing tomato plants turning red and strawberry plants that are almost overflowing the pots  at the stores.

I bought only one straw bale for the front beds and the modified drip irrigation system. I’m still learning how much it takes to do my garden projects and usually I underestimate the amounts but once I lay out the straw for the first bed I should have a good idea about the total needed for the other beds.  While I could add the straw to my compost pile, I have more than enough already to work/turn over.  I have a couple little sprigs of grass growing in the area over the water main and the “mulch” is doing a great job retaining water.  It is hard not to get impatient, but I have sort of reconciled that good growth next spring will be the final test of my method. The grass seed I’m using is old but I’m shopping around for a good sun & shade mixture so any new grass growing is exciting.  In the alley area, in addition to the lavender I think some clover might work as a ground cover that could tolerate being driven over or parked on for a short time.  Plus I can mow clover and nearly anything would be better than the gotheads/puncture vine and cheat grass.

On to the repairs. My Kia had one of the lift tube die so I ordered a replacement from Amazon for $25.00.  I never realized how much I counted on that backdoor until I had to do without it. It looks like a fairly simple fix of removing the old lift tube and replacing it with the new one.  I ordered cheap little video card from for $42.00 that should be here in a couple of days. I hope it will get the old desktop up and running but if not I will need a video card for the new PC build/replacement.  The laptop is running much better after some software changes and updates so I can get by with using the laptop until I can get the parts together for the new PC.  I hope the video card will work for awhile as a fix because I wanted to buy the distiller for essential oils this month.  If the video card works great! If not such is life and you just adapt.

Mixing things up and a little help from Dad

June 1, 2014

I made up my first batch of essential oil pain relief salve based on my Aunt’s recipe. I used 8 oz. of Coconut oil by weight, 1 oz.  of beeswax by weight and then 10 drops each of Peppermint, Camphor, Eucalyptus and Lavender essential oils. The texture of the salve is perfect, now I need to test and see if the essential oil mixture is enough for pain relief.  It took a day or two for me to see the results from my aunt’s pain relief salve, so it might take a bit of time to get the recipe correct.  What is cool about making your own salve is you can tweak the recipe so it works for you. If I need to up the amount of essential oils all I have to do is reheat the salve in a crock pot set on low and add more oils.  Another thing that seems to be helping with my CIDP especially with the crazy cramps that jerk me awake, very unpleasant and quite painful. I’m adding 600 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid, a multi-mineral tablet of Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc along with the normal D3 and B Complex I take daily.  Alpha Lipoic Acid is generating some buzz helping with nueropathy type pain. While I  still hurt, I haven’t had any of those crazy cramps and I think this mix has really helped me recover from all of the yard work I have done the last few days. It’s a lot easier to stock up and store vitamins compared to prescription pain meds.  Getting self-sufficient making my own pain/healing salves and other medicines is high on my todo list.

My Bootlegger lemonade taste improved a lot after it was bottled and chilled for a few days. It is very smooth and few people think it is a an alcoholic beverage but it is a good sipping beverage for summer after a hard days work.  A few people commented that brewing/fermenting would be much more accessible to them because the time from start to finish is so much shorter compared to traditional methods. The Bootlegger bottle is also very cheap for start up costs to start fermenting compared to more traditional methods.  I made up a batch of the German wheat beer today and I hope to do an Amber ale as well as a Porter type beer this week.  I really want to compete this year in the beer category at the County fair and this should give me at least a couple of entries if the turn out tasting good. If you are looking for a fun hobby that touches a bit on your inner “Mad Scientist” along with making a great barter/trade good I would recommend you learn to ferment/brew.

Dad stopped by early today to moved the RV back into place. Needless to say I was not quite ready for him to be all ambitious to get stuff done around 9:00 am on a Sunday morning. But he moved the RV and removed the microwave from it’s slot above the oven. He said he almost did not recognize the backyard because of all the work I got done in the garden area/yard. It might be a bit odd as I’m nearly 50 years old and it still makes me feel great when my parents say they are proud/impressed with when I do something that looks good.  Much of the work I have done the past five years was not obvious, but was building a foundation for the future.  Now what I’m doing is visible and it’s sort of funny how much more real my progress is to myself as well as others.

Making your yearly goals is so important! Speaking for myself, a lot of what I have done was not readily apparent and by having goals you can see the progress you are making to become self-reliant. It’s the little things you do that eventually add up to accomplishing a yearly goal.

P.S. I have been commenting on many of your blogs but Blogger seems to be eating my comments. I am reading and learning more and more from everyone. So don’t think I’m ignoring you