With the shopping list mostly finished up it’s time to get back to work on winter preps. An important item is getting the basic oil change and fluid check done and have my tires and brakes inspected on the mini-van. I have a coupon for one of the local oil change guys that runs an independent shop and are super good about letting you know about any additional problems. These guys are old family friends and always do good work! I will stop by Les Schwab and get the tires and brakes inspected and basic maintenance done for free which is part of the warranty. Most of my emergency kit is set up for winter but I need to double check one of my small boxes for any out of date stuff and make sure all the batteries/ flashlights are working. One thing about Idaho is the weather can change fast so it’s usually best if you plan for the worst in winter and you won’t be disappointed.
I need to rotate some of my gas cans to ensure I have good fuel for the winter. I got some neat little stick on labels that are made for chalk and they should work for dating my gas cans. I’m rethinking my strategy for gas cans for mini-van in a bugout situation. Almost all of my cans are 5-6 gallons and while I use a contractor trash bag to transport and fuel up those cans in my mini-van. It would be best to have the cans outside the van in the roof/luggage rack for a bug out. Each gas can weighs about 50 pounds and would be difficult to load at the last minute so getting some smaller cans in the 2.5 gallon range is a new addition to my bugout plan. A plus for getting some smaller cans is it would make gassing up the generator quicker and also a better size for handing out to family or for barter. I have some good tie downs for securing the cans to the rack and if I load 10 gallons worth of fuel it won’t exceed the roof rack’s load limit.
The garden is still producing but the squash leaves have mostly died back so I can get started on some garden clean up. I’m going to let the tomatoes keep going until we get a frost warning and then pick any green ones left and let them ripen on the counter. I have been very pleased with my garden this year. I learned a lot about proper soil and composting so I have high hopes for next year’s garden. There is some maintenance to do on garden tools and I have many things to do moving from theory to practice. A big one is storing tools in a bucket of sand with some oil that is supposed to keep lawn tools from rusting. A very nice time/money saver because I have moved to using mostly electric and battery powered tools is I don’t have to worry about oil, gas or spark plugs with my lawn equipment. If you have not used some of the new battery /electric tools you need to check them out as they are very good. For a small/urban homesteader these tools can sure make your life a lot easier.
I did a test of of some of the elm in my stove and it worked great. The wood was dry, burned very well and the chunk of wood lasted about six hours. Having the wood rack on my front porch made it very easy to stack up wood and the wood isn’t taking up space in my small living room. I cleaned up the front porch and have a place for kindling sticks I gathered from the lawn as the trees shed small stuff. About the only thing I’d like to add is one of those paper log rollers but overall I’m feeling very confident in my heating preps. It’s sort of strange as I look at winter as being a cheap energy season compared to how expensive using electric to heat a couple of years ago. I’m a little bummed I have not paid off the loan early but 2014 was a year of little personal disasters that simply needed money to fix.
Overall things are in darn good shape here at Casa de Chaos. While less than pleased about the potential epidemics the PTBs seem to be courting. I have to say I upped my game as far as 1st aid and medical preps. I’m in good shape for most disasters and if not perfectly ready I have enough on hand to at least have a chance at surviving.