That went well.

July 18, 2014

Got all of the fans set up and with the nights getting cooler the fans are  helping to cool off the house.  I did some laundry to test the new dryer vent hose and how well the washer drains. The dryer vent worked great, made a huge difference in the heat in the house coming  from the dryer. The washing machine drain is better but it looks like it needs another treatment to clear up the pipe.    I may give the “Drain King” another try to see if the pressurized water can finish clearing the pipe. I really don’t want to fight with the drain snake if I can clear the pipe using the drain cleaner.

Did a little clean up on the front beds and got the watering done.  I need to lay out more mulch as I have been astounded  how much it helps the yard retain water. Got some good growth on the grass under the compost I laid out. Bought some new grass seed to add to the water main area and reseed the rest of the backyard this weekend. The brussel sprouts just are not doing much of anything as far as edible veggies.  While I started the front beds as a test this year I planted my cool weather crops in the full sun beds and that has not worked out well with the hot temps we got this July.  I may lose a bucket of the potatoes because the drainage got blocked and the bucket sort of flooded. I’m going to give the tater bucket a chance to see if it can recover and my other two big potato buckets are doing good and have drained all excess water.  One strawberry bucket is doing great and I should be able to harvest at least a couple of strawberries this year.  My other strawberry bucket and the raspberries look like a NOGO but I’m sure it was my soil mix and possibly a drainage/placement issue for those buckets. Those are things I should be able to fix with a some time and working the soil.

This year I have learned so much about gardening, fixing the soil and value of mulch as well as compost.  I sort of poo-pooed the idea of mulch for my beds like it was sort of a easy way to garden which was stupid because I needed all the help I could get to grow a garden. Now that I can see how mulch helps with water retention for a garden in high desert I can see it is a critical component for a gardener try to grow anything.  If you are in a drought area get some mulch on your beds ASAP even if you can’t do the whole yard.  I think you might be surprised by how much it helps keep water in the  soil. Remember your science classes about osmosis where water tries to create an equilibrium. I have seen it happen in my yard that even the areas that are not mulched absorb and retain water from the areas that are mulched.  With a bit more mulch added to my beds and to the soil I will be able to go to water once a week easily even with the heat and as I keep adding mulch and compost  I think I could get by with watering twice a month.  Most of us in the USA take safe water for granted,  and having my water main go out and simply dealing with all of the physical energy required to move water and heat it is huge compared to just turn a valve.  Water is life and if you do not have stored potable water on hand and a way to collect more you will die in a matter of days. Conserving water is just smart from a survival or money saving perspective.

Diana the peke had a blast running through the sprinkler. Speaking of dogs the pound has a couple of dogs on sale that might be a good fit for me.  I’ll stop by and give them a look this weekend and see how they might do here at Casa de Chaos. Don’t forget to prep for your animals and feed them best food that you can afford. That does not mean you buy the most expensive feed but that you do you research for the best feed.  You must prep for your critters with basic medicines, vaccines and keep them vermin free of fleas, ticks and other little nasties.  Let us say for instance you must stay indoors for 3-5 days because of a disaster. What have you done for your animals to go poo, or how will you keep them entertained or physically active in a confined space? You know your pet better than I do but I think it is something you should think about and prepare for your critters. If you have to bug out do you have a crate/kennel that the pets are safe and used to being in? You got those pets because they help you and I think it is unacceptable to simply cast them out if they become inconvenient. If you can’t/won’t take care of animals when times get tough. Don’t get animals of any sort!

Tilled, added grass seed and mulch to another section.

July 7, 2014

The dry soil was very difficult for the tiller to break through on this section of yard.  I added the grass seed and mulch but looking at the rest of the yard I need to do I will be adding the compost/ mulch first and tilling it into the soil after a few watering and then do the grass seed, mulch thing again. The soil is really hard in this area and I think it needs more amending than the last few sections I have done.  While I am watering the new grass seed areas the rest of the lawn is doing much better with water retention since I started laying the mulch in some sections.  I understand Osmosis but I did not think the effects could be so pronounced if you just added mulch in some sections rather than the whole yard.  The two holly bushes that got cut-down/ hacked are now regrowing.  The tree specialist I had trim the stuff in my yard did not recommend cutting the holly back a lot because it could kill the shrub. Well those hollies are a lot tougher than I was led to believe.  I’m not going to hack them all down but I feel confident I can cut them back significantly with out killing the plant.

I finally found the part that attaches the portable dishwasher hoses to the sink faucet at Home Depot.  I talked to Mom as she gave the dishwasher for me to use until I got a new one, about doing the built in replacement Practical Parsimony talked about and Mom and I agreed that having a backup/portable dishwasher was more important than my floor space. Plus I really want the new 18 in. wide dishwasher and to have the fridge back in it’s slot that will make the kitchen work space flow rather than just a temporary work around.  Dishwashers do go bad and this portable has many uses from an outdoor kitchen/canning setup as well as a backup for family members.  Speaking of washing dishes I hand washed some beer bottles but that was mostly so I could peel all the labels off the bottles.  I do tend to be the drop off point for the neighborhood for beer bottle recycling.

Speaking of drop offs I had a nice surprise of a few item from the neighbors especially a small bottle of ylang ylang essential oil. If you buy essential oils you know that even a small bottle ylang ylang is not exactly cheap.  I did a little market research and gave out some free samples that seem to be popular so I imagine this was sort of a payback/pay it forward sort of barter for the future.  I may not make much cash money yet but this barter thing is working out pretty well so far.

The new video card arrived today but I’m not sure if I got a dud card or if I have another issue with the PC motherboard or parts like the memory sticks.  So far the laptop is doing okay for what I need to do via the internet so at least I have some breathing room to buy the parts for the new PC if I need it. I would much prefer to buy the counter top distiller to make my own  essential oils from my herb garden rather than paying for new PC parts at this time.  I guess I have to trade in my “Geek” card for that statement.

While things are not going exactly how I planned this year I am getting quite a lot done that sort of fits into my 2014 goals. IF the goombas at the Fed or the US gov. don’t blowup the economy this fall I still have some time to adjust the budget and make things work.  There is very little any person has control of that might affect them. All you can do is plan and do your best for what might happen. So far I have been very surprised how far the PTBs have kicked the can down the road.  I see the wall and or cliff coming up, but more time is a good thing if you put it to use and get proactive.  I would be estatic that we have a real recovery and I do not have to worry about an “economic collapse” of the dollar because I would pump every dollar not dedicated to my “safety net” to paying down my Mortgage.  That does not seem very realistic to me at this time.


Got the watermelon planted and added wood mulch around the beds

May 28, 2014

Only needed to make one stop for the mulch and watermelon plant. Not sure if it’s a joke on me,  but there was a basil plant in the watermelon section. At least I can recognize basil and manage to get the watermelon plant this time.  I picked up 6 of the bags of mulch and got most of the walkways between the beds covered.  I think the area looks very nice with the red of the mulch contrasting with the green of the garden plants.  Found some info about fixing clay soil and while it was talking about a 100 sq. ft. area for a garden, I think that will be good section of the yard for me to work on.  Where water main was dug is devoid of grass anyway so I can start there and work out towards the rest of the yard.  In the areas that have grass I am using my garden fork to poke holes in the soil while it is wet and after it drys I will add some gypsum that should  aerate the soil. This will be one of those long term projects!

The hard lemonade is bottled but instead of adding lemon zest I added a few drops of lemon essential oil. So far the taste is mostly alcohol but I hope it will improve after sitting in the bottle for a few days. The bootlegger bottle could be used to make herbal elixirs for your natural medicine chest.  I think I could make my favorite cough remedy using real lemon juice and honey as the ferment-able sugar.   This is a new way of making alcohol so there is a bit of a learning curve but this test shows that even using a powdered drink mix it is possible to make an Adult beverage.

June is starting to like a busy month doing work in the yard, setting up the outdoor kitchen and getting all the wood cut and stacked for this winter.  I have made a lot of progress on my 2014 goals even with the water main issue which kind of surprised me.