Trying out the Bootlegger bottle and setting things up for Summer

May 26, 2014

For my first Bootlegger bottle recipe I wanted to try out something that almost any prepper/survivalist might have in the pantry. Rather than just any old fruit juice I’m making a “hard” pink lemonade from Country Time powdered drink mix. I figure if I can turn something like this into a good tasting beverage then almost anything will work and will show  just what can be done with the Bootlegger bottle. It been less than a day and the yeast is converting the sugars in to alcohol.  While there is nothing wrong going with a more traditional type recipe for fruit wines, I like the potential for experimentation in small quick batches.  On the beer front the IPA I got from Beer Lady tastes pretty good but it is flat. I didn’t have much luck with the bottle carbonation. A good lesson on the difference in carbonating via a keg and the bottle. I’ll stick with sugar during bottling.

I got a little arrogant about my gardening skill and accidentally pulled out a few “good” plants in the big garden bed. So tomorrow I will go with Mom to D&B and get some replacements. Though my small beds look okay and the squash is growing very well in the big bed.  I’m moving to more of a row planting scheme rather than the Square foot method. I loose a bit of potential production but I think it will help me do a better job on weeding and taking care of the plants. The front shady bed should work for the smaller root veggies like carrots and radishes and should be somewhat safer from any over zealous weeding on my part.  It is amazing how much growing space and new plants I have been able to add using the front beds for the edible garden. The lavender and Mums look like the need to be moved to get more sunlight. The trees have filled in and I don’t think they are getting enough sun.  I have a nice spot along the sidewalk that those plants can be used to create a bit of a border and I can add some amendments to the soil to make it a happy place for them to grow.  The little electric rototiller is getting a real workout this year.  It’s still work to dig and make new beds but with the tiller it is so much easier than doing it all with muscle power.

It is just as well that I need to move those plants as I need the space along side my patio for the Outdoor kitchen.  The plastic table for the sink and work space is taking up a bit more room than I had anticipated when I made my plans. I’d prefer the big propane burners to not be against my house since I don’t have any heat protection on the wood siding. I can shift the grills around so that the Weber Gas grill and the propane burners could share a tank. Since the smoker/charcoal BBQ is fuel independent I can position it wherever it is convenient. All I need is a brick bread/pizza oven and the outdoor kitchen will be complete.  Not exactly stealthy but I can handle most types of food prep, cooking and preservation with this setup. I’m working hard on getting to know the neighbors and working to setup a sort of village/tribe within the neighborhood that is somewhat self-reliant and hope that I will get some protection because I run the “community kitchen”.

I’m not particularly brave by being out in the open on self-reliance. With my physical disability I must have help to survive, that is one of my challenges and we all have things that are less than perfect that we work to mitigate.  Perhaps I will be seen as a harmless old crank, but since I can’t run or fight the “Golden Horde”. I must have people see me as valuable and  my home a place of refuge.  Will it work? Not a clue,  just the best plan I can come up with my circumstances. If the economy recovers and everything in the world becomes all wonderful, I still have a great outdoor kitchen to use.

Four new plants and next time I need to read the coupon. Bacon!

April 25, 2014

Trying out a few new plants for the garden with the set of pony paks.  I added some onions, as last year the onions I planted did not grow very well. I think the onions needed to be in the big bed that gets a lot of sun. I added some small watermelons plants as the seeds I tried last year were a bit of a bust. I think a small watermelon will be just perfect size  for me and for sharing with Mom and Dad. This is the first year I’m trying celery in the garden. D & B farm store is pretty good about selling plants that can do well in this area and it’s the first year that I know of them offering celery.  With price of these pony packs if I can get a couple of pounds of veggies per plant they will pay for themselves compared to grocery store prices. Plus I know how the plants were grown.

Stopped by Albertsons to get some of the bacon I like so well. I could only afford a couple of pounds of it but it makes a nice treat. I ended picking up one of the fiora paper towel 8 pack along with the 12 pack of toilet paper. The coupon required you to buy 2 packages to get the $2.99 price each. Still a good bargain but I prefer being on top of these little details.  Reading the fine print is getting more and more important so you don’t get blindsided.

I tried out some stir fry using the canned Chinese vegetables I got at Big Lots. It turned out okay if not quite as good as using fresh veggies. Much better than the using the La Choy type canned mix of veggies. I could see adding a few cans for some veggie variety in the pantry if you can’t get fresh vegetables.  Since the Chinese grocery came to Nampa there has been a veritable explosion of not only Chinese but all kinds of Asian foods becoming common in the grocery stores.  This is great for me between the Latin and Asian influences locally it gives me a lot more options for meals and to fight food boredom using many of the same ingredients but different spices.

I got the Burlap bags cut up and using them as a screen over the opening of the rain barrels seems to be working out.  We are having some rain so I will be able to judge just how well the burlap holds up.  One of the things you need to control with your rain barrels is not giving mosquitoes a place to breed.  I’m going to do more planning on the space for the cistern/rain collection system for the shop. While I can’t afford to buy the cistern or even much of the PVC pipe I can start on some of layout and foundation work of where I want the tank to go and how I want it to work.  A 550 gallon cistern is going to weight over 2 tons so it needs a strong foundation to carry the weight.  Of course that is so true of many of the things I do here at Casa de Chaos. Now I think I’m getting a bit better at starting from the ground up rather than the other way around.

Looks like we are going to have an interesting Summer

May 12, 2012

Some big news coming out of Wall St. and JPMorgan taking a big loss of at least of 2-4.2 Billion dollars via the London Office.  I figure there is a lot more to this story and this is just some spin and hope folks forget about it over the weekend.  Not all bad news as we are seeing a drop in oil prices and PM (Precious Metals) because the EU is so bad it’s driving up the Dollar.  But don’t let yourself be fooled the dollar is just the healthiest looking horse at the glue factory. If the FED does another round of Quanitative Easing  it will cause another spike in food and energy costs.  I don’t think most Americans can take much more rise in the cost of living without cutting back a lot more.

Not much we can do about theose beltway idiots but we can do something for ourselves.  I finally got the garden in, Huzzah! Let’s hope the weather wil be somewhat helpful and we get a good crop this year.  I do think I’m safe at least from cold weather as my little Peke decided to start shedding her coat with a vengence. I combed her out yesterday and I could have knitted another dog her size from all the hair.  I actually planned the garden out and did some companion planting. I did not expand my beds this year but it felt like I had more space. Doing some new plants, eggplant, squash and zuccini and see how those do this year. I haven’t eaten a lot of squash or egg plant but I do have a few recipes that sound good and I want to try out.  I’m going to add in some buckets of herbs and stuff and keep working the lasagna garden bed for next year.

Neighbors  borrowed the “Drain King” and now their Dishwasher is working again.  That was a great investment of $15.00 and having good nieghbors shows how you can make things a lot better and easier for each other.  She gave me the squash and zucinni to grow and my sister about 6 sunflower plants so it all balances out.  Mom gave me the egg plant to try out and I am doing a everbearing strawberry patch and see if I can keep from killing them this year!

I think I’ll get a few 90% silver coins this next week since silver has gone on sale. I’ve been back and forth between a roll of pre 64 dimes and pre 64 1/2 dollars and I think this time I’ll get the half dollars. Getting “junk silver” is turning out to be a lot more interesting than I thought and if silver really does break out on price having some fractional silver will be good for barter.  I can get the dimes next check and then I’d like to pick up some of the “Year of the Dragon” silver rounds for gifts.

I’ll get the 10 cords of  “mill ends”  for the wood stove in June and then go to work on the stove pipe and floor and wall protection in July and hope to pick those up on sale. That will give me until Oct. to find a woodstove and everything installed for this winter.  If everything holds together,  the economy recovers and I’m completely wrong about things going bad.  I can focus on the solar power system I want to put in and get a bit more off the grid and less dependent.

I think that is the biggest bonus of working towards self-reliance is even though I expect an “Economic Collapse” / Depression,  if  I’m totally wrong,  I still make my dollars stretch farther, and I’m always learning and doing new things to make myself as independent as possible. I’ll go to work on my last debt which is my Mortgage and get that bad boy paid off.  Yes, it can be done on the cheap without getting handouts from the PTBs.


Just puttering around the house.

May 9, 2012

Got the front lawn mowed today!  Between the rain and me being worn out it’s taken some time to get done.  I did get the garden planned out today using a companion planting idea and see if that will help it do better this year.  I’m not sure if my raspberry plant is going to make it, but I think I found a happy little spot along the fence line that if she survives she can grow nicely in that spot.  We are going to have a cool night tonight,  I hope it’s the last one for the next three months.  May 8th is the latest frost date but I have seen it snow here as late as May 18th.

The third rain barrel installed and knocked down a few weeds and stuff in a new edible landscape bed I want to do in the front yard.  Talk the neighbors and she will help me dig up a dead shrub and get the bed ready for planting sometime this week.  I’ll be planting colored kales and a few herbs along with marigolds.  I got some lovely wild flowers and  Evening Primrose to add a little drama and some height to the bed.  The neighbor helped clean up my rose beds along the fence line and some of the rose have died,  not her fault but mine for letting them get over grown.  I want to transfer a rose that sits where my last water barrel is going and place it up on the fence line. Got some bigger buckets for the Citrus trees which are doing okay and I’m amazed  I haven’t killed them.  I’ll to put them on the patio so they can get lots of sunlight and put some growth on this year.

I got a terrific buy on a cutting board today! It’s a Catskill Hardwood board that is 18″ x 24″. Only $15.00 at the Macy’s outlet. I used my “Mad Money”  to buy it. I try to keep $20.00 to $50.00 hidden away in the wallet for just this kind of thing because sometimes you find a great bargain and nothing is more frustrating for me to find a great buy and have no cash on hand to get it.  I’ll move my old cutting bourd out to the RV so I have an easy to wash and good size cutting board for her as well as the home.  Plus I’ll have a great bunch of boards for the community canning sessions I want to have this fall.  The “Mad Money” also works great if the electronic systems go down.  You can pay cash if you have too  and be on your way.

Started my shopping list for next week check. Wonder of wonders I only have one item I can’t buy on sale.  The darned rain barrel went on sale this week $10.00 cheaper than what I got the newly installed barrel.  So “bad words” have been said by me and moving along. I got a bunch of cheapo lighters not to long ago, but I will go back to buying Bic lighters for everything. They are more expensive but the  quality makes up the difference. These are great barter items according to Selco and his SHTF School Blog.  Five at $5.75 every 2 weeks will give you more than enough if you are a smoker as well as build a barter stash.

I got some great small buckets for RV food storage. Only about 2 gallons by volume but they will be a nice little storage bucket for the RV.  Temps. are more extreme for the RV but these buckets are small enough I can rotate them quickly and still maintain quality. Doing a bucket each of rice, 16 bean mix, biscuit mix and pasta.  I think a once or perhaps twice of year rotation of food from home to RV back to home seems doable.

Lot’s of things happening in the news and Europe. So stay nimble my friends it looks like things are going to get interesting.  Take one day at a time, don’t panic and keep working your plan.  Don’t scatter gun your goals but stay on target.  If you are working  on your basics don’t try and buy gold because it dropped in price  this week.  If you don’t have 3-6 months of every thing you need to survive don’t even think about “making money”.  Sustaining yourself and your family basic survival should always be first.