Watching the “Market” today was interesting! In a Train Wreck sort of way

August 25, 2015

I think this is the “normal, pre-crash volatility” that signals a crash is coming, but I think there is still some time left before the crash.  How much time? I have no idea.  I don’t think it is time to max your credit cards for the Apocalypse just yet. Though if you have some particular weak point I would get it fix now rather than putting it off or waiting for a sale.  My thing is getting my wood pile stocked for winter. I have a already ordered one cord from an unknown and after I see the quality I might get a few more cords from them.  Wood around here goes on sale around September. So it is very difficult to get it delivered earlier in the year. Mid September is my drop dead date for getting wood at a sensible price.  I still have wood leftover from last year and I’m going to check out some free hard wood for the taking at the local Sears store parking lot just to add a bit to the wood pile. My neighbor trimmed the heck out of his fruit trees this spring and I still have that to cut up and stack.

I paid off the wood stove this month.  Huzzah! The only debt I have now is my house. With a little bit of luck I can put that money into savings and not into some other little emergency that always seems to crop up when you are at the bottom of the economic food chain.  Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do something will always need to repaired, replaced or remodeled if you own stuff! Lumber is very cheap right now. I got eight very nice 2×4 studs to fix up the overhead cover of my wood pile for under $18.00 at lowes. I think having a small stockpile of “building grade lumber” is a must for anyone into prepping and self-reliance.  While at lowes I noticed they had some deeply discounted lumber and other building supplies that looked like it was mis-cut to a shorter length or was pre- ordered and then abandoned.  I saw some treated wood(deck?) that would make great raised beds for a wicked low price.

Onto the sales: I splurged shopping at my local Tru-Value, via the coupon book/ad this month. I added another ABC Fire Extinguisher for $15.00 for home safety.  That gives me 2 multi-purpose extinguisher on each side of the house and a small handheld in each room. I figure we can handle a small fire or at least douse the flame to escape the house.  The small  ABC extinguishers can be moved to vehicles or added to camp gear.  I often have to buy low end so I have a least something on hand that will be effective. That does not mean you should stay low end and consider it good enough.  As you get better prepared you will find you have many items that could be gifts to friends/family or can be added to the barter box.

Yard sale bargains: I finally got my non-electric smoker box for $25.00 at a local yard sale. If things go “sideways” and electric power gets iffy you only have a few ways to preserve meat.  Old fashioned “potted meat cooked and buried in a layer of lard. Canned meat via a pressure cooker, or a some way of salted, dried or smoke. For me canning seems safest and I have canned meat.  But I really want to try some of the smoke and “potted meat” just for a bit of variety.

My recommendation at this time is get ready for winter. Focus on food, water and energy + your backups. While I may not have all the wood I want on hand I have been stocking up on propane tanks and I have 30 days worth even at below zero temps. Get tight with your cash and have at least 1-3 months on hand for utilities.  Don’t plan savings for your mortgage or rent if things get tight. Pay ahead any bills you can and keep some cash on hand even if it is just $20.00.

I don’t things will get “sporty” at this time, but I have been wrong before, so you must weigh your risks.

Finished limbing the the branches and the shopping list for the week.

April 17, 2015

It was a breezy day but Mom and I finished trimming the branches the Idaho power guy cut down. The larger branches should add a couple of days worth of wood to next year’s wood pile. I finally figured out how I want to prune my cherry trees. You ever have one of those problems that seem tough and then suddenly the last bit of info clicks into place and it all makes sense?  I figured out how to prune the trees after seeing how a neighbor pruned his fruit trees back and reading the term “cut those suckers back at the crotch”.  While statement sounds a bit violent it is memorable.  I need to prune back a lot of those “suckers”  on the cherry trees and this years harvest will be almost nil, but if I can get the trees healthy, happy and put on good growth the next 2-3 year harvest should be good.  I get a bonus of adding a little bit more hardwood to add to my wood pile. Make no mistake I can’t grow enough wood on my lot to feed the wood stove in winter but I could see how a homesteader with a few acres might go with fruit orchard and have some pruned wood to augment the wood pile, or perhaps use the pruned wood/chips for things like smoking meats.  My prepping philosophy is about using up all you have on hand without having to pay “retail”.  I also think about value added,  all I have done so far is a hot smoke or slow BBQ of things like a turkey. I think that flavor added is value added, plus a slow smoke preserves meat. Adding a few fruit/dwarf trees and learning to prune them properly could have many benefits besides the fruit.

I got my 10 bags of mulch for the front yard rose beds. The winds have been cold and very unpleasant but by Thursday things will be warming up.   I am a firm believer in mulch augmented with your compost for water retention in your lawn and garden.  It really saves water and if you don’t believe me simply mulch one area of you garden and leave dry soil in another, I bet you will be surprised how much water is retained in the lawn/dry area, at least I was surprised by the difference. I  added mulch to the other rose bed in the front yard Friday and the Scott’s Earthgro wood mulch went much farther than the Viagro mulch based on per bag coverage or “2 cubic feet” per bag. Based on my two rose beds of equal length, width and depth 6 , two cubic ft. bags of the Scott’s Earthgro covers the same amount as 8, two cubic ft. bags of the Viagro bags.  In the last couple of days I used the weed wacker to take the weeds to ground level, used the Hula hoes for cleaning out weeds and Mom and I pruned and cleaned up my roses and Mom raked the lawn for small branches a twigs from the last little wind storm. We cleaned up a lot of yard waste, one big bin (65 gallon) trash bin, two 30 plus gallon trash cans , about six 50 pound feed bags and two large construction grade garbage bags.

Mom seems incapable of of realizing how much she does helping me out. Just having an extra person trim roses, rake the yard and help clean up the trash is huge for person that did all those thing alone and is a huge time and energy saver. Mom is willing to help me with projects I do and is a great sounding board for ideas as she is well grounded in “Common Sense” which is not that common! No, we do not agree 100% of the time but that is okay because even this small home we have our own personal space to do as we wish.  It is a bit surreal at times as many people seemed to think Mom and I could not live in the same home. But we never had a problem working together when I was her supervisor, and while it is my house and my rules, I allow a lot of freedom as I had roommates as a civilian and in the Army. Heck we aren’t 12 year’s old looking to be popular and both of us tend to quietly rebel in our own way against the “status quo”.   Oh, it isn’t perfect, I’m sure Mom bites her tongue at times as there has been a bit of role reversal, but overall life seems to be going well.



Big load of wood arrived today

June 5, 2014

Dad filled the truck bed and a trailer full of wood and dropped it off today.  I tried to keep up with stacking it up but it was just to much and it was getting hot out so I quit the wood thing for today.  Dad is bringing another load on Friday and we will need to add more top cover to protect the wood from the elements.  If my math is correct I will have around 6-7 cords of the elm for this winter which should be more than enough for this year and a start on next year’s wood pile. Dad is in serious woodcutter mode so installing the microwave will need to wait a couple of days.  He has a hydraulic splitter but it is still a lot of hard work.  Once the elm is all split and hauled away my aunt is going to put in a goat pen for the bucks.  My aunt wants to get some of the volunteer holly for a privacy hedge for my cousin. It’s very nice to hear about my cousin “putting down roots” so to speak and I love being able to help out.

I managed to get the front lawn mowed and add some green to the compost pile. My aunt said adding some of the sawdust to my front beds was a good idea and should help the plants grow better. Overall she said the soil felt good to her and just needs the normal additions for growing. I was thinking of putting the kiddie pool for mints and other herbs up front but I think it might be better in the backyard as it won’t be so visible.  This should be the last bed for this year and I can start on filling in the front beds. While I need to do some weeding it does not seem quite so daunting a task this year. I think I did better on my preparing the beds and it seems to be paying off with less work on the weeding.  Saturday would be a good day to set up the outdoor kitchen, brew some beer and putter in the garden.

I used some of the black ale wort in the Bootlegger bottle and even though it uses a wine yeast the beer turned out okay and it fermented very quickly. Tastes a bit more sharp compared to the ale yeast but that might be an aging/conditioning issue. But the Bootlegger bottle will work with an all grain beer recipe. I also made up some of my pain relief salve but I used 8 oz. Grape seed oil and up the beeswax to 1.5 oz. and the salve turned out just a bit stiffer at room temp. compared to the one made with coconut oil. I think you could use either recipe with your choice of oils depending on the texture you want for your salve.

It looks like I got my callsign for my Ham radio but they got my middle initial wrong and I don’t know if that is significant or not. I’ll give the local club guys a call and see if that is a problem and how to get it corrected.  Been a busy month, but I love how things seem to be working out.