A good work day

I got the kindling cut up for Mom.  I gave her one of my “kindle” wood boxes so I can get a better idea about how much kindling she needs for winter.  It is a little late this winter to do this test.  I should have enough time to get a two week “baseline” kindling use for the test.  If it cold and snowy or just cool and damp it takes about the same amount of kindling to start the wood stove everyday.

I have to say both the axe and hatchet preformed great cutting wood after my first try at sharpening an axe properly.  It helps that I’m picking out wood chunks without knots or warped grain that “looks” easier to split, but the axe did great splitting the Douglass fir into smaller chunks.  The hatchet was great as it cut through some small hidden knots and I filled the kindling box in about 20-30 minutes.  This is the first year I have focused on having kindling.  That may sound silly but I always had the option of using lots of newspapers to start a fire.  Now I don’t, and good kindling makes starting a fire much faster and easier rather than using a lot of paper in the wood stove.

I have a wood rack of the Doug fir that I’ll focus on making into kindling.  There will plenty of knotty chunks leftover to burn in the wood stove. I  want have a rack or several  boxes, buckets or  wood racks of cut kindling  before next winter heating season begins in October/November this year.

Both Mom and I sort of like burning the poplar I got delivered last year.  It seems to burn a bit faster/hotter than Doug fir and I have not tried to split it.  I don’t think that job would go so easy.  I don’t think Poplar is a terrible wood to burn in the wood stove.  The ash content is about the same as pine or fir but the smoke does not smell as pretty.  I’d say if you are good with burning Doug fir you will like burning poplar for heat.

Speaking of poplar Mom and I loaded a bit of that wood in her truck.  We had to move around a few concrete bricks Mom got from Home Depot,  loading up the mill ends and wood seem to work out well.  Mom’s porch has a full wood rack and full kindling box.  I know good that feels to have that job done.  Also had bad it can feel to watch those racks get empty.  Don’t worry we still have plenty of wood to burn.  My pile is good to go for this spring and Mom still has some lodge pole pine to burn.  I don’t have two years worth of wood for heating stored.   I’m workin to have more on hand but I’m not there yet. Like most preppers just give me another season, another year and then I’ll be ready.

Cottenelle tissue is so bad it is going into my barter/trade  stock.  Family Dollar brand is better than this  horrible product. Quilted Northern tissue paper is only slightly better than Cottenelle.   Charmin is over priced and it’s Charmin basic is worst than most generic brands.   I’ll use a sponge or wipe rag before I’ll buy or support the corporations that provide such a terrible product again.

We need a Trust Buster like Theodore Roosevelt to break up these big conglomerates.  Protecting the civil rights is the business of the government.  All banks are chartered by the government. So why aren’t 2nd amendment rights  protected by  the banks via the government charter?   Owning a gun is right equal to free speech or freedom of religion.   Gosh I’m going on a tangent.  Think about it why is owning a gun of any type open to debate?   Well that might not be a good example as many of the amendments  in the Bill of Rights have taken quite a beating lately.

That is my rant, if you use a TBTF bank you are an idiot.  You are also paying to undermining your rights.  You do you!

 

 

The front bedroom was supposed to become a Library/Plant room, but it had become sort of a dirty catch-all area, that was sort of out of sight out of mind area.  I have added a new shelf rack that helped get most stuff up off the floor so I could finally vacuum the carpet.  One thing I have noticed if you have a clean floor even a disorganized room seems cleaner.  If you have a dirty floor even a neat room will seem dirty.   I need to get two more of the heavy duty shelving unit to finish organizing my stuff.  After I start building the nice book shelves, in the “Library”, the heavy duty plastic shelves can be moved to the basement or the shop for organizing those areas.  I’m trying to buy items that are not just “make do” for now. I want those items to have a use in the future and having five foot tall shelving unit capable of holding 150 pound on each of four shelves will come in hand in either the shop or basement.

I got my new grinder temporarily set up on the shop work bench.  Of course I had a lot of saw dust clean up to do first before I thought of using the grinder.  After I got the grinder set up I tried putting a little edge on my little hatchet.  I can’t say I was happy with my first attempt!  I’m a little worried about heating the the blade so as to change the temper of the steel and I made a small gouge in the blade.  I think a grinder is too aggressive of a tool for sharpening axe when you are a newbie to using a grinder like me.

I found a Youtube for filing down a “hardware store” axe and he used a sharpy pen to define the area to file.  Just file down the Black sharpy pen ink and then check if you are filing the correct angle/profile on the blade of the axe.  This isn’t the fastest method but it really made sense to me and it is very simple to use.  Anyhoo, I sharpen both Mom’s axe and hatchet and I sort of cleaned up the gouge in my hatchet.

FYI: Get that Plastic/gel cover off that axe blade! Mom did not remove that cover on her axe and I spent about 20-30 minutes cleaning that soft plastic goo off the blade.  I had to use a razor blade and goo gone in order to clean off all the plastic residue just to sharpen the blade.  Spend the $10.00-20.00 for an axe sheath to protect the blade that helps you keep warm in winter.

I replaced the interior/cavity light in my Microwave and it was simple.  I have an above oven microwave plus the oven vent/blower.  Whatever you want to call it that area it can get very nasty, dirty with grease and dust.  If you have pets, you will have pet hair mixed in to that mess. There is also a filter for the residual air that goes back into your kitchen.  If you have one of these types of Microwave google the model and learn how to take it apart and clean it and replace the filters every two years.  I’ve had the Microwave for 5 years and it wasn’t terrible filth, but the build of grease was  disgusting to me and I never thought of removing that panel and cleaning it up until I had to replace a light bulb.  A good de-greaser works better for cleaning that stuff.   Goo-Gone is wonderful stuff for cleaning off wood sap or glues but it does not work as well for cleaning grease build up.

If I understand the math of cubic feet/yards of soil I have bought about 2 cubic yards  of good soil for $67.00. Hopefully I can get a few more of these bags of soil while they are on sale. I had a bit of breakage on my lilac bush.  I want to clean up my bushes and that was sign it need done.  No biggie I just used the battery powered chainsaw and trimmed  below the break. From what I have read Lilacs need to be cut back to about 18 inches though they don’t bloom after that cut back.

 

Using leftover candle wax does not work very well for my firestarters.  The leftover wax seem to make a layer of wax on top of the sawdust/wood chips.  Chunks of canning paraffin wax seems to flow through and fill  the voids of the wood chips into the egg carton.  It might be more expensive, but I recommend using pure paraffin wax if you want clean, reliable and easy to use fire starters.  Look at stocking up the wax in the fall/canning season or just after when canning supplies go on sale.

For restocking the clothes and sneakers, I added some work-type pants and another pair of NB sneakers.  I doubt I’m alone in not buying clothing until I have to buy clothing.  I know all the excuses of “If the disaster happens, I have plenty of clothing in my closet to wear when I lose/gain weight”.  This is my personal favorite rationalization for myself.  That is great Jamie, but until you start fitting into those clothes what will you wear this winter or spring?

American shoe and clothing sizes have become insane.  I’ll admit I’m overweight but I have 3 different sets of pant/sweats and they all have different sizes.  I have sweat pants I bought 3-5 years ago and the new clothing of same size of the same brand either is too small or wildly oversized.  I can also say my foot did not get fat  but now I can wear a Male 8.5  sized sneaker when 3-5 years ago I’d be lucky to find a 7.5 size male shoe that would fit me.  I have a big foot and most men’s small sized sneakers fit me.  Generally men’s shoes, sneakers or work boots are cheaper than those same items for women.

If you are unable to make/repair your own shoes or clothing you must stock up when clothing and shoes are on sale and you can buy good quality.  I’m looking forward to trying out the new pants I bought and see how the clothing hold up to my “puttering around” the house and yard work.

Don’t get me wrong,  I admire people that dress well on/or off my budget be it male or female.  That takes a lot of work.  Just because I don’t want to do that work does not affect my appreciation of what they do daily.  Style and grace does not just happen it takes effort.  I’m just never been one of those people.  I’m more concerned about clothing being good quality for a job/work rather than if it stylish.

I cut another batch of kindling.  My kindling boxes are mostly full and I filled an 18 gallon party bucket about 3/4th full.  My kindling use has been consistent  as the “Artistic fruit crate” of  18 in. x 12 in. by 9 inch of kindling lasts about 10-14 days  depending on the weather.  I’m want to fill another 18 gallon party bucket with Doug fir kindling in between the snow/rain mix forecast this week.  Cutting wood during snow is at worse mildly annoying. Cutting kindling in the rain just sucks and should be avoided whenever possible.

Last but not least I hope to set up my new grinder/sander.  I got this item to sharpen axes and gardening tools.   Now I’ll have to buy some good oil so I don’t screw up the temper of the tools.  Always something new to learn if you are a prepper.

 

Mom came into town and got another little bucket of kindling, fire starters and some wood for her stove.  I sort of figured, I’d be augmenting Mom’s wood pile this year.Because I did not think she had a good projection of wood needed and she was trying to get a lot of work getting her house settled this first year being in the house.  I’m sure most of her basic home maintenance items will stop being an “EMERGENCY” and she will start seeing/getting into a rhythm or timing when stuff needs work.

I did not anticipate cutting kindling for both of us or making the fire starters.  Overall this has been a good thing as kindling and fire starters can be in high demand in winter.  This could be a profitable business for anyone wanting to do the work.  I’m handicapped but even I can cut up a good amount of kindling in 30-60 minutes.

A couple of thing I have learned cutting wood.  Sharp tools are a must, be it an axe or a chainsaw.  Buy a simple wedge rather than the cross/star type wedge for splitting wood.  The cross/star type wedge needs a lot of brute force to split wood and does not save any effort splitting wood by hand.  I think a good quality straight blade wedge you can sharpen would be a better investment.  Yes,  I bought a cross type wedge and  pounded on hardwood for at least 15-20 minutes to split.  You don’t save time or energy pounding on a Cross/Star type wedge unless you are using hydraulic log splitters.  Hydraulic Log splitters are great, and you notice the log splitters tend to use a single blade/ wedge to split logs.  I’m talking about what I did with a Star/cross wedge and I don’t think those tools are a good buy or tool for your shop. Learn from my mistakes!

I love the slippers I bought for $6.00.  I like the new sneakers I got for 50% off.  You can prep even when stuff is high cost if you just wait and shop.  Your costs will go up as inflation and “profit” at all costs hits.  Many corporations  have forgotten that customers and consumers buy their products not shareholders.

I’m semi pissed at the makers of Brawny Paper Towels, Quilted Northern and Cottenelle products.  A company raised the price not because of inflation but the want a higher profit margin.  That is that companies choice.  My choice is to no longer buy that company’s  products.  This ain’t my first rodeo  corporations and I’ll go generic or make my own stuff.  After you have raped the consumer financially, do you think they will beg to buy your product?  I don’t need you massive corporation, your products are convenience.  Think about if more people realize they don’t need you. (corporations)

Sorry,  I went shopping and had a bit of a rant. Mom has firstarters, a little more kindling and wood.  My fire wood rack is full and I bought steaks for under $3.00 per pound.  Life is good!

I did a better job on getting my weekly house clean up done this week. While I did not go all out; scrubbing carpets or washing down walls full on “Spring cleaning mode”.  I did a get rid of some stuff that I had been ignoring and started organizing a a few of my  tools/toolboxes and cleaned up the in home plant starting areas.

Good news I did not buy/store the big 8×12 greenhouse from Harbor Freight.  I bought the smaller 6 ft. x  8ft.  version.  That will make the foundation for the greenhouse less costly for lumber, and using deck piers is now a cost effective solution for the foundation.  Building the green house will probably resemble an Erector Set from hell but at least setting up the foundation should be relatively simple if not easy.

I got out all the shoe boxes of seeds I have been saving and will go through the packets.  Any seed packet older than 3-5 years will go in the trash.  You generally get the best germination rates with seeds less than a year old.  But many seeds can last 5 years+ if stored properly.  If you want to use older seeds to see if they work, good on you.  The worst that can happen is the seed does not germinate/sprout. Mom and I are getting together a wish list of plants from Baker Creek that we want to test out this year.  My raised garden beds situation is solid and I’m looking to extend the season and do succession plantings. Mom has to look at planting at drought tolerant or shade loving crops.  Mom must clean up then plant/improve the soil, before she can actually sow seed for the long term.  Water is very expensive for Mom’s property, so getting crops that add/ remove/mitigate the clay and very alkaline soil as well as thrive in that soil is a challenge.  Especially when you have a tight budget.  Digging in that ground is about as easy digging though 3 ft.  deep of cracked concrete.

I’m having flash backs to digging post holes when I was 18 years old.  Can digging post holes cause PTSD? This statement is joke SJWs!   Golly explaining jokes is tiresome and makes the joke less funny.  Of course most SJWs have never dug a post hole or made a funny joke.

Ive been cleaning up my preps as I bought a lot of stuff I thought I would need and did not use that stuff.  Now is the time to start make use of all that stuff.  I want to install a new floating floor around my backdoor entry way.  This project may fail as I’m not doing it according to instructions.  But if it fails, I have a backup plan. I have a carpet to cover my mistakes!

More indoor work will have to wait on a couple of clear days of chopping wood and making some more kindling. I’m going going to try out a little different fire starter set up.

There are a lot of projects I want to accomplish, but all the goals are simple/easy to meet in time.  No tasks are critical this month.

 

The weather here in SW Idaho has been wet, windy, dreary and generally unpleasant the last couple of weeks.  I’ve been a little bit lazy as I’m still dealing with winter though my Iris’s are coming up and I’m ready for Spring to SPRUNG!

I cut up a little more kindling for myself and Mom.  I topped off my kindling box and still have 2 backup boxes.  Mom asked for a little more kindling and I did not consider her stove may need more kindling for starting a fire.  I was able to fill a box with kindling but I did not have much kindling or fire starters  stored as back up and February seems to be getting all wintery and snowy rather than all Spring-like and warm.  I did not count on Mom being hurt and unable to cut kindling.  I’m not knocking Mom being injured. I could also have been injured and who would cut kindling?

It is not terrible for me as compared to couple years ago I was searching for any wood to burn.  Splitting logs to burn and trying to dry wood indoors to feed the wood stove SUCKS!     FYI Poplar is a good wood for a hot fast fire and it does not leave a lot of ash.  Does poplar create more ash than Doug Fir?  Yes, but not anywhere the ash output of Elm. I estimate that poplar ash needs to be cleaned out about 1.25 times more often as Doug fir ash.

Poplar does not seem to make long lasting coals or burn over night.  I suppose you can think of Poplar burning more like a pine/softwood rather than a hardwood.  I have not tried to split poplar for kindling because it seems to have a stringy grain and that sort grain not easy for an axe to split.

I did not realize I had so much left over fruit woods, elm and white maple in my wood racks. Personally White maple is a great wood for the stove, when dry it splits easily.  But white maple trees is limited to the folks that grow that tree locally as it is not a common wood here in the west.  If you want to burn a hard wood the local fruit wood orchards are probably the best option.  Douglas Fir is probably the best wood on average to stack in the PNW (Pacific North West) then augment your stack with fruit woods.

Last but not least do not build a smokey fire in your stove.  I call it a “smudge fire” as all you get is roiling smoke that dirties the glass stove door and creates creosote in your chimney.   I made this mistake as I thought I was saving heat.  Get the stove hot first and keep the wood burning  hot and not smoldering.  If you want overnight heat, you want to build mostly smoke free coals. Smoke is bad for any wood fire, coals are good as they tend to be mostly smoke free.   Honestly, I build a good fire at night and my house retains the heat until the morning and I start a new fire in the afternoon.  Good insulation and good windows can make that much of a difference.

Waking up to a house that is about 60-65 degrees F. is not a hardship.  Especially when you can start a fire, quicker than you can make a pot of coffee.

I killed another coffee maker and back to the simple Proctor-Silex I bought more than  ten + years ago.  The coffee brewed tastes better than the new  Mr. Coffee machine provided.  Honestly I think the old coffee makers heat the water to a higher temp compared to the newer coffee makers, so they brew coffee better overall.  Probably won’t be long before I give up on Automatic drip coffee makers and go full on French press or a percolator.

Update on using the Elliptical machine.  I slacked off for a few days so I’ll have to improve on using it daily.  Funny thing that happens that the more you move the easier it is to get moving even when you feel a bit of weather related funk.

Life is darn good overall.  I forgot how well fruit woods break down into coals and it is darn warm in the house.

Oh, I just found out that many companies are jacking up prices on paper products not because of higher costs but because the companies want higher profit margins.  I get a company wants to keep pace with inflation.  Gouging your customers to make a quick buck seems counter intuitive.

You makers of Brawny paper towels, Charmin Tissue paper. Cottenelle Tissue and all those brand name products.  I won’t buy what you are selling in the store.  This is collusion and price fixing and no state nor the Federal government agencies will call out these corporations.  The government won’t enforce  Anti- trust laws on Corporations so all you can do is not buy those products.

Sorry this getting to be a long post.  Keep prepping, I think this is the lull before the STORM.  I really hope I’m wrong, but I’m not stopping my prep.

 

I’m a firm believer in prepping/storing clothes especially underwear, socks and basic work clothing.  One Item I seldom read about storing is foot wear.  Many people talk about buying, care of good work/cold weather boots and I’m not knocking that as good foot gear makes doing out door jobs safer and more comfortable.  But what about people like me that wear sneakers most of the time or prefer a pair sturdy sandals in summer. I’m am biased about garden working foot wear as I hate Uggs or any sort of enclosed clog-like shoe.  If you like them great but (My) feet get all sweaty feeling and the clog slips around… So let me say I won’t be covering any clogs.

I have needed to replace my sneakers for awhile and I’ve been wanting to get a little higher quality shoe rather than the $25-$35 dollar special of the week.  Well today I had great luck as Fred Meyer had a 50% sale on marked down $70.00 sneakers I picked up for about $32.00 per pair.  Now I have big foot for a women so I can usually get the men’s small sneaker or the women’s large sneaker on sale as those are the leftovers.  Are Men’s feet shrinking in the USA?  I used to get a 7 size men’s shoe and now I need a 8 1/2.  I’m in my 50’s so I think my feet have stopped growing and I have not outgrown any of my old boots and shoes. I got a nice pair of light weight Asics running shoes and New Balance sort of cross training/walking shoes for about $65.00 total for both pairs.  The trick of wearing sneakers or any shoe you wear regularly is to trade off wear of the shoe daily.  That way the two pairs of shoes will last as long as if you bought 3 pairs of shoes in succession.  For example: If one pair of sneakers lasts you 3 months.  If you buy 2 pair of sneakers and wear them on alternating days those two pair of sneakers will last 9 months.  It’s the same thing for Boots but the timeline is usually a bit longer.

Sandals:  I’m not a big fan of flip-flops or light weight sandals.  I have a pair of Columbia “River Sandal”s that are in great shape after 5 years of limited wear.  I really like the thick Vibram sole and the velcro tabs for securing the sandal.  My feet don’t get as sweaty compared to clogs and it super easy to spray off the dirt gathered when gardening.

That is the footwear I use.  Yes,  I also have boots and slippers but what I’m saying is many people do most of their prepping in sneakers and don’t always need specialized foot wear. They do need to have a good fitting pair of sneakers and know how to make them last and what sort of sneaker to store for the future.

Buying/storing footwear:

I have to say that Army combat boots are one of the greatest work boots ever.  The Gore tex winter boot sucks if you have to work at doing anything.  Don’t get me wrong the Gore tex boot is great.  If you are sitting for hours in the cold.  I stayed warmer by using my galoshes over my sneakers when I had to work. When I bought the first generation Army Gortex boot.  I would often patrol, help dig a foxhole and then sit and when I sat those boots felt like an Ice block enclosing my feet.  I’m not knocking Goretex as a product.  It just is not the solution for every environment.

Don’t preppers have access to gloves? I have seen many preppers on youtube get sliced and diced by just not having a pair of good leather gloves. I’m reminded of a old story that a man says his scars means he lived life dangerously and his wife says his scars means he led his life stupidly.

Get good gloves of leather gloves.  Hell I’ve bonk my hand with my hatchet cutting kindling and it is no big deal.  If I had not used leather gloves, I’d have a deep flesh cut to deal with if not worse.  Hell I don’t even go into Homedepot  of Lowes without at least a Jersey gloves to handle the wood. You ain’t tough dealing with splinters, you are an unprepared idiot.   Also good to know Scotch tape is great at removing small wood splinters.   Just an FYI!

End of rant.

Gosh I did not cover the bird feeder repair. I used a couple of larger tongue depressors to support the repair.  I got a little bit better at using the glue gun.  It was not a big deal as I glued a couple of tongue depressors to support  the roof of the bird feeder and it worked.  I’m glad I’m getting better using the glue gun and not a complete spaz job I did at first. The roof did end up with a bit of a flare rather compared to the barn  outline. If this repair lasts the roof line on the feeder should protect the feed/seed much better than the original design.

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A good work day

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