This morning we watched a nice lightening show in the local foothills. This afternoon I got called to work. I may not be blogging for a couple of days - we'll see what the work assignment is or what my internet reception is. Have a good beginning of the week and stay cool.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
I sent boy and another grandson who had spent the night outside to pick the two plum trees clean. We still have two other plum trees whose fruit isn't ripe yet and a new Santa Rosa but the two mature Santa Rosa's were only going to last a few more days before the birds and bugs got hold of every last plum. They brought about 2 gallons of plums in for me and gave about two gallons of plums to the sheep. I already canned about 30 jars of various plum things: juice, slices, jam. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these plums. I'll probably dry some plum fruit rolls. Yes, I know that dried plums are prunes but there's actually a plum tree that's a prune plum. Those plums are oval shaped and not as juicy. They still taste good fresh but are much easier to dry than the Santa Rosas or Green Gage plums that we also grow. We only have one prune plum tree and it rotates between abundant harvest and poor harvest. It usually gives two poor harvests then one so heavy that the branches all try to break.
I was hanging clothes up on the line when Army daughter came in from her usual...shopping. Today she bought groceries. I think she's going to stop bringing stuff in when I'm home. For example she brought in one can (yes she bought just one) of tomato paste. Why would you buy that? She said that she doesn't want to use ours and when they move out she wants to make sure that we still have lots of food. Whatever... Anyway, when she got home she said that since she was gone most of the day she just wanted to sit and chat. How about I just put the laundry into the drier? How about you come outside and help me hang the laundry on the clothes line? So I went outside to hang the clothes. She brought the baby outside to keep me company. I guess she didn't want to be out when it was in the high 90s.
When I was getting ready to make dinner I told boy that I bought him a present yesterday. I got out the little thumb can openers that I bought for him and his sister. She wasn't home to get hers so he got to admire his gift first. I told him that he should keep it in his backpack that we have in the truck. Let's pretend that we go down to San Diego for a visit with his cousin and on our way home there is an earthquake. We may not be able to drive home. We may have to walk and he may need his can opener. He thought it was really a great gift. Then I told him to go out to the garage and get a can of creamed corn. We could mix the corn in with the squash that I had just finished cooking. I showed him how to hook the opener on the side of the can to make the first cut. The I showed him how to lift it a little to continue making cuts all around the can. He opened the entire can and then asked if he could now just eat the contents of the can. No!
When Army daughter got home he came out to show his aunt his new can opener. She was not impressed because it took more work than using our Swingaway opener. True, and while we have a Swingaway in the house, another in the trailer, and another at the bug-out place, they are too heavy to carry around in a backpack. Boy kept opening and closing the can opener. I told him that he better be careful because he can easily cut himself. Perhaps it wasn't such a great gift for an 8 year old! Army daughter reminded me that when he cuts himself he can just get into his backpack and pull out a bandaid from his first aid kit. True.
Tomorrow we will do more canning. The apples are ripening and so are the pears. I soaked the asparagus because a coworker asked for some roots. I'm going to dig out another plant. Each plant has been producing about 40 crowns that I can replant. I've been giving away asparagus crowns plus I'll have about 200 feet planted when I'm done with the transplanting.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I made myself some dinner: left over tri-tip, squash from the garden, home made roll, home made fruit juice. Then I cleaned up the kitchen. It was clean when I left this morning but somehow the messy kitchen fairy showed up while I was at work. I left the rest of the mess that Army daughter made. She can clean it up herself in a week or so when she gets around to cleaning. (I'm sure boy or girl will end up cleaning it up this weekend) I finished doing some office work since I left the office early today. And for the past hour...nothing.
I don't feel like watering, I don't feel like pulling weeds. I don't feel like doing any chores inside the house. I don't even feel like reading all the wonderful blogs that I spend time visiting each evening. I'm just enjoying the silence and doing nothing.
It's even respite day for bunnies and squirrels. Lucky them.
Tomorrow I have to leave early and head to the hills. I'm going to be working on the project where we were shot at several months ago. It's nearing harvest season so I'll be armed and very alert. It's really dangerous working in areas where pot is being grown. Right now it's big business for Mexican drug rings to come to
What if TSHTF? People don't realize how dangerous some of these foothill areas and wilderness areas can be. It's not because of the hungry hordes of people but the drug trade that has taken over areas that are very lightly populated. People think that they can just head for the hills and rough it. You can't.
Doing nothing to prep today. I will tomorrow or I'll get very restless. I'll write more tomorrow too. Now I think I'll just head to bed. Wow!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
My vision is still not too bad, I am not required to wear glasses when I drive and if the light is good I don't need them when I read. I do need glasses if I'm traveling in an area that I'm not familiar with and I have to read the small street signs. That will only happen if I'm so close to the corner that I can't make the turn, unless I am wearing glasses to see the sign from further away. My joke over the last few years is I only wear my glasses when I want to see.
Unfortunately, this means my glasses are not always near me. Usually they are in the truck. This didn't do me much good last night when we were eating dinner. Lately we've been overrun by rabbits and squirrels so I just keep the loaded .22 rifle on the kitchen counter. I always make an announcement to the house that the gun on the counter or the table is loaded. Boy and girl know not to touch it and they've been pretty good about it. They know I'll bring them into the yard and let them shoot it if they want. They also know that they are not good shooters yet but I am.
Anyway, as we were eating last night girl yells out "rabbit". I hopped up out of my chair, grabbed the rifle and opened the sliding door from the dining room to the back patio. Where's the rabbit? I couldn't see it. They said there on the back driveway to the barn. I saw a blob in the rock road about 120 feet away. "Is it where I'm pointing?" I asked them. Yes it was so I aimed and fired. Fortunately for me the rabbit was just sitting there for a long time. I hit it in the head. Perfect shot. I was able to aim well. I would have been happier if I could see the rabbit rather than the blob. They were very excited that I killed it after they directed me to it.
Today I went to the sporting good store. I'd like to buy a scope for my .22 Marlin 70. I don't need anything fancy, I'd just like to know what it is I'm shooting at. The guy said that he wanted me to bring the rifle in and they'd mount the scope and get it all squared away rather than just sell the scope. That's fine except I'm not allowed to bring the gun into the work truck (and carrying a rifle into the store would be rather obvious) and my truck is in Nevada transporting Bug-out renters mom to her final resting place (see my posting from last week). I guess I'll have to wait another week until my truck gets back to see what I'm shooting at.
Because I can't really see my shot, and don't get me wrong my vision is 20/50 so it's not terrible, I am very slow at setting up the shot. If I don't have around ten seconds to get a good aim then I can't get the shot off. Usually by then the creature has run into the woodpile or something. Still, I may be slow but I get one or two creatures per day. You'd think at some point the property would run out of rabbits and squirrels. No, not until I get totally fed up and poison them. One year we were over run with foxes. That was about five years before I got our dog. We didn't ever have any problems with rabbits or squirrels. Almost wish we had the fox issue. On the other hand, the chickens are happy the foxes are gone.
I really need to set up some sort of moving or revolving target in the backyard and practice shooting faster. If I was faster at focusing on my target I could get off two or three shots before the creatures scatter. Once they scatter because I'm shooting they won't come out for about an hour. It makes it hard to cut down on the critter population when I really only get the opportunity to kill one or two each night because I am too slow on my shots to get more. Any suggestions?
Monday, July 25, 2011
I also had some repair work to do on the coop. The new part was having some issues. For the door I recycled my sister's front door heavy duty screen security door. It's metal and pretty heavy. I'm not sure if it was my son or Bug-out renters son who hung the door initially. But the other day the door fell off when girl was in the coop. I guided the chickens back into the coop and paracorded the door back on to the 4x4 posts. The door had a metal strip on the left side that was to be attached to the post. Whoever hung the door initially nailed the door up with 3 inch nails and some washers. This obviously didn't work. I brought out some heavy duty screws that were as wide as the holes in the strip and screwed the door back up. It will fall off in about 100 years or so. No, I'm sure the wood post will rot first.
Then I took a look at the new nesting area that they built. My idea for this nesting area was to build a three sided room that the chickens could go into and have some peace and quiet. I wanted a solid roof on it too. The older part of the chicken coop has an 8x12 enclosed room that is solid enough to move into if we wanted to move out of the house. Not so with the new little room in the new part of the coop. First grandson and son-in-law dug the holes for the posts. Then I cemented them in. Then grandson nailed up two walls. The kids used the wood from the pallets that I got for free. They had to take the boards off, pull nails, then use them. This method worked great. So far so good. Then renters son nailed up the third wall and boy was his helper. Those boards were so crooked. I'm not at all sure how he did that! Renters son left the side facing to the west open even though I wanted the north side left open. Then son came around and said the hens will never use it because the opening is too big. He boarded up half the opening. He found a piece of plywood and nailed the whole thing up then took the sawzall and cut out a door! What a waste of wood. With the little room enclosed like that the inside of the room just baked. There was no way any chicken would ever even want to walk into that room, let alone set on their eggs. Son also took down the entire side of crooked boards and rehung them. They looked much better.
I had to redo the entire nesting area room back to my vision. The helpers were not much help, although they all thought they did a great job. I tore out the bottom half of what was the crooked wall. I left one board down at the ground level and put about four inches of straw on the floor of the room. I used those boards to board up the west side. There's not a door there anymore since the north side has a four foot tall opening.
I moved the food holder that was in the main coop into this new room. This bin holds fifty pounds of feed. I filled it up. I then took a bin that was being stored in the barn and put it into the main part of the coop. It holds 150 pounds of feed. I filled that too. I've now quadrupled the amount of food in the coop from 50 pounds to 200 pounds. I could go out of town for a long time and not have to worry about the chickens running out of food.
Next I had to close off the old coop from the new. I went into the barn and found a 2x6 board about 8 feet long. That was the opening between the two parts of the coop. I nailed that to the 4x4 post at each end down at the ground. I then found some wire with 2x4 inch squares (rather than using chicken wire) and used staple type of nails to nail it to the posts and bottom board.
I then went into the coop and carried each of the three broody hens into the new part of the coop. They were not happy with me. I took the eggs out from where they were holed up (all three hens have been stuffing themselves into one nest box), made several nests in the new room and put the eggs in there. I don't care if the hens abandon those eggs or whether they sit on them. As long as they stay broody I'll be able to supply them with eggs to lay on.
Lastly, I moved banty rooster in there with the three girls. This leaves the big rooster in with the rest of the hens. We will be able to collect the eggs every day in the big coop, mark them, and then put them under the broody hens. Any eggs the broody hens lay we can take out since they won't be fertilized.
It was a long, hot day but it looks great. Now all we have to do is wait for about a month and perhaps we will get some new baby chickens.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
For some reason your website will not take comments. It's not that I'm not trying, it either says it doesn't recognize my Open ID which is this blog address or it just keeps redirecting it to another copy the letters page. So I'm sending it this way. Once you read it let me know and I'll remove the post.
Sorry everyone else for sending a message this way.
My comment was to remember to include your water heater when figuring out how much water you have on hand. Between that and the two toilet tanks we have 60 gallons of water without doing anything extra.
Stay safe in your hot and humid weather.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I didn't know what to buy because I have a huge list of stuff I want. I would like good backpacks for the grandkids for our trip to North Carolina. I would like to get a couple of knives since NC doesn't recognize the CA CCW. But I need to make sure that the knives are legal. Of course, they'll be packed in the suitcase and not in my pack.
The knives I was looking at are assisted opening knives. Under California law, you are allowed to carry, concealed in your pocket, a non-switchblade pocket knife of any length, including any assisted-opening knife. The knife must be carried in the closed position. Knives that are disguised as any other object are illegal. Where can you carry a concealed knife in California? Almost anywhere. At public schools no type of concealed knives are allowed. Knives over 2 1/2 inches are allowed as long as they are visible. So if you carry a knife at a school it better be attached to your belt in a little carry case and not stuffed in your pocket. At colleges or other post-secondary schools, no fixed-blade knives are allowed of any length but other types of knives may be carried legally. Well, I didn't buy a knife, although I probably will on my next trip to GI Jim's.
I ended up buying paracord. I got a 300 foot roll. Tonight I made a headband to hold back girls mop of hair. I took nine feet of cord and folded it up so I had three two-strand lengths. I kept it all one piece, I didn't cut it into three strips. I taped the top so it would make it easier for me. I then braided the cord using a pretty tight weave. I finished up the ends by knotting the two ends together. It fit her head perfectly. It's not a quick release style; if she needed the cordage she'd have to unbraid the entire thing. I will probably put a strip of elastic with a button closure on the headband. It will provide a tighter fit and the elastic can just slip off if she needs the paracord. I've also seen bracelets made with paracord. I'm going to make some of these so we can all wear them on our trip. We will also be sporting paracord belts. I bought olive drab but I think I may pick up some black. We may as well have some "fancy" looking belts to wear in North Carolina. We are going for a wedding after all.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Rudy over at Preparing Your Family, http://preparingyourfamily.com, wrote about rain water harvesting today. He said that at his house he could collect 17,000 gallons of water in one year. It got me to thinking, how much water do we use? If you live in a city and have a water meter connected to your house it's easy to calculate how much water you use. Just read the meter.
On the other hand, when living in the country and using a well it's a harder task. I read that you can purchase in-line water meters to figure out your usage. The water comes out of my well and heads in two different directions. One is to the house which also goes directly to the water spigots in the front yard. However, the pipe that goes to the back garden does not run through the house. The pipe splits at the well and goes to the back or to the front. How do I figure out my water use? I found this site which will help. http://www.csgnetwork.com/waterusagecalc.html
Using the above calculator and stating water use on the high side, it showed we need over 200 gallons of water per day for inside use and another 400 gallons for outside use. Again this on the super high side. Perhaps with the kids home during the summer and going through a heat spell needing lots of water in the garden. I just can't imagine us using 600 gallons of water a day! I then put in my responses using what I believe to be typical, not high. This time the calculator came back with 100 gallons per day inside use. That's more reasonable. I doubt we use 400 gallons of water per day outside. The animals do go through about 25 gallons a day during the summer. The chicken coop rainwater does drain into their water container during winter. The sheep don't drink too much during the winter, and they will drink out of puddles if they are clean.
Since I run my garden and back fruit trees off a hose drip system it should be easy to calculate how much water I use. You'd think that all I'd have to do is turn on the faucet, take off the hose, and have the water go into a bucket. I'd time it and as soon as the five gallons filled up I'd be able to multiply or divide and add or subtract (depending on how long it took) to figure out my gallons per minute. That sounds reasonable since I don't have the water on full blast when I'm running the drip. If it was full blast it wouldn't calculate properly because the water doesn't come out full blast; there would be a backup in the system. About twice per week I water the trees and vegetables during the summer. I only turn the faucet a ½ twist but I let it run for two or three hours. It will be interesting to do the bucket test to see how much water is coming out of the faucet.
If I was able to collect all the water from the barns I'd get about 20,000 gallons per year and another 25,000 from the house and garage. That's if I collected every drop - 45,000 gallons if I had a storage tank that large. Just calculating the inside water, our needs would be 36,500 gallons per year. That would leave the rest of our 45,000 gallons to give water to the animals. Forget about watering the garden.
What did I learn from this calculation? I need to make sure my well works! I am still putting a water collection tank in but no matter what, it will not be able to provide for our needs if we expect it to water the garden and the trees. That's the price of living in an area with 11 inches of rain per year.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Don't pray, people may be watching. (And I added two sentences at the end because forgetting to put in your conclusion doesn't work!)
Saturday, July 16, 2011
It's 11:00 in the morning and it's 70° outside. It's almost 200° in the oven. Not bad for an incomplete project. I'll post more pictures soon. I'm hoping to work on it some more this weekend and get it finished.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
There are several ways to cut down on the rabbit population. First is to have the yip-yips in the garden area to chase them away. That would work if the yip-yips cared. They don't. The big dog will chase them away but she is usually too busy sleeping at that time because she stays up most of the night keeping the coyotes and mountain lions away. Coyotes and mountain lions would kill the rabbits but they will also kill the sheep, ducks, chickens, and children (at least the lions will) so I'd prefer they stay off the property.
Since the dogs aren't doing a great job keeping down the rabbit population there are several other ways to control them. My favorite is shooting them but the most effective way is to poison them. Since we don't eat rabbit meat I don't care how they die. If we ate rabbits then the cause of their demise would be an important consideration.
You can trap them live and let them out somewhere else. That's a nice thing to do if you live in the city and your kids think that rabbits are first cousins with the Easter Bunny or Bugs Bunny. But you aren't doing anyone a favor other than the rabbit.
There are traps that will crush them and kill them. The only problem with these kinds of traps is that they will kill and/or crush whatever happens to get in them, whether it's the puppy, the duck, or your hand. They aren't legal in all places and I have no idea if they are legal here or not. I won't use these.
You can put up fencing. You can use up to 1 1/2" chicken wire for this job. I just can't see fencing my garden beds, although if I needed to survive on my garden then you bet I'd be putting in the fencing. You need to bury the fence between 6 inches and a foot deep and have it about 3 feet high. I could either put it around each 4'x16' garden bed or just around the entire garden perimeter. I've heard you can use a plastic mesh but I have visions of animals eating this, or a small fire burning through and melting it. (I've seen those beautiful fake-wood white plastic fences melt when a fire comes roaring through. Nothing like miles and miles of melted goop that used to be a fence. And the stuff costs more than real wood because it's maintenance free.) I have several rolls of chicken wire stored in the barn for future needs.
What do I do besides shoot them? I buy Rodenticides (stuff to kill rodents). When I first moved here I was hitting up the local Orchard Supply almost weekly to buy bait to kill the mice. One of their staff told me since I lived in the country I could go to the County Ag department and buy the stuff there for a much cheaper price. I do that now and purchase a several year supply at a time. I keep it stored safely because this stuff is an anticoagulant and I certainly wouldn't want the dogs, cats, or ducks to get into this by accident.
The product name is Diphacinone. There are a couple different strengths but I always get the .005 anticoagulant grain bait for $1.70 a pound. It looks like blue oatmeal. It kills ground squirrels, rats, mice, rabbits, and chipmunks. You put it into bait stations, which are often made of PVC pipe or old cat litter buckets. You do this so birds and other critters don't get to it. I will also go out to the pasture and pour a little into each ground squirrel hole. I'll go back a day later and see where it's been eaten and pour some more in. I'll do that for several days and pretty soon the squirrel problem will be solved.
In the barn I use the Diphainone .005 wax bait block. You can buy these at Orchard Supply as well but they are much cheaper, at $2.64 a pound when I get them from the county. I put these in the garage and the barns. Very rarely do they get any nibbles in the garage. My Clark Pest Control person told me that one of the problems with these is that they attract mice so I shouldn't put them in the house. I used to but took his advice and don't do that any more. We don't have mice in the house anyway as they pretty much hang out in the barns. If you don't stake these down in the barn some creature will walk off with them. I will put a wire stake through a stack of three or four near the grain in the barn since mice like that area anyway. It seems to work pretty well.
I know we will never get rid of all the mice or rabbits or squirrels but with the rodenticides and my shooting they will be kept under control.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Next weekend the 405 is going to be shut down in
OK, but lets turn this back to Yahoo. Many times I've come across posts where Yahoo and other organizations say some really stupid remarks about prepping. Prepping has turned into a joke. The joke is on you Yahoo writer Adriana Diaz. When you lose your job or are in the middle of an earthquake I hope you have prepared. Probably not since you have too much to do already. After all nothing's more important than keeping up on Justin Bieber and the Beckham's new baby.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Ah, real food for dinner tonight. Before I get into what I cooked I need to tell a little story about her grocery shopping. Remember, she doesn't help in the garden because they'd rather shop at the store. On her last shopping trip she brought home a jar of jam and a lemon for the salmon they were going to make for dinner. What about the 50 jars of jam in the cabinet? Or the lemon tree in the back yard? Nope, not as good as store bought. With this in mind, let me tell you about dinner tonight.
We had a deer roast, given to us by a friend of mine who hunts. I made scalloped potatoes using potatoes from the garden, powdered milk, cheese powder, and a tablespoon of butter. I also made a vegetable medley all from the garden of yellow and green zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion, and garlic. I threw in some Italian seasoning that I buy in bulk at Winco. I made bread using flour, yeast, salt, garlic, a little sugar, and water. I spread about a tablespoon of melted butter on top just prior to baking it. We ate it plain without adding any more butter or oil to it. The grandkids (five of them tonight) had a juice mixture of peaches, plums, and apples just blended together in the blender with some crushed ice and water. Yes, we had real food tonight. I am one content person. Son-in-law likes my cooking; I think Army daughter would prefer store bought preservative filled fake food. I fed eight of us for a grand total of less than one dollar - the cost of my stored food plus the butter.
I researched some whole house fans and picked one that I purchased today from Home Depot. It's a Master Flow 30" belt drive unit that's supposed to move 6000 cu. ft. per minute. That's enough to knock me off my feet if I'm not careful. The plan is to only have to run this thing for about 10 minutes in the early morning. I figure if it's in the high 60s or low 70s first thing in the morning I can cool the house down to about that temperature and then close up the house for the rest of the day. It should keep the house no hotter than 80 if I do it right. The electrician friend is supposed to come help tomorrow but since this is not just going to be put right in since it's wider than the joists I'm going to have to do a little bit of framing first. I'll see if he's willing to help with that or if he just wants to make sure the wiring is done right. If he's not up for actual physical labor the project may not get completed until next weekend.
I haven't spoken to anyone yet about the wind turbine. Since there's a dealer a few hours from here there should be someone who has one that I can take a look at and interview them to see how happy they are with it. I like that it's advertised to be either grid-tied or off grid. You can have it set up to charge your batteries off grid then when the batteries are charged tie it back to the grid and turn the meter backwards.
Today a friend of mine gave us a 52" TV. Army daughter also went to her storage unit to pick up her 52" TV. We were all scratching our heads at dinner tonight wondering why we got either. We now have 5 TVs in the house. The grandkids only watch if I'm watching with them. We watched High School Musical last weekend. The TV hasn't been on since. I think I'll give one of the TVs to oldest daughter and her family. The rest can collect dust.
Bug-out renter's chicken is broody again. I'm going to bring some of our fertilized eggs up there for the hen to set. She hatched two of the four eggs I brought last time. The chickens run loose up there. One of the things that struck me about Hawaii was all the wild chickens. I'd like to get a lot of wild chickens running loose at the bug-out place.
Granddaughter decided she didn't want to wash her clothes in a bucket this week. She was perfectly happy with me putting them in the washing machine. They are getting hung up on the clothes line although Army daughter and son-in-law keep offering to take their clothes out of the drier so I can put ours in. Do you know where the lint comes from that you collect in the drier vent? That's from your clothes falling apart. No thanks. I'll let the sun do the drying.