Category: gardening

Mon. Apr. 22, 2024 – justanothermanicMonday…

Cool and damp again, but hopefully clear. It did clear up late in the day yesterday, and the sun felt really nice. Another day like that would be welcome before summer really kicks off. We’ll see…….

Spent most of the day indoors, doing sorting and cleaning. I’ve been moving stuff to and from the attic, poking at my office, and generally hoping to stack stuff for the auction. I’ve made some progress but it’s slow. That might be because I kept checking auctions all day too. I won something for the BOL that I’d tried for a couple of times so that was nice, but most of my auctions passed without me winning anything.

I did assemble a telescope I picked up at the goodwill outlet. It’s a 70’s Jason 323 “Comet Chaser” and is mostly complete and in pretty good shape. It’s incredibly well built with heavy duty materials, and lots of metal. It’s missing all but one eyepiece, but is usable as is. I’m debating whether to sell it for $50, clean the optics and use it as is, or use it as a spotting scope on one of the big scopes… I’m leaning toward list and sell as the easiest option. It’s a neat little scope.

Since I was in the attic, I installed a few new rat traps that I modified slightly. One of the rat trapping channels I watch on youtube features the guy’s own mods to the traditional snap trap. I didn’t 3d print a little cover like he does, but I did cut an arch from cardboard and staple that to the trap. It goes above the trigger mechanism, forcing the rats to approach from the end, and not lick the bait off the trigger from the side. I will see if they still avoid peanut butter, or if that acquired knowledge has vanished in several generations since they learned it. Nothing was in the live traps. I did find more ‘signs’ of where they travel and that they DO travel across the attic, but no further clues to how they’re getting in. FWIW I haven’t heard any skittering since I closed up the path I know about.

Today will probably be a continuation of the progress I’m making on cleaning and getting stuff organized and out of here. That’s the plan in any case. I might have a drop off and maybe one pickup, but I think most of the day is clear. I do have to hit Costco for paper towel… I forgot to grab a bale while I was at my secondary, and Costco is closer. No way was I going there on a Sunday.

I’ll point out that the world continues to slide toward war, and economic upheaval. Violence is definitely on the rise, domestically and internationally. Keep your awareness level elevated when out and about. Carry the means to defend yourself. Study and pay attention to what is ‘normal’ for your area, and what isn’t. Perhaps more importantly, get out of cities, start your victory garden, integrate with the local community by making yourself useful to them*, and stack- for your needs and the needs of those you love.

nick

* you don’t want to be a carpetbagger or johnny come lately when SHTF. You don’t want to be in competition with them either, so figure out something to do that complements local businesses instead of competing with them. Start on the web of favors done and received, of mutual obligation, of test and counter test that establishes you as someone they WANT around. Like growing a garden, it takes time, and time might be short. Start.

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Sat. Apr. 20, 2024 – 4-20 happy stoner day, or something…

Another day of warm and moist, and probably even wet… forecast here calls for moderate rain and gentle breezes. Wife and D2 will be at the BOL and she says they are predicting heavy rain and stormy weather…

They are going up with a couple of D2’s friends for a girl’s weekend. I’m home with D1. I’ve got work to do, she has a Girl Scout thing…

Spent yesterday cleaning and sorting, and doing pickups. Also doing some rat proofing. I found several bait boxes outside that were empty so I’ll refill those. The attic ones were untouched. I think I found the route in, at least on one side of the house. The siding has a corner trim that is hollow inside. One of the places I heard scrabbling has a corner molding, and there are chew marks and a hole at the top, which leads into the soffit. There was some black belly dirt on the vinyl soffit material showing that something was moving between the vinyl and the plywood, a one inch space. I covered the hole with hardware cloth (stiff wire mesh), rolled and shaped hardware cloth plugs for each end of the trim piece, used the mesh to completely fill the 1″ space the width of the soffit, and then sprayfoamed the mesh to hold it in place and fill the voids. They can chew through the foam, but the sharp mesh roll inside should discourage them.

I found a “mousehole” behind the washing machine, where something has been coming out of the wall to eat the dog’s food at night. Plugged that with 3 inches of rolled up mesh, and foam. I also found some holes in the wall that were around plumbing under the sink in the kitchen, that looked like they were enlarged and smoothed by teeth. Meshed that all up too. No foam there, because of the need to access the plumbing in the wall later. The Hav-a-heart live traps in the attic are untouched. I’ll set some modified snap traps today. With the access to the dog food cut off, they should be interested in baited traps.

In other news, my grapevine has set fruit, lots of it. This year I’m going to try some bird netting around it to try to save some for us. The lime tree in a pot is setting fruit too. The peach tree finally gave up. It is completely dead and broke off at ground level. Never got a single fruit from that tree. The apple tree isn’t vigorous and is late getting leaves and blooms. I might move it to the BOL. All but one or two of my blueberry bushes have died too. I’ll move any survivors to the BOL to join the newly planted bushes. They never were very vigorous or productive here. Collards are still growing, this is the third season for the same plants, I think. Could be the fourth.

In the last couple of days I also broke down and froze about 30 pounds of meat. Freezers are full. It’s a good feeling.

Today I’ll be doing more stuff around the house. I have to redo the repair to the tub. The cleaning crew scrubbed and chipped the epoxy away. Either they work far to hard or I didn’t get as good a bond as I thought. Still sucks to have to redo work.

It would also be nice to get the 3D printers all set up in their new spot in the “toy” room. That’s the room we use as a library and catch all. Wife suggested a narrow table against a wall to put the machines on and I am willing to oblige. I don’t want to set up the laser engraver until I have an enclosure however. I won one this week but it was missing when I did my pickup so they’ll either find it or I’ll bid on one in some other auction. It’s the second time I was bidding on one. I know I could make one but I don’t need another project. Just getting the printers running will be project enough, then getting kid 2 set up with a toolchain so she can make stuff will take even more time. Besides the obvious benefit of having the machines running, it will get stuff out of piles, corners, and stacks, and into one organized place. First I need to clear a space for the table, then I need to assemble the table… Fractal are the projects at Casa De Nick…

It will be a chance to learn some new things. That’s always good. And the kid has an interest, which is also good.

Try some new things. I can guarantee that actually doing it will be different than thinking about doing it.

And stack of course.

nick

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Mon. Apr. 15, 2024 – Uncle Sam says, “Pay up sucker!”

Should start cool and warm later, maybe even into the 80s. It was nice at the BOL in the afternoon, following the somewhat grey and windy morning. Sun even came out around 4pm.

I got some stuff done while I was there. Because of issues with the drive belt coming off the PTO, when I went out to mow yesterday I decided to go ahead and replace the belt before mowing, despite the lowering sky. Because my life is fractal, you can probably guess at the sequence of events…

I had three new 42″ belts, because they were a dollar in an auction, but I had mis-remembered as what I needed was a 46″ mower deck belt. Gah. So I figured that instead of a new belt, I’d take a look at it and see if I could figure out what changed and why the belt is coming off… And I did. Wear. LOTS of wear. Holes that were wallowed out, bolts that weren’t tight, guides in the wrong place. So I took apart, cleaned, greased, and replaced what parts I could. Last year my buddy gave me his old mower, because the deck was shot, but it turned out to have lots of stuff I could use to rebuild mine. Some washers for spacing, some grease instead of rust, some parts that weren’t half worn through, and some time, about 3 hours, and I had the deck back together and in better shape than it’s been in in years. Seems to run better too.

Mowed the rest of the yard, trimmed it too. Then went to check on the garden. Peas are doing well, much better than the variety we planted first. Peppers and tomatoes are doing well. Potatoes are growing like weeds. Something is eating the leaves off the turnips. I thinned out my radishes. Planted the cukes and zukes I brought up there. Went back to my place and planted the blueberry bushes on top of a sand pile. That’ll have to do for now. Decided I didn’t know were to put the mint, or the other herbs, so I brought them home again. I’ll either pot them or put them in dirt here. We’ve been getting over an inch of rain each week up there so irrigation isn’t an issue yet. It will likely be an issue eventually, so I am still moving forward with my plan to make a water wagon to bring lake water to the garden. Plans. I’ve got ’em.

The next thing on the list was more poking at the irrigation pump. I decided that a)the suction pipe wasn’t tight enough in the pump inlet, b) the intake was down in the silt, and c)there was air trapped in the suction pipe preventing the pump from priming. I lifted the intake, cut and rotated the pipe to make it tighter then glued it back together, and adjusted the level of the pipe to “burp” any air trapped in a high section… and that worked. We’ll see if it keeps running this week.

Unloading the truck, putting stuff away, and then prepping to leave took the rest of the day, and part of the night. This was a quick trip and I’m actually surprised that I got as much done as I did.

Today I’ve got catching up to do at home. Auction stuff, domestic bliss, stacking… hopefully I’ll have a somewhat productive day. Oh, doctor’s appointment right in the middle of the morning too.

But it beats working for a living.

Stack stuff. Just ‘cuz.

nick

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Sun. Apr. 14, 2024 – still here? Good.

Cool and clear. Dunno what the forecast says, but I’m hoping for a nice day. Yesterday certainly was, if a bit windy. Spring is cooler this year, and it’s nice so far…

Spent Saturday morning at my non-prepping hobby meeting, and enjoyed sharing with fellow enthusiasts. A chance encounter at a yard sale has led to half a dozen years of enjoyment with other humans. Get out and meet some people!

Spent longer than I expected loading the truck, and headed up. Got most of the yard mowed before losing the light. I’ll finish up today, then I’ll probably work on the sprinkler pump. I will also probably take some time to weed and thin the garden. Haven’t heard from my buddy yet, so I’m a little concerned that he might be ill… but I’ll find out later today.

Played a few games of eight ball with D1 last night. I’m rusty, but still better than a 14 yo who has only a few dozen games under her belt… Go me!

It was nice having some time with just her around.

The world is going nuts, as it does, and I hope you all take your joy where you can find it.

Stack up some good times. They’ll help later.

And stack all the other stuff too. That’ll help anytime.

nick

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Sat. Apr. 13, 2024 – Friday the 13th falls on a Saturday this month…

Cool and clear again, which is awesome. Yesterday was very nice too. Drove around with windows down. I am hoping for another great day.

Did my pickups yesterday. Put one off until next week, forgot one that I’ll try to get today, and added one that I blew off on Tuesday. Hit the goodwill outlet and got some good stuff while I was north of town. That was in addition to all the domestic bliss of laundry and cleaning. And testing some auction items. Oh, and cycling some of my smaller lead acid batteries through the smart charger. The big ones are always connected to a smart charger/maintainer, but all the smaller ones get topped up when I think about it.

What I didn’t get done was any additional work on my hobby website. I’m suppose to report to the board at today’s meeting. Today is my non-prepping hobby meeting, and then I’m headed to the BOL with D1. D2 and my wife are doing Girl Scout things this weekend. I’ve got a bunch of stuff to load up for the trip, and I’m sure I’ll have more to do there than just cutting the grass. I’m hoping I’ll have some weeding to do in the garden… thinning out the radishes and turnips for sure…

And I’ll have the blueberry bushes to plant that I didn’t get in the ground last time. I’ll be taking some seeds with me and discussing with my buddy if it’s worth putting some of the stuff in the ground. It would be a bit late here, but the BOL is one zone behind.

Or maybe it’s not too late here, as one of our friends is putting in a quite ambitious garden here in town. Interesting to see people taking action… finally.

It’s not too late to start or to expand your prepping. Until the disaster happens, there is still time. It just gets more expensive and difficult the longer you wait. So don’t wait. Stop coming up with reasons why NOT and start working the problem. I’m blown away by the creativity applied to NOT taking any steps to prepare shown in the comments on some other blogs who have recently started featuring prepping content. Spend that energy on something helpful, something that might make a difference in your life.

Start stacking!

nick

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Fri. Apr. 12, 2024 – “it’s Friday- I’m in love…”

Cool and clear again. Hooray. Yesterday was nice too, but I spent most of it indoors. I will get out of the house today… if it’s nice. It was in the low 60s when I went to bed.

Spent the day doing domestic bliss. Dishes. Laundry. Cleaning- a little. Mostly moving stuff around and sorting for auction, BOL, and house. It’s slow going to put some of the stuff away, or find new spots for it. My office is a shambles with my non-prepping hobby, my ham radio stuff, and the pipe refurbishment all stacked on top of the other older stuff…

I did manage to do some work in the driveway and patio too. I threw away a bunch of failed cans, mostly soup with pop tops, and the Hill Country Fair canned peaches. I’ve mentioned the peaches before, they failed way early. The other cans were rusted either by rat urine, condensation, or the liquid from the failed peaches and soup. The particular shelves were stocked at the beginning of wuflu lockdowns, so I haven’t messed with them for a while. I did identify that they’d failed some time ago, but couldn’t find the time to sort them out. I’ve still got more cleanup to do there, but I moved some bottles of cleaning supplies there in the mean time.

I also checked the live trap in the attic. No joy. I added a smaller live trap baited with different stuff. I’ll check that today. I didn’t hear the critter so IDK if it was even in the attic while the traps were up there. I’ll leave them until they need re-baiting, or I catch something.

Today I’ll do a couple of pickups, and some more auction organizing. I’m headed to the BOL this weekend, after my non-prepping hobby meeting on Saturday. I’m sure there are lots of things waiting for my attention there. Meanwhile, I’ll do more of the organizing and storing here.

I’ve got some brisket to break down and freeze too, as well as bacon and a chub of hamburger. Freezers are full, so I may have to do some re-stacking to make room. Probably time to rotate some of the deep freezes to the more accessible upright…

There is always stuff to do.

And always stacking.

Get busy.

nick

* I didn’t always like the Cure, but I find I like to hear them now, and I’m a bit surprised that my taste for 80s music has solidified over the years. Back then I mostly listened to the radio, so I heard everything, but preferred rock. Now I mostly listen to Alt Rock and New Wave, with a lot of other stuff mixed in. Rarely do I listen to classic rock, even when it’s bands I loved. One of the good things about getting older, is that like women, I find a broader range of music to be attractive…

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Wed. Apr. 3, 2024 – life would be a dream, shaboom shaboom…

Cool and eventually clear? Yesterday ended up clear but started with overcast and even a spattering of rain. By the end of the day it was quite nice, even hot in the sun. Today could be the same and I’d be happy. I just don’t want rain.

Did a pickup yesterday afternoon. Got three more gas powered heaters, some propane, but one at least natgas. It’s spring so people are buying air conditioners. I was buying them in the winter. The auction items are either returns from people who decided they didn’t need the heaters after all, or shelf pulls as stores change out seasonal inventory. I think these were all returns.

I got two more solar panels as well. And then I found a whole auction of panels, distro, inverters, batteries, etc. It’s in town, and it all starts at $5. I’ll be bidding, and I hope I can get some stuff cheap. This auction is decommissioned complete systems, so at one point it all worked together. Just knowing that gives me a leg up on putting a system back together. It would be nice to score some stuff in industrial quantities.

Florida blogger Divemedic is looking into solar for his backup energy needs. It definitely has an appeal, as long as you have storage batteries on site. Grid tied is not a backup. I think it has a place in everyone’s preps, at least enough to run a freezer or fridge, and charge phones and batteries… That is doable for not too much money, and it is quiet, and will last as long as the battery takes a charge. I’ve got electrically powered versions of most things to take advantage of solar after the liquid fuels run out. Now I just have to get the parts together into a system.

Along with all the other things I have to do…

I’ll just keep plodding along, with occasional bursts of effectiveness.

And stacking stuff. That’s the easiest part.

nick

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Tues. Apr. 2, 2024 – no one cares about today. it’s not special.

Warm and clear. Back in Houston, where it seems a bit less humid. Clear for the next couple of days should be nice. It stayed overcast, but got hot and muggy too at the BOL yesterday. Well into the 80s. Spring is well underway.

I slept in, woke feeling more myself than previously. Looking back I see that I first complained of being snotty on the 28th. 5 days or less is great for getting past the worst of it.

I did a few things on my list, finished the door install. Got the threshold installed, and installed the weatherstripping. Then the knob wouldn’t work, so I replaced it only to have the same symptoms happen again. The only thing that changed over the last weeks was the weatherstrip, so I pulled it out.

I didn’t get my garden planted. I spent the afternoon messing with the sprinkler pump. I just couldn’t get it to prime and pump no matter what I tried. I ended up taking the one way valve off the inlet (without getting in the water) and checking it. Seems fine and I took the time to clean it. Nothing worked to get the pump to pump. Motor runs fine though. I’ll have to dig deeper next visit. It could be that it has actually failed. Or the impeller is shot…

So I brought the stuff I was going to plant home with me. I’ll either plant it here, or leave it in pots, and take it up next time. Drove past our shared garden and the potatoes are going nuts. The new peas have all sprouted, and the radishes, turnips, and other stuff is starting to really grow. Even the persimmon tree in my yard went from ‘no buds, I wonder if it died’ to ‘hey, those are buds’ in one day.

The rest of you need to get going on your gardens.

Today I’m catching up on auction stuff, maybe doing pickups. I have several to do, but can do some on Wed. if needed. I’ve also got all the stuff here that should be done, with one fewer weekday to do it. Kids will need rides too.

There’s plenty to do now that I’m feeling better, that’s for sure.

Oh, I finally found the bucket of himalayan pink salt I KNEW I had somewhere. I took it to the BOL. I brought a gallon bag home, which should last several years…

Stacks. They are good.

nick

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Mon. Apr. 1, 2024 – Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you…or something…

Cool and damp at the BOL. It was overcast and cool all day yesterday, until late afternoon, then it got beautiful. Even a tad warm… sun came out, wind died down a bit. Spring. All three weeks are lovely.

Didn’t do much in the way of work though. Given the day, I’m not to heartbroken. Basically I just piddlefarted around in the dockhouse, messing with fishing gear, and occasionally throwing a line in the water.

I did test the sprinklers and determined that they haven’t been watering. The pump lost prime so no water was coming out… or the inlet is under the muck again. I’ll be investigating that today. I really need the sprinklers to run.

Wife did some caulking and painting, so some minor stuff is coming off the list.

Kids had fun with the egg hunt. There is a lot more room to hide stuff here than at home. (yes, we’ll still keep doing it as long as they want to play along. It’s fun.)

Dinner was entirely from the fridge, freezers, and pantry. Oh, except for a ‘heat and eat’ loaf of garlic bread. Ham, baked beans, smashed cauliflower. Neighbor gave us peach cobbler for dessert.

My head is clearing, but I’m coughing more. Dunno if that’s a good thing, but I hate being snotty. I know some of you think Airborne is a scam, but I find that it works for me. Don’t know the mechanism, don’t care, if I can take it instead of more serious meds and get some relief.

Today will be a mix of small things, if the weather holds. I’ve got some blueberry bushes to plant, some herbs, and some squashes. I’ve got a couple of small jobs to finish, and the sprinklers to troubleshoot. At least my head is feeling better. Still don’t want to climb a ladder with a chainsaw, so the limbs might get a reprieve until next time.

I may not now my limitations, but I know when I’m getting close. 30ft in the air with a chainsaw and a stuffed head is dang close…

Better to get some extra sleep and push stuff off until later…

Stack, stack, stack… you won’t regret it.

nick

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Sat. Mar. 30, 2024 – coloring eggs today, and work, more work…

Cool and clear today, with moderate temps later. I’m hoping for a lot less wind. It was very nice yesterday, apart from the howling wind.

Slept late, got a slow start after that. Piddled around unloading the truck, putting some stuff away. I even put a lure on a new pole (that I fished out of the lake) and tried fishing for about a half hour. LOTS of work avoidance going on. Eventually, I got the pole saw and chainsaw out and dropped a dead tree. I took off a branch by standing on my truck to reach it with the pole saw, and that let me drop the rest through a gap between an oak and the persimmon…

Took a while to cut it up and stack it, but I got that done too. Buddy came by and we went to look at the garden. The potatoes are a foot high now. Radishes and turnips aren’t blowing up yet, but I’m still hoping they start growing at some point. That’s gardening though, once it’s in the ground, it’s largely out of your hands.

Stack canned goods.

And labor saving devices like chainsaws- with all their supporting infrastructure.

Stack.

nick

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