What I Did to Prep This Week

What I Did to Prep This Week – Week 27 – Dec 30th 2018 – Jan 5th 2019

prep week 27

Hello Pack! We have been busy working on spring and summer planning preps, getting some more indoor crop going underway, and working on our road…again. I am thrilled we are not getting ridiculously cold winter temperatures yet, but consistent rain has kept us living in a mud bog. I welcomed a few chilly days because it allowed the ground to harden, but then the thermometer rose again and there was a little more rain – so straight back to mud we went.

Bobby bought some more dwarf banana trees, so we set them up with a grow light to get them going. The youngest grandchildren were excited to help after I explained the plants would grow bananas on them. They love bananas. When I told them it would be “a while” until the bananas grew, I should have taken into consideration the concept of time of the four and under set. They stood at the table for about 10 minutes waiting to see the bananas appear.

I then showed them with my hand how tall the plants would have to grow before any bananas start to grow. They have helped in the outdoor garden enough to grasp how long it takes plants to “get big.” We use banana peels and sometimes even the whole bananas as a natural DIY fertilizer, and it always seems to work really well, especially with container and not ground plot plants.

dwarf banana trees

I am also starting some more onions, lettuce, garlic, and potatoes inside. I am toying with the idea of growing potatoes in a container in the house over the winter. I have never attempted that before, but in theory it sounds like it just might work.

squeezing oranges to make orange juice

We spent the better part of one afternoon squeezing oranges we purchased from local FFA kids and make juice. Bobby’s arm and hand hurt for about two days after all of that tedious manual labor, but we were able to put up a lot of vitamin C filled juice. I am toying with the idea of trying to dehydrate some of the juice. I have heard of it being done, but have never attempted it myself.

I also strung up a lot of the peels to dry to use in medicinal remedies, for cooking and baking, and to make potpourri. I like to make homemade potpourri for Christmas presents but did not find the time this past holiday season, so I am getting a head start for 2019.

squeezed leftover orange peels

I figure any time I can make something for our home and family or to give as a present, I am saving money that can be used on preps… Besides, aren’t homemade gifts always so much better than store bought junk nearly always made overseas?

cast iron teapot filled with orange peels potpourri

I didn’t notice how dusty my cast iron teapot on the wood stove had gotten until I snapped this photo – it cleaned up now. I like to keep water and healing essential oils going in the teapot during the winter to put some moisture back in the room. This delicious smelling mix took me all of two minutes to make and tricks folks into thinking I am baking every time they walk in the room. I simply filled the pot three fourths of the way full with water and then tossed in some orange peels, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla extract.

One of my most enjoyable winter preps is getting out a big pieces of cardboard or poster board and working on the spring gardening plan and other improvements to our survival homesteading retreat. It sparks a Christmas kind of feeling to get excited for our near future enhancements of our littler prepper patch of heaven.

I have now nailed down how and where I am putting the new chicken coop. Instead of building another tall walk in coop were are going to make use of the small duck hut we used when we were town preppers, two poultry brooders (one large for quarantine and one for chickens) and a freebie rabbit hutch. Retrofitting them with scrap lumber and hardware cloth to turn them into housing units and nesting space will be both a quick and highly economical project.

Their run will be huge and double-doored. By dividing up their run we can make the top of the pen area around the living quarters as secure as Fort Knox and then just go the cheaper and quicker route of using bird netting to put over the day run area.

I am still a huge proponent of free ranging, but there are times when it just puts the flock too much at risk – like during a SHTF scenario, and when you have both a fox (so large it has been mistaken for a coyote) and her baby running around your survival retreat. The bobcat we were dealing with appears to have moved on but now we have a momma and baby fox to contend with – but at least these animals are deemed nuisance predators in Ohio so killing them is an option.

This week’s questions:

1. Have you ever grown potatoes inside? Please share your tips or epic failure details.
2. Do you use bananas to help enhance your soil?
3. What is your favorite and most helpful DIY natural soil enhancer?
4. What did you do to prep this week?

Tara Dodrill

About Tara Dodrill

Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, 'Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out', Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.
View all posts by Tara Dodrill →

106 thoughts on “What I Did to Prep This Week – Week 27 – Dec 30th 2018 – Jan 5th 2019

  1. Not much to do in winter in the NE. I did manage to get some seeds organized and in order for next season. I packaged some Seminole Pumpkin & Butternut squash seeds I have been drying for a couple weeks. My goal is to maximize the number of varieties I grow based on the harvesting of seeds from last years crops. This of course necessitates the use of only heirloom seeds. In addition to being more sustainable (good practice for post-SHTF), it gives me a continuing supply of normally expensive or hard-to-acquire seeds like Carolina Reaper peppers etc.

  2. I’m sitting in Kentucky waiting for the paperwork on the new to us 3/4 ton pickup truck. I will post more tonight.

    1. 1. Have you ever grown potatoes inside? Please share your tips or epic failure details.
      Nope. Never have. Potatoes are my favorite food, and I grow them in my garden in the summer.

      2. Do you use bananas to help enhance your soil?
      Yes. I use banana peels and lots of other fruit and vegetable peels for composting/soil enhancement.

      3. What is your favorite and most helpful DIY natural soil enhancer?
      I compost fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, chicken and goat waste, and barn and coop straw for my garden and garden beds.

      4. What did you do to prep this week?

      -Added a little to the stockpile.

      -Cleaned both henhouses and added straw to one chicken run to help with the mud factor. Blowing rains have made it quite a mess.

      -Got a used 3/4 ton Ram diesel. This should make towing a much easier task.

      -Prepped more food for easy meals later. I’ve been doing this for over thirty years, and I love it. It’s nice to just pull something from the freezer for supper or to take to a sick friend. It’s great knowing I’m eating food instead of chemicals. That’s my goal: To eat more healthy food and fewer chemicals.

      -Bees seem to be doing great.

      Tara,
      Please move the disturbing teeth whitening video. It honestly creeps me out.

      Be prepared. Stay safe. He’s in charge.

      1. Prepared Grammy,

        Prepped more food for easy meals later. I’ve been doing this for over thirty years, and I love it. It’s nice to just pull something from the freezer for supper or to take to a sick friend. It’s great knowing I’m eating food instead of chemicals. That’s my goal: To eat more healthy food and fewer chemicals.

        I agree on the chemicals; but, we don’t always prepare meals ahead of time. The DW thawed some round steak from the freezer, layered it with onions and mushrooms with some beef broth and placed it in the oven and we had a tasty meal without much work to prepare. She also tossed a few potatoes in the oven so we had baked potatoes to go with the meat.
        I’ve been cooking this way for most of 50 years, with 34 on this homestead.
        I have several weekly radio nets that have a topic, generally technical in nature; but, this past week the topic was: “What is your favorite comfort food?” /
        The answers varied; but, to me the most shocking thing was how many people named a food item and the best restaurant serving that food. It seems that nobody cooks any more. Other than bread stuffs that we do purchase along with home baked, we do a lot of from scratch cooking that seems to be a lost art.

        1. O.P.,

          Colleges now have to send out letters to parents making sure they have shown their children how to do laundry, gas up their cars and cook basic meals. Young adults are seriously lacking basic life skills.

          1. What!? The schools don’t teach them those skills? Well that beats all! I thought we was supposed to send our kids to school so they could learn readin’, ritin’, rithmetic and how to be nice to people. Hmmm. Now we gotta teach em how to dolaundry and such? That’s a wimmen’s job! (Tongue in cheek,just so you know).
            I made mine start to do their own laundry at age 13, regardless of sex. That way there were no complaints about the way I did it or, hey mom have you seen my …….?

          2. Babycatcher,

            All three of my kids learned to do their own laundry early too. My son lived with his mom for a number of years and she generally did his laundry for him. When I got custody, he was 14. After about a week at my place he asked where his clean underwear was. I asked if he had washed any. Uh, no. I asked, “are your arms broken?”

            So, we had laundry school and he did his ever after. My daughters had learned earlier than 14. Their mom was still a bit old fashioned Cuban and laundry was women’s work. My mom was not that old fashioned and I learned how to do laundry early too, including ironing, which all came in very handy in the Marines.

          3. Bam Bam,

            Colleges now have to send out letters to parents making sure they have shown their children how to do laundry, gas up their cars and cook basic meals. Young adults are seriously lacking basic life skills.

            My DD was relatively prepared for all of that when she went off to college; but, the one thing she was missing and something that I think is just as important is time management. I may know how to cook, do laundry, do dishes, etc.; but, since each of those takes time, that has to be factored in. In college I could go to the laundry area in my building and do homework or read while waiting for the washer & dryer to complete; but, after college when I lived in a place with no laundry, I had to schedule a Saturday morning trip to the Laundromat complete with my bag of quarters, baskets, and enough time to finish everything and get home.

    2. Yeah you, Prepared Grammy! I wish you could pot a pic here. Please share a link to any post of pics on your social media, I would love to see your new truck!

      1. Tara, I have a social media account, but I don’t put photos like that on it. It’s pretty generic with little evidence of my prepping lifestyle.

  3. Tara:

    You might keep an eye out at the yard sale/thrift shops. We used to have a mechanical juicer; arm and cover pressing the fruit onto the juicer, with a place to hold the glass under it. Would definitely help the wear and tear on the arm/hand.

  4. 1. Never tried potatoes inside. With our temps, in the garage or outside would be the only options.
    2. Banana’s into the soil? When we were in Hawaii, I had 3 banana “trees” in the one corner of the yard. Never did get any to grow. Knowing then what I know now, I’d have pulled them out and put in a 1-yr-old grapefruit tree, at least we’d have had grapefruit to go with the limes.
    3. Best thing for us to do to enchance our soil is move.

    4. … Started the month off with a gun show. Bought some light sand Gen 3 Mag-Pul 30’s to use my AR in 300 AAC (definitely different color than the 5.56 mags). Bought a Remington R51 and sold a Glock and some small stuff.

    Ordered stuff came in: P-Mags (3), mags for Rugers (4), and mag adapter, power supply for the Sirius “boom box”.

    The weather was brutal for the 1st part of the week. Snowing and blowing Sunday coming home from the show. +1 at 9 AM Monday morning, -9 on Tuesday! Glad I only have to make a short run to the bank while DW is home for lunch. Ended the week with temps in the “normal Winter” range (15 to 38)

    Got the van back from the shop; $170 under budget! Worked on my magazine inventory/storage. Then I slid in the alley and bent the just fixed door! Cosmetic damage only.

      1. Tara:

        What was nice was it was a kit I had put together. A G35 frame, a 9mm and 40 S&W slide, TFO sights on the 40 slide, a 357 SiG barrel for the 40, and 2 mags for each caliber. Add a 22 conversion kit and you have 4 guns in one. Needless to say it was a bit more expensive than the G35 sitting next to it.

        That was my last 357 SiG handgun. I can now sell the ammo. One the other 40 sells, so goes the 40 ammo!

        1. JP,

          That was my last 357 SiG handgun. I can now sell the ammo. One the other 40 sells, so goes the 40 ammo!

          I have owned many firearms and their related ammunition over the years; but, have scaled way back, mostly because of ammunition. Not counting .22 LR & .22 WMR I used to keep 7 or more types of handgun ammunition, 4 rifle cartridge types, and various loads for 3 shotgun gauges. I now only have 2 shotgun gauges and a lot fewer and more common handgun / rifle cartridges. Rifle and handgun cartridges in 5.56 and rifle and handgun in 9×19 mm.
          Ammunition inventory management is another thing that can too easily get out of hand

  5. I did my low-carb grocery shopping this week. Added a little to my stash.

    Just not much going on this week prepping-wise. Chased after granddaughter most of the time. What a bundle of energy. We did spend time working on her learning to read simple words. I guess that is a prep, getting the future generation educated. She can spell her name, not her full name yet, but she has Abby down pat.

    Tara’s Questions:

    1. Grow potatoes inside? No, never have.
    2. Use bananas to enrich soil? I don’t, but my Ex does use the peels from both bananas and plantains.
    3. Favorite DIY soil enhancer? I don’t have one.

  6. That “simple trick erases teeth stains” video loop that appears next to the comments is just…. creepy. And annoying.

    Haven’t tried potatoes indoors, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be done.
    Never heard of using bananas or peels as a soil amendment. Makes sense, since they’re rich in vitamins and minerals.
    Usually just use liquid fish fertilizer for the house plants.
    No major preps this week. Still trying to eat down the freezer and cupboards. We’ve had a mouse problem under the kitchen sink this winter, so I pulled everything out today and gave it a good scrub with Lysol wipes. Don’t want a case of hantavirus spreading through the house!

    1. MaineBrain, Google “homemade miracle grow”. You can make liquid plant food for pennies. I tried this last year and it worked great. As I recall it was just water, epsom salt, baking soda and ammonia–all stuff that stores well long term.

    2. I loathe mice! I have no problem dealing with horse, cattle, goat, chicken, duck, guinea, hog, dog, or kid “droppings” but for some reason I just can’t deal with the nasty little ones left by mice. I assume the entire area has been contaminated forever when I find a mouse has been in the house. Hence, three drawers in the kitchen only Bobby uses now, lol.

      1. Thought they were getting into the kitchen drawers next to the sink a couple of years ago, so I set a plastic container of dried mint in the drawers, along with a package of scented dryer sheets. So far no more “evidence” in the drawers, although they’re still getting in under the sink. Apparently there’s a hole outside, which I plan to try to plug with steel wool this weekend. Doesn’t help that the bird feeder is right outside the kitchen window. The seed attracts them, apparently. Lesson learned.

      2. Tara,

        I loathe mice! I have no problem dealing with horse, cattle, goat, chicken, duck, guinea, hog, dog, or kid “droppings” but for some reason I just can’t deal with the nasty little ones left by mice.

        Actually the nasty little ones are not too big a deal and can be swept up rather easily and if you have good mousers, they don’t last long. We don’t get them in the cupboards and cabinet drawers, at least in part I think due to the indoor cats.

        I assume the entire area has been contaminated forever when I find a mouse has been in the house. Hence, three drawers in the kitchen only Bobby uses now, lol.

        The main problem with mice getting into drawers is IMHO the urine. Like you I don’t think you can quite ever get the ”yuck” out of the drawer, so any with mice are relegated to storing boots, work gloves, etc.
        I will admit that kid droppings have not ever been one of my favorites either; but, that was a very long time ago, LOL.

        1. A couple of month ago I opened the glove compartment/console kind of thing in the Polaris Ranger and a mouse ran through it and out somehow – right across my work gloves I was reaching in to get – they became Bobby’s work gloves, lol. Bobby suggested getting some farm cats but I am not a cat fan either. I had two over the years, both acted like dog and could back down any dog, and I loved them, but that is about it. I have a “pet” black snake in the barn so she does the mousing chores down there. Had a baby black snake it the playroom once, maybe I should have made it a bed in the kitchen drawers to take care of the mice, lol. I think my barn snake is a she because every once in a while we spot a tiny snake or two and relocate it down by the creek. Anyone know how to sex a snake?

          1. Tara,

            A couple of month ago I opened the glove compartment/console kind of thing in the Polaris Ranger and a mouse ran through it and out somehow – right across my work gloves I was reaching in to get – they became Bobby’s work gloves, lol.

            You sound like my wife who detested and was afraid of these tiny little mice; but, now when can at least dispose of their carcasses when one gets into the house and one of the cats plays it to death.

            Bobby suggested getting some farm cats but I am not a cat fan either. I had two over the years, both acted like dog and could back down any dog, and I loved them, but that is about it.

            We used to have a small herd of barn cats; but, now we’re down to just two outside and two inside. Our neighbors run an animal sanctuary and on occasion their cats will come and visit, so the rodent population (including squirrels and chipmunks) are rather small.

            I have a “pet” black snake in the barn so she does the mousing chores down there. Had a baby black snake it the playroom once, maybe I should have made it a bed in the kitchen drawers to take care of the mice, lol.

            You’re afraid of little field mice; but, keep a pet snake? Neither of thos critters bother me; but, you will have to admit it’s a bit odd. LOL

            I think my barn snake is a she because every once in a while we spot a tiny snake or two and relocate it down by the creek. Anyone know how to sex a snake?

            I looked it up; but, it looks like too much work unless you have something exotic and are trying to raise them. From the sounds of it, they are making new snakes well enough on their own.

          2. LOLing at your comment about finding the mouse in the Polaris…I remember when I was a kid, mom went to cut the grass with the riding lawnmower, started it up and backed it out of the garage, and ran screaming when the mouse family that had taken up residence under the seat scrambled out! I remember laughing hysterically, but the nest was proof. I think my dad was working out of town at the time, cuz she would not have gotten on the riding mower otherwise, LOL.

  7. still trying to be able to harvest corn and soybeans, pray for us farmers. the season has been horrible. this will be the first time in a month, we will of had 7 days rain free,.

    !potatoes , not inside, i really think they will need more heat than you can provide.
    2.nope to bananas
    3. composted dairy manure, from sandy free stalls, changes heavy clay soil pretty fast. beef guys don’t do this.. they use weed seed straw and that won’t work/
    4. greased the 4 wheeler trailer and went back and c ut about a huge truck load of fire wood.
    anybody with woods , needs to be scouting the emerald ash bore damadge. the trees just started really deteriating quickly. it’s better cut and stacked inside your garage, than left exposed to the rain.

    i really need to be planting some sort of replacemet trees. my woods is going to thin out quickly. the 50 mile hour winds, really did a job in my wood lot. becareful out there.

    i need to start puitting together my seeed order, maybe i can get ohio prepper to start them in his green house. i have a feeling, it is going to be a early season.

    i planted some strawberries in a small garden and think they are doing ok. i keep looking for my garlic sprouts to break ground and haven’t seen anything yet. they always make me happy,seeing something growing in the land of BLAH.

    1. Black,
      We have some farmers in Southern Illinois who’ve given up on some of their fields. When it gets just about dry enough to get in, it rains again. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

    2. Black,
      No problem on starting things in the greenhouse. Just bring anything over when you need to use it and find a spot. We’re still hoping to add another building this spring to get the ladder stored somewhere else. The ash borer has played heck on all of the ash in the area; but, my maples, oaks, black walnut, and evergreens are still doing OK. I can save you a pile of black walnut to get started if you like, since a pile of them will start sprouting on their own in the spring. The mature trees will of course take some time to grow as all hardwoods do.

    3. You might consider black locust to replant with. It’s myunderstanding based on my reading that a 5 acre lot once established( about 10 years or so) is self sustaining. Can produce about 5 cords or more a year. I believe the book 5 Acresand Independence has a lot of info on that subject.

      1. Babycatcher,

        You might consider black locust to replant with. It’s myunderstanding based on my reading that a 5 acre lot once established( about 10 years or so) is self sustaining.

        Black locust is a good hardwood and there is some of it around here; but, it’s kind of an invasive species and while not as bad as honey locust, it can be rather thorny and a bit nasty to manage. Around here almost any other hard wood would grow as well; but, all hard wood trees grow slowly. BLACK’s problem is specifically with Ash trees, since Ohio is one of the states invaded by the emerald Ash Borer. I lost several trees to that nasty insect, including a 90 foot tall one that I had removed a few years ago when branches the size of small trees were falling into the yard and driveway.

        Can produce about 5 cords or more a year.

        A well managed hardwood wood lot can produce about one cord per acre per year, ad infinitum as a rule of thumb.
        And an update. BLACK is a ham operator and I talked to him this afternoon on the radio as he was finally headed out to combine corn. It’s been sub freezing here the past few days with a bit of snow, so hopefully things are dry enough to complete his corn harvest.

  8. Hi Tara & all,
    We’re having the same balmy warm weather; but, it’s a double edged sword. I really hate the mud; but, unless things get really cold, really quickly, we’ll be saving a ton on our summer propane fill. We have capacity for a lot of propane with three 1000 and one 500 gallong tank, which filled to 80% gives us about 2800 gallons. As of today, two of the 1000 and the 500 are still full (80%) and the working 1000 is sitting at 30% ir 300 gallons, meaning we’ve only used about 500 gallons to date for all of out heating, hot water, and cooking. This mean that the summer fill when the prices are lowest, could be the least we’ve spent on propane in a decade or more. We could of course have a really cold nasty rest of the winter and spring. In any case, the new windows and foam insulation are doing the trick and keeping us comfortable.
    Are you growing bananas indoors? Bananas in Ohio are an interesting crop and I would like more information.
    We have garlic planted in containers for transplant in spring (we hope).
    I have tried potatoes numerous times and have had no luck with them, so I would welcome any and all suggestions here. We have oranges; but, they get eaten faster than we could juice them. One way you could put them up is to freeze the juice in ice cube trays, vacuum seal the cubes, and keep in the freezer. I don’t know how well they would dehydrate; but, I suspect they would freeze dry OK.
    I just tossed some orange peels; but, think I might want to dry and keep them after reading your comment.
    We keep an old metal bread pan on one of the ventless propane heaters to add moisture into the air and on cold day have to add a quart or more every day or so.
    We are evidently lucky on our chickens, since we have only a 4 foot fence with a hot top wire and no netting over the paddock area. There are some trees in the paddock and perhaps the limbs and leaves help protect from flying predators.
    Now the questions:
    1. Have you ever grown potatoes inside? Please share your tips or epic failure details.
    No and we’ve had nothing but epic eailures on potatoes outside. Still looking for suggestions.
    2. Do you use bananas to help enhance your soil?
    Yes, we compost the peels.
    3. What is your favorite and most helpful DIY natural soil enhancer?
    Composted chicken litter. We also have horse, goat, and cow manure available; but, these generally have too many weed seeds in them
    4. What did you do to prep this week?

    This past week we did and acquired the following:
    1. Received an AOC 40″ Curved 4k UHD Monitor from woot.com. This will complete my amateur radio setup adding various digital modes and near real time weather tracking while working at the station.
    2. Reread “Cold Camp” by Tim J. I actually had the computer read my original digital copy (circa 2005, 2006?) to me. Back then it was public domain / shareware and available on numerous forums. It’s a good story and a good read. I have a pdf available.
    3. Picked up another 20 blueberry muffins and some raisins from Aldi’s
    4. I needed some short 1×12’s for a project; but, had no good way to haul one from Home Depot, so I asked for shorter ones than 8 feet. One of the guys took an 8 footer, and cut it into the lengths I needed, saving time at home and allowing us to bring the wood home in the SUV. They have a radial arm saw with dust system in the store and do this for anything at no additional cost, including plywood. This is good to know and will save lots of effort in the future.
    5. Left a sample @ the Doc for a suspected UTI and was prescribed antibiotics. 36 hours later the office called after the culture was back and they prescribed a different antibiotic, leaving me with 18 tablets of Amoxicillin (875 mg each) for the FAK.
    6. Purchased more wood shavings (horse & goat) bedding and chicken feed from TSC

    1. Ohio Prepper,
      How are the blueberry muffins from Aldi? That sounds great. I’ve been wanting to go there, so I think I’ll check them out next week.

      1. Terra,
        The blueberry muffins from Aldi’s are great. Years ago we would very occasionally get the blueberry muffins from Tim Horton’s and they were also great, even @ $1.39 each. Then they kept the price the same and shrunk the sice by more than half. The problem then was not the price for the smaller muffins; but, the fact that their luscious cakelike muffin became little hard hockey pucks.
        The Aldi’s muffins are every bit as good as the original ones from Tim Horton’s and have become one of my favorites snacks, along with a glass of milk.

      2. Terra,

        Aldis is absolutely the best place to shop. When I first walked in the store and looked at the prices I thought I had traveled back in time. I suggest that you hit the store in the morning or early afternoon. They stock the store before opening and run out of stuff toward the evening. They get a new truck every morning.

        Here’s a recipe to keep in water on your stove–lemon peel, rosemary sprigs and vanilla. Homemade vanilla is the best–just take vanilla beans, cut them both lengthwise and into sections, and put them in 100 proof vodka. Shake when you remember and let sit for a few months. This will make your house smell delightful. And the lemon is a natural antibiotic.

        1. Bam Bam,

          Aldis is absolutely the best place to shop. When I first walked in the store and looked at the prices I thought I had traveled back in time.

          I agree; but, you sometimes have to look the produce over a bit, since it isn’t always the same quality as some of our other local groceries.

          I suggest that you hit the store in the morning or early afternoon. They stock the store before opening and run out of stuff toward the evening. They get a new truck every morning.

          This is generally true; but, for some items you can ask if they have stock in the back. Pastry items like the blueberry muffins and the various kinds of Danish and maybe even some of their bread is shipped in frozen. Sometimes you’ll find the Danish and muffins still nearly frozen or very cold, and often when they are out of stock and you ask, they have more in the back warehouse area and can get it for you. Locally they pay a starting wage of $12-15 per hour; but, that is for all of their :utility” people, who run the registers and keep the shelves stocked, so sometimes telling them an item is out will get a response and more brought out.
          Also, don’t forget to look in the non food item aisle, or what Bam Bam calls the lollygag aisle. The DW and I now call it that and I have gotten some very good bargains in that aisle.
          Normally yin spring (April, May) they’ll bring in various sizes of wire shelving at a good price. I also purchased some very nice compost bins, a single burner butane stove, and some silicone bake ware in that aisle. You just have to take the time to look when you’re there.

    2. Hi Everyone,

      1. Have you ever grown potatoes inside? Please share your tips or epic failure details. Tried once with a felt grow bag… They grew runners out of the bag, and no potatoes. I don’t have a green thumb.
      2. Do you use bananas to help enhance your soil? Nope
      3. What is your favorite and most helpful DIY natural soil enhancer? I suppose rabbit and chicken poop. Old Alabama Gardener uses 13-13-13 for everything. He’s YouTube videos are priceless.
      4. What did you do to prep this week?

      Spent this morning taking the Mr Heater apart. The guy that had it before me, for unknown reasons, put the wall mount bar inside the slit in the back, and I could not get it out for the life of me… My hand was too big to fit in the hole, my magnetic screw driver couldn’t get it moved to where I could get it out. I took off numerous parts to try and figure out how to get to the place the bar was… Finally took off the front bottom panel and could reach in and get it and the 4 screws the guy also thru in there. I went to put the feet on that TOP sent me, and didn’t have the right size screw… No problem.. Took the foot to Lowe’s, but ended having to call TOP while there, because me and the salesgirl wasn’t sure we were getting the right size. After TOP explained, I am not set to put it the feet on and get it hooked up with the 15 lb tanks. Thanks TOP. I’ll get the blueberry lemon concentrate sent one of these days.

      The lady came today and picked up the cast iron bath tub. I had a mini funeral, as I have always wanted one of those. I had hoped I would get to put it to use in a new house, but don’t think the economy is going to last long enough for me to get it done. She lives close by and said I could come take a bath in it at her B&B, so I know it went to a good home…

      I took some stuff to the thrift store, and shopped inside while there. Got some more medical supplies, and some of the hotel sized shampoo and conditioner.

      I went to Goodwill today, and should have known better… It was 1/2 day, and it was a mad house. Ended up getting some warm men’s sweaters, long sleeve shirts and sweat pants for my sister-in-law. Got them in the washer and will get them sent sometime soon. She lives in Mexico, and has a medical condition that keeps her freezing cold, even in the summer. I think it’s thyroid related, but can’t remember.

      I found 2 down blankets, the thinner good quality ones, and a hospital blanket this week as well. Gotta get them washed up.

      Work was the worst it’s ever been this week. Very bad. Would appreciate prayers regarding this situation. New boss hates me. Other people love my work. No complaints in 11 years I’ve worked there. Now all of a sudden I need to be micro managed. Not happy with all the constant bullying and harassment. EEO has been filed, waiting for outcome. Union also involved and agrees with me that he is a monster.

      Prayers for healing, for the President and for America. Stay well everyone.

    3. Oh the mud, sounds like it might get the chance to harden up this week at least, with cold temperatures predicted down our way, I hope y’all up north get the same weather to get rid of some of your mud – if only temporarily, too!

      1. Tara,

        Oh the mud, sounds like it might get the chance to harden up this week at least, with cold temperatures predicted down our way, I hope y’all up north get the same weather to get rid of some of your mud

        So far our coldest days have only hit about 28-29° with today (1/7/18) in the low 50’s all day. While that is making our propane use very minimal and saving a ton of money, and the mud is stopping us from some outside projects, my biggest concern if we don’t get some bone chilling temperatures in the next few months will be the spring insect population, especially mosquitoes. With the creek running through the property only 50-60 yards to the west of the house that has been a bit of a problem always; but, with mud and puddles everywhere it could get really bad. I have some bat houses to install and some bug zapping devices; but, it could still get nasty.

    4. TOP, try growing potatoes in containers. White 5-gallon buckets. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, put about 4″ of soil in, plant the potato cuttings. As the greens begin to grow, put more soil in, which will result in more potatoes sprouting from the plant stems. Tip the containers at an angle so the sprouts get some sunlight each day. Search on it, you’ll find lots of instructions and tips. Maine, particularly northern Maine, is a major potato-growing area. I suspect it has to do with the minerals that leach out of our granite-bedrock into the soil. (The granite also gives off arsenic, which is why, living on a granite- ledge ridge, we had a whole-house water filter installed a few years back.)

      1. MaineBrain,

        try growing potatoes in containers. White 5-gallon buckets. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, put about 4″ of soil in, plant the potato cuttings. As the greens begin to grow, put more soil in, which will result in more potatoes sprouting from the plant stems.

        We’ve actually been looking into using 5-gallon buckets for potatoes, since nearly everything else we tried didn’t work out too well.

        (The granite also gives off arsenic, which is why, living on a granite- ledge ridge, we had a whole-house water filter installed a few years back.)

        This is why each of us has to know their own conditions and hazards. While granit can leach arsenic it is usually dense enough to not outgas any radon. Around here, many of the newer, extremely air tight homes, have a separate vent and exhaust system just for radon. Whether it’s Arsenic, Radon, or whatever. No place is truly safe, so you just need to understand and deal with issues in your area.

  9. Very cold this week so stayed indoors. Rotated water and dried goods. Nice to skip going to the store in single digit weather. Continue to work on some quilts and organised the storage room as I put up the Christmas decorations. Ordered some seeds and have started planning the garden. Last year’s crop was outstanding so I am hoping for a repeat.

    My potato growing has been mixed and I have never tried growing much of anything inside and never potatoes. I find very sandy soils to yield the best crops. My attempts at growing in containers resulted in failure.

    DH often tosses banana peels into the side yard as he leaves for work. I compost them along with just about any other compost ready item. I prefer compost to any chemical fertilizer.

    Soils are pretty darn good out here on the high plains. Crop rotation and compost help keep the soil in good shape. The biggest concern is water.

  10. Puppy is getting so big, 130 lbs and so agile. Started marking his food bag to see how much he eats a month.

    Been reading a lot of info on EMPs, Iran is sending 2 ships to the Atlantic side of our country. I kinda hope they violate our territorial waters so we can sink or capture them. Paybacks…..

    Picked up a bunch of 12ga ammo and a Steven’s double barrel.

    Received a calendar from cheaper then dirt for 2019. Nice one with our troops on it for #Friday range day.

    Added to the Spam count.

    Can’t believe Cuomo released convicted illegal murders into our country after a policeman was murdered in California by an illegal alien, just because Trump wants a wall. Wow I hope there is some karma with that.

    Trimmed some celery plants that are being grown indoors and the second avocado tree is doing great.

    1. Have you ever grown potatoes inside? Please share your tips or epic failure details.
    2. Do you use bananas to help enhance your soil?
    3. What is your favorite and most helpful DIY natural soil enhancer?

    1 not indoors
    2 all kinds of stuff in compost.
    3 ash, tomatoes love it.

    1. Thor1,

      Can’t believe Cuomo released convicted illegal murders into our country after a policeman was murdered in California by an illegal alien, just because Trump wants a wall. Wow I hope there is some karma with that.

      I can believe it. Chuck and Nancy have pledged not a dollar to the “immoral” wall; but, Nancy has walls, locked doors, and security. These people are just plain hypocrites and proud of it. My biggest question is how these turds keep getting elected.

        1. don’t need a wall, if you make it so they don’t want to be here. for the cost of a few cases of 9mm . it could all be fixed.
          the orange cheeto should come out tell the world, we are going to start immediately executing every ms13 member in our custody. when we are done with them, we will move on to everysingle mexican , in our prison and jail sysrem, if their native country , won’t take immediate possesion of them. after 90 days, we will shoot every single illegal in our country. they are highly advised to leave , before the 90 day grace period is up.

          further more, if you hire a illegal and are found. not only will they be shot , after a 10 minute trial. as a employer. you will loose your 401k/iras/home and everything else you own.

          boom, don’t need a stupid wall, that is 40 years to late and we can no longer afford to build.

          1. Mainebrain & Black, while I disagree with violence and racism, I consider ms13 members as subhumans. The tattoos speak volumes and the violence they have committed speaks even louder. Drugs,murder and prostitution. We need a wall !!!

      1. Bam, yes he is in perfect shape. The Vet loves him and they call him ears….LOL His legs have defined muscles and he is not fat, just big !!! I have trained a few guard dogs in my life,but this one is the smartest.

  11. Good morning everyone, woke up a bit late due to a horrible storm that came through Oregon and Washington coastline around 3:30 am. We made sure everything was closed up and put anything at risk getting broken or blown away winds we’re 50 to 80 mph. Right now it’s calm but more rain is on it’s way and for the rest of this coming week. I did some grocery shopping, bought about a dozen of extra cans of food, on top of the regular stuff I get. I went to the dollar tree, and bought $27.00 worth of what??? I did get shelf stable milk, some cleaning supplies, a few decoration for Valentines. I did buy 2 flats of water and cleared out 11 rolls of paper towels, at .37 each because they were holiday print and I needed them. I’m doing the clean cupboards, and rearranging, or toss any food that has gone stale . I’ve been cleaning up leaves in the yard I have leaves stuck in rock’s, that I need to remove I try and stay on top of spring cleaning during the winter months, makes the spring easier to do fun thing’s like planting and shopping for new garden finds.

    Question 1 No I don’t do any type of early planting inside I don’t have the room
    Question 2 No.
    Question 3 I do use tea bags and coffee grounds to add to my plant’s I will make a coffee, tea mixture with water and let it steep for a few weeks and add it to my garden. We also use worm castings once a month on my plant’s and I use a hand held water container and add the worm castings to my lawn to keep it healthy. This year I’m taking the blueberry plant’s, and my Elderberry plant’s and put them in the ground out on our second property, they won’t grow much more in potted container’s.

  12. something really helps our clay soils is, hardwood leaves. oaks and maples, blown into your garden to compost down over winter.

    my garlic patchis ona old stone gravel driveway andaddeded composted manures and lots of leaves.

  13. 1. Have you ever grown potatoes inside? Please share your tips or epic failure details.

    I tried this a year or so ago, and got ZERO results. I set up in my basement under a growlight, and while I got a fair amount of foliage, zero potatoes formed. Complete disaster. Same this with tomatoes…lots of green but no fruits.

    2. Do you use bananas to help enhance your soil?

    Only after they’ve been properly composted.

    3. What is your favorite and most helpful DIY natural soil enhancer?

    Used coffee grounds. They can add directly to the soil as an amendment and it’s not necessary to compost them first.

    4. What did you do to prep this week?

    Sorted seeds and bought some new ones (new heirloom tomato variety I’m going to try as well as perpetual spinach seeds)

    1. When growing indoors, to set fruit you either need bees, or some othe bug that will pollinate, or hand pollinate every flower. What a pain.

  14. This week we drove 250 miles south-southeast. I accepted a new online position and had to sign papers. We treated the trip as a mini-vacation (a tax deductible mini-vacation). We had lunch at a old-time bbq place and then went to the beach. It was 85 and sunny. We walked the beach and I took some great photos. We had wonderful time but the drive home was the trip from hell. A three and a half hour drive took six hours. There were six accidents on the Florida turnpike and three on the interstate. An infant was ejected from a car–parents didn’t have the child in a carseat. State police had to shut down the turnpike. We were rerouted 25 miles along two-lane country roads at night in the rain. When we finally got back to the turnpike we realized we had bypassed the accident by less than five miles.

    I have been off from taekwondo since before Christmas. I have put on a few pounds, so I am going to have to hit some extra cardio kickboxing classes. I realized that I am the oldest person at the academy by more than 15 years.

    No preps for the week, other than securing the new job. I have been so busy that I haven’t even taken down the Christmas decorations–maybe next weekend. (Okay, the truth–I have been watching college football bowl games. UF won. UCF lost. All is well in the world.)

    I think Trump will declare a state of emergency to secure military funding for the wall. I feel sorry for the folks who have to work without paychecks. But folks really need to secure a financial reserve before spending money on expensive cell phones, new cars and vacations–even more so for folks who work for the federal government.

    Now to answer this week’s questions.

    1. Have you ever grown potatoes inside? Please share your tips or epic failure details.

    I have never grown potatoes. I am more of a rice person. And I have 600 lbs. of rice stashed away.

    2. Do you use bananas to help enhance your soil?

    My happy ingredients for compost are banana peels and coffee grounds. I never have enough compost.

    3. What is your favorite and most helpful DIY natural soil enhancer?

    Compost.

    4. What did you do to prep this week? See above

    1. Bam Bam,

      People who don’t put their babies in a car seat and a death results, should be charged with first degree murder. I learned a long time ago of the value of car seats for little ones, and seat belts for everyone else. I’ve been to too many crashes as a cop and paramedic. Was at one roll-over as a police officer. The baby was properly in a car seat and was perfectly fine. Mom and dad did not have seat belts on and were in critical condition. Been to plenty of crashes with ejections of kids and adults. 95% of the time there will be serious, if not fatal, injuries involved.

      1. Zulu 3-6,

        People who don’t put their babies in a car seat and a death results, should be charged with first degree murder.

        I agree. In most states it is illegal to carry a child under a certain age, or weight in a vehicle without a car seat; but, I would think that any parent would do everything in their power to protect a child and find it puzzling why any would not.

        I learned a long time ago of the value of car seats for little ones, and seat belts for everyone else.

        I’ve been using seat belts since I was a pre teen and before they were standard in every vehicle. My father worked for the Post Office / Postal Service in various positions for 38 years and at one point was in charge of the local motor pool. The postal carriers who drive the open door, right hand drive vehicles all had seat belts and the cariers were required to use them. My dad went out, purchased belts for our 1950’s & 1960’s era vehicles and installed them, after which we were all required to wear them.
        I often hear people grouch at the mandatory seat belt laws, claiming that it is government over reach; but, to those folks I have a question. If I don’t wear my belt, get ejected through the windshield and have no insurance, should it be the taxpayers responsibility to pay the potentially large hospital bill?

      2. Zulu and O.P.,

        Car seats for children under a certain weight and seat belts are required by law in Florida. The parents were just stupid. They died on impact. The news interviewed the trucker who found the infant–the kid was still breathing when found. He died at the hospital. He was 12 days old. I agree that parents should be charged if a minor dies because he or she was not in a car seat or seat belt. During my salad days as a graduate student, I worked as a newspaper reporter. I was new and so had the scut jobs–obituaries and car accidents. The worst accident I covered was in late August on I-75. Mom and two kids were driving south on the interstate. Mom was driving. The six year old was in the front seat. The teen son was laying down in the back seat listening to music. He was ejected out the front window and run over by a semi in the Florida heat. I saw his brains boiling on the asphalt. I can totally understand why cops freak out about seat belts and car seats and drunk drivers–it only takes one dead kid to change your mindset.

    2. Bam Bam:
      Your rice stash puts mine to shame. Glad the Gators won. The family ties in Florida are split among the Gators, Seminoles, Knights, Bulls and Tritons but the Gators are my favorites. I miss living in that part of the state. Best of luck with the new position.

      1. I didn’t have anything against UCF until last year (actually two years ago now) when they claimed a share of the national title (because they went 12-0 and won their bowl game). They trash talked about everyone and said they could beat Alabama and Clemson. (All because they beat a four-loss Auburn in a bowl game.) I am glad LSU won. You would think the little *itches would shut up, but no! They said LSU only won because they were without their star quarterback. First, their quarterback would not be a star if he were playing in a power five conference. Second, LSU was so low on defensive backs that they had to start a wide receiver at corner. Third, a football team is composed of more than one payer. It is the team that wins or loses, not just the quarterback.

        Now for your family who are FSU fans . . . LOL . . . How’d you do in your bowl game? Oh, wait. You didn’t make a bowl game. LOL I am glad you are a Gator fan.

        1. This Clemson-Alabama game is pretty intense! Writing this at 2 minutes before halftime, Clemson 28, Bama 16. My friend who’s a fervent Bama fan can’t be happy right now.

        2. BamBam:
          I learned my first Gator cheer on the bus my Kindergarten year. The bus driver detoured through campus during homecoming week so we could see all the decorated floats. If I lived in Florida, I would want to live somewhere in either Alachua or Marion counties.

  15. 1. Last year in the new greenhouse I attempted potatoes and got one scraggly plant… potatoes thumb size.. which sprouted again when I planted a different crop in the bucket and began watering it. This year’s token plant has many sprouts. It is not growing like a normal potato plant although this winter it gets 8 hours of LED grow light a day in Arizona where the sun usually shines. I will not attempt it again.
    When I ate bananas (before Keto diet) I always buried the peels under my Roses for a boost.
    My preps this week included delivery of a set of wringers for laundry tub to store for later. I hauled a steer we butchered here on the ranch to the processor ready for pick up next Saturday. Cleaning out the freezer canning bone broth for dear friend in our pod with cancer.
    It has been so cold in N. Arizona, I just keep making soup! The DH can’t cut enough firewood either. We got behind taking care of business with parents deaths in Tucson, and did not get more than 2 cords cut. Now he is scrounging every other day through these 18 degree nights in the pastures and along the creek.
    Bought more Iosat, dust masks, blankets.
    Copied “how to” info off the net for my notebooks; also copied for pod members.
    Transplanted broccoli and cabbage plants from greenhouse to the garden. It seems the colder it gets here the stronger they are.
    I need to stock more rifle ammo this week for hunting.
    Goodness, no wonder I’m tired after reading this, no wonder I look forward to a good nap.

      1. When our nights are predicted to get below freezing, I cover 4 plants at a time with an inverted opaque plastic tub. When the afternoon’s get around 55-60, I remove the covers till nightfall. Once they harden off and get too big, they won’t need this protection because our winters in northern Az are not that severe for very long. It is so much easier to flip over a plastic tub that stays put when it’s windy than mess with a fabric one. Each one performs like a mini-greenhouse. However, my garden is small. It would not be practical with a sizable winter garden here. The beets in the ground like this set up too. The onions and garlic don’t care. They just stay the same size till it warms up. I plant them in October, then they are ready to pull first of May.

        1. ShirlGirl:
          I will give the plastic tubs a try. Not sure if they will withstand the extreme winds we occasionally get but it is worth a try. Thank you.

    1. ShirlGirl ,

      I hauled a steer we butchered here on the ranch to the processor ready for pick up next Saturday.

      That seems like a rather short time. We always age our beef for about 3 weeks and find the product to be much more tender. We of course haul the live steer to the processor and they do everything from slaughter to aging to cutting and packaging. You take in a steer and pick up little white, clearly marked, wrapped frozen packages of meat.

      Bought more Iosat, dust masks, blankets.

      What is Iosat?

      1. Iosat =Iodine tablets for radiation exposure. Bought them thru Amazon.

        Our beef is grassfed and we usually hang for 2 weeks. The advantage to a shorter hang time is that I can leave thawed packaged steak in the frig for a week to keep curing if I get to busy to cook it.

        1. ShirlGirl,

          Iosat =Iodine tablets for radiation exposure. Bought them thru Amazon.

          OK, that’s a particular brand. I’ve always just called them Potassium Iodide Tablets. Thanks for the clarification.

          Our beef is grassfed and we usually hang for 2 weeks. The advantage to a shorter hang time is that I can leave thawed packaged steak in the frig for a week to keep curing if I get to busy to cook it.

          Fair enough. We age ours for 3 weeks and then it’s wrapped in heavy butcher paper, flash frozen by the processor and stored in our chest freezer at a temperature range of -5° to +3° F. Since we’re retired, our biggest concern is remembering to get out the meat we want to eat the morning of or the day before we need it to let it thaw, and thus no additional aging is required.

  16. Potatoes are self pollinating. They will produce potatoes without bees. It could be my soil composition isn’t rich enough. Maybe, like me, they just like the great outdoors!

  17. Had to toss a sleeve of saltine crackers tonight because they were stale, dated 2017. Had to toss a box of Trader Joe’s granola a couple of weeks ago, same reason. Ditto some corn chips. Doesn’t pay to stock up too deeply on baked goods, I guess.

    1. MB,

      I’ve heard that putting those items in glass jars and oven seal will keep them fresh for a long while. i had to throw out some cereal too. It doesn’t keep well in it original container. I’ve started putting the cereal I eat in my Tupperware. I love it. I need to put some stuff in jars though too. Maybe a February project. Gotta get my meat out of the freezer this month, along with getting things organized, donated or sold.

      1. Almost There,

        I’ve heard that putting those items in glass jars and oven seal will keep them fresh for a long while. i had to throw out some cereal too. It doesn’t keep well in it original container. I’ve started putting the cereal I eat in my Tupperware.

        While Tupperware works OK, we just bag the whole box of cereal in a gallon zip top bag. In the summer when it’s humid, we’ll also throw in a desiccant package.

      2. I think, no matter how they’re stored, cereals, crackers, nuts and the like will eventually get stale, because of the oils in them. I opened a one-year-old box of chocolate-nut granola bars from Trader Joe’s at work today, and the nuts, while not nauseatingly stale, tasted a little off. Freezer might work best if you have the space. (Which we don’t.). But the, I wonder if freezing would soften crackers and cereals to the point where, if not inedible, they’re not palatable.

        1. MaineBrain,

          I think, no matter how they’re stored, cereals, crackers, nuts and the like will eventually get stale, because of the oils in them.

          What makes things get stale are the oils; but, only when they start to go rancid, which means they are oxidizing. Take away the oxygen and they last longer. In summer we place the open boxes of cereal in a bucket with a gamma seal lid and some desiccant to limit the oxygen and moisture and they keep much longer.

          I opened a one-year-old box of chocolate-nut granola bars from Trader Joe’s at work today, and the nuts, while not nauseatingly stale, tasted a little off.

          When we get things like those boxes, we’ll place the unopened box in an appropriately size zip top freezer bag and squeeze out the air when sealing. While this isn’t quite as good as vacuum sealing, it does limit the oxygen in and around the box. Purchasing those same foods in glass jars or #10 cans will also help, since the normal in box packaging is not really all that air tight.

          Freezer might work best if you have the space. (Which we don’t.). But the, I wonder if freezing would soften crackers and cereals to the point where, if not inedible, they’re not palatable.

          We freeze nuts after packing them in air tight containers; but, the cereals and crackers wtill work well when repackaged and stored as I described above.

    2. MaineBrain,

      Had to toss a sleeve of saltine crackers tonight because they were stale, dated 2017. Had to toss a box of Trader Joe’s granola a couple of weeks ago, same reason. Ditto some corn chips. Doesn’t pay to stock up too deeply on baked goods, I guess.

      We don’t toss that stuff around here, since it makes good critter food. The hens will eat almost anything, and since the granola contains grains, the goat and possibly the horse will eat it.

      1. Hubby tosses it on the front lawn to feed the crows. I have to keep reminding him to toss it off to the side of the driveway so we don’t get crow poop all over the front walk. 🙁

  18. I’ve never grown potatoes, but want to try them this year. https://oldworldgardenfarms.com/ a local central OH blog has some good posts about growing potatoes. We don’t eat bananas much here, but I would certainly compost them. I don’t have a compost pile per se, but the neighbor has a composter his daughter got him, and I save all my stuff to add to it. So, I guess I do compost, LOL! I have several gallon baggies in the fridge that I need to take over there and add to the goodness. He’s a good neighbor, we share gardening results and tips back and forth.

    Went to the dollar store today, spent more than I planned on (duh, happens every time!) Wiped out their stock of Swanson’s chicken and dumplings except for the one dented can Is is healthy? Maybe not, but it’s something we like, comfort food in a can. Came across a new to me item, Bristol brand Bacon Grill luncheon loaf. Bought a couple cans, we will see how we like it. If it is good, will buy more.

    I am exploring making homemade clothes washing powder I have serveral ‘recipes’, it seems to be a lot cheaper than even using dollar store stuff, as well as healthier. I am open to suggestions from y’all!

    I caught the ‘crud’, but with diffusing essential oils and using elderberry syrup and an all natural ‘vicks’ type rub, symptoms were much reduced. With the health issues I’ve dealt with in the past year, and no longer having connections in the medical field, I’ve found I need to find a medical practioner I can work with, who will recognize my knowledge base, and work with me, not only in trying natural options, but work with my opinion. Who knows your body better than you? That is one major thing I’ve learned in my lifetime. Don’t ever hesitate to question your doctor. My issue was female related, and the doctor absolutely refused to believe that my symptoms were related to the treatment. That was even before I entered the medical field. Later research proved me correct. So this whole lead up is not to dis our conventional medical system. It has its strengths and weakeness. I thank God for the care I recieved when I needed my gallbladder surgery. I know now that there are things that I could have done to avoid it (funny thing, when I was in acute pain, I immediately went to ACV! And that’s one thing recommended if you are having gallbladder issues!) BUT if you are looking for alternative providers, there is a group of licensed medical doctors who also consider/practice alternative/holistic methods as well.

    https://www.ifm.org/

    okay, I know this went way off topic, but it was information I wanted to share (and I am in no way affiliated with this site, I get not kickbacks. I have found a couple practioners in my area and will be exploring them in this new year)

    1. Grammyprepper

      Went to the dollar store today, spent more than I planned on (duh, happens every time!)

      I’m going to ask you and everybody one more time to elaborate on posts like this. Which dollar store”? Locally we have Family Dollar</strong), Dollar General</strong) & Dollar Tree</strong) so when you list items we might like to try, it would be good to know which store had your items. As for spending too much money, I think that’s a common problem. LOL.

      Wiped out their stock of Swanson’s chicken and dumplings except for the one dented can Is is healthy? Maybe not, but it’s something we like, comfort food in a can.

      Unless you’re smoking cigarettes or eating arsenic, I don’t think too many things are that unhealthy in moderation. I suspect you’re not living on those cans of chicken and dumplings, and to be honest, I really like them too, since comfort food can help your stress level and also mental health is something to be considered.
      As for the dented can, I would have asked for a discount, brought it right home and eaten it.

      Came across a new to me item, Bristol brand Bacon Grill luncheon loaf. Bought a couple cans, we will see how we like it. If it is good, will buy more.

      I look forward to your report on the luncheon loaf and where I can get it, LOL.

      Who knows your body better than you? That is one major thing I’ve learned in my lifetime. Don’t ever hesitate to question your doctor.

      Amen!!! Communications with your doctor (any doctor) should be a two way street and if it is not, one or both of you is not doing their job properly (IMHO LOL)

      okay, I know this went way off topic, but it was information I wanted to share

      Unless someone is purposely disrespecting another here, I think anything that helps us be more self reliant is clearly on topic, again IMHO.
      We are lucky enough to have a semi retired E.R. doc in our MAG and it can be very useful.

      1. LOL, TOP, we have a Dollar Tree and a Dollar General in town. I rarely go to DG, the store is dark, dingy, always messy. (I really miss Family Dollar) It’s also on the ‘other side of town’ from everything else, and difficult to exit. The local Amish store is next door, and because of the traffic issues, I don’t go there that often either. So 99% of the time when I mention the dollar store, you can safely assume that it is Dollar Tree!

        1. Grammyprepper,

          So 99% of the time when I mention the dollar store, you can safely assume that it is Dollar Tree!

          Good to know. I agree with you on the other dollar stores and generally prefer Dollar Tree also. The Family Dollar is similar to the DG here and both stores often have items for quite a bit more than $1.00, while DT items are only $1.00 or less (e.g., 2 for $1.00 or 4 for $1.00). The DW does go to the DG for a specific item though. She claims that they have the best greeting card selection of all of them.

  19. SO, I just read this…Gonna stir a hornets nest here, I am sure….But they now have a ‘scientific’ explanation of why ppl choose not to vaccinate…

    https://www.newsweek.com/hysteresis-phenomenon-behind-anti-vax-movement-1283716?spMailingID=4894446&spUserID=MzQ4OTU1OTAzODYS1&spJobID=1190705570&spReportId=MTE5MDcwNTU3MAS2

    I get the concept behind the ‘study’, but i doubt they took into consideration the fact that a lot of ppl are more aware of the truth about vaccines.

    1. Grammyprepper,

      SO, I just read this…Gonna stir a hornets nest here, I am sure….But they now have a ‘scientific’ explanation of why ppl choose not to vaccinate

      That’s an interesting article. I’ve worked with hysteresis and its effects for decades in the engineering context, and knew about its application to economics & statistics; but, never thought of it from the perspective of the actions of groups of people.

      I get the concept behind the ‘study’, but i doubt they took into consideration the fact that a lot of ppl are more aware of the truth about vaccines.

      The truth about vaccines is rather simple.
      For smallpox alone in 18th century Europe it is estimated 400,000 people per year died from the disease, and one-third of the cases resulted in blindness. In the 20th century it is estimated that smallpox resulted in 300–500 million deaths.
      Then there was the big one happening when I was a child when the big monster disease was polio and in 1952 when I was one year old, 3,145 people in the United States died from polio.
      Both smallpox and polio are now gone; but, diseases like Measles and Pertussis, (also known as whooping cough) are again on the rise. I have had two different pneumonia vaccines in my life time and get the influenza vaccine each year, and have had neither disease as far back as I can remember.

  20. Hello , I was referred over here to post this question to y’all. I didn’t find any other forum spot and this is the link that was in the message from Survival Sullivan. Thanks for your help!
    (This reply e-mail was sent from a contact form on the SurvivalSullivan.com blog (http://www.survivalsullivan.com)):
    I’d recommend you psot this question on my other site here, the Pack
    might be able to help: https://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/prep-week-27/
    Dan
    So, Here’s my comment/question:
    Thanks for sharing the info on putting together a solar generator. I would like to know if it is possible to set up a solar system to run a well pump (make that two well pumps). The power often goes out in the winter and water usage in summer is expensive – both make having a water backup system more attractive than ever. Where do you suggest I look for specific info on planning this out properly? I have no electrical or mechanical skills/background, so thinking it will get expensive hiring out to contractors to do this – unless I do the groundwork myself as much as possible. Thanks.
    >

    1. Denise,

      I would like to know if it is possible to set up a solar system to run a well pump (make that two well pumps). The power often goes out in the winter and water usage in summer is expensive – both make having a water backup system more attractive than ever. Where do you suggest I look for specific info on planning this out properly? I have no electrical or mechanical skills/background, so thinking it will get expensive hiring out to contractors to do this – unless I do the groundwork myself as much as possible.

      I am a retired engineer and live in a rural area where we use a well and pump for our primary water source, so first we need some clarification.
      Do you currently use a well and pump or would this be part of your project?
      If you already use a well and pump system, then you need to know some things about your pump. If not, you’ll need to investigate using locals with wells or well drillers in your area, to find the most likely type of pump. For your current or proposed system I will simply refer to the system as the pump.
      The pump is basically an electric motor that spins and runs the impellor that does the pumping, so the main thing to concentrate on here is the motor.
      Motors can be run on DC (Direct Current from a battery or power supply) or on AC (Alternating current). Since you did not indicate your location, I will assume the U.S. and use our power conventions. Residential well pumps running on AC will use either 120 VAC (Volts AC) or 240 VAC at 60 hertz (cycles per second) for operation. You will need to know the power requirement for DC or which AC value. For DC you can put together a system with charge controller to keep the battery charged; but, will also most likely use a line powered charger for normal operation.
      For AC, along with the solar panels and the batteries you will need an inverter to convert the battery low voltage DC to the higher voltage AC for operation. This is where you need to know several things about your motor (DC or AC). Its power rating in either horsepower, watts, or more important amperes along with its startup current value, generally listed on the motor plate as LRA (Locked Rotor Amps), since this is the amount of power required to start the motor from a dead stop. Once you have these figures I would forgo the solar portion initially and concentrate on running the system with battery or batteries that are charged from a conventional line powered charger. This is actually the most complex part of the project, since getting the proper inverter with enough output to start and run a motor can be a bit expensive and is the most crucial component of the system.
      Once you have looked at the solar systems to determine their required battery bank voltage requirement, and have gotten a battery bank (DC) or inverter (AC) to run your pump reliably, then you can start adding solar panels and charge controller(s) in parallel with, or in lieu of the line powered chargers.
      I hope this makes some sense.
      If you can answer the questions I’ve posed, we can have a dialog to help you plan and budget your system. There are others on this forum (The Pack) that are doing similar things and when putting our heads together we can often come up with solutions to most solvable problems.
      Welcome aboard & good luck.

  21. Getting ready to go on a 10-day western Caribbean cruise next week, with two nights in New Orleans beforehand. Phew, travel preps are almost as intense as prepper preps!
    -Hold the mail
    -Alert the neighbor to keep an eye on the house
    -Make sure all the bills are paid ahead (online)
    -Alert the bank (ATM card) and credit card companies. My bank won’t permit ATM use in a lot of countries. I hope they’ll allow it on the cruise ship ATM.
    -Go to bank, get $400 in cash in small bills for tips, etc. Hide in inner pocket of Scott eVest winter jacket. (I have no connection to Scott, and actually find a couple of the features of their winter jacket quite annoying, but the big inside “ipad pocket” is a good place to hide an envelope of cash.)
    -Set up out-of-country service on cell phone accounts
    -Ask office neighbor to water office plant (big rubber plant, it’s been with me since 1994)
    -Stock up on needed meds (painkillers, cold-eez, laxative for traveler’s constipation (it’s a real thing), Kaopectate for Montezuma’s revenge, Tamiflu thanks to my bff’s husband who’s a doctor, sleeping pills (ditto). Bonine for seasickness – doesn’t affect me, but hubby has vertigo and wicked seasickness even though he was on submarines (“needs of the Navy”). Never sure what the ship has or what you can get in port, although Mexico is pretty liberal with its drug stores. Our luck, we’ll get sick when we get to Belize.
    -Order reef-safe sunblock. Hope it arrives in time. Aside from global warming, the chemicals in sunblock are wreaking havoc on the coral reefs.
    -Make copies of passport photo pages. Upload to email for easy access. Also make physical photocopies of passport photo pages. Get extra passport photos in case one goes missing and we need to get new ones at an embassy or consulate.
    -Make photocopies of front and back of credit and ATM cards so we have account numbers and phone numbers to call in case a card goes missing.
    -Work up an itinerary with confirmation numbers. Make hard copies to carry, copy-and-paste into email and send to self and to family members.
    -Have travel insurance. MedJetAssist for medical evacuation, Allianz annual coverage for all-around travel protection. I have no connection to either company other than that I pay them around $400 each per year.
    -Make photocopies of powers of attorney for hubby and self. I read somewhere that a wife couldn’t make medical decisions for her husband in a foreign country because she didn’t have proof that they were married. One of these days I need to get certified copies of our marriage certificate, but no time now.
    -Take apart all travel bags (I travel quite a bit) and determine what needs to be repacked.
    -Just before leaving the house, turn off the water main in case the power goes out and the pipes freeze. Turn down the heat to 60.

    Phew! Sounds like a lot! Much of it is already done (photocopies of passports and additional photos, only needs to be done once, then you’re good to go). Most of it takes only a minute or two. It’s not as onerous as it looks when laid out in text. But, even for a road trip to visit friends for a couple of days, there may be a lot to think about. So this is my “traveling prepper’s prepping checklist.” Some of it may not apply in all situations (reef-safe sunblock probably doesn’t matter for a visit to Kansas), but even for a visit to family a couple of states away, there’s a lot to contend with. I did this mostly as a brain exercise for myself, to make sure I’ve covered all the bases and thought through everything. Need to make copies of powers of attorney and call the bank re ATM and get cash, otherwise good. Safe travels, all!

  22. OMG, Snowpacalypse is coming to central OH! Rush to the stores! Forget how to drive in the snow! Craziness is upon us!

    DH and I were talking about how the snowfalls recent years are nothing like they were when we were kids. The blizzard of 78 was one thing, and considering he grew up in CBUS but winter camped with his family in a little more northern clime, and me in CLE, our perceptions should be a little bit different, one would think.

    By the same token, I remember laughing my butt off when I first moved down here almost 15 years ago, being told that CBUS would literally shut down for an inch of snow. It was true! But then there were a couple of years with major snow, reminding me more of home, and life went on. Central OH learned to deal with the snow (but the citizens don’t deal with it any better). And we’ve gotten used to the past couple years of less snow.

    So, OMG, we are supposed to get 2-5 inches! Stop the presses! Rush to the grocery store! Buy all the milk, eggs, and bread! (actually, I do need a few things myself…thank goodness I WORK at the grocery store, LOL…but I don’t need milk, eggs, or bread either!)

    I am driving a new to me vehicle, so there will be a learning curve. No big deal, drive slower, leave a good stopping distance, remember to turn into a slide even as you are panicking, and remember that other drivers are going to be idiots, LOL.

    This entire post has been shared with you by my snarky, smarta** self…Having grown up and learning to drive in a ‘snowbelt’ area, I get a kick out of the hype in the media, and how ppl panic, when a little bit of snow is forecasted.

    1. GP, the best thing to do is drive your car to a parking lot and do doughnuts FWD and reverse. Then slam the brakes on and see how the car reacts.

      You have to make French toast like everyone else, so get extra eggs,bread and milk…..LOL

      1. LOL, Thor!

        As expected, it was absolute insanity in the store today…the store manager spent most of his day bagging groceries! We had a call off in our department, so a couple of us got some overtime just to help out.

        I was SO done by the time I punched out, I only grabbed my coffee creamer and dog treats. I can finish my regular shopping another day…

    2. Grammyprepper,

      OMG, Snowpacalypse is coming to central OH! Rush to the stores! Forget how to drive in the snow! Craziness is upon us!

      I guess we are having a snow deficit of about 6 inches so far this year since normal would be a total of 9 inches and we’ve only had about 3. How do I know this amazing fact? It’s because one of the local new stations is pointing it out in great detail, as they interview staff and drivers at ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) about the treacherous driving conditions coming our way and detail the routes they will be driving. While not as bad as their national MSM counterparts, they are pushing that same Snowpocalypse warning and I have to wonder if it’s because all the drivers do really forget how to drive or clear their windows, or if it’s that local news has also taken on those “gotta be first” and “I told you so” methods of entertainment (news?) reporting. The good news is that Snowpocalypse isn’t really scheduled to hit here until tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.

      DH and I were talking about how the snowfalls recent years are nothing like they were when we were kids. The blizzard of 78 was one thing, and considering he grew up in CBUS but winter camped with his family in a little more northern clime, and me in CLE, our perceptions should be a little bit different, one would think.

      I grew up in the Allegheny range of the Appalachian Mountains in western PA and there was a trend there for more snow in the mountains and valleys than we get here; but, I agree that people seem to forget how to drive from spring until fall; but, those same people often don’t purchase what often appears to be the ”optional” turn signal package for those same vehicles. In 1978 I lived in between Columbus & Cleveland in Kenton, OH, a little town north of me and my house on a corner lot was one of the few that did not lose power. I also had a nearly new 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser and my roommates and I had a ball out in that snow.

      Central OH learned to deal with the snow (but the citizens don’t deal with it any better). And we’ve gotten used to the past couple years of less snow.

      Many of the “citizens” don’t know how to drive on a clear, dry, warm day, so snow seems to make no real difference. If they would learn to leave just a bit earlier, they could take their time, clear off their windshields, and actually see where they are going at a more reasonable pace.

      So, OMG, we are supposed to get 2-5 inches! Stop the presses! Rush to the grocery store! Buy all the milk, eggs, and bread! (actually, I do need a few things myself…thank goodness I WORK at the grocery store, LOL…but I don’t need milk, eggs, or bread either!)

      I hadn’t thought about you working at a grocery and perhaps saving the rush and beating out all of those “French Toast People” . With the hens laying eggs again and extra bread double bagged in the freezer, our French Toast supplies are always in good order, LOL.

      I am driving a new to me vehicle, so there will be a learning curve. No big deal, drive slower, leave a good stopping distance, remember to turn into a slide even as you are panicking, and remember that other drivers are going to be idiots, LOL.

      It looks to me like you have that one well covered, LOL.

      This entire post has been shared with you by my snarky, smarta** self…Having grown up and learning to drive in a ‘snowbelt’ area, I get a kick out of the hype in the media, and how ppl panic, when a little bit of snow is forecasted.

      I grew up and lived in snow belts and traveled all over Ohio and the U.S. never having any weather problems; but, always carrying my car kit with extra essentials for the “Just in case” moments, that only came once in more than 45 years and hundreds of thousands of miles of driving.
      BTW, sometimes “snarky” is very appropriate and much better than running the idiots off the road when they do stupid things and actually deserve such treatment, LOL.

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