Forums » Self-sufficient Living

Silly Comments on the "Self Sufficient" Lifestyle Choi

    • 1125 posts
    May 8, 2018 3:11 PM PDT
    Well, I probably shouldn't have bothered, but I went on a "what lived" tour of the property and checked on the tree/berry/shrub starts that I've got going as well as some of the perennial garden plants.

    I had lost several things to rodents that ate off the roots below ground (jerks). So, I made a list and an appointment with my dealers...(I have an addiction to planting these things). I spend 93$ on replacements. I'm not replacing everything and switched some things, like fragile hybrid berries, for things that survived, like thorny heritage breed berries. a few more black cap (black raspberry) starts and more gooseberries. Those survived without fencing. I guess the deer don't like getting their little noses stabbed. And i do like thorny things.

    The plant people also like thorny things. I told them that the horse chestnuts had croaked or looked poorly anyway and they gave me a new one to try for free. It's nearly 6 feet tall.

    I got some lovage, ginger mint, and soap wort for the raised bed that is finally ready up by the shed. I also have a few hops that I might put in a large container I got at the recycling center.

    There are some more trees and willows in the mix too.

    oh! And hardy kiwi and a single grape vine start just to see if those will work here.

    The plants up by the pond didn't do that well so I got a couple of siberian peas to try up there (with fencing like the dead ones) and a black locust to put down by the creek in hopes of future fire wood or stakes for plants and to feed the bees. We'll see if that takes.

    There is more but I think you get the idea...I got lots of stuff and I'm over excited about it.
    I'm not replacing all the losses, just some of them.

    Some things are doing really well. A barberry (i think thats the name) and the quince are starting to sucker. I hope they fruit this year. The american plums are leafing out. The crab pear too. Black berries are struggling but seem alive. Black caps are doing well. Gooseberries doing well as are aronia berries. One blueberry looks good, one OK and one...probably dead.

    • 1125 posts
    May 18, 2018 2:27 PM PDT
    I heard from the new engineer today without prompting him! Yeay! He asked questions about the foundation so he must be working on my stuff.
    • 1125 posts
    May 29, 2018 9:15 AM PDT
    Just back from a week in Louisiana at archaeology training...the schedule was bassackwards! Lecture indoors until noon, then working outside in an open field 1-5. Several of us got quite sick but the training leaders said "this is how we've always done it"...well, it's always been a bad idea.

    Anyway, got home and things were good. Nothing seems to have died while I was gone. The garden is up (mostly onions and mint...I'm going with "easy" this year), trees still had leaves though deer had stripped most of them off the new horsechesnut. Or is it a butter nut? Anyway, it's naked but alive.

    No word from the engineer. I wasn't expecting anything. I was too busy to get anything done while I was out of town so may stay late at work tonight to find some prices and other things I need to research.
    • 1125 posts
    June 6, 2018 4:13 PM PDT
    I talked to the engineer on Tuesday. he seems to be focussed on my project now. Had done some load calculations but he doesn't take notes so I did and will email those to him at the end of the week to confirm what we said he'd be working on. His wife/office-manager was in the room so I think that helps.

    It all looks pretty good. He found a way to save me one big beam which was one big expense. That $$ will shift over to the roof lining which will be upgraded a bit.
    • 1125 posts
    June 18, 2018 2:34 PM PDT
    The engineer just emailed...he wants to meet tomorrow! I hope they are closer to done...and that he remembers the "not to exceed" bit on his bid.
    Wish me luck!
    • 2134 posts
    June 23, 2018 6:36 PM PDT
    Maggie would planting daffodills near your plants help keep the rodents away. I know that skunks wont dig them up and the deer dont bother them either. They are poison if they eat them.
    • 1125 posts
    June 25, 2018 8:37 AM PDT
    Thanks Babs! I will try that.
    • 1125 posts
    July 9, 2018 9:11 AM PDT
    OMG!!!! The engineer may FINALLY have plans ready for me this week. He apparently needed me to get crappy with him before he could cough them up.

    Not that I ever procrastinate on jobs and get things done late...Hopefully this week! Then I drop a set off with my builder, go to permitting, get more permits I don't even know about, deal with mistakes on the plans....scream into a pillow for a while...and hopefully get a foundation and possibly a roof. Very exciting.

    I've managed to dig the basic 16' square hole for a practice cordwood shed.(the engineer had misspelled this in my cabin plans as "chord wood" which annoyed and amused me). I managed to save my back with creative shoveling and a slow approach of not more than 1 hour a day of hard shoveling. I could fill my pickup bed once and unload it in the newly tilled up garden bed once in an hour. One day I managed to do an hour first thing and one at night without trouble. But Saturday I wanted to "finish it up" and dug too long. Sunday my left wrist was trash. Still sore. I got a square shovel to clean up the hole and level it easier and made sure it had a different style of handle to help with switching my grip around. Also ordered more instant cold packs and stocked up on arnica cream for the inevitable pains and strains to come.

    My other recent injury is funnier. A week ago sunday I was shaking out my rugs (after weed whacking all day without safety glasses thinking 'this is stupid, I could put my eye out') and the rug snapped back and hit my just below my right eye! I had a shiner for most of the week. I looked tough but had to admit that it was a house keeping injury. Stupid and funny. Do I have to wear goggles and a helmet to clean house now? Cripes.

    Other excitement at the homestead: On the 4th of july, after an hour of hard digging and another of weed whacking (WITH safety glasses on), I was getting ready for lunch and a rest when I saw a bio crowd of bees by a ninebark bush and thought "that looks like a swarm" was. Hadn't even landed yet. So much for lunch and a rest. They bunched up while I got a new hive box ready for them and got suited up. I caught them and got them homed. It's not clear which of my 4 hives they came out of. I'm hoping it was the saskatraz breed hive. I split the carniolan breed hive so probably not that one. There are two more hives as well. So, now I have 6. One of them is not that healthy so I added some bees from a healthier hive into that one. I was hoping to do a mite treatment but I was too tired and had had the hives opened and stirred up and wanted to get them closed and calm.
    Then I thought "I am STARVING" was 3pm! I had skipped breakfast so I could dig in the heat without barfing, I don't do well with heat. No wonder I was starving. I made some beans in the solar cooker for dinner and ate whatever granola bars I could find right away. And drank about a gallon of water.
    I was glad to catch the swarm. That means I've got a new queen in the mother hive that swarmed, AND the old queen who generated enough babies to make a hive full of bees to take with her on the swarm. Should be two healthy hives. The new queen will be locally mated so hopefully those babies will be hardy. We'll see.
    These hives are calmer than last year's. Not so stingy and defensive. Hope they stay that way.

    • 1125 posts
    July 18, 2018 7:17 PM PDT
    AT LAST!!! I got the plans out of the hands of the engineer. It took multiple trips by me to his home office in the last few days and many emails saying things like "I don't care what size columns are on the porch, I need the plans NOW"....clearly the dude needed some drama. You would have thought he was giving birth last night when I went to pick them up. I was there for 2 hours when he realized he'd printed the wrong stamp on the plans (he is licensed in multiple states) and had to reprint. So, I went home and told him I would be there at 8am. I was. And only had to wait a half hour for his wife/assistant to finish binding the spec books. They didn't present me with a bill though and I took 2 sets to the county building permit office and wrote a giant check. Then off to the public health to renew my septic permit. I stopped off at my builder's place in between there somewhere and they have a light load for the rest of the summer and are ready to give me a price and do the work. So, we'll see. It's bound to be a costly and bumpy road.

    I had to be in a conference call today for 3 hours so I did that from my cell phone (a flip phone) in my car near a city park in Moscow, Idaho (at least then I had access to a bathroom during breaks). I wanted to sit at a picnic table but as soon as I got there, just before meeting start time, a city guy started mowing the lawn. Oh well. Once the call ended and he got done, I could get my lap top out and sit at a picnic table. The local library is currently checking out mobile hotspots so I could do an hour of work email from the park! Very very cool! I actually got a ton of work done in that hour. By then it was lunch time and off to the permit offices. Woohoo!

    I'm really glad to have gotten the plans and gotten them to the permit office.
    • 1125 posts
    July 26, 2018 8:35 PM PDT

    It happened! 2 redlines on the drawings (for things that were in the specs), and 1500$ and I have a permit!

    I got it yesterday!!!
    Went to the builder and reminded them that we need SOMETHING done this year. ASAP
    THen, rushed back to a crisis job at work. I'm glad I went yesterday. TOday things at work went nutbags and I worked 13 hours in the sun monitoring construction. No chance to get to thepermit office. Glad I prioritized me over a letter I had to type up on a different work crisis. Selfish...but true.

    So...I'm a plumbing permit away from breaking ground (that and getting the builder motivated)

    as of Monday I have help at work so I will (theoretically) have to work only 10 hour days again! YAY!
    • 3883 posts
    August 1, 2018 9:51 AM PDT
    awesome maggie!!
    • 1125 posts
    August 4, 2018 5:27 PM PDT
    Thanks! A friend got her husband, who runs a municipal water system, to agree to help me run the pipes for drains and water inlet before the slab pour. I can pull a homeowner plumbing permit so that should work.
    Need to check with my electricians to make sure they don't need conduit through the slab or rubble trench (I don't think they do). Then, get a bid from my contractor and I'm ready to start....woohoo! (who knows what the next glitch will be)
    • 2806 posts
    August 4, 2018 6:04 PM PDT
    Good news Maggie!
    • 331 posts
    August 4, 2018 8:08 PM PDT
    great news, now for the build to begin. take lots of pictures to share.
    • 1125 posts
    August 27, 2018 10:01 AM PDT
    OK...the contractor, well, his wife who is basically in charge, that they can start Mid September. They haven't given me an estimate yet for this year. We'll see. I need that before they start. Also the plumbing and electrical permits. But, it's another step. I'm on the contractor's calendar.
    • 1125 posts
    September 18, 2018 3:36 PM PDT
    So...midSeptember and guess who hasn't started....the contractor. Still no bid. The construction window is fast closing. In summary: CRIPES!

    But, here I am. I have a permit and that's a start. Further than I was last year.

    I got north idaho energy logs in last week for this winter's heat in the wee shed (I'd planned to be in that for the winter anyway).
    Work got so busy I could do almost nothing. Worked 6 12s for over a month. So, behind on everything.

    Most of my bees are doing well. Weather turned cold so I am feeding all the hives now. I combined the 2 weakest hives into 1 mediocre hive. 1 hive looks super strong (the meanest bees...literally stung me in the butt last week THROUGH JEANS (real hard 100% cotton denim jeans, not pretend jeans stretch pants). I think a gang of them must have worked together jamming the stinging bee's but down through the layers of jeans. I got 4 stings that day.
    Last night I was quickly swapping out the 2:1 sugar syrup jars and testing my ability to work the bees without wearing gloves (you smash fewer bees)...not ready yet. Got stung in the end of my naughty finger on the right hand. The stinger is still in there today. It hurt like a son of a gun, but I had little elastic finger wraps in my first aid kit. I put one of those on over some anti-bac/painkiller ointment and the pressure from the elastic thingy kept it from swelling too much and that cut the pain as much as anything. I'll keep it on there for a while.The stinger should fester out in a day...just in time to try feeding again.

    We got a local bee group going! That's fun. A 14 year old girl, related to a member, did a logo for us that is gorgeous (made us think we needed to up our game to be worthy of it). Once it's scanned I can share it.

    I'm the secretary for "Rez Bees" now because I'm the one who can write a mission statement and take good notes (thanks to 13 years of college). The group will be able to go collective bulk buying and we are organizing to be available for swarm capture for local folks, and to share queens and try to develop a locally adapted bee stock. Strange dreams to have, but they are ours.

    The grant that got us bees bought a stock of equipment and disease/mite treatments for the group to use while we get our organization running. Nice.

    Weather is getting cold so my next thing (in addition to continuing to harrangue the builder and his wife) is to clean the chimney and give the woodstove a check up.

    OH! And I hit a deer. 2 deer. One with the pickup (no effect on the truck, big effect on the deer) and one with the forester. The deer walked away from that one and the forester lost a headlight. And bent a fender out a bit so the hood looked crooked. I'd dropped down to just liability in spring. It's like the deer KNOW. I'd never hit one in my life and now 2 in 2 months. Cripes. I got a replacement headlight for about 120$ on the internet including shipping. Found a guy who would help me put it in and straighten things enough to aim the light. He did the whole thing for 60bucks (2 hours work). He wanted to charge 50 so I gave him a tip. He has a shop to work in and showed me how to do it myself next time including straightening things and aiming the lights). With the pick up to drive, I didn't have to rush or rent a car. I'm not sure how this all compares to getting it done on insurance but I was not immobilized and could think my options through so that was nice. I did realize how much more it costs to drive the pick up! Quite a bit.

    OK....about to go home and find a chore to do.
    • 331 posts
    September 18, 2018 5:30 PM PDT
    seems like ground breaking will happen come snow melt in the spring. not really enough time to get going this year before snow flies.
    • 1125 posts
    September 23, 2018 8:39 PM PDT
    OMG!!!! I went to the builder today because he had wanted to go over questions. Instead I got there and he had a bid for the foundation, slab, and porch piers! I signed on the dotted line. It's at the high end of what I expected, but, I tend to have low expectations of what things cost. And knowing this builder, I know that it will not cost me one dime more than he says. He says he will start in 10 days...but they always say "in about 10 days". So, we'll see.

    I put 25% down as a deposit and they will bill 3 more installments as work is completed. They know I will pay cash and that the build is very visible from the main highway and hence, good advertising. They've sold several shed/cabins since people have seen mine and asked about it. So, I'm sure the bid is fair enough.

    The concrete will be a bit touchy with the weather, but can be done.

    So, there we are. I'm super excited.
    The "young man" from my other thread was here for a visit so he got to go along. We celebrated with a nice dinner at a place that serves mostly locally sourced food. It was delicious and the appetizer was a bit late (we hadn't noticed since we were chatting) but they gave it to us free for the delay we hadn't noticed. Extra treat for the day.

    Since he's a plant biologist and works in a greenhouse, he helped me set up a raised bed to use the cold frame I got from a friend. He thinks with some LED lights, I can probably grow kale in the winter. We stopped and got some seed and some perlite for the soil. I got him a nice ornamental purple kale plant in a pot he was eyeing as a "thanks" gift and because he likes to eat kale.
    I've got about 10 feet of crappy hose that I think I will cap on one end and put holes in so I can bury it in the soil before I plant and have a selfwatering garden bed. I could even put warm water in there in the winter. Right now there is mule poop and peat moss on the bottom of the soil so that should produce some heat for a month or two. We'll see. Fun to try any way.

    it was a good sunday! Nice start to the fall. THanks again for all the support from y'all.
    • 2289 posts
    September 23, 2018 10:10 PM PDT
    Maggie Trudeau, congratulations on hopefully getting your build started “in about 10 days.”