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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Update

The monsoon season has finally started, we get some rain once or twice a day, I haven't had to water my garden in about 4 days (woo hoo!). Today has been mostly cloudy, but it hasn't rained yet. The only drawback to the rainy days is we don't get as much solar power... it means we have to really watch how much electricity we use, can't run the computer all day, or run the refrigerator.

The hottest part of the summer has passed, the nights are cooling down, the days are still fairly warm/hot, but once the sun starts going down, I start looking for something to cover my arms, this morning it got down to 59 degrees F, I'm even starting to think about firewood for this winter, only have a couple of months of warm days & nights.

The garden is doing pretty well, but there has been some insect eating some of my plants, chewing the stems and killing the leaves, I'm pretty sure it's cut worms. I know about using collars and such, I am looking for BT, that has always worked good for me in the past. I ordered some diatomaceous earth and a duster to apply it. I also ordered a hose end sprayer, I'm going to use an organic mix to spray for fertilizer.

We have been seeing lightening bugs, just a few at a time, but more and more each night. I've been told that before the summer is over, it will look like Christmas trees all lit up, I can't wait to see that. :)

I have been cleaning a lady's house out here, it's much more fun cleaning someone else's house for some reason. She thinks my house must be super clean because I do such a good job on hers... I hope she never sees my house! Living in a small, barely 2 room cabin/house, yeah, it's clean, NOT! Hehehe, I tried to tell her that, but she doesn't believe me... oh well.

This lady wants to sell her house and she wanted me to detail clean it, from the ceiling fans to the corners of the rooms, it's been quite interesting... she is an artist and a very nice lady. The first day I worked over there, about 3 hours in, she asked me if I wanted to go into town, I said sure, we went to the bigger town nearby, then she took me to another town where I hadn't been yet, we went shopping and I took advantage of being in town to stock up on foods and goods, I don't think she was expecting me to get as much as I did, but I went as fast as I could, and she had plenty of room in her vehicle, it was quite the fun day. She has offered to take me into town any time she is going, like I said, a very nice lady.

I finally broke down and turned off my cell phone, it was a hard thing to do, I have had this same phone number and service going on 8 years... I got it when I worked for Best Buy, I had an employee deal and I'll not be able to get such a good deal again, but since it really didn't work for me out here, it was money spent that I could use on something else, like my internet service! I called Sprint and told them I wanted to stop service, of course they tried to get me to sign up for another service, but I explained that I didn't work for Best Buy any more, and my phone didn't get a signal out here, or at least it barely gets one when I am on my mountain, it does not get a signal at all when I am out on the roads, well Sprint understood and was willing to let me go. My phone will work until the 10th, then it will be turned off... bummer. Oh well, all good things must come to an end, it was a good 8 years. The biggest drawback is I will not be able to do pictures for the blog until I either find my digital camera or get another one, I had been using my cell phone to take pix, it may be a while before I am able to post pix again.

That's about it for now, except for one thing,

HAPPY (LATE) BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER!

Wretha

Thanks for visiting, I love comments (but not spam), you may leave anonymous comments (you do not need to sign up or sign in). I do moderate/approve each comment, if your comment doesn't show up within a day or so, try to leave it again, if you still have trouble, email me.
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2 Comments

Anonymous seth said...

wretha.....was wondering if you ever got the email i sent you about where my property in west texas is located, was just wondering it's any where near you guys?

June 30, 2008 10:27 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Seth
Got it, just replied, hmmm, close is relative... probably closer than most of the other people who read my blog (grin).

Wretha

July 1, 2008 5:04 PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mountain Man Bob

You might be a mountain man if you look like this:



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Rather handsome I'd say, and pretty handy around the house too! :)

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Inexpensive (Cheap) Solar Panel Kits ala Harbor Freight

UPDATE 6-24-08
One of my very informed readers passed this site to me:

http://www.sunelec.com/

They have solar panels for as little as $2.98 per watt, as long as you buy in quantity.


FYI, Harbor Freight is selling their 45 watt solar panel kit for $179.99 again! Here is the link:

http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/tabviewer/
startBrowseBook.do?bookid=210&preview=&type=RET&simple=


This expires : 07/07/2008

I've heard that you might even be able to use one of their 15% off coupons with it, though I haven't seen any coupons lately, if you have one, (lucky you!) USE IT! :)

I have one set and will soon have 2 of 3 more, this is a real bargain, they normally run about $250, $199 on sale, this price is well worth checking out.
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4 Comments

Anonymous Anonymous said...

These panels have a limited lifespan, usually MUCH less than the other types of panels. If you have the $ to buy 760 watts, they can be had for $2.98 per watt and are kick butt panels. http://www.sunelec.com/

If you want to learn LOTS about solar electric stuff go hang out on the forum at http://www.wind-sun.com/ForumVB/

The bottom line is the the HF panels are ASI silicone that do not last very many years. I do have a 20% coupon for HF if you are interested email me at:

survival@roscoevideo.com

Take care,

Skip

June 23, 2008 11:36 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Hi Skip, thanks for the info, I included the link in the message. If I had a spare 2 grand, I would probably order a pallet of solar panels from that company...

Email me directly about the coupon.

Wretha
wretha @ gmail . com (just remove the spaces)

June 24, 2008 4:22 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Oops Skip, I didn't see your email address until after I posted my reply, I'll email you.

Wretha

June 24, 2008 4:23 PM

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Anonymous seth said...

If you check with Steve Spence @ greentrust.org, he had mentioned on one of the yahoo groups about having the HF panels for a number of years already and they are still working fine.

June 30, 2008 10:25 PM

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Buying Food On Line

I've been thinking a lot about food, the availability of it now, and in the future. While I am able to get it relatively easy right now, that may not be the case in the future. And as much as I'd like to think I am prepared for food shortages, in reality, I am really not as prepared as I'd like to be... I have been stocking up on canned foods, anything that doesn't require refrigeration, the problem is meat, sure you can get canned chicken and canned hams, but real, wholesome, tasty meats, including beef are not so easy to come by. I checked out the internet grocer, and guess what? They have canned meats, beef, chicken, turkey and pork. They also carry canned butter and canned cheese. I am ordering their smallest sample pack of meats, it includes one can of butter and one can of cheese.

I ordered the meat sample pack, and the no rinse body cleaner and no rinse shampoo, I am trying the smaller size of these to see if I like them, the total with shipping (UPS) came to just under $60.00 (YIKES), the shipping was nearly $20.00! Oh well, it costs me more to drive to town now days, and I can't even get these items in town, not even in the bigger towns that are farther away.

While surfing their site, I ran across this, dehydrated squirrel, yes, I said squirrel, apparently there is a farm that raises squirrel for human consumption, FDA approved and everything. LOL! I just thought of them like fluffy long tailed rats, something you could get right outside your front or back door. It is said that during processing, the squirrel carcases are checked twice to make sure there is no hair in the meat, nothing like a bit of squirrel hair in your squirrel stew. :)

I'll post another message about how well I like the meats from the internet grocer, I have high hopes. Anyone else try them?

If these are as good as they look, I might talk to a few people out here and see if some of them want to go in on full cases and split them, that's where the best price is, but at over $100.00 a case (plus shipping), it would take me forever to be able to build up a a good stockpile of a variety of canned meats, this way splitting the cost between one of two other families out here, we can all benefit.

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14 Comments

Anonymous seth said...

will ups deliver to your "doorstep"?

June 19, 2008 6:11 AM

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Blogger Wretha said...

If they could GET to my doorstep, yes, but since they can't get to my doorstep, Bobby (my UPS delivery driver) will deliver it to the country store, that's usually what he does for the deliveries to the places where his truck cannot go (many roads out here are 4x4 only) and for people like us whose house is not right next to the road.

Wretha

June 19, 2008 8:21 AM

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Anonymous seth said...

wretha....check the Diatomaceous earth that internet grocer has. is food grade, but also works as an insectacide, might help with the ant problem you mentioned earlier.

June 21, 2008 7:31 AM

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Blogger vlad said...

should be easy to dry meat this time of year

http://tinyurl.com/2cp3o9

June 21, 2008 7:47 AM

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OpenID lornkanaga said...

My favorite canned beef is Yoder's beef, which I get from Survival Enterprises. The only problem with that is that the beef comes in such large cans, although sometimes they have the smaller cans in stock. Oh, and the Yoder's Turkey isn't bad at all, but I wasn't too terribly impressed with the chicken (YMMV). Surival Enterprises also has the Red Feather canned butter--really good stuff, if you don't mind the high cholestrerol/fat content. I haven't tried their canned cheese.

Other foodstuffs I order online are from justtomatos.com--I love their organic dried fruit. I also get their roasted garlic and green onions (they don't have those in organic, yet).

I buy Manuka Honey from oraganics.com--I've tried the UMF 16+ and UMF 20+. I have pretty bad stomach acid problems, and thanks to the Manuka Honey I *very* rarely take antacids anymore!

Another one of my favorite places to order specialized supplements from is Vitamin Shoppe. I highly recommend their 100% organic Goji Juice, and I buy George's Aloe Vera Juice by the gallon (g).

TheMajor'sLady

June 21, 2008 11:19 AM

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Anonymous seth said...

i ordered the sample pack like you wretha, am curious to try it out. i may not be offgrid yet, but sure am looking to be prepared.

June 23, 2008 5:51 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and comments!

Seth, let me know how you like it! I just received my delivery confirmation, I hope to have it in a few days, I can't wait to try it! :) Oh, and I know about diatomaceous earth, I wished I had ordered it with my order now... :( I'll get some soon.

TheMajor'sLady, what a great list of things! I know about Vitamin Shoppe, I used to shop there in my previous (city) life.

Vlad, very interesting link, I'll investigate it more, I scanned a little of it, what a wealth of information! :)

Wretha

June 23, 2008 5:59 PM

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Blogger Selous Scout said...

Hi Wretha.

I have purchased the canned cheese and butter form the internet grocer. I haven't tried it yet because i'm saving it for when times get really bad and you need a treat. I too am going to order a sampler pack of their meats (with the cheese and butter) to try out. it looks reallyu good.

June 24, 2008 11:36 PM

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Anonymous seth said...

should have my sample order friday....woo hoo, can't wait

June 25, 2008 6:46 AM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived on a sailboat for over a decade. Some "off grid" things I learned"

(1) Can your own meats. Because we lived on a boat, I didn't want all those glass jars aboard, but in a land based home, that shouldn't be a problem. There are places where you can can into metal tins, plan to do a LOT at once if you book time at one of these places.
(2) We liked the canned butter - it was better than Ghee because the canned butter had the milk solids, which the Ghee doesn't.
(3) The canned cheese was "ok" but for me, a 'sharper is better' kind of girl, it was always a last choice thing. But then, I don't mind cutting mold off my cheese. Buy the biggest wheels you can, wrap them in vinegar soaked cheese cloth and then dip them in melted paraffin.
(4) Dry (dehydrate) as much as you can, takes up less space and saves lots of the vitamins.
---Pam

June 29, 2008 3:38 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Thanks Pam, I have been researching and learning about canning my own meat, but until I have a better kitchen set up, that is pretty much out of the question, so until then, I will have to rely on buying my canned meats. I do want to dehydrate foods, here in the desert, it's the perfect climate to do that. I don't mind cutting mold off cheese either (grin). I have high hopes for the canned cheese (and the meats & butter too), we do like sharp cheese, but for cooking, we like a mild easily melted cheese, so hopefully this canned cheese will fit the bill.

When you get your cheese wheel, do you cut them up into smaller pieces before you wrap them and wax them?


Seth
Did you get your cans yet? If so, how good is it? Mine aren't here yet, a mix up in the shipping, it got shipped to my Dad's house (billing address) instead of the shipping address... bummer, at this rate, it will be the middle of next week before it shows up.

Wretha

June 29, 2008 4:14 PM

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Anonymous seth said...

Hey Wretha, got my order on friday, but haven't tried any as of yet, was finishing up left overs. Probably try the beef chunks first...was thinking of making beef and noodles. will let ya know how it is.

June 30, 2008 10:21 PM

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Anonymous seth said...

OMG....the canned beef chucks.....is like mom cooked them all day. just what the can says, beef, salt, pepper. the only thing for me was the about of actual meat. six nice size chunks and broth. would say 70% meat, the rest meat juice and stuff. Might have been that particular can. any way.....very tasty!!!!

July 1, 2008 5:17 PM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Wow Seth! I really can't wait now... I'll let you know how I like it when I get it. Let me know how you like the rest of it.

Thanks for the report.

Wretha

July 1, 2008 10:33 PM

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cha cha cha cha Changes....

You will notice some changes in the appearance of my blog, I have been working this last week to learn how to customize the appearance (and other things), I know how to make web pages, I am fairly comfortable with HTML, but the blog code is a different animal, it's similar in some ways, but the coding language is stricter and uses a lot of cascading style sheets (CSS), don't worry if you have no idea what I am talking about, it really doesn't matter. :)

The point is, I am working on improving the look of my blog and you will see some changes coming down the line, I work on a separate blog to tweak, test and learn so that I will not disrupt my main blog, and any mistakes will not appear here (I hope!).

Eeek, one mistake I just made, I lost all of my widgets, the things on the side of the page! I can't seem to get them back, so I will go in and rebuild all of my widgets... in the words of that most wise of bears, Pooh, "Oh bother..." *sigh*

I hope you enjoy the new look and the upcoming changes I plan on making. Please feel free to leave comments, I appreciate the feedback, both positive and negative, if there is something that doesn't look right to you or makes the blog harder to read or navigate, please don't hesitate to let me know. Be sure to let me know which browser you are using, FireFox, Explorer... and anything else that might help, monitor type and size, Windows or Mac, and the version... if you don't have all of this info, that's ok, I still would like some feedback if you want to give it. Thanks! :)
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10 Comments

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Wretha, I like the new look - it's cleaner and easier to read. Nice job. (This is not to say I didn't like the last look, now.) :oP

Karen

June 15, 2008 8:48 AM

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Blogger Mayberry said...

Lookin' good Wretha (and loads a lot faster too!)

June 15, 2008 10:05 AM

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Blogger The Scavenger said...

Wretha, I LOVE THE NEW LOOK. Keep up the GREAT work. Oh yea, still looking for a can for the water filter. I'll keep ya posted on the progress, slow though it may be.

Chris

June 15, 2008 11:32 AM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Thanks Karen and Mayberry, I'm glad to hear that it loads up faster for you, that's probably because I lost all of my widgets :(

That's OK, I'll be able to put them back in the following days.

Wretha

June 15, 2008 11:40 AM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Hi Scavenger, glad you like it, I have had quite a good time learning the ins and outs of editing and customizing this blog, now I just have to reinstall my widgets. :)

Let me know when you find something for your water filter/purifier, I am very interested in how it works for you.

Wretha

June 15, 2008 5:52 PM

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Blogger Dragon said...

I love it. I wish I was as talented. Dragon

June 16, 2008 12:31 AM

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Blogger Wretha said...

Thanks Dragon, I don't know how much is talent and how much is just plain stubborn determination... when I decide to do or learn something, I usually figure out how to do it one way or another, like I said, stubborn determination! :)

BTW, it's really not that hard, it took me about a week of searching and reading on line to learn what I needed to know, there are a lot of great blog tutorials out there that make it easy to learn about this stuff. I also made a test blog so I could experiment on it without disrupting my real blog. The hardest part was picking out the colors and where to use them.

Wretha

June 16, 2008 1:20 AM

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Blogger Tracy said...

Looks good, Wretha! I like it.

June 17, 2008 1:54 PM

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Anonymous seth said...

looking good

June 17, 2008 10:12 PM

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Blogger avon_mom said...

Wretha,

I liked the old look but the new look is pretty cool too. It loads super fast w/o the widgets. I will download it for dad next week. I'm sure he will like the changes too.

Alma

June 18, 2008 7:52 PM