Sunday, February 1, 2015

Wells Lamont Wool Socks Perhaps not the Best Homesteader's Choice

This will serve as my update on one of my favorite homestead wares: Wells Lamont wool socks.

Unfortunately, I have to report that after only one year of use they are showing severe signs of breaking down.

Maybe my hopes were a little high after all the good reviews I read on Amazon and other blog posts but I still think a good pair of socks should hold up longer than one year.

I bought a slew of these comfortable fellas after our house fire which was October 2013. Technically, you could say it's been a little over a year but I didn't post on this exactly when I started to notice the breakdown.

As you can see by my shotty phone camera, the heels are wearing out in a large area. The seam in that area is also stretching. I have had to mend (yes, guys can sew) one pair already.

I'm not ready to give them up becuase they are EXTREMELY comfortable. I wear them daily and I wear two pair for cushion.

Plus these aren't exactly the cheapest pair on the market either. My hopes that these would last a while was also fueled by their cost. I have around ten pair.

So, are they comfortable: yes. Do they hold up well with daily, regular use...doesn't appear so.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable? Should a pair of socks only last a year and a half?

Have you found a better brand? Is there a special technique of washing to make them last longer?

I also have a pair of Carhartt thick socks that appear to be doing pretty well although they were purchased more recently. The cushion on the sole seems to be staying thick instead of matting down like most socks tend to do.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Save Money with Coop Gas?

I was so shocked to see the gas price down to $1.73 that I rushed in and filled up the Suburban. I texted Wifey the good news and she filled up the van. I never quite understood how a commodity can go from $3.50/gal to under $2 in a matter of a few years. The only thing that is clear to me is that somebody, somewhere has too much power to manipulate us consumers.

Anyway, this price drop got me to thinking about how to save money. Are any of you getting farm tanks and filling up at these prices with a 300 gallon tank? A neighbor was talking to Wifey about homesteading in general, like sewing and having a water well when he mentioned we could get a free 300 gallon tank from a local coop as long as we agreed to buy our gasoline only from them.

Wifey thinks he said no minimum purchase and I'm thinking "How can this be a BAD deal?"

Generic 300 gallon gas tank
My dad in Oklahoma City sent me a picture of a gas station sign showing $1.54/gallon. I'm hoping the price continues to drop but I'm thinking if I snooze too long, I might lose out on a good deal.

Any of you get bulk gas?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homestead Reboot 2.0 - Moving In Strategy

Bacon and Eggs tape signaled it belongs in the kitchen
Once our stuff finally arrived by semi-trailer (note: DON'T use U-Pack or anyone that utilizes Old Dominion as their freight company), we started the daunting task of unpacking and organizing.

To start, prior to loading up the semi trailers, Wifey attempted to color-code the boxes by using several different rolls of patterned duct tape. She would tear off a little piece and place it on each box that was to belong to a certain room.

  • Kitchen: bacon and egg patterned tape
  • Master bedroom: polka dots
  • Big girls room: zigzag
  • etc
ZigZag tape belongs in the big girls room...
In a perfect world, we would have created a "legend" or poster board that had each piece of tape and next to the tape would be where the box would go. This would be posted at the front door and help direct anyone at the other end of the journey that might show up to help us unload.

Of course, that perfect world didn't account for a shipping company arriving 11 days late and finally showing up on a day that was snowing and cold. That initiated Plan B.

Plan B was to simply unload everything into the garage, close it up to keep out the weather, and begin using the garage as a staging area from which everything would slowly and methodically be brought in. Snowy and muddy shoes were not allowed in the new home.

Organized rows makes for easier finding in the garage.
At first, since we had help from four kind gentlemen from our church, things were placed in the garage stacked but haphazard. It wasn't until the weekend that I took half a Saturday to arrange all these boxes into order. NOW it looks more like Warehouse 13 with isles created for someone to peruse up and down when and if they decided to hunt for something.

This tact has served us pretty well. I made the isles big enough to carry boxes through and faced every label I could TOWARD the isle so anyone looking knows immediately what is in the boxes. To keep Lucky from eating everything in sight, since he sleeps in the garage for now, he is crated in a dog kennel.

I look forward to the day we can use the garage for our cars and no longer have to scrape ice off the windshields but for now...I'm just glad we're here.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Relaxing Business Trip to Boise

My new job requires I visit other hospitals in our system and one of them is in Boise. Of course, I had to use my GPS just to get out of town given that we have only been here for two weeks so far. Nevertheless, once on a main highway, it was a pleasurable two hours (give or take) until I arrived in Boise.

The streets were busy but nothing like Phoenix during rush hour. More like a busy college town with plenty of traffic lights. I search for a couple of my favorite restaurants hoping that being in a larger city would show me some comforts of days past. Nope. Boise doens't have a single Schlotszky's sandwich shoppe nor a greasy Long John Silvers. Bummer. I settled for the old standby..Subway.

After an 8-5 meeting, I drove around a little to find a sign that would sum up my trip. Hence the pic in this post. I ate my Subway and headed back home. The nice thing about long drives by yourself is you get plenty of time to think. Not a common occurrence when your house is filled with nine females...


Monday, January 19, 2015

A Beautiful Day in a Beautiful Little Town

My view at home to the west
I've enjoyed something new the past couple of mornings. It isn't something I had thought about lately but is definitely something I had previously told myself that I someday wanted. As I awoke, without any effort whatsoever, I looked out of the window right above my bed and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings that I now call home.

Back in Mesa, was all desert. Blistering hot sun, so bad you planned for a day inside most of the time. Neighbors so close on either side that you could just about here them fart. Then came Flagstaff which had beauty all around but the rental house we spent the last year in had Highway 89 right outside the back door. So close, actually, that a minivan came careening through our back fence and came to a stop in our back yard. Constantly noisy, even inside the house.

My view at work, with snow a half an inch thick on each branch
But now we live in a small Idaho town where beauty and quiet abound. At night the sky is glimmering with a million little diamonds. I enjoy my six minute drive to work (when there's no snow) and look forward to many, many productive weekends.

If you love where you live, thank the Good Lord. If you don't love where you live, hold fast and keep trying. Sometimes the path to get where you want to be isn't always clear but don't let that stop your dreams.