Saturday, August 29, 2020

Project Updates for 2020 (so much going on!)

 Hello out there. 

I videotaped a quick walkthrough of what I'm doing around the homestead this year. There is so much going on that it seems overwhelming at times.

I felt I owed it to anyone still following the blog. 

Of course, not much to follow if I'm not updated...hence the video. 

Here's the video:

and the short list:

Beefing up the Homestead

 - Rebuilt front porch

 - Fortifying the front grass

 - Added curbing to front

 - Added rock to front

 - Added curbing to back

 - Added 30amp plug for camper

 - Purchased 30' Shadow Cruiser


 - Adding privacy shrubs to back fenceline

 - Adding ground cover between curbing and back fence

 - Rebuild back porch

 - Adding rock to driveway

 - Adding curbing to south property line

Lots of other plans further down the line but this has been keeping me busy since June. 

The craziness in the world is accelerating so I am doing the same with my prepping. 

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are doing well for the coming election. 


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Dick Proenneke - My Video Compilations + Bonus Features

Richard "Dick" Proenneke - One Man's Alaska (+ Bonus Features)

I watch video footage of Dick every couple of months. It gives me comfort. Here is a link to my handmade compilation of video footage. I also added some bonus info about him.

I made a video of all the projects going on around our homestead but I'm having problems uploading at the moment. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Seriously?! Are You Kidding Me Right Now?

Maiden voyage in our of Saturday evening...three hours from home.

More info to follow...

Monday, June 15, 2020

Nothing Ever Goes As Planned but...GAME ON!

Sometimes Changes Happen for the Better!

Going Galt Series - Game On!

Three BIG things happened the past two weeks:

  1. My contract in St Maries was terminated!
  2. We purchased our first ever camper trailer!
  3. I stepped in a culvert and twisted my &^$%#@@$# knee!

What a rollercoaster this Galt Series has been. I'm telling you, the only thing we can count on in this life is CHANGE...and plenty of it!

Let's do a quick recap so we can move on to the exciting stuff...OUR PROGRESS!

Paying Other People's Bills

That's all it is when you work for other people. I've worked in healthcare for over 20 years now and I have made my hospitals millions and millions of dollars. Managing a radiology department is a tough business but the reward (for the owners) is tremendous. 

Even in small critical access hospitals, radiology departments can clear millions of dollars in revenue if the department is run correctly. Me, I get a decent hourly wage but terminated on a whim. It reminds me of one of my favorite books Your Money or Your Life?

But all we're really doing is trading our lives to make money for someone else in the end. Whether it be stockholders, a board of directors, taxpayers, or whomever. The only benefit is that we, the employee, know we are helping the patients find comfort (usually.)

So when my newest contracted hospital got a new CEO...all bets were off. Any time you switch over management, and this hospital switched every two years, you are in for problems. The CEO who hired me was all thumbs-up for the changes I had in mind for the department I managed. 

All that changed when new management was brought in. First, the Director of Nursing was gone. Then the Head of Human Resources was put on notice. So the writing was on the wall. The big squeeze was on and luckily, the way I was squeezed out the door left me open to unemployment options. 

So, I am fortunate to be back in my home that didn't sell during the Coronavirus pandemic. Family is reunited and all is right in the world again. I have taken our home off the market and already made big improvements.

Note to self: NEVER let a job split up my family for an extended period of time.

Camper Trailer is Priority in Many Situations

One of the key ingredients that were missing from my Going Galt plan was a trailer to live in. It comes in handy in several situations. 

  • If you find your dream Galt property, you need a trailer to live in while you build your home. (see this concept in the success of Good Simple Living in north Idaho.)
  • In some locations, like St Maries in north Idaho, most homes are old and small. My large family needed a trailer to pull alongside the rental home we had to give us enough sleeping rooms and bathrooms. 
  • When commuting from the current home to Galt location, a trailer comes in handy during the trip for many reasons.

I was shopping at Blue Dog RV in Post Falls for a trailer to slide up next to my rental house in St Maries. I was lucky enough to drive up and catch an expo at the fairgrounds and see many different options. 

Blue Dog shared with me that they had sold 95 trailers in the past two weeks. Lots of people are realizing that trailers are idea during quarantines since they allow you to stay "quarantined" yet still travel. 

I was fortunate enough to land a beautiful Shadow Cruiser 277BHS. You can see it in 3D on your mobile phone here or a great walkthrough on YouTube here

We intend to use this to save us money and quite probably produce income.

With six daughters, we have lots of sporting events to attend throughout the year. Living in rural southern Idaho, that means a good deal of travel. Some games are four hours away and start at 8am. So overnight stay is usually required. 

Hotels these days average $125 per night. Our trailer pays for itself after using it only a couple of times in a month. 

Then there's RV Share. A good friend from church told me how he was renting out his trailer and hasn't made a payment of his own in several months. This was thanks to the ability to rent out his trailer like an AirBnB. 

With RV Share, you can rent out your camper with full insurance coverage for peace of mind. 

Lastly, we are now fully prepared for either Going Galt to our perfect property or falling back in a crisis if we should ever lose our home. Things still aren't looking that good out there, you know. The food supply is still in question. Our economy is on very shaky ground. Then there's the politics..

The Twisted Knee

Ah, yes. Just when you least expect it. I have never had any problems, aside from high blood pressure. No surgeries, broken bones...not even one single cavity. I'll be 50 years old next year and aside from being admittingly overweight, which I'm working on, I haven't had many issues with health.

Well, step into a shin-deep culvert while walking forward, and focusing on the horizon is a rude awakening, to say the least.

My foot shoved right into the pipe below while my body was in forward motion. I didn't take any pictures, which is odd, because I photograph everything. But let's just say the knee swelled up substantially and ankle sustained bruising and cuts. 

In the end, the Xrays were negative for fracture. I'm not sure how given the force of my 290 pounds pushing the opposite way the culvert had me locked in place. I took 800mg of ibuprofen immediately for inflammation. Jumped in an ice-cold bath for some relief. Then immediately wrapped it tight upon getting out of the tub. 

I kept the swelling from getting out of control and doing pretty good now on day 4. No longer using a brace but still feeling a slight pop when stepping forward with the affected leg. I'm supposed to go back for follow up in a week or two for several pulls and pushes from the physician. 

So there you go. Here are the major steps forward on our self-sufficiency initiative:

  1. Broke free of the quandary that had me worried about starting over in a new town.
  2. The family is reunited permanently.
  3. Trailer secured for bugging out, camping adventures, and moving forward with building once we ultimately find our dream property.
  4. Many items were sold or disposed of when we thought we were moving. We got rid of a lot of extra "stuff" that we didn't need. Our assets are much more manageable now.
Oh, and I can't forget that I'll be back up north in October to teach a weekend seminar on blogging at the 2020 Idaho Fall Farmfest and Horse Expo!

I did some informal polling on a few Facebook homesteading groups and asked if folks were interested in learning how to blog from home as a means of additional income. The response was very warm so I'm moving ahead! More details to come. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Stranded and Reunited - Looking Forward to Calm

We Spent One Week Together

                                                        Going Galt Status - Paused


Although our family is stuck in a holding pattern, our plans remain unchanged. Our intent is still to continue our move to North Idaho despite the Coronavirus pandemic.

I am already up north and working full-time. The rest of the clan is still in south Idaho continuing their routine as normal as current events allow.

Another Mission Call

After recently returning from a hectic church mission in Ecuador, our daughter was inspired to complete her 18-month mission serving our Lord. 

She was presented with an option of waiting and starting her entire mission over or...

immediately going back out to a new assignment and finishing her term.

She chose to return immediately (although it is understandably hard after coming home) and complete her calling as a missionary.

I could not be more proud of her.

This gave me a reason to return home to southern Idaho and spend time with her and the rest of my family (as opposed to waiting for them to visit up north.)

So last Saturday morning I began the ten-hour drive. The plan was to leave Saturday morning and arrive Saturday night. 

This would give me two full days (Sunday and Monday) to spend time with my missionary. We had to drive her to the Boise airport on Tuesday. 

That was the initial plan anyway.

Then My Radiator Hose Split

As I've come to expect, nothing goes as planned. That is why I build in redundancies into my routines and have learned to roll with the punches.

Almost exactly half-way home, my van overheated.

My top radiator hose, 5 hours from home.

My top radiator hose split in a massive way. There was no duct-taping my way out of this one.

No amount of letting it cool off and adding more cold water was going to limp me to the next town...which was 24 miles away.

La Grande, Oregon - have you heard of it?

So there I sat, on the side of a highway in Oregon.

Two hours wasted, waiting for a tow

Don't Bother Calling Progressive in Idaho

After waiting for an hour, I finally contacted Progressive Insurance about the tow request I entered on their online app. 

My request had been suspended because they could not find my location.

Of course, they did not call me to tell me that my request had been placed on hold. Luckily, I reached out to them.

After 20 minutes of waiting on hold, I finally told them to disregard. I could clearly see on my GPS then I was only one mile from a local restaurant and deli.

They, on the other hand, were having extreme difficulty on their end.

The gas station was located in a little town called Mecham.

That is where the magic happens.

My Saviors, mechanic shop owner and tow truck owner

As I pulled into the deli parking lot I could see one couple on the porch having lunch.

They are a couple out on an afternoon ride on their lovely Harley-Davidson. They were donned in leather from head to toe and I could see that they were enjoying themselves.

Standing next to the table was the deli owner. They're engaged in pleasant conversation.

As I approached, the restaurant owner greeted me with "How is your day going?"

Well, he asked. So I told him.

I said, "I've been sending sitting one mile down the road waiting for a tow truck driver for nearly two hours with no luck."

I told him about my radiator hose and my quest to get home so I can see my daughter before she left again on her church mission.

Without hesitation, the restaurant owner pulled out his cell phone and held up one finger in the air as if to say "Hold on just a minute."

He greeted someone on the phone and said "Here, talk to this gentleman" and he handed me the phone.

On the other end of that conversation was the local tow truck driver who was friends with the restaurant owner.

As I explained my situation I was reassured he would be there within 10 minutes to drive me and my vehicle to Le Grande for the radiator hose that I needed.

Hero of the Day

Now, I had done some of the footwork while I sat in my car waiting prior to arriving at this deli. I had already located the local part store in La Grande to make sure they have the proper part that I needed. Indeed, it was sitting there waiting for me at O'Reilly's.

My plan at this point was to make it to O'Reilly's with my van and see if I could fix the problem with the help of auto parts store employees. 

As I sat waiting for the tow truck driver to come to pick me up, the gentleman having lunch on the front porch swiveled in this chair and faced me.

He said, "What exactly is your car problem?"

I told him that it was the top radiator hose and it had split. I was confident I could get to it but not confident I could find the back end of it up under the dashboard.

In a similar fashion to the restaurant owner, he pulled out his cell phone and made a phone call. When the other end answers the call, a quick banter back and forth ensued.

"Hey, do you wanna put on a radiator hose today? This guy out here is stranded and needs to get back to Twin Falls."

"You can? Alright. You wanna just meet him down at the shop?"

"Great, I'll let him know. He will need to get towed into town and stop to get the radiator hose."

"Oh, you wanna pick it up for him? I'm sure that's fine. I'll have them meet you directly at the shop."

And there it was.

All of my immediate problems were solved within 5 minutes by visiting with 2 gentlemen at a deli in the middle of nowhere.

It all went exactly as planned. The mechanic fixed not only my split radiator hose but also spotted a bad timing belt.

That timing belt could have been an entirely separate catastrophe. 

It cost me about 5 hours total but I was back on the road to my final destination in southern Idaho.

I ended up sleeping at a truck stop for the evening now that my timeline was majorly altered. I got home at 8am Sunday morning instead of 10pm the Saturday night. 

Until We Meet Again Missionary

I enjoyed two full days with my family, including my missionary.

Once again, I drove my daughter to the airport to wish her luck on her mission. This time she is headed to the Jacksonville, Florida mission.

I'll take that any day over the Guayaquil, Ecuador mission. She learned a lot there and saw things she'll probably never see again but I wasn't exactly comfortable with the risk factor. 

Now she's in hurricane alley and I feel much better.

Prior to her leaving we got some daddy-daughter bonding time. I took her shopping for a comfortable house robe. We ended up in a Target shopping store in Twin Falls. The prior stores we attempted to patron were all closed. 

There was a power outage in town and the local power company had informed the local businesses that it would not be back on any earlier than 6pm. So all of the 8-5 shops just closed for the day.

But not Target

Someone at Target was smart enough to install a backup generator. Remember my comment about redundancy earlier?

So you can see in my picture that not all the lights were on in the store. We actually used my cell phone flashlight a few times to look at items. 

We found a nice robe and even some comfy slippers. Mission accomplished, for me anyway.

I will see her in person next April-ish. Maybe in March. I can't keep the dates straight anymore.

But she gets to "call home" at least once a week.

Technology now allowed video calling so it is almost like talking to her in person. 

The Return up North

We spent the night at our home in Filer on Tuesday then headed out bright and early for North Idaho.

This is the first time anyone besides me has seen the rental home we will be staying in when we move everyone up here.

It is smaller in all regards than our home down south. The biggest threat to our sanity will be sharing one bathroom between seven females and me. I'm sure I will lose that battle every time.

Four days have passed with minimal disruption. Just the usual accusations of who borrowed who's stuff and why didn't they put it back.

Although I had to work (money still needs to be earned), they did get to explore CDA and Spokane. 

On Saturday we went for a terrific hike up Forest Service Trail #17. usual, my blog post has rambled on. I take too long to finish one post so I'm stopping here. I will continue our story in the next post.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rain Storm in an Alpha Wolf 29QBL Camper

here’s a quick little video while I’m stuck in a camper at a camper expo in Post Falls Idaho.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Stepped Outside of My Bubble Today - Holy Cow!

Wandering the Grocery Store Aisles - Amazed...

Going Galt Status - Paused

Plans Remain Unchanged

Although our family is stuck in a holding pattern, our plans remain unchanged. Our intent is still to continue our move to North Idaho despite the Coronavirus pandemic.

I am already up north and working full-time. The rest of the clan is still in south Idaho continuing their routine as normal as current events allow.

Progress - Landscaping in the South

Wifey has continued to beautify the landscaping in hopes of improving our curb appeal. She actually has achieved quite a bit in the past few weeks:

  • All goat head weeds and other obnoxious plants have been pulled and removed. Both front and back yards have been cleared.
  • After a good, solid watering, granular weed killer has been spread to kill any remaining unseen weeds and hopefully prevent future growth. 
  • Grass seed and fertilizer were then spread several days later to start greening up both yards.
  • Our eldest daughter brought over excess brick she had dug up in her backyard. It now has been laid to form a nice backyard fire pit for aesthetic appeal.
  • Other brick was used to line the front of our home to add a definitive border. 
  • Similarly, brick was used to separate front yard from driveway
  • Flowers were planted along the width of the home facing the main street. 
  • 2-4-D (kill-all) will be sprayed in the gravel driveway to prevent the growth of weeds there. 
new fire pit in the backyard
fish-eyed but shows new flowers in the front
brick border separating front yard and driveway
happy wife sharing her triumphant story

Overall, I was quite impressed with my little cherub's hard work. That's the stuff I like to do around the house but my work is still imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine on any employee who leaves town.

Been there, done that. No thanks. 

Here's the listing, if you are able to share it with your network of friends. 

Moving on up North

14 days couped up in a house by yourself tends to play havoc on your emotions. Well, maybe not everyone but you can see the effects on me in the whining I did in my last post. 

The daily infusion of jogging around the high school fixed most of it. I'm up to three miles every three days. Walking on the days in between. I began using one of my favorite phone apps called C25K. 

the road leading into the local high school

Couch to 5K is a running app that starts out mostly walking and incrementally works you up to being able to complete a 5K (3.2 miles) run or race. 

My wife and I started it last winter around October. By New Year's we were ready to sign up for our first 5K race. 

But there were none to be had at the time. 

Then "The Rona" hit and I moved up north. All bets were off there for a little bit on daily activities. 

But now, when I go for a walk, I see deer every single time I go out...literally.

And I take pictures every time and send them to my daughters on our group text. I hope they get a thrill every time they see one like I do. 

There are 2 or 3 that sleep in my backyard

I am a big fan of old barns. There is no shortage of them up here in North Idaho.

love the green prairie surrounding the barn

this one was just amazing...and huge.

And Today, the Grocery Store

Now, I'll admit I haven't been grocery shopping in almost two months. I brought enough with me to sustain for a while. But I also don't eat very much.

The difference of feeding a family of eight and then only having to stock the pantry for me was a big change. The foods I brought with me ended up being enough to sustain for two months. 

I still have quite a bit to choose from but decided to visit the grocery store this morning for perishables.

Like cheese. Holy smokes.

One little block of cheese, granted it was Tillamook, was $9.49 for a block. And it wasn't a big block, mind you. 

One package of bacon was also $9.49 per pack. The days of me cooking a whole package for one giant bacon sandwich are over. That's for sure. 

and this is NOT the fancy bacon... that was $15/pack

I'm pretty miserly when it comes to food. My wife chides me for buying cans of sardines.

Yes, they aren't the most appetizing but for the cheap price per ounce of protein...I'll figure out how to make them tasty...someday. 

So on this particular visit, the prices for most things were too high for me to pull the trigger. I just couldn't spend $4 on a can of soup. Or $5 for a bag of chips. 

The only "comfort" foods I bought was some hard-shelled candy. I found an aisle in the back of the IGA that sold $1 bags of "old fashioned" hard candy.

Butterscotch candies are a long time favorite of mine. Sometimes to my family's detriment. Like the time Bella choked on one in church when she was about six years old. Nothing a Heimlich couldn't solve.

Other than milk and sour cream, I'm set for a couple more months now.

Coronavirus - Healthcare Worker Perspective

I continue to be amazed at the differences in opinion (and fact) in the media and public. We may not know the real facts on actual death count or where this virus really came from, but one thing is for sure - it is killing people. 

At last check, America is up to 60,000 deaths. But that number is skewed for several reasons. I won't get into that here. But to be safe, we are still asking patients to wear cloth masks when they enter our hospital. 

Most people comply. I've had one guy pretend I wasn't offering him a mask. He refused to wear one for his x-ray exam. 

Then there's the people who wear one but don't cover their nose. Or pull it down to talk so you can hear them. 

Whatever your take is on the coronavirus, it isn't going away anytime soon. I'm happy to report we have opened the doors back up on our hospital. Things should return to semi-normal this month.

I tend to agree with Mike's model that we'll see some return to normalcy this summer but it won't last long. Especially with the coming meat shortage. 

We'll continue to see protests and clashes in the big cities as the food shortage gets worse. Another reason I moved up here to Idaho six years ago. 

My mom lives in Gilbert, Arizona and I worry about her safety. I have invited her up when she's ready. She kind of has the same issue I do: what do I do with the house I own and can't sell?

A Parting Photo

As I wrap up another post, I'll leave one of my favorite pics so far. I do wish I knew where to go in town to get the best pictures like this.

I'm sure there is some mountain lookout that I don't know about yet that would have been the best place to capture this rainbow. But until I find it, this image from town will have to do.

Thanks for visiting my blog. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Going Galt Halted by Corona - Taunted by Separation Anxiety

Going Galt - The Steps We Use to Get Out of Dodge


Part 9

I am SO jealous!

There's another family that started Getting Out of Dodge at the same time we did. The difference between our adventures is that their house in Washington sold very quickly and before the virus took hold. 

And for FULL price!

You should check out Good Simple Living's YouTube channel, if you haven't heard about it already. 

They are doing an excellent job progressing on their new Idaho homestead. 

Meanwhile, nobody is even looking at our home and the Coronavirus has now brought everything to a complete standstill for us.

What's Next?

I'm not sure, honestly. There's not a whole lot I can do at this point with my house unsold. Our Governor issued a Stay-at-Home order and extended it to the end of April.

What started out as an ambitious dream-come-true has turned into a surreal nightmare of sorts.

I am now completely separated from my family by nine hours and don't know when I'll be able to travel back there. Or when they can travel up here. 

My hospital, following the Governor's declaration, will put me in a 14-day quarantine if I go back to visit (again). 

Since I am a new employee, I haven't had the time yet to build up Paid Time Off. 

I've missed two birthdays and Easter this month. Video calling for family events just isn't the same but it is better than nothing.

Staying Focused

With the addition of a giant 4'x6' whiteboard, I have started to write down my thoughts and action plans. 

I have always been a daytimer-planner type of person. Usually mapping out a good five years in advance. 

But I have found that it is easy to slip into depression when I'm isolated. When I returned from going home over Spring Break, I was given a 14-day quarantine for going out of town. 

That new rule came into effect while I was gone. 

Sitting here in this rental for 14 days starts getting a little...weird. 

I started sleeping... a lot. 

At first, I just chalked it up to needing some sleep. But I realized it was more likely due to depression and excessive sleep will make it worse. 

That's why I started using the whiteboard. 

I have only met a few people in town and won't be interacting much since we can't have social gatherings, including church meetings. 

So with the help of my visual brain (whiteboard), I have gotten back on track with my fitness plan, gardening schedule, financial mapping, relocation efforts, and all the other tasks on my plate.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit to having a few meltdowns thinking about my family.

Returning to Work

I was released from quarantine and returned to work last Monday. It was nice getting out of the house. I found myself reluctant to go "home" at 5pm because there was no reason to go.

I'll continue focusing on my new job and see what unfolds around me. I told my realtor to lower the asking price on my house by $25,000 to see if it spurs anything. 

My mom sent me a text yesterday that she was furloughed from her teaching job. She's 68 years old and trying to figure out how to pay bills. 

So in the middle of feeling paralyzed, I'm trying to figure out how I can help my mom. 

I see the national unemployment rate skyrocketing so I'm thankful for my job. 

And I'm thankful that my job put me into a decent rental property at no cost to me. I got lucky and they waived the rent for three months to give me time to find a place for my family.

So for now, I only have a house payment down south. But come May 31st, there will be an additional rent payment due where I am staying now. 

I don't see a way that finances will handle that extra burden at this point. 

On the Gardening Side

Since it takes my mind off the negatives, I enjoyed moving some of my starts into bigger containers.

Medicinal Calendulas

I'm still not ready to move them outside. Locals have told me to watch a certain mountain top nearby. 

When all the snow is gone off the top, that's when it is safe to plant in the ground. 

So my plants are still in the back mudroom for now. I moved my medicinal flowers out of the barrel trough and into butter containers.

When they get too big for that, it should be time to transfer them outside. 

I transferred the cabbage starts from the rootbeer cans to the trough for more room to spread. 

And because I ran out of room indoors, I experimented with putting three starts outside in the ground. I have no idea how hardy these little cabbages are but they sprouted so quickly, they might do okay. 

I also received the gift of some old hay to start a potato garden. So I spread out two small bags of potatoes on the ground and covered them up. 

Continuing to Recon

I'm still listening to my Baofeng to see what is going on locally. I also walk a 2-3 mile trek through the nearby neighborhoods to get some exercise. 

This allows me to watch for houses that are For Rent while learning the local street names. 

I enjoy a nice level walk but enjoy these steep mountain roads even better. I can see this being a permanent routine given how good of a cardio workout I get huffing and puffing up and down these roads.

Speaking of which, the sun is starting to set and I haven't been out of the house today. I'm going to throw some shoes on and get a quick walk in before dark.

Our local Air Evac helicopter was sitting on top of our hospital when I came back from a walk the other day. With the flags flying nearby, I couldn't resist taking a few photos.

Thanks for listening. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Greenland Movie Trailer 2020 - Add More Stress to Your Daily Pandemic Routine

Need a Little More Stress?

Greenland Movie Trailer

I noticed all the trailer previews for this movie were removed on YouTube for copyright violations so I removed the preview here. That's the last thing I need right now.

Sorry for any inconvenience. Looks like it will be a really great movie. 

There is still a copy listed here: