Pruning apple trees on the homestead

Apple tree pruning on the Palouse
Before

It’s December and winter has set in on the Palouse. Time to prune the apple trees. I didn’t prune them last year, so there will be a bit more to do this year. My secret weapon is a reciprocating saw with a pruning blade.

Reciprocating saw and blades for pruning

I use a corded saw but a cordless one would be better for this job, maybe I’ll get one at some point. It takes about 3 hours over two days to do one tree. I am absolutely not a pruning expert and I know I over-prune, but my goal is to get it done. There is always something to do, even on a small acreage. But the sun is out and the air is crisp.

One down, three to go
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Frugal Entertainment: Thanksgiving 2017

A PS3 with a 32 inch TV is just fine for some co-op gaming
Getting value for your entertainment dollar

As the number of internet content providers expand, the choices for how to spend money on entertainment have gotten dizzying; Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Amazon. On the path to FI it’s critically important to minimize recurring costs, so just signing up for all the subscriptions is not an option. We cut cable 7 years ago and haven’t looked back. But we still want to watch some TV including college and NFL football, Game of Thrones, American Pickers and Brooklyn Nine Nine.

Over the Air Network TV: Upfront ~$323, recurring zero

Continue reading “Frugal Entertainment: Thanksgiving 2017”

Refurbish your sneakers to save $3,991

Choosing sneakers

Ever wondered why so many sneakers are white? It’s a strange choice for something that will be in close contact with dirt. Unless you are selling them. I stopped buying white shoes a long time ago, and now buy only ‘earth’ colors. Recently I have been buying Merrell ‘stretch’ shoes that allow you to just step into them. No laces and no need to bend over or sit down when putting them on. Of course I get them at the lowest price I can before and after the purchase.

Time to clean them
Dirty sneakers. Merrell stretch shoes. Clean your sneakers
Not too dirty, but not OK to wear in public

So either you’ve had them awhile, or you ‘stepped in something’ on the homestead. I am pretty good about wearing dedicated shoes for dirty jobs or hiking. But inevitable they do get dirty. I have seen people use washing machines, but that’s more wear and tear on them than I like. Instead I have a pretty simple way to clean them. Continue reading “Refurbish your sneakers to save $3,991”

2017 garden review

sunrise, gardening, Palouse
Sunrise on the Palouse
Lessons from 2016

Garlic, zucchini squash, potatoes, and basil were big winners in 2016. The big losers were tomatoes and cucumbers. The tomatoes just dropped dead in front of my eyes due to mice/pocket gophers eating the roots. I did not plant enough cucumber seeds to account for losses. Green beans and snap peas were OK but I lost too many to birds or rodents. Asparagus were OK but I am waiting for my patch to expand. Strawberries were Ok but with too many losses due to mice. Vermin are the biggest problem for the inthewheat garden. I definitely need to pay more attention to controlling them. Based on the tomato roots getting eaten, I decided to plant tomatoes in a garbage can for 2017. Continue reading “2017 garden review”