Mick Fisch

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since Jun 24, 2013
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Recent posts by Mick Fisch

Ann Torrence wrote:
... For mittens, I would make myself a pair with a thrummed lining, which is a Scandinavian technique for incorporating unspun wool into the underside of a garment. I've never heard of anyone thrumming a sweater, but I see no reason why it could not be done. Smaller objects like hats and mittens are more typical. Might not be a good idea for socks, but could make some wicked slippers. I should try that. ...


I used that technique, but with different material. Instead of unspun wool I used strips cut from old bed sheets.



I've learned something new!  Woo Hoo!  What a great concept.  I'm excited to tell my wife and daughters about this.  They are the knitters in the family.
I have noted in the past that "common property" is often very poorly maintained and can become a dumping ground because it doesn't belong to anybody in particular.  Unless there is a person identified as responsible for it, usually no one takes the responsibility.  

This is Pauls site, not mine and not 'common property'.  He gets to make the rules here, simply because it's his site.  This is just common sense.  If I come to your house, even if I hang out there a lot, I don't have the right to remodel it or demand that you remodel it.  If I do, I am being presumptuous and rude, and in some circles am deserving of a whuppin'.  

Try going to Vegas and arguing against house rules.   I'll probably read about you in the paper if you get too loud and insistant.  That's what the publishing standards of this site are, the house rules.

I don't always agree with the publishing standards of this site, but the purpose of this site is not to agree with my tender sensibliities.  It is to provide a forum for discussions, to be moderated by the rules set up by the house.  Play or put your cards down and go to another establishment.

Rock On, Paul!!!
Thank you for the probation feature.  I recognize  and appreciate the need for an umpire here.  I have made posts a time or two years ago that quietly disappeared and I was left wondering "What did I say that could possibly have been offensive?".  With this probation feature I have the opportunity to learn where I am out of sink with the umpire.  I may even be able to try to justify my position, although from a position of weakness, since it's the umpires website.  That's ok.  If I have a website, I expect to be the final arbiter on what belongs there.  

I just made a post that I was notified needed editing because it recognized value in a product that isn't organic or better.  Seems to me an arbitrary standard, I am firstly concerned with what works, and then I take from those choices organic or bettter.  HOWSOMEVER  I am not making posts on my website, I am making posts on someone elses website and recognize their perfect right to control the comments and set the standards.  I won't even argue if their standard is justified, because it doesn't matter.  Their ball, their rules.  Because of this I will adjust my comment and neither rage against some editing nor go away in a huff.

I appreciate the value of this site, even if it isn't always in accordance with the way I think the world ought to be (which amazingly enough, reflects the real world in this instance).  It may be that my arbitrary view of things isn't quite correct and needs adjusting.  Point to ponder.

Should I have underneath those felted wool pants a silk pant (or some other thin comfy fiber) and should it be tight or loose?



Loose is better, definitely.  I think the reason long johns are tight is more to do with looking fit, stylish and hot in that winter outfit than for warmth.  If the long johns crotch is down too low you definitely need a bigger size!  I've found that an old pair of sweat pants work really well, if my pants are big enough and I'm not going to get wet.

As a funny aside, my brother borrowed my wetsuit (one piece, full lenth bottom and tank top top) to go skiing one day  because it was -20 F (about -30 C) and windy.  He wore the wetsuit against his skin and came back and reported the wet suit was wonderful and he was the warmest guy on the mountain.... until he had to pee.  There was no opening in the front to pee.  In order to pee he had to disrobe completely down to around his knees, on top of the mountain, in the wind, exposing his tender,  moist skin.  He said at that point he nearly froze to death and was pretty sure he was peeing icicles.  He got so cold that he said he never really warmed up again.  The lesson is, the little things matter, like how are you going to perform when nature calls.
This is a great thread!

Back when I lived in Alaska and had a full household, I found that wool just worked better than anything else overall.  My kids and I were all pretty hard on clothes and I found that wool did the job well and survived to get passed on to the next kid, while a lot of synthetics didn't.  When I needed outdoor gear, I went to a military surplus joint.  Some of these surplus shops are really upscale.  You don't want that kind of store.  You want the place that looks kind of like a garage/ rummage sale.  The international military (much of what I bought was german or russian military cast off) has lots of pretty good quality wool clothing and I could get it for near thrift shop prices.  

Wool protects even when wet, wears well, and has the great benefit of not turning into shrink wrap when it gets hit by a spark (like synthetics do).

For feet, the gold standard is bunny boots.  the newer style is rubber, but the old style (which I used to wear comfortably at -50 to -60 degrees fahrenheit) had a hard felt outside (the bottoms were leather and way too slick on ice).  Snow mobile boots with felt liners are what most people could afford.  Get an extra pair or to of liners, so you don't end up with wet feet.  Get them a little roomy (not sloppy) so you can wear an extra pari of heavy socks.  If you can get them or make them, mukluks are wonderful.

The old time athabaskans in central Alaska often wore a big set of heavily insulated thumbless outer mittens on a cord around their neck adjusted to where their hands would be normally.  When their hands weren't in use, they kept them  (maybe with secondary gloves) in these big mittens.  When they needed to use their hands, they pulled them out, did their work, and put them back into the big outer mittens.  This is a great idea, in many situations.

For stopping the wind, I have nothing against leather, but it can be pretty heavy.  Another alternative, especially for the vegan crowd, might be oil cloth.  Here are a couple of links for how to.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqjfwhirsVo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvZczKZfvF4
or waxed cloth, this example is 90% beeswax and 10% parafin  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6G8MG8Qfhg

Note:  I haven't made oilcloth, but I understand it can take up to a few months to get to the point it isn't sticky, so best to prepare it in the summer, let the sun hit it to help the oil polymerize.

A good hood is better than a hat or scarf.  

Looking at old history.  I've often felt that the old medieval hood that covered your head and shoulders but was not part of the coat was a great idea.  Also, everyone in the world used cloaks, which is basically just a blanket with hooks to let it hold around your neck,  part can be brought forward to form a hood.  They didn't do this because it didn't work.  In our current time frame though, for a man (particularly) to wear a cloak is a visual announcement "Hi!  I'm either an overdramatic theater major or I'm a bit bonkers".  This is unfortunate, because in some settings it is a very practical piece of gear.

The pair programming idea is great.  My wife and a friend of hers both had problems keeping their houses clean as the mothers of several yound children.  They would go over to the other persons house sometimes and help them clean their house.  It was pretty easy to clean the other gals house, and easy for her to clean yours.  Also, when the other person was there, it made the owner of the house clean also.  

I also have a problem with procrastination, mainly due to three problems.  

1.  I have so many things I want to do there isn't time to do them all, so my efforts are scattered and often ineffective
2.  My energy level at this time of my life is simply much less than when I was younger.  My 'want to' is that of a man in his mid twenties.  My 'can do' is that of a man in his mid sixties.  In my case, it's a pretty major energy difference.
3.  Often my ideas are not completely thought through, causing lots of false starts.
4.  I'm surrounded by people I love who are caught in a cycle of Youtube, online movies and video games.  There is an inertia there that makes it easy to set down by them and switch off.  With my wife, this is due to real, limiting health factors, but I have a feeling that a large part of the health factors are due to long term inactivity.

Of course there are ways to deal with the first problem, set priorities.  Still learning on that one.  Often I make priorities and life demands those priorities shift.  So, it's a work in progress on a moving target.  Keep pecking away.  

The second problem is bigger and harder to deal with.  My solution is to simply start reducing what I'm trying to do until I get to the point that my energy level can handle it (once again, priorities).  Bill Cosby once said that his grandpa only tried to complete one task a day.  (This was back in the day, when Bill was the seen as the coolest guy ever rather than a creepy sexual predator).  I'm doing things to like exercise, etc, but it's unlikely I'll ever be 25 again, in this life anyway.  There is some need to adjust to reality.

The third problem may not be a problem.  Rather it is a process of discovery.  If I'm trying to do something totally new, I should realize that repeated failures are normal.  I can reduce this by going over things further in my head and on paper and examining the successes of others doing similar things.  So maybe the extra time that I think is wasted, isn't.

The last problem is the one I'm thinking on the most.  If I shut down the electronics, I'm an overbearing asshole.  If I don't, well, things don't change.  I guess what I need to do is ignore them and come up with things that are so cool they will pull them out of their fantasy worlds.  It's all a challenge.  I'm not sure I will win it, but I guess that's what life is about.  A game you always win is boring.  I like a challenge, so I need to readjust my thinking and take this as my challenging game.
6 days ago
This is one of those things that simply must be done, just for the sake of the 'Coolness Factor'.  Kind of like the tiger trap in disneys 'Swiss Family Robinson' (It's gotta have a tiger in the pit, because, well, that's the whole point!)

When I was a kid in southern california my grandma took me to a park where they had walkways covered with grape vines growing up both sides and over the top, making a layer a foot or so deep.  After running around for a while in the walkways I climbed up on top and started playing around on top.  I couldn't run easily up there because there were lots of small gaps, holes and weak spots (hence in the pictures posted here, the walkways are stone laying on the roots).  It did carry my weight easily, even though it was just an arch.  I was up there for a long time (probably a half hour or more) before my grandma saw me and threatened to beat me within an inch of my life if I didn't get down immediately.  

From that experience, and a huge old grape arbor we had behind a house in west Texas, I think one could train grapevines to make a bridge pretty easily.  I would want to run some vines up at an angle to form intermediate supports, like in a suspension bridge if the span was too big, but I don't see a problem if you took about 10 years before you tried foot traffic and laid down some kind of walk way.  Maybe a woven willow mat as the walk way, maybe even rooted at the ends.  

It would be even more cool if you intemixed your species, using trees and vines.  Maybe pollarded cottonwood or willow underneath as a support post, growing in the wet low spot, with the new growth from the cottonwood/willow trained outside, around the bridge.  

Since a lot of trees, as mentioned by others, will grow together where they touch (especially if  encouraged) you could use cross growing branches to make a kind of grid structure at the sides that would provide a lot more strength for the weight, although I'm not sure how long they have to grow together to gain sufficient strength, (once again, probably a ten year project).
6 days ago
My grandma didn't have cavities and she said they were really rare in her community when she was a girl.  (Of course, part of it may have been because they were dirt poor farmers in eastern Arizona and couldn't afford much sugar).  She said everyone there used salt or baking soda on a rag to brush their teeth.  One day when she was a girl, the school teacher brought in tooth brushes and tooth paste for everyone and explained their use.  At lunchtime all the kids ate the toothpaste (as a sweet) and went back to salt on a rag.  

I prefer baking soda.  I read a study years ago (probably in the 80'S) where they found it worked better than any toothpaste.
1 week ago
I'm in a similar place in my life, although probably closer to needing to implement the move.  

My wife and I are currently evaluating what we want.  We've narrowed it down to a place with good rainfall and groundwater, near a large llake or river, with all 4 seasons but not too cold, totally isolated 40 acres within easy walking distance of major shopping and good employment, with gas, electric, good internet and cell phone coverage, central to where our kids live, and of course we want the land free.  

Since finding all of that is obviously impossible we are now in the tough stage of figuring what we really need (not much), what we want most, and what we are both willing to give up.  Since things work a whole lot better if you are genuinely united, this discussion is going to be ongoing for another couple of years as we move out there and rent while we make short trips to evaluate the options.  

For us, the location relative to our married children is really important, but they are still at that mobile stage so maybe our presence will be part of what decides their final location.  

I personally mind cold weather less than I do really hot weather. (I can always add clothes, but I find consideration of others eyes limits how much I should take off.  I am know longer young, tight and beautiful.  As my kids say, some things can't be unseen).  

For anyone looking for inexpensive land near reasonable employment centers in the mid west, we are in Evansville/ Mt Vernon Indiana is Zone 6, on the Ohio River and about 36 inches of rain a year.  I find the summers here brutally hot and humid, the spring and fall glorious, and the winter a couple of months long, with some cold days.  We are leaving mainly because all my kids seem to be ending up out west, where both my wife and mine's families are.  

One of  the prettier areas I've been was Arizona along the Mogollon Rim.  Places like Pine or Strawberry.  Lots of pine and oak forest, bear, elk, all 4 seasons.  Ground water is sometimes problematic though, so look that over closely.  
3 weeks ago
My sister had a friend who confided to her, "I have a Gift, I can see the faults in others".  She really thought this was an unusual and special talent.  My sister laughed at her and told her everyone could see the flaws, the trick was to see the good parts.  I have seen many young people delighted with their 'Gift' that they could see the faults in others.  

One of the more annoying things about a mid to late teenager is that they realize they can see how screwed up their parents and leaders are and feel like they can really help them by pointing out how screwed up they are.  This makes the youth feel pretty good about themselves.  I know it made me feel pretty good, until my father educated me.  Most people eventually figure out that it takes no talent to point out someone elses mistakes.  

Those who DO ACT will make mistakes that those who DO NOT ACT never have to confront.  The practice is generally a lot messier than the theory, because life is complex and everything is interrelated.  Eventually this leads most people to become less sure they know all the answers.

At one time, there was a thing called 'manners' and 'respect' that society as a whole enforced that made young idealists less likely to tell their elders they were full of shit, at least to their faces.  That is mostly gone by the way now.  The anonimity of the internet has helped that.  The purpose of 'manners' in every society is to allow people to interact without violence.  Generally, the more violent a society, the more they emphasize manners.  I see the young idealists don't understand this yet, but at some point most learn it, often at the hands of another young idealist.  Sadly, some never learn.  One of the few rules that is still somewhat in place is 'boys don't hit girls'.  This might allow a mouthy young gal to escape the 'laying on of hands' that a mouthy guy might learn from.

Considering the bag of flaming dog turds we're handing off to coming generations, maybe they should feel damn entitled to a few scraps like maybe some clean air, water, and food.  



When I was in my teens in the late 60's and early 70's the pollution levels (at least in the US, which is where I live), were actually a LOT worse than they are now.  We have picked up the concept, finally, as a society that we live in a closed system, and that what you dump in the commons (air, water, etc) doesn't magically disappear.  Now we are trying to figure out exactly what to do.  Our entire society is still not on board, but we are gaining a little traction.

I agree that we have screwed up our food way more than when I was young.  The reason we have done this is the same as for most human error, Greed, Pride and Arrogance on the part of an active minority who seek to make money, and Laziness, Apathy and Ignorance on the part of the majority.