Kathleen Sanderson

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since Feb 28, 2009
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Recent posts by Kathleen Sanderson

You might take a look at the camp kitchen setups used by people who do horse packing.  They would give you some ideas.

3 days ago
I made (mostly by hand) cloaks for all three of my daughters when we were somewhat involved in historical reenacting, and for a friend who had painful shoulders and thought it might be easier to put a cloak on than a sweater.  I used heavy wool fabric, ends of bolts from a shop that makes expensive braided wool rugs, and they will turn a light rain.  They are very pretty (my old computer died, and I don't have a picture of the cloaks on this computer, sorry), and feel wonderful to wear, but...for all the reasons mentioned above, they seldom get used.  If you have work to do, a coat is a lot more practical.  If you are sitting inside and need to be wrapped up to stay warm, a cloak can work.  If you want to look cool, a cloak is great.  And if you are adventuring and need to wear your blanket, the cloak can work.  It could also be a top layer over a warm coat.  But most of the time, you are better off with a coat.

I've seen that video on cloaks before, and agree with him about the hoods.  A separate hood with a capelet is much more practical most of the time than an attached hood.  The only exception might be in extreme Arctic cold, where you don't want any more gaps to let cold air in than you can possibly help, but even there, I think the separate hoods could be better than the attached hood.

1 week ago
An easy solution is to use one of the black rubber pans that you can buy at feed stores -- rubber, not plastic.  Actually, if you get two of them, you can just swap them out each day and let the frozen one thaw before taking it out again the next day.  But even if you only have one, you can drop those black rubber pans on the ground upside down and stomp on them to break the ice out; it does no damage to the pan.  This method is safe, cheap, and easy, and you don't have to worry about getting power to the chicken coop.
3 months ago

C Murphy wrote:This issue is actually one of the factors I'm considering when deciding where to buy property. Where I live is mild, I could probably spend 1/4 the time gathering, transporting and chopping wood as colder places. I'm fine doing that work now but in 20-30 years, less so. I have friends looking at properties in the Yukon for the cheap prices. I look at it and see much of my time being gobbled up with both heating and food preservation, instead of being able to eat fresh from the garden almost year-round. That is worth money to me.

This is exactly why I decided not to move back to Alaska, where I'm from, after my grandmother died eleven years ago.  At the time, I could probably have managed the firewood issue, but I was already in my fifties and knew it wouldn't get any easier.  I still have family up there, but they have their own wood to get in (and aren't getting any younger themselves), so I didn't want to need to depend on them.  As it is, we still need heat half the year in Kentucky, but once we are through insulating the old house, that will improve quite a bit.  And where my family is in Alaska, there's usually snow on the ground for close to seven months of the year.  Here, if it sticks for three weeks, that's more than usual.

Location is definitely something that people need to take into account -- climate, elevation, availability of firewood, are all important things to think about.
4 months ago
I haven't read the whole thread -- no time right now -- so this may already have been said.  There IS a lot of work involved in heating with wood.  A huge amount of work, if you are cutting and hauling and splitting your own.  It used to be just a part of life, a given in the daily and yearly routines, because there was no option.  If you wanted to survive the winter, you had to have firewood.  Then coal became available, in some places, if you could afford to buy it.  And then over time other heating fuels because available.  All of them swap our money for someone else's labor, equipment, capital costs, etc.  If you find that you are better off economically buying your firewood from someone else, or even using other fuels for heat, there is no shame in that.  Especially if, like me and many others, you find that dealing with firewood is more difficult as you get older.


I personally do not trust our supply chains, and I don't think anyone should.  Use those alternate sources of heat while you have them.  But be prepared to go back to heating with wood if the supply chains break!  Have the stoves and the equipment necessary to get your own firewood in, and heat your home (and cook your food, and heat your water).  Anyone who does not now have the ability to heat with wood (or with coal or natural gas, if those are resources available to you), should be actively working on fixing that gap in their ability to take care of themselves and their families.  (I would be leery about getting too dependent on things like home-generated methane, unless you are in a warm climate and willing to really scale back your energy needs; generating large quantities of methane, sufficient to keep up a modern lifestyle, just about requires heavy equipment to move the large amounts of material required.)

We heat our house and our water with electricity, but I have the ability to heat at least a couple of rooms with a small wood stove (and could cook on it).  I have the ability to heat some water, at least some of the time, with the sun.  I have the ability to cook with the sun (part of the time -- it's cloudy a lot here), or on the little wood stove, or in the back yard on a rocket stove burning a few handfuls of twigs.  None of those backups are terribly expensive, but we will probably be very thankful to have them someday.
4 months ago

Lynn Wilson wrote:Mmm, that's a real challenge! I can't do it with my own production/foraging but I am trying to include mostly locally produced organically grown foods. This is quite available here, but expensive!

I will plan on extending my home-grown usage this year, and work toward this. Biggest challenge is a husband who prefers rice to any other starch (in northern Vermont) and in his 60s is regressing to us teen years food preferences, ie canned chili, canned hash, limited veg. Complains about the smell if I cook what I like. Very boring!

Thanks Skandi for this challenge, and everyone else for getting me out of my rut!

Lynn, my mother has a similar problem with my stepfather.  She mostly gave up; she cooks for herself, and shares with him if he decides he wants what she fixed.  Otherwise she lets him fix the junk he likes, which sounds similar to your dad's preferences, with the addition of burritos.
4 months ago
I'm going to have to come back and read through this thread -- it's late, and I'm too tired to have good comprehension on a technical topic like this right now.  But I did want to say that my approach is to go *around* my household systems, rather than trying to power everything.  I've bought rechargeable camping lights, fire starters, a small fan, and other odds and ends (I've been surprised at how much rechargeable stuff is available now) like little pumps for bucket showers; I also got a small compressor-run trucker-style frig/freezer (it's the size of an ice chest), and a solar-powered pump for the well.  I've got a solar-powered battery charger, two folding camping solar panels, and one regular solar panel to run the well pump and the small frig.  I have one battery specifically for the solar setup, a battery with my solar fence charger, and plan to get one or two more marine batteries.  I'm not making any attempt at all to power my regular household stuff with solar (and I have backups for everything, because it's cloudy a lot here).  I just figured out our essential needs -- water, light, keeping some food cool, a fan in the summer, and keeping at least a phone charged for communications/information/entertainment -- and that's all we'll power.  I have other ways to cook and heat the house.  I'm not hooking into the house wiring at all, which makes things much simpler (and a lot of this just plugs directly together, like the rechargeable stuff to the camping solar panels).  
4 months ago
This won't work for everyone, but IF you happen to have a way to access the sales that universities sometimes have at the end of the year, you might be able to pick up a good microscope pretty cheap.  My sister works at OSU (Oregon State) and some years ago picked up a couple for (if I recall correctly) around fifty bucks each.  She kept one and gave the other to our other sister for homeschooling her kids.  I don't know if you have to be an employee, or how often such sales happen, but it's something that could be worth checking out if the opportunity arises.
4 months ago

Dave de Basque wrote:Karen and Kathleen, re the colloidal silver... I used that years ago and found it pretty effective at the time. I got a good brand recommended to me by someone who knew, and later closed her shop. I've heard that the shelf life can be variable depending on how it's made, and that there are a lot of low-quality products out there. I wonder if you could tell us about your setups or your way to ensure you're getting a quality product? It seems like the active principle might be pretty similar to CDS, and I love to have more things in my arsenal!

All that I've used has either been purchased, or was made by a friend (she has a birth defect causing malformation of the tubes both sides of her bladder -- upstream and downstream -- and has constant infections, which she treats with cranberry, colloidal silver, and when it gets bad enough, antibiotics -- she's frequently in the hospital on IV antibiotics).  To be honest, I've been concerned about quality and shelf-life of the purchased products, and am not sure how to be certain we are getting a good product, but it did seem to work when I needed it.  The brand I've currently got is called Silver Wings, 500 ppm.  If anyone can vouch for and recommend a different brand, I'd be glad to know about it.
4 months ago