David Fraleigh

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since Nov 20, 2013
retired from working in a library.  I have lived in rural setting near Gainesville, Fl. for past 40 years...  Built my house when I was 20.  Enjoy animals, gardening,,.. "country living".
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Recent posts by David Fraleigh

I live in North Florida in a house I built about 45 years ago. Understandably because of my location ( in the woods next to a swampy area) I have always had a problem with the humidity here.  Every summer mold and mildew quickly grow on my furniture, clothes, etc....  There is invariably a musty odor in the house.  I have learned to live with it and it really doesn't bother me...  I know that if I used an air conditioner or a dehumidifier that I could control it but I prefer not to as I want to keep my electric bills low (they generally run about $20/month).  How I manage to stay quite cool during the summer is by opening all the doors and windows at night and then closing them up during the day.  Recently I began thinking about what might lessen my mildew problem..  When I built this house I just used concrete block construction on a slab with no interior drywall...  I even made my interior walls and kitchen cabinets out of concrete block.  I actually like the look of it and certainly liked the simplicity and cost of it.  (termite, fire and moisture proof.)  I live in a flood plain where I might be subject to about a foot high of flooding every 50 years or so..  The thought that all I really would have to do if that ever happens (it hasn't yet) is just wash the place out with no damage to the walls or slab floor.   I recently helped a friend nearby whose house was flooded tear out ruined drywall, flooring, insulation,.. etc...  a real nightmare!!!)...  Back to the mildew,...  I have been wondering whether my lack of drywall is contributing to the mildew problem..  What made me think that is the name of it ..., drywall..., Why is it called that..   Does it serve as a moisture barrier? Does it keep moisture from condensing on the colder cement blocks?  There is no stucco or paint on my blocks and I poured styrofoam pellets into the voids within the blocks as insulation but I suspect that moisture and humidity must flow pretty freely into and through the blocks...  Would it make any difference to paint of stucco them.?.. I can't imagine it would do much to keep the humidity down as i open all the doors and windows every night...    Just some thoughts,...  I wonder how those of you who live in humid areas manage,...  and how you do it without air conditioning???
3 months ago
It is not deer that I am repelling but instead squirrels and horses that greatly enjoy eating the springtime shoots that come up in my various plantings of bamboo.  I had previously tried wrapping them in wire, painting them with commercial repellents,.. etc., etc...  Nothing really worked.  Finally I settled on making a slurry out of used kitty litter and painting it on the bamboo occasionally with a mop ...  It works very well and costs me nothing...  I think it must smell of cats which are natural predators of many creatures.  To make it easy I have a five gallon bucket that I have attached to a two wheel golf-bag caddy so I can wheel it around without much effort.  I initially would mix the slurry up with a drywall mixing element  attached to a drill but found that not really necessary.  I have been using it for about five years with considerable success.  Luckily I have family and friends who have cats and who are very happy for me to have the used litter...  I add water to make it into a consistency similar to mayonaise,,,,   I really don't put much on to be effective...  I think it works in two ways...  The smell of predators,...  and the smell of excrement,..., both of which are repellent to animals..
9 months ago
Well into my late twenties I spent much of my time barefoot.  I was raised in South Florida and it was easy.  In a subtle and sometimes urgent way it made me more "aware" of where I was. I really didn't mind the rocks, thorns, toe stubs, burned feet... etc..   I remember that during a yearly medical physical that the doctor expressed amazement and shock and how my feet "looked". (i guess they were scarred and calloused and probably a bit "splayed"..  I did everything in bare feet at the time including clearing land.  He said that my feet reminded him of the feet of Haitians during his times of volunteering down there.  Anyway I am now in my sixties and still long for that contact with the earth.  I must say that wearing Crocs is the next best thing to being barefoot.  They are extremely light and "breathable".  Easy to clean,..  Slip on and off in an instant.  The Chinese croc knockoffs cost me just $2.50 each pair at the local flea market.  (they easily last me a year)...  I even wore them daily when I worked in a local library..    Between my then barefoot and now Croc periods I wore Birkenstocks.  They were pretty good but the Crocs are really the ultimate in "barefoot" living...  I absolutely hate "lace up", constraining footware.
1 year ago
Some might take exception to this idea but the best thing to do if possible is to let the stuff that was cut dry out and then see if you can burn it off...Then seed.  I cleared about 5 acres of brush recently by chopping it down by hand and with a bush-hog.  A week later I was able to burn it all off.  The absolute best consequence of this is that it actually killed off many of the plants that had been cut down there and kept them from resprouting.   Of course,..  be careful to contain the fire. Pay attention to wind and moisture levels and make sure it doesn't get away from you...  Also be careful to keep the fires away from trees that you don't want to damage...  (it doesn't take much heat around the base of their trunks to seriously injure and ultimately kill hardwood trees) One of the best tools for controlling fires  is what I call a "flapper".., I made one from a 2' by 2' piece of conveyer belt attached to the end of a pole.   My son visited me yesterday and commented on how beautiful the converted area turned out to be..   No more tangled thicket,..'
1 year ago
A friend of mine inherited her farm from her grandmother.  The only condition mentioned in the will regarding this inheritance was that "she never plant wisteria on the property"...  When I heard this I thought it amusing however since then I have learned the wisdom of it the hard way.  It may start slowly but after a while it will take over.    I have it in a few places on my property and it is a constant struggle trying to control it.  It has a lovely short lived flower but it definitely is a plant to avoid having....  I was recently pleased to see one of my horses eat it (although I think I have read that it is toxic to animals).  I thought he might help me control it,,,
1 year ago
After years of not having problems with duckweed on our half-acre pond it suddenly came up and covered it entirely this year... We could not even see the water because the covering was so complete. Our geese wouldn't even go into the pond.. After various attempts at trying to rake it off we finally settled on making a thin 20 foot long floating contraption that we pulled back and forth over the pond which would "rake" the duckweed to one end of the pond where we have a drain that the duckweed would get sucked out through... It has taken us many hours of work to do it but we finally have the pond looking beautiful again... (and we are going to be careful to not let it establish i1self again... The floating contraption consists of a 20 foot length of PVC pipe capped on both ends which is then nestled into a very light weight piece of metal that serves to catch the duckweed and pull it along... The PVC pipe by itself isn't effective as the duckweed flows under and around it..... The contraction is pulled from both ends so that it pulls the duckweed towards the drain ... When it is pulled back to the other end of the pond we just pull it from one end so that it goes back right through the duckweed... It uses a lot of rope to do this and I found that Harbor Freight sells 600' of a floating 1/4 rope that worked perfectly for the job...
5 years ago