Deb Rebel

gardener
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since Dec 23, 2013
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books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
Old Geekina and all around bodger with some engineering training in there somewhere. Been gardening since 1966. Like things like growing unusual things, playing with passive solar and solar heaters/cookers etc. I also speak clutch... heh. Been playing with yarn and beads since about then too, 1966. Can make torchon lace.
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Recent posts by Deb Rebel

They like to get me in the back of the leg, between upper calf and bend in the knee. The little buggers will land, spend about a minute, then bite. If you chase them off before they bite, they will circle right back to the exact same spot, and sit for that minute then bite. They will come back repeatedly if you keep chasing them off, until they get their sit and bite.

I have had middling success in chasing them with cutting a fresh cayenne pepper and gently rubbing some on my skin. Carefully, not too much as I don't want to blister. Usually they have an hour to an hour and a half before and during local high noon then usually go hide for the rest of the day again. Early morning when it's cool they hide too. They come out when the day starts hotting up. Or at least the ones I met in Front Range of Colorado and the OK Panhandle.

(I'm scratching the back of my knees and calves just THINKING about this... grrrrrr)
7 months ago
My front yard has a 'green fence' for  privacy about people looking in, and it happens to be fruit trees that give me fruit. My opuntia (cactus) collection is decorative, a great deterrent for the neighbor kids NOT to climb the fence, and provides me paddles and fruits to eat. And so on. A tree is the classical stacking function item... provides shade... may help block a view... gives me fruit to eat... holds soil in place... provides habitat... area microclimate for raising certain things here because it provides filtered shade and hail protection. I will use a tree to describe the idea to non-permies.
7 months ago

Devin Lavign wrote:I highly suggest paulownia trees. They grow very fast (fastest growing hardwood tree) and have giant leaves. Great for shading. They are also a tree you can cut down and it will regrow.

You can see a full progress slide show of paulownia growth here http://www.dragontrees.com/paulownia-growth-gallery.html



Do beware. Pawlonia have issues with altitude... I wanted to grow some badly and found that I'm about 2000 feet too far up for them, they like to be below 2100 feet. If it wasn't for that I'd have them growing all over here. They are one I can endorse as worth planting.

I built a trellis box on south side of my place, 12' high, 24' wide, and 8' deep. I grow snake gourds (long gourds) and plant one every four feet along the frame, at each corner and one on each side. The side towards the house I leave open. These grow fast. The fruits will hang down inside the trellis box. I can also set a few chairs inside there after they've gotten some height, and enjoy shady leafy.

They can be notorious to get started but are well worth it. The trellis is free standing from the house, but helps provide shade.
7 months ago
Crocheted with yarn rag rugs tend to wear the yarn and that will be the fail point. My mother made tons of rag rugs from 1.5" strips sewn together to make a huge ball... then had a crochet hook dad whittled out from a piece of wooden mop handle. (Q plus sized crochet hook). Just keep working and you have a choice of round or oval (start the curl immediately, or do a straight strip then start going around and around). Used up tons of otherwise worn out or stained useless clothing and could always be added to to make it bigger.
7 months ago
I have a dryer and the timer started eating knobs. Then it quit turning. I had purchased a $30 replacement module and it took me about 10 minutes to replace. (and a broken toe, I pulled it out and set it down  with one of the small feet squarely on my left big toe). It works well. Life expectancy for that timer dying, 3-5 years. I nursed mine along farther (pliers) before replace. A lot of people have that bit die and buy a new one ($300-500). In fact he has an identical one on the junk trailer and just made an offer to them to buy it, they'll let me know Monday, I offered $25. I tried it, that module is gone as it won't turn. Hm...

In this case the life of the item plus relative cost versus replacement plus life left in the item, well worth repairing (I bought that dryer because I broke a bone in my foot and couldn't use my clothesline...)

I have two soy pots-these are used to grind, heat, and turn soybeans or similar into 'nut milk'. I had to take one apart once and completely dry it out. Most of the electronics are encased in resin. If something does die that isn't simple (replacing power cord or a few solderable connections within) that pot is not practical to attempt to repair it. You either hope to have warranty still on it, or you just buy a new one.

The cooling fan for my laptop recently went. It was ailing and I noticed that things were warming up (kick in turbo cool and it didn't roar to life anymore either). $24. Simple dissection to take out the old one, clean a lot of heat sinks within, and install the new one. I'm well past warranty. I've also added a new keyboard to this. I should get another 3-5 years out of this system, and a few minor repairs means not having to find money for a new one. So, it's called justifying the repairs against the life/service already given and the life/service expected afterwards. 5 years from now, a dying fan might not be worth replacing....

In the case of the pot, it sounds like useful life to repair cost may be too high. I'd look into replacing the pot, with a 'better' one. If a few years have passed there may be something better on the market. Or, is there an alternative that's more ecologically sound (a metal pot you can put on the burn barrel top of a RMH to heat water) instead?

7 months ago
You know you're a permie when:

You saved TP roll cardboards all winter and cut ends and folded and made starter pots for spring
You have about five ways to cut up and use 2 liter soda bottles for starting plants and useful stuff about the house and shop

Gallon jugs are so useful (water totes with top cut out, bottoms for pot catchment, open top for collecting/storing things with a handle, half height with handle for planting in, high cut for bottom container and top for funnel, the other half of pot catchment for planting out cloches (take the lids off for daytime venting and put back on for nighttime warmth) .... ) oh, and you can haul liquids around in them too. Just CLEARLY marker identify if they're no longer being used for water. [the cloche tops are PERFECT for getting your strawberries started in their bed !!!]

Arizona and Gatorade bottle flats are serious prizes for using for starter flats, so nice and deep.

[my suffering spouse watched me collect all winter, then in about four days use up all of them for spring prep....]  recycle don't discard... that's a permie.
7 months ago
I have two I'm currently redoing:

Guard Dog On Duty. She loves "Leg Steaks" (yours)

"Owner shoots like this" (those half dollar paper targets at some shooting ranges for 50 yards) and five holes within the circle. Dated. No more than a month old at any given time) "If you can read this I have a bead on you."  
10 months ago
I have a gazillion pine cones from several happy donor trees. I use the best for crafts and the less than perfects get soaked in the fat... let to sit and drip onto old paper or cardboard, and used as firestarters. Both the cones and the soaked cardboard.
11 months ago
My bone frame is small and thus wrists and ankles are not as strong as they should be... I am literally stronger in arm and in hand grip than my wrist will take. I can handle some of the 14.4 and 18's cordless IF I put on some wrist bracers. I also like to lay out any work with such cordless tools to allow me to take frequent breaks as required.

Years back I wanted to buy a very large router, meant to be mounted in a router table and whirl panel cutting bits. I picked up a 3.3 hp one from a display in a woodworking store, rolled it over in my wrists into upside down position and both wrists did their very loud krik-cracks that that much compact weight would cause. I grew a very worried store rep just like that, whom I reassured that I intended it to be permanently mounted in a router table, but I was examining overall balance... I did end up buying it. Don't ask I haven't seen it in fifteen or so years. It is still doing duty buried in the heart of a serious router table that my hubby uses to murder innocent wood.

We have 'her tools' 'his tools' and 'our tools'. Sometimes the person uses said tool on behalf of the other one, in their presence. Or in my case, I figure out the work around so I can tackle it as is with what tools I have or can get. He buys the cheapo linesman pliers, I buy the quality pair. Similar size. Why? The quality pair is better made, better balanced and cuts much easier because it has better leverage. It's too big for my grip so having the better quality tool that does the job better means I can do with it what he does with the cheapo pair.

I would love downsized tools that are lighter and does the same but lacking that, I get to make do. The wrist bracers I have are no metal Velcro fasten that go from mid palm to somewhere down the lower arm. They restrict movement but not so much as to prevent me from working. And they allow me to pick up the bigger heavier tools to use. So. Working smarter as well by arranging the work so it's easier for me to access to do the work with whatever tool also makes a big difference.

Loving the information about the older handsaws. Thank you.
11 months ago

Rin Corbin wrote:Happy New Year!

Reporting back, yep, 2017 was just a cold year here. My lettuce never bolted, when usually it's gone by the 4th of July. So no surprise that my clemson spineless okra sulked at 6" tall and only gave me 5 pods. Next year it's going back against the cob wall.

Deb, the gutter heat tape is genius. Have you (or anyone else) had any okra luck with the wall of water contraptions they make for tomatoes?



I've never used wall-of-water for anything. Just cold frame, cloche, or hoop. I have a piece of turf that bakes mightily and I'm going to install the next attempt at Okra there. I'm also going to start them indoors with 'tender root' protocol like I do for competition pumpkins to get the plants up and raring to go first. (and some direct seed).

I learned the gutter tape bit from competition pumpkin growing. To have the fruit ready for harvest and weighoff you count backwards to when you have to start and if you have an iffy spring or cold nights, the heat tape and the hoop can give you six to eight weeks start on getting the plant going. I'd rather just use cold frames than electricity....
11 months ago