T Phillips

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since Jan 22, 2014
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Hubby and I bought 35 gorgeous, dried up, overgrazed acres near the Royal Gorge. Still trying to get the house in the Springs sold. Looking to grow the basics - fruit, nuts, green manure, veggies and enjoy our later years.
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Colorado Springs, CO zone 5A / Canon City, CO zone 5B
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Recent posts by T Phillips

I'm in eastern Colorado, USA, Köppen BSk. We've planted 200+ trees and shrubs in the last 2 years. Two of the three areas are drip irrigated, but the newest area of 70 is not. I water once per week, about 2 gallons per plant, dumped at the base of the plant all at once in very sandy soil. It is a hard life here, with hot, windy summers and cold, dry winters. We have had about a 15-20% mortality rate. If they can't survive on that amount of water, they can't live here. They are all tough, supposedly deep rooted plants. Siberian pea shrub, manchurian apricot, elm, honeylocust, golden currant, hackberry, lilac, chokecherry, burr oak, buffaloberry. They all are mulched with wood chips in a small circle around the base. Without at least some irrigation (they say 3 years) and mulch, nothing but Russian thistle, black eyed susans, and native grasses would grow. The summer rains haven't made it here yet, so I've not seen any natural moisture below the mulch this summer.
1 year ago
Like many of you, I also have receding gums. I have no excuse though, since I used to be a chair-side assistant for a periodontist. I knew what to do to keep my mouth healthy, and I didn't do them. I know those moments of panic you speak of. I have temperature sensitivity as well. I haven't tried anything to regrow my gums because I didn't think there was a way. I'm glad to have read your posts.

I tried Sensodyne for tooth sensitivity, but it actually made things worse. I now use Young Living Thieves toothpaste. I don't like the price, but I feel better using it than I have for a long time. I really don't know if I have the same level of sensitivity as I had before because I avoid cold foods (or warm them up) and drink only tepid fluids since a heart surgery left me with trigeminal neuralgia like nerve pain in my jaw, which can be triggered by extreme temperatures.

The biggest difference I saw (via the remarks of the hygienist) was after I started using a Waterpik. I now use it religiously once or twice a day in place of flossing. It really isn't a replacement for flossing, but the nerve pain makes me want to avoid opening my mouth too far, for too long. But I did have a dentist tell me that he doesn't floss anymore - just worked himself up to the highest setting on the Waterpik, and called it done. Of course, he can scale the inside surface of his lower incisors anytime he feels build up - it's not quite the same for civilians.

I became very self-conscious of the possibility of food wedged between my teeth between meals, and have noticed that I smile less. The need to mask up has actually helped that impulse to hide, and I smile more now, even though it can't be seen. Good luck to us all!
2 years ago
All these examples of insulated window coverings reminded me of a shade I saw a few years ago. Doug Kalmer is a guy who has allowed several of his projects to be displayed at www.builditosolar.com. Insulated shades was one of the projects. He created a track at the side of the frame to keep the airspace  between the window and the shade closed. Here is the link: https://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/ThermalShades/ReflectexShade.htm
3 years ago
I am deeply grateful to all who have posted in this thread. You have given me new hope. Thank you.
3 years ago
Your tower absolutely rocks. Putting this on the list of Important Things To Do. Thanks for sharing.
4 years ago
Hi Kelly! We are excited for your new book. You have such a great way of explaining things and are so generous with your knowledge and experience. Your willingness to answer our questions made our build easier. Thank you.
4 years ago
I've been a quilter for years, and went through my all-cotton stash for fabrics I didn't think I'd use in quilts, but that I was enough in love with to buy in the first place. (I do want to like what I'm looking at.) The ones I chose for napkins happened to be cheap batiks, so the pattern is the same front and back. That's important to me because I don't want to spend a lot of time folding to keep the backside hidden. (OCD much?) I sewed a double folded 1/4" hem on the edges of pre-washed and machine dried fabrics (shrinkage control), but they kept shrinking, and now I have dopey looking napkins. For the next batch I will run a narrow zigzag stitch around the perimeter instead since that has some give to it. It will leave a fuzzy edge, but I'm OK with that.

My requirements are:

Looks the same front and back
12"-15" square
Natural fibers only  (cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo), no polyester
A print that it busy enough to show no stains
Available at my local fabric store

I'd buy off the bolt, wash/hot dry the entire piece 3 times minimum, then cut into finished size, finish with zigzag stitch. If you ask for  1 and 1/8th yards, you should be able to get 9  12"napkins out of it. If the fabric costs $8/yd., that's about $1 per napkin. Or you can use every smidgen of the fabric and have more slightly different sized rectangular napkins.

You can see in the photos how bad the edges look now that they have been wash a jillion times. The 12" is a great lap size for any but a large person. The 20" is too large for me, but covers 2 bread pans as the dough rises.
5 years ago
We have had zero problems with mice since the final covering was applied. We are enormously pleased with the thermal performance of the building and it's ability to weather our local micro-burst winds. (The insurance company gave us enough money to pay for a well after the horse shed in that spot blew down. We knew that for that location we wanted a structure with an integrated roof.)

The scoria we ordered was 3/4" and it was like shoveling Fruity Pebbles after the gravel for the first two rows. The 15" x 25" bags weighed about 25-30 lbs. each with 6  #10 can scoops of scoria inside and stapled shut. They finished at about 12" wide. (Some bags were larger and some smaller.) I was a 57 yo couch potato who became the primary builder. My lower back hurt for 2 weeks, then was fine. I lost 10 lbs. in two months despite eating like a horse, working 4-6 hours/day. Most satisfying work I've ever done.

5 years ago
Here are links to two posts about our 14' (inner diameter) scoria bag tank house. http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/thermal-performance-data-earthbag-dome/#more-11686     https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006725657912&sk=photos&collection_token=100006725657912%3A2305272732%3A69&set=a.1569408199960020.1073741827.100006725657912&type=1&l=9dd7088781

The bags are great for walls as long as you build plumb (in your case). They are not as solid as earthbags and can feel a bit wiggly as the height increases.

This is a video by a guy who made a rectangular casita and used strapping to compress the walls.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJS8Kozufl4  We used baling twine ala Kelly Hart, and it really helped. The only down side of the twine is that there is no way to tighten it up later on, and as you add rows of bags, the lower ones compress a bit. The strapping might solve that issue if you keep the tightening points out where you can get to them.

Because we did not get an exterior coating on before winter, we tarped the building, and mice chewed all over the place to find shelter. We used several rolls of Gorilla tape the following spring to keep the fill from falling out. And we still had lots of UV degradation because we took no intermediate steps to protect the bags during the course of autumn bagging (8 weeks in Colorado).

I thought I had a more comprehensive post here, but I guess I was dreaming. PM me if I can answer any more questions for you. We really love our building, especially the thermal evenness provided by the scoria and the concrete. I would build again with scoria in a heartbeat.
5 years ago