James Whitelaw

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since Nov 23, 2016
Upstate NY on cusp of zone 5a-5b Sandy Loam
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Recent posts by James Whitelaw

We’ve had pairs of these Neos waterproof overshoes for years and have found them very useful. Easy to take on and off, adjustable straps to get a tight fit that won’t slip or let snow in. I like to wear double soled leather mocs with thick socks, extremely comfortable.

When shoveling wet, heavy snow make sure to not overload your shovel and take plenty of breaks.
3 days ago
Years ago I suffered from swimmers ear and general ear discomfort related to my asthma and my then doc said just put a few drops of mineral oil in the ear each day. Never had any problems since with my ears.
1 week ago
Those hot and cold gel packs are over 90 percent water, so perhaps just using a couple of those would make sense? We have a few that we have used for injuries and cooling food for over 10 years and they are still functioning.

An alternative might be to source soapstone beads and heat them and place in a cloth bag. Might be hard to find affordable beads as they seem favored for jewelry creation rather than the suggested use, that and they are hard so may not provide the comfort a softer material could provide.

Finally, the good old hot water bottle could be a good choice. I think we have one from my family that was made in the 50’s.
3 weeks ago
Same here, no reply button on that thread; iPad, Sarfari.
While I agree that planting fruit and nut trees improve a property and of course are a Permie thing to do, but I know that not every potential buyer would agree. One man’s incipient food forest is another man’s burden (fruit trees traditionally need care, pruning, spraying etc.). Also planting trees on a property that you intend to sell as soon as possible doesn’t make sense financially in that you will likely not get to see any benefit and unless the new owner takes up care of the young plantings the likelihood of survival goes down dramatically (of course this can vary depending on specifics). It’s like a swimming pool, many buyers would see it as an added value, but there are also many who would scratch it off there list as a liability, so you usually wouldn’t go to the expense of putting one in to sell a house.

As far as improving the property to make it sell I would look at the terrain and the entrance and see if there are any elbow grease, low costs projects that could attract a buyer. Perhaps a bit of clearing and planting wild flowers to make the entrance a bit more welcoming if someone comes to see it (or add to photo’s online). Also are there any features that you are aware of that could show the lot in a better light such as interesting features such as streams or springs? Is there information on successful wells nearby that provide good drinking water that could be included in the listing?

Making sure the lot is listed on all the vacant land listing sites such as Landwatch in addition to making sure there are lots of good photos on all the listings could also help your lot to stand out from the competition and is an inexpensive way you could improve the listing.

Good luck!
1 month ago
Not an expert on stoves so will leave that to others. One way to bring heat into a structure in an emergency from outside would be a wood burning fire outside ringed by rocks. Once the rocks are very hot they are moved into the structure to provide heat, a method used in survival scenarios where your fire needs a little distance from a shelter. A cheap hand truck could be employed for moving the rocks. A second set of rocks could be rolled next to the fire while the hot ones are inside. You will certainly warm up moving heavy rocks around.
1 month ago
Ticks do not drop from trees. Deer ticks climb grasses and shrubs and wait for a mammal to come along, usually at the height of their favored host such as a dog or deer.


“Do ticks fly? Jump? Drop from trees?
No, no, and no. Ticks crawl and can climb vegetation. However, they do not have wings, do not have jumping legs, and are not behaviorally adapted to drop from trees on passing hosts (think of the tim- ing and energy that would require!). When ticks find a host, they tend to crawl upward, which is why attached ticks are often found in armpits, behind the ears, and at the base of the scalp.”
1 month ago
Just thought I’d link to my thread rgdg the new method of storing energy from solar in a molecule that can store the energy for years and release it only when the molecule is exposed to a catalyst: https://permies.com/t/97272/Molecular-Solar-Thermal-Energy-Storage
1 month ago
Bethany, I think you are on the right track getting advice. Since you have some time it might be a good idea to interview and get advice from a number of realtors to help understand your local market. Also going about and attending open houses in your area for properties on the market is a good way to educate yourself on the market in which you are planning to sell in and to chat up realtors about the market and selling strategies.

Not sure if I understand the relationship with the neighbor who says they will buy the house no matter what. If the neighbor is buying to gain control of a neighboring property, that adds incentive to them, but circumstance change so I suggest moving forward as if the neighbor will not actually buy your house. Is the neighbor planning to rent your house out, or move into it and sell their house?  If that’s the case, why not do the deal sooner than later with an agreement to rent back to you while the septic is being completed etc?

My belief is that any plans predicated on achieving a particular asking price in the future needs to be tempered with caution. I know a number of mid-Atlantic homeowners who purchased houses in 2008 who are still underwater on their mortgages due to the downturn that occurred and other local factors (neighborhood, type of house, housing supply and local environmental concerns). They could sell their house tomorrow no problem except they would need to pay off $80k of their mortgage to walk away without defaulting. My advice is to not spend any more going forward than you can afford to lose and take advice that doing x = $$$ with a sack of salt.

Bengi, I can’t answer your questions rgdg mixing the activated & non-activated fluids. As it is individual molecules that are charged with energy from sunlight, energy they retain until said energy is expressed as increased temps when the fluid is passed through a catalyst filter. The molecule can then be returned to the solar collector to be recharged, over and over. They say the catalyst is showing to be durable, suffering only minor degradation that would eventually require replacement or some kind of recharging. one big breakthrough is the more recent version of the fluid was able to eliminate flammable toluene as the medium the molecules were carried in. That combined with the durable heat retaining molecule & catalyst  is why I suspect the scientists are so enthusiastic about possible commercial application as soon as 10 years. They say there are 15 teams working on this technology around the world, so I would think we will see more good news soon. Apparently the molecule takes only a small amount of the wavelength of sunlight into it as energy, primarily the blue and UV parts of the spectrum, so obvious expanding that would be a priority.

I foresee a vast array of applications if the application proves out and improves. The ability to turn sunlight into steam using solar collectors could drive turbines to create electricity at the same time it’s heating your floors. Excess heat could warm greenhouses during winter months. The fluid, once charged could be transported safely and could possibly drive steam engine vehicles if the energy/weight ratio improves enough. They say there isn’t anything about the manufacturing processes they see in creating these planned systems that is environmentally destructive. Honestly, if a 300 gallon tank in the back yard and solar collectors on the roof is part of the price I pay for reliable heat all winter and for many winters to come while eliminating fossil fuel use...here, take my money!
2 months ago