Norma Guy

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since Dec 27, 2016
Norma likes ...
chicken food preservation forest garden
Ontario, climate zone 3a
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Recent posts by Norma Guy

... I should really try not to post when I have a fever.

Introduced invasive species probably deserve their own thread, if there isn't one already.
3 weeks ago
http://vintageairstream.com/photo-archives/1975-argosy-28/

Anne; I've been looking at that site.  This is the trailer here.  There are two models in that year and length, the one shown has a double bed, and the other has two single beds on either side.  It has been so long I can't remember which model it is, we only ever slept on the bed at the nose of the trailer.  There is a lot of great info on where to get replacement parts, and how to do different repairs.  Great site, thanks for pointing it out!
1 month ago
Rufus; We have a SUV that can tow it, but will probably need a winch to move it through the bush... it's complicated but doable.  At this time, we are living in a house with a detached garage, so the tools are all in there, and the trailer would be parked next to the garage.  All of the work on the trailer will be happening in the city, and we'll move it to the bush when it's ready.  That's a good point about listing materials and looking at costs; I am concerned about having the resources to complete this project.  But having a safe structure is a necessity for us to get a lot of work done on the future homestead, so when you said "you're going to pay a lot of these costs no matter what you do," that really made me realize how worthwhile it is to fix this thing up.  One way or another we would need a safe, winterized structure, so this is worth doing no matter what.  To be honest I don't know what our alternative would have been.  It's just such luck for us that these people are willing to be so generous with the trailer.
1 month ago
It's 28 feet.  Was thinking that one of those stovetop fans would help push the warm air around?  And the less walls we have the less to stop the warm air?  Another thing is this model has these  plasticky one layer windows that are probably not super insulating, so not sure what the options are there.
1 month ago
Tyler; It looks like that apartment therapy website has some real DIYers who show videos of the guts, which is what I need to see.  A lot of the info and videos I have seen online so far focus on decorating and layout, and usually start with "I hired this awesome expert" and that's not going to happen for us.

I'm most interested in insulation options, and wood heating options, from people who have lived in cold climate trailers or tiny houses, etc. or otherwise have advice on the situation.  Is there such a thing as "environmentally friendly" spray foam?  And without spray foam, how would you prevent condensation/mould in a cold climate?  Is there some kind of cladding you could put on a mini rocket stove to make it useable in a trailer, hold heat so you wouldn't have to constantly feed the fire?  Our idea would be to have as little built in as possible to maximize space, probably use cots that we already have.  So it would basically be a liveable, insulated shell, rather than something that looks nice.

I guess I should clarify that the "obstacles" are literally physical - there are currently no bridges that will hold it, but we will figure it out!
1 month ago
No joke... we had no idea until a couple weeks ago that this was a possibility and it still doesn't quite seem real.  I just need to figure out what to do with it so I don't screw it up! :P  I wish we had more of a budget to make it amazing, but we'll be very happy to make it useful.  I'm also very much of the mindset that I don't celebrate until something is accomplished, because you never know what could happen in the mean time - I'd be disappointed if circumstances changed tomorrow and we couldn't have it after all, don't know why, that's just how I think.  In the mean time, I'm hoping to settle on the best way to make it warm and dry, on a not very large budget.
1 month ago
By amazing luck, and thanks to the kindness of neighbours I grew up with, we have been offered a 1975 Airstream trailer that their kids are not interested in using.  It has been sitting for over 20 years next to a field in their yard.  I used to have friends sleep over in it when I was a teen, and I don't think they have used it much since.  This is an amazing opportunity for us to have some instant shelter while we work and build, a place safer than a tent to sleep in during storms (lightning terrifies me when tenting), and more bear-proof.  There are a lot of obstacle to getting it onto the property.  But an even bigger concern for us is the renovation that would likely be required, considering its age and rural parking spots it has sat for decades, without use.  We know there are some issues already, such as a missing window that is currently covered with plywood.  From looking on the internet, I have seen that common issues are often rotting plywood, rusty/damaged frame and wheels, leaking windows, mouldy insulation, carpet and upholstery, with a likelihood of rodents.  I haven't looked at it recently, so I have no idea what to expect.  My lowest expectation is a metal shell that is functional.

I'm wondering if anyone has experience with these older trailers, whether they found it worth fixing up (to liveable, not fancy, standards)?

What have you used for insulation, since this might be a 4 season shelter?

And also, since we don't plan to repair the gas lines, we would like to install wood heat, and not sure what would be best for fuel size/burn time.  We looked at the Cubic Mini and the fuel is tiny and needs a lot of feeding, and there is nothing to hold heat after the fire is out.  Most of the wood we have available is aspen, which is pulpy.  Does anyone have recommendations for this type of trailer wood stove installation?

None of this was in our plan until now, so we're exploring options and trying to wrap out heads around it.

1 month ago
I'm sensitive and get migraines from a lot of "chemical" scents, and had to work with my manager to ensure that our workplace would not install air fresheners as mandated by the company.  I told her I would honestly rather smell feces any day than be forced to breathe poisons and end up with allergic reactions and migraines.  She agreed, and I'm really glad.  It becomes a human rights issue and if it became more of a problem I could petition my company to go scent free.  Now all I have to worry about is young ladies who I share an office with wearing scents that make me sneeze!  I mentioned Stink in the discussion about avoiding commercial beauty products a while ago, and this is what I would recommend to anyone who uses commercial, scented products.  People have no idea what they are absorbing through their skin and airways, and how it affects those around them who may just be too polite to tell them why their eyes are watering.

In experimenting with essential oils I have discovered an allergy to ylang-ylang, which is sad because it smells so pretty 😕 people often assume it is the smell of something that is bothersome, and dont realize the debilitating physical effects of an allergy or migraine induced by exposure.  I love the smell of ylang-ylang, but I'm definitely allergic to it.  Just like I love bananas, but will break out in hives if I eat them.  It's not a preference, it's a necessity to avoid these things.
1 month ago
I guess my coolest recent find was my Elektra Evolv climbing shoes, for less than a tenth of their original price.  Not something that would have in the budget to buy new.

Almost everything I own was thrifted.  Thanks to working in a thrift store I get an awesome discount too, but I always shopped thrift even before working there.  At Christmas they give us all gift certificates that can be combined with our discount... so good.  I get my husband really good workwear, Carhartt and Dickies, that will last longer in the woods, for less than a tenth of the original price.  And his two favourite pairs of shoes, Vibrams, and a really good pair of CAT work boots, were thrifted.  My wool base layers were thrifted.  The kid in our lives, almost everything she owns was thrifted or passed down from us, and when she grows out of it it gets donated again.  All my bedding.  All our dishes and cups.  Our printer.  Most of my books about permaculture, building, and homesteading, were thrifted.  We have a lot of things we never could have afforded to buy new.  Not sure what the single biggest score has been, because it's most of what we own.
1 month ago
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/hares-eat-meat-1.4949438

Last year in the spring, we left our supplies for a night under a tarp because it was raining, and I forgot my leather gloves there.  The next morning, a finger had been chewed clean off of the glove.  I found this confusing, and wondered what might have done it.  A wolf would have just taken the whole glove.  It was a lot of damage for a squirrel to do overnight, too.  

The rest of the week, we had snowshoe hares the size of small dogs hanging out with us.  They seemed to like the sound of my voice, and would come close to me when I spoke to them.   One even tried to eat some cans I had left by the fire pit after burning the food out of them to not attract predators.  I had to shoo him away.  So now I know why he was so interested in my glove, turns out the species are scavengers having to live in the harsh north.  According to the article, they have been seen cannibalizing their dead buddies, as well as eating grouse feathers, and even a dead lynx!

I hope the hares will be there to greet us again in the spring; by the fall they were either hiding, or had been eaten by the wolf pack.

1 month ago