M James

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since Mar 30, 2021
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Recent posts by M James

Do you mean a compost toilet to be used by travelers?

I have no experience with public compost toilets, but in my opinion it would be a huge disaster.

John Q Public has very little respect for things that don't belong to him, and little for other people, especially if nobody is watching him. Plus, not very many people are familiar with compost toilets. When they hit that rest stop to go to the can, they aren't going to take time to read the instructions; they're probably living on borrowed time as far as unloading, if you know what I mean.

Noble idea, if people would be respectful though.

1 month ago
Oh what fun! Especially if your kids are girls. That thing could be decorated to the max so little girls would feel like real princesses!

Since kids small enough to ride in there probably don't weigh very much, you could get corrugated plastic to repair it. Home depot has it in large sheets. It's pretty sturdy and it never dies. You would need more than one layer for the floor part each with the lines running in opposite directions, as it creases like cardboard with little effort with just one layer. It's very lightweight, so it wouldn't add hardly any extra weight to the load.  It could be used for the back and sides too. If you wanted to get creative, you could cut doors in it. You'll need duct tape for the cut edges, as it is sharp after cutting. Hobby lobby and even walmart has many colors and patterns of duct tape.

1 month ago
Stacie, I can't see the photo clearly enough to tell if it's purslane or not. I tried to enlarge it but it was too fuzzy.

As far as lookalikes, the word is that spurge is the closest lookalike and it IS poisonous. Not even any wild animals will eat it. Spurge and purslane very often can be found growing side by side. Myself, I don't think they resemble each other at all. There are many online articles about those two species and how to tell them apart.

Last summer, I was blessed with many wild volunteer purslane plants. Right beside every one of them was spurge.

Purslane has plump leaves; spurge's leaves are much smaller and super thin. Wish I could see your photo more clearly so I could help you.
1 month ago

Christopher Shepherd wrote:I enjoy strong black coffee too.  My wife will not drink it.  She usually has me stocked up from all sorts of brands that are left overs from smuckers that I will mix with the cheap stuff.  I think washing cups is something wives must do.  I leave mine in my office so she won't touch it.  If I leave it in the kitchen it will be scrubbed shiny clean.  It take almost a week to get that cup seasoned again!

My first cup of coffee was with my grandpa when I was about 4 years old.  I never seen the farm coffee pot clean, it always had coffee in it. I was always the early riser.  He would sit at the end of the table with me at his right side.  We could talk about anything.  My grandpa was a marine from ww2 and had been raised extremely poor.  He could literally do anything if he put his mind to it.  His farm had people there all day long.  He told me his life goal was to give more back than he took. Man do I miss him.

It sounds like he achieved his life goal. What a touching post. Your grandpa was a gem.
1 month ago
I bought a tds meter awhile back to see how much "stuff" is in pure precipitation in my area, as opposed to our tap water. It was winter at the time, so I took my sample from melted snowfall that had been out there a couple days. Not ideal but it is what it it s.

Our tap water was much higher in "stuff" than the snow. Much higher.

Keep in mind that I'm "all girl" and I'm prissy lol! Just the thought of what's on the roof and in the evespout makes me shudder and I have no intention of taking the chance that I'll consume any if it.

Aside from the yuck factor is the concern about chemicals coming from the asphalt shingles. Nope.

To take all of the ick and nope out of collected rainwater would be a daunting task, no?

So, I came up with what I think is an excellent design. This is more labor intensive than other systems and you will need to be home when it rains. I haven't created the system yet because I've been mega-busy with other things, but I probably will build it this summer. Here goes:

Get a rain barrel. I saw no way of getting around them being plastic, so we have a plastic one. Next, buy a food grade tarp. Then you build a box to shield your barrel from the sun (algae). Get a 5 gallon bucket and some pvc fittings to attach it to the barrel's intake. Figure a way to anchor two ends of the tarp so that those two ends are higher than the barrel's intake point, then anchor the other two ends of the tarp to the inside of the 5 gallon bucket. After you do all that, remove the bucket and tarp and put them in the house so they stay clean. When rain is imminent, set up your system. After the rain has stopped, go get your bucket and tarp and hang them inside somewhere to completely dry. Put them away til the next rain.

This way, everything stays clean. No bird crap, no dust, no pollen, no bugs, etc. Just rainwater as pure as it can be, given plastic components. No need to use any debris filters either.

I'm aware that a tarp isn't going to collect as much water as most roofs, but I plan on using two or three tarps at the same time for a single barrel.

I'm very particular about what I ingest, so I would still probably boil the water and then run it through my Berkey, but that's just me being me. I'm not much of a risk taker.
1 month ago
I have tried actual coffee and I hate it. That stuff is just nasty.

When I was in my early 20's, mom and I decided to try a cup of cappuccino at a local deli. We instantly fell in love with it. Every time we went to town we'd get a cup of it.

One day the lady behind the counter told me about a cappuccino powdered mix that the grocery store sold. Mom and I tried it and it became part of our lives. I have many cherished memories of our 'chino drinking moments. Mom is gone now and I sorely miss those times. I can still remember her voice and see the delighted smile when she asked me if I wanted a 'chino.

Anyway, the mix was made by none other than Sara Lee, so you know it was really really good LOL! Since our first encounter with it, the 'chino has changed hands several times and now is owned by Folgers. They recently changed something because I've been drinking it forever and I can tell it's different. There still isn't any better 'chino mix anywhere.

So anyway, at the present time the only time I have it is when I'm cold.
1 month ago
Matt, I'm so very happy for you that those awful neighbors have moved!!

I've had neighbor issues too. It was bad enough that we fenced our entire property and have locked gates too. We have multiple cameras, just like you, with each camera being filmed by at least one other camera. That was absolutely the only way to make them stop harassing me. The man was always over here. His favorite time to do evil was midnight. They were teaching the young boys that it's fun to terrorize a woman. I hope those boys don't grow up to be abusive to their significant others.

The good Lord heard my prayers and they are gone.

Here is what I wanted to tell you: keep on building up your property's security. Never stop. Why? For us, we got ANOTHER freakin family in that house that has started harassing us. If we had relaxed our security after the first ones moved, this new family would've been able to do much more to us. Not only that, they can't complain about our fencing, gates or cameras because those were in place before they bought that house.

My point is that if you leave all that in place, not only will any new neighbors not be able to complain about it, but they won't even be able to get "offended", thinking it's there because of them.

I hope you get really nice, good neighbors at that house next time. You deserve it after all you've been through.
1 month ago
Other ideas besides not answering the door?

Paint a nice sign to hang on the door that politely says that nobody is allowed to religiously solicit at your house. Make it so it can't be overlooked. It worked for us.

We lived in a "hotspot" for a certain religion, so everybody in town was constantly bombarded. I'd be outside working in the yard and here some more of them would come walking toward the house. I'd set stuff aside and go inside, not answering the door and feeling resentment that I had to hide out on my own property. Then I painted the sign and it did the trick.

If you do get solicited anyway and decide to answer the door, be polite. Point to the sign. If they are polite people they'll respect your wishes and go away. If they're pushy anyway, just ask them to leave and shut the door.
I've always loved to decorate and Christmas is the ultimate time for that. My mom had to keep me in check lol! Every year I could hardly wait to start the process but she made me wait. After the tree(s) was up, we weren't allowed to turn the lights on til 10 days before Christmas because we were poor and our parents didn't want to make the electric bill go higher. I bought a large tree at a yard sale in my early teens. Every year I decorated it in early December, long before I was allowed to put up the one in the living room lol! I even went all out decorating the gifts. Sometimes I went to the homes of family friends and decorated for them as well.

The outside of the house wasn't neglected either, and one year my display literally stopped traffic lol! It was a main attraction in that town that year. My tomcat liked to destroy the lights and every year I forgot about that until I heard the familiar crunching. He only messed with them while I was actually putting them up, never after they were installed.

As children, on Christmas Eve after we were all supposed to be in bed, we would keep sneaking downstairs to see if the presents were under the tree yet.  We didn't stop until they showed up, and we would use our flashlights to examine them, dreaming of what they might contain. This happened multiple times during the night. Remember, we were poor. We didn't get spoiled rotten whenever we went to town, so Christmas was very exciting for us.

Looking back, what we received wasn't the "in" kind of toys. We really weren't into the latest fads. I can't remember even one Christmas that I was disappointed. Ever. I was always overjoyed with what I got, as were my siblings.

Our parents encouraged creativity and praised our accomplishments, making our childhood kind of magical. They allowed us to just be kids, as well as sparking our imaginations in multiple ways.  My siblings and I would gather in front of the only tv we had and watch the Christmas specials, like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer (my favorite) and Frosty the snowman, and Peanuts, etc. I used to wonder if I might meet Rudolph someday while hiking the woods behind our house. Magical.

Mom made the most awesome brownies, but she only made them twice a year: at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all looked forward to them. I have that recipe and I think of her each time I make them. I miss her soooooo much. Christmas will never have the same joy for me now that she's gone. As a family, we didn't even get together the first Christmas after she passed away. Even though I still like to decorate, Christmas is a sad time for me without her. I try to make the best of it, but I always have a good cry while decorating the tree. The truly awesome thing though, is that she accepted Jesus as her personal Savior, so right now I know she's walking  on streets of gold in paradise with our Lord. I'll see her again someday, as Jesus is also my Savior.

For those same two holidays, mom let me set the table in the dining room instead of having the meal in the kitchen. That was a huge deal in my mind. It was...fancy...and I loved it. I inherited that table and chairs and it makes me remember all those good times. We played games as a family, made "tents" with blankets draped over it and did homework at that table too. I'm the fourth generation to have it.

Most years, it was tradition that we would set aside a day to celebrate Christmas with mom's family and a day with dad's family. Neither of my parents was the "golden child" in their families, so us kids were treated like second best, so these weren't my fondest memories, but I still usually had at least some fun.

Oh my, I've written a book lol! I'll stop here.
Self reliance is my main reason. I love the idea of being able to do for myself instead of relying on others. Wild edibles, solar cooking, solar energy, and the off the grid lifestyle are amazingly empowering things.

Once you start saving lots of money and go through a power outage without it changing much in your daily routine, you won't ever look back. Plus, if you learn about wild edibles and how to preserve them, a food shortage won't concern you nearly as much as it did before.

When you don't need as much money to survive, you start to relax and enjoy life more.
1 month ago