If you want to experience true pocket luxury, try on a surveyors construction vest.
I have at various points gotten to borrow a surveyors safety vest and they are fantasticn after a life of 2" or "decorative" womens pockets. I have honestly considered buying one just for gardening. You can fit unfolded letter sized papers in the back, a small book, camera, cellphone, pens, tape measures, hand tools, carabinnered on things, a hammer in the back pocket, stakes.. . and it's kinda like a tiny backpack (whole back is a pouch) that also has front pockets and is easily removable so you don't have to add things back every time you go out. Zippers and velcro.
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B01MT6DDDG/ref=sspa_mw_detail_0?ie=UTF8&psc=1 this one, I believe, has TWELVE fully functional pockets, including one that is the whole back panel.
Far from 100% plastic free - but we often use old coffee cans for composting. At least they are reused items, and they are designed to keep odours in. The metal ones with the plastic lids might be your best bet for lower plastic, but I think the folgers plastic ones work better.
Alternatively, a screw top gallon glass jar might work. Hard to have a good seal without some sort of plastic compound, so there would still be plastic in the lid.
When I've had fruit fly issues, I keep my compost bin in the fridge. I would probably do something similar if I had mice issues.
In addition - this season is PRIME mouse season. They are looking for a nice warm place to live for the winter, and tend to move and travel more. I recommend cleaning under/behind your fridge and stove if you haven't recently. You'd be amazed how much food gets kicked there, and it's a mouse heaven.
Updating here to show my slowly expanding garden tucked in with lots of mulch for the winter. I am growing it with cardboard and mulch for next year as cardboard arrives at the house. Garlic is already planted, everything else has been picked and is either already eaten or stored.
Well- thought I would update this thread. I had a mostly very successful harvest (talked about here- https://permies.com/t/148067/Successes-year-garden ). All areas of the garden produced very well, I was very impressed by how well the cardboard broke down, barely a trace of the springs cardboard can be found, in many areas the mulch was eaten down to bare earth. The soil is far more workable and nicer than it was in the spring, easier to dig, more moist, more visible life as fungi and worms, and darker coloured.
We ended up not needing to buy pretty much any vegetables in the summer, and have a fair bit tucked away for the winter. It did really great for a first year garden.
Through October and November, I have mulched (with a combination of wood chips, leaves, and straw- wasn't able to get manure) the beds, and have been slowly expanding the garden in preparation for next year, using the cardboard method which remains my favourite for speed and amount of effort compared to amount of weeding and final production.
Here's the garden, with all but a small square of grass I am working to cover tucked in for the winter. Looking forward to seeing how it does next year.
My hands hurt just thinking of living in an uninsulated metal box for the winter. I hope you can find something that works!
Random thoughts, hopefully something is useful to you:
Do you have a habitat for humanity restore near you? I love that store for randdom cheap supplies.
I occasionally see random extra bits of foamboard insulation on the local buy and sell or Kijiji. I would strongly suggest picking some up if you can, or buying it new, and insulating at least the roof. Tuck Tape works well for temporary use, and if you are worried about the stove, perhaps leave just the area above the stove uninsulated. If you don't need them for your final design, insulation panels resell quickly on buy and sell for ice huts, animal shelters, etc. I would also put a sheet of foam under whatever kitchen area you have, then throw a scrap of lino on top of it. Nothing worse then cold, frozen feet while working over an uninsulated floor in a kitchen. I would consider rolled vinyl remnants for most of the floor, which would add some R value, and be much nicer on the feet than metal. Carpet or rugs might be nice in sleeping areas.
Even putting up and taping the seams of large sheets of plastic on the walls would make an air gap and add a fair bit of weather protection and insulative value/r value. A second layer would add even more if both are well taped to avoid air leakage. Maybe a roll of tyvek which would be somewhat breathable and not crazily expensive? The reflectrix stuff would be even better, but probably a lot more pricey. You would have to be more concerned about mold. Cheap carpet behind tyvek might also make a decent insulation system.
I might also consider trying to find and seal any holes - standing inside in the daylight, covering the French door with a tarp to block light, and looking for light sources might do quite a bit to identify major air leaks, which could be sealed.
If you decide to go with a wood stove, I would consider buying some bricks or patio stones to go under it and in the combustible zone. Even if you don't mortar them, they will remind you to keep combustibles away from the stove and avoid having potentially hot stove legs touch a metal floor, and add a tiny bit of thermal mass. Stoves are also usually very heavy, so spreading the load over a piece of thicker steel or patio stones or something (being cautious of fire) under the legs will prevent the stove from potentially denting the floor of the container from high point loads (lots of weight on a small area) under the little stove feet. Not sure what the loads are/if it's necessary, but it's an easy enough thing to avoid and adds value for other reasons too.
I love convenience gadgets that make it easier/faster to make healthier or cheaper choices. I have good intentions, but if it's not easy, it unlikely to get done :)
The best example I can think of is a rice cooker. i *can* cook rice without one. But, if I don't own a rice cooker, I cook rice maybe once a month, and/or buy mostly instant rice, at a ridiculous markup to normal rice. I replace rice, which is dirt cheap, with gluten free bread, potatos, pasta, etc - all of which are NOT dirt cheap. With a rice cooker, I basically have rice cooked at all times. A $20 gadget can easily save me $5 per week, if it replaces one loaf of gluten free bread per week.
What are your favourite gadgets that you don't strictly need, but make living a more frugal or healthy life way easier?
I should update this as an utter failure for me. I planted my cotton in the hottest garden, the front, expecting it to need a lot of warmth. We had a drought, and I ended up needing to go away for a week for an emergency in the worst part of the drought, and my cotton all shrivelled up and died. I had been having a hard time keeping it alive in the heat even before the emergency. I begin to see why those infographics say cotton is a very water intensive crop!
I am also VERY disappointed with the sudden selloff of the assets of Canada's largest co-op to a random American investment firm. Apparently I am now a member of a holdings co op with no assets? Hmmpf. Anyway, never bought the MEC merino as didn't like the look of it in store for the price.
Here's I think what I own - very spendy, was bought a few years ago at a local store as a Christmas gift. Smoother and more tightly woven than the Smartwool and Mountain Warehouse ones I own. 100% Merino, made in Canada. These are my absolute favourites and I have occasionally worn them as leggings. I am also short and curvy, so they may work for you as well.
What brand are you using? I'm going into my 3rd winter with some of my merino long johns, with very little mending required yet. I particularly like the Stanfields ones. Other than that, consider trying a larger size/brand - if you are getting rips in the crotch it may indicate it's too tight in that area, or possibly cut wrong for your body. I handsew/hand darn any thing on stretchy fabric. If you feel you need to use a machine, I'd do a zig zag stitch to add some elasticity.
I would also darn them. A good darn isn't much thicker than the original.
Luckily HOAs are pretty much unheard of in Canada, but I do try and keep things looking nice for the neighbours in the front yard.
An undyed cedar mulch from the local sawmill makes a great weed barrier and keeps the moisture in. In the front yard, I mix about 50% attractive low water needs perennials with 50% edibles.
What makes a traditional garden look nice? Symmetry, a variety of heights, colours, and textures, repetition of elements, mass groupings. Oh, and keeping it weeded and avoiding dead looking plants. You can do all these things with food plants.
My tips - make it look deliberate. So my rhubarb goes well with the hostas and looks like it's there for texture. Herbs can also look deliberate. I flank the front steps with two tomato plants for symmetry, then have a few more standing alone elsewhere. I put a few peppers in, and then sometimes run a row of colourful lettuce as a border on the garden. I then trellis peas and beans on a string trellis on the front porch. Red runners don't do well in my climate, but are both ornamental and tasty. A purple podded pea is also tasty and ornamental. Echinacea, rudbeckia, sedum, roses, hollyhocks, irises, etc round out the beds - I try to have at least two things blooming all the time, but don't quite manage it.
First, i preface this with 'I hate log homes!" I have lived in 3, and I hate log homes. IMO there is a reason they were the first homes people built historically, then they upgraded to a 'real' house. That being said, they are pretty.
I would be very wary of insulating a log home because of the potential for moisture issues. Can't think of how to do it, so won't make any speculation. If I was going to insulate the outside, I think you might end up basically building a shell around the house, which seems pretty cost inefficient.
Have you considered using passive cooling? For example, switching from a dark roof to a white roof, perhaps a translucent whitewash on the outer logs to reflect heat? Also, how's the ceiling insulation and attic venting? I have lived in 2 upper story loghouse bedrooms. One had excellent ceiling insulation and was mostly tolerable in sweltering weather without AC. The other was 'die of heat stroke' heat all summer, with poor ceiling insulation.
I LOVE Halloween. As a kid, I was lucky enough to have a mom who sewed, so costumes were planned and executed months in advance. I am far too snobby to BUY a costume, but... Not organized enough to sew one in advance.
That being said, here are my tried and true day-of-event-planned costumes, using nothing more than what I have in my house. No waste, no fuss, no garbage. Sounds like a permies costume to me! Plus, I often win best dressed prizes for my free costumes!
Farmer - old jeans, plaid Button up, white undershirt, truck brand hat
Cowboy - all above, but usually my leather vest and Dad's old cowboy hat
Pirate - Leggings, loose button up, vest, tons of handkerchief on the neck and head, bedraggled hair, gold hoop earrings or a single flashy stud, a sash. Tall leather boots, a coil of rope, etc.
Fortuneteller - loose drifty clothes, silk scarves, hoop earrings, lots of makeup, lots of costume jewellery.
Construction worker- steel toed boots, jeans, button up shirt, safety vest, safety goggles, hardhat....
Witch- all the black drifty clothes I own, plus a witches hat I bought maybe 10 years ago
There are tons more options - caricaturizing something that you already are is often an easy and very fun costume.
And then - make up a story about who you are, make it funny and your costume will be 100 % better. I often decide on my story as I drive to the event, but it's better if you can do it while still getting ready and add details to the costume.
Instead of a farmer -be a truck obsessed farmer who grows marigolds.
Instead of a pirate- be a laid off work pirate, or one who moonlights as an insurance broker.
Instead of a construction worker - be the health and safety officer. Or the guy who can't hear because they won't take off their earmuffs ( I may try this if I ever go to a loud event again).
Instead of a fortuneteller - maybe you can only read compost piles, not tea leaves.
Instead of a cowboy - maybe you are from the city, trying to become a cowboy
Instead of a witch - maybe you are a witch who rides a portable vacuum cleaner and has a need for speed.
What are your favourite last minute costume ideas?
I consider light pollution one of the most serious unspoken health risks facing us today. There is some evidence that as LED light use has increased because of cheaper operating costs, sky glow is increasing as much as 2% per year!! Skyglow and poor sleep quality/poor circadian rhythms are closely linked, and poor sleep is associated with a whole host of health issues.
The neighbourhood I used to live in was so bright at night I could see some colours if I walked in the evening. I couldn't sleep without thick blackout curtains on top of blinds- and then didn't wake up properly, because there was no morning sun. Even in my dad's very remote house, approx 10 km from the nearest town, and 100 + km from the nearest city, I have started to see faint sky glow on the horizon in recent years.
Yes - reflectors should be mandatory on all residential and commercial outdoor lights, and there should be a maximum brightness level allowed. I often struggle with parking lot lights, house lights, etc. They leave long shadows, and make it easier for things to hide in the dark. I trip less at night in an unlit, cloudy night than in a semi lit area.
After visiting the high arctic, staring up at the crystal clear, almost pollution and sky glow free, radiant night sky, I truly think people do not know what they are missing. There is nothing like sitting for a while in true dark to make you sleep well at night.
LED truck and SUV lights... I want to ban them, too, they are terrifying. Driving a car on a windy dark road, I just pray I am on the pavement because I can't see with oncoming traffic. I have to move my rearview mirror to point upwards, and flick my sideview mirrors to point away from the vehicle if someone drives behind me. I wonder how many accidents happen a year because of night blindness from LEDs? I certainly couldn't see a deer if it jumped in front of me while some idiot in a fancy pickup truck is tailgating me for several km before the next available passing lane...
In my experience, if there is a local source of unprotected garbage, bears are way more active locally.they are wanderers and foragers, and don't respect "stay over there" when the same stuff is over with you! . The one place I was where there was an open dump, the bears considered humans to be food providers and unscary, and it was a major problem. One woman was chased down the road in her truck because she was carrying garbage on the way to the dump. The Bears were unafraid of vehicles, which were just dinner delivery systems, and car horns were dinner bells
As a fun anecdote for the wide range of bears, that area used to relocate problem bears many km down the road - I want to say 40 km. They would mark the bear with spray paint, and the joke was that the bear would be back before the truck as it took a more direct route. Not exactly true, but marked bears did show back up.
Based on that, I would be very wary about keeping any sort of bait area within several kilometers of where I wanted to grow fruit.
I will be curious to hear how you like it and how it bakes.
My parents replaced an heirloom 1920s cookstove with a modern one when the 1920s one was unable to be repaired. The modern cookstove put out more heat, seemed to burn cleaner, and had a much larger/longer lasting firebox, but was no where near as good for baking. Things needed to be rotated multiple times as the heating was uneven, and we could never keep it low enough temperatures for more delicate baking. Even the warming oven above the stove had to be left with the door open, or meringues, apple slices, etc would burn. But it didn't handle a small fire well. The cookstove was always used as an additional heat source on the coldest days, but after the switch, we stopped lighting it for winter baking unless it was already going.
I have always been curious about that style of stove.
I found these on Amazon randomly today.... Plastic/silicone thingies that keep your mask off your face. I wonder if they might make masks more comfortable for those who find having something directly against their mouth/nose uncomfortable? You might even be able to integrate them into a home made mask to make something that stays off the face and avoid the potential "plastic is poking me in the face" feeling.
I have been surprised by my worms ability to deal with a bit of aerobic heat. I several times have thought I must have cooked them as the bin heats up, only to look a month or two later and see them thriving and that the population has exploded.
I would definitely try it, but suggest perhaps thin (1-2 ft) beds of material to allow heat to escape, and not continuously adding fresh, perhaps have several bins/piles, and let the worms digest it over the course of a month or two before adding new material. If you have access to additional carbon materials, that may also be of help if it is particularly hot.
We had a wonderful meal, just mom and I, rather than the whole family because of Covid. Thanksgiving turkey, and a whole whack of veggies. Proud that other than 1 kind of pickles, olives, cranberries, and some celery in the coleslaw, all the veggies, potatoes, and pickles and herbs were homegrown this year. We have a long standing tradition to count the veggies on the table at Christmas and Thanksgiving in our family, this year we managed 11, matching my grandma's record with just 2 of us eating. Cheated, as a lot of those were pickles and I am counting pumpkin pie as a veggie.
I think we spent as much time putting away leftovers in the freezer as eating, a turkey is a big meal for just 2!
I use python. Free, open source, good online help documentation and, more importantly, what a program i use for work is written to use for automating tasks. Matlab is awesome for engineering and science but not exactly a versatile langauge through it teaches you lots of the skills. Unfortunately the licence is bloody expensive, but there is a knock off open source version I believe. R is what lots of statistics and graphing stuff in journal papers is done with.
Honestly, unpopular opinion - any language he enjoys if he isnt being paid to do it. I think programming is kinda like reading. Once you can read in English, you can pick up reading in French or Italian easily enough because you know how letters and punctuation works and just need to lean a few different rules. My university taught introductory programming with a useless unheard of language. Useless in real life, BUT we programmed robots in class and had a blast, and the fun of it made me more inclined to learn more. We also did Matlab, and some python, and something else that I forget now... I don't program much recently - but I have enough background to bash my way inelegantly through small tasks in other languages, and know what to google/how to think when i encounter one.
I find a basic knowledge of SQL queries useful too.
Mine was mediocre to poor. About 1.5 milk crates of potatos from 100 row feet. Got more than I planted though, so not my worst ever year :)
My potatos are so dense you can barely cut them, small, and remained at surface. To be fair, I was blaming my soil (barely managed to chisel a 6" furrow to plant them, and insufficient hilling, but everyone else in the area is reporting a bad year for potatos, so I blame the big drought we had in early summer instead. Soil is much more workable after a year of mulch, hoping for better results next year.
One comment is that you may want to consider an alternative source of heat for when you are away or ill. My childhood home was heated by wood stoves, to go away for more than a day or two and avoid frozen pipes, we also had electric baseboard heat. Now, when my dad is ill or injures himself, he also uses the electric heaf until he is well enough to carry in wood again.
Another house i lived in just had an outdoor wood furnace, which was much more even heat though it used more wood than the woodstoves. However, there was no electric heat, so it was difficult to leave the house for any time in the winter (we set up portable heaters)
My uncle has a propane furnace, but radically reduced his heating season with a simple well placed woodstove in the basement. The propane furnace kicks in on days the woodstove isnt sufficient, and, again, he can go away in the winter without fearing the pipes will freeze.
Oh damn. I am sorry!!! Bloat is something i am always worried about.
i wouldnt have suspected bloat with those symptoms either, and my experience with vets is that they arent much use even when you bring a dog in with 'somethings not right" until what that something is becomes obvious.
I am so sorry, Elle. Losing a dog is really hard, losing two dogs in a few weeks is pretty unbearable.
Honestly, even living down the road from where problem bears are relocated, i never dealt with bear issues. Why? We burnt our garbage (not an environmentally sound solution!!!), washed plastics, cans, etc before putting it outside to bring to the recycling depot, Or hauled it to the dump regularly, and had dogs around. The only time we ever saw a bear in our yard was when the last dog was old and no longer roaming- a young bear sauntered down the drive, and our old dog and cat (!) warned it off. People were spread out enough that there was no NEED for the bear to pass through our yard, though i occasionally saw bear sign in the woods. When i walked, i usually had the dogs, and chatted with them, or would whistle or have a set of bear bells in higher risk seasons. People in the area hunted and ate bear too, which controlled the population as well.
At work - i have been to many remote sites and have been around all 3 species of Canadian bear. The only one we had bear issues in was one where they had an open dump site instead of an incinerator with tall fences. Even there, the only time i was ever at risk was when i was moving garbage to my truck(bears smelled it, and came into the building because the door was open!!!) or dropping it off at the dump (i accidentally hit a bear that i didnt see in the head with it when i threw it). I carried bear spray in the woods, never used it, did not leave food or garbage in the vehicle, and travelled with another person. We did have one black bear stalk us for a bit, but he seemed more curious than anything, and left when someone honked a horn. I also once walked without noticing within 100 m of a grizzly and her two cubs sleeping in the grass - she was habituated to humans being noisy nuisances but not sources of food due to strict garbage and bear protocols, and didnt even watch me walk past.
For me, the most environmentally sound bear control measures are the prosaic ones - clean your garbage, have a couple large dogs around, be loud so they hear you coming, and eat them when the population gets too large, or if they start becoming problem bears.
(Oh, except for polar bears, which are bloody scary, very smart, and DEFINITELY think of humans as prey. Heard way too many "polar bear lay there for days before attacking" stories to like polar bears).
If it were my deer, i would want to deal with it immediately, not let it rest and blood cool ... at this many hours i would hope you have already bled and gutted it, otherwise i would be much less inclined to eat it!
I would also probably taste test before butchering - my biggest concern would be if some sort of internal injury damges the gut and ruined the meat in that area.
Venison jerky, venison burger, venison metloaf etc are good food. Do you have dogs? I would be inclined to feed any meat you won't to a dog.
(As a note about timing - my dad is a butcher. He once had a turkey which broke its neck while he was at work. He refused to butcher it as it had been dead to long when he got home. Most of my rural friends will only eat a roadkill deer they caused or saw die).
Yeah, socks and sandals until about -5C (23F) here, maybe -10C (14 F) then i chicken out. But usually by then there is snow on the ground, so sandals dont work anyway. Nothing worse than cold, wet feet.
So i need something warmer from mid Nov/early December until the snow melts in mid March. Growing up, i also spent most of the summer barefoot - remember a few times arriving at a store and discovering i hadnt put shoes on before leaving! That happens less now that i drive, my feet register the pedal differently so i notice when i get in.
(As i eye beautiful traditional moccasins and mukluks online i imagine, 100 years ago, before the advent of rubber shoes, if someone had suggested we dump tonnes of salt on roads and paths to keep them in a perpetual state of salty slush that ruins leather or suede or fur. I imagine reviews to the idea would have been negative!)
What sort of winter shoes/boots do you barefoot people wear?
I have been barefoot or in loose sandals since the snow went away this spring and am very much not looking forward to winter boots. Havent worked im an office and barely went in public all summer, so am out of the habit of shoes. I have blundstones, 1 or 2 sizes too large but i always struggle with readjusting to the loss of toe freedom. Even my barefoot style running shoes are too tight.
Anne - you definitely should grow it! Mine was 8 ft tall, bright red, showy flowers. I had people walking by ask me about jt, they could see it in the backyard. Further research since i posted this made me determine that mine is a nongrain variety/species (black seeds)
I think i weeded out a lot of the diversity in the mix. Oops.
Dan - i suspect the grain varieties may be easier to winnow than mine. Chickens would definitely like it, and not for the seeds - i have never seen as many bugs as crawled out of mine. Yummy chicken snacks!
I can hardly wait to get started on next year's garden! My current one still has a few weeks of life left. I plan on expanding it and grow more of what I grew this year (tomatoes, zukes, peppers) and add a variety of other things.
This year was a success, (compared to previous ones) so I'm all jazzed up.
I plan to hugelkultur, as the planned newer area slopes down a little.
I just ordered comfrey seeds to grow that and spice up the compost heap. Developing an herbal medicine patch is a part of my plans (I ordered mullein seeds, as well.)
I may even think of 'season extenders' like cloches from 2L sodapop bottles and whack some scrap wood and screens/windows for a cold frame.
Gosh. One successful good garden and look what happens.... Side note: I am aware of 'reach exceeding my grasp' as that was a problem before. But I have the time, now, to take proper care of my intentions.
Paul - thats awesome! Jealous of your longer growing season down there. Glad it went well for you too! i know all about "reach exceeding my grasp". For me, heavily mulching was my breakthrough moment. Yes, mulching is a ton of work, but i would much rather mulch in the cool of the spring and fall than weed in the heat of the summer! I can maintain a far bigger garden with mulch than without it. To me, its all about maximizing the things i enjoy (planting, picking, eating) and minimizing things i dont (weeding watering hoeing tilling). I am also already plotting for next year. I kind of wish
seed companies would accept orders now for next year, which is silly, as i know i will enjoy sitting down to order seed in January/February. Impatient for the next growing season to start, instead of happy to see the work go away for the winter.
We have had 2 hard frosts here, really closing down the growing season and cleaning up the garden. Looks like i will get maybe 40 lb of potatos from 100 row feet, which is a poor yield, but local gossip says everyone had a bad year for piotatos, and i didn't water them much, so they were pretty low effort. My soup beans did poorly, except for 3 plants which produced abundantly. Saving all the seeds from those plants for next year.
I bought Four Star Explorer Mix amaranth this year as part of my ongoing efforts to find grains i can grow for myself. Its gorgeous!
I will grow it again just for the beauty and the delicious salad 'greens'. But a grain? Ah! It seems to finish all at different times, and there is far more chaff than seed, i ended up having to freeze it to kill of the last of the bugs, and cleaning it seems impossible with all the methods i have tried (sieves, gravity, lightly blowing on it, wind, water... etc). I lose more grain than i keep, and will be only have enough cleanish seeds to replant next year. I have also tried harvesting at different stages, etc.
Do you grow amaranth? What varieities do you grow? How do you harvest and clean it as a grain?
Sonja - that recipe has some of my favourite GF flours in it, so looks really tasty. Tasty + sliceable/not crumbly >> fluffy.
Jan- Lentils in bread sound really tasty! I even know somewhere i can get chickpea flour (or maybe i have some buried in the back of the cupboard. Hmmm). Also, i love the idea of eating bread made of more things i could theoretically grow in my garden.
Tereza - i might try that egg replacer replacer recipe in another recipe. This one is fiddly enough i don't feel like using it anymore (eggs AND egg replacer, proofing gelatin, etc), plus its all white starches (rice, potato, tapioca) and my tastes have advanced to the better tasting whole grain GF flours now that they are available.