I'm going to remove some of my gutters this spring. I have a wrap-around verandah around three sides of the house, so it protects much of the foundation from rain off the roof. The property slopes down from the house. The eavetroughs aren't properly graded with downspouts in the proper places, so I get rain pouring out of the gutters right by the front door, among other problems. I think I'm going to make a short one, maybe eight feet long, on the verandah roof in front of the door, slightly graded to one downspout. Same with the side-back doors. No more cleaning gutters!
Marie Kondo has been an enormous help to me in getting rid of so much stuff! I went through most of the categories three years ago, and am only now getting to the cellar. This is an old house (built 1855) with ever-evolving outdoor systems and gardens, so I have loads of stuff, from lumber to hardware that may or may not be useful as time goes by. I've been so glad that I didn't re-home various bits and pieces that came in handy for repairing something. I'm glad that I waited this long to tackle that, but now that I'm fully retired, it's time. I made a blog post back when I first used the method: https://www.smallbones.ca/winter-rambling/
My final update on this subject: Last winter I piled lots of straw on top of the holding tanks and everything was fine; no freezing. There's now some more soil on top and I'll add more straw shortly. By next autumn, I think they'll be fine without adding more, but if necessary I will. Thank-you so much for all your suggestions.
You could also make your own vegan cheese. I was a vegetarian for more than 20 years; not vegan just because of cheese. Then I became vegan about 10 years ago after watching a certain documentary. I've made a cheese plate for a Winter Solstice celebration using recipes from https://thegentlechef.com/gentle-chef-cookbooks/non-dairy-evolution-cookbook/. (I bought the digital version.) It was a great hit! I've lost the craving now, but I'll still make some for special celebrations that include vegans and non-vegans.
David Huang wrote:Similar to your kale chips I've been making kale crackers, a thicker heartier version that uses many more greens. While I haven't yet used nasturtiums or radish leaves in them I've used many other types of edible leaves with no failures yet. I just recently did a blog about them: https://theartisthomestead.com/a-stupendously-healthy-snack-cracker/
I'll be using your cracker post for inspiration when my kale gets bigger! I'm sure they're delicious as well as astoundingly healthy. Thank-you! :)
Jane Weeks wrote:I'm also biased as I make this soap. It's plain Castile: olive oil, lye and rain water (soft for better lather): http://etsy.me/2flfyLt If you're interested in making your own, I could paste the directions. It's easy!
I retired in January, so no longer sell my soap but if anyone wants the recipe I'm happily sharing it with many people. Send me an e-mail & I'll send it to you. jane[at]smallbones[dot]ca
Charley Hoke wrote:I like growing green beans almost as much as I like eating them. We grow both pole beans and bush beans. I prefer the pole beans because if properly trellised take up less room, but have always detested the complicated trellis systems that I have used in the past. Last year I discovered a simpler way.
First, I keep my rows around 10 feet long and 2 feet apart; I put a wood steak at the ends of the rows sticking about 6 feet out of the ground. Then I tie a stick at the top of each steak to connect them. Then I tie an old piece of bailing twine to the cross stick and let it dangle down to the bean plant. I repeat this for each plant.
I use the same setup for pickling cucs, too. Unfortunately, last year some of my uprights got knocked down, so I'll have to put in new ones this spring. I also put a stone on the bottom of each string while the plants are just getting started.
Jane Weeks, it must be code differences but weren't you allowed the option of a tank + drainfield combination? I've seen locally that more people are being "recommended" by the county to put in pump + mound + drainfield systems in order to protect water quality better.....somehow....in someway that I've not been properly informed. (??) Our local pump rate is $175 USD per tank and the drainfield allows for some extra time before that needs to be done. As Travis noted, anything to get that second tank under some kind of insulation. Around here (south and west of you on the other side of Minnesota) in low snow years, many seem to pile up straw bales on the tank which seems to help. With regard to grey water, we keep the kitchen sink still going to the septic tanks, but remember that any other sink/drain can, at a future time, be "judiciously redirected" as grey water with a little help from a Sawzall and some assisting friends with the know-how.
The water table here is too high for any kind of drainage system. If I had the money for a regular septic system, I'd have to have many, many truckloads of soil brought in (difficult to get to) and have a new well drilled as well, as it would be too close for modern laws. I've piled lots of straw on top of the second tank and I'll keep my fingers crossed when it gets really freezing. I hope that in the future I can redirect the grey water, as you say "with a little help from my friends."
I guess it's time to update my issue. In May I used my inheritance from my step-mother (who died at age 98) to get a 'normal' toilet and had two big holding tanks installed. It ended up costing over $12,000! It turned out that the contractor I hired who said that he'd installed many tanks before, was a liar. He had good reviews for other things, so I stupidly trusted him. There are very few people around here who do this sort of thing. This was obviously his first time. My property goes downhill from the house. Tank #1 is fine, but tank #2 behind #1 is only slightly buried, so I'm worried about freezing again. The plumbing and everything else is fine. One thing I really wish someone had suggested (or my brain was working better) is that I keep the grey water and use the tanks only for the toilet. It's amazing how much water is used, even though I'm really, really careful and even dump my dish water straight outside. Pump-outs cost $260 and I've already had one!
Stacy Witscher wrote:An ex-friend of mine would freeze extra-firm tofu, then defrost and squeeze out as much liquid as she could, then it would crumble and she would use it like ground beef. The texture was very similar but it seemed like a lot of work to me.
I do this to make fake tuna salad. Add chopped celery, green onions, mayo, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tamari (and kelp powder if you want a fishy taste – I don't). Everybody likes it! In fact, I almost always freeze tofu first, the way your friend does. It soaks up whatever it's in better this way.
It's amazing, but I'm happy to report that the ice thawed! We've had above-zero temps for quite a few days lately, three in a row last week. i really don't know if the antifreeze worked or the salt worked or if it was simply the warmer weather. It re-froze after one day, but thawed again a few days later, and now it's been free for a few days. I think it's safe to say it will remain free now. I'm keeping the dam closed when I'm not using water (most of the day) as it's well below freezing again, but not nearly as cold as it was, and the forecast calls for above-zero again soon...very strange winter.
I'm very financially challenged, but I really hope I can find a way to get a holding tank in the spring. Because of the configuration of my property, excavation will be very expensive. Then there's the tank itself, a plumber, etc., etc. Warning to all who are contemplating composting toilets instead of a septic system: it's not a whole lot of fun looking after them when you get older and it's frigid outside!
I think that next year I'll remember to close the dam on the pipe when I won't be using water for a while in very cold weather. Just closing it when I went to bed worked fine for temps down to -20C, but this year the cold has broken all records.
Today's temp is going up to +2! It's also snowing...again.
I'm sorry to admit that I didn't do it, Keith. No one I know has a pump and it all just seems like too much for me. I'd have to stand in the pond, which would melt; there's no way I can get very much hot water down there; and I just give up for now. After days of -40sC with wind chill, it's a balmy -9 right now, and going above zero for a day or two this week! I know that the ground won't thaw, but at least it's not quite so frigid. I've become quite adept of coping with things as they are.
I thank you so much for your help. I didn't want to admit that I hadn't followed your advice. Perhaps there will be a miracle at some point.
Keith Ahlstrom wrote:Jane!...don't suffer...where there is a will, there is a way!
So, The waterline I have is from Canadian Tire...I think I spent 20 bucks for 100'. (it comes in a big roll...think garden hose, but black and more rigid...like pex tubing, but not as expensive) I originally used garden hose, but scared the bejeezers out of myself when the two sections I was using pulled apart in the pipe. Thankfully, it happened where just as the connection came out of the pipe. Having a garden hose stuck up in your grey water line would SUCK! If you have a short-ish run of pipe from the outlet to the house and only need one hose...go for it. Garden hose works, but it can sometimes be like pushing a rope up a hill...the water line is far more rigid and just doesn't buckle.
The pump was from Canadian Tire as well...whatever you can get cheaply. I love and use these kinds of pumps all the time. I can't even count how many times they have saved me from disaster. $60...$80 it's all money well spent! I can wager your nieghbour has one you could borrow.
The hot water comes from my canner. I boil up some water and fill the bucket. Fill it up again so I can top up the water in the bucket. (remember some of the water will be in the line and coming back down the pipe so you will need more than the single bucket for the pump to have something to pump back up.) Cold water works as well....just slower.
Okay, I'll give it a try. What kind of pump is it (so when I ask if I can borrow one, I know what to ask for)? I can afford $20 for the waterline. My distance is approx. 25 feet.
Keith Ahlstrom wrote:Well...Jane...I say give the waterline trick I use a try. It works great for me. I cleared the three foot greycicle in about 45mins. You can also try a pressure washer (heated) You can rent them from just about any equipment rental place.
Good luck with your pipe.
Thanks, Keith. I don't have a pump or a long line like you have. Perhaps I could try a pressure washer, but how would I get hot water to it? I couldn't run it from the kitchen tap (closest to the problem) I don't think. Am I just short on imagination?
It looks like I'm going to have to live with this until spring thaw, which means May or June until the ground is thawed. At least I figured out how to wash my hair, followed by a "sponge bath." Did laundry at my sister's yesterday. Thanks heavens I kept my small collectionn of antique enamelware bowls and pails with handles and lids. They're very handy and were probably used for the same purposes when they were first made.
I'm trying to think of this as a challenge. However, it means putting off a lot of things I had planned on getting accomplished during the winter.
Keith Ahlstrom wrote:Hi Mark,
All good as long as you are in a "warm-ish" cold climate. Where I live there is no keeping a compost pile warm or a greenhouse warm...or a compost pile in a greenhouse warm for that matter. We just came through a week of -35C (-31F) and nothing stays warm in those conditions.
But I like the idea for sure!
The main culprit in my system is the small dribs and drabs of water going down, (washing your hands etc) and this flows down and freezes in layers before it reaches the end of the pipe. It builds up and builds up until it blocks the pipe completely.
This is why I have a dam to close up the pipe at night time or whenever I know I won't be running water for any length of time. The night this froze the wind chill went to -37C. I should have closed the dam much earlier in the day.
Jim Fry wrote:One time my brother had a frozen pipe on his farm. He stuck a wire in each end of the blockage, connected the wires to his welder, and turned it on. The arc through the ice melted the blockage. I make no claims that it was a good idea. What I have done is to wrap all vulnerable pipes with heat tape and insulation. Another thing you could try is to just put another drain pipe thru the wall and let it drain on the ground until your permanent pipe thaws.
Thank-you, Jim. As the pipe is underground, I have no idea of where the blockage begins or ends. If I could find a neighbour with a welder (what type of welder?), I have lots of wire. Would it matter what type of wire?
It's extremely cold here in southern Ontario. My greywater froze in the pipe a few nights ago. I have a dam that I always close before I go to bed in the evening in the winter time. I should have closed it early that evening. Now it's frozen. Although it's interesting trying to live with just using a dishpan in the sink and dumping the water outside, it's a pain in the you-know-what, plus I can't do laundry or have a bath. Thank heavens my son lives nearby.
The pipe (black, just under 2" diameter -- ABS?) goes from inside the house in the basement about 25 feet underground to the greywater pond. I've tried pouring boiling water over the part that sticks out and banging it with a hammer (that's always worked before, but this weather is colder than I've ever experienced). Only the bit of ice in that part came out. Next I tried sucking out the 'wet' water in the basement part of the pipe using my shop vac. The idea was to pour RV antifreeze in so it would eventually melt the ice. The pipe is on a slight downwards slope so only a very small amount of water came out and I could get less than a cup of antifreeze in, not near enough.
Any other ideas? I have very little money so can't buy some expensive piece of equipment even if there is something like that. If I can't melt the ice, I'll be living like a pioneer until at least May as far as water use is concerned.
Dale Hodgins wrote:This is the soap made by Jane Weeks. A definite gift item, due to the artistic nature.
Thanks so much, Dale! BTW, I use rain water for my soaps, resulting in lots of suds. As a matter of interest, I visited my daughter last week and she insisted that I accept a gift of a professional hair cut. I took my bar of soap and refused conditioner or any other 'products.' The hairdresser was surprised by the suds and how easy it all was. I left looking the same as if she had used all that junk on my hair. (It lasted about as long, too -- back to normal two days later. )
Thanks,Sid, but that's not for me. I actually find the buckets simple and easy. The only problem is taking them outside in the wintertime. That and the fact that most people who visit me wouldn't be happy using buckets. I just use a bucket occasionally when I'm fed up with the fancy system.
Shortly after buying this property in 1998, the septic tank gave up. After much searching we found it -- it was made of cedar logs. I have no idea how long it had been here, but the house was built in 1855 and plumbing may have been added in the 1940s?? Anyway, current regulations would have meant bringing in tons of dirt to bring the ground level up, installing a whole system, and drilling a new well (it's an old dug well, but gives plenty of water) as it would have been too close to the septic tank. I didn't happen to have the many thousands of dollars required for all that, so I installed a non-electric, whole-house commercial composting toilet and patted myself on the back for being so environmentally-friendly.
I've definitely had enough! It works sort-of okay, but it's a pain to look after. It stinks when the air pressure changes, often in the warmer months. I had a solar powered fan and replaced it twice -- they don't last at all! I also get loads of what I call shit flies, tiny flies that woosh up when you lift the toilet seat. I'm also tired of having a cellar full of stuff to feed the big bin, turning the bin, and emptying the bin. I'm getting up there in years & can't imagine doing this when I'm 80. Unfortunately I'll never have the dollars for a new system and well, so I'm stuck with it.
BTW, I sometimes just use a bucket just to take a break. It's easier.
I recently bought "The Non-Dairy Revolution Cookbook," another cheez book. I've made three of the recipes so far, including one with rejuvalac (which I've made before, but didn't like – it works well in cheese!) & enjoyed them all. I'll take a look at this one, too. Thank-you
I don't use dish soap at all. I use hot water and if something is really oily (I'm a vegan and use only plant oils occasionally), I rub my dish cloth on my soap bar (plain castile soap that I make myself) and wash with that. My pipes don't get clogged and the grey water seems fine.
Kathryn Gagne wrote:Thanks for the info! I'll check it out. Free seeds are good even if it is a PR scam. Sorry if I get off topic or a little political here but as a public service...
Don't let General Mills fool you though. If they cared so much about the bees or us they would not use Glyphosate on their grains. Cheerios marketed as "Gluten Free" and "Heart Healthy" contains some of the highest amount of ppb. 1125.3 ppb!!! 0.05 is dangerous. I ate them daily for years. Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic at 40. They were my favorite and I have been feeding them to my 2 yr old son. Uhg!! I also gave up my OREOs
I am more hell bent than ever to eat only what we can grow. Here is a video from Glyphosate News. A full article can be found at NaturalNews.com
Yup, I remember reading that, too, and wishing all the parents who give them to babies would stop.