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Hank Roberts

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since Feb 19, 2013
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Recent posts by Hank Roberts

Read up on and get some Permethrin spray.

Collect toilet paper rolls.   roll ot somepaper towels and treat the paper with permethrin.  Let it dry.   Tear it into chunks and stuff toilet paper rolls.  Scatter them around before the first snow.
Field mice will steal the paper to line their nests, the mice are an overwinter host to the ticks, which will die off before springtime.   I did that several years running on a wildland campsite and eliminated ticks from the area.

Another tactic -- get horse collars, dose those with permethrin and place them over salt licks for the local deer.  The permethrin will rub off on the collars and again kill off the ticks.

Don't spray permethrin on your skin.  It will stick to clothing and survive several washings.  Tuck your treated pants into treated socks.  Treat the collar, the cuffs, and the waistline -- let it dry before putting the clothing on -- to preent ticks from falling onto you from overhanging bushes and getting under your clothes.
7 months ago

Mulch is fatal to native bees that require bare dirt to dig their holes.

"... what is the big deal about bare dirt and bees? Between 60-70% of the native CA bee species dig tunnels in soil and provision a series of nest cells, each of which will contain one new bee offspring. To do this the female must find a patch of bare dirt, excavate a tunnel and then make repeated visits between the tunnel entrance and flowers for their pollen and nectar. If a nest-searching female encounters 1-2 inches of mulch or plastic where there should be bare dirt, she will not excavate through this material and will leave in search of an appropriate site. When a high number of gardeners in an area mulch or plasticate their soil, this can have a negative impact on bee populations. In a recent casual survey of 200 gardeners in the SFBA from 40-60% said they were mulchers! ..."
1 year ago
Someone, sometime, has to take on the cost of dealing with lead paint.

We did with our stucco bungalow -- it had many layers of paint on it, under something tenacious that had cracked and started to peel exposing the underlying leaded paint.
The stuff that had been put on in the 1940s was 30 percent lead.

We found a professional firm that does big buildings, ships and shipyard gear and bridges and the like -- they'd never done anything as small as a house.
They use hot water carrying abrasive grit, and a suction and HEPA Filter system that picks up everything blasted off the surface.  They plastic-bagged the house and worked in bunny suits and respirators.

Yeah, we were determined to be responsible.  We knew when we bought the house that we'd have to deal with it.

Our neighbors have babies.

The stuff filtered and collected off our house was so high in lead that it can't be legally landfilled in California.  It had to be packaged and trucked to a Nevada desert landfill.

And we got bare, clean stucco to work with.

For indoors, the lead-painted wood trim goes into landfill as well.

Lead is a horror.  Don't use heat (heat guns volatilize lead and the dust gets spread around.  Don't use cheap labor that exposes the workers to the lead dust and leaves much of it in your ground.

Lead paint seemed like a bargain because it was "self cleaning" -- rainwater washes off the surface layer of the soluble lead carbonate paint leaving it looking clean, depositing the lead in your ground and water.  

We bought the problem.  It's our responsibility now.
3 years ago
If you want to buy off-the-shelf hardware, look for a "power conditioner" or "line conditioner"

If you want to build your own, search the same terms.

I see "In Sri Lanka the standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz."

So look locally.
4 years ago