Rachel D L Smith

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since Jul 29, 2020
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tiny house solar greening the desert
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Recent posts by Rachel D L Smith

paul wheaton wrote:Apparently a lot of people this year are gonna have some sadness surrounding home heat.  

I know I struggled the last two winters.  I do have a 50 year old (or so) tiny pot belly stove now and I can at least get warm in the daytime. Which is a blessing!  I was thinking of wrapping copper line around the flue to run it to the old style water radiator a friend gave me, so I can have some heat in my bedroom, but that presents issues too.  

My son helped with so many projects when we first got here, and he would still, but he is recently married, and I am trying very hard to let them have their own life!  

I found about Mass Rocket Stoves several years ago.  Before I bought this land.  Bought the book too.  I keep collecting bits and pieces that might work with one.  I have the land and could put one in the corner right outside my two little sheds or maybe even partially inside them?  I even have some clay deposits on my land.  Then I watched the video of a dozen people making the Cobb stove, which is supposed to be the easiest, and was very discouraged.  Physically?  I think it is beyond me.  But I keep wanting to try.  With winter closing in?  I will take that book out and read it again and see if I can figure out which one, I could actually do and then slowly build one.  Maybe not in time for this winter, but someday.  I was thinking the pea gravel one might be easier? But then I would have to get pea gravel! LOL I keep running into my little roadblocks!  

I do think that people have a hard time with the thought of actually building one themselves.  I know I do.  But then it is just me out here and illness and age keep trying to get me down. Arrrgh!  I cannot afford to buy much, and I really cannot afford to make any mistakes when building it.  But there are so many reasons to try!  

Just wanted to say that out here where people really understand living off grid, and how tough it can be to get set up out in the Boondock's.  I call it the Wilds of Arizona where I am!  :)   I know you each appreciate the incredible joys that come with this tough life!  The beauty, the peace, the wonderful feeling of growing your own food!  It is a very good thing!  Just a few bumps to get around.  :) Heat in the winter is one I am still working on!

Take Care!
1 year ago
Hi! If you are just looking for Drinking and Cooking water, I would get a Big Berkey. The Charcoal filters are amazing! I have used mine for 8 years now, and it has been a blessing.  I was on the road camping, "Out in the Wilds", for 7 of those years.  Having clean water to drink is very important to me.  They have several sizes, depending on how many people are using them, but for me and my little dog, the Big Berkey has been perfect.  :)
2 years ago
I like what you said about none of the seed planting and pruning! LOL I have found all kinds of ways to "Harvest" Lambs Quarter seeds, but yours certainly seems the easiest!  :)

I cut off several branches already in the hopes of getting seeds, but I wonder if I was too hasty.  One gentleman said to cut them off and let them rest.  That you should not touch the seeds with your hands unless they are well washed as the oils from your body can cause them to go bad.  He has this whole process you have to go through.

Lambs Quarters Video

I see several out here have mentioned shaking the heads to see if the seeds fall out.  Mine are not doing that yet.  But I do have a lot of seeds on my beautiful plant!  Do you just check everyday to see if the seeds are shaking out?

2 years ago
Your house seems so right for keeping cool except for the roof. Nice thick walls!  Stone!   I have a metal roof on my little Tuff shed. I put R Max Foam board insulation between the 2 x 4's on the roof and the walls, and it made a big difference!  It has aluminum foil on each side, which helps too.  But I do still deal with muggy heat by late afternoon.  It was over 100 for over two weeks here in Arizona, which may sound normal for Arizona, but I do live in the high desert.  Over 100 is not the norm at this elevation.  I use a double layer of Reflectix, covered in Tu Tuf, a white inert vapor barrier type of plastic, by Sto-Cote, to block the windows, whenever the sun starts to pour in.  I rotate them and open and close windows accordingly.  Lots of Round Robin'ing!  LOL But it does help!  I too, have a little dog, and drench myself, in hopes of maintaining some form of cool in front of my fan!  I think cool thoughts and drink lots of ice water.  :)

Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for each season.  I am also grateful when we move on to the next one!  LOL

Fickle Creatures Aren't We!  :)
3 years ago
I, too, can't abide the Stink of these new soaps. Unfortunately, they now also have laundry soap, that leaves no stink, but has new chemicals in it, to make that happen!  Those give me more of a headache than the stinky types of laundry soap.  Perfume and cologne are nasty too!  So hard to get out of your clothes. I saw others mention Febreze, that is a chemical nightmare for me.  Bleach causes me to stop breathing. In fact, most chemicals are on my list of "No, Not in my home!" I used to use Hydrogen Peroxide, it will get a lot of the odors out, but it causes your clothes to start shredding way too soon. Usually at the most inappropriate times and in very awkward places!  LOL Peroxide is a great cleaner, just Way too tough on cloth.

I usually just wash with Borax and Baking Soda, rinse well, then rinse with vinegar, rinse with plain water, and hang on the line. But those are clothes I have already de-odorized!

I also get most of my clothes from thrift stores.  For the really tough odors, I set them out in the sun for a day or two, if that reduces the odor, I know I have a chance at getting them clean. Then I wash them in hot water with Borax, Washing Soda or Baking Soda, and Dr Bronners baby soap. Then rinse well in hot water. I make sure I have all of the soda out, so it wont react with the vinegar. Then I rinse again in hot water and Lots of vinegar, then rinse again in plain hot water, and hang on them on the line for the Sun to do its wonders. I will flip clothes over ever day. But I have found that if it takes more than 3 days in the sun, then all my washing and rinsing has been in vain.  When I say Hot water, I am living off grid, and I do all my cooking outside on my camp stove.  I will literally boil the clothes with the soap mix, to try and break down the chemicals. Wringing them out can be a challenge, but I did just get a Lake City Hand Wringer, so I am hoping that will help with the whole process!  

I know one lady would boil her thrift store clothes in a pressure cooker.  She said the pressure would cause the chemicals to ooze out.  She would keep boiling them until all of the Ooze was gone!  Sometimes it took 20 times!  One lady told me she buys every thing new, and it only takes 26 washes, in hot water and soap, in her washing machine, to get the stink out!  Oh My! Talk about dedicated!  

It is good to see so many others who are avoiding chemicals!  Maybe it will become a trend!
3 years ago

William Wallace wrote:

Sure, an easy solution would be to purchase an old style wringer off Amazon.  They are about 150 dollars, and I know that they will work great.  

I would like to hear what you all think.  

Hi William,

Just a thought.

If you ever do buy a hand wringer, I would be cautious buying one from Amazon.  Most of them have rollers that are made from a really cheap rubber, that has a bad chemical smell. One lady calls it the China Rubber Smell.  That smell will get on your clothes as you use it.  The Lehman's Hand Wringer is purchased from Lake City Industries and they use FDA Grade White: 50 Durometer rubber which has no stink to it!  It is expensive. But it is on my list of things to save for.

I have been researching this too. Living off grid, laundry has been one of my most challenging chores.  It is getting difficult for this ole gal to hand wring clothes. Hanging them up sopping wet, works, eventually. But even here in Arizona, it is so much better if they are dryer when I hang them up. That musty smell really bothers me too!  Lifting a bucket full of pebbles is not an option for this ole gal either! The spin dry method? Hmmm Well!  I will keep saving! LOL

3 years ago
I did not even know that flax is where you get linen from! LOL but I just watched this video and I was amazed at the process. We do have land now, I don't know if we can actually grow flax out here.  I'm at in Arizona, but it was amazing to watch the process. Thank you so much for taking the time to put together that video and for sharing information about the old ways.
3 years ago
Thank you so much! I've been waiting and praying for this and it actually arrived today on my birthday!

Lord Bless You!

3 years ago
Hi, the link to the Podcasts say they can't be found?
3 years ago
When I try to get to The Forum it tells me,

Oooops.. You don't have sufficient privileges to access this forum?

It seems like quite a few others have had that issue too. I think I'm logged in but I'm not certain! LOL I've never used your site before so this is new to me.