Andrea Locke

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since Aug 25, 2019
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Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
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Recent posts by Andrea Locke

I took a quick look at the Qwik-Mix link and it looks like you buy it in concentrated form and dilute it with water. That would eliminate a lot of plastic waste so it's inching closer to eco-friendly.  I didn't see what potential toxins might be in it, but there was a warning label shown on the image of the bottle so it obviously contains some kind of gick. Not methanol apparently - it must not be freeze-proof as the directions on that Amazon link said to add methanol in cold weather. So we haven't gotten away from methanol yet.

I think it may not be too difficult to use a non-toxic product in warm weather. Probably a vinegar-water or vinegar-soapnut (or castile soap)-water solution like you might use for window washing in the house could do the job. Unless the baked on bugs are resistant to that - I haven't really checked, as to be honest the toxicity of windshield washer was a bit of a blind spot for me and I never questioned it until two days ago when I posted the inquiry that started this thread. Here, the summer wash fluid is some kind of pink gick and the winter is blue. The blue has the methanol. Not sure how else they differ. I think maybe the pink has more soapy stuff for bugs. Still toxic though.

In the big picture perhaps this is not such a huge issue, but in the context of starting to look at one's own lifestyle and try to find ways to transition away from industrial products where possible, pretty much anyone driving a motorized vehicle whether fossil fuel or electric needs to use this stuff. And many of us live in places or have personal circumstances that require use of a vehicle. I assume the relatively low numbers of responses to this thread mean that I am not the only one stumped by the question of what to use instead of the industrial gick (although Dave Burton definitely found some good leads, and thanks for that!). Unless one is distilling alcohol at home, there don't seem to be a lot of home-made options.

I'm thinking the risk of experimentation is kind of high, in winter. The risk of either destroying the fluid delivery system through freezing/expansion, or suddenly driving blind on the highway because unable to clean the windshield is potentially both dangerous and an expensive repair. I'll probably end up continuing to use blue gick this winter. Qick-Mix appears to be out of stock on Amazon, plus considering one then also has to add methanol, the main advantage of that product seems to be reducing plastic waste. Which in itself is good, but not the whole story. Playing around with formulas next summer to start to find a better way to do this during the non-freezing season might be the way to go, and worthwhile even if using a more toxic formula in winter.

23 hours ago
Thanks Dave. Looks like for cold weather it is still necessary to include rubbing alcohol in the mix. (Or vodka! LOL. I can't see too many people following that recipe!). I suppose that is likely better for the environment than methanol. Maybe evaporates cleaner if spilled?
2 days ago
Is there an earth friendlier version of the blue windshield washer liquid? I don't know of any, especially in cold weather...
2 days ago
At present I am using olive oil for cold things like salads and grapeseed oil or in rare cases butter for cooking. I am leery of using most animal fats for cooking due to concerns about potential residues of pesticides etc in most commercial products as others have mentioned. We are hoping to have our own pigs one of these days though.

We currently have hazelnut and walnut seedlings that will be planted out within the next year as part of our nut polyculture, and eventually hope to be able to produce some nut oils - that will be a longer term project, especially the walnuts.

Sunflower oil would likely be more achievable in the short term, even though that is mostly an annual crop. I haven't started growing perennial Maximilian sunflowers yet but they are on my radar as something to get one of these days - anyone know if that is a good oilseed crop?
2 days ago
I don't generate empty laundry bottles here, as I use soapnuts (which come in cotton bags that I reuse for a variety of purposes) but I do buy milk in plastic bottles at times when I'm not milking goats. I have one of those bottles waiting to be turned into a grain scoop. They aren't as solid as the laundry bottles but it will do for a short time until I find where my second metal scoop has disappeared to. It's nice to have family help with chores but sometimes it takes me a week to find all the scoops and buckets afterwards.
3 days ago
The price they are asking for the used dome is fairly close to the used RV we bought last year which my daughter uses as her primary home. It's watertight and came with working appliances and such. So as temporary housing I am starting to think my best bet would be to pick up another RV like that. It could be sold afterwards more easily and would be ready to live in right away. There was a trailer like hers for sale two months ago just down the road and I kind of wish now I had bought it.

I have been using an opaque white car shelter as an unheated greenhouse for years and plants seem perfectly happy in there. So maybe they are not too fussy about using a mix of glass from salvaged windows? I had never given any thought to window glass types blocking different wavelengths but now Jay has brought that up I am curious to learn more about that too!

The idea of constructing quarantine housing is interesting. We don't have a need for it - no one we know is travelling! - but I imagine having something like that could be quite useful for other families.
4 days ago
We could build equivalent trellis or wofati style root cellar or chicken houses for close to free as we have a lot of logs and poles salvaged from logging slash piles we are cleaning at the new property. And from conversations thus far it seems like this might not be a great choice as the starting point for developing housing.

I think the best use would be greenhouse although that would either mean getting into a commitment to regular replacement cycles of plastic which I want to avoid, or a large upfront cost and substantial time to fit a permanent hard greenhouse surface to all those polyhedrons. There are easier ways to biild a greenhouse for sure.

No idea what it was being used for. The photos seemed to indicate it was buried with some light tubes and a dirt floor. As I had not contacted the seller (and honestly probably will not, now, having had some time for critical reflection) I don't know the answers to any of the other questions.

4 days ago
Thanks, those are great ideas.

Jay, it's not a score yet - I'm still trying to decide if this is something worth contacting them about, at this point it is just something I saw the ad for.

4 days ago
Just came across an ad for a used dome on a local website. According to the description, the metal framework for this 32 ft dome is in excellent condition and the cover could use replacing. From photos, I would say they had this buried under a foot or so of soil. Not sure what it was formerly used for.

I'm looking for an interesting and economical way to create housing or other farm buildings at our new place, so this is tempting. I've always liked domes. But I'm not sure what would be the best way forward to turn this one into something useful. What would you-all do with it? Would you turn it into a house? A studio? Something else? What would you cover it with?
5 days ago
Yes, that's a good point! I inherited a huge patch of that plant, which I know as goutweed, at a former property.  We ate as much as we could to keep it in check. Even so I still pulled out buckets full every spring to keep other edibles like wild violets from being overrun in that bed. Being variegated didn't seem to slow it down much.
5 days ago