Category: home

Drywall Patches Made Fun and Easy for All

IMG_6237No one likes doing drywall repairs but those unsightly fist holes made when grandma comes over for Bridge or Pinochle are unsightly.  There are paper patches with self adhesive backings made to stick on and paint but the outline of the paper is found to be lacking.  The best way is to repair it with spackle or joint compound.

We would like to thank Jason for sharing this with us.  This simple, cheap, and effective trick is an easy way to make a great repair.  Simply cut a piece of drywall larger than your damage.  Score the backside to size and break the excess drywall off being carefull peel the drywall pieces from the front paper.

Small to medium size holes such as doorknob holes and goldclub accidents can be repaired easily.  After the patch is cut to fit place a layer or joint compound or spackle around the hole and place the patch in.  You want an overlap of about 2 or 3 inches.  More for larger damage and less for smaller holes proportionally.

Wipe over the patch with more compound and let it dry.

Sand and paint.
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Man Kills Orang Utan with Palm Oil

orangutanSweat beading on his brow, a man in a too tight t-shirt – the design become darkened by slowly spreading perspiration – huffs and puffs his way through a Food Court at a dying mall in Middle America. In a paper bowl, that when read from the bottom, would proclaim “Made from 99% post-consumer waste!”, is a slowly melting puddle of “Manilla Vanilla” ice cream.

He digs his spoon into the glob of artificial flavorings, colorings and texturizers and kills the Orang Utan.

He smacks his lips as the Orang Utan tries to outrun the licking flames. He runs his thick tongue around the edge of the bowl as the Orang Utan is set on fire. He enjoys the coolness of the ice cream as the skin of the Orang Utan crackles and peels from the flames, unable to outrun the raging fire set to clear the land for a palm oil plantation.

The man sits down his bowl, thinking maybe he should have ordered two servings, maybe the “Screamin’ Strawberry”? The bulldozer runs over the burning, flailing body of the Orang Utan. The man slides his spoon around the bottom of the bowl, scooping up every last bit of the melted ice cream. The bulldozer spits black smoke into the sky as it is put in reverse to once against crush the now dead Orang Utan.

The man returns to the ice cream shop to purchase another bowl, not knowing that with every scoop, he is destroying forests, the habitat of the Orang Utan and many different species in Borneo and Southeast Asia. Each spoonful of his cheap, artificial ice cream means the death of animals, flora and fauna, much of which has never been documented by biologists. He is a destroyer of worlds, a murderer of innocents, and he is doing it one spoonful at a time.

The oil palm industry is booming throughout Southeast Asia as a result of an increased demand for biodiesel and cheap food manufacturing.  The Western culture of fast and cheap, albeit unhealthy, pre packaged boxed foods curse and follow the man around from his day to day life.  Leaving behind a string of dead burnt vegetation and animal carcasses.

Palm oil was supposed to be a healthy alternative to the bad fats that Americans and otehr Westerners had been eating for decades.  One study made a movement away from natural fats into plant based fats and that misguided but engineered discovery has killed many people since its falsehoods became widely known as truths.  People who ate palm oil rich foods for five weeks saw their LDL cholesterol (that is the bad cholesterol) skyrocket.  Yet palm oil has found its way into 1 in 5 foods on average.  These foods along with a high carbohydrate diet are causing heart disease at a never before seen pace.
The Sumatran tigers don’t think palm oil is healthy either, which are set to be extinct in an estimated three years from deforestation.  It isn’t just foods that contain palm oils- toothpaste and other health and beauty products also contain palm oils.  The Sumatran tiger, like the Orang Utan, are killed where man wants to grow more oil palm trees so the man in the too tight t-shirt can watch television and eat uniform sized potato chips that come in a tennis ball tube.

When you buy a muffin, are you killing a Sumatran Tiger.? If you close your eyes and take a bite, and imagine hard enough, can you smell the burning hair?

Cheap, readily available food is not only killing you one bite at a time but its killing the Orang Utan, the Sumatran Tiger, and (for you vegetarians out there) scores of undescribed never before named plant species unknown to the scientific world.  We could be razing over the cure for cancer and we never even saw it coming as it was slashed to extinction by chainsaws and logging trucks, burnt, razed, and planted with oil palms.  One spoonful at a time.

Eat margarine and kill an Orang Utan?  Doe’s your margarine contain palm oil?

The Mall and its Food Court closes and the man hurriedly finishes his slurry of ingredients in his paper bowl of Screamin’ Strawberry ice cream.  With a heavy breathing and a satiation that could only come from 3 or 4 bowls of ice cream he makes his way out the Food Court.  Never realizing that the ingredients of that delicious creamy ice cream aren’t all milk and cream he licks the plastic spoon and tosses his trash into the can.  Its killing the Orang Utan and its killing him, one bite at a time.

Author: Richard Haggus

Prepare Your Vehicle for Carsick Kids

Carsick kids are bad for a road trip. While you may not always be able to avoid itimage, there are some things you can do to help. When we are going on a road trip no one drinks milk. City driving and short trips usually give us no problems.  Its the long monotonous rids that get us in trouble. In order to combat it we keep the kids fmor playing video games, videos, or reading.  They ned to look around and entertain themselves with free thought.  We aren’t raising children to be entertained every single moment of their lives are we?  We shouldn’t be.  Boredom is good for you, and its good of them.  They need to think of things inside their brains and become accustomed to thinking.  And for a road trip, getting there is half the experience.  Looking at a screen you’d never see the guy with 42 barrels tied to the top of his minivan.
When all that thinking and looking goes south though theres one thing that you can do to save the day.  Hand them a preprepared gallon ZopLoc bag to barf into.  The first thing We do is make sure that it has a few drops of essential orange oil.  This help calm the stomach and brings a nice smell to the car.  If it doesn’t quell the rising request to expel the stomach contents it will help freshen the car a little when the smell of digested gummy bears and fat food comes up.
cartripAdd a half cup or so (or more of you got a big eater) of wood pellets fro wood pellet stoves.  A 40 pound bag is 5 dollars.   It is cheaper than having your seats cleaned with a wet vac.  The wood pellets absorb a lot of liquid and will help keep the bag from leaking vomitous juices all over your armrest or center console.  In a pinch they can be used to urinate in so remember this and take it into consideration when adding wood pellets.  The pellets expand ten times their size so don’t fill the bag up unless you want a peeper pillow for a ziplock bag. All in all road trips are great.  Take some snack.  Take some easy things to play with or to occupy time, and don’t forget the vomit bags.  Believe you me, you will be glad you did and wish you had when you’re on the side of the freeway wiping chucks of hurl from the seats and seatbelt.

Propagating Japanese Forest Grass

 

Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese Forest Grass is a somewhat common ornamental grass.  It is a short and compact growth plant that does well here in the Pacific Northwest, which happens to share a lot of similarities with the Japanese growing season in much of the area.  It needs partial sun, which we can accommodate well as Seattle is a partial sun kind of place.  It needs regular watering and grows to about 18 inches tall in clumps of yellowish gold foliage.

I traded some Japanese forest grass for some dracunculus vulgaris (dragon lily or voodoo lily) through a neighborhood trading group (thanks to Deidre and Sara).  I had difficulty finding information to actually propagate it  instead of just grow it. So in the absence of any material that I could find quickly and readily I decided to try to cut it up and do it myself.  It will go into the greenhouse where it will hopefully grow well and thrive but we will see.  Occasionally I have terrible failures but that’s part of trying isn’t it?

One good portion I made a decent size pot with and used the rest to propagate.  I took a nursery 72 hole tray and filled it with a mixture of potting soil that I had made.  A well draining potting soil made without actual dirt is best as it drains well, retains water well, and is light and easy to move around.  If you are reusing nursery trays do your best to soak them in a 10 percent bleach solution or some other sterilant to help avoid fungus and other maladies associated with plants.  1 part bleach to 9 parts water should be sufficient with a 10 or 15 minute soak or you can spray it on and let it air dry.

filling the trayThe potting mix I made up and used mostly consists of small pine bark, sand, and sawdust with a small amount of peat.  I normally have a handful of ingredients on hand so that I can try to match a plants growing preferences instead of simply throwing everything into Miracle Gro or some similar prepackaged potting mix.  I avoid anything with Milorganite in it.  Ive read what Milorganite is.

I carefully laid the clump of Japanese Forest Grass on its side and began combing the soil from its roots and trying to separate it as cleanly as I could.  The roots don’t have to be clean of all soil in most cases but enough to get it untangled as it grows intertwined and makes simply pulling it apart difficult.

I cut up the roots and shoots from edges of the clump and put two or three shoots in each spot.  I initially tried using my grafting knife but the roots and rhizome were intertwined and cutting with a knife throughout cut off many shoot tips.  I found my pair of medium duty shears and used that as I could pinpoint the spots where I was cutting and avoided ruining more of the shoots.

Some of the StartsI also made 10 or 12 of the 4 inch pots the same way but I used more of the grass with shoots for each container. I will water them and fertilize them and use them for the kids project for kokedama.  The 4 inch pots should make a real plant much faster than the two or three shoots per hole but the smaller shoots in larger number is a better way to get more plants in the long run.  I hope.

Soon the kids will get to use it to make kokedama or shitakusa plants.  Kokedama is a ball of dirt wrapped in moss with twine and watered.  It fares well on a windowsill as long as you keep it watered.  Shitakusa is a small planting made in the fashion of bonsai so that it can be enjoyed on the dining rom table or similar areas for short periods of time between returning to the outdoors.

 

 

 

The Mega Mini Hoop Hot House

mini hoopThe springs here in Seattle aren’t all that warm.  Especially for growing things like tomatoes, Indian eggplants, lemon cukes, peppers, and similar hot loving plants that we all love to start early in the season.  This season I started plenty of seeds early in the basement.  Using readily available lighting in the 5000 Kelvin range from the local Home Improvement Box Store (Sylvania fluorescent tubes in a shop light) I set off.

The seeds were planted weeks and weeks ago in cell packs using a mixture of seed starting media that the recipe can be found here on the site as well.  There’s many ways to make a soilless medium.  You don’t want to use dirt because you are opening yourself up to all sorts of insect and fungal issues.

Once the plants get going well you  an start fertilizing them when they get their first leaves going.  A mild mix of any of your favorite balanced liquid fertilizers will work.  As an alternative there are many slow release fertilizers on the market in chemical form such as Osmocote which is what I prefer when not using organic fertilizers.  It is easy to use and works well especially for potted seedlings and starts.

The grow boxes we already were using to keep the kids from riding their bikes over the garden areas.  They are 8 feet long by about 3 feet wide roughly.  Scraps left over from our remodel that were put to good use.  the hoop parts are PVC pipe that is readily available from hardware centers around the world.  I don’t like drinking water piped through PVC but I don’t mind using it as a hoop for the hoop house.

I used 2 1/2″ deck screws from Ace Hardwares bulk screw and nail bins.  They are cheaper that way.  The pipes that I used were cut to about 6 feet for some other  project so that’s the length that I used as I already had them available.  I put one end on one side and slowly bent them to fit inside the base of the garden box.  I adjusted the depth to make the arches all the same height and put two screws in each end on opposing sides of the box.  I felt that 5 PVC pipes were the best for me so that’s what I did.  Different lengths might do better with more or less PVC ribs.Hoop House

After I had all my PVC ribs in place and screwed into place I laid out my plastic and used the PVC clips made for 1/2 inch PVC.  The clips are available online and make attaching poly sheeting to PVC literally a snap.  If you mess up simply take the clip off, readjust, and get back to what you were doing.  It also makes it easy to take it down for the winter or move it.

The ends are always the weird part.  I pulled the sides and folded them slightly to the middle.  The pictures don’t show it but I trimmed the length so that the middle portion folds down, and the two sides fold over that.  there are several options to hold the sides taught.  The ends can be tied in a know like pictured, or they can be fastened otherwise.  A short piece of PVC pipe and a clip will work.  Simply screw a short section of PVC to the lip of the planter box.  Pull the plastic over the pipe and put a clip on it.  Elastic or bungee cords can also be used in the same method.

When the warm days of late spring and summer finally do come the plastic can be put away and stored to avoid the excessive heat that summer might bring.  Come fall when temps cool down again you can dig out the poly sheeting and reapply it to the ribs.  During the summer the ribs can be left intact so that you can fasten your tomatoes and peppers to them as a support.

Getting an early and late go at gardening doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive if you are thrifty and foreward thinking.  Starts planted out early can get a head start so that they produce for a longer season.  In this economy and with the cardboard vegetable offerings at the grocers every tasty bit counts.