Friday, April 24, 2015

Pickles! Natural Cleaner. Natural DIY cleaner for home and car windshield use.

"Pickles! Natural Cleaner" DIY Home Recipes

I've been experimenting for over a year with DIY home cleaners, using the many recipes on the Internet as inspiration.

So far, it saves money, and it's as toxic as the blue stuff. And it's always cheaper then the natural non-toxic green stuff in the stores! 

I've named my recipe "Pickles!" because when I use it in the house, or the car, I say, "pickles!" because the air smells like pickles, or really, drunk pickles. The family get's a giggle out of that and now we say "Pickles!" all the time, especially in the car.

The basic idea is white Vinegar, water and a little alcohol. White vinegar is cheap and a naturally acidic miracle liquid for so many cleaning tasks. Isopropyl alcohol is an evaporator and cleaner, and water is!
Variations include adding baking soda for abrasion, core startch for windows, dish soap for kick and scent, and citrus infused vinegar for scent.
Lemon rinds in pure white vinegar

Pickles! Natural Cleaner Base Recipe

For general home counters and floors, and warm weather car window washer fluid tanks.

Rough Ratio 

In any container:

  • 60% water (distilled is best, filtered is good, tap is okay.)
  • 30% white vinegar
  • 10% isopropyl alcohol, 90%+
So for a Gallon Jug (16 cups)
  • Fill empty jug with 1/3 white vinegar (about 5 cups)
  • Add just over 1 1/2 cup of (1.6 cups) of alcohol.
  • Fill with water.
Pour into a rugged spray bottle like the one at the right. Rugged because the vinegar is acidic and alcohol is hard on cheap plastic gaskets. Look for "chemical resistant" bottles like this one


  1. Better Smell: If you don't like the smell of drunk pickles, add 1% or less of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap, say 2 tablespoons per gallon to start. For a citrus smell, fill an 8oz jar with the peel only from a lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit and pure white vinegar. Let sit for a week or two. Strain, and add.
  2. Winter Car Windshields: To keep from freezing at zero degrees and higher, make your mixture at least 50% isopropyl alcohol that is 90% or higher). Colder than zero? Go blue for a month or two. Mother nature will forgive you the minor blue coloring and methanol alcohol pollution in return for driving safe! 
  3. Windows: Try equal parts vinegar, alcohol. And add about 1 to 2% corn starch. Really, corn starch!
  4. Abrasive: For floors, tiles, sinks, showers, stoves. Make this for the task at hand in a small small cereal-type bowl. Mix 1-part vinegar and 1-part baking soda. It will fizz a little, then use.

Resources and Links

A Few Articles

Products I use, on Amazon:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Pre-Ache, Kid, Marriage Adventure. Canoing and Hiking (Portageing) in the Adirondax around Long Lake with Laura.

I just found this video of Laura and I before we were married, or had kids. Pre-ache, if you will. We hiked, camped, and carried a canoe between the lakes and ponds of the Saranac Lakes region of New York Sate.

It was not entirely pre-ache, because we were "portaging" which is another word for, "OMG I'm hiking with a friggin' canoe on my head!"


Literally, we would canoe across a lake, get our camping packs on, then I would pick up and balance the canoe on my my head and shoulders, and Laura would pick all the paddles, life preservers, and cushions from the canoe. The we would hike on a trail to another lake or pond. Then we would canoe around and find a camp site for the night. The hikes were short, and the canoe light, with shoulder pads, but still, with a pack, and sometimes in mud, it was a real challenge at times. 

We started in Upper St Regis Lake, and went to Bog Pond, Bear Pond, Little long Pond, Green Pond, St Regis Pond,  Fish Pond, Nellie Pond, and finally Long Pond.

It was actually a blast, a real adventure full of struggle and victory in the New England summer jungle and mountains!

I brought a solar powered camera kit I was working on as well, which powered the video camera for the trip.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finally able to walk in the woods! And The Sweet Spot for Excersise and Long Life in a new Study.

We're able to hike, or really walk, again earlier this week along the West River.

We can walk in the woods again! My shoulder aches. He's getting heavy.

"What is this windy wood?"
Snow is lurking under the leaves.

Ice burgs up river!

On the subject of getting out and walking, or doing anything.

A couple new studies on weekly exercise amounts to prolong and improve life. What's not new is what we need to do! Move and grove to feel good, resting and only increases the aches!

Basically 150 to 450 a min a week of anything, like walking, with some vigorous workouts in there. An hour walk a day, most days, with two days a week of weight lifting perhaps?

Pull quote
"The sweet spot for exercise benefits, however, came among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, working out moderately, mostly by walking, for 450 minutes per week, or a little more than an hour per day. Those people were 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who never exercised.""


New York Times "Well" Blog:


Saturday, April 11, 2015

6-Week Ivy Report. Tired, in that parents-of-young-kids way.

Ivy has given me 3 real smiles! They could be gas, but they felt like smiles. She's becoming more of a little kid in the last week and is starting to interact with the world. She's struggles with baby ache. Her hobbies are spitting up and crying.
"You look funny when you try to make me laugh."

"Heh heh. Sorry, this one is gas.""

"I use The Force on you to find a breast with milk in it"

"What is that thing you call a ceiling?"

"Ahhh! Did you know your world is terrifying at times?"

"Um, so, I was thinking, nursing and then a nap?

"I am determined to figure out this new world!"
We are "parents with young kids"-tired. I find it a strange kind of tired. Even if we go to bed at 8pm, which does happen, and get up at 7am, we're both still exhausted. It's mostly mental exhaustion, combined with lack of 4hrs of uninterrupted sleep exhaustion.

Laura is wearing the baby most of the day, which is actually easier then a carrier or crib, as Ivy hardly cries at all. But it means she's got to do everything with one hand and a huge weight on her front. Then Shaw is home at 12:30 after school pick up. I get home at 5ish, being blessed with a job 1/2mile away, that doesn't keep me late very often. I'm then either cooking, or watching kids. We wrangle kids, eat dinner, clean the kitchen, do the dishes, wrangle kids, change diapers, play with Shaw, then start the bedtime ritual. That's about an hour until he's down, so say 8:30pm. But really, could be 7:30 or 9:30 depending on his nap length.

Laura is toasted by 8pm. I take Shaw until he's asleep. By 9pm, he's down and I COULD do many things. Watch a movie, fix my drone, paint the trim inside that's chipping, etc. But my mind is toasted. I do a little surfing on the Web, then climb into bed and read until I fall asleep. I wake up naturally around 6:30am now, get my mind together in the silence, and get the troops up at 7am.

And repeat. Joyful, not as much fun asour old life, harder, the job at hand, and one I am totally into.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Super quick DIY Bird House Made of Zip Cable Ties, Licsense Plates and Wood, with a Stove Pipe Squirrel Buster

I knew I was saving those six old license plates for something, a bird house! I happened to be in my basement looking at the license plates when I also saw some zip ties...humm. 10 plastic quick ties later and I had a stable platform feeder. Screwed it to a piece of wood, a pole, and a stove pipe.

At first, total fail. No birds, local squirrel very happy! But Shaw loved to watch the squirrel up close eating. Actually, I did too.

 Then I moved the bird feeder out in the yard. And today, two weeks later, the first bird arrived!
"Plastic branches!? Is Achy Dad mad!?"
"Who cares about the ambiance, the food is good."

Now, to the high-tech anti squirrel shield - a cheap stove pipe! Squirrels can go inside, but are blocked at the top, and they can't get purchase on the outside. < $10.00 too. Much less if all the stuff is used. 

It's made of 4 screws, two right angle brackets and one 24" stove pipe. One of the excellent folks at the local Ace Hardware store saw me shopping for some squirrel busting technology and whispered, "you an also save some money and use stove pipe and a couple of angle brackets," so I did.

Here's some photos of making the bird house part in about 5 minutes with 19 ties. 

Zip tie together so they plates overlap like shingles on a house. This is good for rain and snow

The bottom two, put the paint side down, so the birds have stainless steel to eat off. Sheet rock screw into the two center plate holes.
Wire cut the sides, bend up.

Get a 8-foot 2" x 1", screw on a roughly 6" x 6" piece of scrap wood to the top, and then screw to the wood under the license plates.

Screw in two small right angle brackets to the wood, 6" apart, and then to the stove pipe.
Dig at roughly 2 ft deep hole.

Get some helpers to make sure it's level and square.

Fill it in with dirt, and some rocks. As Shaw says often "We are workers!"

In place with old feeder as a new squirrel feeder close to window.

Now, we wait to see if any birds other than Chickadees use the damn thing!

Now, it remains to be seen if the ends of the zip ties will be a place small birds like to land, or if that is a total fail! For now, I'm sort of charmed by them in a Frankentree kind of way. And I'm lazy and didn't want to cut them if I didn't have to. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

You know you're an achy dad when you hurt your knee sleeping. Or, water of the knee

Every few weeks since my early 40s, I wake up with a knee injury. I was fine when I went to bed, now I'm limping to the bathroom for Advil. I can see a little swelling on the top of my knee. It feels warm too.

I think sort of evil little being must have bonked me in the night? 

All I did was sleep!

No fair.

This morning, it happened. Thankfully I could walk to work and back, a slow 1/2 mile to get things moving again, but that doesn't always help.

Might not be age though, could be water of the knee says my dad. I guess I'll have to have it checked out.

Friday, April 3, 2015

DIY Space Saver Porch Table and Bar, On The Cheap, Nautical Style.

Why yes, that couch is UGLY. And yes, we do slide off it.
But it was used, cheap, and it's weatherproof.
Just look at the table with the food.
Laura and started using the porch table/shelf I build last year after we were able to clear some room off our messy porch. I forgot how wonderful it is! And how easy and cheap it was to build.

It was an old board, sanded down and natural tongue oil. I hate painted wood, it hides the grain of the wood, and paint always chips. Stains and oils sink and are easy to reapply.

I only bought two sailing cleats and some non-stretchy cord from the hardware store. I had the board, oil and old hinges.

Ropes mean no table legs to get in the way of our legs!

Where'd it go? Someone stole our table! Oh, it's hiding on the
Sailing cleats to be able to easily cinch it tight.

A slip knot and screw under table.

A used hinge and random screws for the two under board hinges. Didn't even need a drill bit.
It's like a large screen TV stuck on NTC (Neighborhood Traffic Channel.)