Posts Tagged ‘weekend’

I am looking forward to the weekend.  I had to work last Saturday, which made the last two weeks go long.  I have not been able to do many experiments in the last couple of weeks, so I spent more time doing internet research.    This weekend’s plans include the following:

  • Turn Brittlebush leaves into medicine.   A couple of weekends ago I went for a hike and saw the desert has a ton of brittlebush right now.   I gathered some leaves and have dried them out, so now I think I am supposed to mash them up or something.  While doing research I learned the sap from brittlebush can be used as incense and/or gum, which I think is pretty cool, so next time out I might see how much sap I can gather.

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Brittlebush in AZ Desert Botanical Garden

  • Build a solar still, which will involve digging a wide hole.  One is supposed to dig in a place that would have water in the soil, but as I am doing this in my backyard, I am going to supplement the water still but putting in weeds and sucking the water out of the plants. 
  • Use shadow of stick to figure out which way is west.
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    • Prep for the no grid water for the weekend experiment.
    • Gather water bottles.
    • Gather pine needles for composting toilet.
    • Begin gathering some Creosote Bush stems.  According to Survivorman, one can burn the stems in a fire and the smoke can be used to clean (or rather disinfect) oneself.  The plant makes its own chemicals that make animals and insects not want to eat it, and these same chemicals can be used to disinfect oneself if you don’t have any water.  It is also one of the few desert plants that can be used for toilet paper in a pinch (bad pun intended).     One a side note, the plant is a virtual medicine cabinet for many other uses as well.   Maybe make some tea out of it?  Creosote is so good at repelling harmful stuff, I wonder if it would work on Zombies?

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    Creosote in AZ Desert Botanical Garden

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    Despite the fact I have yet to even coming close to catching a gopher, much less killing, skinning, cooking and eating one, at some point I am going to have to think about cooking.

    If I lived in the Appalachian’ foothills of my youth then wood would not be a problem.  But here in Phoenix it might be, the desert wants for lack of enough wood for multiple fires.  The wood is good for starting fires, but not good for keeping one burning for hours on end days in a row.

    There would be wood to burn from abandoned buildings, but it might take a while for people to abandoned buildings wholesale, and even if they did, a constant pillage of smoke would advertise you to the roaming pillagers, gangs and exiles.

    So next experiment will be building a solar oven, goal is to boil water, that would be two birds one stone.  And one stone for two birds is a good rule of thumb to follow after Armageddon.

    I am not sure if one can actually boil water in a solar heater, I hear tales of Ray Reeve’s doing experiments with a TV screen, but I plan to try.   From what I read, I need 5 walls of tinfoil, a glass wall, a door to go in and  out, and some way to hold the pot.

    In the meantime, anybody got some black sheets of metal I can have for the stove?

    This weekend was mostly a research weekend.

    First, I re-visited the Arizona Desert Botanical Garden and snapped off some more pictures of plants that I can use for food.

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    I also spent a couple of hours staring at the place I plan to have my garden, and trying to figure out how I would approach it and realized I had no idea of how to start.  So I decided to swing by The Grow House in beautiful Downtown Phoenix and study what they had going on.  The Grow House is an urban farm, which means they took a regular house and are wringing as much food out of it as possible.  I ended up meeting a gentleman (whose name I think was Brandian) who gave me a quick down and dirty tour.

    The most important lesson was to make sure you make good berms to catch the water.  He said when he first moved out here from New Jersey, he had a hard time with all the “good soil and space” they were wasting on making berms, but he eventually “just had to let that go.”  A good berm is the key to growing in AZ. He was not as considered about the East-West vs North-South issue.

    Next step on Garden is to research a site suggested by Melinda, PBS- Victory Garden.

    I also did a bunch of reading about how to snare animals and read somewhere along the way that guitar strings make for good snares.  Apparently I know a lot of people who have old guitar strings.  I thought about making a donation box at the Trunk Space but Steph, the owner, is a vegetarian  so maybe I should not do that.  She got really mad at me when I told her my story about eating monkey meat.

    I am going to do my first attempt at snaring the gophers in my yard next weekend.  My plan is to then skin and eat the gopher.

    On a side note, internet searching led to Urban Dictionary and according got them a berm is “One who lacks the basic hygienic and social skills to lead a productive life.”

    On another side note, my first attempt at gathering manure failed.  Anybody know where I can get my hands on some poop?