Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hot Humid Weather & Whitewash

It's the perfect weather for blight to start in the potatoes and tomatoes if we get a couple of damp days. Sheep farmers also call this maggoty weather. Keeping an eye on them is a priority too. But it's so miserable to be out there in the blazing sun and the heat.

Once it cools a few degrees we've got some property maintenance jobs to be done. Paint the tractor, whitewash the insides of the coops and barn, compost and shovel out the barn, put the rain cover on the barn extension and then we have a greenhouse to build. This in addition to baking and running a market, and growing veggies. Yikes! Over the coming winter I'm going to have a good think about how to streamline some of my projects. For example we're eating less lamb so I'm going to re-think my sheep situation. I sold some already.  And if the market keeps on being busy I'm going to focus more energy there.

But for now it's shaping up to be a wet and stormy weekend. We'll see. I thought it's a good time to shovel the barn out and give the whole thing a good thick coat of whitewash. The type of whitewash I'm talking about is the chalky, indoor style wash that's great for keeping bugs and germs at bay. The Amish use it to keep things sanitary inside their barns and it's simple to make and apply. I've heard you can use a sprayer but I'll just probably brush it on in two coats. It doesn't leave things sparkly and shiny but it does lighten up the walls and because it's so alkaline it doesn't provide a nesting space for insects and kills germs.

So how complicated is whitewash? It's not. There are hundreds of recipes but for smaller projects that are indoors, ie. chicken coops and small barns, I love this recipe.

Mix together in a bucket:
1 gallon warm water (4 litres)
2 pounds salt
Stir until salt is dissolved. Then add-
7 pounds hydrated lime and stir until it resembles lumpy pancake batter. It'll thicken a bit over time so you can add a little more water as needed.

Make sure it's hydrated lime and not garden lime or quick lime which is very caustic.

Now hop to it and brush that stuff on every wall, nook and cranny you can find. It'll dry to a powdery finish and if you get it on your skin or clothes it will just wash right off. 

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