Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Category: Tips (page 1 of 4)

How do roads become infringed upon?

In dense city situations, parking is an issue. This is even more true for Santiago, being confined within a valley, and specifically Providencia, which is the most tightly-packed part of the city. Anyone who lives in a city is accustomed to seeing cars parked along the side of the road, end to end, usually in designated spaces with parking meters.

In Santiago, there are no parking meters, but most of the time when you see cars on the side of the road it is in marked-out spaces. Legal, in other words.

But... I have noticed some roads here (usually 1-way) that were clearly meant to have a certain amount of lanes (2, for example), but they have cars parked up and down one side, leaving 1 1/3 lanes of usable space. The 1/3 leftover lane serves as a motorcycle and bicycle lane, as long as no-one opens the door of their car:)

How did this happen? Chile's police, the "Carabineros", are not the types who would let you get away with a parking violation. But they are the types who would let you do so if many others were doing so also.

So, somehow, some hooligan parked on the side of road, and once they did so everyone else followed suit, not wanting to miss out on free parking. And they have all gotten away with it to this day.

Here is an example. (Thanks to Google's street view, I didn't have to go running around with a camera.)

This is a road in eastern Ñuñoa called Pucará. As you can see, there are lines running down the middle. It is clearly meant to be 2-lane.

This is the same road, but with parked cars.

This road is clearly low-traffic, so It is not causing any problems right now, but during rush hour? I have seen situations on roads like this, where having the extra lane would have really helped speed up the traffic.

The Myth of “Undertow”

At the beach in Vina del mar, less than 10% of the people are actually getting wet. These 10% are not swimming though. They just stay on the sand, but within reach of the waves.

When we got to the beach, we thought that this was because of the cold water. The water is cold, but by no means too cold to swim. Our Chilean friends (both of whom grew up within a few miles of this beach) said that the reason was the "dangerous undertow".

They said there was a good swimming beach about a quarter mile away. So we (Marathon and I) ran to that beach.

At this beach also, no one was in the water. We got in and started swimming. We made it past the difficult area where you are in risk of having a wave break on you, and swam out to where the waves were just big humps, a perfectly safe area. Then we heard a whistle. We looked back and saw all the people on the shore staring at us. A little bit later, it blew again. This time we saw the lifeguard too. We swam back to the shore and asked the lifeguard what was wrong with swimming at this "swimming beach". He explained that "we're having a little more wave action than normal". Disappointed, we returned to the original beach, beginning to entertain some doubts about the logic for disallowing swimming.

We then swam out at this beach too, just trying to swim all we could until authority ordered us back onto the sand. After a couple minutes, a lifeguard saw us and did so.

"Dangerous currents" appears to be an idea that the local government and lifeguards have put into the minds of all the people, so they would avoid as many liabilities as possible.

The "undertow" is the harmless affect of a wave running off the beach back under the next wave. It isn't dangerous.

What is dangerous, but easily avoidable, is the Rip-current. This is caused in a situation of two underwater sand bars with a small space between them. When a wave comes in, a lot of water is going to flow back out of this space, instead of going over the sand bars. The high-speed current that results goes way faster than anyone can swim, and can carry a person up to half a mile away from the beach. The way to avoid this is to swim parallel to the beach, as to escape the narrow current. It's like this: the rip current is a treadmill going faster than you can run. You could drown of exhaustion trying to run against it, or you can just get off.

This is a diagram of a small rip current. The beach at Vina del Mar clearly did not have one.

So, all of this leaves us wondering: how is it that this myth could keep so many people, for so many years, from actually getting into the water when they go to the beach?

The Tick Infest

Marathon and Carman recently did some semi-serious mountain biking. They came home sweaty and pumped about their climb. They did a tick check (found nothing) and showered. All seemed happy-happy.

In the middle of the night, Marathon woke me. Something was irritating him and he couldn't sleep. After my eyes adjusted to being awake, I checked his ankles, and I could see little, tiny dark dots on him. You'd think they were freckles, except that he doesn't have many of those. I actually got out Carman's magnifying glass to get a closer look. They were ticks. I must have gotten about 20 off of him. We woke up Carman and found 2 on him.

A couple of days later, something was irritating me. We found 2 on me too. Thankfully no one has gotten a rash or fever. But these were so tiny - less than half a millimeter or smaller in size - they must have been the infamous deer ticks.

Having a few friends in the area who have had serious battles with lyme disease, I know some of those little critters pack a really mean punch. Sobering thought that so many were in our house.

Baby Powder Beats Ants

I have ants - little black ones - that occasionally come in my kitchen sink window sill and scout around. The don't seem very smart - not like the ants we had on the farm. Those ants would find the residue from a wiped up honey drop, call all their brothers and cousins and neighbors, and march them all in a straight line to pile up on that spot. Once inside, they found all kinds of goodies that had escaped my notice.

Not these city ants. They just scout around, often not calling anyone to join them, and when they do invite company, they don't to the single file line thing.

BUT, whether your ants walk in a line or not, my neighbor shared her non-toxic solution with me.

Baby powder.

Why? I don't know and neither does she. But even the store brand works! I sprinkled some in my window sill, and the ants won't cross that line of baby powder. Thought you'd like to know. Ants be gone.

Deals on Petite Hosiery

After being frustrated with the price of microfiber tights in the women's section of my local department store, I walked away empty handed. At that high price, I'd just keep tugging at my old, elastic-worn pair. I headed to the girls' department to get a pair of needed white tights for Sudoku.

While searching for her size and noticing the very reasonable prices (only 40% of the price on the women's tights of the same brand!), I got an inspiration. I looked at the sizing chart for the girl's size 14-16. They are sized for big girls -- or short women (up to 63"). Bingo! I decided to give them a try. I snatched up 2 differently colored pairs, and they fit wonderfully!

A Helpful BackUp Tool

Backing up your computer files is one of those dreaded tasks you know you should do but is hard to get around to doing. I finally got around to backing up our computers using Karen's Replicator, a free software tool, that works silently, lightly, and faithfully. It's also easy to use.

The gist of the replicator is this. You select a file or folder you want to backup, and tell Karen's Replicator where you want a copy to be sent.

You can also assign a schedule to your different backup jobs, and as long as it's open, Karen's Replicator will perform the scheduled backup without you having to lift a finger. Continue reading

Swaptree — It Works!

I was recently cleaning out (again!) some of our bookshelves and weeded out books we didn't want. When I realized how little I could get for them from half.com or amazon, I looked into some of the book-swapping sites. I decided to put my unwanted inventory at swaptree.

When you open a swaptree account, you list your inventory, and you make a list of items (books, cds, dvds, and games) that you want. Swaptree works its magic by coordinating swaps between its members. The more items you list and request, the greater your chances of entering into a swap.

It had been more than a month since I opened my account (I had listed about a dozen "haves" and "wants"), and I was about ready to give up on it, when I got a request for a multiple way swap. Continue reading

Meat Tenderizer for Insect Stings

A few years ago, I heard from a distant cousin that meat tenderizer made into a paste with water would soothe the pain from a wasp sting. I tried it out this summer on Carman and myself after getting stung. It really works! Carman went from breathing deep & squinting his eyes to breathing easy in less than a minute. Continue reading

Product Review: Carrot Ink Cartridges

We've had our HP 932c printer for 7 years now. During that time we've keep it running smoothly on primarily refurbished cartridges from Carrot Ink. Continue reading

Carman’s Nuggets about Snakes

garter snake

Carman has been on a snake kick for a couple of months and is beginning to move on to motorcycles, so I thought we'd better capture what he's learned about snakes here.

What to do if you see a snake: do not touch or approach it unless you know what it is. If you are bitten, do not panic. If it sees you moving quickly, it will think you are trying to strike it again (you really are not.)

If one threatens you, Continue reading

Older posts

© 2017 Harrison Farm

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑