Saturday, June 5, 2010

Living in the Woods again

We have been busy inching our way back into the Woods, again.  The 'Ole Cycle of four days and nights have just past and just in the nick of moon time, we did find a path to the woods where the Wee Wheelie Home of Vardo for Two plus One is now encamped.

Whidbey Island.  That is where are are living with the forrest floor, damp and mossy with White Pine and many many Cedar and Fir to remind us of our relative importance to the whole of All.  Two very kind women share their piece of land with us three vardo folk.  We pay them a rent that is affordable, and from the woods we have access to the things we need.  The women live with many animals including two dogs, an unknown number of inside cats, a string of quaky ducks and young chickens who will soon be laying eggs.  JOTS is appreciated for her skill as huntress, and we make our prayers to the beasties, and have conversations with her that include, "Kill only to eat!"

We are recouping from the painstaking work of going from one place to another; Pete masterfully moves our chattels and I set about making 'home' where we are while attending to the messages my body sends when there is no more energy to pour out.  I have rested during most of the 'Ole Moon times; and was so glad to see Hina the Moon in the midday of this Saturday.  Living in tune with Nature Time is different than some.

There is a community of like-minded folk who are open and positive about the style of living we practice.  Connecting with them has been delightful.  I have a cutting of fresh comfrey being bundled for me this afternoon for I am in deed our comfrey's bone-mending remedy ... my ankle has been hurt and only now can I spend time and mending on the small yet essential joint that holds this old body upright.

We are setting up our second summer outdoor kitchen using the metal framework from an old green house.  QUESTION TO ANY ECO-WOODS FOLK:  I am thinking of using organic canvas for covering, and need to 'waterproof' it.  Has anyone used a recipe of warmed beeswax and oils to coat canvas?  Any other ideas or non-toxic recipes for water-proofing are most welcome.

I'd love to hear from you. 

Aloha to you where you be.
Mokihana and Pete


Joan Tucker said...

Waterproofing Chemical Alternatives
Lanolin, beeswax, and linseed oil are often used as natural waterproofers. A fourth ingredient that works well as a waterproofer is to use straight jojoba oil. Linseed oil and beeswax seem to provide the most long lasting results, although lanolin or joboba are nice for a quick waterproofing of your boots; you just might need to repeat frequently. For any approach, make sure you thoroughly cover all exposed material that is to be waterproofed.

Lanolin is the pale-yellow natural oil secreted from the oil glands of wool-bearing animals. It's a wax, not a fat, that's naturally water-repellent. Because lanolin is often recommended for treating cracked nipples of breastfeeding women it is readily available in pharmacies. To waterproof leather, wipe off all dirt first and then simply rub lanolin into the leather like you would any other waterproofing treatment.

Beeswax is the glandular secretion of honeybees. It was used by the military in WWII to waterproof canvas tents, belts, and more. Ancient Greeks used beeswax and resin to waterproof the hulls of their ships.

Clean the material to be waterproofed, and then consider one of these waterproofing formulas:

Recipe 1
Ingredients: Equal parts beeswax, tallow, and neatsfoot oil (available online). Combine ingredients in a pan and heat slowly until melted. Rub onto the material to be waterproofed with a clean rag.

Recipe 2
Ingredients: 4 oz. beeswax, 4 oz. resin or rosin (available in music stores), 1 pint vegetable oil. Follow directions for Recipe 1, above.

Recipe 3
This formula should last for a year. Don't use it for suede or thin leather. Ingredient: Beeswax. Heat beeswax until melted. Apply a thick coat to the material to be waterproofed with a clean rag. Make sure to cover all exposed areas. Let set overnight before buffing.

Flax or Linseed Oil
Linseed oil is derived from the flax plant. In the 18th and 19th centuries, linseed was commonly used to waterproof tarps and military packs. A century ago, fabric was coated in linseed oil to make oilcloths for kitchen tables. However, using linseed oil to waterproof fabrics results in stiff and heavy cloth.

Use raw linseed oil (make sure not to mistake linseed oil with chemical dryers as pure linseed oil.) Apply with a rag. Wipe off excess 30 minutes later or so. Let set until dried (24 hours or so), and repeat.

Jojoba Oil
Jojoba, commonly available in health food stores, is a liquid wax. Apply straight jojoba oil with a rag and buff.
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Liberty said...

i'm so happy to hear you are in the woods again!
I hope your ankle is healing super fast.
i'd personally be very nervous about canvas getting wet. I don't know if any natural coating could truly protect it from getting moldy.
it would also be much more flammable if waxed and oiled so that's an area to be aware of if it's near cooking equipment.
my personal tendency - NOT based on actual know-how - would be to use as much wax as possible and as little oil as possible since wax won't get moldy but most mcs-safe oils can. It may be worth doing research on historical reenactment sites as they use pure canvas tents if they are being strict. I don't know if they cheat and use chemicals on them though.
I hope that whatever you try works out well!

many blessings to you and your new home base

Liberty said...

I just read that milk paint can be used to waterproof canvas.
I don't know how reliable that info is but it may be something worth looking into more.
I know that casein can be kind of plastic-y so maybe that is how it can work?
I don't think the milk paint I made on my own at home was waterproof though.

Perhaps you could paint it with milk paint and then use the same finish that you used on top of the paint on your Vardo.

also of note (which you may already know) is that 'duck' canvas is tighter woven than plain canvas.

I've also read that there are canoes with the outer layer made of canvas. Nowadays they use chemicals on it but in the past, it was waterproofed by painting it.
So painting may be an option that would work.

wishing you luck!

Mokihana Calizar said...

Joan and Liberty,

Thanks for the ideas. I've been thinking about beeswax, and the milk paint idea might work, too. We're definitely learning how to live like ducks with this extended Spring and lots of rain.


Joan Tucker said...

linseed oil comes from a
and the ole army tents were coated with linseed oil. It gets hard and does not bend well. JT