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Pooltester kit – avoiding Bromine Hot Tub nightmares

When I bought a hot tub back in 2017, I decided to go with bromine instead of chlorine because I read that it was softer/milder and worked better in warm water. Well, it all started off as a bit of a nightmare. For a couple of months, I couldn’t get the water looking good and it kept going opaque and green. I was following the instructions given by the manufacturers (Hydropool) but these were inadequate and, in many cases, not good advice. After lots of frustration, I asked a friend who had a hot tub and he said he started off with bromine but switched to chlorine because of similar problems. This didn’t sound good, but I didn’t want to give up and wanted to get my bromine hot tub working properly. I did a lot of research and have sorted out all the problems now and have a crystal clear bromine hot tub. And it’s true that bromine feels less harsh than chlorine. One of the keys to sorting this out was getting a serious pooltester kit.

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Scything with frost

Back at the end of October we got our first frost of the year and I had no idea what it would be like scything with frost.

scything with frostI know, you’re probably thinking “scything!” Cutting grass with a scythe? Yes, it’s all true and it’s not as crazy as you think. Back in 2015, our back garden had hip-high grass and I was wondering how to get it under control. I went on a scything course and learnt how to go about it. It’s not as hard as you might think and it’s a nice activity. And it’s not expensive. I costs only £118 for a beginners kit that includes everything you need and only about £150 for an advanced kit. That’s cheap compared to buying a lawnmower and a strimmer plus the fuel, etc. And a single scything blade can last 10-20 years if looked after properly.

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Distilled Water – making it at home

Distilled water is pretty cheap to buy, but it comes in plastic bottles. I’m trying to avoid plastic as much as possible (see use10percentless.com) so I scoured around for simple ways to make distilled water at home, using just things already available at home. In this case, I’m using the distilled water as a base for car windscreen washer fluid which also usually comes in plastic bottles (and with a bunch of chemicals). So I’m avoiding two sets of plastic bottles.

Here’s how I make distilled water at home.

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Ear Wax – gross, but good solution

I had recent issue with ear wax, that was quite painful, but the solution ended up being simple and easy. Even though the story might be a little gross, I thought I’d share it here in case the simple solution was of use to anybody else. Read more

Garden Diversity and Slugs

While Kim was visiting us in the UK, I planted some cabbages and pumpkin vines in my new, fledgling garden, but they were attacked very quickly by slugs. Hmm. How annoying. I’m trying to keep the garden as close to organic as possible, so I don’t want to use any chemicals to kill the slugs. I started to look into garden diversity as an option and investigated which plants slugs don’t like, then went out and bought some lavender, rosemary, mint and garlic plants to spread around. Guess what? The slugs stopped eating my cabbages and pumpkin almost immediately. Wow!

Here’s a photo of the cabbages and pumpkins that I bought from a local horticultural market. This is how they were before planting. Two pumpkins and about eight to ten cabbages.
garden diversity

When I planted these in the garden, they were quickly attacked by slugs. One of the pumpkins was obliterated completely and the other was badly damaged – I couldn’t see how it could survive. All the cabbages were munched at severely and it looked like only 4-5 had any chance of surviving. Read more