Homemade bug bite relief

The goop:

1 Tbl bentonite clay
2 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops frankincense essential oil
aloe vera gel
coconut oil

In a small glass bowl, add bentonite clay and essential oils. Using a fork mix it up. Pour some coconut oil and aloe vera; stir. You want the consistency to be a spreadable paste. Continue to add desired liquid until you reach this consistency. If you end up adding too much liquid, add in bentonite clay to come back to the consistency you want.

To apply: Using clean and dry hands, scoop a bit of clay with your finger and apply a nice even coat on bug bite. Allow to dry and then wipe off gently with a warm wash cloth. Apply as needed.

You can keep the extra paste in the refrigerator until you need to use it again. Allow to come to room temperature before applying.

It works! It’s not magic but I get about a 50% reduction in itch right away. For serious bits like a spider or horse fly bite that leave a hole the itch goes away much faster than left alone- like one or two days instead of a week of nasty itching that leaves an open wound.

Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing


This post will track our experience with Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing

We finally decided to have a basement system installed after we had a catastrophy with our sewer and underground spring https://blog.homlish.net/blog/2018/11/29/alders-water-woes/.

We received 5 quotes for the work and decided to go with Mid-Atlantic for several reasons. Their price was actually the highest, but we liked

  • Guarantee of the entire wall and the floor up to 3′ from the wall.  Every other company only guaranteed where the wall meets the floor, if they offered  a guarantee at all
  • Only company to grade the collection pipe down to the sump pit
  • Only company that didn’t want to hide the wall after the work.  Instead they recommended we don’t use Dry Lok to seal the wall but instead allow it to breath.  They also would install ports at the top of the wall to facilitate air flow
  • They use a patented self cleaning collection pipe


Alders water woes

After an entire summer dealing with a wet mess in the backyard to install our Fence it’s time to fix the basement.

At first I thought it was the sewer, but now I’m pretty sure it has to do with the 70 year old basement draining system.  Notice the water comes from the left and goes down to I don’t know where.  I don’t see any ‘pipes’ in the sump pit which is about 15 feet away.

As far as I can tell the old ‘system’ is not really a french drain system.  It’s simply a floating concrete floor with a slight gap between the wall and the floor.  I’m not even sure how it gets from there to the sump pit.  I’m creating about 120 gallons per day even during a drought and more when it rains.  The Iron Ochre  creates a real mess and I need a new pump and check valve every couple of years.

Estimates to install a new french drain system for 1/2 the basement (the unfinished part) is about $7,000 but I’d love to just fix this if possible.

About Blue Rock Manor, Jim Durborow says:
“I used to trap Muskrats where you live in the FIfties, From the back of the houses on Alders to the othrer side of the tree just passed the basketball court was a swamp, It started where the last ranch is near thebasketball court. The stream,that runs through the woods, started somewhere near the church. It ran through the swamp. The area at the corner Median and Alders was swampy too.”

Update Friday December 7, 2018
The hole got clogged. Still no idea where the water comes from or where it goes. I’m using a camping shower pump to pump a gallon of water every 73 seconds out of the hole. It’s not really taking the level down but is keeping it from overflowing. A new one will be delivered Saturday, perhaps two pumps will get the level down a bit.

pumping the water
out it comes, a gallon every 73 seconds

The fact that the water is so clean still leads me to believe it’s spring water. Not sure how the builder tapped into the spring and I have a pipe discharging into this hole.

nice clean water

For 20 years this system has somehow worked. Last year I had a whole house humidifier installed which creates a lot of water which dumps into this hole. Perhaps the added amount of water did something to cause the spring discharge here to become more active. Perhaps the debris from the humidifier filter helped clog wherever this hole leads. Either way I hate the humidifier design.

I have plumbers and wet basement people coming early next week to let me know what they think about all of this.

Fence Timeline

From this before we started, an overgrown mess (May 7, 2018):

North West Side
North West side, & Bestsy
North Side
East Side
East Side

After we cleared the overgrowth (August 25, 2018):

west side facing east
south facing east->west
east side facing south (single gate)
se corner facing west
center facing se
center facing south

Trying to deal with the wet mucky mess I rented a tractor and took a week off of work (September 13, 2018):

I got stuck

Paco helped (September 21, 2018):

The fence was wet work (September 21, 2018)

I thought it was done (November 2, 2018) but the water came back. A cracked pipe from the sump pump helped add to the water

We got it done (September 22, 2018) and I finally spread some grass seed (November 9, 2018) just in time for the cold snap. The seed is sitting out there just waiting for some warm weather