Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Testing Natural Weed Killers - Salt Recipe - Try 2

Test 2 was completed Saturday, August 2, 2014 midday.

I used the same recipe as last time:

4 Gallons Vinegar
4 Cups Rock Salt
1 Cup Blue Original Dawn Liquid

It was a hot day this time and before I was even finished the wilting had begun. I did not get one of the two containers as well mixed as I would have liked (one of the challenges of this recipe) and I did find the next time I went to use the sprayers that one had salt left in the bottom. I think it was the second of the two, which I used mainly on the West Wing ivy and the ivy on the bricks.

Catalpa tree and weeds outside dining room.
Ivy outside dining room.
Ivy on West Wing.
Ivy on brick pile.
Ivy on ground. First picture is rotated so that ivy is along right upper triangle of the picture.

Poison ivy outside of dining room. It may actually be dead. It began pulling away from the wall. Since this picture it has gone totally brown, but it will get sprayed again to make sure it is completely dead.

We plan on spraying this area again this week, as long as the weather holds, and my cough dies down enough that I can get out to do it. But as you can see, the salt recipe is working well, so if it waits a few extra day, I'm not too worried about it!

Testing Natural Weed Killers - Salt Recipe - Try 1

This was applied on July 6th, 2014 in the late evening, just before sunset.

I used:

4 Gallons Vinegar
4 Cups Rock Salt
1 Cup Blue Original Dawn Liquid

This was divided in half in two separate two gallon brand new pump sprayers. It worked pretty well, except for the instructions on the sprayer didn't tell me, and I wasn't smart enough, to tighten the nut down on that held the nozzle in place, so they kept popping off while I was spraying. About halfway through, one of them flew well into one the bushes and I couldn't find it. I had to wait until everything dried out the next day before looking for it. :D

It's also a good thing I wear glasses, as I was spraying high over my head a lot. But, I still ended up with the stuff in my eyes. It burns, but, I survived. You can't do that with Roundup. 

Some Things to Remember:

1. It works best in warm weather.
2. It will continue to work over time, but after a few days new growth will begin too.
3. Suggested application times are several days apart and just after trimming, but not before a rain.
4. It's not Roundup and won't work like it. You can't expect those type of results.

So, here's the results:

 Catalpa tree and weeds outside the dining room.

Ivy outside the dining room.
Ivy on the South side of the West Wing.
Ivy on brick stack.

Poison ivy on dining room.
This was only the first spraying. These pictures were taken about two weeks after I sprayed. It was really cold and rainy for the first five days or so and there was very little change. Then we had a heat wave and things changed more.  
The results of the second spraying are even more drastic. They will be posted shortly!

Testing Natural Weed Killers - An Overview

Earlier this spring Mom began using a new homemade weed killer that she seemed to be having some luck with, and I saw several other versions going around on the internet. I also saw a very intriguing version talked about on a television show that I ran across one day by a T.V. personality who styles himself the "Dirt Doctor." 

We had done quite a bit of clearing along the exterior fences before the leaves came out, but were not able to clear around Toad itself. So I decided that this area of the yard would be a great place to experiment with natural weed killers. It doesn't really matter if we use a salt based solution and over salt the ground, as we will have to do some reconditioning of the ground before planting there in the future. I hope to find something that I can use around the dogs and that will work for me and my allergies. And we hope to kill all of the plants that are damaging the foundation and bricks of Toad Hall in the process. It's a win/win.

So, I found two main recipes that I want to try. Mom's and the Dirt Doctor's. So, Mom's first:

Salt Recipe (Mom's):
1 gallon vinegar
1 cup salt (Not Epsom)
1/4 cup Dawn Dish Soap (Must be original blue Dawn)

Orange Oil Recipe (Modified Dirt Doctor's):  
1 gallon vinegar (the D.D. recommends that you use 10% organic vinegar which is not found in regular stores, which is not what I used)
1oz orange oil
1 teaspoon dish soap (D.D. says any will do, I used Dawn original blue)
1 Tablespoon Molasses

Now, the note on the Dirt Doctor's vinegar. I realized later that he says to use 10% organic vinegar. At some point in the future I will try and find some of this and see if I can find a place of comparable weeds and test it out. I looked it up on the net and it sells for about 4x a gallon what regular vinegar does. So, I need to see if I can find it local and do a trial to see if it's really worth the extra hassle/cost of purchasing it.

So far I have used 4 gallons of vinegar with the salt recipe, on two separate occasions, on the same section of weeds, trees, and ivy. And I have used 4 gallons of vinegar with the orange oil recipe, on one occasion, on an area that is more than double the size of the first area (not very good for scientific method) that includes weeds, trees, and ivy. 

My conclusion is this: If you don't mind salting the ground, which means eventually never having anything grow in that area again (which is not our long term plan), then the salt recipe will work with repeated uses. The closer together the better and the more sun or heat that it can get, the better it will do. I sprayed the first pass of the salt recipe in the late evening and it took it until a hot afternoon before really noticeable differences occurred. Upon the second spraying, which was done in the heat of a hot afternoon, wilting began occurring immediately. And with that batch one of my two jugs did not get mixed thoroughly and had salt left in the bottom. 

BUT I BELIEVE THAT THE ORANGE OIL RECIPE IS THE HANDS DOWN WINNER. Here's why: I sprayed it over a significantly larger area, one that had at least three times the trees and twice the area, the same four gallon mixture, and while it on first glance fell short of miraculous, there were two items that stood out upon examination. First, some of the ivy that was orange and burned was drooping away from the side of the house. It took two rounds of the salt recipe for any of the ivy on the other side of the house to show any drooping, but only one of the orange oil recipe. That was startling. And it was multiple different strands that were drooping. Second was that the grass and clover all around the areas where the orange oil recipe had been sprayed were burned. It was a windy day. The picture below is a close up, so you can see what I am talking about. Nothing like this has ever happened either of the two times that I sprayed the salt recipe, or the one time I used a prototype version that Mom sent home with me. These things combined lead me to believe that the orange oil version is stronger overall.

 Grass and clover that were singed by blowing wind.

To make it easier for you to see/conclude for yourself I going to post my blogs as follows: First, this blog will just be an overview of what I have done with my conclusion of how it all worked. Then I will post separate blogs with before and after pictures (example: Salt Recipe Try 1 or Orange Oil Recipe Try 1). I will continue using the same four gallons at a time of each recipe on each area so that you can see how long it takes to entirely kill what is there.

I have ordered a gallon of orange oil that should arrive this week and I hope to start my second spraying of that area. Considering that I became ill between the first and second spraying of the salt recipe and there was a extended gap, that should only help to make the experiment more equal. I know that I messed it up by covering a larger area with the orange oil recipe, but we'll have to use our imaginations to fill in that gap. :) Very scientific, I know.

FYI, both versions burn a little when you inhale them, but unlike Roundup, you can still breathe afterwards!   

Saturday, August 9, 2014

VFW Post 7403

Today I am going to tell you a tale of legend and mystery.

Back in the hazy summer days when we were waiting not so patiently for the city to do its necessary wheel turning and red-tape cutting, Eric and I crept (furtively) again and again to Toad Hall. Watching. Waiting. Bringing others with us to do necessary work, but trying to stay out of site so that the wheel turning and red-tape cutting would not be somehow compromised and brought to a grinding halt. Every trip to the house we practically held our breath for fear that something would go wrong, and on the days that someone saw us there... Well, I'm not sure how we survived stress of it all.

One particular Sunday Mom and I were there, try to be inconspicuous, when two couples who were out taking a walk saw us and came up to have a chat. And one of the ladies related a tale from her memory. She remembered moving to the neighborhood in the early 1940's as a young woman, a young bride at the time, and she remembered the house being used as a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. And the tale grew stranger the more she talked. She also remembered that they ran a small tearoom from the home. Talk about your stuff of legends!

We must not have stepped too wrong, for the days and then weeks passed, and eventually we were able to purchase the lovely, sad Toad Hall. And the legend of the VFW has stayed with me and bloomed in my imagination ever since that day. So, on occasion I have tried to track down any leads I can to see if it was just a story or if it's real. 

First, I tried calling the closest VFW Post and asking them if they knew anything. I talked to the historian there and was told that they have been at their location for many years and it could not possibly be them. So, after a cursory check of  the Indianapolis City Directories I felt myself to be at a temporary dead end, and moved on other research for the time being, knowing that eventually I would return to this topic.

Then last week I was going through the abstract again and what did I find? That the information I wanted was available to me all along had I read the abstract more carefully. I could have kicked myself!

Case No. 16 Year 1947 - Variance - Records in the office of the City Plan Commission shows that the Board of Zoning Appeals, at its meeting held January 13, 1947 granted a petition for the existing residence into a club house.

So, after kicking myself I went down to the city county building and asked for Variance  Case Number 16 from 1947. It took them about thirty minutes to pull it up. Which was fine with me, as I went down to the Recorders Office and worked on pulling old deeds for the house while I was there. (That's always gonna take some time!) And when I went back upstairs they had a pile of documents for me. It was all still there! We just had to know what to ask for.

Board of Zoning Appeals, Zoning Board, City of Indianapolis, 304 City Hall, Indianapolis, Ind., Gentleman, This letter is to notify you that I am granting Irvington Post #7403, Veterans of Foreign Wars the privilege to file for zoning on property at 410 South Emerson Avenue, as Post Headquarters as Club.
Indianapolis Irvington Post No 7403, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U. S. 501 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, Gentleman: Permission cannot be given you to convert into a club house the existing residence located on the premises known as 410 South Emerson Avenue, as this would be in violation of the Zoning Ordinance. Very truly yours, Chas, E. Bacon, Commissioner of Buildings 

So the city obviously didn't like Mr. McMillin's letter. As the property owner, he had to be the one to file on behalf of the club on the formal paperwork, which you will see below. The city is sooo picky. :)

Approximate Cost of Proposed Improvement $None, Full Statement of Variation Applied for Under Sec. 23 from the Requirements of Sec. of General Ordinance No. 114, 1922 (Detailed description of variance applied for, with reasons), Our Organization has no meeting place of it's own for business and recreational purposes. We are presently using the Irvington Republican Club twice a month. We have been fortunate in obtaining the above property from Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. McMillin for our proposed Headquarters and Clubhouse. Property to be used exclusively for members of organization. Propose the resale of beer and spirited beverage to members only. Total membership at present - 98, all having served overseas in World War II. The above information, to my knowledge and belief is true and correct. Indianapolis, Irvington Post #7403, VFW (Signature something Poland?) Quartermaster, Indpls, Irvington, Post No. 7403Veteran of Foreign Wars of the U. S., State of Indiana County of Marion, Subscribed and sworn before me this 28th day, of December, 1946 (Signature Glenn C. Martin?) Notary Public My commission expires June 27, 1949, A Fee of $3.50 TO BE PAID TO THE CITY CONTROLLER MUST ACCOMPANY THIS APPLICATION TO OFFSET THE COST OF ADVERTISING, (GENERAL ORDINANCE No. 6,1934)

Notice - This application must be TYPEWRITTEN, accompanied by the information specified on the reverse side and filed at least ten (10) days prior to date of meeting. Case No. 16-V-47 U 1A 2 H 1  CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS 304 CITY HALL, Application for Variation from the Requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, Name of Applicant Indianapolis Irvington Post No. 7403 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Phone No Fr 2494, Applicant Address 301 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, Name of Owner Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. McMillin, Address 530 Kentucky Avenue, Indianapolis, Premises affected, Street and No 410 South Emerson, Between Brookville Road St and English Avenue St, Lot No 1 in Downey and Brouse's Addition, Lot Size 185.55x186.6x138.55.178.3, Fronting on Emerson Avenue St, Date Property was Purchased Option to purchase in one year, nature and size of improvements now existing on lot 3 story house and barn barn - 20' x 26' house 44' x 60'

    This is a blurry map of the corner.    

The above three photos are the application documents for the variance. As you can see, they were asking for the house to be used as a "clubhouse" for VFW Post 7403 and to be allowed to sell alcohol to their members. They had 98 members at the time. Wow! The application had tons of hidden gems of information in it. :)
I'm not even going to try and interpret this thing. Even my copy isn't very legible. The lovely gentleman at the Department of Metropolitan Development said that he believes that it was the notice sent out to the neighbors, but that this is the best copy he could get me. Hey, that's okay! He was very nice and didn't complain once that I was in there at the end of the day!  


The above two photos are what we believe were sent to the neighboring property owners. It's a standard legal part of any zoning change to let adjoining property owners have a chance to remonstrate. Not everyone would want up to 98 people showing up next door drinking. Personally, I understand that the VFW is more than that, but not everyone has spent time researching it so they may not know as much about it as I have learned.
January 15, 1947, 16-V-47, Indianapolis Irvington Post No. 7403 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. 501 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, Gentleman, The Board, of Zoning Appeals, at its regular meeting January 13, 1947, reviewed your petition for the conversion of the existing residence into a club house at 410 South Emerson Avenue. Being fully advised in the matter, it was the finding of the Board that this proposed conversion is in general keeping with and appropriate to the uses of buildings authorized in the district involved, and the Board, therefor, approved the petition, subject to the following provisions; The building shall be subject to all the requirements of the Building code. Respectfully yours, secretary, BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

Once the correct paperwork went through they got their club house approval! So the Horner House was used as VFW Post 7403! It's NOT legend! It's HISTORY!!!