Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bleaching Pine Cones Taught Me a Preparedness Lesson

Pinecones are closed but will open when dry.
My ideas about food storage and being prepared have dramatically changed this past year because of new research. No, I still think there is a need for it, more than ever in fact. Election day will determine the path of the USA for four years. We learned just how much things can change when a president bypasses congress and writes his own laws. If you are happy with the changes Obama made then this approach might appeal to you. BUT this dictator style of leadership sets a precedence for the next president who might have very different ideas. We don't know what Trump will do. We know what he says but few presidents live up to their words. The word politician now has come to mean someone who knows what to say to appeal to a set group of people.

I'm concerned with a government that has the House of Representatives, Senate, and President all Republican. I would be concerned if they all were Democrat too. It is the differences that cause a checks and balances in government. It is what slows things down. Slow allows for more careful thought. It allows for an adjustment of way of thinking. It saves time, money, and insured greater success in the end. In other words fewer redo's because of mistakes. Our green house plans are under going a third revision as we are watching the sun's path, discovering our time allowances and needs at different times of the year. It is a measure twice cut once kind of thing.    
A pinecone opening up to reveal the yellowish white underneath.  
One thing I have found that time is not friendly to is bleach projects. This week I tried bleaching pinecones white for Christmas. I thought it might look pretty with a combination of white and brown cones. I had three jugs of bleach that I had saved with the intent of purifying water if an emergency came up. When the pinecones did not want to change color, I knew something was up with the bleach so I hit the Internet.

Bleach whether opened or not looses its potency over time, a short period of time. Temperature being the primary factor in how long the chemicals are active.

According to Clorox, the amount of sodium hypochlorite added depends on the season it is manufactured. Summer being the time when the most is added as heat weakens it. They try to keep the bleach at 6 percent. If the bleach is stored at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit the potency will last about six months after the manufacturing date. It takes about 4 - 8 weeks before the chlorine bleach makes it to the store so you have only 4 to 5 months that it is at full strength. You don't need bleach at full strength for most cleaning projects around the house so it can hang around a while longer but not several years like mine.

I rarely use bleach as I don't use it in cleaning or laundry unless I absolutely have to as it kills the helpful bacteria that breaks down the sewage in our septic system. I do not need a backed up septic tank thank you so I also do not use a garbage disposal unit in my sink. That is a huge no, no so I disconnected our when I moved in.  Every six months I treat the lines or tank with an additive of healthy bacteria flushed down the toilet. It is time once again to treat our tank with the pro-bacteria formula so I thought using the bleach now to try the pinecone projects would be good timing.
I luckily did not do very many pinecones.
My problem was the experiment did not work as planned. I hit the Internet to see what I was doing wrong and discovered my several years old bleach was pretty dead. I poured out the water/bleach combination I had the pinecones soaking in and used straight bleach.

If you want to bleach pinecones I suggest a trip to the store for some fresher stuff. The instructions said to put 3 part water to 1 part bleach combination then soak the pinecones for 24 hours. Beware the cones will close up when saturated and later open up when dried so don't be alarmed. I've also learned that they are much darker on the outside than the inside. This makes it hard to tell wht the results will be.

Moral of the lesson is don't store bleach long term for water purification.

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