I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ziploc Baggies

Ah-hah, I finally thought of something for this letter.  I honestly lay awake in bed with Z words running through my brain, thinking to write a poem with lots of Z words for the finale of this challenge.  Maybe I’ll save that for next year because then it hit me – baggies, something I use daily.

I would actually be lost without these things.  There is such a variety of sizes that it makes them practical for almost any use.

I really like the Ziploc brand because they have a better zipper seal than those other brands.  Oops!  There’s another Z word - zipper.

You can find tiny versions of these bags in the craft stores.  Not only are they good for crafts, but I find them very useful when traveling.  I put my vitamins in them and don’t have to pack the big bottles, which take up way too much room in the suitcase.  I also use them for earrings and other jewelry when traveling.  They’ll slip into your purse easily and the items won’t be tangled.

I use them in the kitchen all the time for various things, from cut up veggies to leftovers for the freezer.  I’ve also put extra parts in them that we need to keep, such as screws, washers, nuts, bolts, etc.  The list is endless.

All this thinking about Ziplocs had me curious as to when they were invented.  It turns out they were developed by Dow Chemical Company in 1968.  Today Johnson and Johnson market them.  To read the Wikipedia article click here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yard Sales

I like going to these, but not having one myself.  People are strange where I live and unless you’re practically giving it away, you’re better off to donate your junk or sell it on Craigslist.  That’s certainly better than sitting in the yard for hours waiting for people to come by.

They hold garage sales and yard sales here on Fridays and Saturdays.  It’s a no-no- to hold them on Sundays.  This is the first state I’ve lived in where very little business is conducted on a Sunday.

We did well with yard sales in California, but not here.  Tools and baby items are popular in this state, so you’ll get some lookers if you have those things for sale.  You better be prepared to strike a cheap bargain though, if you want the sale.

Looking at yard and garage sales is a completely different thing.  One man’s trash is another's treasure, as they say.  You never know what you’ll find if you’re willing to take the time.  I especially like the sales if the proceeds are going to a worthy cause.  My neighbor holds a yard sale twice a year to benefit homeless animals and the no-kill shelter where I live.  She does very well because people like giving to the animals when they buy something from her.

Do you frequent garage sales?  Have you ever found a real bargain?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Here’s a bit of old history.  The xebec is a Mediterranean sailing ship common from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

These ships were small and fast, thus ideal for use in warfare or by pirates.  They were useful in raids. 

The Spanish and French Navy used these vessels in the 1700’s.  The early boats had two masts and the later ones three.  In wartime, the ship could hold up to 400 men and 16-40 guns depending on its size.  In peacetime, this ship could transport merchandise.

Drawing of xebec

Xebecs were equipped with a lateen rig (large triangular sail mounted at an angle to the mast).  This allowed the vessel to “tack against the wind” and gave it an advantage when maneuvering around other ships or making a fast getaway.  The bow and stern extended in length over the hull giving the boat a lot of area for sails.  The sails could also be lowered quickly for passage under bridges.

Because of the lateen rig on the xebec, they were most useful in the Mediterranean Sea.  Square sails served better when sailing in the Atlantic Ocean due to the wind.

The Portuguese also used these vessels for long distance exploration.

So there you have it.  I bet this is something you didn’t know about history.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weird Dreams

I’m the queen of weird dreams.  If I can manage to sleep more than three or four hours a night, I always dream something crazy, usually in the wee hours of the morning.  I don’t know where this stuff comes from.  The things I dream have nothing to do with my recent reading material, current TV shows I’ve watched, or things I’ve read surfing the internet.

I’ve kept a dream journal about all this bizarre stuff for at least the last twenty years.  I keep thinking a pattern will emerge but the only thing concrete at this point is the fact I’m usually around lots of people.

The last week in March, I was dreaming about Sharon Osborne.  I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed about the Osborne’s before.  In my dream, she was running a beauty salon in a western town.  At least all the buildings were western style in architecture.  She must have been in a mall-type situation because there were lots of other rooms and waiting areas in the place, and many people milling about. 

She gave me a purse-type case with lots of wrapped packages inside.  The wrapping paper was old-fashioned, similar to newsprint or an old newspaper, but with small floral patterns on it and each tied separately with curling ribbon.  After I got home, or where I was staying, my husband started opening them.  Some were flat and others were tiny boxes. 

A flat one had an announcement in there that stated Ozzy was going deaf.  My husband asked me if I gave her my condolences and of course I didn’t know, so I went back to talk to her.  She was busy working on someone’s hair so I decided to wait. 

While waiting I saw a man come in for surgery.  He had a bandage on his head and was in a wheelchair.  They wheeled him into another room.  There was a kitchen in yet another room.  A group of people in white clothes was busy cooking fish.  They started washing up kitchen utensils to use in the operating room.  “This will be fine,” they kept telling the man who looked skeptical as they brought in spatulas, big kitchen forks and knives.

I went to the restroom and a large gray, fluffy cat followed me in.  The room was tiny with a sink and toilet and a shoebox-sized litter box.  The cat got in to do his business standing and waving his tail in a flag as he sprayed the entire bathroom and me.  I had my arms up to protect myself.  I saw the cat lounging earlier on a cushion in the waiting room where there were skylights and potted plants all over.

When I came out, I went to another restroom and cleaned up.  This one was bigger and some girls helped me sponge up my arms and legs and change clothes.  I wasn’t mad at the cat because the litter box was too small for him.  Then I went to the kitchen to eat fish while I waited for Sharon.  Then…I woke up.

What do you make of this dream?  Have you ever dreamed anything bizarre?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Vaccary

I grew up on a farm so this is a fitting word because we had many cows.  I decided to research pastures from ancient times.

The vaccary is an archaic word meaning a cow pasture or dairy farm.  In medieval times, it was linked to grazing land in the moors and valleys of the Pennines in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

 Old vaccary in Pendle UK
In the thirteenth century, numbers of vaccaries were carved out of old private hunting chases of nobility, who created them in an attempt to get some revenue back from their holdings.  Vacarries were small-scale commercial cattle farms.  In places around Pendle in the UK (more famous for its witches), you can still see the big stone slab walls that kept the cattle enclosed.

The word is from Medieval Latin, derived from vacca (for cow) and vaccinate (Latin vaccinus) for the cowpox serum used to protect people from smallpox.

This information is from World Wide Words

Friday, April 24, 2015

Useful Products

This one is to make cleaning easier.  I recently found this product and I’m amazed with what it can do.  I’m not very domestic and hate cleaning and cooking, which is an oddity, I guess, because I’m female.  I’m always looking for something to make the job quicker so I can get back to doing what I’d really like to do, writing, reading, sewing, crafting, playing with the cats, etc.

Unfortunately, I live in a dust bowl called the desert.  Red sand surrounds me.  I can dust and in two days, the red sand is back.  I still like to leave my windows open because there aren’t that many days you can do that in the desert.  Face it I love fresh air, but usually it’s too cold or too hot around here for open windows.  Regardless, the sand finds a way into the house.

This is a new dusting cloth by Clorox.  Don’t worry it isn’t smelly like bleach and is safe to use on just about any surface, including electronics.  It’s a dry duster similar to the refill cloths for the swifter, but this is thinner and a bit stickier (not the sticky you’re thinking of.) 

This cloth is about 8” by 8” and is designed for dry dusting.  Unbelievably, one cloth can dust an entire room.  That’s what the company advertizes and they don’t lie.  I tried it in the dustiest spot in the entire house, my husband’s office.  I wanted to put this to the test and I wasn’t disappointed.

The wipe picks up dust and cat hair (I have plenty of that) and it stays on the cloth because of the tacky texture.  You actually remove it and not just move it around as you dust.  When finished you just toss the rag in the trash.  The dust cloth starts out as a light yellow color.  By the time you’re finished, it will be brown.

Handy dispenser box

It only took me about an hour to dust the entire house, which is 3300 square feet.  If you need to do a quick job, this is for you.  On the days I use this new product, I can eliminate my use of glass cleaner and furniture polish.  Yes, these wipes will clean glass too. 

Normally I carry around a cleaning basket loaded with paper towels, half a dozen different cleaners, dust rags, scrubbing sponges, etc.  I think Clorox Dust Cloths is a marvelous find.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Traveling the Al-Can Highway

When you drive to Alaska, the Alaska-Canada Highway is the only way to get there.  This is some highway and one you’ll never forget.

 The Alcan Highway
When we got the wild hair to go to Alaska we didn’t know what we were in for back in the seventies.  This one-thousand mile road is dirt and not even paved, at least it wasn’t back then.  Of course, we found this out later because when we went in March the road was covered in snow.  Someone told us that it was worse to travel it in the summer when you ate dust the entire way.

The highway weaves in and out, around mountains, and across flatland's.  There was so much snow that the road was like a trench with great walls of snow above six-feet high on each side in lots of places.  Picture driving in the kind of trenches you see in the Olympics for the bobsleds.  Thankfully, you seldom meet another vehicle, but on the downside, this can be a bad thing if you are sucked into the snow bank.  That did happen to us and finally a large truck came along to pull us out.  A person could freeze to death out there in the wilderness.  For March it was cold, no need to worry about food spoiling.

Alaska Landscape

We (there were three of us) slept in the truck.  There are very few motels or gas stations between the long stretches of wilderness. 

It took us about six days to make this trip from Texas.  What a drastic change.  We left the eighty-degree temps for the low twenties.  In Montana, we ran into a blizzard and had to stop for the night because of whiteout conditions.

It’s a good thing we bought several pounds of smoked sausage to take along on the trip because we literally lived on that almost the entire time.  Everything was expensive, so we only got a motel room once on the road.

We had stopped somewhere along the way and were going to try to grill something on a small pit we had in the back of the truck.  What a joke that was.  It was too damn cold to hang around outside.  We crawled back in the truck and broke out the sausage. 

Later, we were sucking fumes so we pulled into a gas station and had to stay there until daybreak when the guy came to work so we could fill up and get on the road.  We ran the motor just enough to take the chill off the truck so we could dose off during the night.  There was nothing else around, just this small gas station in the middle of nowhere.

 Alaska Landscape
The night we did have a room, we decided to cook hamburgers. All of us were tired of sausage at that point, although it did hold up well.  We just passed the brown paper bag around and got some out when were hungry.  It was quick and easy eating, but that sausage was getting a bit hard and chewy, more like jerky.

We stopped at a tiny market close by the motel and got the stuff we needed for burgers.  We had the hamburger with us already.  It stayed frozen in the back of the truck since our escapade of grilling it on the side of the road a few days earlier hadn’t worked out.  I think we probably got some produce.  It’s been so long ago I really don’t remember.

Once back at the motel, we had to do what we could in the tiny room with just enough room for two beds.  There was a small bath to the side so we set the mini-Weber grill on the toilet seat.  I know this sounds bad, but you do what you have to do.  We had a good laugh about it all and I’m sure anyone would have thought we were nuts if they could see us cooking food in a bathroom, not exactly the most sanitary place in the world.  Those were the best burgers though and our only real meal since leaving Texas.  Heck, maybe anything would’ve been good.  We were probably just starved for any kind of food besides sausage.

We were all pretty scroungy looking by that time.  It did feel good to take an actual shower that night and get on some cleaner clothes.

That was one long trip.  When we finally arrived at the Alaska state line, we found better roads even if the snow was about the same.  We drove into Anchorage, another few hours away, and ended up in a commune where another friend was staying.  I’ll end this here because life in the commune is a completely different story.

Have you ever endured such conditions or lived in a commune?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Sweetness of my Gentle Boy

I can’t let this challenge go by without telling a cat story.  Raven apologizes for all his misdeeds.

Raven is always in trouble with my husband for getting into things he shouldn’t.  He’s a kitten, so what can I say.  Everything looks enticing and like something that he can turn into a cat toy to play with.  He’s scolded and hollered at quite a bit around here.  This really hurts him.  He looks my husband in the eye, never blinking, taking his scolding like a trooper. 


Later in the day, he creeps up onto my husband’s lap and puts his paw or his head on his shoulder as if to say, “I’m sorry.  Are you still mad at me?” 

I’ve never seen a cat like this one.  He has such a mild temperament.  Everyone loves him and says, if they had a cat, they would hope to get one that mellow and friendly.


He’s my handsome boy and I love him to death.  I’m so glad I was the one who adopted him.  I’m thankful everyday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Do you believe in Reincarnation?

My grandmother did and I tend to lean that way myself.  This is a fascinating subject to me.  While we have no proof, and are unlikely to receive any, many small children know things they couldn’t possibly know that happened decades before they were born.  What’s to be made of such stories?

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that a soul would get a do-over to do better in the next life.  I’m not one to believe that if you don’t get it right, you’ll spend eternity in hell.  If that’s the case, how merciful is the creator?

The thought of bad people going to hell is an enticing one when you think about murderers and psychopaths who can’t reform, but then the world will always have evil characters in it, so maybe these types also get to do it all over again.  It makes you think, doesn’t it?

After all, nobody is perfect, so just where do you draw the line for indiscretions that will still allow your soul to be admitted into heaven on your first attempt?  No, I’m not a Buddhist, but Buddhism teachings do make a lot of sense in some areas.

Then there’s the feeling of déjà vu that happens when you go somewhere that you know you’ve never been, but you know where everything is.  Has this ever happened to you?  It’s happened to me a couple of times.  The scene also gave me goose bumps because it was creepy to know all that stuff and know I was in a strange place.

On a different tack altogether, perhaps you create your own heaven and hell.  The concept for everyone could be different because we all have different things to fear, or different ideas of what the perfect place is.  Has anyone thought about that?

I know this is a controversial post, but I bet it’ll make you ponder some deep subjects for a while and question yourself as to where you stand on this issue.  Is your soul reborn into a new body, do you live through someone else in a future life, or is that it – dead is dead - and you’re shuffled off to heaven or kicked down to hell?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quail and other desert wildlife

I never really saw so many quail before moving to the desert.  They’re all over roaming the sagebrush-filled chaparrals.  I can watch them from my office window running in groups between tumbleweeds, cactus, and other desert plants.  Their feet scurry through the red dirt and around fallen twigs and other debris from plants that didn’t make it through some previous winter.

How these little “desert chickens” survive is beyond my comprehension.  They’re subject to harsh conditions winter and summer, not to mention predators like the birds of prey and coyotes that thrive in abundance here.

We feed the quail along with all the other critters that venture by.  They know we won’t hurt them, although the quail are more cautious.  The chipmunks have become so acquainted with us that we can walk right up to them.  They’re no longer afraid and don’t rush off to their little holes, which lead to underground burrows all over our yard.

Male and female quail

The quail act just like chickens, scratching at the ground to turn up seed.  The young ones that hatch every May do the same.  It’s comical to watch a quail about two inches tall doing the “chicken dance” just like its parents.

 Male quail standing guard
They come through in groups daily and always post a sentinel on the block wall.  This is probably instinct to keep a lookout for predators.  The adults take turns with the chicks and one will keep watch while the others eat and then they switch.  The families are fierce when it comes to their offspring and don’t like any other family getting close.  They will fight each other to protect their little ones.

Quail with chicks

The small chicks are mindful of their parents at all times and are good to follow them everywhere and not venture out on their own until they’re much older.  Even the teenagers stay close to mom and dad.  I guess there’s power in numbers and a loan quail would be easy pickings for a hungry raptor.

At night, I hear the calls out in the desert as they gather their families before sunset.  The mournful and persistent sounds drift through the evening air.  Sometimes the adult quail perch on the wall in back and look towards the desert calling their loved ones.  This moaning wail goes on and on sometimes and we know if someone is lost.  It’s almost a frantic cry of desperation as the sun sinks behind the mountains and darkness creeps in over the bluffs.

Each day the families come to eat and drink and we see the little ones numbers dwindle as the days drift on toward summer.  This is probably why there can be as many as two dozen chicks in one group.  The survival of the species counts on that many eggs because usually less than half of the chicks will make it to adulthood.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Who doesn’t like comfort food occasionally?  This recipe is easy and delicious.  It only takes about 35 minutes to make.


1 2/3 cup Green Giant “steamers” frozen mixed veggies
1 cup cut up cooked chicken
1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed chicken soup
1 cup of Bisquick
½ cup of milk
1 egg


Heat oven to 400°F
Mix veggies, chicken and soup
Pour into ungreased glass 9-inch pie plate
Stir together remaining ingredients (Bisquick, milk and egg) with fork until blended
Pour over chicken and veggies
Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown


You can make this dish 24 hours ahead and refrigerate, but it may need to cook a few minutes longer.

Add spices to the chicken and veggie mixture for additional flavor, such as oregano, basil, thyme or dill

You can substitute turkey for chicken, or use a different flavor of condensed soup

This pie will serve six people and only has 230 calories per serving and 9 grams of fat

Friday, April 17, 2015

Obsessive Cat Disorder

Oh boy, this is definitely me all the way.  I love cats, which is a big surprise to everyone I bet.  J  I’ve had cats all of my adult life and of course we had them on the farm growing up too.

When we were all children, we had forty-two farm cats at one time.  Can you imagine that?  It was a sea of furry bodies with waving tails and loud meows when we stepped outside in the summers.  We would throw them bread scraps sometimes, but usually they lived off mice they caught in the barns and out in the fields.


We inherited so many stray cats because people would drop them off on the highway not far from the house.  The cats would roam around, find us, and then mate with each other.  It didn’t take long to go from one cat to ten or twenty.  We never neutered any of the cats or dogs on the farm.  The only animals that were snipped were the bulls.  I’m sure that wasn’t a picnic for anyone, humans or animals.

The population of the cats would vary as the years went by because inevitably they’d be run over on the highway or drowned in a rainstorm.  I guess my parents figured there was no need to have them neutered because nature would take of it, which it did.  Besides, we couldn’t afford to take animals to the vet.  Anything that happened to people or animals was treated on the farm.


All of my cats are neutered or spayed and they’ve all lived indoors with me.  I can’t imagine my life without a cat in it.  They are fun to watch and loving creatures that are good for your health according to studies that say they lower blood pressure and help with stress by putting people in a happier mood.

I guess cats suit me because I know I’d never walk a dog.  To me a dog is a needier sort of animal where cats are independent and can take care of themselves as long as you have food and water out and a litter box handy.


Out of all my cats, I’ve only had one given to me, and one that adopted us.  All the rest I’ve rescued and given them a better and longer life than they would have had if I hadn’t stepped in.

Have you adopted any animals?  If so, do you prefer cats or dogs?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Non-fiction is sometimes an unforgettable story

Like most of you, I prefer fiction books for my reading pleasure, but I’ve read some non-fiction books that have left a lasting impression on me.  Sometimes a true story can be unimaginable and chilling.  I want to tell you about three such books here.

Tales from a Mountain City by Quynh Dao
            The book is about growing up in Vietnam during the war when a change of government turns the life of one family upside down.  Soldiers move into their home burn their books and take over the neighborhood.  This story is about a young girl growing up under the communist regime.  The family tries to hang on to their traditions, their hometowns and provinces, but the pervasiveness of the communist value system eventually drives them to suicide or exile.

The Black Wall by Jiazhen Qi
            This story is a full account of a family in China during the rise of communism.  This powerful story is told by one of the daughters in the family who is imprisoned at the age of twenty under a charge of being a counterrevolutionary.  Her father is already serving a sentence for the same crime.  The remaining family must scrape by selling what they can to buy food to survive.  They under constant surveillance and not allowed to leave the house unless it is to go to the communist school or to buy food.  As you can imagine, prison life is no better.  Conditions are deplorable there.  At times, this book is graphic and the things these people endured are beyond imagination.  This story is one you won’t forget.

Far Outside the Ordinary by Prissy Elrod
            The book is about a family living in FL.  The father discovers he has a brain tumor at age 50.  Glioblastoma gives no warning until it’s too late.  The diagnosis leaves his wife and two daughters stunned, but they don’t let go of hope as they struggle for a cure and survival against all odds.  Southern black caregivers move into the home to aid the family around the clock.  After all avenues are exhausted, they must accept what’s coming.
            The second half of the book is about how the family copes with his loss and shows them that sometimes there are second chances at happiness.  Love can come disguised and when least expected.

Have you read any memorable books?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Moose Experience

I’d never seen a moose in person before I lived in Alaska.  Nothing could probably have ever prepared me for the adventures that were to come associated with my living in the last frontier.

It would get so cold in the winter months that the moose would venture out of the mountains and come to town in search of food and places to stay until spring came.  One such moose took up residence in the backyard for a while one year.  I wish I had taken pictures of it, but I wasn’t as good about taking pics in those days as I am now.  This was a wonder to see and I kick myself today, but I can’t go back to those days, not that I would ever want to.  I don’t know how I withstood that brutal cold.

The moose would wander around Anchorage and the other smaller towns, much as they did on the TV show, Northern Exposure, a few decades ago, if any of you ever watched that.  There are quirky people living in Alaska too, just as on that TV show.  You can drive five minutes out of town and be in complete untouched wilderness.  I think the isolation does something to your head.

 Moose pictures by Ron Niebrugge


I was friends with some people who lived in the country (outside Anchorage) and they invited me over to help with a project one weekend.  I didn’t know what I was in for until I arrived, or perhaps I wouldn’t have gone at all.  When I walked into their small house, the entire living area (kitchen and living room) had been transformed into a butcher shop.  I think my mouth probably fell open with shock.

The guys were all hunters and had lived in Alaska for a number of years.  Every year they’d go on a moose hunt, kill their quantity, and pack them out of the forest.  This particular guy and his girlfriend had a small building built for curing meat.  Once arriving home, they would cut the moose up in large pieces and leave to hang in the curing shed at just above 32°F for three weeks.  This all happened before the butchering party.  Sometimes other friends would use this curing shed for their kills also.

I never saw so much raw meat and blood in my life and I never expected to become a moose butcher, not in any wildest stretch of the imagination.  This wasn’t a scene for the squeamish.  I had no experience with that and didn’t care to have any.  Nevertheless, I spent all night in that house working with the other girls at a long piece of plywood held up by sawhorses that served as a table.  The owners had several makeshift tables like this scattered around the house.  The plywood lay covered in paper with huge hunks of meat lying at one end.

In another area there was a roll of white butcher paper and someone was there wrapping up the cut meat into individual portions.  They labeled the packages and put them into a cooler.  Everyone had on crude aprons and worked quickly with big knives.

I thought we’d never reach the end of the moose meat, but we did just before daybreak.  For helping with the task, I got a few packages of meat like everyone else there.  The rest went into the freezer of the owners, or hauled home by the friends whose meat we also cut up.

Now I’m not a huntress and would probably never shoot anything myself but would opt for veggies instead.  But let’s face it, this moose was already dead, so I’m glad it didn’t go to waste at least.  After a while, I tried the meat they gave me and it was very good, moist and more tender than beef.  I haven’t had moose since.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lotion Factory

You don’t know how many times I’ve wished for one of these in my backyard.  I have plenty of room back there and heaven knows how much I’ve spent on lotion since moving to the desert ten-plus years ago.  This place isn’t for sissies.

Forget about ever having nice skin again when you live in a place this dry.  You’ll have cracks in places you didn’t know could crack and it doesn’t take long to get them.  I think this is doubly bad as you age because your skin loses moisture anyway.  It’s no wonder you can walk into Walmart and see a large portion of shelving lined with lotion.  There are brands there I’ve never hard of before moving here.

I’ve probably tried them all by now and I’m still searching for the best one out there.  So far, Gold Bond is high on my list.  Recently a girlfriend gave me another one she picked up to try at the dollar store.  Everyone is desperate for some skin hydration here, as the humidity dips as low as 6 % at times, although it’s usually hovering between 10 and 15 %.  This lotion is a creamy petroleum jelly that seems to be good.  It’s not greasy after it soaks in and is pleasant smelling, but may be too perfumy for a guy.  I’m still trying it out, but the cracks on my feet are getting better.

I recently ordered another from Amazon that has rave reviews.  I think it will be similar to the one from the dollar store.  The fact that the reviewers say it heals cracks is good enough for me to give it a whirl.  I haven’t received it yet but once I do and try it out, I’ll post a review here on my blog.

You can now see why I’m looking forward to moving to a place with a bit more humidity.  This extreme dryness is killing my skin.  Of course, that’s not my only requirement for a new place to live, but that’s for another post.

Do you suffer from dry skin?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ketchup for cleaning

Yes, ketchup is a great cleaner for tarnished stainless or silver, copper pot bottoms, or brass.  Squirt on and use a damp cloth or plastic scrub sponge to move around in a circular motion and then wash with warm water.

We all know vinegar and lemons can be used around the house, but here a few items in your kitchen that can double as cleaners, as well as food.

Coffee grounds are 1.45% nitrogen and contain traces of calcium, potassium and magnesium.  They are great to sprinkle in the garden, or to steep in water like tea and use as a fertilizer on plants.  Coffee grounds may save your plants from slugs and other pests if you create a barrier around the prone plants.  Coffee grounds are also good for scrubbing pots because they’re abrasive and acidic.

No bottlebrush?  No problem, use white rice instead to get into bottles and containers that are hard to reach, such as thin necked vases and bottles like a salad cruet.  You’ll need warm water and uncooked rice.  Fill the container about half full of water and add about two tablespoons of uncooked rice.  Shake vigorously, stopping the end up with your fingers.  Dump out, rinse, and repeat if necessary.

Use tea to mop the floor.  If you have old hardwood floors that need sprucing up, try mopping them with black tea.  Boil water and let five-six teabags steep for ten minutes.  Pour this solution into your mop bucket, along with warm water, and mop the floors as you normally would.  Don’t use on wood laminate.  Use green tea to deodorize your fridge by placing some leaves in a bowl to absorb onion and garlic odors.

Olive oil can be used to make your own furniture polish.  Simply use a clean spray bottle and add one cup of olive oil and half a cup of lemon juice.  Shake well before each use.  This is a natural chemical-free cleaner, less expensive brands of olive oil will work, and it leaves no scent for people with allergies.  You can make a smaller batch by keeping the same ratio of ingredients.  Spray on furniture, rub it in with a clean cloth, and wipe it dry with another clean cloth.  You can also make furniture polish with white vinegar and lemon juice in equal parts.

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