Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keeping Bugs at Bay

Chemicals are gross, sometimes hard to use, and can be toxic to children and pets. But how do you keep bugs out of your home and backyard without using chemicals?

*Get a bird house and put it in your yard. This will help keep the insects down and the birds are happy to help out.
*If bats don't bother you, put in a bat house. Bats love the tasty insects that fly around your backyard.
*Lady bugs, preying mantis, lizards, geckos are all great at helping keep bugs at bay- but be careful about what bugs you purchase to put in your backyard and do some basic research to make sure they're a good fit in your area.

*Cinnamon works wonders at repelling ants. Sprinkle cinnamon around where there is ant traffic.
*Pour vinegar down your drains. Ants do not like vinegar, and this will help keep them from crawling around these areas. You can also use vinegar around high ant traffic areas to keep them away.
*Orange extract has been said to help keep ants away. Black pepper, cloves, red chili pepper and bay leaves are also said to repel ants. Keep a bay leaf in your cupboard to help keep them away from your food.
*If you're still having an ant problem after removing food they may be looking for water. Check for leaky pipes or small areas of water.
*Baby powder works as well. The ants will carry it back to their colony and it will kill them.
*Of course the first thing you should do to keep bugs out is make sure there is nothing around to attract them. Make sure that you keep things in sealed, air-tight containers. Wipe down counter tops and sweep/mop regularly to keep crumbs away!
*Seal any cracks and holes where ants can get in.
*Chalk (childrens sidewalk chalk) will also keep ants out. Draw a line to keep them from crossing- they will try to find a way around so make sure the line “connects” to something.
*Do not keep your trash bins right next to your house. Trash attracts bugs (ants, flies, spiders that eat them).
*Make sure you keep your toaster clean. A lot of crumbs accumulate in this spot, and it can be easy to forget about.
*Wash dishes after use and do not let them sit out.
*If you have a spider infestation, check out this site for some information on how to get rid of them or keep them away- just remember that spiders eat other bugs. If you keep bugs out the spiders probably won't stick around as they have nothing to eat.
*Different ants and bugs respond to different things, so don't get too discouraged. If the ants/bugs get too bad you may need to either buy poison or call the exterminator.
*Another ant killer/deterrent that's kid and pet safe is a "after shower powder" called Cashmere rose.. its cheap, smells yummy and has always killed ants when we had them.

Some information gathered from the following websites:
Article Base

Friday, March 12, 2010

Things I want to do this year

I have a ton of new things I want to learn how to do or perfect this year.

1. Canning. I want to learn how to make jams, jellies, and pickle stuff!

2. Perfect my bread making skills. I'll get this sourdough thing down if it kills me! (Post to come, I started my sourdough starter a few days ago!)

3.Cook more. I may bake a lot, but my cooking skills are lacking. I need to start making more recipes that are outside of my comfort zone.

4. Technique perfection. I want to take baking classes. I know I have tons of room for improvement!

5. Learn how to sew and start actually sewing. I can [kinda] sew a straight line. It's going to be a long process.

6. Learn how to quilt. Obviously I can't do this until I complete #5

7. Actually produce things to sell in my etsy shop!

8. Write more knitting patterns.

9. Do at least ONE felting project, just so I can say I've done it.

10. Have a crafting space that is comfortable and organized but that I can convert into a guest room if needed.

There's more, but I'll keep my list short for now. What are your major goals for this year?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Restricting diet

I've been thinking a lot lately about doing a restricted diet, although I am unsure of what exactly I would like to do.

I've done the vegetarian/vegan thing before, but the boyfriend really HATES veggies. I don't think introducing him to a strictly veggie diet all at once (or even rather gradually) would be very nice.

I'm considering going Kosher, and removing all (raw) dairy from my diet. I will also be cutting out all cheeses, which is sad. I'm moderately lactose intolerant, so not eating raw dairy will make me feel so much better.

Does anyone have experience in drastically changing their diet? Are there any other restricted diets you've done that you would recommend?