Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Old Fashioned Tools

I was yearning for an old fashioned bug sprayer/duster.  At this red hot minute, I'm certain that the best bug killer for the type of critters around my house is diatomaceous earth (DE).  If I had a bug duster, there would be a cloud of this totally non-toxic, even edible, substance around my coreopsis.  At this time of year, little black and orange striped beetles cover the plant and want to chew it to the ground. The DE kills bugs by blocking their air ways.*

1/4 cup and the ball pump.  I operated it just like this with the nozzle
 aimed slightly down into the cup while I pumped away.
It wasn't a uniformly fine cloud, but it got the job done nicely.
So my brain has been twitching for several days to come up with a way to sift this fine powder over my two precious golden coreopsis plants.  The brain that tells me all the Things I get to do today finally found a quick, rather decent duster:  a 1/4 cup measuring cup and an athletic ball pump with the needle removed.  See picture for how it works.

Your local garden store may have a one-pound bag of it for under $10.  However, I went to an organic garden supply warehouse in my area.  They had a 50 lb. bag that had a slit in it, and they were selling it for $15!  Now I have three five-gallon buckets stashed away--enough to smoother every bug in Oregon,  I think.  If you can't find DE in your neighborhood, I'll mail you a pound of it.  Just drop me an email.

One more tip:  soil ants are swarming this time of year.  I've had several areas around my house where the industrious critters were moving their nest/eggs into my house.  I'd pledged not to use chemical poisons, but the various solutions I read on line did nothing over a two-week period to stop the ant train.  One dusting along the ant caravan route with DE and all activity stopped within an hour.  DE also works for flies around chickens. Simply dust the chicken run with DE--I use a fine kitchen sieve.*

*DE is not good in our lungs either.  Wear a mask or make sure you are up wind as you dust.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Andy, Get Your Gun

The yellow-topped bottles are the best but
are also the trouble makers
I'm in love with a tall spray bottle. Pretty sick, I suppose, even for a cleaning freak. Before we judge, however, remember all the spray bottles we've used that spit, dribbled, and squirted, then went limp on the squeeze when you needed them most.  This industrial strength bottle creates a huge, perfectly fine mist when needed or can produce a stream that shoots four feet.  I love tools that work.  I love the way this basic helper functions.

Towel bar installed
There's often a catch or a small flaw, so here it is. The bottles are too tall to sit on the shelf with the cleaning supplies.  I've perched them directly under the cupboard (remember the idea of storing like things together) on the back of the wash machine. Talk about an unruly gang of helpers. These guys cannot adjust to the sloped surface and tend to tip every which way.  My confined wrist was ready to have me put "duke it out with them and win" on the Things I get to do today.
Ducks in a row

First, the old towel bar from the recycling collection was measured and found to fit, just barely. Next out came the first tool that was my very own--the cordless drill. A week ago I could not hold or tighten the bit or use this tool. But today the wrist is healed enough to accomplish all of these with ease.  I've got my gun!

And now the part of me that glows when things are organized is beaming with delight.  This gun slinger has the whole bunch of reprobates lined up in cooperation.

Andy's Gun

Monday, May 20, 2013

. . .Without a Paddle

That's how and where I found myself.  It wasn't a creek, however, it was my daughter's kitchen.  We go to Bend to visit her rather frequently, and I love to make ice cream while I'm there.  It really helps if I take all the parts of the ice cream maker.  I've forgotten the frozen bowl before.  That truly is a dead end for the project.  Some of the other parts can certainly be improvised.

Nearly ready to eat
So Things I get to do today are invent a paddle for the ice cream maker and learn how to use it--not a problem for a Handy Andy.  One of the kitchen drawers yielded a rather stiff rubber scraper, and we were on our way.  Just plunge that baby into the turning, frozen bowl and hold it in one position so it can scrape the side.  Stand there holding and scraping
long enough and the frozen ice cream will mix with the unfrozen until all is firm and ready to eat!

For those of you who love ice cream but have found that milk products don't agree with you, stay tuned for a recipe of the smoothest, creamiest ice cream you can imagine with no cream or milk whatsoever.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I Spy a Bird Feeder

Brunnera with tiny pale blue flowers and seeds

Your job is to find it in these pictures. Watching the little brown bird (Song Sparrow) give me a big hint is one of the first Things I get to do today. 

My camera and I could not capture this sweet Song Sparrow as it
hopped up onto the flower stalks for an instant, plucking off the tiny
seed heads.  I had no idea this was a bird feeder.
I am always stunned at the details Nature reveals to anyone who stands still long enough. It takes only a few thoughtful moments to collect dozens of secrets throughout your day.  I'd love to hear about some of your special discoveries in stillness.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

There Are a Thousand Thoughts

Lying within a man (being) that he does not know until he takes up his pen to write.  Wm. M. Thackeray.  And this gentleman never knew about blogs.  Things I get to do today often stir up phrases from "nowhere" that stick in my thoughts, ferment over time, and are the fuel for a perspective that fills my heart with joy.  To me focusing my time on thoughts  that are bubbling over with ease and delight creates a day (life) well spent.  Using the opportunity to craft these thoughts into words for others to read primes the pump for the other 999 thoughts to show up, shape up and shine.  I shall take up my "pen."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just One of Many

The blessings just keep on coming! One of the unexpected positive aspects of having ones dominant hand confined and restricted is the inability to do ones nails, both toes and fingers.  The positive view comes from the obvious outcome of putting "get a professional manicure and pedicure" in with the Things I get to do today.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ever So Slowly

Life in the slow lane feels really good. There is time to think and to contemplate. That's my speed. Sometimes the mechanism for changing lanes is uncomfortable, but only briefly. One thing for sure, writing blogs has slowed way down as of yesterday.

While I was at my mother's, I was going too fast to have time to write, doing so many things I lost track of them all. For a period of time now I'll be doing fewer things. Who knows? I may just do less but write more.

The Things I Get To Do Today are learn how to do with my left hand and learn how to do with one hand--for awhile. "Shop till I drop" is not a good motto for a non-shopper. Caught my toe, took a fly, broke a bone in my wrist. Plenty of room for me in the slow lane.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Field Boss

My mother is the queen of lists. The Things I Get To Do Today when I'm visiting her frequently gets longer by the hour. The reasons for that are perfectly okay. She's nearly ninety two. The fact that she is not physically able to do all the work but can make a list for me to do what she wishes she could is okay, too. I'm grateful to be of assistance to her.

Today we planted potatoes and carrots. Her instructions were: use the post hole digger to make the hole for the seed potato, put in the sprouted potato being careful to protect the tender sprouts, add a tablespoon of potash, cover with soil making a little mound so she could see where each hill of potatoes would spring forth in a couple of weeks.

She apologized for being bossy. I knew she was just talking out loud as she "saw" herself doing the planting as she had done for the last eighty five years. "Naw," I said, "you're just being a good field boss."