Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Pesky Green Cricket

Ok, now I understand.  Almost three weeks ago I wrote about my daughter having crickets in her basement.  She attracted them with dog food and duct tape.  I mentioned in the blog that crickets didn't bother me, but they were annoying to her.

I have changed my mind.  A few nights ago when I went to bed, I heard chirp, chirp, chirp.  I got up and tracked the sound to the kitchen.  As I got closer to the area around our stove, the sound stopped.  I waited, and it started again.  This time it sounded like it was coming from the outlet next to the stove.  I thought there was something wrong with the outlet, so I pulled the plug and went back to bed.  The chirping started again, and I got up again.  I couldn't find the cause.  I can't even tell you how many times I got up that night.  Each time when I turned on the light, the sound stopped.  About 5:00 am the sound stopped.  I was exhausted the next day, but pretty much forgot about it.  The next night the same thing happened.  This time my husband heard it.  He thought it was on the other side of the kitchen.  He came to the conclusion it was a cricket in our house.  After a thorough search we weren't going to stay up any longer so I turned the sound machine up higher and shut the bedroom door.  The next night it was the same thing except the sound came from the cold air return in our hallway.  I tried the duct tape trick, but because we don't have a dog or dog food I put a couple pretzels on it.  I took off the cold air return vent cover and placed the trap in the duct.  The next day there was nothing on the tape.  By now I am ready to do anything to get rid of that pesky insect.  It was the fourth night.  I had lost my patience.  The chirping started after the house was settled down for the night, and it was quiet.  I bounded out of bed.  My husband was sound asleep.  I went downstairs and grabbed whatever aerosol insect spray I could find.  Then I waited.  This time the sound was coming from near the ceiling where the wall met the log trim.  I started spraying like a crazy woman.  The spray was running down the wall and out popped a cricket.  Not just any cricket, a GREEN cricket.  I didn't even know there were green crickets.  It looked a little like a grasshopper.  I saw it sail out of the wall, land on the floor and that's the last I saw of it.  It either shriveled up like the witch from the Wizard of Oz or it hopped away.  I never heard it again, but the next morning I found this on a watering jug I had on the porch.  Maybe it's the bothersome cricket or his friend waiting outside our front door for his return.  I think it's going to be a long wait.  I did hear one out in the yard today, but so far we are sleeping peacefully again.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers are everywhere.  Where ever you go there are sanitizing wipes or a big bottle of gel available.  The thought process is that if we kill the germs both good and bad, we will stop the spread of colds, flu and disease.  As with all good things, there is a down side.  I have been seeing in the news that some of the chemicals in sanitizers are harmful.  I suppose to get shelf life, they need to add chemicals that aren't good.

For months I have been trying to make my own.  I added glycerin to rubbing alcohol.  That turned out sticky and watery.  I tried adding aloe gel to the glycerin and alcohol mixture and still got a watery mess.  The alcohol is so drying and was very strong smelling.  I put it aside and gave up.  Then this week I met a very nice young woman.  She was sitting at one of the health booths at the Woman's Night Out event I attended last week.  She was demonstrating essential oils.  I have used essential oils in many of the things I make but never realized how wonderful they are.  I decided to buy a starter kit and diffuser.  I invited this person to my house to present her products.  We ended up talking for two hours.  I learned a lot and can't wait to learn more.  I learned there are fragrance oils and pure oils.   I also gained a friend and new reader to my blog.  Hi, Michele.  During our conversation, I learned that Michele makes many of the products I make plus so many others.  She also has classes on how to make products that use essential oils.  I will be learning how to make cough drops, medicated Vick's type rub and a variety of other things.  She shared her recipe for, yes you guessed it, Sanitizing Gel.  I made it today and it is perfect.   The only problem I have is finding Aloe Vera gel without too many additives or colors.  I purchased some 100% Aloe Vera clear gel.  It still has some things in the ingredients list that I'm not sure about.  One of those ingredients inhibits the growth of mold which would be important.

Hand Sanitizer

5 Tablespoons Aloe Vera Gel
4 Tablespoons water ( I use distilled water)
1/4 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
8-10 drops of Pure Essential Oil

Mix together, in a bowl, the Aloe Vera gel and the vitamin E oil.  Add the essential oil and water.  Then mix completely.  You can add more or less water depending on how thick you want it.  Put into a small squeeze bottle.  Empty bottles can be purchased.  The oils are diluted enough so they won't break down the plastic

I debated about what essential oil to use.  I almost used a stress reliever oil to use when I feel anxious.  Then I thought peppermint would be good in the car when someone gets car sick.  The smell of peppermint helps upset stomachs.  I finally settled on Thieves Oil.  After all Hand Sanitizer should be used for sanitizing.  Thieves is a combination of spices like cloves, cinnamon, some rosemary and others.  It is thought that the combination for thieves oil came from the time of the bubonic plague.  Everyone was afraid of catching the plague so they stayed away from those who had it or the bodies of those who died from it. However there were some thieves who were brave enough or desperate enough to loot the homes and bodies of the plague victims.  The thieves were spice traders and would douse themselves with these spices.  Apparently they never got the plague.  When they were caught they gave up the recipe for a lesser punishment.  If it works on the plague, it may work on cold and flu.   This is not insurance against major disease,  but it could help kill germs.  On top of that, it smells good and softens the hands.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce and Applesauce

It is Tuesday, and it is my usual day to blog a recipe.  I have been kind of lazy, and I don't have anything new.  I made the same old food this week.  Actually, I even bought a pumpkin pound cake at Walmart.  It was $4.19, and they charged me $91.40.  That's what I get for shopping there.  Of course, I had to stand in line for a while at customer service to get my money back.

Would anyone notice if I didn't have a recipe this week?  Probably not, but I feel I should come up with something.  A week or so ago, my daughter brought me a box of Roma tomatoes and a box of apples.  Yesterday, I still hadn't dealt with them.  I really didn't want to can them so I took the easy way out.  I washed the tomatoes and cut them up in chunks.  I put them into the pressure cooker with a little salt, one green pepper (cut up and seeded) and one small onion.  I pressured them for 30 minutes.  As many of you know, I love my electric pressure cooker. 
30 minutes in a pressure cooker is quite a while.  As a result the tomatoes were cooked thoroughly.  Then I put them into the VitaMix blender and pulsed until well blended.  The result was fantastic.  I avoided taking the skin off, and I didn't have to remove the seeds.  All the nutrition remains in the juice.  This sauce would be good for a lot of recipes.  I froze most of it, but left out a quart just to drink.

It's thick and tasty with no separation overnight in the frig.

It worked so well with the tomatoes, I did the same thing with the apples.  I took out the core but left the peels on.  I generally make chunky applesauce that is white, but this was so easy.  The Vitamix blended the cooked apples into a pink creamy sauce.  I added sugar and we had it warm for supper.  I still like the chunky version better, but this is good too.

That's it, that is all I can come up with this week.  Maybe next week I will be more creative, but at least I didn't waste this beautiful free produce.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gigantic White Puffballs

They say you are never too old to learn.  That happened to me today.  Because I'm not very worldly, it happens to me more than many people my age.  Today I discovered some Gigantic Puffball Mushrooms.  Actually my son-in-law pointed them out to me.  We were visiting my daughter and son-in-law's new house.  In front, near the driveway were these big white balls.  I thought they were white pumpkins that had been tossed in the yard.  I was told they were puffball mushrooms, and they were actually edible.  I had fallen for that big huge mushroom/fungus thing once before.  As it turned out that one was insulating foam.  I walked over to the area and these are big white mushroom balls.  Kind of pretty.

I did a little research, and they are only edible for a short period of time.  If you find one, you should slice it open lengthwise.  The inside should be firm and white.  There shouldn't be any gills like you see in some mushrooms.  I didn't cut these open because I don't plan on eating them.  I'm not that brave to ever take that chance.  Very soon they will turn brown and give off trillions of spores. Folklore says that the spores were used for medicinal purposes, but again I'm not going to try that either.   I will look forward to seeing if these reappear next year.

Sometimes puffballs grow in what is called a "fairy ring".  This is a little one.

I learned about the Indian Pipe's earlier this Summer, in case you missed it.  Nature is amazing.