Sunday, March 31, 2013

Advice from the prepping Housekeeper

     As a housekeeper, I run into many situations that have built up a library of dos and don’ts.  I learned from cleaning up the messes!  Allow me to share some of them with you.

     At one house the owner came in to ask if I could help identify a stain in the garage.  We went out to the garage as he told me how he noticed a little puddle of oil on the floor on Sunday and he thought he got it all but now it was back.  I looked up.  On the rafters above his puddle of oil was a box marked OIL.  He stored his turkey frying oil where most people store the artificial Christmas tree and lights.
how to clean oil on garage floor
     He forgot, or didn’t know, that hot air rises.  He had placed the box in the hottest spot in the garage.  The box was soaked with oil from the exploded plastic container inside.  We put down a tarp before moving the box.  That was a good thing because the minute he touched it, the thing broke into a river of peanut oil.  After we got the box and jug of what was left of the oil in a trash bag, it was time to scrub a capful of laundry detergent across the tarp to break down the oil and hose it into the lawn.  I mentioned he might want to check the top of his wife’s car for any more “puddles” of oil!

     I gotta tell you he wasn't the only turkey oil disaster I've cleaned up!  You also cannot store two or more boxes of turkey oil on top of each other in a garage in Florida in a position that catches the setting sun through a window for more than two years!  

     The plastic jugs the oil comes in are meant to last from the plant to the store and then to your home.  The seams are the cheapest possible to allow for a profit.  They are not meant to stand up to extreme heat or cold.  They actually come with instructions printed in them, such as do not freeze, do not store near heat, etc.  They are not meant to last beyond the urge to fry your first turkey and they don’t. 

      Shampoo bottles and bottles of moisturizing body wash that are designed to be stored upside down are another kind of threat.  I had a homeowner who had me in while she was pregnant because she couldn't bend in the middle.  She specifically asked me to look for any mold or mildew because she was suffering allergic symptoms. She told me she had actually moved to this house because of mold in the home they had lived in for only a few months.  I found the mold and mildew.  

     It was in her husband’s body wash bottle.  Stored upside down as the printing was upright and the cap is on the bottom for easy pouring, the bottle was set on a shelf in the shower.  Most of these moisturizing washes have oils or animal fats in them; the caps catch the water in the shower and provide food and the perfect damp conditions for mold and mildew to grow.  This particular bottle cap was dark.  The husband came home, took his shower and never opened the bottle at eye level to see the dark strings of yuck growing.  He just squeezed and rinsed and hugged his wife till she was sick.  I showed it to her and she cried.  They had sold her dream house and moved while she was pregnant.  It was both a relief and a jab in the heart because she realized all the angry calls to the mold specialist and the insurance companies were unjust.

   The next place to look for hazardous mold and mildew is in the shower head itself.  If you don't clean it regularly, you are swimming in it!

   Then there was the clean house.  I had a homeowner that cleaned before I got there and cleaned along with me as I worked.  The house was spotless when we finished.  She was a minimalist.  There was no clutter for dust to rest upon.  Even the cans of food in the pantry were neat, straight and one of each.  

     The danger here?  There were no stores of emergency supplies.  She could not tolerate more than one of anything.  The home was a magazine photo shoot waiting to happen.  Like storing oil in extreme heat, any extreme habit or quaint personality character can spell danger or even disaster.  She is very nice and very neat with no room in her life for storing or gathering or prepping.  I will miss her after the crunch!



Do it all in a day and prep along the way

     It is sooooo late.  I haven't blogged this late since my son was in a spinal meningitis coma in February.  I have to admit there are only twenty four hours in a day and this day needed about two more!  It has been a good day.  There was a quick errand to pick up some movies, traded them for a set of knives.  Then it was get the car ready for a trip.  I had to unload the housekeeping business and reload the things we needed to travel.  After picking up my mom and getting one son and a grandson in the car we were off for a one hour drive to a mini family reunion.  Two of my grand daughters are in town for spring break from Colorado.  Tomorrow it is Easter and the youngest grandson has a birthday.  Busy, busy, busy!  

      For my part, I tried to keep to the preppers mantra of prep and practice practice and prep, even when it looks like you are doing something else, prep.   

      I have a storage unit, off sight, where I take care of a lot of my business.  I use it for storing larger items and miscellaneous things I need for my housekeeping business like the carpet shampooer and the backup chemical supplies.  I also store a considerable amount of food and medical supplies, but you can't see that as it is arranged by stealth.   I needed to get the business of housekeeping out of my car so I could pack gifts and flowers and that sort of thing, like people!

       I arrived at the storage unit and waited for a moment to take a deep breath.  I set the timer on my phone and jumped out.  It was  a prepping opportunity to practice.  Up with the door, open the hatch in the back of the car, remove everything that needed to go in, sort the trash and cleaning cloths, rearrange a few items so there is still a path to walk in and out, and repack the car to go.  Time?  Fast enough.  The car was cleared and reordered ready for refill at home in under ten minutes with the items in the storage unit ready for pick up before going back to work next week.  I stopped to take notes. 

     I was able to pick up each container that would have gone into the car and set it in a new spot slightly to the left to simulate a move.  This bit of practice took me another ten minutes and would take at least twenty if I were loading the car and or truck I think would be involved.  I was able to physically pull it all off without getting out of breath or sweating.  

     In a bug out situation will I be so neat?   possibly not!  If I have time, I will still be orderly and appear to be taking care of my cleaning business.  If time is an issue I will err on the side of safety, get what I want and leave the reset.  

      I felt pretty good about the day.  Time with family you don't get to see everyday is always fun, but I accomplished a prep task and built on a prep skill.

     I was about twenty minutes later than I wanted to be, however.  There was a sale at Al's Army Navy Store in Sanford on the way to the barbecue.....I got some wader suspenders, two holsters, two motivational t shirts and a couple of camp flashlights, all for 60% off.  And, I found out, they will continue their sale through next week, so I will go back when I have more time.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Some cooking tips for the prepper

            Saving Fuel

In a scenario where cooking fuel may be a limited or be a difficult to replace commodity, learning to cook with the least amount of fuel is as simple as learning to prep the food well and keep an eye on the fire.     

     Consider this, most modern cook books are assuming you have an electric stove.  What if the time comes when you don’t have electricity?  I have a cookbook from the kitchens of turn of the century southern cooks.  The heating instructions state use a moderate or hot oven, a slow or rapid boil, or your best judgment.  These instructions assume you have a wood or coal burning stove.  If you want to find a cookbook for a fireplace or propane stove, you could look for a good thorough camping or RV cookbook.  Keep your eyes open at yard sales and estate sales.  In an older home there my be older information from a time when the first wife used a gas range or even a wood stove!

     Either, wood stove or propane burner, the fuel will heat the pot and the hot pot will cook the food.  High heat is not needed to complete the process. The best tip I can offer is read the recipe first.  Be prepared to follow the instructions and maybe improve on an older recipe with your experience.  

     Once a pot of water comes to a boil, most recipes ask you to reduce the heat and simmer for a prescribed time.  Wood and gas stoves cook faster.  You may have to add water or reduce cooking time.  Testing and practice make the best cooks.  

      Once you have a good cookbook and you are confident from the practicing of the recipes, there are prepping tips that can help save fuel.
     Cooking beans requires soaking the beans.  Be sure they are well softened before putting them on the heat.  If you want to speed up the soaking time and have the use of propane for easy on and off control, you can cover the beans with water, bring to a boil and maintain a boil for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.  Cover the beans to keep the heat in and let them stand for an hour to soften.

 Most canning recipes call for the blanching of tomatoes and other vegetables before jarring.  You don’t want to boil a vat of water.  Boil no more than enough to cover the tomatoes plus one inch.  Dip in two or three at a time and remove quickly with a slotted spoon.  Blanch all the tomatoes before going on to the next step. 

     Steaming vegetables takes less time than boiling and less oil than frying.  To reduce the time on the stove, prepare the vegetables first.  Peel away the tough skins of zucchini, other squashes, celery, potatoes, yams, carrots.  Cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces.  For broccoli and cauliflower, cut a cross in the stem before steaming. 

     Use a steamer.  I know you have seen these things, maybe you didn’t know what they were.  A steamer is a three or four footed metal circle that has hinged leaves all around. It has holes to let the steam through. Often they have a center handle.  You unfold the steamer leaves, place it in a pot, it adjusts to the pot size.   Add vegetables and water then cover the pot with a lid and turn on the heat.  Don’t go anywhere.  It only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to steam to completion.  Steam fruits pretty much the same way.  Once the water is boiling and you see the vegetables wilting under the heat, you can turn off the propane and let the hot pot do the rest of the work.  
If you can’t find a proper steamer, a large pot and a metal colander will work, clumsily, but it will work. 

      For more information, look into this site with tips to reduce cooking fuel,

Save Cooking Gas


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Food Grade Containers
     So, I know this man who was starting up a business selling Indian Fry bread mix.  He was given a brand new cement mixer in trade for a lot of his fry bread mix.  He didn't know if he could use it to mix his blend in so he contacted the Food and Drug Administration.  After a good deal of calling this person and that he got a final ruling.  As long as the machine had never been used for any other purpose, he could use it to blend his Fry Bread Mix.  Since it was given to him still wrapped in the shipping material, he used it.  

     This rule works in most cases.  It doesn't Always work for the prepper.  A plastic bucket that has never been used for any purpose before you got it does not always mean it is food grade or of the quality you want for storing food.  

     I let people know that I shop at Dollar Tree and other discount stores that get most of their inventory from China.  I do not store food in the plastic bucket I get from China.  China has a bad reputation for cutting cost corners and using lead based paints on toys.  After all, there are no USFDA inspectors at the factory in China or India, or any other foreign country.  Many small buckets have some seasonal paint on them, like a snowman or an Easter bunny.  I would use these buckets to store nails, screws, or maybe even make a bucket of first aid supplies to give as a gift.  If I were to make a batch of cookies for gift giving and I used one of these buckets, I wash it and line it with aluminum foil.  That whole Mattel toy recall freaked me out.

   Food grade buckets, particularly 3.5 and 5 gallon buckets I use are marked with a number 2 in the recycle symbol.  Quoting from the website that provides the photo at the right, "I have learned that plastic #2, #4, and #5 are considered safest for food storage. #1 is safe but not recommended for continuous washing and reuse. How do you tell what number it is? You look at the recycle number - usually on the bottom of the container (if there's no number, defiantly DON'T use it)."  I add this in because it is a concise statement backed up by hundreds of web sources.  Pop over to this site and read the chemical makeup of the plastic and also get some good advice on storing herbs and spices, too!
10 Mylar Bags for Food Storage 26"X36"  FREE SHIPPING     Stay safe and if you are not sure, as in the case of using a number 1 plastic container, use a mylar liner to keep food contained inside the bucket and not touching the plastic directly.  If you want a greater amount of information on the storage of food stuffs click on the site that provided this photo. 

Mylar liners can be found for purchase at and and other sites. HOLD the PRESSES!  I found 24 bags for $42 at .
and ten for $33 ish at

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stepping up to bulk food, step one, two and three

     So now you think you are ready to buy bulk food and store it.  Nope!  It is time to review.  Sorry!

First in this blog, I have advised a review of the kitchen cabinets and pantry and your buying habits.

You need to get rid of your bulk unused 'good idea at the time' items.  Donate the unused items to a food pantry and stop buying them.

Clean your cabinets and rearrange the storage area to accept bulk purchases of thing you will use. 

Practice better storing habits.  Once you are in the habit of putting away food to keep it at its best for the longest you are ready to consider bulk.

Get out your lists of things you have.  You need to check off items like the cooker before you shop for food items.

     Now, you can plan to buy bulk.  Buuuuutttt....... AFTER you do a little research. 
This site offers free printable grocery
list  templates
     You want to make a shopping list and plan the food you think you will need to survive your personal disaster scenario.  Planning helps to avoid the purchase of items you will not really eat.  Planning takes into account that the best way to keep your bulk supplies current and up to date is to eat from them and rotate buying new and eating what you have stored.

     My mother bought canned spaghetti and canned ravioli every year.  She feels this will be easy to prepare if the power goes out in a hurricane.  She never eats this stuff when the power is on, why would she want to eat it cold?Finally, I am of an age that we can have these little talks.  If there is no storm, sure, she donated the canned junk food to a food pantry.  Still, will you eat cold ravioli when you have a freezer full of food that needs cooking first?  Yeah.....No!  You will cook the good stuff and leave the cans to rust.  So, this list and planning for the bulk purchases is important.
This site give coupons for WalMart
     I personally eat a lot of rice.  I like rice.  I would eat my weight in rice in a year.  I order rice from a menu when I go out to eat.  Purchasing rice is smart for me.  If you gag on the memory of a trip to Viet Nam every time you smell hot rice cooking, then buying bulk rice is not for you.  You want to put potato buds and other dehydrated potatoes on your list.  

     Make your list look like a regular shopping list.  Plan for starches, vegetables, fruits and meat.  Don't forget sauces, spices and the staples like grains.  

     Buy what you know how to cook and store fuel for the cooking of your foods.  

     What is the point of having food without a propane or butane stove or access to a fireplace and wood to burn?  To afford fuel and a stove, you may have to make a list of the foods you can afford now with the fuel and a list of foods to buy in after you have secured a cooker.  Maybe you have a cooker and fuel on your list of things you already own.  Maybe just the cooker.  Put fuel to cook the food on your bulk food prep list.  We were raised to think, we can't fry without oil.  The truth is, we cannot fry without fire.  Don't forget to put oil on your list.

     Timing is everything and price is a point to consider as well.  Sales happen.  You may have an appointment in town center near a specialty store that has bulk grains.  Plan your trip and take care of your business.  Then you can go shopping without making a second trip.  That is good timing.  Sales are good to follow.  Get on some websites and sign up for their e-newsletters.  Compare prices and shipping costs to local products.  Get out the yellow pages.  If you have a Seventh Day Adventist's church community near you, they will have a bulk, organic produce store like the one near me.  Ours is located between the big church and one of several private schools.  They are closed on Saturday and they feature local growers and makers of health foods at an out door fair once a month.  You may have a large bulk whole foods store near you that makes it cheaper to buy grains than having them shipped in.  Look around on your regular routes driving to work or normal errands.
this article encourages buying bulk
to save dollars
     Constantly check prices and realize if you are home during your disaster, you will be able to eat canned food and eat from your cabinets until you have to eat from the bulk grains that need milling.  Many of these items are available at your local discount grocery store and are the best value.  A flat (twenty four cans) of canned vegetables at Save-a-lot are currently about $14.  You buy them from the store while you are shopping for your weekly supplies and store them while saving on shipping and handling.  
     Your cabinets are cleaned and ready, you have found storage in dead spaces around the home, you are prepared to shop bulk.  Get your list, get familiar with pricing and get prepared.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Food Storage, the next step up, the freezer

     Now that you have reviewed your weekly grocery purchases and added zippered bags to your shopping list, it is time to take the next step up.
     It is difficult to resist buying bulk meats.  I shop the Gordon Food Supply store.  It is known as GFS.  They have great buys and a lot of their motto is true.  “Big box store prices without the membership fee.”  They offer the rice, beans and grains in bulk and no one asks why I am buying so much.  People shop there for restaurants, family reunions and family monthly groceries. 

     The temptation is to get into the habit of purchasing large lots of 20 lb. rolls of hamburger and whole roasts and hams.  The reasoning is the world won’t come to an end this month and the savings will allow you to purchase more and if the power goes out we can have a barbecue!  I get it.  Been there!  And I have done that!  

     It’s true, the world may not change this month and you will save money as long as you aren't wasting any of your purchase.  Never buy the quantity meats frozen unless you have access to a good bone saw.  Buy fresh, have it cut into meal size portions and store it well.
     Freezer bags of the zipper kind are good enough for meats that are only going to stay in the freezer a few weeks or months.  Buy a good permanent ink marker and mark what cut, what animal, what day you bought it and what day it needs to be consumed by.  Let the ink dry before placing into the freezer.  I hate thawing out a piece of what I thought was beef and it was the venison.  It happens to everyone.  Mark the package. 

     I know we have all seen the generations of aluminum foil commercials teaching us through repetition that foil is best in the freezer.  Nope.  Foil is good enough in the kitchen freezer for a few weeks.  In a deep freezer, foil can be broken into easily if you are rooting through looking for a favorite ice cream.  So, sort your freezer priorities.  Keep the meats together and rotate by date.  Please refer to www., the national center for food preservation, for more information.

     At this point, you may want to invest in a vacuum seal system.  New in the box from Wal-Mart they can cost $100 and up.  You can find them up to half off, new in box at    They are an impressive gift that a lot of people don’t appreciate.  They can also be had in mid-summer at almost any garage sale.They can end up costing less than $10 and from time to time they are available at thrift stores.  
Food saver with accessory port on top

      All you want to do when purchasing second hand at a yard sale is ask if you can plug it in.  Listen that the motor runs.  There is a hole on the side of the top to allow for a tube to vacuum air out of bags.  It is an accessory port. Place your finger on it; feel to see if it vacuums.  Also, close the lid and wait a few seconds.  Lift it and feel if it is warm.  
Accessory tube

     Buy it for a few dollars then go to Wal-Mart or Target, and purchase a roll of bags if it doesn't come with any.  Practice vacuum sealing meats in the heavier plastic.  This will keep meat fresher in the freezer longer than any other wrapping method, as it is air tight and less likely to break when handled like foil.  

     If you like the vacuum sealer, stock up on bags!  Sugar, salt, drink mixes all store in vacuums well.  These are things I never want coming into contact with moisture.  The vacuum method puts a stop to all those concerns.  It wouldn't hurt your prep supplies any to consider vacuum sealing med supplies.   Cotton balls take up a lot less space when the air is sucked out and they stack better in a box.  You can vacuum seal a first response med kit and keep it in your bug out bag until needed.  Vacuum sealers also protect documents and photos from the elements.  If you do not have a laminator to protect your documents you can use a vacuum sealer to protect your will, your maps, your DD-214, your photos, or titles and deeds.  You cna't do that with aluminum foil!  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Food Storage 101, just the basics

     The basic starter food storage device is the package it comes in.  If you are going to consume a product by it's sell by date, generally this week, there is not much point transferring it into another container.  

product thumbnail
     Sauces, soups and gravies usually come in a foil lined packet and as long as there are no pin holes, it is in its best container.  Canned fruits, vegetables, and meats are also best kept in their container until needed.

     Cereals, once open, need to be resealed in an air tight container to keep fresh.  Spices quickly loose their potency when left open to the air.  Staples like rice, flour and cornmeal need to be air tight, and should come out of their 'store' container and be placed in an airtight container.  

Oxo Pop Containers
     Start simple and learn to use the supplies available at the grocery store.  Zippered bags are your friend.  I do use plastic wrap for left overs but I do not consider it a food storage device.  Before you go buying matching canisters and stacking containers, buy baggies and a basket to keep them in.  If all of your weekly cereals are in a zippered bag in a basket, you will notice how efficient this method ii, almost immediately.  Again, if you are using the things you buy within a week or so, there is no reason to go all canister crazy, as in this photo.   
Canisters like the above photo are where you want to keep flour, sugar and meals like cornmeal.  Canisters keep out the air, humidity, and pests.  But, for cookies, crackers, and other snacks, use baggies and group them together in a  basket. 

     When you make the step to canisters or containers cruise the websites that make them.  Glad makes plastic storage containers and offers all the plastic content information and how to use information you could ever need.  Rubbermaid is the next step up from the plastic bag and now offers glass containers and produce savers. Remember too, there are many generic and competitive companies that produce these products.  

     Since these two companies are at the top of the US market in recognizability, their information is where you want to start and then find that quality in a lower priced product. The Dollar Tree offers produce saving bags and containers, but I recommend learning about the quality product before making a generic purchase.  

     These are the most basic food storage devices and the first steps in preparing to store food.  Storage should be part of your every day activity.  We shop for food.  We bring home the food and put it in a cupboard or pantry.  We prepare food to eat.  Storing food was a step that was overlooked and a skill worth building.  When you bring home the food from the store this week, inspect it.  Ask the questions.  Will I use this right away?  How long will it keep?  Is it in its best container?  Will storing it in a bag or canister extend its life?  How much of this do I use in a year?  

     Get in the habit of putting food away in it's best container and preserving it until you need it.  Just cutting down on waste and cutting back on purchasing more product because your food went stale is a savings you can invest in more food storage. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Basic Steps for Prepping against hard economic times

     The basic steps for preparing against hard economic times are: 
Save money
Spend less
Reduce debt
Store food

      These steps are the most basic.  They do not take into account any disaster that might require relocation.  These steps are just the first steps to take in simplifying your life and getting a wall of security around you and your family should inflation continue to rise or you loose your income.  

        Save money.  Spend less.  Reduce debt.

Live below your means.  

      Just because you can afford a new car, you don't need to buy it.  Put the car payment in a fund to purchase and store food, water filtration, fuel, or gold and silver.
      Cut out the high fashion nonsense and save.  Very few people NEED a $1600 purse.  Get a sturdy handbag and save your money.
      So, you can afford to rent a larger apartment, don't. If you don't need to move to a keep your job, stay put until you can afford to buy your own place away from the city center. 

Be On The Suze Orman Show
If you need a guru, go with the girl!   I like the advice of Suze Orman, she admitted she was wrong when she was wrong.  She learns and shares.  SO, if you need a guru to get started, go with the girl!

      Pay off credit card debt.  Get that burden off your shoulders by stepping up to your responsibility and pay off the debt you created.  Then, don't do it again.  
How to Save Money: A Step-by-Step Guide to Build Your 
      Credit card debt is like sin.  You do it,maybe by mistake or the error of youth, you ask for forgiveness, you are forgiven.  This is not a pass to do it again.  WE all make mistakes.  If you don't like bills and phone calls from creditors.  pay off the debt.  Then, don't do it again.

Store food.
      When shopping, use those buy one get one free coupons n things you use.  Take the money you saved and buy food you can store for later.  For more tips, try this site, from the city of Yukon:
     If you lose your job, you can cut back on the electric bill or talk to creditors and reduce payments.  You can not cut back on food and survive.  If you have a food store and a method of cooking, for example, charcoal and a dutch oven, you will survive to find work and restore your life.
Save money.  Spend less.  Reduce debt.  Store food.  

You can even cut back while is college.  Look at this blog  It's never too soon to start saving.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


     When you ask someone in Florida, "What pests do you suffer?"  The answer will be some kind of bug.  They will tell you ants, roaches, silverfish, termites, spiders or some other kind of bug.  We have bugs.  They are every where.  They get in to every thing.  And, yes, I know spiders are arachnids but if it creeps or crawls it's a bug.  

      Millions upon millions of dollars are spent each year here in an effort to irradicate these pests from the home.  I work in houses that spend an average of $3000 a year to keep bugs out of the house and off the lawns.  Extra funds are spent to treat for fire ants and other ant varieties. God forbid one of their beloved pets should scratch a flea!  And, no pest control company guarantees against spiders!  

     The terrible part is, I know the best way to reduce infestations in the home is to stop inviting them in.   My grandmother had a point when she wrapped all food and anything that had a hint of sugar in plastic.  Ants will enter the home to find a cough drop in the corner of a bathroom cabinet! Don't feed them, or entice them to enter, wrap it up.  

     Trim the hedges and trees at least one foot, twelve inches, away from the house.  This space is where you lay your bug bait, creating a barrier around the house.

     Trimming branches keeps other pests at bay.  Raccoon, possum, and birds that all carry fleas, mites or other pests can make the jump from trees too close to the structure.  Trim it back.  

    Keep leaves off the roof and out of the gutter.  Decaying leaves can rot your roof, wet decaying leaves can create compost.  Many kinds of bugs blow in with the wind and with leaves on the roof they can make a home, hidden from too much light or water. 

     Now that you are practicing prevention, how do you get rid of pests you already have?

     In the yard, I treat the ground with a sprinkling of Borax.  I like the Twenty Mule Team Borax brand.  I spread it once a year in the spring to rid me of fleas.  Beside the neighborhood wild domestic cats, we have possum and there is a flea problem in the sandy yards of the neighbors who don't believe me, but no fleas in my yard.  

     For ants, I use grits.  Yup!  grits!  It's that simple.  Ants feed on what they find, dig holes and establish a colony.  If you see a mound, they have eaten everything they can where there is sand.  Measure the distance from the hole to the first grass and double the distance.  That is where the ants are foraging.  Sprinkle some grits in a circle at that distance.  They will come get it, take it in and die.  I don't know if they blow up or it creates a gas, I don't care.  They are dead.

     For roaches, I toss a box of moth balls under the house every other month.  If you like the smell, you can toss a moth ball in the kitchen cabinets and one under the sink.  I have used bay laurel leaves for indoors and it makes a better smelling repellent.  Boric acid works, but you need to apply it with a soft makeup brush.  The squirting of boric acid (which is just borax in a bottle in a more refined grain) in huge piles means roaches will just walk around it.  A light dusting with a soft brush means they walk through it and the are dead.  

     Two scents repulsive to silverfish are cucumbers and cloves.  I can't see cutting strips of cucumbers and tossing them in the cabinet, ever.  I do like the smell of opening a cabinet and being greeted with cloves and bay laurel.  

     Spiders can be got rid of with cinnamon oil and water mixed in a squirting bottle and spray as needed.  (Two tsp. oil to one cup water)

These are good remedies that have been tested and they work.  It beats out the three billion pounds of pesticides poured out around homes in this country annually.   These remedies are inexpensive.  I buy my moth balls at Dollar Tree, at a dollar a box and the peppermint oil I get at the flea market at a cost of $3 a bottle twice a year.  The cloves, bay leaves, and grits I have on hand for cooking.  Boric acid is also available at the Dollar Tree and any grocery store.  I get Borax in the laundry section at the grocery store.  


Friday, March 22, 2013

Outlets for suggested materials
     Yesterday I was blogging about how to make vinegar.  I got offline and thought maybe you didn't walk into a little hole in the wall Christian Thrift Store on Edgewater Drive in Orlando and buy a matching pair of fruit infusion jars on a stand for $5 last summer.  I thought I listed the ingredients for making vinegar and didn't give you an outlet for the container.  
So, I looked around at the major sites and found Amazon has a very limited number as does Ebay and you would not know if you were purchasing them possibly opened, used once and returned to the box.  Yikes!  So here, today I am going over my posts and listing outlets for tools and sundry items you may need to do or make other things.  Let's start with the fruit infusion jar and the idea that prepping shouldn't be advertised.  When you call your vinegar jar a fruit  infusion jar it sounds very yuppie!  I call that urban camouflage   So, you see the vinegar on the counter and think I infuse vodka for cocktails.  Good.  Think that.  The top jar comes from the distributor of vodka infusing supplies for $16.  The duo comes from Bed, Bath and Beyond for about $30.
     The Topsy Turvys, mentioned in Spring has Sprung blog are available online at and at any place that sells garden supplies.

     The Qwik Cook Grill (in Alternative fuel cooker) is a vintage piece that can be had on Ebay and Etsy.  I recommend making your own from a large coffee can or any can that food was sold to you in.  
Encore Plastics 5-Gallon Food Grade Bucket
Your local Lowe's offers these at about
$3 gamma lids sold online snap tight lids
available in store. 

    Winter sales are over, and the anti-pill polar fleece is now priced at $9.99 at  It is $4.99 to $7 a yard at this site:  Copy and paste these addresses into your browser and click go.

     Plastic pails at case prices are here at this site:  They have lids and buckets with pour spouts.  prices are fair and case prices are less.

     Pie irons, skewers and spiders offered suggested uses for pie irons and thrift store outlets.  This site sells a set worth the price of $53.99 if you can't find them anywhere else.  Also check out the find.  

     I think this brings me up to date on most of my posts.  I hope to do better and suggest an outlet for every post in future.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

More on Vinegar Making and using

     Most of the sites I have visited looking for vinegar, how to make, send me to people who make red wine vinegar from "leftover" wine.  Okay, I suppose, if you want to waste wine with making vinegar!  
      Honestly, though, red wine vinegar is great to have when cooking.  It is also a good way to get yourself to break the habit of fatty sauces, dressings and other condiments.  All vinegars are known to help lower cholesterol and it contains potassium for lowering blood pressure.  So, here are some sites and info on red wine vinegar.
Start with:  This is a fact filled step by step with good pictures of what to expect.  The first time I actually SAW mother of vinegar, I freaked a little.  I was glad of these pictures!  It was supposed to look like that!  Also, I found this article comforting as she thought of the movie Aliens, when mother was mentioned to her!

So, basically you need, a clean jar, cool storage place, air and wither apple cider vinegar or red wine and water to begin making your own vinegar.   

What I really wanted was a tutorial in how to make the apple cider to get the white vinegar from.  I use a lot of white vinegar for a lot of different chores.  I clean with it, cook with it, use it to set the dye on Easter eggs, and many more uses.  I finally found simple and direct instructions at this site:  This included the steps of adding yeast to begin the fermentation and then pasteurization before jarring to store the vinegar.
     Mother Earth News offers a good easy to follow instructional that only uses apples, sugar and water in an article named "Apple vinegar from peels and cores."
If you would like to read these articles for yourself, copy and paste the above addresses into your browser and click GO!