Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Things to do with Zip Ties

I could look up and find a thousand things you can do with Zip ties, and find thousands of suggestions.  But, let's start at the beginning.  

Zip tie your zip ties together by color, size or length.
Zip tie computer cords, wifi boxes, printer cords and transformers to a peg board behind the desk or work space for the neatest workspace ever.

How to Escape from Zip Ties : ITS Tactical
However easy and available zip ties are, if you find yourself being kidnapped, this site offers tips to escape the zip tie restraint.

Keep zip ties in the emergency auto repair kit.  A windshield wiper stopped working today.  I got a call from a son on the other side of the county in a rain storm.  I let him vent for a minute then asked, "got zip ties?"  Well, yes, he did.  One well placed ziptie in place of a broken cotter pin and he was back on the road.  (still bellyaching, but on the road, again).
Zip Tie Auto Repair

I personally have a problem with a PCV Valve in my car.  The aftermarket replacement part just keeps popping off.  Zip tie!  

You can use them to keep a tag from flapping in the breeze, a hose from vibrating off its seat, to keep electrical cords or hoses from flopping all over under the hood. 

 And, apparently, you can 'stitch' your bumper back together, too, if you like the zombie car look!

Zip ties turn bike tires into bike snow tires.  

In the garden, you can construct a trellis.  Keep plants growing in the right direction, training them up the trellis by fastening a loose loop around the plant and the upright stake.  Don't choke the plant so it has room to grow.  

Use zip ties to keep tools together and hoses in order, but when the hoses no longer serve you well and the tools are defunct, use zip ties to make a garden wreath.  Or make  a wreath from all new components and give it as a gift, to be taken apart and used!  

I like these label zip ties for labeling plants in the pots.  They are good for labeling anything you are tying, but they are great in identifying plants.  

I use zip ties to train and maintain a couple of unruly wind blown Italian cypress.  Keeping the branches tight makes it easy to shape the tree when pruning.

You can't get much simpler than using old cans for plant pots.  Attach them in a decorative pattern to railings, fences or an upright trellis and now, you have a new garden spot, a compact, affordable, recycled garden spot.
And, don't forget the holiday lights.  Make your own shooting star display with zip ties.

I know there are fasteners made for downspouts, roof ridges and soffiting, fut why by many pricey differently shaped plastic hooky thingys? 

 A zip tie works everywhere.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Put It on A Power Strip

I received my power bill this month and I am enjoying the change of seasons.  The power bill reflects the change. This is the time of year when we can open windows and doors and air the house after the stale winter.  A few well placed fans can keep us from closing up and turning on the air conditioners for a few more weeks.  

I so enjoy the lower bill that I am looking for other ways to lower the bill and keep it down.  I am looking to reduce use wherever I can.  

I have decided to check every room for appliances and extra lighting and put it all on power strips.  

Many of my appliances have clocks I never set and other features that continue to run and drain power even when the appliance is turned off.  

The Blu-ray, The DVD player and the (yes, I still have one or three) the VCR are criminals of power sucking when not in use.  I put them on a powerstrip.  This does more than protect the appliances from power surges.  It allows me to flip a single switch and turn off the power vampires, when I am not using them. 
In this photo to the left, I counted five clocks on the components and a clock on the top of the speakers on the right.  Really?  how late are you?  How much do you care if you are on time during a movie?   

I have several lamps in a dark corner that I have put on a power strip and placed the strip in a way that makes it easy to turn off all the lamps without leaning over furniture or going from lamp to lamp.  Just one flip and they are all off.  Even better, if I suddenly need light, it's an easy flip of the switch to turn them on all at once.  

I have my PC and printer on one of these strips.  They allow you time to save your work and shutdown your PC if the power goes off while you are working.  

Using Timers and Motion Switches to
Another great use for the power strip is to get all similar tools or appliances in a central location.  This photo shows a charger working to charge power tool batteries on a timer.  The timer insures that no power is wasted and the batteries don't overcharge.  The batteries have time to charge and when that time expires, the power is cut off.

Look around for one of these, for all of your "I" devices, or make your own charging station.
You can create a charging station to save some electricity.  With all the charging cords on one power strip, it's no hassle matching cords to devices, and when the devices are all charged, turn off the strip to stop the chargers from sucking power out of the wall.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peacocks are Pretty.... Pests

     Years ago in our town, some well to do doctor's wife, descendant of a founding father, thought she would like to look out her Florida room window and see peacocks walking across the lawn.  An indulgent husband bought her three.  

     Now, I don't know if the females came pregnant from whatever exotic peacock pet store, but...they started multiplying.  They were all over that side of town where the old lady passed away left to go astray after she passed.  But, honestly, I don't know how they assumed they would just stay in the yard when they first arrived, maybe they clipped their wings...I don't know.  But years later (twenty years ago) they were heard more often than seen.  Then one year, a pod of them showed up around the Burger King and they lost all fear of people.  

      They hung out around most fast food restaurants,I guess for the french fries, But, one day, I was pumping gas when I heard something like a transformer box overloading.  You could feel the electricity in the air.  Before I could hang up the gas pump handle, the fire trucks rushed to the Angel's (a 50's themed) restaurant where a peacock got a little too close to the edge of the roof, and somehow got caught in the neon lights.  The lights were shorting out, the restaurant went dim inside and the bird started roasting.  When the firemen stopped laughing, they did their best to get it out of the lighting but it had been electrocuted.  Please continue reading because there is a side note to this story later.

     I live about four miles from where these birds began their breeding and spreading out program and little by little they have come closer and closer to calling my neighborhood home.  There have been days when we had to stop on the exit road while a male made a huge display of his hundred eye feathers and shook his backside to either win the heart of a female or ward off another male.  I don't need to know.  It just happens. 

     So, there I was, enjoying a day off from the crazy winter we had this year.  I was opening the windows and doors to air the house on one of the first nice days in a while when out of the corner of my eye I saw a pea hen.  I turned and there were two of them walking through the front yard.  I knew there had to be a male nearby, so I grabbed my camera phone and standing in my doorway, I started to take a panorama of photos.  When I turned all the way to my left,  I saw the male just standing there NOT moving slowly through the yard.  Then my focus became clear and crisp.

     RAT Bas-----!  He was pecking at my broccoli.  I made some clicking sounds and shooed them.  But it was too late.  They had quietly, peacefully and thoroughly devastated ALL of the broccoli.  They took the heads, the leaves, and even the flowers from the plants that were going to seed.  They left my broccoli and cauliflower looking like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!  
3 Ways to Care for Peacocks - wikiHow

     I Googled peacock food and found this image.  Who knew?  Can you see the broccoli in the image??  THAT would have been good to know!

     My poor little broccoli plants.  They were little sad green skeletons.

     As I shooed them across the street I counted a total of eleven in that pod.  Officially, a group of or herd of peacocks is called a 'muster'.  I don't care, you could call them broccoli zombies.  They ate the heads!

     I am devastated.  I am inside the city limits.  I cannot fire a weapon inside the city limits unless my life is in danger.  I cannot hunt peacock or fire upon them within 300 feet of a house or dwelling outside of the city limits. 

     Pity, (here comes the side story) those firemen told me they took that peacock home and finished roasting it.  They said it was delicious, tasting like wild turkey. 

     Now, that I have calmed down and resigned myself to buying broccoli and cauliflower at a store. I have the time to look back and pout!

     Peacocks are pretty.  Peacocks are wild animals.  Peacocks eat cool weather vegetables.  Peacocks probably taste good.  Peacocks are pests.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Super FOOD Item, Broccoli 
     Broccoli is a Super prep food item.  From the cabbage family, broccoli is one hundred percent usable, edible and nutritious.  

      Broccoli is a cool weather loving plant and can be brought to the garden twice a year in spring and fall.  Optimum temperature for planting and growing broccoli is between 65 and 80 degrees fahrenheit.  Here, in the far-South, we can grow broccoli from November thru February.  Some covering may be needed if you plant late and temperatures drop, even then, it may not be pretty but, a frost bitten plant can stock for the pot.   

     You can harvest the leaves and use in your salads or cook them as you would any greens, like spinach or kale.  The leaves are actually richer in beta-carotenes than the florets.  While you are cooking dinner and you find yourself short of a green veg, get out to the garden and pick some leaves.  Cut out the stems which take longer to cook and wilt the leaves in a hot pan with butter.  Done, and done!  Looks good, tastes like restaurant haute cuisine and it's good for you.  
     Once the heads of the vegetable have been harvested, the plant can be let to go to seed as the spring warms.  Add a little organic fertilizer (manure) to encourage the lover heads to come up and bloom.  Here is where you get your seeds for the next crop.  Once you have gathered the seed heads, the stalks make an addition to the stock pot, or fodder for animals. 

     Not everyone likes the flavor of this vegetable, but when you are hungry, it is food for life.  Sure, it's a whole lot easier to persuade a child to eat broccoli if it is saturated with some kind of cheese sauce, but that is the fault of the parent.  Feed a child broccoli, pureed as an infant and continue adding it to the menu weekly, and you can train their little pallette (and yours) to accept the cabbage like taste. 

     Considering the nutritional values posted below, it's well worth the space in the garden and the acquired taste to have this plant in the garden.  If you don't have an orange grove in your backyard, get your vitamin C from broccoli! The cooler months are the times you are most likely to find yourself susceptible to colds and flu.  You can beef up your immune system with fresh broccoli in the diet.  

  • BroccoliVegetableBroccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable. The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, refers to "the flowering top of a cabbage". WikipediaNutrition Facts

  • Broccoli
    Amount Per 1 NLEA serving (148 g)
    Calories 50

  • % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 0.6 g0%
    Saturated fat 0.1 g0%
    Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
    Monounsaturated fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg0%
    Sodium 49 mg2%
    Potassium 468 mg13%
    Total Carbohydrate 10 g3%
    Dietary fiber 3.8 g15%
    Sugar 2.5 g
    Protein 4.2 g8%
    Vitamin A18%Vitamin C220%
    Vitamin D0%Vitamin B-615%
    Vitamin B-120%Magnesium7%
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.