Pot of Noodles

I was looking for some foam to fill in the bottom of my large flower pot when I discovered a long, swimming pool noodle in the garage.

I cut the noodle up into several smaller pieces with my electric knife and placed the pieces in the bottom of the pot.

Next I filled the pot with dirt.  Now there’s room for air to circulate under the plant, and the pot is not so heavy. Lou

 

 

Cheap Fire Starter

Save your candle stubs in a container by the fireplace.

The next time you need to start a fire, light a couple of the stubs and throw them in along with paper or kindling.

The wax will burn for a long time and give the larger pieces of wood more time to catch fire. Mary Anne

 

 

DIY Diatomaceous Earth

I save cleaned eggshells and when I have a pile, I pulverize them in my blender, then allow to dry fully. I collect in a zip-type plastic bag until I have several cups.

I then sprinkle a border of this around the base of our house to keep beetles and slugs and other critters at bay. It works very much like diatomaceous earth controls these kinds of pests.

I have been doing this for years—even as a lowly renter in my single days, and never had a problem with intruders. I must say it doesn’t work on spiders, who don’t bother me as they eat bugs.

The added benefit of eggshells instead of diatomaceous earth is that the rain doesn’t wash them away or render the effect useless, as happens when diatomaceous earth gets wet.

Easy Way to Clean Hummingbird Feeder

While we all love watching the hummingbirds at the feeders, it’s important to keep the feeders clean. You can get brushes specifically for the hummingbird feeders to clean out the nozzle and feeding ports, but they’re hard to find and not very sturdy.

A better option is to go to a store that sells cake decorating supplies and look for the tiny brushes meant to clean the frosting nozzle tips. These little bristle brushes are strong with a metal handle. Clean the bottle and feeding ports every couple of days each time you replace the nectar.

Bird Seed Cookie Cutter Feeders

This is a great craft for children and adults alike.

Ingredients

  • cookie cutter (you can also use jar lids or molds)
  • twine or string (colored twine adds a nice touch)
  • waxed paper
  • 3/4 cup birdseed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • small envelope of Knox Gelatin

Instructions

  1. Mix together the gelatin with the water and simmer until gelatin is dissolved.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.
  3. Stir in the birdseed. If there is liquid in the bottom of the pan add a little more birdseed until all of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Place your cookie cutter on the waxed paper and fill the cookie cutter half full of the birdseed mixture.
  5. Cut the twine or string and knot the end based on how long you want to hang the feeder from the tree.  Gently push the knot down into the birdseed mixture in the cookie cutter.
  6. Fill the cookie cutter the rest of the way with birdseed while covering the knotted end of your twine or string.
  7. Push the birdseed evenly into the cookie cutter and add more birdseed until full.
  8. Let this sit overnight to dry. Turn the cutter over every few hours to aid in the drying.
  9. When dry, remove the birdseed from the cookie cutter and hang on a tree outside.

Notes

  • Based on the size of your cookie cutters, you may need more or less birdseed.
  • If using small cookie cutters, a general mix of birdseed for small birds works best.
  • This is a great idea for children’s parties.

 

Natural Mosquito Repellents

Although the EPA and the Dept. of Health and Human Services say that DEET is safe when used as directed, I prefer to use natural insect repellents. Here are some effective alternatives; most of which can be found at many natural food stores.

  • Citronella Oil – Just burning citronella candles is not as effective as applying pure essential citronella oil onto your skin.
  • Soy Oil – An inexpensive and effective option that has the added benefit of moisturizing your skin.
  • Lavender Essential Oil – Not only does it repel insects but it smells great too.
  • Neem Seed Oil – Extracted from a plant that grows in India, neem seed oil has been found by several researchers to be even more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
  • Garlic – Eat lots of garlic to keep mosquitoes (and just about everyone else) away.
  • Catnip – An Iowa State University research group showed that the essential oil found in catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes. However, I do not recommend this method if you have cats.

Note: Do not use any of the above methods if you are allergic to the ingredients listed. Always read warnings and “how-tos” before using.

Squirrel Proof a Bird Feeder

I have shepherd hooks in my yard with all my bird feeders but have a problem with the squirrels climbing up the poles. I have tried oiling the poles using Pam, grease etc. and nothing worked.  I finally decided to try a Slinky! This has worked great. I bought the Junior size which is 1.5″ diameter and it works great. Had to twist the Slinky around the pole and then I fastened it at the top with a hose clamp.

It works great!

 

Saving Seeds

Gardening from seeds is cheaper than buying seedlings, and you have a much wider variety from which to choose. It’s easy to save seeds from many vegetables you have grown, or even purchased them from the store. Make sure you save seeds from the best produce. Some seeds, such as peppers. are easy to save. Just remove, dry on a paper towel, put in a labeled and dated envelope, and store in a cool and dry place.

Seeds from tomatoes require a bit more preparation. Scoop the seeds and the pulp into a container. Add about a cup of water. You want the seeds to float. Cover loosely and set aside in a warm place. The good seeds will sink to the bottom. When there is mold on the top the seeds are ready to harvest. Remove the mold and anything that has floated to the top. Dump the rest of the contents into a mesh strainer and rinse the seeds well. Let the seeds dry in the strainer. Finally, spread the seeds out on a paper towel to dry completely. This can take a couple of weeks.  Date, label and store in a cool, dry place.