Carrie’s Corner 9/18/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
Right about now is when you see humans do a remarkable thing. We turn into squirrels. Stacking wood, taking in the harvest, making sure everything is set for the colder ‘ber’ months ahead, followed immediately by the ‘y’ months – sometimes referred to as the ‘wary’ months (which is usually used in familiar sentences like “Y is it so stinkin’ cold out?” and “I’m so ‘wary’ of this stinkin’ cold). Mind you, the last time I checked, cold doesn’t stink, but none the less, we tend to use that, and a few other choice words, when describing colder weather.
The nights become longer, the days become shorter, and we find ourselves looking at our watches, wondering why it’s getting so dark at 4 O’clock in the afternoon. Because we all know that we will all do this at any given point during the colder months, now is the time to really start going through all of your warmer clothing and linens. Make sure that your sweaters that need cleaning are done before the snow and frost hits. Be sure that all of the boots, hats, gloves, mittens and coats are able to be worn, and if not, make sure they get replaced as soon as possible.
It’s also not a bad idea to start really stocking up on the non-perishable necessities, just in case foul weather prevents you from traveling to the market or hardware store. Wood, matches, oil lamp accessories, candles, paper products, pet supplies, dry food items, canned goods and so forth. Be safe, and be prepared. You never quite know what Mother Nature is going to throw at you.  

Carrie’s Corner 9/11/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
Sadly, it’s starting to look a bit less like Summer. However, on the good side, we’re coming into the ‘ber’ months, and looking forward to stepping on crunchy leaves, bright colors, crisp nights (not like we haven’t had any already) and chilly air. This is also about the time when we start going through our old clothing, as we put it away for the season, and start bringing out our fall clothing. If you find clothing items that you no longer wish to keep, take a moment to think about who might be able to use the clothing. Ask your friends and family members. Ask people from your church, or religious organization. If all else fails, and no one wants any of the clothing you have to offer, simply donate those items to the local thrift store. Someone, somewhere will want something you have at some point. If you have a Facebook, post it on there with a photo of the item(s) you are willing to give away. Perhaps some of your friends on there might know who would want those items, and give them a loving new home.
Perhaps you have clothing items that are not ‘perfect’. Say, you spilled tea on a shirt years ago, and the stain just never really came out. That shirt is still good! You can fashion it into a pet bed, clip it into strips and braid the strips into a pot holder….or even use it as part of a Halloween costume. Heck, save it for a camping or fishing trip. Everyone is always looking for ‘new old clothes’ to go camping and fishing in! Those are also perfect to use while in the garden (you’re going to get dirty anyway), or for house hold repair projects (no one in their right minds is going to paint something while wearing a cashmere sweater or a silk shirt).
Finally, there are the ‘accessories’. Shoes, belts, hats, scarves…and so forth. Belts can be re-used for a number of projects (there are so many, the best advice I can give you is to look that up on YouTube). Hats and scarves can be handed down and reused, or used for padding when you’re packing away seasonal collectibles. Keep in mind too that even if a clothing item has a small hole, or rip, in the material, that the rest of the material is still good, and can be reused for other projects. Whatever the case, try to find a new use, or a new home, for your unwanted items. At the very least, by doing that, you’re helping to cut down on the amount of stuff that builds up at the local transfer stations and land fills.  Ask around… You never quite know who might have a good use for your grandmother’s 50 year old house dress.

Carrie’s Corner 8/28/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
We are fortunate enough to live in a community that just loves to recycle, to some degree or another. Of course, there are quite a few things that are impossible to recycle, and those things end up at the local dump. However, there are also many things that don’t have to end up at the dumps, which can be recycled, and/or re-purposed. For example, wine bottles can be turned into large drinking glasses, planters and watering ‘globes’. Shutters, doors and old windows have more uses than I can possibly begin to list in this article. Old clothing can be re-purposed and used for everything from home made pet toys to entire braided rugs, and back again.
It’s up to you, and your imagination, to figure out what you want to recycle and re-purpose. Some items have ‘obvious’ re-purposing uses, and some items need a little more thought put into them. For example, we all know that we can use an old coffee pot as a make shift watering can. Then again, we don’t’ often think of using it as a large 12 cup measuring cup, or an organizing container for smaller items (think, buttons, ribbons, etc.).
Before taking your regular trip to the local transfer station, think twice about what you’re going to throw out. Before leaving, check with your friends and family members to see if they are interested in some items that you might just toss out (it’s stained, ripped, torn….whatever the reason). When you look at an item and think ‘I really don’t want that anymore’, try and think of who might want it. Call around and ask people. Remember, one person’s trash can become another person’s treasure!

Carrie’s Corner 8/21/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
If you’re like me, you have a million and a half pens, pencils and markers all over the place. It would seem that every single drawer, cabinet, cupboard, box, bag, purse and surface has these items…and it would also seem that they’ve migrated to those spots all by themselves. What’s worse, half of them don’t even write! Ever try to find a pencil sharpener in a hurry, only to realize that you don’t have the slightest clue where the sharpener is? How about when you find this really cool recipe in a magazine that you want to clip, and suddenly can’t find the scissors you were just using the day before? I do stuff like this all the time. That’s when it’s time to start grouping and organizing. Fortunately, this task doesn’t take that long to sort through.
Get a piece of scrap paper. Gather up all the pens and markers, and start testing them on the scrap paper. You’ll find out real fast which ones you need to trash, and which ones you can keep. Then, make sure that you have a pencil sharpener handy. Sharpen all of your pencils. Next, find an item that you can use to keep all of these in one place. Anything will do. Basket, plant container, jar, can, shoe box..bucket, up side down lamp shade…whatever. Place everything into that ONE spot. This includes the pencil sharpener and the scissors. If you have a magnifying glass that you use often, add that too. Ruler that you need a lot? Add that as well. The idea is to get all of these items together in one organized container.
Now that your once strewn out collection of pens, pencils, markers, pencil sharpeners, rulers and scissors are all in one spot, there’s one final thing to hunt down and add to this collection. Scotch tape! I don’t know how many times I have gone into a search and destroy mode just to find one roll of scotch tape. I never know when I’m going to need it, so, when I did my pen organization, I added a roll of scotch tape to that pile. Believe me, I have never been sorry for doing that. Coincidentally, if you’re also the type of person who has a pair of glasses for every room in the house, just in case, add a pair of glasses to that collection too. Better to be safe, than blind-sided…literally.

Carrie’s Corner 8/14/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
It’s getting to be about that time of year when the local wild life start to get themselves prepared for the colder months ahead. It’s also closing in on harvest time for most gardens. This is not a good mix. The local wild life start looking at your garden as an open buffet, while you look at the local wild life as a pestilence comprised solely of herbivore minions from the depths. Prevention is the key to compromise in this situation. Especially with the local deer population.
Believe me, the deer are not out to get you. I mean no offense, but the deer don’t even care about you. All they care about is keeping themselves alive, and as healthy as possible. If your garden happens to be en route to their local watering hole, well, they usually stop for a snack. Said snack is often in the form of every single flower, vegetable, fruit and plant you’ve got within eating distance….and as people in this area well know, plating deer resistant items does not always work. We’d like to think that having many thorny items in the yard will help. Blackberries and roses being among the top 2. Anyone who has ever had blackberries and roses can tell you…those seem to attract the deer, instead of ward them off. Check with your local garden center/nursery to see what kinds of deer resistant plants are available for your particular zone. There are more plants than you probably think that will prevent the deer from eating in your yard.
Putting up a deer fence is also a good idea. However, make sure that the fence is at least 8 feet high, including the gate. Deer aren’t stupid. If you have food, and there’s a way they can get to it, they will. And by the way, when it comes time to put out the jack-o-lanterns, and your squash starts to get into full bloom, don’t be shocked to see it come up missing. Deer just happen to LOVE those food items. Be safe around deer. They aren’t as shy as you think. They will attack, especially if they’re protecting their young. Enjoy the deer, but from a distance. Try and keep your garden deer-proofed, and have a camera ready. You never quite know when a deer is going to find your yard especially inviting.

Carrie’s Corner 8/7/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
Now that the races are over with, and the weather is on its way to cooling down (perhaps), it’s a good time to start thinking like a squirrel. I’m not going to use the dreaded ‘W’ word, but I’m sure our dear readers know exactly the word I’m referring to. With many of the summer blooming plants getting ready for the colder months, cultivating seeds for next year’s garden should be done as soon as those seeds are ready. Wood should get stacked and stored in a dry location, ready to use during the colder months. Make sure to get any, and all, chimneys cleaned out thoroughly, as well as cleaning out the insides of any wood, or trash, burning stoves you have. Start getting the BBQ grills cleaned up and ready for ‘W’ use, as well as making sure all of your garden hoses can be coiled up and brought inside when needed.
Above all, start planning to stock up on dry storage foods, frozen soup stocks, and start preparing canned and jarred items. Make sure that, if you have pets, that you have extra pet care supplies as well. We all know what can happen with the first frost (yes, I said the ‘F’ word), which can not only make roads hazardous to drive on, but can also be an abrupt reminder that we live in an area that is not too kind for cold-weather travel. Speaking of travel, you’ll also want to start preparing your vehicle for those colder months as well. Make sure to keep a small back of clay cat litter and an extra throw blanket in the trunk, just in case.
Finally, while you enjoy the rest of the warmer weeks ahead, bear in mind that up this way, it’s far better to take an extra step towards safety, than it is to take an accidental step towards regret and hind sight. As I talk to many people in town, quite a few have asked me if I’ve started to prepare for the ‘W’ months. My answer is always: “Yes”. In fact, in my case, there’s not too many weeks during the entire year that I’m not actually planning and contemplating for the colder months. One reason….up here, that time frame can last anywhere between 5, and 8 months. Or, you can just ask any one of the ‘old-timers’ in the area, how many times we’ve had a mild splash of flurries….in early June.

Carrie’s Corner 7/31/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
While I am one of those technology-loving people, I am also equally cautious when a new health product shows up on the market, especially if that health product seems ‘too good to be true’. Technology has brought us so many wonderful things into our lives, and the rate of technological advancement is astounding these days. However, no matter the amount of technology we see, there are a few things that we just can’t seem to get a grasp on yet. For example, the ‘common cold’. Every single doctor, and nurse, on the face of this planet will tell you, there is no ‘cure’ for the common cold. People who are not in the medical industry will scratch their heads and think: “We have the ability to put more computer power into a cell phone, than it took us to get to the moon….but we can’t handle the common cold?” Yes. That is true. Then again, to rationalize that thought, we only had to send one rocket to the moon, not 99 of them.
Summer colds can be most bothersome, mostly because it’s difficult to wrap our minds around how we got the cold. It’s hot. It’s humid. There’s little, to no, breeze in the air, and what breeze is in the air is akin to sticking your head into an oven that’s been heated to 450 degrees. How do we get the cold, if we’re not cold? That’s where the biggest misconception comes in. I read an article one time from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), where one doctor blatantly stated: “You could run naked in the sub-zero areas of Alaska, and not catch a cold”. He was referring to the fact that you do not have to feel cold, in order to catch a cold. Then, there are people that will say “Summer colds are the worst”. Which, can be true for many people.
Many people are fighting the heat in the Summer. They are also more active in the Summer, and therefore, their bodies are working twice as hard to keep healthy. When a cold virus strikes, that is basically putting your body’s immune system into warp drive, and more often than not, it can’t handle it. So, you have a cold virus in you, that’s having its own little party, and it will do so until it is darn well ready to leave your system. Nevermind the cold cures. They don’t cure the cold, they simply stifle the symptoms. If you can, try and prevent getting a cold. Cover your mouth when you cough, or sneeze. Make sure that your nasal passages are as clear as possible from any phlegm, and keep your body as ‘on track’ as possible by eating properly, and drinking plenty of fluids (avoid alcohol and caffeine) to keep your body hydrated. Let’s face it, you should be the one having the party….not a cold virus.

Carrie’s Corner 7/24/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
It’s that time of year again when everyone starts wondering if the heat we’re having is at all similar to the heat one would feel in the 5th circle of Hell, and if so, then we generally come to the conclusion that Hell is never going to freeze over. Unless, of course, you’re in Hell, Michigan. Then, going to Hell can actually be a really fun time. Outside of Michigan however, not so fun. It’s also that time of year when you really need to start paying attention to your body in regards to the conversation it’s trying to have with you, to let you know that you are in fact becoming over heated, and if you continue to ignore your body, you will start getting sick. This is called ‘Heat Exhaustion’. It can be serious if ignored.
How do you know if you’re getting Heat Exhaustion? Well, your body will start letting you know in the form of the following symptoms: Confusion, dark colored urine (this is a sign of dehydration), Dizziness, Fainting, Fatigue, Headache, Muscle cramps, Nausea, Pale Skin, Profuse Sweating and a Rapid heartbeat. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential for you to get in out of the heat (preferably into an air conditioned room), and drink plenty of fluids (avoid alcohol and caffeine). Remove any tight and/or unnecessary clothing (unless you’re in public). Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath, and apply other cooling measures such as a fan, cold cloths or ice packs.
Heat Exhaustion is different from Heat Stroke. Heat Stroke is much more serious. Heat Stroke is also known as Sunstroke, and is considered to be a medical emergency. If you suspect that someone has Heat Stroke, you should call 911 immediately, and render first aid until the emergency personnel arrive. Heat Stroke can kill, or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. The hallmark symptom of Heat Stroke is a core body temperature of 105. Other symptoms may include: Throbbing headache, Dizziness and light-headedness, LACK of sweating, Red hot and dry skin, Nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness or cramps, Rapid heartbeat (which could be either strong or weak), Rapid, shallow breathing, Behavioral changes (confusion, disorientation or staggering), Seizures and Unconsciousness.
Please….if you have even the slightest question or doubt about you, or someone you know, having heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911. Do not delay or hesitate. It’s better to be safe than dead. Besides, it’s also better to go to Hell, Michigan. It’s cooler there too.

Carrie’s Corner 7/17/13

  Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
First of all, I’d like to send a thank you out to everyone who has expressed to me their enjoyment (and sometimes outright laughter) from reading my little article. Last week, I discussed the do not’s of handling container plants. So, to keep with the theme of container plants, I will continue this week with some more handy duty little ‘don’t even think about it’ tips. It should come as no surprise to people when their container plants start to actually grow. It should also come as no surprise to people when their container plants start to out-grow their containers. Then, it is time to transplant. Now, for some people, this seems to be akin to understanding advanced astrophysics. It isn’t.
There is absolutely no need to handle a transplanting as if you were transplanting a liver. It’s really not that complex. In fact, you can recycle a bunch of old items in your house….including dirt. That’s right, you can recycle dirt. The art of transplanting includes taking the plant out of it’s current container, and putting it into a larger container. That’s not rocket science. That’s Lego science. Most plants are also partial to one specific area of the home. They are not too tolerant to being moved around all over the place. That would be similar to someone picking up your house, with you in it, and moving you around to random parts of the town about once a week. If you’re doing that to your plant… stop that. Your plant doesn’t like that.
To transplant, all you need it a larger container than what the plant is currently in (preferably one that’s about twice the size of the current container to allow for ample growth), some additional dirt (the stuff outside in your yard is perfectly fine) and some water. Take the plant out of one container, put it in the new container. Add dirt to fill in the additional spaces, and add water (but do not soak the living daylights out of the dirt. Then it’s no longer dirt. It’s mud. Plants do not like mud). Voila! Plant is in its new container and ready to shock and amaze you by growing even bigger.

Carrie’s Corner 7/10/13

7/10/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
For some people, house plants can be a real issue. I’ve heard just about every reason under the sun as to why people can’t get house plants to grow ‘properly’. For some, they think that once they put a house plant in a nice spot, that plant will just grow like a weed, and require a once a week watering. The biggest mistake people make regarding house plants is the idea that “It’s in a sunny spot, and I water it good….therefore it will grow big and tall”. Wrong. That idea needs to be completely thrown right out the window that the plant is sitting near. Preferably through the glass. House plants are basically like any other type of plant, with the only exception being that they are in containers, instead of in the ground. They need regular care, which includes watering, and making sure that their leaves are as free of dust and pollen, so that the plant can absorb the maximum amount of sunlight possible.
Another idea that ought to be run over by a herd of elephants and rammed into the nearest lamp post is the thought regarding “miracle grow” to help your house plant. For the love of anything that’s even remotely holy, never do this unless you are an absolute expert horticulturist. If you pick up a package of ‘miracle grow’, stop. Slap yourself in the face, and put it back down….and walk away. If your intention is to soak your plant roots in a vat of battery acid…then by all means, use the ‘miracle grow’, because that is basically what most people end up doing to the plant. If you think that your plant needs some plant food, purchase a plant food spike. Use ONE. I don’t care if your house plant is the size of the Chrysler building. Just use one plant food spike.
Finally, if you purchase a plant do not bring it home, set it in a nice place and walk off. No matter how much water and sunlight that plant will get, it will not grow beyond the confinements of the container it’s in. Transplant it into a larger container, to allow its roots to spread and grow. Transplanting is not rocket science. You are not required to have any level of education in order to transplant something from one container to a larger one. It requires 3 things. A larger container than the one the plant is currently in, dirt, and water. When a plant becomes too large for the container it’s in, it starts to get ‘root bound’. In essence, when kept there for too long, it starts choking itself to death. Literally. The roots start wrapping around each other. Eventually, they’ll manage to find their way out of the container through the drainage holes. Take that as an act of rebellion, and a clear sign that the plant needs to be put into a larger container. Take it easy, have fun playing in the dirt and always remember to be safe!

Carrie’s Corner 7/3/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
While everyone in the United States is more than aware of the Independence Day celebrations, traditions and usual festive activities, here are a few things you may NOT know about July 4th. First, US Americans consume an average of 55 million hot dogs just on this day alone. That’s enough to stretch from L.A. To D.C. 5 times, with hot dogs left over.  Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died within hours of each other, on July 4, 1826. However, Calvin Coolidge (the nation’s 30th president) was born on July 4, 1872.
The US American will consume over $600 million dollars worth of fireworks, which will result in approximately 1400 hand injuries, with the majority of those injuries coming from 1800 degree sparklers. Fortunately for us, our fireworks consist of plastic material that makes a wonderful sound, especially when traveled over by several dozen of our townsfolk. No hand injuries there folks!
If  you’re going to party, please, do not believe that it is perfectly ok to get in your vehicle (or, on your vehicle), and drive. July 4th, is the deadliest day of the year across the nation for car accidents.While Massachusetts became the first state to recognize the 4th as an official holiday in 1781, Congress took their sweet time, and waited to make it a federal holiday until 1870.
And last, but not least, July 4th is the 6th most popular party holiday during the calendar, and the only one that falls during summer months. The city that throws the most July 4th events? San Diego, California! Clearly, the folks in San Diego have never been to the Sierra County festivities. Have a wonderful holiday everyone, and remember, please…be safe, drink responsibly and enjoy the bubble wrap!

Carrie’s Corner 6/26/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
It is time once again for the whole of the area to prepare for the onset of Summer activities and festivities. It is also time, once again, for me to remind our dear readers of a few things that can help make everyone’s Summer much more enjoyable, and safe. For our lovely travelers that enjoy our area for their Summer vacations, I’d like to take a moment to brief you on some items that are well….safety related. First of all, I’d like to send a big thank you to both our local law enforcement officers and our local CFS workers, that go out of their way every day to help make this area as safe for us as they possibly can. Having said that, keep in mind that this particular area is already on a high alert for fires. Mother Nature does quite a good job of making sure that our fire fighters, law enforcement officers and CFS workers are kept on their toes. These men and women do not need any help from the humans in the area. So, please be sure to follow all of the fire safety regulations, right down to the last ‘T’.
Yes, we have cell phone service. Yes, we have television. Yes, we have computers. However, we also have 500 foot mountains, high winds and other such natural conditions that can, at times, make the use of these items a bit challenging. You’ll also notice that there are garbage bins located strategically around the area. Please use them. This not only helps keep the garbage from flying all over the area, but it also helps keep the bears at bay. You read that correctly….we also have bears. As much as we love our bicyclists that visit our dear area, please keep in mind that if you are riding your bike, you are also expected to adhere to the rules and regulations of the road, just as those of us who use cars and trucks. The speed limit is 15 mph, we have red zones (no parking/standing zones), stop signs and yield areas. Local, or not, bike, or not, you are expected to follow the rules of the road. Again, this area is not protected by Officer Barney Fife, and even our locals that have no badges, are more than willing to help remind you of our road safety rules and regulations. Or, you can just do an Internet check on the DMV web site.
If you are using a cell phone, and decide that you would like to continue using the cell phone while you are gassing up your vehicle, please do not be offended if one of the workers comes out of the gas station and politely asks you to stop using your cell phone. It’s a safety request. Quite frankly, we need our gas station as much as you do.  When using the restrooms at our Visitor’s Center, please remember that in order for us to be sure that you remember that the public restrooms are not designed to be showers, mud collectors, canvases for graffiti…or all of these at the same time. In order for these restrooms to be kept up to par for all of you, they have to be cleaned. Please try to be understanding about this. We are fully aware that when you gotta go, you gotta go….none the less, it’s much nicer to ‘go’ in a clean environment, than it is having to wade through bits of paper and mud all over the floor, and walls. The restrooms have garbage bins, please use them accordingly.
I wish everyone a wonderful, safe and happy Summer break, and may Mother Nature always be in your favor.

Carrie’s Corner 6/5/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
With the heat getting worse already, try to keep in mind that not only can the heat cause damage, but it can also make you sick. Keeping yourself hydrated with cold, fresh water is one way to keep your body cool. However, water alone will not help you keep up your health. Try alternating water with other cool fluids, such as fruit juices and energy drinks (such as Gatorade or Activate water). As refreshing as they are, try and keep clear of carbonated drinks. It takes more for your body to break these drinks down, and the ‘cooling effect’ they have is momentary, at best. Remember, your pets will also need to keep cool during these hot days. Keep a small wading pool outside in the shade for your dog…and keep fresh bowls of cold water outside in the shade for all of your pets that are out door pets.
In order to keep the heat-related damages down to a minimum, keep all ground debris out of the way. If you can, try keeping your refuse raked up and placed in a plastic bag or container. Make sure the container gets a slight bit of air flow, and if necessary, water it down until you’re able to take it to the dump. Remember, even plastic can get very hot, so always use protective gardening gloves, or safety gloves when you’re handling items out in the sun.
Most of all, keep your children safe during the heat. Keep a small wading pool outside in the shade for them. Make frozen juice pops for them to cool off with, and during the height of the heat, keep them inside (if possible) in the cooler temperatures. Heat sickness/stroke is not biased towards any particular age group, so please keep yourselves, and your families safe from heat-related harm. This includes your ‘fur-babies’.

Carrie’s Corner 5/29/13

 
By: Carrie A. Blakley
What do you do when you have a bunch of stuff, and no place to put all of your stuff? Right, you try and get rid of some of your stuff. Instead of getting rid of it, however, how about trying to find new uses for it? Almost everything in your home can have double, or even triple, functions. For instance, if you have only one shoe lace, why not use that to help keep your growing tomato plants standing upright by supporting the plant to a garden stake with the shoe lace? Have a spare glass jar? Use it to hold all of the little items that seem to somehow get lost inside of your catch all drawer.
If you’re like me, and have a trash burning stove, kindling is not only easy to come by, it’s also highly economical. Simply keep a galvanized bucket next to the stove and use it to collect all of the paper items you would otherwise throw out into the garbage. Broken small appliances, that can’t be repaired, can be stripped down for parts that can be used for other common household projects. Screws, nuts, bolts, washers….all can be kept in the spare jars and re-used for other items.
Here’s another one, that my mother has absolutely perfected (to a certain degree): facial tissue boxes. Granted, no one needs to keep every single facial tissue box that crosses over their door step. However, thanks to the decorations on these boxes, and their unique size and shape, they can be re-used for a multitude of purposes. The idea, however, is to actually re-use them. Cardboard paper towel and toilet paper rolls can be used to safely hold everything from linens, to children’s artwork, and back again.
So before you toss out something, take a moment and ask yourself: “Can I re-use this for something else, or get parts off of this item that I might need in the future?”. If the answer is yes, not only have you provided yourself with an economical resource, but you have also helped to cut down on the amount of garbage that will pile up in the land fill. Remember….it’s better for you, and the environment! Recycle!

Carrie’s Corner 5/15/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
It’s a wonderful feeling when we can open our windows and finally let the fresh air permeate our homes. Along with the fresh air, also comes fresh dust, pollen and airborne molds and mildews. This means that with the added air, comes added cleaning and sanitizing. Fortunately for us, the 3 best items to use for these purposes, are also the 3 least expensive. Those three are, rubbing alcohol, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar. Bleach can possibly be considered as a 4th, however because the fumes from the bleach can be quite caustic in and of themselves, I personally suggest leaving the bleach in the bottle for house cleaning purposes.
As for the rubbing alcohol. This substance is fantastic for killing germs on contact. However, it is also something that you have to use with extreme caution if you have pets and/or children (of any age) in the home. I suggest storing it in a location that is hard to reach for children (preferably behind a locked door), and even harder to reach for pets. When using the rubbing alcohol, make sure that the area is well ventilated as well as away from any ‘forced’ air circulation (i.e.: fans, air conditioning vent ducts…etc.). In this case, an open window, and/or door, will circulate the air just fine, without allowing the air to be mechanically forced into un-natural circulation.
When using the vinegar mixtures, use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. You can adjust the cleaning mixtures in strength depending on how much is required for the task. White vinegar is one of the best cleaning substances to use for coffee pots, blenders, food processors (and other like smaller appliances). Vinegar is best to use on any item that will come into direct contact with food of any kind. Rubbing alcohol is best to use to clean up the exteriors of any item in the house that is made of stainless steel and will NOT be coming into contact with any food item, ever.
Areas that are best cleaned and sanitized with rubbing alcohol are: exteriors of stainless steel ovens, refrigerators and faucets. You can also use rubbing alcohol to clean off the exteriors of electronic items such as toasters, blenders, food processors, scales, coffee pots, tea pots and just about everything else in the kitchen, so long as those areas are NOT going to touch food. So remember, exterior surfaces ONLY are to be cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Use the vinegar for all other types of cleaning.
Regardless of what types of cleaning items you use throughout your home, remember that it’s better to have things cleaned and free of as much dust, pollen, mold and mildew, than it is to ingest and/or inhale these tiny little particles. Be safe, and always remember to wear cleaning gloves, and if you feel the need, wear something to cover your nose and mouth with while cleaning. Enjoy the fresh air, not the fresh pollens.
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