This is a blog about everyday life. Food, gardening, photography, and nature. What you won't find are pictures of lots of people.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Deoderizers

During the winter the house is shut up while it is cold outside and this year we have not had a break in the weather warm enough to open some windows and let the fresh air inside.  With three dogs I am concerned about the house smelling a bit doggy.  So a few years ago I found these recipes for air fresheners and they really work.  To make them you will need the following:

That is just plain old rubbing alcohol on the right, it is used to thin the fluid and keep the sprayer from clogging up from the sticky oil.  Tres importante!  (I realize that most likely isn't french or italian but possibly both~you get the point)  The little spray bottle holds 4 ounces and it is perfect for a double batch of the recipe.

I love essential oils and I keep these 4 stocked in my medicine cabinet in the bathroom for this purpose.

A closer look

I certainly need strengthening.  And uplifting too.  My house always needs cleansing and this old body, well some renewal is quite welcome!  Perfect.

Don't lick your lips!  Peabody, this isn't food.  This is to keep you from smelling up the house.

You too Uno!   And don't give me the evil eyes.

Now for the recipes:

Pet Blend

8 drops cedar oil
4 drops tea tree oil
2 ounces of water
dash of pure rubbing alcohol

Deoderizing Blend

6 drops bergamot oil
1 drop tea tree oil
5 drops lemon oil
2 ounces of water
dash of pure rubbing alcohol

Be sure to shake before spraying.  I use it as an air freshener and I sometimes spray it on a damp cloth and rub the stinky little chihuahua mix down.  I also spray it on their bedding.  They sniff and look up at me like I pooped in their bed so I figure that is a good thing.

If  you are interested in making some other natural products you can always check out Rhonda's site  at down-to-earth which has an ENORMOUS amount of information or for another natural alternative to freshen the house click here.  This fellow bloggie has a description of an air freshener that isn't a spray but easy to make and use.  Finally, another bloggie has some easy to make cleaners that may interest you. Just click here for those.  The final two links should take you right to the post with the information.  Rhonda's site you can browse for hours.

I hope spring arrives with some beautiful weather so we can get some fresh air and exercise!  How do you combat the stuffiness of winter and/or cabin fever? How do you use essential oils?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lunchtime Art #1 Post Script

Here is the last black and white photo.

I ran out of time at lunch or I could have let in some more light and that would have helped.  But check this out!  Here is the same photo after it has been processed in Aperture by a friend (who is teaching me All Things Photography).

Pretty cool huh?  I am going to have to learn how to do this!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lunchtime Art #1

I found this at lunch today.  I saw it outside the window.

I thought they would make some interesting pictures so I placed them haphazardly and started snapping away.

These are the seed pods from the dreaded southern sweet gum tree.  Those gnarly little fingers stick like velcro to the grass and leaves in your yard.  They are spiny hateful little reminders of the gummy resin that dripped from the tree in the spring and summer.   You know the gunk that you couldn't scrub off your shiny just-washed car.

In black and white they aren't as foreboding.  They look well, dead.  Or maybe like something you brush off your shirt when you come inside.  Magnified 100 times that is.

From this angle they look almost likeable.  The little  Sweet Gum family.  That's the old man on the right with his walking stick. Baby Gum is being trampled by Brother Gum so he can get in the picture.

If you are interested in more about this tree click the link. 

gum tree

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ahhhh the Wine is Fine

I finally got around to racking my wine.  This is the task I will happily do while supper bubbles on the stove.  My goodness!  Are there nine gallons there?

The one in the center front I'm going to rack first.  Turns out this was the mixed berry that had the awful mold on top if you recall that post.  It tastes very good.  Not sweet which is a good sign.  After 6 weeks of a slow ferment it is doing very well.  I watch as it siphons.

This is the dead yeast and solids from the berries.

Here you can see how handy the tip is on the siphon. While some of the solids and yeast getting into the new bottle isn't harmful you definitely don't want this gunk in there.

 Remember the strawberry I started?  I am amazed at this color!  I have never had strawberry wine this dark!

You can see the dead yeast at the bottom.  I have been very pleased with this yeast.  And the taste of this wine is already quite smooth, and again it isn't sweet.  I'm on a roll!

Doesn't that stuff look good enough to pour over ice cream?  But trust me it isn't.  I pour it in the compost bucket instead.  Once I put the air lock back on the jug you can see it is already beginning to ferment again.

Next up are the batches that have been racked at least once and/or made from concentrates.  If there isn't dead yeast and material in my siphon I don't have to wash it out between batches and the work goes fast from here on out.  This next one is an apple raspberry from a concentrate.  It is new to me.  It tastes lovely already with the aroma of raspberry and a hint of raspberry after you swallow.  This will be a good wine.

If you like a wine that doesn't have a lot of "bite" you will like these made from apple juice.  Very mellow and the raspberry keeps it from being bland.

What flavor do you think one is?
No it isn't bourbon.  I know I know I live in the bourbon capital of the universe, but it is illegal to brew bourbon in my house so I have this cheap imitation.  This is apple cherry.  It is much milder than the apple raspberry.  And how about that color!  Love that rosy goldness don't you?

I can't bear to throw out anything drinkable so I do this.
It is a bit murky and it isn't as tasty as the first sips when I siphon but it isn't bad.  When I can drink "the bottom of the barrel" I know my wine will be very good when its ready!  And if I let it sit for an hour or so it will clear considerably.

As I look back over my work I notice all but one are reds or rose.  I must have been thirsty for reds!  I have two gallons that will most likely be ready to bottle very soon.  One is a plain white grape table wine and the other a mixed berry.  I can't wait to replenish my wine cupboard because it is nearly empty.  You must be thinking that is a lot of wine and you are right. I will get about 4 bottles or so from each gallon and I will probably bottle a gallon a month over the next 6 months.  I use a bottle a week on average so I try to keep the supply on hand at the rate of a gallon a month.  I had stopped brewing for awhile so its time to play catch up!
Of all the wines I tasted tonight I am the least impressed with the white grape wine.  Country wines grow on you because they vary in flavor.  I like to have a "plain" white grape on hand because when (not if) I brew an inferior wine I can blend it with the white grape and have a very nice end product.  In fact, if you look at the label of store bought wines you will find that many of them are blends.   And please, exercise caution if you buy a blackberry or blueberry or some such wine.  It is a blend.  I, personally think it is a marketing tool to disguise bad grape wines.  Not a criticism mind  you, this is an observation.  After all, that IS what a vitner DOES!  It is too painful to waste all that hard work and love and time and effort and hope and all those wonderful by products of winemaking and yes I made this run on sentence on purpose.

Now for some wine art.

That is what you see from the bird's eye view down a just racked gallon of wine.  This was a concentrate so that is all dead yeast on the bottom.  Good thing I don't have a decent camera or I could get dangerous!

Supper is ready!  This is the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, leftover tomato juice, spices and some frozen basil from the garden that I need to use!

I really should have put a glug of wine in there!  See!  I told you it goes fast!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rupert's Journey

  While I was watching the grammy awards on TV I made Rupert some clothes for his journey.
I thought the bow tie idea from your comments was a good one obviously.  He does look a bit like an artist in this outfit don't you think?  It takes a secure happy man to wear a bow tie convincingly. 

Here he is adorned in his full wardrobe.

I cut your comments out and taped them to some colored paper to put in the box with Rupert.  I think my friend will be delighted that people from so far away have this connection to her.  I also added your location.

If any of you read The Piano Lesson from a much earlier post you might find it interesting to know that Stacy lived on the same street a couple of doors down from the piano teacher and she knows all the "fictional" characters in the story.  She even knows the unseen visitor  that the black maid helped out the back door.   (Yes, I'm old enough to remember the time when some people had black maids ~ for you folks abroad this wasn't necessarily a bad thing at the time because there really were very few jobs, if any, for black women)

I continue to believe that it is these little things in life that we do are the most important.  Without fanfare but from our hearts we reach out and touch others to make this world a better place.

I challenge you all to practice a random act of kindness this week!  I would love to hear about it.  I'm sure others would too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This is on my mind

Meet Rupert! I finally finished giving him a face and filling him full of love.

 I wanted him to have an appreciative home but wasn't sure where he would go.  Last night I got a call from an old friend from my childhood.  She is very ill and I thought a little surprise might cheer her up so Rupert has been nominated for the job!  I haven't seen my friend in years and I would like very much if you kind people could send some well wishes along with him.  Her name is Stacy.  You can leave a comment here or send me an email however you would like.  I will copy your words and put them in the box with Rupert.  A nod to Brendie for the name!  Thanks so much for stopping by and as always  much gratitude to Rhonda at:


Rhonda if you are listening....I'm going to take another step toward sustainability and make my own liquid laundry detergent   soap ~ thanks!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Birthing a Bear

After a lot of help I managed at last to give birth to my first sewing project that involved a pattern.
I'm pretty amazed it turned out this well......
Looks like I have the sepia button active on my phone camera, but he's still cute!  So cute he is simply irresistable!

WHAZZAT?? A Toy?  For ME??
Here I come!

No Uno NO!!! He isn't yours!
Whew!  Lil Bear is saved....
And safely awaiting his next adventure!

He definitely needs a name.  Maybe some eyes?  A nose?  What do you think? 

Friday, February 4, 2011

This is on my mind

First things first...Thanks to Rhonda for hosting and all she does. My blogging skills have finally progressed to providing new readers a link back to her wonderful site!


I have warmer weather on my mind!  I'm preparing for camping trips!
That's a trailer hitch that will go on the front of my truck so I can push my camper in the garage.  I have a bum shoulder and pushing on gravel just won't be a good idea for quite some time.  When it isn't being used I'll add some patriotic decoration....
God Bless Everyone and have a great day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

He is BACK!!

I had given him up for dead but but in the past week my little squirrel friend has returned.  I had kept nuts out for him or whoever might replace him.  I was thrilled to see him out there one morning.  Within 3 visits he was trusting me again to lift the window and hand him a nut.
I didn't get a picture of his tail this trip but I saw that it had an open wound on it.  Squirrels need their tails for a number of reasons and this little guy's life is only complicated for only having half of his tail!  The wound looked healthy and I look for him to recover.

This was taken back in the summer.  He knocks if I haven't left him something to eat on the sill.  It is much more important to feed him when the weather is like this....

I'll be sure to leave both soft and hard shelled nuts on the sill.  After he eats his wife comes by and has a bite and takes some back to the nest.  Today they will be cuddled up in their nest because the wind is howling.  Most of the eastern USA is in the midst of a winter storm.  We, luckily have escaped this one and just have rain and wind and perhaps a little later some snow.

Isn't he cute?