Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Simple Things...

 Monarchs are flying about the trees and milkweed.

It seems to me that when I am doing the most basic of tasks, it's the simple solutions that give me the most pleasure.  Some of the Simple Things that I'm going to share with you may seem weird or out of the ordinary, but they are things that I have been doing or using for a long time.  I figure lots of you will already know about these simple ideas, but maybe some of you will be enlightened. Or not.  Either way, thanks for stopping by.

Using leaves or weeds to clean a slimy bucket.  If any of you raise chickens or have barnyard animals or outdoor pets, you know that their water buckets can get pretty slimy and gunky and dirty.  Whenever I'm at the coop and decide that the water bucket needs a quick scrub, I grab a handful of weeds or leaves and use them as my disposable scrubber.  Add some water.  Scrub.  Rinse.  Repeat if necessary. 
'Be careful NOT to use poison ivy or oak.  Leaves of three, let it be.  ID them here.

Using snow as a scrubber in spring and winter works nicely too.  I use it on my buckets and as a window cleaner when I've been driving in wet, muddy, slushy conditions.  It works great!  (Those of you who are experiencing HOT temps right now can think about scrubbing with snow and see if it helps.)

Sticks are useful, simple things.  As I was mowing some tall grass, I started plugging my mower.  As I tipped it upside down, I realized I was going to have to scrape the inside.  What did I see right at my feet but a sturdy stick.  Instant scraper!  On another note, have you ever noticed how much creativity and playtime can happen when you give a child a stick?  A stick is a toy!  Use sturdy sticks in the garden to stake tomatoes or anchor your chicken wire.  A stick fence in the garden looks rustic and beautiful.

Baking Soda.  Just today my daughter was telling me about the woes of hard water.  She and her hubby just bought a new home which did not come with a water softener, and the city water is super-hard.  When G. asked me for some ideas for her dish washing and laundry, I suggested baking soda.  It's a natural water softener.  To the dish washer, add approximately 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda per load along with good dish washer detergent (I like Cascade).  Baking soda may also be added to the sink for hand washing and to the bath water to soften water.  To the laundry, start with approximately 1/2 cup of baking soda per load and add up to a cup, depending on water hardness.  Add it along with your regular laundry detergent and use the warmest water possible for the fabrics being washed.  A site that I recently found and like a lot is Sensible House Cleaning Solutions.
Dry dishes from the dish washer by hand immediately following the rinse cycle for sparkling clear glassware.

Vinegar.  Oh yes, vinegar to the rescue with hard water troubles too!  In the rinse cycle of the dish washer, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar.  You can also put plain white vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser of your dish washer for good results.  I use it in mine instead of Jet Dry-type products.  Weekly, pour a cup or two of vinegar in the dish washer and run it to descale it.  Vinegar can go into the rinse cycle of the washing machine too.  Fill up the rinse dispenser with white vinegar for softer clothes.   Use straight vinegar to descale faucets.  I used to wet a cloth with vinegar and lay it on the faucets,  to let it sit and work awhile, and then wipe the scale away.  If you do this regularly, it does help with hard water.  Still, from time to time, I had to bring out the Big Guns.

The Big Guns for hard water scale.   This may not be popular, but I'm putting it here because it works.  (Can you tell I've dealt with hard water most of my life?)  Start with the smaller gun first.  If your sinks, faucets or appliances have mineral build-up from hard water, try the products called CLR or Rust Away.  These work pretty well if used regularly, but if the scale looks like it needs to be chipped out, get the big gun -- muriatic acid.  An appliance repair man told me how to use muriatic acid in the dish washer since he could see that I needed extreme help with my hard water problems.   I buy it at the farm/ranch supply store for about $7 per gallon.  First, let the D/W fill up with water.  You are going to run a normal wash cycle with NO DISHES in it.  When it's filled, add 1 cup of muriatic acid, slowly pouring it into the water.  USE WITH EXTREME CAUTION.  It has strong fumes and can burn skin, clothing and etc.  I always held my breath when adding it to the washer.  Allow the D/W to run through a full cycle.  Scale will be dissolved.  Depending on water hardness, descale monthly.  For more information on using muriatic acid, click here.  The best solution:  get a water softener or conditioner.  We have had a water system for over 10 years and LOVE IT!

Coconut oil.  Now back to something a little more natural and non-toxic.  While mowing, I wore my halter top to catch a few extra rays.  (Hey!  I live in the country where nobody's looking....unless the UPS man drives up!)  I didn't use my head and got a sunburn.  I'm dark-skinned naturally, so I don't get bad sunburns unless it is the beginning of summer so this one wasn't terrible, but bad enough to need extra care.  After a cool shower, I had Hubs slather on some coconut oil.  It moisturizes, soothes, and heals sunburn.  It also helps to use it when that itchy sensation of sunburn hits.  I like aloe vera for sunburn too.  I often use them together.  First the aloe and then the coconut oil.  I also use coconut oil on my naturally curly (and often frizzy) hair.  I apply it generously to my hair and wrap it in a towel or plastic and let it soak in, then wash and condition as usual.  You may need to shampoo twice. Check this:  Six Healthy Uses for Coconut Oil

10 or 15 or 30 minute nap.  We've been really busy here.  We have been going to bed late and rising early in the morning which makes for overly tired people.  I find that if I can catch just a few minutes of sleep, it makes a tremendous difference in my day.  Sometimes I go to my bed and get under the sheets and set my alarm clock.  I can really sleep hard and comfortably knowing that I won't sleep the afternoon away.  For me, I get the best rest in my own bed.

Coffee Break.  I look forward to my afternoon cup of coffee -- hot or iced -- every day.  I think its a healthy thing to plan to take a break in the afternoon and reward yourself for your hard day's work.  Grab a book or magazine, check your email, or sit down in the lawn chair to relax and soak up your reward!

Have a Happy Day!


  1. wonderful tips, some of which we share :)

    I'm going to buy some coconut oil.

    Have a wonderful day

  2. If I don't add vinegar to the rinse cycle of my towels, they eventually fail to smell really clean out of the wash. And vinegar is good poured down drains to help keep them clean.

    Thanks for all these practical tips! I love using sticks, snow and leaves.

  3. Those are great tips Jody! Especially the Leaves of Three line -- I'd never heard that, but now will remember it. I always get at least one case of poison ivy every year 'cause I'm so bad at identification!

  4. I like sticks and coffee! May your coffee break be exceptionally peaceful today, Jody!

  5. Oh, I think I like the coffee break best of all. I was just thinking this morning how I wish things stayed clean longer than they do. I will have to try your tip for our hard water problems. Enjoy that coffee break!

  6. Those are great tips! I'm ready more and more about the benefits of coconut oil. I also take a coffee break every afternoon and am a firm believer in naps!


  7. Such a wonderfully refreshing and fun post to read and contemplate! Enjoy your summer while it lasts!

  8. Iced coffee in the afternoon is a treat for me. It *is* good to have something to look forward to. You work so hard, Jody!

    I'm with Pom Pom: sticks rock.


  9. alright, I'll admit...
    i'm not cleaning that slimy bucket.
    They all look like great ideas~ especially the nap and the afternoon coffee :-)
    Another Friday's Favorite


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