Archive for the ‘Home & Ranch’ Category

All about bees, our precious pollinators

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

Honeybee

By Catherine Haug, May 5, 2018 (Photo, right, from Bug Guide (5))

I’ve written many posts about the plight of bees, and how to help our native mason bees by providing homes for them. But I’ve not written much about these amazing animals. I hope to correct that by bringing your attention to an article by a British blogger, Clive Harris, who requested I provide a link to his post: The Ultimate Guide to British Bees: How to Protect Their Declining Population (1). While he writes from Britain, we have many of the same bees including honey bees, bumblebees and other ground-dwelling bees, and mason bees. He also goes into a lot of detail about bees:

  • An amazing video about the waggle dance;
  • How do bees make honey and beeswax?
  • How do bees help the garden?
  • What’s the difference between bees and wasps?
  • 4 things you can do to help bees.

His is a long post, but full of lots of great information – share with your kids/grandkids! See Reference (1), below.

Below I include:

  • 3 videos about the waggle dance, and how scientists discovered it’s meaning;
  • List of prior articles on The EssentiaList about bees, including John Holbrook’s articles on mason bees and bee motels;
  • References

(more…)

Clever ideas for gardening and repurposing

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

Milk Jug Hot Caps

By Catherine Haug, Feb 3, 2018; image right, from Gardening Hacks article (1)

I happened upon an interesting blog article: 19 Gardening Hacks to Become a Pro Gardener (1). Several of the hacks involve repurposing household items that would otherwise  be trash/compost. Here’s a list of the 19; check out the article for more detail on each. (more…)

Arcadia Power: is it really better than FEC?

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, Dec 30, 2017

In 2016 I published a couple posts in response to a mailing from Arcadia Power to all FEC customers: About Arcadia Power’s mailing to all FEC customers and Energy cost savings programs and income tax credits, 2016 that include insightful information from Don Newton and David Bopp at FEC. (NOTE: those 2016 income tax credits may no longer apply in 2018).

Now Arcadia is also paying politically-involved media to send email advertisements, such as the excerpt, below, from a Daily Kos email. I would be cautious about signing up for Arcadia’s offer.

I contacted FEC for any changes to the original information. Both Don and David say the only thing that has changed is on the posting about energy cost saving programs and income tax credits post: the only federal credit currently available is the solar credit; see energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits. All state credits are still valid.

For more about this Arcadia offer, read on. (more…)

Moringa: green-leafy veggie (tree) grows well during drought

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Edible leaves of a Moringa tree

By Cat, Dec 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

The leaves of this amazing tree are considered a superfood; plus the tree grows well in a warm, dry climate. Given the progression of climate change in our corner of the world here in NW Montana, this could become an important food source for us as our climate becomes more arid. Plus, its deep roots make it an amazing carbon-sequestor.

Its leaves have the texture of spinach with a radish-like taste, and are packed with nutrients. Use its leaves in salads and soups; add to smoothies or raw veggie juices. Its young seed pods are also edible, similar to green beans.

Important caution: We must be careful when introducing new, non-native species, as they can become problematic, invasive weeds.

Want to know more about this tree, and what makes it a superfood? Read on for more detail. (more…)

Canning: Problems with the new Ball canning lids

Friday, October 27th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, October 27, 2017

Have you noticed that Ball canning lids have changed? They have a new name, ” Sure Tight,”  and have a silver rather than gold color. The packaging states “BPA-Free,” and states they will hold their seal for 18 months. Ball states these new “Sure Tight” lids will replace all prior lids, but you can still buy the old-style lids while stock is still available.

The new lids feature (1):

  • Doubling of the tinplate coating;
  • Additional rust resistance;
  • A storage life for unused lids for up to five years from purchase;
  • A new guarantee of a seal that would last up to 18 months.

But there are reported problems with these new lids. (more…)

Just how clean is your laundry?

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Laundry Soap Ingredients and Equipment

By Catherine Haug, July 26, 2017 (photo, right, from Sheree’s presentation on making your own laundry soap)

Washing your dirty laundry in 140°F water with real soap (not detergents) does the best job of killing bacteria and fungus germs; tumble-drying them for at least 30 minutes in a hot dryer also helps to kill those germs. But many washable fabrics will shrink in such hot water, and others may require drip-drying, so how is one supposed to keep germs in check?

This concern is especially important when there is a sick person in the house.

According to Mercola (1) there are several ways of reducing the potential of passing along bacteria or fungi from one piece of your clothing to the next without using dangerous toxins or opening yourself up to damage from microwave radiation. I’ve added one of my own as well. (more…)