Monday, March 26, 2012

Squirrels, Pack Rats, and Other Pests

Have you seen evidence of them lately?  For the most part, they live along the fringes of society, but it is not uncommon for a family of them to move into a home. These pests can bring a great deal of trouble and are difficult to remove if allowed to settle in. They can be quite vocal, annoying and boisterous. Most can cause substantial damage to your home if allowed to remain there unattended.

Squirrel nests are messy, cluttered, and usually dirty. The animals are very persistent, invasive, and destructive. They expect others to tolerate and even welcome their presence. They can be aggressive if threatened and are flexible opportunists. If a squirrel has taken up residence in your home or attic, the only practical way to remove them is by trapping or professional removal.

Pack rats collect, claim and hoard materials in order to decorate their nests. A peculiar characteristic of a pack rat: if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying, and "trade" it for the new item. (They take your stuff and claim it as their own.) They are particularly fond of shiny objects and old junk. The critters consistently move their treasures around, rearranging and perhaps hiding them within their nest, but they never really get rid of anything.

Some of these pests are nocturnal, poking around your house during the night looking for food and leaving a mess in their wake. A few are active during the day in human dwellings, frequenting closets, pantries, bedrooms, attics and basements. They expand their living area to fit whatever space they can find, becoming territorial after they take possession.

Beware the squirrel and pack rat. Recognize the signs so you can get rid of them as soon as possible.

You can't be friends with a squirrel! A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit.”
Sarah Jessica Parker

Monday, March 19, 2012

Busy Spring Days, Iris, and A Rainbow

Pretty spring days absolutely energize me. I start my day drinking coffee on the porch these warm sunny mornings, then head to the craft room. My latest wall hanging is a reversible one patch quilt using the tumbler block. I finished it during this week's thunderstorms and hail. Tumbling Sea and Sand on one side and Hexes Afloat on the back. 

There is so much to do in spring, I just love this season and it makes me so happy! I've been inspired to clean house, start restocking the camper, wash my car, weed flower beds, and pull out a few of my lighter clothes. We've had the windows open and laundry drying on the line. How did I get all this done when I was working?

Projects seem to sprout almost as fast as the grass, weeds and flowers. Have you noticed that everything is coming in about two weeks ahead of schedule?  We already mowed our grass, and this early iris bloomed yesterday.

The luck of the Irish was with us on St. Patrick's Day. Even though several thunderstorms rumbled throughout the day, we enjoyed seeing a perfect double rainbow low in the northeast sky.  It disappeared before I could get my camera.

Useful Notion: Nature's glorious colors blend and contrast in very pleasing combinations. Use them for home d├ęcor, crafts, makeup and fashion. There's no prettier palette than the one right outside your door.

Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.” 


Monday, March 12, 2012

A Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

Yesterday was Jerold's birthday and he wanted lemon meringue pie instead of birthday cake. I found my usual recipe from the 1965 McCall's Book of Cakes and Pies. Ingredients include fresh lemons, eggs, cornstarch, water, sugar, salt, butter, cream of tartar and a rolled pie crust from the Kroger dairy case.

I have made this pie many times, but I have to say this is undoubtedly the best one I have ever baked! The lightly browned crust is crisp and flaky. The luscious lemony filling is tart, sweet and smooth. The tall fluffy meringue is light and melts deliciously on your tongue. 

I'm having another piece for breakfast this morning. Enjoy the recipe.

"The best cookbooks have splatters and writing in the margins." -- Katie Scarlett

Monday, March 5, 2012

Add A Little Brightness

In honor of National Craft Month, I have a couple of new designs. A sample assortment of bright Kaffe Fassett prints inspired me to transform two household items from drab to dazzling.

When we need an ice pack, I usually wrap a bag of peas or frozen cold pack in a dish towel. Now I can slide the bag into this cheerful sleeve complete with velcro to keep it in place. And why shouldn't my heating pad have a jazzy colorful cover? I stitched and quilted both in just over an hour, and I have enough fabric strips left for a little bag to hold makeup or phone accessories.

I challenge you to create something fun this month. Use brilliant hues or peaceful shades. Make a sparkly cup cozy or pretty new place mats. Dress up your ironing board. Transform something old into a useful accessory. Look around your house for a dull corner to spice up. You'll find plenty of inspiring ideas and free patterns right here online. 

Go ahead...add a little brightness to your life!

Colors are the smiles of nature.  ~Leigh Hunt

Outrageous color combinations are like eye candy, and virtually all people respond in a positive way to images with brilliant color.~ Jim Zukerman


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