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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hedge-apples for Spiders: Fact or Fiction

Not a fan of spiders. I saw the movie 'Arachnophobia,' which was single-handedly rated in the top three worst choices of my life. 

Chris Pine

Fear of spiders is so common that it is estimated that about 50% of the population say they have an aversion to the creatures.  While I wouldn't exactly say I am afraid...I certainly do not like suddenly seeing one unexpectedly.  They are just so silent in their movement and the way they skitter about can give me the creepy crawlies.  Not to mention how unpleasant it is to walk into a web unexpectedly...and I feel bad for all that work was put into spinning and building it being wasted.  Spider webs have a true beauty in construction that I find fascinating..but I digress. 

Spiders outside I like.  I like the work they do and that they have an appetite for insects like flies and mosquitoes.  That makes them pretty useful around the farm.  However, spiders inside the house (or my car as I was recently surprised by one  quite unexpectedly!) I do not like so much.

Since I strive for using as natural products as possible in my home, I'm not a fan of using chemical sprays for insects.  I started seeking more natural ways to discourage spiders from residing within my humble abode. 

When we first moved here, I started seeing these green ball-like fruits all over the place.  We have an abundance of Osage-orange trees on our property.  Most of the time, we are frustrated having them because they have very long, sharp thorns that can puncture a lawn-mower tire...but at this time of year, they bless us with their fruit.  This fruit is non-edible (for humans or animals) and after doing some research,  I found that they are traditionally used as a insect repellent.

Toxicologists at Iowa State University tested compounds from hedge-apples and found, if concentrated enough, the insect repellent factor was effective.  However, in the natural concentration in just the fruit alone, it was not as effective.  

So, I tried them...I didn't have anything to lose.  I placed one in nearly every corner of the house and did see a decrease in the spider population.  They have a scent reminiscent of citronella so that is probably the reason they are effective.  In full disclosure though, there was one corner of the living room where a rather large wolf spider made it's home right next to the hedge-apple.  

I can't say it is a foolproof method but I think the hedge-apple treatment helped and had the bonus of being natural and FREE!  Do you have hedge-apples where you live?  



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Join My Team - Helping Hands

Many hands


light work.

One of the reasons I started blogging was to share.  Share my experiences, share my quest for knowledge and to help others.  One day, I intend to make Estle Schipp Farm my full time work.  In my future, is a farm school where I teach others skills I've learned over the years. 

One necessary part of making this dream come to fruition is to create multiple streams of income so that we are not overly dependent on any one source. We also have a couple of boys nearing college age and I intend for them to attend debt free. I accidentally found another stream of income right at my fingertips - literally not figuratively. 

As a birthday gift, I was treated to a Jamberry manicure and realized how much I missed having beautiful nails.  Many ladies who do lots of chores know the disappointment of freshly polished nails being ruined much too quickly.  I gave up on having pretty nails and just put it behind me. 

Imagine my surprise when I applied a floral wrap called China Rose.  I couldn't stop looking at my nails...and then they lasted.  They lasted through work in the chicken coop,  house cleaning, heavy gardening, window washing and general housework.  I could hardly believe that I got two weeks wear out of that first manicure. The real story is that it gave me a sense of feeling lovely again.  That feeling has carried me forward to exercising more, working on my art projects more, spending a little more time on my appearance and generally feeling more confident.  It may sound way too simple but it all started with a genuine smile that lifts my spirits every time I look at my hands. All #becauseofjamberry

Hands are for so much more than sporting pretty nails.  Our hands are caring for others...feeding others, loving others, clothing others, calming others, helping others and communicating with others. I decided I wanted to help others find a reason to care for the hands that unfailingly care across the whole of a day and a whole lifetime. 

Yes, I became a Jamberry consultant.  I became a consultant to share this feeling with others - to make a bright spot in the day for women who need a lift.  I'm not selling nail wraps - I'm sharing moments of feeling beautiful.  I'm sharing the permission to spend 15 minutes every two weeks on yourself as a touch-point throughout the day to remember that you are important.  

I'm putting together a team to share this opportunity.  I hope you will consider joining me.  You can share some stylish nails, some moments of real caring for others and receive a discount on your own purchases too.  I'm calling the team Helping Hands and would love to share more about it.  Please join me!

Email me for more information:



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Growing Garlic

You can never 
have enough 
garlic.  With 
enough garlic, you can eat the New York times. 

Morley Safer 

On a recent visit to the local farmers market, I paused in front of the booth with all the beautiful garlic - there were baskets full of more types of garlic than I ever knew existed.  In that moment, I decided that garlic needed to find the way to my garden. 

The garlic lady who noticed my interest asked if she could help me.  "Yes, I want to grow some garlic"...somewhere in my memory was the file that told me that fall was the time to plant garlic so at least I appeared somewhat knowledgeable.  "Great!  October is just the right time to plant" she said.  I stood a little taller feeling like I had some gardening 'cred'.  LOL 

Her next question, took all the 'cred' out of my stance for sure.  "Are you looking for hardneck or softneck?"  Her question was meet with a blank stare....I had only ever gotten garlic from the bin at the grocery and had no idea there were different types.  Thank goodness she was kind and patient.

Softneck garlic is the type you usually find in the grocery.  It is mild and stores very well.  These are the types you might find in a cute little braided wreath which sounds like something I might like to do.

Hardneck garlic is more like wild garlic and has stronger and more complex flavors.  They won't last as long in storage but if cured can last six to ten months which seems plenty long to me.  The most wonderful thing about hardneck garlic is that the growing stalks produce the scape which is something I love to have in the summer. 

So, with the help of our local garlic lady, I chose some bulbs of both types - and the cloves are already separated and tucked snuggly into the garden bed.  You can easily tell them apart when you pull the cloves from the bulb.  The hardneck varieties have a definite hard stem right up through the middle of the bulb.  

To plant, carefully break the cloves from the bulb.  Plant them about 2 inches deep with the pointed end upward (root end down) and space about 8 inches apart.   Cover with some mulch and water weekly but do not over water which may cause the garlic to rot - garlic does not like overly wet soil. 

When the leaves above ground start to turn yellow or brown, it is time to harvest.  This will likely be toward the end of the summer and into autumn. Wash the soil away, let dry in a well-ventilated space and enjoy your harvest!