Monday, March 20, 2017

Removing Warts with Essential Oils

            My teenage son had two toes covered with planter warts.  It’s almost as if you split small pebbles in half and stuck them all over the sides of his toes.  We had gotten a reference for a foot doctor from our family physician.  But before we went to the foot doctor (and paid a nice, big office fee), I decided to try using essential oils first.  I figured that it couldn’t hurt.

Still Struggling (And Why I Am Gardening This Year)

Still Struggling
            I am not sure what’s going on.  But anxiety and depression are still trying to weasel their way back into my life.  I’m always ready to cry.  I can’t read the news because the terrible stories make me feel hopeless about the human race.  I can easily get worked up into a panicky mess when I think about all that is wrong with life or all that could go wrong.  I wake up many days feeling bothered by things, by life, like there is something that I should be upset about but I can’t really figure out what it is. 
            And I’m not sure what to do about it or how to fix it. 
            I pray and read my Bible and read my encouraging Christian books.  And honestly, things are going okay in life, so it’s not like I have some major tragedy breathing down my neck (Thank God!).  But it’s more like a phantom fear that hangs over me every day.  The feeling that things are not what they’re supposed to be.  And how do you fight a phantom fear? 

            I don’t know.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Homemade Hand-Sanitizer Gel with Essential Oils

            I am not a big fan of hand-sanitizers because I fear that their overuse leads to stronger germs.  But sometimes, it’s better to use a little than risk getting the nasty illnesses going on all around you.  I made this for the times that we need it - when I hear a kid coughing like a barking seal or when I see someone sneezing or coughing into their hands.  (Come on, don’t be an animal!  Cough into the crook of your elbow, please!).
            When I was looking on-line for hand-sanitizer recipes, I found one that barely used any essential oil and one that used way-too-much oil.  (Spice oils are potent.  I use them sparingly.  Plus, you are going to end up touching your face or eyes at some point, so do you really want to have a ton of cinnamon oil or clove oil on your fingers when you do.)  And so I decided to make my own, with an amount of essential oil that I am much more comfortable with.  It smells like a warm spiced cake, perfect for winter. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Life With Kids: Mom's Music

Making Tomato Cages

            In the past, I have tried to support tomatoes with those flimsy, circular tomato cages.  But they are not big enough, they flop over too much, and they don’t support enough.  And the past few years, I have just been sticking garden posts into the ground next to the plants and tying them up as they grew.  And that was fine, but it was a mess of strings and lanky branches.  And it didn’t do well supporting a branch that had a lot of tomatoes on it.

            But this year, the elderly lady across the street has offered to pay me to raise tomatoes in my garden for her.  (I’m not letting her pay me.  But I told her that I’ll have my sons help tend the plants and that she can give them a dollar whenever they bring her tomatoes.  It lets her contribute a little and it gives them some responsibility, like a little job, and helps them see the reward of hard work.)  And since I really want the tomatoes to produce well this year for her and since she might be coming into the garden herself to get tomatoes, I wanted to have a nicer support than just a tangle of strings and floppy branches.

            So this year, I decided to make tomato cages out of garden fence. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Starting Tomato Seeds Inside and Transplanting Tips (with "Easy Chili" recipe)

            I started my tomato seeds yesterday – February 28.  The last frost date for my zone 5 is about May 10th.  So that means I am starting my seeds about 10 weeks early, even though the tomato packet says to start them about 6-8 weeks before last frost date.  I started them 10 weeks early last year and ended up with huge transplants that produced tomatoes 2 weeks earlier than I ever got them - July 14th.  So I figured, "Why not do it again!" 

            [The first ones to produce – for the second year in a row - were Summer Snack, Red Currant, and Early Treat.  But I am not doing Red Currant again this year.  The fruit is so small that it’s more work to pick them than they’re worth.  And the variety that was the first one to get baby green tomatoes was Lunchmate.]