Friday, April 22, 2016


I got a new comment on the original post so I thought I'd do an update or whatever it is when you discuss something again.

It seems, per the above mentioned comment, that the spandex scourge has spread to BOY JEANS!  MAN PANTS!  That wasn't the direction it needed to go.  It needed to go away. 

And yet, in the past several months I have found several pairs of jeans in thrift of course, that are 100% cotton!  Imagine my joy.  Part of it is I'm slightly thinner and even one size smaller increases the selection whether thrift or retail.

One pair is a practically new pair of abercrombie and fitch.  I would not normally wear that brand, and yet, they are cotton and they fit.  Others are ralph lauren, which I've known for a while has a model that fits my physique reasonably well.  And finally, yesterday, I found the holy grail of 100% cotton thrift girl pants....carhartt. Wow.  They are basically new, though no tags.  Girl pants in the lower waisted (I have possibly the shortest waist on the planet), yet 34" length.  Hard to get even in retail.  They were, by my standards, extremely expensive.  $6.00.  With no discounts available.  But you don't leave that in the store.  The company does not make this model anymore sans spandex but with straight legs and a low waist.  Even some of their double front pants have spandex.  WTF?  Seriously carhartt (I'll capitalize that when you start showing ME some respect and make real pants again).  Stop with the stretchy BS.  I do not want baggy knees and butt, looking like I dropped a load over lunch, halfway through my work day. I also wear work pants multiple days, but try that with your spandex nonsense and I end up with pants that are only the intended diameter at the calf.  Jodhpurs anyone?  I suppose it would be handy if I had a sudden case of diarrhea and had to walk home.  Wouldn't leak out on my shoes.

Anyway, these are great. I'd rather have the brown version, but one takes what one can get when one does not want spandex.

As for the stretchy man pants.  Yes, I agree with my commenter and would go as far as calling them an abomination.  I have been shopping the men's racks for 100% cotton jeans for a few years, with limited success but it was better than the women's stretchy pants.  And now, I must be ever vigilant over there.  It's a shame because even in the thrift world, men's clothes are cheaper.  Just like in retail. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

In the Bee-ginning, There Was the Pun, and the Pun Was Bad

So I got bees and there seem to BEE an endless supply of bad bee/honey/hive puns out there.  I've shamefully produced too many myself, now that I'm the BEE-yatch in charge of 2 hives.

Bees and equipment provided by a grant to a local group!  Yeay!  They also paid for our training which makes this a fairly thrifty endeavor.  And no, you can't have any honey!  That is the first thing TOOOOO many people have said when I mentioned I was getting bees..."Can I have honey."  No, I don't have any and the first year's production is for the bees and if they die, there won't be any anyway so let's let that go for a bit, shall we?

Best pun so far was a young friend who came up with "Beesus loves the little children."

Here is a little photo essay on the bee package and the un-bee-oxing.

The package:

 That's what the bees and a queen arrive in.  3lbs of bees.  The can in the middle is the sugar syrup they have fed off of on the trip.  The tile is what I'm going to cover the can-hole with as I get the queen out.

Here she is.  Inside the screen box.  you can't see her well but I didn't want to dick around any more.

She's got a white dot on her back and is twice the size of the others so easy to spot.  The white dot indicates a 2016 queen.  There is a color rotation so you can keep track of which queens survive the longest.  A couple of years is supposed to be pretty good, but like all old ladies, the eggs dry up and it's time for the next generation.

Hive box at the ready

Hive box with feeder (black thing...feed them sugar syrup while they acclimate and until there is enough food out and about in the world), a few frames for comb, and a gap to set the box of bees in.  More frames go there probably tonight because I can't not check on them so I'll feed them and check and take out the package.

Here is the package in there:

The little metal thingy on the middle frame is where the queen cage is hanging.  You take out a cork in the bottom of here cage, replace it with a minimarshmallow.  The worker bees will eat through there and by then will have accepted her as the queen.  She didn't birth them so need to acclimate.  I took the tile off to let the bees least I hope to god I did!  Crap, now I want to go check.  Anyway, you SHOULD uncover the hole and let the bees out.  Then put the various components of the top on.

Here's another hive

I installed the bees here by pouring them in.  The brush is to get them off surfaces and not crush them with reassembly of the hive box.  I put the frames from that gap back in.  We'll see which one does better.

 Here it is with the frames in:

The package with remaining bees (they don't really all want to come out so fast) sitting in front next to my hive tool.  Used for prying things and pounding things as needed.

Close-up of the bees:

And some bee diarrhea on the rubber tub I had all my stuff in:

Like many of us, bees get a bit of diarrhea in the spring, what with the diet change and not wanting to poo too much in the house all winter or however long they've been in there.  There were yellow stripes all over the place including the bottom of my jeans.  Funny.

 And finally, my great grandfather with his bees in 1920:

Friday, April 15, 2016

8 Years No 'Poo Update

Well, so far so good.  I'm still "no 'poo" and still using the baking soda scrub with apple cider vinegar rinse.

This is slightly difficult to maintain when traveling, especially outside the US where I may not know the local word for either product.  In those cases I've used a good scrubbing of my scalp under hot water, followed by a rinse with whatever acid I can get (any light colored vinegar or lemon juice diluted in water), and a cold finishing rinse.  Works well.

A few times I've been traveling in the US and too busy/harried/tired to get to a store after a flight to get vinegar and baking soda, or I forgot.  In that case if I've got no acid source (batteries are NOT an option...or I would have stolen them out of the remote at a variety of hotels), I do a conditioner only job.  Just we the hair good, scrub the scalp with fingers to get up the 'druff and larger crud.  Then glop on lots of conditioner and work it through well.  Then rinse. Keep rinsing.  Still rinsing.  Always rinsing.  Finally, a cold water rinse.  It works OK but there is some itchy scalp from the chemically product my head is no longer used to and it doesn't last as long as the baking soda/ACV method on my hair.

It's been pretty easy doing this off-grid in the summer.   A jug of water in the sun for the day is plenty hot enough to wash hair at night.  For the cold water rinse...the ice water melting in the frozen jug in the cooler that's always there does the trick.  well!

Winter off-grid with no home shower has been tougher.  When I travel the first thing I do upon arrival at a hotel, if I drove, is get out the baking soda and ACV and have at it.  Then again before I leave at least a rinse with vinegar and cold water.  I've conditioner-onlied at the gym (where I shower most of the time) but it takes a while and one doesn't want to hog the public shower.  I've also gone to a friends' house and bogarted a shower and hair wash. 

It's nearly warm enough to go back to the outside washing which is my favorite now.  Uses the least water and I throw the used water on the shrubbery so it's not wasted.

As for the hair.  Still nice.  Most days when I've washed my hair it's too slick to stay in a pony tail so that's about the only day it's down.  People often compliment it.  There are broken bits here and there, but there always were and they correspond to where my pony tail holder hits (yes, it's metal free, but my hair is thin and wispy compared to most), where my glasses hit, or some other mechanical breakage source.  I don't think I can blame the no 'poo.

And pretty non-greasy even if I have to go 10 days without a wash.  I do go to the gym and lift weights and get sweaty so it isn't that I'm just keeping it clean.  There IS less dust in the winter around here so that does help keep the hair less grimy.  Anyway, as long as I brush it well with a boar bristle brush a time or two a day, I can get away with 10 days without a wash.  I'd rather wash more often.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Added Sugar Rant

OK, tiny rant.

I'm diet conscious, though not doing a great job of regulating things right now.
STILL...I see that I should limit my "added sugars" to 6 teaspoons a day.
Fine.  But unless I'm the only adding these, and using a teaspoon measure, that doesn't help me.

On food labels sugar is listed in GRAMS, not teaspoons.  While, yes, it is easier for me to picture teaspoons, I doubt it is for people who don't cook much.  JUST TELL ME HOW MANY GRAMS!!!


So, I googled it.
A teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams.
That means 24 grams of added sugar, or less, is best.  It has to do with insulin resistance, satiety, diabetes, obesity, etc.  So it's fairly important.

Unfortunately, food labels do not require the added sugars to be listed separately and hence people think the naturally occurring sugars in things like beans and carrots and sweet potatoes are the same.  Yes, they are sugars, but since they come in a giant fiber filled package compared to straight sugar added (and by "sugar" I include all the forms from cane sugar, beet sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, maltose, dextrose, sucrose...most of your "...ose" ingredients.  Find a list and learn it) to a processed food.

Like I bet that ALL of the sugars in a cola are added since the other primary ingredient would be water.  No sugar in "water" until it is put in.

I think the best way for me to learn to limit added sugars is to eat actual food.  Like produce, meat, dry beans, nuts, fish, and grains bought as grains and flour.  I'm not saying I'll NEVER eat processed food etc or that I can hit that 24 grams of added sugars or less every day, but it's a good target.

I've been off target on my eating since last fall and need a reset.  Might as well do it now.
It's a simpler way to eat and if it  helps my health, then it is definitely cost effective.

A good movie about this, though they don't make clear the grams of sugar per teaspoon, is "Fed Up" which I recently watched.  Here's the trailer:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Liar Liar Pants On Fire!

I'm NOT a liar.  My actual pants were on fire.  Apparently really on fire for reals.
I like to heat up my jammies and my morning outfits on the woodstove.  Usually the stove isn't that warm, much less HOT like FIRE.  Anyway.  My jammies are/were a hooded sweatshirt, sweat pants, and knee high wool sox. For some reason I didn't warm up the sweatshirt.  I must have already had that on.  For some other reason, I put the sox on then got distracted before I put on the pants.  Also non-standard for me is/was owning partly polyester sweat pants.  I normally try to go with all natural fibers. But I had grabbed these at a thrift store and compromised my principles.  To my detriment as it turns out.

So, the stove was much much hotter than normal.  The pants sat on there for more than a minute.  The sox actually also got scorched but I hadn't noticed that yet.  The pants were charred.  I tried folding the charred bit to the inside to smother the issue but they were pretty hot and stinky and when I looked...quite a bit was scorched.  So, being tired, I threw them out the door into the rain.  Then I found some long underwear and went to bed.

When I got up I left the house and was looking for the pants.  No where to be found.  There was a scorched spot on the ground (which is covered by an old coir really a scorched spot on the rug). It was windy, but not THAT windy.  Eventually I notice some charred bits off to the side caught in a wet shrubbery.  Uh...those were the remains.  The pants BURNED UP ENTIRELY...or almost entirely.
My pants were on fire.  I doubt there were flames.  I think I would have noticed flames and I doubt they flared up in the rain after I threw them out the door into the rain onto the soggy rug/ground.

I could have called this entry "liar liar totally scorched pants" but that didn't have the same ring somehow.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Dead Mouse Stinking

I must say I am underwhelmed by the new formula of De-Con (I have no relationship to the company at all and had to pay for the crap so this is unbiased except I'm ticked off I paid for the crap).  I AM glad the new De-Con apparently won't harm other wildlife that may eat the dead mice.  The old stuff was still toxic in the remains apparently.

This stuff does not seem to actually kill mice.
There IS a dead something or other in the car, presumably the mouse who either died of obesity from the amount of De-Con it ingested, or of old age having lived a long, healthy and well fed life.

3 of the little cubes of putative poison were well gnawed at for over a week with one being about half gone.  The number of poops in the car indicate that there is a lone mouse.  I had removed all other food sources to my knowledge and am not sure a single mouse could have eaten more than the amount of missing De-Con.  The one cube I left properly in its protective case, which is supposed to shield it from any animal larger than a mouse and keep your house cat or dog from eating it, remains completely untouched.

And now the car stinks.  Like a dead mouse.  It freezes over night, thaws and stinks during the day.  This is probably slowing decomposition so it will stink for a good long time.  I made a half hearted attempt to find it and may try again today.  The thing is, I'm mostly at the car at the beginning of the day before I've even had breakfast or coffee and it's dark, cold and rainy out. Or at the end of the day after work ...once again dark, cold and rainy.  Today is a nice day so maybe before lunch I'll go out and try to find the little bugger.  If I find it I'll lose my appetite so it will help the diet.  If I don't find it, it must be stuck up in the upholstery somewhere and I'll just have to ride it out for a couple of months of stank.  Won't be the first time I've had a stinky car.

The last car leaked under the dashboard.  Probably from windshield run off.  During the summer it was dry and didn't stink.  In the fall, spring, and warmer bits of the winter a hell of a mold would get going and it would smell musty.

I did get some peppermint essential oil as the hippie-dippies seem to think that will chase away the mice.  I'm also hoping it will chase away the mouse stank.  So far I've only remembered to open it up overnight once. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mice in the Car

This one is my fault.
I know I live in a hay field and park the car on the edge of it, over the wee bit of gravel.  I also know that it is winter and that the mice, and they are legion, are running out of food.
I also know that I eat in the car and that that is a bad idea.  The idea was to keep the mice out of the house.  So not eating in the shed-home because that would draw mice, you see.  And also, it would make everything in the wee space stink of whatever I just cooked.  So a bit of soup and boiled eggs (which does make it stink of boiled eggs) now and then, boiled water for tea and coffee.  That's about it for cooking in there this winter with a couple of exceptions (which is how I really learned that if you fry sausage in there, your clothes smell of sausage...all your clothes...and the walls).

Anyway, I haven't actually seen the mouse/mice in the car.  But I've seen there work.  By work, I mean poop.  And a chewed finger of a glove.

So, I warned them and then put out some poison.  Turns out De-Con isn't what it used to be.  It's little bricks now, not the blue pellets.  And it's missing the ingredient that stayed in the dead mouse bodies and poisoned whatever ate them, and whatever ate that, etc.  So, the mice/mouse started munching on that.  A lot.  Either I had a lot of constipated mice (there weren't that many poops), OR I had one giant mouse with a high tolerance for whatever the lesser poison is in that little brick.
It ate for days.  And days.

I was going to be gone for a bit and parked on pavement at the airport (stupidly I forgot the overall plan and parked near the shrubbery at the edge of the parking lot, but whatever, fewer mice than at home).  I put out all the little bricks, 3 or 4 of them. And left it for 2 weeks.

I have seen no further mouse signs but I'm keeping an eye out and being very vigilant about keeping all car food in a sealed container.  It will still attract them, but they won't be eating it.  I hope. 
Yes, not having food in the car would be even smarter, but also super inconvenient.

The car was in for oil this week and I asked if they saw any mouse signs in the engine...NO!  Yeay.  I don't know if I should put poison under the hood or if it is also a bait and every mouse would take a bite of wiring as it made its way to the poison-bate.