October 30, 2014

Pre-Automatic Instructions

This is a copy of a letter from an unknown pioneer woman to her daughter telling how to wash clothes:

1. Build a fire in the backyard to heat a kettle of rain water.
2. Set tubs so smoke won't blow in eyes if wind is pert.
3. Shave 1 hole cake of lie sope in biling water.
4. Sart things, make 3 piles, 1 pile white, 1 pile cullard, 1 pile britches and rags.
5. Stir flour in cold water to smooth, then thin down with biling water.
6. Rub dirty spots on bord, then bile. Rub cullard but don't bile. Just rench and starch.
7. Spread tee towels on grass.
9. Hang old rags on fence.
10. Pour rench water in flower bed.
11. Scrub porch with sopy water.
12. Scrub privie seat and floor, with sopy water caught from porch scrub.
13. Turn tubs upside down.
14. Go put on a clean dress. Smooth hair with side combs. Brew up tea, set and rest a spell and count blessins.

October 22, 2014

The Trouble with Tribbles

If you are a classic Star Trek fan, you will know the story of the cute, furry little creatures known as Tribbles. To protect a space station with a vital grain shipment, Captain Kirk must deal with Federation bureaucrats, a Klingon battle cruiser and a peddler  who attempts to sell the purring, hungry little balls of fur that are born pregnant and replicate almost as soon as they are fed.  Eventually, the tribbles finds their way into the space station's granary compartments,  consume all of the grain, and gorged,  dead or dying,  rain down on top of Captain Kirk's head when he opens one of the bin doors. After Kirk gives the command to get the tribbles off his ship,  Scottie, the Enterprise's engineer, whisks all of their tribbles to the engine room of the Klingon ship before they warp off into space. 

Of course, that's a fictional story set in the future. But it relates to what we've  been experiencing at home as I have been wishing I could transport all my "troubles" off somewhere in our "battle of the bug."
I am embarrassed to admit we have pests.  The tribbles were useful in their way; not only did they lower the blood pressure of crew members,  they revealed a hidden plot of poisoned grain  and a Klingon spy, but as far as I'm concerned, bugs belong outside where they feed the frogs and other critters that run along the ground, not in my house.   So I have been doing a little online research to get more information about my "enemy" and to figure out a battle plan.  At this point, you know I'm not grateful for this particular problem, but as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances," it did spur me into figuring out what I could be thankful for instead. 
Kirk opened the door of the shipping container. . . Ah, ha!  The light flashed on as I began thinking about containers in general, something I think I have taken for granted.   Wikipedia defines a container as: a basic tool, consisting of any device creating a partially or fully enclosed space that can be used to contain, store, and transport objects or materials. In commerce, it includes "any receptacle or enclosure for holding a product used in packaging and shipping." Things kept inside of a container are protected by being inside of its structure. The term is most frequently applied to devices made from materials that are durable and at least partly rigid.
As I read about containers, be they gourds, baskets, pottery, wooden boxes, barrels, glass, tin, and plastic, I remembered a story about someone in the Bible who stored grain for seven years and then sold it to hungry people during a famine of seven years. That person was Joseph. You can find his story in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, chapters 37-50. "Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure." (Genesis 41:49).
One of the first things on my battle plan list was the storage of my food. How could I enhance it or change it so bugs could not gain access to it?  In the story about Joseph, several containers were mentioned: a cistern, a cup, a basket, storehouses, bags/sacks, carts, saddlebags, and a  coffin. Not all of those are applicable for food though, nor are they all airtight.
Happily, I found several solutions that fit my needs nicely, namely the use of plastic or glass containers with lids and zippy plastic bags. All food scraps and any remaining dog food left in the bowl are being placed in used plastic grocery bags and tied tightly closed before being thrown into the trash can. If I were still composting, I would have put them in a large throw-away cottage cheese container and hauled them out to the bin in the backyard, but since I'm not, into the bags they go. And the dishes are being washed every night before I go to bed. What I read online also suggested that I throw away any cardboard boxes or piles of paper where can bugs can hide, so as soon as I can work without feeling winded (I'm still fighting a viral bug as well), spring cleaning is next on the agenda. 
In addition, during my research, I have been amazed to learn that  God has provided ways to take care of these pesky problems naturally. Vinegar is an acid that breaks down wax (like on bug bodies) and is antiseptic.  Food grade diatomaceous earth acts like a bug dehydrator and crushed white daisies (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium)  are a source of an insecticide called pyrethrum which paralyzes bugs so they can't forage for food and water.  I can also make my own bug motel -- they check in, but don't check out. Directions to make one as follows: Use clean plastic or glass jars with tight fitting lids, add fruit or beer as bait and smear Vaseline around the inside neck of the jar so they can't climb out. When the jar is full, cover and toss.  
In conclusion, I think I'm most thankful for these battle weapons of choice: accessible knowledge to bug control and airtight containers. =0)

Educational Link Update from Bob Villa:
1. Apartment Pest Control & Prevention
2. Pests Be Gone

October 11, 2014

A Sign

Just last week I was talking to a girlfriend about having a difficult time being thankful right now and she said "Don't you always have things to be grateful for?" and me, trying to back pedal, said, "Well, yeah, but I'm having difficulties coming up with something to write about this week on my gratitude blog." You see, I've been dealing with two infections recently, one bacterial that led me to the hospital ER 3 times in two weeks and now a viral bug. Being sick & grumpy short circuits the brain.
Well, when you get right down to it, I wasn't feeling very thankful. I should have been thankful for good health before I got ill, but you know how it goes, until something happens, one gets in the habit of taking things for granted. 
I got a good reminder a couple of days after that conversation. I was scrolling down my feed at Facebook and it stared me in the face. A sign! Literally. It must have been a God-thing, because Hometalk featured a sign made by crafter Gail Wilson made to order for her cousin Terry. She almost quoted my friend, Karen, word for word!  My fingers quickly did a hop, skip, and a jump across the keyboard to ask if I could have permission to feature her sign and Ms. Wilson agreed if I would backlink into the article on her blog, so here tis!

Ms. Wilson's article has step-by-step instructions plus many photos on her tutorial. And wouldn't you know it, her article sparked a couple of other ideas for upcoming gratitudes. Thank you, Jesus!
Oh, and before I forget, four weeks ago, I wrote an article on Faith Promise. I wanted to update you on my finds so far. God has provided two pennies from a parking lot and lots of change from the washing machine. It's up to the guys to clean their own pockets out, but still, I've been finding change in the bottom of the machine, all clean and shiny. All told, I've collected $2.40 since that article, so that makes it $2.65 including the previous quarter. Oh, and we also received a legit $20.00 gift card in the mail from a local restaurant, but I haven't quite convinced my husband that we should give $20.00 from his earnings in Sunday's offering for that free-fall from heaven! =0)

October 01, 2014

Velcro Friends

Sandals fastened with hook and loop tape
This is the blog where I'm supposed to be changing my attitude into something positive, right? It's been a slow process, but I've heard it called a journey, kinda like "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan. Well, I decided to give myself a Pollyanna exercise this week. A few months ago, I mentioned that one of my online friends, Merry, has stuck fast to me like a burr. I didn't mean for it to sound like a bad thing, but I meant it as a good thing in that she has been a faithful friend and I appreciate that!
Perhaps it was my choice of word that niggled at me. My intent was good, but I didn't carry through and explain my metaphor, so in this little exercise, I decided to look for the positive in a cocklebur that so many think of as a weed. I once heard a saying that a weed is a plant planted in the wrong place.
I asked my husband for his help. First off he said he didn't believe cockleburs were in the Garden of Eden, but were only created after Adam's fall from grace. I asked him how he figured that and he said he bases his belief on these two verses: Genesis 3:17-18: To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it.' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."
He said perhaps this is where the negative connotations associated with these plants come from. However, he said, God can help us find the good in the bad things. We all experience tragedies in our lives, however, as Paul was inspired by God to write in Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
So I purposed to study the cocklebur plant and here's what I learned =
First Section:
POSITIVE = God created the cocklebur as an annual which is a good thing because that means it lives its whole life in one season.
NEGATIVE = However, the seed pods come with a built-in, long-lasting, back-up plan; its twin lies dormant underground until months or sometimes years later. In order to exterminate the plants, it is necessary to destroy the plant before the seeds ripen by cutting down, mowing or burning a field. This was Adam's natural consequence for NOT obeying God's directive -- he was given an annual reminder when he had to get rid of the pesky buggers.
POSITIVE = But a persistant plant could illustrate a faithful friend, don't you think?

Number Two:
POSITIVE = The cocklebur has both sexes of very fertile flowers on one plant. The male makes the pollen which pollinates the female flowers below, which in turn makes the seed pods for the next generation. Sounds like a perfect illustration of a family to me -- one male plus one female equals babies.
NEGATIVE = God gave the cocklebur natural defenses. It is toxic to livestock in its infant stage, both the seeds and the seedlings, and the green and purple plant is covered in short stiff hairs and the leaves have a distinctive scent. It wears signs that says "DON'T TOUCH ME!"
POSITIVE = The cocklebur has been used for medicinal purposes. In Chinese medicine, for instance, it has been used to treat nasal & sinus congestion.

Number Three:
POSITIVE = He created them to grow in all sizes; from 8 inches to 6 feet tall. Sounds like people again -- we come in all shapes and sizes too!
NEGATIVE = God fabricated the football-shaped, spiny seed pods as globetrotters so they can hitch a free ride on clothing or in animal fur should it be brushed against.
POSITIVE = Several inventions have been based on the cocklebur. Velcro (hook and loop fasteners) was invented in 1941 by a Swiss electrical engineer named George de Mestral who returned from a hunting trip and noticed burs stuck to his pants and tangled in his dog's fur. The cotton gin and the crochet hook were also modeled after the spiny burs.

Number Four:
POSITIVE = God created cockleburs with a single taproot, like its cousin the dandelion, so the whole plant can be pulled from moist ground in one or two yanks.
NEGATIVE = It can cause allergic symptoms in susceptible people either from inhaling the flower pollen, like its cousin the ragweed plant, or contact dermatitis.
POSITIVE = In the crafting industry, cockleburs have been used to produce a yellow dye and in producing products such as baskets like the one my sister made the first Christmas after she married. She combed the roadsides and fields near her tiny apartment for burs to make our mother one for Christmas.

In closing, I provided two positives for every negative about the cocklebur and not only that, I showed that a bur could be used as a metaphor for a loyal friend. I am thankful for stick-to-me friends who are brave enough to continue being my friend and are willing to overlook my sometimes foot-in-mouth disease which I have struggled with all my life. Thank you Jesus, too, for loving me and being a faithful, forgiving friend despite my sinful nature inherited from the first parents, Adam and Eve.