Archive for the ‘Home & Ranch’ Category

Canning: Problems with the new Ball canning lids

Friday, October 27th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, October 27, 2017

Have you noticed that Ball canning lids have changed? They have a new name, ” Sure Tight,”  and have a silver rather than gold color. The packaging states “BPA-Free,” and states they will hold their seal for 18 months. Ball states these new “Sure Tight” lids will replace all prior lids, but you can still buy the old-style lids while stock is still available.

The new lids feature (1):

  • Doubling of the tinplate coating;
  • Additional rust resistance;
  • A storage life for unused lids for up to five years from purchase;
  • A new guarantee of a seal that would last up to 18 months.

But there are reported problems with these new lids. (more…)

Just how clean is your laundry?

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Laundry Soap Ingredients and Equipment

By Catherine Haug, July 26, 2017 (photo, right, from Sheree’s presentation on making your own laundry soap)

Washing your dirty laundry in 140°F water with real soap (not detergents) does the best job of killing bacteria and fungus germs; tumble-drying them for at least 30 minutes in a hot dryer also helps to kill those germs. But many washable fabrics will shrink in such hot water, and others may require drip-drying, so how is one supposed to keep germs in check?

This concern is especially important when there is a sick person in the house.

According to Mercola (1) there are several ways of reducing the potential of passing along bacteria or fungi from one piece of your clothing to the next without using dangerous toxins or opening yourself up to damage from microwave radiation. I’ve added one of my own as well. (more…)

Making your own mulch from recycled yard waste, etc.

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, July 8, 2017

Today’s Daily Inter Lake featured an article, How do  you make your own mulch? by Paul Pogue for Angie’s list (1). He breaks it down to 5 steps:

  1. Choose your mulch source from: leaves, pine or fir needles, yard clippings, bark, and branches or other wood trimmings, straw, shredded newspaper, and compost. pay attention to the season: B yard trimmings and compost are excellent for summer mulch; bark is especially nutrient-rich, and along with pine needles and straw are best for winter. pCat’s note: I save the composted fir needles from my gutters to mulch my raspberry bed; raspberries like a slightly acidic soil and fir needles are acidic.]
  2. Collect your materials into piles; if using a compost pile, maintain it by keeping it relatively moist. He also advises turning it regularly, but that is a highly debated issue. When it’s ready, it should be humbly and dark brown with an earthy odor. [Cat’s note: See my 2009 posting: What makes your compost tick?]
  3. Convert the materials: use your lawnmower to cut up a pile of leaves; use a small wood chipper to turn bark, branches and other wood trimmings into tiny pieces.[Cat’s note: shred newspapers with your paper shredder, or tear them into shreds manually.]
  4. Prepare the ground: remove old mulch to your compost pile. Weed the area carefully (mulch will help existing weeds to grow – just what you don’t want).
  5. Spread the mulch: generally about 2″ thick works well. Even it out with a rake, leaving a small ‘well’ of shallower mulch around the base of plants.

Read on for more about mulching. (more…)

Summer Classes and more, with Kathie Lapcevic

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Veggie Landscape Garden

by Catherine Haug, July 6, 2017 (Photo, right, from Dr. Mercola’s website (3))

Kathie is offering a home-canning class at FVCC, and something new: an e-course on ‘Savoring Summer Fun. Read on for more details from Kathie’s newsletter.

Also included in this post are the following from Kathie:

  • Useful Plants in the Flathead in July: chickweed, red clover, white clover, and yarrow;
  • Local Preserving Information: Beets, cherries, berries and zucchini

and from Mercola, on growing broccoli, and growing cilantro.
(more…)

Help protect wildlife and their habitat – in your yard and community

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Soapberry Shrub

By Catherine Haug, June 14, 1017 (Photo, right, of a native shrub in my yard, is by Catherine)

We all love our wildlife, and there are lots of things you can do to help protect them, right in your yard. The following recommendations come from the Wildlife Land Trust (1) [with comments by me or other members of our team in square brackets]. Note that some of the recommendations also help you, like bat houses.

In your home and yard:

  • Seek humane solutions when a conflict arises with wildlife in your home or yard.
  • Support migratory birds and other wildlife by replacing unused areas of lawn with native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses that provide food and cover. [This is especially important if your ‘yard’ covers more than a couple acres. For more about Montana Native trees and other plants, the Montana Native Plant Society (2), Montana NativePlants for Pollinator-Friendly Plantings (3), Native Yards (4)].
  • [Don’t feed deer, but plant some native shrubs that deer like to graze].
  • Maintain a birdbath with clean, fresh water to help your backyard birds and migrating birds needing a rest stop.
  • Install bat houses — happy bats, fewer bugs! [See National Wildlife Federation for how to build your own bat house (5)].

Read on for more recommendations.

(more…)

Seedling Sales and Summer Classes with Kathie Lapcevic

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Seedlings

By Catherine Haug, May 16, 2017 (Photo, right, by Don Bates)

The following is from Kathie. You many remember her from several of our gatherings:

Read on for information from Kathie about her Seedling Sales, and her Canning Classes at FVCC: (more…)