Our house is located in an area that used to be planted in tobacco. Tobacco farms are notorious for having a lot of anthills in them. Well, our property is covered in anthills. The problem is that the ants have figured out that there’s a restaurant in our house and they are frequently a problem. If we even leave one drop of something on the counter it is like a feast to tiny sugar ants!
One of our biggest problems was ants getting into the countertop compost container. It was like a four lane freeway, as they would make a beeline to the latest smorgasbord. I tried everything I could to get rid of them: mint, catnip, lemon juice, even boric acid, etc. It didn’t do much to slow them down.
I was watching a documentary one day and they were commenting on how the moats around castles were really the dumping ground of all their waste materials. I was grossed out by that thought, but then I had a lightbulb moment. If a moat could keep out human invaders, could it keep out ant types?
I took a bowl, turned a small plastic container upside down in it, put the compost container on top of that, filled the bowl with water and immediately our ant population dropped by 80-90%. They can’t swim far enough to get to the compost bin anymore.
It may not be quite as elegant looking at the bamboo bin did sitting on the counter, but we’re sure a lot happier. So, if you’ve got ants in your compost collection container, you just might need a moat.
Of course I’d love to hear your creative ways at keeping all kinds of unwanted critters away. So please share them below.
Just want to give you a heads up. I’m going to be offering a free demonstration of my “Cooking by Feel” method of food preparation on June 12th, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. It will be held at The Creative Center in Greensboro, NC. You can see the calendar listing. I discovered I have a knack for being able to just grab things out of the fridge, willy-nilly, and end up preparing a delicious dish or meal. My goal, through the demonstration and classes, is to get people eating more freshly prepared food, with minimal time involvement, and make it so tasty they won’t want to go back to pre-prepared or fast foods.
I don’t have a clue what I’m going to fix, because what I’ll do is, the day of the event, I’ll grab stuff out of my fridge, load it up, take it to the site where the demo is, and I’ll prepare one or two dishes for people to taste.
I will make sure I have a wide selection of my most used herbs, as well as all my food fixers. You know those things that you add when you made it too salty, bitter, sour, etc. Other than that it will just be whatever whim I happen to have that day.
These demos are a lot of fun and you get to taste whatever concoction I come up with. I hope you’ll join me as I venture into in-person opportunities to learn healthy gourmet meal preparation.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Solonynko.
We all have them, those items we can’t imagine our kitchen without. For me one of them is our Mac knives. They aren’t especially fancy, but the handle is bent up slightly, so that when you cut something hard and the knife finally breaks through, I’m not breaking my knuckles on the countertop or cutting board. They also sharpen easily and hold the edge pretty well.
For others it might be a favorite pot or skillet. Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of pots and pans. We found that, although quite heavy, cast iron is fantastic. It heats very evenly, once seasoned nothing sticks to it, and cleanup is a breeze.
One thing that we’ve found is, that if you have a favorite appliance, it pays to buy and store spare parts, especially ones that wear out the fastest, like gaskets or anything rubber or plastic.
Many of us have put out a pretty penny to get top of the line countertop appliances, such as mixers, blenders, food processors, etc. It’s very distressing to have put a lot of money into a great Cuisinart food processor only to find that they no longer make the part we need. Finding a good online source of cuisinart parts is something you should do as soon as you’ve decided that this is the processor you’ve always dreamed of. Picking up an extra blade and any other part you see that might need replacing due to regular use, and storing them away until they are needed, will save you a lot of heartache when the time to replace them finally arrives.
You might want to take an inventory of your favorite “must have” items, and see if any of them have easily replaced parts that might wear out. Then take a little time to stock your workroom with a box containing these parts, for future use. An ounce of prevention really pays when you have a big dinner party and the blade finally breaks on your food processor. Then all you’ll have to do is pull out the blade you stored away and no one will know the difference.
I was recently gifted a beautiful pair of Gingher sewing scissors. Ever since I started living on my own I had used a pair of Fiscars, thinking that they were really fine scissors. However, when I put these new puppies to fabric they cut through it like butter and left a razor sharp, clean edge. I was shocked.
My mother had Gingher scissors and I had used them while I was growing up, but when I got on my own I didn’t have the money for Gingher, so I picked what I thought was the up and coming Gingher – Fiscar. Well, obviously I was wrong.
So often in life we shortchange ourselves and end up making life harder. We tell ourselves that Henkel knives are not really all that great. Or we can do with the $25 Black and Decker, rather than the $150 Cuisinart appliance. In doing so we make our cooking experience less enjoyable, less efficient, and sometimes less safe. In some areas of our life we can afford to economize, but if cooking’s really a passion for you, spend that little bit extra to get really top-notch equipment. You’ll never regret it.