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Friday, July 25, 2014

How To Safely Keep Ants Off Your Hammock and Keep Them Off!


Ahhhhhhh I hate ANTS! After a long day of gardening and putting up a shade sail over the hammock I flumped into it for a well deserved rest.
Then promptly leaped back out of it as a wave of  ants swarmed over my skin!
After a shower and change of clothes I came back to inspect and found the hammock was indeed swarming. The colony seemed to be under the impression that I had thoughtfully erected an ant superhighway to allow the little beasts to cross from one tree to the next without the inconvenience of walking all the way down to the ground.
Now up with this I will not put but what to to? I don’t want to start sprinkling chemicals or poisons around where the animals and children will be, nor do i want to spray anything where we will be breathing.
Solution
1) Dryer sheets! I tied a couple around the ropes at each end of the hammock, this didn’t stop them straight away but they clearly didn’t like them and many where hesitant to walk across them. Ants communicate through smell so I’m guessing the scent was confusing or maybe it’s the waxy feeling they don’t like. Whichever it was the upshot was that within an hour of tying on the dryer sheets there was a reduction by about 80%, but I’m an only child, I do not like to share!
2) Diatomaceous earth  I sprinkled a little into the folds of the outer dryer sheets, diatomaceous earth is very bad for creatures with exoskeletons, (see more here non-toxic-way-to-rid-your-home-of-insects-and-spiders/)
RESULTS
 Sun Shrugs
24 hours later  - 0 ants in the hammock! 
They have rerouted themselves across the top of the shade, which is just fine with me.  It’s been over a week since the ant attack and so far I have not had to share my hammock with anyone, of course that may be because it  slipped my mind to tell the children I successfully got rid of the ants!
Do you have any great chemical-free tips for getting rid of ants or other bugs?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How Much Sunscreen Should You Apply? Check Out This Handy Graphic

 Sunny Sleevez

Remember most sunscreens need to be applied 20-30 minutes SUNNYSLEEVEZ SALE 20% off ENDS 7-28BEFORE going out in the sun, that’s how long it takes for them to START working.
Sunscreen must be reapplied EVERY 2 hours, more often after swimming, sweating or Toweling off

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

KILL WEEDS with Ingredients From Your Kitchen- It’s Easy, Fast and Cheap!

Sunny Sleevez

Weeds are a time and water consuming pest, if like me, you are fed up with them always showing up in the wrong place but you don’t want to add to ground water pollution give these low toxic homemade herbicides a try instead of their more toxic chemical versions.
Many common weeds can be used as either food (dandelion leaves as salad greens), medicine (daisy for a sore muscles and headaches) but all of them are unwanted. Using a more environmentally friendly herbicide reduces the risk to you, your kids and pets.
Strong chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides can end up polluting our groundwater, and get into storm drain run over that goes straight unfiltered to the ocean.
Hands down the lowest impact on the environment is to pull them up and be sure to dig out the roots. Which is fine for the odd one or two but it can be hugely time consuming and frankly a pain the in the bum!
For a quick, cheap way to effectively get rid of weeds, give these homemade herbicides a try.
[NOTE. 'natural' or homemade does not mean that they are completely safe for your soil, or you. Keep in mind something designed to kill weeds will likely kill any other plants it comes in contact, and they may cause human injuries if misused.]
COOK ‘EM:
This is by far the easiest and safest, as long s you can manage not to spill it on yourself/kids/pets! 
So fill the kettle, bring to the boil pour it over the leaves and stems of the weeds, this is particularly effective for those pesky weeds in sidewalks or driveway cracks. You can also do this over a large area that you’d like to replant after you have got rid of all weeds as nothing is left behind to harm new planting.
SEASON ‘EM
Common table salt is an effective herbicide as is white vinegar, and citrus oils, but salt & vinegar can have a detrimental effect in the soil so that nothing will grow after. It can also discolor cement so keep well away from paths and walkways.
We use regular white vinegar sold in the supermarket is 5% acetic acid, this usually works on most weeds, there is a stronger version available in many garden supply stores but this can also be harmful to skin, lungs eyes so we steer clear of that.
Cover or tie back the leaves of all plants not to be sprayed.
Sun Shrugs

  • Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1 gallon of vinegar
  • A few squirts of liquid dish soap (helps to stick to leaf surfaces)
  • Few drops of citrus or clove oil (smells nice too)
  • Add to spray bottle.
DO NOT SOAK SOIL
Multiple applications may be necessary.
LET THE MULE DO THE DONKEY WORK:
Borax, which is sold as a laundry and cleaning product in many grocery stores, can be an effective herbicide.
Cover or tie back the leaves of all plants not to be sprayed.
  • dissolve 10 ounces powdered borax in 2.5 gallons water,
  • Add to sprayer, coat leaves weeds.
  • Avoid contact with bare skin.
DO NOT SOAK SOIL
Multiple applications may be necessary.
If you've been fighting with unwanted weeds in your yard, what other homemade herbicides have you found to be most useful?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Vacation – Build a PVC Pipe Bike Rack With The Kids


The bikes and scooters were driving me bonkers, left all over the yard and garage. I love things we can make from stuff we already have and we have loads of bits of PVC pipe lurking around from our various irrigation efforts. We already have pipe cutters but we did need a couple of the longer long pieces, new glue  and some of the fittings.
Because we already had a lot of the materiels I only spent about $10 but even if you have to buy it all I think it would come in for around $20.
After a trip to Home Depot followed by a lot of very silly pipe related improve, our splendid new bicycle rack was created.
If you have bikes of different sizes and not a lot of space you can vary the distance between the wheel supportsPVC PIPE CUTS - Copy
Materials Needed:
  • 50′ - 3/4″ Schedule 4o PVC pipe I bought 5×10’
  • 20 T-connectors.  I bought a contractors pack of 25
  • 14 – 90-degree elbow connectors (elbows). Another contractors pack
  • PVC pipe cement (optional)
  • PVC pipe cutter or small-toothed handsaw.
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Sharpie
  • Spray paint (if you want to color coordinate)
Cut List for PVC pipe:PVC BIKE RACK ASSEMBLEY - Copy
  • (8) – 12″ pieces
  • (2) – 23 1/8″ pieces
  • (20) – 16″ pieces
  • (14 )- 2″ pieces
The kids had fun measuring, the big’un was in charge of the pipe cutter and the little one was in charge of the sharpie .
Cut all the big pieces first, and use the leftover pieces of PVC for your smaller cuts.  Once you have everything cut do a dry run and get everything to fit together before gluing . It should take 5 mins to assemble but the kids were ‘helping’ and loved the piPVC PIPE - Copyeces of pipe so much they had to build all sorts of other stuff with the pieces first!
I glued some of the pieces together for added stability but left some able to pop apart, so I could change the size as need and make it portable for camping trips (no more bikes dumped on the ground), or you could fit it in the back of a pick up to store bikes.
Have you built anything with PVC ? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Uh oh – Bad Idea Ellen


I like Ellen, I like her show but I just saw this invitation on the show’s website and think it really sends the wrong message.
“Send Us Your Bad Sunburn Photos!” I know this is meant in the spirit of fun but I think it inadvertently encourages people to actually go out and get strange looking sunburns in order to send in a photo and have it possibly appear on national TV.
People make enough bad choices regarding sun protection they don’t need any more encouragement.
I’ve had sunburns, lots of them, really bad ones. They were miserable not funny and have left me with a fear of the long term damage that may show up at any time.
In fairness the request goes on to say ” … Just don’t forget the sunscreen! If you did, and you have the bad sunburn to prove it, we want to see the funny photos.” but I’m sure there are some people who will see this and think it’s a challenge!
What do you think; do you think it encourages stupid-sunburn-selfies?
UPDATE – WELL DONE ELLEN! The link has been REMOVED
It’s not that we don’t have a sense of humor, we love pictures of misspelled tattoos, auto correct fails, bad facebook status updates etc. With so many people still unaware of the dangers of sunburn we’re glad to see Ellen isn’t encouraging silly-sunburn-snaps.
We’d love to see segment on Stylish-Sungear…
 Sunny Sleevez