Monday, May 28, 2012

DIY Roundup - Safe, Affordable Herbicide

Tired of buying Roundup Weed and Grass Killer?  Want something greener and cheaper to get rid of unwanted grass and weeds?  It's been called "Homemade Roundup", but this concoction is much safer and  works great!

This herbicide recipe comes from Howard Garrett, the Dirt Doctor:

Vinegar - The Organic Herbicide

The best choice for herbicide use is 10% white vinegar made from grain alcohol.   It should be used full strength. I've mentioned 20% in the past but it is stronger than needed and too expensive. Avoid products that are made from 99% glacial acetic acid. This material is a petroleum derivative. Natural vinegars such those made from fermenting apples have little herbicidal value. They are used in irrigation water and as an ingredient in Garrett Juice.      

Herbicide Formula:

1 gallon of 10% (100 grain) vinegar
Add 1 ounce orange oil or d-limonene
Add 1 tablespoon molasses (optional - some say it doesn't help)
1 teaspoon liquid soap or other surfactant (I use Bio Wash)

Shake well before each spraying and spot spray weeds. Keep the spray off desirable plants. This spray will injure any plants it touches. This natural spray WORKS BEST ON WARM TO HOT DAYS.

Vinegar sprayed the bases of trees and other woody plants will not hurt the plant at all. This technique was first learned about by spraying the suckers and weeds growing around the bases of grapevines.  Avoid all vinegar products made from glacial acetic acid.

Recently I had the opportunity to test this formula.  The weeds and grass were winning the war in and around my garden, and I needed to up the ante.  

This shows my open garden gate and the grass on both sides.  Inside the gate, the grass is dead and brown.  Just a few inches outside the gate, the grass is green and verdant.  The brown grass was JUST AS GREEN as the green grass before I sprayed it.   The result after one day is clear.  Everything I sprayed is dead or dying.  Don't get this stuff on your good plants, because it KILLS ALL PLANTS, good and bad.  For effectiveness and quick results, I give it an A+!

See the line where the color changes from green to brown?  The spray killed the grass and turned it brown in ONE DAY!


This shows the same area on Day Two.  Brown vs. green, pretty thorough weed and grass killer.  I should mention that there are all kinds of weeds and grasses in the yard and garden.

 This is the same area on Day Three.  I am satisfied that the safer and better than Roundup herbicide works very, very well.  

 This is the same area on Day Four.  The results are striking.  The unsprayed area is green.  The area sprayed with the herbicide mixture is brown.

Please remember to mix the recipe well before spraying and saturate the weeds and grasses you want to kill.  Don't get it on your garden plants because it kills all plants, good or bad ones.  Never use apple cider vinegar and never use 5% vinegar.  Only use 10% or 20% white vinegar, and don't add any water.  Use it on dry weeds and grasses only.  If you water or if it rains right before or after spraying, then it won't work well.  It works best on a warm to hot day.

You will need to re-apply whenever you see your grass and weeds re-emerge.

Happy spraying and enjoy this safer than Roundup herbicide.  I am so happy to share it with you! 

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Neighborhood Donkeys

In our neighborhood, four-legged neighbors outnumber actual people by quite a margin. There is no Homeowners Association.  The dozen or so residences here are set on plots of land that measures in acres instead of lots.  A few of my favorite neighbors came to the fence for a visit today.

Donkey in a field of Indian Blankets

On any given morning or evening, you might hear one of the neighbors call to another, " Hee haw, hee haw."  We know their voices well.

Grey and Brown Donkeys in the field.
What is special about your neighborhood?  What sounds do you hear often?

Donkey at the fence line.

What is the view from your window?  Taking these photos today gave me a better perspective about where I live.  Sometimes we forget how blessed we are.  My home isn't perfect.  It needs a lot of work.  What a blessing.  I have a home!  It offers lots of future potential blog topics about home repairs!

Donkey gathering.
The neighborhood of my childhood was in Temple, OK. Neighbors visited each other along fence lines and at kitchen tables.  Mom and Dad enjoyed regularly scheduled domino games with a group of neighbors.  It was friendly and familiar.  Do your neighbors get together for leisurely activities? 

Camera shy donkey.

As the camera comes out, someone is bound to protest or silently turn and walk away. There are all kinds of personalities in the neighborhood.  A handful are happy to pose and smile, while others prefer to go unnoticed.

Donkeys and wagon wheel.

Every group has a leader.  I was able to get more photos of this cute little donkey than all the others put together.  If he isn't the leader, he is certainly the most curious or sociable towards people.

Donkey grazing through fence.

He is looking for the greener grass on the other side of the fence.

Papa's wagon wheel flower pot and donkeys.

Papa attached this old iron cauldron to a pair of wagon wheels on an axle to and turned it into a flower pot for Nanny about fifty years ago. HUBBY just planted a day lily in it for me.

Adorable donkey face.

What a face, I love his mug!  Taking these photos of him was so much fun.  Looks like he enjoyed the attention just a little bit, too.

Handsome grey donkey.

I wish you could see the grey fellow better.  He is the most handsome donkey in the entire little group.

Just a nibble from the other side of the fence.
Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence?  Should we get to know our neighbors?  Do you just want to hug his neck and give him a nice scratch behind his ears?  What do you hear and see in your neighborhood?  I love to read your comments.  If you have photos of your neighborhood, please share!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know my neighbors.  Have a great day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Memories and Corsage Tutorial

Honoring Mom


In honor of Mother's Day, I propose that we do something to honor our Mothers. I am changing my facebook profile photo to this one of my Mother from now till after Mother's Day.

Mom, Christmastime, 1973
Also, I've recently spent time on Family History work.  She would be thrilled, and probably flabbergasted, about that one.  As mentioned in a previous post, I spoke to the Johnson County Genealogical Society about using facebook and other social media as a way to promote their endeavors.  One post wasn't enough.  My excitement about the recent release of the 1940 U.S. Census led to a follow-up post, too.

For many years, a Mother's Day tradition was observed in our family.  We all went to church together, and  we all wore corsages or boutonnieres.  The corsages and boutonnieres were special.  They were always made from carnations.  A red carnation was worn by everyone whose Mother was still living on this earth.  If she lived in Heaven, then it was tradition to wear a white carnation.

I remember one Mother's Day when the kids were young.  I bought silk carnations, floral tape, and chenille stems.  Mom came to visit for the whole weekend.  We stayed up most of the night Saturday night making boutonnieres and corsages.

For the last ten Mother's Days, I have been eligible for the white carnation corsage.  If you're blessed to be a candidate for the red carnation, I hope you can spend some quality time with your Mom on her special day.  

Dollar Store Corsage

My dollar store was sold out of carnations, but how about a white dollar store orchid corsage?

Want to make one?  Check out the Candy Box Tutorial.  Follow directions exactly, just use a pin to wear it and don't worry about the candy container. 

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Truffles for Mom - 30 Minute Recipe

Truffles so delicious, you'd never guess the ingredients or how simple they are to make.  The prep time is only 30 minutes, and you can make a full 48 servings for about ten dollars.

My ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE church girls class made these yummy Truffles for their Moms for Mother's Day. This recipe is from the Kraft website:

What You Need

1 package (8 ounces) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

1 package (15.5 ounces) OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided

2 packages (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Make It

MIX cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended. 


SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs. 


REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator. 

I have made or helped to make this Truffle recipe three times, twice with my girls.  One of my girls planned and directed this truffle making activity for the whole class.  They are best class ever, and the truffle recipe is pretty amazing too. Years ago, I bought some truffles on a few different occasions when they were made by volunteers and sold to raise money for Plaza Theatre Company.  I was so surprised when I discovered the ingredients.  I'd never have guessed the filling was made of crushed Oreos and cream cheese!

Need a cute gift box for these? Check out the The Candy Box Tutorial post.
I hope you enjoy this Oreo Truffles recipe.  I'd love to hear all about it, so please comment.  If you make some, send me a photo!

Kraft Kitchens Tips

How to Melt Chocolate

Place unwrapped chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 sec. 

How to Easily Dip Truffles

To easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place truffles on prepared baking sheet; let stand until firm.

How to Store


Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator. 

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Easy Candy Gift Box Tutorial


Make this sweet box in 10 minutes for less than a dollar

Perfect for cookies, brownies, or candy, you can dress up this Dollar Tree disposable foil food container with lid  with a multi-stem Dollar Tree flower, some ribbon, and a card in just a few minutes. The polka dot ribbon is from Hobby Lobby.  The Mother's Day Card is a free printable card I found at About.Com Parenting TeensI chose it because the design is attractive for black and white or color image printing.  To add a little pop of color, the heart is outlined with pink highlighter. 

Materials List

1 foil food container
1 flower
1 chenille stem
1 button
18" ribbon
1 sheet copy paper
hole punch


1. Make a very small hole in or near the center of the cardboard container lid.  The hole should be large enough for the chenille stem to fit through, but not much bigger than that.  

2. Remove the flower and the leaves from the flower stem and put the flower top onto your chenille stem.  If it is a two part flower like this one, you can weave the stem around one petal of each part, then run it back through itself and pull to secure it.  After securing the flower top to the chenille stem, put the leaves on the stem.

3. Thread the chenille stem bottom through the hole of the container lid.  It should go all the way down until all you can see on top are the flower leaves and flower top.  

4. Thread the bottom of the chenille stem through a button hole.  Slide the button all the way up until you reach bottom side of the container lid.  Tilt the button and thread the stem all the way through one more buttonhole so that very little slack is left in the stem between the button and the flower.  Wrap the loose end of the stem around itself once or twice to secure the button in place and clip off the extra length of stem.

5. Print your card and fold in half twice to form the card with the front showing.  

6. Punch a hole near the top left hand corner of the card.

7. Write in your sentiment and sign the card.

8. Thread both ends of ribbon into the hole in the card and pull ribbon halfway through, making a loop on one side.  Thread both ribbon ends through the loop, pulling gently to secure ribbon to the card.

9. Tie a knot in the ribbon about an inch from the card.

10. Tie the loose ends of ribbon into a bow around chenille stem just above cardboard lid.

To finish, fill foil container with cookies, candies, or other homemade treats. Secure decorative lid to container by placing it on top and crimping edges of foil container over lid.

I hope you enjoy this little Candy Gift Box.  Please comment and send a photo if you make one.  SPOILER ALERT:  Our Beehive Class used these little boxes to give their Mothers a special treat they prepared for Mother's Day.  Watch for the recipe post coming very very soon.