Uses for Vinegar

If you lurk around surf the internets, then you may have already discovered these uses for vinegar.  If not, maybe this post will be helpful to you.

First, killing weeds and moss:

I have a lot of flat rocks in my yard.  This because the yard is, otherwise, muddy and nothing will grow which simulates grass.  However, I’ve discovered MOSS grows on the rocks—and it was ruining the looks of the rocks.  I used this formula to spray and then scrape off moss from the rocks:

4 cups white vinegar

1/4 cup regular table salt

2 teaspoons dishwashing liquid

Shake up, put in sprayer and spray liberally where you want to kill weeds and/or moss.  Do not get it on plants you want to grow—it, evidently, will kill them, too.  Then, once sprayed, scrape off the moss (which will come off easily) and re-spray the rock again to ensure it won’t encourage moss growth—at least for a while.

Here in pictures:

image  1/4 cup

image  This is dishwashing liquid, 2 tsp

image  4 cups of this

Put the mixture into one of these sprayers (it’s a pump-type) and use an old paint scraper to scrape off the moss.  Throw the moss away.

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Here is an area I did last week:

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Moss-free zone!

And here are some pictures of the side yard path which has flat rocks with a LOT of moss:

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I think a little moss is charming—but this has almost taken over some of the rocks.  Since this is a damp area, the moss will regrow, but I hope it’s not for a while.

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Above, a view of the side yard from the front of the house.

There has been recent big concern about Roundup in the news, so I feel much better about using natural ingredients for this purpose.  Yes, I know one can use boiling hot water to accomplish the same, but who wants to run back and forth from the kitchen to the garden area with a kettle?  In the summer?  When it gets in the 90’s?

I spray and scrape for about an hour and then do a little bit the next day.  So, maybe by July I’ll be done?

Use number 2 for White Vinegar:

A foot soak!

Sosew reports this is an excellent method to rid your feet of calluses and makes them very soft and smooth.  She emailed:

Girls I found a solution on the internet for dry scaly feet. Mine are very dry. Well nothing sounded harmful so I thought I am going to try this. the bottom of my feet get so dry it is hard to wear sandals without discomfort. I love to wear flip-flops so here is the solution.

1/4 cup Listerine  ( do not use the blue Listerine!)

1/4 cup vinegar

1 cup warm water

Put in one gallon freezer bag. Soak each foot 10-20 minutes. The skin just flakes off. It worked I was shocked. I thought best case I wouldn’t have stinky feet. I did each foot while reading email before my shower.

On Memorial Day

An interesting article with suggestions on how to improve our—meaning citizens–participation in DECISIONS regarding war and the military.  I take no sides on these issues except to say that it does seem we, as a country, ask way too much of too few for the rest of us to be so comfortable and prosperous thanks to them.

This is from:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/opinion/americans-and-their-military-drifting-apart.html?_r=0

The New York Times


May 26, 2013

Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart

By KARL W. EIKENBERRY and DAVID M. KENNEDY

STANFORD, Calif. — AFTER fighting two wars in nearly 12 years, the United States military is at a turning point. So are the American people. The armed forces must rethink their mission. Though the nation has entered an era of fiscal constraint, and though President Obama last week effectively declared an end to the “global war on terror” that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the military remains determined to increase the gap between its war-fighting capabilities and those of any potential enemies. But the greatest challenge to our military is not from a foreign enemy — it’s the widening gap between the American people and their armed forces.

Three developments in recent decades have widened this chasm. First and most basic was the decision in 1973, at the end of combat operations in Vietnam, to depart from the tradition of the citizen-soldier by ending conscription and establishing a large, professional, all-volunteer force to maintain the global commitments we have assumed since World War II. In 1776, Samuel Adams warned of the dangers inherent in such an arrangement: “A standing Army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the Liberties of the People. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a Body distinct from the rest of the Citizens.”

For nearly two generations, no American has been obligated to join up, and few do. Less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II. Even fewer of the privileged and powerful shoulder arms. In 1975, 70 percent of members of Congress had some military service; today, just 20 percent do, and only a handful of their children are in uniform.

In sharp contrast, so many officers have sons and daughters serving that they speak, with pride and anxiety, about war as a “family business.” Here are the makings of a self-perpetuating military caste, sharply segregated from the larger society and with its enlisted ranks disproportionately recruited from the disadvantaged. History suggests that such scenarios don’t end well.

Second, technology has helped insulate civilians from the military. World War II consumed nearly half of America’s economic output. But in recent decades, information and navigation technologies have vastly amplified the individual warrior’s firepower, allowing for a much more compact and less costly military. Today’s Pentagon budget accounts for less than 5 percent of gross domestic product and less than 20 percent of the federal budget — down from 45 percent of federal expenditures at the height of the Vietnam War. Such reliance on technology can breed indifference and complacency about the use of force. The advent of remotely piloted aircraft is one logical outcome. Reliance on drones economizes on both manpower and money, but is fraught with moral and legal complexities, as Mr. Obama acknowledged last week, in shifting responsibility for the drone program to the military from the C.I.A.

Third, and perhaps most troubling, the military’s role has expanded far beyond the traditional battlefield. In Iraq and Afghanistan, commanders orchestrated, alongside their combat missions, “nation-building” initiatives like infrastructure projects and promotion of the rule of law and of women’s rights. The potential for conflict in cyberspace, where military and civilian collaboration is essential, makes a further blurring of missions likely.

Together, these developments present a disturbingly novel spectacle: a maximally powerful force operating with a minimum of citizen engagement and comprehension. Technology and popular culture have intersected to perverse effect. While Vietnam brought home the wrenching realities of war via television, today’s wars make extensive use of computers and robots, giving some civilians the decidedly false impression that the grind and horror of combat are things of the past. The media offer us images of drone pilots, thousands of miles from the fray, coolly and safely dispatching enemies in their electronic cross hairs. Hollywood depicts superhuman teams of Special Operations forces snuffing out their adversaries with clinical precision.

The Congressional Research Service has documented 144 military deployments in the 40 years since adoption of the all-voluntary force in 1973, compared with 19 in the 27-year period of the Selective Service draft following World War II — an increase in reliance on military force traceable in no small part to the distance that has come to separate the civil and military sectors. The modern force presents presidents with a moral hazard, making it easier for them to resort to arms with little concern for the economic consequences or political accountability. Meanwhile, Americans are happy to thank the volunteer soldiers who make it possible for them not to serve, and deem it is somehow unpatriotic to call their armed forces to task when things go awry.

THE all-volunteer force may be the most lethal and professional force in history, but it makes a mockery of George Washington’s maxim: “When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.” Somehow, soldier and citizen must once again be brought to stand side by side.

Let’s start with a draft lottery. Americans neither need nor want a vast conscript force, but a lottery that populated part of the ranks with draftees would reintroduce the notion of service as civic obligation. The lottery could be activated when volunteer recruitments fell short, and weighted to select the best-educated and most highly skilled Americans, providing an incentive for the most privileged among us to pay greater heed to military matters. The Pentagon could also restore the so-called Total Force Doctrine, which shaped the early years of the all-volunteer force but was later dismantled. It called for a large-scale call-up of the Reserves and National Guard at the start of any large, long deployment. Because these standby forces tend to contain older men and women, rooted in their communities, their mobilization would serve as a brake on going to war because it would disrupt their communities (as even the belated and smaller-scale call-up of some units for Iraq and Afghanistan did) in ways that sending only the standing Army does not.

Congress must also take on a larger role in war-making. Its last formal declarations of war were during World War II. It’s high time to revisit the recommendation, made in 2008 by the bipartisan National War Powers Commission, to replace the 1973 War Powers Act, which requires notification of Congress after the president orders military action, with a mandate that the president consult with Congress before resorting to force. This would circumscribe presidential power, but it would confer greater legitimacy on military interventions and better shield the president from getting all the blame when the going got tough.

Congress should also insist that wars be paid for in real time. Levying special taxes, rather than borrowing, to finance “special appropriations” would compel the body politic to bear the fiscal burden — and encourage citizens to consider war-making a political choice they were involved in, not a fait accompli they must accept.

Other measures to strengthen citizen engagement with the military should include decreased reliance on contractors for noncombat tasks, so that the true size of the force would be more transparent; integrating veteran and civilian hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, which would let civilians see war’s wounded firsthand; and shrinking self-contained residential neighborhoods on domestic military bases, so that more service members could pray, play and educate their children alongside their fellow Americans. Schools, the media and organs of popular culture also have a duty to help promote civic vigilance.

The civilian-military divide erodes the sense of duty that is critical to the health of our democratic republic, where the most important office is that of the citizen. While the armed forces retool for the future, citizens cannot be mere spectators. As Adams said about military power: “A wise and prudent people will always have a watchful and a jealous eye over it.”

Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired Army lieutenant general, was the United States commander in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007 and the ambassador there from 2009 to 2011. He is a fellow at Stanford, where David M. Kennedy is an emeritus professor of history. They are, respectively, a contributor to and the editor of “The Modern American Military.”

Yard Sale Treasures and Other Interesting Artifacts

“You n’ Cupcake n’ Girlfriend and you scared off  Thumper and Vanna, an’ Sosew, too, din’ you?” Jabberwocky said.

Vanna is out of town on her own separate adventure, Jabber, and Thumper was unable to join us this morning as well as Sosew who is, evidently, going to stay in her NEW home for while.  Her second new home, that is—and we are missing her!  So, yes, just the three of us today.

The first sale was the ‘winner’ for moi, however—and these are what Girlfriend found for me and I purchased:

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A matching pair of French chairs, distressed wood, in beautiful upholstery—for $45 each.  I am lovin’ these!

Then, would you believe, the second set of these!

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All  12 of these glasses, The Twelve Days of Christmas, for $5.  The first box I found a few weeks ago for the same price, but that set was missing two of the glasses.  I priced them online—to replace just one, the cost is $25.  They are so unique!  (But evidently not THAT unique since I’ve found two sets.)

image  This hat for a friend who is having a Great Gatsby party.  The hat was $1.

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Two hats for moi who is NOT having a Great Gatsby Party.  I just liked the hats.  $1 each.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

image  A hatbox.  $3.  For hats, of course.

Six plastic bags of gold/clear ornaments with 3 to 4 ornaments in each bag—a total of $4.

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“An’ what about ‘other interesting artifacts’?” Jabber wanted to know………….

Well, we saw this unusual mailbox—not sure I’d want to see this greeting me if I were the mail person, though:

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And, of course, Girlfriend found this and we had to take a picture for Thumper—I hope it doesn’t frighten her:

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It was a beautiful day and we had a great time, as always.

Deck plants and decor

Another spring—at least that’s what the calendar says it is—and that means it is time to get the plants potted and the deck furniture brought up from under the house.

It’s cold enough outside this morning I see my breath!  But never mind, I took some pictures for the blog.

First of all, let me show you Thing 6—she’s ready to be harvested!

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She has a small friend growing next to her—we’ll see if the lettuce experiment continues to work as the weather gets warmer….we hope!  Remember, she was started from the bottom cutting of store-bought Romaine lettuce a couple months ago.  And here is some celery, begun the same way:

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Actually, they make a rather pretty display when paired with some flowers in a pot:

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(The pots all purchased last fall at a yard sale.  Of course.)

Here is the picture of the long portion of the deck which runs from the dining area to the sitting area under the gazebo:

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I have spent the last several weeks potting plants and spray painting the white containers and some other pots as well.  There are over 30 potted plants in the back yard.  Most all of the pots are from yard sales over the years as is some of the furniture.  Our old patio set was given a coat of black spray paint and the chairs (which had ripped) were replaced with the red chairs from Target a few years ago—those chairs were $18 each and so far have held up quite well.  Umbrellas are both from yard sales.

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Dining area—note that the rug is new!  For $5, from a sale.  Umbrella was $40 at a sale.  The stripped umbrella in the previous photo was $15 including the stand, but it required some redoing—Girlfriend provided the wooden portion of the umbrella from one she no longer wanted.  Our deck is very sunny in the afternoons (read that ‘hot’!), so the umbrellas are a welcome addition for shade.

image  I like this planter a lot!  $3 at a sale a couple years ago.

So far, even the garden bed seems to be doing fairly well—it hasn’t gotten beastly hot yet, so the plants are loving the cooler weather.

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See the purple looking plants in the flower bed?  If you look closely, you’ll see that these plants are in pots, too—many pots.  These a tubers and multiply like crazy!  I bought one plant at a sale several years ago for $10.  From that one pot, I have unending plants and I’ve given these away to friends and family over the years. The reason they are growing in the garden area is that I dumped out old pots there—and the tubers just grew on their own!  They look like purple shamrocks and have a delicate pink/violet flower.  They bloom all season long and seem to just go dormant when they die back.  Very hardy plants indeed!

image  Recently planted pots.  I sprayed the tricycle planter black—it was also from a sale ($5) and was rusty white before.

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Rosemary plant which I repotted into a larger container last week.  It stays on the deck all year round and thrives.

I did not uncover the furniture under the gazebo, but here is a picture of the area.

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So far, so good.  I have weeded, and TMWLH and I have trimmed trees and bushes.  Another project has been ridding the rock areas of moss—I will show you how I am doing that in another post soon.  Even with a small yard, there is much work to be done to keep it looking attractive, but it is all worthwhile.  We enjoy our deck area very much.  The other night we had our first dinner of the season outside!

Back by popular request, “What’d find? What’d ya’ get?”

“Popular request?  Who asked?” said Jabber.  “An’ why would anythin’ you did be ‘popular’ anyways?”

Don’t you just love your imagination?  Mine is Jabberwocky and she’s always, forever, putting me in my place.

Okay Jabber, TWO people asked.  For me, that’s popular in my book.  I mean, come on’ gimme’ a break!

Thank you, you Two people.  For asking.  At any rate, if nothing else, it will allow me to put up a blog post.  Which I haven’t done for a few days.  And all my many readers are missing them.

“All your MANY??” said Jabber.  “Who’re you kidding?  You don’t have many.  You’re lucky if you get one or two—and I ‘pose they’re the ones who asked, right?”

I am ignoring Jabber for now.

This morning, Girlfriend (aka Foxy Lady—oh yes, she really is aka that!!!) took off for parts unknown, after workout class of course. 

“Evidently not too unknown, Realtor and Teach showed up as well…….” commented Jabber.

Yes, they did.  Anyway, we went to sales.  These are the treasures:

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New, never used!, picnic backpack for our annual Longest Yard Sale Trip complete with dishes, utensils, glasses and napkins AND a place to keep our wine.  $8

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25 cents each—nice cups for coffee!

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Square baking pan, glass, for $1.50

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NEW!  $8  A nice Christmas present for someone!

Tomorrow we hope the other members of the Brocanting Brigade will join us.  It’s always a surprise and a treasure hunt. 

 

A Garden Tour and Treasures

“What?” asked Jabberwocky, “were you doing snooping around in other people’s gardens?  And they LET you?” she finished incredulously.

Uh oh……..there’s another big word, the kind that Thumper is ascared of.  Thumper seems to have a lot of phobias  errrrr, fears—big words, which always cause her eyes to get large with wonderment, clowns, and, of course, Black Forest Cake.  Of which we found several today.

“You found several Black Forest Cakes today?” asked Jabber, heading to get a plate and fork from the kitchen, and wondering why she didn’t get any and where they were hidden…….

No, no, NO! Jabber, no Black Forest Cakes.   Clowns.  We saw several clowns today………..

But nobody took them home.  Couldn’t.  Thumper had to ride in the van and they are scary (as she let us know).

“Well!” Jabber commented, “Clowns ARE pernicious!”  She paused a moment and added, ‘Uh oh…I shudn’t a said that word!”

Thumper.  Scared of big words.

Clowns of which she was afraid:

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And, of course, Black Forest Cake—we established her fear of this last week.

Girlfriend, below, taking her own sweet time digging out coins to pay the seller at a sale. 

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Girlfriend is notorious, I mean, Girlfriend is known to take her own time to pay for items.  Often it is a diversionary clever tactic which allows the seller to come down on his/her price.  I’ve known Girlfriend to get things for free!  (There’s a tip for yard sailing!)  Just today she got a large plastic cake cover (bottom not around) for free.  The seller said, “Oh just take it!” in exasperation

“Quit using all those big words or Thumper will have one of her scared moments again!” Jabber cautioned me.

Okay, Jabber, you’re right.  We found several fun sales but the most funnest was in Cupcake’s neighborhood where the owners had a fantastic, terraced garden—front and back!  After admiring the front yard, one of the owners offered to show us the back and side yards—it was magical!

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Above are pictures of the front yard terracing—colorful, lush, well established now, even though it is just mid-May.  The  frequent rains have encouraged beautiful growth for the flowering plants and greenery.

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Above, Cupcake walking up the railroad tie steps, stopping to view some beautiful plantings.  Note the chandelier hanging from a tree in the top of the picture.  Photo below shows how beautifully landscaped the steps are.

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image  Landings are formed with stones.

And interesting ‘creatures’ dot the terraced areas:

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Purple Calla Lilies waiting to be planted on the hillside.

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There are two levels to the deck.  Note that the hillside you see in the picture (below) SLID INTO THEIR HOME when the flood of 2010 occurred.  A large tree began to slide and one of the owners ran to the other side of the house to get out of the way.  The mud slid down all the way to the roof of the house, completely covering the decks and some of the windows.  The sliding tree landed on their roof.  The entire hillside was re-terraced, rebuilt and now is very lush and green.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The work to rebuild the back and side terraces has been non-stop, but the results are truly beautiful.  I thank the owners for sharing their lovely gardens with us this morning!

And that is one of the most fun things about sales—you never know what you will find nor who you will meet nor what you will see.  People are so very nice and generous, willing to show us their lovely homes, gardens, sometimes artwork and other fun finds we encounter along our weekly trips.

“An’ tell’em the rest of the story ‘bout Thumper!” Jabber reminded me….

Oh yes, I almost forgot:  Thumper momentarily forgot all about clowns and big words and Black Forest Cake—she was a very happy bunny when she saw the flowers!

 

Fourth Grade Graduate!

 

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Grandson graduated from 4th Grade this morning.  We are proud of him.  He had PERFECT ATTENDANCE this year!

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On to Bellevue Middle School in the fall.

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But Summer Vacation First!

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