Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Heliose advice

Well Heloise, it’s been awhile since I last wrote to you but the other day I figured out something that might be of help to your readers. I’m sure that we’re all eager to add to our road kill skull collections but sometimes the "road kills" that we find are a little too far gone to handle. I’m sure that we’ve all passed up some nice specimens just because they were kinda "high". Well. Our neighbors, John and Janet, had some jerk shoot a really big bear on their property and the poor thing wasn’t found until 9 days later. It’d been warm here so you can imagine. But what a shame it would be to waste a perfectly good bear skull by letting the coyotes run off with it. Well I thought; some folks might not be able to do this (remove the head) and to tell the truth, I wasn’t sure that I could either. I mean it was a 400 pound bear and the smell of cadaverine and the buzzing of the flies, not to mention the heat and the pale seething mass of maggots... well you get the picture. We none of us know how we might react to these things once the flailing of the ax gets serious.
Well the hint is: get one of those dust masks (or even a rag) and put some of that good old Dr. Bronner’s Castille Peppermint Hemp soap on it. Wear that over your nose while you’re chopping and slicing and you’ll be just fine. I never even got close to that "Whoops" moment and I hardly sweated at all. I’m sure that this will be a help to your readers.

Your redneck friends R & D

Dear Heloise:
As you know, the milky spore dust that is effective against Japanese Beetle larvae is very expensive. If you read the list of ingredients you see that about 99% of the dust is inert filler. It’s just "dilution" to increase the volume and allow you to more easily handle the treatment. Besides, would we buy it if it cost the same and came in a one tenth ounce package? Well if dilution is the game, and ease of application is the goal and protection against drying is recommended (they tell you to apply prior to rain or to water it in), then why not just mix the dust with water? A few tablespoons of treatment in an old gallon milk jug well shaken is far easier to disperse around your lawn than any kind of dusting strategy. You just walk around and shake out the water. You can spread out your treatments and get far better coverage from the few ounces of dust if you apply it in this manner.
I hope this helps all your readers.

If you’ve ever had a problem with ants or other insects climbing down the hanger and getting into your humming bird feeder and contaminating the sugar water, here’s a trick that really works well.
Cut about a inch off the bottom of any plastic bottle that has the "champagne bottle" shaped bottom. This gives you a hollow half of a torus. Now just thread some fairly stiff copper wire (like # 14 gauge) through a hole in the high part in the middle of the half torus. By putting a knot or even twisting some lighter wire around this wire, you can support the torus in the middle and the wire passing through will be your hanger. By using soft copper, you can attach any kind of extension to the top or any kind of hook to the bottom and hang you feeder below the torus. Now all you have to do is put some oil in the torus and the ants would have to walk or swim through oil to get down the wire to you feeder. They won’t do it. I use chain saw bar oil. It doesn’t evaporate (I’ve used the same trap for three years without having to replenish it).
A good wheel barrel is a useful tool but we all tend to kind of abuse it. After all, it’s designed to have stuff piled into it and then dumped out. Rocks and dirt and concrete are pretty abrasive and then the metal can rust pretty badly. Well the front lip of the barrel where the majority of the wear takes place can be easily protected by slipping a length of old garden hose over the front lip. It also protects more fragile things like good lumber or anything you might want to move with the barrel from being scratched by the beat up front lip.

So Heloise, how YOU doin’?

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