DIY Ant Remover

In the beginning of #SaferAtHome, my husband, a doer if ever there was one, became obsessed with our cordless vacuum cleaner. There was nary a dog hair or toast crumb to be found in our home; that vacuum cleaner was always either running or recharging. His reward for his labor was a full dust canister to empty into the trash. I am grateful that obsession has passed, and that he has found other problems to solve in our home …

When it rains a lot, as it has in Nashville lately, ants get flushed out of their outdoor nests and look for dry, higher ground. Kitchens are an ideal place to go because they provide a food source and shelter.

One of the things I love about my husband is the way he quietly observes a problem and then gets laser-focused on solving it. This past Saturday the problem was ants all over the kitchen. Searching the Internet, he found a recipe for a DIY ant remover solution that used supplies we had in the house.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons of Borax
⅓ cup of sugar
1 cup warm water

Supplies
condiment lids or bottle caps to serve as trays for the solution
cotton balls
a lidded jar for storing the solution
a spoon or bulb syringe for moistening the cotton balls

Directions
Mix Borax and sugar in warm water in a glass jar with a lid. Dip cotton balls into the mixture and place them onto small lids that serve as a tray. We made three of these trays and placed them close to the wall on the countertop. Do not place them on the floor where a child or pet could get to them.

The ants were gone in three days. Ants are attracted to the sugar, and the borax gets ingested and taken back to the nest. He adds more solution as needed to keep the cotton balls moist.

Related How-to Posts

Readers who have been around for a few years may remember when my husband created the Nifty, Thrifty Thaw Detector for our freezer so we could tell if we had a power outage while we were out of town. If we had, the penny would be at the bottom of the container when we got home. This is another use for condiment holders if you buy a bag of them.

Check out the How-To page on the menu for other household tips.

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

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© 2014-2020 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

Food and Fabric Fun While Being #SaferAtHome

Have you ever wondered how to tell a hard-boiled egg from an uncooked egg without cracking it open? Watch my hubby explain and then try it at home.

How to Tell If an Egg Is Fresh or Hard-Boiled

 

Have you ever wondered why you can’t smell when your nose is stuffed up, yet your tongue can still taste, sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami (savory)? Check out this fun food activity to learn more.

Test Your Sense of Smell

 

Yellow onion skins help give chicken broth a beautiful golden color. I figured that out when making these naturally dyed eggs using an assortment of foods to make the dyes. Give it a try.

To Dye For: Making Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

The next year, I invited a few young friends over and we figured out how to add more colors to our repertoire.

The next year,  I took a DEEP DIVE into the fridge, my backyard, and my imagination, and my kitchen became a color laboratory.

Some of the eggs did not take up the color. I redipped those eggs into an indigo dye bath. Wow! These shades of blue were delightful.

The cotton boll on the right did not take up color as well as the eggs. That led to the deepest dive of all: growing a crop of indigo and traveling to a Kentucky farm to learn how to get the indigo dye to stick to cotton. That took a little chemistry. It was a colorful adventure.

How to Make Indigo Blue Dye

There was one more project to try with natural dyes — learn how to tie and dye fabric squares and make a quilt. This post is one of the most popular of all at Judy’s Chickens.

Group Project: A Shibori Dyed Quilt

This cake from My Name is Yeh, made with natural food dyes, is one I will try in the near future.

naturally colored rainbow cake

This cake is definitely in my future.

Old-Timey Vanilla Bunny Cake

Christians, Jews, and Muslims will be contemplating Easter, Passover, and Ramadan this month. Most of us will be acknowledging these holiest of times differently this year. Whether you are alone or with whoever makes up your family group, may you experience peace, love, recovery if sick, and continued health if well.

I was blessed to have my friend, Mary Carter, of Award-Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies fame, gift me with a handmade face mask with unicorns on the fabric “for magical powers.”

My plan this week is to pay it forward and make a few more.

Take care,
xoJudy

P.S. Check out my list of movies to watch while #SaferAtHome:

Upbeat Movies to Watch While Social-Distancing

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

If you enjoyed this post, please comment, share, or become a follower. Be sure to press “confirm” on the follow-up letter that will be sent to your email if you subscribe.

© 2014-2020 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

Upbeat Movies to Watch While Social-Distancing

Over here at The Chick Inn, it’s movie night every night. Our Aussie enjoyed last night’s feature, Togo, a movie about a dog who saved the day. For my sons, if you are reading this, Dad wept.

First, a public service announcement:

The Meaning of FLATTEN THE CURVE and How YOU Can Help Flatten It

Here is what “flattening the curve” means: the dark blue hump on the graphic is what happens if we do nothing: everyone gets COVID-19 at once, and there are not enough hospital beds, able-bodied health professionals, and ventilators to care for the critically ill. This leads to lots of deaths.
Individuals can help flatten the curve by practicing social distancing, extreme hand-washing, and by canceling activities where large groups of people meet. When you flatten the curve, the same number of people get the disease (perhaps), but the number of infected people is spread out over time, thus fewer people end up in the hospital at the same time, allowing the health care system to meet the demand.

The Movies (I’ll be updating as new suggestions come in.)

Each movie was suggested by Facebook friends after I asked for recommendations for upbeat movies with a low body count that wouldn’t raise your BP. Most involve a good old hero’s journey story.

The Peanut Butter Falcon: (Beautiful; my favorite feel-good movie) A good Huck Finn journey story about a young man with Down Syndrome who escapes from an assisted living facility and meets a troubled fisherman who helps him reach his dream of becoming a wrestler. Stars Shia LaBeouf, Zack Gottsagen, and Dakota Johnson.

Togo: Based on a true story about a dogsled team led by a Siberian Husky named Togo and musher, Leonhard Seppala, played by Willem Dafoe, who race across Alaska during a storm to transport an antitoxin serum for a Diptheria epidemic to the frontier town of Nome. (Found it on the Disney Channel.) If it sounds familiar it’s because Balto got all the credit!

Troop Zero: A sweet and empowering story about a young girl and her misfit friends who come together to win a talent show — stars Viola Davis and Alisson Janney.

Instant Family: A sweet comedy-drama about two parents, played by Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, who foster three siblings. I wouldn’t be mentioning it if didn’t have a happy ending.

The Upside: Based on a true story, this comedy-drama about a paralyzed billionaire, played by Bryan Cranston, hires a paroled convict, played by funny-man Kevin Hart, to be his caretaker. Both the billionaire and the caretaker are on a journey. Also stars Nicole Kidman and Julianna Margulies. Growth all around.

Ford v Ferrari: A surprisingly fun movie about American automobile engineers, played by Matt Damon and Christian Bale, charged by Ford execs, Henry Ford II and Lee Iaccoca, with building a racing car that will beat Ferrari at the Le Mans race of 1966.

The Good Liar: An enjoyable movie about a male con-artist who tries to swindle a wealthy widow, played by Helen Mirren. I don’t want to give anything away, so that is all I will write.

Brittany Runs a Marathon: A good movie about a hard-partying, overweight woman on a journey to fix her life by training for a marathon.

Harriet: A fantastic biographical story about Harriet Tubman, a slave in Maryland, who escapes with the help of the Underground Railroad, and then returns to the South to free her family and other slaves.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: A beautiful biographical story about a journalist who is charged with writing a story about heroes for Esquire magazine. He interviews Mr. Rogers, played by Tom Hanks, and is changed by the experience. If you like this, be sure to watch the documentary about Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The Two Popes: A good biographical story about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, played by Anthony Hopkins, and the election of his successor, Pope Francis.

Dark Waters: Based on a true story about a lawyer, played by Mark Ruffalo,  who is asked by a client to investigate Dupont, who at the time is knee-deep in making profits from the sale of Teflon-coated products. Eye-Opening. It makes you wonder what other gadgets we use today will turn out to be carcinogenetic tomorrow.

Recommended Oldies But Goodies:
White Nights
Babette’s Feast
The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Big Chill
The Bridges of Madison County (A little slow)
Same Time Next Year
The Dressmaker
It Happened One Night (with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable)
Enchanted April
Shawshank Redemption
Up (Pixar)
Field of Dreams
A Room with a View
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Russians Are Coming
The Japanese Story
Where the Red Fern Grows (kind of slow old movie about a boy & his dogs)

Recommended Series:
About Time
The Morning Show
Good Omens

Tell me what movies I am missing??
Spenser Confidential: We loved this even though it is a shoot-em-up. Mark Wahlberg stars.
Molly’s Game: A biographical crime drama written by Aaron Sorkin starring Jessica Chastain and Kevin Costner. (It was good)
Knives Out: A modern whodunnit with Christopher Plummer, Jammie Lee Curtis, and Don Johnson. (It was good)
Rocket Man: Elton during his days of creativity & addiction.(Interesting & sad)
JoJo Rabbit: (It was good)
Yesterday: (It was good)
The Durrells in Corfu
The Adams Family
Vanity Fair (mini-series)
Galaxy Quest, Chicken Run
Blinded by the Light
Emma
Call of the Wild: (Harrison Ford version)
The Nice Guys
Justine

Nashville’s beloved Isle of Printing has come up with this clever and hip print as they work with the Nashville Metro Health Department and Nashville Metro Arts to get the coronavirus word out. Follow them @isleofprinting.

Whether you have allergies, the flu, or just need a recipe for dinner, check out this link for soup recipes. Note: you will need to start saving rotisserie chicken carcasses.

Last Ditch before You Pitch Chicken Soup

  

Today, 3/14, is Pi day. Here are my favorite PIE recipes.

Thanks to my friends who shared a  list of their faves: Hosanna, Nan, Ouizzi, Bee, Kay, Marion, Lesley, Corabel, Helen, Mary Lou, Alyce, Irwin, Sarah, Deborah, Marguerite, Heather, Anne, Shawn, Gary, Jamie, Rees, Cathy, Melinda, Paula, Anna, Carolyn x 2, Vicki, Mary Jo, and Cathy.

Take care, xoJudy

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

If you enjoyed this post, please comment, share, or become a follower. Be sure to press “confirm” on the follow-up letter that will be sent to your email if you subscribe.

© 2014-2020 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

Last Ditch before You Pitch Rotisserie Chicken Soup

Over the last two weeks, I have had my annual late winter/early spring allergies and dramatic cough that happen when trees start to bud in Nashville. I have socially distanced myself this time around because, you know, coronavirus. This self-imposed quarantine has been hard to maintain because of an F4 tornado that came through Middle Tennessee. I am someone who looks to be helpful. I have been a disaster nurse for the Nashville Chapter of the Red Cross since 2005 in the aftermath of Katrina. I have worked in shelters all over Middle-Tennessee with other tornadoes. But last week, with a persistent cough, I could not be a nurse or a cook (at The Nashville Food Project ).

I find soup to be infinitely satisfying when I get to feeling like this.

I have been known to eat a bowl of homemade soup over brown rice or pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when I don’t feel well. As such, every morning, I dug through our garage freezer chest, past all the cookies and quart containers of marinara, to get to my beloved stash of frozen pasta e fagioli, Aunt Bridget’s soup, Portuguese kale soupturkey gumbo (too spicey to qualify for sick soup), roasted butternut squash, and duck stew. Eventually, my husband and I finished all of them. We were plum out of soup.

Looking in the refrigerator, I spied this lone, half-eaten rotisserie chicken.

Five years ago, I would have pitched it after four days. A few days ago, it became a colorful bowl of flavorful, healthy soup.

I’m going to show you how I made the soup, in pictures, with links at the end that describe in detail how you can do it. There will be answers to questions like, Why do you put vinegar in it? And, Where’s the salt? One thing I do want to say is if you make this soup, please double-strain the stock to get rid of small bones.

[So many people have called about how to make this soup. Refer to this post for details: Chicken Stock from Rotisserie Chicken Bones. Tip 1: add 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar to the water for one carcass. The vinegar helps draw the collagen out of the bones. Use more vinegar if making a large pot. Tip 2: do not bring the stock to a rolling boil. Hard boiling makes the broth cloudy. Tip 3: for a golden-colored broth, use yellow onions, not red onions.]

A Pot of Last Ditch before You Pitch Chicken Soup — in Pictures

Yield: about 6 servings

   

Making Large Quantities of Chicken Stock
I am very into the concept of zero food waste; I typically throw finished rotisserie chickens into a storage bag I keep in the freezer. When I get 4 or 5 carcasses, I cook the stew out of them for twelve hours and freeze the strained stock in quart containers.

Here are the recipes that describe how to do that:
Chicken Stock from Rotisserie Chicken Bones
Sick Soup, Sometimes Known as Snow Day Soup
Rotisserie Chicken Soup, Revisited

If you enjoyed this post, please comment, share, or become a follower! Be sure to press “confirm” on the follow-up letter that will be sent to your email if you subscribe.

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

© 2014-2020 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.