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Posts Tagged ‘Tips’

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS is a collection of bright ideas shared by a brilliant blogger community –

things that have worked for them, but may or may not work for you.  Of course there are no guarantees.

Thank you –  each of you – for your incredible ideas. 

The following “tips” are not listed in any particular order.  If we get thousands more, I may try to organize them by categories.

Until then, the “simple solution” is to browse.

ENDING FREEZER TAPE LOST ENDS  From Virginia Views –  Sick of coming back to the roll of freezer tape only to find the end stuck so you can hardly see it much less peel it off?  Save the little plastic tabs from bread packages and stick one on the tape end.  Problem solved!

COPING WITH SPIDERS Repel Spiders

WHICH SIDE IS UP? From Silver in the Barn –  My Simple Solution is from my mother, the hausfrau supreme. You know how it can be hard to tell which way the mattelasse/duvet/bedspread should go on the bed? And inevitably, fifty-fifty chance, you put it on the wrong way the first time. Well, she just pins a tiny little safety pin on the underside at one end and then she knows just how to place it. Works like a charm.

LONE WALKER Safer Night Walking

UNWRAPPING SARAN WRAP  From Mama’s Empty Nest – It took me years of opening up the saran wrap/aluminum foil/whatever box and accidentally dumping out the roll which then rolled across the floor or counter. Many years later, I FINALLY figured out there were little tabs on the sides of the box to push in which hold the roll in place in the box. Who knew?? They have saved my sanity and angry outbursts!

CLEVER TOOTHBRUSH STAND Travelling Toothbrush Stand

DOUBLE DUTY PAPER CLIP From Jill Weatherholt –  I’ve always used a small paper clip to keep from going insane when needing a piece of tape.

FOR A WHITER SMILE From Jill Weatherholt – For teeth whitening, I mix up a little peroxide with some water. I’ll brush and rinse with the solution. Those whitening toothpastes and rinses are too harsh for me.

BYE BYE BEE Bye Bye Bee  

DO-IT-YOURSELF CHIP CLIP From Eliza Waters – How to close a bag of chips without a clip!    http://youtu.be/2icvrrrwMYw

EGG CARTON STORAGE From Virginia Views – I store small Christmas ornaments in egg cartons.  The soft cardboard ones are the best because they provide a nice protective padding.

SOFT TOES From These Days of Mine – The most recent one I’ve learned: Vaseline on the cuticles of my toenails to smooth them. I’ve tried everything, so I was so happy that this works!

ORGANIZING CORDS AND CHARGERS From earthrider –  I  like to use  Freezer Bags that allow you to write on them with permanent marker. Wonderful stuff. I use it for items that I don’t freeze as well such as my cords and recharger for my camera.

Note:  The inserted photos above are just some of the many suggested by Eliza Waters .  Thanks Eliza!

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Over time I learned a few things to help cope with life’s little aggravations.

And since I love you all, I plan to share some of my “aHa!” discoveries.

You may have your own secret tips for survival and I hope you will share those too.

And when we are done, we may have a Simple Solutions Online Encyclopedia! 

PROBLEM:  Freezer Tape Sticking to Itself

To label a leftover the old way was to peel open and tear off a strip of freezer tape, stick it down and mark the contents destined for long-term storage.

But when I came back to the roll for the next leftover, the tape would be stuck back down and impenetrable.  That meant staring stupidly at a roll of tape that had no visible peel-off point.  It meant looking and looking and blindly feeling along for the demarcation line and then finger-nail picking a resistant (sometimes shredding) ridgeline.  There are and were a few choice words to express my ultimate frustration.  But, finally – there came an answer.

Was it a fellow blogger who taught me this?  I no longer remember.  But it works!

SOLUTION:  A Plastic Bag Closure Tag

  Simple Solutions 003

I couldn’t believe it.  The little tags that sometimes come to rewrap bread, etc. are a perfect solution and I have never had the problem again.   Actually, I have reused the same little plastic closure tag now for months.  It’s a good idea for duct tape storage too.

Here’s how.Simple Solutions 005

I hope this tip is as new to you as it was to me.  I absolutely love those little tags and every time I open and close the freezer tape roll, I have a happy feeling inside.

Do you have a happy idea or Simple Solution?  Please do share!

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“…Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink. …”

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ah, it’s summertime in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  A glorious time of year!

But, the summer sun is oddly elusive this season.  There has been so much rain that the normally scorched earth by mid August has stayed verdant green right up to our September Labor Day when it rained “buckets” again.   And tomorrow it will pour since we are now in a so called trough.  And so it will be into the next day and possibly the next.

Yes, we are continually surrounded by driving rain and enough falling water to float Noah for 40 more days and nights.  And yet, there is nothing to drink in our tucked away cottage on the edge of an enchanted forest.   And we must improvise since our water pump just decided to quit.

Wasn’t the Derecho Enough?

Our Enchanted Forest
After the Derecho

Wasn’t it bad enough we went through the Derecho storm just a few weeks ago and were without power for five days? We were waterless then too but a generator magically produced enough for survival.  But wasn’t that evil storm sufficient to remind us of the perils in country living?   Now here we are again hauling in buckets of that life giving fluid.   It didn’t rain enough buckets today for flushing you-know-what.  I suppose I am too old to actually say “toilets.”   There are limits to the tawdry use of language.  I do wonder why “toilet-water” is acceptable though.  I am talking about real toilet-water here of course…. the kind you flush!

Anyway, this fine wet Labor Day morning I scoured our home improvement store for large portable empty containers to hold water at the ready for the above embarrassing purpose.  No one in the store ever heard of large water containers.

I then stumbled around town trying to word my request in an understandable way. “Do you know where I can find large containers to hold water?  Our water pump gave up and we want to bring in water from the rain or the neighbors or a pool.”   Would you believe I got blank looks at this question?  Is there a clearer way to word it?  Eventually I was miraculously led to the camping department in Walmart, where there were exactly two 6-gallon storage containers available.  Hurrah!  They are now sold out.  I suppose I was lucky at that since if the super store ever had any inventory of containers, they probably sold down to these two during the Derecho.

Forget Labor on Labor Day

It’s Labor Day where I live.  My calls to Pump people and the local Farmer’s Cooperative ring and ring even as I yell into the receiver, “Pick Up PLEASE!”  Maybe if I had sent them a Happy Labor Day card, they might have remained open?  I tend to blame myself for failure – anybody’s failure.

There is one good thing to come of all this water loss in the midst of deluge, and that is, we are, at long last, getting used to surviving in the country.  And we have lived here for 24 years.  I actually saved a bunch of survival tips in a book since I expected a pandemic a year or so ago.  If you have any questions, I will be glad to share.   Here are some of my Water Tips.

You can drain your car radiator for water – if you can figure out where the radiator is.

The water in your you-know-what tank is actually clean and can be used for drinking – I think.   I hope.

You can sterilize the you-know-what water or creek water with drops of bleach – I have forgotten how many drops to how much water.  I think it was three drops per gallon.

You can boil creek water – I am not sure for how long or where the creek is.

You should have cans of peaches available for the liquid – why wouldn’t pears do?

There should be a gallon of water for each per person per day for drinking and cleansing.

I have a whole lot of other tips in a book I created to get ready for a pandemic that never arrived.  One tip I do remember is to put a chain across your road and a sign that says “Beware – Flu Here” even if you are perfectly healthy.

I will keep you posted on the water problem at my place and whether or not we resorted to sterilizing the water in the you-know-what!

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If you think you have seen a bear, you have.

That is what people tell me here in rural Virginia and yes, I have seen a bar (Virginia slang for bear) walk right by my window.  Granted, he didn’t know it was my window.  He just sauntered on by in all his magnificence as if it were his regular route to our peach trees. Bears are supposedly very shy critters and will avoid meeting up with us humans UNLESS we take them by surprise or come between a mama and her cub.  There is at least one other major causative factor leading to human-bear connections, which leads me to a good story.

I live in a semi-wilderness area where twelve human families reside in private dwellings in the middle of 300 acres of jointly managed undeveloped land.  We all know the area is teaming with foxes, ground hogs, squirrels, turkeys, deer, raccoons, possums, and yes, Virginia Black Bears.  Every now and then one of my neighbors reports seeing a huge 350 pound bear!  This may be a slight exaggeration but could be true too. They do grow to large proportions. If I walk along our country lanes I give warning  by  shuffling loudly or clapping my hands, or clearing my throat, or shouting at myself.  I doubt this will help if a bear decides to attack, but I feel better and I do not care if accidental onlookers think there is a madwoman in the area.

HELP!  I AM TRAPPED BY A BEAR!

My neighbors claimed to be trapped in their home by an enormous bear who was banging on their windows and sliding doors.  I have heard numerous versions of the story and have settled on this one.

Dinner was delightful and my neighbors, Joan and John (fictional names), had just put away the dishes and settled down to an exciting night of television sitcoms when they heard noises at the window.  Looking up, they were stunned to see the face of an enormous black bear looking in and periodically pounding on the glass.

Virginia Black Bear

“Make lots of noise and wave your arms,” said John, and they did.  But that only made the bear more determined and he pushed and prodded ever harder on the house and the windows.  Then he moved to the sliding glass door.   “Run,” cried Joan, and they did.  They ran into a back bedroom (which also had two windows) and soon the bear was seen coming toward them again.  “Call the sheriff!” yelled Joan, and that’s what they did.  The conversation must have gone something like this:

“Help!  We are trapped in our house by a bear!”

“Trapped? What do you mean?”

“Oh no Oh no Oh no!  He’s going to break the glass!”

“You mean a bear is out there trying to get into your house”?

“Yes Yes Yes!  Come quickly please!”

So, the good sheriff came quickly, but by the time he arrived there was no sign of the bear.  Perhaps he (Bruno) had heard the squad car drive up and decided to flee the law even though he had not yet succeeded in breaking and entering. The sheriff tried to calm the couple and promised Animal Control would be out in the morning. But, the sheriff had to leave to cover other dire emergencies like a woman who reported footsteps on her roof.

My neighbors returned to their home with great trepidation.  Would the bear come back?  Why had he chosen their house out of all the others in the community?  Should they go to a motel?  Would they be plagued by this mammoth creature all night?  They decided the danger was over and they went to bed. But, the bear returned and kept scouting around the house for points of entry.  Eventually he gave up and around 4 AM Joan and John were able to fall asleep in a closet with no windows.

Later that morning, as promised, Animal Control arrived with a very big bear trap.  They explained the trap was a humane way to subdue and confine Bruno so they could remove him to an even more remote location.  The trap was laced with a big canned ham as bait (taken out of the can of course).  The result?  The ham just stayed there, the bear never returned, and the couple lost sleep night after night worrying about it.

Animal Control people did have some questions for the couple on that first day.  They began with,

“Where do you usually put your household garbage?”

Answer:  “Outside in a covered garbage can.”

Animal Control:  “What did you have for dinner last night?”

Joan and John:  “Grilled Salmon.”

There were no more questions.  Everybody knows from watching National Geographic that bears love salmon (especially “wild” salmon which was also the Joan/John preference). Our Bruno must have thought he was on the Colorado River and had fallen into a treasure trove of nature’s salmon bounty.  The fishy scent wafted over the treetops to wherever he was roaming and lured him right to my neighbor’s back yard. And the remains of that one delightful fish were just the appetizer.  “There must be more.  Maybe there’s more in that house,” thought Bruno. “If I could just get through this hard place that looks like air, I know there will be more!”

There is a moral to every story, and although this story has been ever so slightly embellished for dramatic effect, there is definitely a moral.

DON’T LEAVE THE REMAINS OF EDIBLE GARBAGE OUTSIDE, ESPECIALLY NOT SALMON, BECAUSE IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SEEN A BEAR, YOU HAVE!

*This story is founded in fact. My neighbors were indeed trapped in their home by a bear and wound up calling the local sheriff. And they did leave the remains of a fish dinner in their outside garbage can. Animal Control did come out with a ham-baited bear trap but Bruno never returned.  The rest is fiction.

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Before my husband and I moved to rural Virginia, or “the sticks”, as some people called it, I wore high heels and tailored dresses to work.  In fact, I enjoyed silk dresses for their climate-comfort versatility and timeless style.  Yes, I admit I was rather a stylish and elegant working woman.

So, when I announced our impending move to the sticks, I heard a few guffaws from friends who didn’t want us to go and commented, “You’ll be back.  You won’t like it there.  You will miss wearing high heels and silk dresses in the country!”  This made me dig in my heels (pun intended) even more of course, and I assured them I would always remain my usual elegant self, complete with silk dresses, high style and high heels.

Secretly I had also (romantically) decided to become “Mrs. Mike” – a character in a wonderful book and then film – the story of a girly girl who survived (for love of course) in the wilderness.  I figured – “that’s me, a wilderness lady.  I can be both elegant and tough at the same time.”

And so it went.  Our house was finally built on the red clay dirt of Virginia, and our driveway was paved with chunky, sharp edged black stones.  It was soon apparent that opportunities for elegantly appointed apparel were severely (if not entirely) limited.  And walking in high heels upon a gravel driveway can mean dangerous wobbling.  For even as I conquered balance, I noticed the finish was quickly disappearing from my heels.  Oh yes, the height of the heel lent grace to my stature, but if anyone bothered to look down they would notice the deplorable condition of this poor woman’s shoes!

Then there was the red clay (that would make great bricks).  Thick sticky dirt that becomes thick sticky mud is a deplorable obstacle to high heels.  Think quickmud instead of quicksand and you will have an idea how easy it is for a sharp heel to sink into unsuspected quagmires.  “Thwop” you are sucked in.  And “Thwop” you drag your foot out (hopefully with the shoe still attached).  Is this the same once lovely shoe?  Yuk!

So, as my friends in the civilized world had suggested, I switched to sneakers and jeans. Sneakers do not go well with silk dresses, so the dresses dwindled away as well.   I was consoled that at least my sneakers were brilliant white so I looked, neat, clean and put together in hardware stores.  But, I soon learned that working in the garden for an hour left my sparkling sneakers caked with sticky muck.  And if I didn’t wash my now not-so-brilliant sneakers right away (with a wire brush and in very hot water) they would stay looking forever nasty and smeared, and would not even be appropriate for forays to the hardware store.

Sneakers for Home & Sensible Heels for Special Occasions

Low Heels & Back to Basics

Next, I bought a pair of Wellington boots.  “Wellies” are rubberized boots that can be worn in the rain, maybe in the snow, and yes, in red clay.  My Wellies are always waiting at the back door.  Today I picked tomatoes from Bill’s somewhatextremely weedy garden.  I have a fear of snakes and other critters attacking bare legs as I wade through jungles of weeds and the Wellies come to mid-calf for protection.  An additional benefit is when I forget to take them off.  Yes, they look grungy and they are caked with mud, but they make me feel like a local and that I really belong here as I browse the local hardware store.

My Trusty Wellies

There may be one dress left in my closet now and it is not silk, but a kind of drip-dry thing I drag out for special occasions like funerals or weddings.  And there is at least one pair of my new version of high heels for special occasions.  They are about an inch high but I wobble in them now since I have become attached to the Wellies.

My friends in civilization were correct of course.  I had to give up style, elegance, silk dresses and high heels when we moved here.   And sometimes I do yearn for the old elegant me – but mostly I am content being Mrs. Mike, that not-so-elegant lady thwopping around in the sticky red clay of Virginia.

Today’s high heels are REALLY high!  Imagine these on my gravel drive.  Oh my!

Today’s High Heels

Country Tip for City Dudes:

If you are moving to the country, donate your high heels to charity and buy Wellies.

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My friends dreamed up a wonderful idea for gift giving:

A special gift for a special day

Here for now and gone away.

What?  Don’t worry.

It’s  a magic act I hear.

 Now you see it,

Now see it disappear.

What is this gift so removable?

Why, it’s simply this – a gift Consumable.

CONSUMABLE GIFTS!

Actually this little mystery rhyme was the lead-in to a true story.  After years of agonizing over what gifts to select for the special people in our lives, some of my special friends came to a consensus.  We made a pact to only give consumable gifts – meaning things that will get used up.  I can’t tell you what a relief that is and how much more fun I have shopping.

We just remember this:  “If it will soon disappear it’s a gift worth giving,” and here are some examples:

  • Chocolates (Yeah! Yeah! Chocolates!)
  • Gourmet Flavored Oils (I put this in because I found a gourmet oil store!)
  • Spices (you can even make your own concoction but I found a spice store too)
  • Candles (beautiful or utilitarian in case there’s a freak storm)
  • Batteries (maybe best for a man?)
  • Note Paper (lovely reminders to keep in touch the old way)
  • Faux Fingernails (Huh?)
  • Nail Polish (for the fake fingernails)
  • Soap (used to be an insult, but now soaps come in grand scents and colors)
  • Nuts (but not raw cashews – supposed to be poisonous – unless you want to see your friend disappear too!)
  • Coffee or Tea (always a tradition)
  • Cheese and Fruit (a gift of health and good taste)
  • A Book (time well spent and pass it on)
  • Money (of course – but considered somewhat crass!)

Are you getting the idea?  I know you will come up with a whole new list of your own Gifts That Give and Go designed to temporarily please.  And what better way I ask, is there to celebrate a special occasion than to relish the moment and then move on?

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It was reported that a naked woman, bleeding from the shoulders, was seen running in terror through my neighbor’s pasture – a horror story for sure.  The report was called in to our local sheriff and I don’t know what action was taken, but rumor has it the real story was somewhat different.

As you may have noticed, part of the fun of living in the country is in observing people with idiosyncrasies?  You have to be slightly strange to live in our neighborhood and of course my husband and I are the only normal persons residing here.

One of our very sweet neighbors has a crow’s nest (different from crow’s feet), which is a viewing area at the top of her house that allows her to see far off into distant horse pastures.  Things from a distance look closer than they are.  Isn’t that the message on the rear view mirrors of your car?  Well, Louise (name changed to protect the innocent) saw what she saw.  And what she saw was a terrified naked woman bleeding from the shoulders and running for her life.  And that is what she reported to the sheriff.

Later it was learned that a horsewoman named Jan (name also changed), clad in tan riding breeches and a tan blouse with red designs on the shoulders, had lost her horse.  She dismounted for some reason and the horse got “spooked” and took off.  Jan ran after him to keep sight of his approximate direction. She knew when he calmed down, he would respond to her whistle.

So, picture this:  a naked woman (actually clad in tan riding clothes), running for her life (really running across the pasture after her horse), bleeding from her shoulders (actually red designs on the shoulders of her blouse).  Add imagination and the distance to a crow’s nest and you have “Terror in a Horse Pasture,” an apt name for a prize winning, fictional thriller.

And later, “All was well,” said Jan with a grin, “I got my horse back in good time. And I suppose from a distance, you might think I was bleeding and maybe naked too.”

Well, it makes for fine dinner conversation among us normal folks in the country.

Country Tip for City Dudes:

Things are never what they seem.

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My friend just sent me a video on how to shuck corn like a pro, or like I know what I’m doing.  This method also cooks corn BEFORE you shuck it!  One ear takes 4 minutes.  Sound impossible?  I’ve tried this and guess what?  It WORKS! No muss, no fuss, and easy-does-it!

Check out this video:   shuckcorn

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Does This Rock Look Real?

Water can be a problem when you live “out in the county” like we do. 

We have a well.  No, it’s not the kind where you lower a bucket although I’ve always wanted that kind too.  Ours is buried deep (like 300 feet down) into an aquifer, and requires electricity and a pump to magically provide life-giving water.

Our water is hard (very hard) so we require a softener too. No one told me all this equipment would be necessary just to get a drink of water!

Hiding an Ugly Pipe?

Our well is marked by an unsightly rusting pipe at the driveway entrance.  It was a  brilliant idea to cover it with a hollow fake rock. I like to think the rock looks real, but what if it doesn’t?  No one has ever questioned its authenticity.  Do you suppose people are just being polite and thinking, ” Ha! Look at that plastic rock.  Who do they think they’re kidding?”

As for the story of  the waterless adventure,

There Was Not a Drop to Drink

Over the 24 years we have lived in the “boonies,” as some friends call this remote hideaway, we have gone dry and replaced the pump twice due to lightning strikes or other underground mysteries.  Water also gets down to murky if we leave something running or  there’s a freaky leaky pipe somewhere. The point is, we lose water.  And it always stops running at the most inconvenient times.

The Waterless Weekend

Our son, daughter-in-law, and three grandgirls arrived on a Friday for a nice long visit.  All went well that fateful day, right up to bedtime when everyone was tucked in.  That’s when I tried to take a shower and you guessed it – NO WATER!

OH NO!  With seven people in the house?   Was it the circuit breaker?  Nope – that was in the “on” position.  Was there a burst pipe somewhere?  No.   The house was dry!   Now we faced an entire waterless weekend.  How were we going to flush toilets, drink, shower, cook, clean dishes or wash any clothes?  Talk about losing sleep…..

A Family Conference

Saturday AM.  A family conference to inform adults and children of the problem. 

“If you stay here”,we said,  “You will face the following challenges:  lack of hygiene, deprivation, thirst, dirt, and hard labor.”

I think (no, I know)  I was trying to convince the family to leave us to our waterless wasteland and just go home.  Since it was a weekend we could not call for help, so we gave them two choices:  A) Pack up and leave (Yes!) or B) Stick it out with us for a Water-free Country Life Adventure.

We even formulated a basic Water-free Country Life Adventure Plan that outlined various survival tactics:

  • Buy gallon jugs of water for drinking.
  • Bring up water from streams, ponds, neighbors’ faucets, or our pool, (in a horse trough) for flushing and washing things.
  • Transfer water from the trough into buckets (form a bucket line).
  • Transfer buckets in another bucket line to the bathrooms (for flushing).
  • Eat out (I like that one!).
  • Rent one motel room (a few miles away) for the sole purpose of take-turn showering.

Oddly enough, the vote was unanimous for a Water-free Country Life Adventure! The family decided to stick it out.

Saturday AM and PM went by hauling water into and out of a pick-up truck, filling the trough, hauling it to the front door for transfer into buckets for transfer into bathrooms for use in toilets.  Then, after a hot day of work and play everyone needed to clean up, so we were off to the motel for showers. We ate out or ordered take-out, and brought in gallons of drinking water from local stores. And all went well – considering.

Sunday AM and PM –  the same.  And by Sunday night I was getting snarly and could hardly WAIT until Monday to call someone for help.

On Monday AM we were almost out of drinking water again.

I left at 8AM to buy more gallon jugs –  happy to get out of the house I’ll tell ya’ – dreading the ultimate return to hauling, dipping, and juggling.   The country adventure was growing old.  The family were trying hard to smile in the face of constant survival challenges, but I knew they were as ready to say, “Farewell,” as we were.

I must have looked mighty sad lugging bottles into the house that morning, but my husband was grinning as he helped me carry things in.  “What on earth is there to smile about?” I thought (but did not say). “I know I’m a grouch in the morning and you wake up whistling, but how can you possibly be cheerful under these circumstances?  Have I married a madman?”

“Problem solved,” he said aloud, with that suspiciously guilty looking grin,

“WATER’S ON!”

“Whaaaaaaaat????”

“I’ve only been gone an hour! How can this be?”

“Did you call the Farmer’s Co-op?” I asked.

“Yes, I did.”

“Did the guy come out from the Co-op already?”

“Yep, he came right away.”

“What did he do?”

“He flipped the circuit breaker switch.”

“But it was already on.”

“Nope,” he said sheepishly, “I forgot we have a secondary emergency box.  We had it put in months ago for generator connections and Sam the Man found it right away.”

“We have TWO circuit breaker boxes?”

“Right. The switch was off in the second one – probably a power surge.  So, Sam just flipped the switch to On.”

A weekend of insane preparations to provide water for seven people, and we could have had water with a simple flick of a switch?

I started to laugh.  And he laughed too, and we’re still laughing all these years later.  The story is family lore now and we bring it up during “Remember-when” conversations.

“Remember when we rented that awful motel room just to take a shower?”  And we go through the whole adventure again.

Country Tip for City Dudes:

If you run out of water, Stop, Think.  And before you buy bottled water, haul buckets, or rent a motel room, check every switch in the house!

Two Breaker Boxes
One is Now Marked “Emergency”

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Whoooooooosh!!!

We dreamed of building a house at the top of a hill.  And so we finally did.  It’s not the highest hill in the land, but it catches the wind.  In fact, at times it gets so windy up here that our inside doors slam shut.  WHAAAAAP!!!  This is not conducive to ultimate relaxation and frankly, it’s a bit alarming.

Don’t you love my sound effects?

But, being jolted awake from a Noon Nod can really shake a person up.  I had to find a solution because the slamming doors could affect my husband’s equilibrium.  Bill takes a nap after breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner and I have to make reservations for conversation.  The  rare times he is fully awake he is working outside on the “South 40.” If he misses a morning, mid-day, and afternoon nap, they can all add up to major sleep loss and who knows, he might get dizzy and fall off his tractor!

So, I had to find an immediate solution to the wicked winds of the west.

  • Close the Windows.  Oh, I know I could do that, but what about losing the health giving properties of fresh air and pollen?
  • Buy or Make Door Stops.  Of course I know about them too.  But have you ever tried to find one with character?  Do I really want a comic figure holding my doors open?   And are you suggesting I MAKE a doorstop?  Blahhahahaha! (Modern slang for “are you serious?”)

THE FRUITCAKE THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

During the holidays, my friend, Janet, makes miniature fruitcakes for gifts.  They are about the size of large bricks. One of the recipients shellacked his fruitcake to create a doorstop!  Now there’s a brilliant idea – fruitcake that’s hard as a rock and will last forever!  Maybe shellac isn’t even necessary.  The trouble is, Janet’s cakes are genuinely delectable, especially when frosted with royal icing and marzipan!  I’m making myself hungry with this post!

We do have one “cutesy” display, a black iron Scottish terrier that looks like our once beloved family dog, Pepper.  That doorstop does its job all right, and is fairly adorable, but really has no class.  It’s just, well – cute.

ANTIQUES FOR WIND CONTROL

After wracking my brain about the wind tunnel problem I finally consulted  my all-knowing, newly-found country friends.  “What do you suggest?” I asked.  And they suggested we go to an antique mall!   Really?  For a doorstop?

I  love to amble around our antique malls where I recognize things from my childhood.  Sometimes the ambling sends me into a state of depression since I begin to feel antique myself.   In fact I am beginning to recognize far too many things in antique stores.

“What we have in mind,” said my friends, “are the old flatirons they used to iron clothes in the old days.   They had to heat them on wood stoves you know.”  No, I didn’t know and I never heard of  a flatiron either.  Thank goodness I’m not THAT old!

AHA! PROBLEM SOLVED!  

Flatirons for doorstops?  I could hardly believe it, but sure enough, we found several options at the antique mall and they were all perfect;  different enough to add interest, heavy enough to halt the heaviest door, and classic enough to add class.

My Flatiron Doorstop

Country Tip for City Dudes:

If a wicked wind is howling through your home, look for flatiron doorstops.

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