Saturday, August 24, 2013

Frugal Friday & Diatomaceous Earth

A year ago we lived in a 300 ft. studio at an elderly ladies home while waiting for my husband to get disability. I cared for her (Miss Alice) and took care of her home in exchange for free rent and a part time salary. Miss Alice has a big heart and had been feeding stray cats for nearly 10 years. I took over feeding the cats and fell in love with one of the mama cats and her baby. Well, need I say more? When we moved we brought them with us.


I found out recently that the mama cat has worms. Poor baby! I treated her with over the counter medication but it didn't work completely. I checked with the vet and it would end up costing nearly $100 dollars to treat both cats. I started researching alternative methods and came across a lot of good testimonies on Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.).

 Diatomaceous Earth (food grade, not the one used for pools) are tiny, hard sharp diatoms (major group of algae) which work by cutting through the insects exoskeleton. I researched it for days and could find nothing dangerous. The only caution was to use a mask if you have asthma. I don't have asthma but use a mask when using quite a bit of it such as dusting for fleas or in the garden.
I found a large bag (about the size of a 5 pound bag of sugar) at my local feed store for $3. The manager of the feed store takes the product himself in a shake and shared a lot of good information. I found several charts that recommended 1 tsp. for cats and 1 tbsp. for my dog's size. It needs to be taken for  at least 60 days to kill all cycles of the worms. I plan on giving it indefinitely. I mixed 1 tsp. into wet cat food and they didn't hesitate to eat it. I also have been giving 1 tbsp. to my dog even though she doesn't have worms. Taking it internally is also supposed to help with flea control.  I am daily seeing 'evidence' that it's working on the worms. Yuck! A million times YUCK!

It is also supposed to kill fleas so I dipped the pet brush in the D.E. and combed it into all the animal's fur. I'll do this once a week.
Lastly, I read that it works on pests in the garden. I took a jar and put nail holes in the lid to use as a shaker and then applied the D.E. around the plant and even on the leaves.
I will be one excited lady if this stuff does everything it promises! I won't have to spend a fortune on flea meds and it will be much safer for my animals. 

"Sassy" & she IS! 

Here are a few things I did to save money recently:
1. I needed a taco seasoning so I made my own. I had all these ingredients on hand. Here is the recipe. It turned out great!
4 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
Pinch cayenne or 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. paprika
4 tsp. salt
2-4 tsp. black pepper
6 tsp. cumin (opt).
Use 3 Tbsp. per 1 pound of meat.
2. I've been using large Rubbermaid totes for my composting material. I read this past week to only use food grade containers when you compost so the poisons in the plastic will not leach into the soil. Uh oh! Mine were not food grade.  I called a few bakeries in the area and found several 5 & 7 gallon food grade containers that they gave away free. I just can't decide if it would be okay to use the 2 big totes of wonderful compost this one time. Any suggestions?
3.  I've been reading a few testimonies of people who lived during the depression. One common practice was to not throw anything away without evaluating whether it could be re-used. So, this week I'm really watching what I throw in the trash. One new thing I saved was the packaging from a bag of sugar. There was a nice large piece of sturdy paper (similar to the material of a paper trash bag). I plan on using it as packaging material to mail items to my grandchildren. I also started saving the string from the tea bag. I'm thinking I'll tie them together and use them for my flowers and veggies that need to be supported to a pole.
4. I made another batch of  spicy tomato sauce from our home grown tomatoes. I have a large bag of green beans I need to preserve, too. I've been freezing okra and have enough to fry for dinner. We've enjoyed cantaloupe this past week and our spaghetti squash and eggplant are ready to eat this next week. I will need to find a way to store the squash because I have close to 10.

5.  I used my Price Book to see what I had paid for Dawn dish soap at Walmart and then compared it to the sale item in the ads. I couldn't remember what I paid for it so the price book came in so handy. That motivated me to record more receipts.
6. I am saving the empty dog food cans to bury at the roots of my grape vines and also my Hydrangea. I'm told that when they rust they provide nutrients for the plants. I'll also make a 'tea' out of a few cans to pour at the base of the plants.
7.  I saved the inner cardboard tubing from a paper towel roll. I'm using it to wrap washed and re-used baggies around to keep them neat in the drawer. I use a rubber band to hold them in place.
8. I made too many veggies this week so I kept looking for ways to use them so they wouldn't go to waste. I put the cauliflower in our scrambled eggs this morning and I used the green beans to make a cold salad with tomatoes and red onion and Italian Dressing.
9.  I saved my bread wrapper and washed it out and then dried it to use another time.

10. I had left over milk from my in-laws visit so I froze it. I used it to make homemade ice cream for our company. 

11. We watched a movie I borrowed from the library. 

What did you girls do this week? Everyone's day will look different.. and that is very okay!

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few day so his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Eccl. 5: 18