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


  1. I've done cat and dog rescue for 8 years and saving money is my speciality when it comes to animals.
    For the worms what kind does she have? Can you see them in her fecies? The feed store sells wormer there you can treat them with. If it is a certain kind of worm that looks like rice you will have to buy that buy that from the vet. Usually you can just call them and they will let you buy the pill and not charge you am office visit. Or spay and neuter clinics also is a cheaper way to get the pill. If the worms look like rice in their fecies, those are from fleas when the cats lick themselves. If you don't get rid of the fleas the worms will keep coming back. The feed store should sell frontline or advantage. Buy the biggest size they have and you can google how much to give each cat and squirt it directly on their skin between their shoulder blades. This is honestly the only effective way to keep fleas off your cats. You can use a flea dip or brush but once they go back in the yard the fleas will jump back on them.

    1. Hi Courtney,
      The worms looked like rice and were from fleas she had before she came to live with us. I used flea meds for her but they irritated her skin and she hid under the bed for 3 days so I was hoping to find something else. I've read a LOT of testimonies and the D.E. really does kill the worms naturally and also kills fleas if applied topically. Thank you for your help.

  2. You've done great with your money saving ideas. I like the solution you are working on for the worms.

  3. Interesting $$ savers! I think that mindset of evaluating everything before you throw it away is a good one. Taken to extremes, one can become a "hoarder", however....

    Using leftovers creatively is one of my main ways of saving $. Thankfully, I'm married to a man who is not "picky" about food.

    1. Yep! I definitely don't want to be a hoarder! I like to watch that show to keep me motivated to keep clutter under control. :-)

  4. Good research above, Georgene! Thanks.

    This week we went for our yearly visit to our Christian financial planners here in Tampa, Florida--Money Matters. They also have an office in Gadsden, Alabama. I have a new chart for tracking spending and accountability for when I see them in December.

    I agree with Rebecca above about becoming "hoarders" and wrestle with all of my fabric scraps that I think I will do something with some day. Some day has a different meaning since I am nearly 70 now. I didn't get to have that yard sale yet, but hope to, or at least to get into selling things on eBay so we are not hoarding things we no longer use.

    1. You are so blessed to have such wonderful financial help close by. I'll be excited to hear all you learn.

  5. I also bought DE for flea and roach control. I think I will give it to my feline girls in their food to help with fleas too.

    Thank you for all of your tips. My husband never minded left-overs and sometimes food is better the next day.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      I hope you had a blessed week!
      You will also need to brush/ or rub the D.E. into the animals fur regularly along with giving it to them internally. It's messy when you brush it into their fur so be prepared. I wear a mask for the dusk and try to not get it close to the animals face. Let me know how it works for you.

  6. I am keeping myself occupied by working on my unfinished projects. Yarn purchased in the past but not used is now being put to use, I started a cardigan which will keep me warm this winter. I used some fabric purchased a year ago and made myself a new jumper.
    Ongoing canning with the garden produce.
    Things are going to be tight in our household for a while, my husband has hernia surgery tomorrow and will not be able to return to work for three weeks, and he has been off for the past week. That is four weeks with no pay, and we are going to have to pay $95/week to cover his medical insurance while he off, we don't notice this payment when it comes directly out of his paycheck. Hopefully Dave will be healed and back to work soon, but then we will have medical bills to deal with so I think it is going to be a bit of a slog for a while.
    I put my faith in the Lord and know he will see us through. I work part-time and babysit grandchildren on my days off. I need to find another part-time evening job, so please pray for this need.

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Bean,
      I have some unfinished projects I hope to work on this winter once the garden slows down. I'm hit and miss at working on the crocheted Christmas tree hanging thingy bob in the evenings. I'm tired and put it off.

      I'm so sorry to hear that your husband will be off work but thankful that there is help for him. Extra medical bills can hit any of us at anytime and put a load on us financially. I'm paying off some dental work and it's taking most of the 'extra' we had. I keep thanking God that we 'have' the 'extra'.

      You are right.. God will see you through and provide for your needs. I pray that the Lord will show you the way you need to go regarding making more money. Will your husband need you at home while he recuperating? I've been looking for ways to do with less here at home instead of taking on more work due to the rise in the cost of living. Everyone has to find their own way. I'm sure your husband knows what is best for your family. I pray that his surgery goes well and that the Lord will guide the surgeon's hands and that He will grant a quick recovery.

  7. Hi Georgene,
    Dave should recuperate quickly from the surgery, but no heavy lifting for a while, and no going up and down ladders, both of which he does all day at work. The good thing about his work is that it has kept him in good physical shape, other than the hernia. I think I am going to wait a bit on the job thing, we have a little savings and I think that is me trying to solve things with panic thinking :) Realistically I am not sure when I can work, between my current 2 and a bit days a week, and caring for grand children, it doesn't leave a whole lot of time or energy for further work. I am going to take your attitude, do more with less, and I seem to recall Amy Dycyzyn gave similar advice in the Tightwad Gazette book.
    Again, thank you blog friend, thank you for your wisdom and your prayers.


  8. Really like the DE idea-- I used to use that in the garden under the tomatoes-- I had heard it is not pleasant for slugs.

    The tea bag string thing--now that one I'm thinking might be a little too frugal. But no odder than folding gum wrappers into a chain I guess. :)

    I've had a few days of 'cycling' through good & bad. On days when my pain level is up I also have a lot of cognitive and mood problems. On days it is down--I feel like superwoman. of course I find out I'm not.

    Anyhow I had a really cute custom order in my etsy shop last week and I love to 're-use' the ideas my customers give me. I am re-packaging this idea into a whole new line of wedding cake toppers. :) So that's kind of frugal I think. I also have decided to start working toward using much thinner wood in my shop--which I don't think it saves me money--but I do think it will save time and my hands. So in the long run I hope I can continue to do this longer by making it less difficult. Also like the look of it even better with this new line.

    I have been trying to use something we already own to cover our new 2nd hand hot tub--I found finally that using our old pool cover does a good job--I fold it in half. BUT-- unfortunately it is so hard for me to take off and put back on--that I guess I need to think again. Hubby comes home this weekend so maybe he will know what to do.

    i don't think I have much more frugal to say today. Can't remember a lot of what I did last week. Not unusual I guess if I have a little flare up--I tend to forget things.


  9. Oh--I just remembered. the new wood also saves my scroll saw. It is a 20 year old saw I inherited from my dad and it is not a top line one. I had been thinking of using my earnings to buy a better one--but they are very expensive. Using the lighter wood-- makes this one just fine. So it is saving me several hundred dollars. :) yay!

  10. I just have to ask, why does the gentleman at the feed store take this product? I had never heard of this, but I have a cat, so I am glad to have more info. I'm not in a habit of writing down what I do each day, guess I should, then I would be better able to report my frugal activities. I know some people keep a frugal journal. Think I will start one.

    On Saturday we had a date at home, we went to Sonic for cherry limeades during happy hour and then rented a Redbox movie. Total of $3 and some change. I had dinner cooking while we watched our movie, we had roast with mushroom gravy, rice, corn and field peas. I have been spending too much on meat lately, so I have to scale back. So it looks like more chicken and ground turkey dishes. Used a few coupons when I grocery shopped. Was able to get a good deal on some ice cream by combining the sale with a coupon. Bought three cartons.
    With the change in real estate market here in Florida, it looks like we have some good equity in this house. I've been looking at other homes in a less expensive neighborhood, one that we like, and we could probably be completely debt free in 5 years if we did this. But I could tell that my husband doesn't want to do this, at least not right now. So I decided to drop the issue. It's not worth it if we are constantly in disagreement.
    I used a $10 coupon at Kohl's and bought our granddaughter a Hello Kitty dress. I have put it up for either Christmas or her birthday. Paid $1.50 for the dress.

  11. I think there is a fine line between being thrifty and becoming a hoarder. Saving every little thing could easily result in being fearful of throwing anything away.

    Love ready your frugal posts.


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