lighthouse

Serenity For Spoonies #17

This is the next installment of photos I find particularly intriguing and/or relaxing. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

desert
Hot and dry in the desert. This could have been shot near Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. But it wasn’t. Credit to Philip Brown.
lighthouse
From desert to seashore….or the shore of one of the Great Lakes. Credit to Philippe D.
rock arch
Imagine yourself walking under this rocky archway. Photo credit to Matt Holland.
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roadway

Serenity For Spoonies #16

This is the next installment of photos I find particularly intriguing and/or relaxing. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

bare trees
This shot could have been taken near my house in northwest Wisconsin. It wasn’t. Photo credit to Wes Hicks.
roadway
This photo also looks like northern Wisconsin. Credit to Vincent Foret.

 

sunset
A gorgeous sunset. Photo credit to Patrick Hendry.

 

food grade DE

Guest Post: How To Use Diatomaceous Earth In Your Home and Garden

 

Gary from https://plantcaretoday.com/ contacted me a while ago to ask if I’d be open to publishing this article on AsWellAsICanBe. After looking at his website and the great information contained there, I was happy to do so.

I should add that I am aware of and use food-grade DE that I purchased and use years before Gary got in touch with me. I sprinkle it in my garden and occasionally mix some in my pets’ kibble. Since I no longer live in the South, the many issues with Palmetto bugs (aka flying cockroaches) and other endemic pests are not an ever-present problem in the frozen tundra of northwestern WI. Therefore, I don’t use as much DE as I would if still lived in Charleston, SC. (Although hubby and I plan to become snowbirds this winter. Anyone reading this south of the Mason-Dixon Line or bordering on Mexico who wants to trade houses to experience winter is free to contact me.)  😉

Here’s Gary’s guest post on DE

Diatomaceous earth(DE) is a very common product with a wide variety of uses in industry, around the house and yard. Even though you may never have heard of Diatomaceous earth, you probably have used DE and consumed it a standard ingredient in quite a few personal care products and food items. DE has value as a supplement, a drying agent, a soil additive and an effective home and garden pest control agent. In this article, we will focus on using DE to control insect pests around your house and garden. We will also provide important information on the dangers of chemical pesticide use. Read on to learn more.

Why Not Use Chemical Pesticides?

Chemical pesticides (poisons) are the only substances purposely released into the atmosphere for the purpose of killing things. The suffix, “cide” is Latin for “kill“, and pesticides are used to kill rodents, fungus, insects, and weeds in a wide variety of settings. For this reason, they can be found almost everywhere. climate changeAccording to the website, toxicactions.org, over 5 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States annually. They can be found in every aspect of life including our food, water, air, and soil. This is very bad news as pesticides have been found to cause problems such as:
* Reproductive Difficulties
* Endocrine Disruption
* Developmental Delay
* Kidney Problems
* Liver Damage
* Cancer

Children Are Especially At Risk

Pesticide contamination is problematic for adults and especially problematic for children. Children are exposed to pesticides from the moment of conception and continue to be exposed at home, at school, and at play. The chemicals found in pesticides cause developmental delay and can cause problems as serious as brain damage.

Although some proponents of chemical pesticides say that when used properly and in the right amounts these substances present little or no threat, the fact is they build up. They are everywhere, and they are unavoidable. We are exposed to them every day through inhalation; in the food we eat; in the water we drink; through skin contact and even through our eyes. People who work in farm settings and those who live near industrial farms are at tremendous risk for illnesses and other problems caused by contact with chemical pesticides.

Wildlife and the environment, in general, are under great threat due to contamination caused by chemical pesticides. Neonicotinoids are especially harmful to important pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and other insects. This category of pesticide is also extremely dangerous to small mammals such as bats and also to reptiles such as lizards.

Why Keep Using Chemicals?

There’s lots of money in pesticides. As the companies making these poisons continue to put more lobbying pressure on the government to reduce regulations and increase the use of pesticides, we can expect the problems they cause to increase exponentially if we continue to buy them and use them. Luckily, we can vote with our pocketbooks and simply choose to learn about and use natural alternatives to benefit our own health and the health of our planet.

It’s easy to see that using pesticides has an extremely negative effect on people, wildlife, and the environment, but are pesticides necessary? playground w/pesticide signThe simple and accurate answer to that question is “No!” The fact is, it is not possible, necessary or even desirable to kill off all pests. All things in nature have some use and reason for being. It is entirely possible to control pests using natural means and a mindset that is aimed at coexistence–with rather than extermination–of the animals we term pests.

There are a number of ways to replace common household pesticides with all-natural alternatives that work just as well or better. When you adopt this way of thinking and choose to stop using pesticides in your own home, yard, and garden you can become part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem. When you make this positive, proactive choice you will also save money while protecting the health and well-being of the environment, your loved ones and yourself.

Why Is Organic Pest Control Better?

When you choose organic pest control methods you are making use of time-honored, natural ingredients that strive to integrate cultural wisdom, available natural resources, biological and mechanical solutions to address problems with pests. These methods safeguard your health while helping to conserve biodiversity and support ecological balance.

There are lots of different ways to control pests in the home, yard, and garden with a combination of products such as essential oils, boric acid, vinegar, insecticidal soap and more. These ingredients are far safer and far more affordable than any commercially prepared chemical pest control. When dealing with insect pests outdoors, predatory insects are often engaged as a natural means of control. Indoors, essential oils such as rosemary, sweet basil, eucalyptus, catnip, and cedar are often added to carriers such as water, vinegar and/or oils to create sprays and other natural insect killing or repelling products.

The focus of this article is diatomaceous earth, an affordable, versatile, natural pest control product that is very popular, useful and extremely safe to use. Diatomaceous earth can be applied lightly indoors or outdoors on an as-needed basis and will continue to work as long as the weather stays dry. One popular type of DE that is specifically made for the purpose of combating insects both indoors and out is Perma-Guard Diatomaceous Earth. While this product does provide some excellent information on its packaging, it should be noted that its price per pound of product is a bit higher than other offerings of 100% DE.

Why Food Grade DE Pest Control

Food Grade DE is an all-natural product classified under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act as being safe for use in the home.

This all-natural, dry powder is made of diatoms. These are the fossilized remains of single-celled algae. This very fine, white or light tan silica powder presents insects such as:
* Cockroaches
* Ants
* Bedbugs
* Dust Mites
* Fleas
* Clothes Moths
* … and more

… with razor sharp edges that cause damage to their exoskeletons. The substance also absorbs the protective oil from the surface of the exoskeleton.

How Does DE Work?

The cell walls of diatomaceous earth are made of silica (the main component of glass). This makes the individual particles sharp, abrasive and damaging to insect bodies. It is also effective against soft-bodied gastropods, such as slugs and snails if distributed in a thick line that forms a physical barrier. DE will not kill these creatures, but it will prevent them from entering “off-limits” areas.

For insects, the combination of exoskeleton damage and the drying effect causes the pests to dehydrate and die. This is not a speedy process, but if you keep DE distributed consistently in areas where pests are a problem you will see a steady decline in your pest population. Because DE’s deadly powers are physical rather than chemical, insects cannot build up immunity or resistance to it. No matter how long you use diatomaceous earth, it will continue to be effective against insect pests of all kinds. This is a definite benefit when compared with chemical pesticides.

Uses For Diatomaceous Earth

It primarily works like a pest control powder which “eats through” the exoskeleton of insects and dries them out. Moreover, since the DE works on a mechanical level more than a chemical one, the insects do not develop any resistance to diatomaceous earth. This becomes an eco-friendly alternative for killing insects as you can avoid using toxic sprays and insecticides. In general, DE can be used for many purposes, but for a garden, it is primarily used as a pesticide or insecticide. They also denote it as natural bug control. Insects like:
* Ants
* Earwigs
* Mites
* Aphids
* Thrips
* Snails & Slugs
* Fleas
* Beetles
* Cockroaches… and others can be treated with food grade DE in our gardens.

ONLY USE Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth as a pesticide for vegetable production. This method is very popular among folks who are a fan of natural remedies. When we talk about the environment, the basic component is silicon which makes up most of the rocks, sand, and land of our Earth. It is also a component of fish bodies or marine animals naturally.

Moreover, since DE does not work on a chemical level, there is no question of it degrading or dissolving in water or vaporize to pollute the air, causing damage to the environment. It’s environmentally friendly.

How To Apply DE In The Garden

1. Dry Method

Fill a container (like a parmesan cheese container) to use as a shaker for the powder. Garden duster applicators are available as well. Avoid creating dust, it can harm your respiratory system. Wearing gloves and masks is a must, especially if you have allergies and breathing issues.

Dust the dry powder on the plants. Experts suggest the best time is morning and evening when the plants have a little dew on them. The moisture helps retain the powdered DE. The powder is not effective when wet but when it dries up, insects begin to “experience” its effect. Applying a thick layer of DE at the base of plants helps keep slugs, snails or squash bugs away. Be sure to apply DE on the upper, as well as the underside, of all plants for best effects. Reapply powder after it rains because it will get washed away.

2. Wet Method

Dissolve 4 tablespoons of Diatomaceous Earth powder into 1- gallon water jug. Seal the jug tightly and shake until the powder is dissolved. Fill a spray bottle or garden sprayer with the DE mixture.

Spray plants with the solution but NOT until they are dripping wet. Be sure to cover the undersides of leaves for maximum benefits. Once the plants dry the residue left behind looks like a thick layer of powder coating the leaves. The “wet” method is best suited where windy conditions are present.

Masks and gloves are essential here too. Some people also prefer wearing goggles while spraying the powder.

How To Use DE Around The House

Using DE is simplicity itself. Apply a light dusting. Look for areas that are frequented by insect pests and simply sprinkle DE lightly in these areas.

Indoors, apply it to the back of cabinets, and your baseboards, behind wall sockets and other nooks, crannies, cracks, and crevices where insects hide.

Outdoors, sprinkle it around sensitive plants or dust plant leaves lightly to impact all manner of insect pests. When insects come in contact with the substance, it sticks to them and effectively kills them.

DE will not attract insects, so in some instances, you may want to combine it with a substance that will attract pests to it. If you are trying to draw insects, you can mix it with dry bait, such as sugar. This can be an effective treatment on ant hills. Apply a thick line when dealing with slugs and snails.

Keep your powder dry!

It’s important to remember that DE is not effective unless it is dry. If you sprinkle it outdoors, you must remember to replenish it after rainfall. And do not use in damp areas.

Before reapplying DE indoors, you should clean up your previous application. Depending on where you have applied the substance and how much is present, you can sweep it up with a whisk broom and dustpan, use a damp towel to wipe it up, or use a shop vac to vacuum it up. Do not use your regular household vacuum cleaner as the coarse substance can be very damaging to the motor.

Even though DE is non-toxic, you may want to wear a dust mask, eye protection, and gloves when applying it or cleaning it up. Remember that it is a dusty and very drying substance, so it could cause some itching and discomfort if you are in contact with it for an extended period of time.

Make DE & EO Insect Repellents

There is one instance in which you would use DE damp. You can use it as a base to make essential oil insect repellent stations. When you do this, you are not using the DE to kill insects. You are just using it as a medium or carrier to deliver the scent of the oil. Some people use cotton balls for this purpose, but DE holds the essential oil scent longer and can be reused indefinitely, so it is a better choice.

Begin by making a paste of DE and water. Add a strong smelling essential oil such as lemon or cedar oil or oil of lavender. Mix the essential oil in at a rate of about a dozen drops per ounce of DE and water paste. Put this mixture into small jar lids. Place these in out-of-the-way corners and under furniture where insects might hide. Replenish your stations monthly with a few drops of water and essential oil.

Is DE Safe To Leave Out All the Time?

For mammals, food grade diatomaceous earth is not only safe it is also desirable. It is commonly added to grains, pet food, and other dry food products as an anti-caking agent and to help prevent insect infestation. Food grade diatomaceous earth imparts a number of health benefits, and it is often added to natural personal care products such as toothpaste. Many people use it as a dietary supplement, and the silicon it contains is said to be helpful for strengthening bones and improving the quality of skin, hair, and nails.

dog sitting
Your furry family members will have fewer parasites with food grade DE in their kibble.

When used as a supplement for poultry, DE helps control intestinal parasites and results in hens laying larger and more nourishing eggs with stronger shells. Additionally, when used as a dust bath for poultry DE helps control and even eliminate bird mite infestation. It also makes a nice dust bath for pet birds and chinchillas.

Food grade DE is safe to eat and can even be used as a deworming product for your pets. Talk with your veterinarian about the amount to use. Generally speaking, DE is safe when used as a flea powder on cats and dogs. Some farmers hang burlap bags of it from barn rafters so that livestock can bump against them to dust themselves as protection against flies. As long as you are sure to get food grade diatomaceous earth, it will pose no threat to you, your pets or non-insect life.

Be aware that food grade DE does not discriminate between beneficial insects and non-beneficial insects. Be careful where you put the product. Avoid areas frequented by beneficial insects. You don’t want to damage your populations of bees, ladybugs, butterflies and other desirable insects.

Use Only Food Grade DE

Remember to only use food grade DE. There is pool grade diatomaceous earth available, but this is not the same thing.

food grade DE
This is my own stock of food grade diatomaceous earth.

This substance is intended only for swimming pool filtration. It contains a lot of crystalline silica and is not safe to come in contact with or to consume. The difference lies in the production methods used to create the two types of DE. Pool grade DE is prepared using a process known as calcination that incorporates very high heat levels. This process transforms the silicon dioxide content into crystalline silica, which is extremely dangerous to the health of both animals and humans. For this reason, this type of DE must only be used for swimming pool filtration. It has no other purpose.

Food grade diatomaceous earth is also known as Food Chemical Codex Grade DE.  In order to be considered safe for consumption, DE must comply with specifications regarding its heavy metal (e.g. lead and arsenic) content. Food grade DE is not calcined and is made up mostly of amorphous silica. It should contain no more than 1% crystalline silica. The mineral content of the product affects its coloring. Most DE is very pure white, but the presence of naturally occurring minerals can cause the product to vary in shade from light brownish-gray to white.

Do Natural Pest Control Methods Really Work?

Yes, non-toxic pest control does work; however, it doesn’t work in the same way as chemical pesticides. It’s important to understand that when you use natural pest repelling and controlling ingredients you must take a holistic approach. This means combining natural methods and being very consistent and persistent. Unlike chemical pesticides, natural products don’t kill off vast swathes of insects and other pests all at once. Furthermore, organic products don’t usually have a residual effect. For this reason, most organic pest control products need to be applied frequently for best results. It is also smart to use them in a rotation and/or in combination with each other to prevent having your pests build up a resistance to them.

When you spray an insect with a chemical pesticide, it dies on the spot. Conversely, you may observe insect pests walking right through DE seemingly unfazed. Don’t despair! It takes a while for the DE to damage the insect exoskeleton and decimate the critter!

As a matter of fact, a number of factors affect the speed with which DE works to kill off insects. The size and type of insect is one very important factor.

Palmetto Bug
This cockroach is also known as a Palmetto Bug in South Carolina. They are everywhere and they fly.

Additionally, the ambient humidity levels and the particle size of the DE may affect the speed with which it works. Temperature also plays a role, as does the level of infestation. It naturally takes quite a bit longer to deal with more insects. Generally speaking, you may see significant results within 24 hours of proper application of DE. This is especially true with very small fairly soft-bodied insects such as bedbugs, dust mites, bird mites, termites, black ants, and red ants. Leaving the DE in place and replenishing it as-needed will reap greater results within a week’s time.

Large, tough insects, such as merchant grain beetles can take as long as three weeks to deal with. Likewise, it can take a couple of weeks to deal with heavy silverfish infestation. I found that it also takes several weeks to eradicate a palmetto bug infestation, too. 

It is important to remove any clutter, manure, leaves or other items that may be sheltering insects such as silverfish and beetles. This will help ensure that the insects make good contact with the DE. When dealing with especially pervasive pests, such as bedbugs, you must clean thoroughly and use a combination of methods of natural pest control, such as DE, essential oil sprays, heat and sheer diligence to ensure you have eliminated all eggs, larvae, and adults.

No matter what kind of pest you are dealing with, keep a close eye on the infestation. If you feel that the insects have been completely eradicated, you may wish to clean up the DE completely and not reapply it. However, keeping a light application out at all times will not hurt anything and can certainly help prevent a re-infestation. This is especially true of very persistent insects such as bedbugs, fleas, and ants.

DE Is In Many Household and Personal Products

Diatomaceous earth is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). For this reason, it is included in hundreds (if not thousands) of products for household and personal use. Among these are more than one-hundred and fifty products intended for pest control. In addition to its pest control value, food grade DE is also useful as a dietary supplement to help:

  • Deal with parasite infestation in humans and pets
  • Improve bone, joint and ligament health
  • Detoxify and remove heavy metals
  • Enhance colon and liver function
  • Benefit skin, hair and nail health
  • Improve immune function
  • Increase energy levels

Food grade DE is easy to find at your local animal feed store or online, and it is amazingly affordable. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a couple of dollars a pound. This amount will last you ages, even if you use it to dust your house and yard and supplement your pet’s food and your morning smoothie. A little bit of this safe, all-natural product goes a long way and can do you, your family and your household a world of good.

 

Benepod Makes Short Work Of Tight Muscles And Nerve Pain

BenepodAbout a month ago I received, gratis in exchange for an honest review, a new handheld device called Benepod®. My first reaction was, “How cute!”

The Benepod fits snugly in my hand which is a good thing because there is nothing else to hold it in place. My initial use was on a tight trapezius muscle. That’s the muscle on each side of the neck that people reach behind their head to massage. It should not look like you are Gul Dukat, a Cardassian from Deep Space 9, but I frequently resemble him when I spend time on the computer. Here’s a quick video clip to illustrate. 

As expected, the trapezius loosened as I held the device over it. By the time its charge was spent, there was no more tight trap. In fact, the muscle remained loose for several days after treatment. As I’d had a chronically tight trapezius since severe whiplash caused by an accident in 1995, I was frankly astounded.

Thermal Grill Pain Control

Benepod simultaneously uses hot and cold to fight pain.  By applying contrasting sensations at the same time to a particular point on the body, the Benepod engages natural healing abilities. This occurs is through a theory of pain control known as the thermal grill illusion.

Although identified in 1896 by Swedish physician Torsten Thunberg, researchers didn’t begin to really study it until about 10 years ago.  The thermal grill illusion occurs when nerves just under the skin can’t distinguish between the hot and cold stimuli. Consequently, this triggers a short-term intense–but not painful–sensation.  This nerve overload is proven to effectively mask or even completely eliminate pain for a period of time.  It appears to be an especially effective non-drug treatment for pain remaining after a stroke.

According to the material that came with it, the patented technology used in the Benepod effectively treats neck pain, knee pain, arthritis of the hands, headaches, and various other forms of musculoskeletal pain. The Benepod uses a standard wall charger and USB-C cable.  It is compatible with most USB accessories, such as portable batteries used to charge cell phones and other portable electronics. It arrives with a long cord, making it easy to recharge without having to leave my bed.

With the promotional literature in mind, I used the Benepod to reduce a chronic knot in my left masseter (jaw) muscle, also a symptom remaining after the 1995 accident.  In addition to whiplash, being T-boned also gave me temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). I wore a mouthpiece for months and was unable to eat solid food for weeks. After more than 20 years, the muscle swelling was still apparent. After just one Benepod treatment almost a month ago now, I still have not had the tightness return.

Real Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

With two solid wins on chronically tight, inflamed muscles, I wondered how it would work for fibro pain. I often get hit in my left arm extending from the deltoid, where the arm meets the shoulder and where nurses give injections, through the triceps, biceps, and forearm flexor muscles and into the wrist and hand. Even when I consider the pain manageable, I still cannot put pressure on that side. It is a frequent cause of painsomnia.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when this fibromyalgia pain was significantly reduced after one treatment to the deltoid–before I took any muscle relaxants or pain medication. However, to achieve a complete cessation of all pain I had to recharge several times and hold the pod on different areas of my arm and wrist. 

After coming in from working in the garden, and a lot of bending and straightening, my lower back was in spasm. I charged up the Benepod and slipped it into my underpants to hold against my spine at around S1. I’d had disc bulging at L4-L6 since moving a bedridden patient by myself more than 20 years ago.

As the device discharged, I no longer felt lower back pain.  Then the soreness in my thoracic (chest area) spine became evident. The upper back didn’t hurt earlier probably because the lower back was more painful. After a short period spent recharging, I slipped the Benepod into the back of my bra along the spine. No more soreness.

I can’t get over how well this works!

This morning I woke with neuropathic pain in my right first through third toes. Instead of getting up and taking my morning dose of gabapentin, I fired up the Benepod.

Benepod in use
Holding the Benepod against my painful toes.

This was a little trickier to hold in place since I didn’t want to remain hunched over with my hand on the toes. I ended up sitting in a modified Lotus yoga posture with my painful toes and Benepod curved inside and held against my left calf.  The pain was significantly reduced after one application.  It disappeared following two applications.

The only downside I could find after more than a month of use was that you have to either hold the Benepod on a painful spot with other hand or a body part or secure it with clothing. For example, I would pull a long sleeve up over my elbow and hold the pod on the underside of the elbow with my cuff. In other areas, I used a scarf, gauze or another long, soft material to bind it in place.

Saringer Life Science Technologies, the maker of the Benepod, produces other devices for the medical marketplace. For example, they have a unit that prevents or treats deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, and other circulatory issues. Interesting to anyone who had a total knee replacement, the company’s founder was the inventor of the Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine that flexed and extended the new knee joint following surgery.

Here’s a link to Salinger’s web page. https://www.saringer.com/.

And for your convenience, here’s one for the Benepod on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2rm5klV. 

Please remember that I receive a small commission if you purchase through this link.

Comments? Questions?

 

 

 

 

bird landing

Serenity For Spoonies #14

This is the next installment of photos I find particularly intriguing and/or relaxing. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

sunset
Wouldn’t it be great to be on that sailboat during an ocean sunset? Photo by Jordan Steranka.

 

bird landing
A raptor approaching landing. Photo by Chris Sabor.

 

Remaining with the color theme, here’s another sunset. This one was shot by Chris Barbalis.

 

Any comments or suggestions?

 

mountain church

Serenity For Spoonies #15

This is the next installment of photos I find particularly intriguing and/or relaxing. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

mountain
Another gorgeous mountain waterfall shot from Casey Horner.

 

mountain cabin
Picture yourself in that cabin…    Photo credit by Alex Hawthorne.

 

mountain church
A church in the woods in the mountains. Photo by Caleb Woods.

Maybe stay away from mountains for a while?