I’M JUST CURIOUS: Fall thoughts

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, June 9th, 2008, Our house in Brandon, Canon 20D, 400 5.6L

by Debbie Walker

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of fall. To me, since I am back in Florida, I am still in summer weather. When I got my e-mailed newsletter from Farmer’s Almanac last week, it was about birds. It told about what we could do to help them in the cooler months.

I have wondered about the little hummingbirds and how long to leave their feeder out. From what I read about the little beauties and their feeders; it doesn’t hurt to leave the feeder up until into November. If you are seeing an occasional bird at the feeder, leave the feeder up. When you have not seen any activity, leave it up for a couple more weeks, just in case. I am looking forward to the couple that seem to keep coming back, even the couple at the cottage in Maine.

I also have wondered, do birds become dependent on feeders and lose their foraging skills? The answer is, “no, plus feeders may help birds migrate better.”

Completely off that subject now I have to repeat this little laugh to you. Recently my sister and her daughter were in a store in Waterville. Some nut case came in the store she was in, yelling “Everyone on the floor”. Nothing happened, in fact, they saw him running down the street. My sister said she was definitely scared. She was afraid if she got down on the floor, she wouldn’t be able to get back up!!

Okay, changing the subject again. I don’t have any cast iron pans, so I can’t try this one idea. Maybe you could? In First magazine I read you could use tea bags to rust proof the pans. Wash and dry the pot/pan, then wipe it down with a damp tea bag. It has to do with the tannins in the tea. Good luck.

Those nasty paper cuts are real ouch material. A used tea bag will stop the bleeding, leave on for 30 seconds. The tannic acid promotes clotting and relieves some pain.

I don’t have any real house plants. I have a problem remembering to water them so silk plants are the way for me! They say tuck two or three tea bags in the base of the real plant. When you water the plant, the bags will absorb the water and release when needed.

The First magazine is passing on a beauty tip with the tea bags. I will try this one! If you have puffy eyes. You may rescue them with two tea bags. Steep two tea bags in hot water for five minutes. Squeeze out liquid. Let cool until bags are just warm, apply to the eyes for 15 minutes. Wish me luck.

From our eyes to our feet tea bags look to be helpful. Yes, even our feet. Get rid of smelly feet. If you have the occasion of walking a distance and your feet are sweaty and smelly, you might try the tea bags. Let five tea bags steep in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Next, pour the liquid into a basin of tepid water, soak your feet for 30 minutes and then air dry. The tannic acid kills odor causing bacteria.

As I explained earlier, some of this info came from First magazine this month. I enjoy sharing information I get with you. I am just curious how much of it you get to try out. I do some of it but “all” of it just isn’t a fit.

Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org with any comments or questions. I’ll be waiting to hear from you. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: What are idioms?

by Debbie Walker

I like words, groups of words and their meanings. I didn’t know for years, what an Idiom was. I had to learn it while working with first and second graders! So here goes, let me give you what I learned, and it is in the Mary Jane’s Farm magazine from the July 20-21 issue. Sorry, but I don’t know who submitted it.

For anyone who is out of touch with these things, an Idiom is a group of words that convey a meaning not quickly figured out. For instance, if you are talking to someone new here from Chile and you tell them it’s ‘raining cats and dogs today’, what do you think the picture will be in their mind? Oh, yeah, questions I believe.

I am giving you some of them and the history of the saying:

“I can be ready AT THE DROP OF A HAT”: (quickly) 1800s when the drop of a hat was a signal for the start of a race.

“Stop BEATING AROUND THE BUSH”: (avoid getting to the point) Dates back to the 1400s. Wealthy hunters would hire men to literally beat the bushes to draw out the birds.

“I can see you have a BEE IN YOUR BONNET” (Obsessed with something). You can’t stop thinking about something. First used in 1500s, likening the busyness of a beehive.

“Don’t try to BUTTER ME UP”: (to flatter). Came from ancient India, where it was custom to throw balls of butter at the statues of gods to seek their favor, forgiveness, and fortune.

“Let’s CUT A RUG”: (dance). Phrase from the 1920s invention of the jitterbug, a vigorous dance, would make carpet look cut.

“Don’t LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG” (Tell a secret): Originates in the 1700s, street vendors would sell pigs and present them in a bag. There was a fraud, the vendors would replace the pigs with cats. Wasn’t discovered until they reached home.

“Use some ELBOW GREASE on that”: (apply physical effort). First used in 1600s, a term for working in a sweat.

“PUT A SOCK IN IT!” (stop talking): 1800s people used socks to stuff the horns of their gramophones to muffle the sound (early volume control).

“Don’t SPILL THE BEANS” (tell a secret): Ancient Greek, voting process of placing beans in a container, if someone spilled them the results would be prematurely revealed.

“That new tool just doesn’t CUT THE MUSTARD.” (live up to expectations): Thought to have come from the phrase “pass the mustard” when solders are assembled for inspection. Also, as early as the 1600s phrases like as ‘hot as mustard’ or ‘as strong as mustard’ were used to describe something powerful or enthusiastic and to measure up would be to cut the mustard’.

“I have a NEST EGG (Savings)”. This is thought to have originated from the practice of placing fake eggs in hens’ nest to encourage them to lay more eggs, resulting in more income for the farmer.

Can you imagine if you are struggling with the language here as it is and then we throw in a few of these idioms, that’s just not fair. I’m just curious if you ever questioned an idiom. Feel free to send me your comments to DebbieWalker@townline.org. Have a great week and thanks for reading.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: My question for you – part 2

by Debbie Walker

My Question For You (2)

Hello again. Last week’s column asked you to keep it or maybe your “rememberer” work’s better than mine and you didn’t forget what I wrote. So we are going to add a bit more to last week’s words.

Okay, onward. When people tell you how wonderful you are to them and how much they appreciate you, just listen. And then say thank you, that’s all you have to say.

Now there is always the chance that someone won’t return your smile. That is no reflection on you in any way. I really doubt that they are saving their face from cracking, I think they just haven’t learned yet how blessed they are.

I can be very evil sometimes. At the pharmacy I go to in Florida there is this red headed young woman who always had a sour look on her face and could be rather curt with customers, including me. Oh, look out! There is my challenge! At first I was rather put out by her because everyone else there is so friendly, I almost complained one day but I decided that wasn’t going to fix anything. Sooo, she became my challenge. No matter how sour she was that day I acted like she was being friendly, and I just kept on being me. I would purposely ask her questions that she would have to answer, and I always was smiling with her. I won that little girl over. It took almost a year but I did it! People really do want to be noticed, to know they aren’t really invisible and sometimes it only takes a smile. They are blessed by you and you by them.

From a Woman’s World magazine in 2011:

“You are a Blessing! It’s easy to wonder whether you’re making a difference in the world. After all, you’re just one person. Every smile you smile, every hug you give, every encouraging word you say and every kindness you show has a greater impact than you can imagine. One person can make a difference. Especially when that person is you.”

How about a little change here. I saw these ketchup uses in my First magazine and decided to share them with you.

Did you ever imagine using ketchup on bug bites? Mosquito bites are itchy. For quick relief apply a bit of ketchup on the spot for three minutes. It will help minimize itch and irritation.

Use ketchup as a make-believe paint for little ones. They can paint with it and if they eat it there will be no harm.

Ketchup can wipe away insect splatters on your vehicles. Cover the affected areas with ketchup and let set for 20 minutes, allowing the vinegar to breakdown the stuck-on gunk. Give the area a good scrub before rinsing well and buff dry.

Reveal a beautiful glow. Simply apply a thin layer of ketchup to your face, leave on for 15 minutes while you relax then rinse off with water. A smooth, glowing complexion for pennies.

I am hoping you will pass on the blessings to others. I am curious what you have for results. Questions or comments, contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: My question for you

by Debbie Walker

I have a question for you today and I hope you will give it some thought over the coming days. My question is: Do you know what a blessing you are?

It’s a pretty big question and a little uncomfortable and embarrassing for most people. I don’t think it is something we spend much time considering, but I am asking you to today.

If anything, I think most of us tend to compare ourselves to someone we admire for the things they do, how they make us feel about ourselves, things along that line. And if we are comparing ourselves to someone else we fall back on our faults rather than our positive attributes.

Take just a minute and think of three positive things about your best friend. OK, how did you do with that assignment?

Now I want you to do another one. Think of three negative things about yourself. How did you do?

Okay, now think of three positive things about yourself. How long did it take you? Was it easier to think of positive things or negative things? Why do you suppose the positive things about yourself were so difficult? And yet you can do the positive things for someone else rather quickly. I’ll tell you a secret – you could have cheated. All you had to do is think of positive things people have told you about yourself.

I feel part of the reason we have a hard time with the positives is because most or all of us have been taught “not to brag” about ourselves. Possibly as a child maybe praise wasn’t quite as quick as a reprimand may have been. And if you do something right you will just about forget it but if you do something incorrect you will relive that moment over and over again.

Okay, so now, again. Do you know what a blessing you are? In what ways might you think of yourself as being a blessing to the rest of the world? Anyone want to share?

When you smiled and said “Good Morning” or “afternoon” to someone you were a blessing to them, You ‘noticed them’ and it made them smile and feel good.

Sometimes we just have eye contact with someone in a store or on a sidewalk and we just smile and continue on, you made that person feel better.

When you are in a store, checking out and you smile at the cashier and say something like “Morning, and how are you today?” I promise you will be one of the few people that will do that. It’s such a simple thing to do and yet so many don’t do it. I promise you won’t use up your smile quota for the day. When our Creator invented us I don’t think he gave us a limit on how many we can give out in a day.

And the darndest thing is people will usually give them right back to you so you never get the chance to run out anyway.

Okay, I have reached the last of my words for this column. So keep this week’s paper, and I will finish up next week.

I’m just curious if you will check in next week. Thanks for reading. Anything to share ? Send it to DebbieWalker@townline.org.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: So many uses

by Debbie Walker

There are so many uses for simple, everyday products, why do we need the “newest, high-priced chemicals”? Would you have dreamed of the other uses of vinegar? Wait, unless you are from the older generation that used these products before the chemical ones came out! Confusing?

Apple cider vinegar: Sore throat, tenderizing meat, dog’s coat, freshen feet, revive yellow plants, what do these all have in common? Vinegar fixes them.

Sore throat: Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with /14 cup of water for 15 seconds. Repeat every hour.

Tenderize meat: Blend 2 cups of the vinegar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh garlic. Marinate in the liquid for three hours before cooking.

Dog’s coat: Dull looking. 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to his water bowl daily, gradually building up to 1 teaspoon of vinegar for every 15 pounds of body weight.

Freshen feet: Soak feet in a mix of 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of warm water for 30 minutes. Daily.

Revive yellow plants: hydrate plants with 2 tablespoons vinegar to 1 quart of water. Repeat once weekly for three weeks.

How about we try something different. Bubble Wrap. It can be used for things other than packaging. Snow proofing, hanger bumps, and winter proof windows.

Snow proofing your windshield: Use bubble wrap on windshield and back window to cover. In the morning pull it off. Much easier than scrapping.

Hanger bumps: Roll bubble wrap around hanger. It won’t leave bumps in your hanging clothing.

Winter proof windows: Spray the inside of each window with water then press the bubble side of the wrap against the frame. Keeps warmth inside and cold outside.

Back to food uses such as oatmeal: clean cast iron, Perk up houseplants and soothe aches and pains.

Clean cast iron: If cookware is looking shabby toss in 2 tablespoons oatmeal, rub with a dish rag. It absorbs grease and scrub away small food particles without ruining the cookware’s seasoning.

Perk up houseplants: Instead of commercial plant food try oatmeal. Mix 2 tablespoons dry oatmeal into the soil. Do this once a month.

Soothe aches and pains: Fill a tube sock with 1 cup oatmeal, tie closed and heat in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. (Microwave in 30 second intervals so sock doesn’t overheat.)

Time for a chat? I got a new book the other day. It’s The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present. I have only begun reading it but it has me interested. I remember a lot of the situations. Such as the beginning of it being okay for woman to wear pants in certain situations.

Thank you for reading. Have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Some thoughts

by Debbie Walker

I found a few tidbits of information I thought you might be interested in:

You know those little gel packets we find in some prescriptions and other things needing to keep the moisture. Well …. They can be reused to keep moisture out of your papers or photographs. I won’t be throwing them away anymore.

Did you ever wish you had a knife sharpener and swear you are going to get one when you go out next? In the meantime you can turn a ceramic mug upside down and hone the knife with that. They have an unglazed ring under the ring. Hold the blade at a 45 degree angle against the ring and pull across a few times. It’s nice to have ways to just get us by.

I never heard of using cream of tartar, one of our best bleaching agents. It will lift stains from almost anything. Mix a few tablespoons with hot water or peroxide. Let me know what you think of it.

I keep thinking about all the people that visited me while in Maine. One of the neatest things was getting together as a small reunion of the “girls” from the neighborhood. They have been living fairly close but life got in the way of keeping up with each other so we had a reunion at the cottage. It was so nice to hear everyone catching up on each others lives, swapping phone numbers and making plans to stay connected. I was really pleased to watch the action.

This is for Roland and anyone else interested: One day at the cottage I heard noises just under the deck. I looked over the side and saw kittens. What’s wrong with their faces? Didn’t look anything like any other breed of kitten’s face. They went back under the deck. Later that afternoon this showed up at the flowerbed: hopefully I will get a picture added here for you all:

I am going to finish now so there will be room. I know what it is. Do you?

Thanks for reading. See you next week! Comment or questions to DebbieWalker@townline.org.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: I’m back in Florida

by Debbie Walker

I am back in Florida and the weather is no better here than there. But I do miss that lake view.

While I was up there, I picked up a brochure for Sebasticook Region Land Trust to look at. It is what they called their Spring Newsletter 2022. It’s what they refer to as Speaker Series and Events. This one still has August and September events listed. August is named “Waterways & Connections”, Saturday, August 6, is Live Walk for Connor Mill. August 17 another Live Walk called Nature Immersion Walk. September is called Forest Revitalization with another Live Walk and a Zoom presentation called Coyotes, America’s Song Dog.

That’s only two months of activity but think of all the months you have been keeping any group activities at a distance. These are outside entertaining exercises and education at very low risk. With all the nastiness going on in the world right now wouldn’t it be nice to surround yourself with such beautiful land? These things show us a positive side of life. What better for healing us all.

While I was in Maine, I did spend some time with several “interesting” people. They made me realize my activities are quiet compared to theirs!

What do you say to someone who got out of bed, naked, grabbed a gun and headed out the door to the back 40, chasing after a fox trying to get to the proverbial hen house? No luck but at least she didn’t get chilled!

Then the next one pipes up to tell us about last November. It was after dark, and he was also naked (wife was laughing quite hard now). He claimed he heard someone by his hot tub outside, digging. He, too, took of running out around the house, naked, BB gun in hand. He was up against a muskrat headed back to his new winter home. The man got off three shots before the muskrat fell over right at his entrance of his almost new home.

Okay, that is the best I can do, there are one or two more “characters” I met. I do remember their being some interesting people as I was growing up in Maine. Not much has changed, I guess.

Recently, I fell in love with a new magazine called Mary Jane’s Farm. In it was an article written by Cindy about “Butter the Size of an Egg”. It is about old-time measurements for cooking. It wasn’t until late 1800s that we began standardized cooking measurements. I am going to share some of the older measurements. There may be more listed on a site called “Home Cooking” on About.com but here is what I have:

1 Jigger = 1.5 oz.
1 gill = ½ cup
1 teacup = a scant ¾ cup
1 coffee cup = a scant cup
1 peck = 2 gallons, dry
1 pinch/dash = picked up between fingers
½ pinch = picked up by thumb and finger.

I know you are aware that I find strange things interesting.

I’m just curious what stories you could tell! Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org. with any questions or comments especially if you want to share your story. Have a great week and thank you for reading.


by Debbie Walker

I am back! This was the longest I have ever been sick with anything and it was NOT Covid. It was a really nasty flu that lasted weeks. What I didn’t realize, I was so making things worse. It was one of those deals you are too sick to even try to see a doctor and too stubborn to go when my daughter wanted to take me (I have learned a lesson). Just too sick to want to move.

What I wasn’t even thinking about, nor anyone else, was my prescription medications. That is how to “add insult to injury” of a situation. I really made myself much sicker for longer.

I learned not to be so stubborn (stupid) and realize the daughter very often is smarter than the mother. I also learned that someone else should always know your medication routine. I would suggest giving someone dependable a paper that has all your medication information. How you take each and when. Name of doctor and phone number for each one. These plans before any illness may save a life someday. You can consider this my latest PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.

The day before I got sick, May 2, Twodles (Two doodles) birthday party for my great-granddaughter. What a “splash”, literally! There was a bounce house and water slides for all different skill levels! It was quite a day! I loved watching Addi learning what to do in a bounce house.

Twodle’s I learned is the second birthday Mickey and Mini Mouse style (her latest favorites). Mickey, Mini and the show is all very different from what I remember years ago. You have to watch to believe.

Miss Addison Grace is now two years old with an amazing vocabulary. You can have a real conversation. Amazing. Numbers, colors, animals, alphabet and loves books! (I hope to remember to put in a picture.)

As soon as I could fly I got a flight and came to Maine for recuperating at a good friend’s cottage on Unity Lake. It has been wonderful, the weather perfect I have been visited by many friends and family.

My sister and brother-in-law brought up everything necessary for a clam boil for lunch one day. He had dug the clams and he did all the cooking! What a way to get pampered!!

One Saturday morning, I read a children’s story to little ones at the library in Unity. I love to dress in some silly outfit for the reading. It is fun watching the kids, ages 3 -6 years old, reactions as I read them some funny story. I think they enjoyed as much as I did.

Fireworks! While everyone was hunting for fireworks to watch, I had my own private showing at the cottage. Cottages on the other side provided me with the entertainment! I had the best view, from inside and no fighting off mosquitoes. It was great!

It’s back to Florida this week for me. I have been up here for well over a month and I want to get back while Addi still remembers who I am. I hope you had and continue to have a wonderful summer. Here comes fall!

Thank you all for letting me know you missed me. Contact me with questions or comments at DebbieWalker@townline.org. Thanks for reading!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: 12 things to always remember

by Debbie Walker

I believe I found this material on Facebook, a social website, and I really wanted to share it. I don’t know who the original author is but I liked the thought behind this. And, of course, I had to add a few of my own thoughts. Any thoughts or comments you have I would be glad to hear from you.

1. The past cannot be changed. If we were able to change the past, we would lose some of the lessons we needed. What we don’t think of is in our quest to redo the past we would also lose some of the things you weren’t considering.

2. Opinions don’t define your reality. I will listen to anyone’s opinion, if I agree then it is part of my reality already. If I don’t agree I just ignore it. We all make mistakes. From those mistakes we learn. These are what makes our realities.

3. Everyone’s journey is different. No one is in the exact same spot in their journey. Everyone’s journey is different, that’s what makes us who we are, makes us all special. We might be the same age, in the same income bracket and may even have similar goals in life. Fortunately, the way we accomplish it is what makes our journey different.

4. Things always get better with time. Most injuries get better with time, most illnesses get better with time, grief and losses get better with time. Usually even our children get better with time!

5. Judgments are a confession of character. You will only know the character of a person through three things. (a) When you live with that person. (b) When you do business/partnership/employer/employees/ or friends with that person. (c)Any reason to spend a lot of time together. Character says a lot about a person, and that character is being judged, often, before you meet someone.

6. Over thinking will lead to sadness. Overthinking is focused on the past, specially the bad things that have happened or unfortunate situations that a person wishes had gone differently. Sadly, it is not just something you can ‘shake off’. The sadness or depression usually requires a little help, not just wishing.

7. Happiness is found within. According to my dictionary True Happiness is enjoying your own company and living in peace and harmony with your body, mind, and soul. It’s for being truly happy you neither need other people nor materialistic things. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. I think we look for other people to make us happy rather than doing it for yourself. Such as: My husband doesn’t have a clue what I would love for Christmas. My suggestion is to purchase a couple of your most wanted items, buy them and put them in his hands to wrap. I doubt he will be unhappy and you will get what you wanted without disappointment.

8. Positive thoughts create positive things. Explains itself.

9. Smiles are contagious. I believe in smiling, especially when I have eye contact with anyone, strangers, and all.

10. Kindness is free.

11. You only fail if you quit. Or…If you don’t try all.

12. What goes around, comes around. A person’s actions or behavior will eventually have consequences for their behavior.

Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Just a lazy Sunday

by Debbie Walker

My mind has been interested in odds and ends again this week. I have only had time for quick reads, but I do enjoy these times. It’s a time I can do a little research on maybe just a word I have never heard before or a website new to me. I admit to being behind the times when it comes to YouTube and Roku, new TV channels to me and oh,my! Oh, what I have found there! More neat projects.

There are many things that are common to us so we don’t even think to wonder where they came from originally. My example today is one thing I think we have all enjoyed, the popsicle. Stephani Butler wrote a column for The Country Register titled The History of Popsicles for the July/August 2017 issue. I mean, what’s to think about? It’s just Kool-aide or juice, frozen on a couple of sticks or in a tube.

We got them thanks to an 11-year-old boy, but they actually go back as far as Ancient Rome. Can you imagine what a welcome treat they must have been to people just coming out of the Depression years. Cherry seems to be the favorite flavor (I say orange) however, I can’t imagine why you would want Avacado, Mango chili, or Mohito flavored. I don’t know if those will be available near-by. They are still a cheap treat on a hot day (and for babies cutting teeth).

Have you started cleaning up outside, getting ready for summer or is it too soon yet? People here are busy planting (86-degrees this afternoon). Not me, I am inside writing this afternoon.

When you are ready, I did read a few bits about that. Like bird baths: soak the bowl with 1/3 cup white vinegar to four cups of water. Cover for one hour, then dump and rinse. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and is non-toxic to birds.

For yellow and brown patches of grass pour 1 can of beer into one gallon of water and sprinkle on those areas. You can have your beer when you are all done.

For weeds and grass coming up around steps and along walk-ways, heat water to boiling and pour on these areas. Kills without harsh chemicals.

I wanted to remember to tell you and remind myself to get some extra dryer sheets. I read to put plant and hummingbird poles in the ground, throw a couple of dryer sheets, also under the feet of any picnic table. From what I read that will keep ants where they belong. You can bet I will be trying that one out.

Also, I have heard quite a few people complaining about flies. I just read to use geraniums to ward away the flies. I will be trying that, too. I want to use pretty, bright red plants.

To finish this off I would like to go back to the first paragraph. I spoke of YouTube and Roku but did not tell you what I find, and when I finish with this I am going to be going to the TV. I am hooked on the sections referred to as hacks for the Dollar Tree store goodies. I imagine you know they actually charge $1.25 now. But people are showing you all these neat things you can make for decorating or gifts. You can’t believe how much there is. Well, I hear it calling my name now.

I am just curious what other things we take for granted without questioning where it originated. Let me know what you come up with. Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org with questions or comments. Have a great week!