I’M JUST CURIOUS: Doggy information

by Debbie Walker

I don’t know how many columns I have written, and I just recently realized I have never written anything about our pets. So… here goes:

I came across the most recent Reader’s Digest, and it has a great article about dogs and cats titled “What Pets Want You to Know”.

A professor from British Columbia stated that our average dogs have the mind equivalent to our 2 – 2 ½ years old child. The average dog can understand about 165 words. They are better with words about things (ex: a favorite toy) as opposed to ’emotion’ words (good dog).

Before your pup is six months old, they should have met 150 people and they suggest 50 different places (I don’t go to that many!) They should try out different environments, be familiar with different sounds and sights. Dogs that don’t, can grow up fearful and aggressive.

We all know our dogs have different barks. Our dog, in the middle of the night, alerts us to her concerns with the bark. There is no question that she is alerting us. There are also barks that tell you the dog is lonely. The barks may be a single string of barks with pauses.

Dogs also have their own version of body language; they provide you with clues as to what they want. (Ex: pawing at bottom of sofa to alert you there is something under the sofa they want.)

Dogs are very aware of your stress or tension. Many dogs will feel that tension and can in fact react with aggression. Our energies affect the people around us, don’t think for a minute it doesn’t affect your pet.

Have you ever wondered why dogs chase their own tails? It can be itchy; they can be reverting to their predatory nature, or they are just bored. It can also be a compulsive disorder.

When you come home and find your dog has made a mess and she tucks her tail and looks ashamed. She’s just afraid of your anger, guilt is not part of her makeup.

Dogs don’t feel guilt, but they do get jealous. If you have a dog, you know this.

If your dog has light colored or white hair, they have a higher chance of being deaf in at least one ear. The gene that causes the white coat is associated with deafness, just as is blue eyes.

Little dogs have shorter, more frequent dreams than the bigger breeds. This is proven by brain scanning just like with us.

There are studies that have shown some dogs can detect cancer just as there are some who know when a diabetic is going to have a problem.

For those who don’t know there are some wonderful websites of dogs and their antics as well as other animals. They can be very entertaining on these cold snow and ice filled days and evenings.

We have a dog in our house. She is a Walker Hound and Boxer mix. She has been a wonderful friend. She talks. If she wants something, she will carry on quite the conversation. I love it.

I’m just curious about your pal. I would love to hear your stories. Contact me at DebbieWalker@yahoo.com with your questions or comments. Thank you for reading. Have a great, healthy, and happy week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Pom-pom history

by Debbie Walker

Did you realize the Pom-poms on our winter hats have a long history? I didn’t either until I read about it in my Farmer’s Almanac newsletter today. I really enjoyed the history. There have been several purposes besides a fashion statement.

There are, of course, theories about the pom-pom history. First let me tell you the name pom-pom comes from a French word, ponpon. That translates to “bobble” which means “a small ball of fabric”. It is believed they were on hats as far back as 790 AD to the Viking Era.

A small statue of a mythological Norse God was found on a small farm in 1904. It suggests a religious or cultural connection.

The pom-pom has historical origins:

• Napoleon’s infantry’s bobbles told which regiment they belonged to.
• Hungarian Calvary regiments and Scottish Highland regiments to help distinguish rank.

By the 18th Century the floppy beret with pom-poms was really an essential Scottish piece of clothing.

In Rome, Roman Catholic clergy have worn pom-pom hats for ages, varying in colors to show their rank and job.

In South America traditional garments of men and women. Different colors signals meant marital statis.

French sailors added them to their head gear to keep from hitting their heads on the low ceilings of the ship when waters were rough.

During The Depression the pom-pom became a popular accessory. It was an inexpensive way to embellish clothing.

In the 1960s favorite band, the Monkee’s was Michael Nesmith who helped make the pom-pom famous with his hat.

Now they rarely signify anything more than a sense of fashion.

Did you have any idea those little pom-poms would have such a history?

This column may be a little short. I have an excuse. I was in a car accident two days ago. A young man has since learned that if you can’t see because the sun is in your eyes you should slow down at least if not possible to stop. However, that night he chose to make a left turn at a speed higher than he should have been going anyway and the result was him hitting my car, the front left panel, wheel and destroyed it. Knocked the front bumper and other necessary stuff off.

Oh yeah, and he also gave me my experience of my first ambulance ride. I did not like the trip. At the hospital they x-rayed and CT’ed me and sent my aching body home. Oh, and instructions to see my doctor immediately. I spent the weekend pretty much in bed. My first accident appears to be another educational experience. I wish that young man had at least said he was sorry.

I am just curious if maybe we couldn’t all be sure to be a little more careful. Any questions or comments send to DebbieWalker@townline.org . Thanks for reading and have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Winter car hacks

by Debbie Walker

You know I hate to do this to you, but I think it best I pass this information to you before you need it. Yes, winter is fast approaching for you. In Florida, about the only thing coming are more days the temperature is just about perfect. Our worst day here would be like one of your nice fall days.

Over the past year I have been picking up ideas to make your traveling mornings a bit easier to cope with. I wish I had known all these the past Maine winters I was part of. I pulled most of this information from my computer when I typed in winter car hacks, just in case you want to look.

Winter car hacks:

Raise your wipers at night and cover them with socks. Prevents them from freezing to windshield.

Frozen lock (house or car). Use a straw, blow on the lock to melt ice. Or use hand sanitizer. Or use a lighter to heat the key and slide into lock.

A new one to me is using shaving cream to fog proof windows (even bathroom mirror). Spray a layer on the inside of window, wipe clean. Don’t leave open containers of liquid in your vehicle overnight. They will evaporate and turn into fog or frost.

You could also use a stocking filled with cat litter to prevent frost. Just leave in car all night.

Use cooking spray on rubber edges of your car doors, keeps them from freezing. This also will work on your shovel to prevent build up.

I don’t want to insult anyone but please do not use HOT water to melt the ice on your windshield. Think ‘shattered’.

Of course, you know the value of an ice scraper, you can also use a credit card to scrape a windshield. Here’s a new one: use a plastic spatula.

Put gallon-sized freezer bag over your outside mirrors, use rubber band to secure.

Clean your headlights with toothpaste for extra brightness. (I have seen car wax make a difference, too.)

Keep a 20-pound. bag of kitty litter in trunk. This can be used for added weight to the rear of vehicle and use it to help you get unstuck. You could use car mats or even cardboard as well.

The last year I was there I used alcohol in a spray bottle. I would spray the windshield and then I would move around doing the other windows. By the time I got back to the windshield I was ready to go! I also saw in an article that three parts vinegar and one-part water works for a de-icer.

I have room here for a myth I thought you might be interested in:

Myth About Cold Weather

Is a cup of coffee or a sip of brandy a good way to warm up?

NO. Caffeine and alcohol hinder the body’s ability to produce heat. They can also cause your core temperature to drop.

Drink warm, sugared water to give your body fuel to make its own energy.

I am just curious what winter tips you might like to share. I’ll be waiting for any questions or comments at DebbieWalker@townline.org. Thanks for reading and have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Did you know?

by Debbie Walker

I have been scanning some of my magazines today and kept coming across little bits of information that I decided to share with you. I understand if you are not interested in all I found, but maybe some part of it. I hope.

So…Halloween: Neighborhood tricker treating, as we know it today, started in the 1930s. The tricks associated became out of control during the Depression. Communities needed a better way for kids to celebrate. Sugar rationing during World War II put a big damper on the tradition. It regained the Halloween custom in the 1950s. (Info came from MyHomeTownCitrus.com)

Next… Quaker Oats introduced instant oatmeal in 1961. Did you know the picture of the man on the box is not a real character, but he is affectionately known as Larry! (Woman’s World 9/19/22)

Bazooka bubblegum came out in 1947, not long after World War II. It had a wrapper of patriotic red ,white and blue, with a name likely in homage to the wrapper developed during the war. (Woman’s World 9/26/22)

The animated short A Wild Hare was released in 1940, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny. “What’s up, doc?” was the first line he said to Elmer Fudd. (Woman’s World 7/25/22)

Lassie premiered in 1954. The collie named Pal, who ended up playing Lassie, had originally been rejected because he was a male. (Woman’s World 9/12/22)

The AARP had a section in the paper from the October/November and the article is called Money Saver. It’s comparing then and now. Bananas: 1990 = lbs ‘$0.53, Today: $0.64. Levi’s 501 = 1990: $32.00 Today: $69.00. Medicare Part B premium: 1990 $28.60, Today $ 170.00.

Miracle Cleaners that I found in Woman’s World dated 7/29/19 : Preserve wood furniture with an olive oil polish. Mix one part olive oil, one part vinegar and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.

Clean Kitchen counters: 3 oz. spray bottle halfway with water, then add a squirt of dish soap and two Tablespoons of rubbing alcohol .

Lift soap scum with a hot spritz: In a spray bottle mix one cup baking soda, ½ cup of dish soap, ½ cup of borax, one Tablespoon of white vinegar and one cup of warm water.

Now ladies, here is a few smiles for you: Seven Things You’re Sure Your Husband Will Never Say:

1. “The mall? Can I go, too? “

2. “Do these Dockers make my butt look big?”

3. “Beer? Nah! I’ll have sparkling water instead.”

4. “Why don’t we call your mother right now.”

5. “Honey, where did you leave the vacuum?”

6. “Which channel is Lifetime, again?”

7. “Let’s just cuddle.”

The Farmers Almanac listed some weather folklore and popular sayings that might help you get ready for the snow.

A halo ’round the Moon means ’twill rain or snow soon.

If the first week in August is unusually warm, the coming winter will be snowy and long.

For every fog in August , there will be a snowfall the following winter.

If there is thunder in winter, it will snow seven days later.

I am just curious if any of those sayings are accurate. You have your snow warnings, and we have hurricane warnings. After we get through this one, I will tell you a story. Thanks for reading and contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org.

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.