Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weapons..................make me smile

Okay, it's not what you think.   I admit I sorely regret not having had my picture taken with my .22 rifle I had to give to my daughter.   I never even shot it.   I only bought it because I outshot her once and that was quite a feat.   But I do remember the first game I ever bowled at 138.   I barely ever broke 100 again.   So it could have been just luck.

The weapons I want to talk about are natural weapons to tame nature that I've learned about just since living in Ecuador.  When my brother used to go away to scout camp, he carried everything under the sun with him.   He would always say he wasn't going to go join nature.   He was going to BEAT nature.   My role model.

A few people know I've had a occasional tussles with ants.   Cinnamon is an amazing ant deterrent.   Ever since I discovered this, ants have avoided my home like the plague.   I know it sounds a little crazy but try it some time.   Sprinkle some over an ant trail and watch them scatter.   If you have a sensitivity to killing living creatures, you'll be happy to know this does not kill them.   It simply makes them go away.   There are many more ways to use cinnamon as a weapon.   More than I can name here.  Cinnamon has been valued in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries including benefits of providing relief from colds or flue, especially when mixed in a tea with some fresh ginger.  It is useful for relieving sore throats, coughs, sneezing and mild headaches.

Bay leaves.
I haven't had too many problems with other bugs but it may be because I learned about this little trick early on.   Bay leaves are good to keep roaches and sugar ants at "bay".  I not only put them in my kitchen windows and in the corners of the counters, I put them in the infamous bathroom discreetly in the corners.  One other use is to make tea out of it.   Bay leaves have been used for 1000s of years in many societies to get rid of headaches.   It's simple.   It's clean.   It's natural.   Additionally, I would never make a pot of soup or stew without it.

My friend, Stephanie, is going to love this one.   Most living creatures have natural enemies and the enemy of your enemy is your friend.  There are some spiders that will trap a scorpion in its web, wrap it and feed it to its babies. This is a nonchemical solution and honestly, it only has four more appendages than we do.  Why are we so afraid??  If that is a bit too extreme, you can always mix equal amounts of boric acid and mothball flakes , lightly dust the area you have seen the pest.  Chickens eat scorpions, too, but I don't recommend keeping them in your house.

Did you know a grown dragonfly can eat as many as 50 mosquitoes in a day??  Incredible.   Again, the enemy of your enemy is your friend.  They are nature's mosquito repellent and if you don't have any in your area, you may have to settle with the decidedly less beautiful and less fascinating bug zapper for your next outdoor barbecue.

Raw Honey.
Did you know honey is the only food substance that will not spoil?  It is sweet and the perfect compliment for hot tea.   But did you know that if you take one part honey to two parts lukewarm water and add a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and make a paste to massage into itching insect bites very slowly, the pain will recede within a minute or two?   Did you know that in a recent research on arthritis conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week out of the 200 people so treated 73 patients were totally relieved of pain and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain?   There are so many health benefits with honey as a weapon and added to cinnamon, it is phenomenal.   Please don't tell the FDA.   

OMG!!!  Not only is this a terrific seasoning spice, it is just amazing!!  And a natural gift in nature and I could go on and on about it.  It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and is very useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.   It has been shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop growth of existing prostate cancer when combined with cauliflower.   It has actually been shown to prevent breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.  It possibly prevents melanoma and reduces the risk of childhood leukemia and studies are underway on its affect on pancreatic cancer.   It is a natural liver detoxifier.  It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.   It also is an anti-inflammatory for arthritic pain.   There are so many benefits for the use of turmeric.   These are just a few.   It's a fantastic weapon to use for our health.  It tastes good in soups.  Get it.  Use it.  It is even available in pill form in most health food stores.  This is something people need to know about.  As good as it is, it is important to note that it should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstructions and a doctor should be consulted before a pregnant woman uses it since it can be a uterine stimulant.   Google is mi amigo or I would not know these things.

Dogs can be fantastic weapons for your health.   On a bad or lonely day, you can literally feel the love pouring out of them.   In fact, for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety.   They boost our immunity.   They can even help you get dates.  I may have to have a talk with Bear and Amber on that last point.  They certainly have helped me make a lot of friends around town!!   Especially with the kids!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Random thoughts after living in Ecuador six months ................make me smile

It will be six months on the 29th of July since I moved miles away from Texas.   I have reflected a great deal on my time here.   Much more good has happened than bad and the overall experience has been positive.   I want to share the progress on this post.

     1)  Never pick the prettiest fruits or vegetables just on the basis of its looks.  There is a reason it is that pretty and it seldom has anything to do with the taste.

     2)  When trying to decide on riding the bus for an hour and a half to the town 25 miles over or taking a taxi which only takes 30-45 minutes, check the tire tread on the taxi, if there is any.   If that passes muster, smell the taxi driver's breath.   If that is a go, memorize the phrase "Más lento que un hijo de puta.  Que nos van a matar."  There is a strong likelihood you will need it.

     3)  Google translate is your friend.

     4)  You can find beauty in the most amazing places.   I have a vase of cattails in my kitchen right now.   They were weeds.    All they needed were the right love and attention and they became gorgeous and brightened up the room.  It didn't matter what their origins.   People are a little like that.  That applies to number 1 as well.

     5)  If you have a bathroom that is exposed partially to the elements, always lift the toilet seat and check.   Under the rim, too.  You never know.

     6)  Repeat after me.   Bees are essential.   Bees are essential.   Bees are essential.   Bees are essential.

     7)  If someone is giving you unsolicited advice rather forcefully about your religion, diet or politics, using a "you" language rather than the preferred "I" language, step back and think for a minute.   People who do this most likely  were, at one time, very well acquainted with bullying in some degree or another.  Either they were bullied as a child or they were the bullyer.  Recognize it for what it is and move on.  I haven't quite mastered this one but I am working on it.

     8)  A great knife is better than Taco Bell.

     9)  Make every effort to learn the native language.

   10)  A sense of humor never hurts.

   11)  Retaining child-like wonder is not the same thing as being childish.

   12)  You will lose weight if you move your body more.   You can still eat cake from time to time but move.

   13)  Be kinder than you need to be.   If someone is being rude to you, in English, Spanish or any other language, don't forget that they are as human as you are and they may be having the worst possible day any one could have.   

   14)  If you want to write a blog, fine.   But if you do, and your kitchen is in another building from your workspace and you put a pot of rice on the burner, make sure you set a reminder in the room in which you are working.   Otherwise, do not expect your nice amber colored glass Vision Corningware pots to look like new again.  Ever.

Now I need to go start that pot of rice over again.