With the coming of summer, comes the challenge of keeping bugs at bay. One of the more common issue is the arrival of ants in your patios, along crevices, flowerbeds, and entrances. What to do without harming yourself and with the least impact on the environment? Here’s what I discovered….
A really long time ago while shopping in one of the many department stores in Chinatown I came across a small yellow box marked ‘Ant Repellant’. Inside were half a dozen of white colored chalk sticks. Now that was interesting, I guess I was suppose to be drawing lines or circles with it…. which is exactly what I did. I experimented on the patios, drawing lines and circles around ant holes and curiously found something quite amazing. The ants did not want to cross the chalk lines. They avoided, went around or stayed away from any of the lines or circles that I had drawn with the chalk.
Now that was ages ago and I haven’t made any effort to look for those chalk boxes again. Didn’t have to…. I found another way to replicate this easy ant deterrent method by simply using…… ordinary chalk. Yup, you know the ones use by teachers, children and street artists. Amazingly, I discovered they have the same effect. My own conclusion…. the ants just does not like to be covered in chalk….. any kind of chalk. Try it out. A single chalk line can help deter the ants from accessing your home through patio steps or prevent them from certain areas. Of course, we should be careful with any types of chalk and wash our hands thoroughly after every use.
For this week, seeing that Earth Day is just around the corner, I’ve asked my good friend, author and environmentalist, Larraine Roulston to write about her tips on backyard composting.
JOIN THE GREEN WAVE OF RECYCLING –
By Larraine Roulston
You do not need any special knowledge, nor do you need to be a dedicated gardener, to compost. Simply find a suitable location then begin layering yard debris with unwanted kitchen organics. Start composting with a base of brush cuttings to ensure a good flow of air into the pile. As well as adding veggie and fruit peelings, coffee grounds etc. you can include cooled wood ashes, sawdust from untreated wood, hair clippings, pet fur, wilted flowers and even bits of cotton, felt, rope, feathers and string. Soil should be added occasionally as it acts as an odour suppressor and introduces more micro-organisms to speed up the decomposition. Do not include meat scraps, fats and dairy products. Once you’ve got it going, the compost heap takes care of itself.
Larraine Roulston authors the Pee Wee at Castle Compost illustrated adventure book series.
One of the many concerns that some of us are facing at this time or eventually will face is downsizing. For a lot of empty nesters, ‘sandwiched’ between parents and older children, finding comfortable, active and independent living goes hand in hand with their need and responsibility to be visible and available to aging parents and grandchildren. Whether you are contemplating a change for yourself or for your parents or love ones, you are faced with the several and different options of access to housing. Accommodations ranging from townhouses (freehold or condominiums), condo apartments, adult retirement communities and other housing services currently offered.
Where do you start?
What are the best retirement communities in my area? Are there any associations, independent guide or organizations locally that can help? Who are the professionals that would be involve in your search and ultimate decision? Whatever your decisions there are steps to be taken and options to be considered.
Plan your transition
Step 1: Needs versus desires
Step 2: Evaluate your options
Step 3: Meet with the front line care support workers and tour the facilities you’ve chosen
Types of housing available
Independent or Supportive living
Long term care homes
Meet with your team of professionals
Doctor, community health nurse, hospital discharge planning coordinator
Case manager at your local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), social worker