So far this winter we’ve had more 2 cat/1 dog nights in the house than in previous years. It’s been bitterly cold and the outside temperatures are just too frigid to leave the dog and cats outside at night. During the day, even when the sun is shining it’s still pretty cold but my critters have their own outside beds on a covered deck.
I made the beds from the linings of old coats I bought at yard sales for 25 cents each and the bottoms of men’s pants that I found in a thrift shop in the ‘rags’ pile. I also found an old comforter there that was so ripped up they were going to toss it. I used it for the inside of the beds–double folded, it’s nice and thick and warm and with the fuzzy side of the linings, pretty darn cozy too. You may want to try something like this for your own critters or for the inside of a doghouse for a comfortable bed. These don’t cost much and if beyond hope, can be tossed in the trash come springtime.
Soon Christmas will be over and hopefully, paid for. A reader wrote in that she keeps the money from the ‘cents off’ coupons she uses at the store and stashes it for the NEXT Christmas. She says she was surprised at how quickly it adds up even at 25 cents a time, and it’s saved her a lot of credit card interest.
A reader wrote in and said that he soaks his dentures in ½ cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water each night. He says it works as well as the commercial stuff and doesn’t cost nearly as much. He did say that he rinses the teeth really well each morning before using them.
A reader writes:
“I just want to warn people NOT to leave an electric space heater plugged in when planning to take a bath. Just get the room good and warm, then unplug the heater and take it out of the room! My son almost fried himself the other night. He tossed out a wet washrag onto the cord of the heater not realizing it had a bare spot on a wire! It shot sparks all over the room and then thankfully, the breaker blew. Scared the daylights out of all of us. The heater is now in the recycle pile. We will get a new heater, but it WILL BE removed from the room before anyone takes a bath from now on.”
Did you know you can use a hand-held hair dryer to thaw out frozen water pipes? I had wrapped the pipes in our trailer home with insulation and even put heat tapes on thinking we were all set. But, I didn’t plan on the cat getting under the house and finding a little hole to get squeeze under the floor. She tore up the insulation by the bathroom and the pipes froze! I didn’t want to use a propane torch because the pipes are plastic. My wife handed me her blow dryer and said she uses it to thaw the frost out of the freezer. I took out a long cord to reach the pipes, and it did the trick–I got the pipes thawed out, the insulation replaced and the cat kicked out from under the house. We are good to go now!
Did you know that you can vacuum your furnace filters and reuse them several more times before pitching them? Just lay them out flat on the floor and vacuum them thoroughly on both sides, and then spray both sides with some kind of a duster spray. The stores have all sorts of them for dust repelling (I use the cheapest I can get). I clean them up good and put them back in the furnace. I can get three or more months use out of each filter before I have to toss them out. I can use the money saved for other things for my family.
(tip submitted by JB, SD)
Every year when I drive to the city after the Christmas season I see the sad remains of many family Christmas trees tossed out on the curbs. They can be put to good use for several months after the holiday. I like to put cookies and popcorn strings on the tree and then leave them when the other decorations and lights are removed. My tree then gets leaned up against the back fence as a feast for the winter birds during the cold weather.
Some years I will saw the branches off and use them to cover some of my perennials as an extra winter cover, and chop the trunk up as a bit of firewood for the shop stove.
I’ve also read that some communities gather the trees and the Game and Fish Departments put them out on the local lakes. When the ice melts, the trees will sink to the bottom and make habitat for the baby fish once they hatch. At any rate, there are some valid uses for those old Christmas trees besides filling up the landfills.