Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Natural cat repellents for the garden

Spring is definitely in the air now. The sun is warmer and a little higher in the sky. The birds are back, singing and visiting the bird feeders and unfortunately, so are the cats.

Some neighbouring feline fuckeries (apologies cat lovers) have decided that our garden is the perfect spot to take their morning constitutional. Well I've got news for them.

So the other week, when Dan took Alessi to the park I embarked on a mission to make up the perfect cat deterrent.
I concentrated on two separate concoctions; one made with black pepper and the other from orange peel. Apparently cats don't like the smell of either. Fantastic.

So off I went. Boiling up pots of water, adding orange peel to one and the black pepper to the other. Then came the draining and decanting into spray bottles. The black pepper mix made me sneeze so much I thought my head might blow inside out. I took this to be a good sign.

And that was basically it. Making up the deterrents is a pretty simple game. But were they any good I hear you ask?

Well yes, it appears so! The cats used to visit the garden every single damned day. It's been just over a week now and while they are still visiting my garden, they're not 'lingering'.

I've witnessed it too. The come, they sniff, they move on. It's a beautiful sight.

A couple of points worth mentioning if you plan on making some yourself is not to bother using a spray bottle with the pepper mixture. I found that despite draining it through a muslin cloth twice, enough sediment still got through to cause problems with the bottle's pump. Which was annoying.
It's much quicker and easier to to boil up a big pot, let it cool and use a watering can instead.

Also, I've been using the deterrents every other day, but you'll need to do it daily if the weather is wet. Otherwise it'll just get washed away and you may end up right back where you started.

Someone told me yesterday that old coffee grounds can be used in the same way so I might give that go next.
What about you? Do you know of any similar natural cat deterrent recipes?

Monday, 16 February 2015

The toad post

Time, I have none.
Money, I have little to spare.
Energy, there is never enough.
Ideas, plans and dreams, an ever growing, ever flowing list that keeps my notebook full and my head buzzing at night when I should be sleeping.

There is a huge imbalance here that needs to be addressed.

Often, when I hear people talk of how stressed or overwhelmed they feel, I catch myself thinking; "free yourself of it then. Do what you absolutely have to get done, then take a step back. You're the only obstacle standing in your way". How easy. How simple.

Isn't it funny how easy it is to identify solutions to other people's problems, but not so easy to recognise how to fix our own?

It's so much harder when you're in the thick of it though. You can't see the wood for the trees. To see the situation objectively you need to take a step back and view it the way an outsider would. And sometimes to do that, you have to abandon plans, admit that you were wrong and reassess.
The trouble is, that can look and feel a whole lot like failing or quitting. And who wants to be a failure who had to quit because they were wrong? I know I bloody don't.
And yet that is exactly where I am right now.

Last year, I really had my shit together. I had a plan and although progress was slow, I made consistent, 'warm, fuzzy feeling' inducing progress.
This year I have no idea what I'm doing if I'm being brutally honest. Not just shop wise, this continues to be my sanity saver. The thought of quitting the shop leaves me with a lump in my throat so I really don't want to do that. But I'll admit, it takes up so much of my time. So much.
And of course there's Alessi. My number one who just recently has moved up a gear mentally and physically. I've joked in the past that I found her hard to keep up with - what the hell was I complaining about? I can no longer work around her even in fits and starts. Before the sewing machine didn't really interest her and she would happily play with her toys or read books by herself for 20 minutes at a time.
That doesn't sound like much, but you'd be surprised what you can get done even with three of those opportunities a day. Now she wants to play with the sewing machine. "Spin the wheel Mummy!" and press the reverse sewing button as I'm stitching. Not ok. Even if she's not touching anything I can't sew with her around me because I'm too concerned about where she is in relation to the sewing machine, where her hands are and whether she's trying to pull out my fabrics again. We're definitely at the pushing boundaries stage now and "no" often means "yeah go for it - let's see what happens".

Perhaps I'm just feeling a little burnt out and need a break. Maybe (while I loathe this thought) I've just reached the end of what I can feasibly do with the shop and need to shelve it for a while *sobs*. Maybe I need to try something else or maybe I just need to run away and find that metaphorical circus.

Who knows. I don't really know where I'm going with this to be honest, it's more of a brain dump. This is one of those posts that I've written a hundred times, only to delete it all again ten minutes later. People I know read this blog, which makes me reluctant to hit publish.

But the need to empty my head of this crap keeps getting stronger. The more I try to push these thoughts down, the more they return to the forefront of my mind and squat there like a toad.

So you could say that this post is my way of taking that toad and lobbing the fat bastard as far away as possible.

I just hope he doesn't come back.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

And breathe..

February so far has been like breathing a sigh of relief.

First my brother got sick and was admitted to hospital. Everyone was really worried about him - still are actually, but thankfully it isn't life threatening. For a brief spell however it seemed like real possibility and that scared the bejesus out of me.
It was tough to find out details at the beginning and in the midst of all the confusion and miscommunication I just remember thinking "for fuck's sake, I just want someone to tell me he's not dying!"
They're still not precisely sure what they're dealing with or how to treat it and it could be life changing, but at least he'll still be around. You never realise how much you take your family for granted until you're reminded by the fact that they're not immortal.
So anyway, yes. There was that and I hope, I believe, the worst is behind us now. I've got to give my family credit though, they don't get ill very often, but when they do they go all out.

Then there was my birthday which kind of snuck up on me after all the scary stuff that came before it. I didn't do too much, if I'm being honest I wasn't really in much of a birthday mood, not helped by catching a throat infection the day before.*  Thankfully this is where Dan came into his own. He organised a babysitter, dragged me out to watch a ridiculous, but very funny film (Big Hero 6 or as I like to call it, "the squishy film") and took me out for cocktails and top nosh.
Laughter and food. He knows me well that one.

And then there was Alessi's bloody nursery who nearly made me cry by turning down our request to increase her hours next term. Seriously I am relying on those extra hours. They mean a few hours of dedicated work/sewing time a week. A WEEK.
Most people daydream about what they would spend their millions on if they won the lottery. I daydream about the dresses I could make. Comfortable t-shirt dresses, a black one with a bright rainbow splashed across the front. Some nursing dresses, comfortable and colourful, dresses with embroidered necklines or maybe even dabble in some relaxed, boho style wedding dresses..
But I digress.
Eventually, after a lot of messing about and again, Dan being completely and utterly awesome, the nursery finally came up with an afternoon slot that will be available by the start of the new term. I would be lying a bit if I said I didn't whoop with delight at the news. And I would be lying a lot if I said I didn't then do a little dance and insisted that Alessi gave me a double high five. I was over the bloody moon. Still am actually.

So in short? January was a tough month, full of worry and not being able to talk about it properly.
February seems to have got its shit together. Long may it last.

* You see Family, that's how you do illness. Throat infections, colds, the flu etc. Things that can't potentially kill you. Take note please.

Other posts you might be interested in..

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...