Magical Pit Stain Remover

It’s called ‘bleach’, my husband tells me.  But I was loathe to use it.  Besides potential environmental dangers, I remember using bleach to reverse ‘tie-dye’ t-shirts in high school.  If I left them in the bleach too long they would disintegrate.  So I was looking for something non-toxic.

This post will reveal some less-than-flattering aspects of my personality and hygiene.  But I’m prepared to deal with the backlash because maybe there are others out there like me who simply didn’t know what to do about this problem.

I don’t use any anti-perspirant and my deodorant is homemade of non-toxic ingredients, so despite claims by others that yellow stains are an interaction with aluminum-based anti-perspirants, I was pretty sure mine were just a result of my nasty sweat.  Nasty sweat?, you scoff – and if you do, you clearly do not know me.  Maybe it’s my chronic dehydration, maybe I eat the wrong foods, maybe it’s my poor bathing habits (I’ve gotten much better…), but family and close friends can attest that I have always had pretty nasty sweat.

Double pit stains

Double pit stains

As a result, some of my favourite cotton summer shirts eventually developed yellow-tinged stains from underarm sweat.  This summer those shirts were unwearable.  And still I didn’t know what to do.  SO they sat in a pile in my bedroom all summer.  yes.

BUT – my wandering mind and the interwebs converged one rainy afternoon and a solution was found.  Pretty simply, it involves ingredients I already had in the house.

Here is what you need:

1 c. vinegar in 2 c. warm water

1/2 c baking soda

1 T salt

1 T hydrogen peroxide

And here’s what you do:

  1. Soak item (or offending area of item) in vinegar water for at least 20 min.
  2. Gently squeeze out and lay on a towel
  3. Rub mixture of baking soda, salt, and hydrogen peroxide into stain
  4. Let sit for at least 20 min
  5. Throw in the wash!

What was especially cool about this method is that it also works on coloured shirts. I have a lovely delicate blue cotton blouse – sleeveless, but still ringed with yellow under the arms. That shirt too is now sparkling clean! And still blue!

Soaking offending areas

Soaking offending areas

The Magical Removal Paste

The Magical Removal Paste

Mashing the paste into the stain

Mashing the paste into the stain

Clean Shirt

Clean Shirt! Lighting wasn’t great, but there is NO remaining discoloration!

Posted in DIY, Health, homemade, household cleaner | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Back Door to the Bee Hive

Although I am very proud of my top bar bee hives, I am not a carpenter.  As such, ‘true’ was just an ideal I strove towards when I built them.

The result in Hive #1 is an extra entrance to the hive where my poor carpentry skills have over time created an opening too big to close with propolis.


Field bee with fully loaded baskets entering the back door


Gapy bottom board leads to two back entrances to the hive

Although it might be beneficial at times to have a back door for increased ventilation and reduced traffic jams, the bees have to guard it against intruders, which might be a significant drain on resources.

I should probably plug it come winter, no?

Posted in bees, honeybees | Tagged | 4 Comments

Bee Line

What are my bees doing? I came out Monday morning to find this:

Could this be the remnants of an overnight bee beard? It was super-duper hot the previous day (90F), still 82F when the bees retired, so maybe they had bearded? But it got down to 63F by madrugada – do bees un-beard in the dark?

Or were they doing something entirely novel to me? I looked closely at this line (it was a bigger pendulum when I first saw it), and it did not appear to contain anything but worker bees, so they weren’t kicking out drones, saving their queen, or removing an intruder (all hypothesis I considered).


Posted in animal behaviour, bees | Tagged , | 1 Comment

From Broody Box to Broody Breaker!

Queen Sheba: A month into her brooding

Queen Sheba: A month into her brooding

Queen Sheba is broody. We were surprised because our previous Australorp never went broody.  But there she sits – protecting the nest box with the most eggs as if they were her own and as if they would hatch.  *Sigh*

But we are done with broody hens.  Having them raise baby chickens is beyond adorable, but we need a break.

Although the interwebs provided no useful information on breaking broody hens when I looked in 2012 (shoo her off the nest, dunk her in cold water), this time around I have found a potentially useful approach.

It goes like this: To break your broody, remove her from the nest, stick her in a cage with food and water but no nesting options.


The newly renovated Broody Breaker: nesting platform caged off, wire mesh bottom

So I have ironically renovated the Broody Box into a Broody Breaker. The nesting platform is fenced off so she cannot use it. The box has been raised and the open floor underlain with wire mesh. The idea is that it’s not very comfy, but she won’t be walking or sitting in poop.


Sheba pacing the Broody Breaker after being removed from the nest box

That’s it. From what I have read, breaking her broody is proportionate to the amount of time she has been broody. She’s about a month in so those hormones are in pure rage at this point. I don’t expect it will be easy, but I do expect it will be interesting. And hopefully successful.


Discovering food and water in the Broody Breaker


Broody Breaker raised for dropage of poopage


Forlorn broody hen in the Broody Breaker

UPDATE: It totally worked! One night didn’t do it. I took her out that next day and she played chicken for a while, but was back on the nest by afternoon. Four more nights in the broody breaker and when I let her out she was back to her regular chicken self. A day later she squatted for me, and then there were eggs.

Posted in animal behaviour, broody hen, chicken behaviour, chickens, DIY | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments