Cleaning Utterly Filthy Window Tracks

When you live on the edge of the windswept Great Plains surrounded by wheat fields and home construction, dirty windows are a given.

Along with our dirty windows, we get heavy dirt building up in the window tracks, especially on the west side of our house.  At times it’s so thick I think we could plant lettuce in there…obviously, I don’t clean often enough.   This is real life and it’s dirty.

The best way I have found to clean these tracks is very simple and you probably have everything you need on hand.

This process works with DRY dirt, don’t try it when it’s wet and sticky.

You will need:

One old toothbrush

Vacuum with small nozzle

Window cleaning solution

Rag

Qtips

Open your window to allow access to the track.  Scrub the dirt with the toothbrush to loosen it, then suck it up with the vacuum nozzle.  Scrub as much as you can and keep vacuuming until you can’t get any more dirt up.

As you can see, the track is full of dirt, don’t judge me.
Start scrubbing with a toothbrush to loosen the dirt.
Vacuum window tracks
Use your vacuum nozzle to suck up that loose dirt.

 

Now it just needs a wipe with a rag and some window cleaner, and some Q tip for the corners.

 

Our windows have little square holes at the bottom to allow water to drain out.  This is a good time to make sure those aren’t clogged up.

Now use a little window cleaner and rag to get the last bits of dirt.  You may need a Q tip to get into small crevices, depending on how picky you are.

There you go!  Shiny clean window tracks to go with your shiny clean windows (assuming you cleaned those too)!

DIY Peanut Butter Bird “Suet”

 

 

It’s winter in Oklahoma.  We had a long very warm fall but the bottom dropped out in late December.  It is flat COLD today and it’s not going to warm up for a while.  I have filled our bird feeders with black oil sunflower seed.  The birds and a very fat squirrel are loading up on it.  When it is this cold, extra fat and protein will help birds keep warm so it’s a nice thing to offer during a cold winter.  Traditionally beef suet is the fat of choice but I don’t happen to have any of that.  I used to make bird food using peanut butter, bacon grease, and cornmeal, but the latest research from Cornell Ornithology seems to indicate that bacon grease isn’t the best thing for birds due to the sodium and nitrate content.

One has to be careful when feeding fat to birds.  If it is not frozen solid it can get on their feathers and they lose their insulating power which can cause birds to freeze.  Basically, if it’s above freezing out, pull your “suet” feed so the birds don’t get it all over them.  If you put it in an old onion or fruit bag to hang, little bird feet could get tangled in the mesh.  A wire feeder is a better option.  Fat in an easy to access place could attract more undesirable yard visitors.  If you start to notice critters you don’t want in the yard, pull that feed.

I happened to have a block of frozen beef fat left from my bone broth making and I used it to make some bacon-free bird “suet”.

Here’s how.

1 cup peanut butter (natural preferred)

1 cup beef fat OR lard, needs to be soft enough to mix

2 cups cornmeal

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup raisins, optional

Mix all ingredients well…I use my Kitchenaid.  I love that thing.

I pack in into old butter containers and freeze solid, then unmold and put on the platform feeder.

If the weather warms up above freezing, don’t leave it out.

 

 

 

 

 

New Color for the Dining Room

Our house was built in 1983.  The very first thing we did after we closed on it back in 2004 was rip out the old brown cut pile carpet in the living and dining rooms (yes, carpet in the dining room, it’s an eighties thing).  The second thing we did was take out the strange little pony wall with spindles that was supposed to divide the front door from the living room.  Third, I removed the wallpaper in the dining room (meanwhile husband took out the weird tile in the entry and accidentally broke through to the crawlspace beneath the house, but that’s another story.) I trashed the drywall in the process and we had to texture it.  

And so it was painted boring ecru for a while until I decided I really liked a country French/ Tuscan vibe and painted it “Butternut Squash” (okay, it’s actually safety yellow)…and I liked it until about four years ago.  Then I wanted robin’s egg blue, but how, oh how, to choose. the. perfect. one?  This dilemma went on and on…

Younger son’s birthday a while back…note the safety yellow walls

 Various life type things happened over the years, and finally this past April it looked like I would have the time and inclination to paint that darned room. Really I could hardly stand to see it anymore, which is bad because I am in this room constantly and I have to see it from the kitchen and living room!

 I finally picked a color.  There is lots of excellent advice on the internet about choosing the perfect paint color.  I don’t have much to add.  I hung little paint chips on the wall, popped for a sample sized can of what I thought I wanted and slapped a big 2 x 2 swatch on a couple of the walls.  I didn’t hate it so I bought a gallon and got it done in one 24 hour period, thanks to my wonderful husband moving furniture for me.  I am really happy with the color, and the Clark and Kensington paint went on well and covered nicely.  Two coats and it’s like a new room.  So much better!  And it only took me four years.  

Harbor Lane Paint sample from Clark + Kensington
Harbor Lane Paint sample from Clark + Kensington
Older son’s birthday this year, look, blue walls!
Blue Dining Room
So much better!

The takeaway?  Just go paint the wall already!  Paint is fairly cheap and many stores will even give you a do-over color.  I felt so much better once the yellow was gone.  Is the blue I painted on trendy?  I don’t care, I just love it.  Do what you like and what makes you happy!

 

 

 

 

Make Your Christmas Tree Smell Amazing

One of the things people love most about a fresh Christmas tree or wreath is the amazing scent.  We don’t have a fresh tree or wreath so far this year, but I do happen to have a bottle of Rocky Mountain Oils Spruce oil so I just put about ten drops of the oil all along this little pine cone and nestled it among the branches of the tree.  I don’t recommend placing essential oils directly ON your artificial tree branches, as they might melt your needles.   Pine or fir oil would be wonderful, but I don’t have those on hand so spruce will have to do.

Right now I am diffusing 3 drops of the Spruce oil and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract– yes, just the regular real vanilla baking extract I get in a big bottle from Sam’s Club.  (Disclaimer–don’t do this if you are worried about voiding your diffuser warranty.)  Mine is long expired, so I walk on the wild side.

I figure I will need to refresh the pine cone every few days to keep it smelling amazing.

Do you have any tips on making your tree smell “real”?