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Oily rag Q & A

Oily rag Q & A

By Frank and Muriel Newman

The mail bags are bursting with ideas and questions so its time to dig in and see what tips and titbits lie in wait.

First a query. Busy Mum from Whangarei is thinking about Christmas - in particular what to prepare for a Christmas feast, without high cost. If you can help with thrifty ideas for Christmas Day delicacies then please send them through as we are sure Busy Mum is not the only one with this on their mind!

Now, a real blokes’ tip for vacuum cleaning! Douglas from Featherston writes, "If you are like me and by yourself, vacuuming under the bed is difficult. Here is a tip. Get the scissor jack out of the car and use it to lift up the bed. Lift, vacuum, put the jack back in the car - job done. Very easy." Great idea Douglas, and a lot easier than changing a car tyre!

C.T. from Onerahi in Whangarei has this way of avoiding Council rubbish charges. "I only use a large rubbish bag about once a month for rubbish to go to the dump. I always put fruit and vege scraps, tea bags, egg shells, and vacuum cleaner contents into a bucket and when it is full I dig it straight into my small vege garden, where it turns into soil in next to no time. The compost bin is used for grass clippings and prunings and the odd weed - that takes much longer to produce soil."

Good idea C.T. We put all household scraps into a compost bin, and a few weeks ago we emptied it to find dark rich soil. We formed it into a fertile mound, which has now become a thriving melon and pumpkin patch. Another way of getting rid of kitchen food scraps is to start a worm farm. We read an article recently about one being made from a length of 160mm downpipe. It was fun for the kids and a great way of having tiger worms turn kitchen waste into plant nutrients.

Anonymous has this tip for broad beans. "I steam broad beans till they are cooked and free flow them on baking trays in the freezer making sure the outer skin is taken off if they are old. Then they can be put into lunch bags to use when needed. Also green beans and carrots can be cooked cooled and frozen in lunch bags and just heated up when needed."

Nana from Inglewood has this gardening tip. "To keep the birds from scratching your seeds out and eating your vege plants, get any old DVD, CD or PC disc and thread fishing nylon through the centre hole and tie to a garden stake. Place stake in the ground where needed on an angle so the disc can spin in the breeze. Works a treat and has kept the birds away from my tomatoes."

Karen from Palmerston North has something to say about cracked heals. "I see the ads on TV for expensive treatments for cracked heels. Just as effective (if not more!) is to apply a coating of petroleum jelly (generic of course!) to the cracked/rough area. Cover with a piece of cling film, then a cotton sock (to keep it in place). Pumice away the dead skin in the shower/bath the next day. You should only need to treat them once or twice, and just maintain by pumicing once or twice a week. (Pumice can be picked up for free on our beaches.) You'll also find that this prolongs the life of your socks/tights/sheets etc."

Karen also has this bathroom tip. "Shampoo is expensive - we tend to use twice as much as we need to. Because we apply it to one spot on the crown of the head, the hair there can become damaged and break. I now spread a surprisingly small amount of shampoo between the palms of my hands, then apply to the sides of the head first, then to the back and top. Of course it depends on the type and length of your hair, but I use less that a 10c coin size. I also find that by not leaving it on for a prolonged period I seldom need to apply conditioner, and my hair has never looked better, so it's a win-win."

You can send tips and join the Oily Rag mailing list by visiting - or you can write to us at Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.


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