Best Ant Remedy Ever


We have ants in our house. We are chemical phobic too so controlling pests is always alternative and sometimes not so effective. After dealing with little tiny ants for most of our super freezing cold winter and then an entourage of big fat black ants that moved in with the change of season we found a great solution and are currently living ant free!

Eyeball equal amounts of maple syrup and Borax. Stir them together in a shallow plate, saucer or jar top. We put a jar top full of this mix under our stove where the little tiny ants found and indulged in it. They soon dissipated. This last week I made a bigger batch and left it on the kitchen counter while we were gone for the day. After finding ants upstairs crawling across my pillow, traversing the top of our window molding and tickling my toes under my desk I sit here making this entry with nary an ant in sight. According to my hubby, the ants eat up the mix, carry it to their nests and it kills them. Sorry guys.

You can find Borax in the laundry aisle of most conventional grocery stores.

Do you have a highly effective non-toxic remedy to share?


Cold Saturday

This morning we awoke to -4F.   Saturday family breakfast, layered up and skied loop with dogs, fed and watered chickens, and cleaned kitchen, all before our friends came visiting. Four kids inside all afternoon was super fun and full of action. Moms chatted, talked about marketing and business, and wiped snotty noses. Working with friends brings balance to my shortage of hang time with girlfriends while accomplishing goals. Berkshire Livin' is the finest. 01.31.15 photo 2

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Tutorial - Food Packages

This week our theme is Harvest/Food Preservation. Well this year I have not gotten to my traditional ‘Load the Pantry and Freezer for Winter” duties as things have been changing for me in the food consumption area of my life. Some of you have likely gotten wind of my Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis last year and my week-long Kushi Institute workshop last week where I was immersed in the healing power of Macrobiotics.   More on that another time but for now, let me just show you a little tutorial I put together for making plastic drink jugs into cute and functional food packages for the lunchboxes in your life. Milk/Juice Jugs Clean and Ready to Recycle


With a permanent marker draw a line all the way around the jug.  Start with a shape as shown above.


Continue drawing on second side of jug coming half way up the side and making points between as shown.


Side Three


And the fourth side (should match the second side for even flaps)


Cut along marked line.


Cut jug


Fold flaps down as shown and mark a dot on either side of the narrow 'neck' of the tab.  Cut a 1/4" slot out between your dots slightly wider than you have marked.


There you have it!  Pop the tab through the slot to keep closed.


Gallon sized jugs work perfectly for sandwiches while half gallon size make great snack boxes.

Note:  Any permanent marker will work fine.  Images show the first one I put my hand on in the studio.  Have a wonderful lunch!

One Thousand Words

At the end of the week we feature a gallerie of photographs summing up the week from our readers.  There are no words, just images with captions stating the name of the photographer and their business name (if they have one).  Weekly blog themes are posted right here on Sundays.  Feel free to submit your original images to for possible inclusion.  Please include your name and the business name you would like included. So here you are, the pick of the week - our theme this last week - was Recipes/Menus/Cookbooks.  Thanks to all the contributors this week!

Sue Velte -


Filis Warren


Crispina ffrench

Northeast Poultry Congress ~

Chickens first became part of my ‘household’ when Ben was about 6 I think.  We ordered them from Murray McMurray.  They arrived on Easter Sunday via US mail, which was so surprising, hand delivered on a Sunday.  The chicks were tiny, just a couple days old, all in a little odd-shaped box with enclosed directions and a handful of feed.  The peeping was audible through several small air holes in the carton. If my calculations are right, that was 15 years, and a whole lotta chickens ago!

Lucy, Violet and I got up early this Saturday morning and rode over the mountain to the Northeast Poultry Congress.  50,000 birds (Can that be right?) and a whole bunch of bird keeping people under one roof!  Our time there was limited by a birthday party Lucy was really excited to attend providing parameters that helped keep overwhelm at bay.   The place was a sea of all sorts of mostly chickens.  We saw ducks, geese, doves, lots and lots of chickens, and bunnies(?).  Every size, color, shape, chicken I had ever laid eyes on was there and a lot I had never seen before.  After taking in the enormity of the venue we bee-lined it to the Sale Bird area.

By the end of the hour we had spent $200 and loaded 6 standard sized birds and 4, month old chicks into the back of my trusty 1990 Volvo 240 wagon.  Away we went, a box of chicks on each lap behind me, and a brooder full of big fat hens, with one very handsome rooster in the way back. When we got home we added our new charges to the coop full of our mixed flock.  Alexander, our little Barred Rock Bantam rooster is really not so sure about his new roommate Biggie, the giant sized standard Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster but I think they are going to work it out.  When I went to check on them and lock the coop for the night I caught Alexander ‘sucker pecking’ Biggie on the back of the wing.  I’m not sure Biggie noticed.  I think he is a lot like my husband, very large, strong as an ox, and sweet as the day is long. Our tally of new charges includes a trio of Silver Laced Wyandottes, Biggie, Betty and Carol.  They came from north of Toronto from Gardsmere Farm.  (Those guys were SERIOUS about their chickens.) We are the proud owners of the BEST Silver Laced Wyandottes in all the land, “from here to Australia”.  We might separate them out and breed them.  Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath.

A sweet woman named Linda from VT who attends poultry shows with her son Ryan (super cute and 32) sold me three of the biggest fattest Black Langshan hens you have ever seen!  These ladies are yet to be named.  I have some ideas – and would love to hear yours.  Are there are trio of sisters you can think of who we might name these three beauties in their honor?   Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Lucy and Violet talked me into letting them get some straight run silkie chicks – two each, not sure if they are hens or roosters but we did brake the Christmas wish bone and both had the same wish - that we have one silkie rooster and three little hens.  We got these little babies from a cute smurf-like lady in a bright green sweatshirt.  They are in a plastic blue tub the garage right now.  A big bright light is keeping them warm and the girls ‘checked’ on them every 20 minutes since we got back from the birthday party and woke up first thing wanting to go see them.  Hope they don’t loose interest.  They want horses.


We are off to The Northeast Poultry Congress later this month at The Big E Fairgrounds in Springfield, MA.  There will be 50,000 birds there.  Does that even sound possible??  I think it might just be the first time the girls get to show our chickens.  We have a dozen hens and one little bantam rooster named Alex.  Lucy wants to show him and our little black hen named Bloom.  Violet will show Stella Sundale.  Stella is a big Buff Orpington with a sunny disposition just like Violet displays (most of the time).  X-rays taken yesterday of Violet's spine are back and are showing something weird enough to have to go for an MRI in Boston.  I hope we will be at the Northeast Poultry Congress on the 18th.  Send a prayer.

The state ‘chicken tester’ came out today despite the frigid morning temperatures to take blood samples from our little flock.  Even with the thermometer reading 1 degree F, the girls opted to don lots of layers topped with snow pants, mittens, hats, and hoods, miss the first 90 minutes of school, and help.  Maybe this means I can relinquish chicken care to my able cohorts?