Thursday, July 21, 2011


My kids call me names - lots of 'em. It makes them giggle so hard they snort. Their favorite is Food Nazi. Earth Mother is another common one. Tree Hugger, Henna Hippie, Natural Nellie, Organic Mama.

In my home you will find chemicals galore and even some junky processed food. I only do what makes sense to me at the time and make improvements one at a time, and I'm good with that. I don't care to present an organic image as though it's an attractive character. It's a work in progress. I figure by the time I'm 60 I will have rid my home of nearly every chemical, be growing all my own food, capturing my own water, and still feeding my kids home cooked meals from scratch when they come home to visit. I will, however, still be going to the salon to have my roots done. Just sayin'.

See what I mean? Total hypocrite. I'm good with that. I only use organic products if they W-O-R-K, and there are many needs for which I've not found such a thing. Yet. Soooo, I will continue to use the mainstream, nasty, polluting, environment robbing products until such time as I can find some natural, organic product that WORKS. I'm confident I'm not screwing my kids out of a beautiful future world in the meantime.

For example. I've watched and read every single informational piece OUT there about natural weedkillers. Tried them all. I mean AAAAAAAAAALL. Did my share. Drove around the world (really just Atlanta but it's shockingly similar) finding unusual, organic ingredients, mixing, fixing, experimenting. Tried the "you have everything you need for a great garden and lawn in your kitchen cabinet" route. Mixed, fixed, experimented. Tried the retail organic stuff. No mixing, fixing, yet still an experiment.

Nuh-uh. None in the same class as Round-Up. Round-Up is da bomb. It's on a pedestal at my house with a spotlight trained on it, almost equivalent with the joy my family and pets give me. Nah, not really, but it is. so. great. You just can't kill poison oak with borax, vinegar or salt. It's a fact. So I'll continue to use Round Up until such time that a true replacement is found.

Note: Replacement (verb, used with an object)

1. to assume the former role, position, or function of, substitute for

2. to provide a substitute or equivalent in the place of

3. to restore, return, make good.

Note key words and phrases above: to assume the function of, to provide an equivalent.

I rest my case.

On the othe
r hand, there are ma
ny organic and/or natural products I have embraced and there are new ones on the market all the time. It's getting easier. The products work and they don't break the bank (another big criteria). Alternatively, I've made my own products for years: window cleaner, all purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, soaps, cleansers, lotions, shaving gels, lip balms, and so on. Making organic/natural products is even better (and usually less expensive) than buying them.

To be fair however, I'm not the only person living in my home, and the other three do not walk the organic road so willingly. So. I have backup in some appropriate cases. I have a bottle of off-the-shelf laundry detergent for the rare occasion that any of the three of the others living in my home might try to do laundry. I have off-the-shelf toilet cleanser in the boys' bathroom. It's difficult enough to get them to swab their own pottie when it's one easy step; no way would they carefully pour baking soda and then vinegar into the pottie, let it fizz and sit, then swab. It's a matter of success and survival. Where to make concessions. What to concede to.

And so it was that I came to use Method brand anti-bacterial kitchen cleanser. Functional, not too expensive, smells good, and not made up of caustic chemicals. Not perfect, but good stuff. In fact, now I know to tell you this, the active ingredient is thyme oil. Here's how I know. Funny story.

Last week the boys and I went to Florida, leaving my hunky hubby and their daddy home all alone. Now then. While he's not a fastidious person, nor is he interested in order or neatness or bothered by the lack of it, he did a commendable job keeping the kitchen man-clean. Not woman-clean, but a fair job nonetheless. I was appropriately impressed.

However. During our absence an army of sugar ants marched in to keep him company. Upon our return, hunky hubby waltzed back off to work during the day to leave me to deal with organizing and implementing their demise.

Day 1: Washed down counters, sinks, backsplashes, handles, faucets, windowsills, underneath of cabinets and any other random surface on the affected bank of countertop, ostensibly to clean whatever microscopic blops of food or sugar to which the teensy soldiers were attracted.

Day 2: Woke up to tripled efforts by the ant army. Hunky husband stopped by pesticide store on the way home and bought Amdro or Terro or something super strong max strength ant bait. Repeated day 1's cleaning efforts and placed ant bait units in appropriate places. Went to bed.

Day 3: Ant armies called in the infantry, the cavalry, and maybe even military from cooperating countries, I dunno. My white countertop looked like a Belted Galloway cowhide from a distance.

I love these cows. My kids used to call them Oreo cows.

Anyway, the ants were crawling OVER the commercial ant bait to get to my countertops. I declared war of my own. I got serious. I made up my own slow-acting poison that the unassuming lil buggars would drink, get drunk on, and take back to their queen, who is apparently busily spitting out baby ants quicker'n I can kill 'em, the hoochie. Ran out of Method cleaner so I used my homemade vinegar cleaner to repeat day 1's ministrations, then poured blobs of my heinous killer bait in appropriate places.

Day 4: No ants.

Day 5: No ants.

Guess what. No go ahead, guess!

The Method cleaner was attracting the ants.

That is too left of center for even me to wrap my head around. Here's the bottom line question, and boy it's a head scratcher:

How can it be a cleaner if it attracts bugs??????

This organic/natural concept/battle just never stops, does it......

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