June

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Homesteading, gardening, homemaking and the Mandela Effect.

Published June 8, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
All things embroidery.

Practice embroidery hankie (above far left), two flour sack dish towels; one rooster and chicks design, other a snail washing its shell with the word “Wash Day” embroidered on it. Date of flour sack towels unknown, appears to be 1940s or earlier.

And I practically killed myself the day after last tilling more ground around my garden by hand. And then I began to do some serious weed-pulling, too. However, I was very quick to discover why I need to wear long-sleeved shirts and jeans instead of shorts and short-sleeves, I broke out. Yep, I have no idea if I uprooted poison ivy, poison oak, or whatever kind of rash inducing plants I yanked out of the garden and rose bed, but I broke out on my ankle, my arms, even my face.

 

I have been using banana peels, aloe vera leaves and a tiny bit of Lotrimin ointment (I know it’s used for athlete’s foot but it’s the only thing I’ve found that helps clear up these nasty rashes I seem to break out in once in a blue moon). So, between that and keeping up on mowing the back jungle—err, I mean backyard, I’ve become consumed with my gardening the most and working on my latest embroidery projects.

 

Homesteading, what is that? Do I live in a log cabin? Do I chop down trees and add on to my house from scratch? No. Homesteading originates as far back as the Pioneer days and even that of the Wild West. I like using the term ‘homesteading’ since I do a lot of back breaking labor outdoors myself with primitive tools. If I could do so, I’d likely mow the lawn with an antique manual push mower, but the kind of large yard I have would take forever in a day (possibly several) at that rate to finish. So I use the ‘pull your guts out’ non-self propelled cheap crappy lawn mower that gives me a work out and is difficult to push at times.

 

I don’t run to town in an ox-driven covered wagon, although riding in one of those would be a first for me since they are a non-existent form of transportation nowadays.

 

I don’t dress terribly old-fashioned unless there’s a special event that would call for such attire which never happens. And I don’t turn on the lights during the day and refrain from using my central air conditioning whenever possible to cut back on the high cost of utilities. Thankfully my small house doesn’t get unbearably hot in the summer unless the oven is going and I’m trying to dry another batch of celery, kale, jaopeno peppers, chili peppers, making homemade pretzel bread, etc.

 

My appliances use electricity to operate and I’m still joined at the hip to the electric company. I do dream of the day when I can see my homesteading/off grid plans come to fruition at some point in my life (hopefully before I get too old to enjoy and physically unable do them). And I don’t plan to live in the city my entire life long, either.

 

I would like to see myself on a mini-farm and raising chickens on a patch of land. Depending on where a person lives they can have backyard chickens in the city, but per city code a chicken coop must be fifty feet from the house and in the area where I live, a person is only allowed to have fifteen chickens. I had chickens once long before I put in my big garden and out of the five, one of the pullets actually turned out being a very arrogant and aggressive psycho rooster. I named him Boss Hog after the Dukes of Hazard character, Boss Hog of Hazard County (a fictional town in the show, I believe). And also because Boss Hog lived up to his reputation and ate every scrap of leftovers and chicken scratch and wouldn’t let the hens eat anything! I also grew to fear going outside because Boss Hog attacked me constantly. Laugh all you want, but until it happens to you, you’d never relate.

He saw me as a threat to his harem of ‘girls’ and he left me with bloody scratches and gouges. I still have scars on my legs to this very day.

 

Boss Hog was very hard to catch when it came time to put the chickens in the coop for the night. I remember when my mother and I built the chicken coop using scrap lumber, we placed it up on top of cement blocks so wild animals wouldn’t gain access and kill our chickens. We kind of went in together owning chickens. She’d pay for the chicken feed, and I’d care for the flock. No doubt having eggs was a huge bonus and they tasted ten million times better than store bought. They were also smaller in size and the yokes were orange (not the sickly pale yellow store bought eggs have). We collectively decided to give the hens free range and be cage free as long as I was there to supervise. The only mistake we made was tacking wire mesh fencing to the bottom of their coop, but laid down ply wood to they’d have something to walk over and built inset nesting boxes. As it turned out, it was a sturdy chicken coop with a roosting bar built in as well. At night a wild animal bit off the claws of two of the hens I found out one early morning as I was running late to get ready to go to church. Thankfully the hens survived and we built a fence around the coop.

 

The only other bad flaw we ran into was the coop faced the north, and when those cold winter winds would blow, they’d seep right into the chicken coop. I didn’t keep the chickens very long much beyond the first summer and fall, I believe. I was dismayed that the hens and Boss Hog especially decimated my first garden. And Boss Hog constantly crowed at all hours. That was annoying on me and I also worried that I’d get turned in because the darn rooster wouldn’t shut up.

There was a neighbor on the same block that had a rooster when I moved to the location. I didn’t mind hearing that rooster crow since it was off in the distance. I was later told that the neighbor was turned in and the rooster was never heard from again. That’s the downside of trying to homestead and have a mini-farm in the city is neighbor-issues that can potentially arise. Not all neighbors will be bothered by it. But there might always be one out of the bunch that’ll never be satisfied or begin to see the money-saving, homestead benefits of city micro-farming or even understand when there’s a supermarket nowadays just about on every block. But some people such as myself prefer a more productive way of life. There’s an adage: You reap what you sow. If you plant a lot of seeds, you’re crops will yield food. If you raise chickens for their eggs, you can be certain you’ll never run out. If you raise a goat for its milk and cheese, then you can save yourself the time, frustration of waiting in long lines with only two checkout stands open out of say 12 lanes, plus you waste less gas going to and from the store.

When I kept my first chickens I didn’t raise them to turn around and slaughter them. I know since for the longest time I did eat chicken and meat, but my primary reason for keeping chickens was the expensive cost of buying eggs at the store, that and due to the very inhumane and horrendous living conditions those poor big chain store egg producing chickens exist in is awful. If you ever get on youtube and watch a few of those big cooperate farming operations and the shady (and shocking) things they do to the animals it might turn you vegan overnight.

 

I let my chickens run free all over the backyard. They kept the grass mowed for me. I didn’t have to wrestle with the lawn mower nor have it self-propel me all over god’s green earth. I liked that the chickens also kept the insects at bay and one of the hens in particular was very easy to catch and hold. She was a Buff Orpington. I named her after one of my great, great grandmother’s sister’s “Alta”.

 

And there was Fannie, Birdie, Opal, Boss Hog and my resident four-legged tenant: my cat. My cat and I at this point hadn’t formed a bond. She hissed at me whenever I came close to dump out the compost, yet she’d hang around and watch me work in my garden. She ate baked potatoes and devoured French fries like I’ve never seen a cat do in all my years. I fed her cat food too, but had to keep that away from the chickens since it does contain some of their distant relatives of the chicken family. That, and I’ve always been told DO NOT ever feed meat to chickens because it will turn them carnivorous and then they’ll peck and eat each other to death. So my cat also had a few feathered contenders to deal with when came to the compost and who got what.

 

My cat used to run from Boss Hog and that was funny, then if I was outside, he’d run up from behind and either head butt my legs, or peck or kick me with his spurs. Then he’d crow a really loud, almost air-horn sound. I eventually had to carry a tennis racket on my person, and believe me, trying to keep him at bay and hang laundry and pick what measly produce is left in the garden one-handed is a challenge! Boss Hog was making my life a living hell. It wasn’t a matter of who stays and who goes, I simply gave up trying to raise the hens and one very arrogant rooster. Trying to raise chickens from pullets was my first learning experience and I went at it not knowing that roosters will be placed in with the pullets in those farm and feed stores and they all look alike when hatched. I thought I was getting all hens when my mom and I picked them out on a whim (which again is very bad, by the way) since almost nothing other than the chicken coop had been pre-built. We had to construct a flimsy fence as the hens and rooster became old enough to go in their coop.

 

When they’re cute little chicks you can’t tell them apart until they produce a comb. And the other hens I had were developing mean streaks as well, minus Alta, who would honk like a goose. She was a blonde chicken and easy to catch, quite lazy, and friendly out of the five. My next door neighbors loved the entertainment value I so frustrating provided for them unknown to me, of course. Often times my neighbors would trespass into my yard just to see what my chickens were up to. I was aware of this because at the time I happened to be in the house when I overheard my neighbors talking and converging close to my bedroom window right where the fence line is. Now I don’t mind if they’d at least knock first and see if I’m home, then ask to admire my chickens. But that’s rather gutsy to just walk onto somebody’s property and automatically assume the neighbor won’t mind.

But one thing that doesn’t seem to exist (at least where I’m at) is privacy. That goes right out the window when you have neighbors close by. Thankfully they didn’t knock over my measly fence posts and wander in the backyard. Boss Hog would have put the run on them. I mean that rooster was psycho nuts toward anything that walked and would just attack for no reason. So I got to the point where I carried a super soaker water gun, and when that failed, I put the run on Boss Hog, and when I did catch him, I’d clamp his beak and pack him around tucked under one arm being mindful of his sharp talons. He hated being babied and carried around, but when I’d release him it was right back to attack mode after he got over his wounded pride.

 

When the day came I gave away my chickens and their coop for free that ended it for the neighbors wandering over anytime they felt like without my knowledge or consent. And I was glad of that. I don’t mind neighbors, but do like to have my privacy. Next time I will invest in a high privacy fence to block the view and design a much better chicken coop and face away from the north. Around this time I was heavily involved in my church and other activities that I was biting off more than I could reasonably chew. I was still piling on the sugary foods, the soda pop, and the pre-processed garbage that it showed. Even though I was physically active, the weight never left and I knew in order to improve my outlook on life, I first had a lot of cleaning up to do starting with my diet. I remember going around feeling sluggish, had almost no energy which was very odd considering I hadn’t even reached being over-the-hill age and that was still light years away for me. Something had to be done. I didn’t feel quite right mentally or even emotionally and the emotional turbulence is what drove me to go nearly almost all vegan like I am now and cut out all chemicals in my food and just recently in my laundry soaps since a lot of them can contain cancer-causing dyes and perfumes. My clothes don’t have any scent to them, but at least the 20 mule Borax team and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (made for laundry only) gets them clean. And I don’t use dryer sheets, either.

 

Gardening is, and always will be, my second love. I’ve been a gardener since I was in my teens and became a full-time gardener now as an adult just this year. And when I couldn’t garden in the places where I rented from in the past, I’d have a garden space over at my parents. I was never without a backup source of home-grown food and it all boiled down to what I wanted to grow. In the beginning it wasn’t much more than spearmint and tomatoes. I didn’t get seriously into water-bath canning until 2013. And I must point out that I have NO experience whatsoever using a pressure canner, sorry. Those are just plain creepy for me because the contents are under pressure, and if something were to go wrong, the unit itself could explode. I have heard of various other food preppers say they can their own meats and chicken in pressure canners. But boy howdy, I don’t know about eating chicken from a mason jar. I know it can be done, but I’d be more worried about food poisoning personally and more leery of the chemicals, growth hormones, and antibiotics that are cooked out of the chicken and meats.

 

I have had a lot of success water bath canning my own tomatoes and cabbage even though according to the USDA they claim not to can either since there’s still a risk of botulism. However, tomatoes are acidic. The cabbage (if you’re me and make sour kraut) will contain vinegar and thus brings up an acidic level. And I tried making my own hot salsa but… wound up using way too much vinegar which I don’t believe the recipe even called for. I was making dill pickles that same day and somehow ingredients tend to get mixed in with each other. I have yet to make hot dill pickles or even can okra but do plan to try that this year hopefully.

 

I’ve been reading and like always, watching numerous youtube videos in my spare time about this soon-to-be phased out role of homemaker. Whether or not there’s any truth in all this, who knows. But making it illegal to be a homemaker that sounds to me to be very impossible. And then again maybe the videos I’ve been watching are simply all bunk or nonsense rather. And after watching many cookie cutter videos on the Mandela effect, I’ve come to realize too that yes, some product labels aren’t what I remember them as being/ looking like. For example Oscar Meyer vs. “Mayer” like it’s spelled now. That means you’d have to sing the song as, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener…” Mayer? Nah, from my memory it used to be “Meyer” and there’s more subtle changes with certain versions of the bible and the Lord’s Prayer being altered to having lines in famous movies being mysteriously replaced and there’s all the Quantum physics theories and the time parallel universe, time shift, alternate realities some claim in their videos were now living in the end times in regards to the logos and scripture changes, and a host of other things and it all has to due with Cern, and so-on, so-forth.

 

I finally suffered from extreme exhaustion from doing so much tilling and mulching my garden, having supper at a late hour than usual, then working on embroidery and watching those darn youtube videos that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning that I need to curtail it.

 

And after about the fifth Mandela effect video I came to the conclusion that it’s all repetitive with no new examples being presented. And it seems to be the narrators in these Mandela effect videos believe they have stumbled upon something freakish, creepy, and major that’s taking place. I believe it’s all to get views. Maybe they’re getting paid to produce such videos on the Mandela effect. But what the comment section doesn’t ever point out is that everything in these videos is the same the explanations are all alike in many cases as well. It kind of reminds me the old movie The Stepford Wives.

 

Until recently as somebody pointed out to me I’d never heard of the Mandela effect before. The Mandela effect is where a collective group of people remember something a certain way, while another group of people will remember something in a completely opposite way. And the lump sum that don’t know any better are spoon fed everything they see, hear, consume fall in the age range of pre-teen to Twenty-something hipster that doesn’t know any different because they were likely just born in the late 80s/ early 90s or even in the 2000’s sometime and just aren’t able to recall the way things once were because they weren’t around to see or experience it.

Twenty something hipsters and younger will spout off (like a know-it-all) everybody else 30 years and older are loosing their minds and our old age is getting the better of us and everybody 30 and older all suffer failing memories, weak recall, dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. and the younger generation tend to laugh and be disrespectful. They do not question things in their environment and have no independent thought process and simply weren’t paying attention, if indeed, these changes have taken place.

 

And to those young things I say this: go eat your CAPTAIN Crunch. It was never, ever called “Capn’” Crunch when I was growing up. Whether this was due to cut back on the expensive marketing of this cereal, or what have you, if folks from many walks of life can recall there’s been a definite change in how logos once appeared to them, then maybe there is truth in the Mandela effect after all. Froot Loops is another one. It used to be Fruit Loops. Now I won’t argue that it could be due to marketing changes.

 

But it would be very easy to trick the masses when it comes to altering antique advertisements in print if said advertisement is scanned, then ran through a photo shop program to alter it, but that would take many hours to manipulate. Now the bible scriptures being changed was a new one on me. However, I’m not one of those that devotedly knows the scriptures by heart, either. I have several different versions of bibles, and all are vintage (1941-1990s). I have yet to turn up an antique bible from say the late 1800s/ early 1900s in English to see if these changes also exist those copies too.

Everybody’s heard of the Lord’s Prayer, and depending on which version, it does contain either lines: “Forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us,” This was the common one I was taught in religious schools growing up. The new one that stuns many religious folks is something to this effect; “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” But I’ve heard both used. And the “On earth as it is in heaven,” has changed to “In earth as it is in heaven.” Something nefarious, perhaps? Or could it be just a simple trick of the mind? The way I remember that line was always, “On earth as it is in heaven.”

 

And there’s more about the one particular bible verse that has people going back to their old bibles and re-reading, “The lion will lay down with the lamb,” and some now claim it states: “The wolf will lay down with the lamb,” and there’s many who stand by their bibles and claim that “wolf” was never found in this parable before.

 

My mother pointed this out to me a while back and I was very much in the dark, so to speak of the Mandela effect. Yet, even I myself have noticed lately a few subtle changes on products that caught my eye. I have noticed the Captain Crunch cereal now saying, “Capn’” instead of Captain and a few more logos that no longer look like the way I remember them being.

 

And I’m going to fall in line with all those “cookie cutter” Mandela effect youtube videos, but here it goes:  Kit-Kat is missing its hyphen. Here again this could all be due to simple label/ company changes for who knows  what or why. Companies change their products so often anymore that most products I don’t even buy if it doesn’t look familiar to how I remember seeing it. And if it states: “New look, same great product,” or “New look, same great taste!” this might be an indicator that the company was a.) either bought out or b.) outsourced their labor to either China or Mexico c.) are ready to go down the tubes and disappear entirely. And sometimes even d.) all the above.

 

But how does the Mandela effect have any correlation blogging about homesteading, gardening and embroidery? Not much, but the idea that homemaking might become illegal was extremely vague even though I did try to research this and came up instead with one article that dealt with Stay at home mom’s and keeping a house and the myths and the biblical teachings that were more geared around the Christian mindset. And even that didn’t fit my interpretation of ‘homemaker’ and keeping a home.

 

The other articles I found deal with “in home” health care services and they tend to blur the lines between ‘homemaker’ and ‘housekeeping’ which appear to be used in the same context when in fact, a homemaker is a person that keeps a home. They make sure the house is presentable and company-ready, clean and tidy, plus if they’re on their own with no husband to help out, they also do outside yard work and minor house repairs as needed if they’ve got a knack for it.

 

A housekeeper does the house chores like sweeping, mopping, doing dishes, dusting, vacuuming and maybe some meal preparation is involved if it’s part of their duties. But all these in-home health service articles aren’t what I’m getting at. In fact, they were and are way off the mark. I’m referring to a wife back in the 1950s and before that kept a home that kind of homemaker. Not a homemaker of today’s times who is licensed and board certified to go into disabled people’s home and help out. That’s what a care-giver does, not a homemaker. I’d wish they’d quit confusing the terms and replace the word home maker with ‘care-giver’.

If I type too much info into the goofy search engine I will wind up way off track and I’m not even past the first page of garbled wrong results. And since I can’t find any evidence that a woman’s role in the home as a homemaker is about to or will ever become illegal, I’m going to safely assume that the youtube video narrator got their facts wrong and could provide no concrete source(s) and/ or links to verify or even clarify this. And they were simply too vague when they said homemaking will become illegal in the future.

 

Well… I’ll believe it when I see it. But until that time comes (if it ever remotely does in my lifetime), I will continue to be a homemaker and a homesteader. 🙂

And the embroidery patterns are something that I collect, scan (if they won’t take to a hot iron anymore), trace onto fabric then I embroider them. It takes time depending on how large the image is, but worth it. The two flour sack dish towels aren’t my own creation. I simply purchased them because they’re vintage and/or antique.

 

Thanks for reading, liking, re-blogging, commenting, sharing, and tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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The eight-legged residents that just won’t leave.

Published June 27, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

I’m writing out my frustrations. I’m not mad at the economy. I’m not upset about anything I read about in the news. I’m nearly at my wit’s end even though I’ve heard that living with spiders isn’t something to go off on a b**** fest crying fit over.

Actually, they aren’t just your average ‘spider’. They are the somewhat misunderstood, yet potentially dangerous brown recluse. Oh, and it doesn’t help that the basement is only 50 % finished, either.

And another thing, the former tenants from what I was later told about (long after I moved in) were heavily into drugs and didn’t take care of the place, if at all.

Well, gosh darn it! I loathe drug users, too. I especially dislike tinkers taking home repair/remodels into their own hands and doing things on the cheap… actually, I’ve never seen handy work like the kind I had to re-fix correctly to the best of my abilities. And no, I didn’t come across any brown recluses in the minor upgrades I had help getting done on my tiny money pit.

The house was just in a nice neighborhood and property taxes are well below reasonable.

And like any older structure that hasn’t been lived in in quite some time, it will attract all different sorts of residents. They hang out in the bedroom, living room, kitchenette, open basement/ crawl space (gross!), the utility area, bathroom (they love the shower walls and scaring yours truly half to death).

The ancestor brown recluses had to be eradicated. And I had never in my natural born days seen spiders get quite as large up to the size of a half dollar. Oh, man, take my word on it, I was driven beyond insane and ended up moving elsewhere for a period of time and put the tiny money pit on the market and write it off as a major loss. And most of my personal possessions went to the trash the first time around since I couldn’t deal with it anymore or the potential that a few hangers-on moved with me in the process. The most sentimental stuff remained in a garage and sealed. I sorted through it all later.

Spiders shouldn’t dictate how a person should live their lives. In fact, it should be the person settling fine into their new home. Instead, I didn’t have one spider to deal with, but up to many different kinds in my first year alone. I had venomous Hobo spiders, St. Anthony spiders, daddy long legs, brown recluse, grass spiders, funnel spiders (mostly in the yard) and wolf spiders that pack a nasty bite, but not lethal to the others mentioned.

“Kill ‘em if you see ‘em.” That’s my motto when referring to the spiders.

I’ve had two different pest control companies to my tiny money pit so many times over I lost count. At first, I was considering what chemicals they sprayed with and if they were safe to be inhaling when the AC or heat had to be used. I was assured what they use is safe around pets and humans. However, a person has to stay gone for a few hours for the fogging because it can be highly irritating. In my case (and I must have an industrial strength eight-legged freaks) that can live through an atomic blast. Moving can be an option, but at the present time unfeasible until I’m more financially stable.

I am wiser now than I was about what to look for when figuring out where to live. Don’t buy the darn place if the price is cheap. It’s priced to sell for a reason even though the realtor may not have any clue what’s been inhabiting the open basement/crawl space or attic longer than man has been on God’s green earth.

Everything was normal during the two walk-throughs I did with the realtor. The only thing I saw were two dead daddy long legs in the bathtub and several dead elm bugs in the window sill of the utility space. The open basement (although spooky and very small), didn’t give off any indication of the nasty surprises that did await me once my heart was set on this place.

I might be in love with the era the house was built in, but wasn’t thrilled that I found myself stuck in a living nightmare few ever find themselves in. I’m not going to get into the specifics as to why I was in such a rush to move from my previous place.

Oh, I guess coming out of a nine-year controlling relationship and failing at loving a Mama’s boy will make a woman go crazy eventually. But I won’t use that excuse in my current situation.

I think what plays a significant role in all of this is that a.) the house sat vacant with no takers or renters for at least three years or better.

And b.) the ancestor brown recluse spiders had been in the house for more than seventy years (no joke). Brown recluse spiders can survive without food and water for many long years and adapt to all harsh conditions.

The first go around made me haul out my personal belongings without even sorting through the contents. I think I wouldn’t call this down-sizing so much as it was more of a lost cause effort to combat this infestation that was reaching epidemic proportions. I couldn’t sleep, eat or even have furniture in the house. What I did have would go curbside after one month. Long curtains, oh yes, spiders LOVE to nest in fabrics, towels and clothes, shoes, etc. So I went with mini-blinds and I plan to wash and return the curtains I do have.

Sad that I can’t even leave stuff out. No books, magazines—nothing stays out. All of that was placed in a storage tub and hauled off elsewhere to be stored off sight. My life feels really boring since I can’t enrich my literary diet. But some day I pray this will change for me and I can have my books and magazines again and leave them discarded wherever I please without worry.

If money was no object… I could go the circus tent route—(yeah, right, if I was made of money I wouldn’t be living in this tiny money pit). The circus tent route is where a pest control company places a fogging tent all around the outside of the house and then fog the hell out of it. Sometimes it works, other times it won’t have any effect on brown recluses. And it’s extremely costly…. Not to mention a waste of resources, money and time if it fails.

The second time I had another pest control place come out they fogged the attic in the dead middle of winter. And guess what? I at first thought it worked completely. I had just gotten hired on a factory and moved back in. Everything for a brief period of time was looking up for me, but it didn’t stay that way. I still took precautions and kept nothing left out not even food or opened containers. Everything food-wise (except canned goods) stays in the fridge.

And I switched to storage containers and trash bags. All my clothes went into bags and containers. This I knew would have to cut down on the spider population since I wouldn’t give them a breeding ground. Well, my hopes were again dashed, and dashed some more.

The second infestation of brown recluses began cropping up in the spring of 2013. This time they ranged in dark brown, light-sandy brown and tan (almost impossible to see on laminated oak flooring). Arrg! I HATE SPIDERS! There, I shouted it in all caps.

I didn’t have quite so many mental melt downs whenever I saw a few spiders running around (and no, I’m no a messy person). I keep a strict, tidy place.

This house, its age and the fact it wasn’t remodeled right (or built eons ago) correctly says a lot about the architecture of its time which I was informed started out as a slave home (which may or may not explain why it was cobbled together without insulation in the utility area where the washer and dryer hook up). So when it gets hot, it cooks. In the winter the pipes freeze and doing a load of laundry is out of the question.

I feel like palm-smacking my head for being a nitwit when it came to first-time home-ownership. But I was young, really looking forward to getting back on my feet and simply couldn’t remain patient until the right house came a long and one had that might have been a lot better in quality. The spiders gave me an education, but seriously, I want them gone so I can live a somewhat peaceful life until I can save up enough or meet a rich Mr. Right and be out of here.

Brown recluses can bite. And although sometimes their bite can lead to a flesh-rotting wound (this is caused by necrosis, skin lesions). Thankfully the brown recluse’s fangs can’t penetrate through fabric and I haven’t been bitten as of yet. However, I take extreme precautions to shake out my clothes and shoes before I dress. I always check my bed and never let the covers touch the floor.

But I still don’t sleep well even after all the preventive measures and countless sprayings and foggings. This seems to just aggravate the spiders. So I did extensive reading on natural methods to make this place as unpleasant as possible for them. I invested in double-sided sticky tape and it became my best friend.

But—the grass spiders and one new spider that now lives inside of my bathtub faucet that juts out from the fake paneled shower wall (it’s not even shower surround material, that’s how shoddy the landlord and/ or previous druggie renters were), creates a new web every morning and night. I go in knock it down, spider hides inside faucet and doesn’t emerge until the next day.

When does the madness end? Likely it never will. With a house as old as mine (and it’s a crying shame and not remotely laughable), it makes me wonder, “What was I thinking?” when I laid eyes on this tiny money pit.

And then I had all that enormous life-time accumulation of stuff that moved in with me. If wondering, no, none of my personal possessions had any spiders in or contained in any of the moving containers. In fact, I was baffled as to where these brown recluses were just ‘showing up’ in the blink of an eye.

In the beginning they would repel from the ceiling, crawl out of the floors, floor vents (another do-it-yourself job that was s***** constructed long before the house was even on the market). The spiders loved to crawl out from under the fake tile in the bathroom and scurry back in once I spotted them on the edge of the tub.

I wept tears of anger and complained about my living conditions that made me feel like white trash even though I’m a far cry from that. I did everything in my power to combat this spider infestation and became more angry in the process. I downsized some more. Threw out memories, pictures— anything I could get my hands on. I pitched all of my books even some valuable antique ones that were scarce to find in print.

I then began trashing everyday dishes, cups and limited myself to one cup, plate, bowl and silverware. Next, I threw out my extra pairs of shoes, clothing, and towels. I simply couldn’t stand living in a brown recluse house and couldn’t escape the fact that at any given time I might have a nasty scar from a brown recluse bite or be bitten at any given time.

I don’t care what the pest control companies tried to console me with. They see this stuff all the time. Heck, there was an article in the local paper published in 2013 about an alarming influx of brown recluses leaving pest control companies working overtime that particular summer. My place was no different, but the unusual number of them was making my living conditions impractical and impossible. I soon heard that brown recluses were invading the rich homes in the city. So I wasn’t the only one having nightmares keeping them awake at night and it still didn’t bring me any peace of mind.

And I’ve read and picked through every self-help article on battling brown recluse spiders and came upon one disturbing relation: they are EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate once they reside inside a house. I’ve heard of clearing away grass and brush from the foundation. I do that weekly. And the lawn gets mowed regularly. There’s so may cracks that several tubes of caulking won’t fix. And the foundation is so old some of the cement overlay has gaps where some previous renter or landlord shoved rocks into just to cover it up. I can clearly see daylight behind the installed hot water tank. And damn-blasted to the wanna-be never-will-be home un-improvement renters before me never sealed up the cinder block window. They just crammed a cinder block and built a wooden porch over it. That’s another reason why the spiders keep getting in.

And the other un-improvements I won’t bother mentioning because they don’t relate to this blog post. I will, however, offer some tips on keeping one step ahead of this brown recluse:

1. Storage tubs and trash bags. If you have anything of value, place it inside a trash bag, seal it good and store it in the plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

2. Double sided sticky tape. Place this around all inside perimeters of the house, around bed posts on the floor and thresholds. For the longest time I did this around the edge of the bath tub, but the water ruins the stickiness of the tape.

3. Peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle. I heard brown recluses hate the scent of peppermint. I did this tonight around the house, hoping on a prayer this helps combat the issue until the pest control man stops by next week.

4. Vinegar and water. Seriously does this really work? You have to directly spray the spider and most of the ones I did this to did nothing. It doesn’t faze them.

5. Hair spray will freeze them long enough to get the fly swatter to them.
Nobody should have to live like this. But I won’t ever know the freedom for quite some time to just lay my stuff down and not feel the overwhelming compulsion to micro-manage it every second.

One good thing about this, living with brown recluses will be a motivator to save as much dough as possible to get the heck out. I’ve come to realize that this problem existed and went largely ignored for quite some time. Perhaps the former druggie renters worried more about getting their next high than ridding the house of the spiders.

And secondly, knowing very well who the landlord was didn’t help. Living here has taught me A LOT about living. I became a minimalist overnight even though I didn’t intend to live without some creature comforts. I made sacrifices just to tolerate my living conditions and I’m the crabbiest person because of it.

Then I learned from May to July are the active months for brown recluse spiders. And I have one more month to endure and then a grueling long a** winter ahead of me as well to get through. I pray by this time next year or sooner if I can make it happen I can move out of here.

I’m sick of not having my life the way I want it. I’m sad because I can’t relax. I’m frustrated because this tiny money pit will never be a ‘home’ except if you’re a contractor with a lot of money to sink into this place and don’t mind sharing it with brown recluses. Also, investing in the really expensive bug dirt would be nice, but financially out of reach for now. And besides I have my sights set on someplace else hopefully in the near future anyway.

Enough with my b**** fest crying fit. I now return you to your blog. As always, thanks for reading, re-posting, sharing, twittering, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. And if you have any helpful suggestions or tips I’d be happy to hear them too. 🙂