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Tips for This and That


by Kate Wolford

Published: Friday, August 14, 2020

Making Home Work

Being home a lot makes me notice the little things. Like a new favorite food ingredient, local soap, dealing with minor injuries. And, of course, living with Clementine, our sweet, loving beagle puppy. She brings us joy every day.

I begin with yellow jackets.

Last week, Todd discovered a nest of yellow jackets in some ornamental grass. And boy oh boy, did he get stung. The worst place was on the knuckles across his right hand. It's a good thing he's not allergic. But the stings were painful, then horribly itchy.

Todd experienced what I call "under itch." You've probably had it. It's an itch that feels under the skin, and scratching doesn't really relieve it. Very hot water, which tends to help relieve itching, helped some. Hydrocortisone cream can relieve insect stings, but that it didn't help Todd much.

Finally, I talked Todd into Benadryl (he didn't like the drowsiness side effects, so he dragged his heels), and it helped, but the swelling and itching was going down by then anyway. My advice for stings is hot water, hydrocortisone, a paste of baking soda and water left on skin for 10 minutes, and Benadryl—in some combination. These approaches have served me well over the years although obviously, I am not a doctor.

So, if you get bitten and show any signs of a serious allergic reaction or develop an infection, see an actual health practitioner.

Now, to swerve to a completely different topic; I have discovered an excellent savory flavoring agent. It's by Maggi and it's granulated chicken bullion. It's now my favorite because it is more chickeny and slightly less salty than other favorites I've had. Having said that, it's still a pretty salty bullion. Overall, though, it adds depth and flavor to soups and vegetables. I even make myself a cup of it to have with a peanut butter sandwich. It's a delicious lunch. I bought mine on Amazon, but I looked it up, and according to the Maggi website, you can find it at area Kroger and Walmart stores. It's worth looking for.

On to soap. I want to give a shoutout to The Soapy Gnome, which not only has outstanding, locally made soap in Goshen, but has also kept open during this trying time. My favorite item is their shampoo bar. You really can use it on both your body and hair. Every soap at the Soapy Gnome smells divine, but my fave is lavender-spearmint. It's so fresh smelling and it really cleans my hair and rinses out well.

There are many other products at the store, and they ship nationwide, making them a great present. I know this is a plug for a local business, but I'm constantly writing about Amazon, so I figured I was due to mention something local. By the way, they offer curbside service.

(No matter what you're looking for, please keep patronizing local businesses—they need our dollars. Accept or don't accept their pandemic policies, but know that almost every business is just doing what it thinks is best.)

Now, on to Miss Clem. Oh, she is the joy of our days! She is affectionate, intelligent, beautiful and hilarious. She has adapted well to our home. Sure, she's chewing on baseboards and furniture, but that just gives us (me) an excuse to buy more furniture and do a little renovation over the course of 18 months, when she's fully out of the chewing stage.

Here's a trick to remember when you go to get a puppy, if you, like us, use a breeder: Most breeders will give their puppies each a little stuffed animal. The toy gets the scent of the dog's mommy and brothers and sisters. If the breeder doesn't offer the toy, ask to take it home. Clem's toy has been with her every night in her crate, and she has been a champion sleeper from the first night she came home. She seldom wakes up, and if she does, Todd takes her outside and they both go right back to sleep. We believe the stuffed animal's scent soothes her and helps her to gently go to sleep.

That's it for now. See you next week.

If you'd like to share your own home memories or tips (or recipes), send ideas to tkwolford@aol.com. Or you can write me via traditional mail at The Farmer's Exchange, P.O. Box 45, New Paris, IN 46553.

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