Friday, September 6, 2013

our friend the hedge apple.

If you are fortunate enough to be in supermarket or farmers' market that is selling hedge apples, buy one and discover why it might be your new best friend.  Commonly called hedge apple, the Osage Orange or Maclura Pomifera, is technically a fruit but in the mulberry family, and it is not related to the orange family.  But the reason you want to buy them is for their ability to repel insects and rodents.

While shopping over the weekend in Minnesota, we spotted a basket of the rock-hard balls with the irritating pattern but glorious color.  Next to the basket was a sign that tauted the insect repelling properties.  Then the lady next to Mike happened to mention that they also work on fruit flies.  Sold.  The colorful fruits flew into my grocery cart.

When I did a little research I found that folklore provides numerous claims that hedge apples repel insects and spiders.  As I age, I realize more and more that 'old wives' tales' are more fact than fiction.  Supposedly people used to keep a hedge apple under their beds to keep spiders away.  I am currently doing my own little bit of research, and so far so good!  No fruit flies in my kitchen even with the garden tomatoes. 

A Wikipedia article stated that some research showed that extracts of osage orange repelled some insect species better then DEET. Anything that helps keep fruit flies out of my kitchen - and keeps me away from DEET - is a friend of mine.

These interesting "fruits" have a shelf life for 2-3 months!  They only need to be discarded when most of the green has disappeared.  They are not poisonous, but have a reputation for suffocating livestock by getting lodged in their esophagus, and have also been called horse apples.  The Osage Orange is native to limited areas of southeastern Oklahoma and east Texas. 

I am thankful I spotted these new friends in Minnesota, and I am on the lookout for more.   I want to set one under every bed in the house in this spider-prone season.  I might just plant my own hedge apple tree this fall...

worth repeating.

I enjoy the shock value of stating "Did you know that I have not worn deodorant for over 20 years?"
Since I heard the words exit my mouth this week, I thought I would bring it up on the blog again.

It was about 1993 when I first heard someone talking about using a SALT CRYSTAL instead of deodorant or antiperspirant.  They stated that your body needs to sweat, but the odor is caused when bacteria is present.  The salt kills the bacteria.  Bingo.  I was sold and never looked back.

Twenty years ago a salt crystal 'deordoent' could only be found in specialty stores and looked like ball of salt that fit in the palm of your hand.  Now they are readily available at places like Walgreens or CVS and the packaging makes them look like conventional deodorant.   Whether using the crude ball of salt or the sleek stick, you simply moisten the salt and apply liberally to your moistened underarms after your shower or bath. 

Besides protecting my body from the nasty chemicals, I enjoy knowing that I am protecting my clothes.  I used to be annoyed that the film from my deodorant would leave a film on my clothes.  And rings. 

Our bodies are assaulted with enough toxins everyday without massaging more on to our skin every morning. 

By the way, it is a money saver too.  One Crystal Stick (above) costs about $6.99 and lasts for months.  Unless you drop it on your slate floor.