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While this may be a short dairy, I'm hoping the comments will encyclopedic.  I have a couple of home remedies that are insanely inexpensive, natural and very effective for age old problems.  I'm certain that this community has many more.

Melatonin:  I'm in my mid fifties and started having problems falling asleep and staying asleep for more than 4 hours or so.  Then I came across the sleep benefits of melatonin, a supplement that I used to take when I was very active in the gym.  But it's a naturally occurring hormone in the body that assists with the body's circadian rhythm and we produce less of it as we grow older.  For example, I take two 3mg pills to sleep and my wife,12 yrs my junior (he-he...bragging) only needs one.  

The affects seem to diminish with prolonged us so I take a break over the week-ends to keep my body's response to it fresh.  Dreams can be vivid and WICKED.  Reduce the dosage oif dreaming is too active.  According to WebMD there may be other benefits:

Reduces chronic cluster headaches.  It may be that melatonin, when taken as a supplement, can stop or slow the spread of cancer, make the immune system stronger, or slow down the aging process. But these areas need more research.
I can't remember the last cold I had and I can now imagine why.  And. It's.Cheap.

 I grew up watching Ronald Reagan introduce Death Valley Days on TV and the Twenty Mule Team Borax commercial always preceded it.  Little did I know that I was going to become one of it biggest fans.

One constant living in Florida is the everlasting battle one wages against bug infestation. Whether it be the famous and prehistoric roach or ants or fleas...the list goes on and on and on....  It just no longer takes very much time or money.

Regardless of how clean you keep your home down here...the jungle is always attempting to encroach and reclaim the land.  The most obvious of this was the roaches and ants that seemed to love my storage boxes in the garage.  Spreading some borax around the floor of the garage quickly got rid of them all and leaving a light dusting close to entry points, around the edges, behind the appliances and under the stairs keeps them away.  Dusting the dog beds helps control the flea & tick problem as well.  No more expensive and concentrated solution applications that tend to make them sick.  The remarkable property that makes borax so effective is that the insect bodies absorb it and it dehydrates them.  It's also safe to use in your yard.

Safe, Effective, Natural and Cheap (did I mention Cheap?), borax has many other uses as well:

It also makes your laundry detergent more effective.

So those are my secrets...what are yours?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    ..most profound moments of my life...the last few -- And, for Global COOLING, if it's man-made and doesn't move, paint it WHITE!

    by tristan57 on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 10:07:18 AM PDT

  •  Diatomaceous earth (11+ / 0-)

    is good in the garden, although I worry about its effect on the earthworm and honeybee population, so use it sparingly. I also mix homemade Windex using 1/2 c. rubbing alcohol, 1/2 c. vinegar, a drop of dishsoap, and a spray bottle full of water. Works on shower walls too.

    Painting the ivory tower beige.

    by ProfessorWho on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 10:26:50 AM PDT

    •  bad for earthworms and honeybees? (3+ / 0-)

      I've used DE for years in the vegetable garden.  I had never heard or considered that it might be bad for the earthworms and honeybees.  I'm off to do some googling....

      •  Update (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Carol in San Antonio, bnasley

        This is certainly not definitive, but my brief cyber sleuthing indicates:

        Bees - While DE might be lethal to a bee that gets a lot on it, (1) that probably won't happen if you avoid putting the DE inside flowers, and (2) it is very unlikely to be carried back to the hive in sufficient quantities to harm other bees.  My conclusion is that it's safe for bees, but we should try to not get it inside flowers.

        Earthworms - DE's effectiveness deteriorates rapidly after getting wet.  It kills exoskeletal critters (insects) by giving them lots of microscopic cuts.  After it gets wet, it begins to lose the microscopic sharp edges.  My conclusion is that DE probably has even less deleterious effect on worms, but it might be best to avoid mixing it into dry or damp top soil.

    •  Consumer's Reports printed a recipe very like the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tristan57, Carol in San Antonio

      one you and I use to clean windows.

      Years ago we were living & traveling in our RV. We kept the windshield clean with Windex. One day, while accidentally driving through a snowstorm we noticed that the snow that was accumulating at the bottom of the windshield was blue. From the residue of the Windex.

      Which meant that no matter how hard you tried, you would never get rid of the residue which stayed around and caused streaks. Never had that streaking problem with the CR recipe. Or if I did, lacking the blue dye, I never saw it.

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Susan Grigsby on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 01:04:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've tried oodles of so called... (0+ / 0-)

    natural remedies, including one
    pimped by Dr. Oz, & have yet to achieve success, as claimed for the recommended thingy.

  •  Pool acid and Pool bleach (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tristan57, worldlotus

    cheap to use for all purposes. Be careful and you won't have any problems. Acid for the hard water rings, etc...........

    There is no they, We will sink or swim together.... We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

    by GDbot on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 11:01:30 AM PDT

  •  Half an Aspirin for Insomnia. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, bnasley

    The only drawback for me is that it tends to trigger sleep paralysis, but I'm prone to that anyway. It rarely takes longer than 1 45 minute sleep cycle to do the trick.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 11:10:28 AM PDT

  •  There is no solution to insomnia. (3+ / 0-)

    Find a quiet hobby.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 11:12:01 AM PDT

    •  yes there is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29, tristan57, GDbot

      Give up caffeinated drinks.

      I was addicted to Pepsi, from the age of 15. I'd crack a cold can upon waking, and down it in 30 seconds. Can number 2 followed shortly thereafter. Most days, I'd drink at least a six pack, or a liter bottle of the stuff.

      I had what I thought was chronic insomnia, for more than 25 years.

      Most weeks, there would be at least one day where I just stayed up all night long, and never slept at all.

      Then I gave up drinking Pepsi on New Years Eve 2006.

      Two months later, if I sat still for too long in the evening, I'd find myself waking back up an hour or so later, after my nap...

      Now I find it hard to stay up late.


      ps  I still drink two cups of coffee in the morning, to get going, but never in the evening anymore.

      * * *
      I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
      -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
      * * *
      "A Better World is Possible"
      -- #Occupy

      by Angie in WA State on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 12:28:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, Pandoras Box

        Doesn't work for me. Tried that in my twenties to no avail.

        Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 12:58:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  good point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tristan57, Angie in WA State

        My ex-MIL used to drink green tea in the evening, believing it was caffein-free. It is not; contains just as much as black tea does. She stopped drinking that and slept well.
        Some remedies for colds and cough also contain caffein or similar substances which keep you awake.

        Besides caffein possibly taken in unknowingly, another common cause for insomnia is cold feet. A warm footbath (or sex) should get some blood away from the head and into other body-parts. Sleeping with warm socks can help.
        The bedroom, on the other hand, should be as cool as you can stand with a thick blanket, well-aired and silent (no TV, radio, ticking clock).
        Checking whether the cushion is the right hight and material might be worth a try, and the mattress should not be too soft.

        Herbal teas recommended against insomnia: valerian, hops, lemonbalm, passiflora. For long-term medication, change the herb you use every month or so.

        Warm milk with honey is often recommended as a sleeping draught, but I personally find sweet bock-beer (as they brew in Bavaria), warmed to body temperature, more effective. Warm altbier with sugar and eggyolk has been recommended to me, but I haven't tried that myself.

        Freedom is not just a word. 'Freedom' is a noun.

        by intruder from Old Europe on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 01:29:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Diet Mountain Dew is My Culprit...ADDICTED! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State

        ..most profound moments of my life...the last few -- And, for Global COOLING, if it's man-made and doesn't move, paint it WHITE!

        by tristan57 on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 01:43:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  i've tried pretty much everything for insomnia (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Carol in San Antonio

      except acupunture.  yoga, meditation, hypnotics, hypnosis, over-the-counter, various natural extracts, ad infinitum.  And not just for a few days then just calling it quits.  I've been dealing with sleep problems for almost 20 years.  As long as i have to follow a sleep pattern healthy for the typical 9 to 5 job the only thing that has even a chance of getting me to sleep within a half hour as well as keeping me out is weed. (annoying as, believe it or not, i don't really care for that particular high)

      Part of this, probably most, is due to having a body rhythm slightly out of sync with traditional business hours.  My sleep is way more restful when my workday starts a few hours later and i don't have to mumble vile curses at my alarm clock until ~10am.  

  •  So many... (9+ / 0-)

    Let's see, there's
    1.  Aloe (either fresh from the plant or as juice purchased at Trader Joe) for burns and skin irritation

    2.  Arnica (gel, cream, or homeopathic pills) for muscle aches and pains

    3. Melatonin (as you describe)

    4.  Marigolds planted around bug-attractive plants to protect them

    5.  Baking soda and vinegar (cleans out slow drains)

    6.  Baking soda and lemon juice (replaces scrubbing powder and smells much nicer too)

    7. Lavender (dried) to relax before bed - in a pillow or sachet to sniff

    8. Rosemary, fresh off the bush, to clear sinuses if you DO ever get a cold (sniff it, or rub your hands over the bush and sniff them)

    And I'm sure I have plenty more, these are just off the top of my head.  I avoid chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and corporate products as much as possible and life is fuller, healthier and MUCH less expensive!

  •  Someone told me coffee grounds (7+ / 0-)

    works on ants, but I have put them in all my potted plants, and something is still eating them -- not ants though!

    I live in Central Texas, and there has been a weird infestation of some bugs that ate all my mustang grapes and keep eating all the flowers on my tomato and pepper plants, and chewing holes in the leaves. They are light green with gossamer wings -- pretty, but apparently deadly to my plants. The plants bud out and the bugs eat the flowers. I've had two peppers and about ten cherry tomatoes this year.

    I also use diatomaceous earth around the foundation of the house to keep roaches out. I have to be careful where I use it though, because we have a dog that tries to eat everything.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 11:20:49 AM PDT

  •  garlic and pepper mix (6+ / 0-)

    As an insect repellent in the garden.  Throw some garlic cloves, really hot peppers, and water into the blender and hit liquify for a few minutes.  Pour the contents into a jar with a tight lid, but leave lots of air at the top.  Let it sit for a few days.

    Sprinkle it on and around your vegetable plants.  I use a Worcestershire steak sauce bottle to dribble it out.  You can also strain out the liquid and put that through a plastic spray bottle.

    This works fairly well for squash bugs, caterpillars, and some aphids and beetles.  It works slightly for grasshoppers and ants.

    Warning: best to pour it into bottle/sprayer outside.  If done right it smells REALLY bad.

    •  I tried fighting aphids on young okra leaves (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Carol in San Antonio, ImpactAv

      with a mixture of ground up tomato leaves and water, a common organic remedy. It is said that the tomato leaves contain alkaloids that are toxic to aphids.
           I soaked two cups of chopped tomato leaves in two cups of water and let it steep overnight. I strained the leaves out of the liquid, added another one to two cups of water to the liquid and put it in a spray bottle.
           I also tried a mixture of 3 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp. mineral oil, 1 tsp. dish soap and water.  Both solutions were temporarily effective, but now I just hose off the aphids with water daily.

      I've never had trouble with aphids on okra planted in spring.  Just this year with okra planted in July. The undersides of some leaves were suddenly thick with aphids, and ants that "farm" them.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 03:39:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Carol in San Antonio, ybruti

        I've never had a problem with aphids on the okra.  During droughts, the ants seem to eat right around the base of the bloom on the developing okra fruit.  I do the garlic/pepper and DE and it seems to help.

        The aphids devastated all my eggplant this year.  I may try your recipe on them next year.

        I get the ants farming the aphids on black eye peas, but most of the plants aren't damaged too much so I just "share".  :-)

        I've come to the conclusion that vegetable gardening is mostly just luck and chance.  Plant lots of different things at lots of different times and see what happens.  However, it is fun to come up with organic solutions to some of the pests.

        Thanks for you tip!

        •  I think I added 2 cups of water (0+ / 0-)

          to the garlic/mineral/soap mixture.  Even that might have been less water than the recipe called for.

          The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

          by ybruti on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 11:58:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Got a clogged drain? Don't buy any commercial (7+ / 0-)

    "Drain Cleaner". They are expensive, toxic, sludge.

    1/2 cup baking soda + 1/2 cup plain white vinegar is the Solution for you!

    If the sink/tub is clogged tight, pour the baking soda right over the drain itself (even if standing water is present).

    Wait until it's all absorbed by the moisture and only then, pour in the 1/2 cup of vinegar, again directly over the drain itself. After about 3 minutes, run hot water briefly, to see if clog is open. If not, repeat until it is.

    WAIT AT LEAST 20 minutes between applications. You don't want to build up too much pressure in there and explode your drain pipes!

    Once the 2 ingredients reach each other, they catalyze and form a foaming, gunk eating, power cleaner that is safe and cheap.

    If the sink is slow draining, but you don't have standing water - do the same treatment, only when you put the baking soda in, after 1-2 minutes, pour the vinegar in.

    You'll definitely hear when the two encounter each other in your pipes - you'll hear a big whooosh, pop, pop sort of noise as the foaming action starts.

    This stuff will devour anything biological (hair, food waste, grease, etc) and break it down, so that it will pass out of your drain pipes.

    Use a single dose once a week or so to keep drains (even septic tank drains) clean and free flowing.

    Baking soda package: about .85¢
    Vinegar: 1 gallon about $2.50

    That's my cheap and effective Clogged Drain Cure.


    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible"
    -- #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 12:22:28 PM PDT

  •  I suffered from insomnia all my life (5+ / 0-)

    I even remember as a small child lying awake for hours (which annoyed the heck out of my mother).

    However, I have not been bothered by it since giving up gluten some years back, FWIW.

  •  I save used tea leaves (any kind) & use them as (5+ / 0-)

    an outside barrier against pesky pests (like ants).

    This was effective during seasonal ant invasions...those tiny ants that somehow get inside & brazenly march around the kitchen or kitty bowl.

    Sprinkled thin unbroken lines along windows, doorways & any place I spotted them determined to find an entrance.

    Bonus was twofold-did not have to worry that I'd poison the wildlife that visit or hang out & if it rained the smell was lovely.

    Did not seem to matter if tea was dried or still wet-either way it served as a barrier against those ants.   I assume that the key is an unbroken line of whatever thing one uses....but really don't know for sure.  All I know is it works.

    Just started experimenting with orange oil to deter spiders & other bugs inside the somewhere that roaches/spiders in particular hate the stuff.  We'll see.  

    Don't usually mind a spider or two but with the heat (or something) they seem to have built a refuge camp in my home's nooks & crannies.  Not cool with me.

  •  you're 12 years older than your wife (4+ / 0-)

    and you think that's bragging! pfffft!  Men just get better looking as they get older! (dammit)

    Now, I am 6 and a half years older than my hubby - THAT's bragging!


    cool and interesting diary - thanks! i needed a change of pace

  •  bats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    Has anyone addressed bats as a household pest? I know they are useful, but I can't stand having them in my part of the 180 year old brick house.

  •  Natural Mosquito Repellent (0+ / 0-)

    Made with essential Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (recommended by CDC as effective as DEET):

    Mix in a spray bottle:
    1-2 teaspoons oil of lemon eucalyptus
    1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) of a carrier oil (I used grapeseed oil)
    3 ounces (6 T.) of witch hazel (or alcohol or Vodka or even water)
    Shake well before spraying exposed skin and clothing (don't spray directly on face; spritz hands and pat on).  Reapply every 1-2 hours.  Smells delicious and works great!

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