Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect.

It's learning to look past life's imperfections

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Squirreling It Away


I was up early this morning watering in the garden when the sun came up.

If you lived here you would be laughing as I am so not. a. morning. person.  I may be up early but I usually need at least 30 minutes for my body to realize it’s upright and my brain to kick in.

The garden is on it’s last legs and although they were forecasting rain for the day the air had that hahahahaha rain smell.  The teasing smell that comes with overcast skies…..and that’s it. No rain.  So I was watering hoping Murphy’s law would kick in and we would get a soaker. When I was turning the water off just past sunrise I heard an awful racket behind the house and thud thud thud noises.  As I came through the patio to to see what was going on I heard a loud metallic bang …What the heck?!?!?

The squirrels we stealing my walnuts & fighting over them

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They were were fighting up in the trees & the walnuts were dropping and hitting the wood pile and propane tank,  I laughed so hard watching their antics.

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There were about 10 of them stealing from each other, while knocking even more off the tree.  Made my mornings work easier.  I filled my bowl while they screeched and chattered at me like monkeys from the trees.

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This is all I was able to gather today, the tree is still loaded so I’m hoping to have gathered more before I start hulling them.  A few years ago I’d gathered enough to half fill a pillowcase and would turn it every few days while they dried only to realize the squirrels had chewed a hole in the bottom and stolen over half that I’d gathered! 

I’m keeping a better eye out this year…those pesky wabbits squirrels!


Monday, August 27, 2012

My Bucket List

Whole Wheat flour

Bread flour




I finally scored some buckets at Sam”s . 

Well, I should say my friend/sister Jess did for me.  She showed up at the house the other morning with the front 2 stacks of buckets and I was ready to do a happy dance…actually, I think I did a few hops and shuffling steps!

As it happened she was on her way back to Sam’s,,,did I want to ride along?  Well, a chance to share some time in good company, pick up a few bulk items I needed & to ride share? That was a no brainer!  And to make a great morning even better I scored more buckets

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Free buckets to repurpose from Sam’s…Now to get them all washed and filled as I’ve been tripping over bulk bags in my kitchen!

They’ve come in handy for compost trips with canning scraps & trimmings & picking beans. The small buckets don’t dump as easily as the large bowls I usually use and fit easily in the rows.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on my potato buckets as they have started browning off. One for some reason was further along in the withering process than the others & it was time to dump it.  On the way across the patio I glanced over and found that darn cat “setting on it”.  Thankfully I caught it just in time but, dumped the bucket just in case.

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I quickly checked the other 2 potato buckets & they were ok….. whew!To help protect them from an unwanted visitor, I used some of the scrap tile and put a bit of it on the top..

What a pathetic harvest!  This is it! I was so disappointed. I don’t know what I expected as they are only 5 gallon buckets but, I thought I’d at least have a meal or 2! I’m hoping the other 2 buckets will have been a bit more productive but I’m sure not holding my breath. Next year they will be planted in the garden! 

The green beans have continued to be heavy producers and the filled jars are starting to take over the shelves.  These will be so good added to soups and stews and venison roasts this winter.

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I don’t know of any thing much more rewarding & satisfying than jewel toned jars full of preserves cooling on the counter

It’s still dry as a bone out there. 

Some area’s of the garden have weeds I’ve been letting go.  They are proving some mulch in bare areas and those plants are doing much better than the cleared areas. I was worried about them “sealing the water” and moisture but it seems to be helping. I was really short of much materials this season and hope to be better prepared next year.  It seems like every year there is something that trips me up but generally the next I’m better prepared…..But then again, that’s life isn’t it? 

We live and hopefully learn.

Have a wonderful day


Friday, August 24, 2012

Small Harvest’s

The garden is doing pretty well. During the drought I tried to keep it watered which, if nothing else kept the plants alive. Now that we have been blessed with cooler weather and a few days of rain it’s taking off.  The growth I’m seeing now is what I would have anticipated a month ago.  But I’m seeing really weird stuff

Like this watermelon

It looks like a gourd! Those set during the drought are all shaped this way.  We’ve eaten one and it was fine, just shaped funny. 

Lack of water? 

I don’t know but it’s been entertaining to say the least. I’m hoping for enough for general eating and to try watermelon jelly this year. 

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The tomato’s and peppers have been producing steadily.  I’ve been freezing or dehydrating the peppers but I'm thinking of trying my hand at canning some. But I don’t want picked peppers..cause I don’t have a peck.  The dehydrator is loaded now with more onion and peppers.  Hope the neighbors don’t mind the scent of onion because it’s plugged in out on the patio.

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All summer the pumpkin have been covered with blooms, I mean covered.  But only 2 are growing and one spaghetti squash for the efforts.  I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or if it’s weather related.  I have 3 jack-o-lantern plants and 3 pie plants and 2 pumpkin growing?!?!?! Very discouraging to say the least.

Tonight we checked the cantaloupe I planted a month ago during our first heat break and it is doing wonderful.  Has about 8 melons started so there is hope yet!

Can you believe I’ve no zucchini? I bought one at the farmers market and know of no one with extra! That’s a first for sure!

Looks like another heat wave is on the way & I’ll have to turn the AC back on as 89% humidity is not easy to sleep in


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Studio Space…It’s coming together

My shelf unit is done!  

Well, actually it’s been done but needed painted. 

  Larry built this unit based off of another I have in the kitchen for the crock pot and other larger appliances.  Aside from the trim on the face of the bins, all of the wool and materials used were salvaged from one project or another.  Years ago, when I worked at a local fabric store, they did a major remodel & tossed out a bunch of displays.  We hauled off as much as we could as it was super sturdy & good wood.  The top of this is from some of the last of the display wood. It weighs a ton and is sturdy enough to climb on (not that I’ll be doing any climbing) but it will probably out last me!

Our neighbor has a body shop and offered to give it a good paint job & we wanted to wait till he had the the paint booth free to do it. White car paint and 2 clear coats over the entire thing.

I don’t think I’ll be leaving any coffee cup stains on this one!

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The shelves above he took down from a unused bedroom in the basement. 

My next issue was what to do with the wire shelf rack I’d bought and the wall of bins…I was so overwhelmed with how to create use-able space I was ready to walk away for the evening.  Trying to gain more functional space Larry suggested a counter….so we decided to use the rolling bins as a base & create a counter top above them.  In my mind I’m figuring how long it will take me to save for counters and….Larry heads out to the garage. 

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  Simple frames stabilizing the counters over the bins

For a while this summer, the dealership rented a building for all the hail damage repairs to be done.  In the building there was quite a bit of odds and ends.  The owner was cleaning it up a bit and was tossing out these boards….which went against Mr. Fix-It’s grain (yes pun intended).  After looking at them he realized they were side rails to a bed frame 2 inches thick and 10 inches wide …he tossed them in the truck….to use someday.

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Placing the 4 support frames and leaving a space for the electrical outlet

We shifted the wire bins up on the counter giving me

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I’m pretty sure I know where most things are now, I’ve shifted stuff around trying to see what works best & I’m sure I’ll be moving things around a bit more before I’m satisfied.  Not all of the sewing tools and quilting tools are together, But right now I know where things are, I have floor space, I can reach the radio,(one of the kids old stereo’s) I can walk to the window as the floor is cleared of boxes! The room, or this side at least feels 10 times bigger.

I’ve already used the sewing table a few times to make skirts for dresses & started a Jelly Roll Quilt.  It was so nice having elbow room.

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I’m planning on using the cubby spaces for customers wool and my planned projects.  Boy do I have a lot of plans!   I may need to scale back somewhere as there are only 24 hours in a day but, those bare walls are starting to drive me crazy..er

It’s not done but all in all I’m pretty happy with it & very happy we’ve been able to stick with repurposing what you have and free materials!

Now to work on the wool side of the room

Hope your having a productive day


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Repurposing An Old Favorite

I could easily become a hoarder. 

We save & hold onto just about everything we think could be repurposed, and most of the time those “items” come in handy for one project or another.

Well, the past few weeks I’ve been on a “de-crap-ify binge.

. This table cloth was my all time favorite.  It was the first new purchase I’d made in years of something not a need but a want… something frivolous.

I love color, bold color and this tablecloth just shouted out to me at the time. 

I’d had it for about 10 years and it held up through many a family meal.  Somehow it got the hole, If I remember correctly I had a candle overflow and trying to clean it the hole appeared.

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  So its sat in the cabinet for about 5 more years unused.   I just  wasn’t ready to give it up….The rest of the fabric was great, tightly woven  but, that hole was smack dab in the open, in an odd spot which couldn’t be covered by a runner or placemat. This table cloth happened to be the next “it”.    Find a purpose for “it” or clean it out.    NNNNNNNOOOOOO!!!! 

Well, I ‘d just had a discussion with Mr. Fix-It that paper napkins were the last paper product we used. (Other than toilet tissue and I’m not ready for family cloth) & I had plenty of cotton fabric down stairs to sew up some napkins in the very near future. If not soon-ish it would be a fall project after the garden was done

Looking at that table cloth and trying to justify keeping it I had a “Light bulb moment” & grabbed the scissors, started cutting right then and there.

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I ended up with 15 17inch napkins which I’m slowly getting hemmed a few a day as I have some down time.

It’s a win-win in my mind, paperless and repurposing what we have.

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We used a few of them that evening at supper and Mr. Fix-It just grinned at the pop of color near his plate

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Quick, easy & I get to keep an old favorite


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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Productive Day & Lessons Learned

Whew, I don’t know about you but, I’m ready for a latte and a snack tonight

I started about 10 this morning working with the peaches (after coffee of course)  I started slipping peaches and fired up the canner outside.  By the time the water was ready I had pints ready to load.  I cranked the radio up and was able to have jars filled and ready to load almost as soon as a batch needed to be removed.

The last load,  I had 5 quart jars and 2 pints..realized after I’d loaded the jars I need more water and……grabbed the hose & slowly filled the canner.  (We had a storm front moving in and I needed to finish) But, apparently not slow enough as I ended up with 2 broken quart jars. Lessons learned the hard way seem to stick with me most.

I ended early afternoon with 26 pints and 5 quarts of peaches. 

We did get about a 10th of an inch of rain.  Not a lot but the storm that went around us was pretty nasty.  It was just enough for all the pumpkin to stand up pretty & they are calling for more rain tonight.  I can only hope!

After supper Larry came out with me tonight and we got the bean picked, We ended up filling a 5 gallon bucket.   Surprisingly enough,  they were “just” ready to be picked. There are a few I think are past eating but not as bad as I’d feared.  So, tomorrow will be another day canning the beans.  I’m wondering how well the pressure cooker will work on the outside burner. 

  My bushes are 3 years old and in sad pathetic shape.  They should be huge, lush and heavy producers by now. Between the squash and blackberries?  Yes those brown twigs are 3 of the 5 blueberry bushes.

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They should be huge, lush and heavy producers by now. Between the squash and blackberries? Yes those brown twigs are 3 of the 5 blueberry bushes.

They are to close to the blackberries to amend the soil as much as they need and I know they wont survive the winter if left here.

So we’re moving them on the other side of the tomato’s into their own raised bed, where I

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can prep and amend the soil as needed before we transplant them.

They may not survive the move but at least the soil will be prepped and ready for new bushes in the spring if they don’t.

Last night we built an 8X8 space set up and just starting to put the end board on and I realized we have 5 bushes not 4. Mild brain burp!  So tonight Larry added 4ft to making it 12 X 8.  We have great top soil & bales of peat moss ready to blend in.  A friend of mine has a bunch of pine trees & will happily let me offer some relief with her pine needle problem for mulching.  8-D

This is our 6th year gardening, and I start each season thinking “I’ve got this”!

And each successive year I find how just how much I’ve yet to learn



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Gardening Journaling

I’ve been reading quite a few blogs that mention gardening journals…but none really say what they write or, take note of.  Specific seeds used & germination rate?

Planting dates?

Do you do this?

Do you maintain a journal? 

Do they really help?  and what the heck do you keep track of?  I would honestly love some feedback on a way to organize a journal and what has been helpful to you…as there are  times this gardening novice rack her brain trying to remember when I amended this or that, when to do it again. 

I think it would be helpful for planning next springs garden, and I’d have the winter to set one up.

What works for you?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

To Much Sun!

I had a hard time getting moving this morning.  I think I had a tad to much sun yesterday.  It was Isaiah’s last day of freedom before school started today and we played all day.

We spent the afternoon at The Falls Of the Ohio looking for and finding fossils, looking at rock formations and small water pools full of crawdads. We kept well hydrated but I forgot when you’re out on the rocks the temperature is 15-20 degrees warmer and… it was 97 when we started.  We were out on the main bed by the river for a few hours before I started getting the shakes and new it was past time to leave. But, he had a lot of   fun using the brochures to identify the various fossils imbedded in the rock…and then he remembered many of these same fossils are in the rocks of the patio”floor”

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One of the stones on the patio.

So when we got back to the house, he had to wander the patio finding and identifying even more while I drank water and stood in front of the fan.  I’m pretty sure he was just as excited with his patio finds as he was with the fossil beds!

This morning was catch up day &started with a “Gotta-do” list a mile long ..but I accomplished very little.

I didn’t wake up till 8am and felt like I’d been out drinking the night before! Not very good way to start the day that’s for sure as it was already 90.

My plan was to be up and in the garden early, the beans still need picked.  Yeah,  I’m pretty sure there are now a few past eating stage but I’ll save as seed for next year. .

I decided I’d just stay inside and catch up on household chores which I’ve fallen behind on (where are the cleaning fairies when you need them) and then remembered the feed bag stuffed to the brim of corn Larry brought home last night.

So much for the cool indoors!

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Shucked, ready to be blanched, cut and frozen

I’m glad I was able to work in the shade and keep the boiling water heat outside

Can I tell you I love having those new steps, it made hauling loads of husks and cobs back to the compost bin a breeze.

Cooler temps are on the way for the weekend but in the mean time, Don’t forget to pace yourself in this heat




Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finally something to can!


Yesterday morning I popped out of bed as soon as my eyes opened.  I had to go and look at the steps, just to make sure they were really there & it wasn’t a dream. Generally I don’t make it past the kitchen without coffee in the morning so… I know I was a stumbling mess going outside, still in my night shirt doing a odd hop step. We have a sisal door mat and the odd hop step was because my foot landed on a “gift”…a furry full sized dead mole. 

A gift from a feral cat who has decided it owns us. Angel 002

She’s put on weight and really filled out since she’s been hanging around.  She was a scrawny matted mess when she first showed up

Now,  I don’t really want it to own us, I want it to move on. but it’s earning it’s keep & we’ve worked out a system. I feed him bits Monday, Wednesday & Friday & the days in between he hunts and brings me gifts…..Like Moles, mice,  baby rabbits & baby moles, frogs and parts of frogs.   My caffeine deficient brain was just not ready for that!

What a way to start the morning ugh!

The day did get better, Isaiah & I ran to the grocery for canning lids & scored a few great deals in the produce department.  I’ve found Mondays are the “new stock day”…anything left from a prior shipment has to be marked down..even if it’s still good!  Apparently after the episode of bad spinach a few years ago, they can no longer mix shipments in the produce department.  I picked up a bag with 4 huge heads of perfectly fine broccoli for .59 cents, a bag with 5 lbs. of rhubarb for $1.59 , a bag with 3 of celery for .59...and 45 LBS of peaches for $15.00.  All organic,  all perfectly fine!  Score! 

So my afternoon turned out pretty busy.

  The celery all went in the dehydrator, I’ve 6 pints of rhubarb sauce cooling on the table,


7 quarts & 9 pints of peaches.  These peaches I’d had, the others from today need to ripen a few more days. I went ahead and set the canner up outside and it was wonderful keeping the heat out of the house.  I’d prep & load the jars inside and use a roaster pan to carry the hot jars outside.

What a blessing!

My garden (the parts that survived) like so many is just now really starting to produce… If all those blooms actually turn into pumpkin I’ll have enough to supply the entire county!Aug Canning andgarden 002

After reading how many have lost everything I’m not complaining!

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The beans need picked today /tomorrow, I’ve some tomato’s harvested with more to come

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Cherry tomato’s are taking off this year

a few herbs, peppers and some beets.  Although I know the weather is out of my control, I’ve been feeling like I’m letting the household down with very little canned to date.  Like so many others, the garden & it’s production is my contribution to the finances.

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These watermelon have all grown like gourds..I think inconsistent watering?

It’s how I’m able to stay home.  So when there is nothing to put by, it makes me feel like I’m not pulling my weight. 

It also reaffirms my thoughts of canning enough for 2 years every other year.

Yet sweet deals like today sure do help my attitude and the pantry!





Sunday, August 5, 2012

Projaholics…We’re Baaaaack!

A 5 year project is nearly at an end.  We originally started with building a garage.  When we bought the house it had a carport….and hubby waited years till we could build one. 
Well, 2 months after the garage was built we found there was a bunch of air pockets in the floor, and in the end they ripped it out and re-poured it
. Which left us with 22 yards of concrete slabs in our front yard which, we called “yard art”.  With that we built a courtyard/patio 40ft long between the house and garage which ends with the 6ft wall you see in the photo.
Because, What else would we do with it!
So, for the past few years we’ve had a mini mountain of rubble (as in solid, it ain’t going no where pile of concrete) that we would rabbit up and down to get to the back property. We needed steps.
  We’d looked at various plans and designs for steps but everything was just to formal for us.  Backed up to the wooded area, we wanted something that would blend into the surroundings.  We’d visited quite a few quarry’s looking at rocks but they were pricy to say the least.  So we started stashing and saving.  It seemed crazy to us to pay so much for rock to finish a project that (other than the garage) was less than $500.00!
Then a few weeks after one of our quarry visits, Larry got a call saying (one we visited a few times) the company was going out of business…come get which ever rock we wanted….free!. SCORE!!!
Each stone is 6-8 inches thick and at least 4 ft. across and 300-500 lbs.…we wanted nice wide steps.  We have folks of all ages in and out here at our house and well, we’re no spring chickens ourselves any more. 
We wanted steps wide and safe for all ages.
The stones have sat in back of the house for a few years while we built the addition & all the while we’ve discussed what we wanted to do/could do with them
Last night Larry came home and said “wanna play with rocks”?  Ahhh!  Be still my beating heart!
Prep work and planning done was done last night so this morning at 7:30 we started in with overcast skies that thankfully stayed to shade us all day.
I’m pretty sure our family thinks we’re nuts.
I know they think we’re weird!
2 popped in to “see what we were up to this time
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FYI….Crowbars break under 500 lb. stones.   Just a fact I thought I’d share..but you need them to arm-strong the stones
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So do shovels…I think I’ll paint it and use it for yard art of some kind
We used Big Red to place the stones in general locations
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Moving those suckers manually 4-8 ft. up the hill was not an option.
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I learned all kinds of new things .  How to drive the tractor, maneuvering stones pushing them into place with the blade
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Isaiah has been a part of this entire project for the past 5 yrs.  He said he was going to be here to help finish it & boy was he was a major help today
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The last stone.  We weren’t sure there was enough energy in us to finish but, by 5pm we were done!
Isaiah hosed off the gravel
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We are done!
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The stones are brown and blue, I wish I could capture the colors.
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Supper was a big salad cause that’s all we had the energy for…as in energy to chew.
Fire in the fire pit with s’mores for dessert.
Our next project?
I think I’d like it to be something that does not involve rocks!!
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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Clove Oil A Medicine Chest Must!


What a week! Not necessary a bad one just….nothing went like I planned.  What’s the saying “make plans and God laughs”?  Yup, that was my week.

Started Sunday brunch, I was nibbling on a cinnamon roll chatting with my Brother-in-law and had a tooth fall apart. 

Once I recovered from the instant frozen, take you to your knee’s,  cold sweat,  bowel gripping  paralyzing fear…. waiting for that agonizing pain…I realized there was none.   I was fine…chunks of tooth in my hand but “ok”.  Now, that my sound a wee bit exaggerated but, if you’ve had a exposed root you know exactly what I mean.  Yes, I have clove oil in the house for emergencies such as this but at the time it happened I don’t think I could have walked the 20 ft. to the medicine chest I was that scared.  Thankfully I didn’t need it.

If you didn’t know…in a dental emergency pure clove oil is your friend.  One tiny (and I mean tiny) drop will deaden the nerve for a few hours, sometimes days. 

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My bottle of clove oil

My father served as a Navy Corpsman with a marine infantry unit during the WWII & Korean War.  He said clove oil was like gold to while he was stationed on the Aleutian Islands.  It was the only help they could offer to soldiers with facial injuries or dental problems.  They ordered supplies of clove oil as heavily as they did morphine.  When he came home from the service, he left with a few of those tiny bottles of liquid gold.  Growing up in the money was tight and dental care was not always something we could afford.  As a teen I remember having a serious tooth injury and dad had this tiny bottle he said would help.

He dipped a tiny cotton pellet into that oil with tweezers and put 1 drop on the tooth….& near instant relief.  It was the same bottle he’d brought home more than 20 yrs before.

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My bottle is now over 20 yrs old

.  When originally purchased I paid $1.73.  Probably need to add another 0 to that number now but, I would add 2 0’s to keep it in the house & emergency kit.

When my tooth shattered Sunday, clove oil was the first thing that came to my mind.

I’m not claiming to be a medical professional in any way but, I know we will never be with out it & neither should you.

By the way, I put a tiny drop on my gums at 9 this morning and I’m still numb at 3pm.

Some things age well!