Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frantic About Fruit Flies?

Rachel Balducci had a nice post today about how to deal with those annoying fruit flies at http://tinyurl.com/neqr3s. Consider reading her whole post.

She has a great idea of using a jar with a cone-shaped paper (just like we use in our coffee maker!) to trap those annoying fruit flies inside a jar with a piece of very ripe fruit in the bottom. We are having such a wonderful abundance of yummy fruit this year, that the flies are woefully abundant as well. So I can hardly wait to try Rachel's suggestion - today!

I have had good luck with peaches to let them ripen inside a small brown paper sack (or bag, depending on your geographic region, as my daughter-in-law from California pointed out last week) folded closed at the top. At least that seems to keep the bugs out until they are just perfectly ripened.

We have been enjoying red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, plums and even yellow plums. In fact, my countertop looks like a rainbow exploded into colorful shards. We are so lucky to have such a variety available to us on a regular basis.

Whenever I look at all this luscious fruit, I can't help but recall my childhood when we canned and froze dozens of jars and freezer bags (yes, bags, not sacks) to store the abundance of summer to enjoy during the long winter months.

The next time you savor a delicious piece of fruit, think about what memories it evokes. Do you remember the first time you had an exotic fruit, for example? I'd love to hear what memories you recall.

Viva le fruit! lol

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bugged by Mosquitoes

Arwen Mosher wrote a blog today that resonated for me about another common summertime pest. You can read it here at http://tinyurl.com/ncaeff.

I understand completely about how irritating it is to be among the favored food groups for mosquitoes. I have found two things that help, if you can apply them shortly after getting bit. 1) Cortizone-10 Ointment or another anti-itch remedy helps a lot and 2) MSG applied to a moistened bite also helps. Normally, I keep the Cortizone in my purse at all times & apply it right away.

Unfortunately, I dashed out for just a minute the other evening to get the mail & got sidetracked by a neighbor with a brand new baby. Of course I was thrilled to chat with them, but not to become a mosquito magnet. So I ended up with half a dozen welts that didn't respond to my usual treatment. Now I have ugly scabs up & down my legs that remind me of my childhood. As a tomboy, I always seemed to have scratches, scars & scabs decorating my arms & legs.

Those are the types of memories that linger long after we have grown up. I encourage people to capture all those memories by either writing or recording them. They become precious stories to pass on to your families. Please see my website for easy ways to get started.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lightning Bugs or Fireflies?

We happen to have an amazing abundance of lightning bugs in Illinois this year. Or maybe you refer to them as fireflies. Something I didn't realize is that they don't live in every section of the country.

Our son and daughter-in-law are visiting from the San Fransisco Bay area in California. When we all returned from dinner last night, they were both thrilled to see hundreds and hundreds of the little creatures flying around. That's when I found out they don't have lightning bugs in California. What a shame! I have always enjoyed seeing them light up the yard or glitter over the corn and soybean fields in the country.

As we all reminisced about catching fireflies when we were young, I thought about all the countless times I had chased & caught the sparkling bugs to try to save in a glass jar. Even though we punched holes in the lid & added in some grass & twigs, unfortunately, lightning bugs cannot be saved in a bottle.

So whether it was with all my brothers and sisters when I was a kid, with my own son or grandchildren, or more recently with our grown kids, watching and catching lightning bugs is one of the simplest and most memorable experiences of summer.

If you have lightning bugs in your area, take time this summer to share the sheer joy of them with someone special. Tell your kids or grandkids stories about them when you were a kid or ask your favorite elder about their experiences. Even better, capture those fabulous stories so you can experience them again in the cold of winter.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How to Start Your Own Family Stories

When you start working on your own family stories, I do strongly recommend getting a digital recorder, which is small, unobtrusive & fairly inexpensive. I use a Sony ICD-P520, which is less than $50 on Amazon.com. Another nice feature is that you can use the USB to load it to your computer and create CDs. Once you have a recording, you can also transcribe it into a Word document.

If you want to capture stories and folklore from the elderly, I urge you to start right away. You never know when they (or perhaps just their minds) may be suddenly taken away. Whenever you get a group of people together, encourage them to talk about their experiences. If possible, record them talking, but if not, then take notes to expand later.

Keep a writing journal to remind yourself of stories you want them to talk about, or events you recall yourself. Use photos & memorabilia to help them reminisce. That often has a starburst effect - one memory leads to three others and each of them to several more. It is a wonderful way to keep expanding their legacy.

Here are some of my favorite websites to help you get started. And of course, my book has some excellent ideas on how to capture your family stories. ;-)

Website Resources for Family Historians:

About.com Genealogy website has a list of 50 questions to help on interviews.

Ancestry.com. This website says, “Feel free to print and distribute” a Script for Video or Audio Interviews with Family Members. www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lineage/famhist.htm

Author’s website, where you can sign up for a free monthly newsletter (via email) with tips on writing family history.

Association of Personal Historians (APH), which offers an anthology of personal stories.

CookbookPeople.com. Software & Blog to create and print a family cookbook at home.

Cute PDF.com. Download free software so you can share a document as a PDF file without anyone else modifying it. You use it like another printer, then provide the name and location for the file to save.

Cyndi’s List.com. More than 200,000 website links to help with genealogy and family history.

Dr. Wicked.com. This simple-to-use website can help when you want to concentrate on a writing exercise. www.lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html

Grandparents TLC.com. This site offers “Technology to Help Loving Grandparents Connect with Grandchildren!”

Smithsonian Institute. This booklet in PDF format explains how to get started with interviews, sample questions and additional resources.

Story of My Life.com. Free private website to easily gather all your family stories from friends and family and invite participation from around the world.