Friday, April 16, 2010

Got Mice? Bitter about it? Good.

We live in the country and so do a lot of mice. It's a constant battle, especially in the fall when mice like to come in to get warm. We use Agri-Pest commercial grade sonic deterrents to help keep the population down, but the sonic waves won't penetrate cabinets and drawers.

I loathe mice. And I really loathe cleaning up their scat and nests that they build in my kitchen. We are an organic ranch; we don't use poisons. One spray I like is Repels-All-Animals which is sold by Arbico Organics, where we also purchase our Agri-Pests. If you purchase through one of our links here, Arbico will donate a small amount back to out nonprofit. We'd be thankful for the help. But we don't like that spray for where we keep our utensils, it repels us as well.

So last fall, on a whim, I tried one of our staple dog deterrents, Bitter Apple. Our Labradors lap the stuff up, but other breeds like our heeler/border collie mix are horrified by it. Unlike the Fooey, which we use with our Labs, Bitter Apple has no foul taste to people. So after running all the flatware through the weekly wash and cleaning out the drawer & dividers I sprayed Bitter Apple into the drawer, and I mean I soaked it, and allowed the stuff to air dry. In when the dividers and the flatware. And I mentally lit a candle - a mouse shaped one.

Every day I opened that drawer and scanned for tell tale scat. Nope, none. A week passed. So I cleaned and treated another drawer that held utensils. Checked the flatware drawer. Still clean. Added another utensil drawer. Flatware drawer? Still clear of scat after a month! Pretty awesome, huh? But I hear my late mother's voice, dump the drawer, wash it all, clean the drawer - it's a monthly chore! But now I add the soaking of Bitter Apple to the  pattern. Mice have been conquered!

So here's the deal. I'm using Bitter Apple for Dogs. I've since googled and they have a product for hot spots on rodent pets. Took some sleuthing, but I finally have a contact number for the company and I'll be contacting them with my experiments. But until I learn more about the different blends they make, go to your local pet store and pick up a any big bottle of Gannick's Bitter Apple and mouse proof your kitchen.

Get Good & Bitter and mouse free!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Support NPPG's Sliding Scale with the Promo Code: LLWA

In early March I received an email from Dan Engel of the Non-Profit Purchasing Group (NPPG). I was intrigued by the idea, but as With Alacrity is a very small nonprofit, the membership price of almost $100 per year was staggering and just not in our budget. Most nonprofits are small, really small, and every penny is thoughtfully spent. I just couldn't see how our organization could access the possibilities offered by this group. So I picked up the phone and called Dan Engel.

Dan called me back within a half hour. And I pleaded our situation. Our annual budget is about $5,000 annually. With our new litter of pups, we need to double our donations and find more ways to save money. I argued for a sliding scale. Dan's experience is mostly with large well funded nonprofits, and he didn't realize how hard or simply how many of us small groups are out here struggling to make a difference. Emails flew, calls exchanged and Dan offered us a discount code while he contemplated a breakdown of how a sliding scale should break out. And then Dan agreed to offer a generous sliding scale and swiftly implemented it. And it's a very good sliding scale, one I can't even ask him to improve. Our potential savings with Office Depot alone are going to make a drastic difference in our financial outlook!

So now is the time to show NPPG the power that small nonprofits have, to spread the word, to share the wealth. Dan has created a tracking code: LLWA  - which is short for Live Life With Alacrity™  for all of us to put in the promo box to show our support of his implementation of a sliding scale. I ask all of you that spread the word to link back to this post. By entering the code in the Promo code box - you will be telling Dan that you appreciate the negotiations that we have made so that small nonprofits can participate in the buying power of a larger group. 

We are very pleased to be a part of NPPG and look forward to a long relationship. We hope that if you join, you will be as happy as we are. But when and if you join, please use the LLWA code to show your appreciation of the sliding scale. We get the same discounts as you receive, nothing else. But by using the LLWA code, you’ll show Dan that small nonprofits appreciate his adjustment of pricing to accommodate our tight budgets.  Thank you Dan! And thank you to all that have read this and are sharing this.

To share post:

With alacrity,
D. Titus Blackwood

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lost my shoe in the mud. I need some Sweet Tea.

I lost my shoe twice in the mud.
It's officially springlike enough to qualify for some sweet tea and porch sitting in the sun.
Vitamin D Here We Come!

Today's sun was happily shared with Chef Rick Kangas & his lovely friend Miss Lucy. I can't express how nice it was to just "be" in the sun with lovely company, snoozing puppies, no phones or electronics, and nature enveloping us.

"Louisiana Sweet" Ranch AlacriTea™
  • Luzianne Tea bags - 16 regular or 4 family size
  • Mint, fresh - handful pinched in clothespin, preferably Kentucky Colonel
  • Evaporated Cane Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Liquid Stevia - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Lemons - stain juice of 2, Meyer preferred
Add boiling kettle of water to teabags & mint and steep exactly 5 minutes. Remove bags & mint. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add more hot water if required. Add stevia & lemon juice. Stir well. (see note below) Add ice & cold water to make 1 gallon and refrigerate. Serve in Mason Jars over ice. Garnish or not. Find a patch of sun and a rocking chair.

Note: I prepare this in a 2 quart Pyrex measuring cup. If planning ahead for a party I will make multiple batches and freeze in quantity and add water later to save space. Likewise, I may freeze half and prepare half to drink if I'm alone. Another short cut when you find yourself with a wealth of cut mint is to steep the mint 5 minutes, add the sugar and freeze the simple syrup to preserve the bounty to add later. Same with Meyer lemons - zest well, spread thinly on parchment to freeze dry and then bag or jar and freeze juice in an ice cube tray and crack frozen cubes into a bag. Return both zest and cubes to freezer until needed. ;)