Best String Trimmer Harness. Complete Guide

When it comes to using a string trimmer or weed trimmer, there is one thing that you should have as well. This is the harness for the string trimmer. Not many people have the harness, and they found that they are struggling to use the trimmer correctly.

If you have a trimmer, and you need to purchase the best string trimmer harness, then we have good news for you. With this complete guide, you will get to know everything you need to purchase the right harness for you and the type of trimmer you have.

Why Should You Purchase a String Trimmer Harness?

This is a question that many people are asking. Why should you have a string trimmer harness? You can use the trimmer without a harness.

When you are using a trimmer that is heavy, it can become really hard to use the trimmer for a long period. Especially, if you have a huge yard, and it takes some time to get through everything. The harness is making it easier to carry and to use the trimmer. Takes the weight off your hands. And, it ensures that the trimmer doesn’t slip and fall out of your hands, and onto the ground. Breaking the trimmer. Basically, the trimmer harness is making the job easier.

Why is It Important to Purchase a High-quality Harness?

Yes, you can just purchase the cheapest harness you can find online. But, this isn’t recommended. This is because it is important to purchase a high-quality harness.

The reason why you should purchase a high-quality harness is that you don’t want the harness to snap while you are using the trimmer. A trimmer can be heavy and you need to make sure that the straps can hold the trimmer, while you are using it. This will minimize the chance that the harness snap and you get injured.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Weed Trimmer Harness

There are a couple of things to consider when you are choosing your weed trimmer harness. This is to make sure that you don’t waste money in purchasing something that you won’t use.

The first thing that you should consider is the type of string trimmer that you have. Some trimmers need to have a specially designed harness, and you can’t just purchase any harness online. You should also look at the quality of the harness. The more durable the harness, the better it will work, and the less chance there will be that the harness will snap and break while you are using the trimmer.

The type of material that the harness is made of is also really important. The better quality the material, the better the value for money you are going to get. You should also make sure that the type of trimmer that you have, will work with the harness that you are purchasing. Not all harnesses fit on any trimmer.

Buying Guide for the Trimmer Harness

With this buying guide for your string trimmer harness, you will know for sure that you are purchasing the right harness. That you will find a harness that will give you value for money and that will be a great fit for your trimmer.

  • Know what type of string trimmer you have is the first thing to do
  • Doing research to know how the harness needs to look like, for the type of trimmer you have, and which of the harnesses have the best reviews
  • Know what your budget is. Some of these harnesses are really expensive, and not everyone can afford it This is why you should make sure that you know in what price class you should start looking for the harness.
  • Don’t purchase a secondhand harness. It might be already damage and have wear and tear on that can shorten the lifespan of the harness.

Some of the Most Recommended String Trimmer Harness to Purchase

If you are still struggling to find the right string trimmer harness to purchase, then it might help to know the top harnesses that you can choose from. This will make it easier to choose the harness that will suit your budget and that will be a high-quality harness that is going to give you value for money.

  • Hitachi 6695796 Deluxe Double Shoulder Strap
  • Husqvarna 523048201 Balance XT Trimmer Harness
  • 2017 Strimmer Double Shoulder Harness Strap Padded Belt For Brush Cutter Trimmer Lawn Mower Parts Garden Tools

Finding and purchasing a string trimmer harness isn’t something that you are doing every day. And, this can cause you to struggle to find the right harness. With this guide, you will know why it is important to have the right trimmer harness. And, you will know what to look for when purchasing a trimmer harness.

A trimmer harness is important to make your life as easy as possible and to use the weed trimmer without any problems.

How Long to Smoke a Turkey

Smoking a turkey isn’t something that many people are considering. This is because of different reasons. However, the most common reason is that they don’t know how long to smoke a turkey.

With the right guidance and with the right information, it will be easier to smoke a turkey and making sure that the turkey is cooked all the way through.

There is nothing better than smoked turkey. And, with this guide about smoking a turkey and the time that you need to smoke the turkey, you will be able to enjoy your own turkey that you smoked yourself.

Can a Turkey Be Smoked in a Smoker?

how long to smoke a turkey leg
how long to smoke a turkey leg

This is the first thing that you need to know. There are some that would say that it isn’t a great idea to smoke a turkey. This is because of how large a turkey is and the importance of cooking a turkey at the perfect heat.

However, the good news is that you can really smoke a turkey in a smoker. You can smoke the turkey whole or in pieces. The only thing that you need to know is how to exactly smoke the turkey to ensure that it reaches the right temperature.

Checking the Temperature Internally Is Essential

A mistake that many are making with smoking the turkey is that they are checking the temperature of the smoker. Yes, this is important, but you need to make sure that the turkey reaches the perfect temperature as well.

The only way that you can do this is to test the temperature internally with a thermometer designed for cooking and smoking. When the turkey reached the right temperature inside the turkey and not the temperature that the smoker reached, then you can say that the turkey is done.

The Size of Turkey Does Matter

how long to smoke a turkey in electric smoker
how long to smoke a turkey in electric smoker

It is important to make sure that you know that when it comes to how long you are smoking the turkey, will depend on the size of the turkey. The whole, huge turkey is going to take a lot longer than the turkey that might be just a half-turkey or a turkey that is in pieces.

The larger the overall turkey, the longer it will take to get the right temperature. The time that the turkey needs to smoke is just an indication of how long it can take. The one thing that you should know is that it is going to take time to have a turkey that is smoked correctly and safe to eat.

Never just take the time needed for a turkey to be smoked. You should ensure that you are doing the internal temperature check as well before you are going to decide that the turkey is smoked through.

The Normal Time That It Takes to Smoke a Turkey

Now for the information about how long it takes to smoke a turkey. It normally would take about 1 hour to 2 hours per pound for a turkey to be smoked and cooked through. This is if you are smoking it at a consistent temperature of 225°F heat.

You can adjust your heat setting to 240°F for faster smoking time. However, it isn’t recommended that you should go over 275°F. This can make the turkey dry and will give it a burned taste.

Different Time Might Be Needed

how long to smoke a turkey at 300 degrees
how long to smoke a turkey at 300 degrees

One thing that you should know about smoking a turkey, is that the temperature of the smoker and the time you are smoking the turkey isn’t the most important thing.

You should make sure that you are smoking your turkey until you reach a temperature off 165°F. The turkey should have a temperature of 165°F, in the inside of the turkey.

This is the most important thing to consider when you are wondering how long you should smoke your turkey. If the heat isn’t exactly 165°F, it will be undercooked and dangerous to eat.


Yes, you can smoke a turkey in your smoker. And, it doesn’t matter if you are smoking a whole turkey or just pieces of turkey. The only thing that is essential to know is that the turkey is cooked through to the right temperature.

As said before, the temperature should be at least 165°F inside the turkey. And, not just checking the heat setting of the smoker. The larger the turkey, the longer it will take to reach the right temperature and to have the right smoking taste.

Smoking a turkey can be done and can taste really great. This is if you know how to smoke a turkey and if you have smoking experience. The only thing that you need to make sure about, is that you are patience.

Smoking a turkey can take a long time. Hours of waiting should be expected before a whole turkey will be smoked through. But, as any smoked meal, this will be worth the wait.

How to Cook a Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is delicious and you will love it once you taste it. To enjoy this rich and satisfying meal, you do not need to visit some of these fancy steak restaurants. You only need the recipe to prepare your skirt steak at home. It is fast and simple to prepare so you too can do it at home.

As such, this guide gives you directions to follow when you are preparing a skirt steak. It also outlines the ingredients that you will need to prepare this delicious meal.  


how to cook a skirt steak in the oven

Like any other recipe, skirt steak has specific ingredients that you should carefully follow when you prepare it.

  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions for cooking skirt steak

how to cook a skirt steak inside

The directions for cooking skirt steak are easy to follow and you can prepare this delicious food using an iron pan or skillet. Whilst many people prefer to use a read-meat thermometer when preparing skirt steak, it is possible to prepare it without this device. Anyway, the first step is to prepare the steak meat.

Skirt steak is that flat steak found around the ribs of the cow and it is rich in flavor and also lean. Its thinness makes it the easiest steak to cook at home. The first step is to remove moisture from the steak so that it is dry when you cook it. If you take the steak from the fridge, leave it for about an hour to release all moisture.

You can also use a paper towel to dry the skirt steak so that its exterior can quickly brown. When you are satisfied that your steak is dry, you can season both sides with fresh black pepper and kosher salt. You can also choose another recipe of marinade as you are going to see below.  

While readying the steak for final cooking, you must heat the cast iron pan to the temperature level that you desire. You then rub sufficient olive oil over your steak to form a light coat. You should oil the meat instead of the pan to cut down on smoke. After this stage, your stake is now ready for cooking.

how to cook a skirt steak in a skillet

When you are satisfied that the pan is hot, place your steak and make sure you leave it undisturbed. The high heat from the iron pan will make the steak brown quickly. When you see deep brown texture on the outer surface of the steak, flip it to the other side. You must heat the steak on the first side for about three minutes then cook the other side for about two minutes.

The steak is very easy and quick to cook and as a general rule, you must make sure that both sides are sufficiently browned before taking the meat off the heat. The interior is likely to be medium cooked when both sides are browned which is not so bad. Should you wish, you can cook the steak for a longer period.

While cooking the steak over a heated iron pan, you can notice that a thermometer is not necessary. You can use your eyes to observe the stage by stage cooking process of the meat in the pan. You decide the level of brownness that you desire on your steak.

After cooking, you leave the steak to rest for about ten minutes if it is thin while large steak would require about 30 minutes rest. You then slice your steak into thin piece against the grain. Smaller strips help to improve your eating experience of the steak since they are easy to chew.

The whole cooking process of preparing the skirt steak will take you about 30 minutes which gives you time to perform other tasks. You can monitor the steak cooking while you relax as long as you maintain the right temperature of the cooker.

how to cook a skirt steak in the broiler

Alternatively, you can also prepare your skirt steak using marinade. You can do this by mixing all the ingredients in a zip bag then add the steak. You can then marinate for about 30 minutes before you cook. The cooking process of the marinated steak however is the same as the one not marinated.

When your dish is ready, you can serve as breakfast or add it to your dinner. The other thing is that you can also add grilled or fresh veggies to the roasted steak. You can also add fried eggs to the steak and the result is excellent.

If you really love delicious skirt steak, you can easily do it at home instead of visiting restaurants. Just stick to the recipe and you are done.

How to Lay Sleepers for Garden Edging: A Step by Step Guide

There are many options for garden edging, and using sleepers is just one way. There are a variety of sleepers to choose from, but wood and concrete sleepers would perfectly fit your garden space. They are known to add a touch of versatility, ruggedness and traditional rustic look for a naturally beautiful garden edge.

You can artistically lay them either on the edge, or even flat to form a single height. The only question is how? Do you know how to lay sleepers for garden edging? No matter the type of sleepers you choose to use, there are no rules regarding the extent to which you can use your creativity.

To help solve the puzzle, this article outlines six easy steps on how to lay sleepers for garden edging, using softwood garden sleepers. You are probably wondering why softwood? This is because they require minimum effort and wood skills to lay and fit.


You will need the following:

  • Screws or nails for fixing the sleepers together
  • Concrete or sand and gravel for the base
  • Plastic membrane for soil proofing the sleepers
  • Wood paint for protective layering
  • Hammer for knocking the nails or screwdrivers for the screws
  • Normal paint or coal for marking the ground
  • Shovel for digging shallow trenches
  • Hand saw for trimming and shaping
  • Gloves for safety
  • A drill for pre-drilling the wood

Step by Step

You can design the perfect edging for your garden by following these easy steps;

1. Come up with the ideal plan

Just like any other project, you need a proper plan for this project. The most important step is to visualize how your garden space looks like to know how and where you are going to place the sleepers, flat or on the edge.

This will make it easier in knowing the correct number, shape and sizes of sleepers that you need to have for the whole process.

2. Prepare the Ground

The next step is to clearly mark and outline the specific areas where you will be laying the sleepers. You can use normal paint or coal, depending on what you can easily find effortlessly. After marking out the areas, you have to clear the area off any unwanted objects like debris, then digging up shallow trenches. 

In preparing the ground, you can choose to use concrete, sand, and gravel or just normal soil at the bottom of the trench as the base for the first layer of sleepers. This solemnly depends on how long you want the edge to last. Therefore, for a long term artistic edge, I recommend you to opt for a foundation made of semi-dry concrete.

However, using a concrete base requires extra skills and time. This option can also interfere with the proper drainage in the garden, causing risks of flooding.

3. Lay the sleepers on the surface

After preparing your foundation, lower in the first layer of sleepers on the base in a position of your choice. Whichever position you use, the sleepers should be parallel to the landscape of your garden so that all the edges meet at a perfect angle for easy fixing.

Ensure that this layer is firmly secured into the ground, when not using sand and gravel, or natural soil. Thereafter, you can add more sleepers to the height you planned. When working on a taller wall or a raised garden, uniformly assemble the rest of the layers carefully for a stable edge at the end.  This will also make them easier to fasten in the next step

Shape and size matters for a perfect fit, so be careful to match the edges of the sleepers per layer. You can also create a customized unique look by trimming and shaping them to your ideal shapes and sizes. You can comfortably do this using a saw hence bringing out your creative self.

4. Fix them together

Using screws or nails, fasten the sleepers vertically or horizontally, depending on how you laid them for a stronger long-lasting edge.  When handling multiple layers or thicker sleepers, use long screws like TimberLok screws. Thisensures a successful penetration all through to the next layer, pulling the sleeper tighter onto the next one.

The simplest way to hack this step is pre-drilling the sleepers to avoid creating splits in the wood when fastening the screws. It also makes it easier for your screws to pass through, effortlessly.

You can alternatively use nails as I earlier mentioned. However, when using nails, you have to be sure to hammer them from an angle because they are not as stronger. You need to know that this can be quite overwhelming to figure out, mostly at the ends where the edges meet.

5. Insert a plastic membrane

This is a step which is optional but can be very helpful in learning how to lay sleepers, especially when you only used one layer of wood. Fixing a plastic sheet from the inside of the wall makes it impossible to get in contact with the soil. This ensures that the soil is retained behind the wall, proofing the sleepers from any future rotting. In the end, you will have a more durable edge, no matter the weather.

6. Finish off

To avoid accidents, trim off overlapping or unwanted ends and sharp edges for a complete even look. Whether you are using new or recycled sleepers, you might consider coating your edge with a protective layer for a strong durable finish and protection against harsh elements.

This will help increase their lifespan so that they can be used over and over again. However, there are no rules here, so you can still coat them in your own creative and colorful way, for an impressive garden edge.


To clearly separate your garden from other areas in a beautiful and amazing way, it is important to go all creative on this project and this is why you need to know how to lay sleepers for garden edging. This is something you can do in your own free time alongside friends or family. Always remember to be extra careful to avoid accidents in the process.

Please, note that you must periodically check on your garden edge so as to notice damages and make timely amends. I hope this helps you in your landscaping projects. Let’s all have fun trying these easy steps

What To Do With Old T Shirts

T-shirts are loved the world over. I often buy T-shirts at Lapommenyc Store. They are things you can’t run away from even if you don’t like them. If you happen to get involved in events organized by corporates, be ready to part with a good number of T-shirts.

Have you accumulated these t-shirts in your house to the extent that you are left wondering what you can do with them? Do you want to know how to reuse old t-shirts? Old t-shirt ideas that you are about to come across in this piece will help you minimize, downsize and even simplify your collection of t-shirts.

It is very important to always craft ideas for old t-shirts. I have personally put into practice some of these ideas that I’m about to share with you when I was in the same problem you are in. I hope they’ll help solve a great portion if not the whole old t-shirt problem.

1. Upcycled Pillows

You can actually repurpose old t-shirts to make pillows. In fact, pillows made from old t-shirts bring about some personalization with them, therefore, making your living or bedroom a nice place to stay in.

Kids really like such kind of pillows. Mine really enjoyed playing with the pillows I made out of old t-shirts. The process of making these pillows is quite simple and cheap. What to do with old t-shirts you want to keep shouldn’t be a question to worry you anymore.

Upcycled Pillows
Source: Pinterest

2. T-shirt Necklace

Can you imagine yourself in a t-shirt necklace? How cute is that? Necklaces can be easily made from simple old t-shirts. The good thing with these necklaces is that you can customize them into different colors that will probably give the best look out of you.

The necklaces are lightweight, soft and to a greater extent comfortable to walk around in. Try out this one of the many creative ideas for old t-shirts and you’ll surely love the results. Without a doubt these are some of the best ways to express yourself.

3. Donate them

There are organizations that do collect old t-shirts which they sew into new things before shipping them to needy persons like orphans across different parts of the world. You can actually be part of this beautiful story of changing lives.

You don’t need to be rich to touch lives of the less unfortunate. Just a simple act of giving out your old clothing can go a long way in making a significant difference. Now, before you dump your old t-shirts think about this idea as well.

4. Baby bibs

from my ihoop hoodie

Bibs made from old t-shirts are nice-looking and great for kids. You can actually make them for your baby or even gift them to a friend or relative. They’ll for sure appreciate such a gift. Something that stands out is creatively done and comfortable for the kid.

Alternatively, you can make some extra cash out of this idea. Why don’t you just make these bibs and sell to the parent’s or soon to be ones? Don’t be surprised if you are overwhelmed by the demand for these unique baby accessories. Money issues shouldn’t bring you down when you have plenty of old t-shirts in your house.

5. Tote bags

Uses for old t-shirts are so many, one of them being none sewn tote bags. These bags can be made in under 10 minutes without even sewing a thing. You can actually use the bags to carry some of your light stuff when going to the park, for example.

These bags are also great for transporting kids’ stuff like diapers. I once went to the grocery with such a bag and everybody wanted to take home my own as it looked really nice. I had to share the idea with a number of women who couldn’t believe it. Try this out as well.

6. Fringe skirts

Are you a teenager? Do you have a teenage daughter that keeps asking for fringe skirt because she has seen some of her friends with them? Well, here is the thing. You see that t-shirt that she used to love but not anymore? Change it into a skirt for her.

I tell you girls are obsessed with fringe skirts. Just get your girl one and you’ll see how happy she’ll be. You don’t even need to spend large sums of money to make them.

Fringe skirts

7. T-shirt Rug

 T-shirt Rug

A rug made from an old t-shirt is such a cool one. This is a perfect example of what to do with old mickey mouse supreme DIY. You can actually use two unlike t-shirts to make a more beautiful one. Why should you buy rugs when you possess hundreds of old t-shirts? That’s a complete waste of resources to me.

The worst thing about these bought rugs is that they aren’t as soft on the feet as the t-shirt-made ones. Now make the right choice. Make strips on your t-shirts then knit them together to make a rug.

8. Braided belts

Have you ever wondered about what to do with old sentimental t-shirts? How about braided belts? Braided belts are some of the cool things to do with t-shirts! The good thing about making these belts is that they are soft, can be made to a favorable size and color. The belts can be customized for different functions and dresses. This is, therefore, an awesome old shirt project that you can try out anytime.

9. Knotted Lampshade

I once visited one of my many friends and came out with this great idea after what I saw at her place. The beautifully crafted lampshades were nicely done that you couldn’t imagine they were actually products of old t-shirts.

10.Workout shirt

It is a good practice to always exercise. Physical fitness is very important to a human’s well-being. Your old t-shirts could actually make some of the very best costumes for working out. This saves you some good money that you could have spent on new workout kits.

Workout shirt
Source: Pinterest

Wrapping Up

There are so many things to make out of old t-shirts. However, these are some of the ideas that I have found to be of great use. It just calls for a little creativity and you’ll have made something exceptional from the t-shirts you no longer put on.

Do you know of any recycled t-shirt ideas that I haven’t talked of in this article? Is there  anything that you can add on to the information herein? Share your thoughts and concerns with us.

How much Grass Seed do I need per Square Foot?

How much Grass Seed do I need per Square Foot?

Every homeowner dreams of having a beautiful and healthy lawn. A good looking lawn that is well maintained will greatly improve your home’s landscape overall aesthetic. You may ask yourself, “How much grass seed do I need per square foot?”

To ensure that the grass grows properly you need to take care of the soil that the grass grows on. To achieve this you need to use a best pull behind plug aerator which will take care of the soil without destroying the grass consequently allowing the grass to grow properly

To get a beautiful lawn, you not only need to put in a lot of your effort and time but also need the right quantity of grass seed. You need to know the amount of seed you should buy per square foot.

Below are some important tips that can help you determine how much grass seed you need to buy per square foot so you can have a beautiful lawn that will make everyone stop and stare.

1. Determine Property Size

This is the first step you need to take. You have to determine the size of the area you would like to be covered with grass. Most people usually make the mistake of miscalculating their lawns sizes. Before you invest in grass seeds, you should take your time and correctly determine the size of your lawn.

You can start by measuring your entire property size and then subtracting the sizes of the non-lawn areas like the flowerbeds, sidewalks and driveways.

Knowing the right size of your lawn area will help you save a lot of money since you will only buy grass seeds that you need. You will also not waste your time or labor.

To get the exact measure of your lawn area, you can do it manually using a tape measure. You can also use an online lawn size calculator.

2. Know the Right Grass Type

Once you have determined the size of your lawn, you need to know the best grass type that will be suitable for your area. Planting the right grass type has several disadvantages in that apart from giving your lawn the best look, it will also make a difference in the amount of seed you will use.

Once you have determined the right size of the area you need to be covered with grass and you have also determined the right seed type, you are now ready to determine the number of seeds you need. When you buy any particular grass seed, you should follow the guidelines on the seed package.

Some grass seeds manufacturers recommend planting 1 pound of seeds per 1000 square feet while some seed types can only cover 200 square feet per pound. As a result, you can calculate how much seed you need by dividing the size of your lawn by the recommended area size on your seed bag. Most grass seed bags recommend 300 to 400 square foot for every pound of seeds.

3. Even Seed Distribution

When planting your grass seed on the designated lawn areas, you should ensure that you distribute your grass seeds evenly. You can use a broadcast spreader to scatter your seeds uniformly over a large area. This will ensure that you end up with a uniform coverage once the grass grows.

To minimize the amount of grass seed you need, the grass seed you use should be of high quality. The quality of seed determines the quantity that you will need to use. Quality grass seeds also mean short germination times.

Although higher quality grass seeds with fewer fillers and weed seeds are a bit expensive, you will not use as much hence you will save a lot of money. Using lower quality seeds means that you will have to buy a lot of bags hence will spend more.

It Takes Time to Grow a Healthy Lawn

You might be a little bit impatient with your lawn and may want to make your grass grow fast. However, over-applying your grass seeds will not help. If you use too much grass seed, the grass may not do well since there will be increased competition for nutrients, water and light.

Your lawn looks spectacular as fall colors dot your trees. But when the trees begin to shed their leaves, it is time to hit the ground and do the sweeping.
You too should enjoy the serenity that a neat lawn brings to a home and this can be only so if you own and efficient best lawn sweepers

On the other hand, if you use less seeds than the amount recommended per square foot, you will end up with a thin lawn with lots of bare spots. As a result, follow the guidelines recommended on the seed bag and use your lawn size to know how much grass seed you should plant per square foot.

Tomato Start In My Kitchen

I have aspirations to grow great tomatoes, thick heirloom slicers and rich San Marzanos for canning. To date, my greatest success has been the small cherry tomatoes, sadly, not a favorite of my home-sharing posse. Thanks to a gift subscription to Mother Earth News from my mother-in-law, I read a great article in the January 2013 issue, “Best Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors” and put the tips to the test. The result is a lovely crop of tomato starts: San Marzanos; the heirlooms: Persimmon, deep orange and reportedly sweet; Black Krim, a “black” tomato from the Russian Black Sea area; & Costoluto, a traditional red slicer from Italy. I will transplant these into larger containers, let them recuperate, then harden them off before planting them outside.

Glancing at my notebook, I found this passage written on 1.19.13, when I first planted the seeds, a collection from Renee’s Seeds called Heirloom Summer Feast:

I love the description Heirloom Summer Feast. I imagine a deliciously hot summer, the heat breaking in the early evening, perhaps salty skin recently returned home from the beach. Smiles. Lethargic limbs happily made tired from an ocean swim. A pitcher of lemonade, ice clanking on the sides, fresh mint swirling. A plate of tomatoes, the orange persimmons, the beefy red of the Costoluto and the dark purple of the Black Krim, sliced evenly on a plate, a drizzle of olive oil, crunchy salt flakes and a bit of pepper.

Please grow.

Handmade Dolls by Kids

My oldest son set to the task of making gifts for his brother and cousins. I pulled out some canvas fabric scraps, backed them with freezer paper to make it more stable and got out some fabric markers. My son did the rest.

After the pictures were drawn, I ironed them to set them. My oldest son picked out some fabric for the backing. I sewed the two sides together, right sides facing, turned them inside out, and we stuffed them. My oldest son really enjoyed giving gifts.

The dolls were very well received.

One for his cousin:

And two dolls that quickly became pillows for princesses:

Grub Mystery Solved

Thanks to everyone who helped us with the compost grub mystery. It turns out they are larval green fruit beetles. I have seen the beetles around the yard before and wondered if they were friend or foe. It turns out they are pretty much neutral. They eat fruit but can’t do much harm unless the fruit is overripe or bird damaged. I’ll let the grubs stay and break down the compost although I think the raccoons or, more likely, skunks are rooting through our pile looking for them.

Ramshackle reader Josh says that his ducks and chickens love to eat them. He sent us this link to the Natural History Museum’s entomology research page on the Green Fruit Beetle. Thanks Josh!

Ramshackle reader katastrophik pointed us to where the bug guy (Daniel) dropped this knowledge:

Hi Eric,

Congratulations. You have Crawly-Backs. Charles Hogue indicates in

his wonderful book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, that the grubs
of the Green Fruit Beetle or Figeater, are called Crawly-Backs. He
writes: “The adults are active from late summer to early fall and,
during this period, lay their eggs in compost piles and other
accumulations of decomposing plant litter. The larvae are fairly
large (2 in., or 50 mm, long) and C-shaped; the body is pale
translucent white, and the head is dark brown. The first two molts
are completed in the fall, the third the following spring. Larvae
move forward on their backs with an undulating motion of the entire
body. They obtain purchase on the substratum with transverse rows of
stiff short stout bristles on the back of the thorax. Because of the
peculiar manner of locomotion, they are known as ‘crawly-backs.'” The
adults are beautiful metallic green beetles that have a loud buzzing

Have your own bug identification question? You may want to ask the bug guy.

And, of course, once you know what you are looking for, there is always wikipedia.

Making Acorn Flour

You can read lots of advice about making acorn flour by searching online. Kelly and Erik from Homegrown Evolution have an excellent section on it in their book, The Urban Homestead, which, if you haven’t bought already you should right now. I made a few batches this time last year, before the book came out and what worked best is pretty much exactly what they describe. I wish I had the book then.

1. Collect your acorns.
Avoid anything that has a damaged shell, especially a dark hole or small circular scar on it about the diameter of a pencil lead. Those acorns have worms in them and are no good.

2. Shell the acorns.
This was the most time consuming part for me. I learned a trick for shelling acorns toward the end of last year’s season: When dry, many will open themselves. I’m not sure if this is true of other types of acorns but our Live Oaks pop right open when dried out. If you wait for them to dry out, make sure that they get plenty of air, you don’t want them to rot. If you have a dehydrator, you may consider speeding the process. Keeping them in the oven may work too if it has a pilot light.

3. Make acorn mush.
Put them up in a blender with some water. Don’t be stingy with the water, you’ll be rinsing them out several times before your flour is ready. Think acorn smoothie.

4. Rinse out the tannins.
Acorns contain tannic acid which is bitter, and not good for your kidneys (or iron absorption) . The good news is that it is water soluble and easy to remove. Drape a cotton dishcloth over a deep bowl, pour in your mush and rinse the it with warm water. Wring out the mush by bringing the corners of the towel together and twisting. Taste the mush, if bitter, repeat. I have heard that you don’t need to make mush before rinsing the tannins out. I tried this method and my acorns were still bitter after several weeks of changing the water every day. I also tried using boiling water to rinse the mush but warm water from the tap seemed to be the best balance between water usage, gas usage and time – at least for me.

The waste water is good for plants.

5. Dry out the mush.
Next spread the mush out on a cookie sheet and either leave it in the sun on a hot dry day, put it in your dehydrator, or put it in your oven after you baking some cookies or something and let the residual heat do the job. Stir the mush occasionally to speed the process. If it clumps up and looks like ground beef it is probably going well.

Once the flour is dried out it may be a little coarse. You can put it in a cleaned out coffee grinder to get a finer texture. A good food processor also works and I am pretty sure they make attachable gadgets for mixers that really mill the flour if you get completely obsessed.

Our favorite use is acorn pancakes. Just mix the acorn flour 1/2 and 1/2 with wheat or other flour from your favorite recipe. I love the acorn flavor – slightly nutty, very hearty. If you make your own, let us know how it went.