Tuesday, January 9, 2018

25 Tips for Practical Living (Set 2)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
 26. Pry open, instead of pounding with stone or hammer, using the tip of an ordinary knife. Find the hinge behind the shell. This is its Achilles heel. Insert and twist. Simply open,   Eat straight with gusto. (Internet photos)

27. Bagoong smells, so with patis. But the best recipes can't be without. Here's what to do. Heat desired amount of water with bagoong to boiling, don't stir. Get rid of the froth. Now you can proceed with the usual cooking of bulanglang, pinakbet, and the like. Walang amoy bagoong o patis. (No trace of the raw smell) 

28. Don't dispose used cooking oil in sink. It reacts with detergent and solidifies like soap - the same process called saponification, blocking drainage canal and sewer. 

29. Cut spent toothpaste tube and glean on remaining content. You can have as much as five brushing. Use remaining paste as hand-wash to remove grease and fishy odor.

30. Make your own hand wash detergent. Scrape soap with knife, dissolve in water. Presto! You can have all the hand wash you need. Use your formula to refill empty dispensers. Label with the soap you used and the dilution you made. Avoid commercial concentrated brands - they are too strong, and dangerous to children. 

31. Protect tip of pencil with rolled paper. This serves as cap to extend the life of the pencil, and prevent accident. Use gloss, colored paper - the kind used as promo leaflets. Instead of refusing, or throwing it away, you can make a beautiful pencil cap. You can also roll it as extender when the pencil becomes too short, thus maximizing its use. 

32. Garden pots from PET bottles (1- to 2-li). It’s free, whereas commercial garden pots are expensive. Cut at midsection with a sharp knife or blade; puncture three equidistant holes on the side, an inch from the base, not at the bottom. This is to keep reserve water for the plant. Plant one kind per pot: oregano, alugbati, kamote, kangkong, ginger, onion, garlic, mustard, pechay, and the like. Scrape some topsoil for your planting medium. There’s no need of fertilizer and pesticide. Keep a pot or two of growing garlic or onion, also ginger; they are insect repellants.

33. How do you count seconds and minutes without a timepiece?
When counting seconds, it is more precise to count, “one-hundred-one, one-hundred-two, one-hundred-three, and so on.” This traditional technique is used today in photography (light exposure, shutter speed), games (swimming and track race), and during emergency (CPR, measuring body temperature, pulse rate). It may be useful in our daily routine (cooking, exercise). 

34. Double the circumference of your neck and that is your waistline.
In the absence of a tape measure, and without fitting it, how do you know the waistline of your pants? Mothers have a simple formula. Button the pants and wrap it around the neck of the would-be user. Both ends should meet, not too tight or loose.

35. Rice weevil can be controlled by placing crushed bulb of garlic in the stored rice. Loosely wrap garlic with cloth or paper. Cover the box. In a day or two, the weevils succumb to the garlic odor. Others simply escape. 

36. Sugar solution extends the life of cut flowers.
Pulsing for roses is done by immersing the stem ends for one to three hours in 10% sugar solution, and for gladiolus 12 to 24 hours in 20% sugar solution. Daisies, carnation, chrysanthemums, and the like are better handled if harvested and transported in their immature stage, then opened by pulsing. It is best to cut the stem at an angle, dipped 6 to 12 hours in 10% sugar solution.  Best results are obtained at cool temperature and low relative humidity.

37. Insert balled newspaper (better brown paper to get rid of possible lead content from ink and paint) into shoes to remove odor, absorb moisture, keep shoes in shape.

38. Orange peeling kept in sugar jar prevents sugar from caking and discoloring into dark clumps.

39. Banana leaves as floor polisher. Mature leaves of saba variety (other varieties will do) is first wilted on flame to melt the natural wax. It also imparts a pleasant smell.

40. Don't throw away coconut husk. Make it into flower pot for orchids and ferns. Shred to make scrub for floor and utensils. Cut whole mature nut crosswise, trim off protruding shell. Now you have a foot floor polisher. Happy exercise.

41. Add talc powder (baby powder) to hardware nails to prevent rusting. Be sure to keep the container tight. .Notice in some restaurants, rice is mixed with salt in the dispenser. Rice absorbs moisture preventing the salt from clumping and soggy.

42. Stuck bubble gum in clothes? Don't force to remove. Put soiled clothes in the freezer. Once solidified, peel off the gum clean and easy.

43. Ethnic music makes a wholesome life; it is therapy.
Have you ever noticed village folks singing or humming as they attend to their chores? They have songs when rowing the boat, songs when planting, songs of praise at sunrise, songs while walking up and down the trail, etc. Seldom is there an activity without music. Even the sounds of nature to them are music.

According to researcher Leonora Nacorda Collantes, of the UST graduate school, music influences the limbic system, called the “seat of emotions” and causes emotional response and mood change. Musical rhythms synchronize body rhythms, mediate within the sphere of the autonomous nervous and endocrine systems, and change the heart and respiratory rate.  Music reduces anxiety and pain, induces relaxation, thus promoting the overall sense of well being of the individual.

Music is closely associated with everyday life among village folks more than it is to us living in the city. The natives find content and relaxation beside a waterfall, on the riverbank, under the trees, in fact there is to them music in silence under the stars, on the meadow, at sunset, at dawn. Breeze, crickets, running water, make a repetitious melody that induces sleep. Humming indicates that one likes his or her work., and can go on for hours without getting tired at it. Boat songs make rowing synchronized. Planting songs make the deities of the field happy, so they believe; and songs at harvest is thanksgiving. The natives are indeed a happy lot.

44. When earthworms crawl out of their holes, a flood is coming.
 This subterranean annelid has built-in sensors, a biblical Noah’s sense of a coming flood, so to speak. Its small brain is connected to clusters of nerve cells, called ganglia, running down the whole body length. These in turn are connected to numerous hair-like protrusions on the cuticle, which serve as receptor. When rain saturates the soil, ground water rises and before it reaches their burrows, they crawl out to higher grounds where they seek refuge until the flood or the rainy season is over. The more earthworms abandoning their burrows, the more we should take precaution.
Recycle writing materials:
      a. Notebooks with unused pages.
      b. Other side of used bond papers.
      c. Replace spent ballpens with new fillers. Take with you samples.
      d. Small notes and reminder slips, save blank spaces of used papers.
      e. Papers which can't be recycled for writing can be used for wrapping and similar purposes. Avoid waste.

45. To control rhinoceros beetles from destroying coconuts throw some sand into the base of the leaves. 
This insect, Oryctes rhinoceros, is a scourge of coconut, the larva and adult burrow into the bud and destroy the whole top or crown of the tree. There is scientific explanation to this practice of throwing sand into the axis of the leaves. Sand, the raw material in making glass, penetrates into the conjunctiva - the soft skin adjoining the hard body plates, in effect injuring the insect. As the insect moves, the more it gets hurt. As a result the insect dies from wound infection, or by dehydration. Thus we observe that coconut trees growing along the seashore are seldom attacked by this beetle.

46. Don’t play with toads. Toads cause warts.
Old folks may be referring to the Bufo marinus, a poisonous toad that secretes white pasty poison from a pair of glands behind its eyes. Even snakes have learned to avoid this creature described as ugly in children’s fairy tales.

But what do we know! The toad’s defensive fluids have antibiotic properties. Chinese folk healers treat wounds such as sores and dog bites with toad secretions, sometimes obtained by surrounding the toads with mirrors to scare them in order to secrete more fluids.

Aestivating toad 

Similarly certain frogs secrete antibiotic substances. A certain Dr. Michael Zasloff, physician and biochemist, discovered an antibiotic from the skin of frogs he called magainins, derived from the Hebrew word for shield, a previously unknown antibiotic. It all started when researchers performed surgery on frogs and after returning them to murky bacteria-filled water, found out that the frogs almost never got any infection.

What are then the warts the old folks claim? They must be scars of ugly wounds healed by the toad’s secretion.

47. Animals become uneasy before an earthquake occurs. 

It is because they are sensitive to the vibrations preceding an earthquake. They perceive the small numerous crackling of the earth before the final break (tectonic), which is the earthquake. 

Fantail or pandangera bird is usually restless at the onset of bad weather.

As a means of self-preservation they try to escape from stables and pens, seek shelter, run to higher grounds, or simply escape to areas far from the impending earthquake. Snakes come out of their abode, reptiles move away from the water, horses neigh and kick around, elephants seem to defy the command of their masters (like in the case of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka). We humans can only detect such minute movements on our inventions such as the Richter Scale.

48. Don’t gather all the eggs. Leave some otherwise the laying hen will not return to its nest. 
True. The layer is likely to abandon its nest when it finds it empty. Leave a decoy of say, three eggs. But there are layers that know simple arithmetic, and therefore, cannot be deceived, and so they abandon their nest and find a new one.

49. Raining while the sun is out breeds insects.
Now and then we experience simultaneous rain and sunshine, and may find ourselves walking under an arch of rainbow, a romantic scene reminiscent of the movie and song, Singing in the Rain. Old folks would rather grim with a kind of sadness on their faces, for they believe that such condition breeds caterpillars and other vermin that destroy their crops.

What could be the explanation to this belief? Thunderstorm is likely the kind of rain old folks are referring to. Warmth plus moisture is vital to egg incubation, and activation of aestivating insects, fungi, bacteria and the like. In a few days, they come out in search of food and hosts. Armyworms and cutworms (Spodoptera and Prodina), named after their huge numbers and voracious eating habit, are among these uninvited guests

50. Garlic drives the aswang away.
If aswang (ghost) being referred to are pests and diseases, then there is scientific explanation to offer, because garlic contains a dozen substances that have pesticidal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties such as allicin, from which its generic name of the plant is derived – Allium sativum. Garlic is placed on doorways, in the kitchen and some corners of the house where vermin usually hide, which is also practiced in other countries. It exudes a repellant odor found effective against insects and rodents – and to many people, also to evil spirits, such as the manananggal (half-bodied vampire). ~

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